Category Archives: Aroma

Smash Cosmetics – swatches and review

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone if I say I love indie polishes. I mean, I make some. And own lots. And sort of want them all. But I also really like indie makeup… i.e. makeup ranges that are handmade by people, rather than large businesses and machines. Easier to get the cruelty free products in all the pretty colours, and usually for a really decent price too, even including shipping it all the way here!

One night strolling through Etsy I stumbled across a range of indie makeup from Smash Cosmetics, so went looking for reviews, and found a lot of favourable reviews. And thought I’d post my own reviews – the best way to know if they are a good product or not is to Google it, so doing my best to keep that out there! I bought a few full sized products from them, and also a Bloggers Pack – eg a VERY inexpensive sample pack, the reciprocal part being that I am a blogger, and will review their product. But of course, I do that anyway, bought or sent. A review happens. 😀 So, yay, I just asked them to surprise me with the products, and didn’t specify any products 🙂

Smash Cosmetics

So, swatches! There are two lipglosses, Vixen and Cranberry. Both are very dense in pigment, and go on nicely. I used a lipbrush, no primer or lip liner for all of these photos.

Vixen is much brighter than I could get it to show.

smash vixen

It looks almost neon pink red in real life! And can I just say that I hate taking selfies, and am really bad at them, and didn’t want to primp, so this is just me, wearing a bit of lipstick. I probably should have waited for a better day. Gah.

Smash vixen full

Cranberry is a metallic berry red /maroon…

Smash Cranberry

Quite pretty!

Smash Cranberry 1

Then the lipstick I bought, this is Deptford. It looks nothing like the photos, it is hard and doesn’t transfer the pigment well AT ALL, I think I’d quite like the colour (though shimmer and I don’t get on too well), and I’ll melt this down and add a bit of cocoa butter or similar and repour it, just so I can use it.

Smash Deptford

It’s also supposed to be Vanilla flavoured… I don’t know about that, it does smell sweet, and like lipstick 😀

Smash Deptford 1

Then other lipsticks in the Blogger pacK:

Creamsicle: very strange light peach orange colour, fairly streaky, but very opaque… and, as you can see, doesn’t look good on me. BUT, and here’s the thing, I don’t want these colours because I think I’ll look ‘good’, I just want funky colours. Plus, you know, I LOVE making up costumes and things, and these will come in handy!

Smash Creamsicle

Mint: Slightly green teal, a bit more green than the photo shows. Slightly streaky and catches in the lines on my lips, but not as bad as Creamsicle.

Smash Mint

Viola: Absolutely gorgeous. Goes on flawlessly, and has a really nice scent, floral and sweet. Also very flattering, which is really strange! I want a full sized lipstick of this one!

Smash Violet

Another selfie, argh. I even think they’re worse than the too-close-for-comfort macro, because at least I can pretend they’re not MY lips, until I see them on my face. That’s a bit of a giveaway. Ah well. FOR SCIENCE!  (or at least, for public information) 😀

Smash Violet 1

Head in the Clouds: very blue lipstick, sort of strange texture, like it has too much zinc in it? Slightly sticky, in between a lipgloss and lipstick, but a very funky colour. Again, for costumes probably 😀 Nice scent, too! More sweet, less floral than Viola.

Smash Head in the Clouds

Tweak. For a moment I thought the name was Twerk, but phew! It’s not! Dark teal blue.. this was hard to apply, didn’t want to spread out or warm up, so not as dense as the others, and took more work. Nice colour though, I like it, probably not for school and kindy drop offs though 😀

Smash Tweak

Now… the clear tube is Glitter Glue, an eye primer for glittery eyeshadows. I bought this one. 🙂 And also included in the Blogger Pack was a cream primer… I swatched the eyeshadows on my arm, and drew a line using both primers.. nothing at the top, then the cream primer, then the glitter glue towards the bottom of my arm, and just bisected those horizontal lines with the vertical primer/nothing lines.  And the verdict is, I LOVE the cream primer. I want a full size of that, too! Wow, just holds everything in place so well, pops all those colours.

Here are the eyeshadows!

smash shadows 1

From left to right:

*Ultramarine (one I bought) – put on as thickly as I could, it is also on the far right, put on in one thin line. Bit disappointed in the colour payoff, but it builds nicely on the lid 🙂

*Harlot: a nice earthenware type red / brown

*Hell: very red and sparkly

*Pulchritudinous: Although I don’t want to spell that one again, it’s my favourite of the bunch, over the cream primer especially it has an amazing copper shimmer.

*Hippopotomuses: cute name! pretty shimmery lilac/silver shadow

*Frankenstella: nice purple on the boundary of plum. Dense in the best way 🙂

Smash shadows

Now, I’ve gone back to find the shop to post links, and everything has disappeared. I am not sure if they have taken a break, or gone forever, but I’m hoping for a break because I want the cream primer and Viola lipstick, and a full size eyeshadow or 3 from them! So, fingers crossed they’ll come back, and I’ll let you all know!

Have a colourful day

Ami 🙂

Lipstick Swatches – Revlon, Kleancolor, MUA, and Indies

I decided to do something different, and catalog some of my lipsticks (and some lipglosses) by brand.


MUA Lipsticks

L-R (on my arm, no primer)

  • Bare – soooo pale and chalky like death on me.
  • 11 -my favourite of these lipsticks, flattering on my olive-ish skin tone, not chalky, very moisturising. Doesn’t stay on long , but easy to reapply.
  • 7 – looks almost like 11, but it’s more orange and patchy.
  • Nectar – PEACH! wow. Sort of a strange texture, sticks around on any rough skin areas like a party overstayer. Best blended with another lipstick!
  • Intense Kisses Gloss – Stolen Kisses (from Shan, thank you so much!) – I love this, a little goes a long way as it’s very pigmented, smells a bit like sweet vanilla, and the colour hangs around for longer than most glosses do.
  • Out There Plumping Lipgloss – Pin Up Pink. Silly design, very long thin tube = very long thin applicator, makes putting it on tricky. Well, unless you just take the gloss off with your finger, which you have to do, because the long thin applicator is all flooopy and wobbly. Sigh. Also, the gloss smells like yucky plastic. Not my favourite gloss ever, though the colour is quite nice. Wears off almost instantly. Does it plump lips? It does not. None of them do. And yet I still try… sigh.
  • Sheer Finish gloss – Some Me Time. Just like real life ‘me time’, disappears instantly. Sheer, smells generically sweet fruity, nice enough.


Kleancolor Lipsticks

L-R , bare arm, no primer

  • 743 Pink
  • 747 Soft Rose – gorgeous every day colour
  • 709 Toastie Taupe
  • 704 Mocha Cream – can be used to give a soft wash of colour, not just dark brown.

These are all very soft and smooth, easy to apply, and give good colour payoff. They also disappear very quickly, but reapplication is easy. They smell nice, sweet and fruity, and my eldest boy likes to eat them. sigh. Don’t leave them in the car, they melt in the heat.


Revlon Lipsticks

left to right, bare skin, no primer 🙂

  • 230 – Super Lustrous Lipstick – Flesh Tone
  • 007 – Matte Lipstick – In The Red
  • 050 – Hazelnut
  • 080 – Coral (it’s a very red coral!)

My sad pitiful collection of Indies..

Geek Chic and Evil Shades

Left to right, no primer

  • Evil Shades Deviant Lipstick – Jenaveve
  • Geek Chic Chrysalis
  • Geek Chic Banished (gloss).

I was a bit concerned my Geek Chic‘s would be like the Evil Shades  – you know, ok, but nothing special. WRONG. The swatches don’t really show how metallic Chrysalis looks, but it does show the amazing-ness of Banished.

The thing is… I can’t, really, go around wearing these on their own to school and kindy and, you know, boring ol town. Well, if I had lips like MaSucree’s  I might, but I don’t… 😀  HOWEVER, both the lipstick and the gloss can be patted on to change other colours: I use Banished a lot to darken the light MUA lipsticks, and make them last longer. I don’t know if I could wear it on it’s own, the formula is really thick and sticky, and goes patchy. But with practice, I’m sure it’s do-able, just only use a tiny bit!

Have a great day


Kleancolor Lipglosses: Naughty Kiss and First Impression

Two of the Kleancolor lipgloss range – these are great 😀

And this is Naughty Kiss (I couldn’t resist the name! Hilarious!)

– a bronze coloured lipgloss with multicoloured shimmer – mostly pink and silver, but you have to look pretty hard to see anything apart from shine.

Blurry, sorry, but shows the shimmer colours!

And First Impression

– which is a light pink with iridescent and pink shimer- the shimmer is much more obvious in this one. Subtle, but pretty!

These are thin lipglosses – scented sort of like lollies? They are soft and slippery, not sticky, and wear off moderately quick. However, they are excellent for that quick touch up, or to keep in a pocket, bag, or car for when the need to have shiny shiny lips arises. And at $2 each, that’s a great deal 🙂

They do have mineral oil as their main ingredient, and I do believe that that’s the ingredient that lips get ‘addicted to’ – so when you stop using it, your lips can dry out and crack. Most lip glosses (and many balms!!!) have this as their main ingredient; what I tend to do is make sure I have balms with natural oils or waxes around, and alternate what I use. That way I’m eating less petroleum products (nom nom!) and also hopefully not getting as dependant on the mineral oil.

I think you can also get the Kleancolor lipglosses and lipsticks from Beauty Joint (.com) – I have one of their lipsticks and it’s very nice, recommend those to -especially for such a low price, and with no animal testing 🙂

Have a great day!

CR Nail Polish…

I had a query a little while ago about where to purchase CR nail polishes online … it actually took me a little while to answer, because I had to discover web translation sites; as I don’t speak Spanish. I’d love to, though. Anyway, while searching for where to buy CR nail polishes online I found a few websites that say that some of the CR polishes have been recalled due to toxic levels of phlathates – NOT GOOD!–august-3,-2012,-2012-1308.html


I’m not sure about the legitimacy of the websites, but I feel I should definitely let people know. I get my CR / Color Cosmetic nail polishes from $2 stores etc, and they do smell pretty nasty so I use them outside, but now I think I’ll move them outside permanently, and only use them on my toy insects and things. I’ll have a think about it. But, if anyone knows about this and can set my mind at rest, let me know! Alternately, if you have these and use them… perhaps it might pay not to.

Layla Ocean Rush over Color Club Wicked Sweet.

I killed my Layla Ocean Rush with top coat. Sadness! But I wanted it back, yes I did. ‘On with it’s head!’ I cried. But as I STILL had things I needed to do, and I knew I couldn’t put a top coat over it (I can be taught, see?), I thought I’d layer it over a faster drying, similarly coloured polish first.

And… I don’t have enough polishes. Seriously. The only one I had that was in any way similar to Ocean Rush was Color Club Wicked Sweet. Wicked Sweet is quite sheer, and this was three coats. It is also significantly more teal in colour, and… it’s scented. Like fake blueberry sweets.

Color Club Wicked Sweet..

Despite this, I soldiered on. I was determined to make Ocean Rush work. I put one (pretty thick) coat of Ocean Rush over the Wicked Sweet – and here’s a trick, work from the outsides in. Eg one stroke down each side of the nail, THEN the centre one. I found the more I tried to get rid of the brushstrokes, the more polish I pulled off, leaving bare patches. Sigh.

Layla Ocean Rush over Color Club Wicked Sweet

This was pretty! Very pretty. Not quite as pretty as Ocean Rush on it’s own, but very nice – and the holographic effect was still really strong. The Wicked Sweet gave it a more teal tinge, just by a bit.

It was more holo than this, I was losing the knack of taking the photos by this stage. 🙂

But.. but.. it also stank. I couldn’t handle the smell! Maybe my sense of smell has come back after all these cold’s I’ve had, but argh.

I had to take it off, I was so sad. Next time I’ll make sure I wait long enough for Ocean Rush to dry, and keep Wicked Sweet on my toes (far, far away from my face).

May 8th: A smell you adore

Photo-A-Day May: May 8th – a smell you adore.

This is my well-loved bottle of Sandalwood oil. My favourite! I rarely use it, as it’s so expensive – and justifiably – but every now and again I’ll use some. Mostly a drop as a perfume, really 🙂

Lavender Essential Oil Part Two: Spike Lavender

Spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia or Lavandula spica) has often, throughout history, been put down a bit. For an example, here is a statement from an  internet site: “This species yields up to three times the quantity of essential oil than is obtained from L. angustifolia, but the quality is inferior to that species. When growing the plant for its essential oil content, it is best to harvest the flowering stems”. (By-the-way, another research article backs up the often heard ‘pick when flowering’ mantra – stating there  is 2.5-7 times less essential oil in the lavender when fruiting then when flowering).However, it’s becoming much more widely known that the spike Lavender variety may be the more ‘medicinal’ of the lavenders, with a more powerful antiseptic action. It is noted to have bactericidal, antiviral, cytophylactic, decongestant, and expectorant properties – it can be of use in upper respiratory conditions in a diffuser. You can read more of that article here .

Lavender true (as in my earlier post here), has Linalyl acetate and Linalool as the two top constituents, in that order. There has been some research about the anti-inflammatory properties of these two oils – as in the prior post – with Linalool especially appearing to be strongly anti-inflammatory (another research article cited here).  Spike lavender has Linalool as it’s primary constituent, with the second most abundant constituent being 1-8 cineole (the primary constituent in most eucalyptus essential oils, and also being found through research to being potentially antimicrobial and pesticidal) . With this in mind, you can see that Spike Lavender is likely to be more effective against inflammation, and better used in situations where you would prefer Eucalyptus to Lavender True.

In plainer speak – I would pop some L.angustifolia in some water then on a cold flannel for stress and tension headaches, and I’d go straight for the L. latifolia to fight colds, flu, inflammation and breathing difficulties.

My aromatherapy study ‘bible’, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy by Salvatore Battaglia, also states that spike lavender is particularly effective for treating respiratory complaints. (p. 174). I’d recommend 2-3 drops in a hot bowl of water as a steam inhalation for an adult if you would want to try this. Another method is to put a few drops on a tissue, and fold that up and place it in your pillow case. This is much more subtle, but please make sure you are not sensitive to any oil before doing this – you could wake with a nasty headache, or end up with a smell you HATE impregnated into your pillow. Not good.

Cautions: spike lavender is approx 20% camphor. Again, this is traditionally put into treatments for breathing or muscle pain, but it is best to avoid anything containing camphor if you have epilepsy, or if you are pregnant (Battaglia, 1995).

So, to sum up! Although once seen as the ‘poor cousin’ to true lavender; spike lavender has now been proven as a valuable essential oil in its own right. For colds, coughs, inflammation etc – for when you think only Eucalyptus will do, well, try spike lavender as well. Muscle aches and pains – this could be your oil (approx 10 drops in 25 mls of carrier oil – gives almost 2.5% of essential oil, which is a good starting rate for an adult massage oil mix).

Spike lavender’s aroma blends well with lemon, black pepper, eucalyptus, orange, pine, rosemary and marjoram oils – there are more good blends out there: half of the fun is in the finding

Have a great day!

Ami 🙂

LUSH Lustre Body Powder Photos and Review

Yep, I found a reason to go to Lush anyway, in spite of doing the anti-animal testing petition online. Was pretty simple, along the lines of  ‘I wanna go!’ I still have some Lush vouchers left over from my birthday – assorted family members chipped in and got me a heap, I am so lucky! Thanks again, you guys. All of you. You know who you are 😉

First and foremost among yesterdays purchases was Lustre, a brand new addition to Lush’s range. Its a shimmery gold body powder, scented with their Lust perfume – i.e a whole heap of Jasmine, a touch of Ylang ylang and Rose, and a subtle hint of vanilla and sandalwood. Sandalwood is my favourite essential oil in the whole wide world (although I have a soft spot for many of them) – and I wish there was a bit more Sandalwood in it. But I do like this blend! My mother hates Jasmine with a passion, it smells like cat pee to her. Huh. Takes all kinds, right? 😀

Here is the bottle pic, with all it’s fingermarks. Please ignore those.

And an ingredient list.. the label is covering Radiant Gold Lustre. I wonder what that is? Lush Speak for glitter, possibly. Don’t quote me on that, I’m guessing. 😀

Close up of the powder in the lid, to show off those glimmers – multicoloured in some lights!

And this is how it comes out – you shake it GENTLY and it falls out in little lumpy mountains like this. Cute. Be resigned to sparkly palms. Highly Edward 😀

But once blended in, it takes on a subtle sheen, very pretty, and a lovely fragrance.It also has a lovely soft talc feel to it, thanks to the cornflour and, er, talc. Soft without being greasy!

Click to see more shimmer!

I bought this because I love glitter – and could see potential for a front-of-shin shimmer (to make legs look thinner, it’s a trick apparantly!), collar bones and cheek bone highlights. Also, for my hair! I tried this yesterday, and it worked really well. My hair did have a bit more shimmer, and it smelled really nice. It also contained my frizzies a bit without that horrible gunked-up product feeling, so it’s a triple win for me, am super happy I bought this! Was $20, and I think it will last a long time as I only need a tiny bit.

Thanks, Lush, for not only being ethical re. animal testing and education, but also for continuing to bring out new products for us to check out. 😀  You can get their goodies from their website, too, if your local shop isn’t so local! NZ site here, otherwise there is bound to be one for your country, just spank Google for the info 🙂

Hope everyone has a sparkly happy day!

Ami 🙂

LUSH Snow Fairy Shower Gel and Anti-Animal Testing Petition

Good morning! Quick one here, I’ve got a road trip to be on. Yup, yay!

Ok, this is Lush shower gel in Snow Fairy – its limited to Christmas, but when it’s in, go and get it.

First up, it works. Lush do use a number of surfactants (bubble makers) that can be drying to the skin, so perhaps get a sample first (just ask for one, they’re lovely in there!). But the same surfactants make it an effective cleanser – you will want to moisturise after though. (Hey Lush, do you make a moisturiser with the same fragrance??!)

Second and important: this smells beautiful. It smells happy. It smells… pink. Its not a complicated fragrance, it basically smells like raspberry and sugar… sweet, happy, pink.  Makes me feel good on those not-so-good days. Also, it’s not so ‘Christmassy’ that you feel silly using it in June.. it’s an all-year-round puppy, not just the silly season.

One thing.. I wish, wish, wish that there were more sparkles in it. Look at them! So far they’ve stayed down the bottom of the bottle and I can’t shake them through the gel.. pretty. I want. I’m sure I’ll get there, but in the meantime.. more glitter, please!

And last but pretty much the whole point of me writing this now: Lush are running a petition against animal testing – ( – from the 17th to the 26th April. Now. Go, read, if you think you’d be keen, sign. It’s a strong statement, especially banning the sale of new cosmetics that have been tested on animals, and I know some people won’t like that.

I do. It makes me feel sick when I’ve seen the results of the tests – and I’m not saying pictures or anything gory. Just wee statements like ‘does not cause genetic abnormality in generation tests on rats and mice. Does not cause occular damage in 12.5%, 25%, and 50% strengths’. Oh yeah. Lets deliberately set out to see if we can kill and cripple the foetuses and babies of other animals. People don’t like rats, I do. Nonetheless, it is an intelligent, living, feeling creature – and not only are we hurting her, we are hurting her babies. Oh, and its not just rats or mice – its also commonly bunnies and beagles: ‘they dont bite, they’re nice tempered. Lets drop chemicals in their eyes’.  I really think we need to know what goes on, and take a hard stand to stop it. I also think that looking ‘pretty’ at the expense of another being’s pain and torture isn’t pretty at all. And if you agree, petition at Lush! And if you don’t, hey, thats cool. At least I’ve said my piece 😀

Making liquid soap from solid soap – using Ecostore Coconut Soap

Here’s another thing probably everyone else does, but in case you want to and you don’t know how, here’s an easy way to make liquid soap.

I like liquid soap – it doesn’t crack and harbour bacteria in it like hard soap can, so I prefer it for handwashing. My kids also like the liquid soap: they pump that bottle until there is soap EVERYWHERE. I assume they will stop this, sooner or later. They’ve been told. The older has outgrown it, I’m waiting for the younger to learn. However, I don’t like most of the liquid soaps I can buy: they dry my hands out, cause my skin to crack, and are full of chemicals I just don’t want around. I do like Ecostore hand soap, but.. although they’re not expensive, they are out of my price range on a weekly basis. So, here’s what I do.

I buy a liquid soap (I didn’t want to have an Ecostore bottle here to confuse anyone – and tried to hide the label I did use. Badly, but I tried) – and then use it up. Ta da, a bottle for soap! Clean THAT and you’re good to go.

I use Ecostore solid soaps, always, for these. I’m loving the coconut one – it smells very sweetly coconutty, and I like to walk around the house pretending I’m on a tropical island somewhere when the kids go nutty. Coversations go like this: “muuum! Mum! MMMMUUUUUUUUUUUMMM!” and I say “boola bula booola..” (thats me, in my head, dancing on the sand on a tropical island, ok, its not good but I don’t know any good songs to sing!) and it drives my monkeys crazy. (To any concerned citizens: if you have children, you will know the difference between a “mum!” that means “I need help, right now, my brother has a good grip on my eyeball” and the “mum!” that means “I’m really bored and trying to wind you up and everytime you say ‘yes, dear?’ I go ‘blah blah BLAHAHAHAH!’ and run away.” I’m talking about ignoring the latter ‘mum’.)

So.. here’s the deal with the liquid soap. Find a container (in this case an old yoghurt container. Save them. They’re great for storage, planting plants in, all sorts). Grate some solid soap into said container: you can also use a potato peeler, it’s easier to clean, and you are less likely to start frothing at the mouth after eating your next cheese dish. Top up with water. You’ll need a really small soap/water ratio…

Soapy potatoes are always fun at dinner parties.

And fill 9/10ths  to the top. Play with the ratio – you’ll find what happens is that it seems fine at a higher soap/water balance, but then when it cools the soap sets, and you have a jelly that can’t be pumped through the bottle.*

That's how much soap I used (about 1/5th of the cake) and the amount of flakes I had in the bottom of the 1kg yoghurt container.


Now, put the container with soap flakes and water into a pot (or frying pan, yes) with some water in it.. and put the element on. Its not a true bain marie, but it means as the water in the pot heats it heats not only the container at the bottom,  but also up to the water level on the sides. Just a bit quicker. Stir until the soap flakes have dissolved.

High tech creation, here! Be impressed! 😀

Pour into the cleaned soap pump bottle – and done. If the soap is hot, wait until it has cooled a bit before you pour it into the bottle or do the lid up, otherwise the bottle will crumple in on itself. Not pretty, but still functional, usually.

My soap flakes didn't dissolve 100%. That's ok, it still works well!

And done! Leave the rest of the liquid soap in the container until you run out, then pour more in. The amount I make usually lasts us a good month, unless my youngest child has got at it again, in which case we could be talking days. Sigh.

I find this doesn’t dry my hands out, plus I get a good months (normally!) soap from 1/5 of a cake of soap – which itself cost half of what the liquid soap does. Usually the coconut soap sells for $3-ish, I’ll be using say 60 cents worth for a month, so 15 cents a week. MUCH cheaper, and nicer on my hands. Here’s the ingredients for the Ecostore coconut soap, as always you can get their products at most supermarkets, or online here.

(p.s I’m not saying this is better than the Ecostore liquid soap, I’d prefer that one if I could! But.. this works for me, and my family)

*If your soap solidifies in the container, add more water, put the lid on, and shake-shake-shake like you’re at a dance party on a tropical island. If it solidifies in the pump bottle, take the lid off, put the bottle into a pot with water, and reheat until it liquidises again. Remove some of the soap, add more water. Shake-shake-shake. Exercise AND problem solving, could it get any better?!