Ladies and... Gentleman (I know at least one guy reader of my blog. Correction: Forced Guy Reader*), welcome me back from the pit of laziness and procrastination! I had been active on my Facebook and Instagram all this time, but couldn't manage the discipline and photography needed for quality blogging. I have been on-the-go every other month, then it takes time to settle back in. Then, again, the laziness and "will-do-tomorow" attitude. Between you and me, I never thought anyone would miss my blog posts, since I keep sharing random stuff on Facebook and Instagram. I felt overwhelmed when many told that they "miss" the blog posts and other were not-too-subtle when they said I should gear the heck up and come back to what I do :-) Thank you, everyone! Big beary virtual hugs for you. I am loaded with what I want to share with you. Let's start with the Dubai shopping I did this August-September!
I had a trip to Dubai as an impromptu honeymoon in April. At that time, we barely got a chance to shop. Instead, we (read: he) wanted to do all the activities - Desert Safari, Speed Boating, Long Drive, Skiing, Parasailing, Ferrari World, etc. We covered like 95% of this bucket list and skipped shopping for most part. I did a very haphazard shopping of probably 3-4 things like Batiste Dry Shampoo, Estee Lauder Foundation, BBW Hand Sanitizer and No7 Protect & Perfect Serum. Interestingly enough, we returned and lost our baggage - courtesy of Emirates -_- With that baggage, my LUSH cosmetics items were gone too :-( The baggage was retrieved after couple of weeks sans LUSH items.
Fast forward, I got a chance again to go nuts in Dubai with an official/business gig this month!
<Insert Celebratory Music Here>
I was under the impression that I would not get much time to shop due to other engagements. Also, the benefit of Dubai makeup kiosks is the ability to swatch items. Price-wise they might not be the best bet, thanks to the convenience of online shopping via pages in Pakistan.
Based on this theory, I didn't plan the purchases well :-)
Here's a peek into all that I bought - no clothes, shoes or bags!
NYX Butter Lipsticks (Top to Bottom) - HUNK, BIG CHERRY, FIREBALL, LITTLE SUSIE. I had been eyeing NYX Butter Lipsticks for a long long time. I heard mixed reviews and wanted to see desi swatches before I could make up my mind. Naturally, when I saw NYX kiosk in Lifestyle (Centerpoint), The Mall of Emirates, I went BANANAS! You should have seen the speed with which I ditched my husband and vanished in the crowd :P Cherry on the top was, they were ON SALE! Hallelujah! In US, they retail at around $7. With the shipping and customs charges, you get them at any price around PKR 1,000-1,100 unless, of course, you find some seasonal bargain. At Lifestyle, Dubai, they were selling for AED 25-27 (if I remember correctly). It roughly converts to be PKR 700-750! The hoarder inside me roared with joy while I checked out :-D A complete review of them will follow. I am still measuring their performance against my beloved Revlon Lip Butters. Let's see how they fare!
The mighty "They're Real" Push-Up Liner. I vowed to myself to buy it. Yet, I was wowed when the SA applied it on my eyes. What the Flick! It was the convenience of a gel eyeliner and smudge-proof intense formula in a portable pencil. I had the "Shut-Up-And-Take-My-Money" moment and splurged something like AED 120-130 on this at Sephora, Dubai Mall. It's approximately the same amount as the online pages, so there I was - having the peace of my mind :-D I used it in the following days and it did not disappoint me! When they say it does not move, BOY, they mean it. I was a bit wary of that trait at first because I didn't want to rub on my sensitive eyes with the makeup remover. My TBS makeup remover took care of it really well. It's a win-win!
MAC Prep + Prime Lip Primer - It was one of my wishlist items since a kind lady told me in a PBBC group post that this is her HG lip primer to lock in the lipstick. I took the plunge in Dubai, since I do not have pre-order patience and Farid's, Karachi was charging over PKR 3,000 for it. This was around AED 100 at a MAC counter in Dubai Mall. Sorry, I have literally forgotten the AED pricing, still giving a vague idea for reference :-) Don't sue me on these! It applies like a clear lip balm, but it is not too 'balmy' or 'glossy'. It has a little tightening effect on lips as it tries to hold the lippie formula to your lips. In terms of whether or not it really does anything for the longevity or fine lines of the lips, I still have to try this one out :-)
Maybelline ELECTRO (Strike A Rose) - Winters are approaching and I am out of lip balms. This was an impulse buy which costs around AED 15 (from a pharmacy in The Mall of Emirates) less than 500 bucks. I have not opened or swatched it yet, but from the sensational Baby Lips line, I have high expectations.
Bio-Oil (60 ML) - It is one of those miracle products which I am hoping to start in my Fall/Winter skin care to get rid of dryness and those "Tiger Stripes" otherwise known as "Stretch Marks" :-) A teeny tiny bottle won't do the trick, I am sure. Still, have to start from somewhere. This was also purchased from an obscure pharmacy in Dubai Duty Free for AED 45-50.
La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Gel-Creme Sunblock (SPF50+) - Since I read one of my fellow bloggers (Shang Jay's) review and a PBBC group recommendation of La Roche Posay's sunscreens, I had been on the hunt. When I went to a local pharmacy near Ritz-Carlton, there was the La Roche Posay rack and the types of sun blocking creams, gels, sprays they had was a bit confusing. Dude, you're supposed to make sun protection easier :-( Anyhow, I went for the recommendations again and picked this one up on a nice lady's suggestion. This tester suited my skin better than the other two I tried. This retailed for a little over AED 100 which is totally fine by me, given the performance it has given me three times that I have used this. Sssh! No spoilers :-P Review coming soon :-)
L'Oreal L'Extraordinnaire by Color Riche - I got a little carried away with this one. Bought for AED 200 for the pack, I am not too sure if I love this yet. They are the new hybrid lipstick-gloss stains from L'Oreal. This version is also available locally at all L'Oreal counters in Pakistan. The set-of-three is a Dubai Duty Free Exclusive, though. These are supposed to more pigmented than the L'Oreal Color Caresse Shine Stains. I have only swatched those at Scentsation, so can't make a comparison yet. This pack includes a nice selection of shades - a Nude, a Pink, a Red - so this could be a good last-minute gift for someone just while you're loading on chocolates. Dubai Duty Free also has exclusive packs of Revlon Lip Butters, Revlon Kissable Balm Stains, Revlon Lipsticks, L'Oreal skin care, etc. so, you'll have many options. Now you can question those hubbies, fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters and friends who say that they couldn't get anything other than chocolates because "they didn't have time to go to the malls" :-D You're welcome!
NARS "Super Orgasm" Illuminator - Actually, I didn't shop this one. It was handed over to me by a friend who was on the trip with me! She had mixed feelings about this one because her elf Shimmering Facial Whip performs a million miles better with her cool undertones and pale complexion. Will experiment with it myself to see if this works for a warm-tones fair complexion beauty :-P
LUSH Mask of Magnaminty - It is one of those LUSH items which I bought on last trip, but got lost with the luggage. Got it this time again for over AED 60 from Dubai Mall. The staff was super helpful and we had a long chat! They loaded me up with free samples and gave my friend a free facial as well. I could not volunteer for the noble cause because I was wearing layers & layers of carefully-applied makeup for Mall-Celfies :-P It has an expiry of 3 months, so I got the small bucket. This one would still last for a really frequent usage even beyond those 3 months.
LUSH Dark Angels Cleanser - It looks like the Devil's Food & Dark Chocolate Cake hardened into a cleanser. I got this for the sheer prettiness and mystique. This also had 3-month expiration, so I have gotten myself a small bucket. It was for AED 67 (yeah, my best guess!) for a 100 gm bucket which should last you for a long time :-)
MAC Fix+ - I have been fixated on this Fix+ for quite long. Since this is for hydrating and setting the makeup (not for making it last longer), so I thought the best time to get a small-sized bottle would be winters. My combination skin leans towards drier side in the cold weather and most of my foundations are on the matte end as well. This can be spritz and used well. It was for AED 50-55 from MAC counter at Dubai Duty Free.
Revlon Lacquer Balm in Whimsical - Ah, another one of my Lifestyle (Centerpoint) SALE haul items. I almost didn't even go to Revlon's counter. I simply thought we have Revlon in Pakistan and the prices of the items would be abysmally high - Boots, I am looking at you! It was not until I spotted Matte and Lacquer balm testers that I went to swatch. The SA was nice and each of them for like AED 46 after discount. I have most of the matte balm shades, so I picked Provocateur (a blue-toned red) which suited me a lot and went my merry way. It was my dear husband's "oh-no-you-didnt-get-another-red-lipstick" frown which made me trace back my steps and I chose this whimsy one! It is a pink-purple color that screamed FALL to me. It does have glittery sparkle towards which I have mixed feelings.
Revlon Photoready Skinlights in PINK LIGHTS - Talking about Revlon, I simply swatched this lovely pinky illuminator on my hand and was not sure about it until I spent the whole day frolicking around the city and returned late night to my hotel room and saw a lovely sheen on my arm from the wiped off swatch. I don't know what to tell you, except that it was so meant to be! For AED 80 (I assume), I got this baby and waiting for more autumn-y weather to hit the K-town, so that I can wear it with my foundation or moisturizer without looking like a greaseball of dew.
The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lip Makeup Remover - What you see at the right end of this picture is my repurchased HG beauty product! I loved Nivea's 2-in-1 makeup remover, but this one is even better. It is not too oily or drying on my skin and works well in one-two swipes. Since TBS Pakistan is charging higher after the stupid taxation since July 2014, I was holding off buying this. My best bet was to get this from the seasonal sale, but my current bottle was almost finished. I got it from The Body Shop outlet Dubai Mall (which had a sale going on for selected items). It was something around AED 40-50 (Gosh, I have a memory of a gold fish when it comes to Dirham pricing -_- Sorry).
SEPHORA Collection 10 HR Wear Perfection Foundation in Medium (30) - I had been eyeing MUFE HD, Chanel Vitalumiere and UD Naked foundations from my several mall visits. I would wear them and spend time, roam around, and take pictures. It was either the shades that I wore or my skin condition, I liked certain things about them, but there was no absolute love. Lately, my skin tone has become weird. It is not uneven, but yellowish foundations make the rest of my skin seem "pink", while the cooler undertones makes the remaining seem too "yellow". It is the trickery of light, season, diet or what - I don't know. My straight forward NC25 skin tone takes NC20 AND NC35 items really well. It gets confusing :-( The SA gave me a full face of this foundation at Millenium Mall demonstration. I don't know it was the primer or the compact that she used or this foundation itself, but I loved the look! My husband disagreed, though. He has something against perfectly concealed and primed face, y'all. I'd discuss the foundation in detail in my upcoming review. I want to use it a few times to know for sure how I feel. It retailed around AED 80 which was pretty okay with me - The formula felt far luxe than the price. I still wore it for a day to be sure and got mine from Sephora, The Mall of Emirates.
NYX Matte Lipstick in ANGEL - It didn't have its tester available. This was a blind purchase, but for AED 25, I had to hoard more lipsticks! Again, thanks to Lifestyle (Centerpoint), The Mall of Emirates :-) It's a pale rosy pink lipstick which is not too dry for a matte. I have just swatched it, so reserving judgement :-)
NYX Powder Blush in PEACHES - I figured something out. ALL NYX blushes look the same pink color, no matter what their shade name is. True, there are subtle differences in the swatch, but no glaring color contrast. I wanted to get a cream blush in bright orange color because corals inevitably look pink on me. Now I am in love with crazy pink blushes, but would love a coral-orange once in a while. Sadly, that cream blush didn't have a fresh piece, so I landed onto NYX Peaches. It is still unopened, so can't say much. Let's see if it manages to impress me. It was for AED 18-20 at sale Lifestyle (Centerpoint).
Here is the full shot in all its glory! Sorry for the bad lighting. I had to quickly take pictures and clean up my room, so the indoor lighting was pretty bad! Plus, I had been testing out my new point-and-shoot camera. It is okay and portable for the blogging since I cannot bring & manage my DSLR to Karachi. Let me quickly discuss if I have missed something from the stash:
Huda Beauty Lashes in GISELLE - I got three packs and two of them are sold off to 2 lucky ladies. This one I "might" keep for myself because they look pretty tempting *sigh*
The Body Shop All In One Face Base in Shade 04 - Although Shade 03 was a better match, there was something missing. The shade 04 had better yellow undertones, so I opted for this. I have been on a quest for a powder foundation/compact for quite sometime and didn't want to get any without trying. Again, TBS Pakistan prices are through the roof now! This little wet & dry powder was retailing for something like PKR 2000 before and now it is over PKR 3000. Thanks to TBS Dubai Mall, I got it for less than PKR 2000. Something like AED 70-75.
Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Serum & Kiehl's Eye Brightening Concentrate - These two items are bought and reserved for my darling friend. The combined price for these two was a little over AED 350 at Dubai Duty Free. We went to the Kiehl's shop in Dubai Mall and got ourselves samples of these two items. Those lasted for over a week's usage. My friend loved them and asked me to bring full sized items when I return. Since I have not unboxed them, can't say anything :-) Hopefully soon I will get mine and share the deets with you guys!
SAMPLES. SAMPLES. SAMPLES!
Never shy away from asking makeup/skin care counters about the samples. At worst, they will say they don't have it. I got Clarins, Herbline Essentials, Dermalogica samples from Pakistan by doing the simple act of asking. Haha, I believe I will embarrass myself, but my DH told me the motto "Baat Nahin Karo Ge Tau Baat Kaisay Banay Gi". I have to begrudgingly accept that he is right on this :) Mostly, the SA are given the samples, but many of them are either distributed among friends and family or simply ignored because no one bothers to ask, and they don't bother to push them on you. Interestingly enough, SA at Dubai Duty Free was too keen and gave me bucket load of samples. There were more, but I had to leave for the flight and skipped them. Now I kick myself for that. What I considered boarding line was simply one big family standing together -_- LUSH staff was also very happy to and me out 6 samples of different stuff. Believe me they are generous samples for more than a few usages. I could only find 3 at the time of photographs, though.
I hope you enjoyed the haul post! Swatches and reviews will be shared in the dedicated product reviews, InshaAllah! Let me know your thoughts on these products (if you have used them) or tell me about your latest haul that you absolutely LOVE!