eyeliner

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…)

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May Empties

I’ve got 10 empties in May 🙂

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Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Multi Action Cream Cleanser (150ml) – Made in Belgium (? I forgot to check)
I originally prepared a separate post to review the Estee Lauder cleanser but I guess I’ll do this here now. First, it smells like fabric softener, like those ‘clean laundry’ or ‘soft cotton’ smell. So sensitive noses beware.
This is a very gentle cleanser, not designed to do any heavy duty cleaning. My eyeliners are hard wearing and it didn’t even budge. Same with my mascara, it kind of just smeared around. I mention this because it blurbed about removing makeup on the back of the tube.
I’m using this mainly in the mornings, as you’re supposed to use it on dry skin and I tend to wash my face in the shower in the evenings. On that front it is gentle and non-stripping and my skin feels supple afterwards and never feels tight, even if I wait a bit before putting the rest of the skincare on. That’s something.
You can also use this as a moisturizing mask, I admit I’ve only done this once or twice and well, it was alright. I see it like this: when used as a cleanser it kind of leaves a film behind and won’t give you that squeaky clean feeling; so if you were to leave it on longer as a mask the clingy film layer that you feel will still be there, but perhaps will be interpreted as a moisturizing, protective layer instead… if you know what I mean…?
I suggest using a face cloth or konjac sponge ff you’re after a less clingy feeling.

All in all I think this is a nice option for those wanting to try cream cleansers or those with very dry skin. It’s not stripping at all.
Repurchase? Unfortunately it’s not really for me.

Kanebo Sekkisei Lotion Excellent (200ml) – Made in Japan
I wrote about this here, check that post if you want to find out what the difference is in terms of ingredients between the Lotion Excellent and the regular Sekkisei. Compared to the regular version, I do feel this one is slightly less watery, and the alcohol is less present and thus more moisturizing. In terms of whitening I’m afraid I can’t gauge if it’s more efficient. All I can say is since using the Sekkisei lotions, my skin tone lost a lot of the dark, sallowness that made me look tired and sort of wilted 😛 Now it’s definitely more uniform. There are still some areas that are ‘darker’ and I still have red scars I want to fade from recent breakouts but other than that I do feel in general it has improved. Sekkisei also claims to curb spots and stuff but my breakouts are hormonal (I know I’m a broken record on this) and those benefits are lost on me.
Repurchase? Personally the regular version is enough for me so I won’t be getting the Lotion Excellent. You could potentially start on this version and then go to the regular for ‘upkeep’. (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…)

December Empties

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These are the last things I used up in 2014. Again, apologies for the terrible lighting.

Chanel No. 5 Velvet Body Cream (150ml) – Made in USA
I don’t own the perfume (I might one day cos I do like it, but I tend to go to Uncle Serge and Frederic Malle) but I fell in love with the texture from a sample I got from Sephora. Hemmed and hawed for a year or two and finally splurged when I had a 20% discount. Really beautiful texture and the scent lingers and is very long-lasting for a body cream. This is all about indulgence, your sheets, nightie will smell like No. 5.

The jar is made of frosted hefty glass. This is made to be displayed and shown-off. Not practical for travel obviously.
Having a look on the website it seems they have changed the name and it’s now known simply as La Creme Corps, or The Body Cream. Can’t comment on whether the formula is the same or updated. You can also get this in other scents like Coco, Coco Mademoiselle, Chance etc.
Repurchase? I would love to, but I will try to find a dupe for the texture.

Klorane Conditioner with Oat Milk (150ml) – Made in France
Blurb from the website:

Cultivated in France, our extra gentle oat milk softens, protects, and moisturizes all hair types. The soothing and protective properties of the oat respect the natural balance of the scalp and hair, making it ideal for daily use and suitable for the entire family.

Promises to:
– Detangles, repairs and nourishes hair
– Adds radiance, lightness and volume
– Eliminates static electricity

Paraben, silicone, sulfate, sodium chloride free.

So that’s the info I found on the US website. On the back of my tube, it states

‘With its high content in oat milk, this conditioner without parabens, respects the natural state of the scalp but is also suitable for all hair types. Its velvety and fluid texture restores the natural balance of hair to restore its beauty and softness.’

It reads like something that’s put through Google translate. Anyway.
Klorane is a company under Pierre Fabre (same as Avene). I thought this conditioner was just ok. I was (still am) using the Cedrat shampoo and I think that formula is superior but I guess I shouldn’t compare shampoo with conditioner. I bought this because it says it’s ‘ultra-gentle’ and ‘for frequent use/all hair types’. To sum up I wasn’t really impressed with this.
Repurchase? No.

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Yeux (15ml) – Made in France
Claims to be a ‘rehyrating concentrate anti-eye bags, anti-fatique’ eye gel. Well it did nothing of that sort for me. This is a really ‘meh’ product that I find struggles to hydrate properly at times, let alone giving ‘intense’ hydration as implied in the name.
Repurchase? Heck no.

Kate slim gel pencil (0.12g) in BK-1 Black – Made in Japan
Hey another one of these. This is the last of my stash and as mentioned here it’s now my go-to and I’ll ditch the SANA unless I find the original non ‘melty’ version.
Repurchase? Yes.

Hydraluron (30ml) – Made in Canada
Learnt about this by way of Caroline Hirons’ site. Lovely product to use and I do feel it’s helped a lot in terms of hydration. Much appreciated ever since I’ve been using Adapalene.
It’s a clear gel that you apply before your moisturizer. The size surprised me – the tube is much smaller than the box lets on. It lasted around 2 months for me with twice daily use. Kinda pricey as well and not available in France AFAIK. It sort of reminds me of the Jelly Acquarysta from Fuji film (since pulled out of France).
Repurchase? Yes, I bought a backup when I was last across the pond and have been using that. Might need an alternative after.

Small 2014 Christmas Haul

Merry Christmas everyone! I know it’s Boxing Day, small technicality there. I was hoping I could get a post up before today but work drained me out more than I thought it would. Hopefully you all enjoyed a nice time with your family and love ones.

I managed to remain calm with the Christmas releases and only picked out a few things *pats self on back*

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Suqqu Christmas Set B
When I saw both of the sets on the Selfridges website I had a hard time deciding which one to go for. I reasoned that while Yukiichigo is pretty and special and delish, I know deep down that I won’t be wearing it as much as I would Tsukianzu.
I like eye shadows to be pigmented and from my experience back in the stone age days Japanese brands generally tend to do sheer washes and are more subtle than their western counterparts. This is my first ever Suqqu palette and they deserve all the raves they get. Great formula, silky and easy to blend. I’ll certainly pay more attention to their releases in the future, even if I do have to order from Selfridges and pay for the shipping.

I know the two sets are sold out and are very hard to find unless you go on evilbay (don’t). I’ll point out that Tsukianzu is quite shimmery (‘grown-up’ shimmer) because the Man noticed and made an off-hand comment when I wore it one day. But it’s a Christmas set afterall so that’s ok.

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I just found the videos Suqqu has on these two sets. See Tsukianzu in action below:

I’d like to get that lip brush.

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Guerlain Perles d’Etoile
I got the Crazy 68 meteorites compact last year but couldn’t resist having them in their tradition pearl form. The warmer tones and the packaging sealed the deal. At the moment I think I prefer the look of the compact which seems to do an instant brightening finishing magic touch. Nitpicking, the Perles d’Etoile is a hair more shimmery when applied. Nobody but you would notice the ‘difference’ though.
Don’t cry if you didn’t get this – Guerlain Spring 2015 has new meteorite compacts and a blush that comes in variation of pink and rose ballz.

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Urban Decay 24/7 Black Magic set
I picked this up with the Suqqu to bring the shipping average down 😛
I haven’t tried UD’s 24/7 liners before and since I use a lot of black eyeliners and I prefer my liners to be dark in general (so I can just line-and-go) this looks to be promising. Also double-ended = good for travel. I’ll review this when the time comes.
The other eyeliner set that looks promising is the set of minis from Marc Jacobs. I haven’t tried MJ’s liners either but the shades look fun and the set works out to be a better deal.

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Aquis microfiber hair towel
Not makeup but beauty related. I bought my first Aquis maybe 10 years ago. It was well loved but I left it in the hotel bathroom on one of my trips a few years ago. I finally bought a replacement earlier this year and decided I want a second one. I have a full-head of thick hair that takes a long time to dry and the Aquis really helps in cutting down the drying time. Indispensable on trips when you never know how good/bad the hotel blow dryer will be.

July & August Empties

Another month of silence on the blog. In my defense I’ve started a new job, returning to the kitchen since my two years’ of rest working at the front. It’s quite challenging for everyone involved at the moment since the place is one of the newest openings in the city that’s gathering a lot of buzz in the industry. All eyes are on us, and we’re doing crazy hours across all sections. There are still a lot of wrinkles needed to iron out and we’re tackling them as we go.

Since I’m back in my whites, I no longer wear base makeup (they just melt) or colour makeup (inappropriate) and limit myself to eyeliner and mascara. My makeup playtime is now limited to my days off, and even then I’m so tired I usually just want to stay home and don’t see the point of wearing a full face of makeup.

Having said that though, I still try to read blogs and new releases and have my eyes on a few items coming for Fall/Winter. In the meantime, here are my combined empties for the last two months:

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Glysomed Hand Cream (150ml) – Made in Germany
This is the perfumed version, housed in a tub that lasted me for quite some time. I kept this at home, usually around the kitchen. I paid perhaps 9 euros for this. As mentioned in the June empties post where you’ll find the unscented tube version, I really like their formula and budget-friendly pricing. They are my go-to and never disappoints. I should add this to my holy-grail page. Here are the first 10 ingredients:
Aqua, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Octiydodecanol, Petrolatum, Dimethicone. Sorbitol, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Phenoxythanol.
Repurchase? Yes!

Avène Cleanance Spot Treatment (0.25g) – Made in France
Cleanance is the acne treatment range from Avène. I got this on a whim, thinking I could use something like that in my makeup bag. It never left my dresser. Anyway from the back of the box:

Targeted at oily, blemish-prone skin, this spot treatment is ‘formulated to help eliminate skin imperfections’ and is ‘drying and purifying’.
For drying, ‘powders and clay’ to help absorb excess oil; Glyceryl Laurate (patent) regulates its over production
For purifying, Key ingredients reduce bacteria growth
For exfoliating, BHA known keratoregulating ingredients help reduce skin blemishes.

They recommend applying 2-3 times a day and warn that it may cause a tingling sensation which never occurred to me. It is odorless and the tip is colourless so it goes on invisible. I will say however that you can’t apply foundation on top of the areas where you spot treated. It just doesn’t go on smoothly and you’ll see straight away the areas where you have the Cleanance.

I actually quite like this little pen which surprisingly worked well on me. I apply this maybe morning (if not wearing foundation) and in the evening, rather generously. It’s efficient in reducing redness and calming a blemish before it gets to be big and angry. I had a look at the ingredients and the first 5 are mostly waxes and oils. So who knows why. The only thing I’ll say is that it doesn’t come with much product and I went through the pen rather quickly. I paid 7.25 euros for this so it is actually rather expensive for what you get. On the beaute-test website it’s one of those YMMV products.

Repurchase? I’ve just bought another to confirm its effectiveness. We’ll see.

Kate slim gel eye pencil (0.12g) in BR1 in BR1 brown – Made in Japan
I used up one of these last month in black. Click here to read what I wrote. In one word: love.
The brown is obviously more subtle, just quietly defining the eyes. I do prefer black in general but brown is a nice change. This is a warm, mid-toned milk chocolate brown. The darkest brown eyeliner I found is Armani’s Smooth Silk Eye pencil waterproof. The ones that used to be LE.

I’ve read that Hourglass recently came out with their version of these type of pencil gel liner. These ones from Kate (and SANA, and apparently shu’s as well) contain 0.12g, or 0.004oz. Hourglass’ is 0.002oz. I don’t know how they compare as I won’t be getting the ones from Hourglass, all I can say is it’s way too pricey.

I’ve been wearing these type of gel pencil liners for a while and have had good experience with the ones I’ve tried. I admit from time to time they transfer a little to just under my eyes but 99% of eyeliners do that on me, and most of the time they perform really well and are the least smudging/transferring liners I’ve used. YMMV of course.
Repurchase? Yes

Fancl Mild Cleasing Oil (120ml) – Made in Japan
Reviewed here.
Repurchase? Yes, I have received 2 more backups!

Clinique Cream Shaper in Egyptian (1.2g/0.04oz) – Made in Germany
Laura Mercier Kohl Eye Pencil in Brown Copper (1.2g/0.04oz) – Made in Italy
These are more purges as I rarely reach for them now that they are nubs. I’ve had these for years and in a way am glad I can finally ‘move on’. I really like the Cream Shaper formula and have one ready to go in the same shade. Black Diamond is also a nice alternative.
I love the colour of the Laura Mercier pencil but it didn’t perform as well as I want it to. Good for smudging out for a smokey eye look but if you want a clean line and for it to stay that way, you might be disappointed.
Repurchase? Yes; No.

June Empties

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Kate slim gel pencil (0.12g) in BK1 black – Made in Japan
So Kate is a brand under Kanebo I believe. I bought this to compare with the SANA superquick gel pencil liners that I used and love. I didn’t find any difference, from packaging to the product. Same twist mechanism that can only go up and not down, for example. SANA is a hair cheaper so I’ll probably go with that from now on, except: 1. I am tempted by the new gold colour Kate offers and 2. It seems that my source for SANA no longer stocks this?? Probably because SANA has released a new version (called ‘melty’) and you can find it on their website here (Japanese). I want to try that.
* I didn’t look at how much product the SANA has but I gather it’s the same or very close.

ettusais Cream eyeliner WP (0.1g) in KH khaki brown – Made in Japan
I love these kind of slim gel eyeliners as you can see, so I bought ettusais to try and picked up the limited colour khaki for a change. The packaging is different, this is slightly thicker than SANA/Kate, and the most obvious difference is with this one you can twist the nib down, which I do like. It wasn’t often but I did find on a few occasions that this didn’t wear as well as the other two brands. Just less resistant. Again it was just a couple of times here and there. Maybe it’s this particular colour, maybe it’s the formula.
This was the more expensive of the two, at HKD115, or 10 euros. SANA is around HKD75? and Kate HKD95? NARS Larger than Life (0.5g) is 25 euros. So NARS is cheaper! Except I hated it.

It’s hard to say how long these kind of pencils last with daily use. Maybe 2 months? I rotated between these two and another Kate in brown colour. They are probably the easiest pencils I’ve ever used, I know for sure they are the fastest to work with as well. The thickness is perfect and there’s no sharpening.
Repurchase? Yes for both.

Glysomed Hand Cream (50ml) – Made in Germany
This is the fragrance-free version. The perfumed ones have a deep green packaging. It’s cheaper than Yes! Nurse and I’m just as happy with the results I get with Glysomed. This is richer and more emollient but still doesn’t leave your hands greasy or anything. This is the type of texture I usually look for and prefer in a hand cream. It’s fully opaque and is a cream. Yes! Nurse is perhaps more a lotion type of consistency. I’ve used up countless tubs and tubes of this, both scented and unscented. Only thing is I don’t have ready access to Glysomed here. I’m using dermophil as a replacement.
Glysomed contains parabens. dermophil and Yes! Nurse is paraben-free.
Repurchase? Yes

Yes! Nurse Hand Cream (50ml) – Made in the UK
I bought this on beautybay when they had a 20% off sale. Since I use a lot of hand creams I’m always on the look out for new ones to try. The story behind its development (and name) is that the co-founder, a pediatric nurse, had severely dry and damaged hands from frequent washing. Not finding what she needed/anything that worked, she made this. It came in this very cute box that encourages you to mail it off to someone and share the experience.
The hand cream has ‘Active Manuka Honey +15 and Omega 3, 6 & 9’ and it does smell like a mild honey when you apply. It’s light and thin in texture (but not runny), semi-opaque. Gets absorbed quickly while at the same time seem to deliver adequate moisturizing properties. My hands didn’t feel dry afterwards. It looks like they really put a lot of thought into this product, keeping it natural. I’m surprised by how much I like this. You can check the website here. If you dig around onto the blog side you’ll find the back story I mentioned.
Repurchase? Yes

La Roche-Posay Toleriane cleanser (200ml) Made in France
A staple. Boring, yes. But like a rock. Especially now that I’m experimenting more with skincare if anything goes wrong I come back to this and it seems to make things better.
Repurchase? Yes

La Roche-Posay Serozinc (150ml)Made in France
Zinc is supposed to be an skin-calming, anti-irritant/inflammatory. It soothes the skin but at the same time is a mild astringent. Zinc sulfate is thought to help help acne and regulate oil gland activity.
Serozinc says it’s good for razor burns, diaper rash and for use as a toner.
I know this is a cult favourite and that everyone loves this to bits – which was what incited me to try – but I’m not sure if this is really effective on me. I’m not seeing the almost instant improvements and magic that every review out there mentions.
I use this as my regular toner, so twice daily I mist my face with this after cleansing and pat it in gently until it’s absorbed. Afterwards, I either go straight to moisturizer, or if I see/feel a spot coming I’ll use a topical spot treatment. Sometimes I use a second toner with mild salicylic acid during those hormonal fluctuation, which is mainly when/why I get my spots.
My old routine before Serozinc was the same, except I was using a rose water before moisturizing. I haven’t noticed much of a difference with Serozinc. Now that I’ve finished this, I think I’ll go back to the previous routine and see if I miss this. I guess my expectations were too high from all the hype, and for some reason I was hoping the zinc would really help with controlling my hormonal spots (the bottle mentioned nothing of the sort). This would be a nice no-frills toner to include in your skin routine if you have oily skin, or for a teenager.
Repurchase? Yes, I only paid 4.8 euros for the bottle (shocked to read bloggers paying 11 pounds for this, not including shipping!) so I will probably give this a second chance somewhere down the line.