Thursday, June 05, 2008

Jade facial roller by Yuroll.

Image from

My Chinese female ancestors had many secrets for smooth unlined skin -- dark, bitter herbal concoctions, pearl face cream, filial piety and jade adornments are just a few of them. Real jade supposedly absorbs skin oils if worn next to the body and becomes darker and glossier with time. Given how young and not-so-young women these days prefer to match jewellery to their outfits instead of wearing the same few pieces 24-7, this jade facial roller by Yuroll (yu is jade in Mandarin, pronounced 'euh' not 'yoo') is a nifty way to incorporate a tradition into their beauty routine. I imagine you'd get the same effect rubbing your Po-po's heirloom jade bracelet all over your face, but since the Yuroll is actually a beauty aid, it comes with a promise to do a bunch of things to your lymphatic system, blood flow, facial muscles and wrinkles.

The jade facial roller is available at the newly opened British online boutique Cult Beauty for thirty hefty, solid pounds.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune

The tropical weather in Malaysia drives me to seek scents with crisp green or juicy citrus notes to counteract the mind-numbing, soul-crushing humidity. I love grapefruits, both to eat and to wear, which made this bottle difficult to resist when I chanced upon it in an airport duty free shop. Guerlain's Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune EDT contains all the bright, sunny juiciness of a ripe grapefruit without the bitter tang that divides the population into grapefruit fans and, well, chumps (Just kidding!). It is easily the happiest perfume in my collection, and the memory of the scent alone is enough to bring a smile to my face.

The best part about Pamplelune is that it is part of the less expensive Aqua Allegoria line -- I paid about RM160 duty free for my 75ml/2.4 fl oz bottle, which is priced at US$52 on Sephora. Pamplelune is easily found at airport duty free shops as well as Guerlain counters in department stores.

Top notes: Acidulous grapefruit
Middle notes: Flowers from Provence, grapefruit
Base notes: Delicious grapefruit, patchouli, vanilla

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kat Von D at Sephora.

I am obsessed with two TLC shows currently airing on Discovery Travel and Living in Malaysia -- Miami Ink and its West Coast spin-off L.A. Ink (see pic above for cast). The show revolves around the young tattoo artist Kat Von D (white swimsuit, centre), first spotted on Miami Ink before she was fired, and her talented, quirky colleagues at High Voltage Tattoo in Hollywood California. My own fascination with tattoo art aside, I adore the alterna-chick look the women cast members rock and the absence of magazine-ready blonde glossiness (see The Hills) on the show.

You can imagine how thrilled I was when I learnt that Kat Von D was collaborating with Sephora on a makeup collection, which is now for sale online. I don't know the extent of Kat Von D's contribution (celebrity lines, y'know?), but the finished product has a romantic goth-glam feel to it so it feels like a collection the creator would wear herself. The plastic casing is stencilled with silver roses and comes in a specially silk-screened paper box.

The Kat Von D makeup collection isn't large -- there are two shadow palettes named after her favourite composer, creamy red lipsticks, liquid liner (of course) and an eye brush set. I'm personally lemming:

True Romance Eyeshadow palette in Beethoven (the other's named Ludwig. God, I'd buy both just to keep them together)

Painted Love lipstick in Hellbent because it's described as 'blood red'. Which I think is the perfect lipstick to wear when I'm carving my lover's initials into my skin while listening to My Chemical Romance.

It goes without saying that both images are from Sephora.

Prices for the Kat Von D makeup collection range from US$16 for an eyeliner and US$48 for the eye brush set, so it isn't exactly inexpensive. Still, this is one thoughtful eponymous celebrity makeup collection that may very well be worth every penny.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Lipstick as an economic indicator.

When the economy tanks, women appear to buy more lipsticks as they scrimp on traditional big-ticket items, a theory posited by Leonard Lauder, chairman of the Estee Lauder companies. From the New York Times:

After the terrorist attacks of 2001 deflated the economy, Mr. Lauder noticed that his company was selling more lipstick than usual. He hypothesized that lipstick purchases are a way to gauge the economy. When it’s shaky, he said, sales increase as women boost their mood with inexpensive lipstick purchases instead of $500 slingbacks.

Beauty brands remain true believers in the theory, even though in the last few years the lipstick market has fallen on hard times as its glistening cousin, lip gloss, has had robust sales.

With the specter of another recession, brands like Clinique and DuWop Cosmetics are preparing for a big year in lip color, for two reasons.

First, they would like to see a return to lipstick, which usually costs slightly more than gloss. Second, the companies believe that in down times women will continue to splurge on lip lacquer even as they make do with last season’s dress.

In the light of a global rise in food and gas costs, are you making or do you plan to make any changes to your beauty consumption habits? Please share in comments!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Bold Choice, I'm Told

It's a chain reaction. I woke up 10 minutes later than usual so I miss all my 73x's City Loop and that in turn I miss my 73x's Blackburn/Belgrave/Lilydale and that in turn makes me miss my 80x's to Doncaster.

The reason for being late? I couldn't make up my mind what eyeshadow to use. I ended up being very pleased with my choice. I chose pink from my Diorissime palette and the deeper green from my RMK palette. I highlighted with the light pink from the Diorissime palette.

The flash makes the pink look slightly purple-ish but it's really a very deep and cool pink.

Mineral Confusion

As mentioned, I got my delivery of Everyday Minerals a few days ago.

I've been faithfully testing each sample and I've gotten more confused each day. I picked Olive Fair, Fair and Ivory as my foundation samples.

The first test was Fair on Tuesday. It worked out alright, I think. I used only the tiniest bit to even out the redness. I wish I could say my skin is so fair that it's translucent; which was why the redness was more prominent. Somehow the redness have come about from my diet of lots of beef and vegies. Not to mention fruits and lots of coffee. I wish it was rosy cheeks that I have but it's just patches of red that's underneath the skin. So, the primary reason for a foundation for me is to even out the redness while still letting my original skin shine through.

The second day, yesterday, I went on Olive Fair. The colour seemed to work as well.

And, today, I went on Ivory. And, yes, the colour seemed to work too!

You know all these articles in the media telling you that there's one perfect foundation colour for every woman? Well, I'm all confused now. How can 3 different colours work on me? Not, one, not two, but THREE!

All 3 of these colours are not as yellow-based as Fairly Light from i.d. Minerals so they're a wee bit closer to my skin tone. And, with everyone telling me you only need to tap a couple of taps to cover the whole face, well, I think I'm using a lot more than that! Either I'm doing this wrong or my mineral foundation brush is having a fine feast eating up my precious powder!

Because the tiny little sifter jars come with tiny little sifter lids (naturally!), I took a tip from Tine to use a saucer dish. Disinfected it well with hot water, washed it with a mild cleanser and left it out to dry. Tap a couple of taps into the dish, swirl my brush around until it's picked up the powder, buff everything into my skin. Repeat for the other side of the face. One more time for forehead and a final brush over.

I only do a couple of taps for the blush for both cheeks and that's plenty enough.

So, am I doing anything wrong on the amount that's going on my skin, on picking out the colour, on application? See, that's why I need Shryh in Melbourne!

Surprise! Surprise!

I came home yesterday, wanted to sit on the heater to defrost my butt. Literally. But, what stopped me was this on the dining table!

It was small enough to be shoved into our mailbox

So nicely-packaged. Not!

Packed in 5 of the cutest sifter jars ever

My choices

My pathetic attempt of swatching the foundation

The blush and the concealer

This morning, I test drove one of the foundations. I chose 'Fair'. Because of the miniscule amount of foundation I use, it's really hard to gauge if it was the perfect colour for me. All I can see is, my-skin-but-better, which was a good thing, I think? It evened out my skintone, covered up the redness and closed up the pores. The colour was not too dark nor too light.

Too soon to tell if it's the perfect one.

I'll try 'Olive Fair' tomorrow.

Benefit Her Glossiness Lipgloss: Who Does Your Work?

Thanks to so many times of trial-and-error, I've finally figured out that the best lip colour to suit my skintone as well as my lips would be something that's berry-ish. I've yet to find my perfect red, pinks make me look ill, but something that's berry-ish or even plum-ish is very flattering.

A very simple gloss which does as it promises and nothing more. Very glossy, slightly sticky and with a hint of berry scent.

The stickiness does not bother me because I love it for the colour. There's not a hint of shimmer or glitter in it which makes it suitable to wear in almost all circumstances. I love to pair this with a nude eye. The pop of colour on the lips is all that's needed for a 9-5 day at work.

However, I do find that it stings a little on the lips upon application. I'm not sure if the stinging comes from the plumping effect but I most definitely do not find my lips plumped up.

Benefit glosses are, well, glosses. Nothing more, nothing less. Would I re-purchase? Probably not. But, the consistency and the texture is good. BUt the one thing I'd noticed is that the colour does not last long. The gloss and shine effects are still rather prominent after 3-4 hours but the colour is all but gone. I'd say not as pigmented as I thought it would be.

There are always new and more exciting glosses out there so it's always fun to try and experiment new ones.

The Process of Elimination

This online shopping thing is just way too easy and way too convenient. The only drawback is the lack of instant gratification. Well, and also the burning of way too much plastic.

Thankfully for me, each purchase is just less than 10 dollars.

My latest purchase, having jumped onto the mineral foundation bandwagon is another Sample Kit from Signature Minerals. I picked:

Foundation: 3.0 Light Foundation
Concealer: Soft Sunshine Color Corrector
Blushes: Buff Apricot - Matte Blush, Palest Pink - Matte Blush, Seashell - Matte Blush
Mineral Veil: Translucent Veil

Now I've just to wait for them to arrive.

The wonderful thing about mineral foundation is that it really does make my skin look flawless and at the same time minimizing the pores. Someone mentioned once that you only need a little bit and anything more, the pores are actually exaggerated instead of minimized. I've yet to get to that point (and have no wish to) but I love it that it is so easy to use.

On a downside, I have been getting a fair bit of spots. I'm not sure if it's due to the bare i.d. or if it's due to the Bloom mineral foundation brush or the fact that it's TTOTM. It could even be the fact that I'd been forgetful and let my procrastinating side resurface: Forgetting to change my bedsheets. It's been 1 1/2 weeks and I always sleep with my quilt covering up to my nose, at least. So, it could be anything and I don't want to be hasty to blame it on mineral foundation.

I'm trying to eliminate the cause for it. It's not a fun task but well, it's got to be done.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

PSA: Kiehl's on Chapel St

On Friday 18th April 2008, Khiel's first boutique in the state of Victoria opened up at South Yarra. With barely any fanfare or advertisements, I only happened to notice it when I was on my way for groceries one day.

So, on a gloomy Sunday afternoon, being completely sick of walking in the CBD, we took a quick walk around Chapel St. It was a typical Kiehl's standalone store. Clean, simple and nondescript lines. Bare decoration with jars and jars of the products on display on the shelves.

I've read a lot about Kiehl's products for sensitive skin and their all natural products so I was eager to test some out. To be honest, I wasn't too keen on wrecking my skin with the testing of new products so in the end, I settled on a very pretty gloss in Golden Berry. More a coloured balm than a gloss, it gives the my-lips-but-better effect. It's also non-sticky which is a huge plus for girls with long tresses. No more having pesky bits of hair sticking to your lips as you battle the chilly Melbourne winter winds.

Because it's so new, I was given a couple of samples together with my purchase. I was about to sign the credit card slip (yes, I'm spoilt that way. I swipe the plastic even if it's just a $10 bill because I don't like carrying cash with me) when I was asked what my skin type was. Combination at certain times, definitely sensitive, most of the time dry to normal. She then passed me 2 of the cutest sample containers I'd ever seen.

Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner

Abyssine Cream

Kiehl's can be found at 450 Chapel Street, South Yarra and at Mecca Cosmetica Australia-wide.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair

To be fair, if you've not hit 25 or if you've not shown any early signs of aging, you can skip this post completely. Or, if you've hit the big 3-'oh', and you've still not got any lines to show on your face, make your exit gracefully while I try my darndest not to kill you.

I made my way to Myer one day to test it out. Well, where I could collect points for my Myer One card too. The sales assistant demonstrated the use of this product to me and when I agreed to make the purchase for a small bottle, she showered me with samples. Moisturizers, eye cream, serums and tossed in a free brow makeover.

The product itself is definitely very rich. Instructions stating that one should use about 3 to 4 drops for the entire face morning and evening but I found that way too rich for me. After a couple of days, I found that I was starting to get tiny little bumps on my face. The bumps could have only come from a product that was too rich. And, I was only using this at night!

I lowered the dosage to 2 tiny drops for the entire face and slathered on my usual Olay evening cream on.

To be honest, ever since I came back, I'd been so wary of lines and new lines that I've been drinking so much water and moisturizing like a maniac the moment I step out of the shower.

One of the easiest ways for me to develop new lines is to have a restless night. Just one night of lack of rest, my skin would be more than happy to shout that out to the rest of the world.

Having started to use this, I've realized that I don't get the tired-skin-look anymore. I might be running on only 6 hours of sleep but my skin is as its usual. Nothing a touch of foundation and highlighter wouldn't help. But, the main secret behind it is this humble little serum.

But, the most amazing thing was this. I happened to see a blackhead at my jaw. It's one of those really rare ones which hardly ever appear but it did. I couldn't leave it alone because I usually get a pretty flawless jawline. So off I went to squeeze and literally made it into a red, angry glaring Mount Etna. Yes, I managed to squeeze what I needed to squeeze out. But the end result was most definitely not worth it. What I did was I focused on that particular area a bit more when I was massaging this serum into my skin.

The next morning: More than 50% less angry.

2 days later: It's completely flattened and not even the slightest red.

I'm converted that way.

It's not cheap. The 30ml (1 o.z.) goes for AUD$100 but with only a couple of drops a night, I foresee I might be able to use this for a long, long time. In fact, when my Olay serum runs out for day use, I might just continue to use this for the day as well. To see if I'd reap any extra benefits from it.

The Estee Lauder Advanced Night repair can be found in almost every major departmental store in the world. I'm told it's much cheaper at duty free stores, so if you've got a friend who leads a jet-setter lifestyle, time to get him or her to do you a favour and try this out for yourself.

As Promised

As I mentioned in the previous post, here's a snap shot of the green-eyed monster with unmascara-ed lashes. Had to dash for the train and decided I hadn't the time to blot, apply, blot, comb.

This is after an entire day of wear and rushing full on from 830am till I realized it's way past time to go home at 515pm.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cargo Plant Love Botanical lipstick

Image from

Stila may have set the standard for recyclable packaging, but Cargo just kicked it up a notch with its Plant Love Botanical lipstick. The lipstick tubes are made out of corn (produced in great abundance due to heavy government subsidies that it is described as "the welfare queen of crops" by a farmer in Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma) and the outer carton will yield a bouquet of flowers when planted in soil as it is embedded with real flower seeds! Many of the colours are supposedly developed with celebrities, which I'm sceptical about since celebrities do very little even when they headline fragrances, but the line-up does include two of the coolest TV actresses ever, Mariksa Hargitay and Sarah Chalke.

Cargo cosmetics are available for purchase at Sephora in the U.S., Rescu Beauty Bar and selected David Jones stores in Australia.