Thursday, 31 January 2013

Review: BYS custom colours eyeshadows.

 I've seen these little pans and palettes around for years, and I've always loved them. In my early "getting serious about makeup" days, I had several of these palettes with similar colours in them, or colours that went well together. They used to have them with cute art on the outside, but now I can only find the black ones.

Anyway, they are the BYS custom colours palette and pan sets, and basically you buy the palette empty and then fill it with colours of your choice, that fit magnetically into the pan!

They have a cute, but functional sized mirror inside, so they are perfect for beauty on the go.

Over christmas (and even still now, at a heavily reduced price!), I saw these sets with a palette and 10 shadow pans, which are really great value.

The palette I've put together here is perfect for creating a pink-based smoky eye look. My camera hasn't really picked up the colours very well here, but the lighter pink is more of a baby pink, perfect for highlighting under the brow, then there's the deeper pink, which I'd put on the lid and right up into transition, then the light grey I would blend into the crease and transition, and of course the charcoal for the outer corner and crease.

I really love the design, and the available colours are awesome.

What do you think? Would you love to make up your own palettes?

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Trendsday: Storage

Looking at my current storage "solution" for nail polish, it's becoming clear that a new solution is needed, and fast. My mother loves my overflowing "Frequent Flyer" overnighter, because every time I can't close the lid, I do a clear out and give her a bunch of polishes.

I'm not as happy with the arrangement. I'd really like to have a proper storage space for my polishes so that I can see what I've got and not have them all clinking around up against each other, upside down and all over the place.
Pic via Pinterest

A lot of beauty people are using storage shelves like you'd see at a nail salon, but I'm not sure that's a great option for me. My kids are awesome, but I feel like they would both get into the polishes if they were left out on display, and I REALLY don't want my lovely new carpet to meet with an unfortunate incident involving nail polish.

Likewise, an open drawer that anyone can look into at any time will be problematic.

However, I do have a double-door cabinet under the bathroom sink that I feel I could install a lock on. There are 2 shelves in there that I usually keep my hair styling tools and  box full of extra things, doubles of makeup, eyelashes I haven't opened/used yet, new packets of sponges, that kind of thing.

I'm sure all of the things that are currently residing in there could be relocated or moved to the bottom shelf, freeing up the top for my nail polishes!

I'll keep you all updated with how it goes, and post pics once it's done. Tell me, how do you store your nail polish collection?

UPDATE: I got motivated and did the under-sink storage immediately after I posted this blog. Here's the result:

Glitter polishes at the back, then nail art stripers, then metallics, top and base coats up one side, and crackle/shatter finishes up the other, then organized by colour.

I'm still not 100% happy with the way it's organized, but it's definitely better than the bag they were all rolling around in.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A girl's best friend: Umberto Giannini Backcomb in a bottle.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, know that I have thin, fine hair, and that usually that's not an issue. I just try to stay away from oily styling products and use things that boost volume.

This is a product that I use regularly to create fuller looking 'dos.

I bought it at my local Woolworths because it looked good, I liked the packaging, and I liked the promises that it made.

I'm going to start by saying that there is not a product in the world that will give you exactly the effect of teased hair If you expect that from this can, you're expecting way too much.

What it does deliver is volume and hold, so I use it for things like beachy waves, or for up-dos like victory rolls, where I lose the teasing brush and the hairspray and use this for both. French rolls are the same concept, just on the back of the head, and this works equally well when I want a really sleek, chic style too.It helps to hold my side-swept bangs in the style, as well as giving me a little bit of volume underneath the sleek hair on top. I have an extraordinarily small head compared to the rest of me, and it's hard to avoid looking like a pea head when I have my hair tied up tight or pinned up.

All in all, I really love this product. It's inexpensive, smells great, and is really versatile. Try it out!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Sneak peek: OPI Great and Powerful Oz collection.

 I have loved all things Oz since I was a little girl, so when OPI released their new Great and Powerful Oz collection, I will admit I did a little happy dance and made  little squee noise.

Even better than the fact that they are Oz inspired, is the fact that every shade in the collection is classy and wearable with pretty much everything.

From white, to nude, to pink, silver, gold and all the sparkle of confetti polishes, it's a really lovely collection.

These are the kind of colours you could make work for any occasion, so for me, they are a must-have collection for any nail polish lover!

 The two confetti polishes feature in silver and gold, and would add just the right amount of sparkle to any party outfit.

The best part is the very last colour you see here, "What wizardry is this?", which is one of OPI's new Liquid Sand polishes, which provides a matte finished, 3D "sand" look on the nail and is a really awesome feature. Stay tuned for some great looks I'll be putting together very soon with OPI's Liquid Sand polishes.

Monday how-to: DIY beauty

I usually show you the awesome products that are available in the beauty section of your local stores, but today I want to share a super-product that has many, many uses and costs next to nothing.

It's Bi-Carb (baking) soda (NOT baking powder)!

Add half a cup of bi-carb soda to your bath for extra soft skin.

Mix a paste of bi-carb soda and apply to sunburn, windburn, prickly heat, acne, coldsores and any allergic reaction to another product.

Use bi-carb soda dry on your toothbrush to whiten your teeth, or a teaspoon in a glass of water as a mouthwash.

Make a poultice of bi-carb soda and water for insect bites and stings.

Use bi-carb soda dry as a deodorant under your arms or in your shoes.

Make a paste of bi-carb and water and use as an exfoliant.

This is such a versatile product, and I'm sure I haven't even scratched the surface of what you can do with it for your beauty needs.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Ban bad hair days with Polished London Dry Shampoo!

This morning, I received a gift in the mail from Polished London, and when I opened it up and had a try of what was inside, I couldn't wait to share it with you guys!

Until very recently, when I tried a different product from a sample box, I was a bit wary of dry shampoos, and I really think it's because I had no idea how to use it properly. I found that the ones I had tried didn't have a lot of pressure behind the product when you spray it out, which seems to be what sets this one (and a couple of others I've tried) apart from the rest.

The one I got was the coconut scented one, Cornwall Coconut. They also have a floral scented one called Bristol Bloom, and both of these names have meaning for me, because I'm from south-west England, very close to Bristol, and we used to holiday in Cornwall when I was little. Regardless of that, I'm not reviewing the name of the product, so I'll move on to what you guys actually want to know.

First of all, I'll talk about the scented one that I tried out, then I'll tell you about a couple of other cool varieties they have,

After I had sprayed the dry shampoo in
The coconut scent is really nice. It's not overpowering, just as if I'd actually washed my hair with a coconut scented shampoo. I just followed the directions, sprayed it into my roots, massaged it around a bit, then brushed it out. I haven't washed my hair since yesterday morning, so it was perfect timing for the package to arrive. I'm going to just show you the before and after and let the results speak for themselves...
After I brushed it out.

My hair is really fine, so I need to keep on top of washing it, because it only takes a tiny bit of excess oil to really make my hair look terrible, lank and gross.
This dry shampoo feels like second day hair, which is awesome to style, without the excess oil, and with a boost of volume to boot. It's absolutely perfect for my hair.

So... on to the other things in this range. I know some of you love dry shampoo, and I also know that you absolutely hate the white powder.
Well, now you have options. Polished London also had the amazing forethought to add "Blighty Brunette", and "Bonny Blonde" to the dry shampoo range. Coloured powders that blend into your hair colour!

Now, for the very best part. They're $4.99 a can! Available from pharmacies nationally, there's a stockist near you! Go try it, the only trouble you'll have is deciding which one to try first!

Friday, 25 January 2013

'Straya Day nails!

Tomorrow is Australia Day! I'm celebrating by doing some awesome  Aussie flag nails.

This was actually really, really simple to do with a blue base and my red and white nail art stripers.

How are you showing your Aussie flair on this Australia day?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Review: BYS 3D Nail art polish

 Browsing around Gloss the other day, I picked up this awesome little gem. I covered it a little bit in my Monday how-to post this week, but I'll go into a bit more detail on it now.

It's basically a glitter polish, but the glitter is really, really chunky.

It takes a bit of patience, but when you get enough coats on there, it's a really awesome look that will last for ages.

To make it look like it does below, you need to start with a base of colour. I used a blue from the OPI Texas collection. Then I did 4 coats of the 3D polish, then topcoat, waiting for each coat to dry before adding more.

It's the kind of nail stuff to do while you're watching a movie, or have a good half hour of quiet time.

I think you'll agree that the effect is well worth the extra time.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Bellabox January 2013

Here's my video of the Bellabox unboxing for January 2013! Keep your eyes peeled for reviews of the products inside soon!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The most awesome matte lipstick I've tried: Model Co Party Proof

Shopping at Gloss the other day, I came across a stand of Model Co lipsticks that looked amazing. The red, in particular, caught my eye, and I had to have it once I also noticed that it's matte.

I'm loving the vintage glamour look that's so trendy right now. It's really right up my alley, so a gorgeous matte red lipstick was just what I needed.

Add to the awesomeness of the colour the fact that it's party proof (and I still have the marks on my arm 24 hours later AFTER using wipes on it immediately when I swatched yesterday and having a shower this morning to prove it), and you have the recipe for a really awesome makeup product.

It comes in 12 colours, and retails for $16.95. As far as I know, the line is exclusive to Gloss, or online from Model Co at

The lipstick has a nifty mirror on the side of the tube, so you never have to fish around in your bag for a compact when you're reapplying (which should happen so rarely, you'd wonder why they bothered!).

I'm looking forward to doing a tutorial really soon using this lipstick. I have a feeling it's about to become a staple in my kit.

All in all, a really good all-rounder. I will definitely be buying more of these in neutral shades for everyday wear.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Monday how-to: making your acrylics look better for longer between fills.

Looks great, right? It's been 4 weeks since I had them filled.
Maybe you're on a budget, or maybe you are like me and extremely time-poor (getting an appointment when I don't have the kids is a nightmare), but sometimes, you have to go a little bit longer between refills of your acrylic nails. Usually, this results in really horrible-looking hands with gross, bumpy nails that look terrible.

Because I'm quite resourceful, I've found several little tips and tricks along the way that help me to keep my acrylics looking wearable until I can get to the salon.

So, the first thing you need to do is file them down. When they get long and overgrown, they are hard to deal with and they break more easily. You're going to need a loose grit file (80 or 100 grit) and a fine (240 grit or higher) file. Start with the rough file and run it up the sides of the nail to straighten it up and remove any rough edges, then across the top of the nail to remove as much of the length as you wish. then, using the fine file, smooth down the edges and slightly round the top corners.

Still using the fine file, and with minimal pressure, start to run the file back and forth across the nail over the ridge where the acrylic starts (about halfway up the nail, if you're 4 week out, like I am). BE CAREFUL. If you apply a lot of pressure, you'll notice the area get red and hot to the touch and that is called file burn.The red mark will stay, and if you apply new acrylic over a file burn, you'll have to grow the red mark out. If it starts to get red or hot, take a break.

You want to file them until the ridge looks more like a natural curve down to the natural nail. Be sure to nourish your nails with something awesome like OPI's Nail Envy.

They should then look like this:

You can see that they look a little worse for wear, but the shape of the nails is more natural and they'll be easy to paint over.

If you can live with the slight curve up from natural to acrylic nail, you can just use a normal nail polish over the top as you normally would. 2 coats, don't forget the top coat, and you're all done.

I like to keep mine looking like I get them filled every week (because, after all, I am a beauty blogger and one must keep up appearances), so I have a new product to show you that fills in the gaps and makes them look awesome.

It's BYS 3D nail art polish, and I'll tell you lots more about it in my review on Thursday, but in the meantime, let's have a look at the result:
The mosaic look is really hot right now, so you'll be right on trend. The only downside is that you'll need some patience, because to get this polish to look like I have, you need 4 coats (plus top coat), so there's a lot of drying time involved. Do it when you're watching a movie.

So that's it. That's how I make my nails look just-filled even when I'm really slack or lacking in time. I wouldn't recommend leaving them for longer than 4 weeks. By that point, you'll need to soak off and start again when you do go to the salon, so it's a waste if they've only been on for a month. I'm actually considering growing mine right off, so I'll update you with how that goes, and how my natural nails fare when they have to face the elements alone.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Big Hair Friday! (the wonder of hair extensions)

So I'm going to visit with my partner, who is currently living in Texas, at the end of August. I bought a spiffy new dress and sent him a picture of it, so that he could "ooh" and "ahh" about it, because I hardly ever buy nice things for myself and I wanted to show off.

When I uttered the words "All it needs is some big Texas hair!", he panicked and had visions of Dolly Parton and Dallas in the 80's, so I needed to show him what I meant by the "2013 version" of big Texas hair.

First, here's a picture of me, in the dress, with my natural hair curled. I have no makeup on, which you'll have to forgive, because this post is all about the hair!
It's nice and all, but for a really special occasion (like an anniversary dinner when you haven't seen each other in forever!), it lacks that little extra oomph that a really snazzy dress requires. This is a wear-your-prettiest-knickers kind of date, and a "wow" kind of dress. It's got to be special hair to go with it.

Cue my awesome Remy 100% human hair clip-in extensions, which I've done everything from straightening to curling to crimping and blowdrying with, and they are still perfect.

I have 2 full-head sets of 20" extensions in dark brown (the closest to my shade), and here I have curled them softly with my little Remington straightener to give some body and movement to them.

I think they add a lot of sex appeal, and a more feminine look, just perfect for a date with the fella. I think when we go out to a fancy restaurant, I might go all out and put some makeup on too!

What do you think? Short and natural, or big, long and full of volume?

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Review: Rimmel Stir It Up Cream Eyeshadow

 I was browsing through Gloss the other day, and I stumbled across these Rimmel cream eyeshadows, and fell in love!
There were 7 or 8 different colours, and at just under $5 each, I was tempted to get them all, but I listened to my inner thrifty person and just chose 2.
I ended up with #400 - Out of the blue, and #300 - Sure. Both of these colours are gorgeous and I can think of a bunch of different ways to use them.

First of all, let's have a look at the colours swatched on my arm. The blue one, of course, is Out of the blue, and the bronzey-pink-purple is Sure. I love both colours. The blue/green would be amazing for a mermaid-y kind of look, and the pink will be fantastic for a faerie event we have coming up in Melbourne.

When I first picked them up, I thought that they were powders, so of course, I got a huge surprise when I stuck my finger in the tester!

 They go on very smooth and don't crease, so I think that they would also make a really awesome base colour for a really intense makeup look, if you had an event that you could get away with massive makeup for. Remember, though, if you're going all out with the eyes, you probably want to keep the lips natural-looking to avoid a massive makeup faux-pas.

I lovelovelove these, and I highly recommend that you go check them out for yourself! Like I said, you can get them from Gloss, or from Priceline, Kmart, Target, Big W, Coles supermarkets & selected pharmacies nationally.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Not exactly a beauty post - Clearly Contacts!

As most of you know, and anyone who has watched my beauty videos has seen, I wear glasses. They are an all-day-every-day type thing for me, because I have some vision issues including Astygmatism and short-sightedness.

I recently found a great, really super affordable place to buy contact and glasses (even designer rims!) and I want to share them with you, my dear readers! 

So all you need is your prescription. I've had 2 pairs of glasses from them now, and both have been perfect, vision-wise. The latest pair I bought have transitions photochromatic lenses in them, and they are amazing!

All the ordering is done online at , you just browse and pick out what you want, order online and they take care of the rest! You can get single vision and multifocal glasses, contact lenses for whatever eye problem you have (even Astygmatism!), even prescription coloured lenses! They've got the lot!

Also, if you go look at their facebook page, they often have deals where you can get your first pair of rims for free and just pay for the lenses (and we're talking $10-$30 for single vision lenses, dependent on the coatings you want*). You can find them at

The best part is, because I'm very wary of buying anything online, especially things that need to be absolutely perfect, like vision-correcting aids, I'm absolutely thrilled about their 366 day returns policy. Basically, they aren't happy until you are. And they always pay return shipping, no matter what. They even send the glasses in a hard protective case, along with a little care kit including a cleaning cloth, cleaning spray and a keychain mini-screwdriver.

I'm super impressed with them, and recommend you try them out for yourself!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A new approach for Lush.

I know I'm a little slow to jump on the Lush cosmetics bandwagon, but I've had these images in my inbox for a while and just didn't get to them until now because I really wanted to put a massive effort.

So Lush have had the most gorgeous soap and bath products around for a really long time, and they never really delved too far into the cosmetics side of it....until now.

They have released their "Emotional Brilliance" range of cosmetics and there is something for everyone in this super-pigmented range.
From foundations to liquid liners, eyeshadows, lip tints and everything in between, Lush have really hit the market with a bang. The best part is their middle-of-the-road pricing! They are definitely sitting above drug store/ pharmacy brand makeup in their price range, but they are still totally affordable, and for the quality of the product, keeping in mind that everything they do is cruelty-free and organic where they can, I really think they have done very well to keep it reasonably cheap, as far as good quality cosmetics are concerned.

I actually haven't had a chance to get instore to try them out just yet, but you can certainly expect a follow-up post in the next couple of weeks with some swatches and additional info about dome of the products more specifically.

They are definitely worth a look, even if you only go in to look and smell everything in the store. The staff are always super friendly and helpful and everything in their store is so beautifully presented and smells gorgeous.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Monday how-to: Doctoring pictures.

Oh yes, I'm going to go there. Most bloggers do it, but won't tell you why, or how to do it yourself.
I mostly use post-production for my Youtube thumbnails, and I do everything from changes in lighting, to airbrushing, to darkening up my mascara and whitening my teeth. Why? Because I'm vain, why else? Look deep down inside yourself and I'm certain that -most- of the population would do it too, for the same reason. do I do it? Well, I use an online tool, and I use Photoshop CS3 (outdated, I know, but I really like it and the newer ones just aren't the same). is the online tool that I use for all of my image effects, because it has everything I need in one place, doesn't require me to post the finished pic anywhere online, and to use all of the "Royale" effects, it only costs me $5 per month (there is a free version that has less tools). Photoshop I mainly use to add text to the image once I'm done in picmonkey. I have a tonne of fonts on my computer, and there's always one to suit every image.

Let's have a look at a before and after, just to illustrate what the tools are capable of:

 This is the thumbnail image for my last video tutorial. The thing about YouTube thumbnails is that you're looking to present as professional a look as possible, to make people think that your videos are worth watching before they ever click on it. I know it's working because the view count on this video is way up on all of my others (at least double the next best one).
So the original image is ok, it's a little dark, perhaps, and the product I'm promoting doesn't stand out as well as I'd like it to.
In picmonkey, I adjusted the lighting, bringing the highlights way up to make the brush stand out. Then I airbrushed my face, darkened my lips, cheeks and lashes, and brightened my eyes. I also used the "hair highlights" tool to add a tiny bit of volume to my hair.
Once that was done, I took the image over to photoshop and added the text in the top right corner.

I think you'll agree that it makes for a much more professional finish. People looking to others to teach them about beauty and cosmetics are looking for someone who looks flawless, and it definitely helps if the thumbnail or opening image is a damn good one.

On the side, I have an amateur photography thing going, and I use picmonkey a lot to improve lighting on my finished images. For glamour photography, the airbrush feature comes in really handy. There is even a "wrinkle remover"!

So as "controversial" as image doctoring is, I do believe in honesty above all else, so I decided to share it with you guys, because maybe some of you will get some use out of it too!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Video tutorial: Real Techniques Stippling Brush

Yesterday I reviewed the brush, now I'm going to show you how to use it.

This brush is awesome for any kind of base product; highlighter, foundation, blush, etc.

I've shown you how to use powder products, because I just never got the hang of applying cream products with a brush, but you can totally use it for liquids, creams or powders.

Here's the tutorial: (let me know what you think of the new recording space and setup of my videos, I think they are much more professional.)

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Review Thursday: Samantha Chapman Real Techniques stippling brush

I picked up this brush when I went into my local beauty supply store for nail polish remover and files. I just really liked the aesthetic of it.

For those of you who don't know what it is, a stippling brush is awesome for application of pretty much any base product; foundations, blushes, highlighters, whether they are cream or powder.

This one is a duo-fibre brush, with a really dense head of shorter bristles, and the perfect amount of longer, finer, softer bristles.

I don't ever apply cream products with a brush because I just never got the hang of it, so I have had lots of success with powders using this brush. It really buffs the powder on beautifully and gives you a perfect finish.

The last two benefits of this brush are simple, yet unusual for a brush of this quality. First, it has a flat end, so you can load it up with powder and sit it up on the counter so that you don't lose any product if you need to put the brush down for any reason.

Last of all is the price. You won't find a better brush for ten bucks anywhere.
You can find it here:

What's your favourite cosmetics brush?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Trendsday: Lips'n'tips

Colour blocking is officially done, over with, goneski from the trends of 2013.

What's stepping into its place? The old "Lips'n'Tips" from the 50's! Matching lipstick to your nail and toenail polish for a refined look.

I, personally, couldn't be happier! I loveovelove anything retro that dates back to the 40's and 50's, and this is no exception.

Two notable brands who have hopped onto this trend right from the start, and they have both released lips'n'tips packs so we don't have to go searching for perfectly matched lipglosses and nail polishes.

OPI and Butter London have got some really gorgeous matchy-matchy colours for us to try. I was checking the OPI ones out this week in my local beauty supply store and I am having a hard time choosing just one. It may need to be a double feature!

I'll pop a review up once I have tried them out. I haven't tried lipgloss from OPI, but I did used to use their Avoplex lip treatment before they discontinued it, and LOVED it.

What do you think of the new lips'n'tips trend?

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Bad taste beauty blunders: The "oh dear" files.

Inspired by Allure's Bad taste beauty article, I've decided to share with you some of my own thoughts on bad taste trends-gone-by.

1. A whole face full of TMMU (too much makeup).

This could be spatula'd on foundation, or it could be major lips + major eyes, but the too much thing is definitely in bad taste. Save the wonka makeup for halloween.

2. Bronzer/ Tanning/ Looking like you're 20 years older than you are because you wanted to look "sunkissed".

Lindsay Lohan. ' nuff said.
Snookie, pre-baby. 'nuff said.

Just go easy on the bronzer, peeps. And for your own sake, and the sake of your skin, please stay well out of the UV rays, whether they be natural or machine-supplied. My mum just had a melanoma removed from her face and was sporting some rather gruesome-looking stitches for a week, and that's not even the traumatic part of it. She now has to deal with the fact that she had (they got it all and it's not going to be a problem) CANCER....

3. Conical/pointy/ too long nails.

All of these things are just more of the "too much" category. Let's keep things looking at least semi-realistic, shall we?
I have acrylic nails, but I keep them at a practical length. If I can't text or type my blog out without the nails causing a problem, then the nails have GOT to go.
Let's not even get me started on the disgusting trend of conical/pointy nails. They are just a massive WTF moment in themselves.

4. Mismatched foundation/lipliner/brow filler.

If it doesn't fit your face, DON'T BUY IT! Put down the super cheap foundation that's "only a shade too dark". Save your pennies and buy one that actually fits your skin tone.
Don't even bother filling in your brows with a powder or pencil that's too dark. It's better to have your own natural brows than stencilled in caricatures of eyebrows.
And SERIOUSLY! Get a lipliner that matches your other lip product, or don't use one at all! We've all seen it. That dark/completely the wrong colour lip liner with a nude or pink shimmery gloss. Just... NO. Your best bet is to buy a liner that's the same colour as your lips and work from there.

5. Wild hair colour.

Yup. I did it. I felt rebellious and crazy for about 5 minutes, just like everyone else who had pink/blue/green/Ronald Red last year. That ship has sailed, folks. Now it just looks like you're trying too hard to be unique.
By all means, if it's your "thing" and you rock it hard...go with your bad self. But if you've got it for trend's sake, now is the time to look at new hair trends.

So... that's part one of the "oh dear" files. I've taken inspiration and advice from a few of the leading world beauty experts here, so if you've seen an article with similar "oh dear"s, that's why. I like to stay on top of what the world is saying "Oh, god, YES!" to, but also what the world is saying "Oh, hell NO!" to also.

What's your least favourite trend of last year, that you wish banished from society this year?