Moisturizers -Aesop - Sage & Zinc Facial Hydrating Cream SPF 15
leea 10/2/2012 7:38:00 AM
A lightweight daily SPF for the face that blends in seamlessly. Doesn't leave the skin feeling greasy or looking ghostly white. Once it's blended in, it's undetectable. You can neither see nor feel it sitting on the skin. I find it mattifying rather than 'hydrating' on my combination skin. In the drier months, I mix it with a regular moisturiser to give it more slip. Since it's so lightweight, you can reapply throughout the day without it building up to a greasy mess. I've tried sunscreens from Japanese brands like Shiseido and Mentholatum Acnes. These were lightweight and blended easily but they left an oily film on top of the skin. They also contain UV absorbers (as most Asian sunscreens do). UV absorbers aka chemical sunscreens are sunscreen agents that are unstable and form free radicals upon UV exposure. They are less effective sunscreens that are frequently added to cosmetics because they don't leave an obvious white cast the way physical sunscreens like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide do. Currently, zinc oxide is the gold standard for broad spectrum UV protection. I have also tried more natural sunscreens made in a base of essential oils like Wotnot (similar to California Baby and Badger Balm), as well as "industrial strength" waterproof sunscreens like Invisible Zinc. These are great for use on the body. However, none of these were suitable for daily application on the face. Natural sunscreens are too greasy and shiny because of their oil content, while Invisible Zinc leaves a white cast and proves extremely difficult to remove. If you are going to be outdoors or in the water for an extended period of time, then Invisible Zinc is the gold standard. But for daily use, it is simply too much. In comparison to these sunscreens, Aesop is the perfect SPF for daily use on the face. It doesn't contain UV absorbers - its only active sunscreen ingredient is zinc oxide. It is non-greasy and incredibly lightweight. As for the packaging, I love the apothecary design of the tube but noticed that the cap gets clogged with product which makes it difficult to screw back on. I will definitely repurchase this, but in the jar form because the jar turns out to be more economical, albeit less travel-friendly.
Makeup Brushes -MAC - #210 Precise Eye Liner (Fine Point)
leea 11/26/2011 1:23:00 AM
This is a very thin eyeliner brush. Incredibly precise. You may find this brush easy to use if you have a steady hand and are experienced at applying eyeliner. But if you are a makeup novice or beginner, you might find it difficult. The bristles are very soft and flimsy and difficult to control. A firmer, denser brush such as the 209 would be a better investment, although you may not be able to achieve as fine a line as you can with a 210. However, if you are a seasoned makeup wearer, and are looking for precision and detail then you may find this a useful addition to your collection. I had a difficult time achieving a clean solid line with this brush and MAC's Fluidline. Luckily, I found a new purpose for it. This happens to be an excellent brush for ultra precise spot concealing. I use it in conjunction with a heavy duty concealer such as Shu Uemura Pro Concealer, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage or Becca Compact Concealer. With heavier concealers such as these, you really need to be as precise with your application as possible. If you use a typical concealer brush or perhaps your finger, you'll find that your complexion looks patchy and uneven. I have made this mistake in the past and the patches of concealer showed up visibly in photographs. A very fine brush such as this one makes it possible to accurately apply concealer only where you need it, leaving any skin in between perfectly clean and avoiding that patchy look.
Sunscreen -Unlisted Brand - Invisible Zinc - Face & Body Sunscreen SPF 30+
leea 11/26/2011 12:50:00 AM
Protection: If you are very serious about health and sun protection, then this is possibly the safest, most effective sunscreen you can find. There is a good reason why Invisible Zinc use zinc oxide as the sole active sunscreen agent in their products. Studies have shown that some organic compounds commonly used in sunscreens (namely, oxybenzone, benzophenone, octocrylene and octylmethoxycinnamate) can react under sunlight and form free radicals, which can damage DNA and potentially cause cancer. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, on the other hand, are inorganic compounds and are very stable. However, titanium dioxide is inferior to zinc oxide only because it doesn't provide good protection in the UVA spectrum. Zinc oxide provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. And that is why zinc oxide is such a suitable active ingredient for use in sunscreens. For those who are unaware, 30+ is the highest SPF rating allowed in Australia. Texture and application: It takes a bit of work to blend, leaves a white cast and proves difficult to remove. But again, if you are very concerned about proper sun protection, then you may be able to overlook this since a good sunscreen needs to be dense in order to provide full protection. A good sunscreen should also last on the skin and not rub off immediately. Although you can certainly use this on the face, most people would find this too thick. If that is your concern, there are other products in the range specifically formulated for the face which feel more comfortable on the face. I personally don't use this on my face unless I know I will be exposed to the sun for a prolonged period of time and require the best protection I can get. For daily use on the face, I am looking at powder sunscreens (i.e. Peter Thomas Roth Mineral Instant SPF) since traditional sunscreens such as this one have greasy bases. Overall, this is a heavy duty sunscreen that offers very good sun protection. Probably too heavy for most people on a daily basis but a good one to have for extended outdoor activities.
I bought this after hearing about it on makeup artist Lisa Eldridge's Youtube channel, and I love it! Overview: This is an excellent basic foundation for evening out the skin tone and covering mild blemishes. Looks and feels natural, like healthy, hydrated skin. Perfect for day-to-day wear. Packaging: Practical, convenient and travel-friendly. The bottle is plastic and has an airless pump that allows you to use up every last drop of product. Shades: I am an NC20 in MAC and purchased #52 based on the recommendations here on the board. If I had to be nitpicky, I'd say that it's a tad too pink for my very yellow-based Asian skintone but otherwise it's a very good match. I tested both #51 and #52 in the store and they're very similar although #51 is slightly paler and possibly pinker than #52 but I'd say that I could wear either shade. Don't worry if you're undecided about the shade match, it's an exceptionally blendable foundation so you can get away without an exact match. Application: This foundation is very buildable and blendable. The texture is so smooth and light. It applies easily using fingers and melts into the skin like a light moisturiser. Finish: The finish of this foundation is phenomenal. It's the perfect intermediate between matte and dewy. It's matte enough that it provides decent coverage and wear time but it doesn't emphasise flakes or look cakey. At the same time, it looks luminous without being greasy (that being said, if you are not a fan of the dewy, wet look, then you might want to set it with a powder). Best of all, I don't see or feel it sitting on my skin. It really does look and feel like real, healthy, well-moisturised skin. Coverage: Sheer to medium. Very buildable. Fully covers any unevenness, mild pigmentation, redness and mild acne. Foundation should be used to cover minor flaws and achieve uniformity of colour in the face, not to cover absolutely every imperfection or blemish - that's what concealer's for (wise words from Lisa Eldridge). This foundation does exactly that, it does a wonderful job of covering mild blemishes and evening out the skin. Lasting power: I don't use a primer, nor do I set this with a powder, and I find that it holds up well on sweaty, oily skin in the humid Australian summer. Fragrance: The smell is quite pleasant, very light and not overwhelming or artificial. Ingredients: After several uses, I am glad to say that I have not broken out from this foundation. Most liquid foundations I have used in the past have undeniably broken me out and I could always feel them sitting in my pores and clogging them up. Not the case with this foundation. As I said, you don't feel it sitting on your skin at all. There's no talc, no parabens, no oils, which is good news because they're usually the culprits behind cosmetic acne.
Brows -Shu Uemura - H9 Hard Brow Pencil - Seal Brown
leea 8/22/2011 6:50:00 AM
Application: Hard Formula is not very pigmented. The colour doesn't show up vividly or intensely. It applies more as a soft wash of colour than a solid line. But that is the basis of its appeal. Because it isn't intensely pigmented, it's incredibly foolproof. It's very difficult to overdo and you will never find yourself looking like you drew your brows in with a black marker. Applied with a light hand, it fills in gaps between brow hairs and shades in the brows seamlessly. Applied with more pressure, it can be used to subtly extend the tail of the eyebrows and create a more defined shape, though I must mention that if you are looking to draw very precise, clean lines, this is not the ideal product for that purpose. Shade: Varying the intensity of the application changes the resulting colour ever so slightly. Applied with a light hand to shade in the eyebrows, Seal Brown comes across as a medium neutral grey. Applied with a heavier hand, it appears more brown. Seal Brown is a very versatile and universal colour but if I had to be fastidious, I would say that it is not the perfect match for my eyebrows. My eyebrows are a cool grey that lacks any warm undertones. However, Seal Brown, despite being the most neutral brown in the range, ultimately has brown undertones, as its name suggests. I can get away with Seal Brown using very light, shading strokes, but I believe Stone Gray would have been a more flattering and complementary shade for my eyebrows. Sadly, Stone Gray was not available at my counter (it's supposedly not a very popular colour in Australia). Overall, a very versatile product. But if you are Asian, you might want to reconsider the shade that you purchase. Seal Brown is the best selling shade in Japan. The sales assistants will recommend this shade to most people since, as I said, it is a universal colour for all ethnicities. But interestingly, you may have noticed that very soft warm brown eyebrows are the trend in Japan, even on girls with black hair. Seal Brown 02 and Acorn 06 are perfect for that sort of look. However, in South Korea, thick, black eyebrows are more popular. So the colour you select really depends on your taste more than anything. Personally, I prefer grey/black eyebrows on East Asians because they look more natural. If you do too, then Stone Gray 05 would be good for shading fine, sparse eyebrows. Sound Black 01 would be more suitable for filling gaps in thicker, denser brows (I believe this shade is harder to find). Otherwise, Seal Brown might be a better match if you have more brownish undertones in your hair.
MAC Omega is a matte, mushroom, greyish-beige (or "greige"). It is a perfect, neutral, mid-tone taupe without any obvious reddish/orangey undertones, but is not a blue-grey as it retains a hint of warmth. Note that it applies slightly darker than it appears in the pan. Applied sheerly on fair to medium skin, this is the perfect medium taupe to shade the eyelids for a polished, daytime look (especially for work). However, like other MAC matte eyeshadows, it takes some work to blend into the skin and even swatch. This is also the perfect colour (the perfect combination of grey and beige) to fill in my eyebrows. For reference, I am Asian, with fair-to-medium skin, and relatively sparse eyebrows. For comparison, Shu Uemura's Hard Formula in Seal Brown (a cult favourite for Asian eyebrows) is much darker. Depending on how it's applied, Seal Brown can appear to be too harsh and overly brown. I believe Shu Uemura's Hard Formula in Stone Gray is a better match for Asian eyebrows but since it was not available at my Shu counter, I'm unable to compare it. Compared with Seal Brown, however, Omega is a much more flattering colour on me, and being a powder, it applies more softly. It is neither too dark nor too red/brown. Yet it has just enough warmth to avoid looking ashy. The result is natural-looking, believably full brows.
This is exactly what I'm looking for in a face cleanser. Jurlique's Daily Exfoliating Cream gently removes any impurities and sloughs off dead skin cells, and unlike most other exfoliating products, it doesn't leave my skin dry and flaky. Instead, my skin feels soft, smooth and clean. This is perfect if you are looking for a gentle, soap-free, exfoliating cleanser for daily use. This is nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary, but it doesn't have to be in order for you to love it. It does not claim to cure acne, reverse the signs of aging or remove makeup, so don't expect it to. But it's a great, basic, non-gimmicky cleanser for daily use. From past experience, I have learned that the best thing you can do for your skin (acne-prone, sensitive, oily, dry or otherwise) is to stop using harsh, soap-based cleansers. I have found that a simple, soap-free cleanser with a gentle exfoliating effect will suffice to keep your skin looking its best without interfering with its natural mechanisms. The texture is something that requires some getting used to, simply because there are few products on the market like this one. I find the best way to use this is to squeeze some product from the tube, add a few drops of water and mix it between your fingers until it becomes watery. Then apply it to your face by pressing and rubbing into the skin. Jurlique calls this a "cream" but I would describe it as more of a thick paste. Don't be deterred, the thick consistency is what provides the exfoliating action. Unlike most exfoliating products, it is non-granular. It does not contain grains/crystals/beads, which is actually a blessing since they can be very abrasive and leave the skin dry and flaky (I should also note that chemical exfoliants also strip the skin of all its moisture). Instead, the Daily Exfoliating Cream contains real bits of almonds and oats, oatbran, sesame oil, macadamia oil and honey, all of which form a thick paste that provides resistance against the skin, effectively but non-abrasively removing dead skin cells. The sesame oil, macadamia oil and honey also prevent the skin from drying out, leaving it soft and smooth to touch. Retailing at $30 AUD, it's not the cheapest. For me, its ingredients make this product worth the money. Like all of Jurlique's products, it contains natural ingredients (that being said, it does contain a couple of synthetic chemicals, but significantly less than the vast majority of face cleansers on the market, which are filled with chemical fillers).