Monday, January 16, 2017

Lancome Parisian Lips Le Stylo

Lancome's launched its beautiful Spring 2017 Absolutely Rose collection, which centers around delicate rose pink tones. First off, the pale rose-gold and pearl-pink packaging is absolutely gorgeous, but today I'm focusing first on three of the four available Parisian Lips Le Stylo duos.

These are double-ended lip bars (SGD$36) which are designed to give a subtle ombre lip effect, with a matte twist. Instead of simply working with two colors, the two shades you get aren't that far apart in tone. They are, however, very far apart in texture. 

On one end you get a sheer tinted cream which is very much like a tinted balm stick. It adds a slight gloss to the lips and very faint color.

Parisian Lips Le Stylo sheer cream end
On the other end, you get a sponge tip dunked in a pressed powder pigment, which gives you a complementary matte tint.

Parisian Lips Le Stylo powder end
I find these aren't really meant to be worn alone because the balm end doesn't give much visible color, and the powder end needs something creamy to stick to; otherwise you don't get much payoff. Together though, you get a lovely soft velvety matte tint, and the option to control whether you want it all one uniform shade, or if you want to concentrate the color in the center of your lips. 

Parisian Lips Le Stylo No. 03 swatch comparison
As far as application goes, it was straight-forward enough. You apply the creamy balm end over your entire lip, then press the powder tip around the center of your lips. Press your lips together a bit and you're good to go. The colors are also beautiful; I tested 3 of the 4 available shades and I like all of them, although my favorite is probably 01, a slightly warmer bright peony pink. I had expected 03, the palest baby pink shade, to look a bit crazy on me, but it actually turned out quite flattering and wearable.

The texture also stayed super comfy on the lips - it wasn't dry or icky feeling as you might expect with a matte texture. Probably because of how conditioning the cream end is. Lasting power is just average for a normal semi-sheer lipstick, which is to be expected. The balm won't stay on long if you eat, kiss or drink, but the powder on top does help it stay a bit better so it all averages out.

On the negative side, I did find myself wishing the creamy balm end was a little "fatter" because it does take awhile to cover your whole lip with the slim rounded crayon tip. And the other issue was having to re-dip the sponge tip back into the powder after pressing it into a balmy cream. After just a couple of uses, the powder is pretty much "contaminated". Doesn't affect the color, but I'll have to use it longer to see if it screws with how "matte" the powder looks after you've introduced so much cream into it.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

LANEIGE Two Tone Tint Lip Bar Swatches and Review

LANEIGE started 2017 with the launch of 8 Two Tone Tint Lip Bars, the tinted-balm versions of their bestselling full-coverage Two Tone Lip Bars.

Over the past two years, I've pretty much tried every single shade in their line, and I love how pigmented they are. In fact, most times I'll wear them like regular lipsticks with both shades blended together. The pigmentation and texture (for me) far outweighs any fun of getting a two tone effect. They just happen to be really good lipsticks. Period.

I do occasionally find the regular Lip Bar formula just a bit drying. They're not matte, but they also won't add enough hydration when my lips are feeling a bit ragged. So it was kinda cool that the brand launched tinted balm versions.

The balm portion is made of up the same yummy berry-flavored formula as their Lip Sleeping Mask, which I use as a daily balm. (It's a huge pot, and I get 4-packs for cheaper when I travel.) 
Image result for laneige lip sleeping mask
The tips also have a V-shaped cut instead of the original slant, in order for there to be a higher proportion of the clear balm for nourishing the lips.

To call them tinted balms would be slightly inaccurate, simply because most tinted balms are super sheer. When I first swatched them I was expecting a translucent sheen, so I was quite surprised. These give significant pops of color to the lips and you actually have to blend them out a little if you want a sheerer softer look.

I received 4 shades out of the 8 to swatch in my press box, and the rest of the shades can be viewed on As you can see above, the colored section is pretty intense, and once you try it you'll realize that despite there being a translucent balm section, the choice of shades is on the vibrant side, so they give a bright and made-up look to the lips even when sheered.

If you are looking for "barely there" natural balm tints, these are not it. If you want something that you can smear on without a mirror, I think these may not be it either. If you are prone to messy applications, these are a bit too bright and obvious to hide that.

I will say I enjoy these for casual days when I want to wear minimal makeup and colorful lips, but am not feeling up to a more drying formula. They do feel super silky and hydrating, and you get to enjoy your favorite K-trend colors without sacrificing on lip care.

LANEIGE Two Tone Tint Lip Bars retail at $34, the same as the regular Lip Bars.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Diorskin Forever Cushion (and Lip Sugar Scrub) Review

Dior's just launched the brand new Diorskin Forever Cushion, and this latest foundation offering promises to not just be matte and long-wearing but also skin perfecting. As a fan of traditional bottle/tube foundations, I'm always eager to check out matte cushions simply because most have never been able to deliver on the promise of setting matte or staying fresh for hours.

The tropics are a terrible place for cushion foundations. Cushion formulas are lighter and more fluid than bottle foundations; they usually stay moist and don't set quickly or completely. Even the ones targeted at oilier skins tend to be a bit lacking in staying or mattifying power compared to typical bottle or tube formulas. The constant humidity, heat and sweat throughout the day causes them to slide, smear, or oxidize to a different shade, even for someone with normal to dry skin like myself.

I was quite drawn to the new Diorskin Forever Perfect Cushion formula because besides promising a lasting, luminous-matte finish that blurs imperfections and pores, it also contains pore-refining ingredients, and a new color-lock pigment technology that resists oxidation through the day. So I gave this a good test for the whole of the past week.

At SGD$78 for a set of cushion and case, and $59 for just the refill sponge, the pricing is quite standard for a luxe brand. It comes packaged in a sleek midnight blue case with the standard soft patting sponge for quick application on the go.

Texture and scent
The foundation is weightless as you would expect of most cushion formulas. It has a fresh scent that almost smells like cologne. The formula has a light cooling feel on the skin and while it's not meant to be a hydrating formula it still felt comfortable on my dry areas.
Once it's on, it's weightless and there is no tacky or sticky feel after it sets, which is a big plus for me.

I tried it with a traditional paddle-shaped foundation brush, a buffer brush, an egg-shaped blender sponge as well as cushion puff in the last week. I find I get the most matte finish using the accompanying cushion puff or a blender sponge in a tapping motion. 
The formula does slowly set to a more matte finish after you give it a minute on the skin, and you end up with exactly what it says - a luminous matte finish.

This has a light-medium coverage which is buildable to a fuller medium as you can see below. It can cover small marks or uneven skin tone, but will not cover dark circles or blemishes completely. Where it excels is in evening out skin texture and the appearance of pores, without looking too flat or powdery-matte. A "my skin but better" effect.

Diorskin Forever Perfect Cushion applied (right) without concealer or powder
Tip: It's best not to over-apply cushion foundations (regardless of brand) because a very heavy layer will not set the way the manufacturers intended. If you need extra coverage in areas, apply a proper concealer instead. Your makeup will look and last better through the day.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Victoria Beckham x Estee Lauder Makeup Collection - London Look

Fashion maven Victoria Beckham has teamed up with Estee Lauder to release a capsule collection of limited edition products that allow you to recreate her signature look; bronzed gleaming skin, smoky eyes and nude lips.

The collection comes in super-sleek black and gold Art Deco style packaging and I have to say it reminds me very much of Lauder's ultra-luxe Tom Ford beauty line, not just in appearance but also formula, as well as pricing. Be prepared to fork out S$70 for a single shadow and $102 for the Morning Aura Illuminating Creme, but you can also expect very smooth textures and great quality.

The "London Look" is probably the most wearable and universally flattering of the entire collection, and features a sparkly brown smoky eye, soft caramel nude lips, and her famed dewy, "sweaty" skin. I really liked the super smooth dual-ended eye kajal in Vanille and Black Saffron, but I have to say the formula is so soft that the beige pencil tip broke right off the first time I tried to use it. 

I do still love how easily they glide right on and smudge out, but just be aware this is a kajal, and it is meant for smudging. This formula will not set and become budge-proof. Also, if you're on a tighter budget and just looking for key items to get from the collection, this is the thing I would skip since you can more easily replicate this using cheaper alternatives.

As for the Eye Shadows and Eye Ink, I have to say I loved what I tried. Bitter Clove is that gorgeous brown with bronze-gold flecks, and it has a semi-creamy texture that almost has a bit of bounce to it when I run my brush back and forth across the surface with some pressure.

I did get a few questions from people saying they were not able to get a very opaque coverage with this, but I did not have problems building color up with a synthetic pencil brush. I just buff it on in a windscreen wiper motion and keep building until I get the intensity I want. It's partly the type of brush, and also taking a little time to layer the color. This type of creamy-glittery pigments don't always play nice with all types of brush bristles.

A couple more tips:
  • Apply this with your finger to get more pay-off, then buff out the edges with a brush
  • To bring out maximum sparkle as a final step, mist a soft buffing brush slightly with water and gently buff over the surface of your finished eye look to "polish" and bring out the shine even more

The Eye Ink in Black Myrrh looks like a shadow and can be used as such, but it's really meant to be a wet/dry eyeliner. It's not completely black; more a soft charcoal shade with a slight sheen. I used it dry to deepen the outer corners of my eyes in the look below, but also dampened my brush to apply it along my lash line as smoky liner.

Another fun thing to check out are the Eye Foils.This are liquid sparklers that smooth on and then set to a budge proof texture-less finish. You can apply it a bit more concentrated the way I did, or just sheer it out and pat it over your entire lid as a last step after eye shadow.

The shade I got to test is the paler shade, Blonde Gold. I have not seen the other shade but I would definitely suggest the paler one over the deeper if you want one shade that works well with any eye look, dark or light.

Eye look done with Bitter Clove, Black Myrrh, and Eye Foil in Blonde Gold (inner corners)
As for the lipstick, I'll say it's a great shade and a beautiful semi-sheer formula that feels and looks really pretty on the lips, but maybe not mind-blowing enough to justify $76 if that's way out of your comfort zone. If you don't usually go for lipsticks from lines like Tom Ford or Cle de Peau Beaute, this might feel like a bit too much.

Friday, September 23, 2016

CLINIQUE Pop Matte and Pop Liquid Color + Primer: First Impressions

Matte lips and liquid lipsticks are nothing new but they probably have not seen this much popularity as they have in the past year or two. Now the big brands are finally jumping onto the bandwagon, and Clinique has launched their new Pop Matte and Pop Liquid Color + Prime lipsticks.

I was more curious about the Pop Liquids because this is something new for the brand, and people are into intensity and long-wear now. However, the Pop Liquid Matte Lips are not the dry-to-matte, budge-proof type. In fact a lot of the luxe and high-end brands are opting to go with a creamier semi-matte velvet formula that focuses more on comfort rather than a hardcore transfer-proof paper-matte formula.

And that's great. 

I do want that dramatic velvet matte effect you get with things like Kat von D and Tarteist Lip Paints, but at the same time they are not very comfortable on the lips, and can look cakey and cracked if your lips are not in good condition. 

But with the more high-end velvet liquids, you get more of a "soft-set" formula that dries down only slightly and lasts like a regular matte lipstick, but has a less waxy and more lightweight feel. They will still kiss off, but they last and don't slide around too much so your color is still mostly intact after a few drinks.

Clinique Pop Liquid Matte Lips in Boom Pop (bottom) and Sweetheart Pop
The best thing to me is that these are ridiculously comfortable to wear and easy to touch up. Even the most hardcore liquid lipsticks will wear off around the center of the lips after eating and drinking, and when you try to apply more, sometimes it just looks patchy or cakey. With these creamier formulas you don't have that much of a problem because the product evens itself out more easily. They also give coverage but don't emphasize dryness or lines.

The only con I can see to these right now is that maybe some of the liquid lipsticks are not fully opaque, and the lightweight formula does shift around a bit during application so it might take a bit of work to even those colors out. Sweetheart Pop went on totally opaque, but Boom Pop does go on slightly patchier initially. Both shades I tried also did not "darken" too much compared to budge-proof liquid lipsticks.

I did also find these ironically creamier looking than the Pop Matte lipsticks in tubes. They retain a bit of a sheen surprisingly, although that does go away after some time when the emollients slowly evaporate or absorb into your lips. You do end up with matte lips after a while, even though they are not that powdery-velvety matte you'd get from budge-proof formulas.

Now the lipsticks themselves were a surprise hit for me as well. These are very smooth and lightweight (and the colors are gorgeous). But what they nailed was that very velvety finish, which is matte but not heavy or cakey. The formula does not drag on the skin or feel thick and dry.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

K-Beauty Tips and Takeaways from LANEIGE Beauty Camp 2016

If you've been keeping up on dayre, you'll know I was away in Seoul, Korea, last week at LANEIGE's annual Beauty Camp, where they fly in a group of bloggers, press, and lucky customers for three days of Korean beauty, fashion, inspiration, and as it turns out - a number of celebrities!

Themed "Sparkling Beauty", this year's beauty camp included a motivational talk by speaker and author Sooyoung Kim, a styling session featuring celebrity stylist Hye-Yeon Han, and makeup session by LANEIGE makeup artists. 

Like LANEIGE's mission in 2016 - the camp was focused around helping everyone to rediscover their inner sparkle and finding different ways to bring out our inner and outer beauty, and maximize our unique charm and confidence. One of the sessions I enjoyed the most was probably the detailed professional color-matching session where an expert helped us identify very specific color groups and shades that complimented our individual skintone best.

Winter-Clear colors

There are 4 seasons, and within each category, there are 3 sub-groups: cool, clear, and deep. I was identified as being in the "Winter-Clear" group. Because of my high-contrast coloring (light skin, very dark hair) I can wear both icy and deep Winter shades, but the colors that really make me stand out and "sparkle" belong in the intensely vivid Winter shades like Cherry, Violet, Indigo, Plum and Deep Rose.

And because Cherry is my top shade, here's my very own K-style glam makeover using a lip shade based on my color results. (You can recreate this using Two Tone Lip Bar No 1 and Radiant Eye Color palette No 2 Shine Gold.)

Throughout the entire trip, I did get the chance to really "immerse" myself hip-deep in LANEIGE products, from skincare to makeup, and discovered quite a few new favorites along the way, some new like the Time Freeze Firming Sleeping Mask to help tighten and firm the face - especially around the jaw and cheek areas overnight, and some I already owned but only really got into on the trip itself, like the entire Water Bank line and the All Day Anti-Pollution Defensor SPF30, which repels micro particles of pollution which can harm the skin.

I also really got into the BB Cushion Anti-Aging, which feels somewhat like a cross between the texture of the hydrating whitening cushion and the more satiny pore control one. It contains the same active ingredients as the Time Freeze skincare line, which help to repair and protect skin.

But without further ado, I'll get into a listing of the various tips and tricks I learnt from the Sparkling Beauty Camp!