Suqqu

Happy New Year + Favourites of 2016

Happy new year everyone! 2016 just flew by didn’t it? 2017 will be about ‘Change’ for me. There’s the obvious big move coming, with it means new job, home and everything else. Am excited and anxious at the same time ;^__^

Beauty and makeup-wise I see a definite swing back into a focus on skincare. The makeup releases in 2016 didn’t really excite me much, even Suqqu failed to perk my interest. I *will* however, have better access to Japanese and Korean skincare/makeup with my move, so who knows what will happen in 2017. I do hope to get more pans in 2017 but failing that I hope to reduce my stash. I’ve also realized I buy a lot of lipsticks but I really don’t wear them much. Hopefully with the blog sale I’ll be able to downsize the stash.

Looking back I don’t really have a lot of new favourites in 2016. None of them are LE items (apart from the Lighting liquid). These are things that work for me and that I’ve reached for consistently this year:

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Suqqu Lighting Liquid
This is the best liquid highlight I’ve ever used. I believe Suqqu released a pinker version of this sometime last year so perhaps they might do it again in 2017. This was also in my favourites of 2015 post. (more…)

December Empties

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Kosé Medicated Sekkisei Lotion (360ml) – Made in Japan
I’ve stopped keeping track of the number of bottles I’ve gone through since rediscovering it a few years ago. This bottle lasted me four months.
Repurchase? Always.

Hadalabo Gokujyun Medicated Skin Conditioner lotion (170ml) – Made in Japan
Mentioned in my last skin regime update here. This was my first product from the Hadalabo Gokyjyun range. This medicated version has a alcohol/medicinal smell. It’s nothing offensive though and I was never bothered by it. I’m not sure this did anything for my skin, I reckon it would be more suitable for younger acne-prone skin type who aren’t necessarily breaking out from monthly hormones fluctuation. Usually blemish control products tend to be drying but I never felt that with this. The Gokyjyun range are formulated with hyaluronic acid and the world ‘gokyjyun’ pretty much means ‘extreme moisture’. This medicated range is a relatively new member and I think is an interesting range to try if you have problem skin. The only challenge is perhaps locating it, I got mine online from alphabeauty (not affiliated).
Repurchase? I will try the Premium Rich one next. (more…)

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…)

August + September Empties

AUGUST

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Shiseido Integrate gel liner in BK999 (0.28g) – Made in Germany
I bought this cos it seemed to be a favourite among Japanese beauty magazine readers. But the size of the nib is too big for my liking and unlike a pencil it can’t be sharpened. Also the performance is inconsistent – sometimes it smudges, sometimes no. Despite no change in the steps leading to or out prior.
Repurchase? Nope.

Kate slim gel pencil in BK-1 (0.12g) – Made in Japan
Now this is a liner I know I can count on. I took this with me on my holidays and with daily use it lasted around one month. This has less than half the product of the Integrate liner though.
Repurchase? Staple.

Here’s a comparison photo with nibs from different liners. The UD acts as your average, typical pencil liner. You can see the Integrate is just slightly slimmer than that. Visée is the thinnest (mentioned a few entries below). KATE and dejavu are the same in diameter. I’ll write about the Dejavu one eventually but lets just say for now that I don’t reach for it often despite it having the best staying power.

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Top-Bottom: Visée, dejavu fiberwig, KATE, Shiseido Integrate, UD24/7

(more…)

March Empties

As usual I’ll get the finished hair/body samples out of the way first:
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Nothing new to write about here. I’m almost done with all the samples, I think I’ve only got body lotions and cream left afterwards. Oh and soaps but I’ll get to those later.

Here’s the real deal for March:

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John Frieda Full Repair hydrate + rescue Deep Conditioner (250ml) – [unknown]
“With Inca Inchi Oil” it says. This ingredient appears in the middle of the ingredient list. First six ingredients: Aqua, Ceterayl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Esters. Parfum.
You leave this on after shampooing for 2-5 minutes before rinsing off. My hair feels soft and silky after using this but we all know it’s the ‘cone. Smells nice but it doesn’t last on my hair. If you don’t mind ‘cones this is nice once in a while. I was using this almost everyday as a conditioner substitute and that was perhaps too much …
Repurchase? Nah.

Steam Cream (75ml) – Made in UK
I’ve had this for too long; left it at work for use mainly as a hand cream so that’s perhaps 1-2 a day, if that. However this is a multi-purpose cream that you can use for the face, body and even hair (just a tiny knob). I’ve used this once on the face but it was bad timing – I still don’t know what broke me out. Anyway you can read all about the cream on their website where they explain how the cream is made, why it’s steamed and the ingredients and so on.
I finished the rest of my jar using it as a body cream. I didn’t feel it so much when using on my hands but must say that I was impressed how quickly this was absorbed. And I mean I felt the cream has really sunk in, almost like my skin drank it up. It was moist and supple afterwards, and it lasted for a while.
This has lots of essential oils so if you have sensitive skin (or a sensitive nose! smells ) just be aware of that:

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Repurchase? I didn’t think I would but yes, and I have. There was a promotion going on at the moment (2 for 26.95 euros, 1 is usually 17.50 euros each). Interestingly these are cheaper in Japan where they also come in a mini size and have more designs.
… I have since received my new jars and these ones are made in Japan. Also the best before date is very short – I have a few months to use them up, whereas when I bought the old one I had 2 years?! Ingredients are the same.

Yves Rocher Apple Delice Silky Body Cream (150ml) – Made in Ireland
Pretty happy to use this up in such a short time. This was part of my small 2015 holiday haul. This has a nice texture and smells like apple tart. The only reason I rushed to finish this is because of the scent – it’s comforting and more suitable for winter; probably too heavy for summer use. I used the same logic when I decided to save the Bronze Goddess souffle for summer. Anyway this has a nice formula and if Yves Rocher makes this in a different scent (they probably do) I wouldn’t mind buying those.
Repurchase? Yes (more…)

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:

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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:

brush-koyu-haku (more…)

Spring 2016 Purchases – Part 1

Odd typing that cos it’s February and it’s still winter. But since everyone is playing the ‘First!!’ game and with LE items we’ve been conditioned to think that sometimes it pays to act fast and so you are reading this short post. I’ve really tried to limit my buys and I think if I really pushed myself I could have just got the eye shadow and nothing else. But oh well!

This is part one, on Spring collections. I’ll have a 2nd (other stuff) and 3rd (brushes) part coming 😛

From the new collections, I picked up three LE items: two blushes (what was I thinking … *looks at already big stash guiltily* – oh right I wasn’t) and an eye shadow palette.

Blush #1, from Chanel:

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finally a good photo of this taken on a sunny day

Incredibly this is the first time I caved and bought a special edition Chanel blush with fancy design and stuff.  It’s the first non-baked Chanel blush from Chanel since Tweed Sienna, which was light years ago. It’s been a while since I bought any Chanel makeup in general, so opening this and smelling the familiar scent Chanel perfumes their blushes with brings back some fond memories.

So this new blush is called Sunkiss Ribbon and is part of their LA Sunrise collection. It’s made in France and comes with 11g of product. The baked formula has 4g of product. A typical MAC blush has 6g. 11g is what you got with the XXL Wonder Woman blush from MAC. (more…)