Sunday, 21 December 2014

Sephora came to Australia (And I went)

Hello there little Powderpuff!

As some would know - Sephora has recently opened the doors to their first ever store in Australia. Located on Pitt Street in the centre of Sydney, the shop is two floors and the anticipation that built in the months preceding the grand opening was immense.

Last week, my gorgeous, wonderful and ever talented God Mother asked me if I had been yet, and she requested a blog post about it and so today I finally ventured out into the packed city centre to check it out.

The first thing I noticed when I got there was that there was a line out the front. I wasn't surprised about this at all, since Sephora does take a prime spot in the middle of Pitt Street Mall - which is a shopping street between two major shopping plaza's in the centre of Sydney, and on top of that Sephora did only open a week and a half ago. I was going to meet my gorgeous, perfect, wonderful friend there and so I jumped in the line (I told her it was to save us a spot - in truth I just couldn't quench my overwhelming excitement).

It didn't take long to get inside (maybe two or three minutes of waiting) and once I got inside there.. it was really crowded. Like really crowded. I wanted to take some photos inside the store, but I was unable to due to the sheer number of people in there, as well as the fact I was.. uh... Told not to by a security guard (living life on the edge - getting told off by security in Sephora). So since I have no photos, I'm just going to use the power of words to try and paint a picture.

There are two floors and both of them are relatively small. There is a Benefit Browbar in the back right hand corner and little shelves of different brands. Something that stood out to me was how small the racks for each brand are. They were one gondola of products, each about a metre long with not too many products on each and this was disappointing. However I persevered.

I have been watching Beauty Youtubers for a long time and though I tend to stick to European and Australian Beauty V/Bloggers (since they usually talk about brands available in Australia) I have watched a fair few American ones, as well, so there were already a tonne of brands in Sephora that I was incredibly excited to try. The ones I was most excited for where Makeup Forever, Tarte, Urban Decay, Becca and Anastasia Beverly Hills, so once I got inside on the first floor, the first thing I did was look around for those brands. I went to the Makeup Forever counter and looked at the shadows, I swatched a million of them and god damn they were beautiful. I am a major MAC lover, and my MAC eyeshadows are, to this day, my holy grail (over Chocolate Bar Palette, over the Naked Palette, over Nars, over everything else) and I have heard that the Makeup Forever shadows trump even those. However when I went to select the ones I truly adored - they were all sold out. They were sold out of pretty much every shadow other than the blue/green/yellow ones that less people buy. Admittedly, I was seriously disappointed, but I didn't let this deter me so I moved on to the Anastasia counter. They were sold out of everything, too. So was Tarte, so was Becca.

So I stood there looking around for a long moment, and I realised something. There was no Urban Decay. That was a major downer, as well. I knew there would be no Nars or Too Faced - since Mecca Cosmetica/Mecca Maxima has the rights of distribution for those brands in Australia - but so far Urban Decay aren't sold anywhere and I was so hopeful that Sephora would bring them here.
However later I did find out it was because Sephora is in dispute with Mecca over who would get the distributing rights for UD in Australia (don't quote me on this that is just what I heard on the grapevine aka the lady at the MAC counter told me about an hour later).

It was all a little disheartening. They were only selling about half the stock they would sell in an American store, and pretty much what they did sell was all sold out and of course on top of that - the promise Sephora had made about matching American prices has already been very controversially realised as simply untrue. I spent quite a while looking around the other counters - checking out YSL, Dior and some other brands that are all already available here and then moved on to check out the Sephora brand things.

The majority of these were sold out (unsurprisingly) but I did find two shadows I quite liked, before we headed upstairs to the level that was all skincare. We hardly looked around much up there - but since that was the level that had the cashregisters, we had to hang around there a while. In true Sephora style - there were shelves around the line for the register, selling sample products which was in its own rather exciting. I remember hearing fabled tales of the way sample size products suck people in in Sephora - and of course before I knew it I had three in my cart (oops - though in my defence one of them was a gift).

So finally after about 30 minutes in the store - we made it back out onto the street.

I grabbed five products - Two Sephora eyeshadows in Tiramisu and Faux Fur Jacket, the Philosophy Kiss Me Tonight lip treatment, the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara (since I was told Diorshow was the best Mascara ever - but I wasn't so hot on the wand so I got this one), and finally the iconic Sephora product - a perfume Rollerball in Marc Jacob's Daisy Dream (it was legit a toss up between Daisy and Daisy Dream but I finally settled on Daisy Dream knowing that it's only a matter of time before I go back and get Diasy lets be serious).

Since this was all purchased yesterday - I haven't worn these products yet. The lip moisturizer I have tried and I quite like, and the perfume I very much like but since it's my makeup free Sunday, I have yet to put the eyeshadows or the Mascara to the quality test. I am especially interested in the shadows as I have heard some really great things about Sephora's brand and when I swatched them, they seemed very rich and pigmented.

Tiramisu (left), Faux Fur Coat (right)

So all in all, my first impression of Sephora was - disappointing. I am definitely going to go back in the new year and check out the brands and products that were sold out when I went yesterday since I truly truly do want to give those a proper go, but even if the store had full stock - the range of products offered is disappointingly low compared to what they offer in the North American stores, and that combined with the inflated prices truly did make the hype preceding the opening more than it really warrants.

A lot of places to shop for high end cosmetics in Australia (such as Myer/David Jones makeup halls, and stores such as Mecca, or stand alone brand stores) really are better than what Sephora offers the Australian market - which is purely that they sell brands that are new here.

Btw there's a giant lego christmas tree on Pitt Street Mall too like whaaaaat

And on that note, that is it for this week! Apologies if it got a tad ranty!

Is there a post you want to see? Is there a product you want reviewed? Let me know by sending me a tweet, or by leaving a comment in the comments section below and I would love to try it out for you!

Until next time, stay cute little powderpuffs!

xoxo Matilde Elisabeth

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Mecca Maxima is my Kryptonite (December Haul)

Hello there little powderpuff!

Happy December to each and every one of you! I hope you're all as excited as I am for the festive holiday season. Christmas has always been my favourite time of year. Being from Northern Europe, we make a very big deal every year since I was a little child when nothing was more exciting than the decorations, the advent calendar, baking gingerbread and making toffees, as well as my mother's secretive phone calls to her brother and mother where she spoke Swedish - a language I only ever marginally understood. It was a time of excitement and anticipation.

I say that like it isn't anymore. You are never too old to love holidays!

During the holiday season in Sydney - it may be hot and sunny but we have some amazing decorations up. Near where I work, there is a large shopping centre and this year they have decorated by creative animal statues made of fake pine, decorated with lights. Also in this mall is a store that has become my addiction - Mecca Maxima. Mecca Maxima is one of three stores in a chain (the others being Mecca Cosmetica and Kit Cosmetics), and it is a large makeup store that carries several brands that aren't distributed by many (if any) others in Australia. These include Nars, Too Faced, Stila, By Terry as well as others such as Bobbi Brown and YSL Cosmetics and of course the Mecca Cosmetica/Kit Cosmetics own brands.

Before Sephora opened in Sydney earlier this month (vague sounds of joyous shrieks heard in the background), there weren't many of these kinds of stores. Most high end makeup in Australia is sold in independent stores - such as M.A.C Pro Stores - or in counters in makeup halls in major department stores including the two biggest: Myer and David Jones.

This month I've dropped into Mecca Maxima quite a few times - and as it is a struggle to go in there and not fall in love, I have managed to pick up these six products.

I'm sure many have heard of the Veil Mineral Primer. When I went in there, I had heard a lot of talk about this product and I got talking to a lovely woman who worked there and she couldn't stop talking about how wonderful it is. I have problems with dry skin, and after using the Benefit Prefessional for months, it felt as though it was ahrdly doing anything and since it is a cream to powder formula, it was far more drying than it was anything else. This primer, however, is incredible. I only bought the travel sized bottle (8.95mL) instead of the fullsize product (30mL) just because it is a very expensive product and I had to make sure I would actually like it before I could justify forking out almost $70 for the full size bottle.
The formula is very gentle on the skin, and once it is spread over the face it is most definitely unnoticable. It is very smoothing, and it certainly makes my foundation last a lot longer (maybe even longer than the PoreFessional did.) Primer is still a relatively new thing for me, but this product is exceptionally luxurious and beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone.

Going on the Hourglass theme, I also picked up another product - the Ambient Lighting Blush Palette. This blush trio is a special edition for their Holiday Collection, and every time I went into Mecca this month (and last month) I would stop, stare and whimper a little at how damn beautiful it is. Then I went in, looked at them and one of the women working there mentioned offhandedly that they had been so popular that there were only four left in stock at this particular store and no more would be coming back into stock. Ever. So I grabbed it and bought it and honestly I think I have been using it every day since.

Lucky too cause I went in two days later and the whole display was gone. Whew.

The palette consists of three blush shades - Luminous Flush (Peachy pink marbled with a light golden highlight), Incandescent Electra (bright orange/pink with a white highlight marbled through) and Mood Exposure (browny/plum blush with a lighter browny/plum highlight marbled through). The range of colours is perfect and they are easily buildable. A light swipe of a blush gives a gorgeous almost radiant sunkissed look, but laying it on a little heavier can bring a deeper flush to the cheeks. 
The way the highlight is marbled through causes a perfect sheen on the cheekbones when the light hits, bringing more definition and when bared with a subtle contour they can bring new angles to the face.

If you want to get your hands on this product I would suggest going to your nearest retailer that sells Hourglass and hopefully you can still find one!

*powderpuff Fact! All of Hourglass's products are certified animal cruelty free! Hourglass are a brand from the United States, but within the last few years the European Union have made it illegal to sell cosmetic products in the EU who test on animals. This means that all products bought in a country in the European Union are cruelty free and that most European Brands (such as Soap and Glory) are made cruelty free. 

The Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara. If you haven't heard of this product then where have you been for the past few months? Bloggers and youtubers have been raving about this and Mecca Maxima has been out of stock since forever it feels like, but I managed to get my hands on one finally! The formula of this is a little thicker than most others I have tried (especially Benefit's They're real) and is more similar to the more Gel/Paste forumla of Benefit's Bad Gal Lash.
It is no secret that I am a bit of a Mascara addict, but one of my biggest pet peeves is Mascaras with those flimsy plastic wands (such as Benefit's They're Real, Rimmel's Wonder'Full Argan Mascara etc). I much prefer wands with long, thick brushes with proper bristles (which is why my Mascara favourites are M.A.C Opulash, Benefit Bad Gal Lash and now the Better than Sex). The shape and make of the wand means you can really get the product through your lashes and they get coated well in product and they are separated at the same time. Volume, length, separation and no clumps - tell me what else could you want in a Mascara?

Brows Brows Brows. I never did anything with my brows until earlier this year when I began to use the Benefit GimmeBrow (I use both the light and dark - depending on mood and look that day of course.) However since using those products I felt that they weren't really giving my brows the shape that I wanted them to as well as they didn't do much to help cover the scar situated in my left eyebrow from being pushed into a tree when I was 3. Siblings are great.
After a lot of research I went on the hunt for a brow powder duo. Most brow kits you get these days come with one powder and one kind of wax, whereas this Bobbi Brown duo (which is also available in a lighter shade) has two different powders which gives options. My hair is naturally quite dark, which means my brows are also quite dark and really, what can I say. I want brows like Cara Deleveingne. I am jealous of the strength of her brow game.

This brow kit in the shade Saddle/Mahogany comes with two mirrors (if the visible mirror is pulled out there is a magnified one behind), a pair of tweezers and a small brow brush - which makes it fantastic for travelling or on the go, the powders are also very easy to use with no fallout at all. The colour I use mostly is Saddle, which is the lighter of the two, but for an even more dramatic look the darker of the shades can be used. Having a duo also means that you can use both for extra definition (Mahogany on the inner to define, while Saddle blends out lighter on the dies with a light highlight below the browbone).
And lets be real - as my gorgeous friend Tanja says - "Mmmmmm Bobbi"

These last two products were suggested to me by the gorgeous Elle from OnceUponABeautyTime. You should definitely check her out on youtube, as well as her blog and Instagram. She's a wonderful Beauty Blogger also from Sydney. 

In her own haul from Mecca Maxima, she mentioned the Nars Audacious lipsticks and I simply had to go out and check them out. If there is one thing I am a sucker for - it is a Berry Lipstick. I love them so much but for some reason I have always struggled finding the right Berry lip, so when she mentioned the Audacious Lipstick in the shade Charlotte, I just had to run out and check it out. After I swatched it the first time, I became obsessed simply because of how vibrant and beautiful it is. The colour is deep with a satin finish and the texture is very rich, creamy and luxurious. I had never tried Nars lipsticks before, but I heard fabulous things about them and I am so thrilled with this first one! I put it on as soon as I finished taking the photos and I am so excited to wear it many many times in the future - starting tomorrow!

Last but certainly not least - I have a moisturiser. I know Skincare isn't the main focus of this blog, but the Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream is a holy grail product that I cannot not rave about. My skin is exceptionally dry. So dry that at times I get patches where skin starts flaking off and foundation clings - especially on my eyelids, between my brows and on my cheekbones or jawline. Recently I was having an exceptionally bad time for my skin and Elle suggested I try out this product, saying that Kate Somerville was something that could never go wrong. So after a trip to Mecca Maxima, I bought a tub and I tried it out.

The product should be put on twice a day (once in the morning - under makeup, and once in the evening as a night cream). I began using it that evening, praying it would work (I had tried straight sorbelene, products from the Body Shop, garnier, Aesop, QV and nothing did a thing) and two days later there was already an improvement. Within a week of starting to use it my skin was soft, even and not a single dry or flaky patch could be seen. I was astonished and so absolutely thrilled that I couldn't believe it. 

This product was not on the cheaper side, but my belief is that if there is one product it is worth forking out for it should be skincare or the products you wear on your face daily (such as foundation). I would recommend this to each and every person who asked me what a good moisturiser to use is, and don't be intimidated by the word Goat in the title!

Well that's a wrap for this week!

Is there a post you want to see? Is there a product you want reviewed? Let me know by sending me a tweet, or by leaving a comment in the comments section below and I would love to try it out for you!

Until next time, stay cute little powderpuffs!

                                                                                         xoxo Matilde Elisabeth