Treatments -Physician's Choice - pHaze 15 C Quench
annabellegan 10/26/2010 6:18:00 AM
My virgin pump of C-Quench® went splattering all over my pyjama pants. Because I was expecting the usual thick, gooey consistency synonymous with serums, I aimed the first squirt at my fingertip. Big mistake! Turned out it was a lot runnier and felt, looked, smelled exactly like freshly-squeezed OJ. Initial application felt fairly sticky, but OHHHHH!, was I fond of the tangy goodness. My dehydrated old skin slurped it up and the stickiness faded in all of five minutes. I noticed an immediate clarity and improved skin texture that was evident to the eye and touch. The flaking around my jaw area and laugh lines were visibly reduced. I would pop this precious bottle of skin OJ into the fridge to amplify the shiok factor. Highly recommended on the basis of the price alone. PCA Skin products are so affordable and work just as well as their pricier counterparts, if not better.
Tinted Moisturizer -MAC - Prep + Prime Beauty Balm SPF 35
annabellegan 7/9/2010 12:44:00 AM
I chose near-perfect circumstances to give this beauty balm cream (one of the gazillions available in the Asian market!) a shot. Started my day at a God-forsaken 6 am by slapping on this thick, creamy balm. Blending wasn't exactly a cinch due to its gooey texture, but I was undaunted. With a BB Foundation Brush, I patiently buttered my entire face like it was freshly-popped toast. Persistence paid off. I was rewarded with luminous, Photoshopped skin that looked unbelievably even-colored and radiant. A light dusting of MUFE HD Microfinish Powder and voila! Instant gratification. Unconvinced nevertheless at the oil-control property of the BB cream (hey, how could a product that looked/felt so impervious possibly keep the dreaded oilies at bay, right?). Hah! I was sure that my face would be an oozing, gleaming mass of oil field in a matter of half an hour, tops. Went about my work day and forgot about my face. When I popped into the ladies after a late lunch, I was pleasantly taken aback that my complexion looked just as smooth, fresh and dewy (most amazing of all, I was still relatively shine-free!). No blotting or touch-ups required. Back to my long day that had me running all corners of the island lugging dead weight. My day eventually wrapped at a hot, boisterous al fresco pub for the Germany vs. England match, where I jostled with a sweaty and rowdy crowd for a good three hours. Last time I checked, my makeup was intact and there was zero eyeliner runnage (my eyelids get so oily that lesser eyeliners frequently slide right off; even with the waterproofed ones, there is the occasional corner smudge). I usually apply Prep + Prime Skin Refined Zone Treatment on my eyelids to combat this issue, but the BB cream alone works just as impressively. Highly recommended even for the active, oily-combination-skinned.
Beauty doesn't come easy on the nose, as I've had the (mis?)fortune of discovering. Botanical Night Complex smells like Hong Kong foot that has been cooped up in stinky wet socks for a week and then warmed for good measure. If you can get beyond the repugnant pong, your skin will reap the benefits of this 10-nights-a-month intensive treatment. A treasure trove (don't let the el cheapo, plasticky bottle put you off!) rich in hops (regenerates and stimulates), horsetail (restores minerals and improves skin tone), white lily (anti-pigmentation and exfoliating action), centella asiatica (boosts collagen production and heals), and essential oils of chamomile, rosemary and sage, this evil-smelling concoction is exactly what my lethargic old skin needs for a jolting kickstart. Once the odious emulsion has been tapped into the skin and penetrates, it works its magic clearing, unclogging, firming and regenerating tired skin cells. Sisley positions Night Complex as a detoxifying treatment, but I'd like to think of it as a plumber, really. It burrows deep down to the source of subcutaneous distress and fatigue, paving the way to a significantly eager and receptive response (to the benefits of other skincare, and even makeup). I see distinctly visible results in the morning when my skin looks so plumped and radiant I am almost blinded by the sheer dazzle of it. Gorgeous when you desire skin that springs back buoyantly when poked and a natural luster that is almost surreal. At SGD$328 for a 30ml bottle, beauty doesn't come cheap, or particularly fluffy to the touch (sticky with a capital S, yikes!!!). I don't give a hoot it's labelled as exceptionally active; I liberally douse my eye area with it because it's THAT GOOD and I don't wish to deprive that needy area with this miracle sustenance. Where Night Complex is concerned, I have adopted the classic stance of no-pain-no-gain.
Timeless and gender-neutral, Eau de Campagne is what I would describe as an essentially blueblooded lush green. The fresh vivacity of tomato leaves is impeccably offset by the herbaceous bitterness of galbanum, resulting in a bracing tonic that at once invigorates the body, mind and soul. One whiff of this refined and exquisitely-constructed Jean-Claude Ellena creation, and you get the distinct impression that this is bottled nobility. A magnificently spirited fragrance, it conjures the scenario of Royal Equestrians partaking in easy summertime canters in the rolling pastures of Tuscany, clad in their chichi jodhpurs...and of course, trailing EDC.
Foundations -Bare Escentuals - bareMinerals SPF 15 Foundation
annabellegan 8/18/2009 9:42:00 PM
Deplorably coarse foundation (in a loose powder form, wowee, how novel!) goes on splotchy, uneven and patchy, ESPECIALLY on oil-prone areas like the nose. It proceeds to settle onto my pores to truly magnify them, settle onto my drier bits (my cheeks) to pronounce the presence of dead skin flakes that practically flap in the wind, settle into my creases to give a shout-out to the world, "Look, Ma! Crow's feet!". When I blot off excess oil over my nose area, I am left with an awful, gargantuan-pored, blotchy patch that looks like I just ripped a pore strip off my foundationed nose. I guess there's a first for everything; this sublimely difficult-to-blend foundation amplifies my flaws and makes me look worse than I actually do. Truly sub-standard product deserving of a total recall, and I say this without a nano-ounce of remorse. You have been warned.
Fragrances -Comme des Garcons - Synthetic Series Garage
annabellegan 8/7/2009 1:38:00 AM
Took Garage out for a spin today at 11 am and the scent literally vanished by 12.45 am. Gimmicky like, but pricier than Demeter Vinyl, the fragrance is reminiscent of tyres and automobile maintenance workshops (albeit highly glossed over). As a person who appreciates the odors of grease, gasoline, varnish, turpentine and the like, Garage is right up my alley. I was tickled when someone commented in the elevator (with this culprit stealthed smack in the middle), "Where is that rubber smell coming from? You smell it?" *collective headscratching on everyone's expression* Preciiiiouss!! From its opening bouquet of lush tyres, wet asphalt and musty vinyl to its sweetly insipid, almost liquorice-like drydown, it fulfills one helluva evocative purpose. While Garage hardly qualifies as a typically perfumey, everyday scent, I would wear it just to provoke a reaction from those around me. Pity about its dismal lack of endurance.
Shampoo -Sisley - SHAMPOO with botanical extracts frequent use
annabellegan 7/12/2009 11:32:00 PM
Botanical Shampoo does not make my hair soft, smooth or supple, and I fail to find it particularly gentle. Hair texture in fact felt a tad drier and rougher to the touch. This is, however, a small price to pay as it equalizes all of my hair woes to provide the bounce that I need + insane volume. Sebum overproduction at the scalp has been efficiently arrested; the roots of my hair no longer languishes in oil within a day, like it normally does. A tiny dollop of the shampoo produces massive amounts of lather, so a little goes a long way. Hair and scalp feel squeaky clean after one wash (no second application is ever needed, no matter how grimy the condition of your hair; that's how thoroughly cleansing this product is). It singlehandedly addresses all of my hair issues as if it were my very own customized hair care. Woot! Bad hair days are now a thing of the past.
A pricier, souped-up Cetaphil with the same plasticky odor. I say souped-up because for the price, it has to be. R-i-g-h-t? Truth is, it cleans and moisturizes no more and no less. Your dough is better parked elsewhere.
Fragrances -Cartier - Le Baiser Du Dragon - Parfum
annabellegan 6/2/2009 7:49:00 AM
When I brought my nose to my wrist, the fire knocked me back so violently I nearly snapped my own neck. Kiss of the Dragon is no misnomer, although it feels more like Dragon's Breath...hot (not to be confused with warm, because warm connotes a certain sense of comfort) and fiery like the goddamn flames of Hades licking at my reeling senses. I am at the vast hall of a Chinese Taoist temple where the suffocating smoke from 100,000 burning joss sticks have kicked both my trigeminal nerves and lacrimal glands into a feeding frenzy. Smack in the middle of the hall, a huge pot of Chinese medicinal herbs is brewing at full steam, emitting the foul poison of herbal dregs. In the meantime, Dragon's Breath blazes a fiery path through my nostrils, fries my brains and continues its journey of destruction down my poor esophagus, triggering a physical reaction akin to a heartburn. I am strapped to a chair and trapped in this purgatorial chokehold, in the company of a scorching scrubber I utterly gag to be rid off (brutally tenacious, so what else is new?). I get zero floral and all smoke and spice. Never again.
Criteria for THE Liquid Eyeliner: Quick and efficient ease of use that produces impressive results. This is as flawless a performance I've gotten out of a liquid eyeliner in my two decades-long quest for gorgeously, professionally lined peepers. One click is sufficient to dispense just the right amount of ink to line an entire eyelid, without the hassle of additional touch-ups. The felt tip is firm enough to render control of lining extremely precise and a complete breeze. I loathe those skinny, skimpy, bendy little brush tips that make application a massively messy bitch. I have neither time nor patience to wrestle with leaky, smudge-prone liners that require the iron-stable, tremble-proof hands of a makeup pro to handle. It does not matter if thin, along-the-lash-line application or Amy Winehouse's aggro wingtips are your thang, this baby can and will meet all your lining needs. Perfection in a pen and truly indispensable.
I am stumped by how seemingly miraculous this mask is. Notice how 'seemingly' is used as a disclaimer here. I do not want to come across as a ranting lunatic, but GOD DAMN, this is by far the best mask I've had the fortune of using on this old, distressed skin. The heart of the product are the pulverized and liquefied extracts of sapphire, malachite, tourmaline and citrine that constitute Bvlgari Gem Essence®, along with Polypeptides III, the supposed future of anti-aging. Aided by Fiflow®, a swift and deep penetrating oxygen-carrier, the elixir is efficiently delivered to the dermis layer of the skin faster than your conventional un-Fiflow®-ed skin food. Fiflow® detoxifies and eases muscular tensions responsible for tension lines. Polypeptides III increases the production of collagen and elastin and launches a full 360° assault against all visible signs of aging. Bvlgari Gem Essence®, a patent-pending formula, is brimming with distinctive oligo-elements that nourishes, renews radiance and shields skin from environmental stresses. I slapped on a thick layer of the sumptuous Masque Precieux and wore it to sleep, as directed. Holy bovine! I literally woke up a woman with a reborn face. My skin is baby-butt smooth, washboard-taut, plumped up and so blindingly radiant I am almost glittering in the sun, à la Edward Cullen. The product is a joy to look at...light pink, frothy and whipped soufflé in texture. It felt quite heavy and greasy on the skin upon intial application, but was breezily absorbed by my dehydrated skin. Whatever reservations I had about the product is erased by how amazing my skin looked and felt after use. Every woman HAS TO give Masque Precieux a shot or be short-changed from possessing the appearance of luminously firm, young skin. Such is the wonder of my new miracle mask.
Screechy cornucopia of floral din. Dries down to an uninspired blooming mess. Avoid like the plague if you want to preserve your olfactory integrity.
This ultra-rich neck cream doesn't firm and tauten so much as it moisturizes and nourishes. While credit has to be given for its ability to iron out fine lines, creases and improve the texture of skin, the downright greasiness cancels out the pleasure of usage. Warning: This dense-textured cream is far from being easily absorbed. Two hours with it coating my neck and under the full blast of icy air-conditioning, I could still feel the cream sitting stubbornly THERE. Better for deep winter environment or octogenarians. Just my humble heads-up.
Treatments -Origins - Youthtopia™ Age-correcting serum with Rhodiola
annabellegan 3/24/2009 7:30:00 AM
I have a perpetual problem with a yo-yo-ing double (sometimes triple) chin, depending on my fluctuating weight and sodium intake. Noticing my jowls get alarmingly wobbly in recent times, I knew that I had to nip the bother in the bud. You see, I had grown complacent and skipped the firming serum for ages. Okaaay...I know that this product supposedly targets wrinkles as opposed to facial flab, but I discovered (not entirely accidentally as I have a penchant for trying out skincare on my neck, where I hold a deathly fear of aging). For a whole week, I religiously smeared this funky-smelling serum over my jawline, jowls and neck, and coupled it with my own anti-aging massage regimen. Voila! Noticeably shrunken jowls. Visibly tighter and tauter neck. Discernibly leaner facial contour. Texture is wonderful and my skin absorbs the stuff like a dream. If you can put up with the smell of horses cooped up in a humid stable for far too long, you will reap the benefits of this potent serum.
My absolute go-to when I demand speedy, one-step removal of all makeup sans the hassle of double cleansing (i.e., when I'm utterly bushed and cannot be bothered to go through my entire skincare regime). Express Cleanser Toner does a nifty job of sweeping away every trace of tenacious post-party gunk and leaves my skin feeling clean and breathing again. This product is laden with alcohol and witchhazel, so the drier skin types will probably find it harsh. Needless to say, this is not for long-term use; merely the occasional quick fix solution. It's a tad heavily fragranced, but the scent is rather divine. I have gone through three bottles of this and would continue doing so.