Sunday, 26 October 2014

LUSH Ultra Bland - The most thorough of all cleansers

The Lush Ultra Bland was bought because I stumbled upon it and found the idea of an all-oil cleanser intriguing. The fact that it is made of all natural ingredients save for a couple of preservatives, also appealed to me. Now, it's time for the review!

LUSH Ultra Bland - The most thorough of all cleansers

You may actually read what's on the cover.
The Lush Ultra Bland comes in a very functional pot just slightly smaller than my palm, and has a twist-to-open cover. The design is Lush's signature semi-matte black, with their sticker on the top and bottom of the tub. The sticker on top appeals to me because it shows the product description and also instructions for use. The sticker underneath shows the ingredients and has the "face" of the person who made it. These help Lush to achieve a very authentic and pure feel, which I enjoy.

You can bring back 5 of such Lush pots to exchange for a free Fresh Face Mask.

Product Texture
The ultra blend is a white, rather solid cleanser that will flow nowhere no matter how long you leave it standing. On the face, it requires a significant amount of effort to spread to all nooks and crannies of the face.

This is a very useful feature for travel as the pot and texture are both very safe regardless of how the product is being thrown around in your luggage.

For home usage, it is not my favourite, since I prefer cleansers that flow and spread more easily. It is more time-saving compared to trying to rub and work a waxy solid over the face.

Almost finished!
The large amount of almond oil in this cleanser helps to dissolve makeup effectively. It is best used on light makeup, as it will not remove strong waterproof/smudgeproof eyeliner, mascara, or red lipsticks.

To get the most out of this, you also need to use a good face towel (I got a micro fibre towel from Daiso) soaked with hot water, to scrub and wipe the cleanser off your face. I find this process very draining and takes up extra effort. So I only use this cleanser at night, when I have more time, and also on days on which I also want a scrub/ gentle exfoliation.

It is quite a shame that such a good cleanser needs that much extra effort to maintain.

Sensitive Skin
It should not be a problem for people with sensitive skin. Unless of course, you are allergic to almond oil in particular. Do check out the ingredients list in the photo below!

There are parabens in this product. The amount is enough to preserve this product until now. It is supposed to expire in Feb 2013, but I kept it sealed until about June 2014. And it is still okay, no changes in texture or smell.

This is rather expensive. The 45g lasts me about 2-3 months if I use every night.

Rating: 4/5.
Lush has done a good job coming out with an almost au naturel cleanser that is great for sensitive skin, and doubles up as a makeup remover. However, I find it takes up too much effort daily and I also find the cost a little high to maintain, especially since cleansers are used at least twice a day, and will run down quickly. I will not repurchase as I have no real need for it.

For those who have the Lush Helping Hands cream, this is basically a much thicker version.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Hada Labo AHA+BHA Exfoliating Face Wash

This was bought for my significant other, because of three reasons, i) I trust Hada Labo's products to be of the high quality, ii) we have always wanted to try an AHA+BHA exfoliator, iii) it is big, and that makes it value-for-money.

Together, we have finished up the whole tube, over a few months, and it is time for me to evaluate this product.

Hada Labo AHA+BHA Exfoliating Face Wash
This face wash comes under the Exfoliating range of Hada Labo, and claims to be able to remove blackheads, dirt, and dead skin cells.

The simple baby-turquoise tube is sturdy and has an opening that is just the right size. It can dispense the rather firm product to a precision of 1 mm. I normally dispense about 3 mm length for my whole face. Males with larger face would do better with about 5 mm to 1 cm length of product, especially if they are taking the product down the neck.

Product Texture
The product is firm but rubs out and spreads well. A little goes a long way. It is also non-foamy. 

There is a foam dispenser version of the same product that you could purchase. I have not checked if the ingredients are exactly the same, but I will not purchase that because I am not fond of foam washes since they tend to dry out my skin.

It cleans my face well. My significant other also has no issues with it. His criteria for evaluation is that the product prevents pimples consistently. And yes, Hada Labo is one of many face washes that does indeed prevent pimples from forming.

As for the AHA+BHA exfoliating properties, it is not significant for the both of us, as we were expecting some kind of visible peeling. 

That said, I personally am very happy with the way this face wash seem to be peeling my skin and clearing up dirt and grime (therefore no pimples), while still being incredibly mild and gentle.

On the other hand, my SO is still expecting some kind of visible peeling effect from this (which you will not get) as his skin is thicker and more oily, and really would like to have a face wash that is a little harsher.

Sensitive Skin
As you might guess by now, this is okay for mildly sensitive skin. You still want to be careful if you are eczema-prone.

Please see ingredients in the photo below.

I do apologise that I do not know the exact price of this. But it is very affordable and value-for-money. It lasted both of us a good 3 months.

Rating: 4.8/5
It has helped both of us stay acne-free for the most parts of the time, so I find that it does live up to its claims. Also, it always makes me feel clean, but never drying. If you are looking for a daily gentle exfoliator that is non-drying, this is the one to get. I find it much better than the standard moisturising face wash by Hada Labo (the white one).

It is much more suitable for ladies, regardless of skin type. For men, it might not be comfortable for those with oily skin, especially if they are used to very harsh (compared to female skincare) male products.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Benefit Hoola Bronzer

Yes, I am on to contouring!

I have known of the magic called contouring since way back in high school, when I introduced to makeup for prom. My makeup artist back then (a friend's friend) said that she will not do it because we were in a rush for time. But ever since, I have been very intrigued by this concept of slimming your face with some brown powder.

I have never found the need for contouring and/or bronzing because of two things,
i) I was much slimmer back then, perhaps almost underweight (probably slightly under), and
ii) I am too tanned. I have so much sun here in Singapore, and I enjoy it; I enjoy swimming since young.

But of course, makeup videos have their influence on me. And I bought Benefit Hoola, JUST IN CASE. This is still the only contouring powder I've got. I am behaving myself; I am resisting the urge to get NARS Laguna.

So how does it fair for people who aren't the most interested in contouring/bronzing?

Benefit Hoola Bronzer
I adore the packaging. It's Benefit, 'nuff said.

These are the ingredients. I like how simple the list is. Stay away if you're allergic to talc.

And I enjoy the Benefit brushes. They are actually highly usable! In fact, I do use the Benefit brushes most of the time.

And here is the product. Hoola bronzer is a light-medium cool latte brown.

According to many, this kind of cool latte brown is the best contouring colour you can ask for, because they imitate shadows the best.

The powder is very soft, pigmented, and applies well with the brush provided. It is slightly powdery, because the primary ingredient is talc. It stays long on my skin, such that I can still see the contour in photos 3-4 hours into wear.

It is highly build-able into a bronzer. I can easily use it to give myself a fake tan. But I love it better as a contour.

It costs about $40 at Benefit counters.

Rating: 5/5.
I am able to live on this alone, with minimal urge to get another because this is simply too good! It is well-worth the hype - only bronzer you ever need!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

NOTD: Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Lacquer in #110 Gatsby

Marc Jacobs Beauty arrived on the shores of Singapore in April, through the giant beauty retailer, Sephora. Ever since, the Marc Jacobs Beauty line has won over many Singaporean fans, myself included. At one point, the much-hyped The Lolita eyeshadow palette was out of stock in a couple of Sephora outlets. Today, I bring to you a review of a lesser known product, that is, the Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Lacquer.

Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Lacquer in #110 Gatsby

What's there not to love about a curvy minion-like bottle that fits snugly into your palm? This is the bottle of MJ's nail polish, absolutely sensational.

It works like many high-end nail polishes, where you need to pull up the cap to reveal the screw cap, as shown below. The brush is attached to the screw cap.

Ease of Paint
The MJ polish paints very smoothly. The brush is big enough to cover the nail on my pinkie at once.

Paint Quality
The paint quality is to die for - paint does not streaks, dries in no time at all, and shines so brightly. What you see in the bottle is what you get, as seen below.

Length of Wear
My major gripe is that this nail polish chips in 2 days.

I am head over heels with this particular colour (Gatsby) though, so I keep repainting, over and over again. I actually had this colour on for 4 weeks straight before I got tired of repainting.

Cost: $32 at Sephora.
Considering how costly this is, this is actually not a very good buy. I went back many times to check out the other colours. But I couldn't bring myself to dump any more money in MJ polishes because I know how poor the staying power is.

Marc Jacobs, you've got to do better if you're charging at this rate.

Rating: 2.5/5.
I like the range of colours, and Gatsby that I've got is very unique; I have nothing quite like it in my massive collection of nail polishes. I don't think I have seen such colours with such beautiful metallic finish in other brands. If you have, let me know!!!

However, I find them ridiculously expensive for something that only last 24 hours. This polish is not for everyone.

Do you own any MJ nail polishes? How about MJ items? What do you think of the MJ line of cosmetics?

Check out my haul of Marc Jacobs Beauty items here. I have been using most of the items consistently, and will be happy to bring forward review on them for you.

M.A.C Lipstick Collection from Permanent Line - Nudes

Angel (Frost) is very pale blue-based slightly dusty, slightly rose, pink. The tone of it reminds me a lot of carnation pink, but Angel is much, much paler. Angel also has a frost finish, but is one of those that is less frosty within the M.A.C collection, such that the frost doesn't even show up on my lips.

Creme Cup (Cremesheen) is very similar to Angel, and some say the only difference is in their finish, that Creme Cup is a cremesheen while Angel is a frost. But I beg to differ. Creme Cup is a tad more peach and a tad more blue than Angel, whereas Angel is more pink. This becomes very clear when I wear them on my lips.

I do not like both Angel and Creme Cup because they are way too blue and way to pale for my skin tone. But of the two, I prefer Angel because it is slightly warmer. Creme Cup turns my lips grey, literally.

High Tea (Lustre) is a copper lipstick. It really is just copper, like the 5-cent coin in my country. As it is a lustre finish lipstick, High Tea is very sheer. Lustre finish M.A.C lipsticks are much less pigmented than cremesheen ones. Hence when High Tea is applied on my lips, you can still see through and see the natural colour of my lips (which is quite dark). This is definitely one of the least flattering lipsticks on me.

Syrup (Lustre) when swatched, is a beautiful cranberry red. It is also sheer since it is a lustre finish lipstick, so when applied on my lips, Syrup actually looks like a standard plum tone nude. It is borderline wearable for my warm medium skin tone.

Naked Proof (Cremesheen) is a light-medium peach flesh tone lipstick. It is very pigmented, as it is a cremesheen lipstick. Like Syrup, it is borderline wearable for my warm medium skin tone.

Angel (Frost), Creme Cup (Cremesheen), High Tea (Lustre), Syrup (Lustre), Naked Proof (Cremesheen).
Angel (Frost)
Creme Cup (Cremesheen)

High Tea (Lustre)

Syrup (Lustre)

Naked Proof (Cremesheen)
Of the 5, I definitely like Syrup and Naked Proof the best, because they are dark enough for medium skin tone. I strongly advise that people with medium skin tone skip Angel, Creme Cup, and High Tea altogether. This is regardless of whether you are warm/yellow, cool/pink, olive tone, or neutral. They are way too pale, and I bought them because I watch a lot of Caucasians on Youtube.

What I have learned is that people will make rave reviews only about the things that suit them (you're probably going, "duh"), and they will say that those things suit everyone. But in actual, "everyone" to them really means fellow Americans or fellow British, without meaning to (be exclusive), because they are seldom in contact with people who are very different.

What I have also learned is that buying lipsticks is like buying shoes - one needs to go down to the counter and get the sales assistant to try it on. One NEVER really knows if a colour will suit or not because a lipstick swatched on the hand can appear way different from the same lipstick applied on the lips. My hand swatches and lip swatches are witness to this statement.

What this really means, is that no amount of online research I could have done, could have stopped me from thinking these lipsticks are pretty, unless I see a review by an author with the exact natural lip colour and skin tone as mine. Wouldn't it be nice if all the lipsticks show up on my lips exactly like what they look like on my hand?

I hope this has been helpful for you, especially for all of you out there with warm and/or medium skin. =D

What is your favourite nude lipstick from M.A.C or other brands? It will help if you state your skin tone too. =D

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Le Metier de Beaute Precision Liquid Eyeliner in Noir [Worth the Money?]

This has been one of my best kept secrets.

Le Metier de Beaute Precision Liquid Eyeliner in Noir
All Le Metier de Beaute products come in sleek matte black cardboard boxes, on which its brand name is printed in silver, just like as you see on the eyeliner itself (below).

I have no issues with the packaging because for an eyeliner, I normally throw away the packaging straightaway.

The pen itself is an extremely simple black plastic tube, containing 0.06 ml of liquid inside. It almost can be mistaken to something that is much less expensive, like a MUJI black eyeliner pen.

I like the length of this pen as it is short, and fits nicely inside any makeup bag.

Pen Brush
The pen brush is amazing. It has just the right thickness to give it some firmness, but still ends off in an extremely thin and precise tip. I really enjoy using this to dot between my eyelashes, because the tip is so tiny and comfortable to use.

I also enjoy pressing the pen brush down on its sides, horizontally against my lash line, in order to get a perfectly uniformed line along my lash line.

I love using the tiny tip to draw wings. It is by far the best pen ever, definitely better than the Stila one that everybody is raving about.

What really grabbed me was the colour and how beautifully the ink applied.

It is not the blackest black, but it is the most sophisticated black I have used; definitely black, but not strong and rock (which I do not like). It is really just there, just enough to define my eyes for a power-suit day at the office.

I also like how the ink flows real well continuously, and somehow, the brush and ink work together to ensure that the line you draw NEVER skips a beat.

However, what you see here is a little dry ink because I have used this product for some two years now, and the 0.06ml of product is indeed running out.

Long-lasting Pen Brush
That said, it does goes to prove that the pen brush is sturdy enough to last me until I have finished using up the ink. This is not the case for many drugstore liquid eyeliner pens that I've tried, where the brush spoils before the ink is emptied. So kudos to Le Metier de Beaute!

Surprisingly, this really lasts on my eye. It is waterproof and smudge proof, lasting me the whole day, through sweat and tears (from chilli).

Unfortunately, this is an expensive product, and I think I will not repurchase it until I have opened all my stockpile of black liquid eyeliner pens, and confirmed that I truly cannot find a dupe for this.

Water, butylene glycol, carbon black, ammonium acrylates copolymer, ceteth-20, 1,2-hexandiol, pentylene glycol, alcohol, phenoxyethanol, carylyl glycol, sodium hydroxide, sodium denydroacetate, hexylene glycol, laureate-21.

Made in Japan.

Volume: 0.06 ml.

Rating: 5/5
I am so happy about my purchase and wish more people can enjoy this eyeliner. If you are in for a luxury eyeliner, Le Metier de Beaute Precision Liquid Eyeliner in Noir is the way to go.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Lip Product Addict TAG + EXTRAS!

1. Favourite balm/treatment?
Make Up Store Aroma Balm for overnight treatment.

This is so good because of the jojoba oil, sunflower oil, and shea butter.

Hurraw lip balm - best ever. Like totally. I got it from Watsons this year, it should be a newly imported product.

fresh SUGAR lip balm - best tinted lip balm.
Buy during Christmas when they offer the mini sizes in cute packaging. This way, you get to try all the colours without breaking the bank.

For the more affordable alternatives, I will go for Maybelline Baby Lips.
I have one in every bag, because it is so wallet-friendly, and you really wouldn't mind losing one, yet the quality is good enough to quickly save your lips.

I try to go for organic lip balms as much as possible because I tend to swallow my lip balms quite a lot. So these are my organic picks -
Mentholatum and Maybelline Organic.

For fun and flavour, I really, really love the Lip Smacker fizzy drink collection. The one I have here is Vanilla Coke. It tastes exactly like Vanilla Coke, which is my favourite fizzy drink of all time.

2. Best eye-catching red?

Love Guerlain #861 Madame Flirte. But this was a limited edition lipstick.

I also love Maybelline Colour Sensational in Red Porcelain. This is another limited edition.

So I am going to recommend another favourite - Maybelline Colour Sensational in Red Revival.

Both Red Porcelain and Red Revival are shown below.

Red Porcelain is on the left, and Red Revival (permanent) is on the right.

Swatches of my red lipsticks:
From left to right, Guerlain Rouge G in #861 Madame Flirte, Maybelline Colour Sensational in Red Porcelain, and Red Revival.

I do prefer Red Porcelain over Red Revival because it is orange tone. But if you have cool skin, you will definitely prefer Red Revival because it is a classic blue-based red.

3. Best luxury and best drugstore?
If I were to choose one colour only, for luxury, that would be Rouge Bunny Rouge in Whim of Mine.

For the same colour, but in drugstore brand, that would be L'oreal Colour Riche in Rosebud. Rosebud is an exact dupe of Rouge Bunny Rouge Whim of Mine.

On the left, Rouge Bunny Rouge in Whim of Mine. On the right, L'oreal Colour Riche in Rosebud. I have an entire post on this here. =)

In this category, I enjoy Guerlain Rouge G, Dior Addict Extreme, and Marc Jacobs too.

My favourite shades from these lines are swatched below, and they are Dior Addict Extreme in Holiday (pink on the right), and Marc Jacobs in Understudy (dusty coral on the left).

4. Best MAC lipstick?
Ever Hip, that is limited edition. So Crosswires that is permanent.

5. The most disappointing?
Tom Ford. 'nuff said.

If you really are interested in why I dislike Tom Ford lipstick so much, I have a post on it here. =)
6. Liner - yes or no?
No, not on a daily basis.

Totally yes on special occasions. I never skip liner for these because it works. I am on Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Lip Pencil in Illegal.

And this is the swatch of the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Lip Pencil in Illegal, the line right in the centre of the photo.

That bright coral on top is Tom Ford Lipstick in True Coral.

7. Lip Brush - yes or no?
No, not on a daily basis.

But absolutely yes when it comes to very pigmented and dark colours, like reds and berries, and on special occasions.

My favourite lip brush is from Sasa, the pink Sasatinnie line, and I blogged about it here.

8. Best gloss?
YSL Gloss Volupte.
My favourite shade is #4 Fuchsia Vermeil (Golden). I also blogged about this before.

The one on top is Fuchsia Vermeil, and the one below is #102 Rose Satine (Iridescent).

In the photo on top, the swatch on the left is #4 Fuchsia Vermeil, and the one on the right is #102 Rose Satine.

I also really like Dior Addict Extreme glosses. One of my favourite shades is a hot pink, from the Summer Collection 2012.

There are many good enough ones from the drugstore. Though they are not the best for me, but I do like the e.l.f Super Glossy Lip Shine SPF15, SilkyGirl glosses, and Revlon Super Lustrous. Unfortunately, the new Revlon Super Lustrous really is not as good as the old ones in square tubes.

From left, Dior Addict Extreme Gloss, Elianto, and SilkyGirl.

These are the shades from e.l.f that I have. I need to buy these over eBay, so I only have three.

These are the swatches for e.l.f. They are SUPER pigmented, and the gloss is really high till it makes my lips pop a lot!

9. Finish - Matte or others?
But for matte finish, I am fond of Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte.

My favourite shade is M BG 944, that I've blogged about here, and the swatch of it is below.

10. Something extra!
Lip stains Liole, Innisfree Tint Balm, Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains original, Revlon Lip Butters. Those stuffs that are halfway in between lipstick and lipgloss, I love them all!

This is the Innisfree Tint Balm. It actually provides more of a sheer stain than the protection of a balm, so I didn't consider this under lip balm.

These are the Revlon products that I love - lip butters in Macaron and Tutti Frutti, and also kissable balm stains in Lovesick, Honey, and Rendezvous.

And here are the swatches, from left to right, Lip Butter in Macaron, Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti, Balm Stain in Lovesick, Balm Stain in Honey, Balm Stain in Rendezvous.

And last but not least, new age products, like the ElishaCoy temperature-changing balm lipstick, Innisfree Eco Camellia Tint (lip and cheek stain), and Innisfree Lip Concealer.

Swatches below, from top to bottom, Innisfree Eco Camellia Tint, ElishaCoy temperature-changing balm lipstick, and Innisfree Lip Concealer.

That's all! That's a lot of products for one blogpost. Haha! But I hope you've enjoy.

Below is the summery showing all the swatches of all the products featured here.

From left to right, ElishaCoy, Innisfree, Revlon Rendezvous, Revlon Honey, Revlon Lovesick, Revlon Tutti Frutti, Revlon Macaron, Shu Uemura M BG 944, e.l.f, e.l.f, and e.l.f.

Top row Left to Right, Guerlain Rouge G Madame Flirte, Maybelline Colour Sensational Red Porcelain, Maybelline Colour Sensational Red Revival, Rouge Bunny Rouge in Whim of Mine, L'oreal Colour Riche in Rosebud, Marc Jacobs in Understudy, Dior Addict Extreme in Holiday.
Bottom row Left to Right, M.A.C Cremesheen LE in Ever Hip, M.A.C Cremesheen Permanent in Crosswires, Tom Ford in #09 True Coral, Urban Decay 24/7 Lip Pencil in Illegal, YSL Gloss Volupte in #4 Fuchsia Vermeil, YSL Gloss Volupte in #102 Rose Satine, Dior Addict Extreme Gloss, Elianto Gloss, SilkyGirl Gloss.
Looks like I have a healthy appetite for all families of colours, from nudes, neutrals, to pinks, reds and orange! Nice.

Are you a lip product addict? If you are, you're tagged to do this! Put the link to your video or blog post in the comments box below.

If you have read through and lasted till this line, you're tagged too!

Thank you and see you around!

1. Favourite balm/treatment?
2. Best eye-catching red?
3. Best luxury and best drugstore?
4. Best MAC lipstick?
5. The most disappointing?
6. Liner - yes or no?
7. Lip Brush - yes or no?

8. Best gloss?
9. Finish - Matte or others?
10. Something extra!

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