Wednesday, June 25, 2014

First Impressions on Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette and Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette

Happy Uni-break everyone! :)

Today's post will be my first impressions on Too Faced Chocolate Bar and Urban Decay's Naked 3 palette. I received these by my beloved friends for my birthday, and I haven't had time to really test it out. These are my first high end eyeshadows so I'm super duper excited! Previously I have used drugstore brands such as Physician's Formula, Maybelline Colour Tattoos, various palettes by chichi cosmetics  Crown 88 Neutral Palette which I loved, but I dropped it and now most of the colours are smashed :( I'm not very good at using eyeshadows but these seem like they'll help a lot! 

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

(Swatches of colours: L to R)

What I like:

  • These colours compliment each other well, there is a good mixture of matte and shimmery colours. Previously I have used the Chi Chi cosmetics eyeshadows and they are all so shimmery which makes it hard for everyday use. There are 5 matte shades that are neutral and can be used as the base.
  • Most of the shimmery colours are very well pigmented and could easily be swatched. The texture is buttery and feels nice on the lids. I love the range of colours as well, going from a darker maroon red to the violet colours. It is very versatile for achieving many looks
  • IT SMELLS LIKE CHOCOLATE... and tastes sweet too. Unique to Too Faced, this chocolate bar drew its inspiration from one of its other products, the Chocolate Soleil Bronzer.Funny story: when I received this at my dinner, my friends actually tasted the eyeshadows to see if they tasted like chocolate. They were sweet but didn't taste like chocolate unfortunately. Also one of my friends said that each shadow should taste like its name (not a bad idea). 
  • I really love the fact that all the names are types of sweets which just makes the palette so much more authentic and unique. 
  • The magnetic, slim packaging is great for travel and storage. You're not afraid of it breaking or anything like that - another problem that I have with Chi Chi eyeshadow palettes. The fact that it is a chocolate bar just makes it all the more tempting to get it.
  • There is a mirror, which again great for travelling and anything on the go. 
Some issues I had:
  • The colours are all very nice but for a palette that costed $68.95, I would've expected the base colours to be more pigmented. If you can see in the swatches, the second colour (white chocolate) is hardly visible. The fact that the shadow area is bigger than the other ones show that it should be the one used the most. I am disappointed in some of the colours such as this and strawberry bon bon (well I guess the matte colours). The colour pay off isn't great and it just doesn't show up on the lids at all. What is the point of having a lot of matte colours without them actually showing up on the lids. They really need to change the formula for matte colours especially in this palette. I've seen other smaller palettes with highly pigmented matte colours. 
  • This is a minor issue, but the lid goes all the way down, so when you are applying makeup you need to physically hold up the mirror. (I know, first world problems) but it is quite annoying to be flopping around the mirror. I tend to just use the bigger mirror i have at home while applying this eyeshadow. 
  • Another minor problem - it didn't come with anything complementary. The naked palette came with a double sided brush and sample primers. For $68.95, you'd expect at least one perk!
  • Whilst the colours all feel nice on the lids, I feel like the colours when they are swatched do not look the same on the lids - maybe its just me though. 
Overall Verdict:
  •  The mixture of neutral colours are great and you could definitely do a lot of looks from this but for the price I was really hoping for the texture and colour pay off to be just a bit better. I also own the Too Faced Romantic Palette and all the colours are ALL velvety, not just the shimmery ones. They need to work on their matte colours like I said.
  • I am happy owning this palette because it does have a great range of neutral colours but in terms of texture I would definitely go for the Naked Palettes as I will review below. 

Urban Decay's Naked 3 Palette

 (Swatches: L to R on the palette above)

What I like:

  • This is truly a gorgeous palette - I love how Urban Decay has certain colour schemes for their palettes. The Naked 3 is a rose-gold based palette ranging from lighter pink tones to the darker ones, and then finally the more brown colours. Unlike the Chocolate Bar which has a range of neutrals, this palette mostly has the pinks and browns. This is good because I can use the two palettes tougher and have more range of colours. I don't know about the other urban decay palettes, but this one also contains matte shades, with the first colour which is a base like Too Faced Milk Chocolate colour (although this one is much more pigmented as you can see)
  • The texture of this palette is unbeatable. The shadows are all so buttery and apply so effortlessly onto the lids. Even though it has matte shades, I feel like Urban Decay has also made these colours buttery and more pigmented unlike Too Faced Chocolate Bar.
  • The packaging is also really nice, I love the long rectangles of colours because it looks so neat in the packaging. It is also a metal frame but with plastic on the inside. It is not a metal snap lock but a plastic-key lock kind of thing. The mirror is bigger than Too Faced Chocolate Bar and has hinges so you can see yourself easier. Even though it is a bit thicker, I find that it is still quite compact and feels a bit sturdier with its metal exterior and plastic interior. 
  • It comes with extras! The Naked 1 and 2 came with one brush with only one end, but they're combined the two for Naked 3 which is the best of both worlds! In the box you also get 4 sample primers ranging from normal skin to anti-aging formulas. 
Some Issues that I had:
  • Like I said, there is a rose-gold colour scheme which means that these shadows obviously won't match everything that you're wearing so it is a bit limited. e.g. you are wearing all blue - the pinks won't really match up with it. 
  • Some of the colours wash me out - maybe because I'm asian and have some pink undertones. I usually have to match the colours with the darker brown ones to accentuate my eyes more. 
  • No other real issues here, just the palette is targeted for those who do want a particular colour scheme - it is less versatile than the Chocolate Bar
Overall Verdict:
  • This is a beautiful palette that you can just stare at all day without using it. The colours are all so pigmented and velvety which is what you would expend from a high end eyeshadow palette.
  • If you already own naked 1 and 2, or any other neutrals you should definitely go for this palette as it gives you the rose-gold colour scheme that is unique to Urban Decay. 
  • If you don't own any eyeshadows yet I will hold out on this one because it is quite expensive, not available in Australia and is not as versatile for everyday looks like the Chocolate Bar.
  • Overall, I am very impressed and as I have never owned a Naked Palette, this is a good first impression of it.
Products Listings and Prices

Too Faced Chocolate Bar - $68.95 @ (available online and in stores)
Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette - $80 @ (only available online, not available at stores in Australia)

Thanks for reading the blog guys! Really appreciate it and I hope that they continue to help you with your makeup :) Also you can comment on your opinions about them below!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Review: ELF Blushes and Face of Australia Contour Kit as dupes for Nars blush and bronzers

Hi everyone :)

Happy long weekend! Hope everyone is enjoying themselves on the road (not that you should be reading this and driving!) or snuggled up in bed with some studying for finals to do (like me D:). This surely will lighten up your day!

Today's post will be on dupes that I found for Nars Orgasm blush and Nars Laguna Bronzer. Retailing at $45 and $55 respectively, some of us find it very hard to believe that a product could be so good for us to empty our pockets. The products that I am going to compare are all under $10. Let's see if there really is a difference.

The Blushes: 

(Top to Bottom: Nars Blush in Orgasm, ELF Blush in Tickled Pink, ELF Blush in Candid Coral)

Nars Blush in Orgasm 

Pigmentation & Colour pay off

  • As you can see in the picture, the colour is a very pretty pink-coral with small specks of shimmer. Before I bought this blush, I read that it was a colour that suited all different skin tones (i.e. a universal blush colour)
  • And boy were they right. I've seen this colour on really fair skin to those with more tanned skin, and they look equally as nice. On fairer girls it gives a nice, pink-flush (I wouldn't call it natural but close to it) and on darker girls, the shimmer gives them a nice and healthy glow. 
  • When I first used this brush, the colour was very pigmented. I just needed to swipe a bit on and it would show up on my face. However, lately it seems that the blush has dried up a bit and the shimmer specks show up more than the actual colour. For $45 I would think that this is quite unreasonable - the colour of the product should be consistent. It actually took me the same amount of swipes to get the colour on my arm as the ELF ones.
  • Nars blushes are famous for feeling so silky and feels just heavenly soft on your face. There are no flaky bits and it is definitely not drying on your face at all. It really does just brush on effortlessly and doesn't feel powdery at all.

Longevity/Lasting power

  • This baby has amazing staying power. When I set my foundation with the NYX finishing powder, this blush stays on pretty much all night. 
  • That's really what you want from a high-end blush - staying power. If the colour is beautiful and very unique, but the staying power isn't as great then the product isn't really worth it in my opinion. 
  • I would say it lasts about 5-6 hours with a good primer, lasting foundation and a setting powder. For those who complain that blush never stays as well, you really need to prep your face for it to last for a long time!


  • It is a rubbery/plastic compact that is easy to grip and doesn't feel fragile. You feel like it is very unlikely to break if you were to drop it. 
  • The rubbery texture does make the compact prone to dust or powders sticking to it. It's really hard to clean off and it comes back again so I don't even bother. You can see it from the packaging above. I would say that once it gets dusty, it does lose its 'premium' feel but I'm not too fussed about that
  • Inside there is a small full-sized mirror which is great for doing makeup on the go. 

ELF Blush in Candid Coral & ELF Blush in Tickled Pink

Pigmentation and Colour Pay off
  • Last week I went to Kmart to pick up the ELF's Blush and Bronzer Duo St Lucia but they were sold out again :( So I decided to do my research and found that these were everyone's two favourite blush colours
  • The colours are very similar in the compact but when they are swatched, but they're actually quite different. As you can see, Tickled Pink is a similar colour to Nars Orgasm Blush but it has less shimmer and more of a peachy pink. For everyday use, I would prefer the ELF's blush because it is closer to my own 'blushed' cheek colour. (Apparently this colour is similar to Nars Deep Throat Blush - haven't got my hands on this one yet but i'll be sure to update you guys!)
  • Many people say that Candid Coral is a dupe for the Nars Orgasm Blush but I don't really think so. The Nars blush is definitely more pink, whilst this one is a peachy-coral colour. There is definitely more shimmer in this colour compared to Tickled Pink, which makes it a great highlighter as well. 
  • I guess if you mixed the ELF colours together it would look a bit like Nars Orgasm (if you wanted to go to all that trouble :P)

  • These ELF blushes definitely don't feel as silky and smooth as Nars blushes. They often feel powdery and needs to be blended out. In saying that, once it is blended the texture on the face feels just as nice as Nars.

Longevity/Lasting Power
  • This is probably the downfall of ELF blushes. Whilst the colours are great and very natural (my favourite look!), they tend to fade very quickly. I would give them tops about 3 hours and then you probably won't see it on your face anymore.
  • The powdery texture is probably to blame here. It takes so long to blend, yet it comes off very easily. Sad face here :( 

  • As you can see above, the compacts look very similar - Elf was probably copying Nars design hehe. 
  • Whereas Nars Blushes and Bronzers are in a rubbery/plastic compact, ELF blushes are just in a plastic case which feels a lot less sturdy and will probably break if you use drop it too much. 
  • Inside, we only get half a mirror which is pretty uncomfortable for travel when you want to see how it looks on your whole face. 
  • However, I do like the plastic window that tells which colour the blush is. I know for sure that if I get more Nars blushes I will have to always look at the back to see what colour I'm getting. A win for ELF here. 


I would recommend investing in the high-end blushes, especially with the great colour range that Nars has. The cheaper alternatives are good for everyday natural looks, but if you really want something that defines your cheeks and gives them definition opt for Nars blushes like Orgasm.

The Bronzers: 

(Top to Bottom: Face of Australia Illuminator (Glamazon Compact), Face of Australia Matte Contouring Bronzer (Glamazon Compact), Nars Bronzer in Laguna)

Nars Bronzer in Laguna

Pigmentation & Colour pay off
  • This is the perfect colour for natural contouring. It is a nice golden medium brown that isn't too muddy and isn't too orange. It has a bit of shimmer in it which should not scare anyone away! The shimmer is to a minimum and does give your face a nice supermodel glow. 
  • Recently the colour has gotten a bit orange, well it is just orange on my plain face without any foundation. I don't recommend contouring your face without having a foundation base first because it just looks muddy and doesn't blend well with your skin. 
  • This colour is also great for an all over nice and healthy glow bronzer. I usually use it when my face is too pasty and this bronzer doesn't make my face look too orange at all!
  • It really is a multi-tasker bronzer, both for light/natural contouring and all over the face. 
  • I find that this bronzer is even silkier than the Nars blush purely because there aren't shimmer specks in it. The shimmer powder is very fine, so it makes the bronzer highly blendable for the skin. Absolutely love the smooth application!

Longevity/Lasting power
  • I love how brands such as Nars keeps their products consistent. As a duo with the blush, the Laguna Bronzer has great staying power. Again, I would apply this at the beginning of the night and by the end of it, it would still be there!
  • As with the blush, you guys really have to prep you face before and after using blush and bronzers to make sure that they do stay for longer. Invest in a good primer and setting powder. it will really make all the difference.


  • Similar to the blush packaging, it is rubbery but shock-absorbent I guess. I could drop it on the floor a thousand times without worrying if it broke. It is very light as well so it doesn't weigh down your bag. 
  • The compact in this is bigger which I think is great for bronzers. Sometimes it is used for all-over-the-face bronzing, so it gives you a bigger pan to sweep your brush on and to apply on your face. 
  • Also this means the mirror is a fair bit bigger than the blushes which is awesome! I use this mirror for application of any other makeup because I can usually see my whole face. It doesn't obstruct my view at all. 

Face of Australia Glamazon Contour and Highlight Kit in Leopardess 

Pigmentation & Colour pay off
  • I bought this contour kit because every Australian beauty Instagrammer has it in all of their pictures so I HAD to have it. 
  • Despite the Laguna Bronzer being amazing, I wanted to find cheaper alternatives if I were to hit the pan. The bronzer in this kit is actually a bit darker than Laguna and more matte. 
  • I actually quite like this bronzer because it is matte so your cheeks look more defined - it looks a bit more clean-cut when contouring. 
  • This product is actually more pigmented than the Nars bronzer which means a little goes a long way. If you use too much it will become muddy especially because it is more of a chocolate brown colour than golden dark honey colours like Nars and Benefit's Hoola Bronzer. I am quite fair so I do have to be very careful
  • Since this is a contour kit you can obviously not use this as an all over bronzer because the result will not be pretty
  • My favourite thing about this compact is the highlighter. It is so gorgeous and pigmented. I've never used a powder highlighter/illuminator so I can't really compare to others. It is not to shimmery and sits perfectly above my blush and bronzer. Again, you only need a sweep of this product. Do not use too much or you'll end up looking like a disco ball. 

  • I like that both of these colours are quite silky unlike the powdery texture of the ELF blushes. For $10 you can't really complain! It does take a bit more effort to blend into your skin but again for a product that is about 5 times cheaper, I wouldn't be too fussed.

Longevity/Lasting power
  • Unlike the ELF blushes which were quite powdery and lacked blendability, this contour kit is very pigmented and blends relatively well into the skin.
  • This product lasts about 34 hours - if I do not randomly rub my face and it comes off. A bit less than the Nars bronzer. If you were wearing this in the day, I would recommend carrying the compact along for touch ups.

  • Out of all of these products, this is definitely my favourite compact! First of all the lid is leopard print, how sick is that! I'm pretty sure that is what really got me in all those instagram pictures. 
  • the packaging is completely plastic with a glossy shine, which is different to the matte-ness of the other cases. It is a little flimsy and I would be scared to drop it, but the hinges and lock of the compact is very sturdy.
  • It also contains a full sized mirror which I love. Not many drugstore brands have a nice full sized mirror, especially those matte powders. It is also great that this is both a bronzer and illuminator in one which makes it easier to carry around than my Nars Laguna. 
  • As my first ever Face of Australia product, I am very impressed. Definitely going to look out for more cheap gems


Whilst Nars Laguna Bronzer is my HG and my go to every time, after I bought this FOA one I have been reaching for that one a bit more. As I said I love the illuminator/bronzer duo which just makes it easier for doing my makeup while travelling on the train etc. I still love the Laguna bronzer as a multitasker and for the colour pay off, but the FOA contour kit is slowly winning over my heart. Jokes aside, I am really loving this contour kit - and it is great for beginners because of the price and the duo. Would highly recommend!

Product listing and locations

Nars Blush in Orgasm - $45 @ MeccaMaxima and MeccaCosmetica stores, and
Nars Bronzer in Laguna - $55 @ MeccaMaxima and MeccaCosmetica stores,
ELF Blush in Tickled Pink - $8 @ participating Kmart stores,, and $3.21 @
ELF Blush in Candid Coral - $8 @ participating Kmart stores,, and $3.21 @
Face of Australia Glamazon Contour and Highlighter Kit in Leopardess - $9.95 @ Big W stores, and

A rather long post but I wanted to give you guys a detailed post on whether high-end brand and HG products are really worth your money. Usually they are, but there are also some hidden gems that we look passed straight away because of their dirt-cheap prices. I would definitely recommend doing more research on alternatives that may save you all the money and disappointment if you were to hate the high end product. Hope this helped everyone!

Tune in for the next post on my beautiful eyeshadow palettes that my friends bought for me for my birthday! Exciting! (yes, Toofaced Chocolate Bar is included. Does it actually taste like chocolate?! You'll find out in my next post!)


Janie xoxo