THE REVIEW: CLINIQUE NEUTRAL TERRITORY 2.

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DSC_0284I’d like to introduce you to the most perfect travel eyeshadow palette in the history of the world. Clinique, you have outdone yourself. Feast your eyes, ladies and gents. She’s a beaut. Please welcom Clinique’s Neutral Territory 2 Palette. The palette itself is just about the size of my palm, containing eight of Clinique’s eyeshadows from the permanent collection. I was especially stoked about seeing the shade Black Honey in the palette, having lusted after it since Anna’s (yes, we’re on a first-name basis) post here. The shadows are all absolute stunners: silky smooth, intensely pigmented, the whole nine yards. I found that there isn’t actually much fallout from the shades at all, compared to other similarly buttery-textured eyeshadows. With a dab of primer underneath, these have great lasting power and don’t crease at all. I’d been wanting to pick this up since it first came out at the beginning of the year, and then it got put off until later, and later, and later… You know the drill. Until while out shopping for my birthday this weekend, Clinique was having one of their fabulous goodie bag offers that included a full-size lipstick, a nail polish, and travel sizes of the eye makeup remover, foundation, and visible difference moisturizer, so I knew I had to make the splurge. If you’re thinking about getting this palette, stop. Don’t think about it, just get your hands on it as soon as humanly possible. With spring and summer holidays coming up, I can see myself getting a ton of use out of this, especially because of the size. My only qualm about this is probably the shade selection; while they are all gorgeous colors, I think they could have included a few more mid-toned shades for deeper skin tones as all over lid colors. For those with Olive/Tan skin or darker, most of the non-dark shades verge on being different shades of highlighters rather than true swipe and go colors. For the quality, though, these are fantastic, and if you have lighter skin, it shouldn’t be a problem. My verdict? Because it’s limited edition, and for the quality, do yourself a favor and please, treat yo self here.

SPRING CLEANING VOL. 1: FAVORITE BRUSHES.

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mBrushes are definitely one of those beauty vices I can’t seem to get enough of. Personally, I don’t usually mind investing in good quality brushes; with the right tools, you can make even the cheapest of products look fantastic. With spring fast approaching, I thought I’d do a little series here on le blog of some of my favorites from different beauty categories that are definite survivors of the yearly product spring cleaning operation. While many of the best brushes do come at a high price, Sam (and yes, we’re on a nickname basis) Chapman of Pixiwoo proves that you don’t necessarily have to shell out fifty dollar bills to get amazing quality tools. If you haven’t already ventured into her line of brushes, Real Techniques, stop reading and go buy them now. Great prices with every brush and collection under $20 and amazing quality that rivals quite a few of my MAC and Bobbi Brown brushes. The bristles are made of synthetic taklon, making them easy to clean and softer than Angelina Jolie’s skin (if you can mentally picture touching her glorious face), which is obviously the deal breaker with all soft things. If comparable in softness to her face, then purchase. Done. My two favorites have to be the Buffing Brush, which I use for blending in foundation and concealer every day without fail, and the Multi-Task brush, amazing for everything from setting powder to blush to bronzer. MAC were the first higher-end brushes I’d ever tried, with the award to first ever brush bought going to the Angled Contour Brush, the 168, which is perfect for bronzer to give a subtle hint of a contour and maintain that sunkissed glow. Purchase of the 109 soon ensued; this one’s the most  perfect brush to contour with, being dense enough to blend and deposit product in all the right places. I love it for blush too, when I want really precise application on the cheekbones. If you’re looking to buy a new MAC face brush, I’d say start here. It’s incredibly versatile; use it for foundation, blush, contour, bronzer, highlighter, etc, and it maintains its shape perfectly. Love. Next up, if I could only use two brushes on my eyes for the rest of time (which I probably will, since I’m so in love with these), they would be the 217 and the 239. Everyone and their mother raves about the 217, and you know what? Listen to the mothers. Those women know what they’re talking about. This thing is the most perfect crease, concealer, do-it-all blending brush ever created. It’s also great for a soft wash of color over the lids for an easy everyday look, while the 239 does a great job of packing on product to the lids or smudging shadow under the eyes. Last, for the non-MAC offerings, I adore the Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Liner Brush for gel eyeliner and the ELF contour brush to smudge eyeliner on the lower lashline. The Bobbi Brown brush is amazing for two basic looks: thick lines or super-thin, sculpted lines. It also does a great job of flicking up cat eyes because of the pointed tip, so if you’re into gel liners, I’d definitely give this a look. It won’t replace your basic angled liner brush, but it’s a great addition to any brush hoarder’s collection. Last, but not least, ELF’s contour brush is the bargain of the bunch, weighing in at just $3. It’s the best brush I’ve ever found to smudge eyeliner on the lower lashline for that lived-in, smokey effect that makes everything look more natural, and for the price, it’s an amazing buy. Oh yes. Brushes. . . I loves them.

What are your favorite makeup brushes?

THE CAPULE BAG, #9.

DSC_0253No but seriously, it’s Oscar night. For as long as I can remember, tonight has been the one night I look forward to the most every year (aside from Christmas Eve, because who doesn’t love going to bed dreaming about gifts in the morning?). Thus, the week’s makeup bag has been seriously lacking because I’ve been focused on… other things. Like watching the last few films before the show, prepping my couch for viewing, and dealing with more excitement than the nominees themselves. First up, the Oscar goes to Chanel’s Vitalumière Aqua Foundation in B40 for best performance by a foundation in a leading role. Versatile, easy, perfect. Covers everything and feels like you have nothing on your face. For best performance by a beauty tool in a supporting role, Tweezerman travel tweezers. Gets rid of pesky hairs on your face. Need I say more? It was a tie between best performance by a lip product this week, featuring the  in Rimmel Apocalips in Stargazer atop Revlon’s lipstick in Jungle Peach (review to come). And they’d like to thank the Academy….

A GIVEAWAY UPDATE…

Kimberley's Beauty Blog

A quickie in-between post today; I just wanted to make sure you all got the chance to enter this giveaway from the lovely Kimberley of Kimberley’s Beauty Blog! She’s giving away some fantastic prizes within this Macadamia Travel Set, including a jumbo size of their Deep Repair Masque. If you haven’t heard of it you’ve been living under a rock for most of your life. No need to thank me for letting you know, but unless you’re Patrick Star, you should seriously consider re-vamping your housing situation… I jest. It is, however, an amazing balm to soothe dry, damaged hairs. On your scalp. Shocking, I know, but having tried it a few times before, I can honestly tell you it does wonders. The drawback? It’s some pricey hair balm. Which is why I wanted to make sure you all had the chance to enter the giveaway, which is currently in its last leg and ending soon, as Kimberley runs an amazing blog and is giving away some great prizes! You can enter here.

THE SAMPLE REVIEWS.

le cpIf you happened to read my October Birchbox Unboxing post, you might have noticed that I received an itty-bitty sized sample of the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, which I was kinda sorta beyond excited about. Well, that’s a bit of an understatement. I was over the moon. If you’ve been around the beauty blogosphere for a while now, odds are that you’ve probably heard our über-chic British blogger friends talking on and on (and on) about this little tub of joy. Problem is (or was, until Birchbox swooped in to save us all), Liz Earle products don’t normally ship to the U.S. bummer. I’ll save you the details of the story, since I talked on about it in the post, but basically Birchbox saved my bank account by sending me this bad boy and making it available here in good old ‘merica.

The product itself feels quite luxurious; it’s a cream in texture and massages into the skin like a dream. You’re meant to buff it onto dry skin to cleanse, followed by a quick towel-off with a muslin cloth. I found it a bit tough at first to work it in properly, since you have to use a considerable amount to effectively cleanse. In short, this is not one of those “a-little-goes-a-long-way” kind of products. It doesn’t bother me, per say, but it is something to think about if you don’t like the idea of repurchasing every so often. While it doesn’t have a particularly heavy scent, I find that it does have kind of a funny mint-ish smell to it. Personally, I don’t really enjoy the smell, but I’ve gotten used to it. For me, it’s just not a cleanser I massage in forever purely because of the joy of the scent, but I’m sure some people will love it. It’s not unpleasant, to me it just seems… weird. It definitely took some getting used to. In terms of its effectiveness? This thing cleanses off makeup with ease, although I find that prior removal of eye makeup if you wear waterproof mascara (like me) is necessary; it’s not the toughest stuff in the world. Do I love it? To be honest, not as much as I thought I would. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect cleanser, and this just doesn’t seem to fit the bill. It’s okay, but for me it just isn’t the oneRight about now, I’m pretty darn glad Birchbox saved me from buying the full size for a third more than it costs (including shipping), only to find out I’m not in love with the product. Still want to give it a go? Have a look here.

Second on the docket today is a sample of the Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer that came with my Ambient Lighting Palette, which I did a post on here. I’ll admit, this is the first foundation primer I’ve tried, but I’m pretty sure it’s the only one I’ll ever try. It smooths out the skin like nothing else, leaving an even canvas to apply the rest of your makeup, whilst keeping oils at bay. Yes, it is expensive, but I’m definitely planning on purchasing when this product runs out.

Do you have any samples you’ve been trialling recently? Let me know below:)

THE HOMECOMING HAUL.

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hoco2Oh yes. I love homecoming week. It’s this incredible lapse of the year where everyone gets along, everyone’s friends, everyone comes together. Oh, and we get to go to school dressed in decade day apparel, animal costumes, and maybe even the occasional red solo cup outfit for stages of life day and “college days”. Yeah. I lurves it. Every year, as a part of the prep-process for HoCo week, I will admit to going on a slight spending spree. Well, not slight. That may just be a bit of an understatement. But hey, let’s be honest. It’s kind of a big deal. So yes, I splurge. It’s just that I usually do all my school year shopping around the end of July, and then ban myself from dishing out a cent on any sort of frivolity for the time being. But homecoming. That’s not just an excuse to buy useless stuff. It’s practically a sign from the universe saying, “You’ve been good. Now go buy yourself something special.” And everyone knows, if you don’t listen to the signs… It’s just bad. So really my small transgression against my bank account is totally justified, since I’m basically listening to the universe.

But I digress. On to the products.

I placed my first NastyGal order, and I gotta say, I’m kind of in love. Yeah. I’m having an affair with that website. But what can you do? You know what they say, you can’t help who you love. And I LOVE this. I bought two dresses, a simple, off-the shoulder black one and a more formal white number. The prices on the site are fantastic; you get great quality without emptying out your entire wallet. Their shipping is an absolute dream, if one can describe shipping as being dreamy. I originally placed the order with the complimentary 3-day shipping (which I gotta say, is incredible. I can’t believe they ship out that fast with no extra charge.), but I was worried it wouldn’t arrive on time, so I phoned in and asked how I could go about paying to upgrade my shipping. The response? No charge! Upgraded to Next-day shipping for free. Craziness. You can find the black one here and the white number here.

Next up, I got into some Sephora lurvin’. Ever since hearing all about the Hourglass ambient Lighting Powders around the blogosphere a few months ago, I’ve been absolutely dying to get my hands on one, but with the huge range of shades available, I had absolutely no idea where to start, plus there’s the ginormous price tag attached. So when I heard a palette with three shades was popping up for the holidays, I went beyond obsessed. No joke, I was mad woman crazy about getting it. It includes three shades: Dim Light, a neutral setting powder, Radiant Light, a warm, shimmery shade, and the limited-edition Incandescent Light, a stunning highlighter with green-pink micro shimmer. It packs a pretty penny, coming in at a grand total of $58, but I think it’s a great way to dip your feet into the world of Hourglass and try out a few shades. I never finish products anyway, so I’m not too worried about running out any time soon. Keep checking back; I should be posting a full review in a few days. Definitely worth the splurge. Have a look here.

Whilst on the Sephora site to order the palette, I decided to finally pick up the NARS radiant creamy concealer that everyone has been raving about in the shade Ginger. I’ve been in need of a new cover-all recently, and this one does it all. A few dabs under the eyes and a quick blend with the fingers is all you need to cover those unsightly shadows under your eyes, and a little stipple over blemishes and around the nose does an incredible job of giving flawless skin without looking cakey at all. It’s buildable, but not heavy, semi-matte but natural. Basically it’s the most perfect thing ever since God created Ryan Gosling. Or my dog.

Lastly, I popped on over to the Amazon to steal a few new brushes from the Real Techniques rainforest, as It’s been a while since I last added to my collection, and I’ve been wanting to try both the core collection and the travel set (purely because of the multi-task brush). They’re both excellent, as are all of Samantha Chapman’s brushes, but I especially love the buffing brush and multi-task brush. The former is even better than my beloved expert face brush for foundation; I find that the new addition blends the stuff in beautifully with no streaks, with which I tend to run into problems when it comes to the expert face brush. The multi-task brush, meanwhile, is my new favorite blush brush. I still love my MAC 109, but this thing applies the product exactly where I want it for a fraction of the price. My only beef? You can’t buy the brushes individually. But I can deal, considering the quality of these babes.

Homecoming was absolutely fantastic; I’m fortunate to be part of a wonderful class of peers that elected me for Homecoming Court for my second year in a row, so that was exciting. Hope you enjoyed! What beauty bits have you picked up recently?