The Magical Bottle of Eyelash/Brow Growth: Bimatoprost

Update: Moar pics at the end!

Bimatoprost is a drug that is frequently used to treat glaucoma, and also has the very nice cosmetic effect of making hair GROW like nuts. Let Lab Muffin, the cool Australian chick explain how it works.

I’ve always had decent lashes and brows, but last time, I never felt like mascara ever made a difference. If it did, it required tons of effort of curling and application. It would be REALLY nice to have fluttery amazing lashes by just waking up.

Latisse is $200/bottle, so I splashed for the generic version, Careprost, which has the same concentration of bimatroprost, at $20/bottle.

So I’m sure what you really want to know is, does it work?

 

Here’s photographic evidence for your perusal, of both my eyelashes and brows.

Lashes:

Before:

Curled and with mascara [btw, I’ve used the same type of mascara for more than a year, in all these pictures, so it’s not the mascara making the difference.]:

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(this one looks like bare lashes. You can see I naturally have fairly good lashes, just that like all Asian lashes they point doooooown. And are dastardly difficult to curl.)

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2-3 weeks after using Bimatoprost:

With mascara

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(I think the below pic’s upper lashes for this weren’t curled to their full potential, but look at the lower ones!!!!)

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And a look at my brows…

Totally barefaced. I have a fair amount of brow hair but they’re just… kinda sparse? After about 1+ month on bimatoprost, you can see they are a LOT darker – just more density of hair. I don’t even need to do eyebrows anymore when I walk out without make up.

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So here’s a before and after with bare lashes. You can see my lashes are coming in denser and more lush, and they’re slightly longer. The photo doesn’t show them dramatically longer, but believe me, it makes a hugeeeee difference when I curl and put on mascara.

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Bimatoprost has also made it far easier to curl my lashes. I’m not sure why – it may be because of the additional length. My curl also holds for very much longer. I’ll take it!

In any case, I’ve only been on bimatoprost about 3-4 weeks, and it takes 2 months to see full results. I’m already very happy at the stage I am, so I wonder how I’ll look at the end of January? 😀 And best of all, you get to tell everyone these are your natural lashes, and there is no fiddling with falsies and glue, no extensions to worry about!

I apply it every night right now, but after the first bottle, I will be applying it maybe 3x a week for maintenance.

Update 16/1/17 – Maybe 2 months of usage? I have a couple of patches with very short lashes because some of the mega long lashes fell out. The slightly bare patches are growing back, so once the growth cycle is stabilized, I expect there to be no more bare patches where lash hair falls out all at one go while others are still insanely long. FYI, this is similar to the pregnancy hair effect. When you’re pregnant, your hair grows nonstop and doesn’t fall out (unless you yank at it) so after you give birth it falls out in massive clumps and youll have some bare patches until the hair grows back in its normal growth cycle again.

20170108_102341(0).jpgBare lashes – I mean holy crap look at the LENGTH!!! I have less volume than fake lashes but I definitely match them in length. I easily get a very fluttery look.

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Omg mega long and you can see I barely applied any mascara.

Very freaking happy, and STILL on the first bottle – I am applying it once every 2 days now.

Update 15/3 – My sister asked me today how to get my eye look – and I was wearing NOTHING on my eyes. No shadow no eye primer no mascara no nothing. I think I got a little bit of darkness around my eyes naturally, and bimatoprost also darkens the lashline a little bit, partially also because the lashes look so thick and lush now. I am SO happy with the unintended compliment 😛

How to use things: tips I’ve only learnt recently

My mum is so not into beauty, so my whole life has been about what I’ve seen in magazines/internet and my own crazy experimenting. Some things I have never figured out, until now. Some of these might be duh-uh, but hope that someone out there finds it useful 🙂

  1. Siliconey hair serums

My husband had this siliconey hair serum that I felt always weighed down my hair and made it look so blah.and maybe even oily. Then one night I felt like I MUST make an effort in using the last bit up. I put it in damp hair, fresh from showering, and BAM, loveliest, fluffiest hair ever. Like seriously, damn my hair has been so freaking fluffy the last few days. I keep fluffing it up and I keep telling my colleagues ‘MY HAIR IS SO FLUFFY.’

If you live in a suuuuuper hot and humid place like I do and feel like serums and whatnot weigh your hair down and you feel greasy, try putting it in when its wet and see if it makes a difference!

2. How to cover up pimples at that gross flaky stage

I’m still dealing with hormonal acne around my period and the aftermath of said hormonal acne. It’s definitely better now but still, urgh. When I put foundation and concealer and try to hide it, frequently it looks worse after a long day after it starts to flake and look horribly dry and all. I mean, maybe there’s a magical concealer out there that stops that, but here’s what I do:

  1. Prep skin as usual, moisturize, sunscreen.
  2. Take some hardcore occlusive substance. I use Lanolin, but Vaseline probably works too. Dab it strategically in the problem spot and rub it in slightly
  3. Put primer over it. Quite important, so that the concealer has something to grab onto and fades slower.
  4. Apply foundation/concealer as usual.

Not only does this method ensure that there are no flaky spots, it also protects the spot and helps it to heal. For me personally, lanolin everywhere has been an amazing skin protectant. And I can also cover it up better. On the days I skip the lanolin, I definitely notice the difference, because the spot usually starts to flake by midday. If you skip the primer, the concealer tends to fade much faster. It’s a rather arduous process though.

3. How to curl your lashes easily for Asian eyes

Seriously, fucking splash some money on a good Japanese eyelash curler. I haven’t done this yet, but I will soon in a few months. My current curler is a generic western one, and though it gets the job done, I have to be pretty careful about not grabbing the wrong bit,s and my eye make up does rub off it sometimes.

Yesterday I was at the Surratt counter, and holy hell, their eyelash curler was MAGIC. But it also costs $50.  If you always thought that curling your lashes were a chore, try the Shiseido/Shu Uemura/Surratt (if you’re loaded). The famous Shiseido one is $20+ I think, and I will most definitely get that one soon.

 

Do you have any interesting tips that you just learnt recently?

Conquering Undereye Creasing

I used to have okay dark circles, but recently they’ve become quite terrible due to working long hours and not that much sleep. I’ve been packing on the concealer too, but I’ve recently discovered, to my horror, that my concealer has been creasing and becoming patchy all this while!!!! 

It looks great during application, but by lunch time… gross!

Here’s how to learn from my mistakes.

Do not get too trigger happy with the concealer.

I know your dark eye circles look like shit. It’s not going to help if you put twice as much concealer as usual. There will just be too much product and it will cake up or move around. If you do need to apply more than usual to cover more things up, do it layer by layer.

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This amount is more than sufficient for me.

Primer on your undereyes is your best friend! 

You prime your face to help your foundation go on smoother. You’d also want to prime your undereyes to increase coverage of your concealer and reduce caking by giving it a very smooth canvas. And it makes your undereyes SO silky smooth.

Set it with powder!!!!!!

I used to always skip this step. I was always very worried that my undereyes would cake up with powder (which it frequently did.)

The importance is in the powder you use. I can only say experiment, but in my experience, powder foundations DO NOT work. DO NOT USE POWDER FOUNDATION TO SET YOUR UNDEREYES.

DO NOT USE SHIMMERY POWDERS TO SET YOUR UNDEREYES. I have 2, as blogged about before, but I’m also thinking of things like Hourglass Ambient lights, Guerlain Meteorites, etc. It will HIGHLIGHT EVERYTHING. You do not want glittery eyebags.

What has worked for me is those mattifying powders. They tend to be very thin in texture, so they don’t make the concealer cake up. Of course, don’t apply too much. Very matte skin is pretty untrendy right now, but a tiny touch of this dusted under your eyes really helps!

My powder is the Essence All about Matt powder. My undereye concealer, as always, is NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Honey. I use my useless brush to apply. I recently learnt it’s described as a ‘fluff’ brush, and it’s a very multitasking brush – undereyes, or to dust a base shade over your eyes, etc. Well, I guess I finally found out what it’s supposed to be for!

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See the tiny amount of powder making the bristles a little bit whiter? That’s the amount of powder you need to use. Too much powder makes cakiness too!

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Pat it gently on your undereyes!

 

Hope this helps you in preventing your concealer from moving!

Hard Water, Soft water and skincare

When I first arrived in the US, I found that I couldn’t wash my face clean. It felt like I always had some greasy film on my face, even though I tried out the cleanser I brought back at home and it worked fine. Also, I could never rinse the body wash off in the shower and I always felt very oily.

So I did some research, and I found out that Singapore’s water is soft while most of USA’s is very hard. My husband’s aunt also happened to have that measuring thingy to measure the mineral content. The water from the water filter, which we drink from, is 8 ppm (very, very soft.) The water in Singapore is around 40-60 ppm, which is still soft. The water from the tap is like, 240 ppm, super incredibly hard. Holy sheet.

This residue that was left on my face caused me to break out a little bit on the first few days 😦 It was extremely annoying, plus I also have a dry patch around my mouth because apparently my moisturizer is not hardcore enough. I have seriously not had so much skin issues for a long, long time.

To combat this problem, I’ve taken to doing a final rinse with the soft drinking water, which rinses off this residue and makes my skin finally feel like itself again. You can also use bottled water, which has a similar hardness of around 10. If it feels like too much of an indulgence, use normal water to wash the cleanser off first and only do a final rinse with drinking water.

I’ve learnt some good life knowledge about hard and soft water, and also how to take better care of my skin! Can’t wait to go back to where water is nice and soft 😦

The Power of Makeup

This is for a project on r/MakeupRehab!

This is me literally just out of bed, in my PJs. I have nice featurers and nice skin, just a small zit on my chin and a fucking mosquito bite on my cheek. FUCKING mosquito.

(I’ve also got really chubby recently I think :((( TIME TO WORK OUT AND EAT LESS)

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This is with base and the essentials done, like foundation and concealer, brows, I think some blush. I think I got eyeshadow and mascara done too but I’m going to work so I can’t exactly do something dramatic. Still haven’t fixed the hair.

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Realized I forgot lipstick previously – I hadn’t eaten breakfast and I usually apply lipstick afterwards. Also added some finishing touches like highlighter and finishing powder.

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What do you think?

PS. If I did liner or smoky eyes my eyes would look HUGE. Like, sometimes creepily huge.

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My Z-palettes and depotting Sleek Eyeshadows

I have a lot of Sleek eyeshadow palettes (12.) I obviously wasn’t making very good use of them, and to really take stock of how many eyeshadows I have, I depotted ALL of them into 3 large magnetic palettes.

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Holy crap! Look at the amount of eyeshadow I have!!!!

I use 2 palettes for storage purposes, and 1 palette to hold the eyeshadows I use regularly.

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In the palette I use regularly, I have 1 champagne brow highlight shade, a base all a variety of mid-tone lid shades that are neutral-lish yet interesting, and I have a whole bunch of crease shades, from usual (browns) to unconventional (orange and burgundies.) I have a matte black at the bottom corner for good measure. I also intend to use certain blush-coloured eyeshadows as blush, since I am very unlikely to do a look using fuchsia eyeshadow.

As you can see, some shadows have had accidents. Mattes are very, very fragile, especially drugstore matte shadow because they tend to be very stiff and chalky. Shimmers are no problem at all, if they break just press them back. I had a small little zip lock in which I kept broken shadows and mixed them into a gorgeous purple loose blush.

I used the pry method, which mean using a pen knife to pry out the insert before using alcohol to dissolve the glue. I do not recommend this method because I actually broke my penknife doing this. For my last palette which I could not for the life of my pry out, I used the flame method, where I held the palette (with a pair of pliers) over my stove and waited for the heat to melt the plastic and glue. This was INFINITELY EASIER and faster, BUT the palettes were also ruined. The pry method ensured that you could reuse the palette to hold stuff if it so pleases you. So it depends on yourself.

Sleek pans are not magnetic, but NEVER FEAR. Instead of buying a shitload of expensive magnetic stickers like I could have, do this instead:

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I used 1 section of the blade for each pan, and a pack of 10 was just enough for me and cost me like $1.

I am very happy with this depotting, and looking at my depotted shadows I seriously feel no need to buy any more eyeshadow for the rest of my life. Hah, I will probably still make some indie eyeshadow purchases, but I probably won’t be tempted by any mainstream shadows for the next year, hopefully.

Back to Basics: NYX Black Bean and Milk Jumbo Eye Pencils

My make up collection is sorely lacking some basics, because I favour the sparkly and shiny over the essential (of course.) Recently, I’ve really wanted an eyeshadow base, because my random black kohl liner as a black base is running out, and I flat out don’t have a white base. And the cheapest and easiest one out there are the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils, in Black Bean and Milk.

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I got these for dirt cheap on Carousell. NYX stuff are very cheap everywhere anyways.

First off: they are absolute rubbish as eye pencils. They are suuuuuuuuper creamy, which means they don’t stay on your lids, ever. They are total crap if you’re looking for cream shadow stick-esque products. That’s why I don’t intend to get any beyond Milk and BB.

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However, their creaminess means that they’re brilliant as an eyeshadow base. They’re tacky and shadow sticks onto them. Products with all kinds of textures work well on them: glitter, mattes, and shimmers, unlike a fixative (say, Fyrinnae’s Pixie Epoxy) which would ruin mattes.  With primer underneath and shadow on top, they don’t move around. But all things considered I would say these are fickle things, essential basics but you definitely do not want to fuss with them when you’re rushing. The trick is to apply enough such that the eye area is covered and tacky, yet not creamy enough to slip around.

Black Bean is a suuuuuper quick smoky eye look. Colour it into your lids, blend out a bit, add some glittery shadow, and you’re done. But if you’re like me with oily lids, or living in a humid place, definitely wear primer. Seriously. Milk is brilliant as a base for most shadows.

Here I show how Chanel Nymphea looks on Milk. First, I applied primer all over both lids.

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I applied milk very thickly. On hindsight, I made a mistake: you likely don’t need to apply on the crease, just on the lids and on a brow highlight if you want.

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Blended slightly

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With Milk

 

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Without milk.

 

There is a definite increase in vibrancy. I find that it’s not as refined as I would like, because the white base interferes a little with the transparency of Nymphea. On hindsight I should have chosen a different shadow 😀

It also made it last longer. While the side without was a little faded after 6-8 hours, the side with Milk faded less.

I don’t actually like Nymphea with Milk because it kind of messes up the colour, but after 6-8 hours Nymphea looks beautiful on Milk.

I’m glad I got these because they will work with every single eyeshadow I own. Although, now that I think of it, I don’t fancy very vibrant eye looks, I’m more a subtle girl. I aim to finish using up Milk in 2 years, while BB will take god knows how long, since I don’t do smoky often.

Nail Polish Applique Strips review: Incoco

DISCLAIMER: I found these free, from one of the tenants that vacated an apartment a long, long time back. Like maybe 3 years ago kind of long. I’m sure these are basically expired by now, but since it’s nail polish, I don’t really mind.

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Incoco is a brand that exclusively does nail wrap stuff. They have lots of lovely designs on their online store. Their extensive collections include single colours, designs as well as french tips.

First off, a big disclaimer about cost. These are obviously one use, or close to one use items. I hate using up things that I can count with my fingers (other objects include Q-tips, cotton pads and wipes) so these don’t jam with my neuroses. Nail polish appliques are also notoriously expensive: Incoco brand ones are around $8 USD per pack. You probably get more bang for your buck (and happiness level) buying individual nail polish bottles.

I am not really into nails, but since I had so many packs of these things lying around I felt like I had to try them out. Many people tried to make these kind of applique strips A Thing a couple of years back but it never really took off, at least in Singapore.

These are real nail polish: from the reviews I read, the brands that use real polish strips have great wear and application, while the brands that don’t (for example, they use vinyl) are generally shitty.

Mine is a deep wine red, Red Velvet. I also have another generally dated kind of dark mauve-rose, Tea Rose.

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Mine may be a very old package, so they have changed it, but they included literally everything you need ever to do your nails. Mini nailfile/buffer and cuticle stick included. Even a silver tape to reseal your polishes in case you wanted to store them after opening. Even a mini polish removal cloth. EVERYTHING! I don’t even own a single cuticle stick or a buffer beyond the free hotel ones I get, so it was good for me, although you may find it very excessive. The new ones don’t mention these all in one package, so I guess they changed it.

Let’s talk application. I’m a nail polish noob, so I frequently have problems with cream polishes. I also don’t know the first thing about nail wraps, but the instructions were very easy to follow. I took a couple of tries to figure out which was the sticky side (it’s the side that was peeled off the base, like a scotch tape) but once I did that, and figured out the best sizes for each nail, it was a total breeze. You will most likely screw the first nail up though.

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The results are quite good! The polish definitely looks wayyyy better than if I tried to applied it, although the index finger always gives me problems (due to the size not matching up.) The rest of the fingers are okay.

This is my second time using these. The first time I used Tea Rose. I have to say that this application was not as foolproof as the first time which I literally did in 5 minutes and lasted for 1 week until I got bored and removed them. I have quite a lot of chips on my nails right now. It could be because my wraps are pretty old, so they may not have as good adherence, or perhaps I went to do a lot of shit after I applied them, or maybe because I was quite sleepy and didn’t apply them very well. The first time I did it though it lasted AGES and was so easy.

Pros:

  • Super easy. I finished a full set of hands in 5 minutes and it looks really professional and pretty indeed.
  • Perfect cream finish without all the struggling.
  • You don’t need any extra materials. Even without all the fancy stuff, you don’t actually need to trim your cuticles or buff your nails or anything, although that makes it prettier. Just like stick those on and go.
  • You have time to adjust and redo any nails that might need it
  • Lots of gorgeous colours and designs
  • Great for accents, for just 1 or 2 fingers on a hand.

Cons:

  • Expensive!!
  • One use: I hate the waste of all the other strips and the bits you have to peel off
  • Does not work well on nails that are deeply encased in flesh, your nail edge has to be sticking out somewhat to be able to properly adhere the polish to the edges

I think these are actually quite lovely (assuming the 2nd application is not the norm…) and I wouldn’t mind buying more, in fancy designs. Although they are expensive for individual manis, they can be fantastic as accents (and much cheaper.) This set comes with a french tip pack, but frankly I have no idea how to use it, so I also don’t know how you’re supposed to use the french tip sets that they’re selling. Still, I think that these are fun and cute, and though I wouldn’t necessarily depend on them for regular manis I think they’re worth a try!

Powder Foundation: How to use

If you’re like me, you’re confounded by powder foundations. Most people use them as a topper powder or to mattify, few people actually use it as foundation.

Recently, in my lazy no make up days when I had to go out to face the world (boooooo) I slap on a quick bit of make up and skincare. Usually it’s just my sunblock, a little bit of concealer, my brows, and the powder foundation.

(photo not taken by me, my compact has been smashed since long ago and I just keep the pan in my make up box to use.)

My skin is quite normal, and it’s only oily on my nose. Previously, when I used powder foundations, I kind of just slap it on, and it would look really cakey and fake. I’m totally not down with that, so I kinda ignored powder foundations for a long time. Recently however, I find powder foundation to be perfect for those low maintenance, sheer coverage days.

Any powder to me will do. I don’t think talc and some pigments should cost $80++. What nonsense. This handy 17 Soft Touch BB powder (the lower end, teen targeted Boots housebrand) costs something like SGD8 in Bangkok in Boots.

A good powder must:

  1. Be finely milled. I’ve touched some coarse powders in my lifetime. You wouldn’t really know the difference until you touch a sublimely soft powder. This is one of those sublimely soft ones. I’ve used powders from Maybelline and Za previously, and both were nowhere as good as this 17 one. Coarse powders look cakey easily and of course, don’t feel as good.
  2. Not be a sheer pressed powder. This powder semi-sheer, it offers definite coverage but nothing too much. You obviously won’t be getting any coverage out of a sheer or translucent product.
  3. If you have oily skin, you will probably be concerned about oil control. The 17 BB powder unfortunately has quite bad oil control power. Thankfully I’m not super oily all over, but it’s something to think about. It doesn’t bother me too much, since if I’m using this powder only I’m not expecting to look picture perfect.

My preferred fuss-free application method is to use a buffing face brush. I use the Real Techniques Buffing Brush but you can also use the Face Brush, or any similar brush. I also use a kabuki on occasion. Must be dense and bristles slightly stiffer, not so floppy.

  1. Start with a moisturized face. If you’re not super oily, you MUST have something underneath. Powder on dry skin is cringeworthy. Your skin should be slightly tacky. I have used it over moisturizer, my sunblock (which is the thick cream kind) and even a serum and it is fine.
  2. Pick up product with your brush. Since it’s going to be buffed in and there’s no other base product, it doesn’t matter if you’re heavy handed.
  3. Buff the powder into your face! I use circular motions to really work it in. The tacky skincare underneath will prevent it from looking cakey. It’s similar to using a powder foundation damp, but with much less mess and fuss.

Since then my powder foundations have had a new life! I used to use just the tiniest bit of powder to mattify my T-zone but now I finally figured out the best way to use powder foundation as an actual foundation!

Even so, there is barely a dip in my pan and I’ve had it for like, 1.5 years at least. It’s the powder that I’m using most of the time at home, because it’s divinely soft and because I want to finish using an exposed pan as fast as I humanly can. God, powder sizes are WAY too big.

Hope you found this tip useful! I love the simplicity and quickness of it for the times I have to pop out of the house for something.