Reasons for not posting so much :(

I haven’t been posting so much recently, because I haven’t had much drive to take photos. Yes, I’m a lazy ass.

You see, I like to take photos when I’ve just done my make up, in the morning, when no one is around. I HATE to be seen taking selfies, so I do it on my balcony where there is flattering morning light.

Unfortunately having a job means that I frequently need to rush out of the house without a chance to take good pictures. There is literally no other time that I can take pictures.

It’s going to be Chinese New Year soon, which means we are frantically doing overtime to clear backlog up before Chinese New Year, and it means a long 4 day holiday next weekend, so I will try to do something next weekend and probably not this week.

In the meantime, I’ve emptied a liquid blush (more deets to come) and have made a carefully thought out purchase that saved me $100+. Excites!

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Kiko BFF collection

Holy Crap!!!! Kiko has knocked it out of the park again with their Valentine Collection titled BFF. Once again, here are my picks 🙂

Endless Love lipstick

ENDLESS LOVE lipstick - 01 candy red

OMG THE PACKAGING SO CUTE. I love the little cut out heart. I also secretly love heart shaped lipsticks. This conveniently comes in Candy Red, a BRIGHT FUCKING RED (which is my kind of red.)

True Love Nail Lacquer:

TRUE LOVE nail lacquer - 01 darling coral

You know how I am seriously not into nail polish, but this has captured my heart. LOOK AT THIS GORGEOUS COLOUR. I’m a sucker for rose golds.

Love Elixir Face Powder:

LOVE ELIXIR face powder - 01 lovely rose

Seriously SO PRETTY. I used to have a Kiko blush (also LE) and it was the most perfect thing evar and I used it almost everyday until I smashed the shit out of it.

Heart to Heart EDP set: 

HEART TO HEART eau de parfum set

I have never tried perfumes from Kiko before. This is a great idea for a set, 2 mini 15ml perfumes, one for day and one for night for a decent price, great to bring around. Here’s the description:

Sweet Love is a bewitching and lively fragrance that is ideal for the daytime. The top notes of apple and blackcurrant give the scent an airy essence. The middle notes of freesia and jasmine reveal a surprising freshness. Finally, the base notes of vanilla with a trail of patchouli are elegant and irresistible. An ode to lighthearted love.

Deep Love is a sensual and enveloping fragrance, perfect for the evening. The intense notes of cherry and bergamot evoke passion. The blend of jasmine and frangipani reveals the essence of desire. Tonka bean and musk take you on an exuberant sensorial journey.

Both sound pretty decent, I just hope it doesn’t end up smelling like those cheapo supermarket perfumes.

 

I’m going to the US of A around 20 Feb, so I MAY be purchasing some off the Kiko US website, we’ll see 🙂

Cheapo Brush Diaries: Jessup

Background: I am very rough on my brushes, I think. I wash them every week (it’s a nice Sunday ritual for me) and I don’t take TOO much care while washing them. Last week the glue in my RT crease brush loosened and I had to add superglue to the space between the bristles and the ferrule to glue it back and hopefully make it last awhile more. I don’t quite care about investing serious $$ into super high quality brushes. I like well made brushes of course, but I like them cheap. I also like to have a good number on hand because I HATE using dirty looking/already used brushes. (I used to wash my brushes after every single use.)

Okay, anyway. The only eye brushes I had were the RT starter eye set, and as you can see in the name, it’s only a starter set. I was missing a few important brushes, the most important being a blending brush. So I went to look for some cheap and good brushes.

Jessup is a HK/China brand manufacturer that makes a dizzying array of synthetic and animal hair brushes. They are also dizzyingly cheap. I bought this set for around $6 USD, with free shipping (since I’m close to China.) SIX. USD. FOR 8 BRUSHES. THAT’S $1 EACH. This is the specific one I bought.

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Overall, the brushes are well made. They have much longer handles than RT brushes, and are quite light. They haven’t shed much in the couple of weeks I’ve been using and washing them, and they’re pretty soft and non-scratchy.

These are the brushes in the set. From L-R:

  • Large Shader: One of the more useless brushes in my opinion, like a concealer brush but much larger. I use this to apply primer or cream shadow when I want to ensure my whole eyelid is covered. You could use this with powders I think but it’s not the best.
  • Concealer: I find this good for applying cream shadows and the Giorgio Armani pots. Smaller and more precise than the large shader but essentially the same.
  • Tapered blending: A nice rounded blending brush. It’s on the small side, which I like because my lid space is very small. Soft and floppy, does its job well and also can be used to apply crease colour.
  • Angled Shading: One of the weirder brushes. I love this though. It’s just the perfect size to fit into and blend my crease. The angle may or may not help, I don’t know. It’s nice and soft and floppy (not very densely packed with bristles.)
  • Eye Shading: Love this brush. It’s SO SOFT. It’s flat but fluffy, and great for packing on shadow. And so much less fluffed out than the RT one, which makes it much better for what it’s supposed to do. It could be a bit stiffer but it feels like heaven on my lids.
  • Pencil: It’s okay, functional but I feel the bristles are a little bit stiff and waxy and not as wonderful as the others. Does it’s job okay, which is to smoke out liner or for very precise outer V placements.
  • Eyeliner: So damn fat. I don’t use this much because it’s far too large to line my eyes. We’ll see.
  • Small Angle: I use this very often to line my eyes. It could be a bit stiffer, but it’s really thin and lines well, although it doesn’t pack it on as intensely because I think it’s not super dense. I like it because it’s the thinnest liner brush I have, but I admit that it could be a bit better.

 

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Here’s a closer look at the angled shading. So flat, it is. Might be especially good for cut creases I think.

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Comparison between the RT fine liner, the small angle brush and the eyeliner brush. The eyeliner brush from Jessup is HUGE.

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This is the monstrosity that is the RT crease brush (also the one which I had to repair.) It’s far larger than both the angled shading brush and the tapered blending brush. I exclusively use it to contour my nose, which it does very well.

 

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This is the flat shading and the tapered blending together with the RT flat shader, which I used to blend out my crease previously. You can see the RT shader is so fluffy, which makes it a terrible shader, but a good blending brush. It’s sort of in between the two.

 

On the whole, I heartily recommend these brushes. Out of 8 brushes, I found 5 useful, 2 usable, and 1 blah but maybe I can still give it another chance. The quality of these brushes are great, no shedding, the goat hair brushes are very soft and nice while the artificial bristles are decent too. And you can’t beat the price, ever. I will definitely put Jessup on top of my list should I ever need more brushes in the future.

The Useless Brush Diaries

Everyone has had one or two brushes in a set that you didn’t know how to use. This is a chronicle of mine.

As of now I only have two brushes I didn’t know how to use, mainly because I make sure that the number of brushes I know how to use greatly outnumbers the number of brushes I don’t before I buy them. How rational of me.

Yellow: RT pointed foundation brush, Grey: redearth travel brush.

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Here is a good look at their size relative to my (tiny) hands.

 

Let’s start with the RT foundation brush. It came in the RT Base kit, and it’s a pointed, flat brush. It’s not very soft, and it can be scratchy. The bristles are also on the stiff side, it doesn’t flop around.

I don’t know how anyone is supposed to use liquid foundation with it. It can streak (as with all flat paddle brushes) and it’s not comfortable. Hence, it languished for a long time. I’ve seen loads of people destashing theirs. (I have no idea who buys them up though.)

But I’ve found a great use for it. I use it to apply NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer on my undereyes. The pointy tip is great for getting in the corners, and it’s big enough to not take forever. I dislike usual concealer brushes because they are SO.DAMN.SMALL.

Because it’s on the thick side (compared to the teeny and flat concealer brushes) it also works great for patting the concealer as well as spreading it. I use it in a spread-pat-pat-pat motion to blend it. It’s more precise than my fingers, takes a few seconds and gives me a good finish without being streaky. Win!

 

The second brush is more of a conundrum. Isn’t it the prettiest thing??? I’ve actually seen brushes of a similar type in China private label brush sellers, if they are of this quality then it would be amazing. The bristles are extremely soft and well cut, and the grey purple gradient is of course GORGEOUS. The ferrule is also very well made and I’ve never had a problem with shedding (both this and the 2 other brushes in the kit.)

The shape unfortunately is ?!?!?? It’s like not flat (you can see it’s puffier than the RT) and it’s quite dense, but it’s not like a usual poufy blush or powder brush either. Plus it’s super small.

I had a lot of trouble figuring out how to use this brush. Sometimes I use it to pat highlight onto my cheekbones, if I want a really strong or precise highlight. I also use it to apply cream brushes in a painting motion, like a paddle brush. It’s dense and stiff enough for that, and very precise since it’s so small, but it’s too flat so it’s not the best option, but it works.

Right now I use it the most with cream contour. I find that this gives me a very precise contour at my hollows that can be blended out (also with the paddle, painting motion.) I can also paint the bottom of my jaw with cream contour. The density and stiffness allows better usage with cream products compared to the RT contour brush I have.

 

I hope that this helps you to think up ways to use the brushes you didn’t know how to before. If you can think of other ways to use these 2 brushes of mine, feel free to comment!

Low Buy 2016

My relationship with makeup has always been a bit of a rollercoaster. On one hand, I love using and wearing make up, and my (nearly full) face 5 days a week is a ritual to prepare myself to go out into the world. Left on my own at home, I only wear sunscreen. If I need to pop out on the weekends, I apply some powder foundation, eyebrows and a bit of lip colour.

I think my make up kit is pretty satisfactory. I have enough funky colours (rose with green duochrome, purple with green duochrome, etc) to keep me interested, and just about one of each of the basic colours (1 cool red, 1 warm red, a few MLBBs, a couple of darks, corals, etc) I also have more eyeshadow and blush than I’ll probably ever finish in my life (oops.)

With all these in mind, I will be going on a low buy in 2016. Not that I have been buying stuff crazily even in 2015, but I want to enjoy and use my make up instead of thinking about specific products all the time.

I am probably going to the US soon though, so I do need to take into account the stuff that I plan to buy over there.

My low buy rules are quite simple:

  • 2 items a month maximum, can be rolled over.
  • Skincare is not counted (since I don’t need to replace any skincare anytime soon and I am completely unhyped by skincare)
  • Essential tools such as eyelash curlers are not counted. This is because my curler is kind of ineffective after 6 months (I think I’m really hard on my eyelash curlers) and I really don’t want to buy this kind of boring shit but I need to. Brushes are totally counted.
  • Hair and body care is not counted, because I don’t purchase these on the whole anyway.

Every sold destashed item adds to an additional total $ count, which will give me some additional wiggle room in the US. I will be very generous here and allow myself $1 USD per $1 SGD. Current count: $18 + $10 + $60 = $88 (!!!)

 

I think I will likely be sticking to buying indie stuff (only on Black Friday/major sales days or when I’m in the US) because mainstream stuff doesn’t really interest me anymore, which is good because I have way too much stuff anyway. Haha.

Let’s see how I do at the end of the year! Up till date (only 9 days so far, but I didn’t buy anything in December either) I have yet to purchase anything 🙂

Swatches of almost all Blackbird Cosmetics

Blackbird Cosmetics is an indie brand with impeccable branding and refinement. They specialize in mattes, which are basically the hardest eyeshadows to do well, and they do PRESSED mattes. Lovely!

HOWEVER, last Black Friday some people had some screw ups with their orders, with some people still awaiting theirs. With indies, there is always a danger of this happening, so I’ve been quite generous with waiting for my goodies when ordering from them. That said, it was quite a clusterfuck for a bit, so I don’t disagree with those who are warier of Blackbird now. I still plan on ordering from them as I believe the owner is honest, but I do hope that no funny things happen during the time of my orders.

I bought these sample baggies off someone locally. These are loose shadows, but Blackbird has since discontinued them. I like pressed shadows better anyway, so I treat it as just testing out their formula.

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I have 18/20 samples. The two I don’t have are Beau (very dark chocolate brown) and Lucid (matte black). Everyone knows how a matte black looks like anyway right?

I swatched all the light colours together, the mid-tone colours, then the darker colours. This is to help you see if the colours within the Blackbird range itself is worth having, or it would be very similar. (I know I had the itch to buy THE WHOLE SET OF 20 at one shot once.)

I did these swatches without any kind of primer, which is impressive. I tested the sheerest shade (Vintage) over primer later on, and the pigmentation improved massively, so with a primer under these will probably be fabulous.

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L-R: Half Full, Dim Tradition, Whisper, Modesty, Thirteen, Imogen

As you can see, Half Full, Dim Tradition and Whisper all look kinda similar on my arm and are very pale and chalky. This is kinda strange because I’m not that dark, my arm is NC25 at most (darker than face.) Modesty is a PERFECT base shade for me (blends right into my skin.) Thirteen is okay, like a taupey version of a base shade, but doesn’t get me very excited. Imogen is a rosy mauve that remind me of the colours in Naked 3.

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L-R: (This was on my right arm)

Immortals, Juliet, Figment, Dog Days, Fiction, Everest

Immortals is quite meh to me, like a very blah cotton candy pink. Juliet is a peach pink, gorgeous and will probably be a great warm crease shade. Figment is a nice mauve that may or may not be hard to use in a look. Dog days is a nice medium chocolate, although potentially dupeable. Fiction is a slightly purple grey, made even purpler by my sallowness. Everest is kind of a olive-khaki, but my skin makes it look grey :B

 

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L-R: Vintage, Smudge, Gravity, Fire Pledge, Ruca, Atlas

Vintage was a little bit sheer compared to the rest, as you can see. It’s a gorgeous purple leaning plum though (and did perfectly well over primer.) Smudge is a taupe that I fell in love with the second it was on my arm. Gravity is a slightly darker plum. Fire pledge is a slightly muted and burnt orange. Ruca is a brick brown, and Atlas is a muddy brown (not my favourite, it’s kind a poo-ey colour.)

I wore Modesty as a base on my eye, with a bit of Everest over, without primer underneath, and about 6 hours later there was no creasing and some slight fading. I expect these to be even better over primer.

 

For my future purchase, I have narrowed my selection down to 11 shades so far. I am also interested in trying a contour powder (not sure which colour would suit me the best yet) their green correcting powder (since I realized I am olive-skinned) and their Moonlight Lover blush (which looks like a GORGEOUS lilac.)

I am supposed to be panning my stuff instead of buying new make up though, so I am definitely making an effort to use up some stuff first. Blackbird will definitely be on my to-buy list.

Perfume Practice

I have a lot of indie perfumes I intend to buy when I go to the US. Trip is yet unplanned, but the intention is definite. My main jam is The Pie Hole set, because I have not a single non-floral scent and I LOVE Pushing Daisies, the show which inspired it. Side note, Lee Pace, who was also Thranduil in Hobbit and Ronan the Accuser in Guardians of the Galaxy, is the star and OMG HE IS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL MAN *hearts* And the 60s retro fashion and burst of saturated colour is like being hugged in a field of sunshine with puppies and kittens running all around. LOVE that show (and actually finished watching it, I rarely finish watching shows because I have a short attention span.)

Anyway, back to perfume. Since the full set is pretty cheap (though each solid scent is small too) I don’t mind buying all of them. I do need to practice differentiating my perfumes, though, because I literally describe my perfumes in just a couple of words.

So without further ado, here is my modest collection of 5 perfumes, all mainstream:

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Isn’t the pink guy the cutest little thing? My daughter loves him.

From Left to Right:

Versace Yellow Crystal EDT 90ml (full size), ST Dupont Passenger Cruise Pour Femme EDP 50ml, Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb EDP 100ml (full size), Franck Olivier White Touch EDP 100ml (full size), Jo Malone English Pear& Freesia Cologne 100ml (full size)

 

All the reviews below were done without any online reference. After which I will copy and paste what they’re supposed to smell like, from fragrantica. All perfumes were sprayed once onto different areas of my arms. PS. this is not a good way to test perfume because I HAVE A HEADACHE FROM THE SHEER AMOUNT OF CONFLICTING PERFUME ON ME.

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Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb: This is supposedly the stuff that like, teen girls spray like crazy in high school or whatever, but I love it. It’s like loads of flowers mashed together with something sweet. I smell a little bit of rose and jasmine but no very distinct specific flower. It starts off a little cloying but dries down really well, the sugary smell dies down a bit and it smells like ALL THE FLOWERS. Like I said before, I still find it very spunky, and I’ve had people compliment my perfume while wearing it. (A big thing because in my country everyone is aloof to each other!)

Top notes tingle with fresh and sweet accords of bergamot and green tea. A heart is floral and opulent with intensive, sweet and pure Sambac jasmine, seductive Centifolia rose, freesia and Cattleya orchid. Musk and patchouli in a base wrap us with an oriental scent, while its milky and powdery notes gently fondle our skin.

Erm okay WHAT, where is the green tea?? This smells nothing like the green tea I drink. And bergamot…. Earl Grey is my favourite tea and this smells nothing like it either. Maybe because it sat on my skin for awhile before I wrote all this stuff down, so I skipped the top notes. At least I got the jasmine and the rose right (Amazing!) I have no idea how patchouli smells like either. I definitely do not get any milk from this, it’s a much more sugary scent than creamy.

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ST Dupont Passenger Cruise Pour Femme: Husband originally bought it for himself before finding out that it was for chicks. He still uses it sometimes. It’s a musky, slightly leathery scent, not very sweet, so that’s probably why he thought it was for him. It has lightly floral (probably rose) notes, but also slightly peppery. It’s interesting, although probably meant for someone more Glamazon than me.

Passenger Cruise for Women is a fresh and refined floral – fruity – musky fragrance that opens with a burst of exotic pomegranate, Italian lemon, grapefruit and cassis. Delicate and sensual floral heart combines rose, Sambac jasmine and magnolia. Musk, Indonesian patchouli and raspberry wrap up the composition.

Yep, definitely get the musk, and the florals, and I guess this is how pomegranates are supposed to smell like? I can also smell the lemon lean now that I read it. I guess the slight bitterness must come from the grapefruit. The rose and jasmine prevails again (is it just coincidence that my fragrances all have it?) and now that they mention magnolia, it does smell like the Gucci Flora Magnolia that my mother had.

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Versace Yellow Crystal literally just found out it’s DIAMOND, I never knew after owning this damn bottle for 2 years++: I still like this scent, but it’s probably the most boring one I have (after the EA Fifth Avenue.) It’s a very fresh, green floral, ermmm, I honestly can’t tell what flower. Very sparkling. Now that it has dried down a bit it smells a teeny bit peppery to me, which I never noticed before. It’s kind of like White Touch (see below) but much sweeter and less musky, so like, more innocent maybe. I can see myself frolicking in daisy fields with this, but it’s not the most interesting scent in the world. It also doesn’t last very long (EDT after all.)

Yellow Diamond is crafted as a pure, transparent and airy floral fragrance, sparkling and intense as the yellow color, while being luxurious and feminine like a diamond. Its composition opens with luminous freshness of lemon, bergamot, neroli and pear sorbet. The heart features airy orange blossom, freesia, mimosa and water lily. The base is made of amber, precious musk and guaiac wood.

Well yes, it’s pretty transparent, in the very light and clear sort of the way. I definitely think of ‘sparkling’, although not intense and maybe not a diamond. I couldn’t identify any of the notes though, and I still can’t. It smells generic floral to me Ooops 😀

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Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia. Now that I’m smelling it I don’t really like it all that much. It lasts pretty long, but it has a strange smell. Like… musk, but slightly burnt. It’s not as pretty as the other perfumes I have, it’s more acidic and kinda burnt. It’s okay, but not something I necessarily like, although it is interesting. No idea if that’s the pear or the freesia. It’s also a little bit cloying.

Nuances of freesia and pear are very complex, since ripe pears were necessary to achieve a certain note to sound unique in composition of the fragrance. Pear in the moment of perfect ripeness has crispy structure of skin and juicy fruit. Pear is combined with quince which introduces honey sweetness and is surrounded with white freesia and wild climbing rose. A base of the composition is created of green, fresh and sour nuances of rhubarb along with warm and subtle aromas of patchouli, amber and white musk that stay in a trail.

BTW, the description says that this was inspired by John Keats’ Ode to Autumn. I like that poem and we did it in Lit class, so kudos. Well let’s see, I got the sour note (I don’t know how rhubarb smells like…) and the musky note. It starts off really sweet too. So I guess I got some things right. I think it smells much more like a pear in the opening top notes, as I wrote my notes the middle notes were just that flowery musky smell.

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Franck Olivier White Touch. This was an unasked for Christmas present from the husband. I know nothing about this brand though. It starts off rather musky and sexy, but after drying down, it’s much more fresh (but still slightly musky and seductive). It has a smell like those packet green tea drinks (always with loads of sugar) in the supermarket, but without the artificial scent, so it’s actually nice. It smells further of a bit of… rose? Overall, I like this, I would describe it as an only slightly sweet, fresh floral. It reminds me of my old Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue (since used up, review in the previous perfume post) but much more interesting. (I think the bottle design is really tacky though.)

White Touch by Franck Olivier is a Floral fragrance for women. Top notes are water lily, black currant, melon and pear; middle notes are jasmine, artemisia, freesia, rose and violet; base notes are musk and sandalwood.

So I got the musk right, although not the green tea. I don’t smell any violets at all (I don’t like them) although I did get the rose. The top notes seem really sweet and fruity but I don’t get those. Hmmmmm.

 

After my writings, I asked the husband to smell the various parts of my arms and guess the perfume and he got them all right!!! I am super duper impressed, he must be so much better than me.

I think doing this exercise has made me appreciate my perfumes and their intricacies more, and I know that I like White Touch, Flowerbomb and Yellow Diamond more, while I can appreciate English Pear & Freesia and Passenger Cruise okay (although I kinda feel like destashing them now, lolz.)

FOTD: Smoky eyes in the office

31/12/15 was a half-day for us, so I didn’t mind going heavier on the make up. I did a semi-smokey eye, but lightened up on it a little to make it more office appropriate.

I quite like it. I think smoky eyes make my eyes look huge. that may or may not be desirable like, in the office, but it’s nice to do it for a night out.

Black base using NYX Black Bean and shadows using random silvery ones from my very large Sleek palettes collection, which turned a bit blue on me for some reason. Lipstick is Life’s Entropy Catalyst, which is still my favourite nude after 6 months, and I just got a new full size of it.

Make up for Family Photoshoot

We had a family photoshoot recently. Although the focus was not on me obviously, and was on my little girl, we all had to look our best, right?

(The poses are not the best though, it is SO HARD to pose the baby that we basically didn’t care about ourselves.)

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So cute!

 

For my make up look, I did a natural but heavy look, because photography washes make up out. If you look at the photo above, I look like I’m wearing just a little make up, and not the shitload that I actually put.

I put an insane load of highlighter (Mary Lou Manizer) and mascara. I used black eyeliner but kept it thin so that it wouldn’t look too made up on camera. Lipstick is Buxom Dolly. It’s a little too dark for me to be MLBB IRL, but it’s perfect darkness for a photoshoot (not to mention a fantastic formula, I LOVE Buxom Lipsticks.)