I've been using cleansing oil for removing makeup for years, and my former HG was Shu's cleansing oil (have tried and loved the pink cherry blossom version and the green tea antioxidant version). I have tried many other Japanese brands (DHC, Fancl etc.) but since I live in the UK, Shu was the only widely available cleansing oil so I stuck with it despite the steep price tag. However, having read some good reviews on Origins' cleansing oil here on MUA and given that it's widely available in the UK, I purchased one bottle to see if it would be a viable alternative to the Shu oil. I'm pleased to say that this not only matched Shu's product but surpassed it, at least for me!! - It rinses clean, leaving little/ no residue, unlike Shu's oils which are much richer, even the light balancing version in pink. 2nd wash with foaming cleanser is optional with Origins' oil. - It doesn't make me blind temporarily like Shu's oil!!! - It's cheaper (but I paid £1 extra for the pump bottle which is a MUST) - The ingredients are arguably better, although ladies who are sensitive to natural ingredients and oils might have a reaction. - Cleansing power is just as good as the Shu. I wear full makeup/ BB cream/ sunscreen everyday but this washes everything off with ease. Although I've had bad experience with Origins' products in the past - one of their highly fragranced eye serums stung my eyes so badly that I had to return it - Clean Energy really is a winner and if you're interested in the oil cleansing method, give this a go as it's relatively cheap and can be purchased in most department stores!
Concealers -Collection 2000 - Lasting Perfection Ultimate Wear Concealer
niff524 12/7/2011 4:30:00 PM
WOW... just wow... I can't believe my HG concealer turned out to be a £4 find from Collection 2000!!!! I am a makeup junkie and have tried and bought so many concealers over the year, including Estee Lauder double wear, MAC pro longwear (I have 2 shades), Shu Uemura, Bobbi Brown... My favourite is probably EL DW in medium. It covers my undereye circles really well but is just a tad too dark for my skintone (NC 30 ish). Now, Collection 2000 concealer in no.3 medium is REALLY similar to the EL in terms of wear, texture and colour. Except that it works EVEN better on my skin colour!!! It totally brightens my undereye area and provides full coverage that does not budge all day!!! I'm sooo impressed and hate myself for not discovering this little gem sooner!! (recently bought MAC pro longwear in 2 different shades, turned out that neither is a perfect match... Such a waste of money)
I am obsessed with pinky/peachy/corally blush and lippie and I purchased this earlier this year to add to my growing collection. For the price (I think it was £7 here in the UK), this has a lovely formula which is silicone-based and blends really easily; in other words it doesn't feel cheap! The colour is gorgeous on my NC30-35 Asian skin. However being a cream blush it does get caked up with the powder/foundation underneath but that's not really the product's fault. It's a lovely product overall but I probably won't repurchase, given that I have many similar blushes.
I bought this on special offer for £13, in Honey Beige (for reference, I'm NC30-35) and I'm soooo glad I didn't pay full price for this!! I love how the foundation makes me look - poreless, porcelain-like skin that's soft and matte. However when I washed it off at night after wearing it for a few hours (no more than 5), I found my face covered in numerous small pimples. Now, my skin has pretty much been 100% blemish free since I started using the Acne.org treatment. Needless to say I was shocked when my skin reacted like this to the foundation. But because of the lovely finish it provides, I decided to give it a second chance this morning. BIG MISTAKE. Same thing happened, and I'm so upset :( My wedding is in a month, I should've known better than to experiment with new products right now!! I'd only recommend it if breakout has never been an issue for you.
I had pretty high hopes for this after reading the reviews on MUA and while I'm not disappointed, I can't say this is my HG concealer! Have this in NC30 which is perfect for some discoloration on my cheeks but just a tad too dark for my dark eye circles and has this almost grey cast against their purple-ish hues. I bought this product mainly for my undereye area so I guess I was a little disappointed. Coverage is excellent though, and I just use my hands to blend. Wear is good, but I'm not sure it's better than my HG concealer, Estee Lauder Double Wear. Packaging *sucks* like many other reviewers have noted. I bought a travel plastic pot so each time I just squeeze a pump's worth of product into the pot and use up what's in there. It's a total waste of time!! I've also tried using this as a foundation/ tinted moisturiser, as suggested by some reviewers. I mix a squirt of this with my regular moisturiser and some highlighting lotion, and the effect is very nice. But I think it gives me whiteheads. All in all, a reasonably good product but I'll be on the look out for something better for my undereye.
Liquid -Lancome - Teint Idole ULTRA [DISCONTINUED]
niff524 6/30/2011 4:05:00 PM
Haven't written a review for a while!! I'm a self-confessed ex-foundation junkie. I've owned about 30 different foundations, high end through to low end, and spent so much money experimenting with different products. I have yellow/olive-toned Asian skin (around NC30-40, depending on whether I have a tan or not) which is oily and used to be prone to breakouts (until I found acne.org's amazing treatment). For me a good foundation has to satisfy the following criteria: 1) Have decent coverage for some light acne scars and enlarged pores; 2) Be reasonably long-lasting on my oily t-zone; 3) Be right for my skintone (which is hard to match in most European makeup lines); 4) Not cause breakouts; 5) Have a natural finish that's not too matte, not too dewy. Among my favourites are: YSL Perfect Touch (excellent all-round, but I hate the packaging and colours run on the peachy/pink side), RMK liquid and cream foundations (beautiful colours for Asian skintones and lovely finish, but both formulas gave me acne!), Bourjois 10Hr Sleep Effect (very natural, dewy finish, good colour selection, but not long lasting) etc. However, I feel that the only foundation that truly ticks ALL the boxes for me and one that I always come back to is TIU Ultra!!! I use the shade 037 (Beige Desert) which is available in the UK, and while it's not a 100% perfect match being just a tad too peachy (RMK 103 is a peeerrfect match for me), it's hardly noticeable once it's blended properly. Coverage is really buildable. A pump is always enough for my whole face for excellent coverage that's *not* cakey/mask-like at all. (unlike EL DW which can be mask-like and is sooo bad for my skin!!) Like some reviewers said, the finish is natural, sophisticated and just looks clean and polished. I set it with some powder (I use Chacott loose powder or E.L.F. HD powder) and voila, a perfect, poreless canvas that stays matte (but not cakey-matte) for a good few hours before blotting is required!! (please note, my t-zone is EXTREMELY oily!!!! I go through blotting paper like crazy!!!) And even when I do see some oilies come through, I only require minimal touch-up compared to when I use other foundations. It does oxidise a little throughout the day but on my skin it's barely noticeable. By the time I wash my makeup off after a 12-14 hour day, I'd say my makeup still looks 80% fresh, with 2-3 touchups in between, which is quite a feat for my greasepan face. I plan to use this for my wedding and will take some test shoots with this foundation on and really put it to the test!!!! I'd highly recommend this to other women with my skin type. Dry skinned girls might want to stay away from this though as I guess it can be drying. Price is a bit steep but well worth in IMO. A bottle would last me about 6 months with daily use.
Self Tanners -Unlisted Brand - St. Moriz Self Tanner Foam
niff524 6/12/2011 3:58:00 PM
WOW I was totally blown away!!!! First I wanna make it clear that I don't have this in the original colour but in the new 'DARK' shade, so I can't comment on the original. I have used numerous self tanners in the past and this is undoubtedly the best out of them all. I love how fast and easy application is (with gloves & tanning mitt), how fast the formula dries so I can get dressed and get on with my life, and most of all the FANTASTIC colour!!!!! I left it on over night and showered off the colour guide the next day, and with one application this gave me a lovely medium brown shade that is most importantly not orange. For reference I'm around NC30 with strong yellow undertones, so most self tanners turn orange on me but not this one, as it has a strong olive undertone to counter any orange hues. So if you're Asian and have had problem finding a non-orange tan, give this a go!! Lots of reviewers said the tan doesn't fade well but I haven't had this problem. It's fading very evenly on me. Really, for £4 on ebay, this is a STEAL!!!!!!! Will I buy this product again??? YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!
***EDIT: 30June2011: found a MUCH better brow kit!! Try the brow kit from GOSH, it's only 7 pounds and works a treat. Comes in three colours just like the Chanel (maybe a bit less ashy but still very good shades), a clear wax and a brush/sponge applicator which is actually usable!!!! I've been using this everyday and am very pleased with the results. I still use my Rimmel pencil to define the outer ends of my brows but the combination of the pencil and the powder gives me the most natural looking brows ever**** Hate to bring down the rating for such a much-loved product but I must say I was sorely disappointed with Chanel's Perfect Brows, having read an overwhelming number of glowing reviews. I've always been obsessed with having the perfect eyebrows and have tried numerous products in the past. Before splurging £40 on this Chanel brow kit, I did lots of research on the product to make sure it would be worth the money. I tried it in store twice (note: NOT with the applicator that comes with the compact) and was really happy with the results. Having heard that this is Kate Middleton's favourite eyebrow product (her brows look perfect), and considering my own wedding is in a few months and I want to have the best makeup possible, I finally took the plunge! The packaging is simply beautiful, and comes with a velvet pouch. The three different shades of powder are sufficiently ashy for my taste, as I hate the mahogany/ coppery tone of most eyebrow pencils/powders for dark hair. However, I have serious issue with the applicator: it is so hard that it scrapes off the surface of the powder and wouldn't actually colour my brows!!! :((( I subsequently tried using my £1 brow brush with it and achieved more decent results. Although this is no fault of the powder itself, for such an expensive product I expected an all-in-one brow solution! Another gripe I have with this is that the powder seems to only work on areas with some hair on it. One of my eyebrows is too short and requires some pencilling in to 'complete' the brow. Again, Perfect Brows on its own cannot help me create the perfect brows that I want. So basically I still need to carry my own brow brush and pencil (I use Rimmel professional eyebrow pencil or MAC... both are pretty good), in addition to the rather bulky Chanel compact. I still gave it 3 lippies as the colours are ashy enough for most people and the product seems to work for lots of people. Will not purchase again.
Fragrances -Christian Dior - Miss Dior Cherie L'eau
niff524 5/29/2010 6:28:00 AM
I got this last week for my birthday from one of my best friends and it's such a lovely gift - I've always loved the brand and coveted the adorable bottle. While I was familiar and in love with the original Miss Dior Cherie, I had never tested the new spring/summer version so as soon as I got home, I tried it on. It happened to be a really hot day and I can say that Miss Dior Cherie L'eau is definitely a summer scent - it's clean, fresh and citrusy, perfect for a warm summer day. It's nothing like the original. From the reviews I gather I'm in the minority here, but I do prefer the original which I find to be more feminine and sophisticated. Don't get me wrong though! Miss Dior Cherie L'eau is not your average, generic citrus; the musk gives it depth and a grown-up, feminine dimension. It really is a lovely fragrance that is non-offensive and can be worn at any occasion. Still I would not wear this at night or on a date because it lacks allure... It is not a 'sexy' scent but is very versatile for the day. The bottle I have is 100ml so I don't think I'll be running out any time soon!!
I bought a twin-pack of the 500ml bottle of this in France for 15 euros (7.5 euros for one HUGE bottle....... great deal!!!!!!!!) but this is not available in the UK so I'll stock up next time I go. I first tried the Sensibio version of this in Hong Kong a few years back upon my beautician friend's recommendation. I read in lots of fashion & beauty magazines that Bioderma Micellene (sp????) fluid is the staple for many models and makeup artists alike for its gentle, but potent cleansing quality. I fell in love with this immediately. It looks and feels exactly like water but removes all traces of makeup and leaves my face clean and not stripped of moisture. However since this product is unavailable in the UK, I went back to Shu's cleansing oil and forgot about this amazing product until my trip to France. Sebium is similar to Sensibio, except that it's blue/green in colour and is fragranced (other reviewers said it's unfragranced but mine definitely is). I do have a slight preference for Sensibio because it feels gentler and I like the fact that it's fragrance free; having said that though, Sebium gives a 'cleaner' feel on oily skin without making it feel parched. I still use my Shu cleansing oil regularly but Bioderma is FANTASTIC for when you come home at 4am and can't even be bothered to move to the bathroom! I keep a bottle in my bedroom and one at my boyfriend's. I just clean my face with this (I ALWAYS use a separate eye makeup remover though!) until the cotton comes clean, and put on Dan Kern's BP and moisturiser and I can go to bed. One 500 ml bottle lasts about 3 months. Really amazing product and I just wish they stocked it here in the UK!!!
I really think I'm in love with J & J baby products.......... Maybe it's the recession, maybe it's my increasingly stressful life...... I just find J & J products beautifully simple and extremely comforting - a staple in a fast-changing world :) Having tried lots of different body creams/lotions, I can say that Johnson's Baby Lotion is among my favourites. It has the classic baby lotion smell which I adore. It's lightweight and is absorbed within a few seconds which allows me to get dressed straight after. The best thing about this is that it provides continuous moisture. Most body lotions only provide temporary relief for my dry body skin but this keeps it hydrated throughout the day!! I slather this on everytime I step out of the shower and it's become an indispensable beauty and pampering ritual for me :) You don't need a lot so the bigger bottle (400ml?) can last a looooong time! Wish I had found out about this earlier :) Would recommend this wonderful product to everyone!!!
Gels/Soaps -Johnson & Johnson - Softwash Body Wash
niff524 2/11/2010 11:59:00 AM
I am in loooooooooove with J&J Softwash Body Wash!! The product I'm reviewing is the original UK version that says 1/3 baby lotion on the cover. This body wash actually makes me look forward to showering everytime!! The smell is very clean and innocent (the newer version has a strong baby lotion smell which I also like) but a tad artificial. Good thing is it doesn't linger on your skin and is not overpowering. Without a sponge/loofah, it doesn't lather very well but this way it's *best* for shaving!!!!! This has completely eliminated the need for a separate shaving gel. I squirt it directly onto my skin and spread it around the area that needs to be shaved. It forms a moisturising, protective layer and enables a really close, smooth shave. The result beats that of my regular shaving gel. I'd repurchase this lovely body wash for this purpose alone. As a shower gel, this is also *amazing*!!! It leaves my skin clean and moisturised but doesn't leave a sticky residue. All in all a fantastic product at a very affordable price. Will repurchase!!!!!
Lotions/ Creams -Johnson & Johnson - Dreamy Skin Body Lotion
niff524 1/14/2010 1:14:00 PM
I'm in loooove with this body lotion!! Most high street retailers in the UK are doing a half price offer on this product at the moment and I have already stocked up 2 tubs of the cream version and 1 bottle of the lotion version. IMO the cream is nicer since it's more moisturising plus the packaging allows you to get the very last bit out. The scent is out of this world... It's really soothing and calming and my boyfriend loves this smell so much he wants me to use it everyday and night :) it also lingers on your skin for a good few hours and doesn't seem to clash with any perfume. Can't describe how much I adore this little gem and needless to say I'll keep buying it as long as they are still making it!!!!
I fell in love with this fragrance when I first tried it in Boots and got my then boyfriend to get me one for Valentine's Day. While I still love the feminine, pink bottle and the lovely scent, I find the drydown disappointing on my body... The initially warm, sweet, vanilla-ish smell turns into something sour and very different. :(( I still wear it every now and then but my HG remains Gucci Envy Me :) EDIT: upped one lippie. I don't know if my body chemistry has changed or something, but the drydown no longer has that rancid note on my skin! And men do genuinely seem to love this (I don't say this often) It makes me feel utterly feminine and, yes, sweet! Love it :)))
This is probably one of the best powder foundations I've tried, and I've tried MANY!!!! My former HG was Clarins Express Compact, which has unfortunately been discontinued. Since I have really oily skin, I simply cannot live without a powder foundation for touch up. Before I decided to get TBS All-In-One, I tried a few by Shiseido (stay away from Smooth Perfecting compact.... made me break out like crazy, is really cakey, and the powder shattered to pieces very soon), Chanel, Clinique etc. But I can honestly say that TBS All-in-One is second only to the Clarins. The colour choice is questionable. I'm a NC35 at the moment and while #6 is a good match, it's not perfect (slightly too peachy) and if you're darker than me, you won't find a match at all! However, the texture of the powder is fantastic especially if you have oily skin. It's reasonably finely milled and glides on smoothly and evenly, with no streaking. It creates a matt but natural finish that doesn't scream 'I'm caking powder on!!!!' Oil control is not bad, even on my *extremely* oily t-zone. Coverage is also pretty good, and layering is possible. Love the sturdy packaging with the useful mirror too. For the price I am perfectly content and will definitely repurchase!!!!!!!!!!!!