Topic: Travel

The Best in Beauty From the Boot, Vol. 7: KIKO Milano

Published in: Guest Post, KIKO Milano, Makeup, Travel

KIKO Milano Italian Makeup

It’s KIKO time! 🙂

The grass is always greener on the other side, isn’t it?

Well, it’s actually not always greener on the other side, but I think it’s human nature to want what we don’t have and take for granted what we do have.

Look at me for example: I always lust after makeup products I don’t have access to, but often ignore those I have within easy reach.

You know, like, KIKO stores here in Italy are literally everywhere, and I can easily walk past them without even entering (sometimes, LOL). But if, say, a ColourPop store magically appeared in my local mall, I’d get as excited as when I heard there would be a Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix (any fellow fans out there?). That is, super. Freaking. Excited. Bordering hysterical. 😉

Which, you know, is totally unfair to KIKO, since they actually make some truly kick-*ss products, like the ones I’m showing you today, for example. Definitely worth getting very excited for!

KIKO Milano Italian Makeup

KIKO Gossamer Emotion Creamy Lipsticks in 106 Mauve & 117 Papaya ($12)

KIKO Gossamer Emotion Creamy Lipstick 117 Papaya 106 Mauve

If you click the golden button at the top, the tube comes out the bottom… NICE!

KIKO Gossamer Emotion Creamy Lipstick 106 Mauve Swatch

KIKO Gossamer Emotion Creamy Lipstick in 106 Mauve (which to me doesn’t look mauvy at all)

KIKO Gossamer Emotion Creamy Lipstick 117 Papaya Swatch

KIKO Gossamer Emotion Creamy Lipstick 117 Papaya

The gorgeous packaging is what first drew me to the Gossamer Emotion Creamy Lipsticks, but I was delighted to find out that the formula is not half bad either. Their texture is creamy in a non-slippery way, so that they’re comfortable on the lips, but you don’t need to worry about getting lipstick all over your face and teeth.

Shades 116 Mauve and 117 Papaya are nicely pigmented and pretty long-lasting, but I’ve heard that some colors (the range features 30!) are sheerer and have a shorter wear time than others.

Actually, now that I think of it, I also have 130 Black, which I used for my 2015 wearable Halloween look, and it definitely is sheerer. And, by the way, if you want to go black (or any other very dark shade) on the lips, I’d recommend opting for a matte formula, so that you don’t need to worry about it smearing or getting on your teeth. Just saying…

KIKO Flawless Fusion Bronzer in 03 Cinnamon ($18)

KIKO Flawless Fusion Bronzer 03 Cinnamon

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The Best in Beauty From the Boot, Vol. 6: Collistar

Published in: Collistar, Guest Post, Makeup, Travel

Collistar Italian Makeup

Collistar Italian Makeup

If I had to choose the ultimate beauty brand to represent Italy, I’d definitely pick Collistar. I don’t know if that’s because they have been around (and popular) as long as I can remember, or because of how they’ve really been highlighting their “Italian-ness” over the last few years through their Ti Amo Italia (I love you, Italy) marketing campaigns. All I know is that Collistar just screams “Italy” to me.

It’s a high-end brand, and they make literally everything from makeup, to skin-, body-, and hair care. I think their biggest strength is being able to offer high quality products at a reasonable price (think Clinique’s price range).

Their limited editions are always beautifully interesting, but in their permanent lineup you can find lots of unmissable products, as well. Let’s have a look at a few of my favorites! 🙂

Collistar TWIST Ultra-Shiny Eyeshadow in Bronze

Collistar TWIST Ultra-Shiny Eyeshadow in Bronze

Collistar TWIST Ultra-Shiny Eyeshadow in Bronze is my all-time favorite eyeshadow to use in the summertime. It gives lids the most beautiful wet-looking wash of caramel color, and it’s so, SO amazing!!! If you don’t believe me, check out this picture I posted on my Instagram last summer… Not bad, eh?

If you can get your hands on this fantastic little stick, remember that you have to apply a thin layer over primer and buff it in with your finger; otherwise, it’ll crease pretty easily and you’ll end up hating it, while it just deserves to be loved with a passion! 😉

Collistar Graphic Eyeliner in 3 Valeria Blue

Collistar Graphic Eyeliner in 03 Valeria Blue

If you have brown eyes and you’ve never used blue liner, you’ve been totally missing out! Blue eyeshadow can be tricky to use sometimes, but I feel like you just can’t go wrong with liner. It will bring out your iris color without being too over the top.

I always get compliments on my eyes and makeup whenever I wear Collistar Graphic Eyeliner in 3 Valeria Blue. The color is an amazingly vibrant cobalt blue, while the formula is opaque, easy to use and long-lasting.

I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something other than black to mix things up a little!

Collistar TWIST Ultra-Shiny Gloss in 207 Coral Pink

Collistar TWIST Ultra-Shiny Gloss in 207 Coral Pink

I think this TWIST Ultra-Shiny Gloss is one of the most user-friendly lip products I own. The twist-up stick means that it’s very convenient to apply and just pop in your purse for touch-ups, AND it contains hyaluronic acid and procollagen to help lips stay nicely hydrated.

Its coral pink hue and juicy finish make it ideal to use in the warmer months.

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What’s in My (Very Streamlined) Travel Makeup Bag

Published in: Guest Post, Just For Fun, Makeup, Travel

Travel Makeup Bag

Picture a 19th-century noblewoman waiting to board a steamer bound for faraway lands.

Can you see her? Standing there on the dock surrounded by wardrobe trunks and chest cases containing all of her earthly possessions?

You can?

Awesome. Because she looks exactly like I did up until a few years ago whenever I traveled anywhere. 🙂

Yep! I used to pack sooo much stuff, “just in case,” but those “cases” rarely happened, and I’d usually come home with half of the things I brought still untouched.

Thankfully, possibly because I discovered the joy of traveling with only my carry-on bag, I’ve finally learnt how to streamline and pack the bare minimum.

Travel Makeup Bag

The things in my (very streamlined) travel makeup bag

Case in point: I just spent a few days in Edinburgh, Scotland, and only brought along a minimal makeup stash (at least by a beauty lover’s standard).

I knew I wouldn’t want to waste the little time I’d have to explore the city on my weekend away doing my makeup, so I streamlined my beauty arsenal.

Edinburgh Castle Scotland

Hello from Edinburgh Castle! 🙂

Would you like to have a look inside my travel makeup bag?

Foundation: Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet

Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet

With its matte yet luminous finish, I ❤ Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet foundation every day of the year, but its plastic packaging makes it especially convenient for traveling.

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The Best in Beauty From the Boot, Vol. 5: WYCON Cosmetics

Published in: Guest Post, Makeup, Travel, WYCON

WYCON Cosmetics Liquid Lipstick

WYCON Soft Mousse Eyeshadow in 16 and WYCON Long-Lasting Eyeliner in 16 Strong Coffee on my eyes, and WYCON Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick in 20 Fragola on my lips

Are you satisfied with your name?

Isn’t it funny that the one thing that represents us the most is not for us to decide? Parents have a such a huge responsibility, I think!

Personally, I’m quite satisfied with Carolina. I especially like the fact that it’s pretty uncommon (at least among people of my generation, in the Bologna area).

Did you know that I’m the only Carolina Braina in the world? Well, obviously you didn’t… But yeah, Braina is a last name only my family have, and I’m the only one named Carolina.

It would be so weird if there were someone else with the same name as I… How do the people out there with very common names feel about that?

But anyways, what I meant to say before going off on a major tangent here was that, apparently, WYCON Cosmetics wasn’t satisfied with their previous name, “WJCON”, and last year decided to substitute J with Y. That’s why you’ll see two different spellings in the pictures.

You may remember from my Insider’s Guide to Makeup Shopping in Italy that WYCON is a KIKO-style brand that, just like KIKO, is only sold in the brand’s own standalone stores. It’s a younger company than their more famous competitor, and definitely not as omnipresent, but I think the quality of their products (at least those I’ve tried) is comparable.

Let’s have a look at my favorite picks!

WYCON Cosmetics Italian Makeup

WYCON Cosmetics Swatches

L-R: WYCON Liquid Lipsticks in 20 Fragola and 03 Rosa Antico, WYCON Matt Sublime Lipsticks in 629 and 618, WYCON Long-Lasting Eyeliner in 16 Strong Coffee, and WYCON Soft Mousse Eyeshadows in 11 and 16

WYCON Long-Lasting Liquid Lipsticks in 03 Rosa Antico & 20 Fragola

WYCON Cosmetics Liquid Lipsticks

WYCON Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick in 03 Rosa Antico

WYCON Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick in 03 Rosa Antico

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The Best in Beauty From the Boot, Vol. 4: NABLA

Published in: Guest Post, Makeup, NABLA, Travel

NABLA Italian Makeup

Wearing NABLA’s grey eyeshadows on my eyes and NABLA Brow Divine in Uranus on my brows

Surprises are one of those things you either love or hate, and I definitely love them.

Well, provided they’re good surprises – obvs!

And you know when the last time I was pleasantly surprised was? When I recently placed my first NABLA order.

NABLA is a young independent Italian brand that was first launched in December 2013. Their mission is to create cruelty-free (and for the most part vegan) makeup products using the best ingredients and formulations, while keeping the retail price as low as possible.

Sounds interesting, don’t you think?

NABLA Italian Makeup

My NABLA order upon arrival

24 hours after placing my order for 12 eyeshadow pans, 1 magnetic palette (which I got as a free gift for purchasing the shadows), 2 lipsticks and 1 brow pencil, I got the smallest box I had ever seen — so small that at first I thought they hadn’t sent me everything.

But no, everything was there, perfectly packaged and intact. I really appreciated that they didn’t waste any unnecessary packaging material and space.

NABLA Italian Makeup

Let’s have a closer look at the products that stole my heart! 🙂

NABLA Eyeshadow Pans (€6.50/$7.40) + Liberty Palette (complementary)

NABLA Eyeshadows

I got this pretty magnetic palette as a free gift for purchasing 12 NABLA eyeshadow pans on If you buy 6 pans, you’ll get a smaller palette.

NABLA Eyeshadows

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