2014 | Alexis Adrienne


Swatch & Review: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear - Glam Fest & Rouge Rush

Hey girlies,

Today I have two polishes from the recently revamped Xtreme Wear collection from Sally Hansen, Glam Fest and Rouge Rush.

Glam Fest is packed with silver micro glitters and larger multicolored hex glitters. Here, I've shown one coat over China Glaze Queen B. A recurring theme with mainstream glitter toppers is that they simply don't have enough glitter density for my liking. Case in point - I only got a total of 7 of the larger hex glitters on my nails. My ring finger without any larger glitters is pretty by itself, but that isn't the intended appearance of the polish.
Two coats would be best of Glam Fest for ideal glitter density/coverage.
I also found Rouge Rush to be lacking in the coverage department, and it was even more finicky to apply than Glam Fest. I've shown one thick coat over Lime Crime Milky Ways. In the bottle, it's a gorgeous combination of pink and red hex and shard glitter. However, hardly any glitters are on the brush when you go to apply it, and you need to do quite a bit of fishing to get a decent amount of glitter on the brush. Even then, it's hard to avoid applying a thick coat if you want the glitter evenly distributed on the nail.
I ended up with quite a few bubbles due to applying unnecessarily thick layers. I would highly recommend using the sponge method of applying glitters when using this polish for best effect!

What do you think of the new Xtreme Wear line? Have you tried any? Let me know in the comments!

Lexie xx

Products in this post were provided to me for review. All opinions are my own.


Swatch & Review: OPI Stir-Fried Eggplant

Hi lovelies,

Today I have another 'mystery OPI' polish for you! Stir-fried Eggplant is a beautiful deep purple polish packed with shimmer and small gold flakies.


Lipstick Swatch: NYX Wicked Lipsticks - Betrayal, Risqué and Sinful

Hey Girls!

Some of you may know that NYX recently released a collection of gorgeous jewel-toned lipsticks. Some of you may also know that I have a weakness for vampy and odd coloured lipsticks - so naturally, I bought three lipsticks from the collection.
From left to right: Sinful, Betrayal, and Risqué.
Betrayal is a beautiful deep purple lipstick with blue shimmer. I didn't find that the shimmer translated well onto my lips (in photos and real life). This lipstick has the most slip and has the glossiest finish of the three that I purchased. I know this is normally nail polish lingo but I would describe the finish of this lipstick as a jelly - sheer but buildable, and very glossy. It reminds me quite a bit of Lime Crime Poisonberry, however I don't own Poisonberry so I can't compare. It leaves a VERY pink stain on the lips when removed!

Risqué is a beautiful emerald-toned lipstick with gorgeous, visible green shimmer throughout. This is easily my favourite of these three, colour and formula wise. It was not as slippery as Betrayal to apply, but not as firm as a matte lipstick. The patchiness visible on my top lip was not visible at all when seen from a normal distance. I simply adore this colour - I couldn't get over how normal it looked on my lips for such an intensely rich jewel tone.

Sinful is a medium blue lipstick with very subtle blue shimmer. Unfortunately the shimmer didn't come out to play on my lips, however I do like the effect of solid blue on my lips. As with Risque, the patchiness on my top lip was not viewable from a normal distance. Again, I found this surprisingly wearable for such an odd colour.

All three of these lipsticks have a very moisturising base, unlike the matte lipsticks that I am so used to. This difference makes them comfortable and easy to wear, but slightly trickier for me to apply. These lipsticks also inspired me to do some matching lip/brow looks! I followed this fantastic tutorial for coloring in my brows.
Here, I'm wearing Sinful on both my lips and brows. The only additional makeup I'm wearing is eyeliner and mascara.

Have you tried any of these lipsticks? Or colourful brows? Lemme know in the comments!

Lexie xx

where to buy
Farmers | Beautybliss* | Makeup.co.nz

purchased / contains affiliate links*


NOVEMBER EMPTIES: EltaMD, C20, Benton + More

Hi Girls,

I thought I would try an 'empties' post for the first time! I've done a mini-review of each item, let me know what you think!

C20 Original Pure Vitamin C Serum
I purchased this because I was on the lookout for an affordable and effective Vitamin C serum. This one is fairly popular in the Asian skincare crowd and is frequently available from WishTrend* with free shipping, so I thought I'd give it ago. This serum boasts 20% L-Ascorbic Acid, a very effective but very unstable form of Vitamin C. 20% is quite a lot of Vitamin C, and L-AA is very effective but can also be irritating to some at such high concentrations. I bought it to lighten some of my post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation, and it has so far has done a good job. Some people might find this serum problematic because it contains quite a bit of denatured alcohol, which some people may find overly drying and irritating on their skin, coupled with the high percentage of Vitamin C. Other than this, my only issue is that L-AA can be very unstable oxidises very quickly - keeping this serum in a cool, dark place is a must to get the most out of it.
Availability: In addition to WishTrend*
Repurchase? Already have.

Benton High Content Snail Bee Essence
This essence contains a whole lot of ingredients meant to heal, brighten and soothe skin. I've happily used it for a while with no problems at all. I am not entirely sure of the brightening claims, but I found it really helpful when I had lots of active acne. I wouldn't describe it as a spot treatment, but I found that it overall helped acne to heal faster than it normally would. However, I am not really experiencing much active acne anymore so I'm not sure if I will continue to keep this in my routine after I finish my current bottle.
Availability: RoseRoseShop
Repurchase? Maybe.

EltaMD PM Therapy
This is my Holy Grail evening moisturiser. It contains niacinamide, an ingredient with numerous benefits to the skin, such as improve skin barrier function and lighten PIH. It's very hydrating and contains a slew of other beneficial ingredients to the skin such as linoleic acid and hyaluronic acid. This is easily the most expensive item in my skincare routine.
Availability: eBay
Repurchase? Yes!

Differin 0.1%
This is an Rx product designed to help with acne. It contains adapalene, a third generation retinoid. Retinoids are ONLY available by prescription. In addition to acne management, long term use of retinoids helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and PIH. If your derm/GP prescribes this to you, you absolutely MUST follow their directions and be consistent with your use of this product. It's not a 'magic acne' cream that will make pimples disappear overnight; it takes a while for it to work and most people will temporarily experience an increase in their acne as their skin adjusts to the retinoid. Most people give up at this stage but it's so important to stick with it and wait it out. The results will be worth it.
Availability: Only by prescription from your dermatologist or GP.

Have you tried/heard of any of these products? Let me know!

Lexie xx


Swatch, Review & Nail Art: OPI Taupe-less Beach

Hi beautiful people!

I did some nail art using a polish from OPI's Brazil collection to show you today, Taupe-less Beach. This polish is a beautiful nude taupe that applies easily in 2 coats.


Lipstick Swatch: MAC X Rocky Horror Picture Show Lipsticks! Sin, Frank-N-Furter, Oblivion, Strange Journey

Hey Girlies!

Today, I have swatches of lipsticks from the HIGHLY anticipated Rocky Horror Picture Show X MAC collection: Sin, Frank-N-Furter, Oblivion, and Strange Journey.


Review: Rohto Hada Labo Shirojyun Arbutin Lotion

Hi Girls!

Today, I have a review of a product which I recently added to my skincare routine and am absolutely LOVING. The Hada Labo Shirojyun lotion is basically what my skincare dreams are made of...
hada labo shirojyun lotion

Okay, not really, but I really couldn't imagine my routine without this product. While the product is labelled a lotion, it's not the same as a lotion in the Western sense - this product is meant to be applied after cleansing, and before essence/moisturiser. It's basically a toner, however unlike Western toners, it is meant to be applied by patting all over the face with your hands, instead of applied with a cotton pad. This video from Hada Labo perfectly explains how to apply all of the brand's lotion products.

Some of you may be more familar to this product's more famous sibling, the Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid lotion, aka Hada Labo Gokujyun lotion (Skin and Tonics has a SUPERB review of it here!). While I was tempted to try that product, I chose the Shirojyun lotion because it contains additional ingredients more relevant to addressing my skin issue of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). The Shirojyun lotion contains Arbutin and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (a form of Vitamin C), two ingredients that are extremely effective in reducing the appearance of PIH and preventing more from appearing. A huge selling point of most of Hada Labo's products is the use of multiple forms of hyaluronic acid, an extremely effective humectant ingredient.

The lotion comes in a generous 170ml cylindrical bottle with a label pretty much entirely in Japanese - the only English parts are the 'Shirojyun' and 'Made in Japan'. The packaging is simple but effective. The product itself is a milky fluid with a very runny, watery consistency. It doesn't feel slimy or heavy when applied; it plumps and hydrates my skin immediately.
hada labo arbutin whitening lotion
The eBay listing describes this as the "Light" version of this item, with a "Moist" type for drier skin. It was hard tracking down the full ingredients list in English of this product, but I am fairly certain this is it: 

Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Arbutin, Sorbitol, PPG-10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Methylparaben, Disodium Succinate, Styrene/VP Copolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Succinic Acid, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid.

If someone has any corrections, please let me know! I love how this stuff is packed with moisturising ingredients and no added fragrance or plant extracts; it only contains what's needed. I really like this aspect of the product - I feel like too many skincare brands out there add fragrance or plant extracts to products when they serve no purpose, and may even cause skin irritation in some people. Another beneficial aspect of this product is the pH. It's pretty much bang on 5 - an ideal pH for maintaining a healthy skin barrier.
I bought this to address my issues of visible dry skin flakes and PIH. It's too soon to really say if it's working on my PIH, but I can definitely attest to it's amazing hydrating capacity. I use it in the evening after applying my Differin 0.1%, and before my Benton Snail Bee Essence. The difference that this product has made is just astounding - I don't have any more visible skin flakes, and my skin feels so plump, soft and hydrated all the time. The flakes were always most visible after washing my face, but now I have hardly any. I also used to experience a slight feeling of dryness after washing my face, but after using this for a few weeks, that feeling has now completely disappeared. My skin does seem a little brighter and more glowy somehow, but I'm attributing this to the increased hydration. It's just too early (in my opinion) to expect results like that; most active ingredients need at least 6 weeks of consistent use to see changes in skin tone.

I absolutely love this product and will definitely be repurchasing. Have you tried any Hada Labo products?

Lexie xx

where to buy hada labo online

where to buy hada labo in-store

purchased / contains affiliate links*


Swatch & Review: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Birthday Suit

Hi lovelies!

Today, I'm reviewing the new Sally Hansen line of polish called the Miracle Gels. The Miracle Gel colours and top coat are specially formulated with an oligomer and a photoinitiator for a high-gloss finish without the need a UV/LED lamp, like traditional gel polish. Unlike traditional gels, or even regular polish, the system requires no basecoat - just apply two coats of your chosen Miracle Gel colour, apply the Miracle Gel Top Coat, and you're good to go.


Lipstick Swatch: Pretty Zombie Cosmetics Purple Poison

Hey Girls!

Today, I've got a liquid lipstick called Purple Poison by an indie makeup company called Pretty Zombie Cosmetics. PZC are known for having liquid-to-matte lipsticks in a wide range of offbeat colours. As well as Purple Poison, I also own Three Witches, which is a beautiful deep blue-toned purple. Purple Poison is a gorgeous orchid purple.


Swatch & Review: Femme Fatale Fatal Attraction

Hey Girls!

Today I have an Australian indie polish to share with you! Fatal Attraction is a polish from Femme Fatale from their 2013 Valentine's Trio. It is described as  a "deep magenta polish with scattered holographic particles in a rich burgundy." It has a jelly base, so here I've layered two coats of Fatal Attraction over one coat of Zoya Blaze to avoid VNL (Visible Nail Line).

femme fatale fatal attraction swatch


Swatch & Review: Colors by Llarowe Independence Day

Hey Girlies,

Today I have Colors by Llarowe Independence Day to show you. It was recently released in their Summer 2014 collection. It's described as having a "deep royal blue jelly base with holographic micro glitters."

cbl independence day swatch


Swatch & Review: Peacock Pie Alan

Hi Girlies!

Today I have another NZ to share with you! Alan by Peacock Pie has a purple base full of dark purple, light purple, pink, red and orange glitters in varying shapes and sizes. The largest are pink stars, none of which I managed to get on my swatching hand... I recommend doing a bit of fishing to get them on your nails.


Swatch & Review: Star Kin Worble

Hey Girlies!

Today I have a new favorite from Star Kin. Worble is a robin's egg blue polish full of bright pink glitter. I love it! The colors really complement each other.


Lip Swatch: Shiro Cosmetics Why Not Zoidberg?

Hi Girlies!

I have a new (to me) indie makeup brand to share today - Shiro Cosmetics! Shiro is an independent company based in Portland, Oregon that creates gorgeous eyeshadows, lip colours and other fantastic products. Something I love about Shiro Cosmetics is that all of the products have clever names and hilarious descriptions I managed to snag four Intertubes (now discontinued) in a sale - you might have seen my Instagram post about them. I got Smashing, Over 9000, Leeroy Jenkins and Why Not Zoidberg?.


Swatch & Review: Dance Legend Amethyst

Hey Girls!

I have my first Dance Legend on the blog today! This one is called Amethyst and it's from their Sahara Crystal collection. It's a gorgeous deep eggplant textured polish with pink and purple shimmer/glitter throughout. Shown are two coats over basecoat.


Lipstick Swatch: Impulse Cosmetics Gamble

Hey lovely people!

Today I have a lipstick from Impulse Cosmetics, an independent makeup company. I have a shade called Gamble, which is a true royal purple lipstick.

As with my other Impulse Cosmetics lipstick, the only trouble I had with this was dealing with the flattened tip - it requires a more careful application technique than the traditional lipstick bullet does. I found this formula really similar to Two Timer as well - very pigmented, perhaps slightly stiffer, but I could apply it without any tugging on my lips.


Review: Star Kin Cuti-Cuddles Cuticle Oil

Hey Girlies!

Today I have a product which has become one of my fast favourites! Star Kin Cuti-cuddles are delightfully scented cuticle oils that come in a huge variety of scents, including Toasted Marshmallow, Lemon Meringue, Buttered Popcorn and Bay Rum. I have three - Caramel, Buttercream Frosting, and White Chocolate Macadamia. BF and WCM are fighting for the favourite scent spot at the moment!


Lipstick Swatch: MAC Pure Heroine

Hey beautiful people!

Today I have MAC Pure Heroine to show you. Pure Heroine was the new shade created in the MAC x LORDE collaboration, based on Lorde's signature purple vampy lip.


How To: Spot Fake OPIs from the Real Ones

Hi everyone!

Today, I have a post which I think will be incredibly helpful for everyone, and especially for those who shop online. One of the biggest caveats of online shopping is the threat of forgery. Many famous brands have fallen victim to counterfeiting, and OPI is no exception. Before I get started - can any of you tell just from this photo which OPI Crown Me Already! is real and which is fake?


Lipstick Swatch: MAC Goddess of the Sea

Hey Girlies!

Today I have a MAC lipstick from the Alluring Aquatic LE collection, Goddess of the Sea. It is a "dark vibrant violet" in a Cremesheen finish. I'm a sucker for anything remotely purple so I had to have this.


Lipstick Swatch: MAC Dodgy Girl

Hey Girls!

Today I have one of the new limited edition Kelly Osbourne X MAC lipsticks - Dodgy Girl! It's described as a "light lavender" on MacCosmetics.com. I find that it's more of a pink lavender with a cool undertone, rather than a true lavender like Melt Cosmetics Darling. This probably makes it just a touch more wearable!


Nail Art: Dry Brush Stroke Manicure

Hey Girls!

Today I have some nail art which I've tried for the first time. Basically, it's a technique where you remove as much polish as possible from the brush and dab it over a base colour - easy peasy. Today, I've done this using 4 polishes: Sally Hansen Red Snapper, Sally Hansen Good to Grape, Sally Hansen Shell We Dance, and Essence Off to Miami. I followed Chalkboard Nails' excellent tutorial, so have a look over there if you want a better idea of how this is done.

I started by applying 3 coats Shell We Dance, a stunning sheer pink. Something I noticed about the Sally Hansen polishes is that the brushes are very wide - the width of the plastic stem is basically the diameter of the opening to the polish bottle. The wide, flattened brush makes application so easy though - perfect for getting close to the cuticle without making a mess. After SWD dried, I applied Off to Miami (coral), Good to Grape (purple) and Red Snapper (um, red) in that order, following the instructions from the tutorial.

After finishing, I sealed my mani with a coat of Sally Hansen's Big Shiny top coat. I haven't used any mainstream top coats for a while, so I was frankly really impressed with this one. I tend not to have high expectations for top coats from mainstream brands, so it's nice to be proved wrong for once. It's definitely comparable in terms of dry time and glossiness to my favourite Rica Glossy Glam top coat. The only drawback is the shiny, metallic bottle - it looks super cool but it will be hard to gauge how much top coat is left in the bottle after continued use.

Also, because I can't leave things alone... I mattified this mani too. I used the other sibling in the top coat pair - Big Matte. I haven't done a direct comparison yet, I'm pretty sure this is comparable to the Essie Matte About You top coat in terms of being a true matte. Love the different dimension it added to my mani - it totally reminds me of tie-dye. A tip for matte manicures - apply your regular top coat first and wait for that to dry before applying your matte top coat. I find that manis last longer doing this, rather than going straight for the mattifying one. Think of it as a special effects top coat, rather than a sealing + drying one.

I hope you like this as much as I do - I'm so so proud of my first dry brush mani, and I'll definitely be using this technique with other colour schemes. I'm also very impressed with the two Sally Hansen top coats I used - they definitely have a place in my top coat rotation (currently has Glisten & Glow HK Girl, Rica Glossy Glam).

Lexie xx

Big Matte and Big Shiny top coats are available from Farmers and selected Kmart, Pharmacies, and The Warehouse stores for RRP$14.99. 

The Sally Hansen Triple Shine range are also available from Farmers and selected Kmart, Pharmacies, and The Warehouse stores for RRP$12.99.

Products in this post were provided to me for review. All opinions are my own.


Lipstick Swatch: NYX Shocking Pink

Kia ora Girls,

Nyx Matte Lipstick in Shocking Pink is a stunning blue-toned hot pink. It applies really nicely without any dragging, and does dry to a nice, matte finish. This lippy is seriously BRIGHT and it freaked my camera out! I think this color would definitely suit a wide variety of skintones :)

I found that this wore pretty nicely throughout the day, would probably be better with a bright lipliner though. A lot of people say online that this is a dupe for MAC Candy Yum Yum, however I don't have CYY so I can't compare the two. Hopefully it's not a case of "they're both hot pink so they are dupes" which I see with SO MANY PURPLE LIPPIES. Just cause it's purple doesn't mean it's the same as MAC Heroine. Just no.

Shocking Pink is excellent bang for your buck - Nyx Matte lipsticks are priced at just US$6 which I think is FANTASTIC for the quality of lippy that you get. I'm giving this a full five out of five!

Lexie x


Swatch & Review: Peacock Pie Locket

Hey Girls!

Sorry I've been quiet lately, been studying for exams - got one tomorrow and the day after. I'll be back to regular posting soon!

This is another Kiwi indie polish, this time created by Peacock Pie. Locket is a gorgeous glitter polish in a light blue crelly base. I absolutely LOVE all of the dominant colors in this polish - purple and copper, along with the sublter yellow circles and smaller black glitters. I chose to wear it on its own, shown are three coats with one coat of Glossy Glam top coat. Glossy Glam did a really good job at smoothing out three layers of glitter, I'm nearly through my bottle so it looks like I'll be getting a big refill size soon :)

These last two photos make it look very matte, but I'm not sure why! I guess it's nice to see what this would look like with a matte top coat? Another thing I was impressed with was how easy it was to spread the glitter around on the nail when applying - no dabbing necessary.

Lexie xx

Peacock Pie polishes are available from their Etsy store


Swatch & Review: OPI Blue Chips

Hey Girlies!

Today, I have a polish which recently cause a lot of intrigue in the NZ polish community - a few of us found odd OPIs at reduced prices in pharmacies, and when we Googled for swatches, they didn't seem to exist! They had names such as Stir Fried Eggplant, I Don't Speak Meek, and of course, Blue Chips. I was too skeptical to accept these as really good fakes which had somehow bypassed anyone's notice. A fellow blogger did a bit of research and emailed OPI for the details on these polishes, and this is what they had to say:

"Those were custom colors we did for Winner's in Canada. It is an exclusive for them." - Teri Truong, Technician Support - OPI Products Inc.

Mystery solved! How they managed to end up in tiny pharmacies all over NZ, we don't know yet - but at least we know that they are legitimate OPI polishes and feel secure blogging about them.

Blue Chips has a bright, metallic blue base full of small holographic glitters. The glitters are large enough to make the texture of the polish slightly gritty upon application. My single coat of HK Girl wasn't enough to completely smooth the glitters out, so depending on your top coat, I'd smack on two layers for that glassy smooth finish.

I thought this polish was really stinkin' pretty and was loath to remove it when it started chipping (after 5 days!) I also find that this polish is quite unique in my collection, and I'm quite happy to have it!

Lexie xx


Lipstick Swatch: Impulse Cosmetics Two Timer

Kia ora Girlies!

I made a recent order from Impulse Cosmetics on Etsy for two of their lipsticks, Two Timer and Gamble. The focus of today's post will be Two Timer, a gorgeous blue-toned, pin-up red lipstick. Something different about these particular lipsticks is that they do not have a traditional, angled tip, which made Two Timer slightly difficult for me to work with. I managed to get it to work for me in the end though! I lined my lips using the flattened edge of the lippie before applying.

These lipsticks are very smooth and pigmented. So so smooth and pigmented. I need more!

As I said before, I was slightly thrown off by the flattened tip and would definitely recommend using a lip brush to facilitate application, especially around the lip line. I also think I had a harder time as I am still definitely newer to makeup than most! I ended up unintentionally going just outside my lip line, so my lips are slightly exaggerated in these photos. These lipsticks are labelled as "Opaque Matte Lipsticks", however I found the final finish to be closer to a satin than a true matte. Impulse Cosmetics suggests using their lipstick mattifying powder to achieve the true matte appearance of the photos in their Etsy shop.

I hope you enjoyed my first ever lip swatch on the blog! I have recently acquired a metric butt-ton of makeup and figured that I should probably blog about that too... I actually have managed to hoard so much makeup and skincare that I got a Helmer to throw it all in!

This lipstick was just amazing to me - creamy, pigmented and very comfortable to wear. I didn't feel like this lipstick dried my lips, but I don't know if it provided any additional moisture either. Either way, I usually apply a thin layer of Maybelline Baby Lips before applying any type of lipstick.

All in all, I give this lippy 4/5 polish bottles - that half point was knocked off for not being truly matte.

I'd really love to know what you think of my first lippie post - email me some feedback or comment below!

Lexie xx

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