Monthly Archives: June 2014

The spontaneous beauty buys, times when rationality deserted me

Spontaneous Beauty Buys

I’m a planner when it comes to my life. It is normal for me to identify what I wish to purchase weeks or months before actually getting hold of them. That being said, there are (loads of ) moments of spontaneity when I chuck research aside and bring out the wallet. Some have worked out great, others not so.

Shiseido Liquid Eyeliner in Black (7ml) was a dirt cheap purchase in Taiwan. I was just sold by how affordable these are, and snapped it up without trying. It was a beauty regret, though. The lasting power is pretty good, but the brush applicator is too soft and thus not easy to use. I do like a bit more resistance in applicators.

Etude House Go Back Activating Massager was another really cheap purchase during Christmas sale last year. I am in general quite immune to Etude House product, packaging and advertising, as I’m not quite a pink and girly person. The ceramic massager is however too cute to resist. It is supposed to be used together with their skincare products to improve blood circulation in facial area and thus improve absorption of the products. I can’t say it did any difference, but it is an joy to use this massager.

I am still undecided on Frownies Facial Patches. These are basically pieces of sticky paper that flattens out the wrinkles, limits your facial expressions and prevent formation of future wrinkles. I bought these when I had mistaken my dehydration lines for wrinkles. After I switched a moisturizer, the lines were gone and the Frownie wasn’t necessary. It does indeed help to manage facial expression. Even after taking it off, the sensation of raising eyebrows or frowning is very pronounced and you become very aware of my expressions.

MUJI Face Lotion Sheets are just compact sheet masks you can soak your toner into and wear as a regular paper mask. I’m in general not a fan of compressed sheet masks because they tend to tear easily. This one is thin, made of sturdier material. However, there is a funny smell that you have to bear with when they soak up a toner. I have tried it with pure water, and still the smell is there.

Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle is one of the biggest beauty regrets that I have. I bought this together with a Sally Hansen polish as a set, which was on ridiculous sale. The nail polish was great, this is just lousy. I must be stupid to believe for a moment that external application can help with keratin deposit in the nails.

If you have spontaneous beauty buys that are hits or misses, let me know! I’d love to know what to try and avoid!


The Weekend Masks

The Weekend Masks

At this time of the year work is so busy that I regularly reach home at 3 in the morning and drop straight into a coma. Often times only with a barely-cleansed face, and sometimes without washing my hair for the day (eww). I am hoping these additional steps in my skincare routine on weekends can make up for my laziness during the week.

The Kose Seikisho Mask White is a peel-off mask that help clear the visible white-heads. It is a rather well-known product which has been around for quite some time. It does help to remove white heads, but the effect is only observable when used very occasionally. Following exfoliation, I’ll move on to hydration with Elizabeth Arden Hydrating Mask, which is surprisingly affordable, considering the brand name. In fact, it is the cheapest of all options here. I like it, despite the tingling and cooling sensation that reminds me of menthol (is there menthol inside? I am pretty sure). The Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask is an old purchase and newfound love (read my emergency skincare here). Great for sensitive, dehydrated or damaged skin. Lastly, the Hanyul Rich Effect Overnight Mask, and so far I can’t for the life of me decide what is the difference between the mask and a moisturizer in the Rich Effect series. It may be my sleep deprivation that is making me overlook some potentially visible differences in the morning. I’ll give it more time to settle into my routine.

Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence

_MG_5482E copy

The another dupe product, but unlike the IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning (read review), Secret Key is very obvious about being a copycat. The old red and white box packaging is the same as SK II, and I’ve read somewhere that SK II was originally supposed to stand for Secret Key. The font and packaging is really similar as well.

The product claims to be better than the famous SK II Facial Treatment Essence, as it is sans paraben while SK II does. I have not tried SK II before, so I can only compare it to the Bio Essence. I am more extravagant while using the Secret Key, since it is so cheap, and literally soaked each sheet of cotton pad, while I’m more careful with the Bio Essence.

The scent is really strong. It honestly gave me a shock when I first used it since the Bio Essence is scentless. The color and texture is also like water, so no difference there. The only problem with this product is when I stop using it for two week. My skin turns nasty. There’s no pimples or blemishes, but there is extreme dullness that made me look a few years older. I did not observe such a dramatic effect when I stopped using Bio Essence.

This is totally not what I’m looking for in skincare products at all. It reminds me of alcohol or drug addiction—you feel great for a while, but once you stop you lose the high and have to go crawling back. I dislike such heavy reliance. It’s not like we must be monogamous when it comes to skincare.

Repurchase? No.

Light Peach & Ivory

Bobbi Brown Corrector & Creamy Concealer 01Bobbi Brown Corrector & Creamy Concealer 02

I have always spent more on skincare than makeup. When came to the point when I have to start wearing make-up, I went to Bobbi Brown and asked the SA to give me a make-over i.e. teach me how to do it.

The SA correctly identified my dark circles as my greatest skin issue. My fairer skin has also lead to its increased prominence on my face—I really did look like a panda. I bought these two babies upon her suggestion, and they’ve been working wonders ever since.

Note that I’m probably a terrible reviewer of make-up products, because I own very few pieces and do not have the experience of comparing them to see which performs better. So please take what I say with a pinch of salt!

Bobbi Brown Corrector & Creamy Concealer 03

Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Peach

The corrector is to be layered under a regular concealer when extra coverage is necessary. The SA demonstrated one eye with the corrector under concealer and the other with only the concealer, and you can observe the purple coloration coming through the one without corrector. The peach tone cancels the original purple of my under-eyes very well, and I find on days when I am lazy, it works well enough on its own without the need of concealer.

I prefer applying this to my under-eyes with my fingers, rather than a brush, as the heat can help to melt the corrector and allows for a more even application.

Bobbi Brown Corrector & Creamy Concealer 04

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Set

The set comes with a pan of Creamy Concealer (in Warm Ivory) and a pan of the Sheer Finish Pressed Powder (in Pale Yellow). While I use the concealer consistently, I do not touch the pressed powder side often, as I am more used to using the overall face powder to set the concealer. When the concealer is layered on top of the corrector, it sometimes melts after a few hours, and the color will set into the creases along the eye, especially if the weather is warm. The color is fantastic for other blemishes on the face, such as spots and hyper-pigmentation. This one is better applied using a fine brush for a more precise application.

These two concealers are great, but I will not be purchasing them again, because:

  • You can probably get better value by purchasing a concealer palette with two or more shades, or better yet, mix them for different parts of the face.
  • The concealers don’t have SPF. WHY?

Powdery Bliss

Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder 01

By now I think it is established that I am very olfactory-driven when it comes to cosmetics. A good scent will make the experience highly enjoyable, and a bad scent can put me off from using the product at all. Here is one powder with a great scent and also a great finish. The Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder claims to contain:

“Corn Starch & Rice Starch act as natural substitutes for talc, while Silican imparts a smooth texture on skin. Glycerin helps to moisturize and prevent moisture loss.”

This is a lovely product. I wear it on top of my BB cream or sunblock. It keeps the shine out of my face until the oil or humidity sets in, but I’m ok with that. However, it is a little too matte and incompatible with the popular “dewy skin” sweeping waves across the world in popularity, because its more for a pale and matte look, like a porcelain doll. Even if your foundation or BB cream has a dewy shine, the powder will take it all away. Also, I do not have much interest in makeup so I have not researched the whole issue with talc or the use of starch as a replacement. I’m in a lousy position to comment on ingredients in make up.

Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder 02

The best part about this product is the scent—simple, easy to relate and dissipates after a moment. I especially love products that has a nice scent but doesn’t linger. It makes me look forward to the next time I use it, just for the few seconds of olfactory bliss. Which is why I find myself reaching for the Jurlique more, even though I purchased other scentless powders first. The puff is a little too stiff though, and you’d do better sticking to brushes for application.

I like this product, but will not repurchase. I still have a lot of experimentation to do.