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.

Makeup gift sets for Christmas – MAC, Real Techniques, & Benefit

Tuesday, November 29th 2016 Makeup


The Christmas season is fast approaching, and whilst some people have been shopping for months, others (me) leave it a bit later. The same goes for my gift guides – better late than never! I don’t typically write gift guides, because I find it hard enough to buy for my friends and family, let alone make suggestions for other people. However, I’ve been sent a number of press releases about some cool Christmas gift sets that I wanted to draw people’s attention to. Either you can buy them as gifts, or you can use this as a guide to shopping for yourself. The brands included in this post are MAC Cosmetics, Real Techniques, and Benefit Cosmetics – keep reading for more information.

Za Perfect Action Mascara

Friday, August 28th 2015 Makeup

Lena Talks Beauty - Za perfect action mascara brush

For a long time, before I really got into makeup, I thought all mascaras were much the same. How wrong was I?! Recently I was given the Za Perfect Action Mascara* and it’s what I’ve been wearing on my lashes most of the time lately. It seems like time for me to review it, and share my feelings about this Za Cosmetics mascara. It offers three effects in one – seperate lashes, wide volume brush, and long stretch fibers – so let’s have a look at how well I think those effects stack up!

Lena Talks Beauty - Za perfect action mascara brush

Eye makeup brushes

Monday, July 20th 2015 Makeup

Last week I wrote about the makeup brushes that I use for my face, and today I’m continuing this series with writing about the brushes I use for eye makeup. (Does it count as a series if it’s two posts? I’m not sure) As with my face brushes, my eye makeup brushes are from affordable brands such as Real Techniques, Eco Tools, and Carousel Cosmetics. I am on a reasonably tight budget, but I’m so satisfied with these that even if I had more money available I can’t see myself spending a lot more on brushes. I like to have a lot of eyeshadow brushes so I don’t have to wash them all the time, and I can do that by sticking to cheaper brands.

real techniques lash comb, carousel cosmetics eyeliner brush, sephora eyeshadow brush, ecotools eyeshadow brush, beauty bliss eyeshadow brush

Makeup brushes for the face

Sunday, July 12th 2015 Makeup

It recently occurred to me that whilst I have waxed lyrical about every makeup item I own, I haven’t written very much about the brushes that I use to apply it with! Well, that changes today, I’m going to share what some of my favourite makeup brushes are. I use brushes from a wide variety of brands, and the majority are from fairly affordable brands such as Eco Tools and Real Techniques. I’ve decided to split this into two different posts because otherwise it would be an excessively long, so today is all about the FACE.

xo beauty flat top face brush, real techniques setting brush, ecotools kabuki brush, real techniques miracle complexion sponge, sephora blush brush

Give Me Some Lip – Sephora Favorites

Tuesday, January 27th 2015 Makeup

In December, I did a bit of a post-breakup ‘treat yo self’ haul from Sephora, and by far my favourite thing that I purchased was the Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Lip limited edition set. It’s a set of 6 different lip products, mainly mini sized, and has a good variety between brands and types of products; including Bite Beauty, Urban Decay, Marc Jacobs, NARS, Buxom and Smashbox. I thought it was a good opportunity to try products from different brands since only Smashbox is available in New Zealand. It feels a bit silly to be reviewing a set that is no longer available, however, all the products are available in full sizes so hopefully this will be a useful post, rather than just showing off something I bought.

Sephora Give Me Some Lip favorites

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.

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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