Japan Beauty Haul – High End

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I just came home from Tokyo and I am so excited to talk about the beauty products that I purchased. With most vacations, I am often worried about whether my suitcase might be overweight. However, since I spent the bulk of my budget on beauty products, my suitcase was pretty light compared to usual. I am a big fan of Japan beauty products because of their quality, effectiveness, and of course, their beautiful packaging. Like other aspects of their culture, their attention to detail and constant search for innovation are also seen in their beauty products. I feel they are some of the best in the world. I will split the haul into two posts with this blogpost focusing on higher-end products.

Naturaglacé Emollient Cream Foundation, Point Make-Up Remover, and UV Protection Base

As you can tell by the number of products I bought, I am big fan of this brand. Naturaglacé is one of the first natural brands from Japan. Flipping through Japanese magazines the last few years, I have noticed that green beauty has become more popular. During this trip, I even found dedicated sections in department stores for green beauty. I wish we saw more of that in North America. This brand’s concept is to create products that are 100% natural. The second part of their name “glacé” loosely translates to “glossy” ( I used Google Translate), which I assume means that their products will give you a healthy glow.

Naturaglacé has rebranded over the last couple of years and I love the new pastel paint smudges on their packaging. After the rebranding, they have actually introduced a few more base products. After discussing with the salesperson using broken Japanese, I decided to get the cream foundation because it has a dewy finish and has anti-aging properties. It also comes in a tube which I love! I’m also always up for trying a new dual-phase makeup remover. I am still on the hunt for one that is pretty much scentless and will not leave the eyelid too oily after cleansing. Lastly, I got their sunscreen because I still haven’t found a natural sunscreen that I love. Wish me the luck that this might be the one.

RMK Liquid Foundation

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From one end of the spectrum to another, this foundation is not natural or organic, but RMK’s base products are some of my favourites. I tend to buy green beauty but I haven’t found the green replacement for this brand’s base products yet. Have you ever dreamed about repurchasing a certain foundation for years? For me, this is that product because I finished their Gel Creamy Foundation a few years ago. I had bought it online and guessed my shade correctly only to forget to write it down. Fast-forward to today, it has been so amazing to go to the counter and find my shade again. This time I got their Liquid Foundation which has a natural skin finish and is supposed to be waterproof and long-wearing. So far, I have found this foundation to be really natural-looking allowing your skin to show through. It might not be for those that love a heavier base though.

THREE Shimmering Glow Duo and Triple Three Treat

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If you are looking for a luxury beauty brand with beautiful packaging and a natural approach to beauty, then THREE is your best bet. All the packaging is super sleek and minimal. The matte grey packaging doesn’t get super dirty like the Nars packaging. The brand has a natural and organic lean, but none their products are 100% natural. For example, their skincare is has at least 85% naturally-derived ingredients. Like many green brands, their ingredient lists include many essential oils, so if you are sensitive, this might not be the brand for you.

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Since I had tried out their foundations before, I decided to pick up their Shimmering Glow Duo. I have always been more fond of a glossy-type highlighter over those that are too metallic. My favourite glossy highlighter is still RMS Beauty’s Living Luminizer. This cream highlighter is supposed to give you a more natural glow and will blend into the skin seamlessly changing into a powder form. When I purchased it, I didn’t know that the formula changed to a powder form, so  hopefully that won’t take down the glow of the product. I also picked up this awesome set called the Triple Three Treat which included deluxe samples of three of their products. They include their the Whisper Gloss for Eye in Cement Serenade, Lyrical Lip Bloom in Movement Feel, and the Epic Mini Dash (cheek colour) in Post Pink. I can’t wait to try these out and report back.

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Beauty Binds #3 – Forehead Wrinkles

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This is the last of a series I have written about beauty dilemmas that continue to haunt me. In my first post of this series, I talk about how I deal with concealer that creases and in my second post, I go through tips and tricks I have tried to stop my eyeliner from smudging. In my final post in this series, I want to tackle the issue of forehead wrinkles. More than crow’s feet or laugh lines, I feel that forehead wrinkles bother me the most because they simply just cover more surface area. I don’t aim to look wrinkle-free, but I just want to look a little younger than my real age. I guess, this is my version of aging gracefully. So what have I tried so far?

Method #1 – Exfoliation

I used to be the laziest person when it came to exfoliation. After applying layers of skincare, the thought of doing another step just didn’t seem appealing to me. However, over the years, I have read many articles about the benefits of exfoliation. It helps promote cell turnover to reveal newer cells underneath. Thus, it can help create a brighter complexion. When it comes to beauty, you can’t be lazy, so I decided to start exfoliating once to twice a week. I find that it helps the skin look smoother and brighter which also helps diminish the look of fine lines. I didn’t have much luck with physical exfoliators as they tended to cause my skin to breakout. However, I have been loving Sunday Riley’s Good Genes, which smells awful, but is not irritating and really makes my skin smoother and “glowier.” It is a chemical exfoliator (AHA), which uses lactic acid to get rid of that top layer of dead skin. Do you have any favourite chemical exfoliators?

Method #2 – Vitamin C

I honestly don’t think I would have gotten into Vitamin C skincare if it weren’t for Instagram. After scrolling through endless photos of skincare routines, Vitamin C skincare products were everywhere. So I finally amped up my research game, and started to learn about why I needed it in my skincare routine. Vitamin C is an antioxidant with amazing anti-aging benefits, including evening out and brightening the skin. I found that exfoliation showed more immediate results, but Vitamin C might take a bit longer. At first, I didn’t think my Vitamin C serum was doing anything till I noticed how smooth my forehead looked after I put on foundation. So you might not want to give up right away if you don’t results immediately. My favourites Vitamin C Serums so far are Wishtrend’s Pure Vitamin C 21.5% Advanced Serum and Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum.

Method #3 – Pack on the Moisturizers

If you have started to notice wrinkles, you will know that the drier the skin is, the more pronounced those wrinkles look. That is why I think moisturizing your skin is a very important step. I used to go crazy packing on tons of moisturizers hoping that it would fix the problem. Sometimes it did, but sometimes I would also start to breakout in certain areas, probably due to the moisturizers clogging my pores. Lately, I have been loving layering toners using the Korean 7 Skin Method. Korean toners are usually more vicious and full of great skincare ingredients. You pat in the toner and then wait a few minutes before patting on the next layer. Basically, it is a less heavy way of infusing a ton of moisture into your skin. Afterwards, my skin looks glowy and more “bouncy” to the touch. My favourite toners for this method include Whamisa’s Organic Flowers Toner and I also love ID.AZ’s Dermastic Essential Toner.

With regards to a more traditional moisturizer, I have had a lot of luck with moisturizers that have snail secretion filtrate. They keep my skin moisturized even in the dry winter months. My favourites include COSRX Snail 92 All In One Cream and Tony Moly’s Ferment Snail Essence. If you find snail-infused beauty products too slimy, I find adding a facial oil is also a good idea because it really boosts hydration. I am currently using Fresh’s Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil.

Method #4 – Facial Massage

This is a step I only recently added to my skincare routine, but I think it really does help. I have been mostly focusing on my forehead and I try to do it morning and night when I do my skincare routine. I usually do it when I apply my facial oil because it makes the massage smoother. If you find doing a whole face facial massage too time consuming, I recommend just targeting the area that you are most concerned about first. Here is a great video from Wishtrend about facial massage:

Method #5 – Apply a Primer Before Foundation

There are many primers out there that promise to fill in your pores and fine lines. However, I have not had much luck with this method. There is one primer though that I find to be somewhat effective. It is the J. One Jelly Pack which is more of a firming primer. It is quite different from any other products I have tried before as it is very sticky and thick. When you apply this clear gel onto your skin, you really have to push it in. It is worth it though because you do feel it tighten your skin and increase the longevity of your foundation. My only qualm is that it seems to be more effective with certain foundations and moisturizers. To be honest, I still haven’t gotten this product completely figured out.

Have I missed anything? Thank you for reading.

Beauty Binds #2 – Smudging Eyeliner

 

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This is the second post in my series about beauty dilemmas. If you are interested, you can check out my first post about tips and tricks I use to stop concealer from creasing. It only makes sense that since I named my blog, Smudges, that the next beauty dilemma I am going to talk about is dealing with smudging eyeliner. After many years of testing out multiple eyeliners, I think I have now resorted to the fact that most eyeliners will smudge at least a little bit on me. I understand that my hooded eye shape and watery eyes just makes it a bit harder for eyeliner to stay put on me. For me, eyeliner usually starts disappearing on the outer corner where I wing out my eyeliner. So here are a list of tips and tricks I have tried over the years to keep my eyeliner from smudging.

Method #1 – Simply Find an Eyeliner That Won’t Smudge

I have tried a lot of eyeliners in my life time. There are a few eyeliners that have stood up the best on my eyelids. For pencil eyeliners, this would include Clinique’s Quickliner For Eyes and Etude House’s Play 101 Pencils. An honourable mention for me would be Stila’s Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner. I have been wearing the Clinique liner since university and I love the glide of this pencil and it is also is a turn-up pencil so you don’t need to sharpen it. It pretty much stays put all day expect for the wing part of the liner which tends to smudge a bit on the bottom of the eye. The Etude House one actually has better longevity, but like many gel liners, it dries out pretty quick. My favourite liquid eyeliners are Kate Super Sharp Liner and msh Love Liner. Both of these liquid eyeliners draw beautifully and also last almost the whole day.

Method #2 – Wear Eyeshadow Primer

If you want eyeliner to stay put, your eyeshadow better stay put as well. Since I have oily eyelids, I pretty much have to wear eyeshadow primer every time I do an eye look. My favourite eyeshadow primers are the Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base and the Balm’s Put A Lid On It Eyelid Primer. The Nars one is amazing for keeping eyeshadow crease-free all day and it blends so smoothly onto the eyelid. I have not found one better than the Nars one. However, if you want something a bit more hygienic thats comes out of a tube, I would recommend the primer from the Balm. It’s performance is almost as good as Nar’s primer. I have also tried putting primer on the outer corner of my eye where I would wing out the liner to prevent smudging, but my eyes are so watery, it doesn’t really help.

Method #3 – Don’t Wing Out Your Eyeliner

This is a technique I often use when I am just fed up with my eyeliner smudging on the outer corners. I know, winged eyeliner is such a beautiful thing. It elongates your eyes and gives your eyes more definition. However, it is such a hassle sometimes to check to see if it has smudged that I actually don’t wing my liner sometimes. I will just end it at the outer corner of my eye. Sometimes, I actually prefer this look as it makes my eyes look rounder. Most importantly, I don’t have worry about smudging as much.

Method #4 – Carry cotton buds

Recently, I have started to carry tiny cotton swabs and even cotton swabs with eye makeup remover to fix smudges. Usually, when I am lazy, I will just wipe the smudged eyeliner away with my fingers. Sometimes, I will also use a tissue or even a paper towel if I am desperate. However, tiny cotton swabs are perfect for this job. My favourite are from Muji and I have also discovered Muji’s Cleansing Cotton Buds which I also enjoy if you are wearing waterproof eyeliner.

If you have any tips and tricks dealing with smudging eyeliner, please share below!

Beauty Binds #1 – Creasing Concealer

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When it comes to beauty dilemmas, there are some that I can just let go, like finding a mascara that will actually give volume to my short Asian lashes. However, there are some beauty conundrums that I still obsess about till today. I thought I would do a little roundup of them over several posts and talk about possible solutions that have worked for me and some that have not. More than that, I really hope that you have some tips and product suggestions to offer me so I can finally let go (if that is possible).

Conundrum – Finding a concealer application method that will not only cover my dark under eye circles but will also not crease as well

I know that I am cheating a bit here by trying to solve two issues, but if there is one beauty problem that I am obsessed with fixing, it is these two. I think concealer is so important for looking fresh and awake in the morning. Even if I don’t apply foundation, I will always try to put on some concealer. I still don’t think I have found my perfect combination of technique and products yet, but I wanted to talk about a few that I have tried over the years. Some were picked up through through magazines, Youtube, and Intagram, and others were just some of my own experimentations.

Method #1 – Simply Find a Concealer That Will Not Crease

Maybe I am just asking for too much. I honestly don’t think there has been a concealer that didn’t crease on me a little bit. If I had to choose, I think that the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer would be the best concealer I have tried that will only give me minimal creasing. For an Asian brand, I find the Ipsa Creative Concealer, which is a cream concealer, doesn’t really crease that much on me. If you know of a great concealer that does not crease, I would love to know.

Method #2 – Powdering After Applying Concealer

Powdering any makeup will increase its longevity. So it should be a no-brainer that you should definitely set concealers with powder since they are usually creamier. Believe me, I have tried this technique on and off for years and I must admit I still don’t love it. I have also tried applying the powder with a brush and and pressing it in with a puff. However, it has either left my under eye area looking super dry or made the creasing even more pronounced.

Method #3 – Use a Sponge to Apply the Concealer

I have been using this technique on and off for a while. Mostly, this is because I feel using a sponge to apply concealer sometimes takes away some of the coverage. However, I do think it can help minimize creasing just because there is less product that can crease. Lately,  I have also started to dip my Beauty Blender into thicker concealers like the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, and then press it into the skin. This allows me to keep the coverage without worrying if it will get too cakey or crease.

Method #4 – Only Applying Concealer to Where You Need It

I learnt this technique last year and it is one of my favourites. Often when I watch Youtube, I see people loading tons of concealer allover their under eye area. However, sometimes, I find that it is more important to focus the concealer only on the darkest areas. This way, you use less product and minimize the chances of creasing and it looks more natural. I think the renowned makeup artist, Lisa Eldridge explains it best in the video above. She also talks about applying concealer and waiting a bit before rechecking for any creasing. She will then use a sponge to remove the excess product and smooth out the area. My only problem with the latter technique is that I don’t find that my concealer creases till hours later. I haven’t tried bringing a sponge in my purse though. Maybe I should!

I have also tried using eye primer on the under eye area and baking under the eyes, but I still don’t quite like how my under eye wears over the day. I hope you enjoyed this post of me rambling about concealer woes. I would love to hear your concealer tips and tricks.

Review: Honest Beauty Truly Kissable Lip Crayon

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If you are starting out in green and/or natural beauty, lip products are always a good way to go because there are just so many good choices. Some of my favourites include Bite Beauty, Kosäs, and even Burt’s Bee. Today, I am going to review one of my recent finds from the States. I have been meaning to try out some beauty products from Honest Beauty, but they are hard to get out of the United States. To my great surprise, you can now easily pick up items from their line in Target. I wasn’t sure what to get so I decided to get their Truly Kissable Lip in Sheer Rose Kiss and their Everyday Primer because they both received nods from Allure magazine (and I love Allure).

Background

Honest Beauty is a brand created by the actress Jessica Alba. The main keywords used in their brand marketing are “safe” and “effective.” It is important to note though that they do not claim to use natural and organic ingredients. Their policy indicates that they do not use parabens, paraffins, silicones, talc, petrolatum, mineral oil, or synthetic fragrances. If you want to check out their ingredient lists, they are listed clearly for each product.

Claims

This lip crayon is supposed to provide a sheer wash of colour giving a natural look on the lips. The formula is lightweight and will glide onto your lips for a quick and convenient application. The ingredients will also keep your lips and moisturized and cushioned.

Ingredients

The main ingredients of this lip crayon are coconut oil, murumuru butter and shea butter.

Packaging

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It has the standard twist-up lip crayon packaging. Like many twist-up crayons, there is always the risk of closing the lid improperly and ruining the product inside. This is happened to me on many occasions and I have ruined the original sharp point of the crayon. That being said, the packaging is quite sturdy and has withstood all the tossing around in the bottom of my purse unscathed except for a tiny crack in the lid.

Application

With its rounded crayon tip, it is quite easy to apply on your lips precisely. They even recommend that you can overdraw your lips to create volume without any problem since it is a tint. The texture is very balmy. It almost feels like I am applying a regular lip balm. I find that I don’t even need to apply a lip balm underneath it since it is so moisturizing and will not enhance the flakiness of dry and peeling lips.

Review

I really enjoyed this lip crayon. In fact, it was constantly on my lips for a few weeks. I think the main reason I love it so much is because it is so convenient. You don’t need to apply a separate lip balm underneath and it keeps my lips as moisturized as if I am using my favourite Burt’s Bee lip balm. Furthermore, don’t be fooled by the word “sheer” in the name because I would consider the pigmentation equal to a regular lipstick. However, this means you will need a mirror when you apply it. If there is one possible downside, it would be that it doesn’t wear super long. However, I guess you really shouldn’t expect that from a lip tint. It is interesting in that it has a tad of a shine for the first hour or so and then after that, the colour starts fading and it looks more like a matte stain. It holds up pretty well through casual drinking, but won’t last through a meal. I tend to wear it like a lip balm, reapplying it every few hours.

VERDICT: If you are looking for a moisturizing lip balm with more than just a tint of colour, I would totally recommend this lip crayon.

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 was a huge fan of the TV show, House, a few years back. In each episode, I loved how House would save a patient’s life with his genius diagnostic skills. When I heard that David Shore, House’s creator, was producing another medical drama, I was super excited to see if it would be just as good. His new show is called, The Good Doctor, based on a drama from Korea with the same name. The main character is a medical resident named Shaun who has autism and savant syndrome. We follow his story as he is first met with skepticism at the hospital till eventually his medical prowess respected. Along the way, we see him learn to deal with new changes, like working alongside new coworkers and living independently. Like House, this show has a brilliant doctor who faces many struggles in his life and as viewers, we watch alongside celebrating in their successes and connecting to their struggles.

Smell

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If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that the only scents I really enjoy are usually quite citrusy. I’ve talked previously about how much I enjoy the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum. Other than the effectiveness of this product, a big part of why I love it is due to the user experience. It smells so refreshing, like sweet oranges. I must admit it is a tiny bit artificial, but I don’t mind it. For me, the smell of product can be a dealbreaker, so I’m glad that that I enjoy this scent. On the flip side, I can’t say that for the Fresh facial oil I’ve been using lately though. I don’t think I will repurchase it again purely due to its scent.

Taste

I was racking my brain for a taste favourite and I couldn’t really come up with anything. Then, it suddenly hit me. Chocolate. All I have been doing is it eating chocolate lately. I mean, I couldn’t help it because it was everywhere during Christmas time. I tried to share and give some away, but for the most part, I selfishly saved them for myself. Lately, I don’t really discriminate anymore. I used to mostly eat dark chocolate, but I’ve been loving milk chocolate and even white chocolate lately. So what are some of my faves? Probably, my favourite are the Lindt truffles. I have had way too many of those. I also love Ferraro Rocher, just the original ones in the gold foil packaging. Oh, but my all-time fave that no one talks about much, are the Ferraro Rocher eggs! It is like eating the same flavours but with a smooth chocolate exterior.

Touch

I had bought a cashmere sweater over 5 years ago which I still wear often today. I had heard so much about how great cashmere wears and bought this particular sweater on sale. Since then, I haven’t had the budget or justification to get another one since they are usually priced at a few hundred dollars. So why do so many people love cashmere? I think it is because it doesn’t pill much, keeps you so warm, and feels so soft. Plus, it just wears so well over time. I have had mine for over 5 years and it looks almost like it did the day I bought it. I do take very good care of it and only dry clean so I don’t know if that has made a difference. So fast forward to today, I spot some cashmere sweaters on sale at Uniquo and I just had to buy one because it was sale for $50. So how does this new breed of “economical” cashmere compare to the previous more high-end versions? So far, I think the Uniquo cashmere sweater wears really good. It might be slightly more pilling than my higher-end version, but it feels just as soft. I’ll have to report back after several more washings to see if it keeps it shape and retains its soft texture.

Hearing

If you have read my last favourites post, you would know that I have been super into buying vinyl records. For me, this has been such an amazing musical journey because I am not familiar with most of the music before the 90s. It has been so fun to learn about why these artists have been so impactful in the history of music. I found Elton John’s Greatest Hits at a local records lately, and I am amazed at the breath and depth of his music. I am embarrassed to say that most of the knowledge of I have his music has been through his score of Lion King. I’ve been loving “Yellow Brick Road,” and “Don’t Let Sun Go Down On Me.” He has just announced his retirement from touring. Hopefully, I will have the chance to catch one of his last shows. Do you have any favourite Elton John songs?

I also have to mention to BTS. I do listen to Kpop on and off, but after seeing BTS on the American Music Awards, I had to seek out some of their music. “DNA” and “Mic Drop” have been repeat the last few months. For me, it has been so amazing to see Asian faces on American TV singing in their own language. Growing up, I never saw a lot of Asian representation in Western media, and it has been wonderful to see BTS perform on so many American media outlets. I so excited to see what they will do next and what other Asian artists will also enter the Western music arena.

How to Feel Less Overwhelmed

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I have been meaning to write this blogpost for awhile, especially around the Christmas and the winter holidays time period. With having to attend Christmas dinners, and buying Christmas presents, December can be very stressful and very overwhelming (I particularly feel like typing the word “very” in capitals). I am definitely one of those people that get overwhelmed easily. It stills happens a lot despite that fact that I am better at dealing with it, and part of me has accepted that I will always be a little overwhelmed. However, there are a few things I do which have helped me feel less overwhelmed over the years and I thought they might be helpful for you.

Focus on the Immediate

Usually, I feel the most overwhelmed when my to-do list starts stacking up. There is so much to do that I simply don’t know where to begin. That is usually when the panic begins to set in and I decide to start finding out a way out before I lose complete control. At this point, I will usually just put the brakes on everything and focus on the immediate thing I need to get done. For me, this is usually the task with the nearest deadline or has the greatest importance to me. Then, I proceed to block out everything till I get this one task finished. After I am done, I find that it buys me a little time to figure out how to complete the other tasks on my plate. Moreover, it just feels good to be able to finish something, even if it seems small in comparison to everything else you need to do.

Plan of Attack

Now, that I am not freaked out about the closest deadline coming up too fast, I then start to wrap my head around how to make the rest of the tasks less overwhelming. I usually have several strategies of attack. Sometimes, I will just add all the events onto my calendar first and then add all the tasks I need to complete each event also on the calendar. I find that once I see how everything fits in, almost like a puzzle, I don’t see it as tons of tasks I have to complete. Instead, I just see it is as a few tasks that I have to complete each day. I also like to spend time prioritizing the tasks each day just in case I don’t finish everything that day. The ones that I have to do for sure are placed at the top of the list. You can also colour-code them so you easily see which ones are the must-dos of that day.

Choosing Perfection

I find I often feel overwhelmed, not only because I have to get a lot done, but also because I want to do everything well. Being perfect all the time, if that does exist, is very difficult to achieve, if not impossible. What I usually do is aim for “more perfection” in some tasks over others. I will think to myself that I want to do Task A and Task B the best I can. Then, I will complete the other tasks well, but not fuss over the small details. I understand that seems like I am not pushing myself enough, but I just think it is a more healthy way to live. I personally don’t think you can be an “A+” in every part of your life. Instead, living a balanced and healthy life has become my form of an “A+.”

What are your tips for feeling less overwhelmed?

Year End Favourites: Top 5 in Skincare

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My post for year end favourites in makeup came out pretty late, and this Top 5 in skincare is even later. I am sorry about that, but I hope you will still enjoy it. Over the last year, I have mainly focused on using Korean skincare. I enjoy their focus on natural ingredients and the effectiveness of their formulas. Some of my favourite Korean skincare brands include Whamisa, Innisfree, and ID.AZ. Through a gift from my sister, I have also really enjoyed Ole Henriksen. I tend to judge whether I love a skincare item based on the experience of application, its ingredients, and how effective it was on improving my skin’s appearance.

ID.AZ Dermastic Foaming Cleanser

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I don’t know when I started to assume that cleansers that foam up right from the bottle are automatically drying. Well, this one proved me wrong. If you love cleansers that are rich and really foam up, then you will enjoy this cleanser from one of the top skin clinics in Korea, ID.AZ. Overall, I find the experience of using this cleanser really enjoyable. It has really refreshing scent, which I find quite relaxing. The formula is not stripping, containing aloe vera extract, centella asiatica extract, and panthenol to soothe skin. This is definitely one of my surprise favourites of year.

Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner Deep Rich

This year, I have been super into vicious Korean toners, which are packed full of great ingredients. They are thicker in texture, and are meant to be patted into the skin. I’ve have tried quite a few over the year, but I still think this one from the Korean brand, Whamisa is my favourite. If you are big Kbeauty fan, you would have seen this brand plastered all over Instagram and for good reason. Their focus is on using organic ingredients, primarily fermented ingredients, which are more potent and easily absorbed. This toner is my favourite this year because after you apply it on your skin, it looks plumper and glowy almost instantly. It is also great for the 7 step method. My one con is that it is a bit sticky after application but I feel it is less stickier than a few others I have tried.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum

2017 was the year that I discovered Vitamin C in skincare and wondered why I didn’t start earlier. I think the reason that I hesitated to try Vitamin C was that I was afraid that I would react to it negatively. However, I realized that when you are trying any skincare, you should always patch test because everyone responds to certain ingredients differently. I tried a few Vitamin C serums this year (e.g. Wishtrend and Drunk Elephant), but I think my favourite has to be the one from Ole Henriksen for several reasons. First of all, it did not irritate my skin, which I was surprised about. Secondly, it had a lovely citrus scent and absorbed so quickly into the skin. Lastly, it provides results. It doesn’t happen right away, but with long-term use, I was surprised how smoother my skin looked under makeup. Overall, my skin looked firmer and brighter as they claimed would do. It was so good that I actually bought the full size after my sister gifted me a deluxe sample.

Belif Moisturizing and Firming Eye Cream

The first time I saw Belif products, I was attracted to the minimalist blue, black, and white packaging. Then, as I learned more about the brand, I learned their brand philosophy focused on using natural herbal ingredients with modern technology to create effective skincare line. It was then I was sold. I was having problems with concealer not applying well over my eye cream so I decided to switch to this eye cream and I have been loving it every since. This is a thicker formula but it blends it easily. It leaves a nice canvas for concealer application. It contains natural oils, like cupuacu seed butter and macadamia nut oil, which help to keep the under eye area moisturized. I also love that it is pretty much unscented as well.

Whamisa Organic Flowers Olive Leaf Mist

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2017 was also the year I got into facial mist. Well, to be honest, I just tried this one. I alway thought that facial mist could only be used to freshen up or set your makeup. I didn’t know that it could also have another use as a toner, especially with this Whamisa Olive Leaf Mist. It is so vicious that you can pat it in as a quick toner. I love how efficient this made my skincare routine as I could quickly spritz this on after cleansing and be done with the toner step. The mist is not super fine as the texture of the formula is a bit thicker, but it is packed full of great ingredients that are good for the skin. Furthermore, it actually lasts quick a longtime even though the bottle is quite small. Now that I am no longer a mist newbie, I can’t wait to branch out and try more facial mist this year.

Have you tried any of my favourites and what it is one skincare product that you think I must try?

Review: Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer

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I know that getting older is supposed to have its virtues. However, it also means having to deal with crows feet, and sagging skin. I am slowly trying to come to terms with this, but in the mean time, I still want to age gracefully. This brings me to my review of Smashbox’s Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer. I was still having trouble with concealer creasing in the fine lines in my under eye area. I found that most concealers looked great the first few hours, but getting it to stay that way all day was difficult. I saw this primer at Sephora one day and picked up because it seemed made for this problem.

Claims

Containing caffeine, peptides, and optical diffusers, this under eye primer diminishes puffy eyes and dark circles. It also enhances the longevity of concealers and prevents them from creasing. Furthermore, it also targets anti-aging concerns in the under eye area, like wrinkles and age spots.

Packaging

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I personally really loved the packaging. The squeeze tube kept the product sanitary and it was easy to control how you much you wanted to squeeze out. The slanted plastic tip is a bit flexible, which allowed you to use it directly under your eyes.

Application

I found that the slanted applicator worked well to dispense and dab the product onto the skin. However, I found it even quicker just to dispense the product onto my fingers and then dab it on the under eye area. I think it really just comes to preference. The texture is lightweight and blends easily into the skin. It only comes in one shade, which is a pearly light pink colour. When blended it, it was basically transparent, leaving behind a subtle glow.

Results

This is one of those products which I really wanted to work for me, but it didn’t except for providing a little extra moisture in the under eye area. However, I could see it working for someone else who might have issues with puffy under eyes and maybe still in their 20s. I really gave it a good try. I used it everyday for a month and even created a spreadsheet examining how it worked on top of foundation and without eye cream etc. I was that keen on making it work.

I think the main reason it didn’t work for me was because it just didn’t make my concealer last longer. I still found that the concealer would crease about the same amount whether I used this primer or not. I couldn’t really test out whether it helped with puffiness under the eyes as I don’t really have that issue. However, I can attest that it did do much for my dark circles (as there aren’t many products that actually do). What about brightening the under eye? I think it might be more apparent on a lighter skin tone. I have a more olive complexion and I don’t feel like it made much of a difference.

VERDICT: This under eye primer might be more useful for those with puffy eyes and who are looking for a bit more moisture in the under eye area. Sadly, I won’t repurchase it again.

Year End Favourites: Top 5 in Makeup

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I know this one is kind of late, but I love reading year-end favourites blogposts, so I thought I’d join in the fun. As I tend to have a one-in and one-out policy when it comes to purchasing beauty products, I feel I haven’t tried out enough to have a favourite in each category. So instead, I am just going to talk about my top 5 makeup products of the year.

KATE Super Sharp Liner

As my blog name implies, I have an obsession with finding the best eyeliner. So I am going to start off by talking about what may be one of my favourite liquid eyeliners ever. If you have read my blog for a while, you would know that I have been devoted to drugstore Japanese eyeliners for a long time. This one from KATE did not fail to impress as well. Like other Japanese liquid eyeliners I love, this eyeliner has a brush tip which makes application super smooth and precise. However, unlike other Japanese liquid liners, the pen itself is super lightweight and doesn’t have that shaking mechanism in it that keeps the liner from drying out. I half thought it would dry out within a few months, but it is still going strong after 5 months. Most importantly, it rivals my best liquid eyeliner, Flow Fushi Moteliner, for longevity. Either than a tiny bit of smudging in the outer corner (mostly because I have watery eyes), this liner stays on pretty much till you want to take it off. If you are interested in my other favourite liquid eyeliners, you can check out my post, The Best Liquid Eyeliners I Have Ever Tried.

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+

This base product needs no introduction as it is well-loved by many. I know it is not an exciting new beauty launch, but seriously, this is the one base product I used the most last year. It is just so dependable. Infused with skincare ingredients, like hyaluronic acid and antioxidants, it keeps your skin so moisturized for a base product. In the last year, I have tried applying it with both a Beauty Blender and my fingers and I must say I still love applying it with my fingers. I do find that the Beauty Blender tends to thin out the coverage a little bit. I would consider this be a foundation with medium buildable coverage. It does an excellent job of smoothing over pores and fine lines while providing a bit of glow. It also has really good longevity even in hot weather. In my eyes, it can basically do no wrong, except for maybe the shade selection (it has 7 shades). Lastly, I would probably add It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye in my Top 5 as well, but I didn’t want to overwhelm this post with one brand. What can I say? It is an excellent concealer. It has great coverage, is super creamy, and lasts forever because you use so little each time.

Coffret D’or Smile Up Cheeks

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I have hit pan on this blush, which pretty much sums up how much I love it. I have done a full review of this blush in a blogpost here. I love that it comes in the cutest packaging, is pigmented, and looks multi-dimensional when applied on the cheeks. You can just pick up the darker colour in the middle or also swirl the lighter colour on the outside to create a more dimensional look. It also lasts all day on me and I am always surprised to see it on my face at the end of a work day. Now, I just have to go pick up another colour since I have just hit pan!

RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up

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If you love green beauty, natural, organic makeup, whatever you call it, you probably have heard of RMS Beauty. I love everything I have tried from the line, especially their “Un” Cover-Up base product. I am still super surprised with how much I love this product because the ingredients seem so simple. The main ingredient is coconut oil along with other seed oils, beeswax, and cocoa butter. I’m usually using foundations with ingredient lists of over 20 items. That is perhaps why I am so amazed at how lovely this foundation/concealer is. It just melts into the skin giving you a natural and glowy finish. Moreover, it also diminishes the appearance of your pores while still keeping your skin moisturized and luminous. I bought their makeup palette lately and can’t wait to try their other products. Oh, and they also have lipsticks now too.

SANA New Born W Brow EX

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I thought I had tried my share of brow products, but what do you know? I have found something new lately. It is a 3-in-one brow product that incorporates a pencil, powder, and spoolie. This SANA New Born W Brow EX is another Japanese drugstore gem because it takes the place of three products when you travel or are on-the-go. You can also use it to create different brow looks. You can use the pencil and powder separately or combined to create a more defined brow end and diffused brow front. It also lasts all day on your eyebrows and has good pigmentation. I have heard Excel also makes a similar product and can’t wait to do a comparison.