Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Nuance by Salma Hayek Rose Petal Hydrating Balm

I believed that many of you are familiar with the new CVS-exclusive brand by now, but just in case you don't... Nuance, a newly released drugstore ranges consisting a sizable display wall of cosmetics as well as several skin care item (from what I have seen, most are made in Taiwan), is the brand-child of actress Salma Hayek. She drew most of the inspiration from her Latina heritage as well as her grandmother who has been a beautician. And of course I have to start my adventure with a lip product!

Nuance by Salma Hayek Rose Petal Hydrating Lip Balm is a little sturdy pot of moisturizing balm designed for dry patches at lips, cuticles and elbow. The location (placed right new to other lipstick, gloss and makeup instead of being in the skincare isle) and the coral-tint can be a little misleading that the product offers practically no tint at all (if that's what you are looking for).  

The slightly tinted, rose-scented translucent balm is semi-hard to the touch that it requires a little pressure (don't wipe, dig it) and heat to grab the product. The texture of SH balm reminds me of Smith Strawberry Salve, only thicker and not as sticky to the touch. On the lips, it glides on and smooth out easily (like a petrolatum based balm) without providing any moisture so it's not horribly effective on the hydrating aspect. However, I found it pretty effective as a dot-on moisturizer for the eye area and a brow groomer as the nourishing formula stays put/semi-wet for hours and get absorbed fully at night.
Ingredient list - I tried for several minutes but the closest thing I can find to rose would be Evening Primrose (Oenothera) which isn't even the in same Genus as Rose (Rosa). So I take that there is actually no rose in this "Rose Petal Lip Balm"?

Overall: When used sparingly, I really like it as a brow groomer and under eye moisturizer (dotted on gently instead of being rubbed in) but the product itself isn't that special and the $7.5 retail price for the amount of product (7.5g) (especially it's not even made in US) is a little expensive. Bottom line, wait for BOGO to try it and keep your receipt for possible return.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tarte LipSurgence Lip Luster Swatches

Tarte LipSurgence Lip Luster (the ones at top left are eyeliners, I just didn't feel like leaving gap), available in six shades, is the pearly/shimmery version of their chubby pencil lip stain (released last year). The range generally appears more pigmented and interesting (than the existing range, which debuted spring 2011) while retaining the glossy finish and balm-like texture.

These lip stain retails for 24 dollars a piece (Of course, swatching testers in ULTA is free of charge), I might get Fever, the shimmery red if there is a promotion.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Color Coded - Ladybug

Who knows that red (wedding/festive color for Chinese) and black (funeral color) can look so good together? Oh, wait..Ralph Lauren totally rocked the combo in their Fall 2011 RTW collection!

In The Pictures
Anna Sui Press Powder
Max Factor Lipstick in Miss Right Now
L'Oreal HIP Jelly Balm in Ripe
Borghese Nail Lacquer Tuscan Earth
Black Buffalo Horn Hair Stick
Laura Mercier Lip Stain in Mulberry
Sula Paint & Peel in Sorbet
Orly Nail Lacquer in Matt Vinyl
Mac Blush in a Bite of an Apple

Shiseido The Makeup Lip Brush

Do you know who is the worst enemy of a lip gloss addict? Winter(winter doesn't  exist down here!)?  Dry air or cold sore(it healed within 3 days anyway, a much speedier recovery than what I get from a self-inflicted wound...I mean from picking and/or peeling)? Nope, is TSA, with their kinda/sorta newly implemented liquid rules, they bound to drive some air-traveling lip gloss addicts insane. ("You mean, I can only bring 10 lip gloss on my trip? That is just cruel...").

Luckily, there are plenty of potted lip gloss/lip color that does the same thing as a liquid gloss (namely NYC lip slider tinted lip balm) but for that to work, a lip brush is necessary, because like applying lip gloss, I also pick stuff (on me, around me) with my hands all the time (a dead skin from elsewhere on the lip can't be that attractive)...
Shiseido The Makeup Lip Brush (something like #16) has a light-but-not-flimsy plastic handle and a tiny tapered tip (compared to the flat top lip brush from Anna Sui that I normally use) and  is made of sable hair that's smooth and soft to the touch. The brush (which seems a little too small at first) has the right firmness and does a very good job picking up and dispensing glosses and lip color.

Overall: A pretty decent brush for the $15 (the one I like, from Jane Iredale retails for around the same price and works equally well but it probably doesn't look as sleek as this) price tag and is so much better than the retractable lip brush (from the same brand). 

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Hair Care Routine

I know the post might seem a little random , but I don't feel like doing another swatch or reviewing so bear with least this is not a filler post asking "Do you like cheese?"  ...Here you go, My Hair Care Routine post that hasn't changed since when I wrote it (back in 2009).

Yummy Shampoo
Anything free of Sodium Laureth Sulfate will do (SLS makes my scalp itchy). My favorite would be the Vitamin (it's brand) Shampoo available in drugstore but it's sadly discontinued,they are cheap, smell very yummy and there are several scent so I would never worry about getting sick of the scents.Now I use Organix because they smell pretty nice.

No Silicone
I hate hair care items (namely Dove conditioner) with silicone, it does fill in the gap the first few times and make my hair appear to be soft and shiny, but after a while it really weights down my hair and makes it duller day by day. And since most hair serum have silicone as the main ingredient, I avoid buying them. (Well, if the bottle is really brain death moment will kick in...)

Occasional Conditioner
Anyway, I don't think conditioner repairs anything ( hair is dead to start with) , they just coat the hair surface to reduce breakage from friction so if the shampoo is alright there wouldn't be that much tangling anyway. If there is tangle, I usually break in by force. (Yeah, I do it like a man.)

When I do use conditioner,  I skip the part where it's above my ear (tangle doesn't go that up anyway and conditioner will just make the root extra oily) and like to rinse it away with cold water (too add shine).

Hair Care Oil
Because of the no-conditioner routine, sometime my hair looks pretty dry. So once a while/blue moon when I am not being lazy, I use 2-3 drops of Tsubaki oil rubbed in my palm then distribute at the ends (3 inches of hair) as a moisturizer. As long as I follow the instruction (and don't over use), it's pretty potent and weightless at the time. The best part? The stuff is scent free and I don't have to worry about it getting on my pillow then cause break out like other hair treatments.

Wash hair every other day (unless it's burning hot and I sweat like a donkey)
I used to wash my hair every single day because it gets itchy if I wait any longer. Now I think because I stopped using shampoo with Sodium Laureth Sulfate, I can get away with washing it less often. Anyway, healthy hair is always clean hair plus I don't want to smell bad so this is a good frequency for me at least.

No Heat Styling
I don't even own a blow dryer.

Air Drying
It's quite painless if you shower/shampoo in the morning (usually my hair would dry completely on my quick run to school) . If you shower at night (it's more relaxing and better for your skin), towel dry and comb through it to remove tangle. Put a dry towel on your pillow and sleep on the diagonal of the bed (let your hair fall off the edge of bed) so not only you are not sleeping with dry hair, you also get some volume when you wake up. (If course, if you share you bed with you significant other, this would look weird...)

No Coloring
I think that sometime a different color really brightens up the face(and I really like the sandy hair look from Suzuki Emi)but I also think that nothing is more distasteful that dark roots with bleached hair. Since retouching looks like hassle and I don't want to take care of the roots on a monthly basis, I never wanted to dye my hair. (See how this post mainly revolves around me being lazy?)

Regular trimming
Every 1-2 months, I chop a tad bit of my ends with a barber scissors (I have a blunt cut so it doesn't matter that much). Professional trimming costs too much and I am not really a fan of how American do our hair (and there isn't an Asian hair salon in our town that I know of.)

Hair Comb
I don't use a brush because, just because...I use horn combs because they don't produce any statics and feel nicer than plastic on my scalp. For people with thicker hair, simply avoid comb with narrow gaps and pick something wide-toothed. For what I have tried, Carpenter Tan is the best maker for handcraft wooden/horn combs.

Healthy Diet
Intake enough protein rich food like tofu (I like soy milk so much better than , beans, meat, dairy. Some oil also keeps the hair shiny (I love avocado!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wet n Wild Hot Paris Pink Silk Finish Lipstick

Wet n Wild Silk Finish Lipstick is the 1-dollar range that has been around for as long as I remember. I picked up Hot Paris Pink , a bright coral red with a fuchsia lean (they might as well name it Hot for Hawaii)which reminds me of MAC Impassioned, while I was taking advantage of a 1-dollar-off-2-item sale.
Similar Colors in my stash: Essence Red Carpet (which already melted back in February) ,Wet n Wild Hot Paris Pink and Maybelline Fruit Punch (my favorite of the bunch).
Like other Wet n Wild Silk Finish Lipsticks, Hot Paris Pink has a decent pigmentation and gives a slight sheen as it's freshly applied, but after 10 minutes or so, the (somewhat) thin-textured lipstick also dries to a stain-like thin finish and always extend outside my lips.

Overall: Great color (that's already a little garish on me), amazing price. I am not a big fan of the formula or the protruding lipsticks bullet that doesn't swirl all the way back. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Too Faced Perfect Eyes Eyeliner Pencil Swatches

A new release for fall 2011, Too Faced Perfect Eyes Eyeliner Pencil is a range of six creamy (so creamy that they feel like gel liner) eyeliner pencil that dries to a matte (and does-not-budge) touch. The lasting power and pigmentation are both satisfactory (if not impressive) but the shade selection is a little boring...especially if you are familiar with those eyeliner line-ups from Stila, Cargo or Urban Decay...

Monday, August 22, 2011

NYC Smooth Skin Liquid Concealer

For people who has been reading this blog long enough, you all know that scab-picking has been a life-long hobby of mine (I would put it in my resume/school application if I can). No extra curricular activity quite beats the swift removal of a piece of epidermis (with an imaginary "phshhhiii" sound), revealing the vulnerable flesh underneath (It's not as fun when you pick the ones that are actually ready to go), later accompanied by a mini surge of blood...

But at certain circumstances, all the fun I have can get in the way of my girly business (shimmery coral blush doesn't go well with a plum shade mark underneath), something has to be done...To simply stop picking would be a good idea but in the meantime, I choose the easier way: Covering up the mess, just like how my partner-in-crime/then-roommate and I would just kick/shove everything under-bed (and decided to go "grocery shopping" at the most inconvenient time of the day, to avoid awkward confrontation) when the apartment management people come to inspect the property...
NYC Liquid Concealer, packaged in the exact same way as their Liquid Lipshine gloss that I love, is a semi-new release from the brand that was out earlier this year. It features the same resilient, long and flat (duck-beak) applicator, which makes grabbing the runny (not creamy or thick at all) formula a easy breezy job, the wand holds so well that I don't need to do the unhygienic double-dip. Instead, it's dip-dot-dot-dot-dot-dot... 

I pick the darker of the two available shades, called Medium. While it looks positively pasty, being just tad darker than my inner arm (the paper pale body part of mine that tanned a little due to all the natural-light swatching), it does get blend down to an even finish that's not too harsh on my skin. For girls who are darker than NC/NW 30, this is a definite skip. 
The formula of the smooth skin concealer is more on a the runny side (not horribly sheer) and it appears rather promising the moment I dot it on (which is another way to say "when the disappointment starts.") . Well, the thing is that when I start seems that the formula never actually builds up so it...diffuses like an en-plein-air fart, gone before you know it.

Before writing it off completely, I decided to give it another chance,  as the product is a little expensive (3 dollars for a useless product is expensive, consider it's the exact amount I paid for 6 Maybelline lipsticks, each of which I like very much) for how much it (doesn't) works...
As a eye area (picture is click-able for your viewing pleasure) concealer/brightener, I don't think the NYC concealer makes any noticeable difference, beside brightening and caking a little. And frankly, even if it does work, I much prefer leaving the part alone, since I believe that sometime under-eye circle and deep eye socket are interchangeable and if I don't have sultry deep eye-sockets, I might as well keep the sulky half circles... they both add depth don't they?

Overall: DNW^2 (as in Does Not Work x Do Not Want). I will just resort the issue by rubbing my face with lemon instead (it fades the marks by a little bit, given that the scars are completely healed)...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

NYX Lip Gloss in Maroon

You have seen enough coral and sheer red (there is still a bunch of them I need to finish up reviewing) so it's time for a little seasonal change!
NYX Lip Gloss in Maroon was an impulse purchased made back in May (yes, I like vampy shades for spring and summer) as the already reasonably cheap brand was on a mini-sale in my grocery store (Come on 3 dollars for 15ml of products, who can say no to that?).  The gloss is non-sticky, (artificial) cherry-scented and insanely pigmented even though the shade (a deep wine) is already so dark. The sponge applicator, probably my favorite of this kind, is soft and bouncy to the touch and does a great job picking up the color.
Vampy Lip Color Side by Side: NYX Maroon, Shiseido Natural Wine and Revlon Va Va Violet
NYX Lip Gloss applied ( two dots sheered out) on lips - I actually prefer the shade for summer since it looked way too scary the first time I tried it back in May, when I was still a little pasty.

Overall: Great shade for darker girls, bold-lips lovers and maybe...goths?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rimmel Black Lip Gloss and Lash Serum at Walmart

I think Walmart always get those display earlier compared to other drugstore...too bad they never have those coupon lying around or those amazing 50% off sale that Walgreens always has...
Apparently there is a black shade from Rimmel's new (at least in US) Stay Glossy line!  I also found a coral I would like to try...
Lash Accelerator serum for both lashes and brow with a hybrid brush (a brush alone would already be sufficient enough for me).

Black Radiance Moisturizing Lip Stain, Liquid Lip Color and Artisan Blush

I was at Walmart (40 minutes of biking is not fun...) a few days ago trying to find some shipping boxes (now I think I need to go back for an USB key board) and look what I have found!
Black Radiance Moisturizing Lip Stain (wow, people put " lip stain" and "moisturizing" in the same sentence? That's a first I have seen!) with the Rich Cranberry already sold out (of course it has to be the shade I am interested in). Each is around 2.80 so I really wonder how it would turn out...
The Liquid Lip Color and Ice Angel Refreshing Lip Gloss looks a lot less tempting (since the brand is designed for women with deep skintone), as they are a little too bold for my liking.
Artisan Color baked bronzer (less than 5 bucks) and blush also seem rather interesting but it seems that they break easily (the two Warm Berry on the display are both shattered).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pixi Lip Treat Tinted Lip Balm, Line & Lip Swatches

Pixi Lip Treat is a (surprisingly pigmented) tinted lip balm housed in a cute little green tube with rose print and Lip & Line are duo side lip color with lip color on one end and an lipliner pencil on the other. The color selection on both products leans toward the neutral (aka boring) side but I think many will find them easy-to-wear and flattering.

p.s. my keyboard is broken, no proper post/comment reply until i find a way to fix it. *sad face*.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Missha Sunblock, Primer and BB cream Review

Three years after its initial launch into the beauty world (When Kathi at Lotus Palace held a poll at the end of 2008, asking her readers what are their views on BB cream, my pick was "What the heck is BB cream?") , the Korean beauty do-it-all, skincare-sunscreen-primer-foundation-in-one, gained an amount of followers so large that, cosmetics brands from Japan and the West also started to release similar products, just to get a share of the pie.

My view on BB cream has remained the same through out the year (with indifference), but I am always happy to say yes when my roommate offered a bunch of sample pouches (2-3 on each product) from her sister's trip to Korea. Review time? Heck yes!
All Around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk SPF 50 PA+++ (Highest UVA protection) - It has a slightly thicker consistency than other liquid sunscreen I have tried and glides with a slick. The formula feels smooth and matte (possibly a little silicone-y) on the face and seems reasonably effective (I call anything that stops me from getting 2 shades darker within 30 minutes effective).

The most noticeable aspect of the sunscreen would be the scent: While it smells like just another Japanese liquid sunscreen I have tried (a bit medical but nothing offensive), the scent also seems to be heat-activated that the longer I have it on, the stronger it smells (the scent lasts for hours)...I feel kind of sorry for people who sit right next to me in the bus: If I can still smell it after 5 hours (when my nose/nerve is supposedly used to it), this stuff must be strong for others!

BB Boomer - Is a primer designed to smooth out the skin and prolong the wear of a BB cream. The slightly iridescent pinkish white cream brightens and evens out the skin tone while leaving a semi matte, dry-to-the-touch and smooth finish. I feel a little wasteful for covering it up (so instead of observing the prolonged wear time, I spend my attention resenting instead) with a BB cream since the product looks pretty good  by itself, especially if you are into the no-makeup look.

Herbal Choboyang BB Cream - has a semi-thick creamy texture that's fairly easy to blend and the coverage and lasting-power are pretty amazing (it covers up my acne marks for hours without caking or oxidizing). There are 2 shades available, the tester I got appears very dark but becomes pasty as soon as it's on my face (I was able to bring  the shade back just with a bit of bronzer). 

As for the product packaging, I find it a little funny that they chose to emphasize that it's a Korean herbal formula by writing "Missha - Korean Formula"  in...Chinese characters.

Signature BB Cream SPF 25 PA++ - My favorite of the bunch, the runny formula feels like a  liquid foundation and appears quite ashy, yellow and dark once it's out but for some magical reason, it blends down to the perfect shade (I don't know, maybe NW25 ish?) , gives decent acne marks coverage and an extremely natural finish that seems my-skin-but-better. However, it doesn't fare so well on dryer patches that it still manages to enhances flaky skins on my nose (from too much squeezing...). 

The Overall performance is very impressive (because I don't think I have ever tried any base makeup product that didn't cake like America's next top chef)  but I probably wouldn't purchase any of them mainly because I just don't like layering that much (sunscreen + concealer + blush is sufficient for my "full face"' need and already borderline "too much" in my book) products on my face , it's too many steps and time spent...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Nicole by OPI Texture Coat

Nicole by OPI is another brand that has jumped into the crackle bandwagon but they wouldn't want to admit it...So they named the collection Texture Coat instead. Same difference...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sula Beauty Cosmetics Display

I know this has been already covered/reviewed by several bloggers but I just can't help it...Have you seen any drugstore cosmetics that are this cute?
These Sula lipgloss (super adorable but I haven't found a shade I have to get...yet), cream blush and cream shadow are 8 dollars a piece and them come with one of the most adorable packaging styles ever...
Not only they look kind of expensive (at least more so compared to brands like Too Faced and even Stila), the compacts/pots/tube also feel weighty and substantial. The lipsticks (I am still debating which shade to get first...berry or orange-red?)  tube is actually metal with different shades of flowers painted on, what was the last time I use any drugstore lipstick with a metal case? (All I know is that Shiseido Maquillage uses plastic tubes on their 30-buck lipsticks)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Urban Decay 15-Year Anniversary Eyeshadow Palette Swatches

So what is this tri-colored thing you are looking at? Well...It was almost 8 pm when I took the picture so when I took the first column, the sun that was right about to set cast a yellow light. When I took the second one it just set down to horizon (OK, more like a building of medium height) but I thought the weaker lighting show the iridescence well. As for the last column, I couldn't take it and turned on the internal flash (Black out, the matte black got contaminated by ace and becomes shimmery). Swatch fail? Yes...but I don't like this enough to re-swatch so you just have to deal with it.
Urban Decay 15-Year Anniversary Eyeshadow Palette is (the name is pretty self explanatory) a prettily packaged palette of heavy weight/price tag, consisting 15 pigmented eyeshadow shades released for their brand anniversary. Beside Black out (matte) and Tainted (semi-sheer with iridescence), most shades are shimmery/satiny, which makes this a lot less versatile compared to the Naked Palette.

Boots No. 7 Skin Care now Available at ULTA and Some Cheer Chic

The British brand Boots No. 7 skincare can now be found at ULTA. Now you can save a few bucks on these (it seems that the retail price in US is already lower than what's in UK) when you use the ULTA coupon (since the brand rarely goes on sale in Target)!
On my trip, I also spotted a new hair styler brand called Cheer Chic ("Bring out your Inner Cheer Leader"...does it mean that this is for the wannabes? All I know that the cheer leader back in my high school would not use something like this...)The price starts at 11 dollars...Kids these days are so privileged...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sally Hansen Tender Mulberry

It has been a long long time since I last tried any neutral nail polish(I usually just don't wear any nail polish when I  am working with computer since the tip wear usually appears within hours with my typing habit)  so here is one for I ever do neutral nail?
Sally Hansen Maximum Growth (I think the line is revamped sometime last year) Tender Mulberry is a muted medium pink creme with a berry lean. On the nail, it appears a little darker (more berry) than the looks in the bottle and it's...a bit granny. It's still a easy-to-wear color and the formula is pretty decent (just takes a while to dry).

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

MAC Semi-Precious Lipstick and Gloss Swatches

I went to MAC counter a while ago to B2M a few empties (I didn't finish any. It's just that the few half finished tendertone and lip glass are rotting in my drawer and I have some blush compact that I accidentally crushed while it was in my bag) and getting a new lipstick (you can never have enough of them). While the girl went to the stockroom to fetch the lipstick I wanted (VG Cyndi, unfortunately not in stock the only other lipstick I wanted was also sold-out...) , I helped myself (as always) and swatched some lipsticks from the Semi-Precious collection.I also tested out those MSF as well but they look nothing more than a sheer metallic sheen to me.

Now to the lipsticks (note that they are all one swipe swatch): Gem of Roses is a muted medium rose that look my(as many people)-lips-but-better. Musky Amethyst is a sheer brownish purple with deep-colored shimmer and Lush Amber is a warm, pale nude.
Full Speed from Sheen Supreme line is a bright coral pink that looks very similar to YSL Rouge Volupte Rose Paris (and the finish glossier and just as smooth to the touch), Capricious is a semi-sheer berry mauve with rose shimmer. Viva Glam Cyndi is a sheer coral red that seems to look different (and great!) on everyone who has swatched it. 

I had some empty space on the back  of my hand so here are also three lip glasses that caught my eyes at the moment...
Russian Red (probably one of most iconic shades for MAC lipstick?) is a bright cherry red, Cyndi is a salmon pink-red  and Spring Beam is a cute glittery lime green (I would totally get one if there is a Lip Gelee  in this shade).

Monday, August 08, 2011

Covergirl Amazemint Lip Gloss in Red Riot

Covergirl WetSlicks Amazemint Lip Gloss has been around for quite a while (all I remember is that I got my last tube from 3 years ago) and while the line is marketed as a smile-enhancing (or odor eliminating? I don't think a minty gloss will help much if your oral cavity really stinks) gloss, I love the watery-jelly finish and how comfortable it wears. Since I was always hunting for the next best sheer red, why not give Covergirl another go (if all things fail I would still have a good balm)?
Covergirl Red Riot has a raspberry lean (so it's a cool red, though not as much as Paul & Joe), some slight silver micro-glitter (that doesn't really show unless you are looking for it) and a slightly more gel like texture.
Covergirl Red Riot gives a decent amount of color,slightly tingling sensation (that would be a life saver on colder/drier days), fresh scent, a semi-jelly finish, watery shine (that dies down relatively quickly but it last better than Rimmel).

Overall: Comfortable, kinda-sorta (Ok, not really in my book) cheap at 4-5 bucks and gives a bit of color and shine. I like it but I am not sure if you would want to give it a go (it's kind of a boring shade). Just don't expect too much. It's a sheer red gloss, after all.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Summer Staples 2011 - Beauty and Miscellaneous Favorites

Blog posts about Monthly Favorite are fun to read (to a certain extend, because how many Nars-Blush-Dior Bronzer-Wet-n-Wild-eyeshadow-on-white-background do you like to see? For me, not a hell lot.) but not as fun to compose. First, I never gather enough products to "love" on a monthly basis and then comes fetching, cleaning (nobody wants to see a shot of your freshly used foundation brush, really...) outdoor photo (Yes, I am insane.) part... It's a lot of planning and work that I am too lazy to commit monthly.

Anyway, to fulfill your desire (of looking at many beauty items piled together) , here are some of my favorites for the first half of 2011, not (OK, there is one) including lip products (for that I will need a separate post, and a much bigger trunk).
Paul & Joe Face Color in Harvest Moon - Suzi Weiss-Fischmann (aka the woman who has the burning desire to drop her name at least once in every OPI collection) is right, a good mandarin is hard to find. Lucky for me, I have found it: Harvest moon is the perfect warm flush that really works all year round...and of course I just had to drop it (on concrete floor +_+) the day after I took this picture. Don't worry, the matte orange part is alright and I managed to get the whole blush repressed (in a ghetto..ghetto but usable manner)...

Because you should never give up on your mandarin.

Essence Blush Brush - It air dries within hours! Anything (anyone) low-maintenance like this should be loved by the masses.

Wet n Wild (for brow) and L'Oreal Lash Serum - Pulling out lashes/eyebrow has never been so justified.

Missha & Innisfree Sheet Mask- Is there a better pick-me-up after a vigorous scab-picking, zit-squeeze (sorry mates, I can't help it) session? This stuff (not talking about picking scab) is addicting.

Benefit Coralista - Smells so yummy that if it were a lipstick, I would eat it. (It seems like an item so popular that it has already become a beauty-blog cliche.)

Too Faced Retractable Kabuki - Cliche No.2 that I feel obliged to include in every single "Favorite Anything" post.

OPI Over The Taupe/ Borghese Vaggio Mauve - I don't even know what to say beside...I like muted lilac and taupe?

Stila Convertible Color in Peony (Look how legitimate my favorites are! There is an visible dent on Paul & Joe blush and both Lash Serum are half-finished.) - Dusty rose-peach that's natural-looking, long-lasting and a joy to play with (dot-and-blend is just more fun!). If my lips get scarily red, it manages to tone it down (so I don't look like I have just eaten some animal alive)...

Wait! It's not finished and here is a second half...

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Dabao Whitening & Freshening Moisture Milk

Dabao is a 26-year-old skincare brand based in Beijing, China (the company was acquired by Johnson & Johnson's in 2008) known for their SOD milk and cheesy TV commercial. The line is widely available in supermarket there with a price range of 10-60 RMB (which means at most 9 US dollar for anti-aging cream but most basic skincare is priced below $3).Consider the current price point that's fueled by housing bubbles in China, this line is truly cheaper than cabbage.
Whitening Freshening Milk (with a Linkesi fragrance, a name I believe they just made up) is a moisturizing lotion to be used both day and night that claims to whiten (a claim you can safely ignore as it's added to almost any skincare item), moisturize and nourish. The lotion has semi-fluid cream texture that gets absorbed quickly without much residue, it moisturizes, helps getting rid of flaky skin and doesn't do much else. 

Overall: A decent no-frill product to try if you happen to be in China. It's cheap, works well and (I think) worth the marked-up price sometime in some health food (doubling 3 dollars is still cheaper than Garnier) e-tailers (I have no experience with those so consult Google yourself and shop wisely).

Urban Decay Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color Swatches

Urban Decay Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color is a range lip color pencils released for fall 2011, featuring five bold, glossy shade: F-Bomb (creamy blue red), Adrenaline (deep glittery raspberry pink), Big Bang (glittery mauve pink), Crush (fuchsia) and Punch Drunk (juicy orange). My favorites of the bunch are F-bomb (I have more than enough red lip gloss but my lonely red lipsticks need some new friends...) and  Punch Drunk (I obviously need more orange!). Let's hope it works with normal sharpener...

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Themed Lip Combo - Semi Precious

Of course this post has nothing to do with the MAC collection, I just need to find a way/excuse to put all these random pictures up...
 If I were to describe my favorite lip gloss shade, Garnet(pictured along with blue topaz / aquamarine? and smokey quartz) would be it (the food equivalent would be cherry lime agua fresca sold in HEB)as I can never get enough of the rich, juicy colors. NYC lippin' large  (a plumping gloss that smells/tastes like OTC medicine) in Mulberry is a fairly close dupe for the garnet tone and I love to layer it with with reds, pinks and shimmery shade to add dimension and shine.
Here it's on top of Wet n Wild lipstick in Hot Paris Pink (reminds me of a deeper, bolder shimmer-less version of Maybelline fruit punch ). Hurry up and buy (it's at most a dollar) /wear it (this shade will look scary on winter skin)!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Wet n Wild Nocturnal Craze Nail Color

Wet n Wild Nocturnal, from Craze Nail Color Collection way back in 2009, is a midnight blue creme  (blackened navy) that I like quite a bit, as it looks what Jane Aldrige was wearing with her Anne Demeulemeester boot-sandals (bandals?). The finish is typical of Wet n Wild, neither watery nor thick and a breeze to apply. Just look at my perfect pinky paint job!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Proactiv Refining Mask Sulfur Acne Treatment

Proactiv Refining Mask comes with a trial set, the kaolin based (with sulfur at 6% concentration) acne treatment is to be used once a week to "refine overall skin texture and help get rid of pimple (something like that, don't quote me). The mask has a creamy texture that's easy to spread on the skin and as expected for a product containing sulfur, it looks slightly yellow and smells (a tad) funny. After having it for around 10 minutes on the face, it dries smooth and uniformly (i.e no cracking or chipping) and washes off easily. I notice a little bit of toning but no shrunk pore whatsoever (However, it does an excellent job drying out my normal skin at gives it quite a bit of flaking).  When used as a spot treatment, it did absolutely nothing (while Clean & Clear persa gel dries the pimple out in a day).

Overall: Doesn't work for me at all, people with oily skin might like it.

P.S. This was a roommate leftover so I have no clue how much it costs.

Monday, August 01, 2011

NYC Liquid Lip Shine in Midtown Mulberry

My first very purchase from NYC, from 8 or 9 years ago, was a Liquid Lipshine gloss in a shade of shimmery light pink. It didn't start too well since the gloss was too thick, frosty and frankly, too tacky-looking (a general image I associated with NYC for a long long time).  Fast forward to 2011, NYC re-vamped the liquid lipshine range with a new flat package (and quite a few frosty shades). I picked up Midtown Mulberry, a muted berry pink-red creme with negligible silver micro-glitter that's only visible in the tube/on skin/lips when you look really really hard (why bother then?).
The applicator of the new liquid lipshine is flat, somewhat long, slightly resilient and soft to the touch. It grabs a decent amount of the gloss and feels rather comfortable on the lips. The caramel-scented gloss gives an impressive pigmentation consider the watery texture it has (that stays moist through out instead  of drying into a stain) .
Arm swatch of NYC Midtown Mulberry, with Revlon Cream Lip Gloss in Berry (very close to my natural lip color) and elf Luscious lip color in Cherry Tart (not sure why the shades now swatches so bright now I am darker). All three are my-lips-but-better sort of colors although they swatches so differently.
On the lips, NYC Midtown Mulberry wears very comfortably and looks like a glossy rose. While it's one of the more pigmented lip glosses I have tried, the shade still seems to adapt to/looks good on each individual's skin tone (I have seen it looking like a milky red in other blogs).

Overall: The affordable price (around 2 bucks), moist texture, great pigmnetation,shiny and smooth finish, wearable color...I thinking I almost like everything about it (Ok,I am not a fan of baked sweet scent).
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