It doesn’t matter how many new and innovative makeup removal products I try, at the end of the day I always go back to the most trusted makeup remover – the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil. This year Shu has released a new reformulated cleansing oil – the Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Cleansing Oil (bought here in Australia) and as I was in the need for restocking, I decided to give this new formula a try.

A quick rundown on my experience with the Shu Uemura cleansing oils. They have lots of different oils for different skin types, and I have pretty much used most of them. Prior to this, my favorite was the Blanc Chroma (the purple oil) as it felt refreshing and I liked the slight brightening effect after washing. As far as I know, their best seller last year was the Ultime8 which I found to be too rich for my skin so I did not repurchase (but it is really great for dry skin).

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I have been using the new formula for about a month now, and it is now my favorite cleansing oil. It is formulated with green tea extracts along with other anti oxidant ingredients for a more clear and radiant complexion.  The main differences in this new formula

  • no mineral oil
  • can be used with wet hands
  • suitable for removing lash extensions! (which doesn’t really apply to me)
  • more powerful removability

This oil lives up to my expectations.  I am not the biggest fan of using cleansing water for removing makeup on a daily basis as it can be a little too scrubby with the use of cotton pads, and I feel it is pulling my skin too much. With cleansing oil it is lubricating enough to not cause any friction to the skin. The consistency of this oil is lightweight and doesn’t feel greasy, and it emulsifies (turns into milky lotion) really well as soon as you add water to it. Takes less than a minute to completely dissolve the most stubborn makeup including liquid eyeliner, waterproof mascara, long lasting foundation and liquid lipstick. It makes the skin feel supple, smooth and refreshing, and leaves no oily film and residue to the skin. Of course second wash is recommended! It doesn’t clog the pores nor cause breakouts for me.

The new formula also promises to give you an extraordinary cleansing experience with a blend of essential oils that invigorates your senses while washing. To me it mostly smells like strong green tea (more like Matcha) with a hint of lavender and wood. It is quite an interesting stimulating scent, but not blowing me away.

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Overall I highly recommend this oil. It comes in 3 sizes – 450ml (as pictured), 150ml and 100ml (good for travel). A bottle of 450ml normally lasts more than 6 months with daily use.

 

 

 

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I searched high and low for the most moisturizing matte liquid lipsticks, and I finally found the perfect formula from By TerryTerrybly Velvet Rouge Liquid Lipsticks. By Terry is known for their super luxurious lip products enriched with hyaluronic acid, and the same goes with this as it feels ultra nourishing and comforting on the lips without drying them out. It is more pricey than the highly popular middle-end brands such as the Kat Von D Everlasting Lipstick (reviewed here), MAC Retro Matte and Too Faced Melted Lipstick, but I personally think this formula is unbeatable for delivering the most hydrating, vibrant and long lasting matte finish.

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The By Terry also has the best sponge applicator for a liquid lipstick I have ever used. It is ergonomically designed – in a 2-sphere shape, and it allows for a much easier and more precise application. It has an airy lightweight velvety texture, and it glides on silky smooth and creamy (like a balmy paint) without any bleeding and feathering. It takes about 1 to 2 minute to fully settle, and it dries down to a matte finish with a hint of creamy sheen. The formula is ultra nourishing and forgiving for naturally dry and chapped lips. It doesn’t enhance the dry lines nor flakes, and it actually makes your lips feel softer and supple. Pigmentation is highly intense, so with all of my swatches, I only dabbed a little product on the center of the lips, then blended outward to fill the lips.

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I picked 3 colors, with shade 03 Dream Bloom being the absolute must-have shade for me. It is officially now my new holy grail everyday lip color, and I can’t stop gushing about it.

From left to right: 3 Dream Bloom; 4 Bohemian Plum; 7 Bankable Rose

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Dream Bloom 03 – The most beautiful soft rosy pink MLBB shade. It just has the perfect balance of pink and rose with a hint of mauve, so it looks so flattering, soft and pretty but sophisticated. It also compliments and brightens up my complexion color.

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Bohemian Plum 04 – My second favorite shade from the range. Love this berry shade that is slightly vampy but still very wearable for me. I love the name of the shade, and this is exactly what I would name it. There is an effortless and cool-chic vibe to it.

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Bankable Rose 07 – A bright and vibrant bubblegum pink color. Looks stunning with a full opaque coat as swatched, but for everyday wear I would sheer it down to a gradient wash of color so it looks subtle and pretty.

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Group Swatch

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The By Terry Liquid Lipsticks are sold at Net-A-Porter, SAKS, and Space NK.

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This fall, I didn’t have as much interest in the fall makeup collections as the old times. Mainly because there aren’t that many stand out items that I don’t already have 10 of! I even passed on the entire Chanel Le Rouge collection as I didn’t think they would suit me. Anyhow the only collection and the star product that took my breath away was the Dior 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette LE (bought here in Australia) from the Dior Skyline Collection 2016. I chose the color 506 Parisian Sky as I liked the two neutral colors of this palette more than the other color 806 Capital of light. Other products from the Skyline Collection are reviewed here and here.

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Love the lacy design of this palette which makes it so desirable, as the intricate detail makes it look super luxurious and brings out the colors more. As usual the color payoff with Dior eye shadow quads is at the middle end – neither too sheer nor too intensely pigmented. They work well with natural hair brushes for application, and the colors apply and blend easily and they have a translucent finish so the colors won’t look too cakey and heavy on the eyes. Texture is superbly smooth and silky, and all shades apply with no fall-out.

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Color description (clockwise)

Top Left: This is the most beautiful shade of the quad. It is a medium sandy taupe color with shimmer in satin finish. Looks amazing over the eye crease.

Top Right: Another beautiful neutral color. It is a sandy champagne with shimmer in satin finish. It particularly compliments the taupe color.

Bottom Right: Dark chocolate brown with shimmer but applies to a semi-satin finish.

Bottom Left: Aqua Tiffany blue color with shimmer in satin finish. I like the sheer finish of it as it doesn’t look too opaque and blue on the skin. I mainly use this color along the lower rim and it looks fresh and makes the eyes pop.

Middle: An icy dusty blue color with a hint of grey undertone. A lovely highlighting shade that goes well with the color theme of this palette.

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I always include an eye cream in my skincare regime, particularly for the morning when I like to use a light eye gel/lotion for hydration as well as for anti-puffiness. One of my favorites is the La Prairie Cellular Revitalizing Eye Gel which really does its job as it claims, and the price tag is not as jaw-dropping as the other products from the line! This is my third bottle and as you can see it’s nearly half way through.

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The eye gel has a refreshingly aqua blue gel texture that feels non-sticky and is absorbed into the skin immediately. It mildly hydrates and smooths out the delicate skin around the eye areas, and it doesn’t leave a film or make the skin too slippery so it makes a good base for under the eye makeup. What I love about this eye gel the most is that it gives an interesting sensation upon application. It feels very cooling on the eyes, which is expected from most eye gels for anti-puffiness. However this eye gel also gives a warm tightening feel at the same time, and it makes you feel that it is doing its job by eliminating the excessive fluid from the applied areas. After 2-3 minutes the sensation disappears, and my morning ‘tired looking’ eyes look visibly more ‘awake’ and less puffy with the skin appearing slightly tightened. Best of all, it doesn’t cause milia (the stubborn white heads around the eye areas if the eye cream is too rich). If you suffer from puffy eyes in the morning then I highly recommend to give this eye gel a try!

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I Found the Perfect Kaftan

August 22, 2016

August and September are popular vacation months. If you are planning a relaxing holiday where you will spend most of the day around the water, then the most important clothing item to have is a nice piece of Kaftan/Coverup. I was on the hunt for the most perfect Kaftan for a long time, so glad I found one by Melissa Odabash before my trip to Phuket which happens to be my favorite beachwear brand. It ticked all the boxes as it had to be white, flowy, delicate but not too frilly and girly; mid length, and not too sheer so I can wear it inside the resort as well. As usual, the quality of Melissa Odabash is superior as the fabric feels so soft and airy, and the embroidered flowers with the tassel fringe makes it look expensive in real life with a touch of boho vibe.

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Sunglasses (pic1) Karen Walker / Sunglasses (pic3) Ray-Ban / Necklace Cartier / Shoes Prada (similar here)

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I had a wonderful vacation at Phuket for 10 days which I am currently organizing some pictures to post soon. It never feels long enough but that’s what makes our vacations so special in our lives (well unless you are a celeb or a global jet setter blogger!) As for me, I am happy with our holidays every 6 months, and I thoroughly enjoy the entire planning process including what to pack! This post is for sharing the skincare products that I brought with me on holiday. Since the destination is a hot tropical island, I brought lots of lightweight hydrating and brightening serums/lotions, and because I love taking pictures I like to have products that keep my face looking firm and lifted so more photogenic… Last but not least, lots and lots of sunscreens are a must.

My favorite beach bag is bought here

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CLEANSERS

Using the Bioderma Micelle Water (travel size) for makeup removal. I love the Ren Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel so much so I bought a full size of this. It’s a rose-infused gentle gel cleanser with a fresh rose smell that feels extremely soothing and refreshing which makes it a perfect morning cleanser. It doesn’t strip any moisture off, and keeps the skin supple and fresh. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant is one of  my HG cleansers for night time use, so I have to bring a travel size along with me. It’s a cleanser and an exfoliator in one that purifies the skin and deep cleans the pores without feeling harsh and drying on the skin. The Clinique Clarifying Lotion 1 is a refreshing toner for sweeping away any dead skin cells, and completely removes last traces of dirt and oil collected in your pores. In such a hot weathered place, I prefer to use multiple cleansing products just to keep my skin very clear and clog free.

SERUMS and MOISTURIZERS

I prep my skin with the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum – it’s a highly potent treatment lotion that immediately hydrates the skin and boost the benefits of other skincare products, (detailed review here). Followed by the luxurious Chantecaille Bio Lifting Serum (reviewed here). It’s hydrating, soothing, anti-aging and provides a lifting effect to the face. During the day, I also apply the Tracie Martyn Face Resculpting Cream which is their signature product from the line. This is the travel friendly size which was made exclusive for Net-A-Porter. It can be used on the face as well as on the body for an immediate sculpting and firming effect. I have quite mixed feelings about it, as it works much better on the body than on the face for me. If you are after a face firming lotion for less than $100, nothing beats the famous Clarins Shaping Facial Lifting Total V Contouring Serum.

MASKS

I have dozens of paper masks with me (a mix of high and low end) on holiday, as the plan is to use at least one per day. As ironic as it sounds for spending most of the day at the beach and the pool during vacay, I don’t want to be tanned because my skin is prone to pigmentation! So every 2 nights I use the Sulwhasoo Snowise Ex Brightening Mask (reviewed here), It’s the best brightening mask I’ve ever used, as it definitely prevents my face from being tanned under long time sun exposure, and it helps to brighten up by one to one and a half shades after long term use. For hydrating and instant radiance boost, I like to use the SK II Facial Treatment Mask. A budget friendly brand is the Korean SNP Masks. I have used lots of theirs animal masks and liked them all. My favorite has to be the rabbit – it’s a multi purpose product that serves as a brightening beauty mask as well as keeping my 3 year old entertained by having a rabbit-faced mommy!

SUN PROTECTION

Using the french drugstore brand LA ROCHE-POSAY as they are rated very highly in a Japanese beauty magazine. Overall they are pretty good. The UVIDEA XL Melt In Cream SPF50 PA++++ is for the face that has a milky lotion texture and is non-greasy and feels light weight on the skin without feeling like having sunscreen on. The Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF50 (best seller) is for the face and the body. It is slightly richer, so I use it on my body as well as for my son as the formula is made for sensitive skin and feels light on the skin so it doesn’t clog the pores and leave a white film on the skin.

BABY

Highly recommend the LA ROCHE-POSAY Baume B5 Soothing Repairing Balm for babies/toddlers. It helps to heal sensitive skin, rashes and insect bites.

 

 

 

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I know it’s true love when I keep a makeup product in its original packaging in my favorite drawer, and use it with ultimate care for fear of spoiling the design – that was my relationship with the Dior Glowing Gardens Illuminating highlighter (reviewed here). So when I spotted this gorgeous Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Shimmering Sculpting Powder 001 from the Skyline Fall 2016 Collection, there was not a second of pause before I added it to my basket (bought here in Australia)! It is just as pretty as the Glowing Gardens release with a slight difference in color, so can also become my backup.

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Texture wise, it is consistent with the limited edition highlight powders from the previous releases. The powder is extremely finely milled, buttery soft and silky smooth to apply. There is no fall-out during application, and the powder is easy to blend to create a soft glow, or can be built up for a more glamorous sheen. The powder blends into the skin seamlessly, so it doesn’t enlarge the pores, and it illuminates the skin without visible shimmer and glitter.

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On first glance, it looked quite similar to the Glowing Pink from memory, but after I have seen them side by side, this powder is more peachy and a tad warmer than the Glowing Pink. I would describe it as a champagne color with a hint of peachy golden undertone. It is a universally flattering all-purpose highlighting color for most complexions, as well as for the eyes. On my NC15-20 color, it goes on translucent with a glow if applied sheer, otherwise it adds a hint of peachy color if applied heavily, but it doesn’t appear to warm on me and still goes well with pink blushes.

Shimmer degree is about medium, as it’s not too shimmery (ie Becca and Nars) but one swipe is enough for creating a visible highlighting effect. This is not a powder that can be used all over the face for an illuminating glow.

Swatch with 1 swipe

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Comparison

Clockwise: Dior Luminizer 001; Chanel Perles Powder (reviewed here); MAC Dunes At Dusk Gleamtones Powder (reviewed here); Becca Champagne Pop (reviewed here); Dior Powder 001 Glowing Pink

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Bottom Line: Must have! Particularly for those of you who missed the highlighters from the Glowing Gardens collection – the good news is this item will be added to the permanent line.

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Rag and Bone is definitely my go-to fashion brand each season, as I find their styles are classic, wearable yet with a cool and modern edge that is right on point. Currently obsessed with this ultra cool quilted black bomber jacket made with satin twill. It is slightly oversized but not too much, and the black and white pinstripe trims add a sporty spin to it. It goes perfect with your favorite jeans and sneakers, or you can go sexy wearing a tight dress inside the jacket. It is selling out fast, and there are a few other similar but budget-friendly pieces for under $150 including this one and this one!

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Jacket – Rag and Bone (bought here, also available on Shopbop and FarFetch with worldwide shipping)

Jeans – Rag and Bone (bought here)

Sunglasses – Tom Ford (available here)

Sneakers- Chanel

Bag – Hermes Birkin in Etain

Lipstick – Kat Von D Love Sick (reviewed here)

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