Sunday, November 04, 2018

The Weekend is for Spying - November 2018 Edition

Actually most pictures are from two weeks ago but here we go. From new Kam Man - Suhada Kinenbi (kind of means Bare Skin Anniversary) powder on the right (something like a really light powder to fake a no makeup look) that smells strong but nice. On the left there are two color changing lip balm. With the peach one already sold out. 
After buying three from Amazon prime. I found that Lao Gan Ma (Which really is China's national treasure) Black Bean chili sauce is only 2.25 at New Kam Man. Anyway, I got a huge zit from finishing a bottle in a week...Still worth it.
I found these Loreal colour riche shine lipsticks at CVS and the quality is surprisingly good!
Dove has a new cleanser, on my to try list (I still have too many lined up).
Muji is doing a flash sale on hand cream and the neroli one is really yummy. I have and love many of their skin care but never really reviewed any because they are so no-frill and effective (not a lot to write about).
While at muji, I bought a back up of this gathered skirt because I have one since August and it was great for running errands and work. Right now it's 30% off (additional 20% off for two clearance items) so I got this and a top almost half off. 
This linen cardigan is also from Muji and it was so popular that it didn't stay long on the shelves.  Anyway, the gingham dress was also a back up (yeah I get double for stuff I wear all the time) and clearance find from Urban Outfitters.
Nyx glitter glam eyeshadow. There is a silver taupe I really liked but I resisted.
Liniere has cute Moomin pouches but I have to remind myself I have way too many of them anyway.
Now it's getting cooler, I am going around looking for tea at TJmaxx. Their selection isn't as good nowadays but I impulse bought that Hyleys matcha and isn't bad at all!
So...Am I the only person who hates avocado with toast? (On the reflection is bag from Deluxe Food Market because that's what I do on weekend).
Issey Miyake dress - Love the color (of course out of my budget by a light year)
Dahing Florist at Chinatown had the cutest succulents (I got it for four bucks!) Two weeks later the arm all extended that it didn't grow up as cute. 
I am on a yarn destash right now and this is my newest make (it just found a new home today).
A huge passion fruit just because.
I had Totto ramen with friend...Food was good but line was too damn long (and the sign up sheet I wrote on disappeared so we waited extra 30mins). Should have gone to Chinatown instead. 
Potted rice from Pho Bang ($12 bucks and busy but no line everytime I went!)
Lastly, blue sky of New Jersey. That's all for "random pictures on my phone that didn't make it to Instagram". Until next time!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Shu Uemura Tint in Gelato in Graffiti Orange

Shu Uemura Vision of Beauty was a limited edition back in 2016, I guess things weren't going too well as I found many of the items put on clearance a year later. Most of the product were graphic brights eye liner (that's done by every brand anyway) so I went with the squeeze tube Tint in Gelato.
Consider how pigmented Tint in Gelato are, a big tube like this will last me two decades, at least it's much more hygienic than the sponge.
The texture is the same as the tubed version. A fluffy mousse cream formula that's extremely pigmented but easy to control. The bright orange blends out to be a sunny apricot with semi clear/frosted finish. It works well on bare or primed (with sunscreen) skin but I haven't tried it with base makeup yet. 
At the sale price of 20 bucks, it was a steal and if I see a truly unique color, I might even pay full price for it. It's not happening any time soon as their seasonal collections are kind of boring (the themes are cool but I don't love any of the actual makeup).

Friday, October 12, 2018

Physical Sunscreen Face Off - Team Korea

When you have skin like mine (extremely prone to hyperpigmentation/tanning and sensitive to most chemical filters), finding the right sunscreen is often a year-long battle. Last year, I found two effective ones that are effective enough but with their own flaws. This year, my search went on. With the grand entry of Korean brands into American market, I found a few physical sunscreens to try.
Innisfree opened its first US store in New York last fall (at the prime location of Union Square), a few months later it quickly expanded into Garden State Plaza (NJ) and it just opened another one midtown. I wonder if it's even that popular since the Union Square store doesn't seem particularly busy.  Actually I visted the store a few times, picking up eyeshadow singles but I never bothered wearing them...

Early this year, I stopped by the store and picked up a tube of sunscreen. The Daily UV protection cream (sebum care) is an all physical sunscreen with 6.0009% Titanium Dioxide and 11.0116% Zinc Oxide. Strangely to me the one labeled mild is heavily chemical(Avobenzone 2.5%, Homosalate 7%, Octisalate 4.3% ) but the all-physical one is just labeled soft and matte. 
The sunscreen boasts SPF35 and no indication of UVA protection. SPF35 is low for my need but a realistic number for the concentration of active ingredients. In a way it seems much more realiable (For example Josie Maran has similar percentage of TiO2 at 5.1% and only 6.4% of ZnO but it claims to have SPF47). 
Innisfree Sebum Care Sunscreen is a semi thick white paste with an herbal scent. The pasty formula is easy to spread and it blends into a smooth, dry matte finish. Unfortunately, there is an obvious white cast even when I am not using a lot. 

Even though it's smooth and comfortable, the white cast would sink into the texture of the skin, looking like flakey dead skin an hour in. There is certainly some sebum control but it do so by having oil breaking down the powdery formula. I don't mind wearing it if I am doing grocery or taking walk but it isn't appealing for other social interaction.
Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Sunscreen gets mentioned occasionally. When I saw and tested it in a beauty store in Chinatown (oo35mm), I was sold. The liquid gel sunscreen is smooth, comfortable and mattifying without being patchy. The lemony grassy scent wasn't offensive either(the combo smelled like mold when it's humid though). 
This particular formula has the least amount of white cast (even if it does it looks so natural and even), seems to protect reasonably well (back in spring) and it sits incredibly well under powder and cream foundation, making makeup look fresh for the whole day. 

For the whole 1.5 month since early April to late May, I used it daily and loved it to bit. It was tight around my eyes (dry line galore) and the film always required an oil/balm cleanser but that's still worth it.
(Ingredient - Bunch of herbal extracts and oil  but no percent indication of active ingredients) When I don't see percentage and the white cast is so blendable (natural looking), I assume the concentration isn't high and tend to load them on by layering. Using on face only, each 55ml bottle only lasts for a month.
Every honeymoon comes to an end. My love with Sunprise dwindled as summer was approaching. I would use it daily, even with a straw hat and I still tanned significantly and sunspots exploded like firework. With the humidity and my own heat, sweat and sebum, this would break down into a semi sticky mess. At the end, I had to switch back to Anessa (greasy as hell but at least it works). 

Now the weather is cooling back down and the sunlight isn't as strong, I no longer feel like going back to Etude House, instead I just switch to Anessa with lower SFP rating (from my own experience, SPF 30 from Anessa is still more effective than SPF 50+from Etude House). 

If I bought Sunprise a smoothing matte primer with tone evening and some Sun protection, it's excellent. I personally prefer a real hardcore sunscreen that allows me to ditch/minimize the need for base makeup. 
To show you how much I tan - This is just from walking around casually for two months. That cotton gauze pants from Muji is my favorite apparel purchase of the year.
Last of the bunch is A'Pieu Mild Plus Sun Cream (It doesn't have English ingredient on the back so I was giving it my blind trust). This is a squeeze cream that smells a bit like old fashioned (like from 2000s) American sunscreen or Nair hair remover cream, only a little less stinky. 
Once you overlook the smell (frankly a little hard to do), it wears like a lotion, comfortable and moisturizing that's too greasy for summer but perfect for fall weather (as my skin drinks everything up right away). Frankly it's hard to judge how effective it is as incidental, off summer sunscreen.
All three are non irritating, comfortable to wear and a big step up from American drugstore sunscreens (Which is not saying much since American sunscreens are pretty behind on technology) when it comes to cosmetic elegance. 

As for protection the three are as good/bad as other American physical sunscreens (Origins and Josie Maran). I can't really tell but I guess/hope they are doing something?

Just to be safe, I am going back to Japanese sunscreens (already repurchased Fancl and Anessa this summer) since they give noticeable protection. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Saem Colorwear Lip Fluid and Saemmul Honey Essence

Being all the rage right now, Korean road shop brands have been entering major retailers like Ulta and Sephora, they are also opening new stores in New York like mushrooms (well, to be frank lots of them were closing off like mushroom as well). 

Last spring, the Saem opened their store at the busy corner of Canal and Center street. Since it's right off the subway station and past my favorite Chinatown bakery (5 pork buns for 3.5 bucks, yo). I walked by the store many times and finally stepped in when they ran a buy one get one free promotion.

The first products caught my eyes were the Colorwear Lip Fluid, concentrated gloss in a lipstick-shaped tube. 
The gloss has an artificial fruit scent, thick gel consistency, medium pigmentation and comes with a cushy applicator.
I picked 02 Lady Again (got pink with a slight warm lean) and Hot Cocoa (brownish red that looks much redder on my mouth). The formula is thick enough to fill line but not sticky. Color wise they don't look obviously plasticy or cheap, but it certainly doesn't look mid-high end either. 

I am not saying I want a 6 dollar (this is their discounted price) gloss to look a million buck but (back in the good old days 2010-2012) you could find "expensive looking" shades from Maybelline, Revlon and L'Oreal.
Cute tubes
Lady Again - I like that it's a hot pink that stays hot pink (not turning magenta). 
Hot Cocoa - For a deep (ish) shade, it's very even easy to apply with no streak. On the lips they also stays for 2 hours or more before I need to drink. When it dries down it remains balmy and soft.  The quality of these are good for drugstore and they are very comparable to Maybelline Color Elixir lip lacquer and NYX butter lip gloss (NYX makes better colors). 

They are great toys at 5-6 bucks but I would never pay the marked up US retail for them. 
Saemmul (a cutsy name for the Saem?) Honey Essence is this adorable honey scented lip essence. Both the scent and sweet taste are a bit overpowering and artificial, much worse than the Bonnie Bell stuff I wore back in middle school.

The applicator is a flimsy plastic (not silicone ones Japanese drugstore brand uses) 
The texture is very watery and thin that all it does is dampen the lips (then evaporate). Even at the half off price of $5, this is garbage.

For a few bucks, their makeup are OK. It's pretty much the same quality as American drugstore brands but with slightly more interesting colors. 
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