Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Pixi Skintreat Vitamin C Serum

While most drugstore brands are getting behind the trends (with the emergence of indie Insta-brands), Pixi is one line that continues to capture customer's interests (thanks to the iconic Glow Tonic) - Anyway, the brand is mostly skincare now and since last summer, it has become available in drugstore (Which means, I could use CVS 40% off coupon on it!). 
The skintreat Vitamin C Serum was first released last summer, joining the Vitamin C club features Ascorbic Acid (I am not sure if they are the same thing, but L-Ascorbic Acid is a well studied and effective ingredient, that's highly unstable). 

The ingredient list is full of natural extracts and whatnot (to me, I get suspicious seeing that long lists of "nothing" as you never knew what that minuscule amount actually do anything and it's hard to play game of elimination in case of allergic reaction).  Also, I don't see other ingredient to keep the vitamin c stable.
Aqua/Water/Eau, Ascorbic Acid, Ethoxydiglycol, Propanediol, Glycerin, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Extract, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin) Orange Fruit Extract, Ferulic Acid, Tocopherol, Caffeine, Microcitrus Australis Fruit Extract, Microcitrus Australasica Fruit Extract, Beta-Carotene, Lecithin, Citrus Glauca Fruit Extract, Panthenol, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Junos Peel Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Retinol, Xanthan Gum, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Punica Granatum Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Polysorbate 20, Phospholipids, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin

At the very least, the bottle of serum is fresh from exposure before you open it (and replace the rubber seal with the glass pipet).
The light yellow serum is of a watery texture, that feels slightly jelly and mildly sticky. I started using it late August (when NJ is a humid hellhole) and it wasn't too icky. I like the tropical pineapple smell and how moisturizing it main probablem was how quickly it oxidizes. In a mere 2 week, the serum has darkened significantly and had a bit of rusty smell. 

I tried to use it and I got three irritation zits (smaller zits still leaves hyperpigmentation)the next day. I wanted to like it but sadly it belongs to vitamin C that does the opposite of what it's supposed to do. I guess I could be more careful with the storage and try to use it up before it goes bad... Or I could make my life easier and go with vitamin C serum with shelf life longer than two weeks. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Integrate Pro Finish Foundation - SPF 16 PA++

Back in fall 2016, Shiseido Integrate did a complete overhaul on their line. The newly refreshed brand caused quite a stir, all for the wrong reason. While introducing the line's three spoke models (Kaho, Komatsu Nana and Mori Hikari), Integrate had an ad of three besties hanging out celebrating Nana's birthday, the other two went on and on about how they are no longer cute and increasingly undesirable as they approach 25. So the message was like "You are old after 25, make up for it!" 

The commercial drew a lot of criticism and was quickly taken off  (here is an
  article in Japanese about the fiasco, there are some Taiwanese sources that still hosts the video but I won't link them here). I suppose it was insensitive (maybe a middle age man pitched the idea) but I still think it wasn't as off putting as those perfume commercials' message (Revlon's Love is On) "use our stuff so you can get laid". 

Anyway, I was pretty into their newer red packaging and bought one of their powder foundation. Just like BB cushion for Korean brands, powder foundation is a staple among Japanese brands as they have decent coverage, work better with Japan's often humid climate, are easy to carry and touch up (perfect for a hushed lifestyle). 
Integrate Pro Finish has a little heart emboss and the compact fits most Shiseido brands compact (it clicks right into Maquillage, Majolica Majorca compacts). There is a thin plastic sheet that separates the powder and the puff. 

In most stores there are 3 shades available OC00 (fairest ochre tone) OC10, OC20 and OC30 being the tannest (which doesn't look too dark to me) . OC10 being one of the more universal for east Asian. I picked up OC10, a little darker than my skin during winter but perfect most of the year. 
The powder has a smooth texture without being overly talc-y and I can get a pretty good coverage with one or two swipe. It evens out most spots and discoloration but it doesn't cover everything. I like it that instead of a thick cakey finish, if makes the skin looks a little matte in a peach fuzz, youthful sort of way. 

Of course, for a drugstore foundation, it's not without flaw. In order to get that natural and good coverage. The face has to be well moisturized (no dry flakes) but not wet and the puff need to be dry and relatively clean. For me it was perfect during fall and the short few weeks of spring time we have and sometime it looks  like a cakey mess. 

It actually enhances dryness during winter and looks patchy as hell during summer here. It probably isn't suitable when skin is in problematic state... After all, it's a brand that targets younger customers/ has age-shamed people who are over 25...
The cute red compact before it's all scratched up. 
This is how much I use after 3 years. (I am glad my review is still relevant/Integrate hasn't revamped the range). I guess  while you can certainly get better powder foundation, Integrate Pro Finish is still a great product at this price. While I don't rely on this for UV protection, it's perfect for setting and enhance the integrity of my daily sunscreen. 

Bottom line: It aint perfect but I like it.
This is a limited edition compact designed by their spoke model Komatsu Nana. The color is pretty that I don't want to use it.
The bottom half is electric blue. 
A little spy picture from a drugstore - The case retails for 400 yen while the compact powder (with sponge) retails for 1300 yen. I think every year there is a limited edition set with compact and refill.
Holiday 2018 is a soft gold (I got it for my friend and she likes it a lot) 
For holiday 2019 it's Frozen themed! I always consider a cartoon collaboration low effort money grab but the designers actually put a lot of effort on this collection! 
For 13 bucks, of course I had to grab it(That's like what, 2 large bubble tea? And while Sugar rush lasts for almost lasts forever).  I was freezing my toes off during that snowy Saturday afternoon (and it's middle of February and no snow since!). I need a blizzard for my glamour shots!

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Canmake Lip Cheek Gel - Apple Mango, Raspberry and Cranberry

Canmake lip and cheek gel is a follow up and tweaked version of their Cream Cheek, the new (it has been around for 5-6 years already if not longer) the duo purpose product more moisturizing, clear and it's suitable for the lip also.
The round compact is already adorable on the Cream Cheek (no complain, with the exception of Stila Cherry Crush, I don't use up cream blush anyway) and the Lip and Cheek Gel is even tinier. Canmake doesn't disclose the weight (or at least is very sneaky about it) so I imagine there is around 2g of product in each. 

Anyway, the little strip mirror is the real deal (not some Spray on plastic that gives you headache) and handy for touch up. I don't use it on lips and my cheeks it does seem to fade (my own solution of the problem is to use something that doesn't). Perhaps the stay time can be longer on a powdered face. 

The first two I got were 02 Apple Mango Parfait (clear reddish coral) and 03 Raspberry Float (slightly milky pink).  The two has a noticeably clearer texture and dewy finish. While it seems moisturizing on the face, I prefer the higher pigmentation of the Cream Cheek Clear.
And look at the ribbon and the gem cut window, there is something very Sailor Moon silver crystal brooch about it. If my memory serve, Apple Mango Parfait and Raspberry Float were from a swap with Dalenna years and years ago and Raspberry Float (one below) were purchased later when the brand made it permanent. 
04 Blood Cranberry is a deep magenta that spreads into a juicier pink flush. 
This color is more flush-like and less dolly compared to Raspberry Float.
Swatches of the lip and cheek gel I have. See that really dewy finish. It might be a god sent during winter. I like them but my heart still belongs to cream cheek. 

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Lancome Juicy Tubes and the Story of Shrinkflation

If you go back to my blog archive far enough, you might know that I absolutely adored Lancome Juicy Tubes around 2008 (funnily Gucci Westman was their creative director back then, she really knew her stuff doesn't she) and had a rainbow of them - In my memory, they were thick gloss that looks jello like that were beyond moisturizing. 

Shades that I missed the most are Kiwi (fruit green that looks peachy on), Lemon Sugar (it smelled yummy and this kind of bright yellow gloss was allover Japan in 2019) and Cherry on Top (a happy clear blue red with tiny golden flakes).  There was also a Yayoi Kusama collection that was so whimsical (I didn't get any as my collection was overflowing at the time). 

Anyway, Juicy Tube slowly faded out of the market as those makeup conglomerates discontinues many glossy goodies  from drugstores (while releasing many highend "lip oils" that's the same thing as gloss), style guru declared gloss is outdated...

Around three years ago, while wandering around TJMaxx in the city, I found a travel set of mini Juicy Tubes (it wasn't even cheap, like 30 bucks for the set) and was overjoyed.
Out of the five shades that all look familiar, two were twining with shades I like (The red with golden flakes is identical to Cherry on Top and Orange is the same as "Orange").

As soon as I put it on my lips, my joy dropped as quickly as their market share (just kidding, maybe people still buy their craps)- They changed the formula into something that's runny and gooey (that get onto teeth easily), basically a totally watered down and unworthy version of the old juicy tube (it's not even as good as the old L'Oreal squeeze gloss). No swatch image as I threw most of them away.

I suppose they could justify that saying "Oh thick gloss isn't in style anymore. New version is more wearable."  But the whole point of thick gloss is that I can also use less to get a subtler finish. 

Of course L'Oreal doesn't care about what customers think as long as they can pocket some quick buck. After all, it's the same company that charges $70 for Shu Uemura synthetic eyeshadow brush (which previously got a price hike due to rising material cost). 
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