For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to travel. Even when my parents asked what my brother and I wanted for Christmas, he would ask for things, I would ask for a trip. Not so well loved? Makeup. This is something new for me that I’ve really picked up on in the last few years. Which is why I find it so cool that now when I travel, makeup and skincare have become integral.
That’s not to say that I only travel for the sake of makeup. In fact, my motivation to travel is much grander – I aim to learn what others derive happiness from. By seeing how people live around the world in happiness and (mostly) peace, one can discover how to find that peace inside yourself. Not to mention that travelling isolates you, in a very very good way. So often we associate our identity with something that ties us down – our work, our school, our home city. When you travel you learn who you are outside of these stagnant place-holders. You become self-sufficient to the point where who you are is a reflection of your internal strengths and visions, not what you come from. It is independent of all constraints and rather a freer version of yourself.
All to say that I travel for many reasons. However I just use makeup and skincare as a way to explore when I travel. Not only do I get to try new products that might become a favourite in my routine, but I also get to rummage around in cute shops and random pharmacies, often introducing me to corners of a city I might not otherwise see.
So without further ado, the products I fell in love with in Australia:
- Mecca Cosmetica: brushes, To Save Face Supersunscreen (not shown)
- The Seeke: Rose Elixir, Rose and French Pink Clay Mask
- C Lab & Co: Coffee Scrub with Coconut
- Lipstick Queen: Velvet Rope lipstick in Star System
A fairly small “haul” (can it even be called a haul?) because of the limited space in my suitcase. That being said I was very selective this trip and chose products specifically because of quality and things I really wanted to try, regardless of price or popularity. These are products that I knew were worth the extra space in my suitcase.
1) Mecca Cosmetica: brushes, To Save Face Supersunscreen (not shown)
A superstore that I didn’t know I needed until I discovered it, I instantly fell in love. Mecca Cosmetica stocks lots of brands that I can easily get in Canada, so I immediately found a shop staff and asked to be shown the Australian products. Thankfully they have their own line of products so that was pretty easy. I did try a few other products on the road, including false eyelashes (not a fan) and some primers (verdict still out).
My favourite take home however was their To Save Face Supersunscreen. With a whooping SPF of 50+, we’re looking at real sun protection here. Honestly sunscreen is something I never used to wear until I got into medicine. Then between dermatology and plastic surgery, I realized how important it was for cosmetic as well as health reasons to apply sunscreen daily. The only problem was finding one for my face that was easy to apply, non-oily, and good under makeup. Enter this sunscreen. Initially it was very light, so I was skeptical about putting it under makeup because it was almost a gel it was so soothing. This made me thing it wouldn’t be mattifying. Once I actually applied it, I realized that like a good gel, it was very moisturizing and dewy without actually sitting on your face. Instantly I felt it absorb… and I melted (pun intended) for this sunscreen. Next came a layer of makeup and like I had hoped, it went overtop of the sunscreen perfectly. The next day I bought three bottles to stock up on!
The other products I got were actually more tools: a limited edition set of tools. As you can see from the picture above, they’re sort of a rose gold, but deep enough and mature enough to almost be bronze in colour. They have a hefty round base that feels solid and expensive. The bristles are synthetic but really quite soft, and the design and shape of the specific brushes feel perfect for their intended use – the only downside I can find is that there were no fan brushes!
2) The Seeke: Rose Elixir, Rose and French Pink Clay Mask
The Seeke is a brand I discovered in the oddest of places – a museum. I’m not talking a beauty museum, as cool as that would be. I’m talking an art exhibit – specifically the Van Gogh 4 Seasons exhibit at The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne. It was a stunning exhibit that focused on the four seasons Van Gogh so very much loved.
The exhibit was full of beautiful colours and paintings that were so classically Van Gogh – including the famous self-portrait he did. I was also so excited to see how much his spring and summer paintings were influenced by Monet. So needless to say I was in an artistic point of view. That must be why The Seeke products stood out to me when I found them in the NGV shop – they were instantly the kind of skincare products that you proudly display on your nightstand like the work of art that they are.
It is the simplicity of the packaging that really stood out to me – the white label, classy black font, and sturdy glass bottles that everything comes in… it fits in perfectly with my style. So many times when I find products that I really like I end up wanting to decant them just so I can get a consistent #esthetic across my products. I generally go for a white theme with some black accents – think Nars, Chanel etc.
Of course the product packaging is only the first piece – you can see in my reviews that I generally discuss this, but of course the real products and materials are what matter. Quality not appearance right? Which is odd for a blogger to say given how much appearance matters sometimes. But I want to be sure that my blog is about substance with style.
Back to The Seeke products. The first product I bought was the Rose Elixir. It is a camellia and argan oil mix with a few more oils and, very pretty, some real rosebuds inside. I’ve started really getting into oils lately. With my dry skin and dry ends of my hair (thanks blonde ombre), I’ve tried to hydrate with some oils, namely Nuxe and this Seeke product. I’ve been so impressed to discover how many ways you can use oil mixes like this! From rubbing it on dry skin, to applying to the ends of the hair, to using it as a makeup remover, it is so incredibly versatile.
My favourite use and the main reason I bought this oil? To mix with the Detoxify Clay Mask. This is the other product I bought, an “Australian ivory clay & pink French Argiletz clay”. Mixed together it makes for a really nice exfoliator and I love that I can see the products and the ingredients I’m using together. I’m a big fan of customization (including lipsticks) and so it was really great to find these two products that I can really easily blend to make softer or more exfoliating as needed.
3) C Lab & Co: Coffee Scrub with Coconut
Speaking of exfoliation, I’ve really wanted to get a body scrub lately. I bought two, one being the Herbivore Coco Rose Scrub and the other being this C Lab & Co Coffee Scrub with Coconut. The goal has been to start softening my skin with the combination of exfoliation and oils, but also to really work on those pesky ingrown and bumps that some of us *lucky* ones get.
First thoughts? I’m really not a fan of this product to be totally honest. I mean the promises are pretty amazing – targeting cellulite (I imagine cause of the coffee), and stretch marks? I’m in! But so far the results have been less than impressive.
I know I bought a travel pack, because, well I’ve been travelling around New York and thought this slim pack would be easier to travel with, which is actually true. That being said the packaging is so hard to close again, and I’m constantly ending up with the scrub in my toiletry bag and on my hands. Of course, like I said, its not just about the packaging. But even the product really didn’t do anything for me. The application is easy, you just scrub it on to wet skin so I do it while I’m pausing the shower for a hair mask. You scrub it in, let it sit, and rinse off. The smell is divine. But thats where it ends. The exfoliation is fine but leaves a really thick greasy texture to the skin. Its like the oil sits right on the skin – not absorbing, not nurturing, just sitting there. If anything, it makes my ingrown worse and zero improvement on those promises it made.
4) Lipstick Queen: Velvet Rope lipstick in Star System
Is this an example of saving the best for last? Very possibly. Lipstick Queen is a brand I had never heard of before and given how much I love lipstick, that is a really exciting thing to find. I recently found out it is carried in some US stores but I’ve yet to see it in Canada so you’ll have to forgive my level of excitement over this. Their Velvet Rope collection is even more excitement-worthy. I mean just look at the beautiful art-deco style gold casing that this lipstick comes in!
You’ll also immediately see that “Star System” is the most perfect colour. Its a pinky nude that is flattering on so many people. I came home from Australia and raved about it, and next thing I knew I had friends trying it out for themselves. This stuff is like Sisterhood of the Travelling Lipstick, it literally flatters everyone. My beautiful fair blonde-hair blue-eyed friend could pull it off just as much as me with my olive complexion and dark looks. Miracle worker? It might be. Thats saying nothing of the great staying power and soft but semi-matte texture. If theres one thing you buy when you go to Australia, make this it!