Tuesday, December 31, 2013
For my last post of 2013, I thought it would be appropriate to do a personal post rather than a review or tutorial. I was recently tagged by Chloe of Oh So Wai to do the "30 Random Facts About Me" tag so let's see if I can reflect on the past year and share some things about me at the same time.
1. Every year I seem to think the year has flown by but I actually don't feel that way about 2013. This has been one of the longest, most jam packed years I have ever had and so far, I think it's probably one of the best years I've had in my life.
2. I turned 21 years old this month and celebrated it by having a regular dinner at home with my mom, boyfriend and two close childhood friends. We had some cake and watched "The Kings of Summer" which is pretty much what I wanted for my birthday.
3. There was absolutely no sarcasm in my previous fact and I sometimes joke that I'm a 50 year old trapped in a 21 year old body.
4. I recently read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and I cried about a half dozen times from beginning to end. I highly recommend it and am looking forward to reading other books by the same author.
5. I dislike Facebook culture because it's all "look at me, look at what I'm doing" but at the same time blogging feels that way sometimes. In that sense, I'm quite torn although I try to monitor myself and prevent myself from sounding like a braggart.
6. My favorite television shows include Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Parks and Recreation. Orange is the New Black is one of my favorite shows of 2013 and I can't wait for the next season!
7. I really love to eat whether it's a $1 slice of pizza, tropical fruit from a road side stall in Malaysia or a pricey slab of steak served medium rare.
8. I tried to eat cleaner and go to the gym a few times a week for about a month in the fall but my busy schedule and lack of dedication prevailed. I need to get back on track for 2014 and strive toward a healthier lifestyle.
9. I don't know what I would do without my treasured daily planner. I meticulously write things down as I have very bad memory and making lists helps a lot with organizing my activities. Sometimes I plan out my days by hour in iCalendar to be more efficient.
10. Although I am not religious, I have a fascination with visiting religious sites and monuments. From cathedrals to monasteries, I'm interested in the architecture and aura of these places.
11. I have one more semester of college left before I graduate. My major is Corporate Communications and I plan to have a career in public relations.
12. There are few greater joys in life than being able to pet a friendly animal like a dog or cat. In a few years when I've moved out and settled in an apartment of my own, I hope to adopt a cat.
13. I have more fond memories of being in high school than college but I definitely grew more as a person throughout my college years.
14. I have worked in retail twice for a total of 10 months. Working in retail taught me a lot of useful skills from how to deal with difficult people to how to fold clothes really well. I think it was an invaluable life experience and think that everyone should work in the service industry at least once.
15. I rarely drink alcohol and have really pathetic tolerance. I don't like the taste of anything I have tried before and would rather use my calories on other things.
16. I got my driver's license over a year ago but rarely drive and I have never been behind the wheel without anyone else in the car. I feel a lot better when my boyfriend sits in the passenger's seat in the event that something might go wrong. I don't plan on driving a lot in the future since I mostly take public transportation anyway.
17. I'm shocked by how many people assume I am not American due to the way I look and how my name sounds. Especially when I was abroad, people constantly thought English was not my first language which actually offended me. It's a silly thing to be offended about but it irks me nonetheless.
18. I hate flying on airplanes, especially if the flights are over five hours. I prefer taking ground transport such as trains because the view is nicer.
19. I love driving at night. Or I guess I love being driven at night since I dislike driving. There's something very therapeutic about the darkness and the emptiness of the road.
20. I say "like" way too much and I hate it.
21. I need at least seven hours of sleep at night to function at full capacity the next day. I get really annoying headaches and have difficulty concentrating with six and a half hours of sleep.
22. I do not drink coffee regularly and even when I do, I don't seem to notice much improvement in my energy. I prefer my coffee with a lot of milk and sugar which is probably not a good thing.
23. I used to keep a very detailed inventory of my makeup collection in a word document. But eventually I became quite ashamed at how much I was accumulating and stopped keeping track.
24. Acne is still something I struggle with on and off. All of the people who told me it was a teenage problem lied. Luckily I'm a lot better at hiding blemishes with makeup and can usually clear them with skincare within a few days.
25. I would possibly get a tattoo but don't know what it would be and where it would go. I also would not tell anyone about it and make it very discreet as it would be a personal reminder rather than a public spectacle.
26. I think I've been getting pretty good at relaxing and going with the flow compared to past years. This year has definitely lowered my anxiety and nervousness and made me a more confident and reassured person.
27. My mom helped me dye my hair yesterday with a box of Revlon ColorSilk. It was my first time dyeing my hair at home and it came out pretty unevenly but I spent under $3 and I'm not too attached to my hair. I just wanted to do something different because I haven't changed my hair color in more than three years.
28. Natural lighting is very important to me and I try to rely on it as much as possible. I hope to have a home with huge windows facing west in the future so I can watch the sun set. When I lived in Amsterdam, I watched the sun set almost everyday and the sky would be an incredible watercolor-like painting of blue, pink and orange hues.
29. I am so glad to have met many wonderful bloggers and to have the chance to connect with them in real life. I rarely talk about blogging or my love for the beauty industry and all that type of stuff with other friends but blogging friends just get it. This past year I've been able to meet up with a few awesome ladies and can't wait for our future gatherings!
30. Tomorrow, I will spend the first day of 2014 on an airplane headed for South Korea. It will be the tenth country I will visit in 12 months! I am beyond excited that I am going with four of my closest girl friends and I'm sure the next two weeks will be incredibly rewarding.
I want to tag the following people (in no particular order) to share 30 things about themselves:
Lil Lady's Life
BeautyRedefined by Pang
That Je Ne Sais Quoi
Beauty Is Not Caused
Starry Eyed Beauty
Thank you for reading and I hope 2013 was a good year for you all! I can't wait to see what 2014 brings!
Sunday, December 29, 2013
This is the second part of my Coastal Scents brush haul and I recommend you read my last post about the face brushes I ordered to get a sense of my overall impressions of the brushes, company and order experience. I ordered twelve different eye brushes and besides the Pro Blending Fluff (BR-250), which was about $2.50 after the 50% Black Friday discount, each brush costed me less than $2 each. So even if there isn't a sale, almost every eye brush will set you back about $4.
- Classic Blender Synthetic (BR-C-S06) - This is a basic synthetic hair blending brush in a similar shape to the Pro Blending Fluff. The bristles are soft and splay out less on the sides than the Pro Blending Fluff. This will make a fine brush for applying and blending a transition color in the crease.
- Pro Blending Fluff (BR-250) - I bought two of the Pro Blending Fluff brushes because they are supposed to be a dupe of the MAC 217, which is one of my most reached for eye brushes. The Coastal Scents version is a bit less dense and a smidge less soft but still comparable and will make a fine blending brush.
- Classic Shadow Medium Natural (BR-C-N02) - This is quite a large dome eyeshadow brush that is very soft and dense. I think this will be great for packing on shadow for people with large eyelids but as I have small lids, this would be better to sheer out color all over the lid or for a highlight under the brow bone.
- Classic Shadow Medium Synthetic (BR-C-S02) - This is the synthetic version of the previous brush and is equally shaped and soft but with a little less give. I prefer synthetic brushes for blending out cream products so I will most likely use this to apply and blend out cream shadows.
- Classic Blender Doefoot Synthetic (BR-C-S07) - I was very excited to get my fingers on this brush because it has a unique slanted shape and looks perfect for blending out cream shadows and adding a bit of color to the outer corner of the eye. I do not have any other brush that looks like this and think it's a great "specialty" brush for the price.
- Classic Brow Synthetic (BR-C-S14) - I'm not really sure why this is labeled as a brow brush as it looks more like a smudge brush to me. I love the Japonesque Travel Smudge Brush in my Wantable box so I wanted a full sized version in my collection. This Coastal Scents brush is very soft and I think I will get a lot of use out of this. I want to get the natural haired version of this next time around.
- Classic Shadow Dome Synthetic (BR-C-S04) - This is another unique brush to my collection and one that looks great for applying a concentrated eyeshadow to the outer corner of the eye. The super soft synthetic bristles make it perfect for blending cream shadows as well.
- Classic Shadow Angle Natural (BR-C-N05) - Without a doubt, this is the most disappointing brush out of the entire haul because this brush sheds like crazy. I am not sure if I received a defect or if all the N05 brushes are this poorly made but hairs come out left and right when I stroke the brush. The brush is now very sparse and not dense enough to do much of anything.
- Classic Detail Round Synthetic (BR-C-S12) - I'm not sure what I plan on doing with this brush yet because it can be used for a variety of things. Perhaps I could use it for very fine detail work like placing color on the inner corner of my eyes but most likely I will turn it into an eyeliner brush or a smudger brush. This could also work as a spot concealer brush.
- Classic Angled Liner Medium Synthetic (BR-C-S18) - The last three brushes are all angled liner brushes in different sizes. I love angled liner brushes whether I am setting pencil liner with eyeshadow or applying cream liner. Although the S18 is called the medium brush, it actually is the smallest of the three brushes.
- Classic Angled Liner Synthetic (BR-C-S10) - This brush is the most "regular" sized angled liner brush and would probably also make a good brow brush.
- Classic Angled Liner Large Synthetic (BR-C-S19) - The large angled liner brush is indeed large and I'm hoping it won't be too big to comfortably line my eyes. It might take one or two times to get used to the size of this brush but I have high hopes that it'll be great.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season filled with lots of friends, family and food! December has been particularly busy for me so my blog has been a tad neglected. For one thing, this haul was placed on Black Friday and I've been meaning to post about these Coastal Scents brushes weeks ago. But from now until January 2nd, Coastal Scents is having a 40% off everything offer so it actually worked out to be pretty good timing to place an order now.
I ordered six face brushes and 12 eye brushes so I'm splitting the reviews to cover face and eye brushes separately. Ordering and shipping was a cinch with Coastal Scents and I had a good experience overall. Orders over $50 ship free and my packaged was shipped on a Sunday when I placed the order in the wee hours of Black Friday. For the Black Friday offer, everything was 50% off so every one of these brushes cost me less than $5! Everything was wrapped very diligently and I got a free eyeshadow quad sample. Now onto each of the brushes starting from the top most brush pictured above going clockwise.
- Bionic Flat Top Buffer (BR-110) - This brush is a wannabe version of the Sigma F-80, one of my favorite brushes for applying foundation. The Coastal Scents "dupe" is less dense and more flimsy but the hairs are very soft and work well at buffing in liquid foundation and concealer. There were a few stray hairs sticking out of this brush but I just took a pair of scissors and trimmed the uneven bits. I ordered two of these brushes thinking I'd fall in love and want a back-up. This brush doesn't beat the F-80 but it's definitely a cheaper alternative and one I would recommend to beginners.
- Classic Fan Natural (BR-C-N36) - This is the only natural haired face brush I ordered and it's the least soft out of the bunch. This fan brush is very large and not very dense so it's great for a light dusting of powder or bronzer. When I washed this brush, the water came away gray for about three rinses so make sure you wash your brushes very thoroughly before using them! This is a nice to have but not a must have.
- Classic Round Duo Fiber Synthetic (BR-C-S26) - This tiny duo-fiber brush is great for applying pigmented cream blushes and highlighters. The brush is well made and the fibers are very soft. I do not have any faults to point out and am very pleased with this purchase. This was definitely worth the $3.48 I paid!
- Classic Buffer Small Synthetic (BR-C-S28) - If you're looking for a dense brush to blend out foundation seamlessly, forget the Bionic Flat Top and get this instead. The Classic Buffer Brush surprised me by how small and dense it was while being incredibly soft and firm. One flaw is that even after three washes, the bristles of this brush still leak dye. This is one of the least expensive brushes as well as I paid only $2.48 for it. I have been using this constantly to apply foundation, BB cream and concealer since I received it and I regret not picking up a back up of this! This brush is also available in a larger size which I really want to try out as well.
- Classic Stippling Synthetic (BR-C-S31) - This large duo fiber brush is similar to the famous Mac 187 which I almost shelled out for. The Coastal Scents version only costed me $3.48 while the Mac brush retails for $42. This large brush is not dense at all so it works wonderfully at applying pigmented blush and bronzer in a subtle way. I think also would make a nice powder brush if you just want to take down the sheen of a base. The hairs on this stippling brush are very soft and feel nice on the face.
- Classic Large Tapered Powder Synthetic (BR-C-S43) - Last, but not least, is the large powder brush that I had expected to be, well, larger. Nonetheless, this brush is very soft and the paddle shape works well to distribute powder evenly and lightly. This is a nice basic brush to have, especially for beginners.
I wanted to show the full length of these brushes compared to some other face brushes in my collection that are quite popular. On the far left you can see the E.L.F Studio Complexion Brush and on the far right, the Real Techniques Buffing Brush. Both look rather squat next to the ginormously long Coastal Scents brushes. Aside from the Bionic Buffer and Round Duo Fiber Synthetic, all the other brushes have very long handles which are quite annoying if you need to get really close up to a mirror for application or if you want to pack your brushes for travel. As someone who likes to bring inexpensive brushes during trips for fear of damaging or losing my more expensive ones, this is a huge inconvenience. The brush handles are very light and this aspect coupled with the length makes them seem cheaper.
Watch the video below to hear more about the brushes and see them from various angles!
All in all, despite some shedding, dye issues and the annoyingly long handles, I'm very pleased with the Coastal Scents face brushes I ordered. For the price, these are very good brushes and I highly recommend checking out the website while they have the 40% offer.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Majolica Majorca's Creme de Cheek Blush is a dainty liquid blush that hails from the world of Japanese drugstore beauty. Packaged in a tiny frosted glass bottle that makes it look like a nail polish, Creme de Cheek certainly earns the title of cutest blush in my collection. I picked up the shade PK312 while I was in Singapore for two days but I wish I had grabbed all four shades because this is becoming one of my most prized makeup possessions.
Unsuspecting people really might confuse this with a nail polish because the applicator is a standard nail polish brush as well. But for the liquid formula, the brush actually comes in quite handy. Before opening the bottle, a quick shake is in order to recombine the formula which tends to separate. One dip of the brush and three dabs on each cheek is all you need for a noticeable flush. The bottle is super small and the price is somewhere from $10-$15 so it's not exactly a budget drugstore product but a little goes a long way.
Although the consistency of the product is truly liquid and akin to water, it is pigmented. I wanted to show you the full force of how it looks before blending and how a miniscule amount looks blended out to get the perfect pink hue on your cheeks. There is a tiny bit of sheen in PK312 but it does not translate to glitter or sparkle. This blush lasts for about ten hours on me before fading and looks very natural when blended out with a brush. I prefer using brushes to apply cream products because I hate getting my fingers dirty but you can surely use your fingers to blend this out if you're on the go. I featured this blush in my recent favorites post. I demonstrate in the video how I apply this blush so check that out if you're curious.
There is no fault that I can find with the Majolica Majorca Creme de Cheek Blush other than the availability. If you can somehow locate this, you need this in your life.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
There's no better time to whip out the red lip colors than Christmas-time and Catrice's Ultimate Colour Lipstick in Step Red Up is the perfect red for me! I purchased this drugstore lipstick in Amsterdam and although it was only a few months ago, it's felt like ages since I was there. I gravitated toward to the rich blue-toned red but didn't have the heart to even swatch it until a few weeks ago because I love the look of a never-been-touched lipstick bullet. Well, it's a good thing I finally tried it because I absolutely love it!
These lipsticks retail for €3.99 and are absolutely worth the price. Step Red Up is my favorite red lipstick in my collection at the moment and I can't believe how affordable it is. The price is right and the packaging is nothing short of awesome. The sleek black tube has a nice weight to it and the brand name is inscribed into the lipstick bullet. All shades are conveniently labeled on the bottom of the tube which is very helpful.
The Catrice Ultimate Colour Lipsticks are highly pigmented, creamy and non drying. The color stays on well and leaves a flattering stain after a few hours. The lipsticks have a slight sheen when applied but can be blotted for a more matte look. Step Red Up is a cool toned red which makes my teeth look whiter and is the perfect bold lip. Wearing bright colors takes a bit of practice to get your confidence up if you're originally shy about rocking a bright pout. But once you try it, you'll wonder why you hadn't done it sooner.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Christmas is just about here and that means you only have a few more days to get your hands on the limited edition goodies from Lush! For this holiday season, I'm working part time as a seasonal sales associate at Lush so I've had plenty of time to get to know the products. Here are my top five favorite holiday products that I highly recommend and urge you to check out before they're gone!
Rose Jam Shower Gel - The rose jam scent is my absolute favorite from Lush and also comes in the form of Rose Jam Bubbleroon and Ro's Argan Body Conditioner. The shower gel is great because I can use it daily and still feel pampered without all the hassle of filling the bath or adding an extra step with a body conditioner. Ingredients like argan oil and vanilla pod infusion also make this shower gel extra special and give your skin a little extra moisturization.
Celebrate Body Lotion - Celebrate is a citrus champagne lotion that pairs brilliantly with Rose Jam. I didn't fall in love with this lotion until I used it after showering with Rose Jam but I'm so glad I found this combination. Celebrate is thick and creamy but blends into the skin nicely so I don't feel greasy. It's a gorgeous body moisturizer if you've got dry skin!
Sandy Santa Body Butter - This scrubby yet moisturizing bar is akin to Buffy in that it does double duty in the shower. Sandy Santa is the cutest little guy and smells citrus-y and refreshing. Sugar and sand do the exfoliating while murumuru butter from Brazil conditions the skin.
Gold FUN* - This limited edition 4-in-1 product can be used as a soap, shampoo, bubble bath and play-doh-esque toy in the tub. Other colors are available all year round but Gold FUN is special in that it has beautiful fine, golden shimmers and it smells like Honey I Washed The Kids. I used to be ambivalent towards Honey I Washed The Kids but now it's one of my favorite scents. Go figure!
Shoot for the Stars - This bath bomb has the Honey I Washed The Kids scent and is one of the most stunningly beautiful bath bombs. The night sky inspired design looks like a work of art and turns your bath water into a stunning array of blues, yellows and pinks.
Watch the video below to hear more about each of these amazing products!
Did you get anything from Lush's holiday collections this year? What are your favorites?
*Full disclosure: I received my bar of Gold FUN for free during my training with Lush but I chose it myself out of a basket of goodies. I bought all of the other products that were mentioned. I was not obligated to do this post whatsoever and simply enjoy using Lush products!
*Full disclosure: I received my bar of Gold FUN for free during my training with Lush but I chose it myself out of a basket of goodies. I bought all of the other products that were mentioned. I was not obligated to do this post whatsoever and simply enjoy using Lush products!
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Between school and two part time jobs, I don't have much down time nowadays, thus the shortage of blog posts this month. But when I'm not too exhausted at the end of the night, I'll try to pop on a sheet mask to soothe and revitalize my skin so I don't look like a dull, ashy zombie. The My Scheming Masks are a favorite of many Asian girls and guys and the Milk Extract Brightening version is worth a look.
The best thing about My Scheming masks are the generous amount of serum in each pack. You get 30ml which is more than you need for 15-30 minutes of masking. The Milk Extract version has a very light serum with a very watery consistency. The cotton is soft and thin and a good size for my face. Sometimes masks can be too big or small, making the masking process slightly uncomfortable or less effective when not every inch of your skin is covered properly.
The Milk Extract mask has virtually no scent which is rare for Asian sheet masks. If you have sensitive skin and can't tolerate fragrance, this is a good one to try. This mask was especially cooling and soothing on my skin.
While I liked the Milk Extract Brightening Mask overall, it didn't seem to produce very noticeable brightening. I would say it's still worth a try and a nice booster moisturizing mask to add to your skincare routine. You can buy a box of 10 sheets from Sasa.com for $13.10 but the price is definitely cheaper in places like Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Have you tried My Scheming masks? What are your favorite sheet masks?
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
My favorites posts have been very sparse and sporadic this year but that's not to say I haven't discovered many beauty loves. On the contrary, I actually have a lot of amazing goodies that I've been using throughout the year but I can't possibly mention every single product in a favorite post. That would certainly undermine the point of a favorites post! But I've rounded up a few pieces that I've been reaching for over and over again for the past few weeks and wanted to share one last favorites before 2013 is over!
Lush Rose Jam Shower Gel - This limited edition for the holidays shower gel smells exactly like Ro's Argan Body Conditioner and Rose Jam Bubbleroon and is my favorite Lush scent. This shower gel contains vanilla pod infusion, argan oil and a combination of rose and lemon oils to moisturize the skin. I bought the huge 500ml bottle because I need this to last until next Christmas....
The Body Shop Honeymania Body Butter - I introduced this lotion in my recent The Body Shop haul and have been turning to it almost daily. The sweet floral scent is lovely and the rich creamy texture makes my skin softer and prevents it from drying out. It's definitely worth a look (or sniff) if you happen to pass a The Body Shop store.
ItCosmetics Powder Brush - I recently purchased the Heavenly Luxe 6-pc Brush Collection with Travel Case from ItCosmetics and the powder brush is definitely my favorite of the bunch. This synthetic brush is one of the softest brushes I own and applies powder really beautifully. The brush has a nice weight and is well made. I hope to add more ItCosmetics brushes to my stash in the future.
Majolica Majorca Creme de Cheek Blush in PK312 - I have been rotating between a few blushes depending on if I'm wearing warm or cool toned eyeshadows and this liquid blush by Majolica Majorca is a favorite if I'm sporting some purple hues. This beautifully packaged drugstore blush is only readily available in East Asia and I picked mine up in Singapore. I now wish I had grabbed all four shades because these are a dream to apply and last for ten hours before fading. Just three dots on each cheek yields the perfect flush of color!
Catrice Lip Glow - In the tube, this lippie looks like a translucent orange but once applied, it transforms into a pretty fuschia color. This is one of those products that is supposed to adjust to your body chemistry and look different for everyone. While it's not moisturizing, it's not drying either and gives you the look of a lip tint without the mess that comes with liquid stains.
Catrice Ultimate Color Lipstick in Step Red Up - I'm kind of kicking myself for not stocking up on more Catrice lipsticks because they are such good quality for a bargain price. This is one of my favorite red lipsticks at the moment because it has fantastic pigmentation and good lasting power. The cream finish is comfortable to wear and the blue tones in the red make my teeth look slightly whiter. Love this!
Holika Holika Peach Girl BB Cream - I picked this up in Malaysia after reading several positive reviews about this particular BB Cream. The coverage is medium and buildable and the finish is a perfect satin finish. My skin is evened out and brightened whenever I wear this BB Cream and it's one of my favorite bases at the moment.
If you're curious to see how I apply the blush and how the Catrice Lip Glow looks when applied, watch the video below!
What are some of your recent favorites? Have you tried out any of the products I mentioned?
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Last month I attended a preview of the Shiseido and Clé de Peau Beauté Spring 2014 collections and got a sneak peek at the new skincare and makeup products that will debuting soon. How exciting!
Shiseido is best known for their innovative skincare products but they are really stepping up their game in terms of color cosmetics. How often do you come across a true red cream eyeshadow?
One of the most intriguing products I swatched that day were the Lacquer Glosses which are highly pigmented lipglosses. There is a wide array of shades and I'm thinking these will be a hit when they debut. There will also be new shades of the Lacquer Rouges which are opaque liquid lipsticks that are already available for purchase.
The White Lucent Total Brightening Serum is new and improved along with several other luxe additions that skincare fanatics should be excited about. There were Shiseido representatives at each station who were highly knowledgeable and well trained to explain the concepts and research behind each new product. Being able to hear the information first hand and ask questions made me feel more confident about the effectiveness of these new releases.
Clé de Peau is famous for their concealer stick but they have a range of skincare as well. I was able to demo their Illuminating Concentrate Mask on my hand at the event and it's definitely a nice splurge right before an important event. The three step mask seems a bit excessive but if the results are that good, it's worth the extra effort, right?
Can we all take a moment to admire the beautifully simple design of Clé de Peau makeup? The fine shimmers and shiny packaging are so gorgeous and exquisite.
I couldn't leave out the doughnut wall designed by Jae Yong Kim that was probably the most Instagrammed piece of the whole day. The event took place at the lovely Waterfall Mansion in the Upper East Side and various art works were displayed throughout the building.
I received a generous number of products to test out and review which you can expect to see on the blog come February. Yes, I know it's a long wait but until then, Shiseido has a cool campaign for the holidays called #ShareTheEma which you can participate in too! Head on over to Shiseido's Facebook page to share a digital ema (a wish or prayer) and be entered in a chance to win some limited edition goodies. Five well-wishers will be selected to win each month! Let me know what new products look the most interesting to you and if you shared a digital wish!
Monday, December 2, 2013
Where was this polish in April when I was in Amsterdam celebrating Queen's Day?! This Zoya PixieDust polish from the Summer 2013 collection is practically a homage to Queen Beatrix who stepped down this year to let her son be king. Every year on Queen's Day (now it will be King's Day) the Netherlands is covered in orange and it would have been so perfect if I had this sparkly number with me when I was in Amsterdam.
Zoya's PixieDust polishes retail for $9 and feature a matte base color with tons of shiny, reflective glitter pieces suspended in the formula. The polish is meant to be worn sans base and top coat so I always reach for these when I'm pressed for time. Out of all the PixieDust polishes that Zoya sent to me for consideration, Beatrix reigns in the top three for sure. This polish is very pigmented and two coats yields opaque coverage. The vibrant mandarin orange is suitable for all skintones and is perfect for summer time.
Perhaps the Dutch inspiration makes me biased because when I wear Beatrix I think of all the fond memories of my experience living in the Netherlands. But the formula and incredible sparkle factor make my love for this polish totally justified and I highly recommend this polish. I wish I had tried this polish earlier when summer was still around but hey, this could potentially be a nice accent nail to an all red mani for the holidays as well!
Friday, November 29, 2013
I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving and a safe Black Friday if you participated in the shopping frenzy. I chose to stay at home to digest my massive Thanksgiving meal and opted to add items to an online cart from the comforts of my bed. Thank you internet shopping! Thanksgiving has come and gone and that means Christmas shopping has officially begun. Here's the next installment of my 2013 gift guide!
Luxurious spa gifts are perfect for reminding loved ones and special people in your life that they deserve a pamper session every once in awhile. I for one love relaxing in the comforts of my own home, taking a nice long bath or steamy shower and slathering on beautiful body butters before treating my skin to a moisturizing mask. Here are some ideas that are sure to please those who crave a spa experience!
Lush Jolly Hollydays ($49.95) - Lush had a multitude of brilliantly wrapped gifts for the holidays every year and Jolly Hollydays is definitely my favorite gift out of the lot this year. This set is perfect for someone who's never experienced Lush or a seasoned Lushie because it has a wide variety of top sellers and scents. I am head over heels in love with Rose Jam Shower Gel and Buffy is a great body scrub.
My Beauty Diary Yellow All In One Pack (15pcs+ 1 eye mask) ($19.50) - I'm all for a sheet mask before bed two to three times a week and the My Beauty Diary sets are a great way to try several "flavors". This set contains the Bird's Nest Mask which is one of my favorite sheet masks of all time. At less than $2 per mask, this is a very affordable yet luxe gift.
Rituals Yogi Flow Foaming Shower Gel Sensation ($15) - This is a product I thought I wouldn't be able to get outside of Europe as Rituals doesn't have any freestanding stores in the U.S. I was browsing Barneys' website and stumbled upon Rituals and did a little happy dance! I featured the Yogi Flow Shower Gel in my May Favorites and have been saving my full sized bottle. This is such a unique product that transforms from a gel to a foamy wash and smells amazing. This is another awesome add-on to any gift!
Laura Mercier 'Crème Brûlée' Bath & Body Luxe Set ($80) - I've never tried the Laura Mercier bath and body care products because they're quite pricey but I've smelled the entire line and loved every single scent. This set contains everything you need to transform your bathroom into a spa, including a candle! Really, how can you say no to this amazing set of bath formula, body scrub and body cream?
Clarins 7 Wonders Skincare Set ($49.50) - This Clarins offering is chock full of goodies from the popular lip conditioner to a body lotion to an eye makeup remover. While I haven't tried all of the products from this set, I certainly wouldn't mind receiving this as a gift! It's a nice way to sample various Clarins favorites and take care of every bit of your body from your face to your hands.
The Body Shop Honeymania Body Butter ($20) - As you could probably tell from my previous post of all my The Body Shop loot, I'm really in love with the products I bought this time around. The Honeymania Body Butter smells great and moisturizes really well. If you want to construct your own mixed bag of spa goodies, definitely include a tub of this!
Are you a fan of spa themed gifts for the holidays? Did you purchase anything for Black Friday or are you waiting for Cyber Monday? I'd love to read all about your shopping adventures thus far in the holiday season!
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The Body Shop was doing a Buy Three Get Three Free offer and I couldn't resist ordering a few products I've been longing to try for awhile. I spent a few hours adding and removing things from my cart (while making first world problem complaints to my boyfriend) and finally settled on three bodycare and three skincare items. Woohoo, no makeup made it into the cart! Let's take a peak at what I purchased and my initial impressions of the products I've tried once or twice. In-depth reviews will definitely follow in the weeks to come once I've tested each item a bit more but I wanted to get this post up in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday!
Honeymania Body Butter ($20) - The new Honeymania line smells sweet and amazing but not really like other honey scents I've smelled in other beauty ranges. Nonetheless I really love this one and I don't think you can go wrong with the Body Shop's body butters. I've had the Lemon Body Butter before and really enjoyed that so I have high hopes for this one. The Honeymania Body Butter has a very thick consistency so I'm hoping it will nourish my parched skin throughout winter.
Honeymania Bubble Bath Melt ($14) - I have yet to try this product but I've been really into baths lately (20 years a shower girl and now I've finally realized how nice a bath is once a week or so!) and the scent of this is heavenly. The bath melt really looks like honey and for the price, you get a generous amount. I can't wait to try this out!
Brazil Nut Beautifying Oil ($14) - It was between another body butter or a body oil and I went for the oil mostly because it was a bit cheaper. The Brazil Nut line is geared toward very dry skin which is what I have on my body. Surprisingly, this oil is very light so I'm not covered in grease after moisturizing. I probably should have gone for the body butter if I wanted a more intense hydrated feeling but the body oil is also multipurpose and can be used on the face and hair. While I won't be using this on my face, I've applied it to my hair after a shower and it didn't weight it down at all. This is a great product to travel with and the scent is gorgeous!
Moisture White Shiso Cleansing Oil ($15) - I swear by cleansing oils to remove my makeup so I was excited to learn from a reader that the Body Shop actually carries two cleansing oils. I opted for the Shiso Cleansing Oil which is supposedly developed for Asian skin. While I doubt that it's actually more beneficial for Asian skin than any other skin ethnicity, I've used this once and it got the job done. I'm happy with this cleansing oil and think it's a nice option in the Western market.
Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter ($15) - In the winter my skin can get quite dry so I thought I'd look into trying a cleansing balm as a more moisturizing makeup remover. The cleansing butter seemed to have positive reviews so I took a chance and added it to my cart. Like the cleansing oil, I've only used this once but really liked the outcome as well. It works similarly to the cleansing oil after I warm up the balm in my hands a bit and I like that it emulsifies upon contact with water without the need for a muslin cloth to remove the excess.
Warming Mineral Mask ($17) - This purchase was a rather impromptu addition to my basket but I figured I could use another cleansing mask in my skincare routine as I only have one at the moment.... Yes, I have skincare hoarding issues. This mask contains kaolin to draw out impurities and is unique in that it heats up after you apply it to the skin. I've used this once so far and the heating sensation was soothing yet mildly alarming. I definitely need to use this product a few more times before I can say much more about it but so far, it's decent!
So far, I'm loving every product that I chose and am so tempted by the ongoing deals that The Body Shop has been churning out. Are you going to get any gifts from The Body Shop for friends and family? Any gifts for yourself? Let me know what your favorite The Body Shop products are!
Monday, November 25, 2013
Any of these gifts will be perfect for someone who loves makeup and beautiful colors. Bright pops of color will certainly dazzle while some of these gifts already come color coordinated to have you party ready in a pinch.
Nars Guy Bourdin One Night Stand Cheek Palette ($65) - Nars blushes are one of my all time favorite formulations and I'm lemming so hard for the Guy Bourdin One Night Stand Cheek Palette. The palette includes cult favorites such as Orgasm, Laguna and Deep Throat so it's perfect for those who don't have any of these shades. If you travel a lot, this handy palette has four different blushes shades, a bronzer and highlight to complement any look.
Stila Masterpiece Series Eye & Cheek Palettes ($39) - How cute is the packaging of this set of three eyeshadow and blush palettes from Stila? You get a handy neutral palette, a plum taupe palette that's perfect for the cooler seasons and a smokey purple palette. I've great luck with Stila palettes in the past (Merry & Bright and Sensational in Sydney) so I have faith that this would make an amazing gift.
Kevyn Aucoin Lips Well Red ($79) - If royal reds aren't perfect for the holidays, I don't know when you'd want to wear them. Although I've yet to try anything from Kevyn Aucoin, I've heard so many raves about the brand that I'm sure at least one of the four rich reds in the set has to be a winner.
Zoya PixieDust Summer 2013 Sampler ($54) - I've reviewed several of the Zoya PixieDust polishes and I usually love every one that I've tested. The sparkly neon colors brighten up my day and the formula is such a breeze to work with. I always reach for these polishes because I'm pressed for time and can't be bothered with a base and top coat!
Jouer Everyday Must Haves Signature Palette ($70) - This beautiful snap-together palette is perfect for someone who wants to play with neutral colors (caramel browns and baby pinks are colors too!). I really enjoy the Jouer lipgloss formula and have heard amazing things about their bronzer. This set takes the thinking out of everyday makeup and is perfect for that multitasking superwoman in your life.
What do you think? Any of these gifts making it into your cart? Share some of the colorful gifts that you've been eyeing this year!
Saturday, November 23, 2013
KIKO's Water Eyeshadows are some of the most metallic, pigmented eyeshadows I have ever had the pleasure of swatching. The Italian brand is widely available throughout Europe but hasn't made it's way to North America yet which is a shame since they have pretty amazing products. The Water Eyeshadow in 200 Champagne is a gorgeous super pale gold that gleams on the eyelids and will look stunning during the holiday season.
KIKO's packaging is usually very basic and chic and these eyeshadows come packaged in a square flip top casing. The brand concept reminds me of Mac but comes at a lower price point. The Water Eyeshadows retail for € 8.90 ($12) which is mid-range but a fair price for a unique product.
For the price you also get a lot of product, 3 grams or .11 ounces (that's double the size of a regular Mac eyeshadow). One of the cons to KIKO's products is that they only label the number name on the packaging but on their website they have actual shade names. It's quite difficult to remember numbers as shades, especially if you have several of the same kind of product.
The Water Eyeshadows have an interesting pattern and look almost like a rippling wave in the pan. The shadow protrudes out of the pan so it's wise to be cautious when opening the compact. The texture of the shadow is very smooth and almost creamy like a L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow. As you can see above, the shadow is really vibrant and eye catching. The shadows adhere nicely over primed eyes and last well throughout the day with minimal fading.
I absolutely love the formula of the KIKO Water Eyeshadows and think the metallic finish is perfect for parties and special occasions. Due to the highly metallic, frosty finish, it's not a shadow I reach for very often but I can get away with using it on the inner corners of my eyes. It's definitely a keeper and one I would recommend you check out if you ever happen upon a KIKO store. There are a whopping 32 shades to choose from in the line up from smokey grays to a vibrant periwinkle. You're bound to find a Water Eyeshadow color that suits you.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
WillWorkForMakeup to do a series of gift guides to help you guys find great gifts to impress your loved ones (or even just yourself!). The first part of the series revolves around inexpensive makeup treats for people who are just starting to build their collections. These gifts are great for Secret Santas and great if you have a lot of young girls (or boys) to shop for. I know I would have appreciated any of these items when I was just beginning on my beauty journey!The holidays are around the corner and gift shopping is already underway! I was inspired by Tiffany of
Ecotools Bamboo Brush Set ($12) - My first makeup brushes consisted of this set from Ecotools and although they've repackaged the kit since then, the brushes are all the same. I still use the blush brush that comes in this set a few times a week and the angled liner brush is a staple. This is one of the best affordable makeup brush sets for beginners.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Go Brow Kit ($16) - Brows are usually neglected by makeup beginners but they really do make a huge difference in the overall look. This inexpensive kit will tame unruly brows and fill in any gaps so that your giftee can complete their makeup look.
Birchbox Subscription ($30 for 3 Months) - I used to look forward to getting a Birchbox every month and it's a great way add little surprises to your collection. One month you might get a fun teal liquid liner from Stila and another box might include theBalm's Stainiac. You just never know with Birchbox!
NYX Love In Florence Eyeshadow Palette in Met My Romeo ($8) - NYX is a popular affordable brand for a reason; their products are generally great for the price! I swatched their Love in Florence Eyeshadow Palette in Met My Romeo recently and fell head over heels. The beautiful taupe shadows were buttery and soft and the mattes were a dream to work with. This palette contains all the basic shadows necessary for a winter smokey eye!
Too Faced New Year New You ($25) - Too Faced has some of the most darling cosmetics packaging that appeals to everyone's inner princess but their products are quite good too! While I haven't tried their mascaras, I can vouch for their smooth, pigmented blushes and eyeshadows and Glamour Gloss is one of my favorite all time lipgloss formulas!
Stila Portrait of a Perfect Cheek Palette ($16) - I'm kind of convinced this little cheek palette has to be mine this holiday season but my blush drawer begs to differ. If the person you're gifting doesn't have many blushes to play with, this incredibly affordable palette has all the perfect shades to start their collection! I love that you can mix and match shades to create a unique, custom color as well.
With just a few more weeks to shop, I'll be hard at work putting together some more gift guide suggestions! In the works are spa themed gifts, color makeup extravaganzas and stocking stuffer favorites. What are you wishing for this holiday season?
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Innisfree has an extensive range of sheet masks under the "It's Real" line and features "natural" key ingredients such as rice and green tea. I received one of the It's Real Rice Masks with my purchase from the Innisfree Hong Kong shop and recently put it to the test. I was pretty excited about this mask as Innisfree is such a popular Korean brand but was disappointed.
The mask itself is made of thin cotton and there is only 20 ml of serum whereas other popular masks from My Beauty Diary and My Scheming contain at least 23 ml. The thin nature of the mask means that less serum is absorbed and the mask dries quite quickly on the skin. The serum is a light white-ish gel and not a clear serum. The mask fits pretty well on my face but felt a bit small which might pose a problem for people with bigger faces or just more pronounced features. An interesting bit about the cut of the mask is that there are eye flaps instead of just holes where your eyes are which means you can cover your eyelids with the mask as well. The scent of the mask is a pleasant scent that is quite powdery and light.
The It's Real Rice Mask is supposed to offer brightening but I honestly did not notice any improvements in my skin. My skin did not feel particularly hydrated or repaired either. Overall the mask was quite ineffectual and not worth a purchase. I am especially underwhelmed because I have had good results from the other masks I hauled recently and would repurchase some of those. Skip the Innisfree It's Real Rice Mask and probably the rest of the line too. Something about the "It's Real" concept makes me wary that there's nothing really authentic about it.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Removing makeup and cleansing the skin thoroughly is probably the most important step in one's skincare routine. Without removing all the pore clogging makeup and impurities, how will any of your serums or moisturizers effectively absorb into the skin? When I come home after a long day at work or school, usually the first thing I do is dash to the bathroom to cleanse my skin and let it breathe. Here are some great products I've been turning to lately:
Up&Up Eye Makeup Remover - This Target brand eye makeup remover works like Neutrogena's dual phase eye makeup remover or Lancome's Bifacil for a fraction of the price. I always go back to this and have went through numerous bottles. I always prefer to remove my eye makeup before my face makeup because I almost always wear waterproof mascara that doesn't come off easily with other makeup removers.
Suzuran Attirer Puff - I failed to include these cotton puffs in the photo above but you can see the packaging and design of them in the video below. I bought a pack of these Japanese cotton pads and absolutely love them. They're only $3 on Sasa.com and are super soft and high quality. Japanese cotton pads are way better than American drugstore cotton!
Biore Cleansing Oil - This is an Asia exclusive cleansing oil which I picked up in Singapore for about $10. I fully reviewed this cleansing oil recently and proclaimed it one of my favorite cleansing oils to date. When I'm wearing foundation, BB cream or any kind of heavier face makeup, I always reach for a cleansing oil to remove it.
Bioderma Crealine H20 - When I'm wearing just concealer and powder and lighter face makeup, I'll reach for a cleansing water. A few squirts of cleansing water on two Suzuran cotton pads and all my makeup is removed. I have to say I really like Bioderma like just about every other person on the planet. This stuff is golden! It's just incredibly difficult to get my mitts on this in the states for a reasonable price. I paid about $10 for this huge 500 ml bottle in Paris and refuse to pay more than $15 per bottle now. I have another huge bottle back stocked but I'll have to stock up again next time I'm in France... not like that's happening anytime soon....
Avene Micellar Lotion - A good alternative to Bioderma is Avene's cleansing water that is more readily found in the states but is a bit pricier. I really enjoy this cleansing water and use it when I travel due to the convenient little bottle I bought it in.
Shiseido Perfect Whip - After I remove my makeup with the cleansing oil or cleansing water, I go in with my normal foaming cleanser to really cleanse my pores. Right now I usually grab the Shiseido Perfect Whip cleanser which is from the same line as the Perfect Oil Cleansing Oil that I loved. Perfect Whip foams up really well and a little goes a long way. My skin feels very clean and fresh afterwards but not dry.
What's your makeup removal routine? What are your favorite products to get your skin clean and ready for the other steps of your skincare routine?
Friday, November 15, 2013
Silk Whitia is a popular sheet mask brand that I first heard about from Fuzkittie, a super popular beauty blogger and vlogger who left the community a few years ago. Fuz was a skincare expert; she tried and tested just about everything worth looking into and she highly recommended the Silk Whitia masks. I picked up two packs of Silk Whitia masks while I was in Hong Kong and was so excited to finally try them out. The first mask I have to review is the Whitening Essence Mask, a promising product that I hoped would lighten my acne scars. Did it live up to the hype?
Silk Whitia masks are made in France but I believe the company is Hong Kong based as I've only seen it sold through Sasa. I can't remember how much I paid for the box of five masks but there was some kind of buy one get one offer going on. Silk Whitia masks are more expensive than My Beauty Diary and My Scheming Masks and are going for $18 for a box of five on Sasa's website at the moment. The ingredients are very short and seem to contain many potent ingredients instead of fillers like most other sheet masks.
The mask material is very thick, soft and luxurious. It's the thickest and softest sheet mask I have ever tried so far. There is a faint scent but not too strong at all. The serum is very thick and feels almost like jelly whereas most other sheet masks I've tried have more watery serums. The Whitening Essence Mask dries pretty quickly and the formula sinks into the skin within 15 minutes. My skin instantly feels firmer and tighter after the serum dries. I do not rinse my face and go to bed with the mask serum on my skin. The next morning when I wash my face, the serum seems to be rehydrated and the jelly feeling comes back. My skin looks smoother and feels bouncy to the touch. The areas of my face that did not have active acne bumps looked more clear and better overall. Pores and lines were less noticeable although this is not a lasting improvement.
Unfortunately, there was no noticeable different in the look of my acne scars and my skin did not look brighter. The My Beauty Diary Sake Yeast Mask did a much better job of brightening and at a fraction of the cost. Perhaps you have to use the Silk Whitia Whitening Essence Mask daily to get the whitening effect but considering the price, that would not be very economical. I tend to use masks once or twice a week to give my skin a boost rather than to rely on them for primary skincare. The Silk Whitia Whitening Essence Mask was definitely a treat due to the luxurious feel of the mask cotton and the nice firming and hydrating effects but for whitening, it missed the mark.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
For years I've longed to add a few of the Bourjois Little Round Pot Blushes to my makeup collection as just about every British beauty bloggers has a few of these buggers. Imagine my delight when I found out these were available in Dutch drugstores (no, I'm still not finished reviewing products I bought in Europe). A lot of the shades seemed quite similar, shimmery and flattering pinks and peaches. I settled on 16 Rose Coup de Foudre (Love Struck Rose) and 33 Lilas d'Or (Golden Lilac).
The cute baked blushes are 2.5 grams or .08 ounces which is quite small. They retail for around €10-12 from what I can vaguely remember but Bourjois does go on offer sometimes so I bought both of these blushes for slightly less. Americans don't have easy access to Bourjois but you can find Lilas d'Or and four other shades on Asos.com for $14. The blushes are all highly fragranced which some may love and some may hate. I personally like the fragrance but find it a bit overpowering. The packaging is a simple round pot as the name suggests with a magnetic closer and a tiny mirror on the inside. The brush that comes with the blush is absolutely useless and went straight to the trash. The plastic casing of each blush matches the shade within which is very handy if you have quite a few of these in your stash.
Rose Coup de Foudre is a pale peachy pink shade with fine, subtle shimmer. The baked blush is highly pigmented and smooth. When swatched on a finger, the blush seems intensely shimmery but once applied, the shimmer is really toned down and you get a lot of color. Be warned, a little goes a long way so it's best to build up the color slowly rather than to get a ton of product on your brush.
Rose Coup de Foudre has a lovely glow to it that looks stunning on the cheeks. The color looks light in the pan but shows up very well on my light to medium skintone. The blush is easy to blend and lasts a full work day.
Lilas d'Or is a bit darker than Rose Coup de Foudre and has a slight purple, mauve tone. The picture above was taken under very strong sunlight so the golden shimmer in the blush really stands out. The golden shimmers are bigger and more apparent in this blush than in Rose Coup de Foudre. I like to tap off my brush a bit before applying straight to my cheek to avoid major glitter.
The sheen on Lilas d'Or is less apparent than Rose Coup de Foudre but the golden shimmer still reflect light. The deeper color is also great for fall and gives the cheeks a natural flushed effect.
I have heard that the Bourjois Little Round Pot Blushes tend to harden and develop an impenetrable crust over time which makes using them all but impossible. I have not experienced this phenomenon yet but then again I haven't used these blushes quite enough times to know for sure. So far, these are great little cheek products and I'm really happy I got my hands on them. The colors are so pretty and a little goes a long way which justifies the slightly high price. Have you tried any Bourjois products? Do you like baked blushes?
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Body scrubs are great for keeping skin smooth because they get rid of dead skin cells and often contain moisturizing ingredients that can then sink in effectively. I ran out of my last body scrub awhile ago and wasn't impressed with it so I wanted to try something new without breaking the bank. I found the Tree Hut Olive & Shea Sugar Body Scrub at Target for about $6-7 so I thought it wouldn't hurt to try it out. Even if I didn't like it, at least it didn't cost me a pretty penny.
The main ingredient in the scrub is sugar followed by a few chemical components and then kukui seed oil. There are a few other good-for-your-skin ingredients such as safflower seed oil, evening primrose oil, sweet almond oil, and avocado oil. However, I am not sure which percentage of the scrub is filler (glycerin and other chemicals) versus moisturizing oils. The scent of the scrub is pleasant and not too overwhelming for my taste. It comes across as floral with the slightest touch of refreshing citrus that makes me feel like I'm in on an exotic island. The scent and color of the scrub complement the name of it and embodies a tropical feel.
This scrub has a good consistency that allows you to easily scoop out product but it's thick enough to not slip and slide over your body. The sugar particles buff gently and soften my skin by way of removing dead skin cells. I would not say this scrub is moisturizing in that it doesn't leave a greasy residue on the skin during or after use. Personally, I like it when my scrubs have a noticeable oil content which remains on the skin after rinsing because I have ultra dry skin on my body. I would have enjoyed this product a lot more had it been more oily (yes, I am aware I am probably a minority with this opinion).
For the price, the Tree Hut sugar body scrub is a nice scrub to have in your shower if you're not looking for something very abrasive or moisturizing. The scrub includes quite a few interesting oils which comparably priced drugstore scrubs probably omit but still has a long list of ingredients that hardcore organic and "natural" proponents might not like. Am I happy with my purchase? Yes, I guess I'm satisfied. Will I repurchase this product? Nope, it didn't exceed my expectations and I'm sure there's something better out there for my dry skin!
Friday, November 8, 2013
Stevie was a sheer PixieDust which was kind of disappointing. I had to layer three, sometimes four times to get an opacity that I liked. This makes dry time a lot longer and there's more chance of smudging or messing up the nails. In my experience, the pigmented two-coater PixieDusts always look the best and give off more shine.
Nonetheless, Stevie is a pretty shade and would look nice on a variety of skintones. The shade reminds me of princesses and fairies and would look best in the winter and spring seasons. Of course, that's all personal opinion and you could definitely rock Stevie any way you like. What do you think of Stevie?