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BOBBI BROWN Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick (Tuxedo Black) & Luminous Moisturising Treatment Foundation

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BEAUTY, Featured | by — March 24, 2014

BOBBI BROWN Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick - Tuxedo Black 1

Not so long ago, I got to play with two new products from Bobbi Brown – the Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Tuxedo Black and the Luminous Moisturising Treatment Foundation in Sand #2.

After being impressed by Bobbi Brown Long Wear Eye Pencil back in 2012, I had equally great results with the Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick which worked really well as a cream shadow base under eyshadow, and as eyeliner when applied with an eyeliner brush.  It applies creamy at first and is easy to blend into a wash of colour, but once it sets it stays on really well throughout the day without much fading.

What they say

Effortless and high impact-that’s the essence of NEW Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick. This do-it-all formula glides on tug-free and can be used to shade, define, smoke up and highlight eyes. In subtle to eye-popping shades that last for up to 8 hours without creasing, flaking or fading, it’s a stroke of genius. Just swipe on and go.

Normally I’m not really into cream shadows, but after reading Paris B’s cream shadow stick comparison post I’m intrigued to try Laura Mercier next.

BOBBI BROWN Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick - Tuxedo Black 2

It has been many years since I last used Bobbi Brown foundation, as the last formula I tried didn’t agree with my skin.  But I really can’t help myself when a new foundation arrives in the mail and decided to give it a go.

I wasn’t brave enough to wear this continuously, but on the days that I did try the Bobbi Brown Luminous Moisturising Treatment Foundation, I was impressed by how well it concealed redness and gave my skin a luminous glow. The coverage is quite sheer and Sand #2 is a little too warm for my complexion, but nevertheless the before & after pic shows how fresh it makes my skin look afterwards.

Bobbi Brown Luminous Moisturizing Treatment Foundation 1

What they say

Foundation meets skincare. Bobbi’s revolutionary 2-in-1 foundation utilizes Light Reflecting Technology to instantly give skin natural luminosity without traditional pearls. The formula’s effect: skin looks instantly radiant, plumped and moisturized with flawless wear that never looks cakey or dry – a long wearing foundation that’s great even for dry skin. Glycerin, sodium hyaluronate and muru muru seed butter boost skin’s moisture immediately and long-term, while milk thistle extract and natural collagen stimulators visibly lift and firm for suppler, smoother skin.

Bobbi Brown Luminous Moisturizing Treatment Foundation 2

Have you tried Bobbi Brown or Laura Mercier cream shadodw sticks?

 

These products were provided for consideration.

CLINIQUE All About Shadow 8 Pan Eyeshadow Palette – Neutral Territory 2

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BEAUTY, Featured | by — March 17, 2014

CLINIQUE All About Shadow 8 Pan Palette - Neutral Territory 2 1

Despite my unforgiving work schedule (very long hours that sometimes eats into my Sundays!), I still have to look my best and be professional everyday, which means no bludging from makeup, using foundation on a daily basis after giving it up years ago and contouring my eyes to make sure they look well defined like I’m on top of the game.

After experimenting with Bobbi Brown and Sunday Riley eyeshadows for neutral browns, they have since taken a back seat with my new Clinique All About Shadow 8 Pan Eyeshadow Palette (which comes in a mirrored compact finish) for 3 reasons.

CLINIQUE All About Shadow 8 Pan Palette Neutral Territory 2 - 27 Peekaboo 2

1. They are amazing to blend

Not only is the texture so smooth that makes them amazing to blend, but they also stay pigmented throughout the day and I can get away with using my fingers to blur any harsh edges.   No primer required.  Need I say more?

2. The ultra fine shimmers makes my eyes come alive

After much trial and error, I have decided that matte shadows are not for me, and I need a hint of ultra-fine shimmer or pearl to make my eyes pop.  Clinique’s shadows are finely milled and have just the right amount of shimmer that makes my eyes glisten without actually looking shimmery.

3. The shades are perfect for my skin tone.

I have challenges with finding the perfect brown eyeshadow.   If it’s too cool my eyes look sleepier than I already am, and if it’s too brown it makes my eyes look too warm against my neutral skin tone.  The 3rd shade from the right is the perfect shade of brown for my neutral fair skin tone for a chic look.

Shades

The shades are a combination of other eyeshadow duos and quads.   They are crease and fade resistant, and ophthalmologist tested.

  • 1A Sugar Cane (soft shimmer
  • 1A Sugar Cane (soft shimmer)
  • Light shade of Diamonds and Pearls duo
  • Light shade of Neutral Territory duo
  • Light shade of Day into Date duo
  • Brown shade of Polar Blue quad
  • 23 Hazy (super shimmer)
  • 02 Black Honey (super shimmer)
  • Dark brown shade of Morning Java quad

The shades I use the most are the 3rd from the right, and the 3rd from the left.

Verdict

I highly recommend this neutral palette to anyone who share the same challenges as I do with finding the right shades of brown to suit their neutral skin tone, and love ultra fine shimmers in their shadows.  I also love the subtle transition in colours which help with fool-proof blending.  Even though I don’t reach for the warmer shades on a daily basis, I like having them there for a rainy day if I need to match my eyeshadow to a warmer wardrobe colour palette.   I have swatched them very intensly there, but they blend easily into a semi-sheer finish for those that like a lighter application.

CLINIQUE All About Shadow 8 Pan Palette - Neutral Territory 2 2

 RRP: $65 AUD

Available at Clinique counters in Australia now.

This product was provided for consideration.

Winner: Becca The One Perfecting Brush

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Giveaway, IN THE SPOTLIGHT | by — February 25, 2014

BECCA The One Perfecting Brush 1

Thanks to everyone who entered the Becca The One Perfecting Brush Giveaway!

Congrats to Clare M. who was the winning entry #18.

The winner has been contacted by email so please check your inbox!

xx

My 5 most successful SEO tips for beauty blogging

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BEAUTY, Beauty Articles, Featured | by — February 22, 2014

My 5 most successful SEO tips

Now that I have finally prepared myself for saying goodbye to Beauty Swatch,  I suddenly have this urge to share things about my blog that one usually keeps pretty close to their chest.  Now that I have shared how I prepare my lips for swatching, next on my “blog bucket list” of things to share is  SEO – short for search engine optimisation.  Also known as the mystical 3 letter acronym that supposedly holds the keys to a blog’s success.

I have read countless SEO articles over the years, and if you have too I’m sure you know what I mean by how generic they are and often difficult to relate to as a beauty blogger.   The SEO tips I’m about to share with you are the backbone of the top blog posts that drive the majority of the traffic to my blog.  Such that even where I don’t post any new content it doesn’t  make much of a dent to my traffic, as these top posts are so successful that they keep the traffic coming even a year after the post was published.  That is as long as Google doesn’t change things with yet another Panda, Penguin or whatever the next animal is (Parrot? Peacock? Piranha?) that causes much grief to the blogosphere.

For those whose blog traffic have been dealt a heavy hand by Google, I hope these SEO tips will inspire you to keep going with your blogs and continue to create great content.

1. Secrets that have the world searching

It became apparent to me that the way people search for lipsticks on the internet is heavily focused on product reviews, and most articles about lip products are so cliched with little creativity.  I decided to take matters into my own hands and talk to people about lip products to see what they look for in making purchasing decisions, and address their lip concerns via blog posts.

Whilst my best ideas have come from conversations with people, the best thing I ever did for my blog traffic was to translate a Korean beauty book in my post “Beauty Secrets from Korea’s Skin Goddess Go Hyun Jung“.  I did it out of my own personal fascination with her beauty regime and took the opportunity to get my mum to help with translating the beauty tips from Korean to English during my trip home for Christmas.  As it turns out, the rest of the world is just as fascinated as I am with Korean skincare secrets and it is the number 1 performing post that trumps all other articles on Beauty Swatch.

2. Repetition works

I have many keywords repeated on Beauty Swatch (for obvious reasons being a lip swatch library), but all my deliberate attempts were trumped by a single keyword phrase that I used coincidentally.  In my earlier years of blogging, I would always include the name the lip balm that I used to prep lips for swatching and for a long time it was Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm.  By repeating this lip balm name over and over again in multiple blog posts (sometimes with back links added but after a while I gave up out of laziness), this lip balm is one of the highest drivers of traffic to my blog.

3. Tutorials work a treat on Pinterest

If you search for lipstick on Pinterest, you’ll find an abundant supply of lip art and stock images, with a noticeable gap in engaging content.  People love tutorials – be it for hair styling, DIY craft ideas or recipes –   so I decided to take a leaf out of their books and add my tutorials and selected swatches to Pinterest.  My best performing lip tutorial is the The Great Gatsby Inspired Lip Tutorial.

4. Masstige outperforms luxe

If you’ve ever felt that your blog is at a disadvantage due to the lack of content featuring luxury brands, you will be pleased to know that the swatches that I get the most traffic are from masstige brands that offer great quality and pigment at an accessible price point.  No surprises then that the top performing swatches are Revlon Lip Butter, Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipsticks and L’Oreal Shine Caresse Lip Colours.  Another highly successful post is where I swatched a significant number of shades in one post – the Clinique lipstick swatches for the “find your perfect lipstick” event I hosted.

5. Choose post titles wisely

Choosing the best SEO friendly post titles for your blog needs to be tailored to how your readers engage with your blog.  For Beauty Swatch, I know that most people search for keywords, get distracted and browse around 10 other related posts then head off on their merry way, so my post titles are structured based on the keywords that are most likely to be searched for.  I do however like Paris B and Tine‘s choices of engaging titles for their blog posts which works for a readership-based blog.

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I hope you found this insightful!

xx

Giveaway: BECCA The One Perfecting Brush

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BEAUTY, Beauty News, Featured, Giveaway | by — February 15, 2014

BECCA The One Perfecting Brush 1

When I first heard about Becca’s The One Perfecting Brush, I actually imagined it would resemble a travel sized kabuki brush before I saw any pictures of the actual product.  When the brush arrived in the mail, I was in for a surprise by how much bigger it turned out to be! The brush is practically the same size as my work Blackberry mobile phone (9cm wide).

If you’re wondering how such a large sized brush is meant to be used for so many products, the key tip for using this brush is applying your makeup in the right sequence, and prepping the brush according to the type application (eg. targeted vs. all over application).

BECCA The One Perfecting Brush 2

What they say:

From start to finish, primer to powder, The One Perfecting Brush can be used with liquids, crèmes, powders and anything in between. Non-porous, high-quality goat hair allows product to sit on top of bristles rather than absorbing, ensuring a seamless application with no wasted product.  Cuts makeup application in half by replacing these 10 tools: foundation, powder, contour, bronzer, stipple, blush, fan, and concealer brushes, kabuki, and sponge.

The Specs

  • The goat hair bristles measure 9cm wide (the body measures 7cm wide), and the bristles are 2.5cm in depth, which allows for application on both large and smaller surface areas.
  • Features flat edges as well as curved corners to suit the contours your face as well as targeted application.
  • The bristles are free of dye, so they won’t lose shape or softness over time.
  • The long flexible bristles lets you stipple, blend, contour and highlight.

BECCA The One Perfecting Brush 3

 

My Experience

Here’s my preferred sequence that minimises colour transfer, and application tips for best results.
  • Foundation: Apply some foundation on the back of your hand, and buff the brush into the foundation back & forth so that it’s evenly loaded onto the brush then buff it into the skin.  The other way I like to use this brush is after I’ve applied foundation with my fingers & buff it at the end for a more natural finish.  This is my favourite use for the brush as it cut down my foundation application time easily by half.
  • Concealer: After applying concealer with my ring finger under my eyes, I use the tip of the brush to blend & remove any excess.
  • Highlighter: I prefer to use liquid illuminators with this brush, as it’s easier to control the intensity & looks more natural.  
  • Blush: I was most impressed by how well it worked with both powder and cream blushes.  The finish is impeccably blended and natural by using just the corner tips of the brush.  I tested it with a sheer blush by dipping the corner into it, and actually got a more pigmented result with the brush.  With cream blush, I dotted it onto cheeks first and the brush blended it so naturally that I needed a second coat and perhaps a lighter hand next time.
  • Contour: I used the opposite tip to apply bronzer to contour, and I must admit I struggled with this part as I’ve been so used to using my Hakuhodo B110BkSL Goat Hair Blush Brush to buff bronzer in circular motions that I struggled to blend it using linear motions.  The result nevertheless was very natural with no harsh contour lines, to the point that my whole cheek appears slightly bronzed instead of a contoured effect (as I have very flat facial features).
  • Bristles: If the softness of Japanese goat hair brushes (eg. Shu Uemura, Suqqu, and high end Hakuhodo brushes) were a 10 out of 10, then I’d rate the softness of the Becca brush as 7.5 or 8 out of 10.  Despite looking splayed in the picture, the bristles are softer than they look and are flexible to achieve a buffed air-brushed effect.

Overall Verdict

In contrast to the density of other goat hair kabuki brushes that tend to be small and dome shaped, I’m really liking the large flat linear shape of the Becca The One Perfecting Brush as it’s much easier to buff skin with fewer strokes, and the air-brushed finish has got me hooked.  The idea of using one brush from start to finish works well if you are committed to washing the brush frequently, and since the bristles are non-porous Becca recommends washing it every 2 weeks if using the brush daily (personally I’d be washing it more frequently).  This is a welcome addition to my brush collection for buffing foundation, under eye concealer and cream blush, however it won’t be replacing my bronzer brush as I am not dexterous enough to change my contour application technique.

Giveaway: Win a Becca The One Perfecting Brush

Becca have kindly offered to give away one brush valued at $65 AUD.  Details of how to enter the giveaway below:

  • Complete the giveaway entry form.
  • Giveaway limited to Australian residents only.  Entries close Friday 22 February 2014 midnight.
  • Winners will be randomly selected via random.org and contacted via email to confirm a delivery address.
  • The winner’s email will be forwarded to Becca to arrange for the prize to delivered by Becca.