September 30, 2013

Current Skincare Uses

There are no secrets with my skincare regimen. In fact, I am quite haphazard when proper skincare is concerned. I have discovered many products from different brands over the years - some I have continued to repurchase over and over again, and some I could probably have tossed after a couple of uses. 

It has been quite some time since I've shared with you my current uses, so here it is. 


The Cleansing Routine

My cleansers consist of the Bioderma Crealine H20, IPSA Cleansing Fresh Foam, and the limited-edition Shu Uemura WKW White Recovery EX+ Cleansing Oil

I use the Bioderma micellar water to remove my eye makeup everyday. I bought my 500mL bottle from Paris and it has lasted me for very long. Shopping for Bioderma in Paris is alot cheaper than in Singapore.

Shu Uemura's cleansing oils are my favorite. I've gone through a countless number of the 450mL size bottles over the past number of years. I usually have mine in the High Performance (pink) bottle, but this time I wanted to see if there are any differences with the EX+ Brightening version. Well, differences are not much. They are a perfect way to remove all traces of makeup before the main cleanser. 

And finally, the IPSA Cleansing Fresh Foam needs no introduction. It has been mentioned on my blog numerous times. I love it. It cleanses well and is affordable. IPSA left Singapore but is available in many of the other asian cities if you're travelling. 


Daily Moisturising Routine

I don't think I quite like my current moisturising routine. I am quite particular with my moisturisers. I need mine to be quick-absorbing and hydrating. 

But let me first say that the SKII Facial Treatment Essence has been in my skincare regimen for years now. I find it appropriate for the humid Singapore/Asian climates but not quite so effective for the colder Scandinavian weather. While it does not come cheap, this bottle has lasted me for more than a year. I use this before serum. 

My first forray into Sulwhasoo skincare products came about when they were first introduced into Singapore. It looked like a promising brand so I picked up the infamous First Care Serum and First Care Emulsion from DFS. As far as Korean products go, skincare regimen is always made more complicated with several steps of pre-moisturising, serum, moisturising etc. To me, it seems more like a marketing ploy to have you purchase more of the same product but in different concentrations within the same line. I decided that serum and moisturiser is good enough for me and that's what I finally stuck with. The emulsion is probably the worst moisturiser I have ever used - it took forever for it to be absorbed and would leave a heavy thick layer on top of my skin. The serum hardly did anything to my skin too. 


As soon as these products are done, I will soon start on Shiseido's White Lucent Line (toner, night cream, day cream and cleanser) together with Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair Serum. So far, I am already enjoying the texture of the night and day cream. It's too early to form an opinion about these products now but reviews will soon follow. 


Finally, my favourite part... Treatments. 

I am using Alpha H Liquid Gold every alternate night on top of my Sulwahsoo's First Care Serum. When I want a deeper exfoliation, I would use this on its own. I apply this on a cotton pad and pat the liquid in with deep patting motions. Initially you would experience a slight tingling sensation but this feeling disappears upon subsequent uses. This skincare product is very much worth the hype - it leaves my skin looking clearer in the morning. You can purchase this from LookFantastic.com. 

Avibon comes in on days when I am not using Alpha H Liquid Gold. I purchased this from the French pharmacies because it is only available over the counter in France. I believe you can find the equivalent version of Vitamin A cream/ointment by prescription here in Singapore. The one I have here is in 1,000,000 IU percent - which I believe is a small minute concentration sufficient to be prescribed by the pharmacist. Vitamin A is effective for acne generally, but has side effects of drying and photosensitivity. I had expected Avibon to produce similar side effects but so far the dryness has been minimal. It comes in a greasy ointment base which feels extremely uncomfortable to sleep in. To be quite honest, I have not enjoyed using this so much because of this thick texture. 

Finally, Caudalie Beauty Elixer has been awesome for setting my makeup everyday. This bottle of 100mL can last an incredibly long time. There's a unique scent that some people love or hate - to me I quite like the refreshing scent. It does not really do much in terms of skincare but it's absolutely divine for soothing your nerves. Something to the likes of aromatherapy?



So I hope you found this skincare post useful. They are just some of the current uses I'm going through - they are not necessarily all my HGs today but there are some which I am glad to have discovered (i.e. Alpha H Liquid Gold). I have some new Vichy ones coming up soon to blog, and a few random acquisitions from Aesop (I absolutely love this brand) and Eve Lom. They all need a bit of time to test and experiment but I promise these thoughts will come soon. 

September 29, 2013

New Rouge Dior Releases for 2013: Dior 999, Darling, Trafalgar, & Grege-1947

I'm so excited to share with you some of the new lipstick releases from Dior. The 4 signature colours - 999, Darling, Trafalgar and Grege are absolutely gorgeous. These 4 shades are part of the 32 stunning array of Rouge Diors, which have been reformulated to be more moisturising and hydrating.


Dior 999 is what Dior considers the perfect red - a perfect balance of red and looks absolutely exquisite in the tube and on my lips. Lately, reds have been on my agenda. I'm planning to pick up the complementary 999 Lip Liner as well to make an accentuated defined classic red lip.

I was given a swatch card that samples Darling (a vibrant luminous pink), Trafalgar (a orange-coral) and Grege-1947 (a nude beige). I'm planning to pick up both Darling and Trafalgar as well because they are stunning and wear so beautifully on the lips. 


I have always had a slight aversion to wearing red lips to work - the combination of dry flaky lips and the need for constant touch ups make the red lip require maintenance throughout the day. Finding the right lipstick has proven to be quite of trial-and-error for me. Often, I look for hydration which makes the wear feel far more comfortable, but compromises on lasting power. Here's another one to add to my red collection - Dior 999, featured oh so beautifully on Natalie Portman.





Here is Dior 999 on me. 


 Here is Darling on me.


Here is Trafalgar on me


And finally Grege-1947. 


Grege is a beautiful shade for anyone looking for a nude neutral lip. I have mine in last year's formula, which I have reviewed previously here. The new packaging is slightly different compared to the older ones in that the older containers have the Dior trademark criss-cross ingraved etchings. The new packaging removes the criss-cross design but leaves a prominent CD on the top of the lid. I also found the older Grege to be slightly different in shade - perhaps leaning more rose brown instead of a tawny brown? This could be a difference between a lipstick in tube versus on enclosed in a sample card - not sure. 




I found the formulas to be extremely hydrating on the lips. The newer formula is comfortable and has enough slip to smoothen out the lip lines. And what I love most about these new shades is their degree of luminosity and almost feels like a balm on the lips. 

Here are all the shades again on my lips. 

Dior 999

Darling

Trafalgar

Grege-1947

I hope this post is helpful for anything thinking about the new Dior releases. Expect to see this collection in stores on 1st October. Can't wait to see them all!


September 22, 2013

Night time look with Giorgio Armani Scarabeo Face & Eye Palette Mystic Eyes

I knew I did injustice to Giorgio Armani's Scarabeo Face & Eye Palette in Mystic Eyes FOTD yesterday, so I plunged in another attempt to create a true night-time look using all 3 shades and the blush. Gone are my party days (lol!), but it gives me great satisfaction to know that I can still create a lovely night time look. 


Briefly, I used the dark shade all over the lid, creating a thick line going up little bit halfway to the lid line. 

Then I used the middle shade on the outer lash line on top of this base colour.

Then I concentrated the left shade toward the middle and inner lid, again on top of this base colour. 

On the bottom lash line I used a gradation from light, middle, to dark shade extending upwards to create an elongated eye. 


I added Dolly Wink Eyelashes, smudged my inner waterline with a kajal black eyeliner.

The blush creates a soft coral/tan glow, and it complements the smokey intense eye very nicely.


On my lips, I have on Dior Extreme Lipstick in Incognito - a much loved neutral nude shade of mine. 




It has been quite some time since I've done a night-time look. Call me old fart or whatever! But, indeed it goes without saying that applying eyeshadows WELL takes practice. And I'm not an expert by any means. It does help to have all the right combination of eyeshadows in one palette, and in itself saves you the trouble of having to think about your various single eyeshadows. 

Overall thoughts? Scarabeo Mystic Eyes is a must-have for those who love blues & teals. Don't hesitate to pick it up before it runs out. 

September 21, 2013

Giorgio Armani Scarabeo Kaleidoscope Face & Eye Palette Mystic Blues


I just treated myself to a piece of Giorgio Armani makeup that literally broke my bank during my stroll down Scotts Road. It's one of those pop this and that in my basket days straight after another Saturday workday. I didn't dare look at my receipt. I knew that this one item alone was $$$ enough to scare the daylights out of me. But the secret is that I was not strong enough today to walk away, so it Scarabeo had to come home with me.

I don't think it's a palette I would use necessarily for the day, although the card that came with the palette suggests that it could be used either for day or night. But one thing for sure, it's certainly stunning enough to be used in one of your Formula 1 nights. 


Scarabeo Mystic Blues palette is one of the two palettes released for Giorgio Armani Fall 2013. Themed after the literal Scarabeo Beetle, which glimmers shades of blue and teal, this palette houses a soft golden-peach blush on the top compartment and 3 cool toned blue/teal eyeshadows. 


The blush has a fine overspray of gold shimmer, but this disappears on first swatch. What remains is a soft golden sheen that applies with a satin skin-textured appearance. You can trust Giorgio Armani blushes to have a right balance of shimmer and pigment. In other words, the results are neither shimmery like a disco ball nor powdery on top of your existing powder foundations, if this is so your thing. And the shade provided in this palette is a nice combination for the intense eye looks you can create with the 3 stunning eyeshadows. 

Swatches below. 


Truth be told, my main reason for the splurge was the eyeshadows itself, and not the blush necessarily.  Each shade completely left with a gasp each time. It's been quite some time since a product left me stunned. I think pictures do half the trick... 

Under white light, the complexity of the shadows come through...


And even with natural day light, the shadows do not fall short of eye candy either.


Surprisingly, when I dipped my finger into the middle shadow, the overspray of bright purple disappears to reveal a sea-sky teal. So delusional. Should I say this is art?


I would describe the darkest shade (right) to be a darkened black base with navy blue shimmer.

The middle shade is a teal shade thats equally balanced between blue and green. The shade is far more vibrant than what appears to be in these swatch pictures.

And the lightest shade (left) is a shimmery sapphire blue.

Here are all swatches under natural day light.




What I do love about these shades is that they look beautiful as a single eyeshadow. Just adding a matte camel brown on the crease is often adequate. However, for purpose of this post, here is what I managed to come up with using all three shades.

I used the left blue shade all over the lid, then the teal on the crease blending it into the existing blue. Then using the a pencil brush I smudged out the darkened shade along the outer and bottom lash line.


I found that this look was best reserved for the late evenings to night. While I did wear it to work for one day, I couldn't bring myself to wear it all week. I guess it boils down to my preference to wear conservatively in the office and smokey looks I try to steer clear.

I missed out on wearing the encased blush that day, but that review will soon follow. 



Overall thoughts, I think GA Mystic Blues is stunning. The quality does not fall short of expectations and perhaps you might even get that swoonful response that I had when I first opened it, swatched it, and applied it on. Mind you, it will break your bank, so be prepared to be decisive when you see both palettes in person. 

I hope you had a lovely Saturday either watching F1 or near the tracks. 

September 14, 2013

FOTD: how much is your face worth?

So today was one of those days I just felt like doing a bit of rambling. I am feeling rather shitty lately. Like fat, grumpy, oompa-loompa kind of shitty. No amount of 'Confusious says' quotes on morning radio is going to cheer me up. Why? Because welcome to the life of a super stressed out Singaporean (resident) where life is work and work is life.

I have an insanely expensive habit. One that is spurred by stress. The higher the stress, the more I buy. It's a crazy unfulfilling prophecy of inspiring project 10-pan videos and new collection hauls. I have a bag of unopened stuff waiting to be used. It's ridiculous situation gone out of hand. 

So I was 'inspired' to do a look. 

And to sum up how much my face is worth. 

And after all the listing down, decide if I think my face is really worth that value.  

Lets begin!

1. I prepped my face with Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base. 
It's nice - smells very citrusy and the skin sucks it up instantly. Staying power? Not fantastic. But hydration factor is awesome!
$55

2. I slick one one pump of the YSL touche eclat foundation
I have the shade B40 and used a Sigmab brush to blend it in. I like the effect it gives, but the oil breaks out in a few hours. 
$55

3. Under my eyes I apply a dab of Dior Nude Skin Hydrating Concealer 
I think this concealer is a favorite by many. I purchased it when it first came out and nobody knew about the product back then until it was mentioned by a popular YouTuber. 
$30

4. Two strokes of Nars Cap Vert Multiple on both side of the cheek for a subtle bronzed look
It took me while to whip this out. But when I did it was no turning back. A fantastic cream bronzer that looks much better than Soleil Tan de Chanel. 
$38

5. Brushed on Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder in 10
It's a lovely pressed powder and makes my skin look quite satiny. I like it. 
$57.50

6. Added a soft application of Chanel Joues Contraste in Rose Initiale 
Forgotten and ignored until recently. A wearable colour for the office - simple and can be paired easily with looks 
$43

7. On the eyes, I applied Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Bone all over the lid. 
Jut a basic eye base - nothing special
$22

8. On the central lid, I applied Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Stone 
A lovely shimmering taupe
$22

9. On the crease, I used Burberry Single Eyeshadow in Khaki
Gorgeous and dreamy blending that is typical of Burberry
$29

10. On the inner corners of my eyes, I used Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Rose Gold
A lovely... well, rose gold shade. 
$22

11. Followed by Shu Uemura eyebrow pencil 
$23

12. Then Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof pencil in espresso in the waterline
Expensive and not worth it for the amount of product you get. 
$30

13. Did a cat eye flick on the outer lash line with Mac penultimate eyeliner in Rapid Black
Almost dried out... only used it a few times. 
$19.50

14. Shiseido Mascara Base to extend the lashes
$24

15. And one coat of Lancome Oscillation Mascara
$36

16. And one lick of YSL Glossy Stain in #12
$34


And here's the look...



How much is this face worth?

I took a wild guess... 200-300 dollars. 

Wrong!

It is in fact US $540!!!! To be quite honest, I was shocked! And mind you, I used US prices which in general is lower than Singapore retail prices. You may be arguing with me... 'well, you can't really add it up like that. One product can be used many times. If you get 50 uses that will cost maybe $10/face'. Ok... lets assume I do use these products to its entirety or to the point I get sick of it; $10/face/day is still jawdropping. Anyway, at the rate of my hauling, I am only using the product less than a handful of times. 

Lets look again. Is my face really worth $540?!?! Or $10/face?


I don't know... you tell me. 

In my opinion, base products like the foundation and the blush are must-haves. Lipstick is transformary too so that bit is justified. 

I learnt one thing from this whole exercise... eye makeup can add up quickly and contributes almost 40% of the 'face value'! Holy cow.... 40% of that goes to that small space in between our eyebrows and nose. 

Are you up for the challenge? Please post your 'Face Value'... I'll like to see how much your face is worth. :-)
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