Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Skincare Review: Vichy Soothing & Fortifying 24 hr Hydrating Serum & Cream (Light)

It's particularly at this time of the year when the season changes and my skin feels more fragile that I will opt for everything case I end up with blotches, bumps and/or zits over the jolly Christmas hol! To this end, Vichy Soothing & Fortifying 24 hr Hydrating Serum and Cream will make a brilliant duo.

Let me first make myself clear that hydrating products usually don't moisturize your skin..they only hydrate! As the names have spoken for themselves, this Vichy duo does skin hydration. It pumps water into your skin, making it soft and supple without a tinge of stickiness. It doesn't add weight to your skin at all. I can't describe how just-nice they's just exactly right for this dry season. Oh, but one thing, the cream I use is a light version and it's only enough for daytime. I use Avene Clean-Ac Cream in the evening for a richer skin treat.

Beauty tips: To better lock in the skin's moisture, I use Sulwhasoo Balancing Emulsion (see review HERE) after this Vichy serum and my Caudalie Radiance Serum (see review HERE), and before this Vichy cream. I personally find the regime phenomenal so far. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lingerie for Your Skin: Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Foundation & Concealer SPF20+++

It's the cutest, most elegantly packaged sample palette I've ever received! The packaging of this sample palette is so detailed that it looks almost like a retail product. With the magnetic closure, I can happily pop it into my makeup bag without any worries about making a mess. 

Alright, let's get down to earth. Guerlain Lingerie de Peau is another skincare-foundation that joins the recent hype. The creamy formula contains hyaluronic acid, a water-binding agent that locks moisture in your skin and helps your makeup to stay put. The texture is obviously sheerer than many other cream foundations. Although it comes with a petite sponge applicator, I applied it with my ring finger and was amazed at how it glided on like NARS Sheer Glow, but yes, as a cream formula. The finish is dewy and natural. I only applied it over the dull areas to even out my complexion and it blended in seamlessly (like Guerlain says), leaving my skin soft and radiant. 

The palette comes with a creamy concealer, which unfortunately does little help to my seasoned dark circles. It's too sheer and the color isn't really suitable for hiding my dark circles. I still haven't found anything better than my Diorskin Sculpt concealer (see my comparative review of Diorskin Sculpt and MAC Select Moisturecover HERE). But of course, that's for me. You may find it superb if you don't need a moisturizing eye concealer with high coverage. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Makeup Review: Diorskin Radiant Base Skin-Refining Pro Lighting Makeup Base SPF 20+

Dior has launched a new collection of Radiant Base alongside the latest Diorskin Forever collection. I personally find the makeup base so much less fascinating than the Forever foundations (see reviews HERE and HERE)...or rather, I'm barely fascinated, especially since I tested out the Radiant Base after my expectation-boosting experiences with the Forever twins.

The sample sachet I received is in Radiant Rose (001), a rosy beige shade which can neutralize my yellow skin undertone. Although it can easily be smoothed into a sheer non-greasy veil, I actually prefer the finish of MAC Prep + Prime Fortified Skin Enhancer (see review HERE). The latter can better correct my complexion with a more natural finish. More importantly, my makeup can survive so much longer over MAC Skin Enhancer. Somehow the Radiant Base tends to melt my makeup. Not to mention the higher UV protection you can get from MAC Skin Enhancer, which has hit the minimum SPF recommended by dermatologists.

Who may like Radiant Base?
It's for you if you have normal balanced skin or if you're craving for a bit of luxury. The fragrance added is very typical of Dior...I haven't checked, but it should be close to Forever & Ever EDT and one of those from the Dior Addict EDT (Addict Shine?) series. 

Who may not like Radiant Base?
You may frown if you have combination skin or if you detest scented beauty products. It's also not your kind of makeup primer if you want to get sufficient UV protection from it alone.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Skincare Review: Sulwhasoo Balancing Emulsion

As you may have noticed, I'm getting addicted to Sulwhasoo products lately. I know their products may not be very popular or accessible in your country, but none of them has let me down so far. I have been testing out their samples and actually can't wait to purchase them in full size!

The testing has been utterly enjoyable since all the Sulwhasoo products I have tried are brilliant, especially for dry seasons. This Balancing Emulsion from the basic line is just as lovable as their First Care Serum. The lightweight cream formula absorbs easily and it feels like the edgy surface of my skin is being ironed out and plumped. Instead of using it as a day cream, the SA actually recommended me to use it underneath the whitening, repairing or whatsoever serums in my usual skincare regime. She said although it's named an emulsion, it's meant to be an additional moisture replenishing layer that goes under serums and regular moisturizer in the Korean skincare regime. I however find the regime too moisturizing on humid days, but it definitely does a great job in the dehydrating months. It makes my skin softer and more supple than it was. And like I said in the First Care Serum entry (HERE), I now look so much more radiant in the morning!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Change of Seasons Skincare Essential: Bioderma Hydrabio Mask

It's too late if you only begin prepping your skin when the brutal cold weather sets in. Act now! Although the sea of luxury facial treatment products could be utterly alluring, the back-to-basics are, in fact, equally brilliant.

My all-time fave is Bioderma Hydrabio Mask. I personally think it's a mask you should always own despite the number of luxury alternatives you have added to your skincare compartment. Why so? Because it's literally an all-time facial mask! It's almost the only facial mask you can use under any skin conditions. Plus, it can be used as a quick fix, part of your regular regimen, a massaging agent or an overnight mask...and above all, as frequently as is needed. I like to leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes, then tissue off the excess. It leaves my skin supple and baby soft without a tinge of grease. My pores are instantly refined since the skin cells are well-quenched. What more do you want? 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fruit for Your Skin: Caudalie Grape Water

There are two things I will reach for whenever I get bored with my writing - Clinique All About Eyes Serum (preferably chilled! - HERE) and Caudalie Grape Water. I'd purchased Shu Uemura Depsea Water Facial Mist and Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray, but none managed to grasp my attention and all ended up sitting on my desk, almost untouched. Caudalie Grape Water is the first spritzer I have ever thought of using amid my work. With 2 out of its 3 simple ingredients being natural extracts of grape, I don't feel like I'm loading my face with chemicals at all. Instead, it feels more like pumping nutrients into my tired skin. What I like most is that the hydration it gives is just nice for a midday spritz. It doesn't feel greasy, sticky, or at the other extreme, too watery. And because it comes in an aerosol bottle, the mist is so fine that you really don't need to pat it in after spraying, as is noted on the bottle. I however think that it's not hydrating enough to be used as a toner after wash. But that's fine. It's very affordable (HKD69 or USD9 for 100ml) and it also comes in a cute little 50ml bottle which you can easily pop into your handbag. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Makeup Review: Laura Mercier Mineral Pressed Powder SPF 15

I have actually purchased Laura Mercier Pressed Powder a long while ago, but the review has been sitting in my Draft folder as I constantly get overwhelmed by other beauty products...I personally think that wearing mineral makeup requires a quite a bit of adjustment if you are experienced with using 'normal' makeup products. The major difference I notice between mineral foundation and the regular ones is, you need very little mineral foundation to create the same makeup look you do with your regular foundation. While the mineral option could be wallet-friendlier in this sense, I will actually advise novice users of mineral makeup products to test out the items before they really wear it for a dinner or date. Another thing to note is, if you are switching to mineral makeup because of your sensitive skin, it's best if you can go for a makeup trial session before your purchase since some ingredients in mineral products, such as bismuth and mica, may also cause skin irritation (read more about mineral makeup and skin irritations by WebMD HERE).

One of the popular brands you may begin with is Laura Mercier. I realize their Mineral Pressed Powder has won quite some attention and applause online. Like most other mineral foundations, the finely-milled powder is very pigmented and it glides on effortlessly. It gives a refined, velvety finish with your pores swiped out in a flash. One important tip for choosing the shade - Always go one or two shades darker! Mineral foundations usually look much lighter on your skin. While my complexion lies somewhere between Porcelain and Nude for Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, the Mineral Pressed powder in Real Sand is way too fair for me (though recommended by the LM makeup artist...). So makeup trial is utterly important!!!

Despite the above rather positive comments, I don't like it! The downside of LM Mineral Pressed Powder is that it's not as water-resistant and lasting as it vouches. Here, I'm not so greedy as to talking about swimming with my makeup on, but simply a hangout on a sunny day. For me, it melted after like 3 hours, leaving patches after dapping dry my skin. The powder also settled into my laugh lines, very badly...a nightmare indeed...I also tried using it on very-moisturized skin, but apparently it didn't work for me either. I have combination skin and I'm 30. It's of course possible that the powder may last longer on normal or younger skin. So again, makeup trial!!!

Although Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (HERE) has been a staple item in my makeup kit, I kinda regret purchasing their Mineral Pressed Powder. To reduce wastage, I brush it on my neck from time to time when the weather is hot and my naked neck may end up looking darker than my well-groomed face.

My verdict - If you are fine with regular makeup products, I still find Diorskin Forever the best (see my review HERE)!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Essence of Korean Beauty: Sulwhasoo First Care Serum

I begin to look forward to my facial wash every morning and evening because of Sulwhasoo First Care Serum. My skin texture has visibly improved - softer, more refined and more radiant in the morning - after using it for a month. It really feels like it's restoring my skin texture from inside out.

For best results, there are two tricks you should take note of. 

1. Unlike all the other serums, they actually advise you to use it right after your facial wash (yes, it isn't a toner!) if you don't apply your toner with cotton pads. But you do, you should then use it after toning your skin as per normal. The rule of the thumb: Don't wipe it off! 

2. Another trick is to rub two pumps of the serum at the center of your palms before wiping it in upward and outward motions over your face. This will warm up the serum and promote absorption.

The serum looks like maple syrup and smells herbal since it's made of Korean medicinal herbs. The scent won't linger around after application, so no worries. Unlike many other Sulwhasoo products, it won't be too moisturizing for younger skin. Although it does hydrate your skin, its major function is to regulate your skin and promote the absorption, and therefore the effects, of the beauty products you use in your skincare regime. In the spring/summer months, you may consider whether you want to top it up with another hydrating serum, but you will definitely need to do so in the fall/winter months. The serum can seep into your skin in a flash and the difference it makes will be noticeable in days.

Price-wise, it's may look pricey at the first glance - HKD600 (USD77) for 60ml - and for your information, it's almost half the price in Korea! But if you are already using serums like Lancome Blanc Expert Melanolyser (HKD680/30ml - read about it HERE) or Shiseido White Lucent Spot Targeting Serum (HKD760/30ml - see review HERE), First Care Serum doesn't really burn a big hole in your wallet after all.

According to their sales representative, you may get some bumps or even pimples when you first begin using the serum as the ingredients help detoxify your skin. But your skin texture will significantly improve after that. To avoid another skin breakout, I began with one pump, not over the entire face, but only somewhere close to my jaws. I gradually move on to one and a half pump, then two, to allow more time for my skin to accept the formula. I'm very delighted so far. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Budgety Rescue Remedy to Desensitize and Restore Your Skin

If you ever bother to read the ingredient list of your beauty products, you should have noticed that glycerin or glycerol always appears as one of the first ingredients. But what exactly is glycerin? Glycerin is a thick sweet-tasting liquid derived from animal fats or sugar. When diluted with water, it works wonder for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin...oh, cracked lips too! While some people are allergic to natural essential oils, glycerin can actually soothe such allergic reactions and strengthen your skin's natural barrier by restoring its moisture balance.
I once unknowingly applied something very wrong on my face for days and my skin became embarrasingly red and irritated. I spread a generous layer of glycerin over my face with damp hands, massaged a bit and left it overnight (it's water-soluble, so no worries about staining your pillowcase!). The result was amazing. The skin irritation was calmed and the redness had almost subsided completely the next morning. That's no exaggeration! I repeated the regime for a few nights and it worked like a magic potion, really. I could hang out with my head up on the third day! The entire rescue regime is chemical-free, gimmick-free and cheap. You can easily get a bottle of pure glycerin from the drugstore across the road at a very attractive price.
Apart from using it as an overnight mask, it's an excellent massaging agent when your skin is fatigue, irritated or dehydrated. Spread it over your face with damp hands, gently massage it in for 3-5 minutes in circular motion, and tissue off the excess. Unlike some massage creams in the market (including those of luxury brands), glycerin leaves your skin soft and supple with zero stickiness and skin irritation. Over time, it builds up your skin's natural defense mechanism, making it healthier and less vulnerable to climatic changes and allergens...Of course, that's given that you are diligent with the regime. Oh by the way, since it's multi-purpose like a much cheaper version of Nuxe Multi-Purpose Dry Oil, I enjoy rubbing the excess on my hands and hair ends. So to speak, no wastage at all. What better deal do you want?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Great Primer for Combo Skin: Shiseido Maquillage Sherbet Base

I should have reviewed this loooooong ago because I'd finished three bottles of it before I began falling for tinted primers and BB creams. It's a fun, refreshing, and pretty effective primer with a yummy name. If you are looking for a makeup primer that can control facial oil and keep your face feeling fresh the whole day, this one is for you.

I love the fluffy sherbet-like (or soufflé if you'd prefer) texture that melts into my skin instantly, leaving a smooth and mattified canvas for makeup. The minty scent and cooling sensation really perk me up too. The sale representative at Shiseido said it helps maintain the temperature of my skin under 25˚C, so the pores will be smaller and the skin less oily. Apparently, I didn't technically measure the temperature of my face, but all I know is that the gentle cooling sensation does last for quite a while. It did a pretty good job in oil-control and my makeup stayed pretty long. Although it was launched as part of Maquillage Summer Collection last year, I actually think the Sherbet Base is a brilliant makeup primer for combination skin all year round. I still use it from time to time when my skin (especially the T-zone) feels sticky and yucky.

Now that I'm obsessed with La Roche Posay Melt-In Cream (see review HERE) which gives me both SPF protection and light coverage, I sometimes wear the Sherbet Base underneath and finish with only MAC Blot Powder (see review HERE). The three items are pretty much enough to leave my face matt and even-toned for a no-makeup makeup look. With a bit of blush or bronzer, plus two swipes of Dior Addict in Nude (333) (see review HERE), I'm good to go!

As with all Shiseido products, I haven't experienced any allergic reactions or tingly sensations using it, not even over pimples. The only drawbacks are that it doesn't provide any SPF protection and it can't correct skin tone. But if these are not your concerns, you should really consider grabbing a bottle today!  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Makeup Review: Rouge Dior Voluptuous Care Lipcolor in Zemire Amber (539) vs. Chanel Lipsticks

As the weather is finally becoming drier, I was attempted to purchase Dior Rouge de Serum, more or less because of the word serum. But the makeup artist at Dior Beauty told me that the serum has actually diluted the pigments in the lipstick and the color will look lighter on the lips than how it appears in itself. So to speak, the coral that I spotted probably won't stand out against my rather dark lip undertone. Too bad...To help me overcome the disappointment, he tested out Rouge Dior in Zemire Amber (539) on my lips.

As you can see from the swatches (or can you???), it's almost identical to Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Liberte (46), but more intense. For your information, the swatch of Zemire Amber (539) was only done with one stroke. And it's definitely more orangey than Rouge Allure in Désinvolte (86). So how is Zemire Amber (539) different from Rouge Coco Shine in Liberte (46)? Rouge Dior in Zemire Amber (539) stays longer and although my low-quality swatches look pretty similar, Zemire Amber is a relatively bold coral on my lips. It feels as rich as Rouge Allure, but looks more sheeny; yet less slippery and glossy than Coco Shine. The shade matches the latest makeup trend which draws substantial focus to the luscious pouts.

From left: Coco Shine in Liberte (46), Rouge Dior in Zemire Amber (539) & Rouge Allure in Désinvolte (86)

The golden rule for a trendy makeup look this fall is to sync the colors you wear, say wearing blush and lipcolor of the same shade. The matching blush for Zemire Amber is Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Calypso Coral (01). But if you find that too heavy, NARS Blush in Deep Throat will also be a perfect match. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Eye Cream Review: Elemis Pro-Intense Eye and Lip Contour Cream

Looking for a new eye cream to switch to? I have been using Elemis Pro-Intense Eye and Lip Contour Cream for...the past few weeks, and the effect is so far so good. Although it's a rich anti-aging formula, it absorbs very easily without a tiny bit of stickiness. Honestly, it's not the most moisturizing eye cream I have used, but it's done a fair job in quenching my dehydrated eye area.

It contains active plant stem cells which is supposed to redensify the delicate skin around my eyes (I don't need any lip cream at the moment) and iron out the fine lines to make it firmer and plumper. For sure, the results are not as obvious as what scientists can see from the petri dishes. I can feel a bit of tightness after applying it. And at a closer look, my undereye area does look smoother without makeup, and my concealer glides on more easily. Yes, the formula is great to go under makeup. The only thing is, if you're looking for one that can reduce your dark circles, I haven't seen any improvements in my seasoned pair of dark circles so far. And if you're looking for one that's really moisturizing, I bet this is not for you. I actually think that Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream (vs. Chanel Precision Ultra Correction Lift HERE) and Lancome Genefique Eye Concentrate (HERE) can do a better job in this regard.

As with all Elemis products, it could be quite a good buy when it comes in a gift pack. I purchased mine (HERE) as part of the All About Eyes pack that includes also the Absolute Eye Serum and Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser, which are still on my to-be-tested list. Another tip is to look out for the sales at Lookfantastic. They offer very attractive price slashes from time to time. And if you still find the deal painful, the good news is I only need half a pump for both eyes. Hope it soothes your pain then!  

Friday, September 30, 2011

Great Complexion for A Great Day Off: La Roche Posay UVIDEA XL Melt-In Cream (SPF 50+++)

Can't be bothered to wear a full-on makeup, but still want something to perk up your complexion over weekends? MAC Skin Enhancer has been my fave (see review HERE), but it can't hide my dull complexion well enough under cool white light that beauty counters and some boutiques like to install. I hate it when the white spotlights reveal my blemishes and dullness like X-ray - what a holiday spoiler!!! La Roche Posay Melt-In Cream rescues me from my embarrassment and allows me to enjoy a foundation-free day off.

The Melt-In Cream is more tinted than it feels. So if you do your makeup in a room lit with warm lightings, you can easily get over-enthusiastic about layering it because of its sheer texture. As you can hopefully see from the picture, it really melts into your skin like you have just rubbed in some lightweight day moisturizer. La Roche Posay has actually launched a BB cream, but I personally find this more comfortable to wear. And for such a lightweight tinted cream, the coverage it offers is impressive. When I use it as a primer, I only have to sweep a bit of powder/compact foundation (at the moment, Christian Dior Diorskin Forever Compact - see review ) on the dull areas to make sure my complexion is brightened throughout the day. And yes, I did say a bit. At least for me, my face looked cakey on the few occasions that I didn't trust the Melt-in Cream enough! And in fact, using it alone can already give you an almost-porcelain complexion if your skin is already pretty good.

Partially rubbed in

Comparing to MAC Skin Enhancer, the Melt-In Cream is more hydrating and more spreadable. My makeup stays longer when I used it as a primer. It provides a broader spectrum of UV protection, good enough for a day of hangout. What's more, it's a godsend product for sensitive skin since it's fragrance-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic, and hypoallergenic. And not to forget the great coverage that I mentioned...You can already tell that I'm ranking this higher than MAC Skin Enhancer. Honestly, it's really this great!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Basics of Dior Beaute Fall 2011: Diorskin Forever Fluid Foundation Flawless Perfection Fusion Wear Makeup SPF 25+++

I said I will test out Diorskin Forever Fluid Foundation when the weather cools down and I finally did so. The liquid foundation is as brilliant as the compact (see review HERE). The Forever foundation twins is by far the most lasting foundation I have ever worn.  Like the compact, it melts into a natural radiant glow after some time as if my skin is just nicely moisturized. Besides, I can see how this skincare-makeup hybrid maintains my skin's water-oil balance. Also like the compact, this fluid foundation saves me the trouble of midday retouches. I only need to blot the excess oil once or twice a day...or rather, when I remember to do so, and my makeup look will stay put for the entire day. What impresses me is, it is very sweat-proof, leaving no patches after patting dry my face!

In terms of coverage, though lightweight, I personally think that the fluid version provides a higher coverage than the compact without layering. You can layer it up for even better coverage, of course, but one thin layer is good enough to give me porcelain-like skin. I absolutely adore this Forever twins, although if I were to choose, I still prefer the compact as it is literally weightless.

Thanks to Forever, I will no longer look like a zombie at the end of the evening!

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Taste of the Korean Skincare Secrets: Sulwhasoo Skin Clarifying Mask

I have heard a lot about Sulwhasoo since their gift packs were presented to the first ladies as a souvenir in the G20 Seoul Summit 2010. It is also visible how the brand is gaining its popularity here in Hong Kong. I see more and more ladies, ranging from mothers to those in their mid-20s or early-30s, raving about their products. To quench my curiosity, I purchased their Skin Clarifying Mask to get a taste of luxury Korean skincare.

Sulwahsoo products feature the use of Korean medicinal herbs. And after testing out the Skin Clarifying Mask, I realize it's nothing gimmicky. It really works! Unlike many of the clarifying masks on my shelf, it doesn't rely on kaolin (clay) to remove the excess oil and impurities on my skin. It's a gel peel-off mask, with a consistency thicker than honey, that is produced using traditional methods for preparing Korean medicine. Because of its thick consistency, it's not as spreadable as Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel, so I used more than I'd expected and that explains why it comes in a big 150ml tube. Honestly, I found the brownish gel a bit gross at the start...uhem, try to imagine it's honey or maple syrup...but look, it actually smells, it's honeyed ginger!

I could feel quite a strong pull on my face as it dried. After about 20 minutes, I could easily peel it off downward from my forehead as instructed. I found my complexion brighter and my pores more refined even in the next day. According to the Sulwhasoo Regime, it should be used after their Massage Cream and before any replenishing serums and moisturizers. I use it after Shiseido White Lucent Massage Cream and the Skin Clarifying Mask does a brilliant job in balancing and refining my skin after the facial massage. I reviewed Shiseido White Lucent Massage Cream (HERE) last month and I still adore it. I haven't used any sort of microdermabrasion since I began the Massage Cream a month ago. It's indeed a gentle alternative to skin exfoliants. My face is still smooth and clear. The outcome is even better when I pair it with this Sulwhasoo clarifying mask, which is noticeably more effective than Shiseido Revital Refining Mask (as is used in the Shiseido facial treatment session), and the price is more attractive too!  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Wonders of Grapes: Caudalie Toning Lotion

I'm again so much into the French pharmacy brands lately. Most of them, if not all, are great for sensitive skin and it is simply difficult to go wrong! I always think seeing the real French women (not celebs or models) on the streets of Paris is an excellent quality assurance of their skincare products. They demonstrate how beauty can come with great skin and minimal makeup. 

Other than Bioderma Cleansing Water, which has been my staple item, I have recently purchased a few items from Avene (see review HERE) which are like dreams for my horrifying skin breakouts. It healed and cleared my skin in less than 2 weeks. 

Another French brand that I'm obsessed with is Caudalie. I have reviewed the Vinoperfect Radiance Serum in the previous entry (HERE). Love it! Their Toning Lotion is also brilliant and quite a good buy indeed (unlike the Radiance Serum which is a bit pricey if it's not discounted). It carries this refreshing scent of green grapes and it's gentle enough for your eye area too. I will usually press the soaked cotton pad over my eyes for a few seconds to rehydrate this delicate area after wash. The amount of hydration it gives is just nice for combination skin like mine. It leaves my relatively dry cheeks soft and supple without making my oily T-zone sticky and shiny. More importantly, I don't have to worry about skin irritation or any sort of allergic reaction at all. It's alcohol-free, paraben-free and cruelty-free. And as with all Caudalie products, it contains this natural antioxidant, grape seed polyphenols, which makes this Toning Lotion hydrating and anti-aging. How nice! Believe it or not, I actually like it over some of my luxury toners. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Skincare Review for Acne-Prone, Sensitive Skin: Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum Complexion Correcting

I love this serum!!! One of the things I adore is that I can also apply it on my eye area, which allows me to skip my usual eye serum on the nights that I'm super exhausted and just want to get my skin prepped and zzzzzzzzzz. In this sense, it's like a 2-for-1 offer, isn't it?! The best part is, I get what I have paid for. I slept at 4a.m. on several occasions, but still my complexion looked brighter than I had expected the next morning. I realize it also managed to overcome the dullness brought by the strong medicated acne treatment I was using (and which failed to curb the horrible breakout) before purchasing Avene Cleanance Cream-Gel (see review HERE). This is a fantastic news because I now have a serum that can make me look better over my very depressive, blemished days. And since it's hypoallergenic, I can use it during my worst skin breakout with no worries at all. What's more, I think it also speeds up the recovery of my blemishes. My skin has stopped breaking out within days of beginning my new skincare regime with the new Avene purchases (HERE), and the spots are minimizing and fading out at a very desirable pace. It's been less than 2 weeks by now, and with only light makeup, my friends are hardly aware that I had just gone through one of my worst skin breakouts! 

Texture-wise, the Radiance Serum feels a bit sticky when I first apply it on my skin. I usually leave it for a few minutes before applying moisturizer to allow the serum to sink in. You will know when it's ready as it will feel noticeably less sticky. The stickiness actually owes to its hydrating property. Now that the weather is still humid, I only apply it on my blemishes and areas that require brightening, say the apples of my cheeks and my undereyes. But my guess is, I can use it over my entire face when the wintry weather sets in. 

Oh, one last thing. Don't forget that the serum contains a star ingredient, grape seed polyphenols, a natural, highly potent antioxidant that helps delay or slow down the skin aging process that we all detest. In other words, it's an antioxidant, hydrating, and brightening serum. It's great especially for acne-prone, sensitive skin and it's definitely a value-for-money product (even better if it comes in a gift pack!) that you should seriously consider including in your coming beauty haul.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Skincare Review for Acne-Prone Skin: Eau Thermale Avene Anti-blemish Trio

My skin has been hypersensitive since the beginning of August with exposure to a cocktail of acne-boosting factors (e.g. overexposure to the sun, skin allergy, stress, etc.). My latest skincare routine has included a handful of hypoallergenic products, which I will review in two separate entries. They have done magic to my irritated skin within days. I recommended Dermalogica Overnight Clearing gel (see review HERE) some weeks ago, but it's no longer enough to fight the battle. This is the second time my skin breaks out so badly in my 30 years of life. It's a hard battle indeed, but surprising the golden rule of thumb is: Go simple and mild! It doesn't only apply to what you apply after your facial wash, but also to what you use to wash.

I see a stark improvement in my skin condition after using 3 items from Eau Thermale Avene, one of the brands commonly recommended by dermatologists. 

1. Clean-Ac Cleansing Cream
I have combination-dry skin, which means my cheeks are rather dry even under this humid spring/summer weather. So I opted for this cleansing cream for better hydration. It is a misconception that the oily T-zone needs no hydration since it is actually oily because of dehydration! What makes this cleansing cream great for sensitive skin is that it's soapless! It's utterly gentle, but it can also remove sunscreen and grime without overstripping your skin. My skin feels clean and calm after the wash.

2. Cleanance K Cream-Gel
Thanks to the effectiveness of AHAs (glycolic acid and lactic acid) and BHA (salicylic acid), Cleanance K can exfoliate, hydrate, and balance the sebum-secretion of the affected areas. I have to stress that it is indeed very effective in treating acnes and blemishes. But I have one note of caution: Don't be greedy!!! Apply ONLY a thin layer to the affected areas as it may burn your skin if you layer too much! It may sting a bit even with a thin layer. My skin actually turned red when my pimples were really inflamed. The redness subsided after like 10 minutes...and I haven't experienced much stingy sensation and redness since the inflammation was treated after two nights of application. But in any cases, you do really need to spare that 10 minutes for the formula to sink in for better results anyway. I think this cream-gel is the crux of the entire skin rescue. My pimples were dried up, or at least partially dried, the next morning!

3. Clean-Ac Hydrating Cream
The moisturizer is specially formulated for blemish-prone sensitive skin. As it vouches, it does hydrate and soothe my irritated skin. It also instantly calms the stingy sensation brought by Cleanance K. It provides the nourishment and protection my blemished skin needs for recovery. The only thing is, it's apparently heavier than my usual moisturizers and I just can't make myself use it over my T-zone area (on which I'm still using Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner - HERE). Other than this, it's a brilliant moisturizer, especially for the upcoming fall season. 

Overall, with these 3 Avene Products, my skin is now tamed, my face is clearing...everything's on the right track!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Review of the New Hybrid: Dior Diorskin Forever Compact Flawless Perfection Fusion Wear Makeup SPF 25++

I'm given a sample set comprising of a radiant makeup base, a fluid foundation, and a compact foundation, all from the latest Fall/Winter 2011 collection of Dior Beaute. I have only tested out the compact foundation so far for several reasons that you may also like to consider when you are struggling with what to include in your beauty haul.

Firstly and honestly, I have been super lazy with my makeup lately as I'm rushing through the final stages of my research like a racing doggie. What's more, I personally find the UV protection offered by the makeup base (with SPF 20+) too low to withstand the invincible sunshine these days. And again, the horrible heat actually makes it easier for whatever you put on your face to clog your pores. The thought of wearing a primer, fluid foundation, and a powder finish seems to spurt up my body temperature! It's good to wear powder or compact foundation in sweltering weather as it is more likely to melt into a natural glowy finish that is not too sticky for your summer hangouts. Think I will save the makeup base and the fluid foundation for later when the weather gets cooler and more comfortable, hopefully toward the end of this month...Anywayz, so much of reasoning...

I am actually beginning to like Diorskin Forever Compact over my beloved Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk UV Compact (see reviews HERE and HERE), which I know I have been raving about. It comes in 6 shades and what I received is in Light Beige (020). I apply it with my Lily Lolo kabuki brush (buy HERE with free worldwide delivery) and it's perfect in terms of both the shade and finish. Like GA Lasting Silk, the shade blends perfectly with my natural complexion, and the texture is so sheer that it really gives the second-skin effect that it vouches. It's almost indistinguishable whether I'm wearing any makeup and I just look brightened! 

But what Diorskin Forever really outshines GA Lasting Silk are its coverage and its amazingly lasting quality. Although sheer, it provides a noticeably better coverage than GA Lasting Silk. If the latter gives me an even-toned, no-makeup complexion, Diorskin Forever gives me an even-toned, no-makeup-but-better complexion. A porcelain yet natural-looking finish. The best part is, the skincare serum infiltrated in the compact foundation seems to be really effective in maintaining the water-oil balance of my skin. Great for combination skin. It manages to stay put for 9 hours (that's the longest I have tried...may last even longer...) with only occasional oil-blotting around the T-zone. No patches, no streaks, no sliding - Hurray! 

It's truly a brilliant hybrid of makeup and skincare. It feels nothing, but looks perfect. I will definitely purchase the compact after finishing this generous sample palette. Oh for your information, the compact is quite pigmented. All I need is a few light strokes over my face and this little will go a long long long way. Over here, it's sold at HKD 440 (USD 56.50) and it's worth every penny.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Skincare Review: Bobbi Brown Brightening Gentle Cream Cleanser

Keeping your face well-cleansed is the first step to having baby soft and clear skin. Especially if you wear makeup almost every single day in a polluted environment, you will tend to be obsessed with products that can slough away the layer of the dirt, residues from the heap of beauty products we use, and the hideous dead skin cells that give you unwanted skin problems. But hang on, how many products in your daily skin care routine contains exfoliants, like glycolic acid??? If you are already doing regular exfoliation and using some sort of a resurfacing serum, it's very likely that you will only need a gentle cleanser...unless you work at a construction site (no offense!).

I'm currently using Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash (see review HERE) and I adore it. But the fact is, I definitely don't need such a strong cleanser for my morning wash. It's simply too clean considered the minimal amount of dirt that will ever deposit on my skin overnight. Plus, on nights that I am doing facial treatments which usually include some sorts of exfoliation, say with Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel or Clinique Turnaround Facial Masque (see review HERE), and worse if I am topping it up with an exfoliating or resurfacing serum, the huge amount of exfoliators (e.g. glycolic acid) will haven take away too much from my skin if I begin the routine with a strong cleanser...With this, if you think yea, but still...Bobbi Brown Brightening Gentle Cream Cleanser could be a good option for you.

The good thing about Bobbi Brown Brightening Gentle Cream Cleanser is that it's gentle and it also removes makeup. Honestly, being a 'worshipper' of Bioderma Cleansing Water, I don't use any other makeup remover. But at least, it says I'm not as gentle as being nothing, if you so want to give your face a good wash in the morning. This pearly iridescent cream formula doesn't strip off your skin's natural moisture, neither will it add too much moisture to your skin. Everything's just nice! I use it in my morning wash and it's good enough to kick off the day. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Skincare Review: Lancome Genifique Youth Activating Eye Concentrate (vs. Bobbi Brown)

I have just finished two sachet samples of Lancome Genifique Eye Concentrate. Although  I can't physically see whether the Eye Concentrate has really boosted the production of my youth genes, the whole experience was great.

Like Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream, this Eye Concentrate could effectively plump up the fine lines under eyes (I'm a contact lens wearer) and keep my super dehydrated under eyes well-quenched the whole day. I'm not sure if it has really worked on my dark circles or it's simply the results of better-quality sleep. Although I slept at 2-3am for a few nights, I reckon my concealer seemed to be more able to cover up my dark circles than it used to. Hmm, is it sleep, the Eye Concentrate, or illusion??? 

On the whole, the Eye Concentrate is very similar to Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream. The major differences are that the Eye Concentrate is slightly smoother and noticeably more matt. It moisturizes my eye area well enough. Brilliant! Price-wise, both are about the same. Having compared the texture and quality, think it depends more on whether you happen to pass by a Bobbi Brown shop or a Lancome shop when you yearn for a new bottle of eye cream...and yes, if you have any particular loyalty toward a brand. Right now, I have added Genefique Eye Concentrate to my favorite list!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Than Pot Rouge: Bobbi Brown Sheer Color Cheek Tint in Sheer Lilac (5)

Cheek Tint in Sheer Lilac (5)

I have always liked Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge (reviews HERE and HERE). Although I rarely touch up my blush when I hang out, there are times when I want the healthy natural glowy finish of Pot Rouge, yet forgotten all about it till I have powdered my face...uh it's too late!...As you know, it's difficult to wear Pot Rouge nicely over powder, especially when you have been sleep-deprived! The problem is now resolved with the birth of Bobbi Brown Sheer Color Cheek Tint.

The Cheek Tint comes in a super handy size and packaging, literally a smaller version of NARS Multiple, but much cheaper (HKD 200 or USD 25.66). Yes, you may say that it's cheaper because it's smaller, but I personally don't need such a huge stick that can survive years! The best part of the Cheek Tint lies not on the packaging, but the texture. It glides effortlessly on my skin and it's so sheer that I don't even need to blend it in with my ring finger. The sheerness also makes it absolutely foolproof, perfect for both professional and novice users. Even if this irritating nerve on your wrist suddenly twigs when you are using it, all you have to do is to dab it in slightly harder and it will go invisible. The makeup artist recommended me to dab the stick onto my apples for a more natural finish. And by dabbing, I can comfortably layer it over powder. Really?!! 

I was dubious when the makeup artist suggested to test it out on my cheeks at the counter. Frankly, I'm quite timid in this sense. I usually won't do it in case I end up dining with an embarrassingly dramatic flush (I got that before!), but this time round, I took the dare. It was indeed a wise decision! No shifting or smudging. Perfectly smooth and sheer. My tired look was instantly picked up with a natural flush. It's definitely a better version of Pot Rouge which has a relatively thicker, richer consistency (See swatches). With Cheek Tint, there is no more worries about forgetting to blend in the edges or not blending well enough! And yes, Cheek Tint is less sticky too.

From left: Pot Rouge in Calypso Coral (2) and Cheek Tint in Sheer Lilac (5)

After the delightful trial, I purchased Sheer Lilac (5), a rosy-coral with a tinge of purple. Like any primers in purple tones, it neutralizes my yellow skin undertone, making the flush noticeably more natural-looking and the overall look healthier. 

The only thing is, for some reasons, the makeup artist remarked that Cheek Tint can't be worn on pouts. doesn't really bother me since my dehydrated pouts can't even tolerate Pot Rouge! I like Cheek Tint and I have already popped it into my makeup bag. =)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What Makes My Skin Smile: Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Massage Cream

I went for this promotional event by Shiseido last Tuesday which included a complimentary skin analysis and a 60-min facial session at this Conrad ballroom. My apologies for not taking any pictures as I was too busy relaxing...oops!

The session began with a skin analysis. And as expected of my combo skin, my cheeks were slightly dry. According to the results and my purchase record, I was prescribed with a range of White Lucent products plus a mask from their Revital line. 

What impressed me most was the White Lucent Brightening Massage Cream, which left my skin feeling so super soft and well-rested after the massage in the facial session, like it had just undergone a yoga session - relaxed and refreshed! The facial therapist suggested me to try using it for 7 days to speed up the cell renewal of my recently blemished skin.

I have used it for 5 days now and I can almost feel my skin metabolism being activated! Uhem, I may have exaggerated a bit here, but I'm truly happy with this purchase because I could see how it replenished my skin's moisture level after the very first application at home! I was surprised that my pores looked smaller and my face became more luminous...I could visualize my skin cells being hydrated like a stomata! What I also like is that it can be used on the delicate eye area and problem skin too.

Although my face massaging skill was not that professional, my face was warm after the 3- to 5-minute massage. I assumed it had really activated my blood circulation, and anywayz, my face was really brightened with more radiance after it's cooled down. The skincare products that followed could also seep through my skin more easily. The best was, I couldn't remember the last time I woke up with such radiant skin! What's more, this gigantic pimple that had just begun to dry out on the day of the facial session had completely dried and shrunk into a small dot after using the Massage Cream for 3 consecutive nights! That's almost the recovery speed I got when I was a teen (I hardly had any acne problem then)!

The relaxation, radiance and visible replenishment make the product an addictive one. The results are visible too. I haven't worn any foundation for the past 4 days and I can now hang out with great complexion using only my MAC Pre + Prime Fortified Skin Enhancer in purple (HERE) and a bit of concealer under eyes (currently using Diorskin Sculpt - HERE) - Hooray!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Old Friend: Shiseido White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum

I call it my old friend because I'd finished 3 bottles before switching to Lancome Blanc Expert Melanolyser (HERE) this year. With that, I can't see why I should ever leave it out in my beauty blog!

Honestly, as many people will agree, the name of this product is quite misleading. Shiseido White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum is not spot targeting at all, but I kept repurchasing it for its excellent work in evening out my skin tone and its super absorbable and sheer texture. I know there are quite a handful of negative reviews of this serum because it really doesn't erase any of your spots! But I shall stress that if you're looking at its overall illuminating power, it is a brilliant product. Like I said, it didn't lighten my sun spots at all, but my usual dull areas, the nose and chin, were noticeably brightened, adding radiance to the overall look. What's more, the formula is literally weightless. It seeped through my skin like SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel (HERE) and it left my skin baby smooth and soft. Come to think of it, think the texture is actually what I liked most, but of course you may not put sheerness so high on your checklist like me.

One last thing, a bottle could last for one and half month, which makes it a lot more pricey than Lancome Melanolyser. As a matter of fact, I have been using Melanolyser since early April and I am still on my first tube now (finishing though)! So all in all, this Shiseido Spot Targeting Serum is not a perfect beauty product, but in one way or another I did know what I'd paid for. Worth the money? It depends on what you will scream over...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Skincare Review: Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & Photo Damage Corrector

As I can consciously observe how my skin recovery is slowing down over the past few years and more significantly this year (caution!!!), I was looking out for an antioxidant and repairing serum, and preferably one that contains as many benefits as possible to save my wallet. I happened to receive samples of Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & Photo Damage Corrector when I repurchased my All About Eyes Serum the other day.

The serum vouches to boost natural collagen level and fight against lines, wrinkles, and UV damage in 12 weeks. I however stopped using the samples after a few days. What I dislike most is that it doesn't seep into my skin, but forms a transparent film that coats and tightens my skin. Perhaps it's meant to be, but I detest anything that doesn't leave my skin feeling refreshed and pampered. Of course, it is possible that this serum will work perfectly on mature skin. 

My verdict is, it's not what you should go for if you're just looking for a serum that can combat the early signs of aging in at your late-20s or early-30s. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

BB Cream Mania: Laneige Snow BB Cream SPF 41++

Oh gosh, I have delayed this post for soooooooooo looooooong! I have actually purchased Laneige Snow BB Cream shortly after its launch. I was attracted by the antioxidant effect, the texture, the price, and the aqua image of the brand.

The BB Cream comes in two shades, but it turned out that even the darker shade is too fair for me! As with many traditional or earlier generations of BB creams, the fairness is rather grayish, which unfortunately doesn't settle and blend into your natural complexion like what MAC Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm does (review pending!). So I will only recommend this Laneige one to those with pink skin undertones and super fair complexion like the Korean girls we often see on TV dramas. 

But even so, I have to confess that I do like its texture. It's soufflé-like, ultra sheer, and less sticky than Lancome UV Expert BB Base (HERE). For your information, I find it quite uncomfortable to wear Lancome UV Expert BB Base living in this 33-degree hot air. There's no way I can get rid of the stickiness with powder lately and I have decided to reserve it for autumn and winter. Back to this Laneige Snow BB Cream, yes, I love the texture. It literally feels like my second skin and my Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge (for reviews, see HERE and HERE) blends in perfectly. But again, it's too fair for my face and reduce wastage, I can only use it on my neck and chest on days that I find my face paler for any reasons. Oh, and one more thing, I also like the scent, which is actually identical to the pleasant floral scent of their Water Sleeping Pack. Will be fabulous if they can add some darker shades to the collection next year...!

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Plumy Fall: Chanel Rouge Coco in Plumetis (79)

Plums are everywhere this fall! Many beauty brands have included a plummy shade in their latest F/W collection. Of course, Chanel is in the picture too. The newly launched collection features a Rouge Coco in Plumetis (79), a plum-rose shade, along with the compatible Levres Scintillantes in Pampille (156). But even being a BIG fan of Chanel makeup, the lipgloss is not appealing at all, especially if you already own other shades of Levres Scintillantes. All Pampille does is to intensify the color of Plumetis, which is itself already quite eye-catching.

Rouge Coco in Plumetis (79) does worth some special attention. I gasped when the sales representative removed the cap and revealed the brownish stick...How can it be plummy?!...But DON'T be fooled! As you can see from the swatches below, the plummy rosy shade looks like a sister of Rouge Coco in Cashmere (04), but more rosy and livelier. A swipe on the pouts gives a touch of sophistication. Honestly, now that the weather is still hot and sticky, I find Plumetis too intense to go with most summer clothes. For now, Dior Addict in Nude (333) (HERE), Rouge Coco Shine, and my favorite Rouge Allure in Desinvolte (86) will give a more refreshing and summery finish. But I'm sure it will be a perfect shade as wintry weather sets in.

From top left: Rouge Coco in Cashmere (04), Plumetis (79), Rouge Allure in Desinvolte (86), and Instinctive (78)

From left: Rouge Coco in Plumetis (79) and Dior Addict in Nude (333)

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Overnight Companion in the Acne War: Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel

For a few years, I'd been using Clinique Spot Treatment Gel for my occasional pimples until I was down with a very horrible acne breakout like two years ago. The dermatologist prescribed me with this super pimple cream from the pharmacy, which has worked magic since. I don't want to conveniently recommend any of you to go for this super pimple cream without any professional diagnosis. And in fact, despite its impressive effectiveness, I actually began to wonder recently if I shall switch back to something milder before my skin has built up a strong tolerance against the normal acne treatments.

Amid my recent Acne War, I purchased Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel, just for a desperate go. It turns out that, inclusive of this Clearing Gel, Dermalogica products (HERE) have never let me down! 

In terms of ingredients, this Gel contains Niacinamide and Biotin, the two important members of the Vitamin B family that work on our skin, hair, and cuticles. There is also the ever-familiar Salicylic Acid that clears your pores and sloughs off the dead skin cell to prevent further breakouts. Alright, enough of introducing the featured ingredients...

The actual results? It functions like an overnight film mask that, I suppose, absorbs the excessive sebum and strengthens your skin cells to eradicate the breakouts. I have used it for two weeks by now. What I like about this gel is that it doesn't really dry out my skin, at least there's no peeling so far, although I do need to use a hydrating mask. But it won't give me any problem with my makeup. It also doesn't carry any medicinal smell that some medicated pimple creams do. In fact, it's fragrance free. And above all, I could see the pimples healing the next morning and, unexpectedly, it also seems to have sped up the recovery of my pimple scars! Bravo! I know Dermalogica has recently launched this Clean Start line that targets on acne-prone skin, but I find the pricing quite steep. Although this one may also look pricey at the first glance, but hey, you get 50ml when you are practically using it by drops, plus its brilliant results, it's definitely a deal!!! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stay-Put Makeup for a Day of Sunshine

I went on a boat trip at Sai Kung after days of hard work and a long morning. To ensure that my colleagues would see a normal-looking me throughout the whole-day social events, I had to be very cautious with the choice of beauty items! Here are what I picked from my makeup compartment:

1. A reliable sunscreen

Never try to skip your sunscreen thinking that your lotion or foundation already provides UV protection. In most cases, the SPF in lotions is not high enough to last through the day and don't forget your foundation will more or less melt or crack after long hours of staying under the blazing sun. So do spare one more minute to apply a good sunscreen under your makeup to top up the UV protection you get. My all-time favorite, as you may already know, is Chanel UV Essentiel SPF 50+++ (HERE and HERE). Topped up with the multi-functional licorice extracts, It brightens, nourishes, and protects your skin round the clock!

2. Sheer and lasting complexion
No matter how good your foundation is, it's will melt in the sizzling hot weather! The point is use one that melts and blends naturally into your skin without causing any embarrassment. My pick is Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk UV Compact with SPF 34+++ (HERE). It's so far the sheerest compact I've ever used. It literally gives the second-skin kind of natural finish. Plus it's pretty much sweat-proof, of course provided that you dab rather than wipe your skin dry! I usually use blotting papers to get rid of the excess oil, touch up my nose bridge, the side of my nose and my jawline with the sponge that came along with the compact, and I will look fresh and picked-up again! 

3. Oil blotting paper

Honestly, I haven't deliberately compared the quality of different oil blotting paper. I tried Shiseido's, but it didn't seem to outperform the cheaper alternatives in any ways. The one that I have always got back to is Gatsby's. I find it super duper oil-thirsty...not excessively though. Perhaps its appetite for oil (my apology if you feel disgusted) owes to the brand's focus on the Men's skincare market. But anyway, it has never failed to leave my skin feeling fresh in a flash! It doesn't stick off my Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk either. Perfect for retouches!

4. Coral blush
Although Bobbi Brown says pink looks nice on all women, I do find coral more natural-looking, especially on a tired face. It also feels more summery than the sweet dolly pink. I still adore Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Calypso Coral (2). Oh, if you still prefer to go pink, I would recommend Pot Rouge in Powder Pink (6) for more natural beach makeup look. The texture is so spreadable, which makes it pretty fool-proof. The color is also very lasting. So no matter how haggard you are, you won't lose the natural flush! 

5. Plump and healthy pouts
If you are going to wear your sunglasses under the blazing glaring sun, it will be a good idea to draw the focus to your pouts. Personally, I don't think crimson red goes well with most Asian skin. For a lightweight and hydrating highlight, my pick for this summer is still Chanel Coco Shine in Aventure (57) (HERE). The better-than-natural-lips coral shade can definitely give you a flash the watery touch of Coco's simply irresistable!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Luxury Treat for Your Eyes: Chanel Precision Ultra Correction Lift Total Eye Lift

I suppose the past few days had been a disaster for my skin. The sleep deprivation (with a total of merely 10 hours of sleep for 3 days/nights), coupled with the nerve-wrecking work stress, the sweltering sauna-like weather, plus the unexpected UV exposure which definitely exceeded my usual threshold reminded me that I'm no longer in my early twenties...! My eyes drooped with extreme exhaustion at the end of each day, not to mention the intense dark circles and puffiness around my eyes.

Still, in a rather extreme condition as such, my eye areas managed to remain plump and hydrated all because of Chanel Precision Ultra Correction Lift. Comparing to my favorite Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream (did I ever review it?...NO, but I will!), this gel-cream formula is noticeably more lightweight and just as fast absorbing, making it ideal to go under makeup. I also realize I'm using a smaller blob at each application, which can perhaps make up for its relative higher price. Honestly, I truly wonder if it's moisturizing enough in wintry weather, but it nourishes my eyes sufficiently and comfortably on the steamy summer days. And although the Ultra Correction Lift vouches to combat dark circles and puffiness, I guess the current situation I'm in has gone beyond what this eye lift can buffer, so I can't tell how it fares in this regard at the moment. But it is, in no doubt, a pretty good option if you want to indulge in a luxury eye lift in this uplifting vacation season.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Must-Have in My Battle with Acne

You may already know from my previous entries that I'm getting acne breakouts lately because of various reasons (hormonal changes, stress...). In a sensitive period as such, the golden rule for whatever skin care routine is: Thou shalt play safe! No new products, no essential oils, no fancy masques...nothing strong!

An important step to vanquishing acnes is to keep you face clean and hydrated. If you don't want to invest in a set of anti-blemish skin care just for this periodic breakout, Elemis Anti-Aging Cleansing Duo could be a good way out. The duo set includes a Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash (200ml) and my favorite Balancing Lavender Toner (200ml) (BUY HERE). Especially on days that my skin is fragile and problematic, I can't find a better option that can replace Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner (which I had reviewed HERE). Hardly any toner can simultaneously hydrate, calm and balance my skin THIS well! 

Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash is also on my favorite list. It contains non-abrasive exfoliation ingredients from the larch tree and babassu oil. Although the name Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing may sound too strong for sensitive and problem skin, it's in fact very gentle while giving your skin a good exfoliation to encourage cell renewal and prevent further skin inflammation. After wash, my face does feel exfoliated, like I've used a micro-scrub and a purifying masque, yet without feeling stripped, but soft and smooth. 

The whole experience of using this cleansing duo soothes my worries over my blemished face. Hmm, I'm sure I can get back my clear skin soon!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Discovery: The Secret of Chanel Le Vernis in Jade Rose (493)

I was looking for a gentle beige nail polish for my fingers. For your information, I'm a big fan of Chanel Le Vernis (though I have never reviewed nail polishes here) because of its variety of elegant shades and its impressive durability. I don't remember the polish chipping at all! And since the shades I wear are usually quite natural-looking, it still looks great even with a tiny bit of outgrowing. It can normally survive 5-7 days till my nails outgrow and look horrible.

With a burning urge, I popped into Chanel yesterday. Their classic Inattendu (503) has been my favorite color for toes, but I find it too dark for my fingers. So I tried Jade Rose (493) on my pinky yesterday. Tempted, but hesitant because it reminded me of Flamme Rose (87) which made my fingers look so grossly anaemic and the almost-untouched bottle has been sitting on my desk in solitude. It suddenly crossed my mind when I reached home that Flamme Rose could be good when mixed with other Inttendu! Bingle!!!

The discovery is, coating Flamme Rose over Inattendu will get me a nude-beige shade that looks almost identical to Jade Rose. The difference is in fact hardly noticeable to others. After all, the iridescent sheen in Jade Rose is not really visible on nails. Better still, I now also enjoy the unexpected  flexibility of adjusting the lightness of the shade with Flamme Rose. The new "Jade Rose" looks sophisticated. Great for a smart casual day. Finally, I am making good use of my purchase - Hooray! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Findings of the Experiment: Garnier Pure Active Anti-Imperfections Cooling Roll-On

After using Garnier's newly launched Anti-Imperfections Cooling Roll-On (HERE) day and night for a few days, the results are quite positive, though not very positive.

Sensation-wise, the roll-on serum is quite absorbable and it doesn't leave a stubborn film on my skin like some other anti-blemish products, which gives me trouble when applying other beauty products. The icy minty touch also brings my blemished face some refreshments.

Does it serve the desired function? Well, it did reduce the size of my spots. The result was particularly visible on the second morning than the days after. Though not measurable, I feel that it has sped up skin renewal without drying out my skin. However, please don't take it as an intensive or 'flash' treatment. Honestly, the effect has been pretty subtle after the second day. You will definitely need to use other skin rejuvenation or purifying treatments (such as Dermalogica Skin Refining Masque - HERE and Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque - HERE) simultaneously for a speedy elimination of your skin imperfections.

A Magical Makeup Experience: agnes b. BEAUTE Teint Osmose Unifying Foundation

The agnes b. BEAUTE pop-up store is launched these two months in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan till Aug 30. Its temporary existence makes the whole experience fascinating to begin with. How ingenious! 

Last weekend, I finally managed to squeeze 15 minutes between my appointments to drop by the pop-up store right outside agnes b. La Loggia at IFC. I could feel a rush of adrenaline exploring the collection! I ended up with 7 items in my shopping bag - purchased Teint Osmose Unifying Foundation in Beige Light (01) (HKD275 or USD35), Eye Color Fix Fixing Eyeshadow Base (HKD159 or USD20), and Mono b. lush in Corail d'or (1098) (HKD175 or USD23), and was given samples of its 6-in-1 tinted cream (BB cream), Volume Up Curl mascara, and Fidelity Base Unifying Foundation Base. The 7th item was a canvas Agnes b. makeup bag which was given for free with purchase over HKD500 (USD64). On the whole, the products are marked at quite an attractive price range, especially considering the quality. I was actually very tempted to grab its eyeliner pencil (HKD99 or USD13)...I didn't, but I will! 

I have only started using Teint Osmose and Mono b. lush, and I particularly adore Teint Osmose in Beige Light (01). The award-winning foundation has added so much FUN to the boring application routine!!! The fluid foundation is white in color when you first squeeze it out of the tube, but upon rubbing, the amazing color'osmosis pigments will release a super duper natural skin color that blends perfectly with your skin tone. It feels a bit like fine microbeads when you first rub it in, but before you know, it turns into a sheer dewy layer of second skin. When I first used it in my bedroom lit by warm light, I could hardly see anything but an even complexion after application! The shade seems adaptable to a wide range of skin tones. For most makeup brands, my skin tone usually fits into the second or third shades down from the fairest. I was dubious when I first tested out Teint Osmose in 01...But yes, I can really use 01 this time round! In fact, the shade is hardly this matching! 

Teint Osmose in Beige Light (01) - Partially rubbed
The only thing is, it doesn't provide any other skincare benefits except the 24-hour hydration it vouched. My experience tells me they are not lying though. The continuous hydration does effectively control the excess oil secretion at my T-zone all day long. It's one of the most lasting and sheer foundations I have ever worn. Great for combination skin.

One final word of caution, the dewy finish does make it easier to stain your clothes when you are least I accidentally did so to my boyfriend's shirt the other day...again, it was an accident...oops!
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