2015 | Alexis Adrienne


Are They Dupes: Maybelline Brow Drama vs. Benefit Gimme Brow

Hey babes!

When I do my makeup, I definitely prefer to stick with soft brows (no carving here thx) and I usually get that done with Benefit's Gimme Brow - it fills and defines my brows just right. However, it's pretty fucking expensive at $45 a pop! So, off I went in search of an alternative and the new Maybelline Brow Drama came across my radar.


My 2015 Christmas Wishlist!

Hey babes!

Christmas is literally upon us (less than a week!), so I thought I'd share my makeup wishlist this year.

1. Morphe 35O palette - ubiquitous on social media, but difficult to actually buy online! It's such a gorgeous palette full of pigmented, warm-toned colours.
image via @trendmood1
Available at morphebrushes.com for US $22.99 excl. shipping. No NZ stockists.


Nail Art & Review: Lady Queen Stamping Plate NA0538

Press Sample
Hey guys!

I've got some more nail art in time for summer! Lady Queen generously sent me this stamping plate to review - I love the floral, intricate design. On their website, it's labelled as the NA0538 or Hehe 006.

Like the other plate I reviewed, this plate has four designs - one on each quarter of the plate. For this post, I went for the one in the upper right side. The colours I used for stamping are Llarowe Smooth Criminal and OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls.

I did find that the image was not as clear and opaque as I would have liked it to be. However, I definitely think this is due to my stamper - I didn't realise that you aren't meant to clean them with acetone!

The Lady Queen team also sent me this gorgeous, gold-coloured ring. I love it because it matches all of my other gold-coloured jewelry so well, yet is slightly different with it's matte finish. Grab one for yourself here! Heaps of rings on the Lady Queen website are on special just for November.
And don't forget - use DRLC15 to get 15% any orders you make from Lady Queen!

Lexie xx


Back to Basics: Essentials for Glowing Skin

Hi everyone!

While I do love makeup, it's important to me to ensure that my skin is radiant and healthy without it. I feel like there's no point in piling makeup on when your skin isn't a healthy base for it. Today I'm going to go through some essential steps & products that help me make my skin the best it can be.

First things first - starting with a freshly cleansed face is paramount! After removing makeup with baby oil + micellar water, I remove any remaining traces with a foaming face wash to prep my skin for the next step.

This toner definitely packs the most punch for hydration in my routine. It brightens and hydrates my skin without feeling heavy or greasy due to the hyaluronic acid content. You can see my full review here. If I'm feeling particularly dry (especially in the winter months) I will sometimes mist my face first with something like Avène Thermal Water or Glossier Soothing Face Mist for a little extra moisture. It's great for layering under moisturisers too for even more hydration - I prefer the Hada Labo Shirojyun Milk, but it would be great with the Glossier Priming Moisturiser for a double hyaluronic acid boost.

I love using a clay mask once a week to help clarify my skin. I'm a big fan of the QH mask because it can help reduce pimples SO quickly due to the sulphur content. I also like using it as a spot treatment if I have a particularly deep pimple. However, it can be strong - some gentler alternatives are the Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack and Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Clay Mask. However, if my skin is feeling too dry for a clay mask I go for a sheet mask - my favourite so far is the My Beauty Diary Black Pearl masks. If wash-off masks are more your thing, the Glossier Moisturising Moon Mask is another hydrating option. The ultimate lazy girl hydrating mask is probably the Laneige Water Sleeping Pack - you literally put it on and go to sleep!

A lot of people underestimate the importance of SPF in keeping their skin radiant! UV rays darken and damage your skin, leaving it dull and lacklustre. I love this particular sunscreen product because the SPF rating is SO high and it's easy to wear underneath makeup or by itself.

Just because I'm oily-skinned doesn't mean that I'm immune to dry, irritated patches of skin. When I have dry spots, I apply a thin layer of Papaw Ointment over the top to lock in hydration - the next morning, my dry patches are almost always gone. It's also my go-to for my nightly lip treatment! Plain old Vaseline is a great alternative, but if you want something with an extra punch, Glossier's Balm Dotcom would be your best bet. It even comes in a coconut flavour!
I hope you'll find this post useful when shopping for skincare essentials! Do any of you already use these products?

Lexie xx


Review & Product Spotlight: Essence The Gel Nail Polish Top Coat

Hey everyone,

I realized recently that I'm not super loyal when it comes to top coats (except for Rica Glossy Glam for glitter, of course!) and I tend to use whatever's closest/hasn't thickened into a gloopy mess. However, the one top coat I've been consistently using because it's bloody AWESOME and cheap to boot is Essence Gel Nail Polish Top coat.
I grabbed this + the base coat in the system when I was in Australia for $5.10 each from Priceline. While the base coat was a sad let down, the top coat is frankly really impressive. It's not a true 'gel polish' (I wish companies would stop doing this tbh but I digress), but it's a really great high-shine, quick dry top coat. I've used it for pretty much every single manicure I've done since I bought it. It's self-leveling, and doesn't smudge my nail art. The only thing I don't like about this product is that I can't gauge how much product I have left due to the chrome bottle. Other than that, I fully recommend this to anyone looking for a great top coat on a budget!

Essence is available at selected Farmers nationwide (NZ), or Priceline (AU).

Lexie xx


Swatch & Review: Too Faced Natural Matte Palette

Hi everyone,

On my recent trip to the Gold Coast I was lucky enough to stop by a Myer and pick up this gorgeous little palette from Too Faced. It was so hard to choose between this and the Natural Eyes palette, but I don't regret grabbing this one bit.
too faced matte naturals palette nc25 /></a></div>
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The shadows come in a metal casing with a magnetic closure. One of the things I love about this palette is that it comes with a handy little guide to just three of the infinite looks you can create with it. I'm honestly still quite inexperienced when it comes to eyeshadow, so I've definitely made good use of it.

All of the shadows are super pigmented, buttery, and easy to blend - I'm so impressed with this palette, it's such a massive step up from the w7 palettes I was using before. 
From left to right: Heaven, Cashmere Bunny, Sexpresso, Lace Teddy, Strapless, Risqué, Nudie, Honey Butter, and the top swatch is Chocolate Cookie. 

I would definitely recommend this palette to anyone looking for a staple, everyday matte palette in their collection! Have you tried Too Faced eyeshadows before?

Too Faced is available from Mecca Maxima and Kit (inside Myer) for AU $53.

Lexie xx


Nail Art: Black and White Hairspray Nails

Hi everyone!

It feels like forever since I've had some nails on here! I thought I would try a new technique today known to many as hairspray nails.
nail art nz hairspray nails

nz nail art
The two colours I used for this were OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls and Sally Hansen Black Out. Instead of hairspray, I used Isopropyl Alcohol which did the job well enough for me.
My MOST IMPORTANT TIP for doing these nails, or any watermarble nails is having room temperature water. I had tried (and failed!) so many times at this technique because I was using water straight from the tap, which was still too cold or warm for this technique.
I've been using this new top coat from Essence, and I am honestly pretty impressed with it. I grabbed this at Priceline when I was in Aussie for a few bucks, and it's been my go-to lately. I definitely recommend getting this if you're ever at an Essence stand!

Have you tried hairspray nails?

Lexie xx


My Holy Grail Products for Oily Skin!

Hey all,

I just posted a photo of my three holy grail makeup products for oily skin, and just realized that I could probably stand to write a blog post too... So here goes.
nc25 oily skin nz
So to start off, I'm going to say that I definitely know I have oily skin - not dehydrated, just straight up oily. It's something that I've tried to control my entire life, and I finally recently realized that I needed to stop trying to control my oil (thus making it worse), and use products that don't exacerbate or increase the oil. I find that these three products together are fantastic for doing so.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
An amazing silicone-based primer that really helps with oil. NYX Angel Veil is extremely similar, but the Hourglass product works better with the two other products.

L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte

This is the best foundation I've tried for a long time. The formula is excellent - it doesn't settle into my pores as MAC Pro Longwear tends to do, and doesn't budge even while blotting. While I wouldn't describe the wear as 24 hours, it does stay intact for a long time. The only things I do not like are the shade selection and the difference in packaging/shades between the versions released here and of that in the U.S. 22 Radiant Beige is just a touch light for my NC25 skintone, while 24 Golden Beige is FAR too dark.

Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder
Cheap as chips and this stuff lasts FOREVER. The only drawback is the talc in the formula, which can lead to some ghostface when doing flash photography. Other than that, it's the bees' knees.

A honorable mention goes NYX Angel Veil Primer, which is IMO a fantastic dupe for the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer - you can see my full analysis in this post.

Have you tried any of these? What are your holy grail products for your skin type?

Lexie xx
purchased / contains affiliate links*


My Everyday Makeup Tools: MAC, Zoeva, Real Techniques + more!

Hey everyone!

I've been meaning to do a post like this for a while - today I'm sharing with you the different brushes that I use every day and where to get them!
real techniques hakuhodo MAC elf Zoeva makeup brushes za furless cosmetics

real techniques miracle complexion sponge
I HIGHLY prefer using a shaped sponge for applying foundation - I just can't seem to get brushes to give me that same flawless, skinlike finish. I also use non-name brand sponges and find that they work just fine, too. I'll also sometimes use sponges to 'bake' my makeup if I am taking the time to do it that day.
furless cosmetics makeup brush eleanor dorn
Powder Brush: Furless Cosmetics Couture Brush (AU $29.99)
I previously reviewed this brush + the set it came with here. This is the largest size brush, and it's perfectly fluffy and dense for applying setting powder.  

Highlighter Brush: Eleanor Dorn #19 Pointed Face Brush (NZ $18)
I simply adore this brush for highlighting - it's perfectly shaped, and hasn't splayed or lost any bristles at all. It's my go-to highlighting brush! It's also the perfect size for setting undereye concealer. 
za eyelash curler eleanor dorn brow spoolie brush
Eyelash Curler: Za Eyelash Curler
I actually received this in a set with a mascara to review from BeautyReview, so I'm not sure how much it is and Google isn't being much help. I found the mascara to be so-so, but I really, really like the curler! It's a great fit for my eye shape, and what I like to do to help get a better curl is warm the curler for a few minutes by sticking it in my bra or in the band of my pants. 

Spoolie/Brow Brush: Eleanor Dorn #18 Brow Brush (NZ $14)
I think that spoolie brushes are absolutely essential, even if I'm not necessarily putting product in my brows - they help to smooth and groom eyebrows, which really finishes a look. I got this when I purchased the Eleanor Dorn Eye Set, and I've used it pretty much every day since. 
angled eyeliner brush elf eleanor dorn
I think it's important to have multiple angled brushes, as I use them for so many things - gel eyeliner, eyebrows, and even tidying up my lipstick application with a little bit of concealer. The e.l.f. brush is GREAT value for money! Like the spoolie brush, I got the Eleanor Dorn brush in the Eye Set and have used it daily ever since. 
mac 239 zoeva 234 makeup brush
Flat Shader Brush: MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush (US $25 / NZ $73) / Zoeva 234 Luxe Smokey Shader (NZ $16.25)
I typically use these brushes for patting highlight into the inner corner of my eyes, my cupid's bow, and my eyebrow highlight. If I'm using eyeshadow in my look, I'll use them to apply the base colour. 
mac 217 hakuhodo j5523 makeup brush
Blending Brush: MAC 217 (US $25 / NZ $48) / Hakuhodo J5523 (US $19)
These brushes make blending eyeshadow so unbelievably effortless! For a more complex look I might use more than just a blending brush, but these are perfect for every day. 

So there you have it! What brushes/tools do you use every day?

Lexie xx


Are They Dupes: Stila Liquid Lipstick Beso vs. L.A. Girl Matte Pigment Gloss Frisky

Hey everyone,

I recently grabbed some of the new L.A. Girl Matte Glosses (review on the other colors soon!), and one I'll focus on today is Frisky. Frisky wasn't a colour that I was initially drawn to - I only grabbed it after seeing it in real life at my local Unichem pharmacy for just $8.99*, and realising that it was actually a gorgeous, gorgeous red. I noticed it was pretty similar to my beloved Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso and decided to compare the two. So are they dupes?
la girl frisky stila beso dupe mac ruby woo
Colour-wise, they are very, very close. Beso is just a touch brighter, but not by much. The first photo was taken using my Canon 1000D, and the second on my iPhone for comparison. In both photos, Frisky is on the left and Beso is on the left. The third swatch is of my MAC Ruby Woo lip pencil, which I usually use to line and fill my lips before applying Beso.

stila beso dupe la girl matte frisky nc25
 Now, on to comparisons about the formula. Frisky is one of the 'good' L.A. Girl mattes in the way that it applies evenly and opaquely, unlike some of the other colours in the same line (I'm looking at you, Backstage!). However, it's definitely much more drying on the lips than Beso, and is also much less forgiving when it comes to reapplication. The L.A. Girl mattes also have a tendency to peel, but again, Frisky doesn't suffer from that particular issue too badly.
mac ruby woo stila beso la girl frisky dupe
Frisky's formula is slightly thinner than Beso's formula, however I do think that it will gradually thicken slightly over time, something that I find happens with most of my liquid lipsticks. Unlike Beso, Frisky has no added scent. It doesn't really smell strongly of anything, but it would be nice if it smelled like cake batter like Beso does!

Both of these are transfer proof on me, and only wear away on the innermost part of my mouth. However, that rarely happens as I eat food very carefully to minimise this. The biggest difference I found in overall wear was that Frisky bled slightly, especially around my upper lip line. I this rarely happens to me, but I'm sure it could be fixed my using an invisible lip liner.
Another significant difference to me is the length and shape of the applicators. I find that the L.A. Girl wand is a perfect length for application - the Stila wand is unwieldy in comparison. The Stila doefoot is very soft and flexible, which can make application a little tricky if you're not used to it, while the L.A. Girl doefoot has just enough firmness without feeling rough and cheap on the lips.

However, the biggest difference between the two is the cost. Don't be fooled by Beso's longer tube - it only contains 3ml of product, while Frisky contains 0.17 oz, which converts to roughly 5ml! For Beso, the price per ml is $11.70 while Frisky only costs $1.80.

My bottom line? If you're just looking for a liquid lipstick in a gorgeous, classic red, grab Frisky. I would save Beso for when you really want to treat yourself!

Lexie xx
where to buy la girl
Beautybliss* | Makeup.co.nz | NZ LA Girl | BeautyJoint on Amazon*

where to buy stila
Mecca Cosmetica

purchased / contains affiliate links*

*NB: I reference prices in New Zealand Dollars


Nail Art & Review: Lady Queen Stamping Plate NA0548 - Mermaid Nails!

Press Sample
Hi everyone!

LadyQueen generously sent me two stamping plates for review, and today I'll be reviewing the NA0548 plate, also labelled as the 'héhé 005' plate.
nail girl moyou stamping nail art lady queen


Review: Dewytree Vitamin C Whitening Solution Mask

I purchased this item. 

Hey guys,

Today I have a skincare review for you! Some of you might know I'm all about facemasks - I love using them as a weekly treatment to address whatever skin issue I might be dealing with that week, such as breakouts, dryness or even as a simple pick me up. I've recently purchased the Dewy Tree Vitamin C sheet masks. Something that first drew me to them was the ADORABLE packaging - I've never seen a mask packaged like this before! I also grabbed these masks because lightening dark spots left behind by acne is one of my key skin concerns, and Vitamin C is a great ingredient for doing just that.
dewytree korean cosmetics asian beauty skincare


Swatch & Review: HARE Polish Pegasus

Hi loves!

I have an older but still gorgeous polish to show you today. HARE Pegasus is a gorgeous pale purple jelly polish with silver glitter throughout. I love how the glitter shows as white instead of silver because of the purple jelly base.
hare polish indie polish
You can tell this is an older polish because my bottle doesn't have HARE's super cute updated logo! Here, I've done one coat over Essie Hello Marshmallow!, a pastel purple with slight shimmer. I like to layer over a similar base colour if I don't necessarily want the layered effect of multiple coats.
I've topped it off with just one coat of Glossy Glam, which completely smoothed over any glitter and gave a fantastic glassy finish.
Have you tried any HARE polishes?

Lexie xx


Is a fake NARS Ita comparable to the real deal?

Hi loves,

Not too long ago I finally purchased the highly coveted NARS Ita! I paid $88 for it from Mecca Cosmetica and was absolutely THRILLED. A few weeks later I found a $5 copy of it on eBay, and I just had to buy it and see for myself how different (or similar!) it was to the real thing. For all of the photos, the authentic brush is on the left and the fake is on the right.
nars ita authentic vs fake brush
I was pretty amazed by how close the fake looked to the real thing, but when I started to use it there were some pretty significant differences that set the real Ita apart. Firstly, the 'NARS' logo isn't stamped as deeply in the fake brush as it is in the authentic one. The fake brush's bristles are slightly longer, and splay a little bit more from their setting in the base of the brush. The brushes are also very soft in comparison to the authentic one, but they aren't as firm and splay quite easily, warping from the original shape of the brush. However, that's not to say that the authentic Ita has rough fibres - both are soft to the touch on the face.
nars ita fake authentic comparison
A teeny tiny difference is that each brush has a small code printed into the other side of it - the authentic has 4KHUA while the fake has 4YHUA. Unfortunately, I'm not too sure of the meaning of these codes.
Authentic on top, fake on bottom
The setting that the bristles are placed in is much longer in the fake than in the real one, and from a side-on view you can really see how much wider the fake brush's bristles splay out than the authentic one.
The biggest issue that I had with the fake was that it shed bristles like no other. It shed when I used it and it shed even worse when I went to wash it. I could literally pull the bristles out with no resistance at all. I've yet to have ANY shedding at all with the authentic Ita.

In the end, I'm going to have to recommend the real deal. It's more precise to contour with, and you have a guarantee of quality from NARS that the brush won't shed black hairs EVERYWHERE when you go to use it.

Have you tried the NARS Ita? What's your favourite contouring brush?

Lexie xx

where to buy nars
Mecca Cosmetica


Review: Sally Hansen 18K Gold Hardener and Cuticle Eraser

Hey lovelies,

Today I have the Sally Hansen 18K Gold nail care system to share with you! It's made of a cuticle care pen and a nail strengthener.
The base coat claims to fortify nails with a combination of 18K gold, peptides, and amino acids - pretty bold claims, if you ask me! In my opinion, peptides and amino acids are wasted in hair and nail products - both are dead and gain no benefit from 'actives' like this. I did a little Google-fu and it turns out that the gold-coloured flakies in the product aren't the 18K gold - instead, it's present in the formula as colloidal gold.
As a base coat, it was probably a good thing that the flakies themselves aren't gold - they lay close to the nail and don't create any bumps or ridges when nail polish is applied over the top. By itself, the strengthener is very subtle - you can hardly see the flakes. The cap also pops off to reveal a much more ergonomic lid to hold when applying the product.
I found that this works really well as a base coat - I experienced hardly any chips until I took my polish off (which would be 3-5 days later, depending on my mood!). Unfortunately, I can't comment on its strengthening abilities. My nails are already quite strong from a combination of Duri Rejuvacote and frequent cuticle oil use.
With one coat of 18K Strengthener.
I found the cuticle eraser to be slightly gimmicky. It comes in a small tube with a twist off cap, which has a small scrubber at the end with which you can rub the product into your cuticles. The product itself is very florally scented, and full of small, sparkly scrubbing particles to exfoliate your cuticles away with.
I found the applicator a little difficult to work with, and think it would have been better as a brush tip to apply to such a small area. I also realised that it was pretty easy to go overboard with the scrubber, so I definitely recommend that you use it carefully!

Something important to note is that this does need to be washed from your hands before you apply nail polish, or else it will turn into a dry white residue on your fingers.

Have you tried the Sally Hansen 18K system? What did you think?

Lexie xx

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

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