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.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bobbi Brown 25th Anniversary Nude Library Celebration Kit

Bobbi Brown was the brand that introduced yellow-based foundations and neutral makeup to the masses, for which we will be forever grateful. This year, they turn 25 and celebrate with one of the most mind-blowing kits ever for neutral addicts.

The Nude Library is housed in a gorgeous box styled to look like Bergdorf Goodman in NYC, where Bobbi opened her first makeup counter selling 10 shades of lipstick. (They sold a month's supply within a single day, and the rest is history.)

Inside there are a handful of their most iconic products - a Skin Foundation Stick, lipstick (but of course), gel liner,  Shimmer Brick, and that most covetable of all things; a 40-shade Nude Library palette that pulls together eight of Bobbi Brown's best selling 5-shade nude eye palettes over the years.

The palette reminds me of the University foundation palettes, where you have a divider separating two sections of shadows which are grouped exactly as they were in their original palettes. Nude on Nude, Navy on Nude, Desert Twilight, etc. If you ever fell in love with one of these in the past and ran out, or would just love to own all of them, this is where you can have them all in one place.

Urban Mermaid - Urban Decay Razor Sharp Long-wear Liquid Eyeliner Demo

Urban Decay is launching 20 shades of colored liquid liners, which will replace the existing 24/7 range. And they are great fun for color lovers, especially if you like experimenting with different graphic liner looks.

Urban Decay Razor Sharp Long-wear Liquid Eyeliners in Street (deep matte teal) and Deep End (bright metallic teal)
I do need to check if those ultra-fine, short brush tips really give better control (and razor sharp flicks) so I put these to the test.

I decided to play with two teals in the range today - Street, a dark blackened non-shimmery teal, and a paler, brighter metallic teal blue shade, Deep End. The challenge was to not only do a double-winged look but to do ultra-fine lining.

What I did was apply the dark color first to the outer corners, extending into a low medium-length wing, at a low angle. Then I applied the metallic bright teal like a regular winged flick from inner corners out to a curved, upward-point.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Urban Decay Moondust - a sparkly obsession

I must admit when I first saw a visual of the new Urban Decay Moondust palette online my heart started going a hundred miles a minute. Sparkle - yass!
If you're like me you'll be happy to know that I personally think they rock.

Urban Decay Moondust palette contains all-new shades in their Moondust formulation, a silicone-based glitter shadow formula made up of synthetic mica, similar to sparkly shadow overcoats you find from brands like Tom Ford and Shu Uemura.

Urban Decay Moondust palette swatches
The typical way to wear these is to layer them over other shadows as a glittery topcoat for your lids. On their own, they can look like a sheer wash of sparkle, or when they are pale, like gleaming "wet" lids. You apply them with fingers - this is important - not a brush. Because the formula is made to cling to skin, not bristles.

That is - until you wet them.

This is orgasmic.

They look like foiled shadows or stuff you might find from Colourpop. Mucho intensity.

So I decided to apply them all damp for the most intense effect, because I want to do a look using nothing but Moondust shadows. I didn't want to layer them over other shadows or you wouldn't be able to see how they really look.

Can we say BLING?!
If you plan to use them in a more subtle way, just dab on with a finger. These shadows are formulated with silicone in the base, and designed to stick to skin, not brushes, when dry. So don’t complain about there being no pigmentation if you try to dust them on with a dry brush. Damp, these are incredible foiled shades with plenty of duochromatic magic. Every shade has a different color shift when it hits the light. Click each image to expand or right click and “open image in new tab” to see everything in higher res.

Do expect plenty of sparkly fallout though. More than if you rubbed these on with a finger, ironically. So do your foundation AFTER you do your eye makeup. I don't think it's a big deal though.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Clio Kill Cover Stamping Foundation SPF50+ PA+++

I've discovered a strange new love for stamping sponges (they are SO good with cushion foundations and BBs), so when I walked past the Clio display at the drugstore the other day I HAD to pick up a Clio Kill Cover Stamping Foundation kit.

Now this costs $39.90 which is not cheap for a drugstore foundation. But it does come with a sponge, a sponge case, and the foundation itself. So I thought - ok one of the most affordable cushions around is Innisfree's, and that adds up to $12 for the case, $19 for the foundation, and $8 for the stamping sponge. $39. Pretty much the same. Also you get 17g of foundation, and the Innisfree sachets only contain 14g.

So technically it's not too bad. Right?

Then I thought - well I can replace the Innisfree foundation refill for $19, and buy a new sponge for $8. I also get to choose from 100 cute designs when I buy an Innisfree case. With the Clio, you need to repurchase the entire kit for $39.90 whether you need new sponges and new case or not.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Innisfree has changed the entire cushion game for me

Popular Korean brand Innisfree has revamped their cushion foundation offering by updating their formulas, as well as changing up the whole portable compact foundation game by adding new cosmetic as well as functional spins on things.

Firstly, they realize that cushion compacts are things many people bring out for touch-ups, so you can now choose from a whopping 100 case designs to match every mood and outfit. And believe me, I thought that was a bit gimmicky at first, but when you look at all the cases, you can't help cooing at all the adorable designs and color options.

These have just been rolled out island-wide in Singapore, but only the flagship stores (Ngee Ann City and Vivocity) will carry all 100 designs. All other stores will carry a standard set of 40 shown on the two tilted racks below this paragraph.

 If you want the less common offerings, you'll need to stop by the flagship stores. (There is a white and blue chevron ombre case which I'm dying to get my hands on... They didn't have any stock at the press event last night so I couldn't take one home with me. See the top left of the image below.)

Technically I don't ever touch up liquid bases outside so my cases are probably never going to make it out of the house except when I travel. Ultimately though, it's just a bit of welcome fun and I expect most people would find at least a few that they really like.

I mean - come on! These are too cute.

Secondly, Innisfree is also changing up their formulations based on customer demand, which is fantastic.

Water Fit Cushion is the updated hydrating cushion, and to fit the preferences and lifestyles of customers, they've made the formula more lightweight so it nourishes but doesn't leave a tacky, greasy film on the skin. I have somewhat dry skin but even I can't wear formulas that are too moist because they just move around in our weather. 

Next is the Long Wear Cover Cushion, which is my favorite. I've used the original Long Wear formula when Innisfree first launched in Singapore and I did talk about it a couple of times on Dayre as being a nice lightweight cushion which gives a glow but does not slide right off or feel greasy on the skin in our tropical heat. Now though, Innisfree has updated the formula to provide a lot more coverage because many customers who need a formula for oily skin also want skin-perfecting coverage. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Cle de Peau Beaute Radiant Cream Foundation and Translucent Powder

Cle de Peau is known for luxe, high-quality skincare and makeup that is understated but ultra-luxurious, fool-proof and flattering. And if you're like me, skincare and base products (foundation, concealer, etc) are categories where I usually want reliable performance on my temperamental, slightly sensitive skin, and prefer not to skimp.

So whenever Cle de Peau Beaute (CPB for short) launches a new foundation or base product, it's usually a reason for me to sit up and take note. I already use and like their Radiant Fluid Foundation and love the classic Concealer stick, so when they updated their cream foundation formula I was totally on board to try it out.

Compared to the liquid, the Radiant Cream Foundation (SGD$180) is obviously a thicker fluffier creamy texture. However it doesn't go on heavy. What surprised me was how it just smoothed out like skincare. Do be careful how much you use though. I found out the hard way that I really need a lot less than I thought because the coverage is pretty high.

For today's look, I literally did not use concealer, and just patted a little bit of extra foundation on after translucent powder (I'll explain why later) to hide my dark circles, redness, uneven skintone, etc.

The texture is very plush and nourishing. Not slippery and greasy, but definitely with a glow which I love. The only issue to this, is that if you are going to be out in the heat you will definitely need a setting spray and some powder in sweat-prone areas or it will slide around if you touch your face. Even for normal to slightly dry skin, you probably want to give it 15-20 minutes to sit and set before you venture out anywhere that will make you sweat or grease up.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Cle de Peau Radiant Liquid Rouge

Shiseido's just launched a new series of Radiant Liquid Rouges in their prestige Clé de Peau line, and I was very happy to see that these are beautifully pigmented.

I have two shades here to try out and swatch, 15 and 17.

15 is a soft violet-pink. A shade which I find quite atypical of a brand like Clé de Peau, which usually avoids the less "mainstream" tones. But the average consumer is (finally) becoming more experimental with their lip colors, and this shade of violet is as wearable as they come.

I remember in the good ol' days, when there were only a few brands selling this type of pinky-violet hue, including MAC and Lime Crime. And in those days, it was more the young and funky that would gravitate towards this sort of shade, despite the fact that it is surprisingly flattering on many skin tones.

If you're on the market for a bit of a change, make sure you try this out. You could be pleasantly surprised.

For those who want more classic glamour, there is always 15, which is a red which manages to be both soft and rich at the same time. It's not a deep dark scarlet. I like to call it a luminous red, because there is a hint of milky orange, as well as a hint of blue-undertone to it at the same time. 

Compared to sister brands Shiseido and ZA, the Cle de Peau Radiant Liquid Rouges are noticeably more balmy and plush feeling. There is more of a cushiony thickness to the product, although it's not sticky or gloopy. The texture just melts in and lips feel instantly nourished, which is nothing short of what you'd expect from a prestige line like this.

Color stays quite even on the surface of the lips although with all liquid rouges, you will need to touch up after awhile, no matter what. I was pretty surprised how little bleeding and feathering I got with these. Something about the formula does reduce the appearance of color bleeding into fine lines around the lips, even without liner or lipstick beneath. These work great over lipsticks as well, if you want to intensify both color and shine.

I would say these are not as intensely pigmented as the ZA Vibrant Moist Lacquers, but then those are meant to be eye-catching "pop" colors anyway. Radiant Liquid Rouge is more forgiving and comes in softer tones as wll, and you can wear them opaque or just as a very light coat for a more traditional "sheer gloss" look without it looking patchy or streaky.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

ZA Vibrant Moist Lip Lacquers and Lip Crayons

Japanese drugstore beauty brand ZA has is throwing out lots of strongly pigmented lip products, first with the Vibrant Moist Lip Lacquers (SG$19.50) which are in Watsons stores now, and on 1 September their Lip Crayons ($17.50).

I am a big fan of ZA's Vivid Dare lipsticks because they surprise me so much when I first swatched them in store. Typically, Japanese brands don't release extremely intense colors, and to be honest I'd half given up hope that they would ever catch up with the Korean brands in terms of releasing fashion-forward pop colors and intense formulations. So when I first saw the Vivid Dare lipsticks I swatched them and posted about them on Dayre then and there.

So I was pretty excited to try the two new products.

The lacquers come in ZA's signature black and fuchsia packaging, and you can't really see colors from the outside. The spatula is pretty interesting - it's flattened and slightly curved so you can get quite a generous amount of product on your lips in one swipe, and also smooth and spread it out quite easily.

If you don't know, ZA is owned by cosmetics giant Shiseido, and there are some similarities in the vibrant red pigment technology being used in their high-end lipsticks, and these lacquers. It corrects dull lip color and also retains a very vivid and intense appearance under different lighting conditions.

Aside from the gorgeous colors, I have to say I'm a big fan because these manage to feel SO comfortable on the lips besides being intensely glossy and pigmented. No stickiness, ultra lightweight, and great color pay-off. The collagen and hyaluronic acid infused formula is also designed to hydrate and nourish for up to 12 hours. Everything I need in a glossy product. 

I must say that I can never leave a gloss or lacquer on the whole day without touching up so I cannot tell you exactly how long this lasts. It does perform better than other typical lightweight glosses, but no matter what, as you drink and talk, the color and shine will rub off no matter what. There was also a tiny bit of bleeding into lip lines, but that's expected of all creamy products.

If you want all-day wear and need to prevent any bleeding, I would apply a layer of liner beneath first. This will give you a super-intense lacquered lip look.

I've also always been a fan of applying opaque lacquers on top of matte lipsticks for that patent leather look, and these work great for that. In fact they remind me a lot of Shiseido's Lip Lacquers (which I am also a fan of), for half the price.

As for the Lip Crayons launching 1 September, these are a typical chubby pencil with a twist-up base. (Yay for no sharpening.)

Formula wise, I can say right now I prefer these to Revlon's Colorburst Balmstains, which are just never quite plush or glossy enough for me. The ZA ones are creamy enough to give good shine without needing a separate gloss, which also means you can wear just a tiny bit for a stained effect without your lips looking patchy and dry (which can happen with typical drugstore chubby pencils), or build it up for more intense glossy color. 

With some of the paler or more milky colors, you also do need to spend some time blending or checking your lips because you can get a slightly streaky or patchy effect. But it's not as bad as some drier formulations.

I'm not the biggest fan of chubby pencils as a whole though. That's the same for all brands. (I just find they do the same thing as glossy or balmy lipsticks, and a lipstick bullet can give a quicker and more even application than the nub of a fat pencil, which is usually less even and makes you take longer to fill in your entire mouth.) 

So I'm definitely a bigger fan of the Lip Lacquers than the Crayons, although that's not saying that these Crayons are bad at all. It's just personal preference. If you already use and love lip crayons, you'll be happy when these launch because I do like them better than what we have in drugstores currently.

My recommended Must-Try is still the Vibrant Moist Lip Lacquer range. Because they honestly feel and perform very much like high-end lacquers. Without the high-end pricetag.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Green on Green Smoky Eyes

I wanted to play with a few green shadows that I haven't used for awhile, so I whipped up a green on green look today.

Base: Black kajal or black cream liner smudged over lids
Outer corners: Make Up Geek Envy (black with green shift)
Main lid shade: Top Shop U-Turn (you can also try Make Up Geek's duochrome shadow in Havoc)
Inner corners: MAC Shimmermoss
Lashes: Red Cherry #13
Cheeks: Tarte Celebrated
Lips: NYX Whipped Fouetté in Cocoa Bean

Top Shop's U-Turn is a more sparkly and transparent version of typical duochrome shadows like MUG Havoc, but if you don't have a duochrome, just go with a shimmery teal shadow and don't worry about it being duochrome.

The main thing is to go from dark to light, using a black-green on the outer corners, to a rich teal or emerald green in the center, and then a pale jade green around the tear ducts, so there is depth and richness with a nice gradient.

As for the cheeks, I was playing with my Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Indiscretion, a soft rosy beige. This is an old fave, and I think LM has consistently been good with face highlighters. It's silky, fine-grained, buildable, not overly-metallic, and the colors are usually very multi-faceted. Never a flat  color like gold or pink.

Indiscretion is actually slightly too deep for my NC25 skin tone when swatched intensely, but when it's dusted on lightly, it just works like a subtler sheen on light skins. And it doesn't look too pale and stark or metallic. It's also perfect as a blush topper, to add glow along the tops of your blush.

Of course, if you own the other two lighter shades, you don't need to worry about this.