Sometimes I make odd decisions, and one of those odd decisions was buying TheBalm’s Manizer Sisters palette at the same time as ordering the Becca Afterglow palette from Sephora. The three highlighting shades are virtually identical—one golden, one pink and one bronze. I definitely don’t need both, so I thought I’d pit Becca Afterglow vs TheBalm Manizer Sisters to see which one is the victor.
I don’t generally need an excuse to spend my money on makeup and skincare, but when I’m trying to justify more spending I usually go for the “well, it’s my favourite and what if I run out?” argument. Well, it is my favourite, and what if I do run out? Right?
Taking a look at what I do have (sometimes multiple) backups of, though, is a good way to see what products I really, really like. I think the concept of a ‘holy grail’ is pretty garbage, but I do like the idea of finding a favourite product and just committing to it. Seeing as I just stocked up on some emergency backup supplies, I thought I’d show you my stash of certified favourites.
Sometimes you just have to buy yourself really expensive things. This isn’t actually a recent purchase, which makes me feel better about it in the no-longer-feeling-the-sting-of-spending-$175-on-a-bottle-of-perfume kind of way. I bought myself a bottle of Diptyque’s L’Ombre Dans L’Eau in celebration when I got the job at Clinique; I no longer have the job at Clinique but I still love this fragrance, whatever that means. I think I decided that if I was going to buy a Diptyque fragrance for myself I was going to do it right, goddamn it, so I bought the 100ml.
Sephora New Zealand exists. I repeat, Sephora now has a New Zealand website. The Singapore-based Luxola, which was a cosmetics shopping site I had never used but had a New Zealand branch, has become part of the Sephora empire. This is pretty exciting news – even though they don’t carry all the same brands as the American Sephora does, there are a whole host of beauty brands that are now a million times more accessible to us in New Zealand.
As part of the launch celebrations I got to pick a few products from Sephora.nz to try, so naturally I picked the most hyped things I’ve wanted to get my hands on (I think Cass had the same idea). Pricing is pretty darn decent, and the site has free shipping over $75, which is not hard to reach.
I didn’t work for Clinique for six months without developing a pretty sound knowledge of every damn product they market – and there’s a lot of them. I started writing a Clinique Top 5 list, which expanded quickly into a Top 12, but I’ve chopped it back down to 5 (just as long as you don’t count the individual lipsticks).
Like Ruth from A Model Recommends, I’m not a huge fan of the traditional Clinique 3 Step system: I like a cleanser that can remove my makeup, I like a toner without alcohol, and I like a moisturiser that doesn’t break me out (but that’s my weird skin’s fault, not Clinique’s). I have managed to cobble together my own functional alternative system instead, although I’ve left cleansers out of this post because they’re fairly interchangeable.
2015 was a weird year of change and discovery for me. I left a job to study makeup artistry at Weltec in the first half of the year, and after gaining my qualification I became Assistant Counter Manager for Clinique at Farmers Lambton Quay. In December I handed in my resignation after working for Clinique for six months.
So I’ve been a shit blogger in 2015 but I’ve still been using products and trying products and having thoughts on them, so I’m still going to write a Best of 2015 post. This time I thought I’d keep it nice and brief with one favourite high end product and one favourite affordable option. Conveniently they also work out to be one makeup product and one skincare product! Nice and symmetrical. If this isn’t enough for you, feel free to read my 2014 and 2013 favourites, all of which I still like.
Cotton pads fall under the category of ‘beauty tools and accessories you kind of need but are wholly unprepared to spend a lot of money on because you literally use them once and throw them out’, and I shop for them accordingly. I’m usually pretty indifferent to what ones I get, and actually Pams Cotton Rounds are $2 something and more than decent. Working next to the Shiseido counter, though, I see a lot of customers buying the Shiseido Facial Cotton, which delivers moisture, with a luxuriously gentle touch, for $8. This stuff comes in at 13 cents per square (as opposed to 3 cents each for Pams) but holy shit is it worth it. Well, as worth it as spending more money on little squares of cotton can be.
It has been a bitch of a week, so to say I needed and deserved a massage today is an understatement. I tend to drop in to The Rub on Willis Street to have someone dig around in my shoulders and back when my tension gets too bad (or when I can spare thirty dollars) but that doesn’t compare to a full spa treatment experience. I’ve never been to a spa attached to a hotel before – I think I was worried they’d be a bit hoky, like most restaurants attached to hotels, but Bodyhaven Spa at the Amora was the complete opposite. Seriously, I have never felt more relaxed in my life. Driving home afterwards was almost dangerous because of how relaxed I was.
I’ve had quite an adventure with eye creams: there was the saga with the Clinique one and the bumps, the expensive Apot.Care bought as an emergency solution and a few more besides. While St Paula reckons eye creams are a bit of a stiff, I do think there’s some truth to using a specialised cream around your eyes. The skin there is thinner, with less sebaceous glands (the ones that produce oil), so it is often drier and more likely to have a compromised moisture barrier. There’s also less collagen and elastin in the skin (the stuff that keeps it supple and maintains structure), which is why you get laugh lines and frown lines and all that showing up sooner rather than later.
I’m on the fence about embracing signs of aging: I wrote a breakup letter to my grey hair a few months back, but to be fair I’m too lazy to maintain the colour and now I’m rather enjoying my witchy streaks. I’m not too into the idea of wrinkles around my eyes, though, so I’m trying to use eye cream regularly. I bought the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream when I visited the new Bobbi Brown counter at Queensgate a few months back (read about it here), and it’s pretty dope.