SHISEIDO

Calling it “I hate clogged pores with passion” is an understatment. Though this problem has become much better as I age (one perk about getting old!) as well as knowing what skincare products work for me, unfortunately every now and then my skin still ‘flares up’ with blackheads on my nose, and some congested pores on my cheeks and forehead due to stress, lack of sleep, and PMS. If that happens, I always reach for my “special skincare kit” that guarantees to clear them up within several days. These four hero products give the most effective result without irritating my sensitive skin, and are also great for prevention. They are the best ones I have used so far, so I must share!

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1. Clarisonic Facial Cleansing System – I have a very detailed review here. This cleansing brush tool is great for prevention and minimizing the occurrence of clogged pores. On average I use it 3 days a week as I don’t like to over exfoliate my skin.

2. Kate Somerville Intensive Exfoliating Treatment – This is the best exfoliator for congested skin. It’s a very strong and robust product  for clearing up mild cases of congested pores and smoothing skin out completely. I apply a very thin layer over the ‘rough areas’ and leave it on for a few minutes. It clears up and clarifies the congested pores by at least 50% after each use.  Since it is a very intensive treatment I wouldn’t use this as my weekly exfoliator, but this is my absolute top pick for treating blackheads/whiteheads on occasions. If you have very sensitive skin you might want to start with the Gentle Exfoliating Treatment first. For daily use I recommend TATCHA Rice Enzyme Powder for purifying the pores gently.

3. Shiseido Revital Retino Science AA Lotion – I bought this product because it has a small percentage of retinol which we all know is a dermatologist approved ingredient for treating enlarged pores. I don’t have much luck with retinol cream but I feel comfortable to use this gentle lotion frequently for hydrating and improving skin texture. This product is a treatment lotion that you use after cleansing, and followed up by other products. The texture is like runny gel and feels very hydrating on the skin which also helps to fight the aging signs.

4. Chanel Le Weekend Renewing Face Care – Chanel released a 3-step simplified skincare product this year. I have used all of them and decided to only repurchase this one. This product is marketed to be used on weekends only as it helps to resurface and renew the skin. I like this product because it contains glycolic acid complex (not sure the percentage but it’s the 4th ingredient) which is another star ingredient for treating congested pores, and it feels gentle enough for my skin. The texture is like a milky serum and it can be used to replace your usual serum and moisturizer. Using this one for 2 days in conjunction with the Shiseido retinol lotion definitely helps to noticeably unclog the pores, and gets you as close as possible to a poreless complexion.  Note that they are not recommended to be used daily, as you don’t want your skin to be too dependent on these strong ingredients especially if you are still young.

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As we all know the BB cream and CC cream are taking the world by storm. The latest release of Perfect Hydrating BB Cream by Shiseido just hit the Australian shores recently, and I was extremely eager to try it out as I am going through the BB and CC cream phase at the moment, and have been reaching to them more frequently than the usual foundations.

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I have been using BB cream on and off for years – when it was first introduced in Korea many years ago. Back then I thought BB cream in general was way too over hyped as most of them that I tried were quite ordinary. Fast forward to now, and there are much better BB creams in the market as the technology has evolved. I am very impressed with the new ones that I have purchased lately, and the Shiseido BB Cream is one of them.

Product Information:

- A multifuntional BB cream with a makeup effect and skincare benefits for bright, vibrant lookinng skin that is moistruized, and protected against UV damaage. It is oil free and has SPF30. For the ingredient list [;ease refer to the Sephora website.

My Thoughts:

Texture:

Unlike the traditional BB cream which is thick and heavy, the Shiseido has a silky fluid texture. The lightweight formula blends evenly and instantly assimilates with the skin, and  leaves no traces of makeup on the skin.  It is perfect for those of you who don’t like the feel of wearing makeup. It also keeps the skin quite hydrated and supple, so there is no need to prep the skin with loads of other products prior to using this one if you don’t have dry skin. However you might find this product not nourishing and rich enough if you have very dry skin.

Color:

The color match is also great for people with fair complexion. I bought it in Light Clare which is the lightest shade of the range. It matches me perfectly (I am NC15) without any grey cast and oxidation – as you can see in the comparison swatch below.

Shiseido-Perfect-Hydrating-BB-Cream-review-light-clare-swatch

Coverage:

It offers a sheer coverage that helps to even out the complexion with a natural, translucent and slightly dewy finish. It helps to conceal the pores and redness moderately, and does not enhance any dry skin. I personally like to use this product first, then followed by using a concealer to cover up the problematic areas.

Bottom Line: If you have good skin to begin with, you would love this product as it offers the most natural and comfortable even-toned finish with a soft glow. It also serves a great foundation primer as it is extremely lightweight and comes with a decent level of SPF30.

The Shiseido Perfect Hydrating BB cream is available at Sephora and Nordstrom in the US, and House of Fraser and Harrods in the UK with international shipping available.

I bought mine at David Jones for AUD$52.

 

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This is another post requested by my readers – A FOTD of dark smokey eyes paired with pale blush and lips. I hardly wear smokey eyes so I thought that was such a good idea for me to practice. I wanted to wear black eye shadows, and the Nars Pandora Duo Eye Shadow was the first one that came to my mind. I bought this duo many years ago when I was in the Nars phase, but had never worn them yet! So I am giving this duo a road test today.

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Pandora contains a matte black shade and a shimmery white shade, and it is regarded as one of the most iconic Nars duos (along with Rated R) to be collected. Surprisingly, it is not as difficult to wear as I thought. Both the black and white shades apply smoothly and evenly, and are easy to blend. It is very densely packed so I didn’t experience any fall out with this product using a fluffy blending brush (MAC 217).

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Face: I wanted my base makeup to look sheer and natural, so I opted for the Sunday Riley Tinted Moisturizer, and the Bobbi Brown Corrector for under eyes concealing. Then I set my makeup with the Tom Ford Translucent Finishing Powder.

Cheeks: A few swipes of Chanel Joues Contraste in Narcisse.

Eyes: Since Pandora is matte and can look flat on the eyes, I first used the Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill 13 Noifa for a sheer wash of color over the eye socket. This is my go-to product for quick  smokey eyes – it blends out beautifully with MAC 217 and the shimmer straight away creates a multi-dimensional layered effect without the need of applying 4 and 5 different shades! I then applied the black shade of Pandora starting from the lash line into the crease for a more dramatic effect. The white shade was added  under the brow bone to highlight.

Brows: They were done when preparing this eye brow tutorial, though this post shows the nose contour (step 5) better.

Lips: Applied with the Shiseido Sheer Gloss Lipstick in Doll Pink which is my favorite pale pink lipstick, then MAC Creme Sheen Glass in Partial Pink was layered on top. They go perfectly together!

More pictures:

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My Best Concealers

December 15, 2011

I’ve been meaning to do a concealer post for a long time. I can live without foundations but I can’t live without a good concealer, because I would never leave my house without wearing one hence I have collected many…  My concealers are mainly for highlighting the under eye areas. I don’t really have visible dark circles but I find that brightening the under eye areas makes a HUGE difference to my complexion, as it just instantly makes me look more awake and my face looks more lifted.

I am a little lazy doing a proper review on each concealer that I own (you know as a beauty blogger once in a while you lose the blogging mojo!…), so I thought I’ll just quickly share what I have with you now.

THE BREAKDOWN:

Chanel Corrector: It’s a good concealer but not the best, will not repurchase.


Shiseido Natural Finish Creamy Concealer: Nothing special about this one, will not repurchase.

SANA Make Essence Concealers: One is a yellow based concealer in an essence (serum) consistency to cover dark circles, and the other one is a pink based concealer with silicone to cover pores. Best value for money as they only cost less than $10 each.

ColorScience Eyes Wide Open Eye Brightener: Strictly speaking it is an eye cream with a baby blue color made of all natural botanical ingredients.  It has a lotion consistency that sinks into your skin straight away. When it is first applied it has a cooling sensation, then quite magically it brightens and takes away the dark circles very effectively. A great alternative for those of you who don’t like to wear makeup. I bought it on skinstore, and you can find more reviews on this product there as well.

Ellis Faas Concealer: My most recent favorite! The texture is creamy but not heavy, easy to blend and provides very good coverage as well as brightening. For those of you who prefer a lightweight concealer that has a better coverage than the YSL Touche Eclat, this is the product to try.

YSL Touche Eclat: My all time favorite concealer for the under eyes! It just has a perfect formulation to diffuse light and create a soft illumating effect. The texture is neither too creamy nor too silicony, which makes it perfect for the delicate under eye areas as it will not enhance any fine lines. In the meantime it is great for retouching your makeup any time of the day, as it glides on smoothly without rubbing off your base makeup.

Estee Lauder Ideal Light: A cheaper dupe for the YSL Touche Eclat.

Bobbi Brown Corrector: Very creamy and emollient and it covers the dark circles well, I don’t feel the need of applying another concealer on top of it as recommended by Bobbi Brown. My only gripe is that it doesn’t last the whole day and it makes my mascara smudge.

Shu Uemura Pro Concealer: A heavy coverage and dryer concealer that I use to cover occasional spots.

Cle de Peau Concealer: Another holy grail concealer for me. This is my third tube! Formulation is perfection and it is versatile enough to cover both the dark circles and freckcles/blemishes in a natural way.

Benefit Powderflage: My HG setting/concealer/illumating powder for under eyes.

To conclude, my favorites have to be the Cle de Peau Concealer and the YSL Touche Eclat. What is your favorite concealer?

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For the month of November I was mainly focusing on achieving a flawless complexion.  If you have read my previous posts you would know my skin was breaking out more than usual over the time in US, so I have spent a great deal of time on finding the right skincare products that can clear up my skin as soon as possible (I have zero tolerance for them!), as well as fading the acne scars. For makeup I opted for base makeup that offers a slightly more coverage than what I would normally go for, so they can help me to ‘fake’ a flawless complexion on a bad skin day.

Let’s start with my favorite skincare of the month. After I was let down by Tanda Zap that failed to clear up any blemishes, I went back to my trusted formulation – Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acid. I started with the Peter Thomas Roth AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel, which contains potent AHA and a high strength of BHA (2%). Then I couldn’t help but buy the MD Formulation Vit-A-Plus Clearing Gel which has an even higher concentration of salicylic acid (5%), and it also includes retinol. Combined with MD Formulation Vit-A-Plus Clearing Complex Masque, I saw visible results within 3 days, after 1 week my blemishes were almost all gone and they also prevented new blemishes from appearing. All of these products are extremely harsh to the skin, so I needed an extremely gentle cleanser to neutralize the harsh effects. The Bobbi Brown Extra Balm Rinse is the savior.

At the moment I am focusing on having my skin repaired as I was left with some acne marks. The Creme de la Mer The Concentrate has recently been voted as the Best Skin Secret by Harper’s Bazaar Australia, and I can’t agree with them more. La Mer has always been marketed as a miracle for anti aging, but little did people know the healing power of their products. If  you are familiar with La Mer’s signature ingredient – the miracle broth, it was initially developed by the founder to heal severely burnt skin, and I believe this is what some of their products are best used for. The Creme de la Mer The Concentrate contains the highest concentration of miracle broth, and is mainly used for treating scars, not for anti aging. It is the best I’ve used for repairing damaged and irritated skin, as it heals wounds, and fades scars quite miraculously!

The weather was somewhat dry in the States, and now it’s cold in Sydney. So I have been using Laura Mercier’s Moisturizing Foundation, finished with either Cle de Peau Beaute Translucent Loose Powder or La Mer The Powder. For concealing, I love using the Bobbi Brown Corrector in light bisque. If I want some extra luminosity, I topped it up with YSL’s Touche Eclat, of which I have now lost count of how much of this I have gone through. The Shiseido Foundation Brush made me fall in love with compact foundations again, as I have been using this brush with either Laura Mercier Mineral Powder or Edward Bess Sheer Satin Foundation (not in the picture) whenever my skin needed more coverage, and they have worked their wonders to fake a flawless complexion.

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I am very happy with my latest foundation brush purchase, which is the Shiseido Foundation Brush 131 – the Japanese Version. I have previously done a foundation brushes overview post and was quite happy with my current collection, but there is something about this brush that just really clicked with me.

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The Shiseido Foundation Brush 131 was released a while ago in Japan. First of all, it has achieved phenomenal success in an already saturated brushes market. Almost every Japanese beauty magazine has done a feature on this brush. Secondly, this brush was designed and endorsed by THE celebrity makeup artist 山本浩未. She is known for her flawless and natural base makeup creation and is the magic hand behind all of the amazing beauty shoots for some of the most popular Japanese mags such as Voce, Vivi and Ray. Most importantly, it is a very affordable brush. I bought it for only USD$20 at Adambeauty. There is also a high end version of it released by Shiseido.

The Shiseido Foundation Brush is made of synthetic fiber, and it feels incredibly soft and bouncy on the skin. Most of the foundation brushes are made of synthetic fiber and this brush is the softest amongst all.  The bristles are also the most densely packed – it’s important for a foundation brush as it means it will leave no foundation streaks if you apply it the correct way.

It’s a flat top brush but it is slanted, and don’t confuse this as a Kabuki brush as it is not meant for buffing. The application method is slightly different – in essence you dab the foundation on to the skin first, mainly focusing on the large pore areas and the under eye areas, then you gently smooth the foundation outward. I highly recommend that you view the following videos in which the makeup artists demonstrate the application method in detail.

Video Demonstration by 山本浩未

Video Demonstration from Shiseido

shiseido-perfect-foundation-brush-131-1The makeup artist was using a dry compact foundation with this brush in both videos, and that’s also what I love using this brush for. If you find that applying compact foundation/powder with a sponge gives a cakey and blotchy finish and hard to blend, then this is THE perfect tool for it. I have been using it with my Laura Mercier mineral powder foundation and the Edward Bess Creamy Compact foundation, and the result is so remarkable that it got me totally hooked!

Bottom Line: A remarkable and affordable foundation brush that is excellent for applying liquid foundation, dry or creamy compact foundations. I don’t think I can live without it!

 

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This is a long overdue post as I have been requested to do a rundown on my daily skincare routine many times. Well the reason I’ve been procrastinating was because I had no idea where to begin! Between makeup and skincare, I am probably more passionate about skincare although I don’t talk much about it on this blog as often as makeup. I shop and go through lots of products every month. My approach is quite open-minded so I’m always open to try new things – I am not one of those girls who thoroughly check the ingredients before making a purchase. As long as I think the product will work for my skin type I’m always happy to give it a go.

Just some background information before I embark on my skincare routine. My skin is oily on the surface and dehydrated inside. If it is not well hydrated my makeup would appear just sitting on top of my skin whilst it still produces a lot of oil throughout the day. I also have pigmentation (freckles) across my cheeks. Other than that, I don’t have wrinkles, fine lines, and no signs of loss of firmness. My main goal is to keep my skin looking and feeling fresh, supple, moisturized, firm and plumped with no visible appearance of pores.

These are the products I have been using everyday for the past 2 months. Some of these are my holy grails, some of these are new products I have been trialing through, and I like the results so I have incorporated them into my daily regime. I tend to go for products that are gentle, lightweight and hydrating with some anti-aging benefits. Anything that is too rich and oily will cause congestion or even break-outs to my skin.

As you can see I am not loyal to any brands haha..I generally prefer high end brands for basic skincare but I also have a love for Asian drugstore brands for masks (I have tons of them!).

My Morning Routine:

I clean my face with Elemis Rehydarting Rosepetal Cleanser, then I apply SK II Facial Treatment Essence generously on my face, and pat my face till it absorbs. SK II Aqua Physics Serum is full of pitera and hyaluronic acid which keeps my skin supple and hydrated all day. Finish with Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Moisturising Gel. (probably the best product out of the entire white lucent range)

For my eyes I like to use La Prairie Cellular Revitalizing Eye Gel – have gone through tons of anti-puffiness eye gels and this is the only one that really works!

My Evening Routine:

I remove my makeup with the Eve Lom Cleanser with its muslin cloth – my HG cleanser, then apply the SK II Facial Treatment Essence liberally again. Serum is an essential item in my skincare routine – at the moment I am using the Trilogy Age Proof  Nutrient Plus Firming Serum and the CQ10 Booster Serum interchangeably.  Trilogy is one of my favorite organic skincare lines that is based in New Zealand. If you are into natural skincare I highly recommend giving them a go as they are affordable and really deliver what they claim to. Moisturizer is switched to the Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Moisturizing Emulsion W – it’s designed for nightime so the texture is slighter richer than the gel version.

I also use a different eye cream at night time – the Shiseido Bio Performance Super Eye Contour Cream keeps the fine lines at bay without being too nutritional for my age so it doesn’t cause any milia. Don’t forget to take care of the neck girls! I am using the Shiseido Benefiance Concentrated Neck Contour Treatment.

That’s it for my basic skincare. I use more products as special treatments throughout the week so there will be part 2, part 3….

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June Favorites

July 2, 2011

June is a happy month. I never realised until my colleague pointed out to me the other day – June is the only month we receive 3 pay days because there are 5 Wednesdays in June! How cool is that?! So of course the money has to be well utilized..:-P I did quite a few huge hauls lately and hopefully they will be reviewed in this blog soon. Before I open a set of new makeup and skin care products, these are the products I have been actively reaching for throughout June.

MAKEUP ORGANIZER:

I really like this makeup holder, it is big enough to hold all the makeup I use for a month. It also looks nice on my dresser as it is made of crystal like acrylic.

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FACE MAKEUP:

Guerlian L’OR Radiance Concentrate with Pure Gold Makeup Base:  You all have heard me complaining my skin has been dehydrated lately and I came to appreciate how hydrating this primer is compared to the others. It really makes a difference to the way my foundation sits on my skin.

Les Tissages De Chanel in Tweed Pink: My On-the-Go blush as mentioned in my previous review.

By Terry Highlighting Powder: One of my favorite highlighting powders as it gives an airbrushed glow.

Clinique Blush Powder in 108 Cupid: Just a nice and easy to wear fall shade.

Becca Loose Powder: Very finely filled and looks natural on the skin.

BRUSHES:

Nars Yachiyo Brush: If I could only use 1 brush for the face it would be this one! It has multi functional design that is perfect for blending, applying blush as well as highlighting.

Calvin Klein Face Brush: What can I say..this brush is softer than my Mac, Chanel and Nars brushes and it’s only $15!

EYE MAKEUP:

Been layering these shadows to create different neutral looks

Nars Dogon Eyeshadow Duo

Nars All about Eve Eyeshadow Duo

Giorgio Armani Intense Eyes To Kill Eyeshadow in 08 Nola  

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LIPS:

MAC Cremesheen in JAZZED

Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Lipstick in 105: perfect nude for me.

Chanel Levres Scintillantes Glossimer in Volage

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LIP TREAMENTS:

Lush Lip Scrub: Love the pink sugar and the bubblegum scent!

Chanel Hydramax Active Nutrition Lip Care: I like to use a lip treatment rather than lip balm before I go to bed. Chanel Hydramax Lip care gives me baby soft lips the next day.

Sportsgirl Lip Balm: My new discovery. It has a pleasant rockmelon scent and the texture reminded me of the By Terry Baume de Rose. It also leaves a hint of baby pink color on the lips.

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HAIRCARE:

Frederic Fekkai Technician Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner: Frederic Fekkai and KERASTASE are my two favorite hair care lines. Their products always meet my expectations. This color technician range preserve the hair color while moisturizing and having a pleasant peachy scent.

Aveda Brilliant Damage Control: It is a heat protective spray – I like to use it on my 2nd day hair for heat protection; detangling and refreshing my hair. It has a unique soothing herbal scent that lingers on my hair for the whole day.

SKINCARE:

Jurlique Balancing Cleansing Lotion: I always prefer to use a gentle cleanser with a natural aroma scent in the morning to start my day off. This one leaves my skin soft and supple.

Jurlique Moisture Replenishing Mask: It used to be called Deep Penetrating Cream Mask. I think the former name is a much better description of the product. It is more of a refining mask that tightens up the pores, brightens up the complexion and clearing up the breakout pigmentation. It is not just for moisturizing.

Shiseido Benefiance Firming Massage Mask: I went through tons of this mask. One of the best nourishing, moisturizing and firming masks I have used!

 

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