Friday, March 06, 2015

Dupes | MAC Rebel Lipstick VS Sleek's Smother

The first MAC lipstick that ever piqued my interest was MAC's Rebel lipstick. I first came across it in one of Jess' outfit of the day posts and needed to know what colour it was. It wasn't until recently that I took the plunge and purchased it. Shortly after, I came across a perfect affordable and cruelty-free dupe by Sleek Makeup. So how did it compare against Rebel?

Lip Swatch - Sleek's Smother on the left & MAC Rebel on the right
Arm Swatch - MAC Rebel on the left & Sleeks Smother on the right

I've tested both of these lipsticks a bunch of times and honestly couldn't decide which I liked better as they were too similar in lasting power, performance and colour. In the end, I had to just apply the two on each half of my lips to decide!

Color wise, you can tell that Sleek's Smother is slightly darker. However when applied side by side, it's barely noticeable. If it does bother you though, you can always just apply a lighter layer. Neither of the two are matte, with Smother having a Sheen finish and Rebel a Satin finish.

The only difference in quality that I found was when I applied Sleek's Smother on a bit thick. It would settle into lip cracks but with either your fingers or a lip brush, you can easily swipe it away. I found the two lasted around the same time. Both were quite pigmented for at least 4 hours before fading down to a stain effect.

Price wise in the UK at least, a MAC lipstick now costs £15.50 and it only seems to go higher every few months. You also get 3g of product while Sleek's lipstick offers 3.5g for £4.99. Since they're stocked in Boots and Superdrug too, you can probably get it during a 3 for 2 offer.

Ultimately, I would definitely recommend Sleek's Smother lipstick over MAC's Rebel. The quality is almost on par with MAC at a third of the price.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Shiro Cosmetics The Hobbit Collection & Giveaway

I originally planned on reviewing this back when the last Hobbit film released (what a disappointing ending) but work has been getting in the way. I've talked about Shiro Cosmetics a few times now, they're a geek themed American indie company. They've been around for years and are incredibly affordable. While I had known of Shiro for ages, the Hobbit collection was the first that made me consider trying out the brand.

Swatches L-R - When the thrush knocks, Chiefest of calamities, War of five armies, Riddles in the dark, Attercop Attercop, Lingered in Twilight

When the Thrush Knocks is a soft coppery yellow gold with light shimmer

Chiefest of Calamities is a vivid orange toned red but comes off as a slightly muted orange

War of Five Armies is a darkened red brown

Riddles in the Dark is described as a dark shimmery green-tinted black with glitters of gold which I find comes off as a dark grey with gold glitter

Attercop, Attercop is a matte black base with deep blue iridescence

Lingered in Twilight is my favourite of them all and is described as a blackened blue and green tone shade with slightly metallic shimmer

I created two smoky eye looks with these, one using the first 3 shades and another with the rest. Normally though, I'd probably mix these colours with other brands and products but for review's sake I tried to stick to just these shadows. As per usual, the Shiro shadows apply wonderfully, are super pigmented and blend like a dream. Lingered in Twilight and When the Thrush Knocks are shades I'd definitely recommend as they're stunning.

If you're interested in trying any of Shiro's shadows, you can purchase a sample shadow for $1, a mini jar for $3.50 or a full sized jar with 2g of product for $6 on the Shiro website.

When I ordered these shadows, along with an I am Groot shadow, my order got stalled in tracking and I had Caitlin send out another. Shortly after, I found I had two parcels, I notified the owner immediately and she essentially said to pass it forward and that I didn't need to return it. So I thought I'd run a little giveaway but since I'd feel bad using an indie companies misfortune to gain followers, all you have to do to win is literally enter your email address so I can contact you to send them over. No tweeting, no following or any other commitment involved! Just enter to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 01, 2015

A Few Sephora Paris Purchases

So earlier this week, my partner and I made our way down to London to hop on a Eurostar to Paris. With the pound being at an all time high against the Euro (at least for a while), it seemed like the perfect time to visit and even make a few frivolous purchases. I had planned to wait until the last day to check out Sephora but the minute I laid eyes on one of their branches, I had to check it out immediately. Would you believe that I left Sephora empty handed? I was so overwhelmed by the choice, I had to sleep on it and return the day after.

The first thing I checked out was the Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No 7 palette range. As I mentioned in my recent lust list, I've had my eye on it for a while. I was essentially expecting to walk into the store and find the palettes swatched awfully but honestly, all of them swatched so well that I couldn't decide between them all. I decided to eliminate the vamp and the tease palettes as I have so many vampy/smoky eye shadows and ditto for pink/purple palettes. The only other two options were the starlet and the Lolita and the only reason I went with lit was because I didn't like the idea of the silver shadow in the Starlet palette.

The next thing on my list was the Marc Jacobs nail polish range, it didn't seem as though they had the entire colour range in France. Turns out that folks in the US have access to 10 extra shades. Since my Illamasqua polishes pretty much cover all the colours of the rainbow, I went for Petra, which is dirty bronze polish with metallic shimmer. In many ways, it reminds me a lot of Urban Decay's blackheart polish but without the red undertone and significantly more shimmer.

I wanted to pick up a certain Sephora lip cream (another matte liquid lipstick) but the shade I was looking for wasn't available in France. The next thing on my to check-out list was Sephora's retractable waterproof eyeliner. While I normally don't care for retractable eyeliners, the smudge brush was what sold it to me. It's a smoky eye in a stick! So far I've found it to be quite creamy.

Out of all the Sephora's I entered, the one on Champs Elysees easily had the best customer service and was the most tourist friendly. A lot of the staff seemed bilingual and were quite chatty. I couldn't believe how kind the sales lady at the Marc Jacobs stand didn't just give me a lipstick sample but then proceeded to give me an eyeliner sample too, which I think was because I tried really hard to communicate in French. The only problem was that it made the checkout process way too long as they'd have long conversations with customers. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

What's in my makeup travel bag?

This week my partner and I have decided to grab a Eurostar to Paris for our anniversary. I've really been looking forward to it since I've not done any travelling for over 2 years. Anyway, since I have no scheduled posts for a while, I thought I'd share a few beauty items I've taken with me.

Makeup wise, I managed to fit a lot into a very small makeup bag by basically downsizing almost everything. Instead of taking a huge eyeshadow palette, I packed my mini NARS and god created the woman palette along with two Illamasqua cream eyeshadows. Also, instead of taking several fullsized eyeliners, I packed my Urban Decay dual-ended eyeliners. I packed a lot of samples instead of fullsized products too, like Bare Minerals lash domination mini, kat von d mini lipsticks, a Nars blush sample, along with an hourglass and stila sample from Sephora's Give Me More Lip set. I also took a travel size setting spray and primer so I'd be able to just do my face once in the morning and not care for touchups throughout the day. Since I've used up all my foundation samples, I transferred some from a full sized one to an old (cleaned) sample bottle to save space.

Brush wise, I had been doing a lot of overtime before travelling and did a very naughty thing by buying makeup brushes instead of cleaning old ones. (Doh!) So I ended up taking a whole new set of rose gold zoeva brushes which were kind of too beautiful to use. I also packed a few makeup sponges for foundation and a blush brush.

Skincare wise, I use a lot of Clinique as it tends to be one of the few brands that doesn't irritate my skin. For makeup removal, I'll use Urban Decay's melt down remover on the eyes and Clinique's take the day off cleansing balm on the skin. I also use the balm during winter before moisturising with Clinique's dramatically different moisturising lotion. I also packed a travel size body wash as we're staying in a very budget place so I wasn't sure if there'd be toiletries available.
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