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The Best of Face of Australia

By Kimberly Nissen, Local Contributor – Australia

Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Kimberly started her working life early at the tender age of 15. For most of the past 10 years, she has worked for some of the biggest media corporations her sunny country has had to offer. She always wanted to become a writer, but with no training and never having finished high school, it didn’t look like it was going to happen, but then she created The Plastic Diaries and The Styleless Diaries. She also co-founded the first niche-specific blogging event in Australia, the Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend.


The Best of Face of Australia

Australian beauty brands are different to the rest of the world. While striving to make the perfect product is a universal goal, I feel the Australian approach to beauty is simplistic. In general, we like easy to use, understated, realistic beauty. We live an outdoor, active lifestyle and we want to look good without interfering with it. One brand that I believe encapsulates the Australian beauty culture is Face Of Australia.

Face Of Australia is an Australian owned and made brand of color cosmetics. Their philosophy is to make products specifically designed for Australian consumers, who want a high quality, innovative range of cosmetics at an affordable price.  Being an Australian beauty lover can be difficult due to our lack of access to international brands and their high price points. Like most women, I wanted to stay on top of color trends and try products containing the latest ingredients and developments. Face Of Australia is one brand that consistently brings on new products that are often better than the luxury alternatives.

Discovering their products changed my life not only in bringing me the products I wanted, but also restoring my faith in the Australian color cosmetic market. Because of them I started to try more Australian brands, and I have never looked back. Plus, they are 100% against animal testing and that means a lot to me.

The Products

I couldn’t leave without telling you my top 3 products by Face Of Australia. I have already mentioned a couple of these previously but they are that good they deserve another mention.

  1. Liquid Eyeliner (AUS $8.95 rrp) is my holy grail liquid eyeliner.  The brush head is super fine and the long handle makes controlling the application extremely easy. Once dry, it doesn’t budge.  It’s available in four shades:  Black, Brown, Charcoal, and Navy.
  2. Face Base Primer (AUS $11.95 rrp) is my favorite primer to date.  The oil-free formula is hydrating and leaves my skin feeling soft and supple. It does all the things a great primer should do, but why I like this one is that it is fragrance-free and doesn’t clog my pores.
  3. Lip Quench Moisturizing Lipstick SPF30+ (AUS $9.45 rrp) is beautiful range of lipsticks that has one key factor that makes it a standout to me:   SPF30+. The lipsticks are nourishing, the colors are gorgeous, and they don’t have that icky ‘lipstick smell’ but all of that is just icing on the cake to the fact they provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.  Available in 13 shades: Malibu Barbie, Forbidden Fruit, Pink Champagne, Nude Satin, Lychee Crush, Iced Almond, Ruby Delight, Power Surge, Pink Ambition, Pure Plum, Silver Rose, Sweet Nectar, Cocoa Cherry.
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Strange Tips for Surviving Prairie Winters

By Rae Chen, Local Contributor – Canada

Rae, the easily-distracted Canadian blogger behind theNotice: a beauty blog, is neither the brains nor the beauty of the operation. (The subjective existence of either has yet to be determined – we’ll get back to you on that one.)

She is, however, a rather relentless makeup junkie with a camera, a lack of a filter, and a writing style that’s rather more snark than sycophant.

Strange Tips for Surviving Prairie Winters

There are winter skin tips that I’m sure we’ve all heard by now: don’t shower in hot water, switch to a heavier moisturizer, make sure to exfoliate your body. But – what about all the tricks that slip through the cracks?

When you grow up on the Canadian prairies, you pick up a trick or two. Here are some of mine!

Please note: instead of featuring only Canadian products, this post focuses instead on products (some Canada-only, some not) that are great for our rather unique winters. So, no matter where you are in the world – if it’s cold, there should be something in here for you, too!

Check out the best products for a tough winter from cheeks to lips to skin!

Must-Have Styling Tools for Hair

By Amanda Allington, Hair Care Contributor

Amanda Allington was born in Vancouver, B.C. in Canada but her family moved to southern California when she was just five years old. She’s lived along the west coast, including Hawaii but has just moved to Washington D.C. Amanda has been married to her husband for four years and they have a two-year old son. Her husband is part of the military, so she and her family move around often, but she really enjoys it, because she can experience different places and people! Luckily, no matter where she has moved, she always finds other people who are as beauty obsessed as she is!


Photo by Tavis Leaf Glover

Must-Have Styling Tools for Hair

Make this year the year that you master your hair! Below are ten hair styling tools that I think are essential for making any air type styled and fabulous!

Blow Dryer

A good blow dryer will dry hair efficiently without overheating. Ceramic coils maintain a more even heat, which helps prevent the blow dryer from overheating and damaging your hair. Tourmaline is a semi-precious gem that aids in negative ion production. Negative ions are said to absorb water faster, thus speeding up drying time, as well as smoothing the hair follicles. Although, there is still some question to both of these claims.

Over 400 reviews on Amazon.com give the Revlon RV544 1875 Watt Tourmaline Ionic Lightweight Dryer ($25.00) an average of four stars. Self magazine says it is the fastest dryer for the money and Consumer Reports named it the best ionic dryer for the price. At around $25, it is a great purchase and better than many blow dryers twice the cost. The only negative is that this dryer does not use ceramic coils so heat damage could be an issue.

With ceramic coils, tourmaline and negative ions, the Conair Infiniti Tourmaline Ceramic Ionic Hair Styler 223X ($40.00) has it all and gets an average of four stars on Amazon.com with over 100 reviews. InStyle magazine has named this their best budget dryer for four years straight, and Self magazine recognizes this blow dryer as the best for fine/limp hair, because it reduces static. I love the bright pink color that is available and at $40, this is my pick and a fantastic mid range tool.

The T3 Featherweight ($200.00) has been reviewed in just about every beauty site and magazine out there with an average of four stars. The T3 also uses ceramic coils, tourmaline, and ionic technology. It’s named best for travel by Women’s Health, best lightweight by Self magazine, and best professional dryer by Consumer Research. Despite the reviews, some people are just not impressed with this dryer so if you decide that you want the T3, I suggest you swing by your local Sephora and try it out.

Get tips on picking a straightener, flat/curling iron, and more! 

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Guerlain Jicky: A Life-Changing Scent

By Caitlin, Fragrance Contributor

Caitlin recently completed her master’s degree in British Literature at St. Andrews in Scotland. She’s just moved back to the U.S., currently residing in Pennsylvania, and now works for a local non-profit. She studed French during her undergraduate years and even lived in Paris for a years. She loves traveling, but now that she has to hold down a “real job” now, she travels by way of new perfumes. She says fragrance has a way of transporting you to a new place, which is one of the reasons she loves perfume! You can follow her on Twitter!


Guerlain Jicky: A Life-Changing Scent

Confusion is not an emotion I expect to feel when sampling a fragrance, but that was exactly my experience the first time I came across Guerlain Jicky (Eau de Toilette, $98; Eau de Parfum, $122; Pure Parfum, $317). I had never before experienced such enticing notes mixed with something a little strange, something a little off-putting. The thing is, that jarring note wasn’t quite off-putting enough. It was off-putting in an interesting way, in a good way, if that’s possible! Jicky was the first fragrance I found to be truly compelling precisely because of its oddness.

Making its debut in 1889, Jicky is the oldest fragrance in continuous production. Guerlain attaches a romantic history to it: Aimé Guerlain fell in love with a girl while studying in England. Her nickname was Jicky. It was an unrequited love, and Aimé was obligated to return to his family in France. Still, he wanted to memorialize his first love, and thus he created Jicky. Who can say if this is the true story? But if it is the truth, Jicky must have been a unique woman because her namesake fragrance is anything but typical.

Containing notes of bergamot, lavender, civet, and vanilla, Jicky is famously divisive. It was initially a complete flop with women. Jicky was much more successful with men during its early years, and Guerlain now classifies it as unisex. Jicky’s contentiousness comes from the sense that it smells ‘dirty’ both in the sense that people find it too reminiscent of sex and too much like actual dirt. The animalic civet note is the troublemaker here, but I actually love this note in Jicky!

To me, the civet brings much needed balance to the fragrance. Jicky’s opening is a whirlwind of lemon, bergamot, and lavender. It’s intoxicating, but it teeters on the brink of smelling too medicinal. When the civet kicks in, it anchors the fragrance with more warmth and depth. There is an undeniably ‘dirty’ aspect to the civet but, again, balance is the key to Jicky. The cool lavender top note persists well into wear time and blends effortlessly with the warmth of the civet.

The Jicky Eau de Toilette is a bright and sparkling composition that focuses more on the citrus top notes, while the Eau de Parfum is more civet-heavy, and the extrait of pure parfum emphasizes the herbal lavender note. I have worn and enjoyed all three concentrations at different times; it simply depends on your mood as to which one you would prefer.

Any and all of Guerlain’s classic fragrances are worthy of the life-changer moniker but Jicky is the one that speaks to me. Jicky is not straight-forward or easy to love. I have returned to this fragrance again and again, and each time I feel simultaneously puzzled, pleased, frustrated, and seduced. But I love Jicky in all its beautiful strangeness. Worn at the right moment, there is nothing like it.

 

5 Life-Changing Products from the UK

By Adrienne, Scotland Contributor

Adrienne lives in Scotland, and she writes for The Sunday Girl, which is mostly beauty but with a little life thrown into the mix. She was born and bred in Scotland, still resides in a damp Scottish town, and jokes that she sees about three days of sunshine a year–but it’s a lovely place to live. She is currently attending university studying both English and French with hopes to become an English teacher.In her free time, she loves to shop and hang out with friends–and beauty blog when she can!


SleekMakeUp Original Palette

5 Life-Changing Products from the UK

I typed this post up with the though what local to me products do I reach for on an almost daily basis and what products would I wholeheartedly recommend without a second thought. Truth be told the list was rather large but I have scaled it back to just five must have products!

SleekMakeUp Original Palette (£6.49)

Most palettes come with a running theme, such as neutral, smoky, or brights but this 12-pan palette has nearly all the colors covered. The original palette has a vast array of shades from bright to neutral that will easily carry you from day to night all encased in a slim compact with a sizable mirror. Each eyeshadow is highly pigmented and mineral based. The black eyeshadow in this palette has to be one of the most pigmented I have ever stumbled across, and it can double up as an eyeliner if you apply it wet.  It’s the perfect eye palette to keep in your handbag for any occasion!

Gosh Lipstick (£6.49)

Gosh lipsticks are all highly pigmented, come in a variety of finishes, apply with ease, and wear comfortably throughout the day without drying out the lips.  I get around four hours of wear from each application, but I am a habitual re-applier so you may find you get longer from each application. Unlike some drugstore brands, these are not highly scented, which I know some may find offensive. My personal favorite shade by Gosh is Darling, as not only can it be worn as a nude milky lip shade, but I also find it works particularly well as a lip eraser if you apply, blot, and then apply your chosen lip color on top. Gosh are particularly good at launching limited edition shades for each season to coincide with runway trends. Another shade to look out for is Gosh Tropical Pink that looks just wonderful on all skin tones.

Accessorize Bronzer Duo (£6.00)

As you might have noticed, I like my products to work hard and have more than one use; anything that can double-up has my attention. Accessorize Bronzer Duos are baked bronzers that are very similar in texture and finish to MAC’s Mineralize Skinfnishes, only with a much reduced price tag.  These are branded as bronzers, one shade in the duo tends to be far too light to do any bronzing and is best suited as a highlighting product, which makes it a multi-tasking product. You can apply the light shade as a highlighter, the darker shade as a bronzer, or sweep both shades together. My personal favourite is the Laguna shade that consists of a pink-toned bronze shade combined with a champagne toned section.

Check out two more life-changing products and photos!

Teenage Beauty Madeline’s Beauty Must-Haves

By Madeline, Teen Beauty Contributor

Madeline is 17-years old and currently attends high school in southern California. She’s also lived in D.C. and a Connecticut suburb of NYC. She loves to read, write, as well as shop, travel, play golf, and spend time with her family and friends. She’s excited to go to college and hopes to attend university on the east coast. Despite living in California now, she feels like a New Yorker!

Check out her blog, This Little Preppy Goes West!


Teenage Beauty Madeline’s Beauty Must-Haves

Perhaps I am reading too much into the matter, but knowing someone’s “must-haves” is sort of like a window into their soul. I think these types of posts are extremely helpful, not to mention interesting. Hopefully, you’ll learn a little more about me from my favorite products!

I love the fun, edgy clothes from Topshop, so when the company released a line of cosmetics, I was excited to test it out. By chance, I found the unique gel/cream formula of blush, which happened to be on sale at the time.  Aside from the adorable and characteristically British packaging, Topshop Blush in Crushed Berry ($12.00) has all the qualities of a “holy grail” product. The dark berry color gives a healthy natural-looking flush with a slight hint of reddish-pink. This color is great for everyday and goes with every look. In fact, this blush is everything I wanted Benefit Benetint to be. However, what I like most about this product is the consistency. The formula is described as a cream, though it feels like a light, almost-solidified gel, with great but not heavy pigmentation. If you haven’t checked out Topshop cosmetics, I would definitely recommend it next time you’re in New York, Chicago, or the UK.

Like most every other beauty lover, I am a big fan of all MAC’s bestseller shades. I love All That Glitters, Woodwinked, Sable, and the list goes on. However, I think MAC Soba Eyeshadow ($14.50) is one of the most underrated shadows offered by the brand. The golden-sand color is completely universal and works great all over the eyelid, as well as in the crease. In my go-to look, I pair Soba in the crease with All That Glitters on the lid for an easy and natural eye.

If I’m going to wear a powder blush, I almost always reach for Benefit Sugarbomb ($28.00). The combination of the four colors is natural and brightening. Another interesting fact about the Benefit Boxed Powders is that they all smell delicious. I’m not sure how they make a powder have such a delightful, yet subtle scent, but I’m certainly not complaining!

Check out more of Madeline’s must-haves! 

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