Thursday 30 April 2015

Guerlain Meteorites Rainbow Pearls

Guerlain will release this limited edition Meteorites Rainbow Pearls (7700yen, 25g) on 1 May in Japan as part of the summer 2015 collection. See real life pics on Specktra and here. The press visual is annoyingly misleading as the pearl balls actually fill up barely one-third of the pot. As much as I have loved collecting these pots, I think this will be a pass for me.

Below are pics from Biteki that are a more realistic representation of the product.

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Laneige BB Cushion Review

Lately, I've become obsessed with Korean BB cushion foundations. Despite knowing the usual criticisms (e.g. the hygiene aspect of repeatedly touching the sponge surface with the applicator puff, the miniscule amount of product compared to traditional liquid foundations etc), I was intrigued to explore this latest makeup fad out of Korea, which seems to be blazing the way in terms of makeup trends for the world, with western brands such as Lancome and Kiko all jumping on the cushion bandwagon.

Laneige BB cushions usually retail at around S$59 in Singapore, which was too pricey for me. While shopping in Target recently, I chanced across their BB cushion made for the US market going at a US$5 discount off the usual price of US$34. Based on the product description, the US version (which has a "5-in-1 cushion form technology") seems different from the version sold in Singapore, which is touted as having six effects (brightening, UV protection, moisturizing, natural and clean coverage, soothing effect and water-resistant). The US version promises to brighten, protect against UVA and UVB, cool and refresh, help prevent shine and provide natural, longer-lasting coverage. My guess is that the Singapore version is a newer formula, as it replaced a 5-in-1 BB cushion in that market. Laneige also sells a Pore Control BB cushion in Singapore and an Anti-Aging one.

The US version is available in only 3 shades - Light, Medium and Dark - whereas five shades are available in Singapore. Light turned out to be a decent match for my MAC NC20 skintone, but not the best match for my neck which is just a tad lighter. The Laneige BB Cushion comes with an extra refill. Each refill contains 15g of product, so the total amount of product is comparable to standard liquid foundations which usually ring in at 30ml. You can see swatches of the three shades on Hello Pretty Bird.

The packaging is pretty standard for BB cushions.

Shown in the pic below (from left to right) are my Innisfree, Laneige and Etude House BB cushion cases. The Innisfree case is the slimmest while Laneige's case is slightly bulkier than the Etude House case. All three brands belong to Amore Pacific, which is like the Korean equivalent of L'Oreal, offering an extensive portfolio of brands from the very high end to the drugstore/low end segment. The Innisfree and Etude House BB cushions do not fit into the Laneige case.

Below is the ingredients list.

I found the Laneige BB Cushion to be very easy to apply, with greater ease of blending than the Innisfree Long Wear Cushion and the Paul & Joe Gel Foundation. It provides good coverage of pores and spots, without sinking into the pores or emphasising dry patches. It has a natural-looking finish that is not overly dull or flat matte. In these pics, I applied it over Korres Greek Yoghurt Nourishing Primer. The level of coverage is medium. It did not camouflage the glaring brown spot on my right cheek (the result of over-zealous picking of a clogged pore) but it did a good job of cancelling out the usual redness in my cheeks and around the nose. The oil control was pretty good, with just some slight oil breakthrough on the T-zone after three hours.

Overall, I like this well enough to recommend it, if you are able to find a suitable shade. It's curious that most Korean brands offer such a measly range of shades despite their growing popularity both in Asia and elsewhere. It's even more baffling that only three shades are available for the US market. If you have any favourite blogs that review Korean makeup, do let me know in the comments!

Monday 27 April 2015

Majolica Majorca Nude Make Gel

Here's the official visual for Majolica Majorca's upcoming Nude Make Gel SPF30 PA+++, to be launched on 21 May in Japan. Majolica rarely releases base makeup items, so this is pretty exciting. It's supposed to perform as a foundation, concealer, primer, sunscreen, color controller, essence gel and lotion - all in one nifty product. The gel texture transforms into a lotion on the skin. Majolica Majorca will also be holding free events at Harajuku (13-14 Jun) and Shinsaibashi (20-21 Jun), with photo sessions with fashion magazine models, makeovers etc.

RMK on Instagram and Youtube

RMK is now on Instagram. They also have a Youtube channel with several makeup and skincare tutorials in Japanese. See their summer collection website here.

Addiction Cinderella Compact Case

Exclusively available only at Isetan department store in Japan, this elegant compact case is a gift with purchase of any of the three Cinderella-themed makeup sets (comprising two eyeshadows, one blush and a lipstick). Pics tweeted by Addiction Creative Director Ayako.

Below is the gift with purchase of all 12 nail polishes in the Cinderella collection.

Friday 24 April 2015

Addiction Base Makeup Video by Ayako

Addiction Creative Director Ayako demonstrates their Glow Powder Foundation Pure, Porcelain Skin Foundation (cream compact) and Dewy Glow Foundation (liquid) on model/DJ Leigh Lezark. It's nice to finally hear Ayako speak in person. It's puzzling why despite the success of Michelle Phan and Lisa Eldridge in this Youtube age, there are still few makeup brands investing in video tutorials which are immensely more helpful for consumers instead of celebrity models and glossy ad visuals that have been airbrushed to death.

Thursday 23 April 2015

Paul & Joe Gel Foundation Review and FOTD with Suqqu Blend Color Eyeshadow EX25 Haruhinata

Newly launched this spring, Paul & Joe's new Gel Foundation SPF25 PA++ is described as a unique 'jelly-like' foundation composed of 80% water, that provides maximum moisture and superior coverage for a glowing fresh and flawless finish. Plumped up with marine collagen, it supposedly feels like a cool drink of water for the skin, leaving it looking bright, firm and hydrated. Intrigued by the gel formula, I purchased this from B-Glowing with the help of a 15% discount code. It retails at US$32 for the foundation refill and US$18 for the case.

The pale rose gold metal case embossed with the brand's signature chrysanthemum motif is solidly constructed and but still lightweight enough to be conveniently portable.

The foundation refill comes in a white plastic case and can be easily popped out from the lower plastic layer. It has a rubber rim to help it fit securely into the foundation case. Pressing the refill pan into the case was pretty easy as well, although one has to take care not to touch the surface of the foundation, which has no protective seal. If you are not using the foundation for an extended period of time, it is advised that you keep the foundation in the screw-top plastic case instead.

The inner tray for holding the sponge is a thoughtful hygienic feature but it does not close securely whereas most Korean cushion foundation cases have inner trays/covers that lock in to prevent the loss of moisture.

The foundation has a faint mesh pattern on the surface, so it's easy to tell if it has been used.

The ingredients list reveals a multitude of skin-beneficial ingredients such as camellia sinensis leaf extract, hydrolyzed conchiolin protein, oyster extract, sanguisorba officinalis (burnet) root extract, soluble collagen, tocopherol and zostera marina extract. It does contain methylparaben, fragrance and alcohol but as these are all pretty far down the list, they are in relatively minor quantities.

Of the 5 shades available, I picked #10, which is the lightest shade and suitable for my MAC NC20 skintone. There is indeed a cool, refreshing feeling on the skin when applied, which makes this good for hot summer days. I wasn't too impressed with the finish the first time I tried it, applied with the included sponge over NARS makeup primer, as it showed a tendency towards patchiness. My second try (shown in these pics) was more successful, when I skipped primer and applied this over skin that had only Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid Plus Retinol Brightening Solution on it.

First, below is a pic of my bare skin so you can see the difference with the finished look.

The level of coverage is light to medium, with decent coverage of skin redness and some smoothening out of the pores. The gel formula does not seem to lend itself well to layering, so a light hand is necessary otherwise it tends to look cakey and patchy. I tried to apply this with Becca's The One Perfecting Brush, but the brush could not pick up the foundation well, so I ended up using it to buff the foundation after applying it with the sponge, giving it a more flawless finish. On my combination skin, it requires blotting of the T-zone after about three hours. I did not notice any oxidisation. The soft matte finish does feel lightweight, without looking artificially mask-like. Overall, I don't regret purchasing this but I wouldn't say it's Holy Grail material as it takes some work and experimenting to make this look good.

For this look, I'm wearing Suqqu Blend Color Eyeshadow EX25 Haruhinata, the only limited edition palette out of the three eyeshadow quads released for Spring 2015. All of the four shades apply on the sheer side without any complexity, so it's not terribly exciting. It's fine if you like light, translucent pastels with refined, subtle shimmer and it's easy to see how this would appeal to Japanese ladies who prefer a more understated look, but it's not worth going out of your way to hunt this down simply for the LE or Suqqu factor. You can see swatches on Wondegondigo and Color Me Loud.

Paul & Joe has updated its website with the upcoming Midnight Sangria collection for summer 2015, which is launching in May.

B-Glowing is currently offering this cute kitty tote with any Paul & Joe purchase while has a blue floral pouch with $50 purchase. I love both retailers for their excellent customer service, fast shipping, abundant GWP offers and best of all, no sales tax for Illinois (it's 9% where I live).

Monday 20 April 2015

Shu Uemura Skin:Fit Cosmetic Water Foundation

Shu Uemura will launch this Skin:Fit Cosmetic Water Foundation SPF30 PA+++ (5200yen, 30ml) on 1 June in Japan. Inspired by Japan's traditional liquid face powders, it is an oil-free, water-based formula designed to provide a longlasting natural bare look. It also contains mint for a refreshing feel. Pics below from Tokila. See more pics from the press preview here.

Sofina Primavista Liquid Foundation UV CM

Here's the TV commercial for Sofina Primavista's new Liquid Foundation UV SPF25 PA++ (3200yen, 30ml), which promises longlasting wear and flawless coverage as well as making skin appear 5 years younger. This has been generating positive reviews on (click here for swatches), with an average rating of 5.5 stars out of 7.

Voce x Kyojin Face Pack

The June 2015 issue of Voce magazine comes with a Kyojin Face Pack, based on the popular manga Shingeki no Kyojin. Formulated with hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C, this is definitely one for scaring the kids/postman/small animals! Voce is also encouraging people to share photos of themselves using this mask on social media as part of a contest.

Three x Gallarda Galante Travel Set

Fashion brand Gallarda Galante will be launching a limited edition Three travel kit (8500yen) at its stores in Japan on 24 April. The kit includes a clutch bag in either brown or beige, one nail polish (red for the kit with the brown bag and mint green for the kit with the beige bag), Scalp & Hair Cleansing Oil AC, Balancing Shampoo, Balancing Conditioner and Full Body Wash AC 48ml.

Friday 17 April 2015

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara and FOTD with Suqqu Blend Color Eyeshadow 19 Awafujisukashi

This sample size Benefit Roller Lash mascara was a freebie with my recent order. When I first read about Roller Lash and its "hook'n'roll" brush that supposedly catches, lifts and curls the lashes thus doing away with the need for an eyelash curler, I put it down to Benefit's usual over-the-top marketing tactics. While their bestselling They're Real mascara (earlier review here) did work well for me, the claims for Roller Lash seemed too good to be true, especially when it comes to stubbornly straight and weak Asian lashes.

The slightly curved brush has a row of shorter bristles on one side, which is not that revolutionary. The mascara formula strikes a good balance between not being too stiff/gunky and not being too wet/gloopy. After testing this out for a week, I have to say that I'm truly impressed at its lifting power. I've used this several times without curling my lashes in advance, and each time, Roller Lash adds noticeable curl to my lashes and lifts them up from their usual downward pointing position. Both looks below were done without using an eyelash curler.

With its jet black formula, Roller Lash provides good definition, lengthening and volumising effects, although it does start to clump if over-layered. I also liked how easy it was to use on my extremely sparse lower lashes. My lashes stayed curled for the whole day without any flaking or smearing. It was easy to remove with my current Neutrogena eye makeup remover, although there was one incident in which five lashes came off on the cotton pad and caused a minor panic. I haven't noticed any other lash loss since then, so it could just be a one-off thing.

Overall, I'm still sufficiently impressed to consider purchasing this once my sample dries up although I probably will not as I still have a massive stash of mascara samples to work my way through. Like virtually any mascara, this generates a serious division of views as reflected in the MakeupAlley reviews so your mileage may vary (but that is pretty much the case for any cosmetic product).

What I'm much less impressed by are the trio of palettes released by Suqqu for Spring 2015, which I ordered from Selfridges. These looked so beautiful in the pan with glorious shimmer but when applied, the color payoff of some shades is completely sub-par. Take for example, the periwinkle blue in #19 Awafujisukashi which pretty much fades to a muddy, washed out grey, regardless of the base. #18 Sakuraori is the best of the lot but its orange shade can be a tad hard to pull off. EX25 Haruhinata was also disappointing in its sheer level of pigmentation. Both Wondegondigo and Color Me Loud have more positive reviews of the quads, if you're considering them. Sara of Color Me Loud has also posted swatches of the new summer trios on Instagram and they look really promising.

Below is a second look done with Awafujisukashi. For this look, I'm also wearing Ellis Faas Skin Veil S102, which has received rave reviews from some of my favourite bloggers. I received samples of this in four shades with my last B-Glowing order (another e-tailer that I highly recommend). I can see why this is so beloved, as it blends effortlessly, with good coverage and does not show up dry patches or look mask-like.

This is the first FOTD post I've done in over a year, so I hope it's helpful! I would like to resume posting product reviews but can't promise that I can do so with any regularity. We've been in Illinois for about a month now, but we are going home for the summer and then moving to another apartment after we return here. I'm looking forward to finally settling into a more permanent (and nicer) place, and getting all of my stuff out of boxes. Right now, I'm mainly focusing on using up stuff, burning through all my candles (which have gone around the world with me only to end up back in the country that they originated from), taking Lush baths every other day and also trashing all the products that have expired. I should do a no-buy but that never lasts for long.