Teal Fishtail Braid Manicure: Inspired by Knitting!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

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My sister has recently taken up knitting, and one of her first projects is a scarf! I was totally inspired by her scarf to do some nail art - and so I did my first ever fishtail braid manicure!


For this manicure I used Exposed Aruba 52, Exposed Aqua Baby 59 (I've swatched the Exposed polishes before), and Boots Totally Teal. I wanted the colours in my mani to match my sister's scarf! I first did a base of Exposed Aruba 52, then painted diagonal lines of Aqua Baby, and Totally Teal, before starting again with Aruba. So basically it's just painting diagonal lines on top of each other, until you reach the end of your nail!

teal fishtail braid manicure 1

I didn't use any special brushes to paint the lines on - I just used the nail polish brush that came with the bottle. I topped it off with PA Premiere Grande Nail Polish in AA42 - a gorgeous green-blue flakie! I love flakies, although I don't wear them nearly enough. Another thing I wanted to say - you can't really tell the difference between Aruba and Aqua Baby in the photos, but they are different enough in real life. I'm not sure why they didn't show up on the camera!

teal fishtail braid manicure 2

For the fishtail braid manicure, it's probably a good idea to use colours that are opaque in one coat - of you use one of those loser "4 costs and you still see VNL (visible nail line)" typo polishes, then you'll need multiple passes to cover the polish underneath. Both Totally Teal and Aqua Baby were quite opaque, but for Aruba, I had to do two coats over the same line to get it to be really opaque.

teal fishtail braid manicure 3

So there you have it - my first ever fishtail braid manicure! I really like this - it's a great piece of nail art, and do easy to do too! I can't wait to try out other colour combinations!

Bio-essence Miracle Bio Spring Water Review

Sunday, January 27, 2013

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Bio-Essence's latest product, the Miracle Bio Spring Water, is touted as having soothing, anti-irritation and calming effects on the skin. It's Bio-Essence's latest try at facial mists and sprays, although Bio-Essence also mentions that you can also use this as a hair mist, too.


When I tried it, I did find that it did moisturize and refresh my skin, but only temporarily. Like other face mists, this won't replace a daily moisturizer, but is a great way to cool off or just refresh yourself. I'm not sure if I counted "20 Excellent Efficiacies for face, hair and body" as the packaging claims though - to me it was neither better nor worse than any other facial mist I've tried.

When I looked at the ingredients, I saw that there was really just water, and nitrogen. The nitrogen is a propellant, and can also be found in other spray can systems, most notably in the food industry (e.g. cans of whipped cream also use nitrogen for a propellant). Nitrogen is an inert element (fun fact: 78% of the air we breathe is nitrogen! Oxygen is only 21%), so the ingredient that acts on your face is just water. So akin to splashing water on your face, I felt like this product did help to perk up my skin in the short run, but in the long run, I'm doubtful whether it really does everything the advertising claims. I think, like a commenter below mentioned, the best use of this product would be if you were travelling and wanted a quick pick-me-up.

bioessence bio spring water facial mist ingredients

So, would I recommend this? Well, if you're looking for a refreshing face mist, and something to boost your skin's hydration temporarily, and that feels great on the face, then I'd recommend this. It's a good facial mist, and affordably priced, so if you're keen on the product, it's worth checking out. But beyond that, my expectations for any long-term skincare benefits are moderated.

(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

Welcome Blondie the Guinea Pig to Our Family!

Friday, January 25, 2013

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Hi everyone! Today I want to introduce you to the cutest little guy in my life, Blondie the guinea pig! He is the latest addition to our family, and he is already bringing us a lot of joy. Of course you know I like sharing my joy with you guys, so naturally I have to spam you with guinea pig photos! The photos are a little blur, because they're all taken with my iPhone, but well, you can still feel the cuteness emanating from that little guy!


As he's rather new, we are still trying to settle him in, and get him used to the sights, sounds, and smells of our home. He likes: lounging around in his pen (the cage we built for him was modeled on the cages recommended on this website), although we let him run round the yard too (he does try to go out of the yard and into the living and dining areas!

blondie 3

He also likes eating his Timothy hay and pellets, and fruits and veggies. He's quite picky about the hay. If it's all stems and no leaves or flowers (whatever do you call the blooming, flower-looking stuff on hay?), he's less likely to eat it.

blondie 2

He also likes being petted, and also being spoiled. Here he is having his first taste of papaya. We don't give him that too often because it's rather soft and mushy, but it's got lots of vitamin C, which is good for him since guinea pigs can't synthesize their own vitamin C and thus require vitamin C supplements. Fortunately, he likes to take his supplements (we get vitamin C tablets), so that's good.

blondie 5

Blondie is so cute! He has all these little cute mannerisms that make him adorable - the way he scampers around, the way he eats his food, the way he looks when he's curious, and the way he drinks his water. Everything about him is adorable! I mean, how can you not find that face cute?!

blondie 4

Anyway, I'm absolutely happy that Blondie has found his way into our lives! This is still a beauty blog, of course, but be prepared for potential Blondie posts in future! (I've already been Blondie-instagramming!)

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Eye Cream

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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Kiehl's Midnight Recovery range is one of their most beloved, consisting of the Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Midnight Recovery Eye. Kiehl's started off as a pharmacy, so in line with the brand's philosophy, the emphasis here is not on snazzy marketing or packaging, but on the efficiacy of the products - that these are products that are actually supposed to work.


The award-winning Midnight Recovery Concentrate is the star of the line, so special attention was paid to that. It is comprised mainly of plant oils, and Kiehl's claims it is comprised of 98% naturally derived ingredients.

kiehls midnight recovery concentrate dropper

The thing that struck me about the Midnight Recovery Concentrate was how, although it was primarily comprised of oils, it was very light in texture, and easily absorbed. You get a light, yellow oil with a very thin texture, and a gorgeous herbal/lavender smell. I know scents can be a hate-it-or-love-it thing, but I personally love it, as the scent of all the botanical oils is kinda almost like aromatherapy.

For a complete routine, you can start with an exfoliator (Kiehl's has its own Clearly Corrective Skin Brightening Exfoliator), followed by a toner, (Kiehl's also has a Clearly Corrective Clarity Activating Toner), then followed by the Midnight Recovery Eye, which is massaged at the eye bone area. Like the Midnight Recovery Concentrate, the Midnight Recovery Eye also has a very pleasant botanical smell.

kiehls midnight recovery concentrate dose

To apply the Midnight Recovery Concentrate, dispense 2-3 drops from the dropper into your palm (the amount to use is shown in the photo above), and pat the concentrate with both palms. Then, apply and massage on your face with both palms, and finish off with your desires moisturizer (if you have particularly dry skin). If you love the scent, it is also definitely worth enjoying. Although the product is an oil, it is also suitable for oily skin.

kiehls recover concentrate texture

So that's a brief introduction to the line. If time allows, I'll be trying out the Midnight Recovery Concentrate and will keep you guys posted on how it goes!

(Info provided at an event. I am not affiliated with/paid by the company.)

MUFE Spring Technicolor Palette: Swatches and Eye Look

Sunday, January 20, 2013

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MUFE is back with a bang for the upcoming Spring Season with their Technicolor collection - which I absolutely love! Most people tend to associate Spring with pastels and girly shades, but MUFE has instead put out a palette of brights!


Well, not quite brights. Actually, if you look at the shadows closely, you'll see that there are actually 5 neutral shades (black, white, brown, lilac, beige) that would fit in every girl's makeup bag, and only 3 shades are bright (green, blue, yellow). But make no mistake - every one of these shades is densely pigmented! All colours in the Technicolor Palette can find in existing range except the yellow - this was a special shade created by founder Dany, especially for palette.

MUFE Technicolor Palette


During the demo session, the "bright" shades - green, yellow, and blue, were used. It was quite amazing to watch the demo - although the bright eye look seems like it probably took forever to do, the entire demonstration was probably like 20 minutes. MUFE Eye Prime was used before putting on the shadows, to enhance the intensity of the look. Also, the Aqua Eyes Eyeliner Pencil was used to line the upper eye, and this line was gone over with blue eyeshadow to ensure it stays. More blue was added in the contour of the eye for a "night" look.

MUFE Technicolor Palette demo

If the palette of brights frightens you, a useful tip I learnt was how to make the bright shades more wearable. To do this, you can layer the shimmery beige shade over the bright shade to get a more muted, slightly more pastel take on the original colour. I did try this during the session, and it seemed to work - although why would you want to water down a perfectly good bright? :P

Now for my arm swatches! These are probably 3-4 swipes of product, at most. The palette is super pigmented. Most of the shades are matte - the special yellow shade created by Dany has some slight shimmer, but it looks matte to me when swatched. Also, there is a shimmery beige shade in the palette, that wouldn't show up because it was almost the exact same colour as my skintone! So I've drawn an arrow to indicate where I've swatched it. I swear it's swatched on my arm - you just have to look harder, LOL!

MUFE Technicolor Palette Swtches

So there you go, a great palette of neutrals and brights, radiating the freshness of Spring, with MUFE's uniquee bold and bright take on it. If you don't have any shades like these in your stash, then this palette is a quick way to cover many colour bases at one go.

In Singapore, MUFE is also offering one-to-one eyeshadow lessons using the shades and looks from its Technicolor Palette, and the cost is $30 for a half-hour session. One of the looks you can learn is the one created on the model. If you're interested, ask any MUFE makeup school coach for details.

(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

Beauty Blog Link Love

Saturday, January 19, 2013

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Krasey Beauty has the scoop on the (old) new Herbal Essences range!

Phyrra shares her first impressions of the Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm with you. See if it's a must have!

A great red lip is never really "out of season". Check out the super-comfortable, gorgeously opaque YSL Rouge Pur Couture in Le Rouge at theNotice!

Jenn from Spiced Beauty found the best concealer ever under $2.00! Check it out!

At Musing on Beauty, Mariella "accidentally" bought a Laura Mercier Angled Eye Colour Brush that is not what she expected. She likes it never the less, so read all about it!

Musicalhouses explores if collagen supplements and skincare really work!

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed may never be a pop tart but thanks to the Nicole by OPI Selena Gomez collection, she can at least have the nails of one. Come check out her swatches and see if they make you want to date Justin Bieber!

Prime Beauty steps out of her brown/bronze/beige neutral comfort zone with bareMinerals new Remix Collection, a color-lovers delight!

Come check out the love it or leave it review of Benefit Fine One One at Adorable On Your Vanity.

Does winter have you down? Pammy Blogs Beauty shows you how to "Get the Look" for summery/beachy waves with a clipless curling iron.

Beauty Reflections tries one of the new Estée Lauder Pure Color Stay-On Shadow Paints in Extreme Emerald.

Makeup, Beauty and More talks about a new favorite winter lipstick from the drugstore!

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Anita from Pleasureflush is giving away a bottle of Revlon Pink Ribbon nail polish to one lucky follower. The giveaway is open internationally!

Collagen Skincare and Supplements: Do They Work?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

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Over the past few years, collagen has been one of the buzzwords in skincare - every other brand out there has some sort of cream or mask with collagen in it. The claims are quite hyperbolic, claiming to restore elasticity, and reverse the aging process. I've been having quite a number of conversations with friends, co-workers, other beauty bloggers, and so on about collagen in skincare, so I thought to save myself all tht saliva I wasted telling everyone individually, I'd just blog about it here, and refer everyone to my blogpost instead (if I think they are the type of person who would read a beauty blog, I guess!). Basically, these products market themselves on the premise that applying collagen to your skin will replace the collagen lost as a result of aging. Just take a look!


So much hype, so little proof. Sigh.

Unfortunately, putting collagen creams, lotions, serums, masks or what-have-yous on your skin will not help replace your skins collagen. But why?

The 500 Dalton Rule

Molecules (whether they're collagen, or whatever) need to be small enough are to penetrate through the layers of the skin and be absorbed. As a guideline, this limit is often cited as 500 Daltons. In fact, this guideline is so well known that often cosmetic chemists and dermatologists refer to this as "The 500 Dalton rule". Now there are exceptions to the rule, but generally, the reason why 500 Daltons rule is generally accepted is because: 1)almost all common contact allergens are under 500 Daltons. Larger molecules cannot penetrate the skin and cause allergies; 2) the most commonly used pharmacological agents applied topically are all under 500 Dalton; 3) all known topical drugs used in transdermal drug-delivery systems are under 500 Dalton.

A useful corollary of the 500 Dalton rule is that the next time, if you get some marketing spiel trying to brainwash you into buying their "natural" products on the grounds that "the chemicals you put on your skin are toxic and will enter your organs and blood through your skin" (sounds crazy, I know, but some parts of the internetz are pretty aggressive about this point of view), then you can call their bluff, because by and large, most molecules as found in skincare (both the natural and "chemical" variety) are much larger than 500 Daltons. Truth is, very little in skincare penetrates our skin. If it did, it wouldn't be a cosmetic anymore - it would be a drug, and would be subject to stricter regulation. But let's get back to collagen!

Applying the 500 Dalton Rule to Collagen

So how does this 500 Dalton rule help us understand how collagen in skincare works? Collagen (including collagen "extracts" in skincare) has a molecular weight of 15000 to 50000 Daltons, so they are waaay bigger than the 500 Dalton limit needed to ensure that they will pass through and be absorbed by the skin. Some products advertise that they have "smaller collagen" that will be able to be absorbed by the skin, but this is just not the case. In fact, when I tried to look up exactly what these manufacturers meant by "smaller", the best I could find was collagen in the range of 2000 Daltons and up, which still isn't going to penetrate your skin. The truth is, it's all a marketing play, as there is no real benefit from collagen applied topically - it doesn't get absorbed into your skin, but it just sits on top of your skin.

Sure you can slap it on your face, but it won't help anything. (Image Source)

So, if collagen doesn't actually penetrate your skin, then what does it do when you apply it to your skin? Well, firstly, collagen on top of your skin can function as a humectant, and this helps to moisturize your skin. But there are a lot of other equally cheap and effective humectants out there, such as glycerin and urea. So you don't really need to spend all that money putting collagen on your face when any old cream with glycerin would do the trick.

Secondly, the collagen in some creams also form a film on the skin that gives the appearance of smoother skin by filling in surface irregularities. Such creams that have this effect on skin are typically also formulated with other proteins/peptides in them to enhance the film-forming effect. But, as you might guess, this is a temporary effect - it's gone as soon as you wash your face, and wash the film off. It definitely does not have any long-term effect.

The collagen you're applying, is the "triple stranded collagen molecule". Unfortunately, it totally ignores the fact that collagen doesn't exist in isolation.(Source: Essential Cell Biology, 3rd Ed., by Bruce Alberts.)

Even if somehow you managed to get some collagen from your skincare into your face (I don't know how that would be possible, but assuming somehow that hypothetically it happened), it still wouldn't work. This is because it would not be able to incorporate itself within the complex collagen structure in the skin. Collagen in your skin doesn't exist in isolation - it's not like you have individual bits of collagen floating around in your skin and somehow stuffing more collagen into that space will help to plump it up. Collagen is actually part of a larger structure within the dermal layer of your skin, which includes other important components, such as elastin, hyaluronic acid, and so on. The collagen fibres in your skin are "woven" in a wickerwork pattern (yes, like the baskets), which gives them mechanical strength. So any collagen that might pass through your skin will still not be incorporated into the pre-existing structure. As an analogy, if you had a shirt with a hole in it, and you tried to patch the hole by putting a bunch of broken up threads on top of the hole, it wouldn't work. The same thing applies to trying to "fix" your skin with collagen.


The wickerwork structure of collagen in your skin. This is an actual closeup photo of collagen in your skin! (Source: Tissue Mechanics, by Cowin & Doty.)

If in fact you did want to help collagen synthesis within your skin, there are other things you could apply to aid this process that have scientific literature to back up their efficacy (Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, retinoids, and niacinamide are just a few examples), but applying collagen simply isn't one of them.

What About Eating Collagen?

When I tell most of my friends this, they immediately follow up by exclaiming, eureka-moment style, "Oh! So I should be eating collagen supplements instead of using collagen creams!" Oops. Unfortunately, eating your collagen won't work either. It might be tempting, though - there are so many, many brands of collagen out there - Fancl, DHC, Meiji, the list goes on. And they all advertise themselves oh-so-scientifically:

Marketing Folks: "Darn, now people know collagen in skincare doesn't work. Let's hope we can persuade them to eat it instead!" (Image source)

What happens when collagen is ingested? Well, collagen is really a type of protein, and all proteins are composed of amino acids. So, collagen (like any other protein) gets broken down into amino acids, and thus they don't jump straight undigested from your stomach to your skin. So unfortunately, while such products claim to replenish the collagen in your skin with collagen that you eat, the truth is, once you eat it and start off the digestion process, by the time your small intestines absorb it, it's broken down to amino acids, just like any other protein. This is where a little bit of science can help a long way. Everyone knows that if you eat a piece of steak, the steak will not end up under your skin wholesale in exactly the same form in which it was eaten. So why do we believe that when we eat collagen supplements (tablets, powders, whatever), it will end up in our skin as collagen in the form that was eaten? The truth is, both the steak and the collagen supplement are digested in the same way at the end of the day - into amino acids your body uses for a variety of uses. But we fall for the marketing (did you see the picture above, man? That's some hardsell tactics!), and it is combined with a simplistic and seductive but flawed logic (collagen in = collagen out), and this combination makes us leap to the wrong conclusion.


How protein is digested in your body - this applies to both the steak, as well as collagen. (Image source)

Also, you can get your amino acids from plenty of other protein-rich foods - meat, dairy, beans, tofu - you know, actual food. There's no need to spend extra for collagen supplements. While they're not harmful, there's probably no extra benefit you're going to get from them - you supply your body with amino acids, but it's not like you can't do the same through a healthy, well-balanced diet. Besides, collagen supplements aren't cheap, and there's a much cheaper alternative available. If you do want to eat collagen, instead of splurging on a collagen supplement, you can eat gelatin - it's cheaper, and is what collagen supplement and skincare marketers have been calling "hydrolyzed collagen" (aptly called because gelatin is in fact formed from the hydrolysis of collagen). This is why companies such as PB Gelatin, Nitta Gelatin and Rousselot Gelatine, which manufacture gelatin for the food and pharmaceutical market (in the pharma industry it's sometimes used as a coating material for capsules and the like), are also able to manufacture a line of collagen for supplement use. It's because they're pretty much the same thing. So, instead of eating collagen, you could just eat gelatin, it's definitely cheaper, and possibly yummier too (who doesn't love jello? I love me some jello!).


If you need a collagen supplement, you may as well eat this. (Image source)


But my Collagen Supplement is FDA Certified! It Must Work, Right?

Explaining this fact of digestion to some of my friends might sometimes make them confused. They might then ask, "But I saw XYZ MAGIC BRAND of collagen supplement was 'approved by the FDA' or 'FDA certified', so it must work, right?" Once again, a little knowledge will help here. Contrary to popular belief, the FDA does not regulate supplements of any kind. Let me repeat that: The FDA does not regulate supplements. The FDA's does in fact do tons of regulation, but it is primarily for medical implantables and medical equipment (so things like pacemakers, stents, X-ray machines, physiologic monitors, and hand-held surgical instruments), and for drugs, both the prescription drugs, as well as OTC drugs (like anti-dandruff shampoo). These types of products do require their manufacturers to carry out tests to prove that the product is safe for use and is effective, depending on the classification of the product (invasive products go through more rigorous testing than non-invasive ones, and prescription drugs go through more rigorous testing than OTC products).


Stuff the FDA actually regulates. Supplements, however, are not under FDA regulation. (Image source)

So now, what about supplements? Like I mentioned before, the FDA does not regulate any of them. Not collagen supplements, not vitamins, not herbs, not anything. In fact, let me quote directly from the FDA website: "a firm is responsible for determining that the dietary supplements it manufactures or distributes are safe and that any representations or claims...are not false or misleading. This means that dietary supplements do not need approval from FDA before they are marketed." And again, also from the FDA website: "Dietary supplements are not (Italic emphasis theirs) approved by the government for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. If the dietary supplement contains a NEW (all-caps also theirs) ingredient, that ingredient will be reviewed by FDA (not approved) prior to marketing — but only for safety, not effectiveness." (If you want more on this topic, this LA Times Healthy Skeptic Column article is a pretty useful overview.)

So how does this info relate to collagen supplements? Since collagen supplements are classed not as a drug, but as a supplement, it means that 1) the company making the collagen supplement does not need for it to be approved by the FDA before selling it on the market, and 2) even if there is some new ingredient, the ingredient is only reviewed for safety (i.e. FDA will ensure that it won't kill people or make people sick), not efficiency (i.e. FDA will not ensure that it will actually work to cure baldness, grow hair, or replenish collagen). So while companies selling collagen supplements (or any other kind of supplements, for that matter,) like to claim that they are "FDA certified" or "FDA registered", it's really a marketing sleight-of-hand that is intended to make the consumer think that the FDA has somehow verified that their product works, when they really don't. And of course, if a company claims that their supplement is "FDA approved", then they are just not being honest at all, since FDA doesn't approve supplements to begin with. We have already seen that collagen supplements are really just broken down into amino acids in the body, just like any other protein. A company claiming FDA certification isn't going to change how your digestive system works on ingested collagen.

photo(1)
Sudden Clarity Clarence has also just had an epiphany.

Conclusion: Nope, You Don't Need It!

Anyway, I hope this has helped provide a sanity check on some of the hype around collagen skincare and supplements. Most of these are really marketing gimmicks and not much else. Instead of spending money on these creams and supplements that don't work, it might be wiser to spend money on a good sunscreen instead, because UV exposure is definitely one of the major contributors to aging! Since I'm something of a skincare nut, I do also have a post on sunscreen tips and information you should know, but if you want to see me put some of these principles into action, though, you can also check out my review of a collagen supplement here.

Skincare That Works: Vitamin C HA Peptide Serum

Thursday, January 10, 2013

6 comments
If you've been reading my blog long enough, you'll know that on the rare occasion, I can be a little cantankerous. (Okay, okay, sometimes I can be a lot cantankerous, LOL.) Although it may not always endear me to PR folks, my cantankerousness leads me to do all sorts of things - sometimes I dismiss the marketing claims made by products, sometimes I make fun of brands, and sometimes I just plain outright say that a product sucks. So, when a product makes me rave, you know its gotta be good!

I was sent this Vitamin C HA Peptide Serum from Natural Skin Shop a loooong time ago (shamefully long, I'll admit!), but on the bright side, you know this means I've had the chance to use it fully, and give you a totally thorough review!


I was pretty excited to try this product, as vitamin C is one of the few things proven to actually help your skin in the long run, and, along with retinoids and sunscreen, are actually backed up by published studies in science journals. But, it just doesn't get as much hype from a marketing perspective, I guess.

Even when companies put out Vitamin C products, not all of them package the product securely. Vitamin C can be very volatile, depending on the type - L-ascorbic Acid is the most effective but also the most volatile, as compared to its other forms, e.g. magnesium ascorbyl glucoside, ascorbyl glucoside, ascorbyl palmitate etc. The best way to package these are in small, dark bottles or airtight pumps. Fortunately, the Natural Skin Shop Vitamin C HA Peptide Serum is packaged in a dark bottle - great!

Anyway, this product is a watery, clear liquid with a slight brown tinge, like most well-formulated Vitamin C serums. This photo was taken sometime after I actually began using the serum, so it isn't this brown when you first get it - when you first get it, the product is almost colorless. It just oxidizes and turns brown with exposure to air and the elements. So, I do advise you to 1) store this in the fridge to slow down the oxidation process, and 2) use it as soon as you get it!

vitamin c serum ha natural skin shop (2)

So, how exactly do you use a Vitamin C Serum? I've personally found it best to use in the day - there is some evidence that Vitamin C and E when used topically, can help to boost the UV protection you receive from your sunscreen. So I personally like to use this as the first thing on my skin after I wash my face in the morning, before moisturizer and sunscreen. As the texture is watery, it absorbs really quickly, thus making it a quick and easy addition to any skincare routine. Also, as it has a slightly drying/matti dying effect on the skin, people with oily skin will also like that it doesn't make them look like a greaseball, although its suitable for all skin types too. The exception would be people with rosacea, since acids can irritate their skin.

Here are the ingredients. As you can see, there's a lot of good stuff in here - L-Ascorbic Acid is the most potent form of Vitamin C that can be applied topically (and also the most volatile, hence the need for storage in brown bottles, refrigeration, and for quick usage). There's also Hyaluronic Acid, which helps to moisturize skin, and a whole lot of botanical extracts and peptides. I have to say, I'm impressed by the ingredients list!

LABEL INGREDIENTS: Distilled Water, L-Ascorbic Acid, (Vitamin C), Hyaluronic Acid, Acetyl -3 (Argireline), Hibiscus Extract, Seaweed Extract (Plankton Extract, Sea Buckthorn Extract, Watercress Extract, Marine Algae), Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Hexylene Glycol.

I really enjoyed using this product - I did find when using it that my skin quality was better overall - my skin seemed a little brighter, less tired and I had better skintone overall. I rarely do this with skincare products, but I really recommend the Vitamin C HA Peptide Serum from Natural Skin Shop. It is effectively formulated, well-packaged, and easy and quick to use. The only drawback is the price (but then again most similarly formulated and packages Vitamin C serums also tend to be priced around the same range, or more expensive). If you are looking for one skincare product to splurge on that really works (and don't have rosacea0, this is it. The Natural Skin Shop ships internationally and have other equally excellently-formulated products, so it's worth checking out.

(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

Étude House Warehouse Sale Haul!

Monday, January 7, 2013

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Happy new year everyone! I thought I'd ring in the new year by showing you a recent haul from an Étude House warehouse sale. You guys know me, I was all over it! Since all the items were SGD$10 and below, I probably bought a little more than I should have, but hey, this is all stuff I will use, and they were so cheap!


First up, I got five bottles of nail polish! Only four are pictured here, though, as I accidentally left out one when photographing! These were $2 each, and the colours are fab! The colours are (in L-R order) GD011, BL019, WH001, and 04 (sorry for not listing the full names, they're in Korean, and I didn'thave time to track down the full names).

etude house nail polish

Next, nail art stuff! These were $1 each, so I got a set of stickers and faux clear crystals (always useful for nail art!).

etude house nail art

I also got makeup! I got one blush - I actually wanted to get more because the packaging was just so pretty, but most of them were too shimmery for my taste and had abundant chunky glitter, so I only got one single matte blush. This is a Face Color Corset Blush.

etude house face color corset blush

I also got lipstick and lipgloss! There was a large abundance of shades, but again, most weren't up my alley (a lot of so-pastel-it's-unflattering pinks) so I picked the shades that were a little more wearable. Let's take a look.

etude house lucidaring gloss lipstick

I got two Lucidarling Fantastic Rouge Glosses - a nude cream colour and a gorgeous red with shimmer!

etude house lucidarling fantastic rouge gloss

I also got a Lucidarling Fantastic Rouge Lipstick in a gorgeous pinky-brown shade with a cream finish. I love this shade - it's a very universally-flattering shade that would work on most skintones.

etude house lucidarling fantastic rouge lipstick

So that's my haul from the warehouse sale! All in all, this cosy me just under SGD$35, so I'm pleased with my ability to shop on a budget! What hauls have you guys made lately? Tell me!

Beauty Blog Link Love

Sunday, January 6, 2013

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At Musing on Beauty, Mariella looks back on her 12 favorite beauty products from 2012.

BB creams: hype or not? Musicalhouses looks at the BB cream ingredients, and sees whether the ingredient live up to the hype!

See Phyrra's most popular beauty posts of 2012! Which were your favorites?

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Beauty Crazed is starting 2013 off right with a contest where you get to choose between quality and quantity - which will you choose? Enter now and find out!

Biore Facial Foam Cleanser and Scrub Review

Friday, January 4, 2013

12 comments
Biore, the Japanese drugstore brand known for its range of skincare products, has recently re-launched its much beloved range of Facial Foams, and updated the formula to incorporate their new "SPT" (Skin Purifying Technology). Along with the updated formulas also comes new packaging!


I tried the Biore Facial Foam Acne Care (there are other types for other skin concerns), as well as the Biore Facial Foam Scrub. Let's start with the Biore Facial Foam Acne Care.

The Biore Facial Foam Acne Care is your typical cleanser. This one is very foamy, thanks to all the surfactants. That small dollop of cleanser you see in the photo below produced enough foam for my entire face! Using that small amount (which was tinier than a one cent coin), I didn't feel like it stripped my face - but if I had used more, it probably could've. It also had the nice, floral smell seen in most Biore products.

biore facial foam acne care

Next, the Biore Facial Foam Scrub. This is a cream with small pink beads inside. I think this is the first time I've seen pink beads, and from the way this is packaged, you know this is thoroughly aimed at the girls. It also has that flowery Biore scent.

biore facial foam scrub

Again, this is a very foamy scrub. The beads are small enough that it didn't irritate my acneic skin, and unlike some other scrubs, I didn't experience any pain or discomfort using the scrub. I was actually quite surprised by this - perhaps my skin isn't as sensitive now as it has sometimes been, but I didn't get any pain or redness, which happens sometimes with rougher scrubs. I think the small size of the beads really helps to exfoliate without the too-abrasive feeling. Still, if you have sensitive skin, I recommend you use it gently, and probably not everyday.

All in all, I'm quite happy with the newer-and-better Biore Facial Foam range, in particular the scrub, and both are good for the price. These are cheap and readily available, so they are worth checking out.

(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

Colour-Shifting Eye Look with MUFE Holodiam

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

7 comments
It's been awhile since I've done an EOTD, because I've just been too lazy to do up my eyes. But then, the MUFE Holodiam Powders landed, and I felt inspired all over again! I'm not usually that great at applying eyeshadow (especially loose powder), but with the Holodiam powders, it was surprisingly hassle-free! Just look at the eye look I did with these powders!


I've swatched the MUFE Holodiam Powders before, and back then, I said these were fantastic due to their colour changing ability. Now that I've been playing around with these, they look absolutely gorgeous with a base. My swatches back then were dry and over bare skin, so they were kinda crappy and not really representative of the product when used, so I've just done some really casual swatches with these over various eyeliners (which were makeshift bases) - a blue (MUFE 3L), a green (Sleek Toxic) and a yellow (Sleek Canary). I love how just having a base really changes the colour shift and how the powders just pop and look so multi-dimensional! In my previous post on the MUFE Holodiam Powders there was a demo with these over a black base - but they look good over a base of any colour.

mufe holodiam over eyeliners

But anyway, back to my eye look. For this, I was kinda lazy to do a proper prepping and all that, so I just winged it. I used Sleek Toxic, a green eyeliner, as a base, and applied it over my eyelid so that the colours would "pop", and also as a sticky base for the powders to hold on to. The MUFE powders were then applied on top: I used 304 (brown gold with yellow, green and blue highlights) on the lid, 302 (plum with turquoise, violet and pink highlights) on the contour/crease area, and just a little touch of 303 (white with gold, green and blue highlights) in the inner corner for that flash of colour.

colour shifting eye look mufe holodiam 1

Despite my worries about fallout from the loose powders, I found that they held quite well once a base was used. Also, a patting rather than swiping motion helped when applying the eyeshadows. I really loved how this eye look turned out. You can't really see it in the photos, as they didn't really capture the opalescence, but when I turned my head from side to side, the colour shift was amazing - the three colours just flashed different shades that changed with the angle, and it looked really cool.

colour shifting eye look mufe holodiam 2

I think, out of all the EOTDs I've done so far, this is by far the coolest, as you just have to love that duochrome-y effect! Best part is that it was actually quite easy - apply a cream base, pat the powders on top, blend slightly, and voila! an eye look that looks harder to apply than it really is. You can use multiple colours to up the glamour, or else perhaps just a dab of one shade (I recommend 303 or 304) in the center of the eyelid for a little pop of colour, if you're looking to go more neutral.

(Some product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

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