Friday, December 29, 2017

Maybelline Super Stay Matte Inks and Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter

It might be old news in some parts of the world, but Maybelline's Super Stay Matte Inks (S$17.90) and the much-buzzed-about Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter in shade 100 Molten Gold ($19.90) are finally in Singapore.

There are 10 shades of the Super Stay Matte Ink range available locally, and these pretty much cover the spectrum from a pale beige nude to brights to darks. In fact, I would say only 1 or 2 of the shades can be considered "safe" colors and the rest are actually pretty dramatic depending on your skin tone.


The Super Stay Matte Inks have a slightly thicker, tackier texture going on. Almost a sticky gel consistency as you spread it out and let it set, which may make it slightly challenging to get a perfectly even application in one single coat. It takes 30 seconds to fully set, so don't start smearing your lips around or rubbing it on things too early.

The softer colors are much more forgiving and easy to apply perfectly, compared to the dark ones, which can require 2 coats to look fully opaque. The good news is these do layer quite nicely without going all wrinkly, thick and crackly although I wouldn't advise applying too much product on your second coating.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Lancome Advanced Genifique Sensitive Dual Concentrate

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

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

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

The package is pretty interesting in itself. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Quick Rave: MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Liquid Mattes

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

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

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

Until these came along.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics now on

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Lancôme Teint Miracle Hydrating Foundation - 2017 Formula Review

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Maybelline Color Sensational Inti-matte Nude swatches

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

7 beauty products to get your hands on before you fly

If you’re not a beauty fanatic, chances are you won’t bother to set aside “shopping time” when flying through Singapore Changi Airport. For those who want to pick up some good deals (or a last minute gift) but don’t have time or patience to browse and explore, it can be overwhelming trying to narrow down your options when there are so many travel exclusives and great duty-free deals.

And since Changi Airport will soon be offering home delivery service for travelers residing in Singapore who purchase Shilla beauty products on or at the airport, it’s becoming so much easier to pick up must-have products when you are short on time.

To help make things even easier, below is a handful of exclusives and powerhouse products that have been tried and tested by yours truly, that I consider to be great items to insert in your next duty-free shopping list. You can also view this post PLUS other travel tips and exclusive information on the Now Boarding blog by Changi Airport!

 1. Estee LauderAdvanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery PowerFoil Mask Set S$252.70

Advanced Night Repair serum is one of those cult antioxidant serums that beauty editors and celebrities have been swearing by for decades, even with the countless new products that launch each year. I’ve never been a huge fan of sheet masks because I find they give very temporary and minimal benefits for all the mess involved. This is the mask that totally changed my mind last year.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

YSL All Hours Encre de Peau Foundation and All Hours Concealer Review

YSL Beauty launched their new All Hours Encre de Peau Foundation (S$98) as well as the companion concealer earlier this month to a flurry of excitement in the beauty community.

This is touted as being long-wear, high coverage, weightless, luminous matte, and skin-tone/texture perfecting. Sounds like a dream.

I have to preface this by saying that when they launched the original Le Teint Encre de Peau around 2015, I rushed to snap up a bottle in Sephora while on holiday in the US. And I didn't like it. I just didn't. By the time it launched here in Asia and the beauty community started buzzing about it I was already over it.

I find volatile-oil foundations to be very hit and miss.

They feel incredibly good to the touch because of that ultra-slippery dry-oil silicone feel, and blend out like a dream. Perfect for impulse shoppers. But more often than not, whether they work on your skin depends very much on whether the specific blend of silicones and volatile oils plays nice with your skin type and skincare products. If not, they look good for awhile and then "suddenly" seem to break down after a few hours, even on non-oily skins.

The new All Hours Encre de Peau, happily, is NOT one of those slippery dry-oil foundation formulas. Because of that, they could also (thank god) put it in a hygienic pump bottle.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Bobbi Brown Instant Full Cover Concealer Swatches and First Impressions

It's the middle of the work week, and many of us are probably feeling a little sleep-deprived. Cue Bobbi Brown's new Instant Full Cover Concealer (S$52), which they describe as "8 hours of sleep in a swipe". 

For night owls like me who can never bear to go to bed early, this sounds like a god-send.

When I saw the tubes my first thought was - this is Bobbi Brown's answer to the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. But the textures are pretty different. Radiant Creamy Concealer is a bit more mousse-y and has a demi-matte finish. Instant Full Cover Concealer has a certain tackiness to it (not in a bad way) which reminds me more of It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer or Tarte's Maracuja Creaseless Concealer. It has a lot of coverage but sort of melts into the skin, leaving a film of pigment on the surface as you blend; not much texture on the surface.

Wayne Goss mentioned recently on Youtube that this requires no setting powder, and I think this texture is the reason why. In my limited experience (I've worn it off and on about 4 times in the past week) this will still crease a little and settle into expression lines still, but that's quite minimal.

The coverage goes on full but sheers out as you blend. I personally prefer using my fingers as the heat allows the product to better meld into skin. The thicker texture also means you may need a bit more time to pat it in with a brush or sponge, although you obviously still can. Try Bobbi Brown's Full Coverage Touch Up Brush. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

LANEIGE Ideal Shadow Quads: Swatches and First Impressions

LANEIGE updated their eyeshadow collection this month, and relaunched 10 quads in mostly new color combinations, repackaged in sleeker silver-lined cases. These are all currently available at LANEIGE counters and boutiques, as well as and

I've been quite a fan of the older Pure Radiant Eyeshadow quads and had likened some of the color compositions to Tom Fords before, so let's get the head-to-head comparisons out of the way. The Ideal Shadow Quads:
  • have 6g of product (1.5g per shadow, same as standard MAC/MUG pans), same as the Pure Radiant quads
  • are S$42, $2 more than old Pure Radiant quads
  • have updated formulas
  • come in a mix of neutrals as well as a few more edgy color options
  • have more mattes interspersed among the quads, so you have more options and textures
Shade overview - new LANEIGE Ideal Shadow Quads
The older compacts are smaller, and it looks like there is more product in the new quads, but they actually contain the same amount. I'm not complaining though; they've been quite good about keeping the price stable instead of taking the chance to jack the price up with this revamp.

The new quads DO look a lot nicer compared to the older ones which have a tendency to look a little "cheaper", not as grown-up, and a bit outdated.

"Old" Pure Radiant eyeshadow quad

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Blood-rose lips: A deep, dark obsession (and tips for wearing it in the day)

Just a few favorite deep dark berry rose shades in my collection
The first lip color I can remember obsessing over as a child (yes - I started young) was a deep dark vampy noir red. Not pink, not peach, not red. I even recall the excitement I felt when I realized for the first time that it was POSSIBLE to even wear a color that dark on the lips.

It looked gorgeous. I was in love.

As an adult, I've built quite a collection of deep dark lip shades over the years, but let's face it - for most of us, these gorgeous blood colored shades don't get a lot of air time because they are so dramatic. Until you learn how versatile they are of course.

L'oreal Infallible Lipstick in 337 Refined Ruby worn sheer

One of my favorite things to do on days when I don't want to spend too much time on my makeup is to take one of these vampy reds and wear it as a translucent matte wash over the lips, over a neutral lip pencil. The final effect is polished but not harsh, relaxed but still dressy.

  1. Apply nude/neutral pencil around the edges of lips and blend in a bit so it's not a visible line
  2. Swipe your deep dark lipstick in the center of the lower lip only (this is usually the perfect amount to achieve this effect)
  3. Press your lips together a few times to transfer and spread the color onto the rest of your mouth
  4. Use a brush or your finger to tap and spread the color out to the edges of your lips

The edge of the mouth is not meant to be harsh and precise so I prefer fingers over brushes. Also, this is a great way to make your dark lipsticks go further, both in terms of being able to use them for more occasions, and also from the perspective that you really need very little product each time.
Choosing a red:

Not every dark red works the same way though. The trick is to look for the ones that sheer out to a cool berry-ish rosy red. There are some that sheer out into a brown or purple tone that can look dull and dirty against the face.

For an example, below are a few good options that are currently in my rotation, although I will also mention a few other old faves.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Pro Yellow Laser - A Safer Way to Remove Freckles, Pigmentation and Redness for Asian Skin?

The QuadraStar Pro Yellow Laser is considered by many to be one of the latest and best ways to treat surface pigmentation as well as vascular (vein) lesions. Basically those thing that detract from a glowing, even-toned complexion. Dark marks, uneven tones, flushed areas from rosacea, redness and purple marks from broken or dilated capillaries.

Add the ability to kill acne bacteria, regulate oil glands, and subtly firm skin… and heck yeah - I’m in for a trial. In fact I think this might be THE thing to have before your big day or any special occasion.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Shu Uemura Petal Skin Foundation

Petal Skin Fluid Foundation (S$68) launches today (1 April) in Singapore, and is a welcome addition to Shu Uemura's foundation series. Built around the idea of fresh, smooth "effortlessly radiant" skin that looks like a flower petal, the formula aims to combine semi-matte with semi-glow characteristics in a lightweight, velvety smooth formula that feels comfortable and natural on the skin.

I've been test-trying this for the past few weeks now, and I'll say I love the finish and effect this has on the skin.

When I first saw the name, I expected a lightweight, radiant foundation with very light coverage. The things that surprised me were:
  1. the instant pore blurring effect
  2. how much like real skin it looked
  3. the rather impressive medium coverage despite the light texture
Shu Uemura Petal Skin Foundation before-after: 1 coat


My pores instantly looked "filtered" as I rubbed it on. The formula contains a unique volatile fluid that glides over skin and disperses pigments in a thin layer, where they bounce light off in a smooth, even sheet for that smoothed-out effect. It also subtly corrects texture and is not settling into or around pores and fine lines or emphasizing them.

Like the pigments in some of the Lightbulb powders, the ultra-fine reflective powders are also spherical so they don't sit on top of the skin in a matte, cakey layer, but diffuse light so you look "lit from within". I'm endlessly fascinated by formulas that manage to bounce light without making you look shiny or emphasizing all your pores and this one does it very well.


While this doesn't give high coverage like The Lightbulb or Smooth:Fit, it managed to give decent coverage and unify my skin tone quite well. I need less concealer when I use this, but if you have active spots or darker pigmentation to cover,this will not have enough concealing power on its own.

You CAN build this up a bit more, and I did try it with 2 coats (below) for a more perfected look, but I would not advise going any thicker because there's no point in losing that fresh, "my skin but better" effect.

Petal Skin Foundation \: 2 coats 

Lasting Power:

I wore this for full days out, and it holds up beautifully on my normal-ish skin, in humid weather, for about 6 or so hours without any blotting, if I set it with a little loose powder. The formula has been tested in Singapore weather so it is quite humidity- and heat-resistant.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

New LANEIGE Silk Intense Lipsticks

LANEIGE has updated their Silk Intense Lipstick range recently with revamped formula, packaging and shades. The new lipsticks come in sleek white and silver magnetized tubes that are more sturdy and grown-up looking than the original.

Compared to the original Silk Intense Lipsticks, the new formula is similar in intensity and coverage and share the same lightweight creme texture. However, I find the new formula less "slippery" feeling and easier to build up. The shades also contain ultra-micronized pigments so they go on more evenly and can be built for opaque coverage or worn sheer without looking patchy.

I've worn these a few days now, and I'm pretty happy with the feel and performance. I have not had issues with them making my dry lips flaky or uncomfortable, which ironically happens with some thinner, more slippery creme lipsticks. In fact, when my lips got quite parched and wrinkly in-between swatches these lipsticks just plumped them right up once I applied the next shade. Despite the creamy hydrating texture, they do last pretty well and a simple wet wipe is surprisingly not sufficient to remove it completely from skin. 

Silk Intense Lipstick 335 Get the Red

There are 35 shades available in Singapore at S$36 each, which is a good price point considering the luxe feel of the formula. They do somewhat remind me of Rouge Diors and Rouge Cocos in formula, with the exception being that the shades are obviously designed to suit Asian/pale-to-medium skin tones.

I've swatched them all below roughly separated by color category or the effect they have on the face, and marked LANEIGE's Star shades with **.

Soft peachy/pink Silk Intense tones
These softer tones look quite soft against the skin but have somewhat "natural" undertones. My personal pick here is 430 Pink Garden. These colors will probably look like pink-nudes or peach-nudes on most people.

430 Pink Garden
The next group are more typical Korean "It" shades. Coraly pink tones with a touch of juicy vibrancy.

I especially love 147 Raspberry Pink, which I'd describe more like watermelon pink, and 142 Love Me New Me, a classic K-style pink coral. Both shades look great worn ombre-style with minimal makeup, for a glowy stained lip effect.

As for the pinks, there are a couple of great ones as well. I personally would not use 101 Neon Pink or 350 Peony on their own but I do love 149 Cherry Popcorn and 362 Urban Jungle especially. I'm usually not a fan of pearlescent pink shades but I also found myself really liking 145 Glam Pink. I suggest applying a tiny bit and pressing your lips together for that rosy baby-lips "no makeup" effect.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Rollover-Reaction Sueded! Lip and Cheek Creams

I'm quite a fan of the latest generation of matte and semi-matte lip creams, one of them being indie Indonesian-based brand Rollover-Reaction, which is gaining quite the cult following locally. They have a capsule series of creams called Sueded! which work as both lipsticks as well as blushes.

I do love a good uber-matte - don't get me wrong - but this year, I'm a bit over the transfer-proof lip, if you know what I mean. I love how they look in photos, freshly applied. They are so dramatic and your lips look "DONE". But I don't love how they feel, how they darken and morph into completely different shades when dry, and how they emphasize every single line. Great for reel life, not so great for real life.

Luxe brands like Dior, Armani, Chanel, NARS, Burberry and Bobbi Brown have their own versions of the "velvet" lip creams which are nothing like the trendy transfer-proof liquid lipsticks a la Kat von D and Jeffree Star. These luxe lip creams are designed to be forgiving to dry and mature lips. Most go on a creamy satin, with the understanding that lip products dry down after some time and become more matte. (You'll see how they are much more matte on my lips versus the arm swatches.)

I've really been enjoying some of these (Burberry and Bobbi Brown in particular) for their ability to look matte and last for hours, while feeling comfortable and not emphasizing dryness. So imagine my pleasant surprise when I applied my first Sueded! shade and thought "Wait - these feel like the Burberry Liquid Velvets!"

Now the Sueded! range is meant for lips and cheeks, so the whole color range is understandably neutral-leaning. (Which is probably great news for a lot of people.) But I do have to say the shades are very different from one another - you're not going to get 3-4 warm rosy beiges that look alike.

Another feature is they have a "cream-to-powder" finish since they are also meant for the cheeks, so they do rub out into a non-greasy texture and will go matte if you don't apply too heavy a layer. These feel slightly different from the typical non-drying lip creams on the lips because of that formula.

Sueded! ingredients

I don't mind that they are not transfer-proof. After all, one of the most annoying things about kiss-proof liquid lips is the fact that they STILL transfer and wear away around the center after you eat, but they aren't easy to touch-up.

As for the shades, I have to say I love Umma, the deep oxblood shade, and Lucy which is a powdery soft orange beige. Saddie is a great rosy brown tone for neutral 90s lip lovers, and I also like Sally as a standard soft peachy nude, while Livv is a unique terracotta shade which is quite lovely too.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Shiseido 7 Color Powders Revival Centennial Edition, 7 Lights Powder Illuminator, and Ibuki Smart Filtering Smoother

1917 was the year that venerable Japanese beauty brand Shiseido first branched out from their bestselling skin perfecting concoctions, and decided to offer their first-ever makeup product to their growing clientele of fashionable women in Tokyo.

Long before Guerlain Meteorites, Shiseido's Rainbow Powder was a sensation for its luxurious, stylish, modular packaging and the innovation (at the time) concept of offering 7 different face powders for different effects. 

Rainbow Powders became a fixture on the vanity tables of wealthy women and the most beautiful geisha long before the rest of the modern world fell in love with the idea of color-correcting powders.

Vintage Shiseido Rainbow Powder set

Vintage Shiseido Rainbow Powder case

The basic premise of color-correction still stands today. What makes a lot of sense to me personally, is that everyone has different issues which the standard color-correcting powders today may not be able to fix with the one-size-fits-all approach where you need to swirl together a prescribed mix of shades regardless of whether you might require more or less of certain colors.

With Rainbow Powder, you are in control of how much and which colors you apply to each part of your face.

While this might feel like a hassle for some, I beg to differ because in this day and age when many people want to just slap it on and go (or even whip it on in the car), it is a reminder to be mindful; to pay attention for a moment, to know our faces. And it turns powdering into a luxurious ritual rather than a troublesome last step.

That's why I totally geeked out when Shiseido announced the launch of a special 7 Colors Powder Revival Centennial Edition (S$320) to commemorate the 100th anniversary this Feb. They've replicated the classic fabric wrapped cases housed in an elegant box, each containing a different colored powder. If you're gagging for a set, move fast because there are only 145 kits for sale in Singapore.

7 Colors Powder Revival Centennial Edition
The delicate paper seals have been replaced by sturdy air-tight ones with Shiseido's logo stamped on each, and each case has a corresponding colored tag on the outside as indication of the shades within.