Friday, December 28, 2007

Beauty Products of 2007 according to ACA

Time: 6:48pm
A Current Affair is rolling out the beauty products for 2007 and yours truly would be updating live from the scene: her lounge/living room.

Stay tuned!

Time: 6:53pm

LipGloss: Napoleon Perdis $22.00
Eyeliner: Maybelline NY Line Stylist $15.25
Hair Straightener: VS Sasson Total Freedom Straightener $119.25
Styler/Spray: Tresemme no frizz iron style & hold spray: $7.25
Cleanser: Clinique Take the Day off Makeup Remover $45
Fake Tan: L'Oreal Paris NutriSummer $14.95
Anti-aging: EA Prevage $250.00

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Review: Biore UV Perfect Face Milk SPF50+ PA+++

A good sunscreen that's kind on the pocket, offers high sun protection factor as well as does not break the skin out is always a good item for anyone. It doesn't make sense to me when women (and men too, for that matter!) spend hundreds, even thousands (think La Mer) on products to prevent anti-aging and step out into the beach with a sunscreen of spf15. It also baffles me endlessly that Asian women continue to spend hundreds and thousands each year on whitening products in a feeble attempt to erase blemishes and sunspots but do nothing to prevent sunspots from happening in the first place.

A very simple answer lies in your very humble bottle of sunscreen. Ever since my battle with acne began at a tender age of 18, I've always been very aware of taking good care of my skin. If a routine works for you, stick with it. Thus explains my loyalty to Dermalogica products for the past 10 years.

I've only been made aware of sunscreen when I stepped into the Australian summer. My first sunscreen is Dermalogica's Ultra Sensitive Faceblock (SPF 25). I loved that it was so creamy and that it was slightly tinted to help even out my skin tone. I'm still using that sunscreen occasionally but with only SPF25, I'm always on the hunt for something better and of a higher protection factor. I'd previously tried out Kanebo's Freshel line but was hugely disappointed with the white residue.

Which is why I did not hold much hopes up for this particular sunscreen when I bought it on a whim.

However, much to my surprise, this little bottle delivered what it promised! The colour, texture and scent is almost identical to that of Kanebo's: Milky-white, liquid and the typical sunscreen scent. The only slight difference is that the scent in this is quite strong that it pierces the nose. However, moments after application, the scent would have all but disappeared.

As with most liquid-base sunscreen, together with the liquid is a tiny little metal marble which is used to mix components up before application. Thus, the instructions would advise for users to give the bottle a quick shake before dispensing the products.

What I absolutely love about this sunscreen is that there is simply no white residue! And, given that it's of such high spf, I thought I'd end up with emphasized dark eye circles, marked difference between face and neck and the usual works. I've made it a point even to apply sunscreen when I'm at home and I do tend to reapply by middle of the day. Even with re-application, there is no white residue.

Other plus points to this sunscreen is that it doesn't break my face out. Although having said that, I do notice that my fingers tend to be a little bit oily after application, so I wouldn't call this an oil-free sunscreen. For those with sensitive skin, proceed with caution. I'm just thankful that my skin doesn't react to it.

One last plus point would the price, of course. It costs less than RM20 for a 30ml bottle when I got this at Guardian. It was on sale so, it makes sense to stock up on this if this would be a staple in my skincare cabinet.

So, yes, definitely a re-purchase and yes, can't wait to finish using up Kanebo's sunscreen to stock up more on this.

Fun fact: Years ago, when I was about 12 or 13, Biore was one of the first few cleansers and facial exfoliators I tried out.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sephora Blockbuster Palette

According to the Sephora website, this triple-tiered palette for eyes, face and lips contain 64 shadows, 32 lip colours, 7 cheek colours, 1 shimmer powder, 4 double-ended shadow applicators and 2 lip brushes.

Image from

Is this THE perfect holiday gift for the beauty junkie? This one says no. Sephora's Blockbuster Palette presents a breathtaking sight, but I would be pretty upset if I found this in my Christmas stocking. I would not be able to justify ANY makeup purchases for the rest of the year (or... MY LIFE!), nor would I use every shade in the palette, which is quite wasteful. Finally, a makeup collection or traincase should be lovingly, carefully assembled over time after much research, discussion and agonizing so it contains the best brands and products for the owner!

In any case, the Blockbuster Palette could be a good gift for someone who does not own a scrap of makeup and does not particularly care but should, because, oh honey, we're not getting any younger, are we?

At US$48 a palette, it's quite a steal. Available in stores and online at

Friday, October 26, 2007

Review: Blinc Kiss Me mascara in black

Blinc Kiss Me mascara professes to form tiny 'tubes' around the lashes instead of coating them with a layer of paint like conventional, oil-based mascaras, 'tubes' that slide off with a little bit of warm water and pressure. I purchased the mascara from a beauty boutique here in San Jose last Sunday and promptly put it to the test.

The Kiss Me mascara comes in a maroon tin container, which is a bit of a novelty, but like all novelties, rather unnecessary. While I do not see the point of keeping the tin container, I cannot bear to toss it out like a common cardboard box.

Although the Kiss Me mascara originated from Japan, the land of kook and innovation, the slogan on the tube--"STOP painting your lashes... TUBE them!"--is most American. No real surprises there, since Blinc is a privately-owned company based in Delaware.

This mascara's unique formulation promises no flakes, smudges or clumps, and while my own experience has proven this to be quite true, I haven't exactly run a marathon, dived for pearls or cried over the fate of unborn children to REALLY test it. Although the website claims that the Kiss Me mascara will add volume and length to my lashes, the sales assistant was more more honest, or experienced. The mascara really just adds length, he said. Volume may just be achieved with a ten-coat application or if I prepped my lashes with the Kiss Me lash primer. True to his words, this mascara did a good job in defining, darkening and extending my lashes but did nothing to add volume even after 3 coats.

But now, for the fun part! The Kiss Me mascara is a CINCH to remove. After dissolving the rest of my makeup with my trusty Shu Uemura beauty cleansing oil, I step into the shower and let the warm droplets hit my face. I then place my index fingers at the base of my lashes and gently push the tubes off, removing every little bit of mascara within seconds. It really cannot get easier than that! This is what the 'tubes' will look like. They're more like string, aren't they?

Maybe it looks a little gross to you, but I'm still fascinated by the process despite wearing and removing the mascara for nearly a week. I wish makeup removal was this easy and painless all the time.

Blinc Kiss Me mascara retails for US$25 and comes in five shades - black, dark brown, medium brown, dark blue, dark purple and dark green. It is available for purchase online on and Amazon.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Travelling and the Beauty Junkie.

I recently made a 15 hour trans-Pacific journey to the United States by plane, and as you all know, long-haul flights to this part of the world can be hellish for a beauty junkie. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations stipulate that anything remotely liquid or gel-like, such as lip gloss and moisturizer, may not carried on board in containers exceeding 3 oz or 90ml, and all of these have to be placed in a single quart-sized ziploc bag. I chafed against these rules when they were first announced, but I have come to appreciate them as my carry-on bag has since become significantly lighter. I used to pack full-sized toiletries and a whole makeup bag into my carry-on in addition to two paperbacks, an ipod, cellphone, water bottle, pashmina, travel wallet, purse, pencil case, several notebooks... no wonder I regularly ended a journey with a sore back!

While makeup essentials such as blush and lipstick that prevent one from looking like death warmed over after a long flight are no longer an issue, cleansing and moisturizing treatments are. Fortunately, travel-sized items and miniature gift-with-purchase (GWP) novelties abound, and they are especially easy to obtain in Asian air transportation hubs in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul and Japan. While I've yet to experience the last two, cosmetics-shopping in Hong Kong and Taipei is great fun as the shops carry brands like Jurlique, Shu Uemura and La Prairie. I never mind layovers in these airports as I'm able to pick up a couple of hard-to-get items at much lower prices. This time round in Taipei, I purchased my favourite Shiseido Anessa SPF50 sunscreen and the Chanel Sublimage eye cream that was US$40 cheaper than those sold in department stores. Unfortunately, due to the no-liquids rule, my purchases were sealed in a plastic bag with a warning not to open it until I had reached my final destination in the U.S. I also spotted (but sigh, passed up) an adorable pink-themed Shu Uemura set containing a beauty oil cleanser and rose-scented depsea water spritz in travel-friendly sizes as well as 2 full-sized eye shadows in pink and black. While they would have been perfect, I was determined to use what I had packed into my ziploc baggie, which included:
  • Single-use, sample-sized sachets of Aesop's Primrose Facial Cleansing Masque, Oil-Free Facial Hydrating Serum and Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Eye Serum. Yes, I used a mask instead of a facial cleanser in an airport bathroom (to great effect, might I add) because I procrastinated and forgot to stock up on Cetaphil and facial cleansing wipes before my trip.
  • Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel
  • SK II Signs Eye Mask
  • Travel-sized L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream
  • Shu Uemura eyebrow pencil
  • Chanel Inimitable mascara in black
  • C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Tint in red
  • Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in #2
  • Travel-sized apple mint toothpaste
  • Tiger Balm
Now, even if TSA decides that travel-sized toiletries were too huge a risk and bans them completely, we could possibly live with it as long as we could keep ourselves hydrated during the flight by drinking several litres of water, right? Unfortunately, what applies to your facial cleanser applies to your water bottle as well - no bigger than 3 oz and placed in a quart-sized ziploc bag. Granted, the air hostess will come around periodically with her tray of drinks, but this is hardly an effective way to keep our skin cells plump and hydrated during an hours-long flight. Also, come ON - 90ml of water? A mug or glass of water usually contains around 250ml! What I do to get around this limitation is to actually bring an empty 500ml or 1 litre bottle on board, and get it filled as soon as I can once I'm on the plane. Now that I've written this down, I'm afraid I have doomed empty water bottles to a senseless banning.

Well, until then, happy travelling, beauty junkies!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

First Attempt for Dark Nails

This Fall/Winter season calls for short, dark nails in multiple hues of reds, wines and rich greys as seen from Chanel.

Speaking of Chanel, they do the most deliciously-dark matte black polish. Retailing for a whopping RM70 per bottle, this unemployed had to find another solution. Fast!

That's where your local Watsons came to save the day. Silkygirl does a black that's called Jet Black that is rather similar to the one from Chanel that I'd been coveting. Look, I'm a novice with dark nails. There's absolutely no reason why I should be spending so much on a nail polish. A good base and top coat, yes, but not yet, for nail polishes.

And, stealing Shryh's idea of displaying both the results of the nails as well as the bottle, here's my very first attempt.

It's a lot of work waiting for each layer to dry before another one is painted on. What with trying not to go over the edge and paint the skin, trying to leave the cuticles unpainted, it's a major pain in the ass! With dark polish, I've been told to stick to short nails for a chic look. Any longer, you'd be going for the vampish, Halloween look.

I still love the effects, though. The hard work paid off and I'd love to have a navy blue and a shimmery plum colour next.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

New Goodies From Benefit

Browsing beauty websites is one of my favourite hobbies. It's like window shopping. All from the comforts of my room. And, Benefit cosmetics always has one of the most fun stuff. Quirky names, pretty packaging, they all seem to beckon at me from across the oceans.

One of the first few stuff which I came across was a set of brushes. Or, I should say one of the first few things which caught my eye since brushes are always interesting. This set contains 4 brushes, from its description: the powder brush, fluff brush, hard angle brush, and the talent brush.

I would think the fluff brush would be your regular large eyeshadow brush. The hard angle brush (last brush on the right depicted below) can be used for filling in the eyebrows and finally, the much-talked about talent brush (2nd last brush from right below) is multi-use. I imagine it would be suitable for a cream eyeshadow and even for undereye concealer! I wouldn't dream of using this to correct spots because it's just too wide for precision.

This set goes for USD$44.00.

Justine Case, a twist to the popular phrase just-in-case is a set made up of miniatures of Benetint, eyecon, california Kissin' and Some Kind-a Gorgeous in a pan. I would think this would be a good chance for those who have been dying to want to try some of these products. Benetint has received its fair share of good (and lousy!) reviews but you'd never know if it'll work on you until you've tried. eyecon is their eye cream which is touted to reduce dark circles but having tried an entire tub, I can safely say that it does not work. Well, that's the thing with dark circles. You cannot simply eliminate them with products. Trust me on this. California kissin' is a blue-tinted lipgloss which is supposed to make teeth look whiter. Well, it is true that a red lipstick with a hint of blue would make lips whiter but I still could not justify spending so much on a lip gloss. According to some complaints in forums, Some Kind-a Gorgeous is too expensive to be used solely as a foundation. You'd see the bottom of the pan in no time. Well, like I'd said, you wouldn't know until you've tried it.

This cute little palette retails for USD$30.00

Grabbing all the favourites from their range of products, Best of Benefit: Iconic Classics consists of Dr.Feelgood - a balm and/or primer for the face, Benetint and Badgal Lash mascara. These products are all packed up in a pretty little paper box and ready to be given away (or kept for yourself). Other than Dr.Feelgood, I can't say for how good the rest of the products are. I am actually rather disappointed with Dr.Feelgood. It made me break out at the oddest places! The little spots would pop out at the little crevices at the sides of my nose. Between the nose and the cheek. Just one or two. I've completely given that up. But, having said that, I've still not learnt my lesson and would, every now and then give it a go, just in case, I've gotten over the reaction.

This pink package retails for a whopping USD$58.00

Finally, a little gift set they've dubbed Best of Benefit: Beauty Bag Essentials consists of Dallas the bronzer, Badgal Lash mascara as well as eye bright, a pink pencil to be used to brighten up the eye area.

This retails for USD$46.00.

I've always loved stuff from Benefit, but somehow, I was just not inclined to buy anything this time round. Maybe the phase for Benefit has finally passed.

Note that this is not in any way sponsored by Benefit. I just think that their products are cute and are worth sharing. I shall not be held responsible for any spending sprees going out of control.

Being Frugal

As a Dior Club member, I was given a tiny little gift on my birthday. And, when I say tiny, I really do mean tiny.

As I stared at the tiny little tube in my hands, I thought wryly to myself, "Is Dior being funny or sarcastic about giving me an anti-ageing eye cream as I get a year older?"

Yep, on one hand I was glad that I got another 2ml of the Capture R60/80 eye cream. On the other, I couldn't help but think of how apt or how "thoughtful" they were being.

Well, 2ml of eye cream is really not a lot but considering how little we use each time, I think 2ml was more than sufficient. Until I got tired of squeezing every tiny drop out. My fingers would hurt and I would struggle to balance between squeezing the tube and popping a finger to 'receive' the cream out from the tube. As much as I loved the hygiene that's presented with a squeeze-tube, I hate that it's so hard to not to waste expensive products like that.

So, I rooted around for a small clean travel-sized container I seem to have a lot of. I found one and proceeded to chop my tube of eye cream into 3 pieces. The tip, the middle part and the flat bit at the end. When I purchased the full-sized Dior eye cream, I was given a spoon as well. For the same hygienic purpose, I would presume. Using that spoon, I scooped every bit out from the 3 bits of the tube. It was highly-satisfying to see that not a single drop of product was wasted.

I repeated the same thing this evening with my trusty Olay Total Effects serum. However, this time, it was much, much harder. This is where your other half came in handy! Once again, I rooted around for yet another clean travel-sized container. And, I saw that it was the last travel-sized container I have. Thankfully, nothing is running out yet. Armed with his trusty Swiss army knife, he chopped the Olay bottle into half and once again, I scooped everything out.

With the eye cream, I think there was enough of product to last me for a good couple of months! Imagine how much product there is left in the tube had I just tossed it away! With the serum, it was good for another extra week at most, but, it's still a lot of product left behind!

For a change, I wish manufacturers would come up with bottles and tubes that would allow us to use up every single drop. It's not just that I'm a miser (yes, I can be when it comes to beauty products) but it's also, I think, the responsible thing to do.

Now, if only there was a way for me to open up my Olay Total Effects moisturizer!

Dior Warehouse Sale

One word: Meh.

Held at the basement carpark (B1) of Menara Milenium, Jen and I caught glimpse of it the moment we entered the parking lot in search of a spot. It was tiny. And dingy. Sort of.

I was thankful that I came prepared. I knew events like these would not allow for handbags to be brought in so I stuffed cash, IDs, credit cards and my mobile phone into my pockets and walked in. I was right.

The guard eyed us warily in search of a handbag. There was a cashier on one end of the room and then tables were fashioned into a long 'L' shape following the length and width of the room. Products on sale were mostly the regular stuff. If you're after a limited edition palette you missed out, sorry to say you'd have your hopes completely dashed.

The first few tables were Dior body products which I skipped entirely. Then it was the Dior whitening range but I was not interested. Their Prestige range was on sale as well but I'd never be able to afford it so I moved on. Lip products were really cheap.

All lip products (glosses and lipsticks) were going for RM40 each or RM70 for 2. There was only one green and one pink shade of gloss from the Diorshow gloss range. There was a green Dior Kiss gloss but I was not interested. They had some of the older Dior Addict (not Dior Addict 2) range which was not too bad. Dior Rouge was there as well. This, I can vouch that it's very cheap. Your regular Dior Kiss gloss would be RM68, Dior Rouge would be above RM80 and Dior Addict would be close to RM80.

For eye makeup, the older single shadows were on sale for RM30 each. They had quintets from previous seasons as well. One of my favourites- Stylish Move (970) was on sale for RM70. There were a few other quintets but I cannot remember the names nor colour code. Grabbing a quintet would save you by more than 100 bucks because each one currently retails for RM178.

Moving along would be face products: blush and foundation (liquid and powder). They had the regular rectangular pan blush which I was not really interested. Dandelion has served me fine and it shall continue to do so until I decide it's too young for me. Diorshow blush is one of the cutest things I've ever seen and I've really liked it from afar for a long time. Retailing for RM132, it goes for only RM60 at the sale. Unfortunately, there was only ONE colour on sale and the colour would turn my cheeks bright orange.

Diorskin Flash was going cheap as well at RM60 a pen. I can't remember the current retail price.

I do like Dior foundations because they are completely lightweight. But there were not enough of colour selections and I wouldn't dream of buying foundation in that kind of lighting, no matter how cheap it is. One good thing about this event was that there were no sales assistants hovering over you. No one was trying to push products. They would give suggestions or help when asked but other times, they just stand around and wait for you to make the first move. At the foundation counter, one of the girls tried to sell her foundation on me. She picked around for what she thinks is the correct colour (I would think it is the correct colour too) and tried it on my hand. I politely declined citing of my complete sloth-like attitude when it comes to foundations.

Curiosity got the better of her, "So, do you use anything? Compact powder? Loose powder? Compact foundation?"

Errr.... nothing. Only sunscreen, actually.

She took a careful glance at my skin and conceded to keeping away the testers,"Oh. Yeah, you're right. Lucky you, then. You've got good skin."

I replied my thanks with a beaming smile. I mean, who wouldn't be pleased at hearing that?

THIS is the kind of attitude that Malaysian sales assistants need to learn! To know when to back off and to know when to try and prod a sale along! Last lot of makeup products were brushes. A complete brush set goes for RM280 with a casing but I've already got a pretty good brush set so I gave that a pass. They've also got the concealer brush going for RM40. I can vouch for the brush set that it's a good investment. I've played with them at the regular counters and I love how soft they were. And, they are not usually for sale. I've seen that it's on sale at either Jusco or Metro at MidValley but that's about it. So, if brushes are what you need, I would say, go for it.

Following tables were filled with fragrances. The usual Dior Addict 2, Dior Addict Shine, Dior Addict 2 Peonies were there. Then, their older Poison and Pure Poison sets were available as well. Jen was rather taken in by the Dior Homme fragrance. When I first gave him a sample, he exclaimed loudly,"UNCLE SCENT!" However, having tried that a couple of times more, he found that he quite liked it. It was going for RM90 for a 30ml bottle. I gave him a Baldeserrini last Christmas and it's not even half-used, so I suggested he should give this a miss. He was a bit upset that he didn't manage to get anything but, really, at the rate he uses fragrances, I should be getting him 10ml bottles next!

By the time we were about to leave, the crowd had started to come in. Office workers who had finished work by 5-ish started to stream in and I was right: Events like these are vicious! I was still at the lipstick table with Jen when these 2 women with their backpacks pushed their way in. I was in a relatively good mood or I would've elbowed them. Jen left to make way for me as I continued browsing.

Quite a number of men were there as well. One of them wanted a Diorisime but was told that they don't have it. Like I'd said, it was pretty small and products on sale were from their regular range. I could see only the Dior Addict 2 Peonies to be from the limited edition range. Another man was walking up and down all the while describing each product to his other half, I would presume. It was kinda hilarious. So, Boss, don't be afraid of going there without HY, yeah?

I guess my only peeve were the LABELS. Dear Lord, the labels! Sales assistants had merely torn off lids of cardboard boxes and scrawled names of products and prices, then propping them up. Imagine seeing luxury makeup products being labelled with a cardboard box! My instant reaction, "Aiyoh!!!" It's like wearing a vintage Chanel gown and pairing that with RM3 flip-flops from pasar malam.

It was an eye-opening experience, I would say. Because they had quite little products, the crowd was thin, which was something that I like. If other warehouse sales were this simple and straightforward, I think I would attend more.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Review: Kanebo Freshel White C

In the recent trip to the very fabulous beach resort, I was very well-armed with enough of sunscreen to protect a small nation. I was left with not many choices given the tight budget of an unemployed. One of the many that I bought was this. I'm still rather undecided about this but at least it didn't break me out into a million spots. So, that's one good thing! The other one I contemplated upon and something that was highly-regarded by quite a number of bloggers: The L'oreal sunscreen with Mexoryl. Reviews that it could clog pores was the only reason why I returned the box to the shelf.

Colour: White. Milky-white, I must say. I thought the white would disappear upon application but unfortunately, it left me with a pasty-white face. The kind where it emphasizes my dark circles and makes my face much, much whiter than my neck.

Scent: It's the typical sunscreen scent. Not unpleasant but it disappeared after a while and it's completely unoffensive.

Waterproof/Long lasting: While at Pangkor Laut, the one thing I did maniacally was to re-apply sunscreen throughout the day. I didn't do much proper swimming but I definitely re-applied after every couple of hours or so while in the outdoors.

Texture: This is what I liked about this sunscreen. It's liquid and it goes on easily.

Usability: The Australian Cancer Council has a very cute catchphrase to educate the public on the importance of protecting themselves against the sun. Slip-Slop-Slap - slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat. It's really that easy when it comes to sunscreen. Slop. Give the bottle a quick shake and then I dot 3 dots on my fingers on one hand, dab them on the other 3 fingers and spread all over my face. If I want to use makeup, it'll be a little bit of mineral foundation over and so on.

Packaging: A small bottle which can fit easily into any handbag.

Price: RM35.90 for 28ml. I suppose it's not that expensive and this is easily found in Guardian and Watson's.

Overall: It's a pretty good and basic sunscreen because it did what it's supposed to do. What irked me was the white residue that's left on my face upon application. Although it's almost every Asian girl to yearn to be fair and white, I yearn to be fair naturally. Not by some white pasty residue that's left behind by some sunscreen. Having said that. I might repurchase seeing how affordable it is. I'll have to live with the pasty white by compensating with makeup and some colours. Being unemployed, it's highly important to find something that not only works and good for you. The price has got to be right too. Seeing I would arrive smack in the hot, sultry Australian summer, there's a chance I might just go nuts and stock up on this for when I get there. I'm the kind who wears sunscreen in the dead of winter, so, there's no chance that this will ever go to waste.

I'd say give this a go because hey, for RM35.90, really, you've got nothing to lose.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

MAC nail lacquer: Whirlwind

With flash:

Without flash:

Whirlwind is one of the two shades of nail lacquer from MAC's Blue Storm collection. The website describes Whirlwind as "metallic royal blue with green, blue and purple pearl" in a frost finish. This could very well be true, but that's one confusing description if anything. Looking at my nails, all I can see is dark metallic blue-green. I love the colour, which goes incredibly well with my skin tone, and in the off chance that the prayer whispered into the internet abyss will be heard by Roland Mouret, I would love a Galaxy dress in this hue.

Friday, August 31, 2007

MAC nail lacquer: Wildfire

I have been very, very bad this month and I will be bad for the rest of the year until the Alexander McQueen for MAC collection at the very least. After I failed to find a blouse I liked enough to purchase during my lunch break, I consoled myself with a bottle of MAC nail lacquer in wildfire (black with red pearl) from the Smoke Signals collection. It looked so pretty in the bottle I bought it without even testing it, which almost turned out to be a tragedy. The first layer went on sheer, and I nearly cried with disappointment because I was promised a cream formulation. But a second coat transformed my nails and gave them a gorgeous black-purply sheen that was surprisingly more purple than black.

With flash, which shows off the colour and finish better.

Without flash.

Apologies for the bad pictures - they were taken in a hurry. Also, as these were taken on the third day of application, there is slight tip wear. Funny how one doesn't notice how much we use our fingers until one gets a manicure or applies a new coat of polish.

Wedding beauty.

Long story short - our lovely g33kchic got married to her sweetheart of 7 years on 25 August 2007. I went over to her house early in the morning to watch her get her makeup done. Many brides from our hometown go the whole hog on their special day - renting 3, 4 outfits for the day and hiring makeup artists to transform them into unrecognizable glamourpusses. Consequently, they look amazing in studio photos, but pictures taken by their guests inevitably reveal the caked on foundation that is 3 shades too light for their complexions.

g33kchic's attitude, which I share, is that the bride should look like herself on her wedding day, but look her absolute best. She thus opted for a neutral palette of shimmery nudes and browns carefully selected to include her favourites and 'holy grails' from her makeup collection.

All that a bride needs - I'm referring to the coffee, of course. ;)

Makeup checklist - brides usually tuck blotters, gloss into a small pouch the bridesmaid carries. Our g33kchic brought this bag, which was the size of a small football!

Eyeshadow - Dior 5 shadow palette in Frosted Earth(limited edition)

Bride's holy grail blush - Benefit's dandelion

Nail lacquer - Chanel's Pink Satin. I thought this would be prettier than a picture of the bottle itself.

Other items used - Laura Mercier primer, false eyelashes, Bobbi Brown Stonewashed Nudes shadow palette, which was used for contouring!

By the time she donned her veil and gown before leaving for the church, she was truly a vision in white.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Review on Bobbi Brown’s Stonewashed Nudes Palette

As stated previously, I absolutely need to get used to wearing nudes and browns with the slightest hint of shimmer for a corporate boardroom look. Women I see walking along Collins St in Melbourne all sport nudes and browns while in their corporate suits. I suppose it's about time I get used to seeing natural colours on my eyes. Thus, the reason this palette was acquired. Of course, having seen how Shryh manages her Vincent Longo so prettily, I tried to convince myself I could wear nudes and browns well too. I was not disappointed.

Colours: 7 colours in the palette.
Navajo is a matte beige wash which is similar to the best-selling shadow from Bobbi Brown, Bone. This colour, when applied onto my lids hardly showed but it is good enough as an all-over base colour. As a highlighter, it's very disappointing. When highlighting the brow bone, I had to root around in my train case for another colour.
Mica is a shimmer wash eye shadow. It is pale brown in colour. Looking at it now, I think this can be used as a blending colour from crease upwards for the smokey effect.
Ash is a shimmer wash as well and this is lighter than the previous colour and I can see myself using this for the inner eyes.
Hot Stone is a matte brown which is similar to my Averine eyeshadow. I've used this successfully from lash line to crease, giving the eyes instant depth with only a hint of colour. Definitely office-friendly.
Stonewash is shimmer wash I used together with Hot Stone today. I used it as a blending colour and to add a bit of shimmer to the entire eye.
Rock is my favourite colour of the entire palette. It's a shimmer wash in grey. For me, this is the easiest way to get the smokey-ish eye effect with one swatch of colour.
Espresso is another matte colour in the palette. It's often used as an eyeliner and I like it just the way it is. My next experiment will bring me to using this not only as an eyeliner but also to use it to smudge the outer eyes.

Texture: All the colours are very sheer making it extremely easy to build upon for a more intense look. I love it that the eyeshadows come in both matte and shimmer allowing us to create almost unlimited different looks. Of course, one needs the skill for; of which I'm sorely lacking in.

Smell: None whatsoever. I like it that way. Somehow it fits the Bobbi Brown image of fuss-free and simplistic makeup.

Waterproof/Long lasting: Unfortunately I've yet to be able to test this feature out properly. With Urban Decay Potion Primer, I doubt any shadow would dare to even crease.

Usability: This palette comes with a double-ended brush. On one end is the soft bristles for the eyeshadows. On the other end is the stiffer one for eyeliner. I love both the brushes and I think Bobbi Brown's done a fabulous job with this eyeliner brush. The previous one I got from them - Ultra fine eye liner brush is quite rubbishy. The bristles are uneven in length making it so difficult to apply the gel eyeliner. The bristles for the eyeshadow is thick and is of the correct size to apply just the right amount of colour to the eye. It took me a while to get used to the shape of the brush for proper application and to know how to angle the brush to the different parts of the eye. But, overall, I would certainly say this is a very usable palette that will bring you from day to night very easily. Slip this into your bag as you head out for the day. For an evening out, simply pick some colours to build upon your existing shadows for a smokey eye effect for a night out. It's also very easy to use and I cannot see how anyone can make a mistake with application. In other words, it's extremely idiot-proof, even for someone like me who shies away from nudes and browns.

Packaging: This comes in a grey brushed metal casing. It feels cool to touch and has a heavy feel to it. I was certainly surprised by this packaging. Most Bobbi Brown products come in a black plastic case. Since this is a limited edition product, I thought it was fitting.

Price: RM190.00 for this palette. Steep? VERY. But, considering how usable it is, and how this would actually be an investment, I would say, it's money well-spent.

Overall: Just get it if you can. You'll have no regrets. It'll garner you the is-she-wearing-eyeshadow-or-is-she-not 2nd looks. Easy to use, great effects and most definitely worth the investment.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


"Why're you stuffing your house keys there? Leave it in the glove compartment, it's safer."
Err... no, you need to send this car for servicing tomorrow and I need to bring it down to your house anyway.

"Put it in the glove compartment, will you?"
No! Drive-lah!


Heh. Heh. Heh.

A prettily-wrapped box in gold with Dior embossed all over greeted me.

Heh. Heh. Heh.

A few days ago, he insisted on getting me something for the wedding. I lusted after the new limited edition palette. While Jen was at Parkson of 1 Utama, he told me the colour shade that I was after was no longer in stock.

I was crushed but he promised me we'd get it from the Dior counter in Ipoh. I suppose I had to live with it.

Little did I know, he visited Jusco of 1 Utama to get it for me.

In exchange for the pretty palette, he got a pair of cuff links which I sneakily bought from Mid Valley the day I met Shryh for lunch. I managed to evade and deny vehemently over the past few days until he threatened he would purchase a new pair for the wedding.

I would say how lucky we, girls are. I mean, how pretty can cuff links get in comparison with this?!

Colour scheme this:

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bobbi Brown Stonewashed Nudes Palette

I try not to buy into the hype of each season's makeup 'must-haves', and when I first caught sight of Bobbi Brown's Stonewashed Nudes eyeshadow palette about a month ago, I wasn't as enamoured with the palette as many other beauty bloggers. But as the end is nigh for my beloved Vincent Longo eyeshadow trio in Easy Rider, and it was the first time in years I've actually finished a pot of eyeshadow. The imminent demise of my pot of Easy Rider helped me to realize that I overwhelmingly prefer a nude-brown eyeshadow combination to wear to work on a daily basis. I considered getting a second pot of Easy Rider, but that would mean delayed gratification as Vincent Longo makeup is not available in Malaysia. Bobbi Brown's Stonewashed Nudes eyeshadow palette, on the other hand, was easily available (albeit for a limited period only), highly coveted and fantastically office-friendly.

Still, it takes a longer time for seasonal collections to hit our shores (O' Flashtronic, wherefore art thou?) and after days of skulking around the standalone Bobbi Brown cosmetics boutique in Mid Valley, my vigilance with rewarded when the palette finally went on display today. A failed shopping trip over the weekend had left me with more cash in the purse than usual, so I bought the palette, encased in taupe brushed metal, instead.

L-R: Navajo, Mica, Ash, Hot Stone, Stonewash, Rock, Espresso

I now have a reason to look forward to the second day of work this week. For now.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Frugal beauty.

Behold, the stubbiness!

And that, boys and girls, is the Shu Uemura eyebrow pencil that I have been using and will continue to use until it disappears, hopefully after I've received my next paycheck.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Genie In A Bottle, or the Urban Decay Primer Potion

I first became aware of Urban Decay cosmetics in my late teens, and I was utterly blown away by the company who dared to name a nail colour 'gangrene'. The brand's twisted, unprissy aesthetics struck a chord with my inner smudgy-eyelinered, torn-fishnet-stockinged alterna-chick. Indeed, Urban Decay was founded in 1996 by a woman who worked for Cisco Systems who was sick of the sea of pink nail polish in the market at the time.

My first over-the-counter makeover was by an Urban Decay sales assistant during the sultry summer of 2000 when I interned at a television news station in Taipei. I left the mall with sparkly blue eyeshadow (Urban Decay does not do 'matte'. For the most part.), sparkly bubblegum pink lips and a small bag containing a tube of the same sparkly bubblegum pink gloss which I promptly gave away to a friend when I returned to college that fall. After a brief flirtation with the Midnight Cowboy eyeshadow - what was a dorky Government major going to do with super-glittery beige eyeshadow? - I sadly concluded that I simply wasn't hardcore or even interesting enough for Urban Decay.

Fast forward to 2007, where I've a bit 'put away' for a rainy day, a tiny disposable income from my day job as a PR drone, and most importantly, a willing if not slightly diffident State-side contact who made Sephora runs on my behalf if I batted my eyelashes hard enough. I was also clocking time on, where while browsing the most highly-rated items on the website, I noticed that the Urban Decay Primer Potion was getting resoundingly positive reviews. Primer Potion fans raved about how eyeshadows stayed fresh from dawn 'til dusk, and I figured that legions of experienced makeup aficionados could not be wrong. I informed g33kchic of the news, and she quickly tapped a travelling co-worker to get her a tube. g33kchic was an instant convert, and I waited for an opportunity to get my own tube.

Now, as the proud owner of a tube, I can tell you in my own words that this stuff works. In true Urban Decay style, the primer comes in a purple tube with a silver cap whose sleek curves would not be out of place on the dresser of a certain 60's television genie. Given the eye makeup of the era, the primer potion might have made Jeannie's toilette a little easier. The primer potion comes with a sponge applicator with which I dab little dots of primer onto my eyelid before smoothing them all over with my ring finger. The 'potion' is a nude formulation that goes on sheer and subtly smooths and evens out the skin around the eye area, creating a base for your eye makeup with a death grip on your shadows. This eye primer pretty much solved the problem I had with migrating eyeshadow, which left me looking like a panda and very much worse for the wear at the end of the work day. In fact, I even use a little bit along my lower lashline, where I like to apply a smidgen of black shadow as liner.

My one and only gripe, and it seems so petty to quibble when this is just magic in a tube (hah, see that?), is that I am unable to gauge how much is left or even how much is in there to begin with. When I pull the wand out of the tube in the morning, I am sometimes unconvinced that the sponge applicator picked up any product at all. Perhaps this is one cosmetic product in which I shall have to have some blind faith.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Beauty Questionnaire

The chic geek tagged me for this, and since my personal blog has been dormant for aeons, I thought I'd post my answers here anyway since it's relevant to this blog!

What Five beauty products could you not live without?
Eyebrow pencil
Mineral foundation - My skin would revolt if I used anything else
Laura Mercier's Secret Concealer #2
C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine in nude
A pair of good tweezers

What’s the worst beauty mistake you’ve made?
Sporting too-thin eyebrows for nearly a year. I didn't mess up, in fact, my friends thought I did a good job in maintaining them and I was called on to deal with a couple of brow emergencies that year. Still, looking at old photos, my brows were way too skinny.

What’s your skincare regime consist of?
Cetaphil or Shu Uemura beauty cleaning oil followed by either Skinceuticals Serum 15 and Hydrating B5 gel (day) or Skinceuticals C E Ferulic and Phyto + (night). I haven't been using sunblock for quite some time, but if I do, it would be Skinceuticals UV Defense SPF 30 or La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50. My current eye treatment is SK II's eye treatment film, which I rate "meh."

Favourite Beauty treat?
Manicures and pedicures for the sheer luxury of having someone else do the dirty work. ;)

What’s your favourite beauty store?
C.O. Bigelow in the West Village for its high-end eclecticism.

Favourite Budget brand?
Hmm, I consider Bourjois mid-range, not budget, but others have listed it here and so shall I.

Favourite Premium brands?
Nars, Chanel, Shu Uemura

And what about Skin Care: Favourite Premium and Budget brands?
Premium: SK II, La Mer; budget: Olay, hands down.

And Hair Care?
Pantene, Sunsilk Long and Strong, Neutrogena clarifying shampoo, Redken All Soft and Japanese camellia oil.

What’s your ’every girl must own one’ item?
Tweezers. Neat brows make ALL the difference.

And finally, best beauty tip?
Drink lots and lots of water.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


In our pursuit for the most perfect mascara (does it even exist?!), both Shryh and I have come across many that have failed us. So much so that it takes no more than 1 use before we decide life is too short crummy mascaras.

I'm listing out, in no particular order, mascaras that have been a complete miss in my life.

1. Mavala Waterproof Mascara in Black

This tube of mascara was bought in Sasa a couple of months back when my stash of HG of mascara was running low. I was so desperate, I was willing to try everything. Though I love the brush, I most absolutely have to say that the waterproof formula is rubbish!

The brush was long and it fits the shape of my eye most perfectly. With the rest of the stubby brushes, I generally have to angle the brush to catch the tiny hairs at the corners of my eyes.

Not with this one. It was long and curved at just the right angle to catch hold of all the tiny hairs with just one sweep.

As for its waterproof formula, getting panda eyes within 3 hours of application is honestly not my idea of waterproof. Having said that, the mascara does not clump at all. It coats each lash pretty evenly but because its failure in keeping my under eyes smudge-free, into the bin it went; save for the brush, of course!

Removing was a cinch, obviously, since most of the mascara had done the migration to my under-eyes.

2. L'oreal Panoramic Curl (Waterproof)

Now, what we have here is really a very queer tube. I don't know what to make of it. The thing is, it is waterproof. But only to a certain extent. It definitely curls, it definitely opens my eyes in a way not many mascaras are able to. I'm just unhappy by the fact that it's not completely waterproof.

And that it was a complete bitch to remove!

Clump factor was there after a few uses so that's another thumbs-down for this.

Into the bin it went, naturally.

So, there we go. I think that marks the end of Mascara Mania on my bit.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Inspired by Shryh: Beauty At Work

Here's what I cart around on a day-to-day basis. Well, on most days, that is.

* Nivea body Whitening Milk but I mainly use this as a hand cream rather than a body lotion. Staying in the tropics has completely freed me from listing body lotion in my shopping list.

* Sunplay Sunscreen in SPF 50+ but unfortunately it's been ages since I'd used this. Maybe, I should to get back that creamy, silky white hands. Quite a lot of trouble. Meh.

* A decant of Ralph Lauren Romance simply because I was wearing Romance today.

* Nars sheer lipstick in Dolce Vita. The Holy Grail of I'm-late-and-what-lipstick-shall-I-wear-today because it works on every single outfit.

* A sample of Dior Diorskin X3 Control Matifying Compact SPF20 because the SA at Dior insisted I tried it. I quite like it and might consider purchasing this when my Shu Uemura runs out. I'd be happier with a pressed powder, honestly. This is good for touching up on those days that I need to head out straight for dinner and drinks after work.

* Dior Mono Colour eyeshadow in Smoking Black because I thought I might need touching up. Silly me! Dior shadows almost never need touching up! I was too busy hunting for a long-nose plier throughout the day, besides. Imagine a rocker chick wannabe running around the office and lab area,"Does anyone have a long nose I can borrow?" No, don't start with nasal jokes. I've had enough! And, this little eyeshadow goes in only because this was also what I was wearing.

* ZA eyebrow pencil in dark brown. This is also good for touching up but my Dior brow pencil in Blonde pretty much lasts through the day and hardly needs any touching up.

* C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine in Pink. From now on, this will always be a staple in my bag because it just goes well with anything and everything. Because it works as a lip balm, lip tint, lip gloss. Because it is tastes so damn good. Because it is like my lip colour but better. Because women who've used it rave on and on about it and for once, I'm glad that I am with the majority!

Smokey Eye: The Lazy Way

2 eyes, or 1 if you're inclined that way
Clean fingers
Small eyeshadow brush
Dark grey or black eyeshadow
Light-coloured eyeshadow in shimmery beige, gold or white
Black mascara

Prime and prep the entire eye area as you normally would. I usually dust on a thin layer of powder foundation and a thin layer of white eyeshadow. Powder foundation from Shu Uemura and eyeshadow from Muji.

The black eyeshadow I chose today was Dior Mono Colour in Smoking Black. I simply apply a layer from lash to crease; increasing the intensity depending on the occasion. It's hardly noticable with my eyes open because of my inherited Chinese swollen lids. Using the small eyeshadow brush, clean up the area of any loose shadows and to make a clean line of the shadow. This will make blending much, much easier.

I used Dior Mono Colour in Ready-to-Beige as a highlighter. First, it was the brow area. Then, I used the highlighter to highlight the inner corners of my eyes and blending it into the black shadow. It creates a shimmery darker grey which contrasts nicely with the black.

Finally, using the liner, do a thin line along the base of the lashes. I went over the line with another thin dusting of the black eyeshadow to blend the line into the shadow.

A couple of coats of mascara to further open up the eyes and I'm all set.

It makes my eyes look more deep-set and adds a quirky twist to the normal sheer pales that I don on.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Perhaps this title might not be that apt. I'm a creature of habit. Upon tumbling out of bed every morning at the clang of my alarm clock, I'd first check how my downloads are going. I'd then be truly awake to think of ideas to overcome the blasted throttled speeds of my download, but that's a story for another blog at another time.

I gulp down a small bottle of water to further wake me up. Then, it's a splash of cold water on my face to wake me up completely.

My cleansing, moisturizing and painting my face includes:

Dermalogica Ultra-Calming Cleanser
Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner
Eye Gel:
Olay Total Effects Eye Gel
Olay Total Effects Serum
Olay Total Effects Moisturizer SPF15
Dermalogica Ultra-Sensitive Faceblock SPF25

The list above is generally the SAME on all days. With skincare, I stick to what works for me and refuse to change nor budge. As for makeup, now, that's a totally different story!

Borjuis Multi Shimmer Loose Eye Shadow in Rose 03
Corners smudged with dark brown shadow from Averine
Dior Powder Eyebrow Pencil in Blonde
Curled with Shu Uemura curlers
Max Factor 2000 Calorie
Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in 1

Benefit Dandelion

Nars Dolce Vita
Bigelow Mentha Lip Tint in Pink

Dior Addict 2

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Max Factor 2000 Calorie Curved Brush Mascara

Shryh says: I'm not sure what I love more, beauty products or learning about beauty products. Before I make a purchase, I like to research the chosen item to DEATH, which really just entails reading the beauty sections of various magazines to see what is generating buzz and being adored by editors and makeup artists. I find this especially true of my mascara purchases because mascaras can be tricky to buy - I can blend shadows, foundations, blush on the back of my hand, but I'll be damned before I bring the common mascara tester within a whisker of my mucous membranes. I hear that's how you get mad cow disease.

The Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara is one such mascara that gets a LOT of press, and I have been meaning to try it since I picked up my first copy of Teen magazine in 1994. But I didn't get to wear makeup until I was in college, and when I did, it was so infrequent that I never ventured beyond Maybelline Great Lash and Lancome Definicils. My opportunity came only recently, years after I'd left Smith, when g33kchic heroically relinquished her LAST TUBE of 2000 Calorie Curved Brush Mascara in Rich Black which, like the Great Lash, IS NOT AVAILABLE IN MALAYSIA, just so I could sample her Holy Grail mascara.

The 2000 Calorie mascara lives up to its name. The first coat alone caused my lashes to gain like, ohmigahd, 10 pounds, even after I'd blotted the brush on a piece of tissue. What it lacked in lengthening it made up for in fatten- I mean, volumizing, and after a couple of coats, there was hardly any need for eyeliner. I like to apply 2 to 3 coats for a sooty, slightly clumpy look when I'm feeling particularly dramatic. Of all the mascaras I've tried in recent years, this is one that smudged less easily, a major plus in my books.

However, I continue my quest for my Holy Grail mascara. The 2000 Calorie fails me on two accounts: one, it uncurls my curled lashes; two, the curved brush is a little unwieldy for someone as clumsy as I. Every time I use this mascara, the brush inevitably collides with my undereye area. I currently favour smaller brushes, but perhaps if I did more soldering in my job like g33kchic instead of writing propaganda, I might be able to manipulate the brush with greater dexterity.

Image source:

Le Geeque says
: It's a simple straightforward one for me. Being a regular on gives me lots of opportunities to have a peek into a wider world of makeup. So much more compared to the miserly range we have here in Malaysia.

2000 Calorie became my HOLY GRAIL of mascara when I found that it not only gave me so much more OOMPH to my lashes. Like Shryh, its one redeeming factor for me would be that it does not smudge. At all. It's completely tear-proof. There have been many unfortunate moments when work and people around let me down driving me to succumb to tears.

But, never this mascara. No matter how bad the world is, this small little tube stays true to its nature. Despite the creamiest undereye concealer I subject it to, it remains steadfast to my lashes and completely transfer-free.

Like Shryh, too, I'm very conscientious about the application of mascara. I blot like a mad woman, apply, blot and brush my lashes through to get rid of excess to minimize smudges. The only time when this smudges, I know it's time to toss the tube out. About its 3 month limit.

Although I'm always on the constant hunt for a better mascara, I'm really thankful that no matter how the rest of the mascaras fail me, I know, deep in my makeup bag, 2000 Calorie is always faithfully awaiting my return.

Lashes are like hair. It's different from one person to another. A mascara which works on Shryh might not work on me and vice versa. Which is why, I get completely different results compared to Shryh. For my lashes, this mascara holds the curl pretty well and it lengthens pretty well as well.

Another major plus point for this mascara is that it comes off rather easily on a makeup remover towelette. A simple dab onto the eye area, the mascara is removed. To ensure the makeup is removed properly, I use an eye makeup remover to completely remove all traces though this is hardly necessary.

Long live 2000 Calorie!

Beauty at work.

Top row (L-R): Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, Clarins hand cream, Hermes Eau des Merveilles travel spray, L'Occitane holiday gift set (containing mini hand cream, shea butter and soap, regular-sized lipbalm), Mac lip lustre in Supernova (Secret Santa gift. "This is very you!" I'm a pink, sparkly person all right), Shu Uemura lipgloss in a shimmery brown.
Bottom row (L-R): C.O. Bigelow Mentha lip shine in nude and red, VERY OLD Nars sheer lipstick in Dolce Vita, Chanel Rouge Allure in Temptation.

This is a combination of what is on my desk and what I carry in my shoulder bag. It's all about keeping my ageing skin hydrated in the Arctic environment of my office.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dior Blackout

An outing with Shryh is not only educational, it's hugely fun! Filled with coffees, delicious healthy lunches, latest office scandals, latest news on puppies and wedding and most importantly, makeup testing!

At KLCC today, there was a huge space set aside for the launching of the latest black, black, black, black SUPER BLACK Dior mascara. Now, for those who know, my past experiences with Dior mascaras, particularly the hugely-raved upon Diorshow have left me completely wary of their products.

Don't get me wrong. I love their glosses. I love their eyeshadows. I think their perfumes are excellent but I simply cannot say the same about their mascaras. This is another mascara I would thumb my nose at and go,"Water proof, my arse!"

We decided to check out the Dior launching while the crowd hasn't yet turn KLCC a madhouse.

We were immediately greeted by a throng of sales folks all clad in black and waving scent strips of Miss Dior Cherie. I was quite stunned that they are pushing this pretty old scent. Making a beeline to the mascara display, Shryh promptly unscrewed the tube and we both went,

"Fat brush! Interesting!"

First criteria for any mascara to go onto our lashes would be waterproof. The salesgirl insisted that it was smudgeproof and it would absolutely NOT budge unless we rub our eyes.

Shryh was more polite because I rolled my eyes in my head thinking,"I don't buhlerdee rub my eyes because I wear contact lenses." Besides that I could not help but retaliate,

"Oh, trust us, smudgeproof would still smudge on us. We've tried enough of mascaras!"

Nevertheless, I allowed her to comb my lashes through a few times. The results were nothing short of astonishing.

True to its name, the mascara was jet black. However, I really wished she was more conscientious about applying the mascara like we would normally. Blot the wand, apply, blot and another comb through.

It most definitely did give the volumnizing effect. However, I absolutely hated the clumped effects. Maybe the spiky-lash look is in. But I'm not one who follows after trends blindly. I just need one which lengthens, volumnizes and thickens.

Blackout does all of the above. And more.

So, 30 minutes after the application of Blackout, I started to get the tiniest hints of smudges. Another 30 minutes, I was officially a spokesperson for Panda Org.

Not only did I have to remove every single trace of the smudge, my undereye concealer had to be removed as well.

By the time I had gotten home, I peered like a maniac into the mirror and found not only more smudges (which proves one more thing: this damn thing smudges even without undereye concealer, so, Shryh, this is not just our concealer at fault. This is a whole tube of crapola!), I found tiny black FLAKES!

Smudges is one thing. But, FLAKES?! Flakes is a whole new different thing altogether! Flakes is most definitely a no-no.

So, this little tube of crapola not only smudges, it flakes! And, it costs about 5 times more than a tube of Maybelline Great Lash. You do the math, you do the logic and you tell us.

I think what irked Shryh and I more is not so much that this tube is such a piece of crap. It's more of how the salesfolks decided to push this out to us. Her insistence that it's smudgeproof on everyone was indeed laughable.

And, she ought to have taken our word for it when we said we'd tested enough of mascaras to show our skeptism at the word of "smudgeproof". That's simply the reason why Dior of Parkson lost a customer to Dior of Isetan. At least the girl at Isetan was polite, friendly and most definitely honest.

Conclusion: This newly-launched tube costs RM90-ish and is most definitely not worth your money. I'm a huge Dior fan but I'm also a very practical girl. Give this a miss and your life would be a whole lot better. Unless, of course, you've got a position with Panda Org!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Maybelline Great Lash (Waterproof) : Test 3

The most crucial and critical of all tests. Did Great Lash shiver and tremble with great trepidation as I picked it up from my dresser this morning? It simply has to pass this test in order for it to replace Max Factor Calorie 2000 as my Holy Grail of mascaras. The look I chose on today would be the look I choose on most days. Simple, under-stated, natural, completely free of foundation.

Test Conditions:
Undereye area concealed with my Holy Grail of concealers. The Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in 1. The area is further set with powder foundation. I'm told powder would prevent smudges. Lashes are crimped lightly once with the Shu Uemura curler.

This third day of using Great Lash, I am noticing a pattern. The tip of the brush is always overloaded with mascara. That would be where I'd dab onto the piece of tissue today. There was not much "excess" on the bristles itself so I left them alone. I applied about 3 coats of mascara onto each set of lashes. I still love that it coats each lash relatively well and they are still clump-free! Perhaps, it's due to the fact that the bristles are so widely set-apart.

Much to my dismay, by 10am, merely 3 hours of application of Great Lash, I see slight hints of smudges on my undereye. As the day progresses, I maniacally checked my undereyes. Smudges grew more and more. By lunch time, I decided to dab on another thin layer of powder to hide the smudges. These lasted me all the way until it was time to go home. By the time I got home, although the smudges are relatively-few, I'm still rather disappointed. Especially having seen completely smudge-free undereyes for the past few days! Especially having seen completely smudge-free undereyes from Calorie 2000.

It would be totally unfair to blame it on Great Lash. I would have absolutely no choice but to say that my Holy Grail of concealer would be at fault too. Its known for its high-pigmentation, high-emollient factor. However, if Calorie 2000 was able to withstand it, I absolutely could not be blamed for putting such high hopes on Great Lash!

Having said that, I would still recommend this mascara to first-timers out there. It's quite a brilliant basic mascara for lengthening, for coating each lash evenly, yes, even for its smudge-free factor. If you're out for a mascara to carry you through in a normal day, this would be the mascara for you. Good news, no?

Well, here comes the bomb of bad news. It's not available in Malaysia. If you can get someone to get it for you from the US or Australia or maybe even Singapore or Thailand carries it, then you might be able to test this out for yourself.

For now, I'd say it's still a relatively good mascara. Definitely affordable, definitely works if you don't have oily skin and most definitely understandable why it is a Holy Grail with so many around the world. Personally, I would still keep a tube of this as a backup: Realizing my 3-month expiry on my HG mascara is due with no backup tubes, Great Lash would be something I'd whip out to tie me over until I purchase a replacement Calorie 2000.

On a last note, having the same mascara will not produce identical results on every single individual. Other factors to prevent raccoon eyes would be oiliness of lids and undereye areas and condition of lashes since everyone has different type of lashes.

This has been the utmost fun "experiment" I'd done in a long time! I might even carry it a bit further and test it by setting my undereye with Bare Escentuals mineral foundation tomorrow.

Again, watch this space!

Maybelline Great Lash (Waterproof) : Test 2

After the great success I had with Great Lash in the previous test, I absolutely had to subject it to more stringent tests. After sharing my success with Shryh, to my dismay (and hers!), she had absolutely no success at all with Great Lash. Like me, she subjected the tube of 'wonder' to many different types of test conditions and in every single condition, the verdict is a flat thumbs-down, big, fat, NO. So, here's what I found out today.

Test Conditions:
A thin layer of liquid foundation for an even complexion. Light dabbing of powder foundation on the undereye to set the foundation. The rest of the face is left as-is to give it a dewy, natural look. Lashes are crimped lightly with Shu Uemura's eyelash curler. I note that this thin layer of liquid foundation and a light dabbing of powder is good enough to hide my dark circles in the event a concealer is unavailable.

As with previous test, as soon as the brush is unscrewed from the tube, it's dabbed lightly onto a clean piece of tissue to remove excess. Zig-zag manner from base to tip of lashes to coat each lash. I go over each eye at least three times to ensure I achieve the desired length. Damn these Asian stubby lashes! Oh well, at least I can take pride that they are slightly curly. Finally, a lash comb is used to comb through the lashes to further remove excess.

I applied this early in the day. About 730am. By the time I got home and prepared to shower, it was 630pm. It was a good 11 hours of absolutely smudge-free undereyes! I could not believe it as well but hey, the verdict's the verdict! Talk about stringent test conditions! 11 hours of going through a tough day at work, of yawnings and of yawnings until tears form.

Of course, being the vainpot that I am, I checked my eyes throughout the day. Thankfully, my phone has a mirror on its front panel.

So, Great Lash (waterproof) has passed with flying colours 2 out of the 3 tests I have in mind. The biggest hurdle this little tube has to go through would be tomorrow. I'll be subjecting it to going hand-in-hand with my holy grail of undereye concealer. A concealer that's so emollient that it hydrates as well as it covers.

Watch how it goes!

Maybelline Great Lash (Waterproof): Test 1

This is touted as the Holy Grail of all mascaras for makeup artists around the world. Superstars swear by this humble tube of wonder. It's been around the block far longer than I have in this world. And, when Priceline had a sale on Maybelline products, I simply had to have it. One point that's noteworthy, despite its great raves and reviews from superstars and beauty magazines, it's not sold in Malaysia. Makes you truly wonder how great this is, honestly. Not only that, MakeupAlley reviewers don't seem to be giving this as many thumbs-up as I thought this mascara would get.

Test Conditions:
Undereye area is dabbed lightly with powder foundation to hide undereye circles.
Lashes crimped once with the Shu Uemura eyelash curler.

Once unscrewed from the tube, I dab the brush on a clean piece of tissue to remove the excess. As usual, I go zig-zag from base to the tip of my lashes. The bristles are rather sparse but I've got no problems with that since I do have relatively sparse lashes. As usual, I brush through my lashes with a lash comb upon completing with the application. Excess mascara has to be removed to ensure as little smudges as possible.

The mascara holds the curl rather well. I do see a bit of lengthening of my lashes. However, if you're after something that will thicken your lashes, you're in for a disappointment. It does coat the lashes relatively evenly with minimal to no clumping at all. This will not give you a dramatic change of looks. But, if you're after a simple, natural everyday look, this will be the mascara for you. There's no va-va-voom factor here at all. Just your regular girl-next-door look.

Most of you know that I have a hate-hate relationship with Maybelline mascaras. Waterproof, my arse would be my tagline most of the time. Surprisingly, this did not smudge at all. And, for that, I am astounded. I'm amazed. I'm left with my mouth gaping wide open in astonishment. I'm dumbfounded.

I've to retract my "waterproof, my arse" sweeping statement for Maybelline mascaras then. I might say,

"Waterproof my arse! (Other than Great Lash)".

Monday, March 05, 2007

Mascara trivia: Maybelline

Maybelline's Great Lash mascara is probably one of the most, if not THE most iconic product in the cosmetics landscape. Not only is it the most popular mascara in the United States, the company estimates that one tube is sold every 1.6 seconds. The ubiquitous green and pink tube has found its way into the makeup bags and hearts of many women since its debut in 1971 although opinion is divided about its efficacy and status. I'm personally neutral/positive, but by keeping a tube in my bag, I feel as though I own more than just a mascara.

Mascara is Maybelline's flagship product not just because of phenomenal sales figures, but because the company was founded by T.L. William in 1915 to sell the mascara he had concocted for his sister Mabel two years before. A chemist by training, William is credited as the creator of modern mascara, and his lash darkening formula was a blend of coal dust and Vaseline (petroleum jelly). In fact, the company's name is a combination of William's sister's name, Mabel, and Vaseline. How's that for a big brother? The first Maybelline mascara did not come in a tube but was a cake formula packaged in a compact that was meant to be applied with a comb. The advertising slogan "Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's Maybelline" did not appear until 1991, and in 1996, cosmetics giant L'Oreal acquired the company.

Just for kicks, here's a vintage Maybelline ad from possibly the 60's, judging from the mascara wand, which did not appear until 1958.

For comparison's sake, here's a more recent ad:

Which advertisement appeals to you more? :)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Shu Uemura Mascara Length and Waterproof

My relationship with mascara has been a rocky one of late. Mascaras that have seen people through weepy breakups or Olympic swim meets are no match for my stubborn lashes, who should know by dint of their stubby sparseness that dammit, they NEED the lengthening, volumizing effects of mascara. All it takes, it seems, is a blink and a tear to transfer mascara from my lashes to my undereye area.

I bought my first tube of the syntactically dubious Shu Uemura Mascara Length and Waterproof after my sister assured me that it had stayed put during a prolonged crying jag. Being a huge SU fan didn't hurt either, and SU, fortunately, did not disappoint. The Mascara Length and Waterproof applicator ends with a brush that isn't much wider than the wand, which makes it easier to control during application for someone like me with small, Chinese eyes. I use the tip of the small brush to get my outer lashes and, when I'm feeling charitable, the eleven hairs that grow on my lower lash line. The mascara coats every lash evenly with little to no clumping or flaking, and lives up to its name by visibly lengthening my lashes. I've also used the Mascara Length and Waterproof to great dramatic effect by applying 3 - 4 coats, attaining as a result sticky, tolerably sooty lashes.

My only grouse is that I'm still left with tiny smudges at the end of the day right where my outer lashes touch my undereye area when I blink or close my eyes. Therefore, I hesitate to award it full points though given my recent mascara run-ins, I'm just grateful for something that doesn't leave me looking like an American football player.

Shu Uemura Mascara Length and Waterproof is available at your nearest Shu Uemura boutique (One Utama, Mid Valley Megamall) or department-store counter (KLCC).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mascara Mania!

For the next few posts, Shryh and I would be sharing on the whats and hows of lashes! Between us, we've been through enough of mascaras to be relatively fair judges on what's going to open up your peepers even more without having to pay the price for panda eyes.

We're introducing ...

Mascara Mania Week

We'll be covering everything from the very humble drugstore brands of mascara to the highest of the high end mascaras. You'd be astounded at what we've discovered!

So, watch this space, don't turn that dial and keep those comments coming!