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!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Tom Ford Lip Contour Duos: Swatches, First Impressions and Top 3

Tom Ford's just launched his new Lip Contour Duos globally, and these are priced at $76 in Singapore, the same as the regular lipsticks.

These slim, sleek tubes come in the signature TF brown with gold details, and one end has a cap protecting the twist-up liner, while the other end has a detachable lipstick tube holding a creamy shade of the same color.

In a sense these are more of convenient lip-to-go duos comprising of matching liners and creamy lipsticks, rather than contouring products, which to me refer to products with shade and light, to alter the contour of features. These lipsticks and liners are pretty much the same shade; in fact the liners are a hair lighter than their companion lipsticks, so don't expect to create ombre lips or 3D lips with these.

That's not a problem to me. I personally don't like the look of a dark lip line, and when it comes to ombre lips I usually play with tone (rosier in the center, more neutral around the outsides) rather than dark and light.

The formula of the lipsticks is extremely smooth and creamy; super comfortable to wear, as you would expect from a lipstick that is this price. Coverage is pretty good; these are not sheer lipsticks. As for the liners, they are a creamy-matte texture and can work on their own as matte lipsticks, but be aware that they all contain a subtle sparkle and have flecks of gold in them, which I don't mind but find a bit curious.

They do an adequate job of preventing bleeding and smearing into lip lines.

If I have to pick just three shades, it would be 
  • 04 Show It Off - brown rose
  • 06 Devil Inside - orange-red
  • 07 Secret Escort - Maraschino cherry red
I do also really like 03 and 05, but as far as neutrals go the deeper rosier browns are more my style (and just more flattering in general), especially if you like the brown-rose 90s lip. And for the brights, I think 06 and 07 are really vibrant and especially pretty.

08, the deep plum would be the only shade I find somewhat patchy compared to the rest. It's a deeper color, and the formula is not quite able to build up to opacity without a full layer of lip liner beneath. Which is fine since there is a matching liner. But I would rather a $76 lipstick not require me to apply a full layer of liner as a base if I don't feel like it.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Rouge Dior Fall 2016 "It" Shades swatched!

Seems this is the month for daring lip colors; even the venerable house of Dior has launched their edgy Dior Rouge Mattes, in shades I never thought I'd see under the CD banner.

Besides shades and finishes, the packaging has been slightly "upgraded" as well. (Hint: look under the caps and you'll get a Louboutin-esque indication of which tubes are from the new collection and which are older.) Aside from a whole host of pretty, lady-like shades, there are also some incredibly daring ones - including the 4 Matte "It" shades ranging from a chic dusty grey to a deep dark navy that looks almost black in the tube.

Rouge Dior 602 Visionary Matte and  962 Poison Matte

I love all of them, but 789 is a pretty standard bright wearable violet (if any such shade can be called "standard") and something you can find from many brands from Urban Decay to NYX to MAC. 207 Montaigne is ultra-cool but more of a mixer shade to do interesting dusty ombre looks, unless you are super porcelain-pale, in which case you can probably wear it on its own.

My personal picks were 602 Visionary, a navy which swatches a lot more vibrant and less black than it seems in the tube, and of course 962 Poison. This color is named after their iconic Poison perfume, and mimics the deep prune-purple bottle. 

First off, the formulas are very smooth and creamy, rather lightweight for mattes, which is in keeping with the Rouge Dior line in general. Swatched on the wrist, they are less pigmented and dense than Diorifics (my forever fave) but you can definitely build these up to opacity. The good news is they don't feel heavy or dry on the lips, but if you really want an ultra-matte finish you will need to blot because these do have a comfortable low sheen and are more the "comfort matte" type of texture.
I do need to remind everyone that I am shooting freshly applied lipstick in front of a bright lamp. In real life, after the lipsticks have had time to set a bit, they will always look more matte and less "creamy".
Dior 962 Poison Matte
I personally feel Poison is an ultra dark purple (much darker once on the lips than it seems in the tube) that suits medium to dark skins beautifully. Pale skins CAN pull it off but it tends to look prettier as a stain, and extremely goth if worn full on.

Be aware that it has very little red or rose and can make you look a little washed out if you don't balance it out with some blush etc.

Rouge Dior 602 Visionary Matte
As for 602 Visionary, this goes on sheerer than I'd expected. Somewhat disappointing because I thought I would get a thick dense dark indigo. The good news is it's not opaque in one coat, but you can build it up quite easily, although it will never look as black as it does in the tube. When you do get it built up though, it really slays.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

LAC Taut Collagen Skin Supplements Review

For women who are focused on preventive beauty treatments and delaying the ravages of time for as long as possible, you know that it's not enough to focus on what you apply externally. LAC, available exclusively at GNC, is one of the newcomers in the beauty and wellness supplements market in Singapore, so I gave some of their star products a good try.

Taut is their core skin boosting line, and the collagen drinks contain a whopping 13,000 mg of low molecular weight marine collagen in the formula. (Low molecular weight is what ensures rapid absorption into the body.) 

LAC Taut Collagen drink plus Placenta is definitely the most premium of the oral skin supplement I've tried. Priced at SG$99.95 per box of 8 bottles, this will last you a little over 2 weeks when taken every other night. What makes it different - aside from the big dose of collagen - is that this Japan-manufactured formula contains horse placenta extract. I can see some eyebrows raised in shock, but this has been very popular among East Asian women for anti-aging, post-birth recovery and reduction of menopausal symptoms due to its cell regeneration properties. If you're hesitant, LAC has a non-placenta collagen drink as well.

I will say more independent studies need to be done on the body's ability to synthesize collagen and placenta extracts for skin regeneration but I'm actually wowed by the other ingredients in the supplement as well.
  • Hyaluronic acid - ingesting HA is scientifically proven to increase the body's natural production of HA, which benefits not just your skin but also your joints
  • CoQ10 - important antioxidant; ingested CoQ10 improves circulation (which is good for the skin) and boosts heart health
  • Albino protein extract - I wasn't able to find much independent research on the regenerative claims of this extract
  • Ceramide - consistent oral administration is proven to boost skin's ability to retain water
  • B and C vitamins - helps with cell repair and fights inflammation

This reads like some high-end skin serum. I'm almost tempted to rub it on my face but I'll happily ingest it at night.

Why night? Your body kicks into its cell regeneration and repair mode when you sleep so taking it awhile before bed is the best way to ensure more of the protein is being synthesized for those processes, instead of being burnt off for energy.

The drink itself is flavored with natural orange juice and does taste more pleasant that a few other supplements I've tried. Obviously because collagen is a protein, the fluid will have a slightly thicker consistency. I pop my entire box in the fridge because anything sweet and thick tastes better cold (in my opinion)! LAC suggests using it as salad dressing as well, but I'd suggest mixing it into fruit juice or a smoothie - just so you can drink it before bed.

LAC also has Taut White, which is a powdered mix (box of 30 sachets for $59.95) that you can pour into your LAC Taut and shake up before drinking. Is it strange that I'm more wowed by this booster than the supplement drink itself? It is meant to super-charge your nightly cell regeneration with lots of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant extracts.