Argly Duckling Launch: Shop a Beauty Insider's Picks

Monday, July 30, 2012

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I'm always a big fan of online stores - I love the fact that they carry niche, indie brands that I wouldn't be able to get by going into a department store, and that I can get my beauty fix from any part of the world online. Recently, I came to know about Argly Duckling, which is just one such online retail store. Argly Duckling's products are very carefully curated. There are lots of very niche, targeted products that are known brands in their specialized niche. The founder of Argly Duckling actually worked in the beauty industry before setting up the store, so these are definitely products picked by someone in the know. Let me walk you through some of their key offerings.

First up among them is nail polish! Argly Duckling carries Butter London, which will need no introduction to all the nail polish fanatics out there. The brand (which, by the way, is actually based in LA despite the quirky British-themed names) is 3-Free, too. Other than Butter London, Argly Duckling also carries nail wraps, which are quite the trend now.

Another polish offering carried by the store is Laqa & Co., which are known for two products - their nail polish pens and Fat Lip Pencils, which are really lipglosses in pen form. I tried out their nail polish pens, and while I tend to be skeptical about these things, these actually turned out fine on me. You apply them much like regular polish. In the photo below you can see me giving a demo on how to use these things. As well as swatches! These are sans-cleanup, since they were done during the event. Even with my not-so-neat painting skills, you can see that the pen still gives a relatively neat finish. (I know the truly skilled among you will beg to differ, but hey, give me some credit for polishing my nails on the spot in the middle of a restaurant...) Here are my favourites swatched:

laqa and co nail polish pen w

L-R: Fancypants, Incestuous, Squid Ink, Pimpin

I also swatches the Laqa and Co. Fat Lip Pencils, since you know I'm all about the swatches. The best-selling colour of the lot is Lambchop, which is a bright pink that's very bright, but not neon.

laqa and co fat lip pencil w

L-R: Wolfman, Fairyblood, Lambchop, Ring of Fire, Bossy Boots

Now for other non-nail-related products. There include the famous Blinc Tubing Mascara, a personal favourite of the founder's, which is waterproof, but easily removed with warm water. There's also Kaia's Bamboo Cleansing Wipes, which are really a beauty insider's pick, because Kaia is famous for its Bamboo Cleansing Wipes - in fact, the brand only sells these Bamboo Cleansing Wipes, and no other products. So you'd really have to be in the know to pick this one. One box has 30 sheets.

bamboo cleansing facial cloths

Lastly, skincare. Gosh, so many brands here, so I'll do a quick run-through. First up, there's the Flower Power line of body moisturizers, which comes in many complex and artisanal scents. They're a little thick in texture, but will absorb into the skin eventually.

flower power body moisturizer w

Then there's Korean skincare brand Ciracle, whose key product, the Jeju Water Sleeping Mask, is like the famed Laneige Sleeping Pack.

ciracle jeju water sleeping mask w

Another really highly-acclaimed product is the Ciracle Goodbye Blackhead mask, for use in removing those pesky nose blackheads!

ciracle goodbye blackhead

Other than Ciracle there's also Benta Berry, which is a French skincare line that recently launched in Singapore. And there's Pure Paw Paw Papaya Ointment, which isn't really a skincare product, but more of an ointment. It's a sticky clear balm which can be applied to small cuts and areas of irritated skin, much like a salve.

pure papaya ointment

Shipping is cheap, too. Delivery is $3, and orders of $50 and up get free delivery! Visit Argly Duckling at to shop.

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

Glitter Sandwich: A Happy Birthday manicure!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Remember the time I first got Lippmann's Happy Birthday nail polish? I layered it over white and I was so excited because it worked glitter magic over a plain ol' white.

This time, I tried it out again, in the form of a glitter sandwich! I thought the colorful glitter would make it a perfect candidate. Plus, I've been wanting to do a glitter sandwich for ages, so I thought - now's the time!

lippmann happy birthday glitter sandwich 1

I used one coat of GOSH Snow, a sheer white jelly, as a base. Then I layered Lippmann Happy Birthday over. I used one coat, but had to dab a little to get the glitter coverage to be more even, and followed up with another cost of GOSH Snow.

lippmann happy birthday glitter sandwich 2

Maybe I'm a layering idiot, but this kinda underwhelmed me. Perhaps it's because the glitter fiend in me is protesting, "You have an awesome blingy glitter, why are you covering it up with another cost of colour? You're hindering it's blingy-ness! That's evil! Evil!" But hey, sometimes you gotta try new things.

lippmann happy birthday glitter sandwich 3

I guess, despite my initial doubt, this mani is growing on me. I feel like I need to play around with the colours in my stash a bit more to find more colour combinations to play around with, so expect to see more glitter sandwiches soon!

lippmann happy birthday glitter sandwich 4

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

Feature in Fabulous Magazine: Globe-Trotting Glamour

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fabulous Magazine's 22 July issue has this article entitled "Globe Trotting Glamour", where they featured four beauty bloggers from around the globe (some are really based in the UK, where Fabulous Magazine is published, but were originally from other countries). There's a Carribean blogger, an Indian blogger, an African blogger, and an Asian blogger - who just so happens to be yours truly!

I'm glad, of course. The print version of Fabulous Magazine is available for download here (you'll have to flip to page 42 in the online version), but the article has also been republished online, also under the same title, Globe Trotting Glamour. So do take a look at it if you can! (I've uploaded a pdf version of the entire article here.)

fabulous magazine 22 july 2012 1

Now, while I'm always happy for any press coverage (even when sometimes they steal your photos and don't bother to credit you correctly), the thing about doing such pieces is that you never know how the final article will turn out. Of course, this is to be expected, since every publication has its own editorial and advertising requirements. While I enjoyed reading the final article that went to print, I thought it would be a good idea to include the original list of questions that were emailed to me, as well as my answers, because I think it might be pretty interesting for some readers who want to get a glimpse of the editing process, or who just want to see the original transcript. I've left out the "What is your name/How old are you/What is your job"-type questions since if you're a regular reader/follower I imagine you'd know, so I've taken the liberty of jumping straight into the meat of the interview - the beauty-related stuff! (Also, I'm not a senior government officer, although I am a government officer...there was slight mixup between my job title and description. Oops!)

So here we go, no further ado:

Why did you decide to write and create your beauty blog?
My blog, Of Faces and Fingers, was started in 2009, when I was in University. It seemed like the perfect amalgamation of my interests in writing, photography, and, of course, beauty products. Most of my real-life friends aren’t as crazy over beauty products as I am, and were tired of me boring them to death with details of my favourite lipstick or the eyeshadow I just bought, so I took it online! Fortunately there was an online community of like-minded beauty fanatics, so I felt at home there. On my blog, I chronicle my experiences with beauty products – what worked for me, and what just didn’t. I make it a point to be honest, even if it’s a less-than-favourable review.

What is your skin type?
Sensitive, oily and acne-prone – the worst kind! It makes me very picky about skincare and some types of makeup, especially foundations and blushes.

What is your make-up style? Please give an overview
I’m up for trying any style once! But on a day-to-day basis, my look has to be office-appropriate. I usually go for neutral eyes with a pop of colour on the lips and cheeks – it’s a very fresh-faced look that’s universally flattering on everyone.

What is your skin-care routine? Do you do anything or use anything in particular?
Since I have sensitive skin, I’m choosy about skincare products. I love Cetaphil cleanser, as well as The Body Shop’s Aloe Soothing Day Cream. I also like Biotherm’s Aquasource Moisturizer for Oily Skin. Another one of my staples is also the Vitamin C Retinol Antioxidant Moisturizer I get online from Natural Skin Shop.

Do you find women of your country of origin do anything/use anything in particular to keep their skin looking tip top?
In Singapore (as in Asia) there is a lot of focus on having glowy, young-looking skin. So skincare, especially brightening or whitening serums, is very popular. Sunscreen is also a product that does well in this market – here, manufacturers race to have the product that can claim the highest SPF value! I’ve seen sunscreens with SPF values of 130+, as consumers tend to think that higher SPF equals more protection. I actually wrote a blog post on sunscreens and how SPF value can be misleading as a measure of protection for uninformed consumers.

What the one beauty trend that Asian women really buy into?
Blemish Balms, or BB creams – it’s a huge fad here that has slowly been making its way over to the West, although I’m not totally convinced about the skincare benefits of BB creams. Most of them are formulated with lots of silicones, which may not be so good for skin that has silicone sensitivity. A couple of them even have ingredients lists that read more like a typical foundation than a skin-healthy product.

What is the one concern that Asian women have when it comes to their skin and make-up needs?
In Asia, girls want to be as fair as possible – the whiter the better! Over here we have lots of whitening creams, lotions, dark spot correctors, and even pills you can ingest that claim to make your skin whiter. This is in contrast to the tanning salons and self-tanners that I see lining drugstore aisles in the West – you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single tanning salon here (if you do find one, it probably caters to expatriates and foreigners).

Do you find beauty brands (which ones?) recognized the need for asian shades and tones when it comes to make-up?
Asian skintones can be tricky to match foundation to, because Asian undertones aren’t really the same as Caucasian undertones, and a lot of brands don’t always successfully reproduce Asian shades. Due to this, Asian girls find it hard to discern their skin undertone and hard to find foundation matches. I actually have a blog post on undertones for Asian skin, showing how to differentiate between cooler-toned Asian skin and warmer-toned Asian skin, and it has remained one of the most popular blogposts although it was written 2 years ago.

That said, generally, brands which have a wider range of shades in their foundation range tend to have better matches. Chances are, if a brand has just 3 or 5 shades of foundations, it’s not going to cater for some types of skintones. MUFE in particular has a very large shade range that would be able to suit most skin shades and undertones. In Asia, Lancome also has Asian-specific skin shades in their foundation range, so although the colour range is slightly smaller, it’s a well-edited mix of colours.

What are your top three make-up products and why?
1. I always like a good concealer that doesn’t break me out – most concealers tend to irritate my skin. I personally like Prescriptives concealers, especially their Anywear Makeup Stick and their Flawless Skin Total Protection Concealer. Sadly, the entire Prescriptives line has been discontinued, so I’m using my backups carefully. For girls with less sensitive skin, I recommend Kevyn Aucoin’s Sensual Skin Enhancer, as well as Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage.

2. I also love my lip products! Lipsticks and lipglosses make up the bulk of my collection – I keep them in shoeboxes because they won’t fit on a countertop. But I digress. I personally like Revlon’s Super Lustrous lip gloss YSL Gloss Pur, as well as Chanel Glossimers. I also love NYC lipsticks – they’re cheap and have a nice texture.

3. Lastly, but certainly not least, I’m going to clue you in to my ultimate makeup secret: silica powder spheres! I love generic silica powder spheres, as these are great for oil control, and give a nice matte-but-natural finish. The best thing about this is that it’s cheap and easily available – I get mine from a wholesaler, and a bag costs me a few dollars and lasts me for years. I’m still on my first bag after 3+ years – I’ll let you know when I run out! There are various ways to use silica powder, but I like mixing in mine with my loose face powder for easier application.

What are your top three skincare products and why?
1. Sunscreen is important – it’s the skincare that’s probably more effective than any lotion, potion or jar! It’s much cheaper, and proven to actually work to prevent signs of aging caused by sun damage. I have to admit, I don’t understand girls who spend large sums of money on anti-aging creams, but don’t use sunscreen – it’s like they have it backwards. I like Avene’s Very High Protection Spray with SPF 50+ as it doesn’t aggravate my sensitive skin, but any kind suitable for face use will do.

2. A good moisturizer is essential. Different types work for different skins, but I personally like and use The Body Shop’s Aloe Soothing Day Cream and Biotherm’s Aquasource Moisturizer for Oily Skin as good basics. For more power-packed moisturizers, I like Natural Skin Shop’s Vitamin C Retinol Antioxidant Moisturizer, as well as their Vitamin C HA Peptide Serum.

3. Lastly, you need a good makeup remover. I can’t stress this enough! My skin is a little sensitive towards mineral oil, so my personal favourites are the cleansing oils from DHC and Fancl, as they don’t contain mineral oil, and emulsify and wash off easily without leaving much oily residue on your face.

What are your top three hair care products and why?
I’m not particularly fussy over haircare – I just buy whatever is on sale in the drugstore and use that! Fortunately I don’t have major hair/scalp issues, and I don’t treat my hair and I don’t style it (believe it or not, I’m a hair virgin – no dying, colouring, straightening, or perming ever), so my hair fortunately is very low maintenance. I just wake up in the morning, run a comb through it, and that’s it!

And that's it really! Here's a screenshot of the page I'm featured on, in case anyone wants to take a look! You can see some difference between the original email questions and the final print version, but I'm not gonna complain, since it's tough work cramming all those questions into a tiny column. And of course, doing this was a little bit of fun for me! It's definitely cool seeing stuff you typed end up in print.

fabulous magazine 22 july 2012 2

Bellabox July: Spotlight on Asian Skincare Brands

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beauty boxes are all the rage now, and as with any product, there are pros and cons. The pros? If you're someone like me, who has waaay too much skincare and makeup (and I'm pretty sure my grandkids and great-grandkids can inherit my eyeshadows and blushes), but still want to try out the latest and greatest every month, then beauty boxes are a good way of getting your fix, without worrying about adding to your stash. After all, they're essentially mini and sample-sized products, so you can try them out, decide if you like them or not, and either buy the product, or move on. The cons? Well, they are essentially just mini or sample-sized products, and you can't pick and choose your samples. So if a box is not well-curated, there will be times where you feel like, "Oh man, I just spent all this money on a bunch of samples I'm not keen on." That's part and parcel of suscribing to beauty boxes - some months you like better, and some months you like less, but overall, it kind of evens out.

So, it is with that in mind when I say I wasn't that keen on this month's July Bellabox. It's not that it's bad - it's just that the samples in this box were interesting, but nothing really caught my eye and made me go "Wow", and the brands in the box were good, but not really to my interest. This month's box focuses heavily on skincare from various Asian brands, so while this month's box may not be my cup of tea, I'm certain someone else may like it.

bellabox july 1

First, we have some SKII samples. We have samples of Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser, Cellumination Deep Surge, Cellumination Mask-In Lotion, and Facial Treatment Essence. These are pretty small sizes, but I suppose SKII is an expensive brand. They'll be good to pack for an overnight or weekend trip, so these samples get stashed in my travel supplies. It's definitely easier to bring a few sample sizes for longer trips, as opposed to bringing full sized products.

bellabox july skii samples

Next, we have other skincare samples, not from SKII but also from other Asian brands. We have a sample of L'egere (a Korean brand with a pseudo-French name) White BB All-In-One Cream, and a one-time trial packet of Skinmiso's Pore Beauty Nose Pack. These aren't that bad, I think BB Cream is one of those things you absolutely have to sample before you buy or else you run the risk of being disappointed, and the Skinmiso product looks interesting - you basically use the first nose pack, which is a mask you stick on your nose, and it's supposed to draw out your blackheads, and then you manually exfoliate with the black Q-tip provided. And then after you've dredged out the oil from your pores, you use the second nose pack. I'm not sure how a mask you stick on your nose is supposed to draw out the blackheads enough for you to manually exfoliate them, but I hope to give this a try and let you know how it goes. (On a side note, I do happen to have lots of blackheads, so if it works on me, I'm sure it'll work on anyone...)

bellabox july legere bb cream skinmiso samples

Lastly, we have the non-skincare products. This consists of a small cute bottle of Jimmy Choo perfume, a Twistband and a pen shaped like a lipstick. I like perfume, and I like cute tiny bottles of perfume, so this is alright with me. I've seen bloggers rave about the Twistbands but to me, it's just another hairtie. It looks really pretty though - I've begun using it, and so far it hasn't disappointed. I was just a bit surprised to receive a hairtie in a beauty box. But I guess if they can send shampoo samples, they can send hairties too.

bellabox july jimmy choo perfume twistband pen

For me, the highlight of this month's box was the SKII samples. Still, I liked the other skincare products, and the Skinmiso product piqued my curiousity, so although there wasn't anything in there this month that wowed me, I wouldn't say it's a waste of money.

I guess that's just all part and parcel of suscribing to a beauty box - there will be some months where you feel like you really got your money's worth from the box, and there will be some months where you feel like the box isn't that great. With that said, I suppose as long as the boxes are consistent from month to month, and there are no customer service issues, people will continue to suscribe. The surprise, after all, is part of the fun. If you like Korean and Japanese skincare brands, this month's box will be more to your taste.

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

Ujene Puriste Collagen Skincare: Luxury that Works

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ujene is a skincare brand hailing from Switzerland, with a focus on fine ingredients. Specifically, the brand's trademark ingredient is oviluxe, which is collagen. And not just any sort of collagen, either - oviluxe is apparently a type of collagen that is pure and biocompatible.

Ujene's Puriste Collagen range consists of four products, all packaged in sleek white boxes. I have three of them to show you today - the Puriste Collagen Serum, the Puriste Collagen Eye Gel, and the Puriste Collagen Day Cream. And I have to say, there are no duds in any of these products.

The Ujene Serum contains the oviluxe collagen, of course, but it also contains hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C. I actually quite like the ingredients list for this - there's nothing irritating or clogging, and it has hyaluronic acid and vitamin C too, so it moisturizes well and provides some anti-oxidant effect.

ujene puriste collagen serum 1

The serum itself is a very light, clear liquid, that's almost watery in texture. As you can see in the photo above, it was spreading out all over when I tried to take a picture! Although it feels slightly sticky at first, it absorbs quickly, and in a couple of minutes I don't feel that there's any residue left behind.

ujene puriste collagen eye gel

The next product is the Ujene Eye Gel. Man, I love this stuff. The packaging is in a slim little tube with a tip, so you can just squeeze out the right amount each time.

ujene puriste collagen eye gel 1

The Ujene Eye Gel is also a very light-textured product. I was actually slightly surprised when what I squeezed out of the tube was a light clear gel, as I'm used to eye products being cream-like and heavier in texture. Nevertheless, I feel like it moisturizes my undereye area, without irritating it or leave it feeling greasy like some eye products do. It's good for use under makeup, because it's light and absorbs fast.

ujene puriste collagen day cream

Lastly, the Ujene Day Cream. This is the only product in the Ujene line which had packaging I wasn't too fond of, as I'm not generally fond of products in's hard to dig your fingers in there without feeling like you're contaminating the entire jar, and I'm not fastidious enough to use a spatula. But anyway. It's not the packaging, right, it's the product.

ujene puriste collagen day cream close

The product, I'm glad to say, is also really good. It's got quite a lot of ingredients I'm personally fond of - grapeseed oil, apricot kernel oil, vitamin E. And like the rest of the Ujene line, it is very light textured, and also absorbs well. I don't feel there is much greasy residue left behind.

Overall, I really like the Ujene line (but then again, I'm pretty partial to European skincare). The line is solidly formulated in terms of ingredients, and are cosmetically elegant - no icky greasy feeling here. While using it, I did feel like my skin was more hydrted, and looked a little better in terms of skin texture. It's a tad pricey, but if you're willing to splurge, it will be worth it.

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

Shard Glitter Coolness: Cirque Potosi Nail Polish!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Glitter nail polish has always been something I've always loved, and I feel like with my latest discovery, glitter has just been amped up a level. This, of course, is Cirque Potosi. Cirque is a US-based brand of nail polish with an artisanal slant, and Potosi is the lovely shade I tried.

Cirque Potosi is a clear polish with a happy mix of glitter types. There's your usual small round silver, of course, but what really makes Potosi shine is the multi-sized polygonal glitter that makes it look like silver shards on your nails. seriously, how cool is this?

cirque potosi sasatinne spn103 1

The shard glitter is quite new to me - right now I don't really have anything like it in my stash at all! I'm in love with the effect - it's a little bit random-looking, but incredibly eye-catching. Like shattered shards of metal, or a mirror, on my nails.

cirque potosi sasatinne spn103 2

Here I've layered it over 2 coats of a random nail polish I got from Sasa, Sasatinne SPN103. It's a deep, dusty blue-leaning teal, and I think the two go really well together. I used one coat of Potosi, and did a little dabbing at any empty spots to get a more even glitter spread. So as you can see, the coverage is fabulous.

cirque potosi sasatinne spn103 3

If you aren't in the US, you can get Cirque polishes from Mei Mei's Signatures for S$16-19 apiece. She ships internationally, too, so great for everyone who doesn't have Cirque in their area.

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

Giveaway: Win a Cure Natural Aqua Gel + Cure Skin Treatment Cream!

Monday, July 16, 2012

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Yay, a giveaway! One reader is going to win a Cure Natural Aqua Gel, as well as a Cure Skin Treatment Cream! The best part about this is that the Skin Treatment Cream isn't for sale - so you'll be winning something that, although small, is pretty exclusive.

If you don't know what Cure is, well I've just reviewed it in the last blog post :)

You know it doesn't cost anything to enter, but you might get something out of it, so fill out the form now! As usual, you only need to be a follower and like the Cure Facebook page to win, but I've also included ways to get extra entries - just in case anyone feels extra lucky.

Giveaway closes 23rd July (that's soon!). Good luck!

(Prize is provided by the company. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

Cure Natural Aqua Gel and Skin Treatment Cream: Exfoliating Made Fun

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cure Natural Aqua Gel is a product from Japan that's been all the rage in Asia for the past few years, and has begun to make its way to the West (when I see reviews for Cure on Makeupalley, I know it's officially mainstream!). While I've been using this product for quite awhile, I realized I've never done my blogger duty and actually reviewed this product. So here we go!

Cure advertises itself as providing gentle exfoliation without any harshness. This is because it doesn't use physical beads to exfoliate, like most exfoliaters do. Also, unlike other chemical exfoliators, it doesn't use acids either. Instead, my understanding is that there are ingredients in there that "peel" once in contact with skin. So the soft, balled up product ends up exfoliating the skin, instead of an acid, or a physical type of grit.

But you don't want me to blab on right? You want to see some photos!

cure natural aqua gel

The gel itself is colourless, odorlous, and is just clear gel. But once you massage it around your skin a little, you will see that the product starts balling up, and you get little white balls all over your skin. It's quite exciting actually, and the novelty of using something like this doesn't die out easily.

cure natural aqua gel effect

How is all that dead skin coming off? Honestly, I've no idea, but it feels good. My guess is that not all of that is dead skin - some is dead skin, and some is product (If it were all dead skin I imagine you'd see chunks of skin missing.) Together, you get a very good exfoliation experience.

The next thing I also have from Cure is the Cure Water Treatment Skin Cream. This was actually made for the company's own staff who suffered from dry hands due to daily handling of cardboard boxes! It isn't for sale now, but Cure is currently giving away 600 free tubes of this as part of Cure's 10th anniversary celebrations!

cure water treatment skin cream tube

This is a very nice lightweight cream. It really feels more like a very light lotion, rather than a cream of any sort. And it has a very watery feel, too. Once you apply the cream, it sinks in very fast and doesn't leave behind any residue at all. It's so quick and easy to use, and it feels good on the skin too.

cure water treatment skin cream

Now for the fun part!

To win a Tube of Cure Skin Treatment Cream, all you have to do is:
1. Purchase Cure Natural Aqua Gel at Watsons Singapore from now to 23 July 2012
2. Email your particulars [name, mailing address, contact number] and a screenshot of their purchase receipt to by 23 July 2012. Winners will be announced weekly at Cure’s Facebook page.

Last words: there's going to be a giveaway up really soon on this blog! I'm excited, of course, and I hope you are too!

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

Benefit Ultra Plush Lipgloss Dallas Review and LOTD

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Benefit's latest offering is its Ultra Plush Lip Gloss, a non-sticky, shiny gloss with cute colours and names corresponding to the Benefit Boxed Powder shades.

While I've swatched the Benefit Ultra Plush Lip Gloss already, I really, really love the Dallas shade - it's my new favourite - so I thought it would be good to show you my beloved Dallas gloss on my lips, not just my arm.

benefit dallas ultra plush lipgloss tube

I think part of the reason why I love Dallas so much is not just because it's the most pigmented of the Ultra Plush Lipgloss range (although it is), but is also because the shade is so gorgeous and universal that I really think everyone could wear it. It's the extremely wearable shade of neutral pinky-brown that every girl needs in her wardrobe, seriously. So here's how it looks on me.

benefit dallas ultra plush lipgloss swatch

Awesome, right? Now having worn the gloss, I can tell you a few more things about it: 1. The lychee scent wears off quickly after awhile (this can be a good or bad thing, depending on your reaction to the scent), 2. The gloss is actually quite lightweight on my lips, and 3. I think it really is non-sticky (or at least, not as sticky as other comparable glosses). So that makes it a winner in my book, and it has already been added to my heavy rotation lip stash.

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

Biotherm Purefect Skin:Perfect for Blemished Skin

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

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Biotherm launched its Purefect Skin range, which consists of a range of skincare products targeted at blemished skin. I was at the launch of the range held waay back in end-May, but for some reason, I just never got around to actually trying it out. Now that I've actually tried out the Purefect Skin range, I'm actually kicking myself for not trying it out earlier!

As a acne-ridden twenty-something (who says acne doesn't just plague your teen years, huh), I'm always on the lookout for something that can help my blemish-prone skin. And I think the Biotherm Purefect Skin range has actually helped my skin.

biotherm purefect cleansing gel

The first product is the Purefect Skin Anti-Shine Purifying Cleansing Gel. As the name suggests, this is a cleansing gel that comes in the form of a clear gel. I wasn't expecting much out of it, but I feel like it really cleans my skin, without leaving it overly-dry. I did get a bit of tightness, but not anymore than your average blemish-skin cleanser.

biotherm purefect skin cleansing gel

Another thing about the Purifying Cleansing Gel that I liked was that it really foams up very well. I was actually surprised by the amount of lather that I got out of a little bit of gel! So if you like foaming cleansers, this will be right up your alley.

biotherm purefect toner

The next product in the lineup is the Micro-Exfoliating Purifying Toner. This is a toner with salicylic acid, which will help acne-prone skin by killing bacteria and promoting skin turnover. I also liked this on my oily, acne-prone skin. I imagine that if you have dry skin, the salicylic acid may be a little bit harsh on your skin. This probably works best for oily, pimply skin.

biotherm purefect skin exfoliating toner

Lastly, we have the Pure Skin Effect Hydrating Gel. This comes in a really cute-looking pump bottle. There was actually a really snazzy blue-and-white box that came with this too, but I didn't manage to get a photo of it.

The Pure Skin Effect Hydrating Gel is a really light-textured, white gel that applies well because it's so lightweight, and absorbs fast. It doesn't leave behind any residue, but leaves your skin feeling less oily. I actually really like this product - it also works very well under my makeup.

biotherm purefect skin hydrating gel

One thing I like about Biotherm's Purefect Skin range is the fact that it's just three simple, basic products - a cleansing gel, a toner, and a moisturizer. No fancy masks, or serums, or other extraneous things I don't really have time for in my schedule. If oure looking for a no-nonsense skincare range with all the basic attributes needed for regulating acne-prone skin, then this range will be perfect for you.

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

Acid Wash Jeans Nail Art

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I've been wearing my jeans alot on weekends lately, so I thought, why shouldn't I do a jeans-inspired nail look? I also saw a couple of people posting such looks on Instagram, so I thought, I'd add my own take to the mix!

If you follow me on Instagram (I'm also Musicalhouses there), you would have seen me Instagram my acid wash jeans mani too! But that's a tiny photo, so here it is in it's full glory.

To get this look, I started off with two coats of Essie Aruba Blue as a base let to dry. I love this shade, and have featured Essie Aruba Blue as a standalone mani before too, back in the early days of my blog. But this time, I layered a white creme over it. Any white will do, I used my good ol' Wet n' Wild White.

acid wash jean nail art 2

And next, comes the fun part - destroying your mani! I created the acid wash effect by taking nail polish remover, and basically remove the white bits and blend the two shades together a little. You can use acetone if you prefer, I just used nail polish remover because it was what I had on hand, but as a result I got some blue stains on my cuticles. I suspect acetone may leave less stains? Anyway. The Instagram tutorial I saw used a Q-tip, but I personally preferred a small brush, like the kind you use for cleanup. I guess it's just a matter of preferences.

acid wash jean nail art 3

So after applying three coats of nail polish and removing part of it, I get this really cool acid wash effect on my nails - just like jeans! And it's pretty easy to do too, since all you do is destroy your mani artistically. I'm actually pretty tempted to repeat this with other colour combinations!

Vanity Trove's Tangs July Beauty Box: Luxury in Little Sizes

Thursday, July 5, 2012

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July's Vanity Trove is making a buzz because it's a collaboration with TANGS, a leading Singapore-based retailer of luxury beauty products. With a top tier collaboration, you know this month's upcoming Trove is bound to be a good one!

Tangs, of course, is all about luxury, so Vanity Trove's July offering reflects that too. Tangs, for example, is the exclusive retailer of brands like Red Flower (a high end line of spa products) and Intelligent Nutrients (which apparently has a shampoo pure enough to drink), so some of the brands you'll find in this month's Vanity Trove will reflect that - you'll be seeing some products in your Trove that are exclusive to Tangs, too.

tangs vanity trove july box

Each Vanity Trove will vary, but the brands I've seen in July's upcoming boxes will include a whole range of high-end brands. These include SKII, Shiseido, Laneige, Enavose (I've reviewed their Black Tea Quench Mask and Micellar Cleansing Water before), OPI, Chloe, Clarins, and Ferragamo.

Anyway, let me show you what's in my Trove. I got a Trove that was more skincare-centric, which is fine by me. Other girls got Troves that had more perfume or other brands. You can see a shot below. As you can tell, there are also more samples in this Trove than your average Vanity Trove. Great!

Let's take a quick run-through of the Trove contents, shall we? I'll go by brand this time. Let's start with the Japanese brands! There's SK-II, with their Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser and Clear Lotion. SK-II is pretty expensive, so it's quite rare to find brands like these in beauty boxes. Shiseido also provides three samples from their White Lucent range, which will be really popular among girls who love whitening products. There's a cleansing foam, softener, and a serum.

tangs vanity trove july 1

Now, for the Western brands. There's Clarins, with samples of their Gentle Foaming Cleanser and Shaping Facial Lift. And there's also Sonia Rykiel, which is a new-to-me brand. Two very popular products are in there - an Intensive Whitening Serum and Intensive Whitening Cream. I've never tried Sonia Rykiel, so I can't wait to try this!

tangs vanity trove july 2

Next, the Korean brand! That's Laneige, already a mainstay of most Asian girls' skincare wardrobes. There's a Balancing Emulsion (Light) for Normal/Oily skin (hurray, right down to my skin type), Skin Refiner (also Light for Normal/Oily skin), and a Whiteplus Renew Purifying Mask. I've never tried any of these three products, so it's also good for me.

tangs vanity trove july 3

And finally, non-skincare! We have a small sample of Attimo by Salvatore Ferragamo, as well as a tiny OPI mini! I don't know what colour this is (deep blurple with shimmer), but it's cool. I love nail polishes, so any nail polish is bound to make me happy.

tangs vanity trove july 4

In addition to the products, we also had a bunch of discount coupons which are pretty cool. Some are discounts, some are free sessions at fitness centers, and some are more of services, like skincare consultations and the like. When I spoke to the Vanity Trove folks, they shared with me that they really made an effort to ensure that the products and services in the coupons were really top-of-the-range, and in some cases, even award-winning!

Obviously, July's Tangs Vanity Trove really reflects the efforts of the Vanity Trove team to include a variety of brands, and have as many high-end brand samples in the box. So if you're looking forward to trying a range of skincare from different high-end brands all over the world, and don't mind lots of smaller samples, this is for you. After all, variety is the spice of life, and when you're shopping at Tangs, it's part of the experience, and part of this month's Vanity Trove is really to recreate that experience for the suscriber.

(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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