Monday, July 16, 2018

Flowfushi Moteliner in Cherry Cheek

Colored brush tip eyeliners, especially ones in rainbow colors are getting more and more popular these days. Luckily for me, I am immune to this trend since I collected a whole bunch last year (as the trend was been-here-done-that in Japanese market). 

Flowfushi is a fairly specialized brand that mainly focuses on eye products like mascara and liners (although they also have cushion foundation and has a range of lip gloss) and their brush pen eyeliner is a frequent winner of magazine awards. In addition to their permanent line up (features shades of black, brown and navy), they introduced a limited red shade last spring. It sold so well that it was later made permanent.
It's called Moteliner (what the whole liquid liner range is called) in Cherry Cheek. A silly name since mote means popular to other sex. The brush comes with octagonal body painted  metallic red. It  has a solid construction that's easy to hold, feeling like an expensive pen.  The brush is supposedly made by the craftsmen of Kumano, the home of expensive art, calligraphy and makeup brushes. 
The tips is resilient and very easy to control. I have had this since last fall and it runs smooth every time I used it. The color of Cherry Cheek is actually quite special, it's a sheer watery red with a hint of ruddiness. It's undeniably red but still manage to be quite neutral. 
Blue one is there so that the auto focus doesn't blur it out. Cherry Cheek has the sheer formula that's not often seen in eyeliner but I really like it, it's a nice blushing look without looking like infection and it blends seamlessly with most neutral toned eyeshadow. 

I am not up to date with all the innovation of Japanese makeup but I notice the formula is water and sweat proof and best of all, it's not staining and easily removed with warm water or soap! Western brands need to start take note! 
Here it is with Suqqu Sakurakaba (not showing well because I have tanned like a mofo)...Also I am getting sunspot on my lids already.
Unlike other fun shades eyeliner (that I wear mostly during summer), Cherry Cheek is great for all seasons and I could wear that to work without raising eyebrow. I think they Flow Fushi also promises some lash conditioning effect but I don't wear it frequent enough to notice anything. Anyway, I am very happy with the purchase (I also has a brown one that's wearable and a bit boring) and can't wait to see what they will come up next. 

Lastly here is all my blush toned liners so far...
NYX vivid matte in Vivid Sapphire (cool formula great colors but they crack on my lids), Flow Fushi Cherry Cheek, Stila Paradise Pink (clearance find at Marshalls), Urban Decay Fireball, msh Loveliner in Burgundy Brown and Pink Brown (rival of moteliner), NYX Vivid Fire (yeah it also cracks) and Urban Decay Woodstock (long discontinued)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

After an interruption, the Vitamin C (last)Week is back for its final touch (then it will be make a return when I finish testing the other three). I am saving the most expensive one for today because I have got quite a bit to say about this.

Drunk Elephant is one of those brands that's active and popular on social media. In the past, I have tried their Allure award winning sunscreen and think it's scratchy, sweaty smelling piece of crap. The experience made me hesitate to try anything else, especially consider their high price tag.

After numerous swatching trips down Sephora, I have grown to like the C-Firma Day Serum so when the Fall 2017 sale came, I got two minis and a full sized one (as part of gift set) and started to use it promptly.

Having tried quite a few vitamin C products in the past, I know that many can cause skin sensitivity. With the hipster semi natural brand principle, I somehow assumed that Drunk Elephant would be effective but gentle, like Haba but packing a stronger punch.

 I was wrong. While I was testing it (on my face, because the skin on the back of my hands reacts differently anyway) on and off for six weeks, it managed to give me pesky little breakout/blisters every single time. Not unlike other serum that contain L-Ascorbic acid. If it were a 10 dollar serum from Marshalls, I would have stopped using it right away and pour it down the drain when it turns brown.

Things are different with Drunk Elephant. First, it's really expensive that I didn't want to give up after a few tries. Secondly, I don't have a habit of returning products unless it's craptastic (even for makeup I am lukewarm about, I keep them as a reminder to not dive in again). Lastly, I really wanted to love it as it felt fantastic on the face. I hate that phrase but I have to just say it...

Vampire! Just kidding, I meant "cosmetic elegance".

C-Firma has a very light golden yellow color, an watery oil formula that sinks right into skin (for winter at least). It makes my skin feel nourished while leaving no residue, even though no visible effect was observed at the time. In a way, it's like having a jug of cold orange juice (and nothing else for breakfast) first thing in the morning, it's probably too much sugar and not great in terms of nutrition or tummy-filling. 

For the first two months (of using it once every few days or so and getting zit right away), things were uneventful. Sometime in early January when I picked up again, I finally stop having reaction and was able to use it daily. It was smooth sailing ever since...

Drunk Elephant recommends using during daytime, as an antioxidant boost to sunscreen.  I can certainly use it the morning, as it sinks in quickly when the surrounding is dry and cold. I ended up reserving for night time use because it seems to stain my skin orange like rosehip oil. Anyway, another benefit of using it at night is waking up with that  C-Glow the morning after. Of course it doesn't just give me a glow in the morning. When it comes to fighting older deep acne mark (and from OCD picking), this is the most effective at getting rid of the PIH (post inflammation hyperpigmentation).

With two months of continuous use, it evened out the spots significantly that I reached for base makeup less and less (and even when I use them, I only need a small drop/thin layer), later on I was able to go back to my old base, using physical sunscreen as my only canvas. Aside from getting rid of acne marks, it also seems to be firming keeping new break out away and preventing pitted scar from forming (I didn't know how it worked but it was the only new item I was using).

Another collateral benefit was that it gave me stronger, more resilient barrier. It had little to do with actual formula: The serum is to be used on clean dried skin right after washing (as damp skin might make it more irritating) and I need to wait a bit if I use other skincare with active ingredients.

Every night, after washing my face and using C-Firma...I just ditched toner (oftentimes used with cotton pad) and head right to sleep because lazy.

I guess by cutting the toner/rubbing with cotton pad step (that's lots of exfoliating I did twice everyday) , my skin was able to heal much faster by itself. For the half year I have used it, my skin have been well behaved for most of the time. The formula can get a little drying around eyes and mouth but it's not too bad since it has many plants oils/extracts to counteract the drying effect.

So far you have heard what I like about C-Firma (the feel,  effectiveness and minimal side effect after initial purging), here is something I don't love.
(This is after a few weeks of use already gaining a yellowish tinge)

While well studied and effective, L-Ascorbic Acid is one of the less stable form of vitamin C that can become broken down with exposure to light, air and heat. Even with the fancy looking twist pump (which isn't really airtight), the C-Firma oxidized right before my eyes.

Remember that I said it stained my skin yellow? When the serum is first bought, it's nearly clear with the tiniest bit of golden yellow tinge and did not stain my face/finger at all. Around the two months (after purchasing, it oxidizes inside the container unused anyway), when I started seeing stronger yellow tinge and stains on my finger, the effects also diminish exponentially while the serum start to irritates the more delicate areas.

At first I thought the effect hit a plateau (as with many active ingredients) but when I start seeing result with a freshly bought mini, I knew the bottle is a no-go. Basically, the formula oxidizes so quickly that even if you start using the freshest stock, by the time you are 2/3 done the rest is barely effective. In that case, a 8ml mini ($23 from the rise and glow set) seems more economical.  This is what I concluded after going through two full sized bottles (had to speed through the end) and three minis. Luckily I didn't hoard backups during sales.
C Firma two months after purchase - Not irritating yet but getting weak at  doing its job already. If you see it staining your finger after use, it's time to hit the bin.

Clearly, I loved C-Firma enough to be using it daily for the six months/repurchased both minis and full sized bottles. Given the high price and instability, I just made the switch to Timeless CE Ferulic and don't seem to miss Drunk Elephant much, at least for now.
(This is what's left in a mini bottle six months after purchase, at this point I might as well use it as a self tanner)

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Ethoxydiglycol, Ascorbic Acid, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Tocopherol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Acetyl Glucosamine, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Glutamylamidoethyl Imidazole, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Glycine, Sucrose, Maltodextrin, Propanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan gum, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 60

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Hakuhodo Hello Kitty Retractable Face Brush J601

Back in 2015 (when the exchange rate was most favorable for people in US) Hakuhodo released a dozen collaborative collections with Sanrio (My Melody, Hello Kitty and Little Twin Star) and a few of those limited goodies made a quick appearance on Hakuhodo's American site. Anyway, by the time I realize they were available, the stock were wipe out already. 

I only decided that I needed one of those in my life when it was no longer available on Japanese site (I only stalk Fudejapan for that). Luckily there is good old eBay and I happened to came by a coupon, bringing it pretty close to Japanese retail. 
The Retractable Face brush with (kind of) retro Kitty print is the same model as JP601PI, a rouge tip face brush with 100% goat hair. 
The brush is dense, resilient and firm enough for hard powder but it's very smooth and comfortable on the cheek. While it's not airy as the squirrel brushes, it still deposit and blends blushes evenly and with precision. It sure is a lot more pleasant that the goat brushes from Sonia Kashuk (which itself is darn good for the price).
The only downside I could think of is that the white fiber retains the blush color (which is cute if you only use one shade of blush), it ends up looking ruddy after a few changes. 

Anyway, I love the quality of this and since it's so good, there is no need for repurchase.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Rhoto Melano CC, Timeless C E Ferulic Acid Serum and Korres Wild Rose Oil

Happy almost Friday! Here are more vitamin c reviews (three in one post!) that I need to squeeze in before the week is over.

Rhoto Melano CC is another reddit favorite (that's otherwise kind of basic among other Japanese drugstore products). I got one on sale for 8 dollars while I needed a cart filler to get free shipping. I didn't really expect much given the price.
Melano CC is marketed as a anti spots, acne mark serum that actually inhibits acne formation (I can see why as it's hella drying). The main ingredients are ascorbic acid(vitamin C), tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), and licorice extract. I saw ascorbyl isopalmatate (another form of vitamin C) but I suppose it's more of an antioxidant sort of preservative. 

The packaging is exceptionally effective as it's airtight (until you open the small tip), uv proof and it doesn't oxidize due to the small opening. I purchased and started testing it back it fall 2016 and one and half year later the product inside are still good to use. (when vitamin c oxidize it started to give a rusty smell and orange stain and it's irritating and no longer effective). 
The yuzu scented serum has a clear oil consistency and it's easy to spread on the face, while I do see brightening, it was way too drying for me during fall and winter. Basically I tried it for a few days then noped my way out when I saw deep dry lines forming under my eyes and around my mouth. It was getting rid of one sign of aging (spots) but giving me another one (lines) in return.

After the short initial trial, I shelved it away only to remember it when summer arrived. With the warmth and +80% humidity, the drying formula is no longer an issue since I wake up everyday a grease ball. Even though the oily serum isn't the most luxurious one to rub around face, I notice that C glow (a healthy skin tone I get when I use a good vitamin C product overnight) and some spot fading. I will keep it as targeting treatment for the rest of summer. The formula great for people living in a warm humid area and/or with oily skin. 

I supposed I can use it for winter as well as long as I follow with thick layers of moisturizer...But why make life complicated when I got hydrating vitamin C (Haba) and niacinamide to do the job anyway?
Timeless 20% vitamin C + vitamin E with ferulic acid is another basic/sciency serum with formula similar to the (very expensive one by Skinceutical), there is 20% ascorbic acid to fill the brightening antioxidant job with vitamin E and ferulic acid to stabilize the solution. 

When ordered directly from the site (I got it as a BOGO deal with their Q10 serum last Halloween), it's freshly made and comes in a slightly whitish clear color. The formula is slightly oily (but I find it just a bit drying during cooler months), somewhat exfoliating but didn't cause any reaction for the few days I used it. Anyway, this review (or preview) is more or less pointless because I got sidetracked by another serum and abandoned it, four months later it oxidized already...

Since I liked the Q10 serum that came with it I am ordering another bottle (and will make sure to give it my undivided attention).
Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Rose Oil is a winner of Allure's Beauty awards (I have tried a few of those prize winner that are crap so...I never found it reliable) and something I have tried in store and liked. When a half sized bottle came as a part of holiday set from 2016, I got the set to try out. The formula is  (an undisclosed percentage of) ascorbyl tetraisopalmatate, rose oil and rosehip oil in a base that's mainly caprylic/capric triglyceride. 

The rose oil smells delightful (why I got it) and has a somewhat dry silicone oil texture that lightly seals in moisture and makes skin somewhat luminous. Other than the great scent, it feels more or less the same as cheaper options with the same base oil. 

After using it nightly for three weeks, I didn't notice anything major so I stopped bothering. Jurlique facial oil was more hydrating and even 12-buck rosehip oil from Marshall was more brightening. Anyway, I was able to make use of this wonderful scent: Every week, I put half a pump of this on my palm and dip my Qtip in...My ear canals have never been this refreshed.
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