Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's ALIVE!!!

My new blog is officially LIVE!  Hussah!!
Aside from some small tweaking to happen in the next few weeks I'm finally settled at my own domain, which is very exciting :)

Come and check it out, and don't forget that you will need to re-subscribe -

And look out very soon for a giveaway to celebrate!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

What's going on??

You may have noticed it's been a bit quiet around here at Counter Obsession... well, I can tell you I'm in the middle of a war.  With Wordpress.  My big plans to revamp the blog at its own domain are in its final stages, but Wordpress and I aren't seeing eye to eye.  If we were dating I would have broken up with him about two weeks ago.  But instead we've been seeing a counsellor, talking through our problems and working on our relationship.
So I just wanted to say STAY TUNED for an all new, super-fabulous relaunch of COUNTER OBSESSION!! I've got some great products to review, and maybe even a giveaway to celebrate!!


Monday, May 24, 2010

Burt's Bees Essential Body Kit - Part 2

Four products down, four to go!  See part 1 here.

Peppermint Foot Lotion - I'm not a fan of peppermint scented foot products.  I understand the peppermint is cooling and all that, but you usually put it on after they've been washed, so wouldn't they be cool anyway?  It's lightly moisturising, and non-greasy.  It's ok.

Extra Energising Body Wash - It's nice enough - not a strong lather but enough, the scent is nice and refreshing but faded quickly so it didn't clash with my perfume.  Wouldn't buy again as I don't see anything particularly special, but I'll keep it for when I travel.

Naturally Nourishing Body Lotion - The big thing to note here is that it's a lotion, not a cream.  As my skin is drying out with the seasonal change it wasn't hydrating enough for my tastes, but if you just want something light it's quite nice.  The smell wasn't offputting but also something I wouldn't specifically choose.

Radiance Day Creme (with royal jelly) - My clear favourite out of these four!  Again it's a lighter formulation, but I still found it really hydrating.  Makeup application was also nice and smooth.  I'd consider buying this again for my day cream, if I had a richer moisturiser at night.  I wish I'd known about this one in summer!

So overall I think it's a great deal for only $24.95!  Some products were great, some weren't to my fancy but I'm glad I tried them out.  And it's really piqued my interest for the rest of the Burt's Bees products - will see what else I can pick up!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

NOTD - Three colours from OPI

Just thought I'd show you some of the new OPI nail polish colours that have appeared in my collection lately!

Don't Know... Beets Me!

I really like this pink!  It's fun and bright, without being too fluoro and tacky.  The creamy consistency was easy to work with, and the brush was nice and wide for foolproof application.  Not something I would choose to wear on my fingers, but would be great for a 'secret' pedicure - you know, the pedicure you get when you know you'll be wearing closed shoes and you're the only one who knows your toenails are pretty?  It's your girly little secret :)

I'd Like To Thank...

Sparkly!  The bottle shows pink, bronze and gold reflects but the photos bring out the bronze.  I gave my mum a pedicure with this colour and it really highlighted her (very faint, Australian winter) tan!  Would look great on the beach or in fabulous sandals - pity it's getting cold here  :( the Prowide brush was wide (funny about that!) but also really strong, so I felt like I had great control.  I'll be looking for that brush in future polishes.

Over The Taupe

I caved to peer pressure and bought this colour - and I have to say, I'm not a fan.  I don't think the colour does anything for me, but more annoying was the really watery texture of the polish itself.  You can see in the pic that it's a bit uneven in coverage, which is probably because it's still a bit wet but I had to work a lot to get it as non-streaky as this.  I expect more from OPI polishes.

Next on the shopping list - grey polish.  Maybe it's to match my new grey handbag, but I'm obsessed.  What is everybody else coveting?  Do you like the idea of the 'secret' pedicure?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Burt's Bees Essential Body Kit - Part 1

I've decided that I need a new skincare regime.  My skin is really suffering with the change in the weather, and this gives me a perfect chance to test out some new products - from my local health food store!

Natural skincare isn't revolutionary, but I've never made a conscious effort to use it.  But it makes a lot of sense, and the environmental benefits are great as well.

I was surprised by the range of skincare lines that my local store carried!  There's so many products that got me excited, but since I was after an exfoliater to start with and my hands need some love, I found a pack that had it all - Burt's Bees Essential Body Kit.

Contents - Replenishing Lip Balm, Peppermint Foot Lotion, Extra Energising Body Wash, Deep Pore Scrub, Radiance Day Creme, Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme, Hand Salve and Naturally Nourishing Body Lotion.  8 products for $24.95.  Pretty nifty, huh!

Since it's late at night I tested out half the products now, and I'll review the others when I use them tomorrow morning.

Replenishing Lip Balm (with pomegranate oil) - nice!  Really smooth texture, and moisturised my lips without feeling too waxy.  I really like the pomegranate scent too!

Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme - I expected this to be 'creamy', but it was more like a gel/balm.  I had to warm the product up before I could apply it, but it was quickly absorbed and surprised me with how moisturising it was.  Lemon smell was really refreshing too.  Another thumbs up.

Hand Salve - I'm actually not too sure what to do with this.  Like the cuticle cream the texture is like a balm, and it smells like eucalyptus.  It doesn't really work as a hand cream because of the consistency.  Maybe it could be a spot treatment, but because I have the cuticle creme I don't really have a use for it.

Deep Pore Scrub (peach and willowbark) - this disappointed me to start with.  My first thought was that the grains were way too large for a facial scrub - they feel like they're scratching my skin rather than buffing it smooth.  And the grains felt too few and far between, so it took more product than I would like in order to feel like I had enough.  What I did love was the 'waxy' residue that was left behind - it wasn't actually wax, but more like a moisturising 'barrier' which meant I could get out of the shower and not make my skin feel tight and make me run for the moisturiser.  Now, after my moisturiser has absorbed my skin feels much more hydrated than normal, and very soft.  Maybe it will win me over with time?

Interesting results so far... wonder how the other products will perform?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fyrinnae - Lip Lustres

I received my first Fyrinnae order two days ago, and I've been busting to show you all!  I'm still playing with the shadows, but I wanted to show you all the Lip Lustres I picked up.  These really surprised me - I wasn't prepared for the texture at all!  Imagine a liquid lipstick, but with a 'dry' feeling.  That's the best I can describe it. They feel 'dry' to wear as well, and although the stronger colours leave a stain you will still see a transfer onto your coffee cup (or Diet Coke bottle if you're like me!).  They've packed a lot of pigment into these tubes though, so what you see is what you get on your lips.

The other surprise was the scent - some were barely fragrant, some were so strong they made me sick.  If you're sensitive to scented products I'd be wary.

First up - Bare Shoulders.

This was pretty, a bit of a mauve/pink shimmer through what otherwise would just be a nude.  I could wear this easily, except for one thing - the Cafe Au Lait smell.  Oh god, it's gross.  My stomach was churning as I put it on.  And then the smell lingered as I wore it.  Such a shame.

Next, let me introduce you to Lollipop-Pop.

Pretty in pink with a blue shimmer twist.  I'm not a pink kinda gal, but this will be pretty to layer over others.  The scent was lychee - not bad, it was bearable.  Very strong again.  Why does it have to be so strong?  :(

Now it's Meloncholy.

It's a strong coral, which the site warns can lean to orange but almost brings out brown tones on my lips.  Too strong for me, but I'm going to sheer this down and I think I'll be onto a winner.  Scent is melon (funny about that), but was nowhere near as strong as the first two.  Thank god.

Aah, my favourite - Romantique.

Oh god, this is so pretty.  So pretty!  Described on the site as a 'semi-sheer soft warm pink with gold shimmer', it's just gorgeous.  I'd wear this with other colours, but just as easily on its own.  Would be interesting on the cheeks too... must try that out!  Toasted Marshmallow scent smelt more like coffee, but wasn't as potent as Bare Shoulders and disappeared quickly.

Now, to cross over to the dark side!  I grabbed some vampy shades to test out application as well as to compare to the Lip Tars (which many bloggers have drawn similarities between the two).

This is Diabolical Masquerade.

Disappointed.  I was hoping for a stronger red or glitter component, but in real life it just looks black.  And the application was pretty patchy.  The worst part?  THIS was the unscented one!  WHY couldn't it have been Bare Shoulders?

Lastly, it's the jet-black Monochrome.

Again - patchy application, even worse than before.  Once the gloss dries a bit it's rather unremarkable.  If I want jet-black lips I'll go for Tarred Lip Tar every time.  I'll use this to layer perhaps, but otherwise I don't recommend.

Overall there were some winners and losers, but the biggest request I have of Fyrinnae would to be make ALL the Lustres unscented.  It's so offputting.  And I'll steer clear of any of the darker colours.  I'll only purchase these if I see a really unique colour, but otherwise a traditional lipstick or gloss would be more comfortable to wear.

Keep an eye out for my Fyrinnae shadow swatches - no disappointments there!
Which one was your favourite?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Breaking News - MAC and Disney's Venomous Villains Collection

Wow!  MAC and Disney have joined forces to announce the venomous Villains collection, to be released worldwide in September!  This is the first collection in a LONG time that I've been so excited about!

Four villains will be featured (which ones?  They're not telling us yet!) and the collection will have lipstick, lip gloss, powder and blush shades.  I'm thinking dark and vampy...

Check out the teaser trailer here - now, who might those villains be.... let me know your guesses!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Beauty of the Earth EOTD/COTD

COTD?  Does Cheek of the Day even exist?
Well, in this blog it does!  :)

Ok, so first look - Peacock on the mobile lid (up to the crease) and under the eye, with Mississippi Mud in the crease, black liner on inner rim and black mascara.  These shadows are a breeze to blend, but just be warned - being a loose powder means that you really need to place the shadow where you want it, rather than brushing the shadow on.  Otherwise it will spread too far - and with dark colours it can mean starting over again.

Second - Big Ego with Wicked blended over the top.

Now for the cheek!  Obviously this is Georgia Peach...

... but what happens when I blend a little bit of Wicked over the top?

Amazing!  Not just a highlight, but it actually brings it to more of a pink rather than peach!  It did need to be buffed back, which is testament to the strong pigment.  But so easy to use.

I love blending - it's always full of surprises :)

P.S.  Oops!  Forgot to show you the gloss - I really like it!  A soft nude, but the sparkle keeps it interesting.  Super smooth and non-sticky texture, yet slightly thicker to keep it on the lip for longer.  I'm buying more for sure!

Haul - Beauty from the Earth!

I placed an order with Beauty from the Earth as a test run for both shipping time as well as the products.  I placed the order on the 4th May, and it was in my mailbox today (17th May).  That's nine working days to ship to Australia - not bad!

Here's the haul:

I got a little bit of everything to test out the range - two sets of lashes (US$2 each), five eyeshadows (four samples @ US$2 each, one full size on special for US$2, one free sample in pouch), one blush (sample size, US$2), one lip gloss (US$9.99), one gel liner (US$8.99) and a blush brush (US$12.99).  This cost me US$47.97 (AUD$53.06) in total including shipping, which I think is great.

This is the gel liner ('Tanzanite') and the blush ('Georgia Peach' in sample size).  The gel liner wasn't as opaque as I had hoped, as this is two or three coats.  My initial thought is that I'd rather use this as a cream base for a smokey eye - I'll try and do an EOTD tomorrow.  The blush is more of a summer colour, but the peach is soft and girly with a strong shimmer effect.  As it's winter now this may become a highlight over a darker blush, but I like it!

Here are the shadows!  These are just gorgeous, with a smooth texture and easy to build opacity.
Peacock has that sometimes-blue, sometimes-green effect to it which is really pretty.
Fire Dancer was more glittery than the rest but I was surprised to find I loved it!  In my next order I'm going to get a lot more of the glitters - the super-fine particles give the great effect without being gritty on your lids.
Big Ego is an instant favourite.  A deep purple that is perfect for winter.
Wicked is a light mauve that gives off a green reflect - a gorgeous highlight or mobile lid colour.  Do I dare to use it as a cheek highlight??
Lastly is Mississippi Mud, which is a true matte chocolate brown.  Ignore any sparkles you see, as it's just fallout from the others.  Great deep brown, but I'm hesitant to use dark colours in loose powders as it's so easy to get it out of control.

The lip gloss was Belladonna, which is a sheer champagne-nude colour.  This will be great to tone down colours, or just to add a bit of a disco effect.  The texture is nice and smooth, and bonus points for the brush applicator.

I can't wait to create some looks with these products!  And I'll definitely be placing another order!
What do you think?  Do you like to use loose pigments?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

RAFW Follow Up - MAC Speaks!

I thought I would share with you some of the information I was just sent by MAC about some of my favourite looks that they created for RAFW.  It's great to know the inspiration behind the looks and the products used, just in case something caught your eye!

Show:     Ginger & Smart
Key Make up Artist:  Natasha Sevorino for M.A.C
“The inspiration for this collection comes from inner feminine strength and self-awareness.  I wanted the make up to be naturally sexy for this show. Skin has been left raw yet made luminous, concealing only minor imperfections. Eye's are defined and sculpted and gold pigment has been used on the eyes and peak of lips to give a 'futuristic goddess' feel to the make up. Soft cream coloured paint has been used as future tribal war paint in the centre of the forehead and temples, to relate directly to ones ‘third eye’ and one’s own self-awareness.  

My take:  I LOVE the gold accents on the inner corner and cupid's bow of the lips.  Such an easy look to recreate at home.  Those of us not blessed with model skin might need some coverage, but keep it as light as possible.

Show: Zimmerman
Key MakeUp Artist: Linda Jefferyes for M.A.C

Linda said the “Inspiration behind the look: Cool and modern. Nothing is overdone or underdone. Strength yet soft. Balanced. Fresh creamy pure skin is highlighted by a strong deep plum lip”.
Description of the look: Perfectly manicured creamy skin. Eyebrow are slightly defined and lips are painted a matt deep plum colour.

Key Products used to create the look:
Face: prep + prime skin, prep + prime lip filler, face & body foundation, set powder invisible and porcelain. Select moisture cover in light colours.

Contour face with sculpting powder pro palette bone beige and shaping powder Lightsweep.
Eyes: Brow set clear, impeccable brow pencil taupe, black dirty blonde. Pro long lash barelash.
Lips: lipmix Burgundy and I mixed some red into the plum lipmix which made it more red/plum

My take:  Those lips are outstanding.  I would be using a lipliner to ensure a crisp edge that stops the colour bleeding throughout the day.  I totally agree with the 'strength yet soft' comment by Linda - exactly what this look projects.  This is also a look you can rock for winter, rather than holding back until warmer weather begins.

Show: Manning Cartell
Key Make-up Director:  Natasha Severino for M.A.C 
The direction for make up in this collection is one of a polished, modern Spanish woman.

We wanted the make up to be in tonal hues of warm, coffee like colours. The skin is flawless and polished, highlighted in areas to reflect the summer sun. Eyebrows are strong and sculpted to give the make up a sophisticated sexiness.

My take:  Brows.  Make them strong and proud.  As you can see on the image (oh, so Cassie from ANTM did go into modelling...) you don't have to follow your own brow.  Create the shape that you want.  I really like the sweep of the shadow towards the temple too.

Show: Romance Was Born
Key Makeup Artist: Natasha Severino for M.A.C

Natasha said that the “Inspiration for Romance Was Born S/S 10/11 is Renaissance Dinosaur”.  The collection has been broken up into a ready to wear section and 11 Haute Couture, one off pieces.
The RTW section consists of beautiful, ethereal sirens that are adorned with lace body art. Faces are polished and eyes are lined to create mystical beauties.
The 11 one off creatures has had make ups specifically created to be an extension of their magnificent gowns. They are:

Nail Dress
Dino Bird
Crystal Dress Volcano Girl
Snake Guts
Dino Tail
Kate Tribute
Renaissance Dino
Dino Slut
Renaissance Bride
Scale Girl

My take:  Dino Slut!  LOL!  Just looking at this pictures makes me sigh with delight.  And readjust my creative boundaries.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Review - Stila Smudge Pot in 'Little Black Dress'

I picked up this little gem in a blog sale with Too Much Blush (thanks doll!) and I must say I like it!  It reminds me a lot of the Plumkin cream shadow I reviewed yesterday, but with the ease of application and consistent texture that it lacked.

Here is the swatch on my arm:

Pretty huh!  It's really glittery in this photo but it's quite dark on application.  Here are my peepers using this as an eyeliner AND a smudged-shadow-kinda-thing.

See - not so sparkly!  I could see myself rocking the smokey eye for a big night out, or using it as a liner at work when I want to sneak some 'makeup artist' into my 'corporate' look.

As an extra she threw in Clinique Quick Eyes cream shadow in Lucky Penny, which I used as a base underneath the liner.  No creasing, easy to blend, and a pretty colour.  I scored!!

What do you think?  Pretty?  Or disco?

RAFW - Gary Bigeni, Kate Sylvester, Konstantina Mittas

Gary Bigeni - I know I've said it before, but I love it when the looks are varied within a show.  These models were either 'aqua' or 'peach', and it consisted of a colour wash over the eye up to the brow bone.  Interesting tidbit - no mascara was used.  Apparently there was a 'black ban' for the whole show.  Weird.

Kate Sylvester - this picture is extra large because it is extra gorgeous.  Feast your eyes on your new makeup look.  That is if you want to look young, sexy and amazingly feminine.  It's all about cheeks and lips here - colour stains provide a softer edge and a more subtle flush than lipstick or straight blush would supply.  Eyes are gently defined with mascara and undetectable (well, maybe a little) liner.  Hair is straight, but not ghd-straight.  Just... natural straight.  Men will be putty in your well-manicured hands.

Konstantina Mittas - Super fun!  I had never heard of this designer, but I love the styling here!  Pastel blue temples, bright pink cheeks, massive hair that looks like you were caught up in a cyclone?  Why on earth not!  This is fashion after all!

RAFW - Anna and Boy, Dhini, Dion Lee

Anna and Boy - this is adorable!  The freckles, the coloured eyes... cute as a button!!  Super soft lips and a curled updo reminiscent of orphan Annie add to the youthful look.  Black liner and lashings of mascara keep it from being too doll-like and add a hint of grown-up sexiness.  Retro playful fun.

Dhini - look at that hair - clearly volume is in vogue.  I'm loving the mushroom cloud explosion of teased goodness.  I just want to poke my finger into it.  Is that weird?  You can see the white pearl highlight across the forehead and stretching to underneath the eyes.  Dewy skin again... trend alert!

Dion Lee - the hair is slicked back on top and straight from the ears down.  I don't like girls with wet-look gel in their hair unless it's short enough to cover all their hair, otherwise it just looks dirty and greasy.  But the makeup is barely-there and glowy.  Glossy lips are prominent, and I swear they go way over the lip line.  Don't try that at home, kids.

RAFW - Romance Was Born

Ugh.  Adore.  Divine.  Magic.  Sigh.
It's theatre in motion.  Just... enjoy.