Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Lancome Advanced Genifique Sensitive Dual Concentrate

I've used Lancome's Advanced Genifique for a few years, so when they launched a new Advanced Genifique Sensitive Dual Concentrate, I was pretty excited to try it out.

Like the original, Advanced Genifique Sensitive is built around probiotics, which is known to balance and soothe skin. However, unlike the original, this is meant more as a month-long "special booster" to help calm and fortify skin that has become stressed and fragile due to weather changes, traveling, stress, infra-red radiation, UVA rays and pollution.

And since skin inflammation is directly related to DNA and collagen damage, I'm a huge fan of anti-inflammatory skincare products and ingredients. I have been struggling with sensitive flare-ups recently, partly due to stress, partly due to starting birth control pills, and partly due to testing strong products, so my skin was totally ready for some TLC when this bottle landed in my hands.

The package is pretty interesting in itself. 

You get a disposable cap which contains a tube filled with concentrated actives including:
  • Vitamin E - blocks free-radicals, anti-aging
  • Ferulic Acid - amplifies and prolongs the effectiveness of antioxidants like Vit E
  • Arginine - hydrating, circulation-boosting
  • Cornflower extract - anti-inflammatory, soothing, rich in anti-oxidants like polyphenols

Twist it as instructed, and the blue tube breaks like a light stick, releasing the fresh actives into the clear serum base, which isn't just some basic hydrating filler either. It contains a load of skincare ingredients including 
  • Probiotics - skin balancing, anti-inflammatory
  • Centella Asiatica - soothing and repair-boosting
  • Faex extract - anti-inflammatory and antioxidant yeast extract, full of Vit Bs
  • Adenosine - wrinkly-fighting, hydrating
  • Pineapple extract and Papain - gentle exfoliating fruit enzymes

Oddly satisfying view when you've just "popped" a fresh bottle of Advanced Genifique Sensitive
Give it a good shake, swap in the dropper cap, and your bottle of Advanced Genifique Sensitive Dual Concentrate turns to a cloudy serum which is now ready for use. A single press of the dropper button should dispense a measured dose which is sufficient for the face and neck.

You can apply it once a day at night, after toner and before other skincare, but I would suggest skipping harsh or sensitizing products (like Retin A for example) while using this, just so you can maximize the benefits of this soothing concentrate.

I personally like applying this in the day, under my usual lotions and potions, before makeup. I don't use strong products in the morning just before stepping out anyway, and it's a great time to calm and reinforce your skin with loads of antioxidants before it is exposed to environmental aggressors.

After about 2 weeks of use, my skin felt less reactive to sun exposure in the noon when I trek 5-10 mins out for lunch (I usually experience some tingling and prickling in the sun, followed by dehydration from the heat and sweating once I return to the air-conditioned office). When I got a few small hormonal clogs around my jaw or lower cheek area due to PMS, they were quite mild and pretty much went away overnight.

Overall, my skin seems better able to retain moisture, and dehydration lines on my forehead and neck are not as visible.

An unexpected observation while using Advanced Genifique Sensitive was that my makeup lasted better, because my skin was better-behaved through the day. I'm more "normal", less oily in oily areas, less dry in dry areas. Even with the weather swinging between muggish and hot, to wet and rainy, to stifling and hazy, most of the foundations I wore seemed to sit better longer through the day. I even started skipping setting powder on some mornings.

Minimal skin cover-up; Lancome Mat Miracle foundation and l'Absolu Rouge198 Rouge Flamboyant
While brightening and evening the skin tone is not one of the listed benefits, I feel this concentrate helped my skin look more translucent and even-toned after a few weeks of use. (I have not been using any brightening serum since I started on this) It could be the protective anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents preventing and repairing daily sun damage, or the enzymes improving cell turnover. Either way, I like how everything is looking and feeling right now and can get away with minimal concealing.

You are supposed to use up the bottle in 2 months, because that's when you reap the most benefits from the fresh actives, so don't try to skimp and use it every few days just to make it last a few more months. If you're investing in something like this, use it properly. In fact, if you're preparing for a big day or your skin is being subjected to a lot of stress (e.g. adjusting to a different climate), I would even suggest using this twice-daily for a couple of weeks.

One very minor con for me is the synthetic coloring in the blue concentrate, but it doesn't cause me any concern and doesn't leave noticeable color on skin. (I expect it's there so you get that dramatic view of the cobalt blue swirling through the clear base.) Unless you have a specific sensitivity to colorants, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just avoid ingesting it or touching it directly to your eyes. The base does also contain T-Butyl Alcohol, but that's a solvent necessary for some of the ingredients to liquefy and blend together properly, so that's not a big deal for me either. 

If you're keen to try Advanced Genifique Sensitive for yourself, Lancome has free 7-day trial kits with a complementary 15-minute renewal service in Singapore.

Blue Concentrate:Dipropylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Ferulic Acid, Isopropyl Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Ci 60730 / Ext. Violet 2, Coco-Betaine, Arginine, Centaurea Cyanus Flower Water, Propanediol, Citric Acid, Water, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Base Concentrate. 
Base:Water, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Glycerin, Propanediol, Betaine, Ananas Sativus Fruit Extract / Pineapple Fruit Extract, T-Butyl Alcohol, Lactobacillus Ferment, Tocopherol, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Madecassoside, Sodium Benzoate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sodium Succinate, Phenoxyethanol, Faex Extract / Yeast Extract, Adenosine, Caffeine, Ppg-6-Decyltetradeceth-30, Peg-32, Arginine, Chlorphenesin, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Xanthan Gum, Pentylene Glycol, Leontopodium Alpinum Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Papain, Disodium Edta, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Methionine, Glycine, Fragrance.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Quick Rave: MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Liquid Mattes

MAKE UP FOR EVER has officially joined the matte liquid lipstick game with the new Artist Liquid Mattes (S$35), available in 19 shades from this month at the MUFE boutique as well as Sephora.

What is different about these is they promise intense color in an ultra-matte finish that remains comfortable to wear. If you know me, you'll know that I haven't been the biggest fan of matte liquid lipsticks that came out in the past couple of years because they DO make my lips look and feel mummified. Dehydrated, tight, wrinkly. 

Some transfer-proof formulas are a little more forgiving than others (MAC's reformulated ones, Sephora Collection, NARS PowerMatte, and Rouge Dior Liquids do feel a little better in my experience), but in general none of them actually feel great. I'll usually sacrifice the transfer-proof quality for some pliability and comfort, and I am most definitely a fan of Colourpop Ultra Satins over the Ultra Mattes. 

Until these came along.

One thing I was immediately happy about was that they don't change color significantly when they dry down. Then again, a lot of newer liquid lipstick lines seem to do better in this regard than the formulas that came out a couple of years ago. You no longer have to wonder how much darker or more grey the formula will go after it dries. With these, the colors stay pretty true in my experience. You can see from the half-dried swatches that the wet spots are not noticeably paler or a different tone to the dry spots.

Contrary to the claims, these MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Liquid Mattes are not the most ultra-matte liquid lipsticks I've ever tried. In fact, they do dry down with a slight almost satin sheen to the surface. Like smooth calf leather instead of velvety suede. And this is not a complaint. 

Your lips don't look shriveled (or as some like to call it, like butt-hole lips). In fact, the formula won't emphasize lines unnecessarily, so they look more "plump" and smooth than they would with most other non-transferring liquid lip formulas. The other non-transferring formulas that have a similar smooth leathery finish upon initial dry-down are Dior's Rouge Dior Mat Liquids and YSL's Tatouage Couture, which will only launch in Singapore come Jan 2018.

You need to give these a moment to dry because of the slightly creamier, more hydrating texture. And like the YSLs and Diors, you can make these more matte just by pressing your lips together lightly after the product sets completely. That removes the satin finish and gives you more of the typical matte suede.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Liquid Matte in 401
These remain comfortable and feel lightweight for hours, which is another huge plus for me. Like some of the more emollient formulas, they are more "flexible", so they don't feel stiff or crack when you smile.

After a few hours, drinking water through a glass, and eating some chips, it did wear away in the center of my mouth where most of the oil and moisture was. But these can be touched up easily as well. I simply dab a small drop of liquid lipstick onto a clean finger and pat it around the bare areas to fill them in. The formula does not cake up when layered this way.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics now on Net-a-Porter.com

German luxury skincare line Dr Barbara Sturm is now available to Asian consumers via NET-A-PORTER.com. Sturm, an aesthetics doctor, roots her line around the idea that world-class skincare should protect, strengthen and detoxify without overburdening the skin, and that it should yield maximum results with a minimum number of products.

And for those who have overflowing cabinets, stressed skin, busy lifestyles, and a thirst for skin-pampering products that cut through the Marketing mambo-jumbo and do just what they say, this is a line to look into.

To allow skincare aficionados in Singapore a chance to sample her line, NET-A-PORTER is collaborating with The Landing Point at Fullerton Bay Hotel to offer a thematic Afternoon Tea experience. For SGD 48++, guests will enjoy a gourmet tearoom experience overlooking the panoramic Marina Bay waterfront, as well as receive a luxe gift set of Dr Barbara Sturm travel-size products worth SGD188 from NET-A-PORTER.

(For reservations and enquiries, call Dining Reservations at +65 6877 8911 / 8912)

I have been trying out a few of their products and I'll say they put their money where their mouth is. They don't skimp on active ingredients, minimize usage of cheap fillers and bulking agents, and also quietly throw in skin-nurturing "extras" that are not immediately obvious when looking at the product names.

The one word of warning is don't expect pretty fragrances and masking agents. These products are completely unscented and hence a great option to explore for those with more sensitive skins, but many will smell of raw ingredients. For me, as long as it works well, I can forget how it smells.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Lancôme Teint Miracle Hydrating Foundation - 2017 Formula Review

Teint Miracle (S$68) was the first foundation I bought from Lancôme years ago. I remember getting a couple of sample sachets (carefully squeezed into a travel jar and rationed out into several days of use) and had a light bulb moment when I when I realized foundation could refract and bounce light to give coverage and "fake" a natural-looking nude skin luminosity.

Teint Miracle has always had a spot (well, two spots because I buy this in two shades) in my foundation drawer since. Even though the market is now flooded with newer formulas, I come back to this one repeatedly because I trust it to deliver that my-skin-but-better effect without sacrificing too much coverage or a fresh feel. 

Lancôme Teint Miracle (2017)
Brands constantly upgrade formulas as new technology and better ingredients become available, so I wasn’t too worried about the new version not being good, but reformulations can cause things to sit differently on the skin, so I spent the past few days just testing out the new foundation repeatedly.

What I always loved about the Teint Miracle formula:
  • natural looking radiance that mimics great skin and gives a brighter, more rested appearance
  • lightweight feel with buildable to medium coverage
  • hydrating but oil-free and non-tacky to the touch
  • satin finish that looks like bare skin
  • great fairer shade options on the yellow-based spectrum
The latest formula is supposed to deliver these, along with:
  • deeper skin hydration from rose extract, glycerin and hyaluronic acid
  • soothing and anti-aging benefits from rose and Moringa extract (rich in vitamin A) 
  • oil-absorbent ingredients for better lasting power
  • new "Universal Light Technology" to mimic that perfect glow regardless of lighting conditions

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Maybelline Color Sensational Inti-matte Nude swatches

I've always liked the Maybelline Color Sensational range for proving that drugstore lipsticks can be affordable, high-performance, AND come in fashion-forward colors.

Even though we didn't get access to a lot of the more edgy finishes and colors until quite recently, I've built up quite a collection, primarily Powder Mattes (so lightweight and saturated) and a couple of the Loaded Bolds as well. I love the mattes because they have a very modern powdery texture that you can sheer out for a very editorial "flower petal" finish akin to high-end mattes like Shu Uemura's.

This October, Maybelline will be launching 10 shades in the Inti-matte Nude collection, cos who doesn't need more neutral mattes??! The shades are split into 3 groups; 2 Neutrals, 4 Warms and 4 Cools.

Marc Jacobs Beauty’s Fall/Winter 2017 - Velvet Crew and Trax Le Marc Lip Creme

If you want to recreate the sultry beauty looks seen on the Marc Jacobs F/W 2017 runway, you can purchase specific shades used by makeup legend Diane Kendall now at Sephora.sg.
The Velvet Crew (SGD69) is a nifty eye collection with a custom burgundy and gold pouch including
  • Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara
  • Fineliner Ultra-Skinny Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner in Blacquer (eggplanty berry)
  • Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Blacquer
You can go with a full-on smoky purple cat eye and nude lips, or keep the eyes simple and smudge on that luscious dark burgundy Le Marc Lip Creme lip shade Trax (SGD44), which Kendal created by mixing cult shade Blow with black.