Category: Beauty

My open letter to Lush

So I tried a new product recently, and as it turns out I have never been so thrilled. It was the Sunnyside Bubble Bar (Strike gold) by Lush. In fact, I was so blown away that I wrote them an email to express my pleasure.

Image credit: Lush

Hey Lush,

I don’t normally write complimentary emails (not because I have nothing nice to say, but because I don’t usually bother to write in) but I have to tell you how much I enjoyed your Sunnyside Bubble Bar in Strike Gold.

Now, I have never really used your stuff before. I walk past your store, casually take in the aroma and move on. But last week while acknowledging the sweet (and sometimes overwhelming) scents, I had an epiphany – it hit me like the sea hits the sand – maybe I should try a bath bomb.

You see, the idea wasn’t actually too far fetched. Like the young, ghostly pale woman I am, I fake tan every week. This of course means my Thursday nights are dedicated to a nice and relaxing soak in the tub. I usually bathe in about 15 pumps of Radox (sometimes 22 if I’m thinking of Taylor Swift at the time), but somehow I knew I was ready to try something new, so I bought one.

Come tan night, I chucked the bubble bar in the bath and threw the deli-like paper packaging in the recycling. Disclaimer: I actually don’t know the difference between a bubble bar and a bath bomb so I think this was the right move (even if it isn’t, I have no regrets).

The bath turned gold and I thought ‘this is great, it will mask the not as pretty golden colour the bath water turns when my tan is all scrubbed off’.

I got in and grabbed parts of the bubble bar that hadn’t yet dissolved. I rubbed it on my skin and was awestruck – it was a beautiful, temporary all-body highlighter, transforming me into a golden Greek goddess riding a unicorn into the setting sun. I couldn’t get enough.

As I lay in the bath sparkling like a vampire from a teen romance novel, I thought, how could this get any better? Little did I know it would literally melt my fake tan right off! Instead of spending a good 30 minutes scrubbing every inch of my body to reveal a new, raw layer of fresh skin, I spent about 15 minutes gently sweeping the tan off.

Without even drying my hands properly, I grappled for my phone – I had to look up this great product. What had it said on the wrapper? I was cursing my name and wishing I hadn’t been so quick to throw the packaging away like some flippant fool.

I then found myself thinking about how I could incorporate this newly essential product into my weekly budget and roughly how much it would cost per year to use one a week for the rest of my life.

Then I stopped in my tracks – I was getting ahead of myself. Without being a seasoned Lush-er (or Lushette?), how did I know if this was a Lush regular? Please tell me it isn’t just some limited edition holiday season product, and vow that it won’t leave me like my lovely (and highly recommended) tan lady has promised she never will. If it’s a regular product, you may have just gained yourself a lifelong customer (as I haven’t liked a product as much as this since sunscreen).

Don’t worry, I’ve already told 9 of my friends.

Yours truly,
Steph Brink

It might be hard to pick up the true shimmery-ness of it in the below picture, but if you’re a fan of highlighter you won’t regret trying it! Do you use any other Lush products? I’d love to hear about what else is a must-try! The Sunnyside Bubble Bar is available for AUD $8.95 (150 grams – single use) from Lush.

How to depot a MAC eyeshadow


If you find yourself wanting to depot a MAC eyeshadow for whatever reason, here’s how to do it and what you’ll need:

  • Sharp tweezers (and a small, pointy knife if your tweezers aren’t sharp)
  • A lighter
  • Magnetic tape (you could use a thin magnet and glue if you don’t have magnetic tape)

I depot my MAC eyeshadows as my local (and only) MAC store isn’t a Pro store. I choose not to buy online as I don’t know the colours by heart and like to go in and play around to find my next one! I purchased my palette from the US when I was there last year – it fits 30 eyeshadows.


To begin, you want to dislodge the plastic pan from the container. You do this by using something sharp (tweezers or knife) to get in the ridge/groove of the two and wedge them apart so the plastic pan pops out. It’s not glued so should pop out quite easily if you’ve managed to get the sharp object in properly. Note: be careful with sharp objects.


Secondly, use the open flame from the lighter to heat the bottom of the plastic pan – use tweezers to hold it as it gets quite hot. You may need to do this for about 20-30 seconds depending on how long it takes for the plastic to soften.


You’ll know you’ve heated it long enough when you can push tweezers through the bottom to entirely dislodge the metal eyeshadow pan (as above). The metal pan can get quite hot so be careful when using bare hands to handle it. You’ll find glue residue on the underside of the metal pan, don’t remove it as it will come in handy.


To keep the back sticker that shows the colour and batch code, use the same method as before and heat the sticker to warm the glue so the sticker can peel off easily. Attach the sticker to the back of the metal eyeshadow pan using the glue residue already there.


Then stick some adhesive magnetic tape over the sticker, leaving the eyeshadow name visible. As these palettes are magnetic, using the magnetic tape will ensure your eyeshadow doesn’t fall out of the palette – so you’ll need to ensure you use a strip of magnetic tape large enough to keep it in place! And that’s it, happy depotting!

Comparable? MAC Studio Fix Fluid vs Estée Lauder Double Wear

I used to be a MAC Studio Fix Fluid advocate for 2 years before I considered using anything else. I loved the coverage and it was the first non-drugstore foundation I liked enough to repurchase. I don’t have problem skin, though still like a medium coverage, matte-finish foundation so I thought it was perfect. However, after using it for so long I started to notice I wasn’t happy with the staying power anymore. I would say I have normal skin, though can get a slightly oily t-zone throughout the day and found that Studio Fix would rub off around my mouth and t-zone (hello, patchy). I would use a water-based primer and set it with powder but it didn’t make enough of a difference to keep me happy (I also found that over-powdering easily made it look cakey).


Estée Lauder Double Wear caught my eye as it was a favourite mentioned frequently on MakeupSocial. People raved about the staying power and matte-finish which are two things I want in a foundation. So I made my way to my nearest David Jones counter with my Studio Fix so I could get the best colour match. Unfortunately, I went quite late in the day and the counter was unmanned, so I matched myself and bought it without asking for a sample (I don’t recommend doing this though as it’s good to test a foundation in natural light before you spend AUD $50!). I’ve done a direct comparison of the foundation features listed on the MAC and Estée Lauder websites below.

Image credit: foundation images taken from MAC and Estée Lauder

With Double Wear almost doubling the wear time of Studio Fix (the name really does say it all), I’m surprised I didn’t jump on it sooner! I must admit I didn’t know Studio Fix only had a wear time of 8 hours, but I would say that is accurate. Perhaps I might find MAC Pro Longwear better, I’m not sure (that only has sheer to medium coverage). I’m also someone who doesn’t have a special occasion foundation, as the foundation I have is the one I’m using every time. Which is one of the main reasons I’m so interested in staying power.

I’m an NC20 in Studio Fix and found 2C1 Pure Beige in Double Wear to be the best match. It may not be what other sites or people say, but I always found the Studio Fix shades not quite right for me. To help decode the Studio Fix and Double Wear undertones, check out my chart below.

  • C = Cool
  • N = Neutral
  • W = Warm


MAC considers yellow tones to be cool and pink tones to be warm, whereas Estée Lauder is the opposite and considers yellow tones to be warm and pink tones to be cool.

Now here’s a picture comparing the two shades I use (in natural light). Note: I always think it’s best to go in store and look at foundation shades in real life, rather than buy straight from the internet after choosing from an online colour matrix.


I don’t find 2C1 too pink but I do find NC20 a little too orange. I fake tan so that’s probably why NC20 is the closest match to me, as I remember NW20 not being right. When I looked at other Double Wear shades such as 2N1 it looked too pale and 2W1 looked too orange. However, just because I go for 2C1 as an NC20 doesn’t mean you will, so I really recommend getting matched in store so you are happy – especially when you are forking out $50 for a foundation! I am happy to use these shades interchangeably – as you can see from the pictures below, they both work for me (these photos were taken on different days in different lighting).


In terms of ease of blending and finish I find them comparable. Though I don’t agree that Double Wear has a semi-matte finish – I find it matte. I find they are both foundations that should be applied reasonably quickly – they are thick and dry reasonably fast! I apply with either a synthetic kabuki or my fingers, which helps keep the foundation warm and blendable. Double Wear really does last from wake to sleep and I think Studio Fix would be better for a night out (when you don’t need it to last all day as well as night). I do find that since Double Wear doesn’t budge, it can clog my pores and give me a few pimples if I don’t take it off properly before bed (has only happened once or twice, I swear!). So make sure you really focus on your skincare routine and remove it all before bed.

In terms of smell I find Double Wear much more favourable. Studio Fix smells like paint and although it doesn’t smell once it’s dried, it does bother me – I am reminded each time I use it that I really am painting my face!

Both foundations come in glass bottles, which may be a worry for some (I haven’t dropped one just yet) and although neither foundation comes with a pump, this doesn’t bother me. I bought the pump for Studio Fix and didn’t like it – I prefer to get a controlled pour of foundation rather than be restricted by pumps. The MAC foundation pump does fit the Double Wear bottle.

Overall, I prefer the staying power of Double Wear so that’s why I prefer it. Are they actually comparable? Not entirely – in every aspect other than staying power I would say they are. After using Studio Fix I’ve decided a longer wearing foundation is more important to me. Do you use a foundation you think is comparable to Double Wear? I am interested to know what else is out there!

How to tell the difference between a real and fake Benefit They’re Real mascara

If you’re like me and have a thing for some of the finer cosmetics in life, you would agree that when you buy high-end makeup you do so for the quality and not to publicly show off the brand (after all, no one sees Benefit stamped on your lashes)! Therefore, it can be disheartening to receive a counterfeit product when you think you’ve made that high-end purchase. The packaging is extremely convincing and similar, and whether you’re a first-time purchaser or questioning whether your favourite mascara has perhaps changed, here are some sure signs showing the differences between an authentic Benefit They’re Real mascara and a fake.

Image credit: Benefit Cosmetics

The first sign is the colour of the mascara tube. The authentic product utilises a bright, silver-coloured coating on both the body and cap of the tube (it is not metal, but looks it), whereas the fake tube is two-toned, the body appearing more of a purple/grey-coloured silver and the lid appearing more of an oyster-coloured silver. The signature, radiant orange of the lettering ‘Real!’ is also extremely underwhelming, appearing more of a dull-peach tone. Can you already pick the differences in the pictures below?

DSC01287 copy



The base of the tube displays different labels, and the fake tube contains an obvious indented line through the plastic.


Upon unscrewing the mascara there is a key difference in the screw-top mechanism and look. The real mascara has a black screw-top, only containing one, raised ridge the entire way round. Whereas the fake mascara utilises the same colour as the body of the tube, and has the raised ridge wrap-around approximately 2-3 times.


There is also a significant variance in weight. As soon as I picked up the fake mascara it felt unusually light for a brand new product. The real mascara weighed in at approximately 26 grams, whereas the fake mascara weighed in at approximately 17 grams, both unused.

The weight variance also made me wonder what products were actually used in the fake mascara. Benefit Cosmetics displays the ingredient list on the mascara box, yet doesn’t display quantities (ie the mascara recipe). Therefore, did the manufacturer of the fake mascara use exactly the same ingredients, and if so in what quantities? If not, what ingredients make up this fake mascara?! I was definitely wary about putting it anywhere near my eyes, especially when the product came out like pictured below.




The mascara looks thick and gluggy, actually a lot like tar. It is stringy and clings to the brush bristles. It also smells sickeningly, sweet and peachy. The fake mascara has been opened a few days now, and the sickeningly sweet smell is changing to more of a paint-like smell – also a concerning indicator of the ingredients used. The genuine They’re Real mascara does not have a sickly sweet smell, it has a usual mascara smell. I would describe it as more of a marker smell, though only at about 10% of the pungency of that – it is not unpleasant nor concerning.



That’s a summary of the key differences I found between the fake They’re Real mascara and the authentic They’re Real mascara. As Benefit’s retail price of the They’re Real mascara is USD $23.00, if you’re purchasing off a website such as eBay for a price less than that, chances are the deal may in fact be too good to be true. Benefit They’re Real retails in Australia for AUD $38.00, so it is quite pricey. The safest place to purchase a genuine They’re Real mascara is from, they have free postage to Australia for purchases over $125 (which they sometimes lower for limited periods), or from