Beauty Tools

Monthly Favorites!

February 5, 2017

Just a quick post on the weekend rounding up some of my favorite products over the past few months. Some have already been reviewed, and some are recently acquired that I fell in love with.

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1. Dior DreamSkin Perfect Cushion Foundation – Out of all the cushion foundations I have, this one is my top HG as it just enhances the skin to perfection! Not quite a foundation, more of a skin perfector – Reviewed here.

2. Suqqu Dual Ended foundation brush – This is the latest brush released by Suqqu, and you will never go wrong with them!

3. Zovea Nude Eye Shadow Palette – Been reaching out to this affordable palette a lot for an array of beautiful neutral shades in different finishes, and it is especially great for travel. Reviewed here.

4. Chanel Le Rouge Lip Crayon – Best formulas for lip crayons ever! Reviewed here.

5. Cle De Peau Radiant Fluid Foundation – It gives a beautiful natural radiant second-skin finish that lasts the whole day. Review to come soon.

6. Sisley Double Tenseur Moisturizing Gel – My HG daytime skincare lotion as well as a makeup primer that hydrates and lifts the skin instantly. Reviewed here.

7. SK-II Genopitcs Aura Essence – A hydrating and brightening serum that gives the skin a beautiful radiance and glow. It truly works overnight as well as over the long run. Review to come soon.

8. Baby Quasar MD Plus – Can’t live without this tool and even got my mum hooked on to it. It is expensive but it’s the best beauty investment I have ever made for anti-aging treatment at home. It’s easy to use and gives a pro-salon result over a short time. Review to soon.

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It is the time of the year where everybody has lots of social gatherings planned, and we all want to look at our best! I have been good with my diet (trying to eat very clean food so I can fit into my party dresses and look less bloated), and most importantly I picked up some skincare products and tools that will instantly transform the appearance and texture of the skin to a better condition, and preps my skin to be party-ready (radiant and smooth).

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Baby Quasar MD Plus – Salon therapies definitely give you an instant skin transformation, but they are pricey and requires down time. At-home beauty tools are always a cheaper option to try, and they are far more effective than solely relying on the skincare. My latest addition is the Baby Quasar MD Plus. I have had it a few times in salons, and I finally decided to get the home version. It is not cheap, but I like the result it delivers and it is a gentle tool to use. It emits 4 different wavelengths that deeply penetrate,  stimulates collagen reproduction and over a short time your skin appears firmer with an improved density. I will do a full review on the tool soon, but in summary, this tool makes my skin appear  plumped up and more youthful looking with a glow instantly.

Kate Somerville Exfolikate – Still my HG exfoliator. I use it more intensively 2 weeks before the events/parties. It makes my skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom, and prevents congestion from clogging up.

GlamGlow TingleExfoliate Treatment – Another HG skincare item. A deep cleaning and clarifying mask that brightens and detoxifies the skin. Skin looks ultra clear and luminous after use!

Cle De Peau Essential Correcting Refiner – Best of the best pore refining lotion in the market! Full review coming soon

SKII Facial Treatment Essence – Alternating Cle De Peau with SKII, this famous highly concentrated Pitera liquid lotion deeply hydrates, clarifies and brightens for achieving crystal clear skin.

Suqqu Massage & Mask Creme – Face lift in a jar and is equivalent to the result of having a facial. It is a nourishing and moisturizing mask that gets rid of water retention, instantly creates a slimmer and more toned jaws and lifted cheeks and eyes following the enclosed GANKIN massage techniques.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream – Best seller from Charlotte Tilbury that she uses on Celebs and models before events. It cheats the appearance of 8 hours sleep and gives a plumped, glowing, youthful dewy complexion in a flash!

Chanel Le Lift Cream – Reviewed here. My go-to moisturizer for recontouring and refining the complexion.

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I love doing top 5 (or more) picks posts, and today I am sharing some of my ultimate favorite eye shadow blending brushes. If you ask me to pick only a few favorite lip colors, it will be nearly mission impossible, but with brushes it’s a relative easy job as I tend to reach out for these brushes all the time, and I just know that my makeup routine will not be the same without them! They are suitable for all budgets, ranging from the most premium high end such as Suqqu, to the very affordable brand from the rising star Zoeva.

From left to right:

Suqqu M, Chanel Large Tapered Brush #19, Tom Ford Blend Brush, MAC 217, ZOEVA 227, Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush

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All of these brushes are of very high quality, even though they are priced differently because of the type and source of bristles, where they were made and the packaging along with the brand name. However in terms of usability, they all stand the test of time and will last you at least 10 years of use. I have had each of them for a very long time, and none of them shed hair, change shape or fall apart.

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MAC 217 – Using the MAC 217 as the standard blending brush. Needless for me to say how useful this brush is for eye shadow application, and you can find my detailed review for MAC brushes in this post.

ZOEVA 227 Soft Definer – If you love the MAC 217, you will love this ZOEVA brush made with goat hair which pretty much feels and works the same. The hair softness is similar, with an oval shape, but a tad more flat than 217 which is great for working the color into the crease. I love ZOEVA brushes in general which I have hauled a lot lately – they are affordable with a big selection, and I find that the quality is on par with MAC. Each brush comes in an individual zip bag.

Edwass Bess Luxury Eye Brush (available here in Australia) – This is the star product from his line. I have had this brush for more than 5 years. It boasts the same dome shape as the MAC 217, but slightly larger and feels softer and more dense against the skin. It is a powerful blending brush that gives lots of resilience so it blends eye shadow effortlessly. I normally like to use this brush for applying a neutral color over the entire eye crease area, and it only takes 1 to 2 strokes for the color to distribute evenly and seamlessly.

Tom Ford Eyeshadow Blend Brush (bought here in Australia) – The ultimate luxury eye shadow blending brush you could ever find, as the packaging and the handle feels so luxurious and precious that makes you not want to ever use it! Once you overcome the ‘obstacle’, you will find this is such a practical blending brush. The bristle is made of premium super soft goat hair, and it is all hand made in Japan. It is about the same size as MAC217, but the head is more tapered for a more precise application. It’s particularly great for blending the color just along the crease, and blending multiple colors.

Chanel Large Tapered Blending Brush (exclusive to Chanel.com only) This is best-seller out of the entire Chanel brushes collection. I was actually on the wait list for a while until it became available again. All Chanel brushes have black bristles, except for this exclusive edition with white bristles which makes me adore it even more! It’s made of goat hair, and is made in France. It’s a cute and ‘chubby’ blending brush compared to the MAC 217. The brush head is more rounder and dense with shorter hair, and it picks up lots of pigments which works perfectly with eye shadows that do not have intense color payoff. If you always want a brush that is tad smaller than MAC217, then this is the one to look out for.

SUQQU Brush M – Last but not least, leaving the best at the end. The Suqqu is the crème de la crème, as it has the softest squirrel hair that feels non scratchy even on the most sensitive skin. It is a smaller blending brush (same size as the Chanel) with a tapered end. The ultra fine and silky soft bristles deposit the pigments softly on the skin, so it is the best for applying dark colored eye shadows to create perfect shade gradation, as well as allowing for precise application around the eye corners. I have a post for the entire Suqqu brushes.

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I often get asked about my updated skincare routine from my readers, and it seems a very big job for me to consolidate everything I use into one post. I am currently in the process of shortlisting a handful of products that I absolutely love. In the meantime, I like to share with you a selection of products that I am bringing along with for my upcoming 2 weeks vacation in Hawaii! These are the trial and tested products that I pulled from my current skincare selections (not just random samples), and they are mainly for keeping my skin clear, congestion free, hydrated and lifted (so more photogenic) on a hot destination.

best-skincare-routine-tutorial-normal-oily-skin-reviewCLEANSE:

TATCHA One Step Camilia Cleansing Oil: My holy grail cleansing oil for removing makeup. One pump is all you need for removing the makeup completely, and it emulsifies well and most importantly it doesn’t make my vision blur for days if it gets into my eyes accidentally.

SUQQU Eye Makeup Remover: It removes the eye makeup including waterproof mascara easily, and is super gentle for my sensitive eyes.

TATCHA Polished Rice Enzyme Powder:  Love this gentle powder exfoliator that also helps to brighten. It totally deserves a separate review post for it.

MASKS:

GLAMGLOW PowerMud DualCleanse Treatment: It is currently my favorite deep cleansing mask. I love it so much so I bought a mini size just for this trip. It is gentle (doesn’t sting), but very effective for lifting all the impurities and clearing out the pores.

SK-II Facial Treatment Mask: My go-to paper mask for ultimate hydration and glowy skin. I plan to use one a day so it helps to reverse the damage from the sun, and keep my skin hydrated and brightened.

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DAY & NIGHT:

La Mer The Reparative Face Sun Lotion SPF 30: If you want to simplify your skincare routine, this is possibly the only product you need in the morning. It is La Mer Moisturing lotion + SPF30 sun protection. This milky lotion is less richer than their famous cream, so it is light enough to use in the morning with the same repairing benefits as in all La Mer products.

La Mer The Mist: A very refreshing and hydrating mist that is great to use during the day to replenish the moisture and keep the skin cool.

Dr Ci LaboVitamin C Special100 Series: Pure vitamin c oil that moisturizes and also helps to improve pigmentation and brighten up the skin. It’s great for mixing in with other products.

For Beloved One Mandelic Acid Renewal Serum 20% . It is the newest ingredient that surpasses the effect of BHA+AHA which is trending everywhere in Asia now. It gives a deep exfoliation (like a mild peel effect) to the skin, and it is the most effective I have ever used for clearing up pores, and preventing pore congestion. If you notice your skin is not as smooth, or has white heads, and congested pores but difficult to remove, then this serum brings all the dirt and impurities to the skin surface and help to dissolve them after 2-3 uses. Continuous use will help the pores to stay clear longer. I use it twice a week, and always mix it with the vitamin c oil to make it more diluted and apply it over the areas prone to congestion.

Beauty Bar 24K Gold:  My favorite portable beauty tool for de-puffing and a temporary more lifted look (reviewed here).

Methode Jeannue Piaubert Visagist Facial Slimming Roll-On: This brand makes the best slimming and contouring body products. I was excited to find out that they also have a slimming skincare product for the face. I bought this in Europe earlier this year, and unfortunately I can’t find any stockist online.

HAIR & BODY:

Jurlique Hand Cream: Holy grail hand cream that I have repurchased over and over.

Original Mineral Frizzy Logic Shine Serum: A weightless serum that repairs the hair and control the frizzes. Similar to Argan oil but I prefer this one.

 

 

 

 

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A quick review on the Charlotte Tilbury Life Changing Lashes Curler this weekend. I managed to get it from Selfridges as it is a very popular product from the brand. Obviously I have a thing for gold packaging, so I’ve also bought the limited edition Shu Uemura X15 Curler in gold from the 2015 Maison Kitsune Holiday Collection which will be used as a comparison in this post.

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Generally speaking, the packaging of Charlotte Tilbury products look better than how they feel. This eyelash curler looks stunning in the rose gold color, but it feels light and a little on the flimsy side. The spring does not feel as tight as the other high end lash curlers, and it doesn’t feel very sturdy when clamping compared to my holy grail Shu Uemura’s curler.

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Apart from the flimsy aspect, this eye lash curler does work very well. The performance is pretty much on par with the Shu Uemura’s. I have quite flat eyes (not as curved), and my eye lids are slightly hooded, and my lashes are medium length (Asian standard!) and straight. This curler fits my eyes very well – it doesn’t pinch the skin and it catches all the lashes in one go which is important for me so I don’t need to curl the lashes at different angles multiple times.  It is easy to curl the lashes from the roots with this tool, and it lifts the lashes up within a few seconds (2-3 clamps only).

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Overall I recommend this eye lash curler if you like Shu’s or the Shiseido Curler. It is quite lightweight, perhaps that’s what makes this curler work! I have used some well made and highly raved curlers from Suqqu (reviewed here) and Le Metier De Beaute, but they didn’t work for me. As a general guide, you should replace the rubber band every 4-5 months, and replace the curler every 1-2 years as the spring tends to lose its pressure depending how much you use it.

I bought the Charlotte Tilbury lash curler here that ship internationally, and it comes with an extra rubber band. It is also available here and here but they are all on back-order for now.

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One of my most frequently asked questions is how do I clean my makeup brushes, and I’ve finally decided to put together this big post about everything I do to keep my beloved brushes in their pristine condition.

There is no such one product that fits all. I use different types of brush cleaners based on the brush functions, types and colors. I don’t always go for ‘professional brush cleaners’, and I don’t mind using shampoos to clean the brushes that are made of natural hair. At the end of the day if this shampoo is good enough for my own hair, it is also good enough for a brush!

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When to clean your brushes and how often

Ideally, it would be good if you can clean/wash your brushes once a week. If you don’t have the time, another good indication is that when you find the bristles of your brushes are no longer as soft as they originally are, or you notice your makeup has an oily film on top that hardens the powder, which is normally due to the grease from your brushes being transferred to the powder.

Tools

I’ve only recently started washing my brushes with the Sigma Brush Cleaning Glove, and I love it to bits! It has 2 designs – one side for cleaning the face brush, and the other side for cleaning eye makeup brushes. The glove is made of soft silicone, and each side has different patterns and textures for different uses. It is definitely a very useful tool for a deeper and effective clean, and most importantly, it cuts the washing time in half!

There are a lot of rinse-free brush cleaners in the market that allows you to clean your brushes on the go. It is very convenient to use, and is recommended to be used to clean the brush after each use. I normally spray some on to a paper towel (cotton pad and tissue are not as good as they can become fluffy) and swirl the brushes multiple times till the colors are removed. If you have brushes made of white hair, this is a very important cleaning job to keep the bristles white for as long as its possible.  Otherwise the pigments will stain the white hair if the color is not removed immediately. My picks are the MAC Brush Cleaner, Shu Uemura Brush Cleaner, and the very affordable cleaner from Daiso. They all contain a bit of alcohol so they also help to disinfect the brushes.

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Foundation Brush

Foundation and concealer brushes take the longest time to clean in my opinion. They are normally made of synthetic hair, and there is always a lot of build up over time. I like to use a bit of makeup oil just to dissolve the grease in the first wash, and followed up by a shampoo for a thorough wash. My current favorite is the QV gentle shampoo or ECO Store Baby Shampoo to wash synthetic hair brush – they are gentle, chemical free and forms a rich lather which is great for washing the dense brushes and removing oily makeup products from the bristles.

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Natural Black Hair brush

I have invested in a lot of premium brushes such as the Suqqus, Tom Fords, CHIKUHODOS etc . Since they are all made of premium natural hair, I like to use an organic animal shampoo to wash these brushes. My current favorite is the John Masters Organic Pet Shampoo; other pick is the Aesop. They are all made of 100% organic natural ingredients so they are safe to use on expensive brushes. They also contain some conditioning agents which are great for keeping the bristles soft, glossy and protected.

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Natural White Hair brush

As mentioned above, I always use a rinse free brush cleaner to remove the color pigments after each use, and every few weeks I wash them with an organic shampoo. If you want to make the white hair even whiter and cleaner, or if there is any tough stain to remove. I have a great tip from the MAC MU – the SARD Wonder Soap literally gets rid of everything and makes the hair incredibly clean and whiter. However it does tend to dry out the hair a little, so I suggest to apply a little bit of lightweight conditioner for another rinse.

Sponges

Sponges and powder puffs should be washed  more frequently than brushes. My everyday sponges include the Beauty Blenders and the Shu Uemera Sponge (can’t live without them!). I always wash them with the Beauty blender Cleanser which is made of all natural ingredients. Recently I discovered a very cheap makeup sponge cleaner by Daiso Makeup Sponges Detergent.

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I have recently re-organized my makeup bag before my trip to Sweden, so I thought I’ll do a ‘what’s in my bag’ post. The makeup pouch is from Louis Vuitton 2015 Summer Collection limited edition. I really like the bright pink V graphic on it and its matching hot pink interior – it is very on trend and adds a playful touch to a rather classic style! The size is also quite compact, and I like the round shape (rather than a flat pouch) so it’s great for holding lots of makeup!

louis-vuitton-lv-cosmetic-pouch-monogram-v-summer-2015-makeup-bagClockwise:

1. Dior Eye Reviver Eyeshadow Palette – reviewed here

2. Bobbi Brown Cheek Palette Pink – reviewed here

3. Suqqu Cheek Brush – The greatest investment you can make for a brush! I have been using it everyday for the past 3 years and it is still in perfect condition (reviewed here)

4. Chantecaille Corrector Concealing Pen – reviewed here

5. Beauty Bar 24k Gold – Highly recommend! I use this face massage tool whenever I can for an instant lifted contour (reviewed here).

6. Dior Rainbow Powder – I use it as a setting powder with a kabuki brush for a soft glow with a brightening effect (reviewed here).

7. BBrowBar Brow Pen – Best brow pen I have ever used (reviewed here)!

8. Charlotte Tilbury Liquid Pencil in Eye Cheat – Can’t live without this pencil now. I use it on the lower waterline and it instantly makes my eyes appear more awakened and bigger (reviewed here)

9. Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliner in Marron Glace –  A lovely rusty brown color I like to use on the along the lower lash line.

10. Chanel Le Volume Mascara – This mascara gives the most feathery fanned out lashes.

11. Dior Addict It Line– Review coming soon. Absolutely addicted to this liner!

12. Chanel Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Color in Roussy – reviewed here

The interior

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I received a lot of questions about the  Beauty Bar 24K Gold Face Perfection BEAURA that was featured in this post, so I made sure my review was up asap!  When I first heard about this tool many years ago, I laughed off the idea as it sounded very gimmicky to me. Surprisingly it quickly became a top selling beauty tool across Asia.  It wasn’t until I came across an interview with one of my favorite celebrities who is in her 40s but still looks like in her 20s without the frozen face, and she swears by this product. So the next thing you knew, I placed an order for this (the newer version) immediately.

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I have been using it for several months and I absolutely cannot live without it! It actually went missing in my house for a week and I was paranoid! This brand currently sells two versions of this. The original version has a bar head, and the new version has the circular head.  I chose the latter as it is more suitable for massaging around the whole face including the eye areas and the forehead.

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What does it do

It is a face  massaging tool that is plated in 24K gold that releases gold ions and provides micro-vibration for up to 6000 a minute which provides enough stimulation to the facial muscles for skin-tightening and lifting-contour effects. It also claims to provide skin whitening and anti-aging benefits but I cannot attest this based on my skin condition.

My experience

I am using this tool solely for face lifting purposes, and it really works as per my expectations. I normally wake up with a puffy face that appears much rounder than in the evening, so I use this bar to massage my cheeks along the jaw lines in an upward motion for about 5 minutes in the morning. It completely takes away the water retention, and makes my face contour appear much more defined. With this tool, the longer you use it, the better the results you will see. If I want my face to appear extra slimmer with a more lifted (the V shape) effect, then it’s achievable if I use this tool for about 10 to 15 minutes. I also find this helps to minimize the appearance nasolabial folds (may work for other deep creases) by pressing the beauty bar against it for about several minutes. What I love about this tool is that it’s extremely portable and easy to use, as it’s about the size of a highlight concealer pen so I can carry it with me all the time. Being a mum I have very little “own time”, so I really appreciate the fact that I can multi-task while using this tool.  And it does not require special gels to be used underneath and can even be used over makeup.

If I have to pick on one flaw, it would be that it does not allow you to adjust the intensity of the vibration. Therefore I cannot use this on my eye lid to de-puff as the vibration is just way too strong for the eyes, but it’s not a problem to be used around the outer corners of the eyes for me.

How I use it

Hold the tool at the bottom to get the maximum vibration, as the vibration will be reduced if you are holding it too close to the massage head. I normally use it after applying the moisturizer and before makeup. For optimum and fast results, I always incorporate a face firming lotion/cream into my skincare routine before the massage such as my current favorite The Chanel LE LIFT or the cult favorite Clarins Shaping Facial Lift Total V Conturing Serum.

Bottom Line

A must have if you fall into the following categories:

– suffers from water retention and puffiness in the face like me

– starts to show initial signs of face sagging, and formation of jowl!

– wants to look more photogenic

I bought my Beauty Bar 24K Gold here, and a similar version by LANCER is available at Nordstrom here.

Update to include more information about the tool

– The product is made in Japan, and beware of the fake ones on some sites.

– It requires 1 AA Battery, and it lasts about 3 months for daily use.

–  not rechargeable (no power charger)

– waterproof

 

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