Foundation Review: EX1 Invisiwear Liquid Foundation in F100

EX1 is a pretty low key brand that isn’t really hyped up from what I’ve seen onine, but I think the founder of this line wanted to make a foundation line for yellow/olive undertones and more specifically Asian women (of all kinds – Indian, Chinese, etc.) Their range is pretty small – just foundation, concealer and a few blushes. Their foundations have gotten great reviews from many bloggers, and I was particularly inspired to pull the trigger by Paris B of My Women Stuff 🙂

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This is a foundation with the old colour system, and this was the lightest – the new one has a much larger shade range. Based on their new foundation finder, I am either a 2.0 or 3.0, whereas 3.5 is the old F100. Does this possibly mean I’m no longer NC20 but NC15, because F100 is a fair bit too dark for me? All the brightening treatments and tons of sunblock must have worked 🙂

Frankly, the packaging is hideous to me. It’s all plastic and very light, which I suppose is good for travelling, but the orange chrome screams tacky to me. The pump also doesn’t work very well – I have to keep the bottle upright to be able to pump things out properly. Thankfully I’m not too big of a stickler for packaging.

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This liquid foundation is on the thick side and will not run down your arm. You can see the swatch looks fairly thick. However when it’s blended out, you hardly see any texture or thickness – it is very lightweight indeed, rather befitting of its ‘Invisiwear’ name.

This is me with only skincare. My wisdom tooth/jaw hurts like FUCK today, which is why I think my jaw looks kind of swollen.

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And this is with the foundation on:

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It’s a very nice satin finish, not too dewy but definitely not matte. Colour match was acceptable (surprisingly, considering how dark it looks – looks darker than in the pic) but I definitely looked like I got some sun. Undertones weren’t too off though so it still matched me fairly decently, which is good.

Here’s a look at how it performs on this stubborn inflamed spot by my jaw. It works okay, and coverage is also decent. I’m not the best to speak about coverage of foundations though because I don’t exactly demand tons of coverage. Haha.  I would consider it a medium, definitely not heavy coverage.

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It also wears well throughout the day and doesn’t break up, but I do find that it gets dewier and dewier. It may not be suitable for people with oilier skin who mind dewiness. I also find that the texture is not extremely kind to any rough patches (see the spot on my jaw for example) and would probably not suit the very dry skinned. I feel it’s best suited for normal skin, or those slightly oily or slightly dry.

Overall, this is definitely quite a nice foundation at a very budget friendly price. I would pick a different colour next time, but this colour works well enough that I’m actually considering keeping it for days I might be getting more tanned by accident. Or I could mix it with my Koh Gen Do 213.

Have you tried this foundation?

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New Contouring Technique: Does it work?

Recently I came across a thread on MUACJD discussing how a certain Youtuber does her contour VERY high up on her face. Here’s the link to the video, if you’re interested.

I was reminded of a technique that Larry Yeo, a top local make up artist, did when I went to an Illamasqua event a long time back. He showed us how to contour using the Illamasqua Gel Sculpt. On people with faces with little dimensions (most Singaporeans, then…) he puts it right under the highest point, much like the Youtuber, rather than in the hollows of the face, as frequently recommended.

My own cheekbones are very pronounced already, so I tried it out on myself to see how suited this technique was for me!

[Btw, did you know that zygoma reduction is an actual plastic surgery procedure? WHO the hell would want to REDUCE their cheekbones? I thought mega cheekbones are like all the rage now, and probably forever past and future. Also maybe I’m a bit biased because I’ve always had mega cheekbones that get more and more pronounced the older and thinner I get.]

So this is my face with skincare and a thin layer of Koh Gen Do Aqua on, nothing else.

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The black area is where you would put your contour using this technique, right beneath the cheekbone, while the red area is where one would ‘normally’ contour, at the hollow of the cheeks.

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I used my cream contour (Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow) to map out where it should go.

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I hit it a bit lower than my diagram, but it’s still obviously much higher than the hollows of my face.

 

After adding more contour (NYX Taupe), the result is as below…

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Side by side for your easy reference, before and after.

My cheekbones are definitely more pronounced, but I don’t expect it to look exactly the same after contouring. Is it any more pronounced than a normal contour? I’m not quite sure, I feel like for people like me who already have very pronounced cheekbones and/or a thin face with obvious hollows, it’s probably better to get the contour right in the hollow for the maximum ‘cut-yourself-on-my-cheekbones’ goodness.

However, if you have a flatter face and you have to create cheekbones from scratch, or if your face is rounder (like the Youtuber, who doesn’t have as obvious hollows as me), this technique might be good for you.

Please note that I did not use any highlight, and of course if you do it’ll look even sharper.

What do you think of this technique? If you try it out, do comment with a link!

Review: Kiko Radiant Touch Stick Highlighter in 101 Rose

I got this item several years ago when I was in Italy, before highlighting and strobing became all the rage. I LOVE Kiko Cosmetics, and they recently have become available in Hongkong (unfortunately only in stores), but it means that you can get your Kiko fix somewhere in Asia, at least!

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Continue reading “Review: Kiko Radiant Touch Stick Highlighter in 101 Rose”

FOTD: Soft and Peachy with Zoeva Rose Golden Blush Palette

I loved my Zoeva Rose Golden Blush palette, which is one of the things that I bought after seeing Temptalia’s review. The highlighter caught my eye, mainly. I mean does it not look absolutely stunning?! Since I destashed my Sleek Lace Blush by 3 (which apparently I never reviewed), I was lacking a peachy pink shimmery blush in the vein of NARS Orgasm, and the blush in the Rose Golden palette was perfect to fill out that gap. It’s a bit more shimmery than I like for everyday, but for days I’m really feeling the shimmer, I’m REALLY feeling the shimmer.

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Swatches from the review post.

Continue reading “FOTD: Soft and Peachy with Zoeva Rose Golden Blush Palette”

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”

Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk Foundation Review UPDATED PICTURES!

Update! With better pictures 😛 You can still read the review and the old pictures below.

Here is bare face. I have really been struggling with chin acne lately, I suspect from a combination of hormonal acne, reaction to something (possibly the Bourjois foundation???) and consuming far more milk in the past few weeks than usual, since I’ve been off milk for years and years. All the better to test foundation with, I guess! Hopefully it clears up after Shark Week is over :B

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Click to enlarge!

Do you notice the soft focus effect? It’s as if I added a filter, but I swear I didn’t. It still looks a little bit chalky upon first application, and it’s still just a leetle too pale for me, but it makes my skin look gorgeous!

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Here’s a closeup. Notice the beautiful satin finish on my cheeks. I love it, it makes me look healthy and slightly glowy without being dewy or matte. Perfect in between. It’s a touch dry – I’ve been having problems hydrating my skin lately too x( You can see the coverage is around a medium. I used about a full pump – more than I usually use, but you can wear 2 layers instead of 1 for more coverage. My acne is covered up a bit, but the worst spots still show through. As I mentioned before, it’s very unkind to dry and flaky spots, which is aplenty on my chin. I’M SORRY, MY SKIN IS REALLY SHITTY AND I CAN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT 😦 But on the rest of my skin it looks great.

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Here is teh colour match after around 10 minutes. Much better, but still ever so slightly on the pale side, not so evident in pictures.

I hope the new pictures show just how fantastic this foundation and why I love it so much!

 

Old post:

I’ve had this foundation for quite awhile (maybe 2 years?) and I love it, but I’ve never actually written a proper review on it!

Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk is, out of all the foundations that I’ve tried, my firm favourite. Karima Mckimmie of Shameless Fripperies mention that it is like photoshop in a bottle and it is so true. Every time I use it I fall a little bit more in love with it.

So, features of this foundation. It’s slightly watery and thin straight out of the bottle, but offers medium coverage. 1 pump is 1 layer and more than enough for daily use. Two layers cover up pretty much everything I need to without spot concealing to perfection. It’s very heavy on the silicones, so if you dislike silicones, then avoid this foundation at all cost. It also has a little bit of fragrance, not too offputting.

This foundation is absolutely beautiful on skin. It seriously blurs out EVERYTHING. Without a primer, I look like I have no pores. The only reason I use a primer with this is for increased longevity.

This foundation also lasts quite long and breaks down slowly and elegantly. I still use a primer because it’s Singapore and it’s super humid and everything breaks down sooner or later so we try to aim for later rather than sooner.

It has a satin to very slightly dewy finish. I might need a powder in the middle of the day to retain satin.

Look at my face in full glory. Notice the pores on my nose and cheeks. They’re not too bad but they exist. BTW I got a bit of a tan that day because the sun was BLAZING and I wasn’t wearing sunscreen for some reason, FML. Hopefully after I go back to the office next week my porcelain complexion will come back.

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And DUM DUM DUM, NO MORE PORES. No moisturizer, no primer, nothing underneath. Only 1 pump and 1 layer blended with fingers (because my brush was elsewhere.) Even my undereyes are decently covered and I didn’t apply extra at that area. Your skin will look even more ridiculously photoshopped with a smoothing primer underneath. It has also never pilled for me even though I’m sure I’ve been slathering a shit ton of silicones on my face.

Note that it doesn’t make my pimple in the corner of my mouth look very attractive. Don’t use this foundation if you have lots of texture or flakes. Normal small whiteheads should be covered fine.

However, there is one major concern for me that stops me from declaring it HG:

I don’t think there’s a perfect shade for me. Currently I’m using shade 4.5, which is perhaps half a shade or a shade too pale. It’s workable, certainly, with some contour and taking it down to my neck, but I have to be a little careful. It looks rather chalky up there, but I promise the colour settles down slightly better after 15min or so.

Looking at the swatches below, 4.5 looks the most olive, while 5.5 looks a little too warm and peachy.

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From Karla Sugar

This sucks right? Perfect formula, no good shade match. Is there any way to make a foundation slightly more olive???

If you can stand some alcohol in foundation, and also silicones, and you can find a good shade match, I HIGHLY recommend this. It was the perfect foundation for me (and lots of other people!)

 

Quick summary:

Pros:

  • gorgeous finish, around satin level
  • medium coverage, can be built up
  • covers like ALL PORES
  • long lasting formula
  • doesn’t need a primer

Cons:

  • Doesn’t match me THAT well, but the shade range is large so you’ll probably find a decent match
  • High alcohol content?

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.

How to do non-crazy everyday contour

I am a huge proponent of contouring. But contouring nowadays is mocked as heavy, dramatic, unrealistic ‘instagram’ make up. I’m rather sad about this, because I was contouring ever since I got into make up, in 2012. Even when I only had 1 foundation and like 2 lip products, I was contouring, can you believe that?

Right now, I still contour nearly everyday. But my version of contour is definitely not your instagram slather-tons-of-product-on-your-face kind. I don’t even wear that much make up on a daily basis, but I love contouring because it gives me a bit more definition in my features. It also makes me feel just a little bit more old-hollywood glamorous, like all the stars of old with great bone structure. I mean, I could get fillers or something  if I REALLY wanted fabulous bone structure, but why do I need to do that when I can just contour? 🙂

[Side note: I find that we like to emphasize things we like about ourselves. My friends with round faces don’t contour, because they don’t have much to start work with. For me, I already have features more prominent than the average Asian, so I find it easy to just draw more attention to them. In the same vein, I don’t have fabulous eyebrows (they’re just passably ok) so I’m extremely unenthusiastic about them.]

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First up, my weapons of choice. I have 2 contours I use on a daily basis. First up is the NYX Taupe blush. This is a cool medium brown – it’s cheap and is subtle and works well. Am I satisfied? Very. Is it perfect? Probably not. The colour could stand to be a little more yellow on me – it’s a little too chocolatey to be PERFECT, but we’re only applying very little. I think the contour in my Zoeva Rose Golden palette may be more suitable in terms of colour, but I’m not using it yet because I’ll rather slowly put a dent in my Taupe.

I also have a cream contour – Illamasqua pigment in Hollow. This and NYX Taupe are generally lauded to be THE contour of choice for pale girls. I’m not THAT pale (around NC20), but they work. I like the Illamasqua formula – the pigment is soft and creamy and easy to blend, but it’s not too pigmented. It’s also an ashy yellow – on yellower skinned folks like myself, it’s a perfect shadow.

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Bottom to top: NYX Taupe (notice the redder undertone), Illamasqua Hollow, Zoeva Rose Golden contour shade for comparison (see how yellowy it is)

On a daily basis, I use Hollow to contour the sides of my nose, because that’s an area where bad blending or colours can look wrong very quickly. I use the Real Techniques Crease Brush from the Starter kit: the crease brush is fucking HUGE and it will never fit into my crease, but it’s the perfect size to do the sides of my nose. The dense, buffing-style bristles ensure that it’s well blended and you don’t apply too much product.

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I use NYX Taupe with my Real Techniques contour brush from the base set and just lightly swipe a few times in the hollow of my cheeks…

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along my lower jawline…

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and sometimes, at my temples.

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When I do want a more dramatic contour, I do the cream contour first. Because it’s such a natural colour, it doesn’t show up very much. I do the powder contour over the cream contour.

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Bottom to top: NYX Taupe (notice the redder undertone), Illamasqua Hollow, Zoeva Rose Golden contour shade for comparison (see how yellowy it is)

Here is the difference before and after ‘natural’ contour.

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Left: Before. Right: After

There is no dramatic difference – I still look like me, not someone else. I just have slightly more definition in my features. I especially like it when I contour my nose – you can see it sharpen ever so slightly, not like I had a nose job or something. This sort of natural contour also looks good from all angles, unlike the hardcore ones which only look good straight on.

Phew, this has been a long tutorial with a lot of pictures. Basically, I like using a very diffused contour – which is why I use the RT contour brush, which is very fluffy and blends well. It’s super quick to do, and is like a push up bra – it makes you look better but other people can’t really tell it’s there. 😛