Monday, December 24, 2012

Makeup Review: Chanel Vitalumiere Eclat

Long time, everybody! I'm back to review Chanel Vitalumiere Eclat, which fascinates me as much as Dior Forever (see review HERE) does.

I carry it in my makeup bag every single day lately for midday touch-ups and it's simply brrrrrrilliant! The silky sheer texture can blend perfectly with my 10-hour-old makeup without caking at all. The brush that comes with the palette is also unexpectedly good. Though I still prefer using a baby kabuki brush for touch-ups, that complimentary brush can still do a pretty great job on days that I'm either too lazy or too busy to fish out my baby kabuki. It gives me a fresh makeup look in a flash and my face no longer says I'm drained when I meet my friends for dinner! 

And the best is, even without any touch-ups, it melts into my skin without any patches or whatsoever, giving me a bit of dewy glow in the afternoon which I think more or less blurs the imperfections. My colleagues find my skin "poreless" (of course it's not...) and the foundation remains natural-looking even at the end of a working day! Great for combination skin. Or rather, it's the best I've used so far!

Love it! xx  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Skincare Review: SK-II Cellumination Mask-In Lotion

Long time, gals! I have been slacking and slacking since I wrapped up this 4-year research weeks ago. What a treat! Pretty sure I deserve some fresh air before moving on again! My auto-detox system however began to break my skin out with effect from the wooh-I-am-done! moment, as usual. But I gathered over these few weeks that SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (see my previous review HERE) is really like a godsend skincare item. My zits plus the scars that follow are recovering so much faster than they used to. Despite the blemishes that are, thank God, fading out now, my skin is smooth and radiant. I am finishing my first bottle of this magic potion and it's added to my staple list if I haven't already told you. 

With this fascination in mind, I tested out SK-II Cellumination Mask-In Lotion, which turns out to be pretty good, but not fantastic for sure. As the name speaks for itself, it's a translucent fluid that does what sheet masks do for you, but this one, in a flash. It contains a high concentration of the signature Pitera and you can tell without using a calculator that it's rather affordable compared to the real SK-II sheet masks! The texture of this Lotion is brilliant. The fluid seeps through my skin in no time. I tried rubbing it at the center of my palms before patting it directly onto my skin. Unlike Sulwhasoo First Care Serum (see review HERE), there's literally no traces of the Mask-In Lotion when I removed my palms. Yes, I'm sure something got through my skin! But of course, the bottle can survive longer if you apply it with cotton pads. Upon application, my skin does feel like I have just used a sheet mask - quenched and soft plus you know that sticky hydrated sensation you get after using a mask? I have to confess that this item is definitely not imperatively needed, rather it's more of a treat, a luxury to your skin. I honestly don't see any further improvement in skin radiance, on top of the exhilarating effect of the Treatment Essence. At most, it boosts my skin's suppleness...yes, it really does. I can feel it. So the ultimate question is whether you want to add yet another pre-serum item (if you are already using the Treatment Essence or its equivalents, e.g. L'Oreal Youth Code Serum) to your skincare regimen.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Skincare Review: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence has been advertised as the Magic Potion in Asia. I always thought it's a hype, but after using it for a month now, I really am impressed!

The Essence vouches to enhance your skin texture and regulate your skin's natural pH balance, making your skin refined and crystal clear. It features Pitera, a secret ingredient churned out of rice yeast fermentation process which is said to keep the old brewers' hands soft and smooth. As the star item of the Pitera line, the Facial Treatment Essence is said to contain an intense dose of up to 90% Pitera. Because of its watery consistency, it is easily mistaken as a toner. But listen, it is an essence! In one way or another, it also serves as a pre-essence which promotes the absorption of the skincare products that follow. 

For me, the first sign of improvement was visible within days of using it. My skin was noticeably softer and smoother. Weeks passed by, my skin became less prone to irritation and the blotches and spots that did surface appear to recover much faster than before, most of time under control the next morning - Hurray! Another obvious improvement is the healthier and more even complexion I now get in the morning, except for those mornings of monthly discomfort...otherwise I'm pretty presentable indeed, I think. I love the glow on face so much that, on a few occasions, I deliberately tilted my face at different angles to admire the way light was reflected...Uhem, a bit narcissistic I know...In a word, my skin is calmed and refined, with the dull areas brightened and the entire face radiated after a month.  

So how is this different from Sulwhasoo First Care Serum (see my earlier review HERE)? My observation is that this essence   gives a more refreshing finish and it works faster in terms of skin 'retexturing' while the First Care Serum helps make my skin plumped with moisture and elasticity. Although many people regard them as two mutually-inclusive pre-essences (i.e. you only need one of them), I actually find them complementary. I tried using either one of them, but the result is not one way or another. Of course, that said, I will have to increase my budget for skincare, but I personally think it's worthwhile as these two are the most impressive serums I have ever used so far. For your information, I have only survived with Laneige Water Bank Essence (see review HERE) for hydration and no other whitening serum after using these two 'pre-essences' lately. And guess what? I actually find my complexion fairer and more even than before (you know, the truth reveals in the morning)! As it's advertised, I think it's functional, and it's multifunctional. My apology for harping on about how magical SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is, but that's because I'm so truly super duper impressed and I have already listed it as my staple beauty item, though again, that's simply my personal experience for your reference. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Makeup Review: Chanel Le Blanc Light Revealing Whitening Makeup Base SPF35+++

Chanel UV Essentiel Multi-Protection Daily UV Care SPF50+++ (See my earlier review HERE) has been one of my favorite beauty items ever, but this is my very first time trying out her latest tinted sister, Le Blanc Light Revealing Whitening Makeup Base with SPF35+++ and it's just as fabulous!

It comes in the same silky emulsion texture and carries the same fragrance as UV Essentiel Multi-Protection Daily UV Care does. The weightless formula is infused with whitening and moisturizing ingredients which can maintain your skin's natural moisture balance while brightening and protecting your skin from the damaging UV rays. A tick for combination skin. It is very spreadable and it leaves my skin brightened. But in terms of hues, Rosee (pink) appears to be a bit too fair on my yellow skin undertone...still acceptable though. I believe it will be more suitable for Caucasians or Japanese and Koreans whose skin undertone is often closer to the pinkish end. I haven't tried Mimosa (yellow), but for the time being, I'd prefer the subtle pearly white hue (like Lys, the white one in the Le Blanc range) in UV Essentiel Multi-Protection Daily UV Care that can already pick me up at the right dose. Not to mention the better UV protections it provides. 

To conclude, if you don't already own a UV Essentiel Multi-Protection Daily UV Care, Le Blanc Makeup Base will be a good option for skin brightening and corrective purposes. It can also make a pretty good alternative to foundation if you don't need any significant coverage. I only dust Mac Blot Powder over it, followed by blush and lipgloss on my causal, relaxing evenings. I have to stress that it's absolutely weightless and I have always loved this gentle and soothing fragrance which reminds me of nothing but feathers and pillows.  

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Eye Care Review: Giorgio Armani Crema Nera Extrema Youth Memory Eye Serum

I have just tested out this sample of Giorgio Armani Youth Memory Eye Serum which managed to survive 5 days and nights. The eye serum feels more nourishing than Elemis Absolute Eye Serum perhaps since it targets mature skin...uhem, but like I mentioned in my previous review, I don't find Dior Eyes Essential (see review HERE) nourishing at all. So I suppose the correlation between anti-aging products and extra nourishment is not always valid. Anywayz, I personally think the name of this GA eye serum sounds like one of those advanced products appears in the worlds of Star Wars and AI. Unfortunately, I haven't used it long enough to experience the groundbreaking technology and I can only tell you what I gathered from the 5-day trial.

I quite like the texture of this serum as it feels...thick and feels like spreading lip gloss over my under eyes...why will I ever spread lip gloss over my under eyes?!!!...anywayz, I felt like my under eyes are protected by an invisible shield! And despite its lip-gloss-like texture, the serum will be absorbed completely after a short while, leaving not even a tinge of stickiness. To find out how this serum fares, I tried doing with and without the serum under my Elemis Pro-Intense Eye and Lip Contour Cream (see review HERE) and the difference is pretty obvious judging from the state of my undereye concealer at the end of the day. The serum kept my under eyes quite plump throughout the day, with my concealer pretty perfectly in place. Doing without the serum and any eye serum would leave my under eyes dehydrated and the concealer a bit clumpy (as expected). Of course you may argue that I probably just need to wear an eye serum, any eye serum, underneath my eye cream to make the concealer stay put. Trust me, NO! I'd used serums that did practically nothing to my dehydrated under eyes. So although I can't deny that this is not the only serum that works on me, my mini experiment can at least show that it is doing something commendable.  

You're welcome to fill me in with how it works on you if you're on a full size. Cheers!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Skincare Review: Laneige Water Bank Essence

I have been relying on Laneige Water Bank Essence to quench my skin this entire winter and it has become a staple item by now. For those of you who are new to Laneige, it's a younger skincare and cosmetics brand under Amore Pacific, the group that Sulwhasoo belongs to...something like the relationship of Clinique and Estee Lauder...My first great experience with this essence was actually last summer when I was flying over to Paris. My skin was literally cracking out of dehydration. I was sooooo glad that I'd slipped a sample sachet of Water Bank Essence into my handbag - it's super duper skin-quenching! The lightweight gel seeped into my skin and the unbearable tightness was soothed almost instantly, leaving my skin as soft and 'lively' as it is in normal days! I felt great for rest of the long-haul journey, but somehow I forgot all about this essence until the dry seasons set in late last year.

I finally purchased it in full size. I need one and a half pump on dry days and only one pump on humid days. What I like most about it is that it quenches my skin very well, and I really mean very well, without adding a tinge of oil to my skin. I feel like my skin is literally plumped with water - bouncy, soft and smooth. It's a splendid hydration product to use after your toner (which slightly rehydrates your skin...and tightens pores perhaps) and before your moisturizer (which locks in moisture). As a matter of fact, the belief that toners can rehydrate your skin sufficiently is wrong, neither can moisturizers do so. Moisturizers moisturize your skin and lock the aqua in - they don't do hydration! It's almost like the layer of oil floating on chicken's not the chicken soup itself...uhem, doesn't sound like a good analogy, but you get what I mean...Another thing is, our pores are like stomata cells, they tighten when enough aqua is available - that's when your skin looks silky smooth and flawless! Water Bank Essence helps you achieve in this regard. Plus, the price tag is very inviting!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Eye Care Review: Elemis Absolute Eye Serum

I'm very delighted about my experience with Elemis Absolute Eye Serum. I know it's nothing new, but I reckon it does deserve at least one more round of applause online - by me! *Bravo!

I have been using it for months and there is apparent improvement in the suppleness of my under eyes area, even in the midst of dry seasons. Like I said in my previous review on the Dior Capture Totale Eyes Essential serum (see review HERE), I prefer this one over its (equally) luxury rival. It is easily absorbed, leaving your under eyes with zero stickiness. So it won't clump or melt your under eye concealer and powder. Although the serum vanishes upon application, it works! I realize my fine lines under eyes are plumped and erased to a large and visible extent. The only thing is, while I make it sound like an anti-wrinkle eye serum, it's actually meant to combat against dark circles. In this regard, I haven't observed any visible with most, if not all, of the eye serums I'd used. For dark circles, I believe the best antidote is sleep, sleep at the right time with the right duration of time. I know it's difficult, if it's ever possible for you (and me!).

A good news before I go - I only need at most a drop for my under eyes at each go. I never think my eyes are small and I've always found it dehydrated for my age (I'm 30...Shhhh!). Neither can I imagine how I can ever drench my under eyes with two drops of the serum as instructed. That said, it's not as costly as it seems. *Hurray!*  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Eye Care Review: Christian Dior Dior Capture Totale Eyes Essential Eye Zone Boosting Super Serum

Despite my love for Dior Beaute and Dior fragrances, this Dior Capture Totale Eyes Essential Super Serum is a déception totale to me. I used it for 14 days. No visible improvement of the fine lines under eyes. Believe it or not, although not an anti-wrinkle formula, Elemis Absolute Eye Serum has actually done a better job in ironing out my fine lines. Hmm, perhaps I'm supposed to use this Super Serum for a longer period of time. But at the very least, it's not as superb a serum as it's named. You may have a splendid experience with this Capture Totale Super Serum if you've used it for...say a month...or two...??? Do let me know then.

Sensation-wise, I don't quite like it either. It carries the fragrance of...Dior Forever and Ever, I think...which I personally dislike both as a body fragrance and in any of my skincare products. As with many anti-aging products, there was this short period of tightening sensation after application, which delighted me for a while. But the serum seemed to form a transparent film over my under eyes which came off when I applied my foundation - this is a minor yet annoying issue. Hmm, of course, one possible reason is that the particles of my foundation are too large to blend harmoniously with those of the eye serum. I don't know, but this product has been added to my list of dislikes. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Foundation Review: Giorgio Armani Designer Lift Smoothing Firming Foundation SPF20+++

Happy New Year!!! I know this greeting comes ridiculously late, but I have been struggling with several deadlines...Anyway, hope all our New Year's resolution(s) can be achieved this year!!! *cough*

To kickstart the new year, I tested out a firming foundation for the first time ever. I have never tried any firming foundation before and neither do I see any practical need to add one to my makeup kit...not yet, not yet...but I still did test out a sample sachet of Giorgio Armani Designer Lift Smoothing Firming Foundation in 04. How is it going to lift my face? Will it 'erase' my fine laugh lines? And the big question is, how different is it from the rest?

The fluid formula has a consistency that is slightly thicker than NARS Sheer Glow (see review HERE) and GA Lasting Silk UV, but definitely thinner than MAC Studio Fix Fluid (which I truly dislike despite its popularity). As a matter of fact, it doesn't play any magic, but it's still a pretty good foundation if you are not looking forward to a face lift. Like GA Lasting Silk UV, this one glided on effortlessly with a sheer natural finish and it survived (at least) 8 hours in wintry weather. It gave this blurring effect that 'smudge' your blemishes and fine lines without layering. The only thing is, I would expect the formula to be more moisturizing than it is since it targets mature skin. Even I have to layer moisturizer underneath. In this regard, I personally think Diorskin Forever (see review HERE) is a better option if you want a 'second-skin' foundation that is more skin-pampering.   
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