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Love, Life and Makeup

All about living life to the fullest, with a little help of makeup!

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Saving Face #2: Serums on Rotation Currently

I thought it was time for an update on what I have been doing to save my skin - or my face. Since starting this series of post I have been rather good at keeping up with my daily skincare routine of removing makeup, toners, serums, eye creams and moisturisers - I used to be quite inconsistent with it but now I find myself skipping it only once or twice a week when I'm too dang tired.

I initially wanted to do a post on the whole skincare routine, but it would be a really long post so I thought I'd just break it up into a few posts and the first one up is on serums! Yes, these posts are not going to be in the sequence of my skincare routine - I just felt like writing on serums. Because serums are meant to target specific concerns for the skin, I have quite a few in rotation, depending on my skin's condition on that day.

Clarins Shaping Facial Lift Lipo-drain Serum is something that I have been using on a daily basis. I can't really attest to its efficacy as yet as I am using this more as a prevention than cure; I don't have a turkey neck yet, and hopefully with efforts in 10 years time I still won't. I guess I'll have to update again 10 years later. The texture is actually a lot thicker than other serums I have tried, more like a cream, but it doesn't feel too heavy for me as I only use it on my neck.

Eucerin Dermo Purifyer Active Concentrate acts more like a emergency help for days when I feel a bit more spotty or bumpy than usual. I actually don't find this useful at all - it does absolutely nothing for me, but doesn't hurt me so I will use it up - and it feels rather greasy on the skin which is weird because this is meant for oily skin. I don't think I will repurchase this when I am done with it as I just really don't like how it feels on me.

Lancome Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector is a recent addition to my row of serums and is touted as a "anti-aging skin corrector"; I have been eyeing Lancome Genifique for a while but was convinced by the MUA to give this a go instead. Actually she recommended me to layer one over the other, but I thought I wanted to just pick one first to try just in case my skin doesn't agree with the brand. So far, I thought it was a really smart move on my part (*proud*) as I find that if I use it consecutively for a week, I get a major breakout. Now, I alternate this with the below serum, and so far it's been working out and I haven't gotten a reaction.

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum is also quite a recent addition; I received a few sample sizes of Sulwhasoo's skincare range lately as I was purchasing products for my Mom and I loved the ginseng/herbal scent in them all. I'm quite obsessed with how beautiful Koreans' skin looks, so hopefully this will help bring me closer to it. I like the texture and smell of this, but I think it's just too early to tell if it's effective so I will have to come back on this. I also love this quote on their website: "Love your skin and it will love you back." I hope that's true!

That's it for the serums that's currently on rotation now! What serums have you been using and how are you liking them?

Unboxing: Vanity Trove August 2013
It's been awhile since I last subscribed to Vanity Trove - I was so disappointed with the beauty box service that I cancelled all of my subscriptions. I just didn't see the value of the boxes a few months back when all they offered were 5 to 6 teeny tiny samples, and every box came with a food item which annoyed me. I was not going to pay S$25 for that! However, recently I heard that they have revamped the system such that you can actually choose what you wanted, and there were full size products that you can get if you're fast enough, so I thought I'd give them a second chance. I thought I'd share what I've received this month!

Products in my Vanity Trove this month:
1. Kerastase Elixir Ultime
2. Herborist Whitening & Revitalizing Mask
3. Payot Lotion Tonique Fraicheur (Full size)
4. LoveMore Aqua Brulee (Full size)
5. human+kind all-in-one Hand+Elbow+Foot cream (Full size)
6. b.liv knock off age
7. SASSI Top Coat For Natural & Acrylic Nail (Full size)
8. SpectraBAN Sensitive 30

I must say, that I am really impressed with this month's box! I managed to grab a good number of full size products so it was just terrific value. Most of the samples were of a good size as well, not like a tiny sachet. There were supposed to be only 6 products in a box, but there was a glitch with my order, so they threw in 2 extra free samples.

Really very happy with this month's box and I can't wait to try out all the products! I'm super excited about the Payot toner - come on, it's pink - and the LoveMore Aqua Brulee. Have you tried the new revamped Vanity Trove?

Completed Items in August 2013
I feel like I am running a really quick race against time every month; before I knew it, another month has gone by and I am not even quite sure what I have done the whole time! I did however, finish tons of items again this month - I really don't know how it happen... and as I type this, there are still a few more days left to August! I was so shocked when I looked into my basket and realized it was nearly full to the brim! Majority of the items are still skincare and body stuff, but I do finally have a few makeup items. So read on to find out what I have completed this month!

1. Himalaya Herbals Hydrating Face Wash Cream
Received this free from a magazine contest; I quite liked it - it feels very creamy and hydrating, and does not leave my face with a tight feeling. Apparently it is a soap-free herbal formulation, with aloe vera and cucumber. There is a bit of scent which I can't quite place, but it's not very strong. The price point is also very attractive; will repurchase!

2. Shu Uemura Skin Purifier High performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula
I have tried several different types of Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils and I think this is one of the "oilier" ones. It does do a brilliant job at removing waterproof makeup - though it does cloud up my eyesight for a few minutes after using it. I don't think I will repurchase it though as I prefer cleansing waters.

3. Bliss Lemon+ Sage Conditioning Rinse
4. Biore Cleansing Oil-in-Cotton

A couple of items that I have used up quite a few previously; I believe the Bliss rinse is the last bottle in my stash - finally! It feels like a normal shampoo, and I wont be repurchasing. Biore Cleansing Cotton is one of the better affordable cleansing cloths that I have tried, which I always come back to.

5. Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution Sensitive Skin
6. Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution Sensitive Dehydrated skin

I bought several of Bioderma's micelle solution because of all the hype on youtube and blogs - I like it, just the way I like most cleansing waters, but I don't think it was life changing or particularly different from the other cleansing waters out there. I just didn't think that it lived up to all that hype, and multiple youtubers claiming that it's 'amazing' and 'holy grail'. For me, it does its job at removing most of the makeup but it doesn't remove waterproof mascara or long lasting eyeliners as well as the Bifesta ones. It's more expensive than the Bifesta cleansing waters so I don't think I will be repurchasing these.

7. Maybelline Makeup Remover Eye & Lip
A little gem that I found the mini size of in Watsons - I think they were selling them for S$2 each. I really liked it! I think it's really cheap and does a really good job at removing waterproof eye makeup without having to rub; it also does not sting my eyes. Like most bi-phase removers, it can feel slightly oily after using (after all, part of it is oil), but that can be easily solved by a rinse or a second wipe with a cleansing water. A mini bottle like this lasted me quite a while; I'm not sure if the mini bottles are still available, but I would gladly repurchase the full size.

8. The Face Shop Tissue Specialist Olive Cleansing Wipes
One of the more expensive cleansing wipes; I won't repurchase because it's overpriced and quite useless. It's pretty dry, with what seems like not enough makeup remover on it. It doesn't remove my makeup properly - I had to use quite a few sheets every time which can add up quickly.

9. Ginvera Jade Dark Eye Circles Roll Away
Another product that I was 'persuaded' to buy due to rave reviews by a few sponsored bloggers; I really have to rein in my purchases of products based on these. When I first started reading blogs, I was quite indiscriminate at buying products that people review and rave about, without doing research on it first and checking if they were sponsored posts. This product was really gimmicky but really did nothing for my eyes. It feels good rolling the 'jade' ball on my eyebags, and it's pretty cooling, but I don't see any lasting effect. Will not repurchase.

10. Clio Gel Expresso Waterproof Gel Liner in Black
Also another highly raved about product by a few local bloggers; I quite like it but I wished that the bloggers hadn't hyped it up so much. It glides on easily and doesnt really tug on my lids - maybe just a teeny tiny bit. It goes on rather opaque as well and comes in many colours, and can easily be blended for a smokey look when freshly applied. The price point is pretty nice too at S$18.90 each, if I didn't remember wrongly. The only issue I have is that it is not quite waterproof; past the 6hr mark, it smudges quite a bit on me, giving me panda eyes. I'm not sure if it is just me though, as I have not read about this happening to anyone else.

11. Bourjois Liner Stylo in 41 Noir
I love retractable pencils because they are just so convenient. I do like this eyeliner - it's not super creamy but it does go on smoothly and doesn't tug on my lids. This pencil does smudge quite a fair bit throughout the day especially pass the 4 hour mark, though not at the start so it might be the oils from my eyelids breaking the product down; I would say a wipe on hand is essential and it's not something I would use on the waterline.

12. Loreal Double Extension Mascara in Black
To be honest, I don't even know if this is still being sold! I found a brand new unopened tube that I must have bought a really long while ago and started using it a couple of months back - it was sealed so I guess it's still okay to use? I quite like it as it did give me really long wispy lashes and it didn't clump my lashes, but the whole 2-step process is a bit too tedious for me as I have to wait for the white part to dry first before layering the black otherwise it will turn grey.

13. Sulwhasoo Time Treasure Renovating Eye Cream
A really lovely eye cream - this has a weird texture that seems a bit like grounded paste but goes on smoothly and absorbs very quickly without any greasy residue. I find it 'dry' enough to use in the day - it doesn't cause my eye makeup to shift around too much. It has a really strong ginseng smell, which I love, but may be too much for others. It is insanely pricey though - but I will be saving up my pennies to buy it.

14. Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Plump Perfect Ultra Lift & Firm Eye Cream
15. Dior Capture XP Creme Yeux Haute Correction Rides

A couple of sample sized eye creams; I liked both - they applied smoothly, were very creamy and absorbed really quickly without leaving behind an oily residue or heavy feeling. I don't have lines yet though which both creams seem to target, so it's quite hard for me to say how it performed on that front.

16. Essence Color & Go in 120 Cookie Love
17. The BodyShop Nail Colour in 02 Twinkling Pink

A couple of nail colours that I have run out of; I actually spilled the entire bottle of the Essence polish over my bag accidentally, which is a pity because I really liked the colour. I've had TheBodyShop nail polish for quite a while and loved it for so long, but I feel like I'm kind of growing out of the shiny pink polish phase.

18. Etude House Precious Mineral BB Cream Bright Fit
19. Origins Plantscription Anti-aging Cream

A sample sachet and a teeny tiny sample cream; I don't really have a strong impression of either.

20. Biotherm BB Cream White D-tox SPF25
Not usually a fan of Biotherm products, or BB creams, but I found that this worked really well for me. I thought the coverage was pretty good for a BB cream, and the texture is light and not drying - though I wouldn't say it is moisturizing. Unlike other BB creams, the tint appears to be very neutral, without a grey or white cast, which I like. Will consider purchasing.

And that's it! How has your August been? Did you complete any items? :)

Leaving on a Jet Plane; See Ya Laters!
In a moment I'll be on my way to a month long holiday. And I am frantically typing this as I throw random stuff into my luggage as part of my usual last minute packing. I don't know why I always do this - the holiday has been planned months in advance but I never get around to packing until I am almost late for my plane. But I always hold the idea that if I haven't packed it, it means I don't need it and if I really do need it, it gives me an excuse to buy a new one. :D

I have a few posts on scheduled uploading, and I have timed them to spring up sporadically over the month, but not enough for a post every week. I might still blog now and then whilst on holiday, who knows? I have itchy fingers and I am sure to see a lot of new beauty stuff whilst on holiday that I cannot wait to tell the world about. Posting will, however, definitely be on a slower pace for the month, but I will be back in full force come October.

See ya laters!

Quick Review: The Body Shop Papaya Body Butter
I picked up a The Body Shop body butter recently when the bf did a haul there - he loves their Tea Tree Oil series because it works well with his oily skin. I kind of just dropped this into the basket and so actually got it for free. :D I find the prices for the body butters and various body products to be ridiculously high without their regular sales, so I rarely shop there. This was actually pretty cheap - I think it was a purchase with purchase, less than S$10 with purchase of $50 on regular items. This was some time ago though, so I doubt that the sale is still available.

Product Description on Website:
An intensive, creamy all-over body moisturizer. It absorbs into the skin easily, helping to condition, soften and smooth the skin providing up to 24 hours non-stop moisturization.

First of all, I adore the scent. It's so amazing! It smells just like fresh papaya and I wish they had a perfume in this scent. My bf never fails to say that I smell great whenever I have this on. I even love smelling myself after putting this on. :P

In terms of texture, it's very thick and you'll have to kind of dig your finger in it in order to get some product out but it does get a lot creamier as you rub it in. I like to place some between my palms, rub them together, before spreading them out on the rest of my body. For such a thick cream, it is surprisingly not greasy at all! After rubbing it in, it sort of just melts into the skin, leaving it nice and smooth and smelling fantastic. I find that this works wonders for my usually very dry and scaly legs.

Love. If it wasn't so expensive to buy it on its own, I would be stockpiling it.

Review: Revlon PhotoReady™ Cream Blush in Flushed
I recently found the Revlon Photoready Cream Blush quietly springing up in various Watson with a sale sign on it and picked up one out of the three available for S$19.90. I haven't seen any promotional stands for this which I am actually quite surprised about so I am not sure if its a permanent product or not.

Claims from website:

  • Creamy blush provides buildable, beautiful flush of color

  • Lightweight formula with silky soft feel on skin

  • Blends evenly over cheeks for smooth application

  • Photochromatic pigments bend and reflect light to provide cheeks with a beautiful glow

The cream blush comes in a flat round pot that opens by unscrewing the top lid. It contains 12.4g of product. I'm annoyed that the sticker is so off-center but otherwise the packaging is actually quite light weight and nice.

I bought mine in the shade Flushed, which looks really quite scary in the pot but isn't actually that pigmented on the face. In the heavy finger swatch below (on the right), it looks fuschia but when blended out it actually translates to a really soft pink (on the left). I believe it can be built up to a stronger colour for people with darker skin, but I am fairly pale so I just do one light layer and blend it in really well.

I find the easiest way to apply is with a stipple brush - I use the Real Techniques Stipple Brush, and it blends out nicely. I am not a fan of using finger tips to tap it in as I find that all it does is push the product around my face rather than really blending it in. For this product, I find that if I use my fingers, more product gets onto my fingers than my face and it tends to be more pigmented where my fingers last touched. I don't particularly like having a pink finger mark on my face so I think the best bet is with a stipple brush.

In terms of texture, I think it's really light weight, non greasy, non sticky and actually dries down to a "powdery" and very smooth feel. It looks very natural, just like a natural flush. I have very dry skin and this product doesn't actually last that long on me, there's nothing left on my cheeks past the 6hours mark - so I suspect the lasting power will be even less for people with oily skin.

In all, I actually really like this. For a cream blush, I love that it's easily blended out to a soft natural pink and the fact that it dries down so well that I don't really need to set it with another powder like some other cream products. I don't mind the short lasting power as I tend not to use cream powders during the longer work days as they require more work. On weekends, I just want to look really naturally pretty for about half the day that I'm hanging out and this ticks the box. If you're like me, then you might want to give this a go as well. :)

NOTD: Sweet Berries
A rather vampy look that I have been spotting on my nails lately; I don't usually go for such dark colours for work, but have been surprisingly loving it. I find it makes me look slightly more mature, and adds a little bit of glamour to my daily routine.

Products used:
1. Essence Home Sweet Home Nail Polish Gel Shine in 04 Berry Me Home
2. Rimmel Pro Super Wear Ultra Shine Topcoat

Let me know what have you been spotting on your nails? :)

Review: The Body Shop Tea Tree Face Mask
Hi everyone! I'm back with a review! I think this might be my first mask review - I actually do use tons of masks, just never got around to reviewing them so now's the time to change that! I love masks and I really enjoy the peace that it gives me; I love just lying back and doing absolutely nothing while the masks work their magic on my face. My better half loves it too and always bugs me to put on some kind of face masks on him, which I find rather cute and amusing. Anyway, on to my first mask review on The Body Shop Tea Tree Face Mask!

Full Ingredients:
Aqua (Solvent/Diluent), Kaolin (Absorbent), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Glycerin (Humectant), Myristyl Myristate (Emollient), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), PEG-100 Stearate (Surfactant), Ethylhexyl Palmitate (Skin Conditioning Agent), Propanediol (Viscosity Modifier), Alcohol Denat. (Solvent/Diluent), Caprylyl Glycol (Skin Conditioning Agent), Cyclopentasiloxane (Skin-Conditioning Agent/Emollient), Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil (Skin Conditioning Agent), Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil (Natural Additive), Cyclohexasiloxane (Chelating Agent), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Disodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Menthol (Cooling Agent), Limonene (Natural Additive), Leptospermum Petersonii Oil (Natural Additive), t-Butyl Alcohol (Denaturant), Denatonium Benzoate (Denaturant), Tocopherol (Antioxidant), CI 77289 (Colour), CI 77492 (Colour).

I have absolutely no science knowledge, so I have no comments on the quality of the ingredients whatsoever. Read it if you understand it. :) Otherwise, you can be like me and judge it on how it feels on and reacts with your skin, rather than what is in it.

In case you have no idea how to put on a face mask, I have included a picture with all the instructions above. I usually leave it on for more than the 15 minutes instructed, just because it takes me so long to put it on all over my face that I really don't want to leave it on for so short a time. The product itself is green in colour and the texture is really thick, which can make it rather hard to apply; I usually use a flat foundation brush to apply it to make it easier to spread. It does not dry hard, so the way to take it off will be to rinse it off.

Claims from website:
A cooling mask to help remove impurities and absorb excess oil whilst soothing and calming blemish prone skin. Skin feels deeply cleansed, calm and refreshed.

If you can't stand the smell of tea tree oil, I would say stay clear of this because the scent is really rather strong. Applied, I can feel a little stinging and cooling effect on my skin, and I feel rather refreshed and awake using it. However, after washing off the mask, I don't see any difference or benefits to my skin. I used it quite frequently during a period of time when I had crazy breakouts, and I don't feel that it's made the breakouts stop or dry/heal faster. I also don't notice that any impurities are removed as claimed, and my clogged pores appear the same; unless they mean surface dirt - then I could just as easily remove that with a cleanser.

In all, I like it in terms of texture and feeling on my skin, but I don't think that the effects - of lifting away impurities as claimed - are very apparent. I doubt that I will be repurchasing it.

Sample Testing #3: Astalift Jelly Aquarysta
A recent rummage into my huge box of sample-sized products reminded me of these series of "Sample Testing" post, which I have neglected for nearly a year! I thought it was time to revisit it, as well as use up my stash! Today's sample testing will be on Astalift Jelly Aquarysta, which I received sometime ago from my subscription of beauty boxes.

What is Sample Testing?
So what is different about sample testing versus reviews? Well, essentially these are also reviews, but a shorter version with more focus on initial thoughts. Most of the products featured will also be products that may need a longer time to review such as skincare and foundation, which is why the focus of the series is on initial thoughts and if I will buy the full size after using the samples.

From Website:
This revolutionary skincare formula targets the visible signs of premature ageing: dark spots, lines and dull skin, delivering younger, more luminous and ‘replumped’ looking skin. The unique red jelly contains the smallest of micro particles that penetrate the skin immediately delivering active ingredients deep into skin cells. This patented innovation combines a marine alga rich in Astaxanthin – a powerful natural antioxidant – with various types of collagen to improve skin’s moisture levels, firmness and elasticity. Ceramides restore the skin’s natural barrier while emollients provide optimal hydration. Collagens and hydrolyzed lupin peptides help stimulate the production of elastin fibers to make the skin firmer and smoother. This breakthrough anti-ageing phenomenon is the number one premium skincare product in Japan. Results are remarkable. Available in 15g, 40g and 60g sizes.

I received a rather small sample of it, which surprisingly lasted a really long time - I used it consistently for over a week at night and still have some left. The texture is really interesting as it really looks like an orange-coloured jelly, and is actually quite hard to pick up with fingers due to its slimy, squish-able and slippery feel - ever tried to pick up jelly with fingers?! I actually find it quite fun. :P I believe the full size actually comes with a spoon to counter this problem.

Applied, it feels very lightweight. I find that it pretty much just melts onto the skin and disappears, although I did feel a slight tightening feeling on my skin. And no, it does not turn my face into an orange shade like an Oompa-Loompa; it really just disappears! I still use a night cream after this as I don't think this is meant to be a cream but rather like a serum/essence, as the focus is on anti-aging, dark spots and dull skin.

After a week of using, I feel that my skin looks better - I don't have obvious wrinkles yet, but I still noticed a difference to my skin texture and pigmentation. It's like I have tinted moisturiser on when I don't, and my large pores and old pimple scars look a little blurred. I will be repurchasing this in full size to see if it can help reduce/remove my scars further. I will keep you updated so keep checking back! :)