I continue to be amazed by this but my two most popular posts on this blog are about makeup and camphor chests. The DailyOxford is about my personal life and transition to New Zealand and rural living. Makeup still happens to be a part of my life so heck – why shouldn’t a post about makeup be popular?! I can’t imagine not wearing makeup or ceasing to be fascinated by all the wonderful makeup products out there.

So….you know it was my birthday on May 8. I neglected to tell you that hubby presented me with (along with the bracelet) a $100.00 gift voucher. I’ve been pretty good over the past year loyal reader. Whereas I used to spend, spend, spend, I’ve been very frugal. Hunting down the bargains. Forgoing stuff I’d like to buy but frankly don’t need. And my New Year’s Resolution was to only buy NZ-made products or products from NZ-owned companies. Sometimes this has been a challenge because NZ-made stuff can be expensive.

So what to do with my $100.00 gift voucher? The only answer = head to the beauty counter to stock up on some frugal makeup and hopefully get items that are multi-tasking. No Dior. No Chanel. Just frugal brands. I’ve now discovered that the Japanese are pretty good at makeup and frugal brands. Shiseido own Za (pronounced Zee A) and Moisture Mist. The latter is specially formulated for NZ women so the advertising goes – no idea why NZ women get their own brand of makeup. Both Za and Moisture Mist are popular here and I reckon if you buy Za or Moisture Mist items, you’re buying Shiseido.

I also discovered a quirky little Aussie brand called Sugar Baby, developed by two sisters who wanted to celebrate the Oz beach culture. I don’t recall seeing this brand when living in Oz but I might have been distracted by MAC or Dior. I have to travel to Auckland soon and can’t be bothered dragging along my usual rather large makeup bag. So I picked up a cute palette from Sugar Baby – I like the kind of 1950s poster girl look to this brand.

So what did I buy for my $100?

  • Sugar Baby Glamour Rays – a graduated bronzer (a girl can never have too many bronzers) – $29.95
  • Sugar Baby Style High Club mini-makeup palette in Naturals – this one palette goes with me to Auckland as it has two eye shadows, two lipglosses and two bronzers/blushes – $9.95
  • Za Shimmer Glimmer – a gorgeous pale gold illuminating cream to use anywhere you like – $26.00
  • Za Two-Way Foundation Now Edition – case and foundation – $25.00.

Four items for a grand total of $90.90. Spare change! Can you imagine if I bought Dior or Chanel? I’d get maybe one or two products. And what did I think of my haul?

  • Sugar Baby Glamour Rays – fantastic bronzer. Because of the gradation in colours, you can go as light or dark as you like. No orangey look either. I’m contemplating whether I could use this as an eye shadow palette too. That would really make it a multi-tasking product.
  • Sugar Baby Style High Club palette – the two eye shadows are very subtle. The lighter one is a pearly champagne colour; the darker is sort of like a toffee colour. Together they blend nicely but I had to use a MAC eyeliner (in Teddy) to make the eyes pop a bit more. I’m not too keen on the two lip glosses in this palette – a bit too sticky and shimmery.
  • Za Shimmer Glimmer – LOVE. A not-too-shimmery pale gold liquid that you can use to highlight the cheeks, under the brow, bridge of nose – anywhere. I’d definitely buy this again and suspect it will become a regular feature of my makeup collection.
  • Za Two-Way foundation – LOVE. I’ve read a lot about this product. Za is huge in Asia and I’d been reading reviews about how this foundation is loved by Asian women because it gives a sheer coverage, controls oil and gives a radiant look. I HATE the blue case it comes in but apparently Za sometimes have limited edition cases in pink for example. Must get one of those. I’ve been wearing this foundation for the last week and it is everything I’ve read about. I suspect I’ll be using up, then tossing out all other foundations and forever more will use Za.

The lesson I’m learning is that you can get great cosmetics for frugal prices. I even saw a cute little Jordana (US brand) blush the other day for $4.00. But I still have this thought in the back of my mind that because Chanel or Dior or Lancome is on the pricier side, ergo they must be better. Now that I’ve discovered Za though – that thought is vanishing pretty fast.

If only there was an NZ company that made frugal makeup. I’ve sussed out Living Nature, Trilogy, Oasis Beauty – NZ skincare/cosmetic companies – but their prices are on the high side. If any Kiwi readers know of a frugal NZ beauty brand, don’t be shy, leave a comment.

Sugar Baby Glamour Rays graduating bronzer – the photo is making this look darker than it really is.

The different coloured strips mean you can control whether you want a light or darker look. Wonder if I can use this as an eye shadow palette too?

Sugar Baby Sky High Club mini-makeup palette. Totally cute.

Inside the Sugar Baby palette. Again, the photo makes everything look darker than it really is.

Za Shimmer Glimmer – an illuminating cream.

Za Two-Way Foundation case – hate it. Looks cheap.

Za Two-Way foundation in 20, which is a good match for anyone who is MAC NC15.

Me with all the products on – makes me look younger than my 94 years don’t you think?