Fragrance: Niche Scents: Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule and Atelier Cologne Vanilla Insensee

I always said I’m flippant about fragrances, but once in awhile I will, in fact, obsess over them. I was enthralled by the review of niche fragrances on Badoutfitgreatlipstick and Brutallyhonestbeauty and I just HAD to find out about them.

In Singapore, obviously we have a very limited access to niche fragrances. Escentials is the leading retailer of niche fragrances, like Creed, Serge Lutens, Amouge, and Atelier Cologne. They’re at Tangs Orchard and Paragon, if you wanted to smell how all these posh expensive things smell like. I went there today for an expedition. Although I spritzed lots and lots of scents, the below are the only 2 I tried on my skin and kept sniffing throughout the day.

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FOTD: More Red Eyeshadow!

I am very fond of red eyeshadow, made easy by my Newtrals vs Neutrals palette. I did another relatively dramatic eye with it: It’s pretty easy, just don’t show any restraint on the red shades!

I don’t know why I’ve been having lots of problems with white balance lately, so I’ve had to do a lot of colour adjusting. If the photos look weird, that’s why. I tried to get them as true to normal as possible.

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Fragrance review: Coach Signature Rose D’Or EDP

This is a perfume originally bought by my mum, but I kind of repossessed it.

Coach’s perfumes have, surprisingly, gotten fairly good reviews on Fragrantica. I mean, Coach to me is a slightly dowdy brand after all. It’s reflected in the bottle, which I think is super ugly and uninteresting.

For this specific scent, according to Fragrantica, ‘Top notes of Coach Signature Rose D’Or offer a rich blend of floral notes and spices. Orange blossom and geranium appear first and are spiced with saffron and coriander. The heart incorporates romantic notes of centifolia rose notes surrounded with jasmine and peony, sweetened skillfully with raspberry zest. A rich and seductive bouquet is resting on precious woody notes of oud and is warmed with ambergris and vanilla. Depth and darker shades are provided by patchouli balanced skillfully with castoreum and leather leaving the signature of Coach brand.’

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I have no artistic talents for flatlays. But I do love my necklace of jadeite pearls.

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How much does your skincare cost you?

We all have our skincare favourites we repurchase over and over again. Have you ever thought about how much your entire routine costs say, in a month?

Thanks to my relentlessly seeking out good budget alternatives, my skincare items tend to be quite affordable. I’m using retail prices, although I do try to grab good deals where possible. I didn’t count shipping fees, because usually when I buy Korean skincare on Qoo10, I maximize my coupons so that my shipping is basically free. I also try to overestimate my usage where possible, so it’s perfectly possible for the products to last me longer than what I have stated below.

Caveat: my face is quite small and my skin quite balanced, so I tend to use very little product.

Current routine: My current routine is a little bare-bones, because I’m waiting for my fancy shit to arrive. 

Morning:

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Continue reading “How much does your skincare cost you?”

January 2017 Summary

Things bought:

  1. Midi dress, $24 Dammit. I saw this gorgeoussssss dress on Carousell. The seller unfortunately is a little bigger than me, an M to my usual S. but since this was a casual looseish dress, I bit the bullet, with the intention of altering it using my usual seamstress services (my mum.) It’s very beautiful and very good quality for sure, and as I expected, a little large. After alteration, it’s very whimsical bohemian cavorting-in-a-field-of-lilies to me. I like it.

(I have exactly 0 make up on and only a super lousy photographer, my sister, so pardon me please.)

2. CosRX Ultimate Overnight Rice mask: (review here) $15

Didn’t want to bite the bullet on this so fast, but I found a good deal so I snapped it up. I like my Honey mask, which sinks in crazy fast and doesn’t leave a residue, but sometimes it’s just not moisturizing enough. This is much richer, and perfect for the night.

3. CosRX Good Morning Low pH Gel Cleanser: $8 (will be reviewed – eventually.)

Same as above – I need a cleanser soon, but I do still have some. This is cheaper than RTP so I will keep it as a backup till I finish my other cleansers (which is pretty soon.) I have not much preference for cleansers except they be gentle and low pH. I didn’t buy this off Qoo10 (I got it 2nd hand), but this CosRX option is very affordable even off Qoo10.

$ spent on frivolous eating out:

$4.50 + $33 (2 beers for a friend and I – ouch!!!!! this is why I DON’T drink as a rule. Ever.) + $5 (lunch out) + $1.80 (breakfast – when my girl stole mine and I had to have it out) + $7 for 2 days when I was at a client’s place + $12 for an impulsive buy of my favourite Murakami book, Kafka by the Shore

Total: $110.30

Not too bad, I bought a bit more stuff than I intended, but my budget was obviously eaten up by the 2 bloody beers, I’m still quite bitter about how expensive alcohol is here.

Empties:

  1. Daiso Hyaluronic Acid Sleeping Pack (review) – Finally finished this up. I didn’t like this enough to cut it open and it was super cheap anyway. It’s still decently moisturizing and surprisingly nice for a $2 product.
  2. Etude House Aloe Vera sheet mask – this is an ok sheet mask. It has the immediate soothing and hydrating effect, but the effect doesn’t really last past a few hours. I have a couple more that I would use up, but I wouldn’t repurchase.
  3. My Beauty Diary Rose sheet mask (forgot to take a pic) – I don’t know if this is the old or new MBD mask, but it’s wonderful as most MBD masks are. It smells like candied roses, a bit strong for my taste, but no denying it’s great. It was very moisturizing and brightening and my skin looked amazing the day after. There was also a ton of essence leftover for me to bottle and use for the week after. I haven’t bought masks in forever (people give me enough – I use maybe 10 masks a year…) but MBD masks have always been insanely cheap and widely available. You can get a pack of 10 in various flavours for $11.90 + shipping here. Or buy in Taiwan 🙂
  4. Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser: review coming soon! I liked it but it’s a little expensive for a cleanser. Would repurchase if I needed a dependable option, but wouldn’t go out of my way for it.
  5. Alcina Hyaluron 2.0 serum: reviewed here. Not particularly impressive. I swear there’s a bit more stuck in the bottle but I can’t wrench it open. Definitely not a repurchase.

Total empties count for the year: 5. I’m hoping I can get some make up empties next time – I use make up at a glacial pace.

Wishlist:

I freaking lost my angled eyeliner brush this month. I have other eyeliner brushes but they’re meh and I’m so used to my stiff and tiny angled liner. I’m thinking of buying the same Jessup set as last time, which cost me around $15 SGD for 8 very well made brushes. I found my eyeliner brush 😛 I guess I don’t need this anymore in the immediate future!

I also want my skincare from The Ordinary!! I’m sick of hormonal acne, and I hope that some serious retinoids and all can help me keep it in better control, even if it doesn’t get eliminated.

Skincare Review: COSRX Honey and Rice Overnight Masks

COSRX has quite a few moisturizers. There’s the Centella blemish cream [affiliate] which I sometimes want to try but never got around to buying, and the Ultra moisturizing lotion [affiliate], which I may try next time, the Hyaluronic Acid intensive cream [affiliate] which I don’t intend to try because Hyaluronic acid isn’t that sexy an ingredient to me, the Aloe Vera cream [affiliate] which, same reason as the Hyaluronic acid, is not very sexy. There’s also the Honey Ceramide eye cream, which is one of the most expensive things COSRX makes, and the Snail cream, which I would never use because obviously, I have a huge snail phobia. They have a hell lot of moisturizers of all kinds, is what I’m saying.

The ones that I do actually use are the Rice mask and the Honey mask. They are packaged in the same kind of packaging as the rest of the moisturizers, but they are the only ones labelled as ‘overnight masks’. What for, I have no idea. I just pretend they’re normal moisturizers.

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Minimal and sleek packaging. I like! I would prefer them not to be in jars, but ah well.

 

Ultimate Honey Mask ingredients:

Propolis extract (85%), butylene glycol, glycerin, betaine, 1,2-hexanediol, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, arginine, cassia obtusifolia seed extract, dimethicone, ethylhexylglycerin, carbomer, sodium hyaluronate, beeswax, allantoin, panthenol, sodium polyacrylate, adenosine

As you can see, it’s largely propolis, penetration enhancers, glycerin, and some good stuff in small amounts, and that’s it.

Ultimate Rice Mask ingredients:

Oryza sativa (rice) extract (65%), butylene glycol, glycerin, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, betaine, niacinamide, dimethicone, 1,2-hexanediol, cetearyl olivate, sorbitan olivate, elaeis guineensis (palm) oil, guineensis (palm) kernel oil, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, cetearyl alcohol, ethylhexylglycerin, arginine, carbomer, allantoin, xanthan gum

Mainly rice extract, and perhaps more oil, and good stuff including betaine and niacinamide. From the ingredients we can predict that the rice mask is gonna be thicker and richer.

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No prizes for guessing which is which. The honey mask has been well loved, as you can see, while the rice one is pretty new.

 

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The honey mask is a very light transparent gel. It’s super lightweight. The rice mask is more akin to a traditional moisturizer, but still pretty lightweight.

Let’s talk about the honey mask first. It has a lovely melting texture, of course, and it melds into skin like nobody’s business. It sinks in almost instantly, and leaves only a slightly tacky finish behind (due to the glycerin, me thinks.) It also makes my skin look so radiant. I used to absolutely love it, but in recent days I’m finding it’s a little not moisturizing enough in my super dry office air. It’s great for days I’m not in the office though. I use it primarily as a day moisturizer due to its lightweight properties, and because I don’t quite find it moisturizing enough for the night.

I have to say though, it is very calming and soothing for the skin. And it does moisturize well, but due to its not so occlusive nature, I find the moisturizing effects not so long lasting. If you’re very oily skinned, you would love this as both a night and day moisturizer. If you’re normal like me, you may find it better in the day (and what a fantastic day moisturizer it is.)

Next, the rice mask. It’s far richer and denser and actually feels quite solid in the jar. It still sinks in fast though, and if used in a thin layer, doesn’t leave a residue. It leaves my skin very plump and juicy, perfect for that dewy, radiant look (that always gets diminished by the horrible office air, anyway.) If I am using a more drying foundation like the Armani Lasting Silk, I would definitely use this under my sunscreen instead of the Honey mask. As a night moisturizer, I find it very soothing and more than sufficient for my skin. I can’t speak to very, very dry skin types though. You’ll love this if you have dry to oily skin, probably not for people at the extreme ends.

 

Would I repurchase? I think they are very cheap for very nicely formulated, solid moisturizers. ~$14.50 + shipping for 50ml each (at my affiliate link above) is a fantastic price, considering a L’oreal moisturizer here costs like $30. My honey mask has been used daily since early October, so 1 tub would last me about 6 months easily. Unless CosRX comes up with something even more amazing at an even better price, or The Ordinary comes up with one that I wanted to try, I would buy both of them over and over and over again. Of course, my preference leans towards the rice mask now thanks to my skin that’s getting a bit dryer, but both probably have a place on my vanity.

Most Underrated Depeche Mode Songs!

Random non-make up interlude: Depeche Mode!For another short interlude from make up…

If you ask me who my favourite artiste is, I’ll say Lana del Rey for sure. If you ask my what my favourite band is, I’ll say Depeche Mode for sure. My friend suggested other 80s synth acts to me, like A Flock of Seagulls, and I know of the existence of New Order and Erasure and shit, but nothing sticks except Depeche Mode. I like their darkness and edginess, and their lyrics have quite some elegance and eloquence to them.

(Also their next album is coming out 2nd Q of this year!!!!!!!!!!!! Excites!!!!!!!!!!!!! Especially since the last one was a bit too bluesy for my taste. This one sounds a bit more synth in a loungey way.)

I really didn’t like the first album Speak & Spell, because that’s too New Wave/Erasure/happy poppy bullshit to me, ie stuff that I don’t care about. Thank god their albums after that only got better and better.

The Sun and the Rainfall

God, this is so fucking beautiful. My very favourite early Depeche Mode song. The synths are so atmospheric and haunting. Love the background melody. Lyrics are beautiful, and the imagery of the chaos of something smashing on the floor, and the titular sun and rainfall, fit in beautifully with the haunting synths. And who else uses ‘estrange’ in a song? All that I’m saying, the game’s not worth playing over and over again… 😀

My Secret Garden

Yet another track from A Broken Frame that wasn’t released as a single and never got a live performance beyond 1982. I thought this was beautiful, if a little unpolished. It has some very interesting beats and synths, and a catchy melody with rather interesting lyrics. Baby Martin did well!

Freelove

Won’t talk too much about this song because I mentioned it as my 3rd favourite song of the whole Mode catalog. Still love it, such a soothing lullaby. I personally think it’s horrendously underrated. Nobody ever talks about it. I wish they would sing it more live.

When the Body Speaks

I always think this song is sung by Martin, because Dave rarely does all these slow ballads in such a high range. I think he sings beautifully and really shows off his range and his emotion here, and the haunting guitar pickings in the background makes it so… down to earth yet transcendental. I’ll be the first to admit I still have no fucking idea what this song is about, I only gather it’s about longing for a girl, I think? Still don’t know what the soul’s desires and what the flesh requires really mean. But a beautifully longing song nonetheless.

Stories of Old

I really like the sound of Some Great Reward as a whole. The hollow woodwind sounding thing that’s a feature of this song also appears in Lie to Me, another underrated track I like. I love the lyrics – it’s basically an anti-love song, very practical and non-soppy. Despite ‘being in heaven whenever we kiss’, they still ‘wouldn’t sacrifice anything at all to love’. And only Depeche Mode can make such unsentimental and unpoetic words sound so awesome. ‘Take a look at unselected cases/You’ll find love has been wrecked/By both sides compromising/Amounting to a disastrous effect.’ Like, is this a counselling session?

Also, check out the live and bluesy, non-synthy studio version from 2009. HOLY. COW. Quoting a Youtube commenter, ‘This is a perfect example of how a man can fuck make love to you with his voice.’ [my own correction]

The Things You Said

My love for Dave Gahan and his voice of a baritone angel is clearly documented. Consequently, I don’t fancy Martin-sung songs very much. This is an exception. I think this song is absolutely haunting. I don’t care for the lyrics very much – it sounds very gossipy, but thankfully the melody and synths, especially the deep bassy one, make them sound much better than they really are. I think this song really speaks as a masterpiece of arrangement.

Black Celebration

The titular song from their 5th album. I think it is a beautiful, ironic song about finding optimism in pessimism. And the comfort of a partner. Also about sex, probably. I can’t really pinpoint what’s so great about it, but it really sticks with you. Full of emotional range. The below version is from 2013 and shows how Dave Gahan is still a sexy beast 😛