Thursday, 27 February 2014

February Favourites: Strictly Beauty Products

February is a month when I have been at my calmest in terms of trying out different beauty bits, i.e. I have been rediscovering some old favourites and sticking them into my daily routines.

February is a month when I'm all about fresh face, no heavy make up.  I have even gone as far as reviewing a few of Lisa Eldridge's videos on Minimal Makeup, No Makeup Tutorial.  I've learnt that the key to a fresh face makeup is all about a good flawless luminous base, less is more on the eyes.

On days when I feel that my skin is at pretty good conditions, I even skipped applying foundations, tinted moisturisers CC/BB Creams; instead I have been applying a good dose of Kiko Instant Perfection Soothening and Destressing Fluid.  This stuff works wonder to the skin with its pearly white fluid, gives the skin a luminous sheer finish, but it isn't shimmery or shiny at all!

Following the luminous skin situation is achieved, I would opt for a simple concealer - Maybelline The Eraser Eye Protect & Cover Concealer (Light).  It's in quite a creamy texture which blends easily with fingers, it helps to brighten my under eye areas to give them a bit of a lift, whilst for not-so-severe spots, it covers well, too!  Love this duo-purpose sponge applicator concealer.

I've been wearing very minimal or no eyeliner at all this month which is rather out of my comfort zone.  But my eyes still need a bit of emphasis and I found that my Sephora Crayon Jumbo liner 12 HR wear (Waterproof) in #04 taupe gives just the perfect colour that I need for my eyes.  It's a taupey brown/ bronzy eyeshadow that I would apply onto my eyelids straight from the bullet.  You can choose to intensify the makeup look by sweeping on the eyelids a few more times but I chose a more natural finish most of the times.  It's so creamy that I can just rely on my fingers to smoothen out the product.  Instantly my eyes look lifted and sharpened.  

There isn't a day I would go without curling my lashes before putting on mascara.  My D&G PassionEye Mascara, wow this stuff is so good.  I bought this back in early January and there hadn't been a day I wouldn't wear this.  It's great for giving my lashes the curl and the length that it needs, definitely perfect for lifting the eyes.  It's also waterproof that it doesn't smudge on my eyes so I don't end up having panda eyes by the end of the day.

On the cheeks, I would either just sweep over the apple of my cheeks with the Soap & Glory Love At First Blush Multi-shade Blushing Powder.  I normally like to use a big fluffy brush to swirl on the pan then apply on my cheeks.  It's not shimmery but it gives my cheeks the glow that they need!  Sometimes when I feel that my face looks a bit like a pizza, I 'contoured' my face using the bronzer shade from this Physicians Forumla Organic Wear 2-in-1 Bronzer & Blusher (Light Bronzer/ Pink Rose),  I got this in a generous giveaway by Julie from Everyday Indulgences of.... Do you know why I love this bronzer?  Because it doesn't give me an orange face, the bronzing powder is great for pale skinned girl like myself.

Finally I like to frame my face by adding a finishing touch to my brows my filling them in using my Soap & Glory Brow Tint & Precision Shaping Pencil in Love is Blonde.

Have you made any changes to your makeup routines this month?  What beauty products have you loved?

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

My eyelashes routine

I absolutely admire people who have naturally full lashes, by full I mean - long, curly and bushy!  I, on the other hand; have a set of completely opposite eyelashes described above.  Mine is - short, straight and sparse.  

Recently I have been taking a lot more care to my eyelashes and am glad to report that, a 4-step approach seems to be working for me.

  • A heated eyelash curler: it's a great tool to use before I curl my lashes using an eyelash curler.  The heat applied to the lashes make them a little stronger which then makes the curling process next, a lot easier and more effective.  If you want to skip this step, all you need to do is to warm up your eyelash curler using a hair drier, the result is almost as good as using a heated eyelash curler.  Cautious though - don't overheat your eyelash curler you don't want to hurt your own eyes!
  • A good eyelash curler is a must.  Curling those much needed lashes are key to lashy lashes.  Recently I replaced my Shu Uemura to a Japanese brand called Koji.  I found that Japanese brand eyelash curlers really do work better for eyes like mine.  They understand the shape of our eyes a lot better and the shape of the curler seem to like the eyes a little bit more.  I must say it takes a few practise before I don't end up in so much tears changing to this one by Koji but I found that it actually works better than my Shu Uemura one.

After heating, squeezing, clipping and curling your eyelashes, if you are still alive; I applaud you!  Onto the application of some mascaras.

  • I've recently started using a lash maximiser by a Japanese brand called Kate (owned by Kanebo).  On the brush itself it looks white but once applied onto the lashes, they become transparent.  It is the first coat of mascara that I wear, as a base.  It contains some fibre which meant to help lashes to appear more voluminous, longer and fuller.  For me, I found that my lashes are a bit more separate, more curled up and a little longer when applied this.  My lashes also feel a little bit more stronger so I guess it helps to hold the curl and the length better.
Then I always wear two types of mascaras - one for the length, one for the volume.

My key to lashy lashes are that preparations are keys, and of course it might take you a few products until you know what suits your lashes best.  Good luck!

What's your eyelashes routine?  What products do you use to result in voluminous and curly eyelashes?

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Bare nails interval - Nail Detox Essentials

I'm currently on a nail-detox plan and am on my 4th day.  I haven't planned on to ban myself from applying any coloured nail polishes yet, I guess I'll work on a trial-basis observing period until I'm satisfied with the condition of my nails.

I'm telling you it's hard!  It's not easy to not paint my nails with some sorts of colours even if it's a nude shade.  My nails have signs of growing yellow  which looks really horrible to my eyes..... I had to finally go on a nail-detox.

However, I didn't just leave my nails unattended and wishing that it would turn healthy again.  I have actually taken some assertive steps to nurture and nourish them.  

Here are the products I have been using:

  • A 4-way nail buffer.  This is such a great tool to use at home which makes the nail of my surface, any dry cuticles, and ridges smoothened out, as well as gaining the shine that my nails desperately need.
  • Invest in a glass nail file.  OK, they can be a little bit pricier than your disposable ones but glass nail files can last you for ages.  This one I got from when I travelled to Prague.  How do you file your nails?  Square or Round?
  • I have very dry cuticles, sometimes they become crispy!  Sorry, TMI as it does sound a bit gross!  My Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover has been a great companion when it comes to removing those annoying cuticles bits.  With the help of a plastic cuticle push back stick, thank god, as long as I take care of my nails; the cuticle situation is a bit more under control now.
  • After sorting out the annoying cuticles, I needed to reach for my nail clipper which I use carefully to cut off any excess dead skin bits.
  • Revlon Nail Brightener use the remedy that I prescribed myself at the beginning of this nail detox plan.  It's a milky nail polish that sets transparent on my nails, if you look carefully, it's got finely milled pearly bits that run through the polish.  Whilst it helps to brighten the nails and prevents them from turning even more yellow, it's actually nice to wear on the nails making them looking a bit more presentable.  I noticed that this stuff doesn't 'cover up' the yellowness in the nails as there are times I can still see the yellow rather visibly on my nails.  However it seems to be doing something to cure them.  Another great thing about this is that it doesn't take long to dry at all, 5 mins max!
  • Finally, I apply some caring nail oil to my cuticles to give them extra moisture.
Have you ever been on a nail-detox plan before?  What do you use to keep your nails healthy?

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Shiseido Makeup Workshop

Hello hello from a Shisedio Makeup Workshop that my friend Eva kindly invited to in the past Saturday.  

I have never been to any makeup workshops before so I didn't know what to expect so it was rather exciting for me when this day came!

The workshop was a 2-hour long class, took place at Shiseido Beauty Centre in Hong Kong.  What's even better was that the workshop was totally free-of-charge!  Hooray!  Thanks Eva for bringing me along, as she's a member with Shiseido so the workshop is free.

As I walked into the classroom, it was already set up properly and we chose our seats in the first row - of course!  On the table, my eyes were welcomed by many Shisedo skincare products and beautiful makeup.

I knew I was in for a real girly treat, and was getting rather excited!

When the class began, the beauty consultants gave us a full picture of what the class would involve, from skincare, to use of makeup and how to apply makeup.  The class was delivered really clearly and rather informative; especially about the skincare routine which I learnt so much!

Of course we got to sample all the products!  This was great for me as I'm not a regular to Shiseido makeup and skincare so it was good to try out so many things in one go.

The main theme of the makeup workshop yesterday was to introduce us to the new Spring makeup range, from pre-makeup base products, to foundation, eye shadow to lipsticks.

These are the makeup badboys I picked:

Pre-makeup Base: Urban Environment UV Protector Extra Mild SPF30 PA+++
Concealer: MAQuillAGE Concealer Stick EX SPF25 PA+++
Foundation: MAQuillAGE True Liquid Moisture UV SPF25 PA +++
Eyebrow: MAQuillAGE Double Brow Creator (Pencil)
Eyeshadow: MAQuillAGE True Eye Shadow
Mascara: MAQuillAGE Full Vision Mascara (Volume Impact) #BK970
Blusher: MAQuillAGE True Cheek
Lipstick: Essence Glamorous Rouge NEO

And this is the final look - pretty natural which I like and think would suit the coming Spring season.

Before we left, each of us was given a set of complimentary skincare products to take home.  They are the new IBUKI line, which we sampled during the class.

I enjoyed the workshop so much, it was a real fun way to spend a girly afternoon!  There is also a show room area in the beauty centre and of course I didn't miss out on the opportunity to check out all the makeup and skincare products!

One of the surprises that I also learnt about Shiseido is that they do confectionary, too!   I didn't know this!

I'm definitely going to visit a Shiseido counter in the near future to pick up a couple of beauty bits in order to become a member with Shiseido!

Have you been to any makeup workshops before?  What was it like for you?

Shiseido Beauty Centre is situated at 7/F Phase I, China Taiping Tower, 8 Sunning Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong/  香港銅鑼灣新寧道八號中國太平大廈一期七樓.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm

Ever since I was Wowed by Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser  all I wanted is to continue with this way of cleansing my face for my evening routine.  I found that it helps to get rid of any residue of makeup on my face.

In Hong Kong, I don't have access to Liz Earle products, nor do I have easy access to cleansing balm, I think it's down to the differences in weather.

I shopped around for a bit for an affordable one ( Eve Lom Cleansing Balm is just way too insanely expensive for me at this stage, and I can't find Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm here either - how much I regret about not trying out EH's stuff when I was in London!) and then I discovered that Botanics has a Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm (£8.99).  It fits my bill completely.  It's available in Mannings, Hong Kong.

I must admit after reading a few reviews about it I hesitated for a bit before buying this - they were generally not amazed by it but then bloggers who tried this have also tried other better ones such as Emma Hardie and Eve Lom.  However for my budget, I wanted to try something a little less damaging to my bank accounts before, perhaps moving up the game to try EH/ EL.

I have been using this for the past 2 months and I am happy with this.

It comes with a piece of muslin cloth which is pretty standard for a cleansing balm/ cleansing cream product.  The balm has an algae-green colour which looks like it's full of natural ingredients.  As I scooped this stuff out from the pan, it feels kind of greasy (but not too bad) and when I apply on my face and massage it around my eye areas, it helps to melt any residual makeup away.

You really don't need too much of this stuff.  I had been greedy and used more than enough of this to rub all over my face, and after using the muslin cloth to wipe my face, it left my face feeling a little greasy.  So... less is more with this cleansing balm.

I would recommend this cleansing balm to anyone who is on a tighter budget on skincare, however I need to try out EH and EL's cleansing balm before I can make a judgement on which one cleansing balm is the best.

Are you a fan of cleansing balm?  What have you used and which one would you recommend?

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque

A no fuss, no hassle but genuinely works for you masque I wanted to introduce to you - Meet my Aesop Chamomile  Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque (£33.00/ HK$380).

Walking into an Aesop shop or its specialist counter within any big department store, you might find yourself wandering around inside a laboratory - taking you way back to your school days, perhaps?

Inside this dark brown opaque glass jar, it contains this dusty pink slightly clay-looking masque.  The scent of this masque is very natural and herbally.   Some of the ingredients include: Chamomile Bud, Tea Tree Leaf and Evening Primrose - all anti-flammatoray and calming stuff, good for your skin.

Ever since I relocated from London to Hong Kong, I encounter more episodes of blemishes on my face, in particular the forehead areas.  I needed a remedy to treat this.  This masque serves the problems really satisfactorily.  

I have dry and sensitive skin, and from the past 4 months that I have been using this, I have not had any reactions from this masque.  Whenever my skin feels irritated, bumpy and distressed, I slap this on after I cleanse my face in the evening, then let this good stuff dries slowly on your face, roughly it takes around 10-15mins.  Rinse it off the apply toner and a serum/ moisturiser.  My skin feel instantly calmed and less red, in my face.

I feel that my skin is not left stripped off either after treating it with this masque.  The effect lasts until the next morning, areas where affected by blemishes are a lot more controlled, and some are even dried up which speeds up the healing and recovering process.

I don't overdo my skin with this though despite such a great result, meaning: I only use this once a week maximum.  NB I found that if I overdo it with my skin treatments - too many masque applications, it distresses my skin.

Is Aesop a brand you have tried before?  What's your favourite anti-blemish masque?

Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque £33.00HK$380 for 60ml.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Generous Giveaway by For Everyday Indulgences of.....

Last month I entered a Happy New Year Giveaway competition on Julie's blog, For Everyday Indulgences of...   Hands on my heart I didn't expect that I would be so lucky to become a winner of her giveaway!   There I was, received an email from Julie not too long ago to be notified such fantastic news!  Thank you Julie for such a generous selection of gifts!

If you haven't checked out Julie's blog, please take a visit; she's great!  Thank you again!  

A run down of all the gifts:
  • Maybelline Great Lash (Blackest Black)
  • Lots of Lashes (Very Black) Washable Mascaras
  • L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

  • Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment 
  • Milani HD Advanced Lip Color (Rich Caramel)
  • Physicians Forumla Organice Wear 2-in-1 Bronzer & Blusher (Light Bronzer/ Pink Rose)
  • Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick (Nudist)
  • XT Nail Stickers x6

Within all these exciting products, I cannot wait to get my hands on trying:
  • Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment 
  • Milani HD Advanced Lip Color (Rich Caramel)
  • Physicians Forumla Organice Wear 2-in-1 Bronzer & Blusher
The Glamglow mask is insanely expensive so I hadn't had the courage to buy one of these to try so thanks Julie for allowing this to happen for me!  Milani makeup ranges is something I have heard of and watched on youtube for such a long time, as it's not available in either the UK or Hong Kong, I still had a chance to try it so this is another perfect gift!  I also love Physicians' Formula, I have a very small collection of its products and I have enjoyed using them so far, so to have another product (bronzer and blusher are also my favourite, too) from this line is just going to add more excitement to my beauty collection.

I'll spend some times using each product and will definitely share my thoughts on them; watch this space!

Have you ever entered any giveaway on blogs or youtube videos before?  What have you won?

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

What's been emptied #2? February Edition

I love it when I finished using some of my beauty products - it feels like I have not wasted any of my money; especially things that I have enjoyed using.  In the recent months I have accumulated four items that I have finished using up and they are things that I would recommend and repurchase in future.

The two mascaras that have become my staple combinations while they last:

L'Oreal False Lash Telescopic Infinite Length Effect Fibers (Waterproof) £10.99 - I think that for what it is it's worth the price tag although at first I did think it was a little bit expensive for a drugstore mascara.  This works particularly well on two things: lengthening and curling of your lashes.  It doesn't hold my curls that well but I still haven't tried one that would hold it exceedingly well and I think I've only got my own lashes to blame on.  The plastic wand has 4 sides to it: 2 flat sides which do not have any bristles sticking out from, then two sides which have got the fibre bristles.  I normally apply this mascara from the flat side first which seem to curl up my lashes rather well.  I often go overboard with the application of mascara so I put on at least 3 coats.  The only down side about this mascara is just like any other mascaras that I have tried, they do smudge on me half way through my day but it's not a severe one so all in all, I'm really pleased about this mascara.

My other mascara in the combo is by Ellis Faas.  Ellis Faas is famous for her silver bullet packaging makeup range which gives a real modern and astronaut feel.  Thanks to my sister @forksandbrushes who generously gave me the mascara from a special summer beauty gift box that she bought from Selfridges.  It's my first product tried by Ellis Faas.  For  £20 it isn't the most expensive mascara of all amongst the high end range and after using up the whole tube, I think it's definitely worth the price tag.  The wand is a tapered brush and leans towards on the small size compared to other mascaras I have tried.  Like in the description on the website, it's got a creamy texture so it's kind of wet when I first got it and started using it.  But it doesn't bother me as I tend to get rid of some of the excess product before applying on my lashes.  I really like the size of the wand as it suits my eye shape - I don't have particularly big eyes and  my lashes are very short, so the relatively smaller sized wand helps to apply the products onto my lashes really accurately.  It does separate individual lashes so it opens up my eyes really well.  Although I don't find the mascara lengthens my lashes rather it volumises and bulks up my lashes.  This is why I said it's a great combo with the L'Oreal Telescopic mascara (one that lengthens, curls; and the other volumises and bulk things up!).  This mascara also smudge on me a little half way through the day, not badly so it's acceptable.  Would I repurchase and recommend it to others?  Yes I would!

I'm such a nail polishes addict, too so I do go through some of the top/ base coats fairly quickly.  I talked about my discovery of the Cyber Color range in Sasa.  I'm already on my second bottle of the ECO High Gloss Top Coat.  If you want a more detailed review of this good stuff, you can check out here.

Ironically I seem to be consuming hand cream a lot quicker since relocating to Hong Kong.  When I used to live in London, people often say that the air is drier there and I must use up a lot hand cream but the reality is a complete opposite story.  Anyway,  I have never tried any hand cream by Crabtree & Evelyn.  I feel that this brand doesn't get talked about as much as L'Occitane.  Hand Cream Therapy, Iris has been a firmed favourite of my handbag in the past month.  It has a nice scent of Iris (I assume it's this scent as I don't actually know what Iris should smell like!).  It's not too overpowering but it does linger on my hands for a little while which ticks my box!  Then moving onto the texture itself, it's definitely got a creamy texture and slightly on the thicker side of a hand cream but it gets absorbed incredibly quickly hence it doesn't leave my hands feeling greasy at all..  It's very moisturising especially on the cuticles and on my nails I feel - it lives up to the name of the product - Hand Cream Therapy.  I would definitely repurchase and recommend this hand cream to people if you haven't tried it before.

What have you emptied this month?  Have you tried any of the above products before?

Saturday, 8 February 2014

A special hand-held mirror set

We are still in the Chinese New Year period and we are still being extra nice and bringing lots of happiness and goodies to each other.

I recently received a very special Chinese New Year's gift: a set of very beautiful vintage look-alike hand held mirror and a comb.

When I opened the box I almost screamed because of how amazing this girlie mirror set looks! 

This gift is brought back fr the Yunnan province in China, so indeed a very unique present! I love the purple flower on the back of the mirror and the bronze-steel material which gives a real vintagy feel.

I'm loving my new hand held mirror!

Have you received any special gifts recently? Perhaps I've given you a little idea on Valentine's gift?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

My untouchable beauty wish list!

Oh dear, very itchy!  Not talking about that, I'm talking about itching to shop in Space NK!  For those of you who are less familiar with the UK beauty scenery, Space NK is a beauty apothecary store which stocks up on the highest quality of makeup, skincare and haircare brands from all over the world.  It's definitely one of the most interesting beauty chained stores in the world.  If you can't visit a Space NK store physically yet, perhaps you should check out its website to see what makes you tick - they do international delivery to most of the countries in the world..... dangerous alert to your purse!  Ooops!

There has been quite a few exciting new launches recently from two of my favourite brands, Hourglass and Eve Lom.  Living in Hong Kong means I miss out on all the hourglass good stuff, although Eve Lom is available here, EL's latest launch on makeup are somewhat a distant dream to me for the time being.

As a blusher junkie, hourglass' latest invention Ambient Lighting Blush £28, looks absolutely lush - I really want to get my hands on those.  I own its Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light.  I bought it because it's a cult product but as I started to exploring using it I liked it more and more.  Ambient Lighting Blush is the blusher version of the Ambient Lighting Powder.  It is available in 6 shades and I love that their names correspond with the Ambient Lighting Powder, such as Dim Light vs Dim Infusion.  Perhaps you can colour match your blusher with the lighting powder?  I know I'm vain like that!

Eve Lom made her name of her amazing skincare range, of which the Cleansing Balm is a real hit and has been known as the best facial cleansing product in the world of all times.  I'm yet to try it purely because of the price tag.  But when I found that that EL has launched an exciting range of makeup base products - I can almost guarantee to myself that I would try something from it.

I have my eyes on 3 products:

Brilliant Cover Concealer - £30, available in 6 shades, contains SPF 15. 

Radiance Perfected Tinted Moisturiser £48, available in an amazingly 12 shades, contains SPF 15.

I'm a firm believer in spending a little more on base products, they are the layers that you slap on first and are closest to your natural skin, it's got to be right so that it sets a good and flawless foundation to your face.

All of these products are available on a pre-order only basis - what are you still waiting for?  Go into the shops, or have a look on its website.

Have you pre-ordered yet?  What have you got your eyes on?

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The weirdest body wash

I'm not someone who is willing to spend a fortune on body products especially body wash. So, when I finished my last one, I decided to continue with the budget buy on body products theme and had a nose round Fusion by Park 'N' Shop, a local Hong Kong supermarket. I love Fusion, it stocks up on a ton of Waitrose stuff, and a few stuff from Superdrug! It reminds me of home.

In Hong Kong, it's not difficult to find something black or green in colours - what I actually try to say is, say in any Bakery Shops, you can easily find a green or black buns on the rack - the green ones are normally green tea flavour and the black ones are either charcoal baked or black sesame flavours.  Weird?  Nope!  It's interesting and yet a norm in Hong Kong, I noticed.

This Charcoal Essence Deep Cleanse Refreshing Body Wash caught my eyes immediately despite sitting amongst all the other hundreds of body washes products on the shelves.   As I glanced through the ingredients list, it says this body wash contains charcoal essence, hence the black coloured product.

It's pretty bizarre really the first time when I pumped this good stuff out - it really is a thick black creamy textured body wash.  It is not fragranced, rather it smells of a cleaning product, bizarre again! To the best of my knowledge, charcoal has a function of deep cleanse - a bit similar to a black mud mask if you think about it.

However, it doesn't feel as if it's too strong for me skin but rather, I felt that my skin is being deeply cleansed and I feel nice and fresh afterwards.  It doesn't dry my skin out and it's pretty hydrating, too!

Another close-up to this bizarre looking black creamy product!

Charcoal Essence Deep Cleansing Body Wash HK$29.99 for 800ml available from Fusion by Park 'N' Shop.