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Beauty Hits & Misses (October + November)

It’s amazing how many new beauty products tirelessly flood the market and truthfully, I don’t possess the stamina, or the cash (much less the skin) to try them all. that said, finding the best beauty products for yourself isn’t just about your skin type etc. It’s about your own routine and personal preferences. For me, I’m a quick worker who likes to do several things at once, i.e. I’ll put on a hair mask, slap on a face mask and read a book all at once – so I like beauty treatments that work in time blocks. e.g. I’ll use a 15 min hair mask with a 15 min face mask, vice versa.

I also prefer liquid-type treatments rather than cream types, as cream types seem too rich for my skin. That said, after hearing a friend rave about how wonderful the Bodyshop’s Vitamin C Facial Radiance Capsules were, I decided to give them a go, even though they were cream based. Plus it didn’t hurt that I had my member’s discount during the time :)

First, vitamin C is an essential component for collagen synthesis. Without adequate vitamin C, the collagen in your skin would be malformed and your skin and gums would not heal properly.

Secondly, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant. Like other antioxidants, it helps to prevent skin damage and wrinkles by soaking up harmful free radicals.

– The Dermatology Blog

I’ll freely admit that the packaging and the amount of product kinda bugged me at first. but hey, it was a winner in the Cleo Beauty Hall of Fame 2011, so no harm trying right? On first application, one definitely smells a very strong citrus scent, which won’t be a problem for those who don’t mind that type of smell. The cream doesn’t sink into the skin as quickly as my L’oreal creams do, but the after-effects – oh! I have never felt my skin feel so smooth and tight. It’s a pity that the effect doesn’t seem to last past an hour but I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that in the long run, my skin will become pretty awesome :)

Why capsules, you ask? Isn’t it environmentally unfriendly?

…topical vitamin C is highly degradable. When exposed to air it oxidizes and its free radical soaking capabilities are muted — it becomes an inert, yet nicely citrus fragranced, cream. This is obvious if you have a vitamin C cream at home; you will see that the cream around the cap turns brown (like an apple slice) indicating that the vitamin C in it has oxidized.

The Dermatology Blog

If there was one thing I ever had to criticize about The Bodyshop, it’ll be that they don’t ever have enough product description on their products – but given how I experienced the effects of this, I’m inclined to repurchase again, even with its hefty price tag of SGD $45.90. Wait for the sale people, wait for it!

Seeing that my Sephora foundation was depleting at an alarming rate, I decided to get new foundation – this time I was thinking of switching back to liquid, which typically has better, smoother coverage. Plus, when applying foundation in a hurry on sleepy mornings, I sometimes ended up with  rather obvious swipes of powder on my face due to my careless, sleepy-eyed strokes. oops, embarrassing!

With its declarative name, Rimmel London’s Stay Matte Foundation sounded pretty awesome, promising up to 12 hours of matte coverage – but it was a rather huge disappointment. I don’t know whether it’s because I just have awfully oily skin or if it’s not suited for a tropical climate, but I got 4 hours of matte wear, tops. maybe 6 hours on a good day, which pretty much brings it below par when compared to my ZA foundation

The coverage is also pretty meh, it’s too fluid to do much, so I end up layering with powder foundation, which is a must because it leaves the face feeling kinda sticky, i.e. it’s not the fluid-to-powder type of foundation and you definitely need to layer powder on top to help it “set”.

Last but not least, my Bodyshop “Kiss of Colour Cheek Blush“. Basically, it’s a spring-loaded sponge that presses against the blush when it’s kept, so once you open it, out pops the sponge with the blush colour already on it. Simply dab the sponge onto the desired area of your cheek and tada! It’s done. Very quick, very fast and very easy. While the pigment in the blush is not its strong point (really, it’s hardly visible, depending on what shade of foundation i happen to be using.. ), but I love it for the shimmer, plus its fun and easy to use. So if you’re looking for an easy, fuss free product that gives a natural look, I’d recommend this. Not sure if i’ll repurchase though!

Stay tuned for our Beauty Hits & Misses every few months!

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Product Review: Body Shop face masks

I’m quite a fan of The Body Shop – not just for its eco-friendliness (oh L’oreal, why not make your entire company eco-friendly?), but also because I like the idea of using natural ingredients and celebrating the rejuvenating properties of nature itself. As I was running low on face masks, I decided to try The Body Shop’s offerings, and it didn’t hurt that they were having such an attractive range of promotions and sales at the moment.

so tada! I snagged the Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask to reduce sebum production & moderate oil levels on my face, and the Blue Corn 3-in-1 cleansing Mask.

As I haven’t tried the Seaweed Clay Mask yet, I’ll just be reviewing the Blue Corn 3-in-1 cleansing Mask today :)

Perhaps one of the greatest flaws in the packaging of The Bodyshop products is that they hardly ever give a sufficient product description, which is relatively annoying and inconvenient. Since I hadn’t heard much of the Blue Corn range prior to walking into the store, this was pretty much an impulse buy.

Basically, the Blue Corn 3-in-1 Cleansing Mask contains 3 major ingredients, hence the name:

  1. Blue Corn Powder – exfoliates the skin, removing dead skin cells, excess oil and dirt
  2. Kaolin Clay – deeply cleanses, drawing impurities out from the skin
  3. Corn Oil – moisturizes the skin

It sounded like a pretty exciting (and convenient) combination to me. Of all the exfoliating/cleansing masks I’ve used, I’ve always found my skin feeling slightly dry afterwards and needed to moisturize. With the addition of Corn Oil to the mix, I was thinking that I would be able to skip that step!

The mask itself is thick and creamy, with relatively large grainy bits. The instructions noted that I was supposed to cleanse & dry my face before applying a generous layer of this mask, avoiding the eyes and lips, for 10-15 mins before rinsing off. Wary of a new face product, I decided to err on the side of caution and applied a thin layer first.

The sensation was pretty minty and tingly, I don’t really believe a generous layer is needed. I also tried massaging my face with it, but that would not be advisable because those large grainy bits aren’t gentle on the skin (which bugs me, why put in those grainy bits at all?)

That said, my skin did feel really clean, refreshed and supple after use. I wouldn’t say that it felt hydrated afterwards, I still felt I needed to moisturize, but this mask isn’t as drying as others I’ve used in the past.

It’s All About the Face [Part one]

It seems that a girl has tons of choices when it comes to foundation these days, so what’s the difference between liquid foundation, mineral foundation (loose), mineral foundation (compressed), compact foundation, two-way compact foundation and pressed powder? Having played around with these various types over the years, I thought it’d be good for me to compile all my knowledge into one blog post, for future reference as well for anyone who’s looking out for an idea of what suits her best :)

Liquid Foundation is probably the type of foundation that I’m most familiar with, though as these bottles are stock images from US websites, they look slightly different from our local versions (e.g. the L’oreal bottle i got was the pump bottle, featured is the pour bottle, but I’ve purchased both styles of bottles from local stores, product is exactly the same..). These can either be applied with a brush or sponge – I personally prefer sponges, but there are those who recommend brushes, which I find harder to clean. With sponges, I dispose of them within two weeks, which is more hygenic than holding onto a brush that you wash once a month. Here’s a breakdown of Liquid Foundation:

  1. Coverage: The best, when compared to any other type of foundation
  2. “Heaviness”: Feels the most “heavy” on the face
  3. Imperfections: relatively obvious, but it’s quite noticeable in any type of light if you apply liquid foundation unevenly

Essentially, I’d recommend liquid foundation for anyone who’s beginning with makeup – but DO note that you must use a pressed powder with liquid foundation, to set it. Otherwise, you do get a slightly “sticky” feeling. So cost-wise, do note that you must invest in a powder as well.

As I’ve tried all three liquid foundations featured above, here’s a quick review:

  1. Ettusais Flat Design Liquid Foundation – said to “flat-ten” your complexion, hiding all bumps and imperfections, with an anti-bacterial formula, I quite liked this foundation, but found it a tad pricey ($50+) for the small amount. The coverage was relatively good and I really didn’t experience any breakouts etc. whilst using this foundation.
  2. L’oreal True Match Super Blendable Foundation – it certainly lived up to its name and perfectly matched my skin tone, but I felt that its super blendability also meant super wearability, it faded off my face quite quickly, particularly if I blotted midway through the day. I also experienced some “orangeness”, which is normal when a foundation undergoes oxidation.
  3. Revlon Colourstay with Softlex Combination/Oily skin – Due to its assertion that it was meant for people with Combination/Oily skin, I kept using this for awhile (went through 2 bottles) before deciding it wasn’t for me. It didn’t help much with controlling my sebum production!

Do also check out Caroline’s review of Maybelline’s Pure Liquid Mineral Foundation here

Mineral Foundation has been pretty raved about these last few years, and for good reasons too! It’s great for anyone of any complexion, plus it looks natural due to the mode of application – normally a kabuki brush or a large fluffy foundation brush. The key about mineral foundation is that it’s supposed to be applied gradually in layers to determine the amount of coverage you want. Here’s my breakdown:

  1. Coverage: light to medium
  2. “Heaviness”: extremely light, with only one coat it feels like you’re not wearing makeup
  3. Imperfections: really not visible unless you have very uneven skin tone

I’d recommend mineral makeup to fairly experienced make up users – it does take some know-how to know where your most uneven spots of your face are, and how to cover it with a brush without being too heavy-handed. Mineral makeup can look uneven after application if you’re not careful with how much you put on the brush. usually I’ll tap the brush on the side to shake off excess.

For reviews, do check out here (Bodyshop & Everyday Minerals)

Maybelline’s Mineral Powder Foundation was something I tried for about 2 weeks before deciding that it really didn’t suit me. As with some particular foundations, oxidisation tends to be a problem with me, and I really dislike turning orange after 4-5 hours of wear, it makes me look really dark and weird. So this was generally a no-no for me, but might suit other people whose pores secrete a different combination of chemicals I guess?

Oddly enough, even though many note that compact/powder foundation would be the best for one with combination/oily skin, I am the least experienced with this type of foundation, mostly because I dislike the “cakey” look. With powder foundation, it is way too easy to go overboard and look like a clown – during my university days, I’ve seen more than one girl go around with a “cracked” face due to an excessive application of powder foundation, or even people with visibly streaky foundation (too much foundation + sweat). Here’s my breakdown of it:

  1. Coverage: medium to heavy
  2. “Heaviness”: Depends on how you apply, do you sweep up alot of product? Application with brushes generally mean a lighter (but less efficient & more wasteful) application. Sponges tend to hold alot of product if you use a heavy hand.
  3. Imperfections: relatively obvious, mirror checks throughout the day compulsory if it’s your first time!

Maybelline Angelfit Foundation was probably the first one I ever used! I bought the wrong shade, applied it wrongly, I pretty much played with it rather than used it. The thing about it was, it was scarily waterproof and water would stay as droplets on my skin. It didn’t however, feel heavy – not that I remember perfectly, but I don’t recall that being a problem with this foundation at all.

L’oreal Super Blendable Match Powder was not something I purchased, but received as a sample from some magazine I think! I liked it but felt that coverage was too light, and I also felt that the shades provided instores didn’t match me very well, so I decided against purchasing the full sized product. Otherwise, it had great lasting power and was only slightly cakey.

[the rest of the foundation types will be reviewed in part 2!]

 

Product Review: Bodyshop Mineral Foundation

Not too long ago, I purchased the Bodyshop’s Mineral Foundation. Here’s my review of it, comparing it to Everyday Mineral’s foundation, which for the past two years has been my staple.

Introducing first, the Everyday Minerals Kaolin Soft Powder Bronze foundation. It’s a very light mineral foundation that can be layered on for a thicker coverage. It’s semi-sheer and the perfect shade for me. Moreover, as it’s from the “anti-shine” range of foundations from the store, it helps keep my face matte for 2-3 hours (as compared to liquid foundations etc which do nothing at all for my skin).

After introducing this foundation to a close friend of mine, she noticed that it was almost waterproof! Unlike other foundations, it did not run and stayed on her face quite nicely. Moreover, I also appreciate the fact that unlike other foundations I’ve tried before, this does not oxidise and turn orangey on me, which is not a flattering effect.

Container-wise, The Bodyshop’s Mineral Foundation SPF25 is smaller, but easier to work with. The Everyday Minerals’ container only has six holes on one side for the powder to come out, but the Bodyshop’s has a sifter to ensure that the mineral foundation remains loose and is not clumpy. Oddly though, I still found that the Everyday Minerals’ formula spread across my face more easily and more evenly. The Bodyshop formula tended to “stick” to where I first put my brush and it was more difficult to spread it evenly around. I also used a lot more product.

Coverage wise, the Bodyshop definitely wins hands down, I only need one layer to gain my desired coverage. However, some may find it abit too thick, especially since it’s mineral foundation, which is supposed to be light and sheer. It’s not as great when it comes to mattifying, but I’m not complaining as it stays on the whole day without turning into an oily mess.

My verdict? For the price and quantity, I’m going for Everyday Minerals. Quality wise they’re both on par, it really depends on what you prefer. I personally prefer a lighter foundation that lets my skin breathe more easily, plus it’s also easier to apply, hence my choice.

Independence day

As my boyfriend is on a 20hr flight to Greece as we speak, I spent Hari Raya alone in the West (cos it didn’t make sense to travel back and forth just for a day) and instead of emo-ing and cooping myself up in my room, I decided to head out to Jurong Point, determined to have a good time. So armed with a book in hand, I sussed out Starbucks, bought myself a Dark Cherry Mocha Frap and a quiche and plopped myself down and started reading.

My book of choice was Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated and I am about 150 pages in.

Pretty good so far, reminded me a little of Middlesex with the whole,” tracing my lineage” theme. Seems like Greek and Jewish writers are very preoccupied with origins.

What was strange was that Foer created this character Alexander who speaks on behalf of the reader. So he reads Foer’s book and asks questions that we would ask and he communicates with Foer (who himself is a character in the book). So there is this really weird distinction going on between Foer the writer and Foer the character as well as Alex who in many ways is like another Foer ‘self.’ There’s abit of  a Me Myself and Irene vibe going on that is tad confusing. But that being said, I think the main plot that revolves around Brod is compelling and like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, there are many beautiful enigmatic moments created. I’ll like to share a quote that really spoke to me:

If there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it heavy walls, and we will furnish it with soft red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweler’s felt so that we should never hear it. Love me, because love doesn’t exist, and I have tried everything that does.

That was a ‘wow’ moment for me.

Yup. So after reading for about 2hours I relinquished my seat and went to walk around. Despite staying near JP, I’ve never really had time to shop around till today and I have to say that I am impressed with the selection of shops there especially shoe shops. My gosh there’s Mitju, Pretty Fit, Charles and Keith, Nodo, Mondo, Rubi, Anna Nucci, the list goes on. It is insane.

Anyhow, my first stop was to BodyShop to get me some of that detangling spray that Ruth got in her Bodyshop haul. And I was in luck because of the Hari Raya holiday, there was 20% storewide so I got it at around $14-16 (I can’t quite remb the price cos I don’t keep receipts. Oops) Not sure about whether it is an effective detangler cos there didn’t seem to have much effect when I spritz some in my hair but I guess the results aren’t instant and it’ll take some time to work (not to mention that my hair ends are super curly and mangly). But the scent is so damn niceeee! It’s like juicy blackcurrent aka ribena scent all over your hair (ok, maybe some of you girls might find it weird but I love it)!
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So after BodyShop, I passed by a nail place along the stretch where New York New York is and they had an express mani service for $6 so I figured, why not? I haven’t painted my nails in awhile and I deserved some pampering! So yay to pretty purple nails!

The colour turned out alot brighter in the picture. What I’ve got on my nails is more lavender purple. For the life of me, I can’t remb the name of the nail place. It’s this open-air concept place which also does makeup and hair services if I’m not mistaken. Anyhow, service was great. The person who attended to me was chatty and approachable despite my very limited Chinese. She shaped my nails square, just the way I like it and she did a pretty meticulous job. And she continued chatting with me while I waited for my nails to dry so that was pretty fun. Also, I got to witness an expert do makeup on a client for some wedding party. I’ve never seen something like that upclose before. Pretty cool! Especially eyeshadow application. These experts make it look so easy. Sigh.

Ok, after painting my nails I had to buy something for my Geog picnic tomorrow so I headed to a Famous Amos outlet and got choc chip and pecan cookies! Yum. (Of course I sneaked a bite here and there lol. It’s just hard not to.)

Then I popped into Stationery Island to look at pretty planners. Like Ruth, I absolutely love decorating my planner and I am one of those crazy people that have to pencil in assignments and meetups into an organizer the minute I hear about it so this was my heaven. And I emerged a happy happy woman because I didn’t buy something for myself but for a friend. Nothing makes me happier than surprising people with gifts and I am pretty darn sure that she’ll like what I bought cos as I flipped through it, my mind was screaming “OMGOMGOMG I need to get this for Chell”. Lol. I won’t delay the suspense further and show you what it is:
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It is a planner that features 64 photos taken of Berlin for each week! I cannot wait to give this to her and see her reaction! YAY to surprises and making people happy!

Haha and to round up my trip to JP, my last stop was at Dano (which was really quite random) cos a ruffled sweater caught my eye and I just had to have it. So there we go, another $33 flew out of my pocket but I have never been happier (I totally understand how Becky Bloomwood feels) clutching the paper bag in my hand knowing that the sweater is now MINE.

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Isn’t it so pretty? I absolutely love the ruffles and to merge it with cardigans, my other great love (I have a HUGE love affair with cardigans. God knows how many I have in my closet), that is just a match made in heaven. Too good to be true girls.

So that pretty much sums up my day! Me glowing from happiness because of my pretty nails and the awesome shopping I managed to squeeze in, and also from the reading and me time that is so hard to come by. What a luxury it is to be able to sip coffee, contemplate and just see the world go by. I got a taste of it today.

And what I most love about today? The fact that I can walk the whole of JP and be incognito. To don Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak and just be free to do whatever I wanna do and not feel rushed to hand in assignments or meet people, not having to answer phonecalls or smses. How I savoured this feeling. The feeling of independence and absolute freedom. For lack of a better word, today was just AWESOME!

Lipstick Love

I’ve never been a fan of lip gloss. Somehow, the sticky, gooey texture never sat well with me – I would restlessly keep smacking my lips together (quietly) trying to get over the feeling. Lipstick on the other hand, was the horror of my primary school choir days. It tasted icky, made me look like a circus clown, and was generally something we all collectively frightened each other over. SHE’S GONNA PUT MAKE UP ON YOU! THAT SCARY WOMAN IS COMING!! <– our make up artist was a very enthusiastic, rough handed and wrinkled woman who took ultimate glee in bashing our faces with dirty sponges until we were covered in makeup. our instructor even had to tell her to tone it down. that’s how much make up we had on. yucks.

well 15 years or so after that horrific experience, I began to reassess my aversion to lipstick. So I bought one, then another, and another. Fast foward to the present, I have quite a number of lipsticks and though I haven’t tried every single brand out there in the market, I’ve been curious enough to try a number of brands, so I thought I’d put together a full review of my entire stash before it balloons and becomes too large. Lipsticks are reviewed in no particular order:

my lipstick collection, minus the l’oreal/maybelline haul of 15th Nov

(1) Sephora Rouge 0098A Lip Attitude Series $24 SGD (retail store) or $12 USD (online)

The picture on the left shows the lipstick colour as it swatches, with flash, but the pic on the right shows the colour as it actually looks in real life, a deep, dark purple. When I first saw this instore my eyes actually skipped over it, but my friend picked it up and gleefully swatched it on my hand and I was instantly won over. It’s a very pretty, great colour and goes on creamy smooth. Like all Sephora lipsticks it has a very nice perfumed scent, which is not overpowering but very subtle and nice. As it’s an opaque lipstick it covers any lip colour completely so you don’t have to worry about your natural lip colour (which is an issue with other lipsticks). This colour is gorgeous & goes perfectly with black eyeliner and a rock chic look.

(2) Sephora n01 0174A Long Wearing Maniac Lipstick $20 SGD (retail) or $12 USD (online)

This is a very pretty, sweet pink – a colour I’ve been hunting for ages because I’ve always been wanting to try out the “pink lips” look done by many kawaii girls, though not to the extreme. I love the long slim tube of the lipstick, and the colour goes on well, though not as opaque as (1). Unfortunately for me, light pink doesn’t seem to suit me, but I do love its scent and it does feel awesome on the lips. Instead, I tried out layering this with my elf lipstick in barely bitten, previously reviewed here and it turned out great! What I did was put a layer of this lipstick all over the lips, then I dabbed the elf lipstick in the inner middle portion of the lips, before rubbing my lips together slightly. The end result was better than what I hoped for, and I’ll definitely be constantly trying out new combinations pairing up this lipstick with other colours.

(3) and (4) Revlon Shiny Sheer Series in 825 Sheer Glistening Rose and 810 Sheer Afterglow

I bought these lipsticks during the 1 for 1 Revlon sale at Watsons about 2 years back – then I wasn’t too keen on lipsticks but I still liked to have the hint of colour, without the stickiness of gloss. Cue in these lipsticks. They’re great for just a school day as they’re not very obvious and not very shimmery, but can be layered over to give a nice finish for an outing later in the day. My only complaint is that they melt slightly when the weather is hot & will have some difficulties sliding out of the tube. Both lipsticks last about 3 hours each and do not last past a meal.

 

Here’s a swatch of the lipsticks:

swatches for (1)-(4) as you can see the first two are more opaque – both were swiped on the hand only once each, but (3)-(4) were swatched 2-3 times to get the colour as seen above Read the rest of this entry

Bodyshop Haul

Seeing that I had Bodyshop vouchers as mentioned here, imagine my utter and complete inability to resist walking into the Bodyshop store today! As a shopaholic/shopahaulic, it’s my personal motto to shop smart, so I had already done my prior research on the instore offers & promotions available, to get the most bang outta my buck. Lucky for me, the shop manager said that using the vouchers together was not going to be a problem so I whipped out all four of them & promptly used up three vouchers. whoo!

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Sally Hansen Black Diamond & Bodyshop vouchers!

Joy burst into my heart when I saw that Watsons was having a sale on its Sally Hansen Diamond Strength polishes (original price $13.90, marked down to $9.90). Of all polishes I’ve ever used, Sally Hansen is the brand I adore the most because it hasn’t ever let me down in terms of colour and quality.

The colour of this polish is truly unique – it’s not a pure jet black and contains micro glitter of varied shades, I can’t identify the colours for sure but i’m guessing silver, blue and green.. maybe even a very pale pink.

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