Natural and DIY Skincare and Chemicals: You Ask, I Answer

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Here's my second "You Ask, I Answer" post, where I consolidate some common (and not so common) reader questions. Reader questions aren't a new thing on my blog, and I've written a bunch of posts based on reader questions over time, including some of my personal favourite science-y posts, like my post on parabens, and my post on talc. But I thought it would be nice if I could share some of my reader Q&As with everyone else too!

Today's question on DIY and natural skincare comes from Chelsi:

Chelsi asks:
I want to ask u something. It's so hard for me to get organic and natural skincare that avoids not using harmful chemicals...the fact is there are lots of brands outside there use chemical ingredients... I want to make DIY skincare but I think i don't have enough time to make it while I have to work and after work I am tired and just wanna take a rest..So , do you think it's okay to still using the skincare which still contains chemical ingredients? thx :)

Your question is quite a big hairy one, so I'll just touch on some key topics that you raised:
1. Are chemicals really a problem in skincare?
2. So when should I avoid "chemical" ingredients?
3. Can you actually DIY your own skincare, and if so, is it actually "better" that what's available out there?

Cetaphil's Regulatory Affairs Manager Talks Skincare Routine and Products!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Yes, more skincare questions are answered in today's post! This is part 2 of the post where Cetaphil's Regulatory Affairs Manager answers some skincare question, and busts some skincare myths along the way. And today, we're going to talk about how to simplify skincare routines, what you should do for different skin types, and answer some product questions, including those pertaining to Cetaphil products. As a skincare geek, I always feel like I already know most of the skincare basics, so knowing more about what makes a brand's products different from the other dozens of products on the market definitely excites me!

My view from the Q&A session: Cetaphil's Tracy is helping to answer some questions!

Fortunately, Tracy Chean, Regulatory Affairs Manager at Galderma South East Asia, was very kind to answer all of my (and everyone else's) questions! If you've read the previous post you'll already have some idea of who she is, but in short, she ensures that Cetaphil and other Galderma products comply with strict safety and compliance standards, and is also a licensed pharmacist. She was very friendly and helpful in answering questions at the Cetaphil Experience Workshop, and I really appreciated her broad knowledge of everything from cosmetic regulation to skincare science.

Cetaphil Experience Bloggers
Some of the bloggers during the session - everyone is busy taking notes!

As with the previous post, while the content of the answers is reflective of the information conveyed, it might not be the exact word-for-word answer that Tracy gave, just because I was furiously scribbling down notes during the entire session, and couldn't get down every single word said exactly. However, the gist of each of the answers is accurate. I've also added in some editor's notes (aka my own additional thoughts) here and there to provide supplemental information where appropriate.

Cetaphil Experience Notes
A quick photo of one of my notes pages - I'm not kidding when I say I was furiously scribbling down notes!

So without further ado, let's take a look at some common questions about building your skincare routine, and Cetaphil products! If you want to learn more skincare facts, and find out what else went on during the Cetaphil Experience, do check out the Cetaphil Singapore Facebook Page!

L'Oreal Tint Caresse Orchid Blossom Review, Swatch, Ingredients Analysis

Sunday, November 13, 2016

L'Oreal Tint Caresse was launched a few months ago, and basically, it's a pretty nifty powder lip tint. Yes, powder, with a sponge applicator! L'Oreal advertises this as the "1st lip gradation cushion tint for lips that blossom with delicate colour", and the idea is that the sponge and powder combination is supposed to make it easier for you to get that on-trend ombre lips look.

L'Oreal Tint Caresse Orchid Blossom: One of a range of Tint Caresse shades

The Tint Caresse seems to be developed out of Japan, or at least, the packaging and wrapping all has Japanese text. Sometimes L'Oreal does develop Asia-exclusive products, so perhaps this could be one of those - indeed, the idea of gradient lips is pretty much a Kbeauty/J-beauty sort of concept. I'm always pretty happy with such products though, as it often results in some pretty innovative and unique products. The shade I'm reviewing today is Orchid Blossom, which is one of several shades.

Loreal Tint Caresse Orchid Blossom Closed B04
L'Oreal Tint Caresse Orchid Blossom: The Tint Caresse seem to be an Asia-only product

This is the first time I've seen a powder lip product before, so I have to admit, I had all sorts of curious questions about it. How did L'Oreal formulate a powder lip product? What does it feel like on lips? What does it look like? Well, let's find out, by starting at the ingredients list!

Makeup Empties: Eyeshadow, Eyeliner, Lipstick, Liptint, Powder

Sunday, November 6, 2016

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In addition to the skincare empties that I blogged about, I've also actually emptied some makeup! I'm particularly happy about my makeup empties, because it typically takes me longer to use up a makeup item than a skincare item. Anyway,

Makeup empties accumulated over the past few months!

This time round I've got some staples - like my Coastal Scents loose powders - as well as some new appearances! Most of these are products I love and would totally use again, and as we go through each of these items, I'll explain why.

Makeup Empties Powder Lipstick Liptint Eyeshadow  Eyeliner Etude House MAC URban Decay Stila Ulta Milani Coastal Scents
Makeup empties: Lipstick, liptint, eyeshadow, eyeliner, and powder!

Without further ado, let's get started!

Cetaphil's Regulatory Affairs Manager Busts Common Skincare Myths!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

In August earlier this year, I had the opportunity to go for the Cetaphil Experience - basically a 3-day trip where I got to learn more about the brand, the philosophy behind their products, and their history in Singapore and in the Southeast Asia region. You might have seen some of the updates on my Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and so on - and now that I've had a bit more time to settle down after the trip, I've decided to share some of the learnings with you guys!

Tracy Chean, Regulatory Affairs Manager for Southeast Asia at Galderma Singapore, answering some of our questions

As a skincare geek, one of my favourite parts of the trip was the ability to get some burning skincare questions answered, and skincare myths busted by Cetaphil's own Tracy Chean, who is the Regulatory Affairs Manager for Southeast Asia at Galderma Singapore. Tracy ensures that Cetaphil and other Galderma products comply with strict safety and compliance standards, and also manages the Galderma National University of Singapore (NUS) Student Internship Programme. She graduated from NUS with a Bachelor of Science, and has also been a Singapore Licensed Pharmacist since 2010. Above that's a photo of Tracy, looking gorgeous in red! She was very friendly and willing to answer a lot of our questions, no matter how basic or esoteric they were.

Yours truly asking a question at the session

The entire session was 1.5 hours long, and there was a lot of information shared during this session. During this session, Tracy helped to bust some skin myths, answer some questions about cosmetic regulations, and offer advice on a good skincare routine. Since there were quite a number of questions, I've arranged them by topic, rather than just in chronological order, so that it makes more sense to the reader. I've split the post into two - today's post will deal with skincare myths, and the next post will deal with questions on skincare routines and specific product questions.

Also, while the content of the answers is reflective of the information conveyed, it might not be the exact word-for-word answer that Tracy gave, just because I was furiously scribbling down notes during the entire session, and couldn't get down every single word said exactly. The photo below is of my notes pages from the session - you can see how much I was trying to write down! Nevertheless, the gist of each of the answers is accurate. I've also added in some editor's notes (aka my own additional thoughts) here and there to provide supplemental information where appropriate.

That's my notes from the session - 1.5 hours of furious scribbling!

Cetaphil has uploaded lots of videos from the session on the Cetaphil Facebook Page. Where the videos of a particular answer is available, I've also embedded it directly below the answer - so you can hear Tracy in the flesh as well! For more of the learnings from the trip, and to see more skincare myths and questions, do check out the Cetaphil Facebook Page.

Etude House Play 101 Blending Pencil Swatches: All 25 Shades!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Etude House's Play 101 Blending Pencils were launched some weeks back, and I've finally gotten around to swatching them for you! For those who are familiar with Etude House, you'll remember that two years ago the brand had launched their Play 101 Pencils, which I had reviewed at the time. The Play 101 Blending Pencils are a different product, and an extension to the Play 101 line.

Etude House Play 101 Blending Pencils: A new addition to the Play 101 line

Like the original Play 101 Pencils, the Play 101 Blending Pencils are also little pencil-form sticks of makeup that are multi-purpose - you can use them on your eyes, lips, or cheeks. But the difference is that the Play 101 Blending Pencils are thicker and chubbier than the Play 101 Pencils, and are more like lip/cheek pencils in size, than eyeliner pencils (which is what the Play 101 Pencils looked like). Also, the formula and texture of the Play 101 Blending Pencils on the whole seems to be more emollient, making them much more blendable, and more suitable for lip and cheek use.

I've finally gotten around to swatching all 25 shades above, so without further ado, let's get started!

Skincare Empties Part 2: Essences, Serums, Acne Products, Masks, and Eye Creams

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

After the last empties post part 1, here's part 2, where we look at the rest of the skincare products that I've managed to use up over the past few months!

All my skincare empties accumulated over the past few months!

In the last post, we looked at makeup removers, cleansers, sunscreens, lotions, toners, and moisturizers. In this post we'll be looking at essences, serums, eye creams, acne products, and a Vitamin C powder, which is very interesting.

Skincare Empties Serum Mask Essence Acne Eye Cream Ampoule Vit C
What we'll be looking at today! Serums, essences, acne products, masks, eye creams and the like

Some of these empties were products that I really liked, and some were products that were kind of eh-okay, but ended up getting used up for whatever reasons. As we run through the list, you'll figure out which is which. So, let's get started!

Skincare Empties Part 1: Cleanser, Makeup Remover, Lotion, Toner, Sunscreen, Moisturizer

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

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Yes it's another empties post! And this post is pretty mega, hence the two-part split. And that's just for skincare - the makeup empties post is a separate post too, to make sure the individual posts aren't too long. So yes, I have indeed been a good girl and using up my products and not wasting them (a perpetual beauty junkie problem it seems)!

Tons of skincare empties this round to share with you guys!

Above you can absolutely see the mess of empties, running the gamut from sunscreen to serums. I could probably do all those empties in one sitting, but the post would just be very long. So this time, we'll just be focusing on oil cleansers and makeup removers, normal cleansers, face masks, sunscreen, lotions and toners, and moisturizers! In other words, we'll just be looking at the stuff in the photo today, which is still quite a lot.

Skincare Empties Cleanser Moisturizer Toner Lotion Sunscreen Makeup Remover Oil
Empties: cleanser, makeup remover, lotion, toner, sunscreen, and moisturizer

I realized that quite a few readers seem to like my empties posts (and you can see all of them here) - perhaps, it's because with all my science-y skincare reviews, some readers are curious to know what exactly remains in my stash and gets used up at the end of the day. I suppose the idea here is that if I used up something, then it must be really good! The truth is that it kind of depends - some of these empties I've had for a long, long time, and for various reasons take longer to use up, and some were very quickly made favourites or staples and get used up much faster. As we go through the products, you'll see which is which!

Pixi Multibalm Review, Swatches, Ingredients Analysis

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pixi Beauty's Multibalms have been out for a couple of months now, and I've finally gotten around to reviewing them! The Multibalms are basically a stick of cream colour that dries down to a powder, and can be used both on lips and cheeks, for a "quick touch of colour to the face". The Multibalms also claim to be "infused with aloe vera, shea butter, and rose hip oil" as an extra perk, too.

Pixi Multibalm: A multi-tasking product for lips and cheeks

As you know, Pixi has been known for some of their great beauty products for awhile now, and the brand has gained a reputation for its affordable, but still high quality, products. In particular the Pixi Glow Tonic has been extremely popular, growing from its cult beauty status to even receiving praise from mainstream beauty press. So, I was pretty excited about the Multibalms, hoping that they would also be just as worthy of praise.

Pixi Multibalms Review Packaging
Pixi Multibalm: With 5 shades covering all the basic colour families

Of course we're going to have swatches of the Multibalms, too. But first, let's look at my favourite part of the product to analyze, the ingredients list!

Biotherm Skin Best Wonder Mud Review and Ingredients Analysis

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

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Biotherm's Skin Best Wonder Mud is a mud mask, and was launched earlier this year. I've had this for awhile, and finally got around to reviewing it, after a few months! Well I guess better late than never right? (Ignore the crickets chirping, will you, LOL.) Anyway, Biotherm's Skin Best Wonder Mud claims to have the antioxidant Astaxanthin to combat dullness, as well as Ghassoul mineral clay to absorb oil and impurities. As the website eloquently puts it, "antioxidant superpower (Astaxannthin) has 100X more antioxidant than Vitamin E and Ghassoul clay are combined to form a mask that truly combats city toxins, grime and free radicals that attack our skin every day". Sounds exciting, right?

Biotherm Skin Best Wonder Mud: A clay mask with antioxidant benefits

What's interesting about the Skin Best Wonder Mud is also its application method. Unlike traditional masks where you leave it on for anywhere from 15-30 minutes, the Wonder Mud mask is designed to be a quick fixer-upper for your skin that can be used in a few minutes - in fact, Biotherm recommends 3 minutes, so that you can use it even if you are in a rush. Basically, you apply the mask to your skin, let it sit on your skin for 3 minutes, and then you rinse it off, massaging the mask as you do so to get the exfoliating effect of the "crushed apricot stones". Biotherm recommends using the mask twice a week.

Biotherm Skin Best Wonder Mud Review Mask Skincare
Biotherm Skin Best Wonder Mud: Advertised as having Ghassoul mineral clay and Astaxanthin

So, we do have a pretty interesting product to look at today, and we'll also look closer at the Astaxanthin in the product. So, let's begin with my favourite thing - a look at the ingredients list. I didn't have a copy of the ingredients list with me, but fortunately a bit of googling turned up the ingredients list, so here we go!

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Hi-Lustre Light Sculpting Lipstick Swatches and First Impressions

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Estee Lauder's Pure Color Envy Hi-Lustre Light Sculpting Lipstick has launched in Singapore, and if you're a lipstick junkie, you're probably aware of this already. The lipsticks are supposed to offer "lustrous colour" with "brilliant shine" according to the Estee Lauder website, so finally we have a product that's bucking the matte lips trend that I've been seeing on Instagram. I can't say that I have strong feelings one way or the other, though - as far as lip products go, I'm happy with anything that doesn't have huge chunks of glitter!

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Hi-Lustre Light Sculpting Lipstick: The newest lipstick range launched in September

Estee Lauder's Pure Color Envy Hi-Lustre Lipsticks do have a pretty neat colour range, and in Singapore we'll be getting over 10 shades. I've swatched all 11 of them (yes I know that only 10 shades are lined up below, I found an extra shade to swatch after taking that photo), and I have to say, these are a range of very nice, wearable shades. We have a number of nudes and MLBB (My Lips But Better) shades, as well as some wearable reds and plums. The finish is nice as well, with a texture that isn't too heavy or thick, and feels moisturizing on lips, and a moist, subtle sheen that is pretty sophisticated - there isn't any overtly "oily"-looking shine or chunky-looking glitter.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Hi-Lustre Light Sculpting Lipstick: Almost all the shades we have here

So without further ado, let's start swatching!

Palladio Velvet Matte Lip Cream Color Reviews, Swatches, Ingredients Analysis

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Palladio is a US-based beauty brand, that's probably better known for its cosmetics that include vitamin and herb-based ingredients. The brand is somewhat niche within the US due to its limited distribution (when I was there, I only recall seeing it at some Sally Beauty stores), but nevertheless, it still has a good customer base with strong reviews, and some of its better-known products are the Velvet Matte Lip Creams (as well as other lip products), Rice Powder and foundations. Palladio is now coming to Singapore, and fortunately is much easier to get here than the US, with some Guardian stores carrying the brand. So, I figured now is a perfect time to do a review on some of their products!

Palladio Velvet Matte Lip Cream Color: One of Palladio's cult products

Since Palladio's Velvet Matte Lip Cream Color is one of the brand's more popular products, having received lots of rave reviews, I figured that these were probably a great place to start! I have three shades, Sateen, Brocade, and Boucle, that I'm reviewing today, and these are probably my favourite shades from the entire range.

Palladio Velvet Matte Lip Cream Color Review Liquid Lipstick
Palladio Velvet Matte Lip Cream Color: Since the brand is new to Singapore, I figured I should try these first!

So, let's get on to the review! Unfortunately for some reason I wasn't able to find the ingredients list for the product - the ingredients list wasn't printed on the individual tubes, nor could I find it online. But, I do have lots of swatches for you!

Etude House True Relief Review: Moist Cream, Mist Toner, Emulsion, and Ingredients Analysis

Monday, August 8, 2016

Etude House's True Relief skincare line consists of 3 products - the Moist Mist Toner, Moist Emulsion, and Moist Cream. As the line indicates, this is supposed to offer "true relief" for sensitive skin, without irritation. This certainly is pretty unusual as compared to Etude House's typical skincare range, which tends to be geared for a pretty young age group, as it seems geared towards a broader age range. So this is actually a fairly unusual step as far as Etude House skincare goes, and I'll be taking a look at how this fares!

Etude House True Relief Skincare Range: Meant for dry and sensitive skin

If you've read some of my Etude House reviews, you'll probably know that while I do love their makeup products in general, their skincare tends to be something I'm more ambivalent with - in fact, my last Etude House skincare product review wasn't exactly a positive one. This is perhaps because at nearly 30, I'm slightly older than the typical Etude House customer, and a lot of their skincare products are really best for very thick and oily skin. So, I was kind of interested to see if finally, there was a skincare range from the brand that made more sense for my skin type.

Etude House True Relief Review Moist Mist Toner Cream Emulsion
Etude House True Relief Moist Toner, Emulsion, and Cream: Slightly different from the typical Etude House skincare products

And as usual, for each of the products - the True Relief Moist Mist TOner, Moist Emulsion, and Moist Cream, we'll start off the review with a look at the ingredients list! We have three products here, so it might be a tad (just a tad, don't worry) longer than the average review, but I'll try and keep it as short and sweet as I can!

Reader Question: Elizavecca Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask Ingredients Analysis

Thursday, August 4, 2016

As some of you may know, I do feature reader questions on my blog from time to time, especially when they provide inspiration for science-y posts, like this post on parabens and safety, and this other post on talc and safety. Recently I received a reader question on the Elizavecca Bubble Clay Mask, and it's an ingredients analysis type of question - exactly the sort of questions I love to take a stab at!
Elizabeth asks:
Do you think you could evaluate the "Elizavecca Bubble Clay Mask"? I bought it but I'm not sure if it actually does make my skin feel smooth and soft right after but I'm not sure about any long term effects. I'm afraid this product might be mostly skintertainment because of the bubbles.

Elizavecca Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask: A niche product that has gained a little bit of a cult following (Source)

The Elizavecca Bubble Clay Mask is something of a niche cult product that has gained popularity among some kbeauty fans over the past couple of years or so, along with other bubble masks. Elizavecca is a fairly niche Korean beauty brand, and their Bubble Clay Mask seems to have gotten popular in part due to the novelty factor. Basically, the Bubble Clay Mask goes on like a normal clay mask, but once applied, quickly foams up with lots of little bubbles when you apply it, like so:

Elizavecca Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask: A large part of the novelty is the bubble and foaming effect (Image source)

I'm pretty sure a part of the reason why they're so popular is because the foam gives rise to all sorts of really cute, funny, or weird (sometimes all at once!) selfies, like this. I mean, imagine applying a mask and then having it foam and bubble up right on your face! That's pretty fun, isn't it?

Elizavecca Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask: Possibly the most fun ever when masking (Image source)

That said, bubble masks, despite the novelty value, aren't actually anything super groundbreaking, and masks of this format have existed for awhile. In fact, waaaay back in 2011, I reviewed just one such bubble mask from another Kbeauty brand, The Nature Lab Oxygen Shield Bubble Mask. And more recently in 2014, I reviewed a sort-of-similar product from a Western brand, the Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Boosting 5-Minute Facial, a 2-part skincare product where the first part also consists of a foaming mask. So while the Elizavecca one is more popular, it certainly isn't the first of its kind.

Anyway, since this is a reader question, let's get back to the question, and then we'll talk a bit more about bubble masks in general. What's inside the Elizavecca Bubble Mask, and what makes it bubble? Does this bubbling really help skin? Do bubble masks in general really bring any skincare benefit beyond being novel or entertaining? Let's take a look, starting with the ingredients list!

Cetaphil Daylong Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ Review and Ingredients Analysis

Friday, July 29, 2016

Daylong is a suncare range, with a variety of sunscreens in drugstores here. Daylong is a sister brand of the cult favourite Cetaphil, and like Cetaphil, Daylong also emphasizes skincare for sensitive skin, that's still effective, at an affordable price point.

Cetaphil Daylong Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++: Sunscreen targeted to be effective, while suitable for sensitive skin

I have the Cetaphil Daylong SPF50+ Gel, which also has a PA++++ rating, one of the highest I've seen on sunscreens recently. I'm a huge advocate of using sunscreen regularly - in fact, one of the most popular posts on my blog is a post on sunscreen tips! So of course I was excited to try this out, and see how it performs. It doesn't just claim to provide broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays, but also against IR rays, or infrared radiation, which like UV rays, is also emitted from the sun. Don't worry if this sounds confusing - we'll be taking a look at it later in this review!

Daylong Sunscreen SPF50 Very High Protection Cetaphil Light Gel Review
Cetaphil Daylong Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++: Like Cetaphil, the focus is also on products that work without behing harsh

So as you can tell, we've got a lot to cover in this review. As always, we'll start by looking first at the ingredients in the sunscreen - particularly at the UV filters, which are responsible for protecting skin from the sun!

The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation Review and Ingredients Analysis

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation was launched earlier this year, and The Body Shop claims that this foundation "mimics the look of fresh-faced natural skin with a nude glow" to "make every day a good skin day". It also claims provide "up to 24h moisturization", and doesn't that sound great?

The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation: The Body Shop's latest foundation launch

I was half-expecting this to be a lightweight, watery foundation from the description, but it turned out to actually be more of a creamy foundation instead. And I'll admit that I've basically been procrastinating on this review because there were so many foundation/BB cushion/base product launches in the start of the year, that I just never quite got around to blogging about it! But now that it's already past the first half of the year, I figure I should get a move on this review, finally. So here you are!

The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation Review Ingredients Analysis
The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation: Launched at the start of the year, this foundation claims to hydrate skin for 24 hours

So without further ado, let's start the review! And as with all reviews, let's begin at my favourite place - the ingredients list!

Biotherm Aquasource Everplump Review and Ingredients Analysis

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Biotherm's Aquasource Everplump is the latest moisturizer to be launched from the brand. According to Biotherm, this isn't just any old moisturizer. As the name suggests, it's a plumping moisturizer, with a "highly dense gel texture so plumping even fine lines are pushed away", and "a single application delivers 72hrs of hydration".

Biotherm Aquasource Everplump: Biotherm's latest moisturizer

The idea behind the plumping claim in the Aquasource Everplump is is that as you age, the plumpness and volume in your skin decreases, leading to a more aged appearance. So, products like the Aquasource Everplump can help restore some of the plumpness lost over time. Biotherm also claims that this can be used around the eye area, and is also suitable for sensitive skin.

Biotherm Aquasource Everplump Review Moisturizer
Biotherm Aquasource Everplump: The moisturizer that is supposed to plump up skin and fine lines

With that said, let's start the review, and look at the ingredients list! Unfortunately the product I got didn't come with the ingredients list, but a little bit of googling turned up the ingredients, so we get to start with the ingredients analysis!

Kiehl's Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate Review and Ingredients Analysis

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Kiehl's Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate has launched earlier this month, and this is probably Kiehl's largest launch for the year! The Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate claims to utilize quinoa seed extract to exfoliate the skin, and it claims to be effective at exfoliating, but at a lower risk than a typical at-home peel product. Obviously, the quinoa is pretty intriguing at first glance - it's been a pretty popular health food as of late, and now it looks like the fad has made its way into our beauty products too!

Kiehl's Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate: Kiehl's largest launch of the year

Kiehl's Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate is supposed to be a gentle exfoliant that can be used everyday, and is safe for sensitive skin. It's meant as a night treatment, rather than a day product. Kiehl's also recommends that the product be used after toner, but before serum. And for those who are familiar with the old Kiehl's Overnight Biological Peel, I was also told that the Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate would be replacing this product, and the Overnight Biological Peel will be discontinued.

Kiehls Nightly Refining Micro Peel Concentrate Review skincare
Kiehl's Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate: A gentle but effective peel you can use everyday

Of course, since this is a peel product, we'll have to answer lots of questions: What's the exfoliating agent? Is it really quinoa seed extract? And is this really a gentle but effective peel? And how does it compare to the old Overnight Biological Peel? We'll be answering those questions, and of course, to do that, we'll start at the ingredients list. Of course, this is going to be a pretty long review, so make yourself comfortable while you read this, and off we go!

Shu Uemura Eyeshadow Swatches, First Impressions: New Shades Part 2

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Shu Uemura has launched over 40 new eyeshadow shades, and I've finally swatched all these new shades at last! If you've seen my a previous Shu uemura eyeshadow swatch post,, then you've seen part 1 of the swatches, and today we'll be finishing up with part 2! In part 1, we swatched mostly colours, so now we're moving onto the neutral shades. So, if you liked browns, beiges, and greys, the swatches for those shades are all here!

Shu Uemura Eyeshadows: New shades from the Colour Atelier launch

For those who aren't familiar with the shade names, the shade finishes are denoted by their names - M stands for Matte, ME for Metallic, IR for Iridescent, P for Pearl, and S for Satin. Generally ME shades have the most shimmery finish, followed by P shades and IR shades, followed by S shades (which are pretty close to matte, in my opinion), and lastly, with no shimmer at all, the M shades.

Shu Uemura Eyeshadows: Over 40 new shades now launched!

Anyway without further ado, let's move on to the swatches!

Albion Elegance Powder Review, Swatches, Ingredients Analysis

Sunday, July 3, 2016

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Albion's Elegance Face Powder A Poudre Haute Naunce launched a couple of months back, and I was pretty excited about this, because it's just so pretty, and also because this is officially my first Albion makeup product! Albion is a luxe Japanese brand, better known for its skincare, in particular its lotions, but it also has a line of makeup products.

Albion Elegance Face Powder: A pressed face powder from luxury line Albion

The Albion Elegance Face Powder is basically a pressed face powder with different coloured sections, much like the Guerlain Pressed Meteorites. The Elegance Powder claims to help brigthen the skin, cover pores, and also last on the skin. are three shades of Elegance Powders here: No. 1 (Elegance), No. 4 (Clear), No. 5 (Gorgeous), and No. 6 (Airy). The shade I have is No. 1. All the powders are pretty sheer, however, quite sheer (as we shall see in my swatches), so for the most part, there isn't too much of a great difference between shades to the untrained eye.

Albion Elegance Face Powder Review Shade 1
Albion Elegance Face Powder: Several different shades of powder combine to form one shade of finishing powder

So without further ado, I'll be reviewing my Albion Elegance Face Powder in shade No. 1, and of course, with most reviews I'll start with the ingredients list!

Shu Uemura Eyeshadow Swatches, First Impressions: New Shades! Part 1

Monday, June 27, 2016

Shu Uemura is launching 41 new eyeshadow shades as part of their "Colour Atelier" campaign in July. Yes, you heard it right, 41! This will give a total of almost 100 shades of eyeshadow for you to choose from, depending on your location - I believe Singapore gets 41 out of 43 new shades, to give a total of just under 100, but other countries may get the full 100 shades. Of course, Shu Uemura's eyeshadows are something of a makeup cult product, so this is pretty exciting news. Even back when I first got into beauty, they were already touted as one of the brands of eyeshadow that were a must-try for their great pigmentation, multiple finishes, and smooth textures. So, with that in mind, I knew I absolutely had to swatch the new shades being launched!

So, being the obsessive swatcher I am, I basically spent two hours swatching all the 41 shades that were launching here in Singapore, both for myself, as well as for you guys! (You might have seen some of this on my snapchat - I'm musicalhouses there too.) I'm told the eyeshadows are reformulated as well, although to be honest during the swatching session, I couldn't really tell that much of a difference. Which is just as well, because the old textures were already great as they were.

I'm swatching the first 3 rows of the shades laid out above, and the last 3 rows will be in part 2. So, if you're into bright shades, these are all swatched in this post! I swatched these in indoor lighting, and I've done my best to get them as colour-accurate as can be, and I do think the swatches turned out decently! Anyway, without further ado, let's get down to swatching!

You Ask, I Answer: Under Eye Puffiness, Eye Creams, and Undertones

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

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Reader questions aren't a new thing on this blog, obviously - I've featured a bunch of them on my blog over time, and sometimes they are the inspiration for entire (sometimes pretty long) posts, especially when it pertains to the science-y part of things, like this post on parabens and safety, and this other post on talc and safety.

You Ask, I Answer: Today's reader questions talk about undereye puffiness, eye creams, and undertones

I love it when readers send me questions (if not I wouldn't be blogging!), and I love responding to them. Because a lot of my readers are pretty interested in skincare and ingredients, I get a lot of questions that require some time to research and reply to, so I often am unable to respond immediately, although I try my best! Through the years, I've also noticed that some questions are repeated as well. So, to better answer questions at a faster pace and eliminate repetition, I decided to compile a few similar questions and answer them all at once, and put them up on my blog! Hopefully it will also serve as a useful reference to anyone else having similar questions too!

Today's questions deal with undertones and skincare, specifically eye creams for undereye puffiness. All questions are printed "as is" in order to remain faithful to the original reader's words. I do basic editing for spelling and simple grammar where possible, however. So, without further ado, let's start!

Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening Serum Review and Ingredients Analysis

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sulwhasoo's Snowise Brightening Serum was launched earlier this year as an addition to Sulwhasoo's already very successful Snowise skincare range, which is a whitening range (as you might guess from the name). Sulwhasoo is a niche, high-end skincare brand that hails from Korea, with a focus on "holistic beauty" that is "inspired by Asian philosophy", which in their skincare line, means the use of plant extractsa nd ingredients that are traditionally used in Asian cultures.

Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening Serum: A new addition to Sulwhasoo's Snowise whitening range

If Sulwhasoo's Snowise Brightening Serum sounds slightly familiar, it's because previous iterations of the same product have been released. This version, according to parent company AmorePacific, is the "advanced eighth-generation" version, with "enhanced white ginseng extract, moist and smooth finish and a new packaging design". A whitening serum, punched up one level - what's not to like?

Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening Serum Review Kbeauty
Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening Serum: The 8th genertion version of the serum was released earlier this year

Sulwhasoo opened a store in Singapore last year, and since then it's been getting quite a lot of buzz. Furthermore, the kbeauty trend is still a pretty hot one right now, and so I was quite keen to review this product. So, without further ado, let's take a look at the ingredients list, and begin our review!

Givenchy Rouge Interdit Vinyl Lipstick Swatches and First Impressions

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Givenchy's Rouge Interdit Vinyl Colour Enhancing Lipstick was just recently launched in Singapore, and of course, I had to get swatches of as many of the shades as I could for you! The Rouge Interdit Vinyl is supposed to be a lipstick with high shine, medium colour, and also moisturizing to the lips, with black rose oil. There are 16 shades in all, from nudes to reds to brights to vampy shades, so there is something for everyone here.

Givenchy Rouge Interdit Lipstick: Medium pigmentation, with a moisturizing, shiny finish

Anyway, I have to say, I'm super proud of myself for producing these swatches in less-than-optimal lighting. You see the photo above? Yup, that's basically the lighting conditions I had. But, I think the swatches did turn out pretty nicely given the lighting conditions, and I managed to get most of the shades, so without further ado, let's start on the swatches, together with my commentary on them!

Etude House Real Powder Cushion Review, Swatches, FOTD and Ingredients Analysis

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Etude House's Real Powder Cushion SPF50+ PA+++ was launched just a few weeks back, and this isn't your typical BB cushion - instead of being all liquid-y and dewy like most BB cushions, what's interesting about this is that it claims to dry down to a powder. So essentially, it is a cream-to-powder cushion, which is pretty unique. Certainly there are existing matte cushions out in the market, but as far as Etude House products go, I do believe this is the brand's first attempt at putting out a matte cushion. I'm happy about that - I always love more options.

Etude House Real Powder Cushion: The first matte finish cushion from Etude House

I've been getting quite a bit of interest in this product, so I thought I should hurry up and do a review on it. Here in Singapore, we have 2 shades, Light Beige, which is the lighter shade, and Natural Beige, which is the darker shade. Online though, I've seen a third shade, Honey Beige, which would be darker than Natural Beige.

Etude House Real Powder Cushion Review BB
Etude House Real Powder Cushion: Starts off liquid, dries to a power

So let's get started with the review. We'll do my favourite thing first and look at the ingredients in the product, and then move on to the swatches and review proper!

Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi+ Cleansing Oil Review and Ingredients Analysis

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Shu Uemura's Anti/Oxi Cleansing Oil is the latest oil cleanser from Shu Uemura, and was launched in Singapore today. It's advertised as being a cleansing oil with anti-oxidant benefits (hence the Anti/Oxi name), as well as an efficient yet gentle makeup remover. It's even safe for lash extensions - I'm told this can remove all eye makeup without disturbing any extensions you might have. Lash extensions have been getting more popular here over the past few years (or at least, among my immediate circle of friends and acquaintances), so I'm not surprised to see makeup removers accommodating them.

Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi Cleansing Oil: An oil cleanser with anti-oxidant benefits

Of course, unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know that Shu Uemura's cleansing oils are something of cult products. They're routinely found in "best-of" lists, and there is a huge fanbase behind them. I'm told that Shu Uemura is the #1 cleansing oil brand on the market, with 1 bottle of cleansing oil sold ever 7 seconds! So of course, I wanted to check out the hype for myself, and see whether it really lived up to expectations.

Shu Uemura Anti Oxi Cleansing OIl Review Refining Anti Dullness
Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi Cleansing Oil: A lightweight, but efficient oil cleanser

Fortunately, this is indeed a very nice cleansing oil (although I didn't get to tet it on lash extensions as I don't have them), so I wasn't let down. And there are some before-and-after photos that show this, but of course, let's start our review by looking at the ingredients list first!


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