Review: Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil

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So I am a face oil newbie. I thought I would just get that out of the way, so you get an idea of what place this review is coming from. I never have been particularly drawn to oils in my skincare routine. Maybe partly due to its slippery texture and strong scent. However, since I have been seeing beautiful facial oils popping up everywhere the last few years, I was curious to try them out myself.

Claims

Packed full of amazing oils, like seaberry, cranberry seed, camellia seed, grapeseed, and sweet almond, this facial oil will help maintain a youthful appearance. Seaberry, cranberry seed, and camellia seed oils contain omegas that protect the skin from free radicals, moisturize, and help your skin feel smooth and maintain its elasticity. To see the full breakdown of their ingredients, you can check out their website.

Ingredients

One reason I was so attracted to facial oils was their shorter ingredients list. Indeed, most of the ingredients in this product are oils. It is interesting to note that even though this products is named the Seaberry Moisturizing oil, which is another name for sea buckthorn oil, it is only the fourth ingredient in their ingredients list. If you are into green/clean beauty, there are a few ingredients, like BHT, that rate in the moderate hazard realm. There are also a few sensitizing ingredients, like fragrance, Linalool and Limonene.

Application

One of the great benefits of using facial oils, either than the ingredients, is that you can also use them for a great facial massage. Fresh claims that this oil absorbs quickly, but I found it took a minute or two to completely absorb. As this is my first face oil, I’m not sure if that is quick. However, those few minutes of absorption time do allow me to complete my facial massage. It does feel a bit tacky even after it has absorbed though.

The directions say to use 1 to 2 drops. I feel I need 3-4 drops to cover my whole face and neck. I must admit, it took a while to get used to the texture, but I really enjoy it now. My one con with this product is the smell. I prefer scentless products, but I can tolerate it if the product is good. However, I would say that the scent of this oil is strong! It really bothered me at first, but now I have gotten used to it.

Results

Overall, I really enjoyed my first facial oil experience. It is on the pricier side at $52 USD. However, it lasted me a good six months using it in my morning and nighttime routines. I found that it did make my skin softer and smoother. It did moisturize my skin and give it a beautiful glow during application. However, I did found that it didn’t provide enough moisture on its own during the dry, winter months for me. I still needed to apply moisturizer after it to stop my skin from getting dry and flaky in certain areas. It did really help with fine lines though in the sense that I got more motivated to do facial massage twice a day.

VERDICT: A solid facial oil. Might need to top off with another moisturizer if you have really dry skin.

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Smudge of Life #2: Life is Like a Rollercoaster

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So you might have wondered why I named my blog “Smudges” (or not). I actually named it for my biggest beauty dilemma, which was and still is, smudging eyeliner. I also liked the idea that the word “smudge” meant to smear, rub, and blur (this is all from the Webster Dictionary). Most recently, I was reminded that “smudging” is a technique originating from indigenous people to spiritually cleanse oneself. It suddenly occurred to me the word “smudge” would be perfect for some posts I want to do about thoughts that have made me feel mentally lighter.

Sometimes, you never know when an “aha moment” will happen or when a moment will bring some solace to your soul. Last week, I was listening to one of my husband’s friends talk about his divorce. It is obviously a devastating and sad thing to go through, especially since he had children. I realize it can be a very challenging time in someone’s life, but it also made me think about how life can be quite unpredictable. To him, it might be a down time in his life, but maybe if he stepped back and looked at the big picture in the future, it might be just a small ripple in his life’s timeline.

We always hear that life is like a roller coaster. There are ups and downs. However, no one can fortune-tell what ups and downs they will encounter in the future. So even if you feel like you are hitting a major down in your life, you might actually be on the path to a super high time in your life. You just don’t know it at the time. I find this thought super comforting somehow. There is always hope and sometimes the downturns in your life can be just a break to let you reroute for amazing things to come. And maybe the dips are what make you stronger so you can make the next climb easier. Although, once in a while, it would also be nice to go a train instead and enjoy the scenery.

Review: Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint

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Like Glossier, Milk Makeup is made for the modern woman. She is chic, on-the-go, and health-conscious. The brand originated from Milk Studios, a photo studio from Los Angeles. Clean and effective ingredients paired with their push for diversity and creativity in their products are the brand’s main ethos. All the products are cruelty-free, vegan, and paraban-free. The packaging also has a clean and minimal look reminiscent of Glossier. Basically, this is what all the cool girls should be into.

Let’s be honest. Who doesn’t want to be a cool modern woman? I certainly too. I had previously used their Coverage Duo (which I don’t see on their website anymore) and loved it. That is why I decided to pick up their Sunshine Skin Tint to see if it was just as good.

The Claim

The Sunshine Skin Tint is housed in a preservative-free packaging and instead uses antimicrobial silver to keep the product fresh. The preservative-free aspect seems to be a big selling point for this product as it is used in this product’s taglines. The product is dispensed through the rollerball tip at one end. The tint is supposed to give a dewy finish to the skin due to the formula’s blend of avocado, mandarin, grape, and olive oils. The coverage is sheer, but buildable. It also contains an SPF of 30 and comes in 8 shades.

Packaging

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The rollerball packaging is indeed quite innovative as base products aren’t usually housed in this format. The packaging is almost clear so you easily see how much product remains, which is very handy. I am sure everyone has encountered the moment when their favourite foundation runs out abruptly because you have no idea how much is left inside the packaging. The whole packaging seems to made of plastic, even the rollerball itself. I checked on the FAQ section on their website and it states all the packaging is recyclable.

So what did I think? I like the packaging. The rollerball makes it super convenient to just click and roll the product all over your face. I usually need about two clicks to cover my entire face. If you are worried about the rollerball become too “germy,” you can use a bit of alcohol to sanitize it. The product actually doesn’t continue to dispense until you click on it again so you don’t have to worry about product coming out when you clean it.

Now to the con. The rollerball applicator can get quite dirty with the product building up on the tip. So I will usually roll off all the product I can onto my face and then if there is a bit left on the rollerball, I will roll it off on my forearm till the whole rollerball is completely clean. I know this sounds kind of strange, but it really helps to keep the rollerball from getting really buildup with product.

Ingredients

Milk Makeup prides itself on using good and clean ingredients. However, if you are super into green, natural, and/or organic cosmetics, this might not be for you. If you check all the ingredients on EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (a database often used by those are into green beauty), not all the ingredients are in the green zone. That being said, the brand does aim to use more natural and clean ingredients, so if you are trying to start using more green beauty items, this might be a good one to check out.

The SPF in this product is a combination of chemical and physical sunscreens (octinoxate 7.5% and zinc oxide 5%). It contains many moisturizing oils, like avocado, mandarin, grape, and olive. It does contain fragrance as well, which might be irritating to some people. I can’t seem to find any information about if their fragrance use comes from a natural source though.

Review

Initially, I thought this product was alright, but soon loved it, after tweaking and working with it after a few weeks. However, this may be a deal breaker for some who expect a product to work immediately amazing on them. I think one of the main criticisms I had with this product is longevity. It is a base product that looks really good when first applied, but by the end of a work day it looks faded, too dewy, and has gotten into the fine lines a bit. Lo and behold, as summer as kicked in, I decided to wear a separate sunscreen under my SPF foundations (which I should probably have been doing all year) and it lasts longer and I’ve been using it everyday.

Compared to some of its “less-clean” counterparts, this base takes a bit more effort to spread on the face. Initially, it feels a bit tacky, but after a few hours the tackiness is gone. I don’t find the smell particularly appealing to me (but smell is so personal). It smells “coconuty”, which is on the ingredient list, and a bit floral. The coverage is definitely on the sheer side, but that is to be expected since it is a skin tint. It is buildable, but I would say the coverage is at most sheer-medium. It will even up your complexion, take down redness, but won’t cover freckles, acne scars, and any sort of darker pigmentation. I did find it helped fill in fine lines and pores though.

It is interesting that they claim this base will give a dewy finish. I didn’t particularly find it really dewy. I would say it is more on the satin side. However, since it is a sheer foundation, it tends to take on the qualities of the skincare used underneath it. For example, if I use a more oily-controlling primer or sunscreen, it tends to just look more matte. That is perhaps why I have loved using it in the summer. Using a primer has really kept it looking good for longer on my skin.

VERDICT: A lovely sheer base which evens out your skintone and diminishes your fine lines and pores. Longevity of the product is greatly increased by a good primer.

Current Favourites

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If you are new to my blog, I usually do a favourites blogpost every few months. Even though I mainly blog about beauty, I like to include favourites from different categories so you can get to know me a little better. Like previous favourites blogposts, I am going to categorize my favourites according to the five senses inspired by Youtuber Ingrid Nilsen’s series called Sense of Self.

Sight

I came back from Tokyo a few months now, but since coming back, I have loved reminiscing about that trip by watching Youtubers who live Japan. I have been a longtime follower of Sharmander and Simon and Martina who both live or lived in Japan. It has been nice to rewatch their videos and recognize places that I have been to on my trip.

Lately, I have been especially loving Norm from his channel “Tokyo Lens.” Originally from Canada, he has lived in Tokyo for about 10 years. I love watching his videos showing his favourite secret locations in Tokyo. He is such a charismatic person that his videos fly by even when they are over 10 minutes long. He also plays the Japanese instrument called the shamisen and it is amazing watching him play in a few of his videos. If you interested in visiting Japan one day, you have to check out his videos!

Smell

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If you have been following my blog for a while, you know I am not a big fan of scent in beauty products. However, once in a while, I will come upon some scents I enjoy. Strangely enough, I really enjoy the scent of creamsicles, which I guess is kind of like a fake orange scent. I have loved Badger’s sunscreen for kids exactly for that reason.

I was looking for a new lip balm with SPF since summer is coming upon us here. I have always had difficulty finding one I like because most of them make your lips super white and others just are too thick. However, I have really been enjoying the Sun Lip Balm from Hurraw! which has an SPF of 15. I have always loved Hurraw! for how smoothly it applies and how it doesn’t get all mushy in the tube through use. I wouldn’t say it is as a good as an overnight lip treatment, but I find it to be a solid lip balm and is almost clear. Most importantly, it contains tangerine which gives me that Creamsicle experience.

Taste

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An influencer did her job. I was influenced to try out her raw bars. I am talking about longtime fashion blogger, Aimee Song of the Song of Style blog. Aimee was mostly a blogger for a longtime, but recently she has entered the Youtube world as well. During one of her vlogs, she is seem running around attending fashion shows while nibbling on these raw bars and talking about how delicious they are.

I didn’t believe her because I can’t say raw bars have ever looked appealing to me. However, I was too curious to not try it out. Plus, I figured you shouldn’t critique something without trying it yourself, and boy, was I wrong! They are delicious. I thin it is the roasting of the chia seeds, oats, and sunflower seeds that really brings out their flavour. You have got to try them!

Touch

I find that if I enjoy applying a skincare product, I will look forward to doing my skincare routine more. Lately, I has just been loving the MINON Amino Moist Moist Charge Milk. It has a lovely lotion texture that smoothes over the skin easily. It leaves my skin so plump and glowy and is definitely one of of favourite skincare finds lately. I used to resort to using snail products when I experienced the dryness around my nose, but this works just as well. Now, I understand why it is so top-rated product in Japan.

Sound

I have been a longtime lover of bands from England and my latest English band on constant replay is Nothing But Thieves. My favourite song from them is Particles. For some reason, they remind me of another English band called Keane. I think it is the brooding voice of the lead singer. If you are into alternate music from the UK, I think you will like this band.

I listen to a lot of Cantonese music. If you are interested in branching out and listening to what is popular in Hong Kong, you should check out the band “Supper Moment.” I think they are best rock band in Hong Kong right now.

Smudge of Life #1 – Choose to Be Kind

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So you might have wondered why I named my blog “Smudges” (or not). I actually named it for my biggest beauty dilemma, which was and still is, smudging eyeliner. I also liked the idea that the word “smudge” meant to smear, rub, and blur (this is all from the Webster Dictionary). Most recently, I was reminded that “smudging” is a technique originating from indigenous people to spiritually cleanse oneself. It suddenly occurred to me the word “smudge” would be perfect for some posts I want to do about thoughts that have made me feel mentally lighter.

The first thought that has helped me feel mentally lighter over the years is the importance of being kind over being right. I find that as we get older, our viewpoints and personality become more distinct and solidified. For example, we know where we stand with certain issues and how far we can be pushed into a corner before we will say something. It is all a part of growing up and helps us feel more confident and well-adjusted as an adult. However, I find that as our opinions get stronger, sometimes our tolerance for other opinions lessens. We like being right. We want to feel good about ourselves and who we are. Sometimes, it is easy to dislike or criticize those that think differently from us without any consideration of their feelings.

Over the years, I have learned that it is much better to seek to understand before you make judgement. Of course, everyone gets upset in the heat of the situation. However, if you try to step and look at a situation from afar, you’ll realize that it might not be as polarizing as you think. If you try to understand that person’s actions in light of their background and personality, you might be able to dial back your anger at least a little bit. Even if you don’t agree with them, you might at least be able to understand where their thinking might be coming from. I also find that many preconceptions are easily cleared up through communication and understanding. I know there will be times where being kind won’t work, and that is ok, because we are all human. However, I find that choosing to be kind, not only often helps a difficult situation, but also makes me happier too because it creates more harmony around me.

The Last Few Drops (a.k.a Empties)

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I wanted to title this as an empties post, but I always forget details of a product when I use it up completely. Like how did smell? What was the texture? So for the products I talk about below, I am really at the last few drops or the last few uses of it. All three products are more skincare-related as it just takes a lot longer to finish makeup products.

Make P:rem Black Cleansing Water

Make P:rem is a Korean brand that aims to create effective products using quality raw materials at reasonable prices. Their brand focuses on using Nordic philosophy in its use of ingredients, technology, and design. Their Black Cleansing Water is especially striking because of the black colour that comes from peat moss, which is found in many Northern European countries. It is supposed to absorb impurities and be moisturizing at the same time. Their unique Micro-Trans Moisture technology is supposed to help the product absorb more deeply into the skin. This cleansing water is also infused with many other fermented ingredients and oils which help to moisturize and brighten the skin. You can check out the ingredients on the bottom of the product page on their website here. It is also sold with an extra bottle of the product which is great (if you like it that is).

Review: I really enjoyed this cleansing water. It does what it says and does a great job cleaning your makeup off and leaving your skin plump, moisturized, and even a little tacky. Like many cleansing waters, it is not the greatest at removing waterproof makeup, and will sting your eyes a little bit. I prefer using dual-phase makeup removers for eye makeup anyway so this wasn’t a problem for me. The packaging is very minimal, sleek, and ergonomic. My only gripe would be that the pump is quite strong, so sometimes I end up getting the product everywhere. I also wasn’t a big fan of the scent. It smells earthy, but they also added some fragrance to it which didn’t make for a very enjoyable for me.

Repurchase: Maybe. I feel the scent is a deal-breaker for me because I really didn’t enjoy it. However, if you are not bothered by most scented problems, you will really enjoy this cleansing water.

Aritaum Lip & Eye Remover

I’ve been through my fair share of eye makeup removers. I use quite a bit of waterproof makeup so I tend to like dual-phase makeup removers because they usually can get most of my makeup off. This remover from Aritaum contains fermented beans which helps to moisturize the eyelids. It is also not supposed to irritate sensitive eyes.

Review: This is a very good eye makeup remover. It removes everything from eyeshadow to hardcore Japanese waterproof mascaras. I was impressed. Usually, these type of dual-phased removers can leave your eyelids super oily, but I would say this one is definitely on the less oily side. I also a person who has eyes which will get irritated even using the sensitive version of Bioderma and this formula didn’t irritate me at all. Once again, the scent is quite a big con for me. I can’t read the Korean ingredients, but I suspect fragrance is on the list because it definitely doesn’t smell like beans.

Repurchase: Maybe. The scent again is a deterrent for me. However, it does such a good job of removing makeup and the price is more on the drugstore side, so I would probably pick this on a whim if I needed an eye makeup remover.

Lanolips 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm

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You probably have seen the brand Lanolips all over Instagram. It has a lot going for it, including their super cute packaging, being 100% natural, being against animal testing, and not containing artificial colours, fragrances, parabens, petrolatum, PEG’s, mineral oils, and sulfates. Basically, it sounds like a product that is good for you. The key ingredient in this balm is lanolin, which is derived from Australian sheep. It is supposed to mimic human oils, which makes the product compatible for human use. This superbalm has multiple uses, including moisturizing chapped lips and dry nasal passages, and even helping with insect bites.

Review: I really enjoyed the experience of using this product, but it wasn’t super effective for me. The tube is very convenient to use and is great for on-the-go use. The texture is similar to Vaseline, and other similar petroleum-based balms. When you apply it on the lips, it feels very emollient and as if it will seal your lips from moisture-loss. However, the main reason I didn’t find this product that effective for me was because my lips felt great when I applied it. Yet, hours layer when the product wore off, I felt my lips were just as dry. For super dry winter where I live, this just wasn’t enough to keep my lips from getting chapping and peeling. I really wanted to love it though.

Repurchase: No. However, if you don’t live in a cold and dry environment, it might just be moisturizing enough for you.

Review: YSL Couture Eye Primer

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I have been on a mission to find the best eye primer ever since I started using makeup in university. I have tried many in my lifetime. Some that of have been my all-time favourites, like the Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base and the Balm Put a Lid on It Eyelid Primer and others have not fared as well, like the Etude House Proof 10 Eye Primer. If you want a complete rundown of all the eyelid primers I have tried, you can check out my blogpost here. Now, to the primer I want to review today, which is the YSL Couture Eye Primer. This is probably the one of the more expensive eyeshadow primers I have ever purchased. I figured even if it didn’t work for me, it would look beautiful on my vanity with its black and gold packaging.

Background

This eye primer comes in two shades: 01 Fair and 02 Medium. It claims to amplify the colours of your eyeshadow and keep your eyeshadow in place all day. It also evens out the colour of your eyelid and creates a bit of luminosity. Lastly, it can also be used alone to create a nude eye look.

Packaging

Unlike many eyelid primers that come in a tube, this one comes in a small glass tub with a twist-off lid. In one sense, it is great because you can use it the same way you would a cream eyeshadow. However, over time, the product does dry out a bit faster. It hasn’t completely dried our or anything, but the texture has become more puddy-like and less creamy. Of course, there is also the sanitary issue when you continually dig your fingers in a pot over and over again.

Application

I usually will just use my fingers to grab some of the product and then spread it out on my eyelid. In general, it spreads evenly on the eyelid just using the tip of your fingers. If you have some dry areas, it can go on a little patchy though. Does it even out the eyelid? Yes, it does. However, I would consider its coverage on the lighter side. Does it provide some illumination the eyelid? Yes, it does. You definitely notice a bit more of a glow on your eyelid after application as there is some micro-glitter in the formula. It is subtle and unless you have eyelids on the paler sider, it wouldn’t show up enough to use as a nude eyeshadow per se. Lastly, does it amplify the pigmentation of your eyeshadows? Yes, I think it definitely does.

Longevity

I have tested this eyeshadow primer for months, using it on one eye and comparing it with my favourite Nars primer on the other eye. I even made a spreadsheet because there wasn’t a clear-cut winner in this category initially, which pretty much means that the YSL primer holds up almost as well as the Nars one. If I were to be nick-picky, the Nars one does prevent creasing on the eyelids a little bit longer. On average, creasing occurs usually with the YSL one about 4-6 hours, whereas the Nars one can last about a whole 8 hour work day.

VERDICT: This is a good eyeshadow primer. It is not my favourite one, but I would still recommend it if you don’t mind paying for it and you enjoy using products from a pot.

Beauty Binds #4 – I Give Up

If you have been following my blog the last few weeks, I have been doing a series about beauty dilemmas. So far, I have discussed battling forehead wrinkles, under eye circles, and of course, smudging eyeliner. For my final post in the series, I want to discuss those beauty binds I have given up on solving or have not bothered with anymore. Do you have any beauty steps and/or dilemmas that you just have given up on?

#1 – Keeping my eyelashes curled, defined, and separated

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Shiseido Eyelash Curler

I have stick-straight short lashes, so it literally takes a village to keep them curled and defined. I don’t know how many tubes of mascara I have tried and how few have actually worked for me. Even those that have worked, usually take too much time and effort to remove for me to consistently use them. I also wear glasses and curled lashes become quite a hassle when they constantly hit the lens. Therefore, I have basically resorted to using mascara only on special occasions.

When I do curl my eyelashes, my favourite is the Shiseido Eyelash Curler. The shape is a bit flatter and is ideal for my more almond-shaped eyes. I find the infamous Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler tends to be rounder and I often find myself pinching my eyelids. I usually will also use the Panasonic Heated Eyelash Curler to lift my eyelashes even more and keep them curled. Even with these steps though, my eyelashes will only stay curled for a few hours. If I had to choose, my favourite mascara is probably from Heroine Make. It has a lot of fibers which help lengthen my lashes and it is very separating.

#2 – Sheet Masks

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To be honest, I have pretty much given up on masking of any kind. I am aware that many skincare fanatics use sheet masks on a regular basis. I mean, I want to be that person, but it has never quite happened for me. For some reason, I don’t mind doing a 10-step Korean skincare routine or even the 7-Skin Method, but masking is just not my thing for some reason. With the sheet masks, I hate the feeling of putting something so cold on my face. I find it too jolting to me. Then, with the wash-off masks, I literally have no excuse really. I think doing mask just takes an extra 10 to 20 minutes that I don’t want to waste and having to go back into the bathroom to remove it requires an extra step I don’t want to do possibly. Who knows really? Right now, I have few mask samples hanging around in my drawers, including a deluxe sample of Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask and L’Occitane’s masks. Maybe, I should try masking once a month to start off and see if I can do that. How often do you mask?

#3 – Body Care

I live in a city where it is only warm maybe 3 months of the year, so most of the time I am covered up in coats, scarves, and toques. At least, that is the explanation I give for not keeping up with body care. For the most, I only fully moisturize my body in the summer because there are just more limbs on display. Plus, it is just so much more convenient to moisturize when you are in shorts and a t-shirt. During the cooler months, I tend to only moisturize when my skin is dry and itchy and small patches of eczema start emerging, which is probably not that the best thing to do. However, if you are looking for some great moisturizers for eczema, I would recommend the Spectro Face & Body Moisturizer and Guérisson 9 Complex Cream. If you have any recommendations of body creams that work without being sticky, I would love to know.

What are beauty dilemmas that you have given up on?

Japan Beauty Haul – Drugstore Edition

So there is more. Several posts ago, I talked about the high-end beauty products I purchased from my Tokyo. Of course, I didn’t just raid the luxury beauty stands because Japan has some of the best drugstore makeup I have ever tried. I think that if you only purchased makeup from a Japanese drugstore, you would be very happy with the quality. Before I went to Tokyo, I had already made of list of drugstore makeup products I wanted to try using a Japanese makeup review site, called Cosme. To be surprise, they actually had a Cosme store, where they sold all the best ranked beauty products. Don’t even ask how much I spent there!

Visée Lip & Cheek

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Like many beauty brands in Japan, they are usually part of one of the bigger companies in the Japan beauty market. After some research on their website, I found that Visée is a part of Kosé, which also owns other renowned Japanese brands, like Jill Stuart and Decorté. Visée’s target market is actually young adults, which at the drugstore price point, I can see that. However, I have really enjoyed everything I have tried, so I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a teen line. I guess, since the brand concept is to create trendy makeup for a more mature, and glamorous look, the more wearable colours can suit anybody. I chose to get this Lip & Cheek because I see that it often places in the Top 10 of Japan’s cosmetic ranking site, Cosme. Unlike Jill Stuart, the packaging is black and almost has a gothic feel.

Calypso Magic Concealer

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One of the most exciting aspects of travelling is discovering new places and experiences. When it comes to beauty shopping, the most exciting thing is discovering a new beauty item with endless potential. For me, that would be this Calypso Magic Concealer. In the Cosme Store, it was rated in the Top 3 for best concealer. I had to get it, not only because it was such value, but I was hoping that this concealer would be the one! The concealer that will truly hide those dark circles and not emphasize those fine lines. As I did more research, I am guessing this product might be from a smaller brand as I can’t even locate their website. From their packaging, I know that it has won a lot of beauty awards. There are literally 5 stickers indicating the awards they have won. This concealer is supposed to address uneven skincare texture due to acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles, and pores. It also helps to even out dark under eye circles. It comes in two colours: salmon beige and pink beige.

Excel Powder & Pencil Eyebrow

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Ever discover a new beauty product and wonder how someone didn’t come up with this before. For me, that would be the New Born W Brow EX. I bought this product on a whim and I have loved it since. It is a 3-in-1 product that includes a brow pencil, brow powder, and spoolie brush. The brow pencil gives you definition while the powder is great for filling in the front end of your brow and filling in gaps in your brows. Plus, it is pigmented and stays put for most of the day. So when I spotted a similar pencil made by Excel, I had to purchase it to perhaps do a comparison later on. I mean that packaging is exactly the same except for the colour. Later on, I did find out both companies belong to a beauty brand called SANA so I guess they are just using the same packaging. However, I did manage to swatch the Excel one in-store and I feel like it is more on the waxier side, which is bit more similar to the cult-classic Shu Uemura Hard 9 formula. Stay tuned for my comparison!

I have a lot more to share, so I have been slowly documented my haul on my Instagram. You can check it out if you are interested.

Tokyo Ponderings

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I thought I would try something new on my blog. I don’t travel that often, but when I do, I come back with not only a lot of beauty products and gifts, but also a lot more understanding of their culture. This includes everything from their food to their architecture. In this blogpost, I wanted to share my findings and questions I had after I returned. I found that some experiences were what I expected and others a bit different than I initially thought. Hopefully, this might give you a little background about Tokyo if you decide to take a trip there one day (or if you already live there or are more familiar with Japan, please tell me if I am wrong about something).

Attention to Detail and Craftsmanship

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Before I went to Tokyo, I had heard a lot about the quality of Japan’s craftsmanship. I also had firsthand experience of this in their packaging and the overall quality of their beauty products. However, to see it firsthand was a wonderful experience. The first time I stepped into the basement of a Tokyo department store food hall, I literally was overwhelmed by the beauty of the food. Each stall focused on one type of food usually and everything was beautifully made and packaged, from the desserts to the bento boxes. Later, I also found that certain restaurants only specialized in one type of food, like tonkatsu, or fermented fish. People would line up early just to eat it. I was surprised at how much I appreciated this dedication and now I just want to go back for the food. I thought I was only there for the shopping!

Etiquette (Locals Do Talk on the Trains)

I didn’t specifically do a whole lot of research before I headed to Tokyo. However, over the years, I had followed quite a few Youtubers who lived in Japan and they all talk about how you shouldn’t talk on the trains. However, I found that it is quiet when you ride the trains, but locals do talk in hushed voices. I always think it is interesting how we build up impressions of others just merely through what others say. Having ridden in some really packed trains, I found the Japanese to be very respectful and polite. It is amazing to me with how many people packed into the trains, no one was yelling at each other for pushing into them. Instead, all I heard were people saying “gomen nasai” (sorry in Japanese) sometimes. However, it doesn’t mean that the Japanese are very different from North Americans. They are just like you and me. They laugh, chat with their friends, and like to be tap away at their phones when riding on the trains. No matter where I go, I often struck by how similar we all are.

It’s a Shopping Paradise

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I was lucky to get this limited set from my favourite Japanese natural brand THREE.

From reading (more like looking) at Japanese magazines for years, I knew that there were many things to buy in Japan. I just had no idea how much! It is literally a shopping paradise. They not only carry Asian brands, but many Western brands as well. If you  have also been in their drugstores, they usually also have a huge beauty section, so even if you have a lower budget, there is something for you. Let’s talk about clothing shopping! I actually didn’t buy as much clothes compared to beauty products, but the general style there is a bit more on the girly side. They are very beautiful with their ruffles and bows, but it didn’t quite fit my fashion style. However, I was amazed at how many small independent brands there were. In one shopping tower, there could be tens to hundreds of small boutiques selling clothes from their own line. I wish we had more of this in North America because I feel like the our fashion world is dominated by several large brands. I totally went over my budget and I didn’t regret it.