Tuesday, 30 October 2012

How I save money when buying makeup

As everyone knows, the markup on makeup in Australia is HUGE but we all like to save money where we can. Mishelle from Mishelle's Sleepy Time recently did a post on some examples of the markups that we fork out for if we pay full retail price here in Australia.

(Read here: http://mishellesleepytime.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/makeup-mark-up-usa-vs-australia.html)

Whenever I want to buy something, I work out how much I'd save by buying it online from a US store and having it parcel forwarded to me. Parcel forwarding is also good for getting products that you can't get here in Australia like Urban Decay.

I use the company PriceUSA which is run by Carolina in Melbourne and her US partners in Oregon. I've used them a number of times and as a disclaimer: they haven't asked me to write this review about them. I was requested to do this post by Sophie from http://dontstopbuying.blogspot.com.au.

How it works is that I'll fill out the order form on their website, letting them know what I want and where to order it from. Shortly afterwards, Carolina will email me a quote of how much she estimates my order will cost and if I want to go ahead, I pay a deposit into one of the PriceUSA trust bank accounts.

One of Carolina's US partners will then purchase the products and ship it to themselves. When they receive the order, I get emailed a final quote and I pay the rest of the balance before they ship it out to me. My estimates have generally been spot on or $1-3 short.

I save a lot of money by using PriceUSA as my parcel forwarding company (they don't charge fees unless you use Paypal or a credit card to pay them). As an example, I recently ordered 5 MAC items from the US and saved almost 50%.

Price comparisons

I hope that helps! If I've been a bit ambiguous, let me know and I'll try my best to explain it a bit better.

Shopping Ban Fail Haul Part 1

I went on a shopping ban a few weeks ago but I broke it almost straight away :( I've cut back a lot and the haul that I'm showing you was bought today when I went into Sydney for an eyebrow shaping appointment (I recommend Martha Bedggood in Surry Hills - She has no appointments left for awhile though as she's booked solid in the lead up to Christmas).

Part 2 will be coming soon and that will show you my Benefit haul that I did 1-2 weeks ago and has just arrived today :)

I don't know if I'll do part 3 yet. I'm not very good at taking photos so it takes me ages to get half decent ones to show you here. I received a MAC and Urban Decay order from the US but I'm not sure if you guys want to see it or not.

So onto Part 1:

I went into Lush today at QVB as I wanted to buy a bottle of snow fairy. I've heard a lot about it and it's limited edition so I decided to buy a medium sized bottle ($14.95 for 250mL). I couldn't resist picking up a bottle of Twilight as well ($14.95 for 250mL) as I'd seen it on someone's blog the other day.

Snow Fairy and Twilight from Lush

Twilight is a glittery purple shower gel and snow fairy is a glittery pink shower gel.

Purple glitter in Snow Fairy

I love all things pink so I really like snow fairy. I regret buying Twilight though as I'm not a fan of the scent (lavender). I should've tried it out in store.

I've also been looking for a good body scrub and after trying it out in store, I bought the large tub of Ocean Salt ($35.95 for 250g). I think it's ridiculously priced but I really love it. I know that it says that it's a facial scrub but it can also be used as a body scrub. The sales lady said that it reminded her of a martini because of the salt and vodka in it (I rarely drink so I have no idea what's even in a martini).

Ocean salt

The large salt crystals are on top
for decoration.

After Lush, I went to Kit Cosmetics in Myer and picked up a few things:

Kit Cosmetics Haul
1. Kit Hand fresh pear, crisp apple and vanilla hand cream ($23.95 for 75mL). This smells amazing and exactly like pears!

2. Soap & Glory hand food - hydrating hand cream ($5.95 for 50mL): It has a sickly sweet smell so I'm not sure if I like it. I'll keep using it before I make up my mind.

3. Mario Badescu drying lotion ($26.95 for the little bottle): I'm a sucker for anything that says it will help me with acne. I was recommended this by Abigail from http://shrinkingwallet.blogspot.com.au. I absolutely LOVE her blog so head on over and check her out :)

4. Mario Badescu healing cream ($26.95 for 14mL): This is to use in conjunction with the drying lotion.

Part 2 is coming up in a few days.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Acne Treatment

When I was in high school, I had really good skin (except for maybe 1 or 2 pimples) until year 12, when overnight, I noticed that pimples started to appear on my forehead and they haven't gone away since.

Occasionally, I'll also get them on the area between my lips and my nose and on my cheeks.

I have to admit though, I haven't tried very hard in clearing up my skin (I eat so much junk!) but I still get suckered into buying anything that promises to "clear up acne and reduce redness and scarring".

Which is precisely why I bought this the other day:

Witch naturally clear blemish gel

The Witch naturally clear blemish gel promises to:

"Dissolves excess oils and clears pores"
"Gets to work instantly"
"While you sleep the gel gets to work - cleansing your pores"

"Witch Blemish Gel instantly absorbs deep into your pores, cooling your skin and dissolving excess oils. Deep cleanses by tackling the source of blemishes"

It's a clear gel that has a light, fresh scent and absorbs really well into the skin. It doesn't necessarily have a "cooling effect" but at least it isn't sticky or oily. I only started using it last night so there hasn't been any noticeable change yet. It was fairly cheap and I picked it up for $10 at Priceline.

Has anyone had any success stories with acne? I'd love to hear about them!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Crabtree & Evelyn Wisteria Hand Cream Review

Quick review:

I've been using a Crabtree & Evelyn hand cream recently as I've been trying to use up the 5 that I have lying around unopened.

The one that I have going at the moment is the Wisteria hand cream in a small 25 gram size.

Crabtree & Evelyn
Wisteria Hand Cream

It has a strong floral smell that lingers so if you're not a fan of strong smells, I'd stay away from this. However, it's very light and moisturising so I only need a small amount each time to cover both hands.

Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Cream

I find that the lid is sometimes hard to put back on when my hands have been freshly moisturised. The lid is a screw on and if you don't wipe the edges clean after every use, it's very likely that it'll become gunky and gross around the lid area like how the testers in the stores always look like.

Opening of the tube

There's a range of hand creams at Crabtree & Evelyn so if you're not a fan of floral smells, they also have ones like Pomegranate. The price starts from $20 for a 50mL tube but you can also get value packs with 25mL or 50mL tubes.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

New blog layout

Hey guys!

This is just a quick post to let you know about my new layout :)

I was getting a bit bored of my old one which was a standard blogspot template so I enlisted the help of Jessica from http://www.jmhunterxo.blogspot.co.uk to create me a new one.

Let me know what you think and if there's anything I should change.

Disclaimer: I paid Jessica for her services. She charges a small fee and it was a fast and easy process (took about 2 days due to the time zone differences). I let her know what colours I wanted and gave her a general idea of what I was after (minimalist, pink, white, grey) and she allowed 3 revisions. Highly recommend her services!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

MAC Marilyn Monroe

When this collection was released a few weeks ago, I really wanted to buy the Love Goddess lipstick.
However, the lipstick retails for AUS$38 which I thought was excessive when it was priced at US$16.50 and CDN$20 (although they also have to pay taxes on top). The majority of the collection sold out within hours when it was released online on the US MAC website. Similarly, when Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Macy's released the collection a few days later, they also sold out really fast.

Luckily, a friend in Canada was able to get me the Love Goddess lipstick and the Legendary blush. She took it with her to California (had a holiday there) and shipped it to me from there. It arrived in 8 days and cost less than $5 in shipping! (She used USPS First Class International Shipping).


Lipstick and Blush

Lipstick and Blush

Back of Packaging

The lipstick is very pigmented and reminds me of my Elizabeth Arden Cranberry Cream Lipstick (review here: http://shoppingqueenjen.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/cranberry-cream-lipstick.html).

In natural lighting

In shaded lighting

With Flash

I find that the Elizabeth Arden lipstick is creamier, although this comes a close second. It's described my MAC as a "midtone pink red".

The blush is very sheer so I didn't do a swatch of it as it wouldn't show up in photos. It's not very pigmented and gives my cheeks just a hint of colour. The container is also very flimsy and it creaks every time I open it. I'm not too impressed by it but I was drawn to it as it's limited edition and I didn't want to regret missing out on it.

I really regret missing out on the MAC Watch Me Simmer lipstick that was released earlier this year. I found it on eBay but I'm not sure if I trust the sellers :P Does anyone know of any reputable MAC resellers?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

What's in my bag?

I absolutely love watching "what's in my bag" videos on youtube so I thought I would do a post on it :)

I bought a black Longchamp large tote back in February/March 2011 and I've used it every day since. The corners have been worn down but the bag is still sturdy and I won't be replacing it until it truly falls apart. It's been an amazing investment.

Longchamp large tote

My bag, for some reason, is normally filled up with receipts, plastic bags and rubbish. I cleaned it out and took a photo for you.

Here's what's in my bag:

Contents of my bag

1. Oroton Wallet: I've had this for about 4 years now. It's still going strong! It holds the cards that I don't use frequently and coins.

2. House keys: The tweety keychain is from Movieworld.

3. Chanel card holder: I bought this around August/September as a treat.

4. Mimco purse: This holds the cards that I use most frequently. It's small enough to take to work and use on my lunch breaks. We have to leave our bags in our lockers (in another part of the shopping centre) so I don't have easy access to my Oroton wallet.

5. Make Up For Ever concealer: I did a review here: http://shoppingqueenjen.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/concealer-rave.html

6. Jack Black lip balm: I love this stuff! So soothing and moisturising.

7. Pure Fiji body lotion: You never know when you need moisturiser!

8. Bobbi Brown pressed powder: I don't use the pressed powder anymore but I use the mirror in it.

9. Maybelline eyeliner: For touch ups on the go.

10. Mimco hair clip: For hot days. My hair is past waist length and needs to be tied up in summer.

11. Bioderma sample: You never know when you need makeup remover!

12. Mophie charger: My iPhone sometimes runs out of battery too early in the day so I use this to give it a boost.

13. Estee Lauder daywear sample: I refill this little pot from my main jar whenever it gets empty. It lets me carry around my facial moisturiser easily.

14. Bottle of water: I always have a bottle of water in my bag.

15. Not pictured: my iPhone (I used it to take this photo).

Occasionally, I also carry around facial wipes, tissues, food and other drinks. I weighed my bag once and it was 2-3kg!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Trial Team for Rimmel BB Cream

Last week, I was invited by beautyheaven.com.au to be a member of the trial team for the new Rimmel BB cream.

Rimmel BB Cream

I did a quick Google to find out the price for you but I don't think it's for sale yet. I was sent the 9-in-1 BB cream in the shade medium and it contains SPF 25 which will be good for summer as I always forget to use sunscreen.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Update on Evo Hair Products

A few weeks ago, I did a blog post on Evo hair products.

Link: http://shoppingqueenjen.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/evo-hair-review-and-haul.html

I'd been using the Therapist shampoo and conditioner that I got from a Lust Have It! box and I absolutely loved it. When I finished the samples, I tracked down a hair dresser in Surry Hills (who stocked Evo) to buy some more but she convinced me to buy the 'Ritual Salvation' shampoo and conditioner instead.

Evo shampoo and conditioner.

She also told me that I needed a hair cut even though I'd just gotten one 4 weeks earlier at the best hair dresser I've ever been to..... (I probably should've known better than to listen to her. If you were interested, my hairdresser is Fringe on Crown in Surry Hills).

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

MAC Brow Finisher Review

This is a quick review on the MAC Brow Finisher in Clear. I ordered this from the US using a parcel forwarder so I ended up paying only $15 rather than the $31 here in Australia.

Mac Brow Finisher - Clear

The brow finisher packaging is similar to that of a wind up eyeliner and contains 0.5 grams of product in the black plastic wind up tube.

Clear wax

It's a hard wax that sets your eyebrows so that they don't move out of place. I don't have a swatch for you as it's a clear product so it won't show up. You can't tell that you've put clear wax on your eyebrows unless you touch them and they'll feel waxy but look completely natural.

I have doubts that it'll last very long as there's so little product but I love it and will repurchase when I run out.

Does anyone know if I can Back 2 Mac this?

Monday, 15 October 2012

Natio Peachy Pastel Nails

I rarely ever paint my nails because I'm terrible at it but I decided to do so as someone asked for a review on the nail polishes from Natio that I bought a little while ago.

This is the Natio peachy pastel and please excuse the chipping and peeling (and my non-existant nail painting skills). I only remembered to take the photo a few days later.

Natio peachy pastel polish

Sunday, 14 October 2012

October Empties

It's October empties time!

This month, I finished off a few items that I've had for a little while. I love doing these empties posts as it really encourages me to finish off my products :) I know that technically, we're only halfway through October, but I really wanted to do the post now rather than wait until the end of the month and have 'rubbish' lying around.

Swisspers cotton pads, Clinique take the day off makeup remover,
Sephora lip balm, Sasy n Savy hand cream

Friday, 12 October 2012

Birthday Wish list

Last year, my friend and I both wrote down birthday wish lists and swapped them with each other to get an idea of what to buy the other person (our birthdays are 6 days apart). These lists normally contain things that we really really want but refuse to buy for ourselves (because of the price or we just can't justify it) and it doesn't count if someone else buys it :P

This year, there isn't really much on my list so she's going to have to think for herself :P

In saying that, there are two things that I really want but I haven't bought because of the price. Whenever I want to buy something unnecessary, I calculate how MAC lipsticks (US prices) I could buy instead and that usually stops me from buying it! There's no logic to it other than it works :)

1) Makeup Organiser by The Makeup Box Shop.

Source: http://www.themakeupboxshop.com/products
I originally wanted the 'original makeup box' but I bought the Officeworks drawers instead (I did a blog post on them: http://shoppingqueenjen.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/makeup-storage-and-shopping-ban.html). I'd love to keep a mini box on my bedside table for my "nice" makeup :)

Price: 3-4 MAC lipsticks

Makeup storage and shopping ban

I found these beauties from a youtube video and ended up buying 2 for myself.


They're the clear Keji desktop drawer filers and some beauty bloggers have been using them as a cheaper alternative to the makeup boxes that cost over $100 each. I had to stack a 4 drawer one on top of a 5 drawer one as I didn't realise that they would take up so much room but I really love having it.

2 Keji blocks stacked on top of each other
I'm in the process of moving all my makeup out of my bedside table and into this storage space. It actually looks better when they're not stacked on top of each other but at the moment, I don't have room to separate the two. There are grooves underneath the drawers so that they lock in together and there's no risk of the top one toppling over.

Confessions of a Makeup Addict

Confessions of a Makeup Addict is holding a giveaway on her blog. Click on the picture below and it'll take you to it :)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Rimmel lipsticks

Priceline started their new catalogue today so I picked up a few Rimmel lipsticks as they were buy one, get one free. I also wanted to buy some Bourjois blushes that were 30% off but the Priceline at Central Station didn't stock Bourjois at all :(

I bought 4 of the lipsticks for $24 in total so it worked out to be $6 each. The Kate Moss lipsticks retail for $11.95 each and the normal lipstick is $9.95.

I bought 2 of the same ones.

Kate 19, Kate 16 and Asian

 I bought two of the 16's as they had run out of 05 and nothing else caught my eye. I might try to exchange it at my local Priceline store.

Left to Right: Asian, Kate 16, Kate 19

Asian and 19 are very similar although Asian is a tad darker. I haven't taken great photos of the swatches but all three lipsticks are pink-er in real life and a lot brighter. I'll do a review of them on my lips later if anyone wants it.

All 3 are super creamy and pigmented. I've read lots of reviews that they last about 2-3 hours.

On a totally unrelated note, I received my $30 gift voucher from Country Road today for reaching loyalty status!

Gift Voucher
I absolutely love Country Road but I never buy it unless it's on sale. To reach loyalty status, you have to spend over $750 in 12 months. I love Country Road and rarely ever shop for clothing any where else.

On my way home today, I also bought these bottles of Lipton iced tea :) They're limited edition and have been out for about 2 weeks.

Limited Release Iced Tea
Of course I had to buy them all to try :) (the pina colada is amazing!)

Don't forget to enter my giveaway! http://shoppingqueenjen.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/50-followers-giveaway.html and I have a new post coming up tomorrow!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

MUA Haul!

I placed an order with MUA 2 weeks ago and my order finally arrived today :) The order only cost me $38 all up including shipping which was about $12. I got everything here for pretty much the cost of a MAC lipstick! The only downside of the order was that while they wrapped the palettes, blushes and bronzer really well, they didn't wrap the lipsticks or pencils. I think they should have bubble wrapped the pencils a little bit as they have a tendency to break if they're dropped or tossed around in the post.

MUA Haul!

I picked up the 12 pan undressed palette (bottom left hand corner) as the heaven and earth was out of stock. I really love this even though I'm normally not an eyeshadow person! I'll be doing reviews on it shortly.

I also picked up 2 blushes in shades 1 and 4. I would've gotten a couple more as they were super cheap but I already have too many blushes!

On the bottom is a black eyeliner pencil and a red lip liner pencil. Reviews coming soon :)

I also got 4 lipsticks in shades 2, 3, 6 and 11. I wish these had names! I went by swatches that I found on other blogs so I'll definitely be contributing my own swatches soon. I ran out of time to do any while the sun was still up.

On the top right hand side corner is the mosaic bronzer in shade 1 (natural glow). I'm not a fan of shimmery bronzers but this only has a tiny amount of shimmer.

Lastly is the 24 pan immaculate eyeshadow palette. This was included with the order for free. I don't wear bright shadows so I decided to do a giveaway with it. There's less than 2 days left to enter the giveaway if you haven't already!

(link: http://shoppingqueenjen.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/giveaway.html)

Are there any MUA items that I should definitely try? I'm thinking about another order :)


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