Category Archives: Makeup

An Asian Vanity


I’m not much of a make-up person, but I do own items to look presentable for work. Here’s a few in rotation that hail from Japan or Korea, hence the title.

Kose FASIO UV Protect Gel (¥1,000 for 50g) is lightweight, non-sticky and invisible. When I wear this I can do away with the foundation primer as it is an excellent base. It is said to contain collagen and hyaluronic acid to retain moisture. Wild claims aside (collagen CANNOT be absorbed through the skin =͟͟͞͞( •̀д•́))) I LOVE IT except that it is so hard to get hold of even in Japan. It is definitely not a staple in Matsu-Kiyo. On my most recent trip to Hokkaido, I did not spot FASIO products even once.

Paul & Joe Moisturizing Foundation Primer I’m mostly using just to finish up the last bit. I don’t think I will be buying any primer from now on, it is too much of a hassle. Missha M Magic Cushion in 21 is a decent cushion foundation with a medium matt finish. I don’t have much to say about it except that it is Missha is GENEROUS. The puff is almost disintegrating from the multiple washes, and yet the product still doesn’t dry out.

Club Yuagari Suppin Powder (¥1,600 for 26g) was purchased solely for its wonderful white floral scent. Supposedly developed for women afraid of showing their boyfriends their bare faces, it helps to reduce the appearance of an uneven skin tone and pores. It also claims to contain collagen (COME’ON! =͟͟͞͞( •̀д•́)), hyaluronic acid and other skincare goodness that you can go to sleep without removing it.

It does indeed give a perfectly lightweight and natural finish, though the effect does not last too long in the Singapore humidity. It is very similar to Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder in terms of the finish and scent, except with the added benefit of coming in a pressed compact.

Canmake Cream Cheek in 13 Love Peach You can see that I’ve hit pan right? I’m very excited because this is the first time I have ever hit pan on a blush. To be frank I have rotated between CL01 Clear Red Heart (a cherry red color) and Love Peach, but recently I’ve been reaching for the Love Peach more. It is a milky, light peach color that is barely visible after blending, but gives a very subtle flush which does disappear by the afternoon. I find cream blushes great to carry around in the make up pouch because you can work with your fingers and do away with the additional weight of a blush brush. The heat from your fingertips actually work better to melt the product and blend as compared to a brush.

Dior Addict Extreme Lipstick in 366 Pink Icon. 366 is a muted sheer pink and very wearable. It is basically my HG MLBB colour. The Dior Addict Extreme line I find is generally moisturising and creamy but their lasting power isn’t spectacular. For people looking for lasting power and pigmentation, another Dior line or another brand will work better.

So there we have it! Unlike skincare, I don’t have a wishlist for make-up nor am I well informed about brands and releases. I am currently out of ideas in the foundation department. What foundation should I try next?


The Gold Standard

The Gold Standard

A packaging whore at heart, it is difficult to resist all those that glitter. But that touch of gold on my vanity will always be a reminder to dream and aspire for something better in life. Dolce & Gabbana The Illuminator Shimmer

The Dolce & Gabbana The Illuminator Shimmer is meant to be a highlighter on colored-skin, but it works well as a light contouring powder for my fair Asian skin as well. It has a great balance between matte and shimmer (very little, thank god), goes on very smoothly and is generally barely noticeable on skin with a thin layer and doesn’t give the overly defined look. It does certainly help with definition of the facial structure.

Guerlain Meteorites Perles Base Éclat Les Ors

Guerlain Meteorites Perles Base Éclat Les Ors contains 3 shades of shimmering pearls suspended in the gel. Each pump will yield a different color, depending on the type of pearl that gets crushed and delivered. Some pearls may look too orange, but the color melts away on your skin to give a light, sun-kissed glow, you notice it right away, but shimmer is subtle and not “in your face”.

My favorite part is the texture. It feels like a light moisturizer, rather than the heavy texture of regular primers. Normally, primers have more pore-refining or blurring abilities due to the amount of silicone it contains. However, the effect is purely cosmetic, and silicone ain’t good for your skin. The Lancôme UV Expert GN-Shield Make Up Base SPF50 PA+++ (read review) that I have used previously is also unlike regular primers, but is still heavier than this, with a texture like foundation. The Guerlain primer is great because it is so light and moisturizing.

The shimmer is not obvious when worn under or mixed with BB cream. Worn on it’s own, though, the iridescent  shimmer shows through, and it’s simply beautiful. Not really like sparkling vampires under the sun, but I’m sure I look better. Oh shut up you vain bimbo.

Apart from the shimmer, I love this so much because it reduces dehydration lines after a long day. I am used to wearing BB cream straight after a watery serum. By the end of the day, dehydration lines will appear on my forehead and around my lips, making me look five years older. Adding this primer helped with the skincare problem. Actually, a cheaper option is wearing a gel-moisturizer, and tadah, dehydration problem solved.

OSEQUE Extra Natural Pure Oil

OSEQUE Extra Natural Pure Oil is a very new addition to my vanity collection, as a replacement for Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. It claims to contain eight types of plant-extracted oils hydration for glowing skin. Used on its own, it is pretty decent. It is light and absorbs easily, though not as quickly as Kiehl’s MRC.

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!

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.

Hanyul vs. Sooryehan: The Rival Balms

The Rival Balms 01

Sometimes I can’t help but feel as though BB creams and tinted moisturizers are not really make up. It is for young people to dabble and experiment with before graduating to primers and foundations. Well, I’ve recently purchased my first foundation (my interest in make up came far too late), but BB creams are still very satisfying and convenient to use. It is only my second one aside from the Lancôme UV Expert GN-Shield BB Base & Make Up Base (read review), so I do not know BB creams well enough to do quality reviews and make comparisons.

Hanyul Rich Effect BB Cream SPF50+/PA+++

First off, the color is a great match for my skin. However, there is only two choices of color, in the lighter 21 or darker 23. It is likely not going to be suitable for people with pink skin undertone. It has really good coverage, and sometimes using this on my under-eye area is sufficient.

The texture mousse-like, and not as runny and easy to spread like the Lancôme. I ended up spending a lot of time dabbing and blending the Hanyul BB cream until I got used to it. Lately, I’ve enjoyed blending it out using the Ecotools Bamboo Foundation Brush and the Real Techniques Stippling Brush, just to reduce the additional hassle of washing my hands after spending so much time blending. 

Once the BB cream settles into the skin, it doesn’t budge. Even when I dab my sweaty self with tissue paper, very little color came off. I was used to seeing streaks of color browning stains while using Lancome, and assumed it is the same for all BB creams, so this is a lovely surprise.

R: Hanyul L: Sooryehan

R: Hanyul L: Sooryehan

Sooryehan Hyo Fermented BB Cream SPF30/PA++

This has a much more neutral color, which I was originally quite happy about—until I wore it out. When applied to skin, the BB cream is almost grey-looking. Even though my skin is fair and I normally go for the lightest shade when trying on make up, there is something about this BB cream that just makes me took a little more dead and unnatural, like I’ve gone overboard with sunblock and failed to blend it out properly. I don’t find this as good as the Hanyul BB cream for coverage, but it is equally good in terms of texture and lasting power.

I find that in this BB cream the thing I dislike about BB creams in general is demonstrated—the lack of a good color match. Sooryehan Hyo BB Cream comes only in one color, and to say it would transform its color to fit everyone’s skin color is too much of a stretch. It likes the Hanyul BB cream seem almost lovely in comparison.

The title refers to AmorePacific (which owns Hanyul) and LG (which owns Sooryehan). The two big corporations constantly fighting for market share at different cosmetic segments (or maybe not, but that is the impression I get). I am more familiar with brands under AmorePacific thought it is time to branch out a little. Unfortunately, both my experiences with Sooryehan has not been all that great. Great, time to try out other LG brands then.

Crème de la Crème

Paul & Joe Beaute Moisturizing Foundation Primer N 01

Paul & Joe Beaute Moisturizing Foundation Primer N 02

Paul & Joe Beaute Moisturizing Foundation Primer N 03

I have Paul & Joe Beaute Moisturizing Foundation Primer N in shade 03 Crème, the lightest shade available. This gives almost zero coverage and is devoid of shimmer. The texture is liquid, and acts more like a lotion. It is highly moisturizing and does not contain that much silicone. So if you are concerned about pore refining, stay away from this one, it doesn’t fill out your pores! But if you need a bit of hydration boost, grab it, it is fantastic.

I have previously swatched the shade 02 Miel, which is totally not my skin color. The general feeling I get is that shade 03 is a lot more watery than 02. Maybe it is because 01 and 02 provide more coverage, while 03 is translucent, so formulation is a little different.

My BB cream and foundations looks brighter when I use this, but not longer, because darn those Korean BB creams last really long. The dehydration lines however are reduced at the end of the day, courtesy of the moisturizing properties of the primer. If you only own emollient moisturizers that cannot be worn under make up, light primers like this will help with the hydration.

A small nitpick is the lack of sun protection, making it impossible to be worn on its own. Otherwise, this is great stuff.