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 colors...like 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 cautious...like I accidentally did so to my boyfriend's shirt the other day...again, it was an accident...oops!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Today's Experiment: Garnier Pure Active Anti-Imperfections Cooling Roll-on

I had a relatively serious breakout as part of my usual PMS symptoms last week. For your information, I only started experiencing acne problems at age 22 when I was exceptionally depressed for some reasons. My guess is, the depressive events must have switched on the dormant bits of my puberty genes...at my twenties...! But even so, it used to take me only like 3 to 4 days to get rid of the zits completely, including the marks. Those were the days...cell regeneration is obviously slowing down year by year. It's been over a week, and I still have 4 unwanted bumpy pimple scars along my jawline...

Seeing this new ad on TV, I purchased Garnier Pure Active Anti-Imperfections Colling Roll-on at Watson's today with a bit of hope and great desperation. What's more, it's such a deal - HKD63 (USD8)!!! Why not?! 

The roll-on serum features Salicylic acid in maximum concentration and their trademarked HerbaRepair. Salicylic acid is known as one of the most efficient anti-bacterial agent that improves the skin's barrier functions and collagen production. It's also an exfoliant which helps reduce blemishes, and therefore is widely used in anti-blemish products. HerbaRepair is an active ingredient extracted from blueberry that provides regenerating and repairing properties for faster skin renewal. 

I have just tried it for the first time. It truly feels cooling and smells like a mixture of antiseptics and mint, which is perfectly acceptable (at least for me) as the refreshing sensation and scent induce a feeling that it's immediately doing its work! According to the information printed on the packaging, imperfections will be soothed in 5 hours. And in 2 days, imperfections and marks will be visibly reduced. I'm going to apply it in the mornings and evenings. Let's experiment it and see how it goes in a few days!!! Updates pending...*wink*

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Deserved Winner: Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Creme Review & Swatch

Being a big fan of NARS Illuminators, I couldn't understand why beauty insiders rave about the award-winning Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Creme in Rose Gold (BUY HERE) till I have used it myself. It's so multipurpose, foolproof and handy that I can't take my hands off it! I have been carrying it around wherever I go lately! The slim packaging, with the same slimness as my iPhone 4, can easily slip into my pretty stuffed makeup bag. The rather huge mirror which took up the entire interior of the lid allows me to bid farewell to the old days of squinting in cute little mirrors for mid-day retouches.

Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Creme is a light-diffusing cream that gives a subtle pearly radiance to your skin. The formula is impressively more sheer and lightweight (it's actually weightless!) than I would ever expect of a cream, which makes it foolproof and perfect for layering. You can easily apply it anywhere you want without making a mess because it's just so sheer, non-sticky and spreadable!!! You can use it to highlight your contours and decolletage, brighten your complexion, use it as a natural-looking eye shadow or layer it as a bronzer. Plus, the only tool you need is your finger tip! Best of all, it works great even on powdered face! So it can be used as a good pick-me-up at any time of the day. This Dewy Glow Creme is utterly user-friendly! Gone are the days when you accidentally popped a large glob of fluid or gel highlighter onto your face and ended up looking as if you'd put aluminium foil on your cheeks. Trust me, it's very difficult to go wrong for anybody, including amateurs. And that's why it's produced by Jemma Kidd Make Up School, isn't it?!

For those of you who have yellow skin undertone like me, this sheeny pearly rosy-champagne shade is very close to the natural complexion, but prettier! As the name suggests, the finish is dewy, but not too dewy. You know, some dewy finishes will make you look oily, but this one is just nice in every way. Well honestly, I think shade will actually look fabulous on all skin tones. The golden sheen is so smooth and gentle...not the catchy flashy type...Oh before I forget, the formula contains jojoba oil which truly nourishes your skin for a more natural glow. 

I adore it!!! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Back to the Old-School Way: MAC Lightful Hydro-charged Moisturizer SPF 30++

Years ago when primer was not yet introduced to the beauty industry, the primer-equivalent item was moisturizer. If you think using a primer is a must for a flawless lasting look, the star makeup artist, Lisa Eldridge, tells you...you're wrong! A good moisturizer works just as well as a primer, given that you've found the one that gives you the finish you like. If you are like me who detest stickiness and don't really fancy a dewy finish, MAC Lightful Hydro-charged Moisturizer is for you.

It's one of those moisturizers that can moisturize your face well enough to let your foundation stay put all day long. I tried using it as a day cream when I first purchased it months ago, but it doesn't seem hydrating enough to go into my daily skincare routine. In the hope of not leaving it idle (as it has been for months!), I tried using it as a makeup primer underneath my NARS Sheer Glow or Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk Compact. It turns out to be an amazing discovery! 

Lightful Hydro-charged Moisturizer is very spreadable. Its lightweight texture easily seeps through my skin, leaving it soft, supple and matt enough for applying foundation over it. I also like the gentle soothing scent it carries. In terms of performance, it's in no way inferior to my MAC and NARS primers. I actually think it's formulated for makeup rather than skincare purpose. My makeup didn't move much after 6 hours, without any retouches. It's a brilliant 'makeup primer' for my troublesome combination skin.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Decleor Aroma White Brightening Purifying Mask

If you're looking for something gentle, yet deep-cleansing, clarifying, brightening, and pore-refining...wait, have I just named all that I want for my skin?...but yes, Decleor Aroma White Brightening Purifying Mask does all of them. It's a GENTLE deep-cleansing white clay mask that evens out the irregular pigmentation, absorbs excessive oil, and refines your skin! It's suitable for ALL skin type without any drying and tingling sensation. Unlike many other purifying masks, it's utterly comfortable to wear and it feels like my skin is wrapped with some sort of nourishing balm.

The only thing is, I personally find the fragrance a bit too strong. Wonder if it's meant to be some sort of an aromatherapy...but that's during the treatment...I can barely smell it after rinse, and even if I can, it'll only be lingering in a soothing way (your nose gotta be really good then!!!). BUT I ought to stress that this mask is NOT a 'flash treatment' that you may like to go for the night before a date. You should go for Dermalogica Skin Refining Masque (HERE) if you are desperate for a visible and instant skin purification or if you wish to speed up the recovery of your acne. Although both masques contain kaolin (white clay) which absorbs excess oil, I personally find Dermalogica Skin Refining Masque more effective in treating acne-prone skin. I usually opt for Decleor Purifying Mask when I'm drained late at night, yet feeling as if there are layers of dirt and dead cells piled on my face.

Friday, July 8, 2011

BB Cream Mania: Lancome UV Expert GN-Shield High Potency Active Protection BB Base SPF 50+++

Pop...Another BB cream in my basket! I have been struggling between Lancome UV Expert GN-Shield BB Base and Dior Diorsnow BB Cream since their launches. Finally...bling...I received a promotion text from Lancome which moved my feet to the counter...

It was a wise purchase. Although it doesn't give the bubbly sensation of Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse (HERE), the texture is very sheer and spreadable. Before I left the Lancome counter, the sales representative reminded me to start with just a thin layer. She was very right. A thin layer will suffice for a brightened and natural finish since the cream comes in quite a fair shade (which is the only shade)...Fair, but not ashy white (See swatches below). You may find it too fair before it is completely rubbed in and settled. So please be a bit more patient! Before you know, it will melt and blend into your skin like a lightweight moisturizer while correcting your dull complexion. It leaves your face dewy and nude all day long. The UV protection it provides is also enough to shield you from this major source of premature aging for 12 hours straight. 

The only thing that kind of bothers me is its stickiness. Yes, it's sticky no matter how long I let it settle in. BUT, since I usually set the makeup with my Mac Blot Powder, the problem can be easily forgotten. 

Another thing you may like to know before your purchase is that it only provides a light coverage. I don't have much blemishes, so it's not really a concern to me. But anyway, I do think it blurs the spots on my face. 

I like it!

Partially rubbed in
Fully rubbed in

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Be a Summer Babe!: Stila Stunning in Sayulita Collectible Beach Palette No.1

The Stila Stunning in Sayulita Collectible Palette (buy HERE) is finally delivered to my doorstep today! I love it in every way!!! xx

Pro No. 1 - The packaging

It's super handy and compact. The palette consists of 4 eye shadows (Starfish - beige-rose, Getaway - purplish-rose, Sandbar - gentle brown, and Palm Trees - leafy green), a blush in Playa (coral), a bronzer in Banderas Bay (beige-bronze), a built-in mirror, and instructions for sculpting the stunning beach look. The size is just slightly larger than my iPhone 4 on the four sides, which makes it easy for me to pop it into my makeup bag. The bundle practically contains all I need on a happy summer day!

Pro No. 2 - The colors

I think it has included a very smart choice of color combination which, like I just said, is good for creating both a barely-there healthy look and an intense sun-kissed look. I particularly like the bronzer in Banderas Bay. It looks very subtle on my face and it only leaves some fine sheeny glitters at the first stroke of my brush. With 2 to 3 strokes, I think it gives a glowy natural flush that's honestly better than my beloved Chanel Joues Contraste in Pink Cloud (66) (HERE). Color-wise, it's close to NARS Deep Throat (HERE), but more beige and closer to natural skin tone. For a quick pick-me-up, I generously brush Banderas Bay to and fro my temple-cheekbone area and dab a bit of Playa with my ring finger on the apples for a more 3D contouring. The shimmers in Banderas Bay captures just the right amount of light to highlight my contours.

From left: NARS in Deep Throat, Stila in Banderas Bay, Playa, and Bourjois in Rose Coup de Foudre (16)

For my eyes, I personally prefer gentle shades like Starfish from my lid to crease and Getaway from lashline and crease. They blend beautifully and match so well with the cheek colors! I couldn't help but look in the mirror again and again, mesmerized by my new sun-kissed look...oh dear, am I becoming narcissistic?!

From left: Eye shadows in Starfish, Getaway, Palm Trees, and Sandbar

Pro No. 3 - The texture

As usual, the powder is very finely-milled and pigmented. My brush picked up an amazing lot of Playa when I tested it on the back of my hand. That's also why I eventually decided to just dab it with my finger. The silky texture glides on effortlessly. Bravo!    

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Makeup Review: Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector Daily All-in-One BB Cream

Although I'm still very happy with my Dr. Jart Water Fuse BB Cream (HERE), I have serious problems refraining myself from buying and testing out other BB creams when a tube actually seems to last forever! This time round, I feel so grateful to the genius who first came up with the revolutionary idea of displaying testers and offering makeup trials...

Honestly, I didn't purchase this Garnier BB cream after testing it out at Mannings. What really turned me off was the consistency which is way thicker than expected. It feels like a foundation, and it's not a lightweight one like NARS Sheer Glow or Chanel Aqualumiere. I'm a sucker for sheer and lightweight texture for anything I put on my face. I can't convince myself to wear a foundation-like BB cream simply by repeating to myself that it contains other skincare benefits that a foundation doesn't. What's more, the rather thick consistency seemed to make it less easy to blend into a natural finish. Looking on the bright side, it provides a pretty good coverage for a BB cream. Like I said, the finish looks more like what a foundation gives you. So it really depends on how makeup you want to look. But if you are like me, who prefer barely-there and lightweight makeup, I guess this Garnier BB cream is not for you.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Makeup Review: Dermalogica Sheer Tint Moisture SPF 15

Dermalogica has definitely got the right name for their tinted moisturizer. Dermalogica Sheer Tint Moisture SPF 15 is as sheer as it's named. It feels very different from Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (HERE and HERE). Comparing to Laura Mercier's creamy texture, this one is more like a tinted emulsion which easily melts and disappears on my skin. The Medium shade gives a healthy and subtle summer bronze, with a tinge of golden shimmer, yet the finish is so super sheer that you can't tell if anything's ever applied! It feels absolutely weightless while locking the natural layer of moisture in your skin. Texture-wise, it's superb!

BUT Sheer Tint Moisture doesn't go into my summer fav list for two reasons. Firstly, it doesn't provide any coverage, at least not that I can detect. But the golden shimmer does brighten my skin, especially under the sun. Although I don't have much blemishes on my face, I'm still more tempted by other lightweight products that offers a light coverage, however natural I prefer to look that day.

Secondly, it doesn't offer a broad spectrum of UV protection. With only an SPF 15, my face will only be protected for less than four hours, which means I either have to wear another layer of sunscreen underneath or I should make sure I won't stay under the sun the entire day. I do have other handier and more multifunctional items in my makeup bag...

Sheer Tint Moisture in Medium - Before rubbing
After rubbing

The verdict? Rather than using it as a tinted moisturizer, I personally think it's perfect for contouring. The subtlety, the sheerness, and the golden sheeny finish are simply alluring.
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