Thursday, May 14, 2009

Like a "Virgin Kiss"ed for the Very First Time...

I can't get Madonna's "Like a Virgin" out of my head! I think the cute name is what initially attracted me to MAC's Virgin Kiss lipglass, since I actually don't favor MAC glosses too much. This one is from the most recent Rose Romance collection which came out a couple of weeks ago. Honestly, from everything in the collection, this was the only thing that captured my attention.

Virgin Kiss is a light, peachy-pink color with silver microglitter. It goes on quite sheer, and really just enhances the lip color. For me, since I have rather pink pigmented lips, this works quite well, because it doesn't brighten my lips too much. My only complaint is that the glitter/shimmer can look really silvery-icy in fluorescent light, which is not always too attractive. Also, like other MAC lipglasses, this has a tendency to be a bit sticky and tacky, unfortunately.

If you do like glosses without too much color, then do try this. If you're looking for something that you could wear over another lipstick to accentuate it, then you should also try this. It would look great over any light pink/nude-ish lippies, I think. This retails for $14.00USD. For a cheaper alternative, I have been told that Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush lipgloss in Mango Madness is a close dupe. I haven't tried it personally, though!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Laura Mercier Lip Glace

I held off on buying this gloss for the longest time, because in the old format, it had a noxious scent (similar to the NARS Lip Lacquers) -- very plasticky, and sort of like an "off" lipstick. However, Laura changed her packaging and formulations a bit in the latter part of 2008, so I decided to revisit these glosses.

They retail for $22USD for 0.159 ounces, which is kind of pricey, but well worth it. These glosses come in 16 different colors, all of which are quite neutral, as per the rest of Laura's makeup collection. Some are more sheer than others, and there are glosses with shimmer and pearl and others that have no pearl. The finish is shiny, but not mirror-like -- more like a natural shine finish, if that makes sense. The texture applies quite smoothly and isn't too thick or too watery. It's also pretty long-lasting, and stays comfortable and moisturizing for a couple of hours. There is a pleasant vanilla cake batter scent, but no taste.

The two colors that I purchased were Bare Beige, which is a light neutral beige brown without any pearl. The coverage is medium -- it does show up on my pink pigmented lips without being too opaque, and can be paired with smokey eyes or neutral makeup. The other color that I purchased was Violet, which is a cool-toned violet pink with pearl and shimmer and a medium coverage. It goes well with purple eyeshadows.

I will definitely be trying some more colors. These glosses are available at Sephora, Saks, Nordstrom, Neiman's/Bergdorf's, and of course, on Laura Mercier's website.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Laneige Snow Crystal Dual Foundation SPF22

I'd never tried Laneige products before, as they are not too readily available in the US except at Korean boutiques and marts. I picked mine up at HMart in Atlanta for $38USD, which is very reasonable for a foundation and concealer.

The foundation has an interesting and sanitary push pump dispenser which you compress to dispense the liquid foundation. The cream concealer sits atop inside of the lid, with a flip top, which is great for portability. Everything is plastic, and the container is transparent, so you can see how much product you have left. Also, it's convenient to have a concealer and foundation housed altogether. I use one full pump to cover my whole face, and then follow with the concealer.

They did not have the full color range at HMart, so I got #21, which is the second color in the range. It looked pretty dark in the container, but matches pretty well with my NC20-25 light beige skin. It really blends in well, and has a lightweight texture that surprisingly covers effectively. The sales pitch for this foundation is that it "melts away like snow" into the skin. Interesting advertising concept, but the effect is quite natural. It has a semi-matte finish, but still looks like real skin.

I have combo skin, and did have some breakthrough shine in the t-zone which I did have to blot about mid-day and add some powder. The concealer feels a bit sticky to the touch, but it applies matte. It is quite opaque, and can be used to cover some blemishes and the mild sunspots I have been trying to fade with the Tri-Luma. I did not have any troubles with it being too dry for the undereye area, though I did use an eye cream underneath. The combo makes my skin look perfect and healthy, and I am happy with it. Also, an added bonus is that is has SPF22, which, though I still wear sunscreen underneath, is a perk.

Overall, I am satisfied with this foundation, am glad I took a chance, and would definitely repurchase. I may go pay a visit to some of the boutiques in K-Town just to explore more of the Laneige products, as well as other brands owned by Amorepacific.

Laneige Sliding Pact SPF 24

I discovered Laneige on a trip to H-Mart, a Korean supermarket chain. Being addicted to makeup, I always make time to look at makeup, even when I am grocery shopping with my mom! This retailed for $26USD, but I signed up for their mailing list and got $5 off, so I paid $21 for it, which is not bad at all!

The color that I got was "Natural No. 2" -- it looks quite peach in the pan, but it blends quite translucently into my NC20-25 light beige skin. It gives a decent amount of coverage for something that is supposed to be a pressed powder without looking heavy. Used alone, it does sort of "set" the skin, and I also like using it atop foundationed skin to give it a more finished effect.

The version that I got was the "moisture" one which comes in the purple compact, and it blends in softly, with no chalkiness at all. However, the caveat is that it does not control oil. I think they make an oil-control version of this, which I did not try.

It comes in a cell-phone sized compact -- in fact, it looks like a cell phone and even has that little hook in the back where you can hook on your trinkets and cell phone baubles. The front is completely mirrored, which is great because you can actually see your entire face. The powder slides out, and then you can lift it to expose a plush velvety sponge underneath. The back of the compact is a metallic light purple, which is sort of overly-girly for me, but this powder does come with a little gray pouch that you can put it inside. The compact is designed by a Samsung phone designer, Kim Yong Se, so that explains some things.

Overall, a nice powder, and my interest in Laneige has been piqued. I also purchased one of their foundations, which I will review.

TOP PICK: Elnett Hairspray (French version)

I have to preface this with the statement that I don't use many styling products. I hate having my hair bogged down with anything, much less hairspray. However, Elnett is in its own category.

I first read about this legend in the pages of my magazines many years ago. Unfortunately, my first trip to Paris wasn't until 2006, which was when I got my first bottle. (It was unavailable in the U.S.) When I tried to buy it here, stores like Zitomer were selling it for upwards of $30USD, which is insane.

This spray is amazing, though. What makes it great is that it holds without any sort of stiffness, and you can brush through it without experiencing any sort of flakiness or "hairspray dandruff." It feels like your hair, but with more control and body. Now, if you like the shellacked look, then this is not for you. But if you are looking for natural-looking hold, like your hair is just naturally obedient, then try this!

I do have to add a disclaimer, however. Elnett recently became available in the U.S., sold exclusively at Target for about $12-$13USD, and unfortunately, this doesn't quite compare. Because of the different drug as well as environmental regulations in America, this has a different propellant. Even if you hold the bottles in your hand, you'll notice the American one seems heavier, even though the bottles are the same size and contain the same amount.

The mist on the U.S. one is not quite a fine, which means that unfortunately, you will get that hairspray stiffness in certain parts of your hair. Plus, it feels heavier and like it doesn't hold as well. This is quite sad, because it means acquiring this product is still a bit difficult. Luckily, my friend Aurelie just sent me 3 bottles - yay!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tri-Luma That Dark Spot!

Unfortunately, one of the pitfalls of being a pale Asian is being prone to melasma and dark freckle-like spotting on the face. Too bad they are not cute like freckles!

I had one spot on my left cheek that was quite prominent. It was brown, and nearly the diameter of a pencil eraser. It was bothering me a bit, as I always had to cover it up with heavy-duty concealer. However, when I last went to the dermatologist (where I seem to go all of the time!) to see about fading a dark patch of skin on my stomach from my nickel allergies (thanks to jeans) -- she recommended Tri-Luma, and said that it would also help on my face.

With a sample tube in hand, I proceeded to apply a thin layer nightly. Now, it did mention that skin irritation was one of the side effects, as was lightening of the surrounding skin. I did experience some itchiness on the patch on my stomach, and I did notice that the diameter of skin around the spot on my face was a tad whiter/paler than usual. Aside from this, though, I had good results. After about 5 weeks of continuous treatment, I have noticed that both spots have lightened significantly. In my last dermatologist appointment, I was told to continue applying nightly to my face, and only twice a week to my stomach, so as not to experience more skin irritation.

Do note that on the face, which gets more sun exposure than the stomach (I'm not a bikini model - haha) --I always use a lotion of SPF 45. The dermatologist recommended SPF 30. You must limit sun exposure also, or else the spot will return and could potentially get darker. (Yikes!)

Tri-Luma is manufactured by Galderma and is available by prescription only. Additionally, since this cream is considered for cosmetic use, insurance does not cover it... and it has a pretty hefty pricetag of around $200USD for a 30-gram tube. Try to get a sample if you can, as I have heard it does not work for everyone.

Here is the official website for further information:

Good luck!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

TOP PICK: Cle de Peau Concealer

I have so many raves about this concealer! This was my first concealer splurge, and I am already about halfway through my second tube. Yes, $70USD is absolutely ridiculous to spend on a concealer... but in the long run, it truly is worth it. The concealer comes in a small stick (0.17 ounces), which is about a size of a lipstick, but it lasts about one year. So, even if you divide $70 by 300 days, that comes to $0.23 a day, which is much less than a gal would spend on her daily cup of coffee.

Cle de Peau's concealer comes in 4 different neutral tones which would be a good match for most ladies. The color that I have is the lightest one, Ivory (Ivoire), which is perfect for my light beige skin. It's not too yellow or too pink.

The coverage is very strong without being heavy. The texture is creamy, but not so creamy that it melts off your face or anything. It's not necessary to set with a powder, either. I like that I can use it to hide my heavy undereye circles without having it smudge or having it make me look like I have fine lines around my eyes. I can also use it to cover any pimples and a couple of dark spots on my face. It is just that versatile. There is no fragrance, and you can also apply directly from the tube to the face, which is great for lazy girls like myself!

I love this, and will cry if it ever gets discontinued!

TOP PICK: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

My skin is fairly clear most of the time (*knock on wood*) -- so for the most part, I just use a tinted moisturizer, concealer and powder. (Yes, looking "au naturel" takes lots of work!) The tinted moisturizer that I love most and keep going back to again and again is Laura Mercier. She has since released an oil-free version as well as an illuminating version, but my review is for the original, which is a staple in my makeup bag.

It retails for $42USD for 1.5 ounces, which is not exactly cheap, but is well worth the money. It comes in 7 colors, and the one that I use is Nude (the 2nd lightest color), which works well for light beige skintones. There is an SPF 20, but I don't think that the sunblock it uses protects adequately against UVA rays, so I still use a moisturizer with sunblock underneath.

The ingredients are:

Active Ingredients: Octyl Methoxycinnamate and Menthyl Anthranilate. Other Ingredients: Purified Water, Cetearyl Alcohol (and) PEG-40 Castor Oil, Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Cyclomethicone, DEA-Ceryl Phosphate, Hexyl Laurate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Carbomer, Methylparaben, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Propylparaben. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Mica.

The container is kind of ugly, as seen in the pic above. It is an opaque plastic squeeze tube, which is kind of annoying because you can't see how much product is left, but is rather sanitary, since you can just squeeze it out and not contaminate the product inside.

Coverage is rather full for a tinted moisturizer. I use about a dime-size amount for the entire face, and with frequent use, a tube can last almost a year. By itself, it does even out the skintone and hide some enlarged pores, though you will certainly need concealer to cover up undereye circles or any scars/spots on the face that you would like to hide. The texture is like a light lotion, and blends well into the skin. I usually just apply it with my fingers, though you could also use a sponge. The finish is a bit dewy and very natural looking, similar to real skin. As for lasting-power, I do set the T-zone with a pressed powder (because my skin is rather oily) - and by doing that, it does last on my face the whole day. I do have to blot once during the day, which is not too bad for me. The oil in this does not make me break out or anything, either.
I always get compliments on my skin when I wear this, because it just looks like I have a nice complexion. Very natural indeed!