Beauty and the beast: Raves

It’s no secret I adore MAC in general, and a wide array of products in particular.  It’s a great line, truly with something for everyone, although the sales staff might put some customers off with their edgy trendy over-made up looks.  I find them to be incredibly sweet and helpful though, and they’ve never made me feel like a troll (something that cannot be said for any Clinique counter I’ve visited, which is why I never ever buy Clinique, apart from the fact I think the products are crappy and have a horrible effect on my skin).

Recent MAC purchases have included the Select SPF MoistureBlend Compact Foundation, a gorgeously creamy and soft compact foundation with great buildable coverage that never looks cakey or dry and gives my sometimes-blotchy complexion a nice smooth natural finish.  Yum.  I was especially pleased to find this as my last few forays into compact foundation-land had been utter disasters, and I love compacts for the speed and ease and portability factors.  MAC also has a fantastic range of shades and tones for any skin colour and undertone.

I love MACs eye shadows, the single pots and the palettes, they are such great quality and the shades are so finely milled and highly pigmented you just can’t go wrong (so long as you blendblendblend).  Tuxedo gave me two eye shadow palettes from the Formal Black collection back in Christmas 2006 (yes that one made it here), the Warm and the Smoked Eye sets, and I’ve been so grateful he did.  I wasn’t sure about the Warm palette as I’ve always been wary of “the neutrals” (browns) as they make me look horrible and ill but having played about with these shades I discovered I can do a really pretty bronzey gold eye, I just have to stay away from the flat taupes and gungy colours.

MACs eye pencils are a delight too – I love the Eye Kohl Pencils and have a handful of different shades, and recently tried out the Powerpoint Pencils which are also yummy.  They are both very soft and gentle on the eyes, give precise lining or smudge effects, and don’t run.  As with all MAC products the colours are gorgeous, true and brilliant.  I also picked up a Brow Finisher Pencil, a sort of waxy crayon for colouring and shaping brows, and am very pleased with it, the shade (Beige Blonde) is perfect for me, the waxiness keeps my brows in shape and the look is finished but natural, no looking like I’ve taken an Artline marker to my face.

Recently I checked out Revlon’s new lines/ranges and was quite impressed – with some of it.  Some of it was just daft and naff.  I’ve never really been much of a Revlon fan, I do like their eye shadow quads as back-ups in my make up bag when travelling and I don’t want to risk my MAC, but mostly it’s passed me by.  I think it looks dated and despite their star-studded ad campaigns nothing has ever grabbed me.  A recent collection had two winners – the Diamond Lust eye shadows, obviously a rip-off of Bobbi Brown’s Diamond Dust eye shadows, even to the mounded shape of the product but guess what the BB shadows are not available in Australia, very pretty shimmery but subtle light shades perfect for highlighting (I got Champagne Buzz, a white-gold). 

The updated Super Lustrous Lip Glosses are also worth a look; the design owes a lot to YSL and Chanel’s glosses, square and expensive looking, but they’re a reasonable price and the new shades are gorgeous.  I even got two, which is unheard of for me, I’m usually so picky and can’t wear most shades if they’re too pale pink or have too much blue in them – I got Glossy Rose and Plum Pearl and they are definitely a success, smooth and with a good punch of colour, application is easy and the doe’s foot brush delivers just the right amount of product for a pretty not gloopy look.

(A couple of the laughable products in the line were the Lash Jewels – basically a tube of glitter for glopping on the ends of the lashes for a “dewdrop diamond finish” – ha!, and the Sugar lip topping, with the end result being to make one’s lips look as though one had just demolished a sugar doughnut – ha! # 2.)

When it comes to body products, The Body Shop is my first and only stop.  I love their scrubs and body butters and although they may not be the cheapest on the market, say compared to Nivea and Palmers, they are still much cheaper than many brands of equal quality, and the big big difference between these and others is that I actually get the stuff out of the tub and on my bod.  I LOVE using them, scrubbing and slathering is a huge treat.  I have tried the Nut and Shea Body scrubs, and like them both a lot, but give the Shea Scrub extra points for it’s moisturising feel on top of its fabulous exfoliating capabilities, and the way it acts as a barrier to prevent moisture loss from skin. 

The Body Butters I’m a little pickier about; I liked the Vitamin E Butter for it’s moisturising and skin treatment properties but loathed the scent – overly “pink”, so I bought a generic Vitamin E Cream from the chemist instead, for my Vit E needs.  The Nut Butter is sublime, smelling chocolatey and vanillary, and soaks into the skin like, well, heavy butter; but again I go for the Shea Body Butter, it is slightly heavier so provides more intense moisture and,  like it’s scrub counterpart, barrier protection. 

My last rave is for a couple of beauty blogs that have become a necessary part of my day’s web-surfing; the day is just not right until I have checked in on Julia of All About The Pretty and the delightful and funny girls at Beaut.ie (and isn’t that the cleverest beauty-related url you’ve ever come across?). 

I am such a fan of Julia at AATP, not only for her great product reviews and information on what’s new and good, but for her whole life philosophy.  While she doesn’t write much about her life besides the beauty related bits – how I wish she would as she’s an inspired and inspiring writer – her views on living life to the full and having a well-rounded, balanced character are enviable and pretty much what I’ve tried to reach in my own life (with varying degrees of success!).  I call it the Renaissance Man – well, I guess, Renaissance Woman – philosophy, living well and loving life, being a scholar, an athlete (or at lest caring for the body’s physical fitness and well-being), interested in many things, a world traveller, open to new ideas, caring always for a balanced mental state and outlook.  Julia, like me, loves to read, cook and eat and drink good wines, travel, she does advanced yoga, and always the goal is to learn and love.  The best of all things.

Beaut.ie is a fairly recent discovery, after I ditched reading a heap of blogs (not just beauty ones) because they were pissing me off; Beaut.ie is funny, irreverent in the way that only Irish folks can be.  I find myself dreaming of Grafton Mall and the buskers, the great pubs and museums and pubs and galleries and pubs in Dublin, Brown Thomas and other stores …   There really are times I get horribly homesick for Ireland, and although I certainly don’t miss the weather and the general fucked-up-edness of Belfast, I do miss the feeling of being in Europe, the continental feel of Dublin, the pubs and people, even/especially the way *I* felt in Ireland, in contrast to an isolated dried out country with redneck attitudes (but superb weather).

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