November and December empties

Wednesday, December 21st 2016 Uncategorised

Cetaphil, simple, trilogy, za cosmetics, burts bees, living nature, the balm,, australis velourlips, stila,

This post is a combined November/December empties post since I didn’t finish many products during November. There’s also a section of the post which aren’t empty products, but they’ve either expired or somehow earned their space in the bin. I was just going to throw them out, but some of them I had never blogged about and wanted to say my piece. This is a fairly makeup heavy post, but there’s also skincare, nail care, and hair care included in there as well.

Priceline haul – Australis, L’Oreal, and Maybelline

Wednesday, June 1st 2016 Makeup

Australis Banana Powder, Maybelline Color Drama pencil Berry Much, L'Oreal Infallible Matte FX powder lipstick Virgin

During my recent trip to Melbourne, Priceline was having a 40% off cosmetics sale! Priceline is always one of my first stops in Australia, for makeup, skincare, haircare, and basically every product I want to buy. They have a great range of ‘drugstore’ brands, and include quite a few that we don’t have easily accessible in New Zealand. Makeup is generally cheaper in Australia than in NZ, so I was pretty excited by that! I didn’t actually end up buying a huge amount of makeup because my collection is a ridiculous size (I blame blogging for that), but I did get a few things from Australis, L’Oreal, and Maybelline.

MUA for a day with Jordanne

Saturday, June 13th 2015 Makeup

Last weekend, my friend Jordanne from Jordanne Leigh  and I played makeup artist for the day, and did each other’s makeup. It was a great afternoon, with many cups of tea consumed, me cuddling her baby extensively, and then we got down to business. I really enjoyed being able to see all of her products, many of which I had never tried before. I’ve done other people’s makeup on a handful of occasions, but it’s always a challenge. Here is the beautiful finished result, and then I’ll go through what I used and how I applied it, to get the look that Jordanne is wearing.

jordanne leigh makeover

Australis Velourlips – MI-A-MEE

Friday, January 9th 2015 Uncategorised

Australis recently added 5 new colours to their range of Velourlips Matte Lip Creams. I was pretty excited by this, since the original colours were a bit too bold for my usual style. The new colours are MIL-A-NO, a pale nude; HON-O-LOO-LOO which is a slightly darker nude, HO-CHEE-MIN which is a pastel pink, LUN-DUN, a lilac shade, and MI-A-MEE which is a watermelon pink. I swatched them all, and settled on purchasing MI-A-MEE.

Australis velourlips matte lip cream mi-a-mee

You must never underestimate the power of the eyebrow

Friday, April 18th 2014 Makeup

The title of this post comes from a quote by Jack Black that I think is SO TRUE. Eyebrows really frame your face, and they can often be neglected, or plucked into oblivion.

Thanks to my mum’s guidance and also laziness I never did anything outrageous to my eyebrows as a teenager, like so many people seem to do. I mainly left them alone, other than some fairly minor plucking to keep them in their natural shape. Then as I got into my 20s and got more into make up and my appearance I started to get them waxed at a great salon called Off Wax and Brow Bar. If you’re in Auckland, I recommend going there if your brows need some help. Now I mainly keep on top of them with regular plucking, but occasionally to see the ladies at Off Wax for some fine tuning. There are countless online articles about brow shaping, and of course everyone has their own opinions about what looks best. One of the best picture tutorials I’ve seen is by my fellow user Sssamanthaa,  Eyebrows 101: A guide to plucking and filling in for all you brow lovers out there. It covers the right angles and also filling in your brows, and I think it’s a really helpful starting point.

In the last few years thicker, bolder brows seem to have become much more popular. You can see this with people like  Lorde and Demi Lovato who have fabulously thick and perfectly shaped brows.

demi-lovato-x-factor-eyebrows  lorde

Along with this trend, people have started to use more make up on their eyebrows. Among people I know, and in magazines, blogs, and youtube tutorials, the traditional eyebrow pencil has fallen out of favour in exchange for powders, waxes and gels. Before this big eyebrow trend began, I had a seldom used Australis eyebrow pencil that I actually bought by mistake, thinking it was an eyeliner. It did the job, but the thickness of the pencil made it easily look like my brows were really drawn on. I do use it occasionally but it’s not my preferred option.

Bobbi brown eyeshadow,

I then got talked into buying a $50 grey eyeshadow at Bobbi Brown which I often use to fill in my brows. The price might have been excessive but the colour matches really nicely and I’m pretty sure it will last me forever. I use it with a small angled eyeshadow brush, which you can see in the photo below. It gives a much softer look to my brows, which is subtle and therefore more appropriate for daytime in the conservative office where I work.

First here’s a pic of my brows naked (Don’t worry, it’s not R18)

Eyebrows with no product in them


And here they are after being filled in

My eyebrows after using Bobbi Brown eyeshadow

My eyebrows after using Bobbi Brown eyeshadow

When I do want to go for more of Power Brow I tend to use my super cheap ELF eyebrow kit. I bought it for $3 on, because girls in a beauty group were all raving about it, and now I understand why it’s so popular. It comes with a gel and a powder, as well as a tiny brush to apply it with. I use the stiffer end of the brush for the gel, although I would prefer to use a more sturdy brush, I’ve yet to find one that’s appropriate for the gel. I concentrate the gel at the inner edges of my brows as I think that there are some gaps in there, but I fill in my whole eyebrows too. I then go over my brows with the powder and my angled eyeshadow brush. This will not budge, even on a night out when you might be sweating more than you would like. The finished effect is this, which I think looks fabulous.

Eyebrows using ELF brow kit

My eyebrows after using the ELF brow kit

Eyebrows really stand out on your face, especially if they don’t look their greatest, so I think giving some attention to them is important. When I look at someone, brows and lips are the two things I tend to notice the most, so if I’m in a rush getting ready I keep that in mind. Another important thing to remember is this:

Don't let anyone with bad eyebrows tell you shit about life

Do you also have Serious Opinions on eyebrows? What products do you recommend, and what should I steer clear of? Let me know in the comment section.

Until next time,

Lena xx

It’s prime time

Tuesday, April 15th 2014 Makeup

For my first post, I thought I would start with the first product that I apply to my face – primer!

Primers seemed to hit the beauty world with a bang in 2012, or at the least, that was when I first heard of them. Almost every cosmetics brand seems to have a primer now, whereas before then it wasn’t anywhere near as common to see them on make up stands. Primers have many different benefits, creating a smooth canvas for your base to go on, helping your make up to last all day, minimising the appearance of pores and wrinkles, and hydrating the skin. They range in price, with cheap options such as ELF which is under $10, to Guerlain’s L’Or Radiance Concentrate primer which is $169 and features 24 carat gold! The products that I have tried are more affordable than that, mainly around the $20-30 mark.

What I want from a primer is mainly to create a smooth base for my foundation. I have quite dry skin due to acne medication that I’m on, and therefore my skin can be a little bit rough at times. Over the last couple of years I have purchased* and used Sephora Perfecting Ultra-Smoothing Primer ($15 USD for 0.5oz, or around $17NZD for 15ml), Australis primer ($23.50 for 40ml), NYX Studio Perfect Primer Anti-Redness ($22 for 30ml), Nude by Nature Undercover Airbrush Primer ($39.95 for 50ml) and a Models Prefer primer which seems to have been discontinued. I’ve also tried samples of, or trialed from an in-store application, Korres Pomegranate primer, Benefit Porefessional and MAC Prep and Prime Skin. I won’t do a full review of them, but I did especially like Porefessional, probably due to the fact it’s similar to the NYX primer by being silicone-based.


Some of the primers I’ve used: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, Australis Primer, Nude by Nature Undercover Airbrush Mineral Primer, NYX Studio Perfect Anti-Redness Primer


To be completely honest,  most of the primers I’ve tried did nothing for me, or nothing other than slightly moisturising my skin. Particularly terrible was the Nude by Nature primer which almost managed to make my face greasy which is a true feat considering how dry my skin usually is. The Australis, Sephora and Models Prefer primers all did nothing much, but at least they weren’t bad. I’ve finally given up using the Australis primer, my most recent failure, so I decided to buy the NYX primer on my recent trip to Australia. So far I have been really pleased with the NYX primer. It’s silicone-based, which means that it provides the smooth canvas that my other water-based primers so very much lacked. The colour-correcting properties were what grabbed my eye when I looked at it on the shelf, and it seems to do a decent job at correcting some of the redness from my acne. It’s not magical of course, and the redness is mainly covered by foundation and concealer, products with much more pigment in them, but it was worth a try.

I took some photos of my face bare, with the NYX colour-correcting primer and with my MAC Studio Sculpt foundation and MAC Pro longwear concealer. As you can see, there isn’t much of a green tinge to my face when the primer is applied,  although it looks quite green in the tube.

Some people are concerned that silicone-based primers can block your pores, and not allow them to ‘breathe’. I haven’t had any issues with blocked pores, and I do all my breathing via my nose and mouth, not through my pores! If you have tried some of the disappointing primers that I have tried, or other water-based primers, I would recommend trying a silicone-based primer. Many of the most famous primers by brands like Smashbox, Benefit, and Laura Mercier are silicone-based, and they are famous because the silicone just gives such a lovely smooth base.

Eyeshadow primer is another type of primer which I like to use. I haven’t experimented with many brands, purely because the only one I’ve ever used is absolutely amazing.  Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion is incredible. A tiny tube of it has lasted me a long time, because you only need a tiny dot for each eye. My eyeshadow typically smears and creases very easily, due to my semi-hooded lids, but this primer will keep it looking good all day, as you can see in the photo below.

Eyeshadow at the beginning and end of the day

Eyeshadow at the beginning and end of the day

I would recommend this product to anyone who struggles with their eyeshadow not wearing well during the day or night. There may be even better ones out there but I really can’t think of how this could be improved. The only issue is that Urban Decay isn’t sold in any New Zealand stores, but it is available on Beauty Bay for around $30 NZD which I consider to be quite reasonable as it will last a very long time.

There are also mascara primers, lip primers and apaprently hair primers too, but I’m yet to try any of those products. Of course, if I do, you’ll hear about it first!

I’m interested to know what primers my readers are loving at the moment, or whether you’ve also tried some of the same ones as me, and what you thought of them! Let me know in the comments section, or on Twitter or Facebook.

*I will link to NZ stockists of the products, or if they’re not sold in NZ I’ll link to where I bought mine from. Let me know in the comments what types of links you would prefer. All prices are in NZ dollars unless otherwise specified.


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