Why SPF numbers can be misleading, why sunscreen in foundation isn't cutting it, and other useful sunscreen information.
How to tell if your skin is warm, cool, neutral, or olive...
Contouring for a round prominent hooded eye.
Read on to find out how you can fix a broken nail with a DIY tea bag trick!
Eyeshadow placement for a deep set, hooded, and almond-shaped eye.
December 5, 2013
If you're tired of seeing the same few shades incorporated into holiday palette releases, you'll be pleased to know that six of the eight shades are new and exclusive to the palette. The six new shades boast a new "diamond" formula, specially created for an extreme shine. The other two remaining shades are good ol' basics that everyone needs - there's Matte Black and Metallic Taupe 127.
December 2, 2013
The Aquaction Long Lasting Hydration Gel is just such a product of the brand's ability to modernize. It's a light, gel-based moisturizer, that still touts itself as being able to provide hydration and moisture to the skin. A weightless feeling while still providing moisture? Sign me up!
As you guys know, I always like to start off my skincare analysis by looking at the ingredients list - it really helps to cut through all the review preliminaries and gets straight to the point. So here we go!
November 29, 2013
Collection Cosmetics is now coming to Singapore!
Collection Cosmetics is one of the top 3 UK drugstore brands with their young, fashionable image, and they have steadily been expanding into Asia (you will also find the brand in Hong Kong and Philippines). The line is cheap, with prices running from S$9.90 and up - this isn't as cheap as in the UK, but is still drugstore pricing. As always, I've done some swatches of some of my personal favourites from the line, and if you want to check out the brand, these would be, in my humble opinion, the items to start off with!
November 26, 2013
The MUFE Pro Finish Powder Foundation provides high coverage with a non-cakey, smooth finish, and a great formula that is right on, as with most of MUFE's products. You can really tell when a brand spends the time and effort to perfect its products before launching, rather than just jumping onto every trend-based product bandwagon every three months, or slavishly copying its nearest competitor, and from the looks of it, MUFE's Pro Finish Foundation has definitely been formulated with care. Ever the perfectionist, MUFE founder Dany Sanz spent six years (yes, six!) developing the foundation, in order to arrive at the best possible formula that would work on all skin types.
Perhaps, as a result of the fact that this foundation took six years to perfect, I have to say, I have absolutely no complaints at all. From the colour match, to the formula, to the coverage, to the finish - while I can sometimes be pretty critical, right now I only have good things to say!
November 23, 2013
Lookit all those charcoal-laden products! If such products work, why don't we all have awesomely detoxed skins?
So there is a lot of charcoal-laden skincare out there. But is there any truth to all the claims these products make? That's a question that's worth answering.
Charcoal first got its reputation for being "cleansing" due to its ability to adsorp a range of unsavory by-products and poisons, including chlorine, odors, and pigments (although there are some exceptions, such as iron, lithium, potassium, and ethanol). This makes it useful particularly for certain functions, such as surface water (like rivers) and treating drinking water (e.g. all those Brita water filters). It also seems to have some help with treating poisoning when taken orally, although as you might expect its effectiveness is also partly influenced by time and dosage, so it doesn't work all the time. So that's our primer on charcoal and activated charcoal: great for purifying water, and might help with poisoning when taken orally.
So it's easy to see how charcoal got its reputation for being able to purify things. And from there, it's also easy to see how from there, some creative product manager in a company thought, "Hey, if people believe that charcoal helps to purify their water and their innards, then they should believe that it purifies their skin, too! Mmm, charcoal face scrubs and cleansers...Mmm...MONEY! Let's do this, baby!" But of course, purifying the water in a plant and adsorbing to impurities when taken orally are pretty different. So rather than just jumping to conclusions (charcoal in body works = charcoal on face works), we really have to go back to review the literature available, and see what it says about charcoal applied to the skin.
Things that charcoal CAN do: clean your water. Things that charcoal CAN'T do: clean your skin. (Source)
And so, what does the scientific literature say? Well, sadly, when I delved through the scientific literature (PubMed is absolutely my BFF for things like this), I couldn't find anything at all demonstrating that charcoal, or activated charcoal for that matter, led to an improvement in skin quality when applied topically, especially in the cosmetic kind of way we are looking for. The closest studies I could find dealing with charcoal and skin looked at the effectiveness of using activated charcoal dressing to reduce smell in wounds. There is also some evidence that when applied topically it treats porphyrias, but basically, all of the demonstrated effective skin-related uses for charcoal are basically either involving ingesting the charcoal, or else applying it directly to wounds. Beyond such medical uses, there isn't any proof that it will work to effect cosmetic changes when applied topically to uninjured skin, which is what you are looking for ion a skincare product.
And now I think you know what my conclusion will be even before I type it out, but first, let's give you a friendly nice infographic, courtesy of yours truly fooling around on the computer:
Be a smart shopper: Most charcoal-containing products rely on other workhorse ingredients to clean your skin.
But just in case that infographic didn't make sense to you: what does this mean for us, consumers told to buy this or that charcoal mask? Well, what it means is that, there is no literature to say that it will do anything for your skin. The most concrete use of charcoal in skincare products that I can think of is that including black charcoal beads in scrubs will be a pretty cool-looking exfoliator. But it definitely won't "detox" or "purify" your skin or whatever grandiose terms the marketers are putting out there (in anycase, I find the concept of "detoxing" an organ like your skin more of a marketing concept than a scientifically useful one). For what it's worth, most products that advertise their charcoal product as being "purifying" or cleansing, tend to include other ingredients that are responsible for the cleaning effect, e.g. salicylic acid to dissolve the oil in your pores, kaolin clay or talc to absorb oil, and so on. So it's not that a product advertising charcoal won't work. It might, but if it does, you can bet that it will be these other workhorse ingredients that do the job, not the charcoal. The inclusion of charcoal just sounds sexier from a marketing perspective.
So if a product advertised with charcoal is something you like - say, maybe you like the packaging, brand, or even colour, go ahead and buy it. But just don't put your hard-earned money into a product because you expect the charcoal to do magic on your skin, because there is no proof that it will do anything. More than likely, it will be the other ingredients that do the job, not the charcoal, and as a savvy shopper, you'll probably want to look at the formulation in its entirety, rather than just hinge your buying decision on a single marketing ingredient.
November 20, 2013
Cirque Epoch: Here it looks forest green, but the duochrome becomes more apparent in different lights and angles.
Cirque Epoch is a forest green glass-fleck-ish polish, mostly, but it does have very lovely duochrome in the right lights. I get blue and purple from it. It's this flash of other colours that made me swoon for this polish. I had to work pretty darn hard to capture the duochrome, because the lighting and my camera just weren't cooperating with me. I have no idea how those other nail bloggers do it, but darn they are good.
November 17, 2013
Despite these new developments, the Juju Aquamoist Moisture Lotion still remains one of the hero products in the Juju Aquamoist range, and so I thought I'd take a look at it, and also take the opportunity to delve into the ingredients!