Foundation Review: Koh Gen Do Aqua 213

So, I’ve had this awhile now and I’ve worn it lots of times, enough to finally share my thoughts!

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Wow, now this is a flatlay I am quite proud of!!!

First off, this is definitely not something you expect to be able to get for cheap on Carousell, as it is a very niche brand. So I had to buy retail, which pains my soul. At $80 for 30ml, it is on par with other high end foundations. For reference, Armani’s Lasting Silk is $87. NARS Sheer Glow is $73, Shu Uemura Light Bulb is $75. So straddling the line between department store brands and outright luxury. Good thing that there’s a counter in Taka, so feel free to use all your Taka vouchers! 🙂

Continue reading “Foundation Review: Koh Gen Do Aqua 213”

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?”

Vitamin C Serum on the cheap: OST C20

Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant and supposedly also helps your cells to create more collagen, etc. That’s why it’s frequently a star ingredient in a lot of skincare.

The cheapest and most widely available Vit C for us in Asia is likely to be the OST C20 Vitamin C Serum [affiliate]. It’s available for a super cheap $15.57 plus shipping from Roseroseshop.

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I bought it and used it mainly because of the scarring on my chin from the hormonal acne. If you look on the internet, some common criticisms are that it contains Niacinamide, which is what you DON’T want to mix with Vit C, and that Ascorbic Acid is not the best form of Vit C to use.

Ingredients:

Water, Ascorbic Acid, Ethanol, Sodium Lactate, Butylene Glycol, Glucose, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Rosa Davurica Bud Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Extract, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, BIS-PEG-18 Methyl Esther Dimethyl Silane, Diethoxyethyl Succinate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Xanthan, PEG-180, Gluconolactone, Beta-Glucan, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Zinc PCA, Panthenol, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Tocopherylacetate, Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ubiquinone, Diisopropyladipate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben

Overall, the texture is a viscous liquid. It smells to me like hotdog brine – slightly salty. It tastes slightly sour and salty too if you get it on your lips. I don’t mind it, I don’t find it weird or offputting. It dries slightly sticky, but it doesn’t matter to me because I put other stuff over it anyway. I had a tingling sensation the first few times I used it, but it’s non irritating and it won’t make you red. It does sting a little bit if you’re using it on pimples.

I first got it on 9/10/16, so it’s been about 3 months. I still have about 1/4 of the bottle left, and that’s only because I really doused my face in Vit C almost everyday and I even used it on my arms for awhile. I keep it in the fridge, and it hasn’t oxidized, so I’m pretty happy.

I used to use it right after cleansing in the evenings, but Vit C + AHA + BHA was a bit too much for my skin, so right now I use it in the mornings and use my AHA + BHA in the evenings. I wash my face, sometimes with a bit of cleanser, sometimes only with water, pat it dry and then apply it. I usually wait for a few minutes and get dressed before putting on the other stuff.

My chin scarring is still present because I keep picking at my skin (I’m working on it I swear) so there’s not much photographic evidence there, but here’s evidence of its effects of the spot on my cheek.

Some background: I fell down flat on my face around 10 years old, which resulted in a huge scab on my cheek. I never really actually noticed this scar until I got older. I don’t really mind it, since it’s not very obvious or terrible. It’s just a small patch of darker coloured skin on my left cheekbone.

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Defying logic, I somehow placed the before pic on the right, and the after pic on the left. The difference isn’t crazy dramatic, but it’s not as dark or as stark now, and the edges have softened up considerably. Note that the picture on the left is a super close up (which means it should be all the more obvious) and the one on the right is zoomed out.

Overall, this Vit C serum is a great beginner’s serum. It’s cheap, reasonably effective and easy to get from Qoo10. However, there are definitely better formulations out there. I’m going to be trying this one next, which is way more hardcore. However, this is dependable (and so budget friendly) that if future ones I try don’t work, I would definitely return to it.

Skincare Review: Laneige Water Science Mist Sparkling Water (Brightening)

Talk about loooongass product names.

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This was something that I actually received as a freebie from a fashion event that was sponsored by Laneige. I’m always happy to receive free shit to test out!

This is a face mist-type product, which means its not something that I have lots of experience with. The ingredients list is here, but obviously it is made out of mainly water and little else. And ‘Sparkling’ water obviously refers to carbonated water, although personally I have no idea if the carbon dioxide does anything.

The pump that comes with this bottle is FABULOUS. The mist is even and very fine and sprays over a good area. I will definitely be reusing the bottle.

There is a very definitive smell about this: it smells exactly like plain soda water, probably thanks to the carbon dioxide. I do like soda water, but frankly I feel that there’s not much difference from spraying soda water in a nice pretty bottle. It’s quite refreshing of course, and cooling, and perhaps just a little bit soothing, and of course it’s good to have more water on your skin to seal in with humectants and occlusives and such.

The price is really something to balk at though. I can’t confirm it, but it’s $54 at the Laneige boutique? Whatthefuck? You can apparently get it at Qoo10 for $29.50 plus shipping, and it does last quite a while, but it’s still by no means cheap.

I have been using this for maybe 2 months I think? Close to every morning and night, and I’m very generous with it, spraying maybe 3-4 times every time I use it. And so far, it’s about 1/8 gone. So it will lasts quite a while, I’m predicting a year, at least.

Still, I feel that it’s a bit too expensive for a novelty item that probably doesn’t do that much in your routine. After it’s gone, I would probably idk, make my own aloe/rose infused water or something and put into the bottle!

Changed my mind: 3W Clinic Powder Crystal Creator Bright

This is what I hope to make into a new series. Basically about products I thought I liked or hated at first, and then grew to hate/love it for some reason or another. I am fickle, yes.

Anyway, let’s talk a little about this powder. This is 3W clinic, the same brand as my beloved sunscreen, purveyor of cheap and good Korean cosmetics. I think this powder used to be called Dodo Palgatong theatrical powder. The history behind this red jar is absolutely confounding.

The red jar is very sturdy, if not very pretty. The included puff is pretty good too, soft and squishy and pretty thick.

Anyway, my powder is in the shade 10 Pearl. There are 3 shades: 10 Pearl, 21 Light, and 23 Natural or something. Korean shades are very standardized, so basically 21 = super fair, maybe NC 10-15 thereabouts, and 23 = NC20. I would usually go for 23 in anything Korean. Aaaaand the shades end there. Korean brands don’t have a good reputation for shade range, can you tell? 😀

I got this secondhand off someone, which explains why I ended up with Pearl instead of 23 (ie I wasn’t looking.) Pearl is actually translucent, with a SHITTON of glitter. I shit you not, look at my arm. This is using the included puff, patting it off, and then patting my arm very lightly.

Compare this to the Catrice Radiance Pearls. I used a buffing brush, picked up as much product as I could and really buffing it on. You can tell that the 3W clinic powder has actual glitter in it, whereas the Radiance Pearls just have shimmer.

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L: Radiance Pearls. R: 3W Clinic Crystal Creator

This was why when I first got it I was like FUCK ME why did I buy a tub of glitter. However this week I took it out and trialed it properly and I changed my mind!

The reason is that the glitter doesn’t translate as horrendously as you think it does. On the face, at certain angles when the light hits you yes, you do look like you have glitter on your face, but not like a walking disco ball. The glitter is small enough to be relatively subtle and ‘perfecting’ rather than ‘glittering’. Plus, the powder is LOVELY. It’s makes my skin look amazing, with or without the glitter. It’s very natural, and melds into my skin amazingly. Or if you’re really anxious about the glitter, use it as a highlighter or something.

Of course, I don’t apply it with the puff. That would really look like a walking disco ball. I take my powder brush and I tap it on the puff and tap off the excess. Basically, be a little more careful.

However I have to note that it doesn’t really have oil control properties. I like my skin to look natural, so I just sweep it on after my foundation (the satinish Lasting Silk.) It gives me a very soft satin look. It will NOT make you matte or keep you matte, but it will make your skin look amazing.

The best? It’s DIRT CHEAP. 30g (1 oz) costs $5 on Qoo10. [affiliate] Of course you can opt for 21 or 23 rather than a tub full of glitter you see here instead.

Moral of the story? Great powder can be really cheap! I swear this is as good as any more expensive powder out there.

Current Make up Inventory

Since the last inventory, I’ve destashed and used up quite a bit of stuff. Here is my make up inventory, so I can see what else there is to destash and what other things I MIGHT allow myself to buy.

Caveat: My collection is quite large, but I didn’t spend much money on it because I bought a lot of destashed, blogsale, etc stuff that cost me significantly less than retail price. I think like 90% of my collection is not from retail. For example most of my quads were bought at $5 or so.

(Sorry about the upside down pics in some of them, idk what is happening…)

Blushes: 11 (Ideal: 4)

I’ve used up 1 blush and destashed a couple since the last inventory, so now I’m left with 11 pans.

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  • Sleek Blush palette Candy Collection (3 pans)
  • Cargo blush in Barbary Coast
  • A few broken eyeshadows that I mixed up and became a purple blush, how cool is that? 😀
  • Rouge Bunny Rouge in Florita
  • Alcina Bronzer in Light
  • NYX Cream blush in Natural
  • 4 pans of hot pink/orange/red eyeshadow that will be gorgeous as blushes but I would probably never wear as eyeshadow.

Ideally I think 4 blushes would be more than enough. 1 neutral go with everything, 1 warm, 1 cool, and maybe 1 really weird thing like red or purple or something.

 

Eyeliners: 16 (Ideal: 6)

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Okay, I still have way too many eyeliners in too many funky colours. Didn’t use up or destash any. Right now I’m working on the Silky Girl Ever Green pencil since it’s the oldest, and I find that I kind of like a subtle green wing.

I included the 2 liner ends of my mascara because it is unfortunate that my gorgeous mascara comes with a liner on the other end, but it cost me like $3 or $5 per duo so I don’t care.

Without the duo liner end: 16 liners total. Ideally I think I’ll like to have 1 brown, 1 black, 1 champagne, 1 white, and maybe 2 funky colours, so an allowance of 6 total.

Base: 6 (Ideal: 3)

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  • Philosophy in the Buff
  • Armani Lasting Silk
  • Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua
  • Cyber Colours Pore Primer
  • Seventeen Stay time concealer
  • Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

The Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua NEVER. DIES. WHAT THE FUCK. Every month I tell myself that This is the month that it will die, and I always have to adjust my expectations. I’ve been expecting it to finish since November and it always proves me wrong. I’ve destashed all my other foundations because all I really need is Lasting Silk and I think it will last me for like, 3 years.

Philosophy In the Buff is essentially a cream bronzer of sorts. It’s a bizarre, heavily discounted Nordstrom Rack buy from my sister. It works decently mixed in with foundation in VERY. SMALL amounts to darken it slightly to match me.

My ideal wardrobe would probably be Lasting Silk, the primer, and RCC. The Seventeen concealer doesn’t cover much as I would like a concealer to, but it actually works very well as a creamy foundation. I might bring it along for travel for convenience.

Highlighters: 5 (Ideal: 2)

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  • The Balm Mary Lou Manizer
  • Kiko Radiant Touch Highlighter
  • Life’s Entropy Illuminator samples x2
  • Colourpop Monster

I think ideally I should have 1 normal highlighter, and 1 weird coloured highlighter. I haven’t found the strength to destash any 😥

Powders: 6 (Ideal: 3)

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  • Za True White foundation OC20
  • Seventeen BB powder in Light
  • Essence Stay Matte powder
  • 3W clinic Crystal Creator Bright in 01 Pearl
  • Custom mix of like, Laura Mercier translucent powder and crystal creator bright in the body shop jar
  • Catrice Radiance Pearls

Man, I really do not need another powder for a long, long time. I only use powder foundations on the weekends and rarely powder my face in the day. Ideally, I should have 1 powder foundation, 1 translucent powder, and my radiance pearls, and I think that’s it. I just don’t use powder that often. At least they’ll stay usable for many years to come.

Brows: already ideal

I’ve been using the remnants of my mascara for my brows. Frugal to the max, amirite? Other than that, I have 2 samples of Life’s Entropy Brow Theory, and a tiny nubbin of a pencil for travel. I don’t have a brow buying problem because brows are BORING, guys.

Eye bases and sticks: 5 (Ideal: 3)

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Kiko stick eyeshadow 09, 38, NYX Milk, Black Bean, and Etude House Proof 10 Eye primer.

Eye primer is a necessity, of course. Black Bean and Milk are workhorses but I don’t think I’ll be able to use all of it, ever. 38 is a very, very nice single wash colour, so I’ll definitely go through it, but I don’t know if I would repurchase. 09 is a very pretty colour but hard to use and work with, so I’ll see if anyone else wants it.

Eyeshadows: 196 (ideal… Definitely like <50.)

Click to enlarge!

  • Singles: (middle of bottom row) 14
  • Depots: 60 in right of middle row, 55 in left of middle row, 18 in middle of middle row, 6 in right of top row. 8 random ones in middle of top row. Total 147 pans.
  • Sample baggies: 23 + 1 baggie I depotted into a jar.
  • In palettes: 4 x 8 quads, 2x 1 duo. total 34.
  • Random Rouge Bunny Rouge glitter pigment thingy on the bottom left.

SO. MANY. EYESHADOWS. Technically I still have a quint and a duo I’ve been trying to destash but have yet to be sold.

At least now most of my shadows are in Z palettes so I can pick them out easily and see how many dupes I have (a lot.)

My Armani ETKs are my guilty pleasure. I swear I went through them and swatched all of them trying to decide what to sell and…. couldn’t. Thank god my Z palettes are filled with Sleek shadows that cost like $10-$15 per palette of 12, so my full Z palettes cost me like $150 at most? I think the ETKs cost me more than that, lol.

 

This is an embarrassing amount of make up. The lips will be taking up and entire other post. I have been diligent in not buying more, and using up what I have. I don’t think I can be on a complete no buy for the entirety of this year, but I am forced by life circumstances to be frugal, and be frugal I will.

My One Night make up bag

I’m not one for special days (like, at ALL, I didn’t remember my own birthday) plus my husband is currently overseas over this weekend, so my Valentine’s was spent staying over at my parents’.

(We also had the best mango sponge cake we’ve ever had for my birthday. Which is not saying much because I detest fruit in dessert, but I actually ate a sizable portion of the cake.)

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Anyway, here’s what I brought for a 2 day, 1 night stay at my parents. I wasn’t going out or to meet anyone, only to teach this kid who I’ve been teaching for the past 6 months or so.

3W Clinic Intensive UV Sunblock Cream: Just reviewed this sunblock after near 2 years of use, I LOVE IT and I would never buy any other sunblock ever again until they DC it or my skin needs change for some reason. Great light day moisturizer with super sun protection all in one.

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Honey: My daily undereye concealer. My undereye circles have been really shitty lately, just like my sleep patterns.

Random Eyebrow Pencil: I normally only use the spoolie on the end, but I keep the pencil around (it’s a tiny nub left) for travel purposes.

ZA I have no idea what this is, maybe the True White, in #20: literally, it was an unopened powder refill left behind by a tenant, so I thought okay might as well use it. It doesn’t feel very smoothly milled in the pan, but it performs pretty well on the face. Not the most exciting product but okay, and easy to travel in that ugly plastic casing.

The Body Shop Kabuki: The first brush I have ever bought. I still like it for apply powder foundation, it really buffs it into the face well without cakiness. It’s soft and it’s held up well over like, the 3 or 4 years I’ve had it.

Mentholatum Sugarlip Watercolour tinted balm: my HG tinted balms, easy colour and super moisturizing. I brought 03, for no particular reason. I also touched a bit to my cheeks.

Clinique deodorant: God this thing never ends, my husband has had it for years.

Etude House Moistfull collagen sleeping pack: It has a very tacky, gluey (or like… semen too, I guess? Lol) consistency, but I’m nearing the end of this travel size and I use it like a night time moisturizer.

PS: I’ve grown 2 more milia over the past couple of months, and I don’t know what caused it but I suspect it’s… this? DDDD: I really need to get them extracted one day.

 

Obviously I also used a cleanser, plus I also used a BHA last night because EW MILIA, but I used my sister’s stuff.

So that’s it! 2 skincare items (4 if you count the stuff I used from my sis), 1 brush, 4 make up items and deodorant. Very minimalistic! A little too minimalistic if I say so myself, but it’s not like I had to impress my own parents 🙂

My HG Sunblock: 3W Clinic Intensive UV Sunblock Cream

I tend to go quite light on the skincare, no complex 20 step regimen for me. Now I’m swimming in a surplus of samples and shit, but my ideal regimen for morning would be like: water cleanse, pat dry, er, most likely this sunblock, and then make up. So like, a one step routine since I would wash my face when I brush my teeth.

So what’s this magical sunblock?

(Sorry it’s a rainy day today, bad lighting.)

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3W Clinic is a very budget, no frills brand from Korea. They don’t have particularly nice packaging, and they produce a large range of make up and skincare. They’re not very exciting, brand wise, but if the other stuff are like this sunscreen, it absolutely delivers.

The exterior first…. it comes in a no nonsense tube with a nozzle. Great for dispensing precise amounts.

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For the actual product, it’s a water-based cream, or a thicker lotion. This means that it’s not thick or greasy, but still undeniably a cream and not watery like the Biore sunscreens. It has a faint errrrr, light flowery and clean scent, but it’s not very strong at all. It absorbs pretty fast, moisturizes well, and leaves only a slight white cast if you really cake it on (because we’re supposed to.) Plus, (and this is a super huge plus) it is one of the few sunscreens I can apply to my eyelids indiscriminately without issue. No stinging, no irritation. In fact, this sunscreen is very soothing on my skin.

A look at the ingredients:

Water, EthylhexylMethoxycinnamate, Titanium Oxide, 1.3-Butylene Glycol, 4-Methylbenzylidene, Camphor, Dicapryl Carbonate, Beeswax, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-3Methylglucose Distearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceridde, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Methylparaben, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Xanthan Gum, Aloe Barbansis Leaf Extract, Morus Alba Bark Extract, Red Ginseng Extract, Propylparaben, Disodium – EDTA, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Allantoin, Arbutin, Betaine, Perfume.

As you can see, it’s a water based cream which makes it very light. The main suncreen actives are Ehylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, which is a slightly unstable chemical filter, and Titanium Oxide, a physical filter. The EM, which probably gives it SPF 50 with its characteristic light texture, is not ideal as it is unstable and degrades over light exposure. However, it has SPF 50+, which is plenty for everyday use, so I don’t mind that too much. Plus, the texture is very light, so I use a pretty large amount every time, which gives me closer to actual SPF50 rather than the 1/3 protection that you usually get from a standard application. You may want to religiously reapply should you be using this for a day at the beach, for example, but for everyday it is perfectly fine.

Other than that, there is nothing much of note, mainly boring cosmetic ingredients. There is Camphor, for some unknown reason, but I have never felt any irritation from it even in my eyes. There is actually Allantoin, Arbutin and Betaine, which are all great skincare/brightening/lightening ingredients, but they are all in tiny amounts.

So this is a pretty nice sunscreen, but what makes it my HG is the PRICE. You can’t beat it. I bought mine at ~$3 previously but our exchanges rates suck now so it’s slightly more expensive. I have used up at least 1 or 2 tubes so far and you can see this tube doesn’t have too much left. I have a couple of backup tubes, and I will definitely repurchase when those run out. I seriously have not felt a need to look at any other sunscreen ever since I found this. I guess that’s what it means by a HG product 🙂

For my daily routine in humid here, it’s plenty moisturizing enough. This may or may not be true in my dry office, IDK, I have yet to test it out since I’m finishing up another sunscreen. It works beautifully under make up too! When I use powder foundation (usually on the very light make up weekends) I always make sure to apply this sunblock liberally to give me a good moisturized base to apply powder on.

You can purchase it here [affiliate] for $4.50 SGD + $0.99 shipping for Singapore. I have purchased multiple times from this seller and have always been satisfied.

FOTD: simple no liner

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If youre wondering why I’m wearing that damn hoodie everyday, it’s because my other, very pretty jacket is significantly not warm enough because it’s like freezing here for some reason. Grrr. I’m not a fashion blogger, so whatever.

Today’s FOTD is very simple. Apart from the usuals it’s just a bit of purple and pink shadow. I even skipped the liner completely. I’m not sure my lashes are thick and lush enough for that to work though.

Lips are Mentholatum Sugar Lip in Vintage Pink because dermatillomania is keeling my lips and regular lipstick is too painful to think about. Also matches the eyes.