ZA Christmas gift set

Monday, December 15th 2014 Makeup

ZA has created a beautiful range of Christmas gift sets, and kindly sent me one of them to show to you readers. I received a Za Holiday Edition Colour Makeup Set in Pure Silver. There is also a Pure Gold set, and both include one Limited Edition Impact-Full Eyes Eye Shadow Palette and 2 Limited Edition Rich Glam Liquid Rouge lipsticks. All of the products are lovely, and I have taken lots of swatches and pictures of me wearing them.

Za Holiday Edition Colour Makeup Set in Pure Silver cover image

NYX Love in Paris 02 Madeleines and Macaroons

Monday, September 15th 2014 Makeup

NYX Lip 02 Madeleines and Macaroons palette closed

Lucky me – I won another baking-themed palette! This is the NYX Love In Paris 02 – Madeleines and Macaroons palette which I won in a competition on Beauty Bliss’s Facebook Page. I’ve swatched them all and will also be showing how it looks on my face!

Sigma Creme De Couture Macaron Collection

Wednesday, September 3rd 2014 Makeup

Like most beauty-lovers, I knew of Sigma Beauty’s brushes, but I had no idea they sold makeup until I won a giveaway from Catwalk Cult! Kershia sent me the Sigma Creme de Couture Macaron inspired collection, which was a limited edition release consisting of three blushes and a palette with 16 eyeshadows, all inspired by the colours of macarons.

Mini Indie makeup haul!

Sunday, July 27th 2014 Makeup

I did a tiny indie makeup haul through a forum-based destash sale, and I’m excited to share it with you all. I’ve only recently got into indie makeup, and it is so cool. Buying makeup directly from the people who produce it, who are usually just one person operations, means they are usually very cheap, and I like supporting small businesses. I’ve never heard of an indie brand to test on animals, and many of them have products that are entirely vegan. Today I have products from Darling Girl Cosmetics and Shiro Cosmetics.

Darling Girl Cosmetics Ashes and Soot and Wink

(L-R) Wink, Ashes and Soot

Both of these shadows were from the ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ Holiday 2013 collection produced by Darling Girl Cosmetics. Wink is described as ‘Soft peachy pink with gold highlight’ and Ashes and Soot is ‘Sooty gray brown base with golden undertones and copper iridescence and some violet tones lurking about.’ They are both utterly gorgeous colours, remind me somewhat of the colours in my Urban Decay Naked 3 palette, but different enough that I don’t feel like it’s repetitive. Using loose pigments can be a little bit messy, especially with some fallout from darker shadows, but the colour pay off is so worth it. From what I’ve seen on other blogs, these glittery shadows would really benefit from using a sticky base like Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy but I’m holding off on buying it until after I come back from holiday.

I bought minis (1/4tsp) of these shadows, and they usually sell for $2.50 USD which seems astoundingly cheap. They are tiny little jars but they’re so heavily pigmented that I can see them lasting a long time.

Shiro Cosmetics sells ‘hand crafted makeup and geekery’ – they have collections around various themes such as The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, but even if you aren’t particularly interested in geekery, the products stand on their own.

I wasn’t actually expecting this sample of Climbing Chaos, but the person I was buying from put it in for free, which was nice of her. It’s right up my alley, being ‘rich velvety brown with a warm metallic copper-bronze shine’. This sample is 1/8tsp, and would normally sell for $1 USD which is such a bargain way to try different products. It comes in a tiny ziplock bag, as you can see in the header image, but I put it in this little pot that I bought from the $2 in a set.

Shiro Cosmetics Climbing Chaos

Shiro Cosmetics Climbing Chaos Swatch

Arm swatch of Climbing Chaos

I bought a Shiro Cosmetics tinted lip balm in the shade ‘A Girl and a Cat’, and it is amaaaazing. It’s the perfect blend of moisturising balm, beautiful tint and delicious vanilla fragrance. It looked frighteningly dark in the tube, but is actually a very wearable berry colour, perfect to swipe on if I’m not doing a full on makeup look.

Shiro Cosmetics - A girl and a cat swatch

Shiro Cosmetics a Girl and a cat

All of the Shiro Cosmetics tinted lip balms come with great custom art on the labels

I have been spending forever drooling over websites for both brands, and I envisage some more orders in my future, after dipping my toe in with this! I bet you’re now wondering how you can get your hands on some indie goodness.

The Darling Girl eyeshadows were limited edition, but you can buy all of their other beautiful products from

Shiro products are available from

Lena x

Should blue eyeshadow stay in the 80s?

Sunday, July 20th 2014 Makeup

Blue eyeshadow has a bit of a bad reputation, after its heyday in the 1980s. Even Paula Begoun, my skincare goddess, wrote a book called ‘Blue Eyeshadow Should Be Illegal’. Controversially though, I like it. I think that there are ways you can wear it that looks great, and not at all like Mimi from the Drew Carey show.

Mimi Drew Carey Show 2

According to some experts, people with blue eyes like me should stay far away from blue eyeshadow, but I don’t care for their rules. So, I’m going to show you a look that I did the other day that features blue eyeshadow without looking like an 80s throwback.

Maybelline and Models Prefer blue eyeshadowAs usual, I started with Urban Decay eyeshadow primer potion, something I’ve been raving about on here ever since my very first post. I applied the lighter, silvery-blue shadow all over my lid -it doesn’t have a shade name, but it’s from my Models Prefer ‘Ice Queen’ mineral eyeshadow duo, which you can see in the featured image at the top of this post. I really like Models Prefer products, but I’ve only seen them for sale in Australia, never in NZ, but I digress. The darker shadow is a Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigment, in the shade 10 – Brash Blue. The colour is very bold, and when I initially received it to review for a post, I was hesitant about using it, but because it’s a loose pigment it does blend out nicely to a slightly more subtle colour. Then I (shakily) applied The Balm Schwing, which is the black liquid eyeliner. I am still learning how to use liquid eyeliner, so this isn’t exactly amazing looking but at least it’s not smeared all over my eyeshadow so I’m improving! The mascara I’ve used is Napoleon Perdis lashes to lashes black mascara that I got free with a magazine last year.

Both eyes Maybelline Models Prefer

That’s how it looks when my eyes are open – you can’t see much of the lid, especially on the right eye (left on the photo). I’ve used the ELF brow kit in light on my brows, which I really love.

Blue eyeshadow whole face

On the rest of my face I’ve used the following products:
NYX anti-redness primer
MAC Pro longwear concealer, NW20.
Phoenix custom blend foundation
Tarte Amazonian clay Matte bronzer –  Park Ave princess
Silk Naturals sheer blush – Lychee
Rimmel Vinyl Gloss – Snog

I didn’t actually wear this out anywhere, I just put it on one evening for the purpose of this post, but I would wear it out to a bar or a party. I think by wearing a neutral lip and letting my eyes make a statement, the blue looks good. Potentially some people will look at this and think it’s awful, but that doesn’t bother me – makeup is about expressing myself and being creative, not just trying to look good for other people.

Readers – what do you think? Should blue eyeshadow stay back in the 80s or does it have its place in 2014?

Purple makeup collaboration

Wednesday, July 2nd 2014 Makeup

Today’s post is in collaboration with Analesha of Lipsandbubbles. We came across each other on the Beauty Review forum, and have been keeping in touch there and on twitter for a while now. We decided to do a collaboration around the colour purple, which is a hot trend this year.

I decided to showcase the purple look on my eyes, because I have quite a few purple eyeshadows and also was recently sent Maybelline color tattoo pigment in a purple hue. Purple looks great on with just about every eye colour, in my opinion. It might not be according to the colour rules, but I think if you like it, then wear it!

I applied my foundation as usual, using MAC Studio Sculpt and MAC Prolongwear concealer – I’ve previously written a post about my full base routine. Next up was filling in my brows, and I used Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in Grey and a small angled brush.

The first step in my actual eye makeup application was my Urban Decay eyeshadow primer potion which even comes in a purple tube, so on trend! The main product I used on my eyes was Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigment, shade number 15 – Potent Purple. The name is not wrong – it is a very potent colour, and I only needed a small amount to get a great colour pay off.I applied the pigment over my eyelid area using a large, dense eyeshadow brush –  it came in a set from Sephora about two years ago, but many brands stock similar products.

Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments Potent Purple on lid

Potent Purple on my eyelid

Next I opened up a Maybelline eyeshadow quad that I bought last year. It’s 06Q, Amethyst Smokes. I have a couple of other of the ‘stylish smokes’ quads and really love using them – and they’re only around $16. I like that they have a few different colours that all work together nicely, even if you don’t use the guidelines for where they should be applied. I used the #1 shade which is listed as the base to highlight above the crease. I used a soft fluffy brush to blend it with the rest of the shadow, because I definitely didn’t want a big white line above my eyes! I like to extend my shadow above the crease/ eye socket area, because my eyes are slightly hooded and otherwise it not much of my eyeshadow is on show. I don’t go as far as my eyebrows though because it reminds me a bit too much of the eyeshadow fails I had as a teenager. Here’s a picture of the quad to show what the shadows look like – I didn’t take a photo of my one because it’s looking a bit battered.

Maybelline Amethyst Smokes

I think a lot of people would use black liquid eyeliner with look like this but for me, doing so would obscure my eyeshadow when my eyes are open, so I decided to go for a softer look. I wet a small angled brush and used the dark, semi-glittery shadow from the quad as an eyeliner. To complete the look I applied Maybelline The Falsies Big Eyes mascara, which I have been loving lately.


Final look!

Final look with eyes closed so you can actually see the shadow!

Final look with eyes closed so you can actually see the shadow!

Aaaand here’s the full face look. I wore Natio Flutter lipstick which is nice and moisturising, and is a ‘my lips but better’ subtle shade.

Ta da!

Ta da!

So now that you’ve finished reading my post, go and check out what Analesha has to say about purple lipsticks at Lipsandbubbles

Lena x

Note: this isn’t a sponsored post. I was sent the pure pigment to review, and won the mascara from a competition on another blog, and purchased the quad myself. It just happens that all of my purple eye products are from Maybelline because they’re good quality and also cheap!

Review: Maybelline NY Color Tattoo Pure Pigments

Monday, June 30th 2014 Makeup

Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments collage

Maybelline New York are launching a lot of new products in New Zealand this month, and I was very kindly sent some of them by Pead PR. One of the things that is being released is a range of Color Tattoo Pure Pigments – highly concentrated powdered eyeshadows in a long-lasting formula. I received four of the colours, and from reading about what’s available in the USA where these have been out for a year, it looks like there will be 12 in the line.


The colours I received are, from top to bottom:10 Brash Blue, 15 Potent Purple, 25 Wild Gold and 40 Improper Copper.

Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments swatches Top to bottom, 10 Brash Blue, 15 Potent Purple, 25 Wild Gold, 40 Improper Copper

My immediate thought when I swatched them was that Improper Copper seemed similar to the cream Color Tattoo in 25 Bad to the bronze. I wear that cream eyeshadow all the time, especially as part of my quick work makeup look. Improper Copper is definitely a warmer colour, but I think they could work very nicely together, using the cream shadow as a base.Maybelline Color Tattoo Bad to the Bronze and Improper Copper swatches

Brash Blue and Wild Gold are colours I’m not sure how I will wear, but I’m going to experiment with them so that I get out of my makeup comfort zone. I love Potent Purple and I have a tutorial involving it coming up soon!

The packaging is different to a conventional eyeshadow – the powder is in the bottom part of the container and has a sifter that you use to get the pigment into the lid, which you apply from there. It’s similar to the packaging for a lot of mineral powder foundations, if you are familar with those. I would recommend not having them bouncing around inside your bag – in spite of the sticker seal, it’s likely that a lot of powder could come out into the lid. However, If they’re stored flat then it shouldn’t be any trouble. I like that you can see at a glance what colour the shadows are with the labels. It can be a little bit difficult to get used to using a loose powder eyeshadow, and I wouldn’t recommend trying to use your fingers – you will definitely need brushes for this! To use them, I tapped a small amount of powder into the lid, and picked it up with a dense eyeshadow brush. You only need a very small amount of the pigment, so these are really good value – they’ll last for a really long time.

I wore Improper Copper for a casual look on Sunday, and I was pleased with its durability. Maybelline touts these as lasting 24 hours but as I never wear makeup for quite that long I can’t say whether it will last that long. I wore it for about 8 hours though, and it still looked great when I went to take it off. I didn’t wear an eyeshadow primer with this, because I wanted to test the performance without anything else interfering. I paired it with a brown eyeliner pencil, and Maybelline Volum’Express The Falsies Big Eyes mascara that is also being launched in NZ in July – I have previously reviewed that mascara too.

Maybelline Color Tattoo Pressed Pigment Improper Copper on lid

Maybelline Color Tattoo Pressed Pigment Improper Copper on lid

Wearing Maybelline Color Tattoo Improper Copper full face

The pigment added a very subtle, but beautiful shimmer and colour to my eyelids, which I thought was perfect for a casual look. I chose to wear a pinky-nude ‘my lips but better’ lipstick with it but I’ll be experimenting with how it looks with other lipsticks over time. If you paired it with heavier eyeliner and other darker shadows it could create a really nice smoky eye too. 

I don’t know of any other ‘drugstore’ type brands that have anything similar, only a couple of higher end brands and of course lots of indie brands, so it will be interesting to see if these are as successful as the cream color tattoos. There are a lot of people who do rely on using their fingers or foam applicators that come with a lot of eyeshadows, so I’m not sure how it’ll fare with them but maybe these will give them the push to upgrade to brushes.

I was really impressed with these pigments, especially considering the affordable price – the RRP is only $13.99, and you get 1.5 grams of pigment. I’m looking forward to trying out more of the range when they are released in NZ stores soon, it looks like there are some really pretty colours. If you’re after some great eyeshadow colours in a range from neutrals to bolder shades, then I would suggest you pick up some of the Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments once they are in NZ stores – and if you’re reading this from somewhere that they’re already in stores, then you should get some now!

Lena x

Disclosure: I was sent these for free by a PR company, but I review products honestly, in the same way regardless of whether I am sent something or purchase it myself.

Beauty Review Vault haul

Monday, May 26th 2014 Nails

Beauty Review is a great New Zealand-based website that sends out full sized beauty products for people to review on their website. You can also review products not sent to you by them, chat on the forum or read the interesting articles that they put up. Four times a year they have a ‘vault’ sale which is where you use the points you earn by reviewing and participating on the site to buy products. They held one a few weeks ago and today I’m going to review the products that I received.

Left to right Sally Hansen Diamond Strength French Manicure Pen Kit Ballet Bare, Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick - Very Violet, Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quads - Romantic Mauves, Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quads - Romantic Mauves.

My haul from the Beauty Review Vault

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set – RRP $59

eth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set

I chose this with the intention of giving it to my mum for a belated Mother’s Day gift – a bit of a cheapskate, I know, but my mum loves a bargain just like I do. And yes, she knows I was going to swatch them for the blog. She’s so long suffering. Anyway, on to the review – to be honest I was a bit disappointed with it – the glosses are quite small and weren’t anything special compared to just about every other lip gloss I’ve tried before. They work out to be $3.70/ml, whereas an Australis lip gloss is $2.50/ml. At least with this set you get to try a variety of colours, which is nice, because who ever finishes a lip gloss – not me that’s for sure. Passion Fruit and Coral Kiss are my favourite colours out of the set.

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set – swatched on hand

Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad – Romantic Mauves. RRP $35

Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad - Romantic Mauves

Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad – Romantic Mauves

This eyeshadow quad is another gift for my lovely mum. I know she likes pinkish eyeshadow shades and they really suit her green eyes, so I thought I’d grab it for her. The packaging is nice and sturdy, and it comes with a good sized mirror which would be useful for travelling or doing your make up on the run. When I swatched them they didn’t appear to be terribly pigmented, but they might be better applied with brushes rather than the little sponge applicator that the quad came with.

 Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad - Romantic Mauves swatch

Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad – Romantic Mauves swatch

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick – Very Violet. RRP $25.00

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick - Very Violet

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick – Very Violet

When I saw this lipstick listed in the Vault I knew that I just had to have it. An Avon lipstick is one of my favourite lipsticks, and I have had ‘purple lipstick’ on my wishlist for months because they are such a hot trend for this winter. When I opened it and swatched it on my hand, I was in love. It’s a fairly warm purple, compared to the darker colours that are out there, but it’s a good way for me to dip my toes into the world of bolder purple lipsticks.

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick - Very Violet swatchI eagerly applied it and posted this picture to instagram, despite my lack of makeup – that’s how excited I was! I really like the way this looks, and it’s going to be in frequent rotation this winter.

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick - Very Violet on lips

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick – Very Violet on my lips

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength French Manicure Pen Kit Ballet Bare – RRP $35

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength French Manicure Pen Kit Ballet Bare


I am yet to actually use this product, as I had newly painted nails when it arrived. So really, all I can comment on is the value. Sally Hansen polishes are usually around $12-14 each, and the top coats are more like $16-19 each, so buying it in the kit is as if the white tip pen comes free. I have always found French manicures difficult, having to use the little sticky strips that can ruin the base coat, or having a wobbly line for the white tips. I’ll be trying this out soon and posting a full review when I do.

 If you would like to join Beauty Review and start earning points from reviews to use at the next vault sale, you can use my affiliate link to sign up here.

Lena x


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