Sephora and Postbox Courier – A Match Made in Makeup Heaven?

Hi!

As a makeup junkie I’m always wanting the new palette, that creamy lipstick, those wonder mascaras. It’s part of the hobby and as many people have shown, it can be a lifestyle.

Living in South Africa is limiting – we have some amazing brands available, and our pharmacies (drugstores) have testers, but we also are missing some key players. Anastasia Beverly Hills, Too Faced, Colourpop, LORAC, Juvia’s Place – these are all brands I’m super keen to try and have great difficulty getting a hold of. They are available on trustworthy third party sites, but not being able to swatch something before you spend >R1000 on it is risky and can be dangerous. There are also definite markups on all products which is annoying. I appreciate that shipping and tax is real, and I recognize that the people who run these sites are running their businesses, but I’ve wondered if it wouldn’t be cheaper to order stuff myself.

The biggest problem with access to international products in SA is undoubtedly the post office. They’ve had parcels of mine for weeks and their communication is disgraceful. Ordering directly from company websites puts you at their mercy and that’s not a place I want to be.

In comes freight forwarding companies. These guys will ship overseas purchases to your door and clear the rigamarole of customs as well – for a price. The question for me is – does it make sense to pay them instead of the third party sites.

Now Sephora USA blocks freight forwarding addresses – I discovered this last year when after signing up for Aramex my order was cancelled 3 times. I decided to try one last time with Postbox Courier because I had a voucher that I needed to spend. And it worked!

I found an amazing deal on the Too Faced Peach collection – both the sweetie pie bronzer and white peach palette for $46. The palette alone retails for $45! I’ve been wanting that palette for a while and had been considering purchasing the bronzer and this seemed like fate.

I also picked up 2 Makeup Forever refillable palettes for $2 each. They’re a little smaller than I was expecting but they’ll do the job just fine.

Of course, with Sephora codes I received a few samples and travel sizes to try. I’m getting a little concerned at the sheer number of these I have collected but it’s just too tempting.

So how did the maths work out? Well, I spent R675.08 ($50) on products. Another R63.24 on taxes. R646.19 ($47.50) on PbC shipping. And R480.36 on customs. For a total of R1864.87!!!

How much would it have cost me ordering locally? The only site where I could find the TooFaced products was Muse Beauty. They cost a total of R1650 plus R75 for shipping. Muse didn’t have any magnetic palettes in stock, so I found 2 options – Samika had Z palettes in similar sizes for R120-R330 with standard shipping of R100. Ofra has a South African site that sells their pop up palette (bigger) for R400 plus R100 shipping. That’s a cost of R1955-R2235, assuming I bought only 1 palette. That was the original plan and buying both MUFE palettes was purely for the $2 price tag.

This shows that it is cheaper to do it yourself – but only just. My respect for the people behind third party sites has gone up realising the narrow margins they work with.

There is the “value” of the samples that I didn’t account for. I don’t really know how to account for them in this equation – it feels like a bonus for ordering but if I had bought something from Muse and not received anything I wouldn’t have really cared. A part of me feels like it’s a manipulative technique to get to purchase – I was NOT planning this purchase, I didn’t need the products and yet I bought it because I had a free product code. Also because buying makeup makes me feel good and I was quite down last week, but I could easily have walked into clicks and spent R200 at the Revlon counter for the same effect.

This post is so messy – apologies! It’s been on my mind for a while and I wanted to get it out. I hope anyone reading who wants to order using freight forwarding gains something from this – there’s a lot of convenience and you do save. But it may be worth it to support your local reseller.

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It’s Time To End 2018

Perhaps that’s a strange thing to say on 17 January 2019, but I do feel like 2018 has trapped me in many ways. It was a monumental year and the various changes that occurred have really altered my work, my perspective and my life.

I started the year inserting a chest drain into an inebriated and critical patient. It was perhaps the worst start to the year, but I was happy in that moment – I had signed a contract to work at a hospital I loved, with people I loved, doing work that was incredibly fulfilling. I had found my place in medicine, which especially was surprising because a year before I was ready to quit. I’ve already said it, but I need to repeat it – I was happy.

Then it all went wrong.

I don’t know when I realized that the hospital I was at was actually a nightmare, but the realization came. I watched my friends leave the department, for various reasons, and felt myself becoming less and less happy to be there. I still believed in the work, but it was so hard to get anything done for any of my patients that I was going home angry and frustrated every single day. I thought about how I could make this better for myself, and decided to quit overtime work.

I submitted my letter in June with various reasons as to why I wanted to do that. The reasons on the list had long being topics of conversation in our weekly meetings, but nothing was done to tangibly address them. For me, the last straw was when I missed things – to this day a patient demised in the unit and I have no idea why. That for me is NOT okay. But my bosses felt otherwise. They refused to consider my resignation (the legality of which is questionable, but I digress).

At that stage, I had my breakdown.

I still find it hard to write about that time. The best way to describe it is to describe a Thursday afternoon. I had worked the night before and woke up. I got myself out of bed and sat on my couch. I felt that something was wrong, some kind of negative. I didn’t know if I was hungry, or tired, or sad, or sick. I just felt wrong. I sat there, crying as I attempted to make sense of all this. I needed help, but I was afraid to get it. I was worried I was overreacting. To this day I still have this fear that it was all just too much work and I exaggerated the entire situation. I don’t know.

I did end up getting some help and some medication. I applied for a number of non clinical jobs and learned that pharmaceutical companies don’t call you back. So I decided that getting myself out was the best I could do, and I applied to work in emergency rooms and cruise ships. As soon as someone called me back I wrote a letter of resignation. I felt lighter than I had in years.

I had planned a 2 month hiatus for November and December, and that’s now extended to March (or even April) because doing anything is a huge effort. I just cannot deal with forms and phone calls and Skype interviews and being a cheerful and positive person when I still feel knots in my stomach at the thought if routine and work and dealing with life. I needed a break, sure, but I feel like I’m starting to hide away from my responsibilities.

I feel in a big way that I’ve allowed all the negativity associated with 2018 to move in and take up permanent space in my head. Every time I take my pills I do so because I’m terrified of ending up back where I was in July. Every time I have to pay for something I have to think 2, 3, 4 times over whether I can afford it. I have to deal with the fear that any new place is exactly the same as the old. I hate it, and I want to let it go.

I’ve just finished a massive cleanup and declutter of my closet, makeup, skincare, haircare, bags, shoes and all the other paraphernalia I’ve accumulated in the past 5 years. It took me 3 full days and I’m not done yet. It’s truly sinful the amount of things I have. Even though I decluttered a LOT, it’s probably only 20% of what I own. But it helped. Every time I put something into the discard box I felt lighter.

Today, I am committing to nothing. I’ve had 5-year plans since I discovered the concept aged 14. And now it’s time to try living in small bits. So all I want to do is move forward, in small steps, with my current job applications. I’ll see where I get when I get there.

This has been a very personal and probably very whiny post and if you read this far, Thank You. I did this as a catharsis. Anyone out there who feels sad, and miserable, and trapped – it can get better. Asking for help is hard; helping yourself even harder. But it can be done. Keep going.

Project Useup 2018 – Finale

Hi!

Oi, I’m bad at these. Not at using the products but at updates! It’s just – blogging is hard. It’s a hobby that has stuff I like (writing, reading, making connections) and stuff I hate (photography. I really, really hate taking pictures). And hobbies go out the window when you’re not in teh right headspace.

But I want to write and publish this because I’m kinda proud of myself. I feel I did really well in this project and I want to also share some of the lessons I learned from panning.

So, to recap:

I used up everything in this picture. The Freemans mask was excellent, and I can highly recommend. As soon as I can afford it I’m going to purchase a full size of the Lancer Polish. That stuff is just fabulous. I will never use Estée Lauder DayWear – not hydrating enough for my skin. Dermalogica is a brand I love, but this primer was average.

L.A. Girl setting spray is rubbish. Do not waste your money. I am completely in love with hydrating sprays since I started using the Nimue one and it changed my life. I used this up but am currently trying out other sprays.

Smashbox don’t get a lot of coverage influencer wise, but I think they have amazing products. I love their cover shot palettes and I really like this foundation as well. I didn’t quite finish it up but I came close. Disappointing.

I used up three out of the four mascaras and I’ll take it. I use a mascara until it’s dry and these took forever. Elizabeth Arden Grand Entrance is a great buy. It really made my lashes sing. Lorac Pro Fiber+ was also one I enjoyed. Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes was nice, but dries quickly and I wouldn’t want to spend the money on a full size. Maybelline Great Lash is really lengthening and defining and for the price super worth it.

I loved using the essence Lights of the Orient lipstick. Soft and creamy and full of pigmentation. I have the other shade from the range and I am looking forward to using that as well. I have a tiny tiny bit left but I’m not quite disappointed. In fact I’m quite proud of what I’ve managed to do. Considering that I lost this lipstick at least three times last year I’m impressed that I managed to get this far. I’m saving the rest of it for my 2019 project pan when I need a “gimme” product!

My goal for the Clinique blush was to wear away the flower pattern. I am super happy that I managed to do that! It’s completely unrecognisable!

I have mixed feelings about the highlighter. On the one hand I did manage to hit pan, but on the other I didn’t really get much use out of two of the three shades. I think it was a bit too ambitious of me to think that I could use up that much highlighter. The biggest problem I had with that I got bored of it very quickly. I also have so many highlighters that I find myself not able to use what I have out and enjoy it because I am always thinking about what I’m not using.

Finally the product I am most proud of. Wet n wild make excellent eyeshadows and I always enjoy using them and recommend them to anyone interested in cheap yet good quality eyeshadow. The palette gave me a lot of grief but when I hit pan the joy was indescribable. I’m going to depot this palette and get rid of the shimmery white and the browbone shades, which I do not like. I’ll keep the others based on what I already have in my magnetic palette.

If there is just one thing I learned over the past year it’s that I have too much makeup. I’m never going to use it all. I need to be more willing to let stuff go when I don’t like it. I also need to be mindful of using my things – I love my makeup collection and I enjoy every item in there. Panning can take that away. It’s a fine line to walk.

I also learned that I need to think quite hard about the products I choose to use up. Makeup is a long term commitment. Skincare is way too easy. And it never even occurred to me to attempt haircare or fragrance despite the graveyard I have of both. So I’m going to commit to do better in 2019.

I’m also going to Instagram it, because I despise keeping the packaging of things. It irritated me no end to have to hang on to tubes and tubs. No way. Nope.

13 By Halloween – Finale

Hi!

October 2018 has been a real turning point for me. I’ve never felt more positive about the future, and yet simultaneously had no idea what’s coming. It’s exhilarating!

I’ve been wearing makeup in a big way this month and have been putting these products to major use. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to do as much as I’d hoped, and seeing as how I’m getting pretty bored of the pressure, I’ve decided to end a few days earlier than planned.

I’ve also tried to make my life a little easier with the pictures. I’m trying out Google Photos Collages instead of Layout, and haven’t quite figured out the customisation options yet. But like I said, I’m bored of the project and don’t really want to spend a day working out how to put the pics together perfectly. This blog belongs to a #lazygirl

A reminder of how the project worked – I picked 13 products around the start of July and aimed to use them by Halloween. As I had picked some “gimme” products, I added in stuff as I finished products. In total, 21 products were included.

Here’s a recap of the products I had already used up:

I’ve given my thoughts on these products in the previous posts, so do check them out if you’re interested.

Here’s the products I managed to finish since my last update:

I’m super proud to have used up the Body Shop Eyeliner. It was a lovely pigmented and soft liner, but the transfer was a serious problem. I learned to enjoy tight lining my because of it and don’t know how I did my makeup before.

I’m glad the Estée Lauder face wash is gone. It sucked. Up until the last use.

The Cetaphil I will miss. It was so gentle that I was quite surprised at how clean it got my face. It even removed the last traces of mascara! It’s pricey, especially for a cleanser, but I will definitely keep it in mind and recommend it.

Another product I would highly recommend is the Crabtree and Evelyn cuticle cream. My nails have been looking great since I committed to using this product regularly, and it lasted ages. I resorted to using it as a handcream at the end because it was just not ending and I wanted it gone. It’s also an expensive product, but serious value for money. I’ve had this tube for over a year, and it always perks up my nails and sorts out any hangnails with just one or two uses. Serious value for money.

Elizabeth Arden doesn’t seem to make this hydrating mask anymore and that’s a good thing. There are so many better and cheaper overnight masks in the market that I don’t see the point in one you have to wash off before bed.

I’ll miss the powder foundation, but if there’s one thing the drugstore has an abundance of, it’s decent pressed powder.

So that’s a total of 11 products completed – I’m satisfied with that, although I do think I could have done better.

Here are the products I’m disappointed with:

The Pink Cosmetics oil smashed in my basin, so I didn’t really get a chance to try it and enjoy it.

When I started watching project pan videos I heard about the mysterious little elves that come along and add more product to pans every night. I didn’t believe in them of course – until the Monu skin facial oil that I’ve been using every.single.night refused to move at all. I’m using this down to my decolletage and nothing. Most infuriating.

I was so sure I’d make a dent in the Baby Skin. There’s barely any progress on it. I thought perhaps primer was something I could get through, but nope.

As for the mascaras – the fault is mine. I should have started the project with the Elizabeth Arden and used it for a solid four months. It would have been gone. As it is, I was using the Great Lash for at least a month before I picked it and it just got boring. I also got a little panicky when I realized time was running out to finish these for my year-round project. It’s looking like I won’t finish either, which is upsetting.

Although I kind of failed with those products, there are some I haven’t finished that I made good progress on and am proud of. Here’s a look at them:

The Body Shop Chamomile Silky Cleansing Oil – This product is really a mixed bag for me – it gets off most of my makeup and is relatively affordable, but the packaging leaks, I hate the smell, and I don’t want a product from the Body Shop to be a staple in my routine (we’re all allowed quirks). I’m glad I included this, if only to actually see that it’s going. I’m a little sad I didn’t finish it entirely, but it’s still visible progress.

essence Lipliner – I only started using this two months ago, and really clear progress! I’m quite glad that I put this in – although it’s a good quality liner, the shade is a bit off for me and having to use it up and be creative with it made me appreciate it more.

Chanel Lipshine – if there’s one product I adored in this project, this would be it. I did not have any appreciation for the gorgeousness of this lipstick. I received an unknown number of compliments when wearing this and I felt super luxurious every time I pulled this out to reapply. Just wonderful.

Catrice Eye Brow pencil – I was unsure about putting this here or in disappointments, but I decided that there is some excellent visible progress and I should take the win. I don’t do much with my eyebrows and still managed to make a dent, and I still enjoy the product. So why not be happy with what I’ve achieved?

Project Useup 2018 – Update September 2018

Hi!

I know on my last update I said I wasn’t going to touch these products until October, but I found myself missing them. This project has taught me a lot about how I like to use products and what makeup I prefer and I’m finding the experience quite enjoyable, even if some of the products are quite frustrating.

Products I’ve finished:

Everything in this pic! I’m particularly grateful that the Freeman mask is gone – it’s a nice mask, and I do recommend it, but I’ve had it for almost 3 years and I want to use other clay masks!

Okay, so the foundation is not yet gone. It’s about halfway. I don’t regularly use foundation and I will not need to buy another anytime soon.

Miniscule progress is still progress. It smells fine, it works amazingly well, and I like it. I try to push myself to use it, but the blending and setting requirements take time that I don’t have in the morning.

If you read my 13 by Halloween project updates, you’ll know that I’m sick of Great Lash. I’ve swopped Elizabeth Arden Grand Entrance in, it’s a lot dryer than I remember but still works well. I’m sure I’ll be done with both by the end of the year.

As for my essence Lights of the Orient lipstick, I’m still absolutely loving it. I use it underneath the Chanel Lipshine that’s also in my Halloween project and it just sings.

My Clinique blush is annoying. I enjoy using it, I use a lot of it and… Nothing. No pan. Still a flower. I might as well have not bothered.

I’ve become very undecided about my essence Light up Your Face palette. I can’t decide if I should focus on panning one shade completely or on working on the pans of the right and centre shades. At the moment I’m testing out the shade on the right – it’s very glittery and not amenable to being used in large amounts, but it works well on my body. I’m just not sure!

I’ve saved the best for last – actual pan on an eyeshadow! I’m super proud of myself – I didn’t believe it would happen! I’m trying to hit pan on the white shade at the top and if I do, I’ll be happy with my work on this palette – I won’t keep it as is, but put it in my magnetic palette.

I’m going to try to do one more update at the end of October before my last push. I have 7/15 left and I’m keen to have less than 5 products at the end. That may seem a lot, but I think it’s realistic and I’ll be proud of myself if that happens.

13 By Halloween – Update 2

Hi!

This update is not going to be the best update due to my mental health – I had a complete breakdown halfway through August and makeup and skincare went out the window. Thanks to pharmaceuticals, a great psychologist and amazing friends things are looking better.

I also want to give a shout-out to Bonds of Beauty and Sassy from Birth for their encouragement and support – I am truly blessed to have such wonderful ladies in my life.

On to the update! You can find the intro and first update by clicking the links.

1. Estée Lauder Advanced Night MicroCleansing Foam

Steady progress on this, and hopefully this will be gone by the next update.

2. The Body Shop Chamomile Silky Cleansing Oil

This is a real pain to mark. The bottle is coated with a thin layer of oil and it’s gross. I will be so glad when this is gone.

3. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

I like this cleanser, but I’m bored of it. I want to try out some other stuff so I’m really trying to use this up.

4. Monu Skin Hydrating Facial Oil

I’ve finally figured out a use for this as a night cream. I’ve made some progress, but I don’t think I’ll be able to finish it by the end of the project…

5. Elizabeth Arden Visable Difference Hydration Boost Night Mask

I only managed to use this once, and I think there’s maybe 2-3 more applications in here. If I put my mind to it, it will be done.

6. Crabtree and Evelyn Gardener’s Nail and Cuticle Therapy

This is irritating me – I need to use it for just a week and I’ll be done! It’s just such an effort to make myself do it.

7. Unnamed Powder Duo

Top Left – Currently Top Right – before I repressed it

I re-pressed the powder foundation and I think I messed it up a bit by adding too much alcohol and pressing too hard. It’s a real pain to get any product out. I’m going to try once more and if it doesn’t work I’m just calling it done.

As to the pressed powder, I’m happy with my progress so far and now that the other one is almost finished I can use this exclusively and get it done.

8. The Body Shop Eye Pencil in black

I never realised how quickly eyeliner goes if you just use it! I have a soft spot for this liner as being one of the few products I managed to start using when I felt like makeup again. I’m glad that this is almost gone – I have lots of eyeliner that I’d like to make progress on.

9. Catrice Eye Brow Pencil

Again progress! I am still enjoying this and have even considered repurchasing it once this one (and all my other brow stuff) is gone! I don’t think I’ll be done by the next update, but definitely by the end of the project.

10. Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primer

There is maybe one use of this left if I squeeze. I really do enjoy this primer but there are so many I’d like to try that I needed to get it out.

11. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

I am so bored of this. I have been using it for months and it does not want to quit. Since I cleaned the wand it’s better than ever and I just want it to be over.

I think that I am done with using this. It’s just too much for me – I have been using it every day for close to 4 months and it’s not going anywhere. I’m going to switch this out because although I want to just throw it away, the waste averse hoarder inside me cannot deal with that right now.

12. Guerlain Lipstick in Beige Mousseline

This is gone! I am super proud of myself for managing this. The only sadness I feel is for the absolutely gorgeous casing that I have no use for. The lipstick itself was lovely, but definitely on the old side and I’m glad it’s out.

13. Avon Lipstick in Black Wine

This was a “gimme” product from the start, and I’m ready to let go. Digging it out with a lip brush is super frustrating and time consuming. I feel like I got my money’s worth and enjoyed this lipstick, and it’s time to move forward.

Onto things I’m subbing in:

14. Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

I enjoy this primer, I even have a backup that I keep in my travel makeup bag, but I want to try more primers. I’m particularly keen on finding more mattifying primers, especially good drugstore options, so if anyone has any recommendations please them below!

It’s currently just over half full but I’m sure I can make a dent in it on two months. Primer is something I use everyday, makeup or not, because it leaves such a soft and blurred appearance to my skin which I like.

15. essence Lipliner pencil in 12 wish me a rose

I have discovered that nude lipliners do very little for me and I want them out. This one matches my essence Lights of the Orient lipstick that’s in my year long project well, and I feel like I can work on that as well as this.

16. Chanel Lipshine in Cancun

All these extremely expensive lipsticks come courtesy of my sister who used to declutter all her stuff to me when I was a broke med student. I’m very grateful, but they’re getting old and I need to use them up. This is very similar to the Guerlain one it’s replacing and I used that up in maybe 10 uses. If I use this and carry it around for touchups I’m sure it will be gone by October.

17. Elizabeth Arden Great Lash Mascara

I love this mascara. It’s one of the few that I will consider repurchasing should I ever use up my 8 unopened mascaras. It has excellent lengthening and defining properties without the spider-lash effect.

Just a note on the pics in here – I am traveling this week and ran out of time to take all of the pics before I left. So I took the pics later that day. Sometimes blogging just has to fit around life.

August Heroes 2018

Hi!

I haven’t done these monthly favourite posts in ages. These posts used to be the backbone of my blog, and I know I let myself down the first time I decided to just skip it.

I’m going to use this opportunity to say that life is honestly sucking at the moment. I’m hoping to use this blog as a distraction to happiness.

Anyway, here are some products that I enjoyed using in August:

Too Faced Just Peachy Mattes

Matte shadows are not really my favourite. I find them sensible and boring. But there’s something about the colours in this palette that will not be quiet. They are bold and rich and make a statement – exactly what I want from my makeup! I really want to use all the shades and then do a full review on this because it is damn gorgeous.

Oral B Vitality Electric Toothbrush

So, I will admit, I didn’t really believe that electronic toothbrushes were anything special. I really thought they were overpriced and gimmicky. However, my mom got me one on sale, and I decided to pull it out and give it a try.

I was so so wrong.

I love this thing. My teeth feel so clean and it gives me a sense of satisfaction that my dental hygiene is up to standard. I have many, many, negative associations with my teeth and this makes me feel just a little better about them. It’s amazing.

Soap and Glory The Scrub of your Life

I bought this in Dubai, and I’m looking forward to my end of year vacation where I’m hoping to get more soap and glory products. I wasn’t too keen on it originally – I found that it was difficult to get out of the tube and I don’t like plastic beads – but with the weather getting warmer (I live in the southern hemisphere) the gel just flows out and is scrubby and smells great. It dissolves easily and doesn’t leave a mess in my bath. I also love that I can use it in place of soap (as opposed to in addition to) – I’m loving it.

Frank Provost J’aime My… Oléo Suprême

I won this in a Instagram giveaway a while ago, and have been using the full range for a few months. My hair has honestly loved this stuff. When I ran out of the conditioner it made no difference as long as I used this. It smells gorgeous and leaves my hair hydrated, shiny and with significantly reduced frizz (I haven’t yet managed to find a product that leaves my hair totally frizz free…)

Sorbet Salon Skin Even Tone Corrector

I tried this on a whim – it was R60 on sale and I was looking for a vitamin C serum. It’s too soon to really talk about results, but this serum is one of the few things that make me happy in the morning. It has a strong citrus smell that wakes you up but doesn’t linger. The consistency of the serum is thick and slippery, but it absorbs completely with no residue or stickiness. It doesn’t feel like an extra layer on my skin – just a boost of hydration. My skin looks a bit more awake. It hasn’t had an effect on any makeup I put over it, which I appreciate. I feel like I could buy this at full price and use it with pleasure.

Honestly, I’m not sure what’s happening with me at the moment. I feel a bit all over the place, and most of it has to do with work issues. I haven’t been able to bring myself to use much makeup or skincare, but I’m in the process of trying to get better.

It’s just a lot harder that I expected it to be.

Any tips on wellness and mental health would be much appreciated.

Urban Decay XX Vice Ltd Reloaded

Hi!

Palette reviews are some of my favourite posts to write – probably because eyeshadow palettes are my favourite beauty products. There’s something just inspiring about them.

I bought this palette mostly because it was on sale. I do have some regret about not being able to get any of the original Vice palettes, which factored into the decision to purchase, but mostly I cannot resist a sale.

I absolutely adore the packaging. The packaging is matte black plastic that is sturdy and sleek. I love the UD logo – the faux crystal is bold without being tacky.

My favourite part had to be the opening mechanism – there’s a button on the opening that operates a spring opening. No nicking shadows with your fingernails!

I’m not usually interested in the mirror on a palette – I don’t own a dressing table or vanity, and do my makeup standing in front of a wall mounted mirror – but this one is just amazing. I used it to do my eyeshadow as well as colour products on my face and enjoyed it immensely.

The shadows lean very cool toned with a few warm shades. There are only three true matte shadows (laced, anonymous and suspend) but the majority are satin shades. Personally, I prefer a satin shadow over either a matte or a glitter; I find them more versatile and I do my makeup to emphasise my eyes and I’m not afraid to be extra. That’s not true for a lot of people, and my opinions on this palette need to be viewed in context!

These are finger swatches on a bare arm just to give an idea of the colours. The pigment is definitely there, and they have a sheen, but they’re definitely not glitter by any stretch.

The second two rows have some pretty glittery shades (goldmine is just amazing) but Twice Baked has shimmer that vanishes with minimal blending and is great for deepening the crease.

In terms of usability, I got some amazing purple toned looks with this. The shadows blended easily without losing any intensity.

I’m a total sucker for green eyeshadow and this palette did not disappoint. I managed to get a green toned bronze look that I’ve been trying to create for ages which was particularly gratifying.

To be a truly versatile palette I feel as though you must be able to get a more basic, classic neutral look from a palette. That’s not really my forte, but these looks represent my best efforts. I find Moonflower to be a particularly flattering neutral shade that I enjoyed.

Overall, I absolutely loved this palette. For me, it was fun to use, inspiring and the quality was on point. For the price, I feel like it was a great deal. I don’t think it’s a palette for everyone – if you aren’t a fan of colour and you need your mattes, don’t waste your money – but if you’re looking for something bold this is perfect.

A Scented Collection

Hi!

I’m not a person that’s affected by scents much – I like certain things (Rose, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, Cinnamon as well as that fresh marine scent that I can only describe as “blue”) and I don’t like others (lavender, chamomile). I usually don’t discriminate based on scents… But there are of course a few exceptions. These products have swayed my opinion because of their scent! In some cases for the better, but often for the worst…

1. Batiste Dry Shampoo in Cherry – I loved the concept of dry shampoo the first time I heard of it (Tressemé foams – awful product) and when every influencer out there mentioned Batiste as a great brand of dry shampoo, I had to try. I started with the brunette version because I thought it would be easier not to have to deal with white powder in my extremely deeply brunette hair, and it was fabulous. I would have continued like that for ages except my local Clicks ran out of brunette and I had to pick another one. I chose the cherry scent, and now I have difficulty going back to brunette! It’s just so amazing! It reminds me of a desert and the scent lingers in my hair. Especially when I use it the morning and then bun up my hair – pulling it down at the end of the day and being enveloped in a cloud of cherry pie is more than enough to help me recover from whatever stressed me out that day.

2. Morocconoil Intense Hydrating Mask – hair masks are something that I find essential to attempt to manage my extremely uncooperative hair. This one by Morrocanoil is actually really great – it detangles and strengthens quite significantly. Two things keep me from buying a full size – it must be used at every wash, and the smell! Argan oil is listed as the third ingredient in here – after water and alcohol – and the scent is definitely there. They’ve also added some parfum to it and the combination is just awful. It doesn’t linger in my hair (thankfully) but hanging around in the shower for 7 minutes in a cloud of it is just not worth it.

3. theBalm Meet Matte Hughes Liquid Lipstick in Chivalrous – I bought this at 70% off, and I have absolutely no idea why I chose this shade. It is super pink and blue toned – not ideal for medium skin with properly yellow undertones! But the smell of mint chocolate ice cream that reminds me of being 10 and walking home from school is just irresistible. So I use a deep purple lip pencil to help deepen the shade and keep it.

4. Estée Lauder Pure Colour Lipstick in Black Wine – this is so super old I should probably just throw it out, but I also took it to Paris because the shade for me just screams Parisian winter, and now it has sentimental value. It’s a gorgeous colour, but the sweet floral perfume-y smell is disgusting, lingers, and gives me a headache. So I keep it, and swatch it, and try it on, and use it once before hating it and trying to throw it out. It’s just a part of my life now.

5. Tarte Pro Glow To Go – this palette smells of chocolate. I know that there are ranges specifically marketed to do so, but this is not one of them and came as a complete surprise to me! The highlighters are beautiful, I don’t have a lot of experience with bronzing or contour powders to really evaluate this one (besides that it’s a nice shade for me) but I love this palette because of the smell.

6. Monu Skin Warming Ginger Bath and Body Oil – the top notes in here are definitely ginger and spice and all things nice, but as soon as I poured this into my bath the overwhelming oudor of Lemongrass took over my entire bathroom and I hated it. It took days and scented candles to get it out. Totally ruined the experience for me, because I love body oils and I love hot baths and this felt like it would be a perfect combo, but alas.

7. Omirovicza Balancing Moisturizer – this is the product that inspired this post. It’s damn expensive, and the ingredients don’t seem to justify the price. It’s a nice cream, but I wouldn’t have even considered spending money on it except that it smells of a spa resort and water park I went to on vacation many times as a child, and every time I use I’m transported back to some of the happiest moments of my childhood. Scent is truly powerful, and in this instance, it truly overwhelms reason.

Do you have products you would buy – or never buy – for the scent alone? Let me know!

Thirteen By Halloween – Update 1

Hi!

I realized while taking pictures for this project that the products I picked are not particularly photogenic – they’re mostly opaque and even shining a light is no help. That’s great for me (photography is the part of blogging I hate most) but not so great for actually seeing progress. You’re just going to have to trust my imprecise descriptions of how much product there may or not be left…

1. Estée Lauder Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

This is empty! I’m super glad it’s out of my collection and out of my life. Will not be purchasing.

2. Estée Lauder Advanced Night MicroCleansing Foam

I can’t actually see through this, but it feels a little more than a third full. I’ve been using this pretty regularly and I can definitively say it’s not as drying as some foam cleansers, but that doesn’t make it good. I’ll really be glad when this is gone.

3. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Again, no way to definitely know how much is in here. It needs a moment after I flip it over to start coming out, but the bottle design does not stand up to upsidedown storage. I’ve been using this and the Estée Lauder cleanser on alternative days and I find this superior in every respect. To be fair, I have used a cream cleanser from Estée Lauder that I much prefer, but honestly, I’d rather spend the money on Cetaphil.

4. The Pink Collection Hydrating Facial Oil

So… This had an unfortunate demise when it fell out of my bathroom cabinet, hit the sink and shattered. Clean-up was easy, but it’s quite sad.

5. Elizabeth Arden Visable Difference Peel and Reveal Revitalising Mask

Empty! I got to this just in time – there were some dried bits and I’m sure if I left it it would have all dried out soon. I am keeping the container to use for mixing my clay masks as it’s a great size and if I mix too much it’s easy to store. As to the product – it was nice, but not life changing.

6. Crabtree and Evelyn Gardener’s Nail and Cuticle Therapy

While I have managed to get a look inside of this with a light, the product is really all over the place and too difficult to try and mark. I’ve used it about weekly and there’s very little effect. There are two problems with this – you need so little cuticle cream that it’s hard to make a dent in it, and I’m lazy. If I can sort out the latter problem, I’m sure the former is not insurmountable, but that requires discipline I’m not yet willing to exert…

7. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

This was giving me inconsistent results which is usually a precursor to a mascara being empty, butI cleaned the wand and it started working perfectly again. The formula is significantly dryer than when I started it however, so I do have confidence that I’ll be able to get it out soon.

8. Catrice Eye Brow Pencil

I’ve been using this every day and sharpening it every 2-3 uses, and progress looks slow. I cleaned off the spoolie and there was so much product in it that I’m sure combing it through my brows applied at least as much product as I usually apply with the pencil! It was actually somewhat disgusting and I really think that I should start using disposable mascara wands as spoolies and just toss them every month or so. Not environmentally friendly, but these things hold on to so much dirt that cleaning them is truly awful.

9. The Body Shop Eye Pencil

The amount of tightlining I have done in the past month is probably equal to the amount of tightlining I had done all year before this project, and I love it. It’s a makeup step I am extremely lazy to do and yet it has such a gorgeous effect! As the pencil gets shorter it’s a bit difficult to get an even sharpening which leads to some irritation and I have no doubt that will lead to me stopping using this within the next sharpening or two.

10. Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance Primer

I finished this and I didn’t really enjoy it – there’s just too much glitter emphasizing my pores. I’d like to try other variations of this though; I enjoy Smashbox products a lot.

11. Powder Duo

More visible progress! Compact powders are honestly my favourite products to try to pan become they are so satisfying!

The powder foundation on the left that I re-pressed is going quickly, but my repressing skills being decidedly sub par, it does tend to crumble. I’ve been saving the pieces and I will be trying again soon.

The pressed powder on the right is slow going, but also tending to crumble a bit. It’s usually minimal, but I think I’ll have to repress that as well.

12. Guerlain Lipstick

When I looked at this picture, I was actually shocked. I’ve used this lipstick less than I wanted to, and yet there’s progress! I think that’s part of the magic of project panning – seeing that if you try, you can use up stuff!

13. Avon Lipstick

One of the most special things about where I work is the relationship I have with nursing staff – any health professional will tell you that the relationship between doctors and nurses is permanently set at “it’s complicated”. However, in my little department, we have a really great understanding, and when I mentioned I was looking for someone who sells Avon, I immediately got the required information. I’m looking forward to hunting out a replacement for this lipstick when it’s gone because it’s just fabulous. I’m at the stage where I have to dig it out with a lip brush, and it’s totally worth it.

I have 3 (+ 1 for the broken facial oil) pans so far. Not too bad I think. I’m so keen to see the other ladies videos soon! However, when the oil broke, my instinct was to replace it with another oil, and include that in. So I think I’m going to make this a rolling project Pan where I add products as I finish them. To give myself a reasonable chance, I’ll only add products at this and the next update. And to make it a real challenge, I’m going to substitute like for like – if I finish a cleanser another one subs in, provided I have another one (I only have one eyebrow pencil in my collection…).

So here are the products I’m adding in :

14. The Body Shop Chamomile Silky Cleansing Oil (in place of the Estée Lauder makeup remover)

I’ve been using this for about 6 months and there’s about 1/4 of the bottle left. I have marked it on the actual bottle, but it’s so messy and gross that it’s difficult to photograph well. It’s a cleansing oil that does the job, but I don’t like that it doesn’t emulsify well, that it’s chamomile scented, and that the packaging is leaking over everything. Nevertheless, if you like cleansing oil and are looking for an affordable option, this is excellent.

15. Monu Skin Hydrating Facial Oil (in place of Pink Cosmetics hydrating oil)

Although I substituted this in fairly early in the project, it’s not been easy. Using facial oil is just difficult for me. I’ve been trying to use it instead of a moisturizer at night; I hope that actually helps.

16. Elizabeth Arden Visable Difference Hydration Boost Night Mask (in place of the peel and reveal mask)

I use this for multi masking, and I’m hoping to get it out of my collection – it does leave my skin refreshed, but I prefer a sleeping mask.

17. Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primer (in place of the Smashbox Radiance Primer)

I love and adore this primer – it was the first one I bought, and I have every intention of repurchasing it when I have used up my collection of unopened primers. I’m choosing it in this project because I enjoy using it, and I want to enjoy it before it goes bad.

If you’re project panning, I’d love to know! Leave a link in the comments!