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.