Saturday, May 30, 2015

Shu Uemura Skin:FIT Cosmetic Water Foundation

Shu Uemura's launched a rather innovative new foundation formula which combines skincare benefits with a weightless liquid-powder texture that lasts and has much higher sebum-absorption capabilities than the average matte foundation. 

Shu Uemura Skin:FIT Cosmetic Water Foundation with Tint in Gelato AT 02 on lips and cheeks
Just for demo's sake, I actually did not use setting powder for the shot above. For someone with dry skin like me, adding powder on top of this velvet-finish foundation looks way too matte for my personal preference. But if you have oily or combination skin, this would probably work better than typical foundations for shine control.

If you're interested in a more dewy long-wear foundation that's equally lightweight, check out my post on VDL's Beauty Metal Foundation here.

The product has a bi-phase liquid and powder formula which needs to be shaken up before use. 
It also comes with a special dual-sided pentagon sponge with a velvety flocked side which is for applying the liquid, and a regular side which you pat over the applied foundation to set the formula (by pressing the pigments into the skin for a more natural-looking "fit" and absorbing excess solvents).

This formula references traditional Mizu Oshiroi (water foundation) technique used by maiko today, and that was born during the Edo period of Japan (beginning 17th Century).
The liquid is a cosmetic water containing pomegranate extract, a powerful antioxidant, as well as mint to refresh and cool skin in the Summer heat.
The powder blend contains a mix of "smart powders" with perlite to absorb and slowly release water to the skin, airlicium which absorbs many times the amount of oil regular absorbent powders do, and also a soft-focus powder to blur pores.
The formula also contains water-dispersed organic UV filters and provides SPF30 PA+++.

It's important to find out how the formula works because it doesn't feel anything like the usual silicone-y formulas which give you a lot of time to rub and blend. If you imagine calamine lotion, you need to get your skin coated evenly and set the product before it can crease or smear, so make sure you take note of the application steps.

Use it right though, and you get a velvety, air-brushed matte finish that's really quite beautiful.

[IMPORTANT!] Application Steps:
  1. Add a couple of drops at the time to the back of your hand and use the flocked "furry" surface of the sponge to pick up the product.
  2. Work in sections. This is not the type of foundation you dab all over your face and take your time to blend. Apply to one section/area of the face in a mix of pressing and smoothing motions. Once you get an even application, flip the sponge around and use the regular side to pat pat pat. This patting absorbs excess liquid solvents quickly and helps set the foundation before anything smears or creases.
  3. Then move on to the next section of your face and repeat.

Coverage is light-medium. It looks and feels like water but there's actually a fair amount of coverage. Not enough to hide blemishes and dark circles completely, but that's what concealer is for. (I don't believe in blanket coverage over the entire face if you don't need it. Skin should look soft and real up-close.)

If you want an ultra-matte look, you can finish with powder but I have dry skin and did not want to over-mattify or dry out my face so I skipped. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bioderma Sensibio H2O 20th Anniversary Pack

Bioderma's best-selling micelle solution Sensibio turns 20 this year, and in Singapore, there's a special Limited Edition Anniversary Pack which you should watch out for as it costs the same as a regular large bottle of 500ml solution (SGD$40.90) but comes in a box with a reusable travel cotton pouch filled with cotton pads, and a $5 Bioderma voucher. 

If it's a staple for you as it is for me, you should probably grab a few boxes to store since it's a much better deal than grabbing a regular bottle alone.

And if you have never tried it, you probably should! Sensibio is a cleanser that's able to break down all (but the most heavy-duty) waterproof makeup gently and maintains the pH level of skin. There are also patented ingredients which help to increase the tolerance level of sensitive skin. There's a reason this is the No 1 dermatologically prescribed cleansing water in France, and something us beauty fanatics will trek to Citi-Pharma to stock up on when in Paris.

Bioderma is sold at most Guardian, Watson's, Nishino, Unity pharmacies in Singapore, and also all Robinsons and John Littles.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Creaseless Concealer Trick: How it works, Why it works, What Products work best!

The other day on Dayre (, I did an "epic concealer post" going through almost my entire collection of concealers and briefly comparing performance between each. And while sharing a few tips about getting concealer to last, someone asked a question about how to keep things "creasless".

I don't think it's possible to keep concealer completely creaseless. We have natural folds and lines under our eyes that are there even when our eyes are closed, so it's usually not possible to get a completely flat, line-free coverage in the first place.

BUT - the real annoying things are those expression lines that form in your makeup AFTER you smile or frown, etc. Even after you relax your face and your actual lines disappear, those creases in your makeup stay there and make you look 10 years older. And to make it worse, they are almost impossible to rub and even out without removing quite a lot of makeup. 

THIS is what we're trying to prevent. At least for as many hours as we possibly can. And there is a way to do it.

One of you mentioned a video Nikkietutorials did fairly recently on Youtube, and after several experiments I found it's not so much about the concealer that she used (MAC Pro Longwear) or the sponge (Beautyblender), and more about HOW the sponge was used to apply the powder.

Plus not everyone wants to use exactly the same products, so I tried many different variations using different concealers, camouflage foundations, etc, AND also different powders and sponges, to find out why it works, and what you can switch out according to your own preference. 
  • Rule 1: It doesn't matter what concealer you use. I used non-setting creamy concealers like Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able concealer, crease-y cream camouflage foundations like Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, and also heavy-duty setting formulas like Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover Foundation. They all work.
  • Rule 2: Choose a powder that is translucent and not tinted. This method of application causes any color in your powder to become more visible. So use a silica-rich invisible setting powder (e.g. those slippery Make Up For Ever HD types) that goes clear when damp, or at least doesn't darken when wet.
  • Rule 3: It is all about the damp sponge. It doesn't matter whether it's an expensive beauty blender or a cheap tear off wedge sponge. They all work. Just make sure you dampen it and squeeze out all excess water so it's moist to the touch, but no water drips out when squeezed.

On to the demo!
Below I used a cheap sponge (drugstore disposable wedge), a mid-range concealer (MAC Pro Longwear), and a high-end powder (Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder).

At this point, it doesn't actually matter how you apply the concealer onto your face. The key thing is not to apply the concealer directly onto your sponge. A lot of people get lazy and do this, but you end up soaking your sponge with product, which makes it not only harder to clean, but also wastes a lot of product. A sponge always does a better job of blending things out when it isn't already loaded with thick product.

The goal of using a damp sponge to blend is to get as even a layer of product over your skin as you can. The point of not dragging or rubbing it across your skin is so you do not remove any coverage. You can just as well use your finger or a brush to blend out a product if you are in a hurry, but a sponge DOES even things out more thoroughly.

And as for a Beautyblender type sponge? It's shaped for easier blending, but there is nothing magical about it aside from the nice shape and slightly firmer texture. If you're on a budget, don't feel you have to use one to get good results. Most disposable cosmetic sponges have the same fine-grained smooth porous texture that blends out makeup beautifully.

REMEMBER! Whatever creases are in your concealer now will be "set in stone" once the powder goes on, so it pays to even out as many as your skin allows.

Just pat and pat until most of the powder "melds" into the concealer and don't miss any spots. You also don't need a TON of powder. Just make sure there is enough to cover and set everything. If you have too little, some areas of concealer will remain "fluid" and crease later. If you have TOO much, it can look very cakey, so don't keep layering on more and more powder.

Also, if you want to use this technique, don't use pigmented powders. Remember you are applying a concentrated amount and any color in your powder formula will show up. Powder foundations and mineral powders with coverage will grab on to the concealer and darken. You don't want to end up with an orange or deeper undereye area than you started with. The best powders are the translucent and paler-than-your-skin shades because they also help add a subtle highlight to the undereye area. 

(I tried Bourjois Java Rice Powder once and it was a disaster. I got a deep pink-toned eye area because the powder has a pink tint. It goes on clear most days but in concentrated amounts, it's definitely pink.)
My favorite powder for this trick? Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder. It's clear like Make Up For Ever HD and will not affect the color of your concealer, but unlike pure silica powders, it has some brightening pigments as well to give an extra boost. But it's not a must.

So are there creases? Of course. There are natural folds/lines under my eyes which are there to begin with. This way of applying powder can minimize the appearance of those lines, but it will not completely erase them.

BUT - this is the best method for minimizing further creasing that I've tried. And what I love about it is the same method works for preventing creasing around your nostrils (nasolabial lines), beside your mouth (smile lines), AND is great around the nose and inner cheeks where you have more visible pores. It actually helps hide them and makes it look like you have baby pores.

Why it Works 
If you're curious, the reason it works is the damp sponge picks up a concentrated amount of powder - way more than you would be able to pack on with a brush - and presses it into the concealer. The pressing forces the large amount of powder into the concealer without moving/smearing it, effectively sealing and setting it the way normal puffs and brushes can't. It doesn't smear and crease because there is no room and no "flexibility" for the product to move after this point.  
At the same time, the dampness in the sponge prevents the large amount of powder from looking chalky and dusty. I tried using a dry sponge and it looked chalky and horrible as anything. So it's definitely the water that helps the powder to not LOOK like powder.
Try it out and let me know how it works for you!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A quick FOTD tutorial: stained coral pink lips and soft lids

Shared a simple FOTD on Instagram and Dayre and was requested to do a tutorial on the look, so here it is!

It's really all about bright "stained" lips, and the eyes are kept quite soft so that the lips can be the focus. And I call them stained lips because they're quite translucent and soft, like you applied a strong color and then blotted it away a bit. It's not ombre lips where the lip color is a different tone in the center or between the upper and lower lips. 

You can do this with pretty much any strong lip color  that you don't want to apply full-on. The only color that wouldn't work for this sort of look would be those dark, almost-black purples. Those would sheer out quite grey and deathly because there isn't enough red or pink undertones in them.

Because we're working with metallics, it's always a good idea to prime the lids well. A good base catches onto shimmery pigments and brings out the intensity and shine.

For the shadow color, try any beige-golden champagne tone like MAC Naked Lunch, Tan pigment, The Balm Mary Lou Manizer highlighter if you are pale, etc. I'm using that bronze-beige pigment which is from the now-defunct brand I Nuovi. But this sort of color is easy to find.

Good brown transition colors like MAC Omega, etc are great. I used a Body Shop shadow called 215 Coconuts About You, which is affordable and a fantastic taupe transition color for the socket. If you have small lids or eyes and apply a shimmery beige all over, it can make your eyes look flat and smaller than they really are, so it's important to add definition back.

Here I simply applied a stroke of Mary Lou Manizer frmo The Balm down the center of my lid with my finger. This way of having a darker shade, and a lighter shade helps to re-establish that 3D contoured look of the eye. 

I used Benefit They're Real mascara and Innisfree Gel Liner pencil in No 9 for the final bit of definition around the lash line. Again, this just helps to add some strength back to the eyes. Pale soft colors can really wash out your features. 

The final effect you want is that of gleaming lids. As if your eye lids were slightly wet/dewy. You don't want the focus to be on the color of your shadow or the strength of your eyeliner.

Next the lips! I'm using OCC's Lip Tar Stained Gloss in New Wave, a bright neon warm pink. And the trick to a long-lasting stained lip is to have layer of nude pencil (I used Make Up Store Nude Beauty) beneath as a base.

This step is optional but I actually often apply a taupe/grey pencil (a brow pencil is perfect) right along the outer edges of the lip to expand them slightly. This works better than using a nude or a colored lip liner, in my opinion, because what you want to do is create that "shadow" that appears on the edges when someone has naturally curved, pouty lips.

The actual color I dab on evenly with a finger, and remove any access. You are aiming to stain the lip liner beneath and create a rose-buddy, soft effect. Not apply a thick coat of color. (That's a nice look too but that's not what this tutorial is about.)

Then to finish I wanted a blush that had similar rosy, warm, and tawny tones in it, so I went for Givenchy's Le Prisme blush 22 Vintage Pink.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Urban Decay Revolution High-Color Lipgloss Swatches

Urban Decay’s Revolution High-Color Lipglosses (SGD$33).
These gorgeous tubes of sheeny shiny color are out in the US, but won’t hit the stores until 11 June 2015 in Singapore.

In the meantime, whether you’re shopping online in the US, or considering some of the shades before they are available in stores, you might find swatches on the skin a bit more useful than the digital swatches they have online.
The official shade swatches you see above are a good bit darker than the actual glosses in real life, so if you're trying to decide based on a picture like this, you are likely to be a bit surprised when you get the actual product. Also, you can't tell how sheer or opaque they are against the skin. These are High-color glosses, and they ARE more pigmented than the typical gloss, but they also aren’t all equally pigmented. Some are sheerer than others. Especially the shimmery shades, which is typical of most glosses. 
Fact: When you add a lot of opaque non-sparkly pigments in a formula to make it opaque, they can "muddy"-up and dull the shine of the sparkle pigments. Kinda like dropping glitter in cloudy water. So for the sparkle to shine through, brands often have to keep the base translucent, or else throw in SO much sparkly mica that the product can feel slightly gritty and sometimes harder to work with. Hence, in most "intense" gloss ranges, the sparkly glosses will always be slightly translucent.
Now I’ve only had a chance to play with these on the hand, not wear them on the lips myself, so this isn’t a full review, but I’m pretty impressed with the colors (these shades are gorgeous), and also the fact that the textures aren’t super sticky and heavy on the lips. They aren’t lightweight like Cremesheen Glasses or Lancome Liplovers. Maybe something like Chanel Rouge Allure Glosses. The color payoff is also similar.

I can't tell you what shades are my fave. It's too hard to pick because these are actually all gorgeous. I would say since this is a high-color gloss range, don't play it safe and keep buying the nudes and soft pinks. (You can get those shades from any drugstore brand.) Try a bright magenta pink like Scandal, a rich red like Brickhouse, one of the beautifully sparkly sheer shades like Big Bang and Vice, or even step out of your comfort zone and try Bittersweet, a bright grape-candy purple which is the campaign color for the range, which is actually incredibly flattering.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

OCC Lip Tar Blend - Sebastian + Lydia

I have always been fascinated with lavender lips. And I don’t mean pastel, pinky-purples. I mean real lavender; muted purple with a strong touch of grey. But this sort of color is extremely hard to find, and it also has to go with your skin tone.
Sometimes when you can’t quite get that perfect shade you’re thinking of, a little mixology is needed. I mixed a bit of OCC Lip Tar in Lydia into Sebastian.

I’m wearing: 
  • Wet n Wild Color Icon Trio in Silent Treatment on the lids (pale beige pink all over, taupe all over the lids, dark charcoal brown in the socket and outer corners.
  • The Balm Bahama Mama to contour
  • MAC Coy Girl blush - this is a great muted plum purple
  • OCC Lip Tars in Sebastian (2 parts) with Lydia (1 part) - Sebastian is a soft chinchilla grey and Lydia is a muted plummy purple which helps add color to the grey so you don’t look like a corpse if you have medium to tan skin.

Other tips:
  • If you have very pale skin, use less of Lydia. Or just buy Lime Crime’s Chinchilla, which is a perfect dusty lavender grey.
  • If you have very dark skin, try using very little Sebastian if you want that dusty feel, or just wear Lydia neat as it has some muted dusty tones already, and that comes out more on dark skins.
  • Make sure you wear a heavier coverage base than usual if you have redness or discolorations in your skin. A very muted lipstick tends to bring out those discolorations more.
  • If you can’t get hold of a matching liner, just wear a clear liner so the color doesn’t bleed too much.
  • P.S. if you’re outside the US, my favorite place to buy OCC products is (free international shipping with a minimum purchase amount). They usually have a good color selection compared to other sites (other than itself), and free international shipping is a big deal!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color Demo in 02 Black Oyster

Tom Ford's Cream and Powder Eye Color duos (SGD$85) are an interesting product that I've not tried before this year, with the Summer 2015 Soleil makeup collection. They've been released previously, and I have swatches of 3 of the 4 duos swatched here for you, as well as a demo using 02 Black Oyster.

Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color Duos in Midnight Sea (black-bronze and marine blue metallic), Peach Gold (peach and champagne sparkle), and Black Oyster (blackened taupe with silver sparkle).

Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color Duos layered

A 4th duo, Nude Bronze, is a re-promote apparently, and the press sample was not available when I was swatching these, so here are the remaining 3.

They're all gorgeous, but I would say if you are going to be spending on a Tom Ford, go with one of the dark shades. Peach Gold is pretty enough, but really nothing spectacular or that different once layered. And it's pretty on the hand, but I always find peach metallics too orange and brassy on the eyelid. It's up to you of course! If it looks good on your skin, go ahead. My 2 picks out of these 3 are Black Oyster for that gleaming smoky "wet" look, and Midnight Sea because the unlikely pairing of the marine blue over the dark bronze is just absolutely amazing.

The texture of the duos are pretty interesting because the cream is not a solid shadow. In fact, they're quite like squeeze-tube cream shadows, and have the texture of creamy bread spreads. They DO set, but not very quickly, so you have quite a bit of time to sheer them out and blend them around. The thing to remember is that even after they set, they don't lock down like solid cream shadows do, so you should probably always pair them with a powder overcoat for best results.

The powders that come with the duos come in 2 textures. Some are metallic (like Midnight Sea), and some are sparkly (like Black Oyster). Both are gorgeous. The sparkle shades are the exact same texture as the sparkle shades you find in some of the Tom Ford quads.

Technically, you CAN recreate the effect using any cream shadow and a sparkly or metallic eyeshadow, and I've been doing it for years, so I would say the main reason to get any of these are the color combinations available.

Here's my preferred way of using it.

I also used other products from the range in the look. Namely, the sheer Rose Soleil lipstick, the Cream Cheek Color in Rose Sand, and bronzer in Terra to sculpt the face.

I'll do a separate post showcasing the cheek and lip products!