Bellabox January: Lots of Skincare and Haircare Goodies!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

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After my last Bellabox review for the December box, where I mentioned that the box was slightly disappointing to me, it looks like Bellabox has rebounded for January! It is full of samples, and a few cute little freebies to boot!

Bellabox January: Look ma, so much stuff!

This January's Bellabox has a mix of better-known drugstore brands (like Biore), as well as some niche brands (like Medavita), and some popular-overseas-but-not-so-much-here things (like Mane 'n Tail). And while the products in the box are mostly skincare and haircare, I didn't feel like it was overly repetitive. Apparently some other boxes got fragrance samples too, but mine had no fragrance at all. Some boxes also had Inglot makeup samples (I'm so jealous!), so I guess I got the box for the skincare junkies!

Bellabox January 2
Bellabox January: My box was primarily focused on skincare and haircare

Without further ado, let's move on to see what's in the box!

Etude House Dear My Wish Lips Talk Lipstick Review and Swatches

Monday, January 26, 2015

Etude House, the Korean beauty brand known for its cute, girly and princessy aesthetic really needs no introduction on my blog, because I do have quite a few Etude House product reviews on my blog. The brand has launched its Dear My Wish Lips Talk lipsticks, which are new additions to its already pretty extensive line of makeup. And, if you are an Etude House fan, everything you like and know from the brand can be found in these lipsticks - pretty girly packaging, budget-friendly price, and good quality!

Etude House Dear My Wish Lips Talk Lipsticks: Bright, cheery, and girly

Etude House seems to have quite a few product ranges beginning with "Dear My", including the lipstick ranges Dear My Blooming Lips Talk, Dear My Jelly Lips Talk, lipgloss ranges, like the Dear My Enamel Gloss, and eyeshadow and cheek colours, like Dear My Blooming Cheek and Dear My Blooming Eye from previous collections. So if you're say, shopping online, or shopping from a list, and trying to differentiate between different product ranges, it helps to know the full product name to prevent confusion!

Etude House Dear My Dream Wish Talk Lipsticks 2
Etude House Dear My Wish Lips Talk Lipsticks come in 10 shades with something for everyone

The Dear My Wish Lips Talk lipstick comes in 10 shades, from bright hot pinks, to corals, to nudes, to reds, and vampy shades, so no matter your colour preferences, there is a shades for you. The shades I have for review are PK001 Dreamy Propose Pink, PK003 Secret Date Pink, and BE101 Chic Hollywood Beige. And as with Etude House, the packaging is in a really cute pink plastic casing, with tiny metal "ribbon" in the middle of each lipstick.

Etude House Dear My Dream Wish Talk Lipsticks 3
Etude House Dear My Wish Lips Talk Lipsticks (L-R): PK001, PK003, and BE101

With that, let's proceed to the swatches and review!

Finding Skincare Dupes by Ingredients Analysis, and My SCA Post on Creme De La Mer Dupes!

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Edited to Add: Due to shady dealings by the website owners and previous subreddit owners, I can no longer recommend the website. I've edited this post to remove all SCA links, and have republished the Creme De La Mer Dupes post here on my own blog instead.

I've recently been asked to contribute an article (or a few articles, depending on what I feel like) to the Skincare Addiction blog, which in turn is a blog written by and for the /r/SkincareAddiction subreddit. My guest post, "Skincare Dupes and Analysis: Creme De La Mer" is up on the SkincareAddiction blog. It's got my usual ingredients analysis, and some skincare science thrown in! So my skincare geekery is hanging out on that post in full force!

My first SCA blogpost is on skincare dupes for Creme de La Mer (Image source)

When the SkincareAddiction people approached me to write a post, I readily agreed, because skincare science was right up my alley, and I always love exchanging views and interacting with such people. (Coincidentally, I had just gotten a Reddit account at the time and was a lurker on the SkincareAddiction subreddit, as well as a few other beauty-related subreddits - because I'm creative like that, my Reddit username is also musicalhouses.) They were open to whatever I wanted to write, and stylistically, their blog accommodated quite a few different writing styles. In fact, other than standardizing things like formatting, my blog post was published as-is.

For this post though, rather than just do a "go read my post! XOXOXOXO" and a link and that's it, I thought I'd explain how we can find skincare dupes through ingredients analysis. I've been getting some questions from real-life friends and acquaintances on how you can find skincare dupes (or if not dupes, similar products) through ingredients analysis and ingredients comparisons of skincare products, so I thought I'd just outline what exactly we're doing when we do ingredients analysis below. So read on if you're interested, or if not, go ahead and find out what La Mer dupes there are. (You can also view the accompanying thread on Reddit with more comments from readers and responses from yours truly.)

La Roche Posay Serozinc Ingredients Review and Analysis: What Does the Science Say About Zinc Sulphate?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

La Roche Posay Serozinc has been making quite the waves on the blogosphere, and many bloggers seem to be raving about this product, and following a twitter conversation with Ling, who has her own blog, I got the idea that, in light of all the raves Serozinc has been getting, it would be good for me to take a more analytical approach to the product. La Roche Posay claims that the product "cleanses superficial skin irritations" on their website, and the product is promoted as an anti-blemish toner. You apply it to cleansed skin, wait for a while, and then continue on with the rest of your regime.

La Roche Posay's Serozinc is highly anticipated and highly raved (Source)

Escentual's site promotes Serozinc as "created with just three ingredients: La Roche-Posay’s ultra-soothing thermal spring water, healing zinc sulphate (0.10%) and astringent sodium chloride (0.75%). Together, these three ingredients target blemishes, marks and excess oiliness, ensuring your complexion feels fresh and comfortable at any time of day." So I guess we already know what the product is made of, and what the claims are. A lot of the rave reviews for Serozinc seem to have come from the fact that it is so simply formulated, which I suppose must be refreshing in a sea of products making complicated ingredient claims.

Serozinc is really getting a lot of hype despite the simple formulation (Source)

But before I start, I must clarify that I have never actually tried this product myself personally. Although ideally a more complete "review" (in the sense of a blog review) would have my own personal experience with the product woven in (as I do with my normal reviews), for the purposes of this post, we are looking at what the science says about the usefulness of Zinc Sulphate, which will in turn help consumers (like you and me!) decide whether it's really worth spending your hard-earned money on the product. So just take this as me doing your science homework for you, to help you make an educated decision before you buy the product! So, without further ado, let's take a look at the ingredients in the product!

Coastal Scents Haul: Silica Powder Spheres, Hot Pots Eyeshadows (Taupe!), Loose Powders

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Coastal Scents had a 40% off storewide sale after Christmas (don't worry if you missed it, they typically have a 50% off Black Friday sale as well as the end-of-year sale, and other various discounts throughout the year), and I just had to haul this time, even though shipping was a killer, because I was in desperate need of my staple, the silica powder spheres! I'm nearly running out of my big bag of silica powder spheres, so I thought this was a good opportunity to replenish! And being the beauty junkie I am, I couldn't just stop there, so I ended up getting some of the Coastal Scents Hot Pots Eyeshadow Pans as well, since I've been hearing good things about them!

Coastal Scents haul: Silica powder spheres, eyeshadows, and other loose powders

So yes, this is my complete haul! I'll admit that I just got what I wanted, so the volume of stuff I got is a lot, but the variety is small - I really just stuck to my loose powder staples and eyeshadows! But hopefully next time I haul, I'll buy a bigger variety of stuff! Although shipping was around US$27 or US$28 or so, I have to say that I didn't mind, giving the weight of the powders I was ordering (2.5lbs, or 1.25-ish kg). I used Fedex (at those package rates it was the cheapest option), and my order arrived in 5 days, less than a week! It definitely arrived faster than I thought it would!

Coastal Scents haul: Shipping was not cheap, but my haul arrived in 5 days

Anyway, enough of my ramblings, I'm sure you're more keen in taking a closer look at what I actually bought. So let's dive right in, and start with my favourite item of my entire haul!

Erabelle Skin Softening Refiner Review and Ingredients Analysis

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Erabelle is chain of beauty salons that are pretty famous for their brow grooming services (which I've reviewed before a long time ago in 2012), and now they've also launched a skincare product - the Erabelle Skin Softening Refiner! I was curious, since of course beauty grooming services and skincare, while related, aren't exactly alike, so I was interested in seeing how the foray into skincare would turn out to be.

Erabelle Skin Softening Refiner: A new skincare product from a company known for their brow grooming services

As the name suggests, the Skin Softening Refiner is an exfoliating mask. It's a moisturizing mask, with some exfoliating beads from peach seed powder. The natural angle of this product also appears to be played up, with the description touting its "vegetal proteins" (which is just proteins, but derived from vegetable sources), so I imagine this product would also be interesting to those who are looking for such products. The product also has really pretty packaging, with a very cute and girly box (my box unfortunately kind of got squished in the mail, which is why it looks a little crumpled), and even comes with a little plastic spatula for a more hygienic application.

Erabelle Skin Softening Refiner 1
Erabelle Skin Softening Refiner: A face mask and exfoliant all in one product

As a big skincare nerd, reviewing this product was a pretty exciting venture for me, because there are so many areas to explore. First, we want to take a look at the "vegetal proteins" in the product, because those are featured in some of the descriptions of the product. And of course, we'll also want to take a look at the peach seed powder in the product, which is the main exfoliant. And then, on top of that, there is also my usual ingredients analysis that I love to do. So there's a lot to do for this review! So without further ado, let's start with my favourite part of the product, which is the ingredients list! Yay, skincare science!

Pantone Colour of the Year 2015 Marsala: Shopping My Makeup Stash

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Marsala is Pantone's Colour of the Year 2015, and unlike some previous years' Colour of the Years, I'm actually pretty excited for this, because as a makeup junkie, I feel like Marsala is pretty versatile on lips and cheeks. (I wouldn't be keen to wear it on my eyes, though.) Naturally, you can expect lots of commercialization with the Colour of the Year - like the Sephora X Pantone collections, and to be honest, the whole "Colour of the Year" thing always feels a bit enforced/commercialized to me - for one, the colour of the year is a decision that is made a year in advance by a small number of people in the industry, as Wiki helpfully points out: "Twice a year the company hosts...a secret meeting of representatives from various nations' color standards groups. After two days of presentations and debate, they choose a color for the following year...the color for summer 2013 was chosen in London in the spring of 2012." So yes, for some reason, people we don't know choose a colour for us a year in advance, and deem it the "Colour of the Year". It sounds arbitrary and a tad bizarre to me, but there it is.

My Marsala-ish coloured makeup stash!

At least, this year's Colour of the Year looks pretty good to me. Unliek 2013's Emerald, which I found a tad unwearable makeup-wise (emerald eyes just aren't my thing, let alone lips or cheeks, although I did rock an Emerald eye look in 2013!), and 2014's Radiant Orchid, which I liked personally but can imagine how some people with warmer skintones might find unwearable, Marsala looks pretty universally flattering, and actually wearable when it comes to makeup.

The closest things I have to Pantone's 2015 Colour of the Year

I'm definitely eyeing some of the items in the Sephora X Pantone collection this year, but I thought, as an excercise in frugality (don't look at me like you're not convinced - I said frugality, not futility!), I should attempt to dig through my makeup stash to see what Marsala-coloured products I already have in my stash, to see whether I am already all up to my eyes in Marsala products, or whether I still have room for a few more!

Shu Uemura Whitefficient Whitening Concentrate Essence Lotion Review and Ingredients Analysis

Saturday, January 3, 2015

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Shu Uemura is a Japanese brand known for quite a number of things - their wide range of colour makeup, their cleansing oils, as well as their skincare, and the brand's Whitefficient skincare range is, as the name suggests, a whitening and brightening skincare range. The Whitefficient range is pretty extensive, with a cleansing oil, emulsion, essence, cream, mask, treatment cream/concealer, and this - a lotion called the Whitefficient Whitening Concentrate Essence Lotion!

I actually got my bottle of Whitening Concentrate Essence Lotion from ShopJBP, an online shop which specializes in selling Japanese beauty and skincare products directly from Japan, and carries quite the range of brands, including SK-II, Fancl, and Shiseido, as well as some more niche brands like Albion, RMK and Sofina. The prices are quite good - although Shu Uemura is available in Singapore, I found that the prices of items on the site is actually lower than that in Singapore. Shipping was also quite fast for me, taking about a week or maybe a bit longer. - they had good customer service and even included a couple of Yojira Kyoto "Aburatorigami" Oil Blotting Papers, which are blotting papers to help the skin keep matte. When I posted a photo of the products on Instagram, I was told by Kay of Cosmeddicted (who, by the way, I've interviewed before for my blog waaaay back in 2011 - it's a pretty interesting interview where she talks about Western vs Asian beauty, having lived both in Japan and the West) that these were very popular back in Japan.

Anyway, pardon my little diversion, it's just that the blotting paper was new to me, and I found it pretty cool. But let's get back to the review at hand, shall we? Since this is a whitening and brightening product, I thought I'd start off the review by answering the question I know all users of whitening products would ask - does it really work? And for that, let's head straight to the ingredients list.


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