Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Maybelline Superstay 24H Liquid Foundation: Updated Formula Review

Maybelline Superstay 24H Foundation is reaching Singapore this June and will retail at Watsons, Guardians, SASAs, major supermarkets and hypermarkets, selected departmental stores as well as e-tailers where Maybelline has an official presence for $24.90 per bottle.

The Superstay franchise has been buzzed about for a fair number of years now, and many of us in Asia - especially sunny, humid, tropical Asia - have been wondering for years why it never made it here. I'm a pretty big fan of several of the Superstay Matte Ink liquid lipsticks so it's ironic that the foundation from which they derived their name is only just coming into our market now.

The good news is the formula is great. I've given it a good test run the past week or so, wearing it for full 10-12 hour days. It feels lightweight, is velvety and non-transferring to the touch, has medium-to-high coverage and is buildable to full, looks incredibly skin-like (when applied with a brush or damp beauty sponge), controls shine better than most other matte foundations I've used lately, and doesn't clog my pores.

BEFORE Maybelline Superstay 24H Foundation (left), AFTER Maybelline Superstay 24H Foundation (right)
I took the shot above with just a single layer of foundation, no primer, no concealer, no powder. It does a good job of evening out discolorations and veins, even a lot of my dark circles, and almost completely covered recent acne hyperpigmentation scars on my cheek. What I like most is that it looks very real up-close and while it cuts shine and diminishes the look of pores, it doesn't look like a mask. You still see believable skin.

Monday, April 16, 2018

ETUDE House Colour Factory: Find A Perfect Lip Shade


Etude House recently launched their Colour Factory service at the spacious Wisma Atria boutique and I will honestly say it's something I'm VERY excited about because color-matching is something that confuses a lot of women.

If you love makeup and want to explore colors but are frequently confused what shades to pick cos some just look "off" on your skin while others seem to give you a radiant glow, you might want to go for a professional color matching service at least once. I first tried this when I was in Seoul a couple of years back, and it totally changed the way I look at colors on myself.


As Asians living in the tropics, most of us have been brought up to think we have a "Warm" skintone and should wear orange, warm-red, gold, olive, and other shades complementary to this type of skin tone. Well, apparently surface melanin from sun exposure can create an optical illusion of sorts, and many girls who have a Neutral (or in my case Cool) undertone can be mystified when bronzes, coppers and other "warm" shades look horrible on us.

Guess no longer.


Friday, March 30, 2018

Ultimate Indulgence: Les Merveilleuses Ladurée opens in Singapore on 4 April


If you're not a beauty fanatic, you might only think of macarons when you hear the name Ladurée. But 6 years ago, they did branch into the luxury makeup world with the launch of Les Merveilleuses Ladurée, when they caused hearts to flutter with the original rose petal blushes (since then frequently copied).

They've largely remained a niche brand, partly because of the price-point (S$105 for a box of 23 blush petals and another $45 for the refillable container) and also because they were only available in France and Japan for a number of years. I remember seeing beauty bloggers frantically arranging for swaps and asking friends and relatives to help them bring back Ladurée blushes back in the day.


If the product presentation and textures remind you of brands like Jill Stuart and Anna Sui, it's because the line is Japan-made despite the Western branding, and shares the same zealous attention to detail when it comes to packaging and presentation, and super-smooth product textures.

Colors are never too strong or pigmented aside from a few stronger blush shades; this is a line aimed at the upwardly-mobile consumer who values the pampering experience and visual or sensual treat on their dresser, but may not necessarily be too confident experimenting with lots of strong colors yet and just wants products that are amateur-friendly.

Monday, March 12, 2018

My Diptyque Fragrances: Do Son, Tam Dao, and Fleur de Peau


For a perfume junkie, I have a rather modest Diptyque collection.

Just three scents that to me feel almost introspective and subtle for their respective genres. Just like the brand itself, they have a luxuriously subtle and easy-going charm. They need time to introduce themselves and surprise you.

I would describe Diptyque scents as straightforward in a way; they have a clear artistic vision and don't beat around the bush too much. But at the same time I never feel the need to layer these scents. That would mask or mess with the subtler facets and nuances they have.

As a line, Diptyque (to my recollection) does not have many "pong-monsters" that are so strong that they take over a room when you enter. They also don't do the olfactory equivalent of the "lipstick mark on the collar" where they stay long after you've left a space.


In fact, I was told recently by a brand rep that they insist on using higher concentrations than most generic brands on the market, so even peripheral items like the hair mist will contain up to 18% perfume components, which is higher than many Eau de Parfums. Usually this means they perform like extrait de parfums; lower in throw but higher in longevity. For the most part I can spray these on in the morning and not have to bring the bottle out for touch-ups.
Quick side-note: most of Diptyque's scents have an Eau de Toilette concentration (clear bottles) and an Eau de Parfum (black-rimmed bottles). They have different compositions and notes, designed to amp up different facets of the overall scent, so make sure you test both concentrations to see which works better on your skin.

Monday, January 29, 2018

My Personal Unsung Hero Product: Pixi Glow Tonic

For all the testing I do, I realize I've never talked much about glycolic acid toners. Which is odd because I consider them an essential step at least 2-3 times a week to slough dead cells, reduce clogs, and enhance other skincare products if you want to keep your skin glowing and smooth and younger-looking.

For me, they are a superior replacement for physical scrubs and all those expensive sonic devices which tend to break my somewhat-dry, occasionally-sensitive skin out. And Pixi's cult-favorite Glow Tonic is what ushered me (and several family members including mom) into the world of glycolic acid toners last year. 


If you've never used it before though, don't just splash a ton of cash and go ham on it because using it the wrong way can backfire. Which is why I thought Pixi's Glow Tonic was a god-send because with its ginseng and aloe extracts, it's gentle enough for beginners and those with slightly sensitive skins, but at 5% glycolic acid content, it's works.

Plus, it's very, very reasonably priced, and easily available from retailers like Sephora.sg, iHerb.com etc if you're in Singapore. I've repurchased this a couple of times already, and have a backup 250ml bottle plus the pre-soaked toning pads which are handy for traveling. But I've not yet spoken about it online, so I was NOT expecting a surprise gift from the Pixi team.

A jumbo bottle of Glow Tonic with a separate pump dispenser AND my name on it.

My own jumbo bottle of Glow Tonic!
Like any skincare junkie, I have to say I'm possibly more excited by the size of the bottle (it's not available in this format at Sephora or iHerb) than the fact that there's my name printed on it. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Aerin Fragrances: A Quick Review


Aerin Lauder's luxurious fragrance line is now available in Singapore at Marina Bay Sands. There are 9 eau de parfums currently available as 8ml rollerballs ($45), 50ml sprays ($182), 100ml sprays ($260), as well as matching body creams ($91).

The first time I sniffed a few Aerin fragrances in their minimalist resin-capped bottles, I immediately thought of a more grown-up and elegant Jo Malone. They share a rather similar aesthetic, from the thematic focus around key scent ingredients (e.g. Rose, Gardenia, or Amber), to the effortless luxury of the heavy squared glass bottles, and the cologne-like airiness and sense of "translucency" for most of the scents.

Each box is patterned after a specific fabric or print with personal meaning to Aerin herself, making them collectible as well. All the scents are impeccably-tasteful, lady-like, and never too loud. Perfect for the majority of East Asian consumers, pretty much.

Out of the nine, I have four key faves (the first four reviewed below) but I would say try them all out for yourself since scent is so personal to each person. And definitely wear your top picks on your skin before making a final decision, because like picking a partner, the things that impress us on first sniff don't always turn out to be the best for us.

I'll list all the notes and my personal experience with each below.