L'Oreal Lucent Magique Foundation, BB Cream, Concealer Swatches

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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L'Oreal has launched the Lucent Magique range, consisting of foundation, BB cream, and concealer. The Lucent range of products claims to give you a dewy, flawless glowing canvas that looks like you have no makeup on. It's a way to get that lit-from-within Korean pop star look that's been pretty popular in Asia lately. And, I've got swatches!

First, let's start with the foundation, the L’Oreal Lucent Magique Light Infusing Foundation. In Singapore, we get 6 shades, in a mix of undertones. The shade names start with R, G, and N - R (Rosy) denotes pink-toned shades, G (Gold) denotes warm shades, and N (Neutral) is for neutral undertones. Part of the selling point is also that the Lucent foundations have light-reflecting pigments to give your skin a dewy look.


L-R: G7, G4, R2, N7, N5, N2

G7 is a deep, warm-toned shade.
G4 is a medium, warm shade.
R2 is a fair shade, around the same lightness as N2, but it's pinker than N2.
N7 is a deep neutral shade, less yellow than G7 but comparable otherwise.
N5 is a medium neutral shade.
N2, which I think is closest to my skin (MAC NC20), is a neutral light beige.

The foundation has a lightweight texture that dries quickly. During the demonstration, the makeup artist explained that for such a quick-drying foundation, the dot-and-blend method may not be as effective as the foundation would dry too fast. Instead, she applied it evenly to sections of the face with a foundation brush and blended instead. We were shown the "CCTV technique" - apply the foundation in a C shape on both cheeks, a T on T-zone, and a V on the chin. To set, she lightly dusted over the foundation with the L'Oreal True Match powder.

The L'Oreal Lucent range also consists of a primer and BB cream, as well as two shades of concealer. Let's start off with the Lucent Magique Pure Light Primer and Lucent Magique Skin Illuminating BB Cream. Both come out of their tubes as white creams. The BB Cream is supposed to blend into your natural skin shade upon application. The primer comes out a white, light liquid with shimmer. The BB cream was a little thicker in texture and more gritty.

loreal lucent magique bb cream primer

Lastly, the Lucent Magique Pure Light Touch-up Pen. This is pretty multi-purpose too; in addition to being used as a concealer, the makeup artist also used it as a eyeshadow primer/lid brightener to good effect. There are two shades, Light, and Fair. A handy tip given to us was to use the concealer on the brow, cheek bone, and a dot at the sides of lips for a brightening effect.

loreal lucent magique concealer

Light is a pink-toned light beige.
Fair is also a light beige, but more yellow.

I've always thought L'Oreal was one of the better drugstore brands for foundation, due to the good shade range and aesthetic elegance of the products. The Lucent Magique range hasn't changed my mind - the foundation is lightweight and covers well, and comes in realistic skintone shades. If you're looking for a high-end foundation on a drugstore budget, this is worth trying.

Sleek Sparkle 2 Palette: Simmer and Shimmer for the Holidays!

Monday, November 26, 2012

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Sleek Makeup's Sparkle 2 Palette, the latest eyeshadow palette to be released, comes just in time for the holiday season! A follow-up to 2010's Sparkle Palette, this is also, as the name implies, full of sparkle! And it's a gorgeous-looking palette, too!


Even the box for the Sleek Sparkle 2 Palette is pretty! I love the effect of pretty lights on the box...so festive!

sleek sparkle 2 palette box

I love how the colour names are so festive, too. Sleek Makeup has also come up with names for each of the shades, which you can see below. I realized the silver shade on the bottom row blends in with the white text; the shade name is Tinsel.

sleek sparkle 2 palette shades

As with most Sleek palettes, this has 12 shades of colours. I actually quite like the colour selection this time round - the palette is pretty wearable overall and the colours actually go with each other. Yet it still has some interesting colours just in case you feel the need to jazz up your eyes a little. And as with a holiday palette called Sparkle 2, most shades have glitter.

sleek sparkle 2 palette close

And, here are swatches! Along with my commentary on each individual shade! One of the things I noticed when swatching these shades is the fallout I got. Some shades have more/less or larger/smaller glitter than other shades, so some shades, generaly the ones with large pieces of glitter, will have lots of fallout, while other shades, which have a metallic rather than glitter finish, have very little. But I think if you use a good primer, they will be fine. Otherwise, I've little to complain about - pigmentation is good, as per most Sleek palettes. I swatched on bare skin, no primer.

sleek sparkle 2 palette swatches

Chocolate Penny is a lovely shade - a neutral golden brown, very wearable. Not too much fallout, either.
Blue Spruce isn't totally blue, more like a medium-deep aqua. This is a lovely shade, it's got big glitter bits that do tend to fallout.
Mulled Wine - gorgeous plum with big gold glitter. Once again, a base is needed with this one.
Truffle. Possibly my favourite shade in the entire palette. No glitter, but a beautiful shimmer finish, and the perfect shade of suits-every-skintone brown that's not too brassy, not too grey.
Mistletoe. Ooh, nice name. Forest green with big gold glitter. The glitter doesn't show up in my swatches, though.
Illusion. Lovely violet purple, with big glitter.
Festive. Another violet purple, but more pink-toned and less blue-leaning than Illusion, also with big glitter.
Gold Ribbon. A metallic warm gold shade with a metallic finish, no glitter. It kinda looks a little yellow-y on me, but maybe I don't have the right skintone for it.
Glitz and Glamour. Deep, deep, blackened purple-brown with big glitter bits. Looks almost-black on me.
Tinsel. Your silver metallic, no glitter but a shimmer finish.
Twinkle. Evocative of the night sky, this is a deep, deep nighttime blue with big glitter bits. Also looks almost-black on me.
Starry Night. The usual black shade that Sleek likes to close out its palettes with, but now with more bling! This one is also a little bit fallout-prone due to the big glitter.

Overall, I'd say how much you like or dislike the palette really depends on your tolerance for glitter, and potentially, fallout. If you only ever wear matte shades and don't like big bits of glitter, I'm afraid this isn't your cup of tea. But if you want a holiday palette with wearable, well-edited colours that still has some zing, and can take glitter, this one is for you.

(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

Deconstructed Nails: Deborah Lippmann Marquee Moon and Some Bling

Saturday, November 24, 2012

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One of the key colours for nails this Fall/Winter season has been grey - specifically light grey (a la Chanel Frenzy). I've also been inspired by the idea of deconstructed nails lately, so I thought I'd combine the two to get a deconstructed-looking nail!

When I googled "deconstructed nail look", I got a lot of pics of crackle polish (yawn, so yesteryear), and that look Emma Watson wore on a magazine cover (which IMHO doesn't look deconstructed, just destroyed). I personally prefer my polished nails to actually look like polished nails, so I set about thinking about how the nails could look deconstructed but not ruined. I guess in the end it just had to do with random placement of sequins and gems.


For this look I used two costs of Deborah Lippmann's Marquee Moon, which is silver hex glitter in a silver base. I swear, this polish deposits it's glitter anyhow it wants! Sometimes (more often than not) I get less or no glitter, sometimes I get a bunch of glitter all in one clump. I like the concept of the polish, with its idea of playing on textures, but man, this was driving me nuts. I then put two square pieces of gemstones on my nails randomly on each nail. And ta-da, deconstructed nails with a nod to the season's colour trends (not that the colour trends matter, really).

deborah lippman marquee moon gems 1

Anyway, there you have it! My deconstructed Fall/Winter nails. It's quite a fun look, and pretty easy to do, as my nail art tends to be (because my skillz suck). The best thing I like about this look is that it is quite neutral colour-wise, and would go with just about anything, although its also edgy enough not to become a wallflower nail look.

deborah lippmann marquee moon gems 2

Viva La Nails Black Friday Sale!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

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Hey guys, a quick PSA, Viva La Nails is having a Black Friday Sale! Better still, it applies to EVERYTHING on their site!

Use this coupon code BLACK for a 25% discount on anything in the shop!

This is valid for the whole of this weekend ( 23/11/12 - 25/11/12) only, so if you're interested, get cracking at Viva La Nails!

Vanity Trove November: Skincare Focus

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

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Oops I'm rather late on this (if you want to know why, here's your explanation). But I've been enjoying my November Vanity Trove, so I thought I'd blog about it nevetherless - and I hope December's one is good too.


First up, we have a Skin Inc Happy Hand Dew. This is a full-sized product, so that makes me happy. The Skin Inc Hand Dew sells for $29, so I guess if this is a product you've been eyeing, this box is a great deal.

vanity trove november skininc

Next, we also have other skincare samples - a ZA Amino Refreshing Gel, and other quite new releases. So yup, you do get some of the latest and greatest in this box too.

vanity trove november skincare sachets

Lastly, a whole bunch of BB cream and other skincare samples. These are in tiny sachets, so they are not that interesting to me, but I guess they are useful for trying a few times before a buy decision.

vanity trove november skincare samples

Okay, that's it! I think for me, the attraction was the full-sized product. While I don't expect it by any means, I love it when I get full-sized stuff in my beauty boxes, it makes me feel like the box was worth its monetary value :)

(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

MUFE Holodiam Swatches Holiday 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

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MUFE's Holodiam Collection, released for the Holiday season, hit all the right notes - the collection is fun, festive, and pretty unique too. No surprise it's getting so much buzz already.

The key selling point of the Holodiam Powder is that it has micro pearlescent glitter that reflects three colours. The effect is a chameleon-like colour shifting effect on your eyes - almost like having a multichrome effect. Just look at the powders in their little containers!


The Holodiam Powders come in four shades, so you can bling and dazzle your way through the holiday in multiple shades. During the demonstration on a model, we saw how varied the uses for the Holodiam Powders were, especially the white one. They were used on her lips, cheeks, even the body, making them truly multi-purpose!

You can also use multiple colours together for a really multichromal effect. Just look at the photo of the model below. Her eye makeup is totally awesome, and it is just the Holodiam Powders over a black cream base! OMG, right? Totally awesome! (She actually had a different eye look on each eye, but it's a little hard to see from this angle.)

mufe holodiam powder demo

There are four shades with the initial release (I certainly hope they will come out with more!), and each of these shades are lovely. You can see the colours and how blingy they are. I'm sorry my camera couldn't capture totally how duochrome-y these are. They are indeed fabulous and my photos just don't do these justice. Each of these colours are swatched twice, once lightly dry, and once more heavily but wet.

mufe holodiam powder swatches indoor yellow

I felt like the shades above had lighting that didn't really show the difference between 301 and 302 properly, so I took another shot in white lighting instead. Here they are - once again, my camera doesn't capture duochrome well. By the way, as you can tell from my swatches, these are pretty prone to fall-out. I had a glitterfest on my arms after swatching! If you are using these, I suggest using them with a primer or a fixing medium.

mufe holodiam powder white light

Here are the colour descriptions, with my comments:

301: Copper with pink, orange and yellow highlights. For me, this was a very orangey colour due to the mix of orange highlights and a copper base. I think it would look stunning on lips and cheeks too.

302 Plum with turquoise, violet and pink highlights. A gorgeous, unique colour - it kinda reminds me of Orly Galaxy Girl nail polish, but in powder form!

303 White with gold, green and blue highlights. Your universal white highlighter, now with added zing! This is going to be a popular shade, and very festive too.

304 Brown Gold with yellow, green and blue highlights. This is a little orangey on me, but would look fab for anyone going for a bronzey look.

Lacquerous Renting Nail Polish: Bad Business, or Brilliant Idea?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

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I recently got wind of this business called Lacquerous. Lacquerous might sound similar at first to existing businesses like Julep Maven (also mired in controversy from time to time), and Glossybox. It goes like this: you pay $18 a month, and each month, three polishes get shipped to you. Sounds like a beauty box subscription? Not really. It's more like a rental, like Netflix. At the end of the month, you send back the polishes they sent you, pay another $18, and are sent another three polishes for the next month.

(Image from Lacquerous Facebook)

As a nail polish fanatic, and someone whose undergrad degree was in Economics, this business model just didnt seem right to me. And here are my thoughts on why:

1. The business has misread their customers' wants and needs, and would likely not appeal to two key customer groups.

I imagine a business like this would target two main types of customers: the polish fanatics (ahem, yours truly), and the "normal" non-fanatic consumer (aka plebeians who haven't discovered the pleasure of owning disgusting numbers of nail polish, LOL!). I felt that neither group would not be attracted to use Lacquerous.

(Image from Affinity Sutton)

For the first group of polish fanatics, part of their (our? my?) joy is in owning the bottles they have - even if they have so many bottles they only wear each colour once! A lot of us see collecting as a hobby, and would much rather buy than rent. Just take a look at the number of proud stash posts and pictures, and that will be apparent. We've got enough polish to last our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and we still don't think we have enough! The fact is, we are collectors (or, if you speak to my family, hoarders) of nail polish for the love of it - it is a hobby much like collecting figurines or stamps. Try asking a figurine collector if he would like to rent a figurine a month for a fee instead of buying it, and see if he bites. Probably not. This first group of consumers can't imagine renting nail polish. So we're not likely to use Lacquerous.

Next, your average girl (you poor, unenlightened things :p). Anecdotally, most "normal" girls I know of (not nail polish fanatics) would rather buy, say, 5 bottles of polish and wear them to death than rent bottles. The truth is, they see a colour they like (or hear about the season's hot shade every now and then), and buy it, and they are perfectly happy to wear those couple of colours until they run out. They don't have the interest to keep up with the latest nail polish releases enough to covet them and want to rent them. For them, there just isn't such a need for this business - why would they rent different polishes every month when they are perfectly happy using the same 5 colours for years?

I'm sure there are other customer bases that would rent nail polish, other than these two key bases. I just can't think of any right now. LOL.

2. The price isn't right.

For a product to be rentable, it has to be fairly expensive - expensive enough to make renting a better option than buying. For example, high-end branded bags can be really expensive - 4 figures and up for things like LV and Chanel. Try out a ostrich skin Hermes and its going to be 5 figures at the least. This is part of the reason people rent them - it really may be too expensive to own. But nail polish isn't like that. Other than unicorn pee polishes (e.g. Clarins 230), or some pesky Lynderellas, even the most expensive non-indie nail polishes, like Lippmann, would only set you back maybe $25 - hardly enough to prompt you to join a nail polish rental service, especially when it's $18 per month! Unless Lacquerous suddenly starts buying bottles of Lynderellas and Clarins 230s (maybe they can take part in one of those crazy $200 eBay auctions), it's hard to see why anyone should spend $18 a month on polish rental. Sure, I'd pay to rent a Clarins 230, but the rest? I'm not sure if I'd want to rent Lippmann. Or D&G. Or Tom Ford. Or any of the other brands they have in stock now (at least they're smarter than to stock OPI and Essie...oh wait, they DID stock OPI.). The fact is, it's not the brand, it's just that the price isn't enough to drive people over the buy/rent hurdle. Even a Tom Ford nail polish isn't that expensive compared to a Tom Ford bag or dress, and certainly not expensive enough to prompt someone like me to rent, anyway.

(Image from 360Sync)

Since nail polish probably isn't expensive enough to rent out, renting nail polish out would only work if there are a group of clients who treat nail polish like they treat DVDs - rent once, watch once, never use again, and not care if they own it anymore. Either client base as described above wouldn't do this. The nail polish fanatics will want to own their bottles, and the non-fanatics would reuse their bottles, making either group unlikely to prefer rental to ownership. Once again, there may very well be a third, or fourth, or fifth, customer base that treats nail polish this way. But I imagine currently these would be the types of people who visit nail salons for every manicure, and each time just look at the display and pick a colour they want, who don't often do their own nails.


3. The icky-poo-poo factor.

While I know that the chemical soup that is nail polish is hardier to germ infestation than other beauty products (I have totally said so myself before, back when everyone was all like "I need to store my polishes in the fridge or they'll DIE!"), I don't want to rule out the fact that something might just slip through. I mean, I don't know about bacteria (would probably die) but what about things like fungal spores? I mean those things stay dormant through winter and then germinate again in warm, moist conditions right? And even if the polish itself is okay, what about the bottles or the brushes? Trust me, I've had nail polish bottles and caps grow small white mould on them (those pesky Nicole Miller bottles with the cork caps are just mould magnets in a hot and humid tropical environment! I swear my environment is clean and hygenic and all - I'm not a pig in a sty. Promise!). While it's certainly less risky than say, eyeliner or mascara, it's not a chance I'd want to take, certainly not by sharing a bottle that's had a different owner every month. To be honest, I've not read reliable literature to support either position, so I don't know.

(Immage from thedevilswearcollars.blogspot.com


But even assuming it was safe, that's still beside the point. The fact is, people perceive it as unsafe (Don't believe me? Check out the comments on this post.) For a business, particularly a B2C type, customer perception is everything. Lacquerous is essentially a distributor of used polish (used many times among many people), and this brings with it a lot of risk. What if a customer gets a nail infection after using Lacquerous and decides to sue the company? Lacquerous could probably check the polish and see if said germ is in the polish, but the time and money would probably be a large drain on a small business.

I mean, for the sake of a mind excercise, let's take another beauty product category, and see if we'd like to rent that product too. Would we want a makeup rental or skincare products rental? I guess not. Accessories, DVDs, even houses, those are possible to rent to others and from others, more or less without issue. But personal care and beauty products, of which nail polish is one? Even if it's safe, the initial reaction is still one of grossed-out-ness. Lacquerous would have to work hard to convince its customers that it is safe to rent nail polish, if indeed it is.


4. Vague, Arbitrary Customer Policies .

A lot has been said online about how some of the customer policies just aren't very smart, so I won't dwell on this.

Take such gems from their FAQ:
"You can use [each bottle] on yourself for up to 3 applications throughout the month. Lacquerous monitors the amount of nail lacquer in each bottle and we trust our members to abide by our policies because they appreciate luxury lacquer like us!"

Oh yes, because everyone uses the same number of coats and has nails that are the same length and width all time!

"Members share nail polish, as used by other members, at their own risk. Members understand that the nail polish is used by other members and agree to risks associated with sharing nail polish."

This statement, in their Terms of Service, is kinda incongruous with their FAQ stressing that used lacquer is perfectly safe.

To really get an idea of how ridiculous some of their T&C's would sound to potential customers, you can check out the comments on this Time article (yours truly felt moved enough to comment too! In fact, that comment formed the basis for this post). People are calling out all sorts of practices - credit checks, deletion of legit customer questions on the Facebook page, how impractical it is to decide exactly how much polish use exceeded the 3-applications per month limit. There was also concern about the fact that Lacquerous didn't seem to have any measures in place with sneaky swappers - people would decant polish, replace a more expensive polish with a cheaper dupe, and so on. Lacquerous doesn't seem to have thought too much about what to do in those situations (fortunately nail polish isn't too expensive to replace, I guess).

(Image from Lacquerous Facebook)

So there you go - my $0.02 on this business. I don't want to write Lacquerous off entirely though - you never know with these things (remember the iPhone? Supposedly another phone in a saturated smartphone market...). People might actually want to rent polish, or customers may not actually care that they are sharing nail polish that has a different owner every month. But the fact that your potential customers are ridiculing your business even before it goes live...well, that can't be a good sign! What do you guys think? Bad business, or brilliant idea?

I'm Not Dead! I Was Just On A Work Trip!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

2 comments

Hi everyone! If you follow this blog a little more often, you'll notice I've not been updating for the past week or so (feels like forever doesn't it?). This is not because I'm no longer blogging (heaven forbid I stop sharing my crappy NOTDs and product swatches with you, eh?) but because the past couple of weeks have been crazy-balls for me, having had to prepare for an opening ceremony, internal reviews at work, and an overseas working trip, and portfolio changes, in addition to the daily grind. But hey, sometmies real life gets in the way of stuff I do online.

So, I haven't been blogging for the last week, because I was overseas in Japan for work (if you follow me on Instagram - I'm Musicalhouses there too - you'll be seeing pics of the stuff I've been eating over there!) and I just couldn't find the time to blog during the trip. So I just ended not blogging. Normally if it's a planned leave away from my blog, I will try to schedule at least a couple of posts in advance, but as things stand, I couldn't even find the time to do that.


Fortunately, I'm back now, so if all goes well you'll see this blog up and running and posting normally again in 1-2 weeks (another eternity in blogosphere time). I'll see how it goes. I want to get this up earlier - I have so many posts and photos ready to go, I just need to find the time to actually sit down at my computer for a couple of hours.

I don't know about you other bloggers or working ladies out there, but for me, it's always a challenge balancing between blog, work, and my non-online life (because contrary to popular belief, I actually have - gasp - friends whose faces I see in real life! OMG!). I work on weekdays, blog on weekends, and while it's my choice to spend my time this way, it's still tiring. Right now, I manage by squeezing all my blogging activity into the free spaces I have on weekends (when I'm not busy with family/friends/work), and I do work hard on weekends to schedule as many posts as is necessary to tide me through the week, so that when Monday comes around, I don't have to worry about blog, and I just focus on work. It's worked so far, but sometimes, I barely make it through the week with just enough posts. And sometimes, like last week, I can't make it.

worktrip 2

Anyway, so much for that ranting. I don't normally talk about my personal life/work/whatever else on the blog, because I want to delineate clearly the boundaries between personal life, work life, and blog life, but I just felt that after a week's absence on the blog, it would be nice of me to say something to you guys about why I wasn't around. (If you were following me on Twitter/Instagram you'd have seen my I'm-away-overseas messages, but not everyone does.) In anycase, I'm glad to be back, and I look forward to catching up with all you guys!

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