Category Archives: MUA Reviews

What is in my travel makeup bag?

My husband and I have just returned from a 10 day trip to Japan.  If you have never visited Japan I highly recommend it – it is such a frenetic, interesting place and I just love it.  As an avid traveller I am always reviewing what I pack and how I pack so I thought it might be interesting to blog about the products that I took away with me in my travel makeup bag for this holiday.

The first rule I set myself when packing makeup is to choose just ONE of everything for my travel bag.  This means I need to shop my stash carefully and consider the clothing I have packed as well as the events of the trip, when making my choices.  I need this parameter otherwise I get carried away with wanting a range of lipsticks and blushes and it gets excessive very quickly.

Face Products for travel: MUR primer, E.L.F. foundation and MUR protection palette.

Face Products for travel: MUR primer, E.L.F. foundation and MUR protection palette.

For my face products I selected on the Makeup Revolution Ultra Face Base Primer for 24 hour makeup protection.  This is a clear, silicone based primer and it works well.  My makeup needed to last from morning through to late at night most days and this was effective in helping that process.

The foundation I chose was the E.L.F Flawless Finish Foundation with SPF 15.  This foundation goes on really nicely for me and lasts really well.  The shade I have is porcelain and it does oxidize a bit after you put it on so I choose a powder that is slightly lighter than I might ordinarily wear.  Saying that, I do really like this foundation: it is light with medium coverage and it looks natural.

Lastly, I selected the Makeup Revolution Protection Palette in light.  This palette contains three cream concealers, a face powder, matte bronzer, pink shimmer blush and a champagne highlighter.  I don’t use these concealers under my eyes as these can look a bit cakey on my skin in that area, but they work well for spot concealing.  The lightest shade matches me well.  The bronzer is very pigmented! A light hand is definitely required and lots of blending.  The blush is really beautiful and neutral enough to go with any eye look and the highlighter is also lovely – not too bold.  I love this palette for travel as it is covers so much in one sleek palette with a good mirror.  I think these are being discontinued as they are in the summer sale section on the MUR website at the moment, so if you are interested you should go and take a look.

Eye and Lip Products: E.L.F eyeshadow primer, MUR Salvation Palette in 'What are you Waiting for?' MUR Amazing Volume Mascara, MUA clear brow gel, E.L.F. Lip Gloss Stick in 'Movie Star' and ColourPop lippie stix in 'Frenchie'.

Eye and Lip Products: E.L.F eyeshadow primer, MUR Salvation Palette in ‘What are you Waiting for?’ MUR Amazing Volume Mascara, MUA clear brow gel, E.L.F. Lip Gloss Stick in ‘Movie Star’ and ColourPop lippie stix in ‘Frenchie’.

For my eyes I took my trusty E.L.F. eyeshadow primer and the Makeup Revolution Salvation palette in ‘What are you Waiting For?’  This is a surprisingly versatile palette which can go from soft pink looks to light golds to richer browns and down right burgundy and black smokey eyes.  There is a great mix of mattes (in the bottom row of round shadows), shimmers and satins.  The shadows look a little same-same in tone in the picture, but I just love this palette.  The quality is excellent and they wear all day.  Also, the matte brown can work (although it is a little too warm) for filling in my brows – which is what I did by teaming it with the MUA clear brow gel.  I finished my eyes with the MUR Amazing Volume Mascara which I really like.  It has a fluffy, big brush and gives great volume without clumping!

The last two products that I brought with me were lip products.  For general wear I had the E.L.F. lip gloss stick in ‘Movie Star’ which is a pigmented balm.  It keeps the lips hydrated and looks very pretty.  I love tinted balms for travel because they are so hassle-free.  And lastly for nights out I brought the ColourPop Lippie Stix called ‘Frenchie.’  This is a very vibrant, matte red that lasts REALLY well on the lips and looks great.

So – that is what I took with me travelling in my makeup bag.  What are your travel must haves?  Any cruelty-free products you would like to recommend to me?

Thanks so much, and happy travels!

Things I don’t Love: MUA BB foundation – all in one beauty balm.

I am going to start a new series of reviews on my blog for the things I don’t love.  The products in this category are going to be ones which just didn’t work for me or are things that were ok, but I didn’t LOVE and wouldn’t buy again.  This doesn’t mean that these products won’t work for you – perhaps I may even mention products that you would consider ‘holy grail’ in your own collection – but please don’t be offended.  This is just my opinion and based on my own complexion, skin type and personal preferences 🙂

We are going to kick off this series with a product from MUA.  MUA (Makeup Academy) is a budget-friendly, cruelty-free brand and I have many products from MUA that I really love.  Unfortunately their ‘BB – all in one Balm’ is not one of them.

BB foundation in light - you can see that it is a little bit separated.

BB foundation in light – you can see that it is a little bit separated.

The colour of this BB cream is fair and is a reasonable match for me.  It is very thick out of the tube and you can see (sort of) in the image above that it can separate a bit.

BB foundation in light: spread out on the back of my hand.

BB foundation in light: spread out on the back of my hand.

When you start to spread it out on the skin it is quite greasy under the fingers.  I feel like the texture is very similar to a 50+ sports sunscreen.  It doesn’t feel like it blends into the skin but rather just sits on top of it.  It stays greasy to the touch on my face, even when I set it with powder.

Here you can see the BB cream blended out completely.  I used the ELF powder brush

Here you can see the BB cream blended out completely. I used the ELF powder brush

As you can see, when it is blended out, the coverage is light although it feels very heavy.  Because of the very think texture and the fact that it stays sort of tacky and greasy on my skin, I find that this BB cream breaks down quite quickly and within in few hours my skin is already starting to look patchy 😦  I buy BB creams for the summer months as they are typically lighter and less greasy during the humid, hot times of the year, but this BB cream is heavier and greaser than even my highest coverage foundations.  For this reason I can’t wear this product to work as it won’t last the day.

I have actually stopped using this BB cream although I’m only  being halfway through the tube, which is very unlike me.  Despite my most creative efforts, I just can’t make this one work.  This product cost about AU$8 and for that price there are certainly better options on the market in my opinion.

As I said at the start of this post, there are so many MUA products that I really like, but I don’t love this BB cream.

I hope you are having a wonderful day!

MUA: Undress your Skin Highlighting Powder

MUA is a cruelty-free brand based in the UK.  Their line is budget-friendly and I have found some really awesome products from this company including their Skin Highlighting Powders.  I own the Undress Your Skin Highlighting Powders in two colours: Iridescent Gold and Pink Shimmer and directly from the MUA website they retail for GBP3 (approximately AU$6).  The packaging of these highlighters looks a little cheap to me – I think because it is white plastic – but they are sturdy and close securely.  The product itself is beautifully presented though, with a delicious swirl pattern on the top which looks so luxurious.  Love it.

swatches: Iridescent Gold (top), Pink Shimmer (bottom)

swatches: Iridescent Gold (top), Pink Shimmer (bottom)

As you can see above, I have pale, freckled skin with yellow undertones, but I still like both of these colours with my complexion.  They are a shimmer without chunks of glitter and the pigmentation is buildable and blends nicely.  These are not a powdery product so you can swirl your brush in the pan without getting any kick-up.

MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighting Powder swatches: Iridescent Gold and Pink Shimmer

MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighting Powder swatches: Iridescent Gold and Pink Shimmer

I feel like the Iridescent Gold is more of a POW kind of a highlight – it is brightening and glowy and gorgeous.  The Pink Shimmer, while very beautiful, seems to be a little more natural on my skin, which I also love.  On the MUA website they suggest that these can be applied all over the face for an added radiance, or with more specificity to just highlight key points of the face.  I would contest that by saying that these products are much too shimmery in my opinion to be applied all of the face like a finishing powder.  I suspect your face would become a bit ‘disco ball’ if you were to attempt that.  However, I wear both of these highlights for everyday purposes applied to the cheek bones, a little down the bridge of the nose and on the cupid’s bow, and I think they look lovely.

If you are reading this review while considering whether these products are suitable for your everyday makeup, I would say YES – go for it!  I have a large collections of highlighters and I think these perform just as well, if not better, than anything else that I own on the ‘cruelty-free, budget-friendly’ market.  Highlighter is one of my favourite makeup products and I love the radiant glow they give my, often very tired, face.  I think these Undress Your Skin Shimmer Highlighters are very good quality, they last well throughout the day and look so pretty.  I would absolutely recommend them.

MUA has recently released a third colour in this range called ‘Opalescent Amber’ which looks like a darker, warmer, rose gold colour.  I am quite sure it was designed for people with richer, darker skin tones than mine, but I can’t wait to try it out for myself!

If you have tried Opalescent Amber I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks so much and have a wonderful day!

MUA Pretty Edgy Luxe Eyeshadow Palette

MUA (Makeup Academy) are a budget-friendly makeup brand from the UK.  In Australia it is possible to purchase their products via their online store.  In relation to their cruelty-free status MUA were able to confirm that their products are not tested on animals and are 100% cruelty-free.  They do not sell directly in China, only via their online site exporting from the UK which means that they don’t fall under the same animal testing laws as having a physical presence in China itself.  Their response in regards to their vegan/vegetarian status was a bit ambiguous so if you are looking for vegan friendly products I would strongly recommend that you contact MUA yourself for more information.  They seemed reluctant to fully confirm which of their products don’t contain any animal-byproducts.  They do have an ingredients list available though if you feel confident referring to that information.  I was excited to receive confirmation that this company do not test on animals so that was a big tick in my book!

I purchased the MUA pretty edgy palette on the first order that I made to MUA and it is certainly one of my favourites.  As you can see the packaging is well cute!  I am not normally about studded things but for some reason this really appealed to me.

MUA Luxe - Pretty Edgy eyeshadow palette.  The top row includes 6 shimmer shades and the bottom row includes 4 mattes.

MUA Luxe – Pretty Edgy eyeshadow palette. The top row includes 6 shimmer shades and the bottom row includes 4 mattes.

The mirror is nice and big and good quality.  This palette did come with a dual-ended sponge tipped applicator but I tend to just throw those out because I never use them… and of course I had already done that before reviewing this for your here.  Sorry!

MUA Luxe - Pretty Edgy eyeshadow palette: shade names

MUA Luxe – Pretty Edgy eyeshadow palette: shade names

The colours are really beautiful and there is a nice mix of six shimmer shades on the top row and four matte shades on the bottom row which makes this a really practical palette in my book.  It also has the shade names on the back of the palette which is super handy if you are a blogger 🙂

MUA Luxe - Pretty Edgy eyeshadow palette shimmer shade swatches.  From bottom to top: Antique, Bow, Toile, Ruffle, Flounce and Lace.

MUA Luxe – Pretty Edgy eyeshadow palette shimmer shade swatches. From bottom to top: Antique, Bow, Toile, Ruffle, Flounce and Lace.

The shimmer shades are really pigmented and very soft.  In comparison to the other MUA palettes I own from their general range I found the quality of these shadows to be noticeably better – less powdery and easier to blend.  The colours in this palette are softer and more feminine than the studded packaging may suggest.  I think these pinks, mauves and greys lend themselves to romantic night looks and pretty day looks.  I often wear these soft pinks for work but you could easily smoke the look out with these colours to something much more dramatic.

MUA Luxe - Pretty Edgy eyeshadow palette matte shade swatches.  From bottom to top: Sinful, Gothic, Wrath and Envy

MUA Luxe – Pretty Edgy eyeshadow palette matte shade swatches. From bottom to top: Sinful, Gothic, Wrath and Envy

I was particularly impressed by the matte shades which are really pigmented and easy to work with.  I tend not to use black eyeshadow which always feels a bit too dramatic to me but I adore the other three colours, particularly Sinful which makes a perfect transition shade and Wrath which I gravitate towards for the crease.  I would recommend tapping the brush into these shades rather than swirling as they are soft and will kick up powder if you aren’t gentle BUT because they are so pigmented you really can just run your brush across them once and get plenty of colour to work with. I have a number of eyeshadow palettes from MUA and overall they are wonderful quality, but I have to say that I have been particularly impressed by the Luxe range.  If you are looking for a palette that will lend itself to a soft, feminine daytime look or a smokey, romantic night look then I would definitely recommend the Pretty Edgy Palette from MUA.  MUA have a flat-rate delivery charge to Australia so you can order as little or a much as you like from their site for the same delivery cost.  If you would like to check this palette out for yourself you can find it here on the MUA website: MUA Pretty Edgy Palette

Have an amazing day!