Month: November 2014

Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer

Brace yourselves ladies cos this is looong!

The Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer is a super pigmented ‘creme Makeup/concealer’. It has a light scent that’s somehow familiar to me, and it hits me as I’m writing this – it has the same smell as the Shiseido cold cream my mum used back in those days. The SSE is indeed made in Japan, not saying anything – I just found this tidbit interesting on a personal level to mention it that’s all.

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I picked this up in May 2014. The pot contains 18g of product. The brand underwent some a repackaging in the last couple of years and from what I can see, the SSE comes in a gold box now (instead of burgundy), and the label on the bottom is black (again instead of burgundy). Other than that it seems to be pretty much the same.

Confession: I started this post in June actually, and of course never gotten round to finishing it for all sorts of reasons. I went easy on my base makeup since starting my new job in July, often not wearing any. When I do I reach for my powders because they are fast and help with the shine I get when it gets hot in the kitchen. Because I’m determined to post today I pulled out the SSE yesterday to refresh my memory and was completely blown away all over again.

I will confirm everything else you’ve read on the internet about this cult product. Yes, you can use the SSE as:
1. full-coverage foundation that can be sheered out to a tinted moisturizer
2. spot concealing – probably the best concealer out there
3. contour/highlight (by using a shade lighter/darker – you can do this with all foundations though, not just the SSE)

There’s a wealth of information out there on how to use this product. I won’t go into too much detail, but to get you started:
1. You’ll read/hear again and again that you don’t need much, just a pin size. That’s probably true but you need to experiment and find your preferred dosage. You may need more than that, or less depending on what you want to achieve and the way you use this. (more…)

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October Empties

There were no empties in September hence no post. October (and November) are the big months!

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Nuxe lip balm (15g) – Made in France
This pot lasted me a year even with nightly use, so it’s a bargain. Comes in a heavy glass pot so not that great for travel. Texture-wise, some reported granular (and consequently doubles as an exfoliator) but my pot was never gritty, the balm was always smooth to the eyes and to the touch. I read on a French community review site that it becomes gritty with time – the honey hardens and the grittiness goes away with the heat generated as you apply. So nothing to worry about really. But if you’re concerned, go to a place where there’s high volume turnover (like Citypharma haha). Or get this year’s limited edition ones to be sure.
This is a cult product everyone raves about but honestly I didn’t have any miracle ‘it happened overnight’ episode when using it. It really wasn’t as magical as everyone claims it to be. Maybe my expectations were too high after all the raves but I can’t deny that it’s a nice, solid lip balm.
Before Nuxe I was using Kiehl’s, which was decent and not half bad. I then tried Jack Black towards the end of the Nuxe pot and thought that was quite wonderful. (My ranking of these would be Jack Black, Nuxe and Kiehl’s). I wasn’t going to repurchase Nuxe with so many other balms at home BUT:
– they came out with new packaging, limited edition colours …
– since not using it I find myself missing it at times
– the matte finish is actually quite nice
I guess the bottom line is I am quite fond of it. I use this pretty much exclusively before bed and I always work whatever amount I apply into the lips. If you don’t it just sits on top and stays there til you remove it. Which some people like I guess?

Oh and this exists in stick format but in my experience, whenever there’s an option, the pot ones always perform better. Same thing for the Dr. Hauschka lip balm, which is a similar product and also gives a matte-ish finish as far as I remember.
Repurchase? Yes, even if it’s a bit over hyped.

LIERAC Sensory Exfoliant with 3 White Flowers (175ml) – Made in France
Reviewed here.
Might be a bit heavy for summer but it’s amazing during the winter months. Some particles trail behind in the shower during use, I kinda wish it would all dissolve completely.
Repurchase? Not in the near future. I still got 2 other scrubs to go through. Plus it’s quite spendy.

Origins Zero Oil (150ml) – Made in USA
Full name is Zero Oil Pore purifying toner with Saw Palmetto and Mint. It has a variety of essential oils contains denatured alcohol (third ingredient), which together with the mint gives you that slightly astringent feeling. This is actually my second bottle (you can read my thoughts on the first empty here) – my friend bought me two when I only wanted to try one. It claims to ‘reduce shine and remove excess oil’. I used this mainly in the summer, when I felt spots coming. Can’t say if it’s effective, I feel a bit meh about this even if my skin didn’t react badly to it. There are a lot of better toners out there so unless you like that tightening feeling, perhaps you should look elsewhere. Spelling it out: sensitive skin stay away.
Repurchase? Nah.

SANA Super Quick Melty Gel Liner EX in 01 Black – Made in Japan
The ‘melty’ is a newer version of the quick gel liner and I prefer the older one actually. I no longer have the original to compare the ingredient lists but the melty contains shea butter and I do feel that it is softer than the older one. Unfortunately this change in texture also means that it smudges easier on my hooded lids.
Repurchase? I bought a few at the same time so I will go through those but I’ll go back to the ‘original’ or switch to KATE if I couldn’t get my hands on those.

Heroine Volume & Curl Mascara in 01 Black (6g) – Made in Japan
You read this often here: Only Japanese mascara keeps the curl of my straight lashes.
Some western brands hold the curl, but never as well as a Japanese mascara. My lashes continue to look like they’ve just been curled even at the end of a long day. They are also harder to get off comparatively.
As for the Heroine mascara, curl-holding aside (10/10) it’s actually a rather average mascara. It doesn’t give dramatic volume and was kind of clumpy. I didn’t like the shape of the brush.
Repurchase? No.

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner (125ml) – Made in France
This is a mild toner with AHA and has a slight floral scent. I’ve never used an AHA toner before and it pricked the skin slightly in the beginning but before long I didn’t feel anything with continued use. I used this only in the evenings.
Not sure about this one. I thought I saw a difference in the beginning but then my skin condition changed when I started Adapalene so it’s really hard to say how effective this was. I can only say that it didn’t do anything bad to my skin. IMO it’s worth looking at for someone with sensitive skin, and it will make a nice introduction to the world of AHA toners for others who want to try one without jumping straight to something like Alpha H.
Repurchase? Maybe.

Bifesta Cleansing Express Eye Makeup Remover (145ml) – Made in Japan
Bifesta is a range by Mandom Corp that focuses on cleansing and makeup removal. This eye makeup remover was voted best in the cleansing category by the Japanese cosme website in 2012.
I really enjoyed using this. It’s gentle, scentless and effortlessly takes everything off. Never stung my eyes nor gave me a bad reaction. At 6 euros a bottle this is amazing. Makes me feel stupid paying top dollar for other eye makeup removers where this one does just as good a job for a fraction of the price.
Repurchase? A big yes.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane cleanser (200ml) – Made in France
Another recurring product. This is the last bottle for a while until I finish up my POD cleansers.
Repurchase? Next year perhaps.