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Products Worth The Hype | Part 1 - High End

When new makeup products hit the market, us beauty bloggers are usually the first to go out and get them before anyone else does. Truth is sometimes we fork out a good amount of money only to find that the product in question is a total let down.

However, there are some products that are surrounded with insane hype even before they are released and people continue to talk about them long after because they are actually worth the wait and money. In this post I shall be talking about such products that I have in my stash (after giving in to the pressure).

Urban Decay Naked 3 and Naked Smoky Palettes | Cost: €54.73/£38

Urban Decay is my favourite brand for eyeshadows and I am the proud owner of the Naked 3 and Naked Smoky palettes. These do come at a price at almost €55 per palette but I still think they are worth the money considering each eyeshadow comes down to less than €5 as opposed to the single ones that retail for €19.

If like me, neutrals are your favourite eyeshadows, these palettes are a must-have and I am a big fan of the texture and colour ranges which in my opinion is what makes these palettes worth all the money.

MAC Cosmetics Prep+Prime Fix+ Refreshing Mist | Cost: €18/£17

There are a gazillion and one ways in which you can use this product at that already justifies anyone buying it. However, I don't think €18 for a product that can be used in so many different ways classifies exactly as being so expensive that it has to be justified. I am not going to go into all the ways you can use this but I am just going to say that I love using it as a primer and fixer and it works wonders even the summer heat!

MAC Cosmetics Lipsticks | Cost: €19 each/£15.50 each

Another very much hyped about product from MAC are their lipsticks. I am guilty of buying a lipstick or two or three each time I visit MAC and I seriously can't get enough of them - pigmentation, staying power, colour range, various finishes; they have all the ingredients for the perfect lipstick range! They may come across as expensive to some at €19 a pop but even when compared to more expensive lipsticks I have, they cannot be beaten. Honestly. Not to mention they sort of set a gold standard for red lipsticks with Ruby Woo and Russian Red.

Christian Louboutin Beaute Louboutin Nail Polish in Rouge Louboutin | Cost: €40/£36

OK, so this may have to be crazy on my part but I caved in and bought a €40 nail polish. It is the most expensive one I have and I am not going to lie and say that I don't have exact dupes to it because we all know that is not true. However, none of them last as long as this on my nails. It has lasts me for a good 8 days without a chip in sight every. single. time!!! I could even get away with one coat! Plus the packaging is somewhat luxurious and being the shoe aficionado that I am, I just couldn't resist delving into Mr. Louboutin' beauty world. Now I just have to wait till I buy the matching lipstick ;)

Sigma Makeup Flat Top Synthetic Kabuki F80 | Cost: €20/£16

The last high-end product I have that is worth the hype is the Sigma F80. Everyone and their mother raves about this brush and honestly, even though I do like to switch brushes and sponges to apply my foundation, I keep going back to this brush every time because nothing gives me a more polished, buffed look than it does.

MAC Cosmetics Fluidline in Blacktrack | Cost: €18.50/£16

This was the first product I ever bought from MAC after seeing everyone rave about it and I can vouch that everything they say is true. The pigmentation and staying power are to die for and I wouldn't go back to any other gel liner. I have recently also got Dipdown which is a rich brown and works just as well!

MAC Cosmetics Lip Pencil in Soar | Cost: €15.20/£12.50

Kylie Jenner is to blame for this lip pencil being out of stock so frequently and no wonder she loves it so much! It is a nice shade of deep dusky rose that is perfect all year round if you ask me. I like to wear it on its own mostly but under a matching lipstick and gloss, it prolongs the wear so definitely go get it if you spot it at your nearest MAC!

September Collective Haul

With the weather getting a little colder, for me that means summer is over thus this month I couldn't resist not buying new clothes and accessories for autumn. As much as I hate winter and the colder days, I have to admit that I much prefer the warm colour palette of autumn hues such as burgundy, dark greens, rust, mustard etc along with the more tailored and sophisticated garments that keep us cosy all throughout so I always enjoy shopping at this time of year.

Luckily, some stores still had sales going on and I managed to grab a few bargains as well to complement this smallish haul. This month has also been good to me in terms of gifts for I got some cool accessories as gifts from events and people in my life. Read on to see what I got!

First up, Orsay! The brand has opened another flagship store at The Point in Sliema earlier this month and since I was invited to the event, I had to go and pick up some pieces ;) I have 352689741 Breton tops in my wardrobe yet I couldn't pass this half-sleeve one up. It was only €15.99 and the stripes are narrower than any other one I have (this is the main excuse I use whenever I buy a new top of the sort - the stripes are different). It features an off-the-shoulder fit and it is very comfy and obviously, goes with a lot of bottoms! I also picked up this embellished pink jumper for €29.99 and I look forward to wearing it once the weather gets colder. The tassel bracelet has been a favourite this month and it was only €5.99.

With my trip to London coming up, I decided to invest in a good pair of gloves and this gorgeous pair with faux leather quilted details and buckle caught my eyes at just €15.99 as did this reversible poncho or scarf coat, call it what you want. This feels so cosy that I could live all winter in it and it only cost €25.99. On the day of the event, a 20% discount was being given on all purchases and us bloggers were gifted with a scarf, a bag, a VIP card and the official Orsay look-book for this season. I really love the bag and scarf that were given to me and I have already been planning outfits to wear them with!

Aldo Shoes at Arkadia Gozo had an extra 20% on sale shoes so I bought the following pair for just €20 instead of €69!

Next I bought this pair of shorts from the newly opened Pimkie at Main Street Paola and this burgundy faux leather pencil skirt from Mango after having my eyes on them for a few weeks. I paid €25.99 for the shorts and €29.99 for the skirt.

While browsing the Asos sale, I came across this Vero Moda parka jacket which was I believe somewhere around €20. I think it is always good to invest in a good jacket and this is my first such investment this year ;)

Lastly, these are some gifts I got during this month: an Yves Rocher consolation prize for taking part in one of their Facebook competitons, a clutch bag and shoes set from Nilara, a Liu Jo nappa leather bucket bag which my boyfriend got me from his holiday in Spain and an & Other Stories candle that my brother got me from his trip to Holland.

Review | Max Factor CC Colour Corrector in Yellow

A few weeks ago, the new CC Colour Correctors from Max Factor caught my eye in one of the brand's stands and seeing that I am always on a quest to find the best possible solution to cover up my dark under eye circles, I went ahead and bought the yellow one which is specifically meant to cover dark circles.

Max Factor CC Colour Corrector comes in a jumbo pencil format with a twist-up mechanism. While I do like the concept, I would have preferred if the product went all the way down into the tube so as not to nick it with the cap; but at the same time, this way you get more product so I'm not really sure why I wrote the first part...I guess it's the OCD part of my character that forced me to. One thing I do like about the packaging though is that there is the area the product is meant for printed on the front.

The formula of the product is very creamy and it effortlessly transfers onto the skin and blends in perfectly well. I like to combine it with a skin coloured concealer through as it would otherwise look too white. I always set mine with powder and I don't have any issues with it budging or fading or anything. I think it does a very good job at counteracting the blue tinge of said dark circles.

There are 4 more variations of this Colour Corrector, each targeting a specific problem so you are sure to have perfectly even skin every single time! So don't put up the white flag just yet if you still haven't found your perfect concealer and try this range first.

Max Factor CC Colour Corrector retails for €10.40 and can be purchased from authorised stockists. To keep up to date with product launches and competitions, don't forget to like the Max Factor Malta Facebook page.

Event | New Orsay Store Opening at The Point Shopping Mall

If you follow my collective haul posts, you would certainly know how much I love to purchase new clothes and accessories from Orsay, thus it goes without saying that when an email came through my inbox with details of the official opening of another flagship store at The Point in Sliema, I was beyond excited!

As it turns out, the event was held last Saturday and I only had so much time on my hands before heading to Gozo with my better half for the weekend, but I just couldn't miss this event. So I made my way to the store early and had enough time to snap a few pictures and even make a sneaky purchase ;)

This year, Orsay, a brand that is well renowned for their corporate clothing range, is celebrating it's 40th year - the brand was born in 1975, and very aptly, this year's collection pays homage to it's birth decade. Flared jeans, fringe details, suede materials and paisley prints bring back the laid-back 70's vibe. 

Elegant fabrics, cool leather looks and fluffy jumpers make up the urban-chic range which also incorporates pencil skirts to further add a classy touch. There is also a huge variety of over-sized cardigans for a more relaxed yet feminine feel as well as a variety of stylish ponchos that take your look to the next level! In fact, I bought one myself along with a pair of stylish gloves that will come in handy for my next trip to London in December, and besides, 20% was being offered on all purchases during the day!

The handbag collection caught my eye for there is quite a huge variety to complement every outfit. The brand also offers a nice selection of accessories such as shoes, scarves, belts, hair accessories, sunglasses and jewellery to finish off any look.

Lastly, the work-wear collection evokes an ever chic vibe with a very palpable Parisian flair in the exquisitely tailored garments that are bound to get you the 'most stylish worker' title at your place of work!

I would like to thank the management for the handbag, scarf and VIP card us bloggers were given. I know I will get a lot of use out of mine!

Orsay stores are located in Valletta, Birkirkara, Sliema and Arkadia Gozo. Like their Facebook page to keep updated!

* I had more pictures in my camera but my brother took my SD card and USB cable with him abroad and there was no other way I could transfer the pictures to my laptop*

Review | Born Pretty Store Pastel Nail Studs

In a bid to hold on to summer a little bit longer, the same thing always happens every year...I paint my nails in bright summery colours that make me feel good just by looking at them and this week I did just that...

...complementing my manicure are these cute 4mm square studs from Born Pretty Store. These studs come in sets of ten and you can either choose between 3mm round studs or 4mm square studs in pastel colours. The ones I have here are described as 'sky blue' on the website but for me, they are more of a green colour. I like every shade of green so it really is no big deal for me.

I adhered the studs in the same way I always do - apply a layer of clear polish onto the nail and gently press the stud in place; however, the two side points were not in contact with my nail as I have very round nail beds. To fix that, I used a gel top coat, also from Born Pretty Store, to fill in the little gaps and keep the stud in place for as long as I want to, and that did the trick!

There are four more colours to choose from, all of which will add a nice touch to your nail art designs!

These studs retail for $3.28 for 10 pieces and you can always knock 10% off their price with the code EBABK31 at checkout.

PR Sample

Review | Makeup Revolution Ultra Contour Palette

Following my review on the Ultra Base Corrector Palette from Makeup Revolution, I wanted to share with you the other palette I got in the same order; that is the Ultra Contour Palette which as the name implies has everything you need for achieving the perfect contour and highlight (strobing in more recent terms).

The palette comes in a box which has a picture of all the shades at the back. The palette per se is very sleek and contains 8 pans of bronzers and illuminators including 2 baked highlighters, all in pressed powder form. You also get a full sized mirror and the products are protected with a piece of plastic film.

The colours in the palette are possibly everything you need for contouring and highlighting, be it if you're pale or if you're slightly darker. Here is a short description of each:

Top Row (left to right)
- Salmon Pink (matte) ideal to brighten up your complexion or setting under eye concealer
- Yellow Beige (matte) works exceptionally well with the yellow corrector from the Ultra Base Corretor palette to conceal dark circles
- Pearl Pink with a hint of golden shimmer to illuminate the skin 
- Baked Pearl White and Gold Highlighter is an extremely pigmented highlighter ideal for use on cheekbones or brow bones

Bottom Row (left to right)
- Medium Brown (matte) bronzer for medium to dark skin tones
- Light Brown (matte) bronzer for light to medium skin tones
- Dark Brown (matte) bronzer for dark skin tones
- Baked Bronzer that suits all skin types and has a hint of shimmer

The reason I like this palette is that three bronzers are actually matte, thus giving you a more natural look than shimmery ones. All powders are very well pigmented and last well throughout the day. I find that I achieve a better result when I set my under eye concealer with either of the first two shades in the top row and I am really pleased that all colours blend beautifully into the skin to give a seamless application of the product.

I think this palette would look good in any makeup artist's kit and it is also very convenient for the amateur user as well.

You can buy the Makeup Revolution Ultra Contour Palette from the Makeup Revolution website for £8/€10.95.

Review | MAC Cosmetics Prep+Prime Fix+ Refreshing Mist

The much hyped about MAC Fix+ is finally mine! This was the first item on my wishlist that I wanted to get as soon as the first MAC counter opened in Malta and it has proved to be a must have product ever since!

In the sweltering heat we get on our islands in summer, the struggle is real to find good makeup products that don't melt the minute you walk out the door. Thankfully, MAC Fix+ always saves the day.

The product comes in this glittery box which I was seriously tempted to keep but due to lack of space I went back on that thought. The bottle has a pump mechanism which only functions when you twist the cap anti-clockwise.

I like that the bottle is transparent so I can see how much product is left. I like to use Fix+ both prior and following makeup application and I don't even have to worry about my makeup melting or fading! I have even used this on my mum who is much more prone to sweating than I am and she is now a convert as well! Furthermore, when applied to bare skin, Fix+ locks moisture into the skin thus it acts as a hydrating agent.

Now for the price. I think this product is justly pried at €18 for 100ml seeing that most primers/fixers from 'drugstore' brands are priced in the same price range and you get two products in one so I really don't think it is expensive. Moreover, Fix+ can be used to refresh your skin throughout the day, mix it with eyeshadow pigments to intensify the colour or use as eyeliners, diluting your foundation and heavy concealer for a more sheer coverage. So it is definitely worth the money!

MAC Cosmetics in Malta can be found at Debenhams The Point and at the MAC Store in Tigne' Street, both Sliema.

First Impressions/Review | Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette

I'm really excited about this post that I have for you today as it is all about the newest palette to join Urban Decay's Naked family - the Naked Smoky Palette!

I got mine three weeks ago from and it was my first time ordering from the website and I am pretty impressed with the timely delivery. Also, nothing got smashed in the mail, not even the outer box!

The palette comes in a box, like the Naked 3 (it's the only one I have from the others so I can only talk about it) and it has a smoke effect all over and shade depictions at the back. The palette itself also has a smoky effect all over it.

It definitely has some weight to it but I think it is lighter than the Naked 3 which has a metal outer casing as opposed to plastic. However, I like more the way the Naked Smoky looks and I feel Urban Decay have outdone themselves this time. Also, I really like the magnetic closure. The palette also comes with a double ended brush and an information leaflet with four tutorials to achieve the perfect smoky eye.

Inside, you get the standard mirror and 12 eyeshadows (9 never seen before shades and 3 exclusives from past palettes). This time, the eyeshadows are organized by finish rather than by colour so you get light shades on both ends and the darker ones in the middle. The palette has a nice mix of warm and cool toned neutrals for a more dimensional smoky eye I guess. 

Like I said, this time the shades are organized by finish, and you get four shimmer shades, four satins and four mattes.

This is how Urban Decay describes the shades in the Naked Smoky palette:

High - champagne shimmer with micro-glitter
Dirtysweet - medium bronze
Radar - metallic taupe with iridescent micro-glitter
Armor - metallic silver-taupe with tonal sparkle

Slanted - light metallic gray
Dagger - medium charcoal with micro-shimmer
Black Market - jet-black satin
Smolder - deep plum-taupe

Password - cool taupe matte
Whiskey - rich brown matte
Combust - soft pink-taupe
Thirteen - light beige satin

I think the pigmentation is excellent for both light and dark shades with the exception of Combust and Thirteen but since they are meant as transitional and highlight shades I don't mind it that much. None of the shades are powdery though - Urban Decay eyeshadows seem to have that signature buttery-soft texture down to a t! If I had to pick some favourites I would go for all four shimmer shades, Smolder and Password. I always use a primer underneath my eyeshadow so I have no problem with the eyeshadows fading.

All Naked Palettes come with a double ended brush and the one in this palette is named the Double- Ended Smoky Smudge/Tapered Crease Brush and honestly, I think it is the perfect brush to accompany such a palette. It also features that same smoky pattern as the box in the middle part and the bristles are very soft on both ends. I have already washed and used this brush and I like that it performs really well in terms of blending and applying colour.

I paid €54.72 for this palette which may seem like a lot to fork out on a single item but if you do the math, each 1.3g eyeshadow comes down to just €4.56 whereas the Urban Decay single eyeshadows that have 1.4g of product retail for a whopping €19! Plus you are getting a brush you will actually use and a nice looking palette so I'd say it is great value for money.  

Would you pick up this palette? Which is your favourite Naked palette?