Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Makeup Review: Make Up For Ever Lift Concealer

As mentioned in the previous review of my latest fave, Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder (See review HERE), I've recently abandoned Dior Dioskin Sculpt Concealer as it somehow begins to dry out, cake up and settle into the creases undereyes, and above all, it can't conceal my seasoned dark circles anymore!!! After some testings, the replacements are Bobbi Brown Tinted Eye Brightener in Peach (#8) and Make Up For Ever Lift Concealer (#3). 

I first apply Bobbi Brown Tinted Eye Brightener as a corrector on the lower edges of my dark circles with a concealer brush. Instead of blending in with the same brush, the Make Up For Ever SA taught me a trick - blend in with another concealer brush - cuz the Brush No. 1 will re-pick up some concealer from the undereyes as you attempt to blend the concealer in, and as a result, you can never blend it in nicely! This trick really works wonder for me. The effect is so sheer, yet effective and natural-looking! Using the same trick, I then applied the Lift Concealer to the edges of my dark circles and blend upward. The whole process only need a teeny bit of both products to effectively erase my dark circles. Other than its sheer and natural finish, what I like most is that the effect is moist enough to last the whole long day. And with a final touch using the HD Powder, it doesn't sit into my dry fine lines undereyes at all. I have to stress that the finish is really natural-looking. The combo perks up my undereyes with just the right amount of spotlight, as if I hardly have any dark circles, ha! 

The Lift Concealer is the most moisturising concealer in the Make Up For Ever collection. In fact, the SA initially recommended the HD concealer, but it's too dry for my prematurely ageing undereyes =(. While the Lift Concealer doesn't belong to the HD series, it feels and looks HD. You can't imagine how little I really need for my dark circles. The formula is highly pigmented and it's amazingly spreadable and buildable...almost like the kind of surprise one may get from molecular gastronomy! Though the texture is way thinner than that of Dior Sculpt, I probably needed at least double the amount to conceal my dark circles with Dior Sculpt...double the amount, but half the quality! 

On a last note, if you are thinking of using the Lift Concealer alone and your complexion is not really that fair (like the Caucasian, Korean, and Japanese girls) or has a yellow undertone, you may like to try #2 instead of #3 (a lighter tone). #3 works well on me because I'm applying the Bobbi Brown Tinted Eye Brightener in Peach (#8 - a darker peach tone) underneath the Lift Concealer to moderate the color. Also, #3 looks more and more natural as it oxidizes on your skin, so to speak, make your judgement only after blending it in properly!

- A little goes a long long way!
- Moisturizing
- Great lasting power
- Doesn't cake up or settle into creases/fine lines

- The packaging. Nothing's really wrong with the toothpaste packaging, but mine tends to ooze out...at least for the one I purchased. To avoid wastage, I always try to close the cap within 0.09s...!

I'm seriously loving it! xx

Monday, November 25, 2013

Makeup Review: Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder

It's my first time using something from Make Up For Ever and the purchase is deemed absolutely value-added. With a price range similar to that of Bobbi Brown, this HD Microfinish Powder, as well as the HD Blush and Lift Concealer I purchased, are simply brilliant!!! I will write another review to go through what I currently use to conceal my rather dehydrated dark circles in replacement of the Dior Sculpt concealer (see previous review HERE) that I'd been using for years. Let's look at the HD Powder first.

This powder is literally the best I've ever used. For your information, I tried Shu Uemura, Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, Shiseido, Clinique...Hmm, think that's all...At least for my skin, it is invincible for its lasting power and natural finish, which also makes it like the perfect powder to finish my under eye concealing work. Because it's so finely-milled, it won't settle into creases and fine lines even after 10 hours...unlike the ones I tried. The finer-than-dust texture...dust? Uh you get what I mean...doesn't give me the extra unwanted layer of color over my BB cream or liquid foundation, leaving my skin so much more supple and natural-looking. Mr. HCL actually thought I finally hung out without wearing any makeup, haha! 

The packaging is noteworthy as well. Gone are the days when you have to turn the case upside down to get the powder out and end up with a mess. The lid is specially designed with the centre converging downward, which fits perfectly to cover the meshwork, so it doesn't matter how you store or carry the box of loose powder in your bag now! The concave surface where you pick up the loose powder allows you to just swirl your brush swiftly in a circular motion to pick up the right amount of powder while leaving the case clean. 

- Super sheer and natural finish
- Doesn't sit into creases and fine lines
- Can last over 10 hours on combo skin
- Smart packaging

Cons: Haven't observed any yet!

My verdict? I highly recommend this HD Powder, particularly to those of you who love wearing no-makeup makeup. ;)


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Godsend Treatment: Vitamin E Oil for Hormonal Acne and Allergies

Hurray! I found it!!! For many many months, I have been suffering from hormonal breakouts around my mouth and chin area every single month as my period came close and whenever I'd eaten any hormone-laden food, like milk, beef and soy - all my faves...And when it hit, it went quite out of control. 

Prayers granted as I popped into a health food store near my place and came across this booth displaying natural vitamin E oil of different dosages. I bought the one that contains 32,000 IU of vitamin E, originally meant for eliminating stretch marks and scars. But hey, acne and allergies are in a sense inflammation, which could be remedied by the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and repairing properties of natural vitamin E oil. 

I layered the vitamin E oil generously over the affected areas and a little over the good areas, massaged it in and leave it on as a sleeping mask. Believe it or not, it worked wonders overnight! After washing it off the next morning, my skin was tamed, soft and supple. The best part is, the angry pimples are calmed, bumps subsided and I even thought the pimple scars shrank a bit as well! Since then, I repeat this routine every night to replace my facial moisturizer - the very last step. I would still highly recommend you to hydrate your skin as per normal before using the oil. After all, this last step is supposed to lock in the moisture of your well-hydrated skin. That said, I still treat my skin with toner, essence and hydration cream-gel before massaging in this oil. My hormonal acne is pretty much in control these days, with only mild acne which dries up significantly faster and the blemishes diminish significantly faster than ever before...erm alright, since my teenager years. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Makeup Review: Innisfree Jejubija Anti-Trouble BB Cream

You're right! I almost bought the entire line of Innisfree Jejubija Anti-Trouble. The skincare items are great so far (see reviews HERE), but I've mixed comments when it comes to their BB Cream.

Featuring the powerful natural healing ingredient, torreya seed extracts from Jeju Island, it vouches to calm troubled skin, reduce redness and control and prevent blemishes.

The best thing about this BB Cream is that it gives a matte finish, which can last for quite a while. Not only is the finish matte, it also feels drier than all the other BB creams I've tried. Pretty good medium coverage. I have a hunch that it really helps treat my blemishes...well it smells antiseptic and believe it or not, I'm delighted with the fragrance as it says I'm healing!. My bumpy spots are smoothed out as the day goes by. =)

The color turns a bit ashy in the afternoon. It still looked dull even though I tried to perk up my look with a bit of blusher. It's also relatively less lasting than Innisfree Air Skin Fit BB Cream (see review HERE). 

Frankly, I will only recommend this BB cream for oily, acne-prone or blemished areas. For me, I only use it on my T-zone and pat a bit of it over my pimples. But if it's not for the oil and blemish control, I'd recommend Air Skin Fit for the entire face. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Skincare Review: Must-haves for the Hot, Humid Summer Days

Hi there! Suddenly realized that I'm approaching my 100th post very very soon! Having read about the long list of products that I loved/love, I believe it's time I update you all with the products that I'm still using or keep getting back to - Thanks to those who have reminded me of this! xxx

First on the My Faves series are the staple, holy grail items that I rely on over our sizzling hot and super humid summer here in Hong Kong. That said, these products are brilliant in controling sebum and I shall say pretty heat-resistant with great lasting power. Also for your info, I've combination skin with an oily T-zone which probably secretes enough oil for frying an egg in spring and summer. It's also pretty sensitive, especially to AHA, anything with soy, yeast and natural essential oils, and I get PMS acne pretty much every month. So the products below are all hypoallergenic. By the way, I'm not into beauty products that feature high-tech stuff like nanotechnology and stem cells.

1. Vichy Normaderm Deep Cleansing Purifying Gel (Hypoallergenic)

Can't remember how many bottles I've used. I've tried other cleansers along the course, but still got back to it in the end. It effectively removes the grit and grime without stripping much of your natural moisture layer. My face feels fresh with no stretchy tightening sensation after wash. 

2. Bioderma Hydrabio Moisturizing Toning Lotion (Hypoallergenic)
If the main point of using a toner is to rehydrate your skin after wash, this Bioderma toner does an excellent job. To me, I never think a toner should do anything more than rehydration as I believe my skin needs to be strengthened with something simple and effective before it can take anything more advanced, like brightening and anti-aging. And in fact Bioderma is what I will turn to whenever my skin is fragile and hypersensitive. This toner has never failed to leave my skin soft and supple. The best is, I can use it on my eyes as well, which I love and insist for toners! This toner is in my staple item list...literally the water that quenches my thirty skin after every wash - NO GIMMICK! 

3. Laneige Water Bank Essence (see review HERE)
Again, I've been using this for ages, but it's really THIS good! For those of you who are not familiar with Laneige, it's a popular Korean brand under one of the giants in the korean beauty industry, Amore Pacific Group. The Water Bank series is their best seller which features great hydration power. This essence pumps water into my skin, leaving it...bouncy! Not sticky at all. And my skin feels absolutely hydrated and strengthened after use.  

4. Caudalie Radiance Serum (see review HERE)
The serum contains great anti-oxidants - polyphenols and resveratrol. I only use Radiance Serum for my undereyes on summer days as I really wanna keep my skin feeling light, fresh and supple. It provides a wonderful protective layer for the fragile undereyes by locking in moisture throughout the day. My undereye concealer manages to stay put without sinking into fine lines.   

5. *Innisfree Anti-Trouble Spot Essence W and Essence R
I highly recommend to use the two essence together as they work hand in hand to heal and soothe bumps and pimples, including hormonal ones. They feature the efficacious Jeju torreya seed oil and natural salicylic acid. Essence W feels more like a lotion than an essence. It provides a foundation for the skin treatment. In fact I'm also using the lotion from this Anti-Trouble series between W and R, topically on the affected areas. Essence R usually comes last in my entire skincare routine before bed and I use it sparingly on bumps, pimples and acne-prone areas. My skin is smoothened and the inflammation is usually tamed the next morning, as if nothing has ever happened - Hurray!

6. *Innisfree Capsule Recipe (Jejubija & Tea Tree)
This clay mask contains less kaolin than most other clay masks, which makes it friendlier to sensitive skin like mine. It supplements the Anti-Trouble products in use to tame and heal my sensitive and sometimes troubled skin, especially in times when PMS hits! It's one of the few products I found so far that can combat hormonal acne without strong chemicals. And because of the natural ingredients used, I use this mask every other night or sometimes on consecutive nights when my skin breaks out cuz of hormonal changes. Highly recommended!

7. Avene Cleanance K Cream-Gel (see review HERE)

Although I'm mainly using Essences W and R for acne treatment these days, Cleanace K is still on my desk for intensive treatment. It goes well under makeup. The only thing is, don't use it too generously as it will still burn and peel your skin since it's acidic. Very effective though! ;)

8. Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream
This is the eye cream that I keep getting back to. I love its luxurious texture and above all, its moisturizing power that goes well under makeup the entire day. Unlike many other moisturizing eye cream I've used, including the high-end ones, it seeps into my undereyes to plump them up without getting sticky or oily. It won't clump my undereye concealer even after long hours. Love it! xx

9. Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light (Cream)
I use it as a night cream on summer nights cuz it's a bit too rich for me in the day. It's soothing and moisturizing, just enough for replenishing my skin at the close of the day. It doesn't break my skin even when I use it sparingly. 

10. Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream

This watery cream is one of my new discoveries and I love it upon my first application. The sherbet-like cream seeps through my skin in no time and leaves my skin soft and supple without any burdens on these hot, humid summer days. Beautiful texture and great hydrating power. It's absolutely a delight applying it every day!

The Korean brands I introduced are carried in many online shops (e.g. http://www.ibuybeauti.com which offers free international shipping), as well as eBay. 

*Innisfree is another Korean brand under Amore Pacific Group - the mother company of Sulwhasoo. The brand vouches to be environmental-friendly. Their products feature powerful natural ingredients from the beautiful, pollution-free Jeju Island. All their products are hypoallergenic and free of parabens, mineral oils and artificial colorings. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Indulgence in Korean cosmetics: Innisfree Air Skin Fit BB Cream vs.Face Shop Face it Aura CC Cream

Oh my goodness! I have been in this almost-fatal addiction over Korean beauty products since my trip to Seoul in April. Somehow I just can't stop doing online and physical search of products from the popular names like Innisfree, Banila, The Face Shop and Nature Republic. I even have this deadly tendency to browse through online shops to reward myself for reading or writing a few paragraphs...And yes, I have new items to try out practically every single week...that's not good!...Oh dear...what a s***ty researcher I have become...!!!

One of the beloved items in my haul lately is this Innisfree Air Skin Fit BB Cream (#2 Natural Beige/Light Touch). Erm, I didn't purchase its full size with an empty head. It's really the samplers I got in Seoul that pushed me to buy it (I'm beginning to hate samplers - sinful marketing innovation!). If you have read my previous post, I also bought The Face Shop Aura CC Cream (see review HERE), which I loved. This adventure into Korean cosmetics is simply amazing. I seem to be discovering wonders after wonders as I try out the different products I bought. If I were to compare between the two, I will definitely give more ticks to this Innisfree BB Cream though the Face Shop CC Cream is really pretty good. 

As with all CC Cream, the Face Shop CC Cream does feel significantly sheerer. In fact, I was amazed by how little of it I need for the entire face if I want the finish to remain natural-looking. But for a BB Cream, Innisfree Air Skin Fit feels just as airy as it's named. It feels...nothing! And it's very buildable - great over blemishes.  What's more, I like its non-sticky, matte finish. I actually love how it looks before setting with powder (I'm using Chanel Mat Lumiere Extreme - see review HERE). If where you live is dry, I would highly recommend you do without any loose powder over it. 

What I like most about this Innisfree Air Skin Fit is that it gives my skin just the right amount of perk-up and it lasts the entire day! It brightens my complexion by like half a degree, in other words, fairer yet natural-looking. It blends beautifully into my skin, literally becoming my a second skin. I know it sounds a bit crappy, but I still have to say that the Innisfree Air Skin Fit gives a significantly better coverage compared with the Face Shop CC Cream. The best part is, even till the end of my working day (after dinner), my complexion is still appropriately brightened without a tinge of ashy or grayish tone. In fact, if I don't bother to touch up at all, which I usually do once or at most twice a day, it will just melt into my skin with a radiant glow. Perfect for concealing my haggardness...erm...

The only thing is the packaging, or I don't know if I'm simply being too lucky to end up with a tube that's a bit leaky. Not that the BB cream really leaks out and stains my stuff, but there's always a bit around the opening when I remove the cap. So that said, I've never carried it out and I may double-wrap this particular tube if I really wanna travel with it. But this is really my one and only complaint about Innisfree Air Skin Fit BB Cream.

- Sheer texture
- Natural, matte finish
- Long-lasting
- Great for combination skin
- Doesn't turn ashy or grayish
- Brightening
- Highly buildable
- Gives a healthy radiant glow after long hours with the brightening effect intact

- Insecure packaging (at least for the one I got)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Makeup Review: Chanel Mat Lumiere Perfection vs. Mat Lumiere Extreme

For at least the past one year, I have been using Chanel Vitalumiere Éclat to finish my makeup and for mid-day touchups. It worked wonders, BUT...somehow my T-zone has become oilier than ever no matter how I tried to hydrate it...not to mention the irritating humidity of over 90% and 30 deg C on most days lately...my skin, especially my T-zone feels really disgusting in the afternoon. Just the other day, a friend of mine who has very oily skin recommended me to use Chanel Mat Lumiere Extreme. Her recommendation was definitely convincing as it's really the first time I saw her with normal-looking matte skin (sorry...but really!). The Chanel SR however stressed that Extreme is meant for acne-prone and very oily skin, and not so much for combination-dry skin like mine. She suggested the newly-launched Mat Lumiere Perfection which offers both oil-control and hydration, which sounded perfect for combination skin! Yes, I said sounded perfect...the fact is close to perfection. The purchase was a total regret and I went to another Chanel branch to buy Mat Lumiere Extreme right on the next day - grrrr what a waste of money!

What's wrong with Perfection? While the official description says:

MAT LUMIÈRE PERFECTION is the ideal balance between a matte finish, comfort and luminosity. Shiny areas are matified, imperfections instantly covered and the radiance of the face revealed. The silica coated pigments give the complexion a flawless matte finish with a soft glow from within.
Skin stays fresh and pure all day long, even in heat, humidity and during non-stop activity, thanks to a combination of powders controlling sebum and sweat.
The silky lightweight texture gives a second skin feeling and a delightful sensation of moisture. From morning to night, the complexion is perfect: velvety, even, radiant.

its beautiful velvety finish only lasted 30 minutes on my face! Absolute disappointment. In fact, it became so super sticky and I was pretty sure I didn't even get this disgusting stickiness from Vitalumiere Éclat! 

In contrast, if you're looking for an oil-balancing compact, Extreme could be a fabulous choice. It's become my holy grail item now! The description says:

Enriched with vegetal lipides and Lilium extract, MAT LUMIÈRE EXTRÊME mattifies the complexion with lasting results: sebum production is perfectly controlled and the appearance of pores is minimized. Coated powders and treated pigments ensure optimum makeup and colour hold all day long. With its SPF 20 / PA+++, it protects the skin from damaging UV rays. The soft focus pigments allow MAT LUMIÈRE EXTRÊME to conceal dark spots and imperfections while offering a luminous and even makeup result. Peach Extract, renowned for its moisturizing and emollient properties, offers the skin an excellent sensation of comfort.    

That's truly what it does! The super natural-looking finish can survive the entire summer day with no patches, no streaks, everything's brilliant! On a normal working day, my makeup has to pull through at least 12 hours, from 7ish in the morning to at least 7ish in the evening by the time I reach home after work...and that's if I'm not dining out. With Extreme, I only need to touch up once or twice just around my nose area. If I happen to be really lazy that day, I only blot my nose area with tissue and I'll still look fine with a natural glow. Please don't get me wrong! Its oil controling power is absolutely the best among the compacts or foundations that I've ever used. Can't love it more!  

Why I love Mat Lumiere Extreme? 
- Excellent for oil control
- Long-lasting
- Natural-looking

Anything I dislike?
- The sponge that comes with it, which is simply a personal preference. I like using the brush that comes with Vitalumiere Éclat. It makes touchups a breeze when I'm on the go!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Makeup Review: The Face Shop Face it Aura Color Control Cream (CC Cream)

Long time, everybody! I just went to Seoul for a great great holiday and have hauled back loads of skincare and makeup items with a similarly huge amount of samplers...Oh my...Seoul is such a girls' place!

By CC, it means color correcting or color control. It usually comes in a lighter texture than BB cream since it can't always substitute your foundation. But for people like me who only go for a little perk-up, I suppose CC cream is good enough to replace my BB cream and foundation. 

According to the official info, this Face it Aura CC Cream by The Face Shop offers anti-wrinkle, moisturizing and whitening properties with SPF30/PA++. 

I love this CC cream (02-Natural Beige) for its sheer second-skin finish and its color correcting effect. Many BB creams I've tried, whether it's Korean or French, tend to turn ashy or greyish on my skin. This CC cream brightens my complexion just to the right extent without turning ashy at all. That's exactly why they name it Aura! The texture reminds me of Diorskin Radiant Base - equally sheer, but better...despite the price difference. It blends beautifully with my natural complexion and puts it under a picture perfect spotlight. Because of the humid weather here, I finish up by dusting over some Chanel Vitalumiere Eclat (B20) with my fluffy Bobbi Brown Face Brush. Perfect for a no-makeup makeup. The best part of this CC cream is, it manages to stay put from 7ish in the morning to 11ish at night even under the 29-degree heat. I was surprised to see the natural glow and great complexion when I reached home after such a long day!

I will definitely purchase it in full size after using up these samplers! ;) 

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