Saturday, April 30, 2011

My buddy at work: Clinique All About Eyes Serum

Back to work...yawn...Since a major part of my job is reading, I always keep a Clinique All About Eye Serum at my desk for a quick hydration and eye massage. The "medical grade stainless steel roller-ball allows a rolling motion during application which increases micro-circulation and helps reduce fluid." Frankly, although the official description claims that this roller-ball serum doesn't only help reduces puffy eyes, but also dark circles because of the increased micro-circulation, I can't really tell if it's reduced my seasoned dark circles. What I know for sure is, both the roller-ball and the serum are very cooling! It does soothes the heaviness on my entire eye area, which really keeps me going. Also, the serum disappears very quickly on my skin, providing an instant replenishment for my tired eyes...Oh by the way, it hydrates, but doesn't moisturize or lift your eye area! It's completely water-based, which makes it suitable for all skin types and provides the ease of using it as often as needed. I highly recommend this serum to all tired eyes!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

UV Fighters III: Clarins UV Plus HP Day Screen High Protection SPF 40

Clarins UV Plus HP Day Screen High Protection SPF 40 is the only Clarins product I've tried as the brand seems to target on a more mature market. I was however tempted to test it out because of the Cantaloupe Melon Extract in this day screen - a natural antioxidant from a quenchy, yummy fruit! - and it so happened that the magazine I bought was giving out a 7-day trial sample...Great!

The product turned out to be too moisturizing (a.k.a. greasy) for me, but a perfect fit for mature skin. The consistency is slightly thicker than Chanel UV Essentiel HERE and it also does feel thicker...much I've over-applied my moisturizer...Honestly, I only used it for a day and I passed over the 2.9 packets of sample (I received 3 packets) to my mum, which she found super comfortable to wear. In short, I will only recommend this product to sensitive, dry, and/or mature skin.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New alternative to foundation: Dr. Jart+ Blemish Base vs. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

I've been a big fan of the tinted moisturizers by Laura Mercier (See HERE and HERE). The buildable coverage and perfect moisture balance never fails to even out my skin tone and give my face a barely-there finish. But since Sephora temptingly recommends this Water Fuse Blemish Base (a.k.a. BB cream) by Dr. Jart+ (Hot Now Vol 3 video HERE - I couldn't upload it as it's only sent to subscribers and is not searchable), I decide to test it out.

Dr. Jart+ is a medical skincare/cosmetics brand founded by a group of Korean dermatologists, which I suppose implies that it's safeR for sensitive skin. The brand is steadily gaining popularity in Asia these few years (no official retail in HK though), and yes, it's now available at Sephora HERE!

BB cream has taken Asia by storm because of its light texture and the myriad of functions it serves, including the basics like hydration, oil-control, UV protection, and skin correction. Many of them also provide vitamin boost, as well as whitening and anti-aging effects...practically everything under the sun! Dior has just launched a BB cream this season, but its sold out shortly after so I haven't managed to get my hands on it. It can be worn alone or under foundation as a primer.

The many things that I like:

This Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Blemish Base contains natural water-binding agents, such as hyaluronic acid and aloe vera juice; and citric acid, a natural collagen building and skin whitening agent which nourishes my skin at the same time. It also comes with SPF 27 (PA++). And unlike wearing a sunscreen, this BB Cream is not greasy or sticky AT ALL! In fact, it's noticeably more lightweight and it offers a better coverage than Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. Literally feels like my skin! Although some people really wear it alone, and I mean ALONE, I do set it with my Mac Blotting Powder. I detest any amount of stickiness and I also believe that the blotting powder can 'preserve' the look for longer hours. And at least for me, it does really last longer than Laura Mercier TM. It manages to stay put for 10 hours (the longest I've tried) without visibly cracking, sliding, melting, and going dull-looking! I MAY need to touch up with my blotting powder once. But it's good enough even without any retouches. AND what makes it phenomenal is that it's sweat-proof! My elevator happened to be under service today and I had to climb 20 stories to finally get home! And guess what?! The BB cream was still in place after gently dabbing dry my sweaty face!!!

In short, the Water Fuse Blemish Base is sheer and super duper comfortable for long wear...and a little goes a long way!

The only thing I kinda dislike:

It only comes in ONE shade...the product description says that it will only give a slightly fairer complexion, which will blend into my skin to give a natural brightened look after a short while. But I seriously doubt if it works for medium or darker skin tones. Laura Mercier TM in Nude is perfect for me, but I guess my skin tone is the 'darkest' that can 'naturally' carry this BB cream.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

UV Fighters II: Mac Prep + Prime Fortified Skin Enhancer SPF 35/PA+++

Mac Prep + Prime Fortified Skin Enhancer SPF 35/PA+++ is a tinted skin primer with soft-focus powders to help even out skin tone and add radiance. It comes in three shades which serves different purposes:

Adjust - brightens dull skin
Illuminate - adds radiance to a sallow complexion
Neutralize - calms a red, blotchy complexion

I use Illuminate (purple) to neutralize (oh, how confusing!) my yellow skin tone. It's lightweight, and the correcting effect is quite subtle. So to speak, it's buildable. But obviously, unlike a tinted moisturizer which usually provides a certain degree of coverage, you can't expect a tinted primer to do all the job, at least my skin is not flawless enough to wear it alone. It holds my foundation pretty well and provides fair protections against both UVA and UVB rays. Of course, if you're looking for a hydrating primer, this's not the one for you. What I like about this primer is its 2-in-1 formula which saves me from the trouble of applying a sunscreen and a primer/skin corrector. I can even wear it on my undereyes to correct my hideous dark circles before applying my eye concealer (currently Diorskin Sculpt Lifting Smoothing Concealer HERE)!

Monday, April 25, 2011

UV Fighters I: Chanel UV Essentiel Multi-protection Daily UV Care

I walked under the blazing sun for 20 days in Paris last summer, but my face remained fair (if not fairer) after the trip. Thanks to Chanel UV Essentiel Multi-protection Daily UV Care SPF 50/PA+++! Being born and bred in sub-tropical and tropical regions, it's honestly my first time experiencing a dry summer. I could actually feel the fragility of my severely dehydrated skin and rashes surfaced on the second day of my stay. I thrived through the 20 days without a single touch of makeup, no brightening mask, no exfoliating mask, but only Bioderma Hydrabio Mask (review in preparation) and Chanel Multi-protection Daily UV Care.

The latter is a very gentle, yet protective and nourishing sunscreen. Look, I wore it over my rashes! It contains vitamin E and Licorice Extract, both effective healing and antioxidant agents. Although the description says it's oil-free, it does leave a comfortable film of moisture on my skin. I can literally feel the protection it provides. Besides, the thin consistency makes a little go a long way! It may be more pricey than other sunscreens, but trust me, the seemingly small white bottle can last a long long time! Apart from locking moisture in my skin, it also brightens my complexion while providing a broad spectrum of both UVA and UVB protections (SPF 50/PA+++). A good deal, no?!

This is the first of my UV Fighters series...six other are on their way! *wink*

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dior Diorskin Sculpt Lifting Smoothing Concealer vs. Mac Select Moisturecover

I told you about my dehydrated under eye area and my Mac Select Moisturecover in an earlier entry HERE. Although Moisturecover is already pretty sheer and moisturizing, I was still looking out for something better...something as sheer, but more moisturizing (not greasy!) and lasting. I spotted Dior Diorskin Nude Skin Perfecting Hydrating Concealer, but the lady at Dior Beaute told me that Diorskin Sculpt Lifting Smoothing Concealer is their most moisturizing formula. She didn't lie! Don't be fooled by its relatively thicker consistency. It's truly very moisturizing, even better than my Mac Moisturecover! The texture is just as sheer, but I can feel the extra film of moisture while dabbing it over my under eyes. The best part is, I don't even need to use a corrector now! It won't cake up or settle into creases, and it stays put the WHOLE day. Mac Moisturecover can't go that long!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A 2-in-1 treat: Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner

My face always suffers at this time of the year when our relative humidity goes up and down like a yo-yo. My T-zone becomes so oily that hardly any oil control and hydrating products can curb the active oil secretion, while my cheeks are slightly more dehydrated than usual. This is so super annoying! Although my regular facial treatments are doing a great job, it's still not good enough! Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner is my ultimate solution! It's a superb toner that clarifies my complexion, calms my skin and restores its natural pH level without the use of alcohol. My T-zone becomes less oily and my face plump and (comfortably) moist after use. It's perfect for acne-prone and combination skin.

The toner contains lavender extract (which is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory - good for getting rid of your acne or even insect bites), Quillaja wood (a natural soap), and Sweet Betty Flower (a natural clarifying component that retains your skin's natural oils). It comes with a spray nozzle which makes it a handy facial spritzer!

Applying this toner is a pleasant, mind-soothing experience (not only skin-soothing!). It quickly penetrates through my skin, leaving it soft and supple without any grease. My T-zone and cheeks feel instantly calmed and balanced. The fragrance of lavender also works like aromatherapy, adding a little tender touch to my mornings and evenings...look, I'm actually getting 2-in-1 treat!...BUT the best part is yet to come! What really delights me most is its antiseptic property. My face's very sensitive and I'll get a couple of unknown itchy red spots from time to time. No worries! With this toner in my closet, all I have to do is to dab more of this toner on the affected area/spot, and my 'headaches' will be gone in a short while...Yes, it's almost like a magic potion to me!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

I was first tempted to test out Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant because of its popularity among the beauty salons in town. Plus, rice has a long history of being a natural skin whitening secret in Asia. Brands like SK-II, Kose, Elemis, and L’Occitane have launched skincare products that contain rice extracts. I remember my mum telling me how my granny's generation used to wash their face with rice water. It's supposed to sooth, balance, and purify skin.

As for this Microfoliant, the product description says that it's a 'Rice-based enzyme powder microfoliates dulling debris and instantly leaves skin noticeably smoother and brighter. Contains no artificial fragrance or color.' Does it really work that way? It's yes and no for me. The white powder became super duper bubbly as I added water to it. I'd used powder-to-foam cleansers from several Japanese brands many years ago, but I really find THESE bubbles too huge to be properly spread over my face. They're so huge that I had difficulty judging whether anything substantial's on my face! Hmm, did I use the right amount of powder???...Apart from the bubbles, there were also some grains of 'rice bran' which, I suppose, are for face massage...but they looked too big for a gentle one. After rinsing and patting dry my face, my skin did look clear and feel baby smooth (the product description is right), but I also felt as if the air was drawing water out of my skin. There was this instant tightening sensation...not the firming and lifting type of course...I quickly applied Bioderma Hydrabio Hydrating Mask before my skin cracked. I could see my skin 'drinking up' the mask like a man in a desert! I'm not sure if that's the expected effect, but even if it is, and despite the heaps of positive review online, I don't like it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The first step to real facial treats - Clinique Turnaround Instant Facial

I've this indulgence in exfoliating and brightening/purifying masks lately, which (you're right!) kind of burns a hole in my wallet! BUT, you can expect more reviews of mask coming up! 

Exfoliation is a 'must' in everybody's skincare regime. There was a period of time when I was too lazy to exfoliate my skin regularly. But before I knew, my skin started protesting. It looked dull and bumpy. My lotion couldn't seep through and my makeup couldn't stick. AHHHhhhhh! The moral of the story is, no matter how busy you are, don't ever hesitate to spare JUST a few minutes (fine, about 10-15 minutes) to remove the irritating dead cells, which weakens your skin and tarnishes your natural beauty! 

For many years, I've been using Clinique Turnaround Instant Facial. The company launched it years back as a modified version of the Turnaround 15-minute Facial. It truly is an upgrade and it's a product I can't live without these few years! Well, I do find it a bit misleading to name it a 'Facial' or 'Masque' in French as it's more of a facial scrub to me. Erm...but yes, on second thought, perhaps it does a little more than a scrub. The ultrafine microdermabrasion beads can cover every tiny bit of my skin and 'grip' onto the dead cells and impurities on my face. As I scrub my face with water in a circular motion, I'm able to take all the 'junks' off my skin in a gentle, yet effective way. It never fails to leave my skin silky smooth, radiant, and more even-toned. My skin can then 'drink up' my other skincare products and it also saves me lots of glooming time in the next couple of days since my cosmetics can now glide on my face! I've tried other exfoliators (e.g. Dermalogica, Bioderma, and Estee Lauder - reviews pending I promise), but this is thus far THE ONE that I always end up getting back to.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

My 'zoned' last-minute rescue facial

I was horribly exhausted last week, but I had to attend a wedding ceremony on Saturday morning. Like many other girls, I'd definitely want to look great in front of my long-lost high school friends! Trust me, I was a legal zombie by Friday. The rescue started at 11:30pm on Friday. Although my friend commented that I could be better off sleeping earlier, I still did my rescue facial. After all, it only took me like half an hour more, so why not, ya?

By now, you should know that I've combination skin with an oily T-zone, dry face, and super dehydrated and dark under eyes. For a more targeted rescue, I used Clinique Pore Minimizer Refining Mask on my T-zone and chin, Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque on my face, and Borghese Spa-Whitening Eye Masque. 

I've been using Clinique's refining mask for years. The white clay tightens pores and absorbs excessive sebum from your skin in just 10 to 15 min. You can feel the 'pull' as the clay dries and it doesn't leave your skin dehydrated, but smooth, glowy, and balanced. It comes in a huge tube which is probably enough for years, many years, considered the relatively small amount you need each time. By the way, the mask is very spreadable and you don't really need to apply a thick layer. Simply make sure you've fully covered the targeted area and you can sit back to wait for the mask to do its job!

Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque 'helps skin recover from damage while enhancing barrier properties and promoting healthy tissue regeneration'. It pampers your skin with a concentrated boost of vitamins A, C, E and F. It feels a bit tingling, just a  very tiny bit, which kinda worried me at first as my face can be really sensitive. But no worries, it's actually very gentle and it left my skin soft and supple, and more importantly for last Saturday, looking radiant as if I've had 7 days of quality sleep! Apply generously for best results. Although this also means that the tube will soon be flattened, I believe you won't hesitate to get the most out of what you've paid for!

Borghese Spa-Whitening Eye Masque contains a registered whitening essence, soluble collagen, and natural minerals which brightens, repair and hydrate the eye area. It can be used both as a quick-fix or an overnight treatment. Personally, I can't use it overnight as it seems to get into my eyes. I usually use it simultaneously with other facial masks, like what I did for last Friday's rescue. Again, apply it generously and it will work even on seasoned dark circles like mine! It plumps up the eye area instantly! The brightening and hydrating effect can last for around 2 days. Well, there could be a more lasting eye treatment, but my experience is that many other masks don't really brighten my eyes as the product description has claimed. This is so far the best I've found. Still in search for better ones tho...=p

Mac Prep + Prime Vibrancy Eye Primer & Highlighter

As mentioned last time, I went for Mac Primed for Perfection makeup consultation. It's fabulous! The Prep + Prime Vibrancy Eye Primer is actually a sheer moisturizing eye cream, so sheer that you'll most likely underestimate its hydrating power! The light cream texture disappeared on my eye area in no time, and boom, it kept the layers of concealer looking fresh the whole day! I've been using Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream which really irons out the creases under eye, but this Vibrancy Eye Primer seems to be a lighter and more comfy formula for the humid spring/summer.

Next is the Highlighter. The new line offers three shades: Bright Forecast (mid-tone peachy coral), Light Boost (soft yellow cream), and Radiant Rose (light shell pink). It comes in a slender twist-up pen applicator, supposed to be handy, but it doesn't really excites me since I prefer putting the required amount on the back of my hand before application. Find it more hygienic.

Anywayz, Bright Forecast and Radiant Rose can be worn under concealer to correct the greenish bluish darkness under eye, whereas Light Boost functions more as a highlighter over concealer. The texture is thin and velvety, you know, the summer kinda texture. The only drawback is, it's NOT moisturizing and it's a definite NO to wear it without any moisturizing base for dry skin (around the eyes) like mine! The makeup artist recommended me to stick to using my own eye cream (my Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream since there's still plenty) and Mac Select Moisturecover in NW25 as a corrector, then highlight the outline of my eye bags with Light Boost. YES! I did look more radiant than using Moisturecover NW25 + NC25! What's more, it felt lighter. It was a long day for me and I only reached home at 11pm. The concealing job still stayed put! Will consider getting Vibrancy Eye Primer after finishing my Bobbi Brown. =)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Catches of the Month!

Check out on Lane Crawford's latest beauty offers!

My pick is Mac's free Primed for Perfection makeup consultation where you can try out their new Prep + Prime Vibrancy Eye and Prep + Prime Highlighter. The Vibrancy Eye is 'a moisturizing, quick-fix and long-term solution for puffy, tired-looking creases and darkness under eyes'. Isn't that my major beauty killer?! With the recommendation of this Mac makeup artist, I've been using Mac Select Moisturecover in NW25 as a corrector under my eye concealer. It works pretty well, but I believe there has to be a product that can play a better magic! You may think that I should try Bobbi Brown's latest corrector. I already did, but nah, it's too dry for my under eyes (even with a fresh layer of eye cream underneath). Anywayz, I've been looking forward to a moisturizing eye corrector. Hope this Mac one is not gonna let me down! It's also very exciting to finally see Mac launching a highlighter! I'm definitely going to make a booking! You should expect a review of the two new members of the Prep + Prime family soon!!!  
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