KIKO

Addiction by Ayako Haul

*ahem* I’ve been away on holidays, hence the silence again but more importantly it’s also how I got my paws on some Addiction shadows!! To compensate this will be a really long post so get ready!

I am so excited about these cos I’ve been wanting to try them since forever and the brand finally opened a counter in Hong Kong where I happened to be 🙂 Too bad I missed out on the opening GWPs, I heard there were some nice things.

Addiction by Ayako is a beauty brand in the Kosé family. Ayako was NARS’ creative director before starting Addiction. I found an interview with Ayako here on Haru’s website, my source for all Japanese beauty news 😉 Addiction has changed the packaging of their eye shadows when they (re)launched their eye shadows – all 99 shades at once. Some shades were retired, but I’m not sure if there’s a difference in the formula. Perhaps someone can comment?

Before I get into the shadows I purchased, I want to mention the LE Christmas Winter White set:

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pic from official website

This set was going for HKD550 (or thereabouts, IIRC) which I feel is a good price. Inside the compact you get 4 shadows and a blush:

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pic from official website

I was there the first day on the launch but after some thoughts, I passed. My reasons? I don’t use nail polish, and am not a fan of lip glosses, even if this one is black and thus more interesting. So there goes two products. The compact is nice but the blush shade is really more of a highlighter as the colour wouldn’t show unless you’re really fair and pale. And I don’t need another highlighter. Once I eliminated the blush shade there’s little reason left for me to get the palette even if the four shades of shadows are beautiful and practical and work really well together. This set is really a good deal and if you’re someone who uses all the products I highly recommend it. I should have asked the ladies if you can pop the highlight out and replace it with a blush instead (especially if you already own a blush from them). That would make this more versatile. Actually the gloss and polish would make kick ass as stocking stuffers even if you don’t use them. Oh well!

I picked up a total of seven eye shadow shades, purchased separately on different occasions. They are HKD 140 each, with 1g of product. You can buy an empty compact separately that could hold 4 shadows or a bigger one to hold 6 shadows. Note that the size of 1 blush = 2 shadows so you can customize whichever way you want. I almost got a compact but didn’t in the end because for me out of sight is out of mind.

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  1. 085 Shanghai Breakfast (P) A mauve with a gold and red gloss
  2. 082 Taxi Driver (P) A smooth grayish mauve
  3. 069 Flash Back (P) A grayish brown with a smooth gloss
  4. 040 Dolly Bird (P) A steel gray with a wet luster and sparkle
  5. 039 Yesterday (P) A light lavender gray radiating pink
  6. 043 Dangerous Liason (P) A deep purple shimmering with red and silver
  7. 109 Red Lily – Gold orange tinged with red, like the lilies of Northern Europe (limited edition)

It’s a bit of a pain to get the English names. They are not printed on the display panels in Hong Kong, nor on the boxes/sticker on the back of the cases. I had to cross reference them on the Japanese website. Having English names would make it so much easier to remember what I’ve got and what I’d like to try.

Swatches: (more…)

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April Empties

Been distracted from the blog lately, sorry. Expected more empties this month but a lot of the products held on. More for May then 🙂
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Kanebo suisai Beauty Clear Powder (0.4g x 32) – Made in Japan
The suisai powder is an enzyme-based powder cleanser. Almost all of the powder cleansers I’ve came across seem to be enzyme-based actually. The suisai is one of the first powder cleansers I’ve tried (I used fancl’s powder cleanser together with their entire skin care a lifetime ago, not sure if that’s enzyme-based as well though) and I’ve always enjoyed using it. This time round however, was the first time I’ve used a foaming net with it and what a game changer. I highly recommend getting one (mine is a cheap no-frills one from Muji) if you’re using powder cleansers. Instead of the low-foam paste I was used to seeing in the past, I got big, fluffy cushion-y clouds to wash my face with. It cleanses gently, face was soft and smooth and appeared brightened. The enzyme’s also supposed to help with blackheads, pores etc.
Now the suisai comes in individually packaged capsules. My box came with 32 but I believe you can get one with 14 or something. Each capsule contains 0.4g of product, so you get 12.8g total. This has a RRP of 2000 yen and is at the moment around 16 euros. I used this once a day in the evenings. If you were to use this twice a day you’d have finished the box in like 2 weeks.
Prices aside I also have a love-hate relationship with the capsules. I like that it’s pre-measured doses so you don’t struggle with how much powder to use (as I am now with my current powder cleanser). At the same time it’s a lot of waste.
Repurchase? As much as I love this it gets expensive. Unless you’re using this as a weekly special treat and/or you live in Japan and can bypass sellers and their premium on the net, I sadly think that’s the last I’ll see of suisai.

Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil (230ml) – Made in Japan
Reviewed many times before. Best of budget oil makeup remover for me. Mineral oil based though for those concerned.
Repurchase? I have a backup bottle to go, but perhaps will venture out and try other brands after that just because I’m bored.

KIKO Vibrant Eye Pencil in #603 (1.2g) – Made in Italy (?)
603 is a warm dark brown with gold pearl finish. I really like this pencil: cheap, long-wearing, beautiful shade. KIKO has phased out the Vibrant eye pencils but I suspect it’s the Intense Colour Long-Lasting eyeliner in disguise.
Repurchase? Yes!

Shiseido Future Solution LX eye & lip cream (15ml) – Made in Japan
This has a thick texture and this one time as I was using this I finally understood why people say to pat on eye creams instead of rubbing it on – when you’re older the skin is thinner and not as taut; if you’re using a thicker product instead of a gel for example, it won’t glide on. If you don’t pat, you’re only going to pull your skin and potentially cause more fine lines.
Anyway, the skin under my eyes was particularly dry during a rough period and this cream nourished it and I felt it was sufficient on its own and didn’t need to add anything else. Having said that I didn’t see any results in terms of reducing fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles and the like though. However! It did wonders for me in another way – it healed my lips overnight where all my other intensive, thick lip balms failed. My lips were dry and the skin was flaking around the mouth and I applied this all over as a last attempt (it does says ‘eye and lip cream’) and to my great surprise, it worked.

If you’re using the Future Solution Total Regenerating Cream, you can skip this because in the leaflet included you’ll find under the ‘how to use’ section that they instruct you to apply the regenerating cream around the eye area as well. Which makes this cream redundant.
Repurchase? Much as I enjoyed the whole indulging experience, no. It didn’t do anything other than moisturize and at this price point I think I have a right to expect more. The Regenerating cream on the other hand is another story.

Shiseido Beauty Up Cotton (108pcs) – Made in Japan
I’ve moved on from the supermarket variety to Muji cotton pads last year and realised just how much product I wasted with the cheap supermarket ones – it absorbed the lotion but doesn’t seem to ‘release’ it when I pat it on my face, if you know what I mean. I found I use less lotion with Muji and get more out of the cotton. The Shiseido ones are even better. The pads are sturdy but very soft. Doesn’t leave fibers on the face at all. It’s just a pleasure to use.
Repurchase? Yes

Kiss Me Medicated Hand Cream (75g) – Made in Japan
Bought this because it looks like it means business. This smells like eucalyptus. As far as moisturizing goes, I’m afraid I need something more for my really dry and rough hands. My hands have deteriorated due to too many washing and using alcohol disinfectant and other random products etc at work. They are ruined and I need industrial strength stuff now.
Repurchase? No.

[May 17 2016 – added before-empty photo below]

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Make up Brushes – My Collection + Review

I thought I’d write a post on brushes since I touched on the topic recently with my purchase from Koyudo. Originally meant to be one post, I have divided this into two because of length. This is part one, a run through of what I have and my thoughts of them. The second part will be what brushes to buy. This is a long, pic-heavy post!

I might have mentioned briefly in the past about how I started my collection (a humbly sized compared to collectors) but here’s all the history in one post 🙂

I bought brushes individually right from the beginning and heeded the advice of others who say to buy the best you can afford. Right from the bat I knew it was an investment so I started with shu uemura (this was like 20 years ago). I was quite a fan of theirs at the time anyway and even used their skincare range. Even back then I was told their brush prices climb up yearly and if you’re going to buy them anyway it’s better to get them early. So!

I started with 2 shadow brushes (sable, synthetic, both paddle style), 1 powder, 1 cheek (pony, also paddle style), 1 lip, the 5R (kolinsky) for socket and I think a spoolie. I still have all of them with me (although I LOST the 5R during a move). I have retired the cheek and powder brushes which started to shed gently a few years ago. The sable shadow brush is also coming loose at the ferrule, but otherwise still good. Considering they’re 20+ years old that’s not too bad. If you take good care of your brushes you can count on using them for 10 years no problem.

I was perfectly happy with these until I started experimenting more with makeup. So I added brushes like kabuki, stippling, eyeliner, dome shaped face brushes and so on and so forth. I’ve tried brushes from brands like MAC, Bobbi Brown in the early days, and in more recent years Sue Devitt, Lunasol, RMK, Rae Morris. And I never bought a set until Real Techniques came along. They’re so affordable and I believe at that time there were some brushes you could only get in the sets. I tried some Sigma, Sephora and zoeva brushes too. The last brushes I bought before the small Koyudo haul are Hakuhodo brushes when they were at the Bon Marché for a limited time.

This is the first time I counted how many brushes I have:brush-all

Little by little I have accumulated 63 brushes (59 in the picture above, a few didn’t make it in there but will be seen later in the post). I’m kind of surprised myself. They look so manageable sitting in glass candle jars and whatnot and you don’t even know how many you really have until you lay it out like that. Lucky the Man wasn’t at home when I took the picture. Even though I suspected as much that’s one big visual confirmation that I have too many. I really only use a handful regularly, and others are there when the regulars are dirty and I haven’t got the time to clean them 😛

I will try to be brief and go through the brushes as quickly as I can.

Since I forgot to take a close up shot, in the top left hand corner are 3 kabuki brushes. The smallest one is a freebie from Dior. This one came from the Nude Bronzer, I have another from Nude Air powder. The bigger one is MAC, the laquered one is Bobbi Brown. I don’t have a detail pic for these. The MAC one has longer bristles. Otherwise in terms of use they are (BB & MAC) similar to me and interchangeable.

Onto the rest of the brushes.

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I use the medium and fine point shader a lot. I probably reach for them the most, out of habit and because they work really well for me and suit my eye shape. With hooded eyes there’s just not much room to work with and most shadow brushes are too big.
Radiance is a nice brush, it works like a dense buffer brush. You can apply your foundation with it although I’ve never tried and have used it mainly as a dense buffing brush to polish the foundation and get a nice finish.
The smudger brush is soft and not scratchy like the Laura Mercier one but for some reason I just don’t reach for this often.
I really like the lip brush.
Precision liner I bought with the intention of mastering the flick. But I actually got better results with a push brush. It’s down to technique I suppose. I’ll keep practicing.

A word on these in case you didn’t know, these have magnets at the end of the brush and are designed to be displayed/arranged with a metal plate. They clump together if you store them flat or in a bag. The good thing though is I can easily hang them to dry in the kitchen 😛 I use the lid of an old coffee tin to store them upright.

Here’s a closer look:

brush-RM

Below is the Ultimate Cheekbone, which is exactly what it says, perfect for contouring that area.

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My Hakuhodo and Koyudo brushes:

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Dior vs KIKO PSA

If you’re interested in the Spring 2016 Dior pencils :
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Check out the ones from KIKO too:

DOUBLE DARE EYESHADOW & EYELINER 03

The KIKO ones are released December apparently, as part of their Campus Idol collection. There are more shades at KIKO but I think the ones at Dior are very well thought out and coordinated. But hey you can’t beat the KIKO price. I haven’t seen any of these in person, but thought I’d give everyone a heads up! 🙂

Favourites of 2015

I debated whether to make this post because it risks being irrelevant. Posting was also delayed because I was on holidays and couldn’t take pictures of the items mentioned. But I’m going ahead anyway, because while some specific products were LE it’s a general indication of the relevant brand’s quality etc. So hopefully it’s still useful 🙂

Suqqu
I think this is my favourite/kryptonite high-end eye shadow brand. I bought 2 LE palettes in 2015 (summer and holiday) and the summer one especially is easily a HG palette. That’s a no-brainer fave in 2015.

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Holiday on the left, summer on the right

I wrote briefly about their Spring collection here.
They of course, also sell the most coveted cheek brush… perhaps one day.
I’ve only tried a few skincare items (from GWP and sets) like the face wash, lotion, SPF and enjoyed using every single one of them. I’m not sure, however, if they’re worth the high price tag for the moment.

There’s also this beauty:

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Lighting Liquid

The most amazing liquid highlighter. Words fail to describe how beautiful this is. It can be a really natural and subtle glow that makes itself visible only when the light hits, or as glowy as you wish for a look with more drama, highlight & contour. It is of course also very versatile, mixing it in with foundations and so on. This was a LE summer release IIRC, if they do release it again don’t hesitate!

[21 Jan: I just checked on selfridges.com and both of these palettes are still available when they were previously sold out. So who knows?]

KIKO

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from KIKO website, the full range of the On-the-Go Minis

From favourite high-end to favourite bargain brand. KIKO consistently amazes me with their quality. My favourite purchases from them this year were their on-the-go minis range. The made myself choose only one Colour Veil blush and decided on 06 Mauve, which a quick search on google tells me is very similar to MAC’s Warm Soul. It’s not mauve at all, more like a bronzey rose. It’s smooth and blends beautifully.My picture kind of makes it look coral-ish but it’s not. (more…)

2015 Holiday Haul

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Spring collections are already available in some parts of the world, crazy! Bit late to the party as usual, but I thought I would post this anyway since most of the items are still available for purchase. I was pretty much immune from the big names’ Christmas collections this year. The last item to have tempted me was the blush Alezane (?) from Chanel Fall, and for a very brief moment the Gwen Stefani palette from UD. I sprung for these instead:

Shiseido Maquillage Snow Beauty II powder

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Just realised I bought quite a few things from Maquillage this year (the others are lipsticks and their wonderful powder foundation of course). I think they’ve done a nice job of revamping the line. The packaging may not be everyone’s cup of tea but the quality is there.
Snow Beauty powder came under my radar when I chanced upon the spreads they had in all three of the major Japanese beauty magazines that I happened to have. I was drawn by the skin-care ingredients and how they’ve encouraged its use at night before sleeping. This is not exactly part of their holiday collection, but anyway!

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So this is version 2 of the Snow Beauty powder. I read that it’s pretty much the same as last year’s release except the packaging is slightly different. It comes with 2 puffs, one significantly puffier than the other. The fat one really allows a liberal application, good for night time use only. If you use this during the day you will look really powdery and chalky. The powder itself is fine and is a truly translucent. I have no problem getting a beautiful finish with the flat puff. It’s lightly perfumed, the soothing kind of fragrance. Nothing sharp. I actually enjoy the scent. (more…)

Makeup Hits and Misses of 2014 – The Hits

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I think I did quite well last year resisting beauty releases (especially those of the limited kind) and impulse buys. As such my 2014 Hits won’t be exclusively on products that are released this year but include things that I’ve (re)discovered, have impressed me and constantly reached for. I’ve made a top ten post back in August and the items mentioned in that post are still very relevant. Think of this as more of a Favourites / Most-used of 2014 post.

1. Urban Decay Pulp Fiction eye palette
One of the LE collections this year I fell for. Love this palette even if I do wish the packaging is a little more travel-friendly – tested its portability on a short trip and found it to be a real PITA to pack. It just takes up so much room! I’m not sure if I’ll take it with me on trips again but being a neutral palette it really makes life easy and goes with everything. The texture and quality is amazing. Reviewed here.

2. Tom Ford Orchid Haze
If I could only bring one quad with me on a trip this will be it. It pulls quite neutral and by controling the darkest shade you can adapt it to any day/night look. This is my favourite palette out of everything at the moment (HG?). Also featured in the mid-year top 10 post.

3. Urban Decay Naked 3
I picked this up early in the year 2014 when Sephora France had it back in stock (and it was promptly sold out again). This is my first palette in the Naked series and really my first go at Urban Decay eyeshadows. I resisted 1 & 2 but something about the pink and rose called to me. I have enough browns at home already and thought 3 would be a nice change. I admit I was worried the pinks wouldn’t look good on me (rabbit eye/cried-all-night) but it’s surprisingly easy to wear and versatile. I’m used to quads and at most quints so the size and choices are overwhelming. I’m still on the learning curve with this but it’s been nothing but pleasure each time I reach for it. (more…)