October 09, 2016

Haul | Kat Von D Purchases & Meeting Kat

Attending a meet and greet is very out of character for me. I've never idolised celebrities simply because we're all human and we all have flaws. Kat however is a woman I have so much admiration for. Her talent as a tattoo artist, how she brought that into her makeup line, becoming a successful business woman, her personality, I could go on forever. Originally, I didn't plan on going to London for the launch of Kat Von D or the meet and greet. However, I had conveniently booked a train down to Brighton from Birmingham on the launch date. So I went to check out the new counter in Debenhams on Oxford Street especially as I needed to replace my holy grail eyeliner

I ended up picking up a fair few bits considering how I've already tried out a lot of the range. Aside from the trooper eyeliner, I also picked up Dali, a teal coloured eyeliner to pair up with my hair. Next, I gravitated towards the metal crush eyeshadows. Even though I knew I shouldn't add to my ridiculous collection of singles, I couldn't help myself, as they're so pigmented. The shade I picked up was Doce, a metallic copper, the orange undertones got me. 

I've recently been leaning away from matte lips. Favouring my lipsticks and lipgloss over matte liquid lipsticks. The second I laid eyes on Gothica and Thin Lizzy, I had to try them on. They had insane amount of sparkle to them and have a 'metallic' finish to them. You can see the sparkle in the bullet. The two are pretty similar shades, Gothica is a bronze shade that looks natural on the lips and Thin Lizzy is more of a copper shade with some orange/red undertones to it. 

I also picked up a concealer, setting powder and eye contour brush after one of their makeup artists applied it on me. I found it really effective in covering my pigmentation scars from my acne. With one end of the brush she dabbed the concealer on and blended it out and with the other end of the brush she used the setting powder to lock the concealer into place. I was really impressed by how it neutralised the scarring I picked up all 3 items.

The goofy smile you make when your girl crush compliments you.

Since I received a wristband with my purchase and had a return ticket to London, I figured I may as well stop by. I arrived quite late, when the queue was probably at it's longest. The staff on the day tried their best to keep us entertained with freebies, snacks and competitions. We were given a tote bag to carry our stuff, samples of Kat's Trooper eyeliner and studded kiss lipstick in underage red. I ended up with 3 of each, so I plan on passing on the spare lipsticks to friends. They also kept us hydrated with water and for snacks gave us vegan cookies with either Kat Von D written on it or an image of the studded kiss lipstick on it. Towards the end of the line the makeup artists went around and offered to do touchups with the liquid lipsticks or to add stars with her liquid eyeliners.

I was ill prepared for the madness at Oxford Street. A few things I would do differently next time:

  • Get there as early as possible. If I hadn't taken the extra hour of sleep, another to curl my hair and just taken a taxi straight to the train station, I would have been at the venue 3 hours earlier. It would have meant not being right at the end of the queue and not waiting for as long either.

  • Bring something to sign. It's an awesome little memory to have and you have something to say if you're suddenly lost for words. How awesome would a signed palette have been?

  • Think of small conversation topics beforehand. I'm normally a confident person but for whatever reason, my brain just completely shut down when I met Kat, I was lost for words. 

  • If you're feeling rushed slow it down. Now, don't be that person who spends a lifetime with them. I was overly polite, I had my photo taken and felt like I was expected to just leave but had I just slowed it down a little and asked a question it would have been a minor annoyance to the organisers. Kat even slowed me down as I almost walked away without one of her famous hugs.

Overall, attending a meet and greet is a lot like going on a rollercoaster. You line up for hours for a minute or two of fun and at the end of the ride you get a goofy photo of yourself. Hopefully there'll be another opportunity for UK fans to meet Kat and next time I'll be able to get more out of it.
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October 06, 2016

Adventures In Dye | Arctic Fox Aquamarine

Last year I took the leap by bleaching my dark hair to oblivion to try and get turquoise dip dye hair with Manic Panic dyes. It eventually grew out this year and I ended up going through the process again to take the colour higher up. This time I decided against using Manic Panic dyes again. Although their turquoise dye was the perfect colour, their dye's were on the expensive side and did't last that long. Since I had more hair to cover as well, it was just more cost efficient to try something new. The new hair dye of choice? Arctic Fox's Aquamarine.

You can order the dye in either 4 oz or 8 oz bottles. Before the value of the pound plummeted, instead of spending £12-£13 on a 4oz bottle of Manic Panic, I spent it on a 8oz bottle of Arctic Fox's Aquamarine.  The 4oz bottles were roughly £7 - £8. The prices have now gone up to £10 for the 4oz bottle and £15 for the £8oz, so they wouldn't be as cost efficient anymore unfortunately!

Similarly to Manic Panic and Directions dyes, Arctic Fox is a vegan, semi-permanent dye. It acts like a conditioner and sits on top of the hair instead of bonding with the hair shaft like permanent dyes with harmful chemicals do. Arctic Fox's dye is possibly the only scented beauty product I've tried who's smell I actually like. I'm terrible with identifying smells but it definitely makes me think of berries. Blue dyes have a bad habit of staining everything, showers, towels and skin. Since I've taken the colour higher than before, I find I end up having spots of blue around my face, ears and neck quite often.

When I first put Aquamarine on, I was surprised by the colour. It came out electric blue, when I was expecting turquoise. After 2/3 washes, the green undertones began to show and it was a beautiful shade of turquoise. After a few more washes it begins to become a more green based turquoise before eventually fading into a pastel shade. I only managed to get it pastel after using a lot of coconut oil and swimming though. How long the dye lasts depends on how often you wash it and at what temperature, along with what kind of hair products you use on it. In summer when I'd only have cold showers, it lasted for a few weeks before I noticed much fading. Now that it's cooled down and my showers are boiling hot, the dye only seems to last 2 washes before noticeable fading.

Should any other fellow makeup addicts take the plunge and go turquoise, check out my makeup inspiration board for Turquoise Hair on Pinterest!

Follow Mish's board Manic Panic Electric Lizard Makeup Inspiration on Pinterest.
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September 29, 2016

Travel | Ticking Off The Bucket List at La Sagrada Familia

I can't remember when I had La Sagrada Familia on my bucket list or what the reason was for it. All I can really remember is wanting to visit the curious looking church (especially as someone with a sheltered upbringing in the middle east) by Gaudi in Barcelona after randomly stumbling upon it. This year, after making a list of places I wanted to visit, I just went for it, with very little planning involved.

From the distance, La Sagrada Familia isn't the most aesthetically pleasing structure. It comes off odd, somewhat ugly but definitely unique on the Barcelona skyline. It wasn't until I got up close that I noticed the insane amount of detail on the exterior, particularly the nativity facade which depicts the birth and early life of Jesus in chronological order. The turquoise doors add a pop of colour to the otherwise drab exterior, giving a hint of what's inside...

Even though I've never stepped into a church until my 20's, La Sagrada Familia is unlike any church I've been in. Instead of over the top Christian imagery, the interior is minimalistic with just one depiction of Christ and is largely influenced by nature instead with motifs like pillars resembling trees.

For whatever reason, most churches tend to be very dim, La Sagrada Familia is the only one that let's so much light in, you almost feel like you're outside. The stained glass windows spills out a rainbow of light throughout the room giving an iridescent glow to the organs.

We paid extra to take the lift up one of the towers to check out the view but honestly didn't think much of it. Perhaps skip out on paying the extra cash until the building is complete.

You can skip the line by booking a timed ticket in advance on the official Sagrada Familia website.
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September 25, 2016

Beauty | Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Moshpit

When Urban Decay announced they were revamping their lipstick line with 150 new lipsticks, I found myself overwhelmed by choice and was put off trying any. A few months later and I had accumulated £15 of points on my Debenhams card that were ready to expire so had a peak at the huge addition of lipsticks to the Urban Decay counter. The first one I picked was Moshpit, the berry plum lipstick had intrigued me but the name sold it. 

Packaging wise, the Vice lipstick range is nothing special. It's a lot lighter and shorter than the Revolution line. It has a standard lipstick bullet shape with the Urban Decay logo impressed on it which feels like a step down to the circular bullet the Revolution line had. The casing is mainly gunmetal with a gold base, making it look a bit like an actual shotgun bullet casing. It feels cheaper than the Revolution line, despite the price of both being similar.

Moshpit was a surprisingly unique berry plum shade as it's slightly muted. I was glad to find that none of the berry lipsticks I owned were quite the same. Moshpit had redder undertones to MAC's Rebel and although an arm swatch suggested Tom Ford's Black Dahlia to be an exact dupe, I found once on the lips Black Dahlia came off very red on my lips while Moshpit leaned more purple.

Out of the 6 possible finishes, Moshpit has a cream finish. It's surprisingly pigmented with very good colour payoff, it didn't need any layering. Despite it's cream finish it somehow managed to last really well through hot drinks and meals with minimum fading. It easily lasts around 6 hours without a lip liner. It's a huge step up to the original revolution lipstick formula, which I found to be so creamy it lessened the wear time.

Overall, while I prefer the packaging of Urban Decay's Revolution lipsticks much more, the new Vice lipstick range's formula easily put's the Revolution line to shame.
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September 18, 2016

Brand Roundup | Kat Von D Beauty

If you've somehow missed the latest beauty buzz, Kat Von D has finally launched in the UK! Kat Von D's makeup line is a relatively young brand whose alternative themes caught my eye from day 1. I've forked out the extra cash for international shipping several times now and have managed to try out a lot of items in her range. Since there isn't quite enough products in the range to justify a 'Best of' or 'Top 5' post, I'm just sharing my overall thoughts with everything I've tried. 

Top - Vampira, Susperia, Bauhau5
Bottom - Double Dare, Lolita, A-Go-Go

Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks are a definite must try. Sure the beauty market is over saturated with liquid lipsticks but I find myself always coming back to Kat Von D's on a weekly basis. The formula doesn't suck out all the moisture on your lips, long wearing and even last through a few meals. Although Lolita is the liquid lipstick that everyone raves about, I rarely reach for it and my favourite everyday shades are Double Dare and Mother. Of the bolder shades, I find Vampira and L.U.V are gorgeous but Bauhau5 and Susperia perform better and I use those far more. A-Go-Go is the only one I own that I regret buying, online it seems to be a regular orange lip but with my skin tone it's so neon!

I'm usually hesitant with any holy grail item in the beauty community. The trooper eyeliner was no exception and I originally didn't understand the hype behind it. It was very watery and impossible to work with. Six months after I had given up on it, I read somewhere that I needed to store it upside down, so the ink flows towards the brush tip. I then turned into the blackest liquid liner that's easy to use and so long wearing, it's often the only thing left on my face after a long day out. I've now gone through 4 of them and don't plan on switching things up. Believe in the hype around this one. Small added bonus, I can't help but chuckle at the Iron Maiden reference.

The eyeshadow palettes are definitely another hyped item in the range. The palettes are works of art, with a lot of thought and effort going into the artwork and choice of eyeshadows. They are all decently well pigmented, although formula wise I'm unsure if I'd consider them to be the best out there. The shade and light eyeshadow palette is a great matte palette for any makeup artist to have in their kit. However, as a consumer, I wouldn't buy it for myself as I know I'd only use up the warm shades. 

The Metal Crush shadows on the other hand are what I wish the formulas in these palettes were like. They are easy to work with, super pigmented with an almost cream like formula. The only exception to this seems to Black No 1, the one dud which requires a fair bit of layering. The downside to single shadows though is the price. Depending on how much you're willing to spend, you'll want to pick up shadows you know you'll use often. Thunderstruck is perfect for this as it doubles up as a beautiful highlighter. 

The Lock-It Tattoo Foundation is as full coverage as everyone make it out to be and covers the worst of blemishes easily. It is however, also extremely thick and difficult to blend out. I find I have to mix it with a primer of some sort to avoid looking like I've caked on the foundation. It's so long wearing that I find it requires extra cleansing at the end of the day to remove. The other downside is, when I use this alone I find it doesn't suit my skin type as it breaks me out.
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September 04, 2016

Beauty | Shopping My Stash / August Favourites

I've not previously done monthly favourite posts as I never seemed to mix up my beauty regime often enough. Lately I've been digging through my makeup collection and trying out long forgotten purchases. Most of which were abandoned shortly after buying, and I'm embarrassed to admit some that have never even been touched. To make up for this, I've been making a conscious effort to shop my stash and have found some new favourites. Naturally, not every item I've tried out has been great, these duds have either been passed on or binned.

What - MAC's Prep + Prime Skin Base Visage
Why - This was gifted to me well over 6 months ago along with a few other MAC products. I had never touched it until August though, I was finding my foundation just wasn't sitting right on my skin, it was cakey and would set strangely around my pores. It provides a smooth base that makes my foundation glide almost effortlessly on my skin. It's also meant to be effective for evening out redness but I can't comment on that as it's not a problem I have. 

What - Urban Decay's Revolution Lipgloss in Liar
Why - Wearing liquid lipsticks on a daily basis over summer has been exceptionally drying on the lips. Adding just the smidge of lipgloss on top of Kat Von D's double dare liquid lipstick hydrates my lips enough to fix my chapped lips problem.

What - NYX Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Fire 
Why - Red eyeliner isn't something I've ever envisioned myself wearing or wanting. The vivid bright liners are an excellent lazy way to add just a pop of colour to the eyes. I find it also clashes in a good way with the turquoise hair.

What - YSL Kiss and Blush in 11 Prune Impertinente
Why - I've barely touched this since buying it with my staff discount aeons ago. With a medium skin tone, I find the problem with dark matte lip colours is sometimes they can sometimes be too intense it ends up looking almost black. I wanted a burgundy lip colour that wasn't too intense for work. Looking through my stash I rediscovered this gem which applies more like a dark lip stain than a gloss making it part of my daily work face this month.

What - Olaplex
Why - I'm not 100% sold on the after care treatment yet but am still trialling it out. The in salon treatment though has definitely won me over. Before the treatment, I would find bits of hair on my clothing, a lot more in the shower drain and my hair brush would be full of hair after one hair brushing section. After I went in for a treatment, even though it didn't completely eliminate the fallout, it did do a damn good job of reducing it. I rarely, if ever, find loose bits of hair on my clothing, the shower is a lot easier to clean out and the same goes for my hair brush. 
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August 28, 2016

Makeup Rehab | The Anti Wishlist #1

The anti-wishlist is inspired by Kimberly Clark's Anti-Haul videos. The vlogging/blogging world is often described as being over-saturated with beauty gurus, all claiming that we need the newest makeup launch in order to make money off of affiliate links. Kimberly's Anti-Haul series has made her one of the few vlogger's I trust. Her message to stop mindlessly spending money on the latest hyped product and adding to the hysteria sets her aside from the rest. So instead of listing everything that I feel the need to impulse buy, I'm scrutinising everything on my wishlist in order to prevent me from buying all of the things.

Christian Louboutin Loubilaque Glosses (Source)

I'm a sucker for pretty packaging and the Loubilaque range's mermaid scales on a potion vial made me feel the need to drop £60 on lipglosses! Since lusting after this, I seem to have started wearing lipglosses more but ultimately, there is no such thing as  long lasting lipgloss. If anything, lipglosses tend to shorten the longevity of lipstick. Also, now that I've tried out a Christian Louboutin nail polish and come to the conclusion that it's not amazing enough to justify the price tag, I expect I'll experience the same with these glosses.

MAC Star Trek Collection

MAC has always been that brand that I love to hate. However, out of all the things on this list, this is the most difficult to resist. Despite being unable to claim myself as a Star Trek fan, I certainly have a lot of respect for it's cultural significance. While it's easy to dismiss the range as being nothing but a glitterbomb, the idea of shimmery/metallic lipsticks are intriguing. Unfortunately, all lip swatches I've seen online seem to be patchy and uneven. So I'm going to wait until these are in store to swatch them myself. If I'm lucky, they'll all be sold out by the time I manage to do that.

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette (Source)

Jewelled toned palettes are beautiful. So beautiful I already own quite a few and they all seem to have the same eyeshadow colours. A dark blue, dark green, dark red and gold along with other miscellaneous shadows. While I love the Egyptian theme of the palette, none of these shadows are particularly unique. I'm also put off by the fact that the palette isn't just a row of shadows. The loose pigment at the end feels like a waste of space as I feel as though there would have been enough space to fit two shadows there.
Kat Von D & Too Faced Collaboration (Source)

I feel bad mentioning two of Kat Von D's items, especially as I do genuinely love most items in her line. I also love the fact that two brands are actually collaborating with each other, something I don't think we've seen in the past. The magnetic heart packaging with it's contradictory pink princess vs dark goth aesthetic instantly makes me think of friendship necklaces which seems perfectly fit for a brand collaboration.

However, once I saw the inside of the packaging, I felt underwhelmed, with a bunch of neutrals and the odd pink and red shade it seemed uninspired. The logo on either sides of the palettes feel like wasted opportunity for another eyeshadow.

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Palette

Despite longevity issues with Urban Decay's Revolution lipstick line, I loved the packaging and was sad to see them go. While I was very curious to try a new Vice lipstick, the packaging seemed flimsier and I was overwhelmed by choice. Urban Decay announcing 2 different lip palettes for Christmas season seems like the perfect solution to my dilemma. Nope.

I never use lip palettes, they just get ignored. It's so much easier for me to pick up a lipstick and throw it in my handbag than to carry both a lip palette and a lip brush. Cleaning the oil from lipsticks is tough and they can easily create a sticky mess in any bag. Lip brushes, while great for applying makeup perfectly or on someone else are impractical for everyday wear or on the go makeup.
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