All in beauty

Exceeding Expectations: Makeup

While I can safely say that I love and use every single product in my makeup collection, I do still have my favourites that I deem holy grail and there are those outstanding products that have ended up performing above and beyond anything I ever expected them to. Some of them even completely changed my initial skepticism and underwhelming first impression. Naturally, most of the products I'm talking about today have been with me for a fair few years, but there are also a couple of relatively new beauty bits that have ended up wowing me from the get go too. Skincare will be featured in part two of this little series of mine, but for now, here's all about the makeup that exceeded my expectations.

Don't Believe the Hype

The beauty blogging community has introduced me to so many wonderful products over the years. Some have even gone on to be cult classics standing the test of time, and for the most part, I generally do believe there are always solid reasons to back up the hype. Although I try to keep a balanced perspective in my reviews, it's not very often, however, that I write about the products I've been truly disappointed by. It's never been because I don't want to, but because it doesn't happen all that often and when it does, I've never known how exactly to incorporate them into blog posts. There have been products I've felt indifferent to and products I wouldn't repurchase again, but with enough to finally warrant a blog post of its own, the ones I'm talking about today are the products I did not get on with at all and where the hype has completely failed me. It goes without saying that this post isn't intended to make people feel bad for liking these products themselves, though with so many varying factors including skin type, skin tone, age, personal style and budget, it's important to remember that beauty is subjective and what works for some, may not always work for others.

Winter Skin Saviours

Winter has well and truly arrived in Australia and although I'm not one who does well in the cold (I don't understand how people in actual cold climates function because it was 11 degrees the other day and I wanted to die!), I've been embracing the little things that make the season really cosy and comforting; gloomy days at my desk with a candle lit, afternoon Frasier reruns with a cup of tea and the heating turned on in the lounge room, and chilly nights in bed with my toasty warm electric blanket and a movie. My dehydrated skin can become quite parched from the warm, dry air inside combined with the crispy cold air outside, so I've been making sure to really amp up the moisture in my skincare routine these colder months. From tried and true favourites to new discoveries, here is my winter skincare shakeup.

How My Relationship with Beauty Has Changed

It was 2009 when I first stumbled into the world of beauty blogging. Right from the get-go, I was completely enamoured by it all and naturally, a lot has changed in the eight years I've been a part of the beauty blogosphere. From a bedroom hobby of mine since 2011, a full-time job for others and to a huge advertising platform for brands, it's evolved beyond belief. Having spent my twenties growing up here, I've seen my relationship with beauty go through its own significant change over the years too, and as I leave the days of impulse shopping and frivolous spending behind me, never has my relationship with beauty been better.

Anti-Haul #1

From declutters, empties and low buys, there seems to be a growing backlash against consumerism in the beauty community. Each week, we're bombarded with a sheer volume of new releases and hyped up products, and while my favourite way to spend my disposable income has always been - and still is - on beauty, the thrill and the excitement of shopping is fleeting and once that's gone, I want to know that I'm left with a purchase that's meaningful. If not, what else do we have? A lipstick or an eyeshadow palette barely touched and our hard-earned money down the drain. The latest trend in this anti-consumerist movement is the "anti-haul", which as the name suggests, is about products not being bought. Pioneered by YouTuber, Kimberly Clark (I was so intrigued when her videos popped up on my YouTube sidebar!), the anti-haul encourages us to think more critically about the things big brands are trying to sell us and perhaps be a little more mindful and intentional about what we do buy.

Sephora US Haul

I'm not really one to haul beauty products very often these days. It's not because I love it less or anything like that, but because I've progressively found myself more in tune with the ideals behind minimalism and shifting further away from the "haul culture" that's usually present within beauty blogging. Buying one or two products a month is more than enough to satisfy me nowadays (I even inadvertently went six weeks without buying anything just a couple of months ago!), but when my good friend, Jess, was headed on holiday to the US and offered to pick me up some goodies from Sephora, well, how could I say no? There were a few items on my wishlist that were either cheaper to buy overseas or not even available in Australia, so it was the perfect time to splurge a little and even save a few dollars in the process.

The A/W Makeup Menu

The seasonal change during the second quarter of the year is never any fun for me. When the weather starts to get a little gloomier, so does my mood and I've always been someone who feels the cold very, very easily. As much as I wish it were already summer again, there are however, definitely some nice things to look forward to during autumn and winter; getting cosy in my brand new quilt, drinking copious amounts of tea with Tim Tams, listening to the sound of the rain from inside my toasty warm home, burning candles to brighten up dreary days, and of course, having a seasonal mix up with my beauty products. I've never been at all regimented with what I wear during each specific season, but there's something about grungy, smokey eyes and dark, vampy lips that captures the mood of the cold so well. That's definitely the vibe I'm going for this season and when you don't have to worry about your face melting off during a 40 degree heatwave, it's the perfect time of year to have a little more fun with makeup.

My Dressing Table and Makeup Collection

My dressing table is the pride and joy of my room. Granted, it's not where I spend most of my time (that would be my bed!), but it's the part that makes me the happiest as I just love seeing all the beautiful products I own together and all neatly organised. It's the little things in life! When I was living at home in Perth, I never really had a space I loved to store my makeup (just an acrylic set of drawers in a corner of the floor of my bedroom) and now, after six years of blogging, I'm finally ready to show you my full makeup collection! Although I've been living in my Melbourne apartment for over two years now, it was the perfectionist in me that didn't allow myself to show you all earlier. In a way though, I'm glad I waited because as it's been through so many declutters, I now feel like it's the truest representation of me and my personal style when it comes to makeup. I know everybody loves a good makeup collection, so grab yourself a cup of tea and enjoy!

An Ode to Blush Pink

Growing up, I could never make up my mind on what my favourite colour was. I remember my first ever favourite colour being green because frogs were my favourite animal (I was a peculiar child and they intrigued me for some reason!), then it was red because that was the colour of my primary school sports faction. Eventually, whenever someone would ask, I settled on pink and purple, and it always bummed me out that my sister got to be the pink Power Ranger because they're both named Kimberly (my sister is Kymberley, to be exact), while I was stuck being the yellow one!

My Decision Making Process Before Buying a Product

The world of beauty can be an overwhelming one at times. In an oversaturated market where new releases are constantly being pushed out to keep us on our toes and lure us back in, it's so easy to just throw our money at brands and fall into this never-ending cycle of wanting and buying. It all gets a bit too much at times and while I'm definitely no minimalist who only buys what they "need", I have become a lot more selective with the beauty products I choose to purchase and over time, have also developed quite the decision making process when I'm considering buying something. Not only do I want to ensure that I'm getting my money's worth, but it's also about being mindful and not owning all this shit that I'm not going to love in a few month's time once the hype has died down. Having been around the online beauty community for quite a while now, I'm not as easily taken by new releases anymore and quite frankly, some are just pure garbage (I'm looking at you, Benefit and Too Faced), but on the off chance when something does take my fancy, here are the factors I take into account when it comes to buying beauty.

My MAC Palettes

If you've been around the online beauty community long enough like I have, you'll know that MAC was everyone's go-to brand some few years ago. Nowadays, we tend to pick and choose from a variety of brands, but MAC has always held a special place in my heart as it was what started this whole love affair with beauty for me. With their superb colour range and excellent quality, one of my favourite products from MAC is their eyeshadows, which I started collecting a long, long time ago in 2009 when I first discovered YouTube makeup videos. Over the course of time, my incomplete palettes have been through a few changes and declutters (I first documented my palettes here), but now, eight years in the making, I can finally say that they're officially complete and I am over the moon with the end result!

A Glossier Haul

Glossier is the "it" brand you just can't seem to escape right now. I'm not complaining; I love seeing those pretty-in-pink packaged products all over my social media feeds, so much so, that I couldn't resist placing my second order with them last month (you can read about my first order here). I'm excited to share with you today the contents of my latest Glossier haul, though think of this is more as a first impressions post than actual reviews since I'm still using up older products before I begin using most of these. As Glossier still don't ship internationally, at the end, I also share my experience using a US parcel forwarding service to get the sought-after brand shipped to Australia.

A Collection of Cleansers

If I had to pick my favourite product from any category of skincare, it would probably go to cleanser. There's nothing like starting the day with a refreshing cleanse to wash the tiredness away and in the evenings when I come home, I can't relax properly until my face is rid of every trace of makeup. Even on the laziest of nights when all I want to do is curl up in bed, it's something I'm still very diligent about, so much so, that when my friend slept over a couple of weeks ago, I was horrified when she crashed into bed, no hesitation! Just recently, my best friend even texted to tell me she had been washing her face every night and how proud I'd be!

The Best Beauty Products of 2016: Skincare & Haircare

It was another great year in beauty for me across skincare and haircare. As I really focused on using things up, my skincare routine went through a bit of an overhaul and I welcomed many new products into my beauty stash. There were first forays into brands I had been eager to try for quite some time (I'm mostly talking about Glossier here) and I even felt like I started listening to my skin more, while less on the opinions of others. I'm well and truly aware that I can be a sucker for blogger hype, but I think I've also learnt where to draw the line. I'm going to continue this approach to beauty in 2017 and to wrap up yearly favourites posts, here are my skincare and haircare highlights of 2016.

The Best Beauty Products of 2016: Makeup, Nails & Fragrance

I think 2016 was the year I truly found my personal style with beauty. As I developed a better understanding of the brands I love, the type of products I enjoy using and what works well for me, the past 366 days really brought about some standout additions to my collection and I probably even decluttered and used up a whole lot more. While everyone seems to do their yearly favourites posts differently, I limit mine to the products that were new to me, otherwise I'd just be repeating myself every single year! (If you want to see my holy grail products, you can take a look at my Favourites page). I've featured almost every single product that I bought throughout the year in this post just because it's very rare that I buy things I'm not impressed with (if I'm going to part with my money, I'm going to make damn sure it's worth it!), so while 2016 was mostly a sombre year, at least there was beauty to spark a little joy. Across makeup, nails and fragrance, here is what I considered the best in 2016.