Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review: Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

I purchased Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray from lookfantastic.com and was in an exhilarating excitement when I received it. But it was an absolute disappointment upon testing. The product claims to contain this "color dispersing agents that keep makeup evenly distributed", weightlessly set your makeup and maintain the just-applied look for 16 hours. It "lets you dance, sweat, and still look flawless because it makes makeup moisture-resistent". Sounds magical, but I couldn't see any rabbit sticking out from the magician's hat. 

What turned me off in the first place was the smell of hairspray. Then came the sensation bit when it did form a film over my face and I really felt like my face was set. Honestly, I didn't expect it to last 16 hours. I looked into the mirror again after 6 hours. The makeup on my cheeks really didn't move (so it's true in a sense)! No matter how I touched and rubbed them, the makeup was still literally intact. But it's just so for my relatively dehydrated cheeks. My foundation was sliding at the T-zone and jawline, and settling into my laugh lines! Sounds like a horrid scene and it was! Was it my skin, the weather, or the product??? I was utterly glad that I experimented it at home...I know there are heaps of positive reviews of this setting spray out there, but I honestly can't say yes to it...

My suggestion is, you may like to give it a go if your skin is very balanced. To me, the hairspray-like smell had already ruined the experience, not to mention how it fared in the end...but who knows? It may work magic for others! I truly hope that Urban Decay can improve the formula...

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Quick Fix for Greasy Hair

Will you end up with greasy hair after hours of staying outdoor in summer? Have you ever got a visitor at your doorstep when you've just got up (or haven't even got up!)? What to do if you have to meet your friends or anybody important right after your workout, but somehow you can't access a bathroom?

To fix your embarrassingly greasy hair within seconds, all you need is some body powder! Simply dust a generous amount of body powder on your palm and rub it into your greasy scalp and hair, RUB! The powder will instantly absorb the excess oil just as it keeps your body feeling refreshed! I first came across this trick many years ago in the making of one of Sammi Cheng's concerts in her heyday. That's how she kept her hairdo fresh-looking through the nights. This old trick just saved me the other day! A friend of my mom suddenly came to our place when I'd just got out of bed and washed up (still yawning!). I quickly tied a ponytail, and de-greased my bangs with body powder, which at least made me look normal again!!! It's effective, cheap, and handy, why not? 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Quenchy Drink for Your Skin: SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel

If you're hunting for a hydrating serum that's really hydrating yet lightweight and non-sticky, SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel is for you!

Unlike many other skincare products, what I truly adore is its simple 'recipe', which includes only Aqua, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic acid), Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), Phenoxyethanol (a less irritating preservative - cheers! If you have sensitive skin). Hang on...how many ingredients have you got? FOUR, and only four!!! I do sometimes feel tied down and dubious about what the usual exhaustive list of ingredients can bring to my skin. Seeing this super duper short list indeed brought me a sigh of relief!

The formula is pretty watery for a gel, and it's highly absorbable! It instantly left my skin soft, supple and baby smooth, and more importantly, it's not the kind of smoothness resulted from silicone. Remember dehydration is often the culprit of many different sorts of skin problems, including acne problems. The best part of this serum is, it noticeably reduced and controlled the oil secretion of my T-zone (I've combination skin) after just 2 days of use! My skin is now so balanced and ready for a more lasting summer makeup! It's a fabulous potion for all skin types, especially combination and problem skin! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: Giorgio Armani Rouge D'armani vs. Chanel Rouge Coco Shine/Rouge Allure

I have to admit that I'm a sucker for Chanel makeup, especially their lipsticks and lip glosses, which are practically the only ones I use because my beauty experiments told me it's truly the most moisturizing lipsticks! Of course, the most moisturizing line in the entire Chanel lipstick collection is Rouge Allure. I can write an essay on why I adore Chanel lipsticks soso much, but hey, I'm supposed to show you a comparison between Chanel and Giorgio Armani lipsticks today! So let's get started!

You may already know that I'm one of my recent favorites are GA Lasting UV Silk Compact. This passion tempted me into giving GA Rouge D'armani a try! I can hardly remember my last time purchasing any lip color other than Chanel's. After a makeup consultation at the GA counter, I purchased Rouge D'armani in Beige 103.

The Pros:

Strictly speaking, it's a nude pink-beige that's like a more baby pink version of Coco Shine in Boy 54. The color subtly adds a bit of life to your natural lip tone and can definitely be worn as an everyday color. There's a tiny little bit of shimmer, but I shall say the finish is rather matt (which also adds to the nudeness), especially when I think of Chanel Coco Shine. 

The texture is very sheer. At a closer look in the mirror, the pigments look very evenly spread and velvety. Perhaps I'm too primed with the fashion & garment background of GA, their makeup products always remind me of a fine piece of silk, intricately and delicately woven, smooth and flawless. 

On a more surface level, I was and I am again thrilled by its sleek packaging. The gorgeous black-lacquered case is kinda ergonomics-friendly, impressively fitting for you to grip on! And don't forget the signature magnetic closure! It's a demonstration of exquisite craftsmanship rather than just a lipstick.

The Cons:

Besides the above pros, I however think that it's slightly less pigmented than Coco Shine, and definitely for Rouge Allure. It takes roughly 2-3 strokes of Rouge D'armani to give the same intensity of just one stroke of Rouge Allure. 

Another thing I don't really like that much is its hydration level. Rouge D'armani is supposed to be the most moisturizing range in GA's lipstick collection, but it still dries out my dehydrated-but-prepped lips. Coco Shines don't (not to mention Rouge Allures)! 

The verdict is, GA Rouge D'armani is a fantastic summer lipsticks if you're fortunate enough to have hydrated pouts. But for the 'unfortunate' me, my tick still goes to Chanel. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Makeup Must-Haves for Your Summer Haul!

We're into a season of beach and sunshine, of vibrance and radiance! Byebye to the meticulous, sophisticated look. We're back to nature!

Here's the checklist for your Summer Haul!!! 

1. Luminous Gold
NARS Illuminator in Super Orgasm

The gel formula makes it easier to spread, more natural-looking and more lasting than NARS Multiple. The golden shimmer contours while adding a healthy, sexy touch to your skin. 

Bobbi Brown Face Highlighter Pen in Bronze

The new summer launch is packaged in a twist-up pen, making it easy for you to pop it into your makeup bag or anywhere in your bag. What really makes it great for summer is its lightweight liquid formula that provides just the right amount of golden bronzy sheen to highlight your facial contours and decolletage. 

Tip: Remember to fade out all the edges by dabbing with your ring finger. Leaving sharp edges will make you look stiff and artificial, if not horrible...

2. Barely-there
Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse BB Cream (SPF 27)

As mentioned in an earlier review (HERE), it's a super lightweight and nourishing alternative to foundation. I actually prefer this to most tinted moisturizers. Although its more luxurious siblings from Dior, Lancome, and Biotherm are indeed tempting, the quality of this Korean branded BB Cream is well-assured considered where BB Cream was 'born' (Korea). Unless you're going for something as formal as the Royal Wedding where you may need a medium to full coverage, why bother to overload your skin with layers of makeup under the sweltering heat?

Tips: Remember it's a many-in-one formula, so you practically don't need any primer underneath. Your makeup will last longer with fewer layers piled on your skin. For blemished areas, just apply in thin layers as needed.

3. Nude Rouge
Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy

This hybrid of Chanel Aqualumiere effortlessly glides on to give your pouts a dewy and shiny, yet not too dewy and shine, finish. Coco Shine in Boy is a rosy beige shade that suits practically all lip undertones. It adds life to your dull, matt lips (alright, perhaps not yours, but mine) without breaking the subtlety of nude makeup. 

*Tips: Always prep your lips (say with Chanel Hydramax + Active Lip Care or Mac Prep + Prime Lip HERE) before wearing your rouge to plump your pouts, increase the lipstick's staying power, and prevent feathering. For even longer wear, you may lightly brush on a bit of powder between your lip treatment and lipstick.  

4. Balance
Mac Blot Powder

Although it's not a new product, it's a must-have all year round! Celebrity makeup artists Lisa Eldridge (HERE) and Christophe Danchaud (HERE) both recommend to powder and matify only the T-zone, leaving the natural shine glows from your cheeks and contour. I prefer using Mac Blot Powder to any other loose powder or compact for setting makeup (HERE and HERE). It works like a super blotting paper that not only controls oil, but hold your makeup without caking. It's also perfect for midday retouches!

Tip: It's best to do the first application with a powder brush (e.g. Mac 134 HERE) to evenly and not excessively powder your skin. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

UV Fighters V: Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk UV Compact Foundation

Although I was told to stick to one foundation once it fits, I tend to wonder if there're better alternatives after using it for a while. Does that mean I'm a born researcher? Anyway, I've been testing out a few compact foundations as summer is around the corner (or it's already here!). After all, we all need a promising foundation that won't leave us in embarrassment under the sweltering heat! 

My latest fav is Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk UV Compact Foundation (SPF 34/PA+++). I used to think a fashion brand won't excel in the beauty industry, but I was very wrong. This compact foundation should pass off as an HD foundation although it didn't claim to be one. The silky powder is so super fine. I was very impressed by the refining, yet absolutely natural-looking, effect when the GA makeup artist first swept it across my jawline as part of the mid-day touchup. It subtly matified my skin and 'erased' the pores without caking up, and the finish was so sheer that I literally couldn't feel it! 

I also love it for another reason - the design! As with all other GA beauty products, the packaging of this compact foundation is simply an art! The elegant black lacquered case, the magnetic closure...everything little detail of the case makes it more than JUST a humble compact foundation. Oh, even the sponge that comes alone is stylish!!! Armani has truly carried over their wisdom in fashion to their beauty collections. Mine is now sitting on my desk like a well-groomed supermodel! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Foundation Review: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

As with almost all other NARS products, NARS Sheer Glow Foundation is of high quality. They're being very honest in naming this foundation as it's really one of the most sheer foundations I've ever used! The ultra lightweight oil-free formula makes it super duper spreadable and buildable. It melts into my skin like a serum, which I can hardly feel afterwards! It provides a light-to-medium coverage.

The word 'glow' is however a bit misleading as it doesn't make my face glow and the sales representative told me it isn't meant to! 'Glow' only refers to 'brighten'. It does brighten my skin tone with a very natural finish. And unlike what its name's prompted, it's actually quite matt and I can comfortably wear it without any setting powder in dry seasons...well, it's comfortable to wear all year round!

NARS claims that it will improve my skin texture with prolonged use. I haven't verified the statement though. But even if it doesn't, it's already good enough, or rather perfect if you're going for the barely-there kind of nude makeup!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

UV Fighters IV: Lancome Blanc Expert Melanolyser Whiteness Activating Spot Eraser

Asian girls, including myself, are known for their obsession over fair complexion. I wasn't lucky enough to be born with snowy fair skin, but my experience says proper skincare regime and treatments plus UV protection can essentially make up for what nature's brought me. I don't want to use the word 'whitening' here since only products that contain bleach or alike can really whiten your skin. I'm madly indulged in brighhtening products and I actually think everybody needs it. Even if you're a beach babe who prefers bronze complexion, you won't wanna end up with freckles, dark spots, and uneven skin tone. Choosing a good serum is utterly important here because that's what plays the magic in your daily skincare routine.

I tested out Lancome Blanc Expert Melanolyser Whiteness Activating Spot Eraser for a month. The product says that it will dissolve pigmentations and discoloration, minimize melanin production, and speed up the exfoliation of surface dead cells which are packed with melanin to reveal finer, fairer, and more even skin texture. To a considerable extent, it does.

Unlike some of the online reviews which joyfully reported that their spots faded out the next morning, I haven't observed such a dramatic effect and I believe I never will. Looking into the mirror, my overall skin tone is indeed significantly brightened and evened out. I know I'm repeating, but I have to stress that the product has really done quite a good job in evening out my skin tone. I THINK my blemishes and spots are slightly lightened as well...for this, frankly, I'm not sure if it's just a "placebo effect"...anyway, on the whole, I'll give this product an A-. 

Why an A-? 
I always expect serums to be super lightweight, and I think they have to be lightweight. Look, it's only the first layer of product that I'll apply on my face after cleansing and toning. At the very least, there'll be a moisturizer or emulsion layering on top of it...that's provided I'm not wearing makeup...This Melanolyser is however a bit too rich for a serum. It's perfect for those who prefer a more moisturizing formula. It leaves a moisture layer on my skin, and even before applying my emulsion, it already feels like I have! You may find that a good news if it means your moisturizer or emulsion can last a bit longer. Yes, I'm really using a smaller drop of emulsion these days. But no, I'll still hunt for another brightening serum for summer and adore Blanc Expert Melanolyser in our dry fall and winter. Anyway, don't get me wrong - it's a good product! *wink* 
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