Wednesday, August 15, 2018

This Week's Power Lip: Armani Lip Magnet 400

Selfie via Instagram Story: Armani Lip Magnet 400
It's weird that even with 101 reds in your collection, you can still find room to obsess over another.

Cue Armani Beauty Lip Magnet 400, the classic true-red that's the signature color of the brand itself. It looks a little tomato-toned in the tube, more Louboutin than Armani, but don't worry. It goes on a vibrant rouge red.

Swatch of scarlet: Armani Lip Magnet 400
I know many people don't like these cos they were expecting a true liquid-to-matte non-transferring liquid. I like the silky smooth texture and the way it "semi" sets to a smooth finish without the wrinkly dried look. Another plus is how this doesn't make me want to claw my parched lips off my face. Do I wish it was transfer-proof? Maybe; when I'm about to chomp heartily into some food mostly, but otherwise I don't really mind.

I find I need to touch-up transfer-proof liquids after a meal ANYWAY. With these, at least touching up is a breeze as the formula melts onto itself when you spot-apply.

As someone who loves the sheerer, slower-setting liquid lip formulas like Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets and YSL Tatouage Coutures, which have a textureless, less-drying finish, this is similar but one step more comfortable, if not as lasting. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

This Week's Face! Makeup (and Fragrance) I've Been Wearing Recently

Here's a run-down of the things that I've used repeatedly in the past week or two! I'm on a drive to rotate through older makeup that I love but have neglected for awhile, and mix them in with newer things I'm testing for the purposes of review.

The It Cosmetics CC+ Oil-Free Matte SPF40 I've reviewed. I do enjoy it, but I don't consider it a long-wear or oil-control foundation technically. It's a more lasting, less dewy alternative to a BB/daily foundation with great coverage and skin benefits. And I like it very much for day wear, but if I need to look perfected or it's a special occasion, I would still reach for other foundations.

Ye Old Chocolate Bar
My Chocolate Bar is so old it doesn't have the shade names printed on. Ironically I LOVED this when it first launched. A lot more than the Naked palettes. But I featured it a couple of times and then never used it after that. That's the thing about neutral palettes; we love them but they are the easiest to set aside when newer things launch because they are so easily substituted.

So I decided to give it a workout for a week. 

A selection of lip shades I've been rotating between lately
Mattes are it for me. Liquid more than sticks, surprisingly. And it's taken me years to finally find out which formulas I like and how to wear them in a way that don't make me want to claw my lips off.

I have very dry lips and small lips besides, so thick, heavy liquid lips can be the worst thing to apply. Don't want shriveled, shrunken, "butt-hole" lips. So I stick with traditional matte lipsticks and creams that are not transfer-proof. But I learnt that very lightweight liquid formulas that can be sheered out look great and don't give me dried prune lips. Formulas that fit what I want include YSL Tatouage Couture (closest to perfect for my tastes), Huda Beauty, NARS Power Matte Pigments, Bourjois Rouge Edition liquids, Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Matte Potions and Etude House's new Matte Chic Lip Lacquers.

I have found these to not crack after drying, and if you're light-handed, don't look excessively wrinkly.

Clockwise from top-left: Etude House Wendy Brown BR401,  Cle de Peau Beaute Lip Cashmere 104 & 105, YSL Tatouage Couture #8, Huda Beauty Icon

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

It Cosmetics CC+ Oil-free Matte SPF40 Review

One of the products that I was most excited about at the recent Sephora Press Day in Singapore was the Oil-free Matte version of It Cosmetics' bestselling CC+. Living in sunny Singapore, who wouldn't want a matte, oil-free, pore minimizing version of the full-coverage high-SPF skincare cream? 

Even as someone with combination-dry skin, I was excited to try a more sweat-resistant and less creamy version of my favorite BB/CC-type product the past 1-2 years. 

Ingredients Run-down

It Cosmetics CC+ Oil-Free Matte ingredients
First off, the ingredients list is impressive as usual. They have all the signature skin-pampering and calming extracts, with the addition of tea tree extract, sulfur, willow bark extract (salicylic acid), charcoal powder and niacinamide, traditionally great for troubled, oily, spot-prone skin. I've not had any significant breakouts ever since I cut down on my sugar intake a couple of months back but I do work out about 5-6 days a week and I can get clogs and black heads, so I would never turn down pore-clearing ingredients.

There aren't really many ingredients in here that would be overly-drying for drier skins despite the inclusion of sulfur, willow bark extract, and charcoal powder. There are just too many conditioning agents. Even though I have dry areas, this did not dry me out and felt comfortable through the day. 

Shade Range

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.