Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Make Up For Ever Artist Plexi-Gloss Review

Make Up For Ever is replacing their existing lipgloss range with the new range of Plexi-Glosses from 2 April 2015, which will be available in 35 shades at the Pro Loft, and smaller color selections at all Sephoras in Singapore.

The new line promises high shine, extreme color, and great staying power, and I received 5 shades for review, so I'm swatching them all below, and giving you my thoughts on whether it delivers on the 3 promises above.

The new gloss comes in standard plastic tubes but has a rather interesting doe-foot applicator. This has been dubbed the Superflex applicator, and has an extended "flap" on one side which allows you to apply a bit more product in one swipe, and is slightly more flexible so the applicator won't also swipe the gloss right off your lips.

Does it work?
At certain angles yes. You can definitely get a lot more product on your lips than typical applicators. But if you get the angle wrong, the applicator will still swipe away some gloss just like regular applicators. So it's a hit and miss, although it's still a nice gesture because it does cut the amount of time you need to spend dipping back into the tube for more product.

The colors. Now they DEFINITELY deliver on the promise of vibrant, intense color.

Not all of them are opaque. It depends which shade you choose. But as you can see above, with the exception of the translucent sparkly beige (which is meant to be transparent), the rest are incredibly color-true and you can wear this on the lips without a base shade or liner.

You can click on the image below to expand to a larger size for a closer look at each shade, but I'm pretty darned impresswed with the color payoff. I typically do not like shimmery sparkly glosses, but I have to say the ones I tried were really nice.

I do have to point out that the very intense violet does stand out from the skin, which also makes it a bit more obvious where it settles into grooves on the lips, or may not be completely even. Not every shade works well on its own, and if you are ordering or purchasing any of the deeper colors in a non-sparkly texture, you should probably wear them over a layer of liner or lipstick.

And the shine? Well these sort of speak for themselves. They look like lacquer. Shine is definitely where this range excels without a doubt.

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss lip swatches
The staying power is also great for glosses. Definitely on par with the typical cream lipsticks at least. But that does bring me to the one possible con about this product depending on your preferences when it comes to glosses.

It's sticky and quite thick. (If you've ever tried MAC Pro Longwear Lipglasses, these have a similar texture.) Which it needs to be, to stay on for hours and not bleed everywhere. But if you like those ultra-light, non-sticky glosses this will not appeal to you.

(Personally, I think it's unrealistic to expect a long-wearing, non-bleeding gloss to be non-sticky.)

You have to remember that if you have chapped, flaking lips, this will not feel comfortable. These thick gel-textured glosses are not moisturizing or balm-like, so it can actually make flaking lips a bit worse. Just be mindful and use the appropriate products at the appropriate times, and you'll be fine.

Final verdict?

If you like high-intensity glosses in a variety of finishes, and you want to make a statement with lacquered, dramatic lips, this is a GREAT range. The color selection is fabulous, and you can pick from soft neutrals to bright corals and violets to dark plums and what looks like a black shade. I'm definitely curious to check out more colors from the range.

I would especially recommend the richer pinks, corals, reds and plums, because these are where the color intensity and shine will really come through. For the paler, sheerer shades, they wouldn't necessarily look all that different from regular glosses you can get from other brands.

At SGD36 a tube, these are not cheap, so I would definitely stick with the more unique and high-impact colors if you are watching your budget.

However, if you have extremely dry lips or prefer lightweight, barely-there, balm-like "watery" textures like YSL Gloss Voluptes and Dior Rouge Diors, these would not be for you.

MAC Julia Petit Eye Shadow x 2 in Sagu

I was fooling around with some of the items from the Julia Petit collection, and decided to do a look with one of the eye duos.

The 2 colors in Sagu are Druzy (Luster) and Black Plum (Matte).

I'm not usually a fan of Luster shadows; in fact with the exception of Tempting, I think they're incredibly troublesome to work with. So I wasn't entirely sure if I would like any of the eye duos in this collection, or where this look would end up.

But it didn’t turn out so bad even though Druzy is so sheer and subtle that it just gives you a barely-there wash of gossamer sparkle that is "your lids but better". Black Plum is exactly as you would imagine. It's not the most pigmented matte shade MAC has, but it works pretty well as a definer shade in the socket line and along the lashes. 
MAC Julia Petit Eye Shadow x 2 in Sagu
If you want a subtle look, wear Druzy all over and just use Black Plum as a definer. 
What I did was more of a "middle ground", with Black Plum in the socket, then Druzy just on the lids.
If you want a smoky look, wear Black Plum all over and pop Druzy in the center of the lid or inner corners of the eyes for some dimension. 
The other 2 duos in the collection are - kinda “same same” actually. Very monochrome and sepia themed. Not extremely exciting in terms of color options, but good for vampy looks if you prefer a more femme fatale sort of color scheme.
Are these a must?
Probably not. You can do just as well (or better) ordering 2 shades from the permanent line. MAC has better matte browns and more pigmented shimmery taupes. But if you want JUST this effect you see in the look above, then it's not bad of course. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dior Diorskin Nude Air Serum Foundation, Loose Powder and Healthy Glow Invisible Powder compact

Dior's updated the Nude range with 3 new products under the "Nude Air" series; a Serum Foundation, Loose Powder, and a pressed compact Healthy Glow Invisible Powder.

The first thing to talk about would be the drop-dead gorgeous silver packaging with the signature Dior quilting on the caps. Everything is sleek and luxe, from the silver dropped foundation bottle, to the silver capped loose powder, and the quilted compact powder which would be at home in any Dior bag. 

 But all the packaging in the world would not be any good if the products themselves can't perform.
After all, there are beautiful luxurious products everywhere.

The original Diorskin Nude range was designed to be skin-like and natural. And the Diorskin Nude Air range shares that characteristic, but also differs in 2 key ways. 
  1. Texture/feel: the new range is free of talc, and formulated with volatile oils, so it goes on weightlessly and sets quickly, leaving only pigments. Compared to the previous Nude liquid formulation, this has almost no discernible texture on the skin. 
  2. Skincare properties: Nude Air products contain a proprietary formula of plant oils, vitamins, and minerals to provide antioxidants and essential fatty acids, treat and nourish the skin, as well as a "hyper-oxygenated" base which delivers oxygen to the skin.

A drop of Diorskin Nude Air running lightly down the back of my hand

Nude Air Serum Foundation

The liquid is ultra-light, like all of the new generation of volatile oil foundations. It blends out extremely smoothly, but doesn't feel like it will smear around endlessly or looking patchy, as some foundations can. The coverage is light-medium; not as heavy as alternatives like NARS All Day Luminous Weightless foundation.

The closest alternative in terms of coverage and the soft-focus velvet (matte with a slight glow) texture would be Armani's Maestro foundation. I own both, but I do have to say the Diorskin Nude Air formulation is quite a bit more sophisticated.

Diorskin Nude Air foundation coverage

That's because it's more lightweight than many of its volatile oil foundation predecessors, so it blends out quicker and more evenly. But at the same time, the pigments are much finer grained and more translucent, so it almost feels like you won't get any coverage. But these translucent pigments manage to blur flaws and unevenness so effectively that I look like I applied light concealer above. My veins, dark circles, and light marks are hidden so effectively that I was extremely surprised because the foundation was so lightweight.

But the best thing for me is that the natural-looking glow of the skin is not gone. Another favorite of mine - NARS All Day Luminous Weightless foundation - has the same ultra light texture and a coverage that surpasses this, but it gives more of a matte finish and will not be able to create that
no makeup makeup" illusion.

There is no SPF so you will need to wear your own sunblock, but do also be careful to blend it out properly because while it is easy to spread and blend, and might look fine in the mirror, the pigments do refract light and it might be visible if your coverage is uneven. (See near my jaw in the right image above where I didn't take note to pat away the excess product.)

The only skins I would say this might not be suited to would be the very oily and very dry. All volatile-oil foundations are a bit paradoxical because they're very weightless feeling and most set matte or velvety, which appeals to oilier skins. But at the same time, they are oil-based, and the volatile oil formulas sometimes don't set that well on very oily skins, or certain skincare products.

Diorskin Nude Air Serum Foundation retails for SGD88 from 1 April and will be available in shades 010, 020, 030, 040

Nude Air Loose Powder and Healthy Glow Compact Powder

The Nude Air powders are designed to be like "intelligent fabrics" which are breathable and also contain skincare ingredients to help limit absorption of harmful particles.

Now these will give more of a matte finish to the skin when just applied, which is expected. The textures are ultra-light and weightless, as with the foundation, but for me personally, the key differentiation would be the skincare benefits.

The loose powder will instantly cut most of the shine from the skin, even though it doesn't have that unnatural mask-like effect some powders can create. It adds no coverage, and I don't personally find that it helps provide any additional color correction, so it's literally just an additional step to set your base.

My personal preference is for the pressed compact powder because it can do double-duty (many people who want a matte and perfected finish also prefer a little more coverage). Plus, it's easier to use and more portable.

And ultimately, if you love the Dior quilting and packaging in general, compact powder IS the key item you would bring out. So if you have to pick one, I would pick the compact. Besides being more portable and having more coverage, it also comes with its own kabuki brush, if you prefer using a brush instead of a powder puff.

But this is not a powder foundation; it's a pressed touch-up powder. So don't expect high coverage.

Same as the foundation, both powders contain skincare properties, which is great for adding extra antioxidant protection to the skin in the day, but don't contain sun protection.

The Diorskin Nude Air Loose Powder retails for SGD88, and the Compact Powder for SGD86 in shades matching the serum foundations.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Oily-Skin Night Treatment: Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil

Once a month, when I'm PMS-ing my skin goes haywire. I get extremely sensitive and can come out in rashes and eczema spots at the slightest things. At the same time, I can get congested pores AND dry flaky skin at exactly the same time, so I do need to take care of both dry and oily areas while avoiding potentially sensitizing additives and preservatives.

Few skincare products are more minimalist that face oils, as long as you check that:

  1. you have no known personal allergies to the active/essential oils listed
  2. the base oils are non-comedogenic (do a quick look on sites like these to see the comedogenic ratings of the oils in the ingredient list; the oilier and more clog-prone your skin, the more you should stick to ingredients with 0 and 1 ratings)
I own several face oils that I like, but a couple of the Clarins Rebalancing Face Treatment Oils are some of my recent faves, so I'm going to talk about Huile Lotus for oily and combination skins today, since more people seem to have issues with oil and congestion.

Clarins uses hazelnut oil as a base for its face treatment oils, and it contains a lot of Vitamin E, which is a natural oil-based antioxidant and can help soothe the skin and help reduce fine lines. Lotus Face Treatment Oil contains Rosewood, Geranium, and Lotus extracts, which are supposed to help tighten pores, purify the skin to reduce breakouts, and refine skin texture.

What you're supposed to do is to take a few drops in the palm of your hand nightly (after toner, if you use that), rub your palms together to warm it up, and then gently PRESS (not rub) to distribute a thin, even layer over the problem-prone areas of your face. Your T-zone, inner cheeks, jaws, anywhere you're likely to get clogged and oily.

If you're not used to the feeling of applying oil straight to the face, an alternate way to use this (as instructed on the Clarins site) is to mix a couple of drops into a splash of alcohol-free toner in your palm, rub together, then press on. This makes it feel a little fresher on the skin.

Unlike with other oils, you are NOT advised to apply this to areas where you're dry; it can actually dry them out a bit.

And I know if you struggle with oily skin, it can feel downright scary applying oil to your face before bedtime, but I have tried this several times, and it really leaves my skin feeling smooth and comfortable - actually less oily - in the mornings.

I also have a bottle of the Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil for dehydrated skin, which I use only on parched areas of my face. (And no - there isn't an oil for normal skin because normal skin doesn't need "rebalancing".)

I would suggest getting a sample to try if you can, and then seeing how you like it. Not every skin responds well to oil, but I do really believe oily skins are out of balance. Constantly drying it out on the surface with all sorts of mattifying, oil-absorbing products and acne treatments can sometimes drive it further off-balance and result in a vicious cycle where your skin detects that it is "dry" and keeps trying to produce more and more oil to compensate.

Skin needs a balance of moisture and oil.
We often get told that we need water, not oil. But I'm personally not so sure about that. Oils are required for certain skin protective functions and water-based ingredients aren't always adequate substitutes. Besides soothing and signaling the skin to stop producing so much sebum, some essential oils also have therapeutic properties that prevent inflammatory responses (redness and swelling), or might have anti-bacterial and pore-refining properties.

While this might not be the solution for every single person since our skin issues are often unique, it's certainly worth checking out a sample if none of the "oil-free", "mattifying" products are working for you.

Friday, March 27, 2015

MAC Philip Treacy Collection

MAC's Philip Treacy collection features just 3 key groups of products. 

A blush colored high-light powder, 3 deep, rich lipsticks and ultra bright cream eye colors. 

But I know everyone goes ga-ga over the blush-pink High-light Powder (SGD$53) first. I did as well.

This is an ultra-fine matte highlight powder in a soft lingerie pink. The texture is not pearlescent or noticeably sparkly, so you get a velvety glow with tiny specks of silver. The metallic over-spray on the top goes away after the first use.

But I'll say my favorite products in the collection are the 3 lipsticks ($30)!

MAC Philip Treacy Lipsticks in (from left) Cardinal, Hollywood Cerise, and No Faux Pas
Most of the collections so far in 2015 (with the exception of the Red, Red, Red and Cinderella) have included fantastically intense lipsticks, and this collection is no different.

The pigmentation of these lipsticks are dense, rich, and the textures are ultra smooth. 

  • Cardinal - warm burgundy red (satin)
  • Hollywood Cerise - magenta berry (satin)
  • No Faux Pas - deep fuchsia (matte)

These are all flattering rich shades that will brighten your face and teeth, and look great on most skin tones.

MAC Philip Treacy Paint Pots in Genuine Treasure (left), and Chrome Angel
I didn't swatch the Fluidline gel liners ($30) because they're standard MAC colors (black, cobalt, and teal).

The 2 Pro Longwear Paint Pots ($36) are new, and available in the following shades:
  • Genuine Treasure - bronze with gold glitter
  • Chrome Angel - silvery pearl white

I personally prefer Chrome Angel simply because of the texture and performance, even though I'd been more excited about Genuine Treasure in the beginning. It's just not the sort of texture that will apply evenly without a lot of effort, and it also doesn't work that well as a base under other shades because of the sparkles. I never understood the glittery Paint Pots because they've typically never looked good. In this case I think Maybelline Bad To The Bronze would be similar but better (and cheaper) actually.

But ultimately the 2 Paint Pots would not be where I'd suggest you put your money in the collection. Check out the other products!

Chrome Angel and Genuine Treasure swatched

Aside from the makeup, there is also a split-sided 127 face brush ($62) and a set of Extreme Black false lashes ($37) which will be available with this collection, but which are not pictured here.

This is quite a small capsule collection compared to some of the other ones that have launched this year, but well worth a look.

The Philip Treacy collection launches 1 April at Tangs, Sephora ION, Robinsons Heeren, and Ngee Ann City counters. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille Review

Vanilla pod; photo credits: www.marcussamuelsson.com

Serge Lutens was one of the first truly avant-garde niche fragrance lines I ever tried, and - under the umbrella of Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido - the creative genius himself paired up with Brit perfumer Christopher Sheldrake to paint vivid pictures, tell gripping stories, and convey complex moods and emotions, all through scent.

His fragrances are quite avant-garde, and often unforgivingly strong. Some are near unwearable without a highly-developed nose, and not the type you’d spritz for a night out with friends. (Just ask anyone who has smelt Musc Kublai Khan.) 

Un Bois Vanille - on the other hand - is one of the most accessible and popular scents in the Lutens line, because while the quality and performance is still impeccable like most of the range, the concept itself (wood and vanilla) is inherently accessible to most people.

The official notes list includes: sandalwood, black licorice, coconut milk, beeswax, bitter almond, musk, vanilla, benzoin, guaiac wood and tonka bean.

Un Bois Vanille is described as being linear, but I think it only seems so because the initial layers are somewhat similar; both warm and foody. At the beginning,  this smells like warm coconut crème brulee. The benzoin and coconut adds a sense of non-sugary thickness and body to the overall scent. As it starts to dry down further, the vanilla comes out in full force, and it’s not the standard synthetic vanilla ice cream sort of vanilla. It’s the crisp, hot, brown skin of a toasted marshmallow pulled from the flame. Almost bitter-sweet with caramelization.

I’ve heard and read reviewers saying it’s not a woody fragrance and that there isn’t much wood at all. I beg to differ. This IS a rich, warm, gourmand oriental for sure, but the bitter-sweet toasted marshmallow aspect is anchored on a bed of wood. The closer your nose gets to the skin, and the longer the scent dries down, the more the smoky, almost-pungent wood aspect comes out.

As a "gourmand", this is balmy and complex, not sticky or overtly edible compared to some others.

Like many of the Lutens fragrances, this is a scent to be dabbed on, not sprayed on, in the tropical Summer heat where I live. Sprayed, it can be overwhelming (like eating too many toasted marshmallows). Dabbed, it lifts seductively off the skin and wraps around you for hours. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Recent Obsessions: Cargo Beach Blush in Echo Beach, and Physicians Formula Sexy Booster Oh So Sexy Eyeshadow Quad

There are a few brands that are not available in Singapore, but that I wish were.
These include names like Cargo, Physicians' Formula, Hourglass, NIA24, Cover Girl, Kevyn Aucoin, Becca, etc. Funnily enough, several of these brands like Hourglass, Becca, NIA24 and Cover Girl USED to be available in Singapore, but were dropped because not enough of the local crowd was interested in their products at that time.

So I pretty much have to rely on online stores such as iherb.com, luxola.com and allcosmeticswholesale.com (among others) to get my fix of these brands these days. (Then again, honestly, aside from the fact that we often can't access the full range online, things are actually cheaper online even with international shipping cost added in, than they are likely to be with all the insane retail markups in Singapore.)

Just for reference, we pay $30 for a MAC shadow. That's USD22 for something that's USD15 for those of you in America. I also often like to point out that Revlon Colorstay foundation costs about $40 in Singapore. (That's USD29 for a drugstore product. Yeeeap.)
Side-track aside, I did recently purchase some Cargo Beach Blushes, and I'm totally into Echo Beach at the moment, a tawny, coral-red striped blush. It looks way too intense for my light-medium skin, but really - Cargo blushes are always very buildable and easy to control. This goes on as a soft warm blush, and then builds to a more intense reddened-tan tone. 

Cargo Echo Beach swatch
To be honest, I really don't recommend that you try to split the strips up and use the colors separately. Too much trouble to be worth it. It looks fine all swirled together.

Cargo Echo Beach blush - separate swatches
Of course, if you really want, you can try to split them, but with the exception of the red-coral shade, the colors are not SO different that it would be worth the hassle. My preference is just to swirl together, sweep on, and enjoy.

The good thing about these iridescent bronzer + blushes, is that they do give color and a sculpted effect all at one go. They catch the light at the peaks of your cheekbones, and will look more shaded and deep in the hollows, so you almost look like you applied separate products when you didn't.

On lighter skins, use a light hand. It can give that pretty sunburnt effect. On darker skins, I think it would be equally beautiful, and probably a better alternative to NARS Orgasm.

My only beef with these Beach blushes? They break quite easily. Be careful not to knock the tins around or once you find a corner chipping off, it will keep breaking even if you don't carry it around much after that. Mine got significantly chipped, and I've read a lot of reviews online complaining about how easily they shatter and crumble compared to other blushes. If you're the type that brings your blush with you in your makeup bag, this might not be for you. (I'm not certain if it's the same with Cargo's regular blushes; none of mine have chipped yet.)

I also own Sunset Beach and Tenerife Matte, which I love as well. Do you have any Cargo favorites to recommend?

Aside from Cargo's Beach Blushes, I've also been really quite into this modest looking little quad, the Oh So Sexy Eyeshadow Quad from Physician's Formula's Sexy Booster line. I'd picked this up on a whim when I was in California late last year, and I hadn't expected to like it so much. To be honest, it's a bit too metallic for all 4 shades to be pearlescent, and the 2 lighter shades sometimes look too close on the lids to be worn together. But even with all these criticisms, I've found myself reaching for it constantly. Over my Tom Fords, Chanels, NARS, and Diors.

The shadows have a powdery cocoa-vanilla frosting type of smell, and are supposed to be infused with pheromone mimicking ingredients (to turn him on) and horny goatweed (to turn you on).

Honestly, forget all that crap. And it is marketing crap. Even if horny goatweed really works (there is no definitive medical proof that it does) there can't be enough in the shadow to absorb into your skin through a teeny tiny layer of shadow, and cause any impact to your mood. 

And pheromones? Oh gawd. The entire idea is ludicrous.
Pheromones in nature are meant for animals and insects to locate their ideal mates because they give clues about someone's general health and genetic makeup. So everyone's ideal mate might be quite different. If anyone can even detect or smell the fake pheromones in your shadow (which is unlikely since human ability to detect and respond properly to pheromones has greatly deteriorated in the last hundred thousand years or so), how would you be sure what KIND of person is attracted to this fake pheromone which a thousand other girls are wearing in the city? Is your date suddenly going to turn around and be equally attracted to the girl at the next table because she is wearing the same quad? 

Long story short, buy the shadow because it's good. But forget the other B*****t and try to forgive the brand for insulting your intelligence. We should petition them to cut out all the "Exotic" ingredients and charge a lower price for these. Why are we paying for fancy ingredients that do nothing except drive up cost?

Physicians Formula Oh So Sexy Eyeshadow Quad swatches
Rant aside, these shadows are gorgeous. The texture is almost buttery. I haven't even bothered to use them wet (which you can do), because they already look good enough dry.

And that powdery vanillin smell is quite addictive, strangely enough. Not like anything I'd ever want to eat or wear as perfume. But most shadows have no smell so it's an extra bit of fun! But this is just an extra.

All a good eye quad needs to do is look great on the lids. And this one definitely does.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thermage Total Tip 3.0 Experience and Post-Treatment Review

Now I'm usually all about the "shallow" stuff. Makeup, skincare; generally things that go on the surface of your skin and enhance your appearance from the outside.

But there comes a point in your life when you start getting problems that regular skincare cannot penetrate deep enough to fix, but you're not quite at the point where you need to start considering anything drastic yet.

Many of you know I'm a big believer in prevention over cure
Rather than spending a lot of money trying to hide the signs of aging with temporary fixes, if there is something that can potentially rewind the clock and get your body to naturally behave like it used to a few years ago, then that's really ideal to me.

Which is why I even considered Thermage in the first place.
For those of you who are not familiar with it, Thermage - in a nutshell - is a non-invasive procedure where pulses of radio-frequency waves are sent into the deeper layers of your skin using a special device. This energy stimulates your skin and triggers a response whereby it ramps up collagen production and regeneration for 3-6 months following the procedure. Basically, it's like a wake up call which forces your sluggish cells to behave the way they used to years ago.

I used to have the misconception that Thermage was like a non-invasive "lunch time face lift". I.e. it was meant for "mature women". (I'm not young; I'm 33. But I do take good enough care of my skin that I feel I'm relatively young-looking for my age.) So Thermage couldn't be right for me, no?

Not exactly.
Here are some of the common problems we start to face as we get a bit older:
  • Enlarged pores: Collagen is what holds our pores close. As we get older and collagen levels diminish, the skin around pores gets slack and leads to the appearance of larger pores, even without black heads.
  • Expression lines: Fine lines form around our eyes, forehead, and beside our noses and mouths from daily movement, and start to become more pronounced or stay there permanently even when we're not frowning or smiling.
  • Slackness/Sagging: One area women often don't pay attention to until it's a bit too late is the jaw line. Around your 30's is the time our lower cheeks start to slide downwards imperceptibly. Our faces start to look square and our jaw line less smooth. In time, they can develop into marionette lines (deep furrows leading from the outer corners of your mouth down towards the jaw), full blown "bull-dog" jowls, and a double-chin.
Now here's a reminder. Thermage works best on women in their 30s - 50s, whose skin is still in relatively healthy condition. 

For skin that has aged to an advanced degree, Thermage is not as effective because there isn't enough of a healthy collagen matrix left to stimulate. Also, if you are in your 30's, the results from a single session often lasts much longer (about 2 years) than if you were doing it in your 50s (about a year). 

Thermage's latest advancement Total Tip 3.0 (left) versus the previous face tip.

If you're in your 20's, Thermage can still stimulate your collagen and give it a boost, but you won't see much of a noticeable difference because your skin is probably still in its peak condition.

Thermage has been around for quite awhile, and is currently in its third generation. Reputable clinics should now be using the latest Total Tip 3.0. How it differs from previous generations is:
  1. it's designed with a special vibrating function to desensitize the skin and make the procedure less painful
  2. it's designed to send radio-frequency waves deeper; hence it's more effective than the previous Face Tip

My experience:

Thermage pre-treatment image (photo credits - Aesthetics & Hair Clinic): my personal areas of concern!
  1. During my pre-procedure consultation at Aesthetics & Hair Clinic with Dr Tyng Tan, we discussed my "pain points", and I mentioned expression lines (mainly the nasolabial lines), lines on my neck, as well as a slackening jaw line. We agreed this would be the area we want to focus more on during my treatment.
  2. I was led to the treatment room where my skin was cleaned, numbing cream was applied, and then a marker sheet applied (see the scary image above).
  3. Thermage has adjustable energy settings and your doctor can dial it up or down depending on your pain tolerance. Unfortunately, I was a complete wimp and even with the numbing cream, I could only tolerate up to about level 2.
  4. After the procedure which took about 30 mins, my face was cleaned, I was given a post-treatment balm to use for a few days, and I simply walked out without any redness or residual pain.

  • Immediately that night, it felt like my skin was tighter. But I decided to put that down to some subtle post-procedure swelling, and didn't want to jump to conclusions. 
  • A month later, my neck lines started looking a bit less deep and obvious, and my jawline felt tighter, more sculpted. Pores are also seem more uniform and tightened.
  • 2 months in, my nasolabial lines are much shallower, as are my neck lines. What I did NOT expect was that my jawline actually looked more defined and tapered (more a "V" then a "U" if you know what I mean) compared to before images. I hadn't lost any weight. In fact I probably gained a little, so I was expecting my jawline to look puffier compared to before. 
  • I didn't notice much of an improvement to the eye or forehead areas.
I got the pre- and post-treatment images directly from the clinic after my review visit. They were taken by a nurse, not myself. I also did not retouch or edit other than to add in text and water-marks.

Thermage 2-month post treatment image (photo credits - Aesthetics & Hair Clinic)

Which brings me to one extra benefit of Thermage (besides anti-aging) which, actually, to many of us younger women is a HUGE thing. Thermage has that sneaky way of helping to sculpt and contour the face. By tightening your contours, it actually reduces the "puffy" look and almost lifts everything upwards imperceptibly, so your cheekbones are more prominent, and your contours are more defined. (I could have sworn I was slimmer in the After page.)

My next review is in another 6 months, because Thermage continues to work for up to half a year, so in the good cases, patients see a continual improvement for quite a while. 

After saying all this, I do have to mention some cons of course:
  1. It's expensive. It's not like buying a $50 face cream or a $100 serum. You do need to consider it carefully. But if you're tired of buying and trying so many different anti-aging products and having a majority of them do nothing for you, maybe it's time to try something different.
  2. I won't lie. There is a certain amount of pain to tolerate. Thermage is an "as much as you can handle" treatment, so no matter what, you'll need to raise the setting to the point where you feel you can't go any higher. 
  3. In some cases, patients who have a very high pain threshold might experience mild blistering, redness or some peeling. This is usually minor and goes away in a few days, but if you have a major event to attend (like your wedding) and need to have zero down-time, you will need to be careful and stick with a slightly lower setting. 
  4. It isn't as effective on everyone. Everyone's skin condition is different. As with all things, some people may respond to treatment better than others.
P.S. If you have a low pain threshold like me, don't feel you're not getting your money's worth, because using a lower setting and doing more passes over an area (as opposed to going over an area only once at a high setting) can give similarly good results while reducing the pain you need to bear.

All in all, I have to say I'm very pleased with the results.

I'd actually thought there wouldn't be any difference, and the only benefit for me would be that of stimulating my skin's collagen production levels. But apparently, there WAS a visible difference. And I do have to say, it's kinda cool that unlike Botox or fillers, it's my skin condition that's improved, and the benefits do last for up to 2 years.

It's like suspending the aging process for awhile. I'll still be in a far better state than I would be if I didn't have the procedure now.

For more information on Thermage or to locate a clinic, check out the below resources:

Website: http://www.thermagesg.com/

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tarte Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Palette tutorial: Smoky Neutral Eye with Stacked Liner

I promised I would do some look tutorials using the Tarte Tartelette palette, but I've been having some computer troubles lately, so it's taken a lot longer for me to get to a station to edit all my photos. But here it is!

It's not hard to use this palette; the texures are extremely smooth. You just need to remember this tip:
All-matte looks can tend to go patchy and uneven, especially when you're trying to layer dark colors; to minimize this, dust on a light wash of a light beige shade all over your lid before beginning. Unlike with shimmery shadows, a creamy base can sometimes matte shades go on evenly.

The products I used for this eye look include:

  • Tarte Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Palette
  • Marc Jacobs Magic Marc'er Precision Liner in Black
  • Tarte Clay Pot Amazonian Clay Liner in Bronze
  • Benefit They're Real Mascara

The shades used from the palette are marked out below:

 If you want to keep things simple you don't have to do stacked eyeliner. I just love the look because you get the crisp definition of black at the lash line, while still enjoying the fun texture and shade of colored liner along the lid.

For a last step, just finish with black mascara!