Travel blog: Rarotonga, Cook Islands

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All photos were taken on an iPhone 6

In late May-early June of 2016 I travelled out of New Zealand for the first time. One week spent on the beautiful island of Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands isn’t bad for a first time holidayer like myself. This post does stray from my usual beauty related posts, however I am studying travel and tourism and travelling is one of my biggest passions and goals in life so I’m going to slowly integrate travel posts into my blog. In this post I’m just going to go over a few of the details of the trip and essentially talk about my experience whilst here.

To start off I’m going to give you a quick run down on Rarotonga as a destination, true travel student style.

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Couldn’t find a good map, however this one is originally from: about-the-cook-islands

Where is it? Rarotonga is the main Island of the Cook Islands. Which is technically made up of 15 islands however majority of these aren’t major tourist destinations and most tourists are likely staying on the island of Rarotonga, or sometimes the island of Aitutaki. It is in the South Pacific.

 

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View from the plane when leaving

Description: While being the most populous of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga is still relatively small. It essentially has one main road that goes around the edge of the Island and a full circle of the Island can be done in 30-45 minutes driving. So anywhere you want to go on the main Island is pretty quick to reach. It is completely surrounded by a coral reef and features four small coral islets that are within a few 100 metres of the main shore. Between the main road and the lagoon around the edge of the Island is where most of the resorts and ‘shops’ are situated, however as you drive into the centre of the island you begin to go uphill as the Islands are a result of now extinct Volcanic activity.

 

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Part of the beach area directly outside of where we stayed

Island life: Rarotonga has a very relaxed, casual, and down to earth lifestyle. Those that live here live a pretty simple life and while there are the exception of night clubs and busy restaurants, it doesn’t have many other major structures such as tall buildings or overly developed malls. The term ‘island time’ was used often as you don’t tend to keep much of a time schedule here, you go with the flow and do things at your own pace and time (a very slow pace might I add, I napped in the sun for hours at a time during the day).

 

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On our way to the restaurant

Where I stayed: There is a range of accommodation types on the island, everything from low-budget and more family orientated, to middle of the range, all the way up to high-class adult only luxury resorts. We stayed at the Edgewater resort which is a very middle of the range, family friendly but not overcrowded with kids resort. Here they have a restaurant, bar, pool, gift shop, tennis court, and individual apartments as well as villas. We stayed in one the 3 bedroom villas and all the rooms/villas are within 2 minutes walk of the shore as the main area of the resort is overlooking the shore. The villa we stayed in was basically wonderful, it wasn’t luxury but the amenities and quality of the house was amazing and the staff were all absolutely incredible, much like everyone on the island. The restaurant had a really good selection of delicious foods and we ate here almost every dinner time.

 

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The lagoon out front of the resort restaurant

What we did: This holiday was very much about relaxing so we didn’t necessarily embark on many major adventures however we did make sure to at least see some of the main events including:

  • attending the markets on a Saturday which had so many cool things to buy, from fresh coconuts and traditional foods to gifts that were perfect to take back home, it was also great to know we were supporting the local economy.
  • lots and lots of snorkelling! The snorkelling here is so incredible as the entire island is surrounded by a reef. The water is perfectly clear with an abundance of marine life to see, and the water in many areas stays the same depth right out to the reef.
  • we also snorkelled and explored one of the smaller islets, Taakoka I believe (may be wrong) and while the giant hornet looking creatures hovering around the trees and rocks prevented us from actually venturing further into the islet, we did swim around it in, at points, slightly deeper water where we also saw schools of fish and much larger fish than our usually snorkelling spot outside of our resort.
  • We went to a night held at our resort, that’s also held at majority of resorts called Island night. This is where a group of performers come and showcase the beautiful culture through dance, many of the dances telling a different story as introduced by the very charismatic host. I can’t remember exactly if it was at half way or after the performance but there was also a special buffet style dinner provided that was focused around the traditional foods.

 

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Our view from around the corner of our villa

This really was the trip of a lifetime and an amazing place to start as a first overseas holiday, I would 100% recommend the Cook Islands as a destination for all types of people! It’s the perfect relaxing holiday, when all you want to do is tan on the beach, explore the beautiful surroundings, and eat to your hearts desire some of the best food on the planet. I know this post is different to my usual focus but as someone who is passionate about travelling I can see myself doing these types of posts more and more often as I see more of the world.

 

Proud travel bug, Chatterkiwi x

Everyday makeup routine

 

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I’ve recently found the perfect combination of products for long-lasting, natural makeup that actually doesn’t melt off of my face and keeps me from being too shiny, and wanted to share it with you all as some of these products are thanks to you that I discovered them.

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Mecca recently had their 20th birthday and as a level 2 beauty loop member I received the Mecca multi-purpose plumping balm as a free gift. I had my doubts about this product as I usually need oily skin specific primers/moisturisers and this wasn’t that necessarily. But hooo-weeee I can’t stop using this products as both a moisturiser and primer as I love it so much, so before any makeup I use this as a primer, applying a small amount mostly just to my t-zone.

 

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Recently I’ve started using the LA girl HD pro green concealer under my foundation as I do have issues with redness, while you do have to be careful not to let any green show through your foundation, this stuff is amazing! It really does colour correct my redness so well I find it makes all the difference. I dot this wherever I need it and blend it in with my finger usually.

 

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For my foundation I use the L’oreal Infallible matte foundation, I wasn’t sure I loved this at first because the colouring seemed off but it honestly is one of the only foundations I’ve found that keeps me from going too shiny. It can tend to move around on my face in certain areas such as around my nose but I usually only notice this near the end of a long day without touch ups so its forgivable. This has a medium coverage and is super easy to blend as it has a creamy consistency. I apply this with a real techniques buffing brush, dotting it on my face and blending it in (I use a minimal amount of foundation).

 

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I follow with the Nars radiant creamy concealer for any areas that aren’t quite covered enough and for my under eyes, this concealer is really natural looking however I find it does crease a bit under my eyes. I again use the real techniques buffing brush for this. I must admit however I find myself using this concealer less and less as it moves around a wee bit on my face as the day goes on so if anyone has a fav concealer they’d recommend, let me know!

 

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The Rimmel Stay matte powder is something I’ve had a love hate relationship with for many years now, recently it’s been a must have in my makeup routine as it help stop me from looking too shiny throughout the day whilst still letting the glow of the illuminating products shine through. I apply this as much as I feel needed in my t-zone and to sharpen up my contour with the Too Faced Powder brush.

 

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Once my base is all set I start my bronzing with the Too Faced chocolate soleil bronzer as a sort of contour, it’s more of a grey bronze so I can get away with using it as a contour. It’s slightly concentrated however I go light on it as to not create an unattractive line. I use a Cara contour brush to apply this to my cheek hollows and for my nose.

 

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I use an Elizabeth Arden brush to go over these areas as well as the frame of my face with my beloved Hoola bronzer. This bronzer is slightly more golden toned so it blends the bronzers together and creates a nice shadow to those areas of my face. The brush used here is more fluffy and less dense so it gives a nice blended look. 

 

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Next is highlighter! Everyone who’s everyone is getting into highlighter and I am still using the Urban Decay 8 hour glow highlighter along my cheek bones and on the tip of my nose and cupids bow. I apply this with a real techniques contour brush and it gives me the best blended look, my fear with this highlighter was looking too much like I’ve swiped white paint across my cheeks but so far I get just the right amount of blinding glow. 

 

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Eyebrows, they’re your best friend one day and your worst enemy the next. Sisters not twins might as well be my life motto. However to do my best to make them presentable I take the brow brush by real techniques, to apply the Chichi brow pomade just to lightly fill them in. You really only need the smallest amount of this product as a little goes a long way and afterwards I brush through with a spoolie to get the natural looking shape and to ensure the pomade doesn’t look to harsh. To finish I use the Benefit ready, set, brow, brow setter. 

 

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My mascara at the moment is the Benefit, They’re real! mascara which I didn’t actually like at first (like most mascaras due to them being too clumpy) however now that I’ve got a good technique on using it, I love it! For the first few uses I would wipe a small amount of product off the wand to prevent clumping. I apply this after I use an eyelash curler, the one I have currently is a manicure one from farmers.

My makeup routine changes quite often based on new found products, and this is my everyday makeup so as you can see doesn’t include products such as eyeshadow or lip products but if that’s something you want to see then let me know!

 

As always, Chatterkiwi x

 

REVIEW: Garnier SkinActive Moisture bomb masks

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Considering the time of year (and the copious amounts of chocolate around) my skin has been in need of a little TLC. After seeing these new Garner sheet masks around I decided to give them a go seeing as they’re so affordable ($3-$5NZD). There are three different masks that I’ve been able to find however I do know there are a few others, I just haven’t been able to find them anywhere in my city. They all have the same sort of base which is that they’re super rehydrating and rejuvenating, they then each have an individual skin target and ‘deal’ with a certain skin issue. The ones I’ve reviewed target normal to dehydrated, normal to combination, and dry or sensitive skin.

 

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For Normal to Dehydrated skin

This first mask is the blue packaged one and claims to:

  • Intensely rehydrate skin
  • Boost skins radiance
  • Even skin complexion

It contains Pomegranate extract, hyaluronic acid, and a hydrating serum.

I found this mask was definitely moisturising and I actually used it to help with a few spots that had gone quite dry and irritated from my acne treatment. It definitely soothed them the minute I had the mask on and has really calmed down the irritation of them. However, as I have oily skin as it is, I didn’t feel this mask was necessary for my overall skin appearance. It has made my skin slightly more glory but this isn’t something I generally need due to how easily my skin and makeup looks shiny. I would definitely recommend this for people who have dry or irritated skin that want to bring a bit more glow to their skin.

 

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For Normal to Combination skin

The next mask is the green package and it claims to:

  • Intensely rehydrate
  • Purify and mattify skin
  • Visibly reduce pores and imperfections

It contains Green tea, hyaluronic acid, and a hydrating serum.

You can probably already tell, this is my absolute FAVOURITE of the three. The reason I even tried these masks is because I first tried this one and loved it so much! The words ‘reduce pores’ and ‘mattifies skin’ really always catch my attention and this is what it did for my skin. I found that afterwards my skin felt really relaxed and hydrated but without being oily, and almost gave my skin a filter effect over it. It also did really help out with my skin under makeup, I really noticed how much it controlled my oil after I used a different mask that threw my skin out of balance, I used this one and it made my skin have a healthy glow all day without getting too shiny. I 100% will be repurchasing this mask from now on.

 

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For Dry or Sensitive skin

The last mask I tried was the pink packaged one and contains:

  • Rehydrate skin
  • Improve skin comfort
  • Soothe skin

It contains Chamomile, Hyaluronic acid, and a hydrating serum.

This mask surprised me, it doesn’t specifically target any major issues I have with my skin but it’s left it feeling really smooth, and comfortable. My skin looks a lot more even which is probably due to it soothing any redness I have. I often have to use acne products that are on the harsher side and I feel that this mask would be ideal to use whenever I need to just give my skin some hydration and loving to stop it from getting too worn out. I would recommend this for people who just need a nice hydrating mask to pamper themselves with, or for people with dry/irritated skin. Much like the blue mask.

 

These masks overall are totally worth the affordable price, and I think that they do individually deal with different skin issues and types so whatever your situation, I believe with one of these masks you’ll at least see an improvement. I’m definitely going to keep repurchasing and if I can get my hands on the other masks in the collection then I will most definitely do a part two! Let me know if there’s anything else you want to know about them, and always feel free to drop suggestions in the comments. I reply to all!

 

Feeling smooth! Chatterkiwi x

 

REVIEW: Too Faced Teddy Bear brush set

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Over Christmas time last year I was working and therefore was able to have a few splurges on products I wanted. I didn’t have it in mind to buy new brushes as I already have a face and eye set from real techniques which I find is enough for me. However on one of my trips to mecca I noticed the Pro-Essential Teddy Bear Hair Brush set, and despite their $100NZD price tag, there was something about them that made me want to buy them. Sooo… I did. And they have honestly come so in handy, not only did I need a brush more for powder, but I also find the blending brush is to die for and make eyeshadow go on so nicely. Now, seeing as it’s coming up to their 1 year birthday I thought now is a good time to review since I’ve been using them for so long.

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The first brush in the set is medium-sized powder brush, very basic powder brush but it does the job that I need it to. I would say it is a wee bit more dense than you would expect with a powder brush, I wouldn’t advise using it with a heavy hand as it may move product around. But as brush for compact powders and to gently remove any excess loose powder it works fine!

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The second brush is called the blending fluff brush but I would describe it more as a lid brush as it has that wider, flat shape to it that is perfect for applying colour on the lid, rather than as a blending brush. The best way to use this would be if before or after you’ve blended your creases colours, to apply the lid colour to compliment with this brush. I use it in particular to apply glitters.

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Third up is what I would call more of a blending brush, it is asmall blending brush which is probably my favourite brush in this entire set! I already have a blending brush from my real techniques set that I love for blending in the crease, however this one is smaller so it makes for a more detailed blend. Especially if you’re wanting to do a cut crease or a specific eye look as it blends well without spreading the product all over the place. Much more of a controlled blend, however still effortless.

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The fourth brush in the set, is one that I don’t use as often but it’s still handy to have! It is a small crease brush and that’s exactly what I use to for. It is a pretty dense brush with an angled edge that makes it great for packing a colour into the outer corner, followed by some blending with a different brush to get a super concentrated colour in the crease. Otherwise I find using it to apply a strong highlight to the inner corner or brow bone works great!

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The last brush is definitely the least used brush in the set, but once again I do love having it there as I don’t have any other like it. The ‘angled liner/brow brush’ is something I often use if I want to run a darker colour along my lash line, or if I want to highlight my inner corner as it is a dense brush that really controls where the colour goes. The name suggests it can be used as a brow brush too however I don’t think this would be popular unless you went for a very natural, undefined brow look.

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All in all the brush set is worth its price as it supplies all the essentials needed for eyeshadow as well as a face brush for extra measure, the brushes are also adorably pink and the name just screams ‘buy me’! Another bonus of this set is that it comes with a small, pink and gold love heart makeup bag that has a teddy bear charm on the zip which I find is perfect for carrying touch up items, but not a full faces’ worth of makeup. DID I MENTION THEY’RE VEGAN AND CRUELTY FREE? ✔️✔️

*Please excuse the quality of the photos, the lighting has given me a rough time lately.

Teddy Bear picnic time? Chatterkiwi x

 

In depth Skincare Routine

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Since one of my first posts being my skin care favourites, I have only added to and improved my skin care routine to suit my skin the best and feel like it’s at a pretty good stage to share with you guys. I have oily, breakout prone, textured skin, and also struggle with pretty big pores around my t-zone. I am continuously trying to find the perfect skincare routine not only to improve the appearance of my natural skin, but also to help with my makeup application as this is hugely affected by the state of my skin. So here is the routine that I generally follow, both morning, night and weekly or treatment products will be mentioned.


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Cleanser: Both morning and night I use my Proactive solutions cleanser, as mentioned in my skin care favourites post. This cleanser is, so far, the best wash I’ve found to help control my acne as many other cleansers I tried didn’t really do much.It is a cream, with very slight grittiness to it (I wouldn’t call it an exfoliant). I find it gently resurfaces the skin, while also deeply cleaning bacteria off the skin in order to avoid breakouts. One thing I really love about this product is that for an intensive cleanser (Proactive is generally an intensive range for acne control) it doesn’t dry my skin out or make it feel too raw or sensitive.


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Mask: In the simplest way to say it, I can’t live without face masks. Especially cream ones that can really sink into your skin! The mask that I’ve been absolutely loving is one that I was surprised with. L’Oreal recently bought out three clay masks, a charcoal based one for detoxifying and brightening, a eucalyptus one for purifying and mattifying, and a red algae one to smooth and exfoliate. I personally have been absolutely loving the Charcoal one as it works wonders on my clogged pores and leaves my skin feeling so clean! As this mask dries I can literally see all the oil being pulled out of my skin which I’m not going to lie, is super satisfying. Really didn’t think this mask would work as well as it does! I also find I can use this mask a few times a week without it having a bad affect on my skin.


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Toner: Recently I heard so many good things about the Sunday Riley Martian toner but unfortunately I’m not prepared to pay $85NZD for something that I can’t be sure will even work, so I was instead suggested by the wonderful people at Mecca cosmetica to try the Ren Clarimatte toner. I can honestly say that I couldn’t be without it now, it makes the biggest difference in my skin care routine and helped clear my skin as well as make it feel less oily within days of using it. I use this toner day and night after cleansing by applying it to a cotton ball and smoothing it over my face, mostly in my t-zone.


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Moisturiser: Another recent purchase, and something I have fallen in love with is the Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic moisture cushion moisturiser. If you have oily skin I would absolutely suggest this! It feels like silk on your skin but is so light I can wear it under makeup still, I originally intended to only use this in the morning as I already had a night moisturiser but for the moment there is no other moisturiser I would want to use on my skin as this one feels so amazing. Literally leaves my skin feeling like its had a new layer added.


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Oil/Serum: Have to admit, for a long time I wasn’t interested in oils or serum because I just saw it as adding oil to my already oily skin. Boy was I wrong, if there’s one thing I could teach people with oily skin it’s that having a light oil in your routine, even if it’s at night like me, will actually help balance out the production of oil on your skin and make your skin super smooth and balanced out. I now use the Josie Maran light organ oil after receiving a tester of it and falling in love with it. It makes my skin unbelievably soft and through using it only at night I’ve avoided any issues of it affecting my makeup application. This lighter version of the oil is specifically designed for those that don’t need as intensively rehydrating of an oil as most face oils are. Also can be used for nails and hair as well, yay for multipurpose!


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Treatment: For special occasions, usually never more than once a week I will use the Biore Charcoal pore strips! I have tried both these and the original pore strips by Biore and personally the charcoal ones works 10x better for my skin, I use the nose strips and found that they really do pull out any dirt I have in my pores. The original unfortunately for me didn’t do much but I would 100% recommend the Charcoal ones! You simply wet your nose and apply the strip after peeling back the plastic layer and let sit for about 5-10 minutes till it dries.


Recently I was put in contact with a wonderful worker at Reviews.com who enjoyed the posts where I delve into the topic of Skin-care. Turns out this website has a really in-depth guide into skin-care products, especially that of acne treatments and even talks about the specific details of some of the products I’ve used and mentioned. So I thought I’d give them a wee shoutout as I know I can only review the products I use on a base level whereas these guides go into details about ingredients, different types of acne, and have produced, from reviews, the top skin care brands for treating acne. The skin-care guide is here. (Disclaimer: This is not a paid sponsorship, always my own opinions). 

Smooth & Clean, Chatterkiwi x

Social media question?

Hey guys! As the title says, this isn’t really a blog post but more so just a opportunity for conversation. I have a twitter account for Chatter Kiwi that I want to use more often, however I’m pretty uneducated when it comes to twitter so if anyone wants to drop some tips or email me to talk about it that would be so nice! Twitter here

Also how would you guys like to see an insta page also? Hopefully a more personal account of pictures and even behind the scenes of what goes into my blog post process. Just a thought! 

Hope you’s all have a wonderful day/night and hope to hear from you soon 😋 

Chatterkiwi x

REVIEW: Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette

A wee while ago I purchased the Natural eyes palette by Too Faced as a gift for my friend for her birthday, and upon having it sit in my room for a few weeks tempting me to use it  I thought it best to purchase it myself! Before this I didn’t really have any higher end eyeshadow palettes so thought this might be a good place to start as it has pretty basic colours and easy to use shades. I’m going to start by explaining the palette, the idea behind it, price, etc., then go through and talk about each shade individually briefly, and finish off with my overall thought about it and the looks I tend to go for when using it.

What is it?

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This palette by Too Faced has quite a good reputation for itself, even winning awards such as number one palette to use for your wedding day in 2014. It features 9 shades, 4 of which I would call complete matte, 2 semi matte, and 3 shimmer shades! The palette is very based on basic, on trend colours mostly consisting of grey browns, taupes, and pinky golden colours, as well as a white/translucent shade but no really out there, wild colours. The palette itself is very compact, it’s about 3cm by 4cm and only 1.5cm thick making for a travel friendly, sleek feel. This I think helps towards it being such a universal palette, the very basic colours teamed with the ease of carrying it around have personally made it my go to for everyday use. One of the other amazing things about this palette is that it comes with a wee guide inside, that give you a step by step instruction on how to get three different looks, Day, Classic, and Fashion. I can no longer find this book 😔 but can point out that the looks are labelled inside the palette and follow a pattern left to right of base shade, lid colour, and then an outer crease colour to deepen the look.

The shades

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without flash vs. with flash Left-Right: Heaven, Cashmere Bunny, Sexpresso, Silk Teddy, Push-up, Erotica, Nudie, Honey Pot, Chocolate Martini

Heaven is a very plain, matte white colour that barely leaves any colour on the lid, in a good way. It is probably my most used shade as I without a doubt, use it all over my lid as a base shade after I apply eyeshadow primer. As I said it barely leave a colour on the lid, it more so just evens out the eyelid and makes for a good canvas for the other shades that actually create the eye look.

Cashmere Bunny is probably second or third most used shade in this palette, it is the ultimate matte taupe and is perfect as a transition shade or if you’re only looking for a little bit of depth in the outer crease. Even when using other eyeshadow or more intense looks I almost always use this colour to help blend things together.

Sexpresso is one of the lesser used shades in the palette as it is a very dark, matte, true brown and I don’t tend to go for super dark looks. However I have used it when I experiment with smokey looks and think it works so well for a dark crease! I would also suggest using it for a smudged out liner look.

Silk Teddy is by far one of my favourites in this palette, who can say no to a glittery, ice pink. This is definitely a super baby pink colour that it almost comes up as white, however it isn’t super opaque so I find to get the best payoff is to make sure the base underneath it is a light colour (I usually use it near the inner corner and first apply a touch of concealer underneath). Very shimmery as well which I love and why it’s perfect to brighten up the inner corner with and even highlight under the brow bone with.

Push-up is one of the three, what I would call, perfect lid colours as it is again a super shimmery shade. This shade is harder to describe as I’m stuck calling it a ‘pinky, goldy, copper’ shade, it’s definitely gold but not a traditional yellow gold as it has one pink in it, but not quite enough for me to call it a rose gold (complicated, yes.). However if I am feeling a little edgy or want to go for a slightly darker look I tend to use this on the lid as it still gives a shimmery appearance, whilst also not being super light toned like Silk Teddy for example.

Erotica is the first of the semi-matte shades that I mentioned before, this is probably the most grey toned of the darker colours for the crease. While it does appear to have golden shimmer through it, I find that this doesn’t really show up much when blended in which is both a good and bad thing. Most people would avoid too much shimmer through the crease but this shade doesn’t create that problem.

Nudie is most similar to Cashmere Bunny and I often mix the two to use as a transition shade! It is a paler, more grey toned taupe that is perfect for blending everything together, it’s especially good as a crease shade if you’re going for a super natural looking eye look.

Honey Pot is probably the easiest shade to describe as it is a simple, yellow gold with shimmer. Similar to Push-up in the sense that it is great as a lid colour, and is lighter than Push-up so it’s a more everyday shade, that gives a bright, glowy eye look. I can imagine this being a favourite for a lot of people who own this palette as it is not only a very on trend colour but it is one of those shades you could slap on all over your lid by itself and have an eye look complete.

Chocolate Martini is the last colour in the palette and another one of the semi matte shades. It again, has gold shimmer through it that doesn’t show up too much when blended in so works great as a crease shade. This is a dark brown like Sexpresso just with a more golden undertone and shimmer, its name really is accurate as it has a very chocolaty vibe to it.

 

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Attempted my kiwi shaped swatches but with the lighter shades it proved difficult

Thoughts

Overall I am so glad I purchased this palette, as it has been very useful to me in practising eyeshadow looks and ease of use, whether I have time to put in effort or have to rush a look, it has not failed me yet. I am now getting to a stage where I am looking at other palettes to buy however in order to experiment with new looks and especially new colours, I would definitely try other Too Faced palettes as the quality of these shadows was amazing! They are super easy to blend and build up, and since the palette is designed to create looks within it, it is hard to go wrong with this one.

 

Bright eyed & bushy tailed? Chatterkiwi x