My beauty diary masks rave

 

also wearing revlon lip butter in strawberry shortcake
 
I haven’t used sheet masks in a loooong time. I just don’t like the fact that they are finite and I can count them getting lesser, you know? 

But I absolutely must rave about these masks again. 

  • It smells absolutely divine. Mine is black pearl, not sure if different flavors have different smells. It’s lightly fresh floral and not at all cloying or offensive. Just really relaxing and luxurious.
  • The sheet mask is thin and easy to manipulate. I like that it’s transparent. I have a thing for transparent things. 
  • It’s small, so it fits my tiny face reasonably well. Many other masks are wayyyy too big. 
  • The product itself works well and my skin is hydrated. 
  • They are dirt cheap. Anywhere from $1-$2 each. 

I swore off sheet masks, but I may just buy more. I have 2 left. 

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A bronzer?? Alcina sun kissed bronzer review

A while back I attended a launch of Alcina in Singapore. It’s a German make up brand that’s been around awhile, I think. It’s priced on the mid end in Singapore, but not too unaffordable and quite fairly. You can find them on Luxola here. [not an affiliate link] As I’ve mentioned before, the whole brand philosophy is so very german. There aren’t any particularly exciting or lustable products, but most of the textures and products work beautifully. All of us got a goodie bag with 2 goodies: a hyaluronic acid serum, which I have not touched yet, and a sun kissed bronzer in light, if I’m not wrong. Even though I don’t actually like or use bronzers, this bronzer surprised me to a reasonable degree. First, the packaging. Man, could all brands make packaging like this? It comes in a fuss free, no nonsense, square compact. It’s sturdy shiny plastic that looks and feels luxurious, without being obnoxiously heavy and ostentatious. There is 9g of product, which is quite a fair bit. I’ll probably be using this all my life. The mirror in the compact is large, and the lid stays up. This is great for touchups on the go. Last time, when I was travelling, or was in a place without a mirror in a good position, I would apply makeup using the largest compact mirror I had that stood up by itself. That meant my favourite LE Kiko blush, until I dropped it and smashed both the case and the product to oblivion. I live in a very well lit house now, but if I ever needed to do that again, you can be sure I am whipping out this compact. The bronzer is housed on the top layer, and the bottom layer opens to reveal a bronzer brush. This brush is actually really, really nice. It’s soft and fluffy and deposits colour well. I may be using this to apply stuff other than bronzer. Usually, I don’t like brushes that come with products, mainly because if I like and repurchase the product, does that mean I will have 756153156 brushes after a few years?! But okay, at least this is functional and nice. This bronzer looks pretty much fully matte to me, although they say that it contains light reflecting shimmering pigments (WHERE?) The texture is slightly powdery, but very, very soft and gorgeously smooth.

B-T: Illamasqua Hollow, NYX Taupe, Alcina Bronzer darkest shade, middle shade, lightest shade.

Swatches of the contour products I use against the Alcina bronzer to show you how warm it is. The darkest shade is very red/orange here compared to Hollow and Taupe. But then again, it’s not a contour, it’s a bronzer. I only had 1 other bronzer, a Body Shop one, but I lost it somehow so I don’t have any bronzers to compare it against. But you can find swatches of it against Hollow and Taupe here. For a bronzer I would say it’s not incredibly orange. In fact, it might look a bit blushy. For my very yellow skin tone, it looks just alright. Cool-toned people would want to stay away, of course. The middle 2 shades are closer to my skintone and can be blended in. They are also comparatively much pinker, which means it would suit even rather pale people, so long as you avoid the darkest shade.

To be very honest, I have no idea what is the proper way to use bronzer eg in lieu of a blush??? So here it is on my face, working as a blush that’s placed slightly lower, starting from the hollow of my cheeks:

Photo 26-6-15 2 45 39 pm(I added a blush over it afterwards, cos its weird not to…)

I still don’t know how to use bronzer and I still don’t think I will use bronzer, but I think I will actually bring this product travelling due to its very friendly compact and brush and use it to give some dimension to my face (although I may not be able to call it contouring.) It’s definitely a good product, just maybe not for me (although, I don’t think I can blogsale it because you know, the brand is relatively unknown.)

Illamasqua Scandal Lipstick review 

This lipstick was a GWP at Illamasqua when I bought 2 lipglosses. I split a set of 6 with some friends. Originally I didn’t think much of this colour, but I knew I didn’t have anything quite like it, so I was happy to bring it back.

Scandal is basically a rosy coral that leans heavily pink. It is super matte.

Illamasqua lipsticks are on the dry side, although still relatively workable. I find the texture is not very conducive to application straight from the tube though, so I usually use a brush to even things out a bit. Applying on top of some balm also makes it a lot creamier (but less long wearing.)

I only have one other coral shade, Revlon Matte Balm in Audacious.

L-R: Revlon Matte Balm in Audacious, Illamasqua Scandal

They are quite different. Audacious is more of a true coral, orange and pink. Scandal is a very rosy, pink shade, rather than a straight up coral.

Most corals apply very unevenly on my super dry and cracky lips. I think it is because of the white base. Audacious is one of the worst, and I really need to even out the colour with a brush or something. Scandal is much better in this aspect, although it still benefits from some touch up.

   On the lips, I would say it gives a really pretty colour. It’s bright enough to look chirpy and fashionable, but it’s natural enough to be subtle. It’s very work and socially appropriate. I mean, I try not to wear bright red lipstick like Dragon Girl to places where strangers are meeting me for the first time professionally, you know?

It wears off reasonably well, although the colour gathers at my lip lines, so the lip lines have remnants of colour when the rest of my lips are bare. Not ideal, but the colour is natural enough to be not so obvious.

Overall, Scandal is a surprising love. It’s fresh and modern, while still being ‘pretty’ and socially acceptable. I’m not too crazy about the formula, but it’s acceptable.

Beauty Hack: Brush cleanser!

I wash my brushes semi-obsessively. I would wash them after every use with cream products, but I want to prolong the lifespan of my brushes so I try not to. At the very minimum, I wash all used brushes at least once a week, frequently more.

I use a variety of stuff as brush cleanser. Partly because my brushes are not crazy expensive, and they are all synthetic bristles, I don’t need to be super careful.

So far, I’ve used:

  • Body wash. Works ok.
  • Bar of soap. This works quite good, but some soaps are a bit harsh. Sometimes the brushes come out a bit ‘squeaky clean’, if you know what I mean.
  • Mineral oil. This was Not A Good Idea. It cleans wonderfully, but the mineral oil itself is a bitch to get out of the bristles. I washed the bristles with the harshest stuff possible in an attempt to emulsify it out of bristles, but it didn’t work.

Aaaaand suddenly, I stumbled upon a great, cheap hack.

I have a LOT of face wash. I only wash my face once a day at night, and I use very little product, so all my face washes last forever.


There is this one certain tube of Salome cleanser. It was a gift in a grooming set from some friends, and we left it in a corner and forgot about it. Apparently it was manufactured in 2011, which makes it kind of old….

Still, it worked ok, so I used it. It has the signature brand scent, and quite heavy at that. I also felt that it left a film on my skin after washing, so it was not the greatest. But I did like the gel consistency, and that I could rub it on my eyes without any burning.


However in recent months it turned runnier and runnier until I decided it was not good to use on the face anymore. I think it separated a bit, and seeing how much face wash I have I don’t think I want to risk my face for this.

Thanks to that, I found an ingenious new use for it: Brush cleanser! It cleans make up well (it’s a face wash after all) and is really gentle. The fragrance is also less offensive on brushes, and actually leaves them smelling nicely perfumed. It also seems to be incredibly effective somehow.

I am cleaning my eyeliner brush in this. Eyeliner is pretty hardcore and really tests washing to the limit.


Surprisingly it’s actually super effective, even with hardcore gel liner! Look at all the gross stuff washed out! I simply squeeze the cleanser on my hand, and rub the brush back and forth on my hand.

 Nice and clean after only 1 round of washing!

This works very well to wash off other difficult things like lipstick too.

So this is another idea to finish up your old face washes, particularly if you didn’t like to use it for your face!

Rebranding?

I’ve been using this URL since I started this blog, which holy shit, like a year ago. While it captures some parts of my philosophy towards cosmetics and make up quite well, it’s erm, rather generic and confusing.

I’ve been thinking about changing the blog name and title for awhile. Unfortunately I have no idea what to change it to. Any suggestions?

I also was planning to have my instagram follow suit. 🙂

Concealer Wars: 17 Stay Time concealer and NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

If you didn’t know, I lost my original concealer awhile back and lived without concealer for like half a year. No, I didn’t know how I do it either. Thank goodness I have good skin that doesn’t need to conceal blemishes.

Recently I bought two concealers. I grabbed the Seventeen (the Boots house brand make up) concealer when I was in Thailand because it was cheap and on sale, and I grabbed the NARS concealer because I saw someone selling it online at below retail price.

Photo 17-6-15 10 49 00 am
Sexay.
Photo 17-6-15 10 41 13 am
Seventeen Stay Time 18 Hour Concealer in Medium, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Honey (Light 3)
Photo 17-6-15 10 41 49 am
Blended out

There are only a few important factors to consider when it comes to concealer. Concealer is hardly the sexiest make up, you know? So packaging and whatnot doesn’t really bother me, and it shouldn’t bother you, besides being functional.

  1. It must conceal, if not why should it exist? Hence, it should have very good coverage and stick to your skin tenaciously.
  2. It should match your skin tone as closely as possible. You want to hide the blemish, not accentuate it. One thing I hate about trying to buy concealers is this. So let me declare very loudly that I am around NC20 and both these concealers work for someone around that skin tone.
  3. After that, is other considerations like spreadability, lack of creasing, etc.

Let’s start with Seventeen Stay Time Concealer.

As you can see from the swatch, it is slightly greyish/pink. This may be due to the fact that I’m incredibly yellow, to the point where I wonder sometimes if I’m jaundiced. It is a reasonable match for my face though.

The texture is much, much thinner and more watery than the NARS. This also means that it is less opaque. I would peg it as semi opaque, not as paint-like as NARS.

Seventeen is a British brand, and hence it is very skewed towards the light skinned. I’m pretty fair, around NC20, and medium is sometimes a tad light for me, especially around the undereye, where I feel it gives me a slight reverse panda eye. If you are around NC15-20, it would likely be just nice for you.

For the NARS concealer, it is extremely, extremely peachy. It seems a little dark, but it works. It works beautifully for my undereye and cancels them out quite well. HOWEVER, it looks really weird on my blemishes because it is way too dark and peachy.

The texture is also really, really thick. It wears like paint and is very opaque.

For both, the packaging is similar, a doe foot in a lipgloss-esque tube. It is perfectly functional, although you may feel that it is not very sanitary, I don’t particularly care.

Overall, I much prefer the NARS, although I can’t hide my blemishes with it, so I’ve taken to covering up the occasional blemish with the Seventeen. The Seventeen is not perfect, but it is functional. I got the Seveteen for around $8 and NARS RTP should be something like $38.

If you are on a budget, the Seventeen works fine. If you want to go for near perfection, go for NARS. 🙂

Illamasqua to be alive collection and mini haul

I attended the Illamasqua event today launching their new collection for summer, to be alive! It’s a blue themed collection, and everything is blue.

I’ve never really explored illamasqua as a brand before. I own and like the Cream Pigment in Hollow for contouring, that’s about it.

Now everyone knows that I very rarely buy stuff, and almost never firsthand/retail right? Today I actually walked away with 2 products (plus 2 gift with purchases) so I can say that I’m suitably impressed.

Omg Duochrome goodness!!!!!!! L-R blue shimmer white thingy from the to be alive eyeshadow palette, iridesce lipgloss, the famous green-brown colour from another palette, empower I think.
Larry Yeo doing make up and demonstrating how to do more interesting stuff.
Eye and base make up done by Larry, and Awesome Lip Colour done by him too!!!!!

Now, Illamasqua is known for very daring, bold and outlandish colour make up. I’m past that, because I own enough eyeshadows, and one lipstick for almost every colour family. But one thing I was really impressed by was the multitudes of duochromey goodness, especially in their lip products and their nail polishes. Me likey.

Can you see the duochrome? (Okay not really…)

I really love the limited edition lipgloss. You know, I vowed never to buy another lipgloss again. So I really, really loved this. It’s a clear gloss, with a multitude of blue shimmers. It is THE perfect rendition of a moonstone in lipgloss form:

I love moonstones, and I use them extensively in my jewellery designs.

There is also an eyeshadow in a palette, that is the eyeshadow form of the lipgloss, so it’s good stuff too. I didn’t feel much for the rest of the colours though, so I skipped that.

Exquisite is also a beautiful sheer lipgloss, that is beige with I think pink and lilac shimmers. Erm, I’m bad at describing stuff. Suffice to say, it is super pretty, while being wearable and not too out of the way. I can see myself getting a lot of use out of it.

Both glosses are only very slightly sticky, and wear a reasonable amount of time. One bonus is that the pretty pretty shimmers stay around even after the gloss wears off. So if you want blue shimmer and iridescence without glossiness, it’s completely possible to blot the gloss off gently and leave the shimmers on.

T-B: Iridesce sheer lip gloss from the LE to be alive collection, Exquisite from the permanent collection, and wow how smart am I, you can’t see the lipstick colours at the bottom, HAHA.
Swatches of lip products: L-R Iridesce, Exquisite, Over, Scandal.

They were also giving away a set of 6 lipsticks for everyone who spent $120. Me and a couple of girlfriends pooled our purchases together, and split the 6 lipsticks among the 3 of us. I got Over and Scandal, both from the permanent collection. Illamasqua lipsticks can be a bit dry and tug a bit, but they are quite transfer proof. So application is not so great, but I hope the longevity will balance that out.

Over is a milky cool toned pink, which I suspect will not look too great on me, but I will try to pull it off with aplomb. Scandal is a coral that is quite rosy and red rather than a straight up coral. I was not so happy to get it at first, but I don’t think I have anything similar to it, so it is quite welcome in my collection.

The blue shimmers in Iridesce remind me of the effect I get from my Kiko Metallic Lipstick in Fuchsia, so I swatched it here. The blue shimmer iridescence is much clearer in the lipgloss compared to the lipstick. Using the blotting trick, you can make any lipstick a metallic iridescent colour in a similar effect.

Comparison of my Kiko Metallic Fuchsia.

All in all the event was really fun, and the products in the new collection are pretty cool:

And I was convinced to buy a product type that I swore I would never buy again!!!!! So all in all, a really good and fun haul. 🙂

My No Make up Make up

I want to clearly define what no-makeup makeup means.

No make up means not a scrap of anything containing pigments on my face. No tinted moisturizer, no brow pencil. This, I very, very rarely do. Even if I’m just bumming in the house, usually I still fill in my brows at the very least. My brows are pretty nice, but they could do with some extra colour.

No-makeup makeup, in this post and to me, means that you are wearing makeup, but it looks so natural that it’s hard to tell it’s make up. Anything obviously made up is in the next category. For example, lining the waterline counts, but any eyeliner on the lash line, no matter how little, is make up. Blush, unless done extremely naturally simply to bring some colour back into the face, is make up. Anything not utilizing the tones of the skin and looks ‘made up’, is make up. Any visible bits of glitter or shimmer is also make up. We want to look like we literally just woke up like this.

The next in the category is natural make up. This would be natural, light blush, a bit of nude eyeshadow, eyeliner, etc.

So no make-up makeup straddles a very thin line. Apart from base products, I also use colour make up, but I have to use it in such a way that it looks like I was born with it.

I really woke up like this.
I really woke up like this.

My completely bare face is ok. I have no significant blemishes, but I have dark eye circles and my lips are very corpsey.

These are the products I used:

11 products and 5 brushes to look like I just woke up
11 products and 5 brushes to look like I just woke up
  • SANA Keana Pate Pore Putty to cover my pores, which still hasn’t run out after 3 years.
  • Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer in #2. This actually has some shimmer, but mixed with foundation, the shimmers are not very visible, unless you are like examining my face with a magnifying glass. This adds a glow that negates the need for highlighter, which might look too ‘made up.’
  • Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk Foundation in #4. Lovely finish and one of my favourite foundations! (Okay, I only have 3 on hand right now…)
  • NYX Cream blush in Natural. I usually am quite gaudy with my blushes but this time I took just the slightest touch of it to my cheeks. It’s neutral toned and really ‘natural’, and goes with almost everything.
  • Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow. I used this to contour my nose because the cream looks more natural in an area that can look very obvious.
  • NYX Powder blush in Taupe. I used this to contour my cheeks, mainly because I think I’m quite dark now and Hollow doesn’t add enough contour…. dayum. It’s darker and more buildable in colour than Hollow.
  • The white little pot is my Za Pure Shine Lips in Apricot Nectar. It is actually an corally colour and has some glitter, but it is very sheer and adds some colour without actually looking like anything beyond lip balm, especially now that I’m applying with a lip brush.
  • Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Liner Pen in black. Since I lost my TonyMoly black gel liner, this is the only black gel liner I have. I used this to line my top waterlines. I tried using brown, but my brown is not dark enough. This unfortunately got onto my lower waterlines after awhile, which sort of ruined the no-makeup thing.
  • Random brow pencil in black. Seriously, I am not fussed about my brows.
  • NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Honey for undereyes
  • NYX Wonder pencil in light to add lift to my brows. It is way too light to be used on any other part of my face.
  • I forgot to include my mascara, but it’s the Cover Girl Clump Crusher. It’s the perfect natural mascara, because it darkens and lengthens and doesn’t do much else (including hold a curl………..)

Photo 21-6-15 9 52 59 am Photo 21-6-15 9 52 55 am

Can you tell I’ve got make up on? Lolz.

Some tips:

  • Use a sheerish foundation. I know my foundations are expensive. For budgeters, you can use a drugstore foundation that more obviously looks like foundation, and sheer it out with a moisturizer. And don’t apply too much!!!
  • I used Taupe as a crease eyeshadow just for some definition. It’s not too pigmented so it doesn’t show up as obviously as actual eyeshadow.
  • I used the NYX Wonder Pencil for a brow highlight because no shimmer, remember? Most highlight shades of eyeshadows are slightly shimmery.
  • I used the crease brush from the RT eye set to contour my nose, it is super huge as a crease brush but it works beautifully as a nose contour.
  • Try to use cream and liquid based products as much as possible. I find they give the most natural effect.

My make up preferences

We all have certain preferences in make up. We usually want products to perform a certain way to suit our needs. For very easy reference, I hope to make this a master post so that when I talk about different products in the future, people will know what I gravitate towards.

Skincare:

  • I really can’t decide what my skin is. I am super sweaty, but not that oily. I don’t need very oil controlling products. However I have noticed that some products kind of clog pores, in the sense that sweat seems to not be able to come out from under a layer of it. I don’t like those.
  • I have very good skin texturally, few zits and blemishes. Hence, I don’t need hardcore acne fighting products, although the occasional zit healer kind of product is good.
  • However I have quite large milia under my eyes that I can’t get rid of. I am trying salicylic acid.

Base:

  • I don’t need superb oil control but I need stuff that is reasonably water and humidity resistant. I also want to hide pores, please.
  • I prefer medium coverage bases. I don’t have any full coverage foundations because my skin is good and I don’t find them necessary. I don’t like too sheer foundations because what’s the point?
  • Dewy or matte, I have not much preference. I look ok either way. I try to avoid too dewy in the really hot months, like now, though.
  • I have quite bad dark circles and I need hardcore concealer.

Blush:

  • I like both cream and powder products. I vacillate between them depending on the humidity, and whether I feel like washing my brushes that day.
  • I am also ok with both cool and warm tones.
  • So in essence, ANYTHING GOES!
  • Except glittery blushes, no thanks. I’m ok with some minor shimmer.

Contour:

  • CONTOUR4LYFE. I was contouring way before the Kim K thing.
  • I contour like, everyday. Seriously. My no make up makeup includes contour.
  • COOL TONED PRODUCTS YO. That’s the only requirement.

Brows:

  • I don’t fuss much with my brows because they are super nice. Enuff said.

Eyeshadow:

  • Sparkly, glitterbombs, mattes, anything goes!
  • I’m not super huge on colour though, so I don’t go for like, you know, matte yellow or lime green eyeshadow.
  • Sheer, pigmented, anything is fine! So long as the shadow is buttery and easy to work with. I’m not so bothered with intensity, because sheer eyeshadows have a time and place and I will simply work around it.
  • However it must not crease easily. I mean come ON, we are living in the age of super long wear products. Over a primer, I totally expect eyeshadow to wear at least 8 hours even on my sweaty humid self.
  • I do tend towards more low-key looks. You won’t see outrageous stuff from me! I like colours though, but I try to incorporate them in a low key, polite-society manner.

Lip products:

  • I hate gloss, although I may have to eat my words now.
  • I hate glittery lipsticks, unless they are very well thought out. Like, not chucking generic silver glitter in for the sake of it.
  • I generally dislike sheer lip products. It’s about feeling like you got the bang for your buck, you know?
  • Matte, glossy, satin, anything goes! Except glitter, of course.
  • My lips are dry and parched and cracked like the Rocky Mountains. This means that drying lip products don’t even bother me anymore, cos they’re dry and cracked all the time anyway!
  • But this also means that milky, white base colours are very difficult for me to wear because they get into all the cracks and look like shit.
  • I’m quite brave in my lip choices, and I much rather wear a dark lipstick than a pale one.
  • My favourite type of formulas are actually those tint, jelly kind of texture, pigmented but transparent. Cool shit!

Mascara:

  • I fucking hate mascara. It’s a necessity, but like, a pain in the ass necessity.
  • I want my mascara to hold a curl. SO IMPORTANT. Whatever it does, it has to hold my curls. My lashes are long, but fucking stick straight.
  • If it can hold a curl, I don’t care if it lengthens, voluminizes, or even does nothing else, because I would die to have a mascara that holds my curls properly.
  • It also has to be reasonably water resistant. Because I sweat a lot, and it rains frequently here. I don’t want smudges under my eye.

Liners:

  • They must not smudge on me, and must be creamy enough to apply well. I like gels and gel-type pencils because they fix and don’t budge.
  • I am very ambivalent about liquid liners. They expire too fast, and have a lot of issues with brush and drying times and shit.

Out with the old, in with the new

i finally replaced my old mascara that’s about 6 months old.


The loreal double extension curl was my old mascara. It’s incredibly expensive for a drugstore mascara, at $27.90 in Singapore. It has a primer and a mascara built into one very, very bulky package.

It used to be a DREAM at holding my curls and for the first time in my life I felt like I had amazing curly lashes.

Then it dried up a bit and didn’t get so effective anymore 😦

It is also a bit clumpy, making my lashes a bit thicker, in the clumpy, not nice way. It was also rather heavy: I could really feel it on my lashes and some days I went without mascara just so that I didn’t need to feel weighed down.


My sister bought this for me when she went to the states a while back. It’s the famous cover girl lashblast clump crusher. It’s around $9 in the US and around $15-$20 in Singapore, so it’s much more affordable.

My first impressions and tests are that it holds curls, not amazingly, but it does hold them. It is also feather light. It doesn’t give me clumps, and lengthens my lashes in a very natural way. Nothing dramatic here, but makes me look like a lovelorn foal.

Let’s hope this works out! I’ve ditched some Japanese mascara after trying them once because they wilted my curl really fast. I am cruelly unsentimental about mascaras.