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.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nvey Eco Cosmetics

Image from

Nvey Eco (pronounced Na-Vey) hails from Australia and is one of the first commercial organic makeup brands to hit the U.S. Environmentally-conscious but time-pressed professional women will be relieved to know that the Nvey Eco products are packaged like regular toxic makeup and includes items like organic mascara and eyeshadow, which means they are just as easy to use on the go. Put away the mortar and pestle, ladies! The ingredients that are causing much worry like parabens, sodium laurel sulphate, talc and synthetic preservatives are absent from the line, which also abstains from animal testing and using ingredients from genetically-modified crops. The price of a clean conscience ranges from US$24 for the organic lip lustre to US$61 for a 5-pan eyeshadow palette.

Nvey makeup can be purchased from their website as well as Sephora and Holistic Beauty.

Green-Eyed Monster

I'm in the green eyeshadow phase now.

There. I've said it. I love all sorts of greens and with my Bourjois as well as RMK, I'm not easily satisfied.

With Bloom's flagship store opened, I've been making a lot of trips to the store. Blame it on the distance, or lack of. Blame it on the wonderful makeup artist (ask for Alice, she's the sweetest and warmest person ever!) and blame it on the very pretty, very fun and very affordable products.

And, when I saw what she did with her eyes, I immediately went, "I want that look!"

It's a very dramatic look that's not suitable for everyday use but I loved the way she played with the colours and how she built the effect up.

In the end, I bought a couple of items from her, came home and re-created the look.

Shadow liner in electric blue

Eyeshadow in Moss

My way.

I used the shadow liner in Electric Blue to line my eyes. Yes, it's the return of the dreaded electric blue eyeshadow! Trust me on this, it works! Then, I smudged the eyeshadow in Moss (which looks suspiciously like one of the colours I have on RMK, but upon closer inspection, they are completely different!) on the outer corner of the eyes. I blended the colours so that there's a thin line of aqua with a pop of green at the outer eye. Then, I took one of my least-used eyeshadows: Gold by The Face Shop which I got for RM10 or 15. I smudged that along the lash line to blend it with the rest of the liner and slightly into the green. I finish that off with my Dior Ready-to-beige as a highlighter on the brow bone. Brow pencil and mascara to follow as usual.

Pictures will have to come tomorrow because I'm completely swamped with work with the announcement of the new State and Federal budgets, fundings and the new organization structure.

NB: Shryh, how proud are you of me? I'm using eyeshadows from all different brands!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jojoba of all trades.

You're looking at my new eye makeup remover and oil cleanser. Unlike other plant-derived oils, jojoba (pronounced ho-HOH-ba) oil is actually polyunsaturated liquid wax obtained from the seed of the jojoba shrub. As jojoba oil is chemically similar to human sebum, it is a popular ingredient in skin care products and is a non-comedogenic alternative to facial moisturizers.

Jojoba has been used Native Americans for hundreds of years to treat cuts and burns and as hair restoraratives. And so can the yuppies and the trust-fund hippies, thanks to the proliferation of organic health and beauty stores throughout cities. I bought this 4oz. bottle at Trader Joe's for USD6.00, but it's just as easily purchased online.

Five uses for your humble, politically-correct (vegan, cruelty free, economical) bottle of jojoba oil.

1. As pre-cleanser. Wet your hands and face before applying 4-5 drops of jojoba oil to your face. Massage the oil into your face for a couple of minutes and remove the oil with a warm , wet washcloth or by rinsing with water. Follow with a gentle cleanser of choice.

2. As eye makeup remover. Saturate a cotton pad with several drops of jojoba oil. Press the cotton pad against your eyes and gently swipe downwards towards the end of your lashes. It should remove everything, including waterproof mascara. As an added plus, the oil acts as a lash conditioner.

3. As facial moisturizer. Gently massage 2-3 drops into your damp face after cleansing. Jojoba oil will sit on your skin for a while as it takes some time to absorb. You may combine a jojoba oil with regular moisturizer or with drop of tea-tree oil. Although jojoba oil is non-comedogenic and mimics human sebum, results will vary. Follow up your jojoba oil moisturizer with a zit cream if you're worried, and just stop using it if it seems to exacerbate the situation. There is no such thing as a panacea for your skin woes.

4. As hair conditioner and detangler. Dab a little onto the ends of freshly shampooed hair before blowdrying and styling. You can also apply jojoba oil to your hair (ends or scalp, depending on your hair type) before proceeding to shampoo and condition as usual.

5. As body moisturizer. Massage jojoba oil into your legs and elbows, or combine a couple of drops with your favourite body lotion. A word of caution if you're planning to try it as a shaving oil -- the residue will accumulate and gunk up your razor.

To learn more about jojoba oil, click here.

Earth Day 2008.

The Blue Marble, taken by the Apollo 17 crew

Happy Earth Day, my lovelies! Isn't she a beauty at 4.5 billion years old? We humans have walked the earth for only 200,000 years, and look at the damage we've done. As a beauty junkie, I've generated more than my fair share of waste and I'm sure manufacturing plants of my favourite products have pumped tonnes of toxic chemicals into the environment. I have been thinking hard about reducing my beauty carbon footprint and easing into "organic" skincare. Although researchers have assured us that our regular beauty products will hardly harm us even with long term use, I would prefer to purchase from a company that actively tries to minimize its impact on the environment. This would rule out many Procter and Gamble products as many of their factories are located in China. Procter and Gamble products are highly affordable and effective, however, so while it would be impractical to abandon them at once, we could phase out certain products and make a gradual transition to sustainable beauty practices in the long run.

For the rest of the week, I will be blogging about products and practices for that beauty junkies with a budding environmental conscience can incorporate into their daily routine. If you are already doing so, please feel free to share your experience with us by sending us an e-mail to theglossifieds [at] gmail [dot] com. We'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Update: Guerlain LE Eyeshadow Palette Fleur de Feu

A few days ago, I managed to snag what I thought would be the last Fleur de Feu palette on this side of the earth.

That was until I stepped into Myer at Chadstone today. A quick chat and I went away knowing that 2 more women in this city would walk away with the same palette.

So, just 2 more. Run, dash, fly to Myer today to grab one for yourself. To ensure you're not disappointed, you can call up ahead and have it set aside for you before you make a trip over.

The number for the Guerlain counter: 9567 6266

Happy shopping!

NB: Don't bother with David Jones in Chaddy's. It's not even on the display anymore.

L'Oreal Happyderm Skin Exhilarating Cleansing Mousse

Image from

Happy? Really? Happy?

To be fair, when I read Tine's review, I went to the extent of penning it down in my diary as a reminder to pick up a bottle of L'Oreal Happyderm Skin Exhilarating Cleansing Mousse.

And so I did the next time I hopped into Priceline. I got the formula for Dry and Sensitive skin. I loved the novelty of a cleansing mousse and when I saw the soft-serve ice cream-like foam on Tine's palm, I just knew I had to get it.

I agree with Tine that this probably does not contain a lot of cleansing agent.

See, my skin's simple this way. The moment it doesn't like something, it has absolutely no qualms in flaring up in the worst possible ways. Thankfully it's not angry red acne spotted all over. It's merely angry red patches.

I approached it rather tentatively. First time round, I used it to cleanse my face in the morning. Logic tells me my skin isn't really that grimy in the early hours of the morning so a gentle cleanser would be fine. My usual Dermalogica gives me very smooth and clear skin after cleansing. Unfortunately, L'Oreal Happyderm doesn't live up to its name. At least not by my skin's books. It went red in patches.

It was the first time I had to wear foundation to work in a long time.

No, I was most certainly not happy.

Thankfully for me, my skin calmed down in an hour or two. By the time it was lunch, it was back to normal. Bits of scars from good ol' acne days no longer held up a neon sign screaming for attention.

I continued using the cleanser off and on to give it more opportunities to try and live up to its name. Sad to say, my skin just would not accept it. No wonder Jen says my skin's a huge snob. It wouldn't even like Cetaphil on certain occasions!

Despite all that, I absolutely love the smell. There's a certain sense of light-heartedness in both the scent and texture of the cleanser that you can't help but look forward to using it. I smell a little hint of green tea and I would think the lab rats of L'Oreal decided to toss in a happy scent and name the cleanser after it.

I pleaded with Tine to relieve me of the guilt of binning this and she's very kindly obliged. If and when we meet up, this will go to an appreciative skin. Otherwise, straight into the bin it goes!

L'Oreal Happyderm Skin Exhilarating Cleansing Mousse can be purchased online for AUD$14.95 from Chemist Direct and Pharmacy Online.

NB: Because the L'Oreal Paris Canada website -- the only one in English with information about the Happyderm line -- is such a shit one built in flash, none of the links on the Happyderm product work. I couldn't even find which region the cleanser is located in. I could only find the moisturizer! Maybe my Google-fu just needs polishing up. (Shryh notes: g33kchic's Google-fu is perfect and she's right about the L'Oreal website being a Pain In The Ass.)

Pretty Beauty Stash

A quick pitstop at Doncaster Westfield a few days ago and my heart skipped a beat.

Gift with purchase! My favourite kind of shopping!

Take a guess!

What could it be?!

I think I should stop tantalizing Tine. For an entire day of yesterday and today, we'd been exchanging texts and emails and she's probably going to make me pay dearly for teasing her when we do meet up for coffee one day.

Well, not long ago, Shryh blogged on Glossifieds not long ago on a limited edition Guerlain palette. I tried my darndest to locate it in Wellington airport but to no avail. But, heyho, here we go!

Up close and personal

Without flash

It's probably the last one in Melbourne because I got Myer and David Jones in the city to call up Chaddy's and a few other places. But, I never thought of Westfield.

Good on me!

Friday, April 18, 2008

NARS Orgasm lip gloss and nail polish gift set.

Image from

Not content with giving us the blusher, lipgloss and the multiple, NARS has taken their most infamous hue to another level -- the nail polish. NARS nail polish in Orgasm is only available in a limited edition set on Sephora for the time-being, but given that this glowy peachy-pink is an easier colour to love than Zulu, which is currently being hunted by the most hard core of hard core polish fanatics since its disappearance, Orgasm will hopefully enter NARS's small but cultish permanent nail polish collection.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cure for acne found?

Well, that's the headline, but the media is sensationalist like that. Scientists, however, seem to have made a significant breakthrough in acne treatment research. The drug, SMT D002 is currently in pill form but plans are underway to make it a topical cream:

Researchers believe it could become as effective a treatment as retinoic acid - a form of vitamin A - which is currently used to treat moderate to severe cases.

However, Roaccutane, the most widely used formulation of retinoic acid, has been linked to suicides among acne sufferers.

SMT D002 produced no significant side-effects when volunteers took it in pill form. Around three in every 10 patients taking retinoic acid do not respond to the drug, leaving many sufferers without an effective treatment.

While I often moan about my skin, I'm incredibly grateful that I don't suffer from chronic cystic acne, although I did come very close about three years ago. Strangers literally stopped me in the streets to recommend the services of their facialists and doctors. This is one development I'm going to be keeping an eye on.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Beautiful Mommy

A plastic surgeon in Florida has penned a children's book to help explain the effects of plastic surgery to young 'uns:

"My Beautiful Mommy" is aimed at kids ages four to seven and features a plastic surgeon named Dr. Michael (a musclebound superhero type) and a girl whose mother gets a tummy tuck, a nose job and breast implants. Before her surgery the mom explains that she is getting a smaller tummy: "You see, as I got older, my body stretched and I couldn't fit into my clothes anymore. Dr. Michael is going to help fix that and make me feel better." Mom comes home looking like a slightly bruised Barbie doll with demure bandages on her nose and around her waist.

The text doesn't mention the breast augmentation, but the illustrations intentionally show Mom's breasts to be fuller and higher. "I tried to skirt that issue in the text itself," says Salzhauer. "The tummy lends itself to an easy explanation to the children: extra skin and can't fit into your clothes. The breasts might be a stretch for a six-year-old."

The book doesn't explain exactly why the mother is redoing her nose post-pregnancy. Nonetheless, Mom reassures her little girl that the new nose won't just look "different, my dear—prettier!"

I love how the surgeon has made himself to be some chiselled Greek god in the book.

I won't judge women who resort to plastic surgery -- it's a personal choice, albeit one that requires a certain amount of risk and quite a lot of money. But I do wonder about the message mothers who frequently undergo plastic surgery send to their daughters. It is one thing to have the odd nip and tuck when you're middle-aged and saggy, quite another when you're swapping implants every five years. You could end up with a daughter who wants a boob job for her thirteenth birthday.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo

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I have thick, "combination" hair -- greasy at the roots and dry at the ends, and anything less than industrial strength moisturizing shampoo laden with sulphates leaves my hair in a knotty mess. Unfortunately, such shampoos weigh down my hair, especially the roots, at the end of the day. While I plan to brainwash (yep, I went there) my hair into accepting sulphate-free shampoo eventually, my current short term solution is Neutrogena's Anti-Residue shampoo, which I use a couple of times a week. While I cannot say for sure that this removes most of the dulling residue left by my regular shampoo and conditioner as claimed by the manufacturer, my hair feels lighter and less greasy after using it. Of all hair products I've used, I love the clean, slightly medicinal scent of this shampoo the most.

Neutrogena Anti-Residue shampoo can be found at all drugstores in the US, but they seem to be discontinued in Malaysia. I remembering buying some at Guardian's two years ago, but have never seen them since. Boo!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Jurlique Lavender Hand Cream

If there's one thing I always aim to do, it's to moisturize my hands each time after I wash them.

I drink a lot of water. Hence, a lot of toilet trips. And, I'm very particular about washing my hands with soap each time after I visit the loo. Other than the hand wash I have at home, all other hand washes that I encounter do more than clean. They dry the hands up so badly that my hands would itch and flake.

I've noticed it all the more so in the cold weather where we crank the heaters up and think nothing of washing our hands in hot water.

At my desk at work, I've a tube of Nivea CoQ10 Anti-Ageing thingamajig. It works well and it's economic looking at the way I moisturize my hands like a maniac.

However, in my bag, I wanted something more luxurious. Something prettier. Something that would make me go "Ahhh..." after I use it. Something I won't use throughout the day but only when I'm out and aboutI fell in love with Jurlique's Lavender hand cream on a shopping trip to Myer Doncaster after work one day.

I picked up the tester, squeezed a tiny bit onto my palms and slowly massaged the product into my hands. It was thick and gooey initially but soon after that, every bit of the product was absorbed into the skin leaving my hands very smooth, very soft and smelling faintly of lavender.

On that particular day, I had on Hermes Kelly Caleche on my wrists and I was extremely pleased that the hand cream did not clash with one of my most favourite scents.

Encased in a metal-like and stiff tube, the Jurlique lavender hand cream felt solid in my hands. It's a no-fuss, no-frills packaging with hardly any motifs nor decoration on the tube with a plastic deep purple cap. One of the problems I always have with such products is the way you could use up every single drop of product there is. The very friendly sales staff then rooted around in the drawers and picked out the funniest looking contraption!

She then picked up the tester tube, laid it flat between 2 wooden pieces with grooves, clamped it down tight and started twisting the handle. She was effectively squeezing every single bit of the product from the bottom of the tube and forcing it all the way to the opening! And, I was told that I could bring my tube in anytime and they would be more than happy to help me flatten the tube to get all my products out!

I was tickled silly by the idea and was intrigued at the same time.

The Jurlique Lavender Hand Cream comes in 2 sizes: 125ml and 40ml and can be found in most drugstores, standalone stores as well as shopping malls.

Kim Kardashian's many make-up tips.

So Kim Kardashian's famous for... knowing famous people and hanging out with famous people. Whether or not you approve of her Jessica Rabbit style of dressing, you have to admit that she is quite easy on the eye even if you were to judge her from the neck up only. She has the smokey eye look down to a T and a list of her personal make-up tips can be found on her official website. Miss Kardashian is clearly no low-maintenance gal as her routine involves primer, two shades of foundation mixed together, two concealers and two powders. But in the video on the same page, she looks remarkably fresh-faced and young when she talks about toning down her make-up on her reality show as the season progresses. When you have youth and beauty on your side, less is really more.

Dior 'Golden Dior' Necklace.

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The pendant on this 'Golden Dior' necklace opens up to reveal "the 24-karat splendor of a creamy golden highlighter for eyes, lips, cheeks." While I am completely open to a product I can "dot anywhere for the perfect sun-kissed glow," I would never in a million years be caught dead wearing this piece of ugly around my neck, "dazzling champagne crystals" be damned. The 'Golden Dior' necklace is something I expect to see in a Barbie doll kit for little girls -- I can't imagine a grown woman wearing this with her cocktail dress to a party, so why is it a necklace in the first place?

Also, Dior copywriters, stones cut en cabochon do not have facets, so please correct the description of the "luxurious amber pendant" accordingly. You're making me twitch.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.

Frances McDormand, Amy Adams and Shirley Henderson in the movie version.

Before heading to a party, the dowdy governess Miss Pettigrew gets a makeover from actress Delysia LaFosse's beauty parlour-owning friend, Edythe Dubarry:

Miss Pettigrew stared. She caught the back of a chair for support. She felt faint. Another woman stood there. A woman of fashion: poised, sophisticated, finished, fastidiously elegant. A woman of no age. Obviously not young. Obviously not old. Who would care about age? No one. Not in a woman of that charming exterior. The rich, black velvet of the gown was of so deep and lustrous a sheen it glowed like colour. An artist had created it. It had the wicked, brilliant cut that made its wearer look both daring and chaste. It intrigued the beholder. He had to discover which. Its severe lines made her look taller. The ear-rings made her look just a little, well, experienced. No other word. The necklace gave her elegance. She, Miss Pettigrew, elegant.

The delicate flush! Was it natural? Who could tell? That loosely curling hair! No ends, no wisps, no lank drooping. Was it her own? She didn't recognize it. Those eyes, so much more blue than memory recalled! Those artfully shaded brows and lashes! That mouth, with its faint, provocative redness! Was it coloured? Only by kissing it would a man find a satisfactory answer.

She smiled. The woman smiled back, assured, composed. Where was the meek carriage, the deprecating smile, the timid shyness, the dowdy figure, the ugly hair, the sallow complexion? Gone. Gone under the magic of 'Du Barry's' expert owner and manager.

Miss Pettigrew, rapt, thrilled, transported, gazed at herself as her dreams had painted her. A lump came into her throat. Her eyes became misty.

'Guinevere,' screamed Miss Dubarry in a panic. 'For God's sake, control yourself.'

'Guinevere,' gasped Miss LaFosse. 'Control, I implore you. Your make-up. Remember your duty to your make-up.'

-- Miss Pettigrew Lives for A Day, Persephone Books, P. 98 - 99

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow in Skinny Jeans

It's been quite a long while since I got this eyeshadow. On days that I'm pressed for time, (e.g. rushing to catch the 725 to Richmond to make it for the 739 Blackburn only to find out bloody Connex has cancelled my 739 and I'd missed my 734 Lilydale. !*(&(#*^(*!&(!*&!!!^@^%@&^%) this is truly a God-send!
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The colour is most definitely office-friendly. Names of colours on Benefit products aren't usually self-explanatory. I mean, who in the world would understand what sort of colour Skinny Jeans is? Except for yours truly because coincidentally, my first pair of skinny jeans was in dark grey. So, it's close enough. This is shimmery pewter or very dark grey with a tiny hint of green at certain angles. Most definitely office-friendly and I love that the finish is almost the smoky eye but not quite there yet.

The pot is most certainly generous and I have no idea how in the world I'd be able to finish using up every single bit of this eyeshadow. Even if I were to use it everyday, there's really no way one could use up the entire pot before it dries up.

Texture wise, it's very creamy as its name suggests and very, very soft. It is most definitely blendable and almost idiot-proof.

I guess that's where the pros of this product ends. I hate its claim that it's creaseless. It's most definitely not. I prep my lids with the world-reknown Urban Decay Primer Potion and at the end of a 12-hour wear, there's a little hint of creasing. So, one fine day, I decided to test it for its creaseless claim. No primer, nothing to prep the lids. It creased within a couple of hours. To be fair, I do have fairly oily lids but I dislike the claim and aimed to prove it wrong if it's not performing up to its claims.

It's a very easy product to use. I usually use a stiff brush (an eyeliner brush is a good bet) and load it up with the product. I draw a thick line near to the lashline and flicking it out a little as one would do for an eyeliner. Using my finger, I'd blend the colour up towards the crease. With that, I get the liner as well as a shadow effect in one. Then, I'd load up the colour a bit more for the outer corner of the eye and blend it in. Finally, a little lighter colour as a highlight for the brow. My staple for highlighting is Dior Mono shadow in Ready-to-beige. It's a great champagne-y-gold colour that's very subtle.

If I have a little bit more time, I usually go over the colour with a powder shadow in a similar shade. I pick Rock from the Bobbi Brown Stonewashed Nudes palette. The finish is a bit more dramatic compared to using only the cream eyeshadow on its own.

If creasing is not an issue with you then, this is a great everyday office-friendly colour. If you have oily lids, then it's a good idea to find a primer for your lids and then load the product on. Having said all that, it's a pretty good value for money because of the huge pot you get. And, it's a great colour to use that is timeless and suits almost all skin tones.

PSA: Bloom's First Flagship Store

First one ever, it's a 5 minute crawl from home.

Bloom's very pretty and very down-to-earth and I think it's Australia's version of Benefit.

From now till 5th May 2008, pick up a voucher and get 10% off all Bloom products at the flagship store.

574A Chapel St
South Yarra
Victoria, Australia

Phone: 03 9827 2977

Edit: I picked up the voucher from Angelucci's on Chapel St when I was there for dinner last night. I'm sure you could try and mention that to get your 10% off. Most sales staff are very easy-going and would be more than happy that you're making a purchase. Happy buying!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty

g33kchic and I believe in the power of water. We each consume about two litres of water a day, excluding coffee and soda, and we've both witnessed the salubrious effects of our H2O habit on our health. There are many people who are sceptical about this, and indeed, two doctors have published an article in the American Journal of Nephrology debunking the need to drink 8 glasses of water a day. Every health benefit a rise in water intake is supposed to incur, like lessening headaches or flushing out toxins, is "clinically insignificant".

I do not dispute the results of the study, and without carrying out a scientific trial of my own, I cannot. In fact, I agree with the doctors that the eight-glasses-a-day stipulation is rather baseless, and it is kind of silly to parrot the need for so much water without knowing why. In my personal experience, however, when I drink less than two litres of water a day (roughly eight mugs) regardless of thirst -- the benchmark for drinking water according to experts -- I wake up with a sore throat and parched lips the next morning. After all these years of making a concerted effort to drink more water, I'll share with you a couple of things I've learnt about water consumption:

1. Water is good for your skin BUT it won't cure acne. Zits are caused by bacteria that are immune to anything except nuclear weaponry (mine, at least). Water plumps out skin cells and fine lines. That's it. Look, at least you didn't pay $200 for an ounce, okay?

2. Drinking lots of water may prevent you from catching that nasty cold spreading through the office like wildfire. I only have anecdotal evidence for this, I'm afraid. But I've never caught a cold from my co-workers, and neither have most of my fellow water drinkers.

3. Drinking lots of water will dilute the colour and smell of your pee. I have been that person at the doctor's who takes your jar of pee to be tested. I will judge you if you hand me a jar of foul-smelling neon yellow liquid. If you're going to be vain, be vain about your pee, too.

4. Tap water is just as good as mineral water and much less expensive. I am partial to certain mineral water brands, but I've yet to find a glass of boiled or filtered tap water that tastes offensive. Tap is easier on the environment and your wallet. All waters are fat-free, sugar-free, carb-free and possess zero calories, in case you didn't know. It's such a flexible beverage it can be used across ALL DIETS.

So, forget the myths and the mythbusters. Find out for yourself what your optimum water intake is -- drink two litres or eight glasses a day for two weeks and see if you feel any different from when you drink a glass as needed. For the readers, does drinking more water have any tangible effects on your health and beauty?

Johnson's Silky Skin 24hour Moisture Shower & Shave

If I could do all my shopping online, I would. And, I really mean the proper window shopping kind where I can feel the texture of the eyeshadows, sniff the many complicated notes that make up a beautiful perfume all without having to actually having to leave my home, I'd be the happiest person on earth.

I like the ability of multi-tasking and I love the power of being able to do so much from one location. And, being a huge sucker for novelty products, when I saw this shower cream, I immediately snapped it up.

I'll readily admit too that the pink bottle caught my eye first and foremost. I was in the market for a new shower gel. With winter just peeking its head into our lives, I wanted something creamier to combat the dry and flaky skin that heaters would bring forth.

When I picked the bottle up, it was a double bonus for me to see that it serves as a shaving cream as well! When I saw that, I thought it was definitely worth a buy.

Shower creme is definitely the correct term for it. It was much, much thicker than your regular shower gel. It doesn't lather as well as conventional shower gels but it doesn't bother me. It is very lightly-scented and it'll most definitely not clash with your SOTD.

In the past, I've been shaving with Gilette's shaving cream for women and I always end up getting nicks and cuts. Especially at the leg where there's a sharp joint from the shin to the calves. I was getting sick of stepping out of the shower and see a trail of blood snake down my shin. The sight of blood scares the shit out of me and well, the sight of my own blood, I almost always want to shriek in horror.

I gave this shower creme a try when it comes to shaving and to my utter surprise, it really does provide for a very smooth shave! Definitely no trailing blood. In fact, there wasn't even a droplet of blood!

I cannot find a single fault with this product. It is a wee bit more expensive than the Palmolive range but if it is capable of multi-tasking, I'd be willing to pay for the convenience. It's easily found in all supermarkets and drugstores and most definitely more affordable than your Body Shop shower gel.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Little Miss Supermodel.

A Barbie girl in a Barbie world.

I received my first facial cleanser when I was eleven years old, plucked my eyebrows and waxed my legs for the first time when I was eighteen. My first facial came a year later, and I was a working adult when I got my first professional manicure. In contrast, Philadelphia magazine reports that girls as young as 10 are getting bikini waxes and microdermabrasion treatments. While the article focuses on a small sub-set of girls, I am deeply disturbed by the complicity of the aestheticians and mothers. In the article, several salon owners now have mothers sign waiver forms before their daughters are waxed, but I maintain that they should stand their ground and refuse service to these insane women.

The image above is from the 2001 HBO documentary Living Dolls: The Making of a Child Beauty Queen, which follows young Swan Brooner (pic) and her mother as they hit the children beauty pageant circuit in the American south. You can view this in nine parts on Youtube by clicking on this link.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Logo much? Coach lip gloss.

I don't think logoed items should be automatically scorned or dismissed. Louis Vuitton is an iconic brand because of their monogram canvas bags which have spawned countless imitators. I object primarily to ugly logos and the lazy use of logos as it imparts a false sense of value to products -- a tea cosy embroidered with Chanel's interlocking c's isn't going to make a pot of Lipton taste like Mariage Freres. By succumbing to such cheap and blatant branding practices, consumers encourage manufacturers to be complacent and unimaginative.

There's branding, and there's lazy branding. These Coach lip glosses smack of the latter -- the logo is all over the tube like a bad rash. The packaging signals to me that Coach couldn't be bothered to come up with a distinctive product, and like the Coach perfume, the glosses seem as though they were manufactured to steal the few remaining dollars from the purses of their most blinkered customers. "Our customers aren't Hermes customers," you can hear them arguing in the boardroom. "They don't expect top quality, and since they're not paying Hermes prices, we're not going to give them top quality either. Oh, just whip up some gunk, stuff 'em in these containers we bought in China and stamp our logo on it to make them look Coach-y."

The Coach lip glosses come in three shades -- Gardenia, Hibiscus and Heather -- and retails for US$22 on its website. I recommend that you purchase a Guerlain Kiss Kiss gloss, Chanel Glossimer or YSL Golden Gloss for real lip gloss snob factor, if that's what you're after. Even if it's a dumb reason to buy a gloss.

Let's edumacate ourselves! : Neanderthals

Bobbi Brown's got nuthin' on these earthy neutrals.

According to European archaeologist Francesco d'Errico, Neanderthals, hominids who inhabited the earth before modern humans took over, may have worn make-up:

. . . Neanderthals, who most likely had pale skin, used these dark pigments to mark their own as well as animal skins. And, since body art is a form of communication, this implies that the Neanderthals could speak, d'Errico says.

[. . .] The pigments were not just smeared onto the body like camouflage, d'Errico says, but fashioned into drawing tools.

Looks like they invented pencil liners too.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The moment of truth

"Gawd, your pores are huge from here!"

I apply a layer of Dolce Vita to my lips before blending a minty lip balm on top. With a flourish, I cap the tube and whirl around to face him. "I'm done. Let's go eat. Go go go go GO!"

"You look great," he blurts.

"I DO look better with makeup don't I? Admit it!"

"No, what I mean is that you're good with makeup," he retorts without skipping a beat. I'm very impressed. And sceptical.

"Nice save. You can tell the truth, you know. I think I look better with makeup too."

Most men who say they prefer women without makeup are lying (only women are critical of "porn star" makeup) or have no idea that their "naturally beautiful" partners have at least blush, lipstick, concealer AND mascara on.