June 2016 | Alexis Adrienne


TOP 5 MAKEUP BRUSHES: Real Techniques, Elf, Zoeva, + More

Hey babes!
buy real techniques zoeva elf e.l.f. hakuhodo hakuhodo nz review
Today I've got my top 5 makeup brushes to show you. I chose them based on how often I use them and generally how much I get out of them! I hope you can spot some of your favourites here too.
elf e.l.f. small angled brush buy nz review
e.l.f. Studio Small Angled Brush*, NZ $4.25 - e.l.f. has a great range of well priced brushes, and this is definitely one of my favourites. I get a lot of use out of it because I like to multipurpose it - it's great for gel eyeliner, filling in eyebrows, carving eyebrows, cleaning up around my lips, and even applying shadow to my lower lashline. I have about 5 of these (and who wouldn't! They're so damn cheap!) so whenever I need a clean one, there's always one ready to go. This brush has synthetic bristles, and I prefer it that way since I tend to use it for wetter products.

hakuhodo j5523 buy nz review
Hakuhodo J5523, US $19 - My holy grail eyeshadow blending brush! I love using this to take colours into the the crease and blending them out. Hakuhodo brushes are worth every cent in my opinion - they are carefully hand crafted in Japan, rather than cut into shape by machinery. This creates a superior brush as the natural taper of the hair isn't lost due to trimming. Some very similar brushes are the Zoeva 227* and MAC 217, but the Hakuhodo is definitely the highest quality of the three. It is made of goat hair, which I prefer for blending powders. However, Zoeva does make a version with taklon bristles* for those who would prefer synthetic.

eleanor dorn brush buy nz review
Eleanor Dorn #19 Pointed Face Brush, NZ $18 - I love using this brush for my highlighter! I have two in my rotation, so just in case one is dirty I've got one to fall back on. It's also a great size and shape for setting my undereyes with banana powder! I'm pretty sure the bristles are synthetic.

zoeva 234 buy nz review
Zoeva 234 Luxe Smokey Shader Brush*, NZ $19 - Another great brush that I use for more than one purpose. The main one would be to apply highlighter to the inner corner of my eye and under my brow, but it's also great for packing eyeshadow onto the lid and applying/blending eyeshadow to my lower lashline. This brush is a blend of natural and synthetic bristles - for those uncomfortable with natural bristles, Zoeva also has a taklon version here.

real techniques deluxe crease brush buy nz review
Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush*,  NZ $25.48 (as a set) - I would have to say that this brush plus the J5523 changed my eyeshadow game FOREVER. The sole purpose that I use this brush for is to blend out eyeshadow. After any eye look is done, I use this without any product on it to soften any edges. Not that I'm left with harsh edges per se, but doing this as a last step makes any eyeshadow look 1000% better. Like all RT brushes, this has synthetic bristles. I am kind of annoyed that this is only available in the RT Eye Starter Set because I literally use nothing else out of the set. However, some brushes that I've noticed look quite similar are the EcoTools Correcting Concealer Brush* and the Zoeva 142 Concealer and Buffer Brush. If anyone can say for sure how similar these are, I'd love to know!

Do you use any of these brushes? Let me know if you have any brush recommendations, too!

Lexie xx

purchased / contains affiliate links*


NEW IN TOWN: The Cosmetic Store - a new Asian Beauty Shop!

Hey babes!

I saw a wee little post on AsianBeauty about a BRAND NEW Asian cosmetic store opening here in Auckland! So of COURSE I had to check it out (and maybe buy a little something...)
asian cosmetics auckland new zealand


5 Vampy Lipsticks for Winter - MAC, Lime Crime, Colourpop, & more!

Hey babes!

Winter is finally upon us here in the Southern Hemisphere... I'm not too happy about it to be honest, but wearing vampy red lipsticks all the time make things slightly more tolerable. Here are my 5 current favourites!
Lime Crime Wicked, US $20 - This was my first ever Lime Crime purchase, and I don't regret it one bit! Wicked is a gorgeous deep burgundy long-wearing matte lipstick. The formula is super pigmented, and not runny or thin like other liquid lipsticks.

MAC Sin, US $17 - The only traditional lipstick of the lot! The packaging I have here is a little different because I purchased it when the Rocky Horror Collection was released, but the product inside is still the same as what you'd buy from MAC now. This + MAC Nightmoth lipliner pencil makes a KILLER vampy lip.

NYX Copenhagen*, NZ $14.95 - NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams are my favourite fool-proof liquid lipstick formula. I do find that lining before using Copenhagen is a MUST; it's not as long-wearing as the others due to its light, mousse-y formula. It also smells like VANILLA CUPCAKES, which is a pretty big bonus for me!

ColourPop LAX, US $6 - The darkest of the bunch, LAX is a little temperamental due to the highly pigmented, yet thin formula. It can be patchy, but it's gorgeous on if carefully applied in thin layers over a matching lipliner.

Australis Buda-pash*, NZ $15 - I'm a big fan of the Australis Velourlips formula! It's between a liquid and a mousse, and drys down to a true matte finish. The Velourlips lipsticks also smell like candy. They're incredible for the price - longwearing, pigmented, and they have such a huge range of shades.
Swatches from left to right are: MAC Sin, Australis Buda-pesh, NYX Copenhagen, Lime Crime Wicked, ColourPop LAX.

Do you have any of these in your collection? What's your favourite vampy lipstick?

Lexie xx

purchased / contains affiliate links*


VITAMIN C LOVE: Original Pure Vitamin C20 Serum Review

Hey babes,

Today, I'm writing about a product that's absolutely essential to my skincare routine! I've used this Vitamin C serum on and off for a few years now (on and off solely due to $$$) and it's definitely a product I would recommend to ANYONE seeking to even out their skin tone. If you don't use a Vit C serum, are you really living? Just kidding, but really. You need one.
ost c20 vitamin c serum nz review
First, lemme touch on the many benefits of Vit C on the skin. According to this peer-reviewed journal article, Vit C can: provide some photoprotection, boost collagen production, protect skin from free radicals, and be an anti-inflammatory. I feel like there's almost nothing Vit C can't do - lighten existing dark marks, prevent more from occurring, prevent photoaging... It literally does it all and that's exactly why I adore this product so much and why I use it so diligently.

The C20 serum packs a punch with 20% Vit C. However, the only drawback of using such a high percentage of the most unstable form of Vit C (known as L-AA) is that it can oxidise QUICKLY. Oxidising affects the appearance of the product - the darker the product is, the more oxidised it has become. The jury is out on whether or not using oxidised Vit C is actually harmful, but you're definitely not able to reap its full benefits.
kbeauty ost c20 whitening serum nz
Even though the serum already comes in a darkened bottle to prevent oxidisation from light, I still keep it in the box in the fridge - I'm already halfway through this bottle and it's just as clear and light as it was when I first opened it. Another little trick I used to try and minimise oxidisation is avoiding blowing bubbles in the bottle using the applicator. As soon as I've dispensed the dropper into my palm, I don't release it until it's back in the bottle again. I don't know if there's any real science to this but not blowing oxygen back into the product has gotta help, right?

However, this also means that the serum is definitely not travel friendly unless you have a fridge at your destination to throw this into. I've literally gone places for the weekend and brought this in it's box and found that it's oxidised slightly over two days of not being in a fridge.
whitening ost c20 serum review nz
The serum has a really light texture, but definitely not as light as water. It spreads easily without being runny, and I find one dropperful is enough for my entire face. I find it best to use it first thing in the morning after washing my face. When I first started using it, I remember feeling a light tingle - that's totally normal. Because the product is so strong, it's best to start using it every other day, or even every second day before working up to daily use.
nz review whitening ost c20 serum
The only caveat I have is that ethanol features high on the ingredients list - while my skin can tolerate it, if yours cannot I recommend purchasing the C21.5 Serum*. It has a much simpler ingredients list and is alcohol-free. Below is the full ingredients list for C20 Serum:

Water, Ascorbic Acid, Ethanol, Sodium Lactate, Butylene Glycol, Glucose, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Rosa Davurica Bud Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Flower Extract, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Diethoxyethyl Succinate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Xanthan, PEG-180, Gluconolactone, Beta-Glucan, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Zinc PCA, Panthenol, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ubiquinone, Diisopropyl Adipate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben

Without going into too much detail and writing a full-on 2,000 word essay, the rest of the ingredients list IS fairly impressive and provides a slew of other benefits for the skin.

I can't recommend this serum enough! It's affordable and easily available. I rate it 4.5/5.

Have you tried Vit C serums before? What's your favourite?

Lexie xx
rating scale 1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Not amazing, but not terrible.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buyWishTrend*

purchased / contains affiliate links*


Brow Talk: The Eleanor Dorn Brow Kit

Hey babes!

Today I have some makeup from a NZ brand called Eleanor Dorn. Eleanor is a makeup artist that I've followed for some time now, and was super excited to try some of her new makeup as soon as it launched! I love the EDM brushes that I already own, and knew that her makeup line would be up to the same high standard.
eleanor dorn brow kit review
I purchased the 4-piece Brow Kit, which contains a setting gel, brow pencil, brow highlighter, and duo sharpener. All of these items can be purchased individually, but you'll find that they are best value when purchased as a set.

brow duo pencil
eleanor dorn brow duo pencil review
The brow pencil comes in 3 shades - blonde, auburn, and dark brown. I chose dark brown and I find it works quite well for me. I don't find that it leans too warm or too cool - it's quite neutral, which I appreciate. I own FAR too many brow pencils that are too warm to use. I also really like that it has a spoolie attached to the pencil. When I first swatched this, I was a little worried that it would be too hard and firm on my brows. However, when actually used on the face, it's the perfect density to easily fill in brows.

brow highlighter
eleanor dorn bow highlight review
I've never used a brow highlighter before so I was pretty excited to try these! One end is a peachy shade and the other a shimmery highlight. Both shades are creamy and smooth. My only gripe is that the peachy side doesn't really go with my skin and thus the rest of my makeup. I have more of an olive/green-ish tone to my skin, so the peachyness of it sticks out quite a lot to me, even when
blended out.

brow set
 eleanor dorn brow set review
The first thing I want to say is that I am SO HAPPY that the brow set has a normal shaped wand! (I'm looking at you, Maybelline Brow Drama). Brow Set only comes in clear, but that suits me. It sets my brows quite well, and holds everything in place without feeling crispy or dry. I have found that because it is clear, it has picked up a little bit of pigment from the brow pencil and is slowly turning brown. However, that's not too big of a deal for me personally as I would only be using this on myself.

eleanor dorn brow swatch medium tan nc25 skin

Swatches from left - right: Brow Highlight shimmer, Brow Highlight matte, Brow Pencil.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with these products! I think they are priced nicely in the mid-range and worth it to most people - especially with free shipping nationwide!

What would be in your essential brow kit?

Lexie xx

where to buy Eleanor Dorn Makeup | $15-70 | Free shipping NZ-wide purchased


May Empties: Benefit, NYX, Maybelline, & Daiso

Hey babes,

Happy June! I've got a couple lil empties here that I finally got through this past May - read on and I'll let you know what I thought of each and if I'd repurchase!
new zealand beauty blogger nz
NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray* - I'm an oily-skinned girl, so I'm always down for anything that promises and delivers matte skin. Unfortunately, I didn't really find that this kept me matte for longer than going without. However, it does create a flawless, non-powdery finish when used over makeup. Probably won't repurchase, but I'm curious to try the dewy version! Daiso Detergent for Puff & Sponge* - The short story - can't get enough of this stuff for cleaning makeup brushes & sponges. It is THE BEST. Click to read my full review! Will repurchase. Benefit Gimme Brow - This has been pretty much empty for some time but I'm only now getting rid of the tube! It's a great, easy to use brow product. I'm pretty sad that I've run out - budget is the only thing holding me back from a definite repurchase! Maybelline Matte & Poreless Foundation 220* - I am a BIG fan of this foundation - it's my favourite for every day! It provides a buildable, medium coverage and doesn't cost a fortune. The only downside is that it comes without a pump, BUT I'm writing a blog post on a clever product that solves that issue. 100% repurchase! That rounds off my empties this month - do you spot anything you love or you hate? Lexie xx
purchased / contains affiliate links*

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