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.

July Empties

Wednesday, August 5th 2015 Nails

paulas choice bha, mac studio sculpt, neutrogena hydroboost SPF 15

This month is the first anniversary of when I started doing empties posts! I went through a bit of a walk down memory lane, revisiting old posts and seeing what I thought of products from months gone by. During July I finished, or decided to throw away, a whopping ten products. The number of products coming in really outweighs those, but let’s not think about that! There are four makeup items, three skincare, one hair care, one nails, and one oral health product, so let’s get cracking with the reviews.

July empties

Left Handed Makeup Challenge

Sunday, September 21st 2014 Makeup

Sometimes, I like to have a bit of silliness on the blog, and today that’s what’s in store. I was thinking about doing a fun challenge, and so I thought ‘why don’t I do my makeup with my left hand’, and I did! It turned out to be less difficult than expected, which was interesting.

Applying my foundation was a bit tricky, I had to go slowly rather than hurriedly smear it all over my face. At first my bronzer and blush looked very stripey but some blending rectified that situation. Where it got difficult was doing my eyebrows! The gel I use requires a gentle hand, and this wasn’t easy. My first eyebrow, which is the right in this picture, ended up being a bit of a mess and looked too heavy for my liking. I wasn’t terribly precise with the eyeshadow but the shades I chose meant that I could just blend it and it looked okayish. The biggest struggle was the liquid eyeliner. I could have made things easier for myself and chosen a pencil or even gel eyeliner but that would be less interesting. I’ll let you judge my efforts for yourself.

Naked 3 eyeshadow and the balm schwing eyeliner

Here’s the complete look

full face0

For both eyeliner and eyebrows, the ones on the right of this photo (my left) were the worst/messiest. I would have thought the left side would be easier, without having my nose in the way but it seems not. I suppose that both of them were the first attempt doing that, so it seems I got better with time.

I’m surprised that it doesn’t look horrendous, I was expecting a huge mess but I could almost go out in public like this! It took me a fair bit longer than it would take doing makeup with my right hand, because I was being very cautious. I’m sure it’d be a huge mess if I had worked at a quicker pace.

Naked 3, ELF brow kit, nyx soft matte lip cream milan

Products used:
Phoenix Foundation – custom blend
Sephora Bronzer – 3 Los Cabos
Sigma Creme de Couture blush – Cherry Apple
ELF Brow Kit – Light
Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette – shades Liar and Factory
The Balm Schwing liquid eyeliner
Napoleon Perdis Mascara
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream – 11 Milan

What do you think of my left handed makeup look? I challenge you all to try it – if you do, link it to me in the comments, or tag me on social media – I’m @lenatalksbeauty on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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?

What’s in my bag

Sunday, June 8th 2014 Uncategorised

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a nosy person. It’s not a very good habit, so I try to refrain from doing it most of the time. One thing I love on blogs or youtube videos is when people show us what’s in their bag. It’s like I’m being nosy, but they’re actually showing me! So, I’ve decided to show you all what lives in my bag. I’ll focus mainly on the beauty products but I’ll show you the rest of what I haul around with me too.

To start off with, here is the bag itself. I got it in the Boxing Day sales last year, and it’s great. Big enough to carry what I need, but not so big that I make it ridiculously heavy.

Handbag from Sportsgirl

Handbag from Sportsgirl

My essentials

My essentials

Here is everything that’s in my bag, and it shows pretty much everything that I usually carry. Not shown are my glasses because they were on my face, or my work phone because I don’t carry it in the weekend. I have other things from time to time, like my Kindle, or something I’m knitting, but this stuff is mainly the essentials. I have my gorgeous wallet from Collette, another Boxing Day buy. It’s quite big but I have a lot of coffee loyalty cards to hoard, so it’s perfect. I have another card holder for business cards, because I’m a fancy professional lady. There’s also a portable phone charger, and a spare phone battery, because my phone’s battery life is abysmal. The thing that is just a reflection is tictacs, in case anyone was wondering. I have some medication there too, not exciting but it’s practical. I have headphones, to listen to music on my phone or ipod which I sometimes carry too. The rest is fairly self explanatory.

Now onto the beauty products:

Eye drops, moisturiser, hand cream and hand sanitiser

Eye drops, moisturiser, hand cream and hand sanitiser

These items are useful but not so glamourous. Drops for when my eyes get dry, a mini moisturiser for my face, mini hand cream, and some scented hand sanitiser.

Taylor Swift perfume, brush, hairties

Sample of Taylor Swift’s perfume, a folding brush/mirror, and a couple of spare hair ties.



Exciting things! Napoleon Perdis lip gloss (no shade written, just got it free with a magazine last year), one of my favourite lipsticks – Rimmel Kate Moss Matte #107, Jordana Barely Pink 165, and Burt’s Bees Mango lip balm. These lip products change all the time – I tend to put in whatever I’ve applied that morning, and they collect in there during the week. These ones happen to be real favourites of mine, and they get worn regularly. I expected the Jordana one to be kind of crappy because it was $4, and I only bought it because people in the Makeup Obsessives group were raving about them, but I really like the colour of it. I’ve swatched them for you below, except the lip balm because it’s clear and not interesting to look at really.

Swatches of Napoleon Perdis lipgloss, Rimmel Kate moss matte 107, Jordane 165 Barely Pink

Swatches of the lip products I have in my bag.

I don’t carry any other make up with me. I used to carry a pressed powder but it smashed, and although I (my boyfriend, really) managed to fix it with isopropyl alcohol, I didn’t want to tempt fate. I just don’t feel like anything else really needs to be touched up during the day. My foundation and eye make up usually stay put pretty well, so all I do is reapply lipstick.

This wasn’t a strictly beauty post, but I think there will be some nosy readers among you that enjoy having a look to see what I have in my handbag. I didn’t explicitly list everything because a lot of it is pretty obvious, but if you have any questions about the stuff in there, feel free to ask. What do you all carry in your bags? Are there some essentials that I’m missing?

Lena x

My base routine

Saturday, May 3rd 2014 Makeup

To me, one of the most important parts of a make up look is the base. It doesn’t matter how fabulous your eyeshadow looks if your foundation doesn’t match your skin, or you have way too much powder on. It’s taken me a while to find products that work for me, and now I’m really happy with my usual base routine.

If my skin is dry, I’ll apply moisturiser, and then usually brush my teeth or something while it absorbs. The next step is applying primer, at the moment I’m using NYX anti-redness primer – you can see how it compares to other primers here. After that comes concealer, and I want to take a moment to rave about how great MAC Pro-longwear concealer is. I only need to use a tiny amount, and it covers all my pimples really well. I’ve tried a fair few other concealers and most of them did a rubbish job compared to this. I put a bit on my finger and pat it on any blemishes, and then blend it in with my Ecotools Airbrush concealer brush.

The small amount of concealer that you need to apply

The small amount of concealer that you need to apply

After applying MAC pro longwear concealer

After applying concealer – pimples, what pimples?

Once my concealer is on, foundation is the next step. I am really in love with MAC Studio Sculpt foundation – it’s quite a thick formula but I don’t think that it makes me look cakey. I used to use Face and Body, but I like that this gives me more coverage and it lasts better during the day. I buff it in with my XO Beauty flat top foundation brush as I think it gives a better finish than a normal paintbrush type, or using my hands. I’m interesting in trying a Beauty Blender but they’re not cheap.

How I apply my foundationfoundationon

Lately I’ve been quite into a cream blush from Napoleon Perdis that I got free with a magazine last year – it gives a really nice colour to my cheeks. I apply it to the apples of my cheeks with my fingers. Once that’s on, I use my Ecotools kabuki brush and put on my Rimmel Stay Matte powder in transparent. It prevents me from looking greasy, but doesn’t look cakey or chalky at all – some matte powders can just look awful, especially if you have dry skin.

Ecotools concealer brush, XO Beauty foundation Brush, Ecotools kabuki brush

The tools

NYX primer, MAC pro longwear concealer, MAC studio sculpt foundation, Napoleon Perdis blush, Rimmel Powder

The necessary make up

Here’s what the finished product looked like, once I had also put my eye make up and trusty Revlon Lip Butter in Sugar Plum on. I used my ELF brow kit, and the shadows are Urban Decay Buzz, Factory and Dust from the Naked 3 palette, finished off with Smashbox mascara. All ready to go shopping with a friend, and then to a comedy show with my BF in the evening!

.Face routine

I’m always interested to know more about what products other people use – have any of you tried the Beauty Blender? Do you think it’s worth investing in? Do you have any burning questions for me?

Lena x

What’s my face worth?

Tuesday, April 22nd 2014 Makeup

Recently a blogger I follow did a post about what her daily face of make up is worth, and I’ve decided to do the same. For reference, her post is at Elese, Aesthete here.

This is for the look that I wore on Monday, just for a fairly casual trip to the mall and catching up with a friend, but it’s fairly similar to what I would wear to the office. I took a picture of my make up when I was wearing MAC Syrup, but then changed the lipstick to Revlon Raspberry Pie to take a photo for my last post about my favourite lipsticks. Here I am with both looks:

MAC Syrup on the left, Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie on the right

MAC Syrup on the left, Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie on the right

Now let’s add it all up. I’m going to link to either where I bought it from, or somewhere similarly priced if I can’t find it.

Sukin sensitive facial moisturiser $14.99
NYX Studio Perfect anti-redness primer $22
MAC Pro long wear concealer NW25 $19 USD or $22 NZD if bought from, $40 in NZ stores.
Ecotools Airbrush concealer brush 3.99 USD or $4.69 NZD
MAC Studio Sculpt foundation NW20 31USD, $36 NZD if bought from Around $70 in NZ stores.
XoBeauty flat top synthetic face brush $26
Maybelline Dream LumiTouch highlighting concealer – can’t find it online but based on their other concealers it was around $20
Ecotools retractable Kabuki brush
 6.99 USD or $8.17 NZD
Rimmel Stay Matte Transparent pressed powder $15
MAC satin powder blush – the shade is Easy Manner which seems to be discontinued now. $21 USD, $25 NZD from or around $50 in NZ stores.
Sephora brush – $28 USD, $32 NZD. I bought it as part of a travel kit so it was cheaper.
NYX wonder pencil in medium $10.50
Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in grey $22 USD or $25 NZD on or around $50 in NZ stores
Silk naturals synthetic bamboo angled eyeliner brush $2.99 USD or $3.50 NZD
Urban Decay Eyeshadow primer potion, Mine was a sample size but full size is $30 on
Urban Decay Fun palette, colours Sellout and Stray Dog – no longer sold, was $36 USD or $42 NZD
Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner in Espresso Ink. $24 USD or $28 NZD on or around $50 in NZ stores.
Sephora short angled brush from this kit $22 USD or $25NZD.
Napoleon Perdis Mascara, was free with a magazine but similar Napoleon Perdis mascaras are around $40.
EOS lip balm in Sweet Mint – $3.29 USD or $3.84 NZD, as far as I know, not sold in NZ stores.
Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie $27.49


Based on what I actually paid, we get a total of $411 for products, and $100 for brushes! Yikes. The good thing is that a lot of these products have lasted me a long time, even with quite regular use. It also seems like a lot of things to use every day but this look probably only took me 20 minutes including time for moisturiser, primer and foundation to absorb, which isn’t actually a terribly long routine.

Have any of you calculated the cost of your daily face? I’d be interested to see how mine stacks up. Let me know in the comments section!

Lena x

*If you want to buy any EcoTools brushes or other iHerb products such as ELF make up and a wide range of beauty and health products, you can use my code JPP391 to get $5 to $10 off your first order. This saves you money, as well as helps me earn money. 


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