Skincare Review: The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%

This is the product I was the most excited for from The Ordinary. As you know, I had rather bad hormonal acne on my chin for about 6 months. Although somehow it went away by itself and I don’t have huge cystic acne there like I used to, I still have very clogged pores there and a fair bit of texture. It bothers me for sure. So I was hoping Retinoid would wipe it clean and make my skin baby smooth again.

Sorry for the blurry pic! Also, HOW FANTASTIC IS MY NAIL COLOUR.

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FOTD: More Red Eyeshadow!

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

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

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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.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish Review: Wine Stock

I had a $20 Watsons gift card won in a lucky draw (which actually sucks… considering I could have gotten $30 NTUC vouchers for groceries, or $200 Takashimaya vouchers for buying almost any prestige brand of my choice… D: ) So I had to go spend it. Considering how crazily marked up most drugstore American brands are in Singapore, I really didn’t want to waste money on that. Can you believe that a Loreal Trumatch foundation is like $30 SGD?!?! [20 USD] WTF!

Anyway, I bought a Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish and Gel top coat set for $16.90, which is a pretty okay price to me. I don’t exactly need more nail polishes, but my top coat is running out (mainly because my lovely little person spilled it on my bed.)

I didn’t take a picture because I was too excited to rip it open, so have a stock picture:

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Wine Stock is a deep, vampy wine red. Looks a little maroon in some lights. It reminds me very much of Besame Noir Red (review soon to come!) The formula is supposed to be like a gel, without needing a light to cure. Instead, you’re supposed to sun it for about 5 minutes.

I need about 2 coats, but due to the translucent gel nature of the polish, some bits could look a little patchy, so I patched it up with 3 coats. I applied this polish in an hour on Monday morning WHILE doing my make up, so you can imagine how I’m trying not to get half dried polish onto my face, and sunning it at the same time.

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Here it is on the 2nd day. Lovely, lovely vampy colour. I don’t even mind the slight patchiness and variations in colour – makes it look a little sombre and interesting.

And the shine! It’s insane. So goddamn glossy.

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Here it is on Day 4 I think. A tiny chip on my thumb (from fiddling with a zip on a too-tight dress), and no chips elsewhere, but some tip wear. My index finger IS INTACT. This has NEVER happened before. Especially not at this length of nails, which is insanely long by my usual standards. Usually by Wednesday I have a large chip in my index, and Thursday or Friday half of it is gone. I’m typing this on Saturday. I patched up the chip and the index tip wear on Friday morning and seriously this shit looks as good as new, I can definitely coax another few days and likely I’ll never get humongous chips.

I’ve actually read a negative review here. Her day 5 looks a little bit similar to my own day 5, but I NEVER get that from any other polishes. And for me, that day 5 result is pretty fucking fantastic. I am REALLY hard on my nails. I do housework, washing, loads of typing, even cashiering (getting change is REALLY hard on nails.) I honestly don’t care about the shine of top coat dulling or getting scratches because I totally expect it. My first day topcoat is not even perfect because I’m a fidgety little bastard.

Anyway, this formula to me is a game changer. I don’t need more polishes, but I’m definitely eyeing a lot of the other colours. After such tenacious wear on my nails, I’m totally spoilt. How can I go back, I ask? I’ll probably use up my older polishes in bolder colours on my toes, which don’t need to look perfect, and finish up some mini bottles so I can buy more of these. This gets a hearty recommend from me!

Review: Make Up Revolution Newtrals vs Neutrals Palette Review with 3 looks!

So, finally the review on the MUR Newtrals VS Neutrals Palette is here!

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It has a total of 16 shadows inside a compact, sleek black case with a hugeass mirror. A+ for packaging and functionality.

It is supposedly a dupe for Lime Crime’s Venus palette. You can google for comparison swatches, but here is a nice comparison I’ve found:

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As you can see they’re pretty similar! This is a swatch of only the top row of Newtrals vs Neutrals. The happy thing is the the bottom row is….

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A total dupe for the Naked 3! Okay, I don’t own the Naked 3, but you can see that the rosey tones are definitely a call to Naked 3 style palettes.

With this palette being a dupe for TWO different famous palettes, WHO WOULDN’T WANT IT?

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First up, swatches. These are all the 16 colours. Left is the bottom set, and right is the top set. Done on my arm with primer.

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The Venus dupe. There is literally not a single shade that is bad. The darkest shade, a brown, is a little on the dusty side, but nothing too horrible. The 3rd colour from the left, a peachy pink, is a little sheer, but can be built up.

 

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And the same photo as above with the Naked 3 dupe set. The darkest shade is again, a little crumbly and dusty, but it’s alright to work with. I looooooove the matte rosey taupe colour (5th from left.)

 

In the interest of doing a very thorough review, I did THREE looks with this palette: You can reference back to the top picture for what shades I used (numbered.)

Look 1: ALL TEH ORANGE.

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I do have a fondness for very warm eye looks. This was created with 9 as a base, 3 as the main lid colour with a touch of 12, 5 in the crease blended out with with some 2, and some 6 on the lower lashline. 8 to line the lashline. Lots of orange all around.

20160821_174323.jpgIt looks a bit dramatic here, but it’s not that dramatic IRL. I wouldn’t wear this to work, but I would wear this out anyday.

PS. beautiful shimmery peach lip colour by Life’s Entropy, in Ester.

 

Look 2: Subtle red eyeshadow. 

THIS is how you wear red eyeshadow to work.

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Far less dramatic than the first one, and much pinker compared to the orange of the first look. I used mainly 11 as an all over lid colour, with 7 used at the outer corners, making sure not to bring it above the crease of my eyelid, and to lightly shade the lower lashline. I used 13 to shade my crease and 1 to highlight my browbone. Quite a simple look, and one that I would wear to the office. Make sure to confine everything to your mobile line and it will look normal.

 

Look 3: Naked 3 Halo Eye

For this look, I confined myself to using the Naked 3 portion of the palette. And since I haven’t done a halo style eye in forever, so I made myself do it. Halo eyes tend to end up rather dramatic.

I used mainly 15 in the outer and inner corner and used 14 to make a gradient. The centre of the eyelid is 11, topped with a good bit of 10. I used 13 to shade my crease. 11 also ended up on the lower lashline.

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There is very little fallout from the palette despite all the shimmery shades, but do note that I tend to use a light hand. I have worn a look using this palette for a work day, and they lasted a good while although they did crease a little (most things do after 12 hours.) They are blendable and can be worn opaque or sheered out if you have a light touch like me. You can get a lot of looks purely from this palette, from warm to cool toned, avant garde to wearable. Overall, a fantastic palette with unusual shades, duping 2 popular palettes to boot, with a price tag of 7 GBP. Wholeheartedly recommend!

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation #52 Vanilla Review and Comparison

I didn’t buy anything at all in August, and it was driving me a little crazy, so I got a bottle of the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation that I always wanted to try for quite a decent price. Hey, it satisfies my urge to buy  without breaking the bank!

I got it in the colour #52 – Vanilla, which is supposedly the Olive leaning shade and around NC20 in depth. It’s a thick consistency, definitely not watery. The pump is nice to control, and I can pump out a quarter pump or so easily. It smells SUPER strong – like crisp apple, citrusy and slightly floral and green, but it’s SO. STRONG.

First off, here is my bare face:

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My skin is better lately, but I have some scarring on my chin.

 

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One relatively thick layer immediately after application. Notice the chalkiness. To be fair, my Armani foundation does the same. It does have decent medium coverage – everything is evened out quite a bit and it will hide minor scars.

My first critique – It can be streaky. I always apply my foundation with the Real Techniques buffing brush, and it works beautifully with my Armani foundation, but the Bourjois Healthy Mix tends to be a little streaky with it. I have to go over areas quite a few times. It also tends to pool around the nostrils, more so than the Armani, so I have to use my fingers to even things out.

It also pools into pores a little bit. I’ve been spoilt by Armani which never does such things, but I recognize that many normal foundations may have such issues. It’s made slightly better with a primer underneath.

 

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Here it is after about 15 minutes? With brows and undereye concealer but no other produt on the rest of the face. (This is higher coverage and more product than I usually go for, for purposes of testing. My couple of scars on my chin are showing through, but honestly I don’t bother too much about concealing everything to perfection.)

It’s settled down a bit and looks much better colour-wise. Note that it’s starting to look a little dry, on everywhere except the nose. It’s not too kind to any kind of facial texture too – Note that the tiny little milia bumps I have under my eyes have been magnified to some degree ( you can hardly see them in the bare face photo.)

That’s actually a very big critique I have of this foundation. I am a big proponent of streamlining routines, so with my Armani foundation, and even my powder foundations, my morning routine consists of washing my face with water, then sunblock. Literally 0 steps, because my HG sunblock is moisturizing enough for my needs. But when I try to do that with the Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation, it looks dry as fuck. And slightly cakey. Like, my skin is by no means dry. It’s normal, leaning a little on the oily side. But it looks nearly matte with my usual skin prep. It does soften up a bit with after about an hour when some natural oils of your skin mix with the foundation, and it looks less dry and more skinlike.

I did another round of testing on the next day, layering a good it of moisturizers under the sunblock. That seemed to do the trick and it didn’t look so dry anymore.

 

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The colour match is acceptable, although not perfect. You can see the difference between my face and my neck – it’s peachier and slightly darker. But WHY is it peachier? Am I so goddamn green that even a supposedly olive foundation is pink on me? I don’t mind the slightly darker, but the pinker is not so good. Then again, I mix the Armani Lasting Silk every day, so considering everything, a decent-but-not-perfect match straight out of the bottle is okay for me. I stayed over somewhere last night and it was nice to you know, take just ONE bottle of foundation.

 

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This is it after about 8 hours of wear, after a long walk around the park in the sun with my little girl. Considering everything, it has stayed on pretty well. It doesn’t look horrible, and it’s not breaking up too much, and there’s still coverage. I’m relatively impressed. (The pinkness of it compared to my neck really comes through here though.)

I have not used a drugstore foundation for a long, long, long time. Like, I had a main foundation before my Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua  that I was using for the longest time, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was. (Checked through my very first few posts – it was Korean BB creams :P) Okay, so that means that for years and years, I was not using any kind of standard ‘Western’ drugstore foundation, so I have totally forgotten what they are like. And Armani Lasting Silk is amazing in nearly every way except colour match, so I’ve been totally spoilt.

Overall, I would say that this is probably quite a nice drugstore foundation. It’s priced higher than most drugstore foundations in our drugstores, around $29, but you can likely get it around $20 or less on Carousell (I got mine for $14.) For $14, it’s quite a nice foundation. I mean, my Armani Lasting silk is $87, maybe with a 7% discount if you buy it from Duty Free at the airport. So considering it’s about 1/3 to 1/4 of the price, it’s a pretty decent foundation. It doesn’t impress me very much compared to Armani Lasting Silk, but it’s a good drugstore option.

Pros:

  • Long wearing
  • Looks really nice texture-wise after an hour
  • Decent shade match right out of the bottle

Cons:

  • Looks terrible colour-wise upon first application
  • Looks terrible texture-wise upon first application – make sure to moisturize! A lot!
  • Easily streaks – need to really blend it out carefully. Also pools into pores
  • Smells nice, but so damn strong.

I’m on the fence about keeping this. I bought this because I was searching for a better shade match – and it’s not super great.

 

If I do get rid of it, I would get the Koh Gen Do Aqua, which is seriously green.

Review: Make Up Revolution Blushing Hearts Triple Baked Blusher in Peachy Keen

You may recall that I placed a Make Up Revolution Order way back in like, June. My friend finally passed it to me last weekend, and I have been playing with the couple of things I’ve ordered for myself. Side note, the Newtrals vs Neutrals palette is SUPER popular, I bought 2 extra to resell at a small profit, and I’ve already sold 1 and am pending a sale for the other, within 2 days of listing it.

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So one of the items I got for myself was a Blushing Hearts. I think they’re so twee and so fetch. The colour selection is not very large though. If you look at the rest of the hearts, they’re mostly pretty pink and I’m not big on super pink blush. That’s why I chose Peachy Keen, also because I’m kind of lacking in choice on warmer toned blushes after I destashed my Sleek Lace blush palette.

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It’s SO PRETTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And so much easier to swallow for 5 GBP, rather than Too Faced’s ridiculous $20+++++. Even my sister, who turns her nose up at all this preposterous make up packaging, admitted it was pretty cute.

Colour wise, the left most and right most shades look mostly identical to me with the very very very most minor differences. They’re very bronzey shades, while the middle shade is a mauve-ish shade. It looks far darker in real life than on the website.

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Here are the swatches of the individual colours, followed by a blended out super heavy application, plus an unblended mix of all the colours. You can see the overall effect is a very warm pink. It actually goes fairly dark quite fast – be careful! It’s really pigmented, and very smooth and buttery, so it can be quite disastrous if you’re not careful.

I also have one critique – it’s not that easy to swirl the 3 colours together. Usually what I do with other blushes is to touch my brush to the surface of the blush like, once or twice very gently. I’m on the fair side and I like a light touch to my blushes. With this, if you touch it once, the application on the face can be a little weird because the colours haven’t mixed, but if you swirl it you risk getting way too much product. It requires a bit of practice to get the perfect amount of product onto the brush.

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Here’s a closer look at the individual swatches. Notice a few chunks in the first and third colours – they are slightly glittery. And all 3 are SUPER shimmery. If you don’t like shimmery blushes, or if you have lots of cheek texture, skip these.

Below is the application on my face (eye makeup from my Singles Cruise #3 challenge!) Click pictures to enlarge:

This is a far heavier application that I usually go for, so that it would show up well on camera. I was having a pretty shitty skin day, and I didn’t put my usual ultra-smoothing foundation, so there was a fair bit of texture. And boy, this does emphasize texture like WOAH, especially if you apply too much. Be very careful, guys. I wouldn’t be worried if I was using my Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk and having a normal or good skin day. But if you’re near your period and breaking out like crazy, skip it for those few days.

Colour wise, I’m pretty happy. It kind of straddles the line between a blush and a bronzer for me – you can tell it’s pretty warm, but it’s still fairly pink. I like to use this for a healthy, glowing look. Just don’t overdo it and the texture doesn’t come out. Since it’s so shimmery you can also skip the highlighter.

Overall, I like this blush – it looks great on my vanity (but my daughter keeps trying to steal it.) I’m glad I only paid a couple of dollars for it, and it looks nice on me.

I wouldn’t be purchasing anymore, as the other colours don’t interest me, and the 5 GBP price tag does show, in the chunky glitter and propensity to texture. It’s definitely not as refined as some of my favourite blushes, but it’s a nice blush. Do check them out!

Maybelline Master Sculpt Contour Palette – Light/Medium

This was given by a friend – she has a round face and wanted to try contouring, and bought this. She didnt think it worked for her, so she very kindly gave it to me. This is in the shade Light/Medium, there should be a Medium/Dark available as well.

Just by eyeballing this, I can tell that it’s way too warm to be a contour. And here’s the swatch below:

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You can tell it’s leaning orangey. It’s an alright bronzer colour, and I use it as such, not as a contour. It’s also rather pale – my arm is darker than my face, but the contour is not much darker than my arm. The highlight is a white-gold, but it’s rather chunky and is too powdery – I think it doesn’t have quite enough binders in it.

There is a brush included. It’s quite firm but rather scratchy. Works in a pinch but I wouldn’t really want to use it.

Here’s some comparison swatches between all my bronzers/contours:

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Left to right: NYX Taupe, Zoeva Rose Golden blush palette contour shade, Maybelline Master Sculpt Contour shade, Alcina Bronzer darkest shade, Alcina bronzer middle shade.

Okay, seriously. This is marginally darker than the middle shade of the Alcina bronzer. No wonder I feel like I have to build it up to see a significant effect. It’s just not quite dark enough, and I’m already pretty fair. I guess this works better for people NC15.

On the face – left without, right with. This is the right side of my face, which I very rarely photograph, I’m like Ariana Grande 😛 You can see a bit more warmth along my jaw and my cheeks in the 2nd photo.

3/4 view: left without, and right with. The edges of my face have warmed up a little and there is slightly more definition.

One thing I noticed was that the contour shade seems to have residue build up on it quite quickly. After about every use, I would get very little pigment and would have to scrap away the top layer, which is why you can see my finger nail marks on it. This is goddamn annoying, of course, but it’s not a complete dealbreaker. The ‘contour’ also has some shimmer – see what I mean about it being a far better bronzer than contour? The contour is a little on the dry and dusty side, but because it’s much lighter than most other bronzers, it doesn’t result in a lot of blending issues or whatever.

The highlight side is conversely, much more subtle than the highlights I’m used to, and chunkier. When I use this, it’s almost like I mattified the top of my cheekbones. Absolutely bizarre. I guess I’m used to the dewy sheen of cream blushes and highlighters, and the super glowy sheen of my other powder highlighters.

Overall, I think this product is decent. It’s good as a subtle, cheap bronzer, and I can’t complain because I got it for free. I would use this in place of contour on lazy days I don’t want to look too done up, and it works great as a quick bronze because it’s impossible to overdo. I wouldn’t run out to buy this, but I like it enough to use it up. However it’s not super great quality – evident in the highlighter coming off on the brush in chunks, and the contour shade being kinda dusty and dry.