Edward Bess Storm Eyeshadow: Taupe of the Day EOTD!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

*Rings alarm bells* TAUPE ALERT, EVERYONE! TAUPE ALERT! And it's a brand spankin' shiny new taupe to boot! Edward Bess has just released two new shades to his Ultra Luminous Eyeshadow range (just so you know, I've swatched the Edward Bess eyeshadows before), and one of them is a taupe! *Starts hyperventilating* As a taupe lover through and through, you can't imagine how excited I was. I was positively, eagerly, holding my breath for this to come in the mail.

So here it is. Behold, everyone, the newest taupe to my already burgeoning taupe eyeshadow collection. Edward Bess Storm.

Although the colour name is Storm, Edward Bess's rendering of this colour isn't exactly stormy (lame pun, I know). In fact, it's positively tame. The colour is neutral, and light - in fact, it's exactly the kind of eyeshadow colour you could wear to any office.

The eyeshadow packaging puzzled me a bit. I hadn't realized that Edward Bess had changed the packaging for his Ultra Luminous Eyeshadows, but unlike the other previous eyeshadows I swatched, Storm didn't have the brand name imprinted on the eyeshadow surface. And the eyeshadow pan was round, not square. And the material of the casing seemed different. Still, the packaging retained the chic black exterior, and comes in an expensive-looking box, and a luxe looking velvet pouch.

edward bess storm eyeshadow 2

The eyeshadow itself seemed surprisingly light in terms of pigmentation. Granted, this is a lighter colour, not so much a taupe like MAC's Satin Taupe, but more like Bourjois's Brun Nylon. In other words, a light, beige-ish kind of taupe. I found this lack of pigmentation a little bit disappointing, because previously when I swatched Edward Bess's Luminious Eyeshadow range, I found the colours to be very pigmented. Perhaps these shades are meant to be sheer for Spring/Summer. Here's a swatch of the eyeshadow.

edward bess storm eyeshadow swatch

Here's an EOTD (Eye of the Day) with Storm on. Here I used it on my lid. To contour the look a little more, I paired it with the darker shade in another eyeshadow duo I've featured before, the L'Oreal's Sassy HIP Duo. The L'Oreal HIP shade is just a little bit in the contour area.

edward bess storm eyeshadow eotd 1

As you can see, it's a lighter, browner, beige-ier kind of taupe, perfect for conservative offices. It also has a hint of shimmer, although I do think Storm has more shimmer than the shades I previously swatched in the rest of the Edward Bess eyeshadows. Still, this is manageable shimmer, not OTT, and quite pretty, too.

edward bess storm eyeshadow eotd 2

I quite like this shade, and for me this is something wearable that I could definitely see getting heavy usage in my stash. It's just that if you were expecting a deep, dark taupe, this isn't it. Come to think of it, I should swatch this with some of the other taupes in my eyeshadow collection, and see if there are any similar taupes out there.

edward bess storm eyeshadow eotd 3

So, would I recommend this? Well, if you are NC/NW25 and above, I'm not sure if this shadow, being a light shade, will show up on you. It would probably be used as a base, or an all-over lid shade in that case, so if you want it for that reason, great, but if not, it may disappoint you. Also, if you are looking for a shadow with strong pigmentation, this may not be for you. But if you want a simple, wearable taupe, then this could be worth checking out.

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

China Glaze Lubu Heels + Nails Inc Trafalgar Square = Awesome Bling!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Don't you just love how cool my nails look right now? I love how this looks - just like red stars in a deep, black sky, or burning embers in a bed of lava. This look was actually two polishes layered together. For the base, I used China Glaze Lubu Heels, a black jelly with small red glitter, one of the classics in their permanent collection. However, it wasn't quite blingy enough for me, so I layered Nails Inc Trafalgar Square over it. Nails Inc Trafalgar Square consists of large chunks or red glitter in a clear base - perfect for layering over Lubu Heels!

I'm always been a fan of both China Glaze and Nails Inc, and both of these were polishes I bought awhile back but never used as often as I liked (although I've previously used Trafalgar Square in another NOTD, one that's really old.)

China Glaze Lubu Heels Nails Inc Trafalgar Square 3

Both these brands generally work very well on me, and the application for China Glaze and Nails Inc was quite trouble-free for glitter polishes. As always, since the glitter does tend to clump up in some places, you do need to work a little with the brush to try to ensure as even a distribution of glitter as possible. Otherwise, I had no issues with application.

Both China Glaze and Nails Inc wear well on me, so this lasted for around 3-4 days before chipping. That's pretty decent for me, so I have no complaints about lasting power.

China Glaze Lubu Heels Nails Inc Trafalgar Square 2

I love my nails, and I love the glitter and bling. Although I don't always use glitter polishes, I can't wait to do another manicure like that again!

Shills, Anosa and Beauty Bistro Roadshow with Judy Lin

Monday, June 27, 2011

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Shills and Anosa are both a Taiwanese brands that have skincare, bodycare, and haircare products, but both brands are most famous for its BB creams. The brands, together with local retailer Beauty Bistro, had a roadshow to promote some of their latest products. For those who aren't familiar with the roadshow concept, it's sort of like watching QVC, where they hawk all their products and promote their special deals, only that in Asia, QVC actually comes into your mall, so you get to see them demonstrating their products in person.

Judy Lin 林叶亭

The road show featured Judy Lin (Mandarin name Lin Ye Ting 林叶亭), a Taiwanese celebrity fashion and beauty stylist whose TV appearances have garnered her something of a small following. I don't follow Taiwanese TV, so I wasn't aware of who she was, but the event was full of fangirls and people who were just waiting to see her in person. Judy is quite stunning in real life - tall, thin, and tanned, with long curled hair, she looks very gorgeous. I also think she kind of looks like the Asian version of Kandee Johnson, LOL!

Here's Kandee:

Pic from http://blog.beautylish.com

And here's Judy:

Judy 林叶亭 shills event 2

Don't they look alike? LOL! Both are such beautiful ladies!

Judy was demonstrating some products, including bodycare (primarily slimming), haircare, and skincare. First off, she started with some Some of the highlights of the session included these really interesting products. One of these was the slimming products, which included a cream and (oddly enough) tape!

The slimming cream, the Shills Miracle Lift Body Contour Control, was billed as a cream that if applied and massaged properly into the skin, would help the user lose weight. Like most other weight-loss creams on the market, this cream produces a heating sensation, and that is attributed to increased blood circulation.

shills miracle lift body contour cream

And like most other slimming creams, caffeine is a main ingredient in the cream. As you can see from the above photo, she demonstrated it on a volunteer and it seemed to work on the spot, which is quite impressive. But I'm personally very skeptical of all slimming creams, since I don't believe anything can take the place of proper eating and exercise habits. That, and the fact that the last time I tried a slimming cream, it didn't work for me.

Judy 林叶亭 shills event 3

The other intriguing product that caught the attention of the audience was the Anosa Fit Patch. This one is a slimming patch, and it releases caffeine and other ingredients, such as various plant extracts (strawberry and raspberry are in there), and the cocktail of ingredients is supposed to penetrate through your skin and help you slim down. I guess it sort of works like a nicotine patch, but like the Shills Miracle Lift Cream, I'm personally skeptical.

anosa fit patch
When I took this photo, I was thinking, "Bullseye!"

They even applied the strips on a volunteer during the show, just to show you how the patches should be applied. You're supposed to cut the patch (which is quite large in size) into strips and stick it at problem areas on the body. I have to admit, I'd be tempted to try this, but just sticking on a patch and watching the weight melt away sounds too good to be true, no?

There were also hair products that were sold, and she did the hair of a couple of volunteers - but unfortunately, I couldn't catch a good photo of that. Also other products that were featured were the Shills Whitening and Brightening Cream, which is a moisturizer with whitening properties. It's a white cream with a light texture that is easily absorbed.

shills whitening brightening cream

Another product Judy was selling was the Shills Foundation base SPF 42++, which is basically a thick cream foundation in a pan compact. It also looks like the Covergirl and Olay Simply Ageless Foundation that was out awhile back in the US and was really popular.

Here's the Covergirl version:

(Image from Covergirl website)

And here's the Shills version. I don't know how clearly you can see it, but Judy's holding it in the photograph. You can see the white swirls are just like Covergirl's Simply Ageless Foundation. And like the Covergirl version, the Shills Foundation Base claims to have ingredients beneficial for the skin in the white swirls too. It would be interesting to see if it's really like the Covergirl one.

judy lin shills event 4

I did play with the Shills Foundation Base for a bit on my hand, although I didn't manage to take any photos of the foundation itself. It had this texture that slides around easily, as though the product was formulated with a lot of silicones to give it good "slip". And it did look quite a bit darker in the pot than my own skin tone (NC20) - to me, it looked like it would be around NC25ish. But when I took a little bit of the foundation and really blended it in, it ended up pretty much blending into my skin. So I'd say you really need to blend for this one, and a little goes a long way.

It's a very interesting experience watching such roadshow events - it's like being in the room with the QVC girls when they're engaging the audience with their chitchat. Judy is a very personable and likable character, and absolutely beautiful to boot. I'm glad to have gone for this event, as it was an eye-opener of sorts, featuring some of Taiwan's most popular brands - I certainly didn't know there were such a thing as weight loss pads before being told about them!

Illamasqua Powder Blush Swatches Part 2 of 2

Sunday, June 26, 2011

After the last post's tame blush colours, today's swatch post on the Illamasqua Powder Blushes (or Blushers if you aren't in the USA) are a much wilder bunch. Unlike last posts's mainly pink-based selection of pastels and some muted brights, today's range of colours goes all out to please the wildest imagination, while still remaining wearable. My favourite colours from the Illamasquaa Powder Blush/Blusher range all come from today's set of swatches too!

Illamasqua Powder Blushes

L - R: Excite, Kiss, Sin, Beg, Create

Excite is a bright neon orange, very in-your-face. It looks kinda like an orange crayon.

Kiss is a plummy-pinky-brown. Now I know it looks really blah in the pan, but this happens to be a a colour I actually own, and it's my favourite Illamsqua Blusher colour. It look very brown because when I swatch it I layer it on, but with a light hand it's a pinky-brown colour with a hint of plum.

Sin is a bright plummy pink, heavy on the plum. Unlike Kiss, this one looks pretty much the same on your cheeks as it does on your arm. It's like NARS Mata Hari, but on steroids. For those who felt NARS Matat Hari didn't cut it, this one is brighter and more intense in colour.

Beg is perhaps my second favourite colour in the entire line (another shade I actually have). It's a pinky-brown colour like Kiss, but less plummy and thus more warm-toned. It's also a bit brighter in shade, and very well pigmented.

Create is the weirdest blush colour I've ever come across. It looks like the stuff you'd find in the squat toilets I mentioned in this post. Anyway, Create is a yellowy-brown, very heavy on the yellow. I'm guessing this would be a contouring colour of some sort for very warm-toned girls.

The Illamasqua Powder Blushers are quite impressive in terms of texture and pigmentation, which is why they have such a huge following. I've previously done an FOTD with Illamasqua Sin and an FOTD with Illamasqua Beg, and I didn't come out looking like a clown (or at least I don't think so anyway), so these colours are perfectly wearable with proper application.

Illamasqua Powder Blush Swatches Part 1 of 2

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ooh, Illamasqua - the UK's answer to MAC, has garnered a huge following for their image of being as out-there and as daring as MAC - in fact, perhaps more so, due to the visionary leadership of Alex Box. They've definitely had the support of the blogging community in their early days, although there has been a lot of talk about the brand "selling out" to mainstream media now that they've ridden to success on the support of the blogosphere, and aren't engaging the bloggers who supported them anymore.

With that kind of image and background, it's almost kind of disappointing to find out that a lot of their Powder Blush colours are so tame. In fact, for today's first half of the swatches, almost all of these are really wearable and - dare I say? - some even ho-hum. That said, you can't fault the quality of the blushes - I have three of their blushes (none of the ones pictured here, unfortunately), and I love them all. They're well-pigmented, nicely-textured, and stay on for a decent length of time. What's not to like?

Illamasqua Powder Blusher Swatches

L-R: Katie, Nymph, Tremble, Chased, Hussy

Katie is one of the best selling colours in the Illamasqua line, and one of the more popular ones, but honestly, this is a little boring to me. Yeah, yeah, pale pastel pink. Looks good on most girls. Doesn't every brand have one of these?

Nymph is similar to Katie, but less pastel and a bit brighter, and maybe a hair darker. It's a good alternative to Katie for darker girls who might find that Katie could look ashy on them.

Tremble is a light coral-peach. This colour is pretty unique. Most coral blushes I've seen tend to be quite bright, so this is probably one of the few pale coral blushes out there.

Chased is similar to Nymph and Katie, but is the darkest and brightest of the lot. It also leans more purple than either Nymph or Katie. I like this the best in the lot.

Hussy is also another pretty, intriguing colour that would probably still be wearable with a light hand. This is a coral with a hint of hot pink - very pretty indeed. Me likey.

For some reason, almost all the Illamasqua blushes are matte. I think the formulation of this is deliberate - the theory is probably that if you want to add shimmer to them, you will layer on a separate shimmer product to customize the level, size, and type of shimmer/glitter you want - just like the pros. These are all work-appropriate since they are matte, and come in wearable colours. Despite the brand's outrageous image, today's swatches are all colours you can wear to the strictest office.

Two Awesome Liz Earle Offers!

Friday, June 24, 2011

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For all of those who read my blog on a regular basis, you know I'm a pretty consistent fan of Liz Earle - I've had the fortune to meet Liz Earle and some of her excellent staff in person, and they really embody the passion the brand has for its natural, plant-based products. Although not all the products have worked for me, I retain much respect for the brand's commitment to its principles.

With that, here is some Liz Earle news - pretty exciting for my UK girls! Liz Earle is launching theri new Healthy Beautiful Skin Facial in their London flagship store on 18th July! The treatment is developed by treatments expert Jo Givens, and combines the use of massage with products to target the customer's skin concerns. The coolest thing about this is that each facial is tailored to the individual - which I think is pretty darn awesome. It's 60 minutes and costs £65, and ccan be found on the Liz Earle Treatments Page.

And the other Liz Earle deal - applicable to anyone who would order it online - is a free product! If you buy the Daily Eye Repair and Smoothing Line Serum, you'll get a free Eyebright Soothing Lotion! Details of the deal can be found here, and I've reviewed both the Daily Eye Repair and the Line Smoothing Serum before, so do check out those reviews if you're interested - I'll be reviewing the Eyebright Lotion soon as well, so do keep out a look for that if you're interested as well!

(Info provided for readers' interest. I do not benefit from any of the deals mentioned. I have previously reviewed the brand's products on my blog.)

BeautyUK Baked Eyeshadow in Wave: OMG I'm Wearing Blue Eyeshadow!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

BeautyUK is a UK-based brand that has been getting lots of raves for its range of colours and cosmetics at an affordable price. I have to admit, the brand has never been on my radar very much, but I've begun to like their products quite a bit.

One of the products I've tried and liked lately is the Baked Eyeshadow. These are domed eyeshadows trios, similar to MAC's MSFs and other baked products, but in eyeshadow form. There are three colours in each eyeshadow pan.

The Wave eyeshadow trio basically consists of three types of blues - a light pastel blue, a medium cobalt blue, and a blackened blue. All of them, being baked eyeshadows have a shimmery, almost frosty finish.

beautyuk baked eyeshadow wave 2

Here are swatches of the eyeshadow. You can see the shimmery, frosty finish, as well as the excellent pigmentation. These are swatched using a finger, on dry skin.

beautyuk baked eyeshadow wave swatch

And of course, no review of an eyeshadow trio would be complete without an EOTD (Eye of the Day), right? I used all three colours so you could see the gradiation in colours.

beautyuk baked eyeshadow wave eotd

Here's a shot of the EOTD with my eye closed. Hopefully, you can make out all three colours on the eye. All the colours blended easily, and were very pigmented with a base.

beautyuk baked eyeshadow wave eotd 2

I really quite like this trio. It does totally look awesome, doesn't it? With all the blue and the shimmer, and the sheen - it's gorgeous, even if blue isn't typically the colour I'd wear on my eyes.

beautyuk baked eyeshadow wave eotd 3

If you want a cheap, cheery baked eyeshadow, this is definitely worth checking out. It's easily available, it's cheap at just £3.99, and it works.

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

Polka Dot Mani Fail with Essie Foot Loose

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Edited to add: Get 10% off your Born Pretty Store purchase with coupon code MH10K31 - expires Oct 31, so you can purchase happily til then! (Note: I don't profit in anyway from the code. I'm just sharing it with interested readers.)

After seeing all those awesome cool manicures featuring dotting tools, I decided that despite my lack of hand-eye coordination and general clumsiness, I just HAD to try one out. That, and I wanted to bring on a summer colour on my nails. That's how I ended up with this monster of a manicure. I have to admit, while there wasn't anything wrong with the tools I used, my dotting skillz are teh suckz. Seriously.

I got my dotting tools from Born Pretty Store, which has been popular lately among bloggers and nail polish lovers for its ready availability of cheap and cheery nail art suppliers, including crackle polish, stickers, rhinestones, etc. The dotting tools I got were just under US$5 for a set, and are available here.

These dotting tools are of good quality, and quite handy to use. You get a set of 5 dual-ended dotting tools. All five have two ends.

dotting tool bornprettystore 1

One end is all the same size, a standard size that would be handy for most designs:

dotting tool bornprettystore 2

The other end of the tools is more interesting for girls who really want to dot in all sizes. The ends of the tools range from really big to positively tiny, and would definitely satisfiy any dotter's needs.

dotting tool bornprettystore 3

For the dot manicure below, I used Essie Foot Loose because it was such a lovely summer colour - girly, bright, and still a little spunky. And since it's in the colour family of pinks (in this case bright purply-pink), it's wearable to the office! And unlike other Essies which tend to be sheer and streaky, this is a one-to-two coater, depending on thickness of application.

essie foot loose wnw white 2

For the dots, I used the dotting tools and Wet n Wild White. One of the best white konading polishes ever, now used for dotting. FOr the variously sized dots on my nails, I used the large end of the green dotting tool, and the large end of the pink dotting tool. I also, for smaller dots, used the white dotting tool.

I know the dots don't looks as nice as they could be, but that's realy due more to my lousy application than anything else. After all, all dotting tools are the same right? But looking at these photos makes me feel like from far, they aren't THAT bad, right, right? *Crickets chirp*

essie foot loose wnw white 3

Anyway, I love the colour of my mani, even if my dotting skills suck. It kind of reminds me of summer - bright, and polka dotted, and just generally cheery!

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

Majolica Majorca Jeweling Pencil Eyeliner Swatches

Monday, June 20, 2011

Majolica Majorca is the offshoot of Shiseido, the Japanese brand famous for skincare, as well as makeup. Majolica Majorca is very popular among Asian girls, with its "Shiseido-for-a-cheaper-price" appeal. That said, I have to admit, Majolica Majorca is one of the better Asian drugstore brands I've seen to date, with their quality of products.

Majolica Majorca has a line of pencil eyeliners, called the Jeweling Pencil Eyeliners. Why they're called Jeweling is a mystery to me, but I guess it's a reference to the sparkles in the pencil eyeliners, since it's definitely not the colours.

Majolica Majorca Jeweling Pencil Eyeliners

L - R: BK999, BK901, BL503, PK204, BR606, Marble 71, Green Jewel GR522, Amber Flakes BR633

BK999 is a soft matte black.
BK901 is a black with sparse silver glitter.
BL503 is a deep colbalt blue with sparse silver glitter.
PK204 is a frosty pale pink. Pink eye anyone? LOL. This would probably be good on the waterline.
BR606 is a warm yellow brown with sparse gold shimmer.
Marble 71 is a frosty gold that isn't that greatly pigmented.
Green Jewel GR522 is a light grass green with gold shimmer. The shimer in GR522 is a bit denser than in the other colours.
Amber Flakes BR633 is a deep brown, less warm than BR606, with gold shimmer. I'm not sure if I'd call it amber flakes, but it's pretty. Again, the glitter in this is denser than the other shades.

I don't know why some of the shades have shade names and some don't, but I guess the ones with the names were part of a later release. These went on with a nice glide, and were decent in pigmentation, althought they didn't stay that long.

Beauty Blog Link Love

Sunday, June 19, 2011

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At Musing on Beauty, Mariella tries the Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman brushes and tells you everything about them.

Ever wonder how to airbrush your own makeup photos? Well, now you can - check out theNotice's basic Photoshop tutorial for your exclusive look behind the scenes of a beauty blog!

Now that summer's in the air, Musicalhouses shows you a Summer Eye Look and a Summer Lip Look for cheap!

Need melt proof makeup? Check out the new Summer collections from Tarte. Gouldylox has the swatches and details.

Madame B Fatale shows you how to use a conical wand!

Tired of eyeshadow and blush pots taking up too much space? Try de-potting them using Kajal Couture's de-potting tutorial and place them in palettes.

Phyrra's Independent Spotlight for June is with Belén from Lost in Makeupland!

Addicted to Beauty gets serious tween envy when she spies the Happy Faces hair salon. Who wouldn't want to get their hair done whilst sitting in a pink chevrolet?

Amy Antoinette shares her top tips for dealing with Keratosis Pilaris.

Lovelaughlauren tells us her favourite products from the last few months.

Prime Beauty discovered Burberry's newest lipstick formula, Lip Mists and has some insider info for you!

At Eyelining Obsessions Claire finds her perfect pink bluch while trying some ELF Barginous Blushes.

Rachel McAdams sends Lydia from Perfectly Imperfect running to the NARS counter. Find out why!

The coveted Asylum by Sugarpill is back in stock and in the Christina the Glitterholic's hands!

Looking for an affordable gel eye liner? Be sure to check out this fabulous Gel Eye Liner by Essence at Makeup, Beauty & More.


Handmade Reviews is hosting a Sigma Summer Giveaway with over $300 in prizes and winners every month.

Beauty Crazed is giving away 5 Lancome Desert Rose Blushes - they still think they are too pretty to use but maybe you aren't that squeamish so enter to win one!

Japan Cosmetics and Skincare Haul (and Other Funny Things)

Friday, June 17, 2011

A few weeks ago, I went to Hokkaido in Japan. I really enjoyed it, and I did all sorts of really awesome things - I went to a hot spring (you aren't allowed to wear clothes in there, so it takes some getting used to!), visited both the Ishiya Chocolate and the Asahi Beer factories (those were highlights for me, because in my day job I get to visit factories too), and just generally enjoyed the sights and sounds of gorged myself on the awesome Japanese food, especially the seafood and the dairy products. It was such an amazingly beautiful place with so much to do.

But of course you're not interested in that, right? So I'll show you what I hauled while I was in Japan. Now we're interested! :P

Firstly, I'm going to have to disappoint you by saying that my haul was rather small. In part, this was due to the fact that once the exchange rate was accounted for, prices were actually the same, although we were in Japan. Unlike US-based and Europe-based brands, which like to mark up their retail prices by at least 30% once they export out of their home market, Japanese cosmetic brands don't seem to have the same mindset. So yes, unfair as it may seem, while a NARS blush is nearly USD$50 in Japan and only USD$25 in America, the girl in Indiana pays the same for a Shu Uemura eyeshadow as the girl in Tokyo, unless you happen to buy from some unscrupulous third-party reseller who jacks up the retail price. So yes, that did dent my haul, but on the bright side, I can buy all the Japanese cosmetics I want back home knowing we're more or less paying the same prices worldwide.

So, that rant aside, let's start with the fun stuff of what I got: Shiseido Integrate nail polishes! For the unfamiliar, Integrate is one of Shiseido's subsidiary brands, calibrated for the drugstore market, along with a line of other brands, including Majolica Majorca, ZA Cosmetics, Maquillage, and Ettusais. Most of the colours were rather ho-hum, playing into the casual nail polish user's preference for sheer pinks and reds, but there were a couple of more interesting colours I spied. I got RD701, a dusky, dusty, greyed-purple with a pink flash, and GD841, an antique gold-green shade with a pink flash.

Don't they look gorgeous? I can't wait to use them!

I also got a Canmake Nail Glitter 02, one of their ranges of nail polish. Basically consisting of four colours, each colour is a different coloured glitter (pink, teal, silver, gold) in a clear base. I got the gold, as it looked more interesting.

canmake nail glitter

And, this is the part of my haul I'm most excited about. I GOT A TAUPE EYESHADOW! Woohoo! Now for a taupe lover like myself, I compulsively collect and hoard taupe eyeshadow, so I was glad to lay my hands on this little baby. Go ahead, feast your eyes. You know you want to.

coffret dor eyeshadow

Okay, so it looks a little blah in the pan, and the photo isn't great because the plastic wrapping is still covering the entire case, but that's Coffret D'or, dude! Coffret D'or is one of the better makeup brands in Japan, with shades that are actually very smooth-textured and nicely pigmented. I don't know about you, but a lot of Asian-brand eyeshadows tend to be over-glittery, gritty, and have downright wimpy pigmentation (and I'm looking at almost all of them - most Canmake, some Majolica Majorca, some KATE, and the list goes on). So when I swatched this eyeshadow, I just HAD to have it.

It's Coffret D'or's Eye Color in GY-37. Taupe perfection, taupe goodness. A perfect light-to-midtone greyed-purpled-brown with some sparkles, but not too much. This is like my baby right now. I just love it so much, I can't bear to use it.

Other than makep, I got some skincare items. I got my DHC Cleansing Oil, which I find so much better than the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil, as it lathers more easily and rinses off so much cleaner, whereas the Shu Uemura version leaves a residue that makes me perpetually paranoid that the mineral oil in its formulation will break my skin out. Oh yeah, and did I also mention that the DHC Cleansing Oil also has no mineral oil? Perfect for people who are sensitive to mineral oil, like me.

dhc cleansing oil

Of course, the drawback is that the DHC Cleansing Oil looks rather gross in it's packaging. It looks like the olive oil I used to use for cooking when I was living in the West (olive oil is cheaper there than in Asia, believe it or not), and that's because it is primarily made of olive oil. Olive oil, and a bunch of emulsifiers, so it rinses off better than pure olive oil. I rather like this. I need to review it sometime.

Lastly, I got some DHC Pimple/Acne Spot Therapy Cream. Now, I have something I want to say to DHC about the packaging of the product: Why is it that the consumers in Japan get the cutesy packaging, while the rest of us get a boring baby blue box? No fair!

dhc pimple products

The box above is what I bought in Singapore - which is a rather medical, serious and stuffy-looking blue box. The box below, the kawaii one with spots and a drawing of the product working on the pimple, is what you can get in Japan. The product inside is the same though.

The discrimination even extends to the tubes themselves. Why does the Japanese version look so much cuter? Both contain 15ml of product, however, so you get the same product in the same amount, but...I want mine to look cute too!

dhc pimple products 2

Anyway, I'm guessing the change in packaging is probably to cater to the market, since it costs the company money to have more than one design for the packaging and boxes and so on. The marketing honchos must have figured out that while cute and kawaii things sell within Japan, for a pimple cream that will be sold outside of Japan, it would probably be better for it to look more professional and medicinal, and more like something the doctor would prescribe. I guess it's working - this product seems to be selling well.

And of course, what kind of tourist would I be if I didn't marvel at the funny Engrish there? To be fair, I do think that since the last time I visited Japan 8 years ago, the English competency has definitely improved. But I still see Engrish gems all over the place. Here's a makeup-related one for you:

funny shiseido skincare ad

I'm sorry, but this ad is just hilarious. It's for a foundation product released by Maquillage, one of Shiseido's subsidiaries, that promises clean, smooth skin. So I guess that automatically allows you to proclaim, "I'M VIRGIN!" Woohoo! Somehow, I can't imagine this selling in the West. Ever. In the rest of Asia, probably (provided it's better translated than "I'm virgin" - I believe the actual message they wanted to convey was virgin-clear skin, or virgin-clean skin, etc). But not in the West. That would seem positively medieval.

Anyway, another thing I found funny were the instructions showing you how to use squat toilet. That's right - toilets which are a glorified and beautified hole in the ground, and you basically squat over them to use them. I don't believe these exist in the West (come to think of it, in my 4 years living abroad in the US and UK I've only ever seen sitting toilets), but they're commonplace in Asia. So I found it funny that the Japanese people have helpfully provided instructions on how to use the toilets for uninitiated, clueless Westerners, complete with diagrams! I never saw any such diagrams when I visited other parts of Asia - I guess they expect you to figure out how to use it yourself, or else handle your bladder well.

Here's a typical diagram you might find. I think they claim too much credit in calling these "Japanese style toilets", since they're found all over Asia, certainly not just Japan. I'd call them "Asian style toilets", but hey, I don't write instructions for toilet usage:

funny toilet sign

And this, hands-down, has got to be the BEST "how-to-use-our-toilets-for-clueless-tourists" manual ever. It's got painfully detailed step-by-step diagrams, and classic Engrish lines such as "Do it" and "If you lose your balance, you are gonna fall down on shit". ROFL! They even have instructions in Mandarin, although I don't know why they need those - the rest of Asia is familiar with these toilets.

funny toilet sign 2

So now that I've wowed you with the awesome makeup I bought, laughed with you at the funny Engrish, and grossed you out with toilet signs, I hope you've enjoyed this post. While I know I can sound mean laughing at stupid things like Engrish and toilets, let me assure you that I have nothing but utmost love for Japan and its people. I'll be posting as I use some of the items, but until then, I am glad that my visit to Hokkaido has left me with beautiful memories, and gorgeous makeup and skicnare items.

Liz Earle Sheer Pink Lip Shimmer: Moisturize with a Hint of Shine

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Liz Earle is a UK-based brand that is pretty popular within the UK for its brand of quality skincare emphasizing natural, plant-based ingredients. The brand's focus has remained squarely on skincare, and thus they sadly doesn't produce makeup, but being a makeup junkie, I got my hands on the most makeup-like item in their entire range - their Sheer Pink Lip Shimmer.

Liz Earle's Sheer Pink Lip Shimmer is marketed as a lip salve with a sheer hint of shimmer, so it's still a skincare product, as opposed to, say, a lipstick with moisturizing properties. But it's very pretty. The Lip Shimmer comes in a simple, tiny little pink tub that matches the pink colour of the lip shimmer. You get a decent 5g (0.17oz) of product, which is about the same size as most lip balms on the market. I have to admit that I don't really like lip products in tubs - it just seems more fussy to apply and more unhygenic - but I guess given the texture of the product, it would have trouble keeping its shape in stick form, and would be too solid for a squeeze tube.

Liz Earle Sheer Pink Lip Shimmer

The ingredients list is pretty impressive - unlike other lip balms that start with mineral oil and petrolatum, you can clearly see that Liz Earle made an effort to consciously use better quality ingredients. The first three ingredients are hazelnut oil, shea butter, and rosehip seed oil. Here's a close up shot of the balm.

liz earle sheer pink lip shimmer 1

Although the Lip Shimmer looks flat and hard on the surface because the oils in the product are in solid form, once you touch your finger to the product, it quickly becomes a shiny, emollient, very soft balm. Despite the pink shade in the tub, the product doesn't actually have much colour once it's applied, as the swatch below shows.

liz earle sheer pink lip shimmer swatch

On the lips, the Lip Shimmer feels very emollient, without feeling waxy. Because of the high amount of plant oils in the Lip Shimmer, it feels a little more liquid in feel than your average lip balm in stick form. And although it doesn't have much colour on the lips, it does impart some sort of shine.

liz earle sheer pink lip shimmer lotd

All in all, I rather like this product. The ingredients are those of quality, it's emollient without being waxy, and it's moisturizing on the lips. However, this functions as a lip balm, and imparts barely any colour, so if you're looking for a tinted balm with more colour, you'll be disappointed by the lack of colour in the Liz Earle Lip Shimmer. I'd recommend this if you want a lip balm and don't care about the colour, and if you don't mind the fact that it comes in a tub.

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

Work Appropriate Neutral Brown EOTD on the Cheap!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Today's EOTD is a rather boring, basic one - it's just a simple brown EOTD that you're supposed to be able to wear to (most) work places. And it's pretty good example of how you don't have to spend a fortune on makeup to look good!

Neutral Brown Eye Look

This simple EOTD (Eye of the Day) was done with my awesomely cheap 26 Colour Eyeshadow and Blush Palette, which I got from KKCenterHKa, a Hong Kong-based retailer of various brands of affordable Asian makeup. Over the past week or so, I've been playing around with this deceptively cheap and simple palette, and I've been quite happy with the variety of looks it can produce for the cheap price of the palette. Sure the palette's no MAC, but it's good for what it is.

The two shades with the "X" on them are what I used for this look. The lighter brown shade was used on the lid, while the darker brown shade was placed in the contour area.

es 26 color eyeshadow blush palette neutral brown eye look

Here's a look with the eye closed, so you can see the shades and the blending. I really am quite fond of the light brown, for some reason. It's a light matte, malt brown, which looks deceptively boring, but is so wearable. For some reason, the darker brown seemed to pull quite red on me, but not so much that it became unwearable.

neutral brown eye look 2

Pigmentation and texture of this palette was pretty good - the shades showed up, although the lighter brown required a bit of layering to get it to that intensity that you see in the photo. The dark brown was quite pigmented, and blended easily.

neutral brown eye look 3

You know I'm a neutrals kind of girl, so this look is totally up my alley! I absolutely love this look, and I hopefully haven't bored the colour addicts out there with this one. I guess after all the brights, everyone could use a little palette cleanser now and then!

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


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