MUFE Aqua Eyes Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil Swatches: Some Wearable Shades

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

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The MUFE Aqua Eyes Eyeliner Pencils are fast becoming one of my favourites. I only used to trust Urban Decay for pencil eyeliners (everything else seemed to fade much faster on my lashline), but recently, I've acquired a bunch of MUFE eyeliners, and have found that they are also excellent as eyeliners - good pigmentation and glide (so no tugging at skin), great range of colours, good wear without fading or smudging, and they are actually waterproof (so if you dip your head in water they will stay on).


My little collection of MUFE pencil eyeliners!

So naturally I thought I'd swatch my small but growing collection of MUFE pencil eyeliners. All of these have great pigmentation and glide. Also, you'll note that all of these are extremely wearable colours, too. Bonus!

Skinetica: Acne Treatment That Isn't Harsh on Your Skin

Saturday, July 27, 2013

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As most of my longtime readers will know, acne is something that I've struggled with for a long, long time (nearly a decade, I think). I've tried everything and anything, and while my acne is better now, I do still get pimples. Hence, my foray into Skinetica.

What intrigued me about Skinetica was the fact that it was slightly different from other acne products - instead of using benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, its active ingredient is actually a quaternary ammonium compound (ammonium chloride in this case). The claim is that the quaternary ammonium compound interferes with the cell walls of the P. Acnes bacteria, thus killing it by disrupting its cell wall.


Skinetica: An acne treatment that relies on a quaternary ammonium compound.

Knowing that, the next logical search was to - you guessed it, look at the scientific literature, and see what it said about the product!

Stuff I Use Daily: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

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The Revlon Super Lustrous Lipglosses have always been one of my drugstore favourites. Great texture, lots of colours, and nice shine, all at a decent price - what more could a girl want? And, they always have a couple of limited edition colours every season, just to keep you buying (it works for me, anyway). I realized I haven't actually yet featured these drugstore staples on my blog despite these being a staple in my makeup bag for sooo long, so I am now rectifying the situation!


Revlon Super Lustrous Lipglosses - check out the super old tubes!

I have two colours that are my favourites, and I bought both of them a loong time ago. Like, at least a couple of years back. The first one is a super-old-from-long-ago-limited-edition colour, Pearl Plum (my tube is almost all gone!), while the second one is a permanent colour (I think it's perm, anyway), Glossy Rose. Just look at those ancient square tubes, man!

revlon super lustrous lipgloss swatches pearl plum glossy rose
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss: Swatches of both Pearl Plum and Glossy Rose

Want to Prevent Wrinkles? Stop Smoking - Even if it's Light Smoking

Monday, July 22, 2013

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You guys know that increasingly for skincare reviews, I seek to incorporate actual references to scientific literature, because it makes for a much more informed and credible review that cuts through the hype (if you've missed those reviews, you can take a look at my Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules review, my review of the Kiehl's Powerful Wrinkle and Pore Reducing Cream, and the Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Eye Cream, and the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activator review). And the other day, I came across this paper I thought you guys might like to know!

The paper is called "Smoking and skin aging in identical twins.", and what makes it so interesting is that although I've always known that smoking ages you, I've never really gotten to see a compare-and-contrast case study that can serve as a way to visualize the difference. But now we do, thanks to twins!

In this study, the researchers took a look at a set of identical twins (so same genetics) with very similar lives to each other (lived in same town for 30 years, similar lifestyles with minor differences etc.), and the main difference was that one twin smoked, and the other twin didn't. Essentially this allowed for the researchers to conclude that any significant difference in appearance was quite possibly due to one smoking and the other not. In their words: "In this pair of twins with an identical genetic background, minor medical histories, and similar significant sun exposure histories, the clear difference between twin 1 and 2 was the extensive history of tobacco use in twin 1 that was absent in twin 2. This variable likely served as the major contributor to advanced skin aging in twin 1."

You can see the results below:

Twin 1 smoked, Twin 2 didn't. (Image source)

Now the first thing I'll say is that both ladies look great. They look energetic and full of life, and their eyes sparkle with personality (their eyes that are a lovely shade of blue, too!). And really, if you think about it, at the end of the day, your personality is what matters most, instead of trying to compare the number of wrinkles a person has. But since this post is meant to be a cautionary tale about the effect of smoking on skin from a beauty blog perspective, I will do the horrible and delve into the superficial. (Aww, just cut me some slack here. How many beauty blogs do you know that even write about smoking and health?)

You can indeed see a difference in wrinkles caused by smoking, although perhaps, not as severe as one might expect. But bear in mind - even the smoking twin didn't smoke all that much. The study reports that she smoked in the "approximately 52.5–pack-year" range, which is actually a pack a week. Given that a cigarette pack holds anywhere from 20 - 25 sticks, Twin 1's smoking habit was definitely very light, probably a 2-3 sticks a day. And yet, even at this very light rate, the difference is visible. If the researchers had used a set of twins where one smoked a lot more (say, a pack a day, still within the "light" range), then you can imagine the difference will be much starker.

So yes, it does seem that if you're smoking, you're more likely to get wrinkles, and this applies even if you're smoking just "a couple of sticks a day". The study demonstrated that those couple of sticks do add up over time - just like UV exposure, the damage seems to be cumulative. And this is particularly relevant for young adults, because even while heavy smoking has decreased in general, the number of young adult light smokers has been increasing over time. Perhaps such people feel that because their smoking is light/intermittent/infrequent, they aren't damaging their health by doing it, but that's not true. In fact, "low levels of tobacco exposure as seen in light smoking (4–7 cig/day) has about 70% of the effect of heavy smoking (≥ 23 cig/day)" (original source), because the dose-effect relationship is "highly non-linear". Wrinkles are just one part of what happens when you damage your body by smoking, even light smoking.

So there you go - I'm sure you knew it all already, but yes, smoking harms your health, even if it's the light kind of smoking that is deemed socially acceptable. Really, when it comes to smoking, any dose is bad for your health. But for those who don't care about their health, then perhaps, as the study's authors muse, "wrinkles, rather than the deadly consequences of smoking, may prove to be the most powerful motivator for smokers to stop smoking."

Beauty Blog Link Love

Sunday, July 21, 2013

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Phyrra gives you 22 new reasons to fall in love with the new Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks.

This week, Madame B Fatale shows us a tutorial for a soft cut crease look with oxblood lips!

Prime Beauty thinks you'll be surprised at how a little texture spray can give your hair volume! And... if you want sexy, beachy hair look no further than the Alterna Bamboo Beach line!

If you love luxury beauty products, you can't miss Rae's latest must-have find. Head on over to theNotice to see which lip product has her swooning (even after months of use)!

Musicalhouses does a blind test of seven different brand-name micellar cleansers - see which one came out on top!

Krasey Beauty takes the plunge and gives lash extensions a go!

The anticipation of the RiRi Hearts MAC Summer Collection was insane! Check out FabDiva20's MAC RiRi Hearts MAC haul.

Gouldylox found a mascara that gives long, lush lashes that no summer fling can resist!

Jude reviews Soothing Showers' Soothing Set For Her -- luxurious bathing at it's best!

Over at Makeup Morsels, MM has her eye on two lip lacquers that are absolutely perfect for summer.

Jessika from polish insomniac has the 411 on this year's Nordstrom Anniversary set from Deborah Lippmann.

Another new mascara! See what Beauty Reflections thinks of the new Make Up Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara!

Jenn from Spiced beauty finally found a miracle foundation for oily skin that you must try out!

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed has some spectacular nail colour thanks to the Sephora + Pantone Universe SpectraLight Spectral Lacquer collection - come check out her swatches and see the light for yourself!

Marcia from Beauty Info Zone is totally enamored with cream blush. See her top ten list and see find a new favorite yourself!

Benefit Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer: Keep Your Makeup Intact Day to Night!

Friday, July 19, 2013

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Benefit launched its latest product, the Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer, a few weeks back, just in time for the hot and humid weather we have here! And here I am to bring you some details of the product - from what I've tried it seems like a great product, from the cute quirky packaging to the product inside, so yes it is something worth looking at!


Benefit Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer: We're Tick-tocking about it alright!

If you're wondering, "15 hours? How on earth did they decide on that number?", it turns out there's actually a really interesting story behind it. One of the PR ladies at the event explained to me that initially when Benefit developed the primer, they were hoping to be able to market it as an 8-Hour Primer, the idea being that the primer would last through a typical work day. However, during the company's evaluation of the product, they found out that it actually outlasted 8 hours. So they tested it to see if it would last for longer stretches of time, and eventually, they found 15 to be the magic number. Thus, the 15-Hour Primer tagline was born. I don't know about you, but I always love little stories like this - it is always cool to get a peek into the behind-the-scenes action of product development.

benefit stay flawless primer
The Benefit Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer will take you from your day at work to an evening of relaxation.

Vanity Trove July: The Best Beauty Box Yet!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

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Ever since Vanity Trove revamped their business model to allow customers to pick samples, I've been a lot more psyched about receiving a Trove every month. This is because firstly, I know what I'm receiving, and I get to pick it (so no strange items I wouldn't use - yay!) and secondly, they now include full-sized items too, which you can pick and add to your Trove, depending on the selection they have. Best part is, the price is still the same.


Vanity Trove July: Seriously the best beauty box yet!

As a demonstration let me show you my latest Vanity Trove. Yes, Vanity Trove has also revamped their packaging - I really like this more than the hot-pink-and-white design previously. And because I was awesome and had fast fingers, I managed to pick some full-sized products. In fact, the majority of my products are full-sized this month. For $25, this is pretty worth it!

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum Review

Saturday, July 13, 2013

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One of the more famous products from Elizabeth Arden's roster are the Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum. I've heard of Elizabeth Arden, and I've seen the glossy ads with the capsules, and I've definitely seen the rave reviews (no kidding, if you google the product name, pretty much every review agglomeration site - Ulta, Makeupalley, Skinstore, and so on, all give it rave reviews overall). And now, I got to examine the product for myself to see what is so special about these capsules.


Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum: Nothing but love from reviewers

Inside the super-luxe looking box, you get 60 capsules a box, which if you use at the rate of 1 a day, will translate to a 2 months supply. The product is both fragrance and preservative-free, which is pretty unique, because most skincare definitely needs preservatives to ensure it doesn't go bad once you open the jar! I attribute this to the unique individually-packaged capsules. I guess they could have just done what other companies would do and put the serum in a jar or pump, but then that would necessitate adding some preservatives since the packaging makes the product more likely to be contaminated. So if you're reactive towards either fragrances or (much less likely) towards preservatives, this is a good try.

Packaging and fancy capsules aside, I have to say, I was impressed with the product. When I first received it for review, I was thinking, "Oh great, another mediocre but overpriced moisturizer with no substance except the brand name and packaging". Turns out, as I started looking into the scientific literature available, it seems that the Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum is actually pretty well-formulated, and there is actually quite a lot of science behind the product!

elizabeth arden ceramide capsules box
A luxurious serum that is also backed up by the science.

Yes, this means I did indeed start being a skincare nerd and was trawling PubMed, ScienceDirect and the like to look up the key advertised ingredients.In the Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum, this is ceramide. To be precise, it's a combination of Ceramide 1 and Ceramide 6 (phytosphingosine and fatty acid are added too, but we'll get to that soon). It looks like the science is actually in support of ceramides!

L'Oreal Men's Expert Volcano Red Foam: A Face Wash That Removes Camo Cream!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

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L'Oreal Men's Expert is the top men's brand in the market, and they have launched a new product to clean the gunk of all the manly faces out there! The new product, Volcano Red Foam, is a cleanser targeting oily and acne-prone skin, and is meant to purge your pores as well as fight and prevent pimples.


L'Oreal Men's Expert Volcano Red Foam

The featured ingredients in the product are salicylic acid, which is a good pore un-blocker and anti-acne ingredient, as well as volcanic mineral extract. There is also peppermint extract, to give a cool menthol feeling when you use the product. I personally could do without the menthol (I dislike the tingle), but I imagine that guys with thicker skins would probably like using it. I also really like the inclusion of salicylic acid, which has good scientific literature behind it. I do use a 2% salicylic face wash a couple of times a week myself to help unclog my pores. I let it sit on my skin for a minute or so in order to get maximum effect.

I Blind Test and Review 7 Micellar Cleansers: Dior, Nuxe, Caudalie, Avene, Bioderma, Vichy, and La Roche-Posay

Sunday, July 7, 2013

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Some of you may know that rather than evaluating a product based on the marketing or brand name, I always prefer to evaluate it on performance. And I recently got to do what possibly is the most scientifically sound test of not one, not two, but SEVEN micellar cleansers, and find out how they really performed!


Samples A to G: Which One is the best?

Basically, the idea behind this test is that I am given seven samples of micellar cleanser. They are all market Samples A through G, and are all packed in identical brown glass bottle droppers, so I didn't know which is which when I did the trial. (For those of you who did science in school, you'll know that this is a blind study. Properly blinded studies FTW!) My contact with Escentual, the people running the study, was entirely via email, and focused solely on the instructions (test out all 7, report findings by which date) - so although I'm sure Escentual knew which sample was which, effectively it's as close to a double-blinded study as you can get with a non-double-blinded study, because there's no in-person interaction so there aren't any facial or body micro-expressions that influence the subjects (i.e. bloggers like me). So, properly designed experiment FTW! (By the way, I do believe it is important to double-blind experiments. Really, really important.)

After all the results were in, Escentuals tabuaated the results (you can read them in more detail here). The results were released just a few days ago, so I thought now might be a good time for me to incorporate everything into one post for you all. I think this may be the first decent beauty study I've ever been asked to do, so kudos to Escentuals!

The samples I used were:
- Dior Instant Cleansing Water
- Nuxe Micellar Cleansing Water with Rose Petals
- Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleanser Water
- Avene Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Make-Up Remover
- La Roche-Posay Physiological Micellar Solution
- Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution
- Vichy Purete Thermale Calming Cleansing Micellar Solution

escentual micellar blind trial 2
The 7 samples are put to the test!

So, I put all the seven samples to the test. I've also taken some photos of my testing, because I know you guys will want to know what I did in detail. Well, maybe not, but I have photos regardless!

Vanity Trove is now Customizable: Choose Your Beauty Box Samples!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

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I know that some of you must be tired of beauty boxes by now. For me, the concept just started getting a bit old - from one box service to the next, there wasn't much differentiation. Sure each box promises to send you a bunch of beauty samples every month, but over time I was starting to feel that honestly, there wasn't much value-add to the boxes - sometimes the samples weren't quite what I wanted, and sometimes the mix of samples seemed random.


Fortunately, Vanity Trove, one of the local beauty boxes, has launched a new website and new features. Most importantly, you now have the ability to customize your own Trove. This means that yes, you get to pick your own samples! I actually just picked my samples for next month's Trove, and there are some pretty cool things in there! Some really awesome full-sized products (including products from Isabella Smith, Phyto and Blumarine), and some generous sample sizes (e.g. 75ml kind of size, not just sachets). You will then get your box in 7 working days (so whenever you pick your samples, you will get your box in a week, rather than waiting for a month for standardized samples).

The range of samples that you get to pick from is partly determined by your beauty profile, which uses information like skin type and colour to provide a range of samples from which you can pick to populate your Vanity Trove for the month. My understanding is that the samples are picked on a first-come-first-served basis, so if you're keen, you should quickly login and pick your samples now, and fill out your beauty profile to avoid disappointment!


There is also a product reviews section that looks interesting, and you can review and track products you and others like, to help give the site a better idea of what kind of samples you'll be interested in, too.

Anyway, this was just some quick news that I'm excited about and want to share! I do think this is the first I've ever heard of a beauty box subscription allowing you to pick your own samples, and I'm keen to see how this works out! It does seem to be a great deal for subscribers (for $25 a month, you get 6 samples of your choice, and you to pick more samples if you subscribe for 3 months, or longer). So if you're looking for a more substantial beauty box offering, do check the Vanity Trove website out (PS - I'm also on Vanity Trove as musicalhouses, too).

(I am not affiliated with the company in anyway. However, this news was shared with me by the company.)

Edamame Nails! AKA China Glaze Westside Warrior

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

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Don't you love it when your nails match your food? What, you mean you've never had that happen to you? :P I had painted my nails with China Glaze Westside Warrior, and also, I happened to have lunch at a Japanese restaurant. And one of the things we had was edamame! Yummy, yummy edamame! And I couldn't help snapping this photo with my iPhone, resulting in crappy iPhone quality pic I'm now sharing with you.


Look, my nails match my food!

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