November 27, 2010

Ellana Minerals Hush Multipurpose Powder, Revive Concealer & Innocence Color Corrector

I hate to admit it, but I jumped on the mineral make up bandwagon.  How could I not, given the fact that I am a self-appointed cosmetic guinea pig?  When I decided to try out mineral make up two years ago, I scoped out different brands.  I wanted to try Bare Minerals but the brand was not available locally at that time.  I did find a handful of local brands but it was only Ellana Minerals that appealed to me because of their wide range of products.

Ever since I sampled some of their stuff, I was hooked.  Their make up goes on real smooth, is easy to blend and a little goes a long way - no kidding!  I love the fact that my sensitive skin did not react to any of their products and did not breakout either.  Another plus: their products are more affordable compared to most cosmetics out there, without compromising quality.  No brainer, right?
Here are a few of my must-haves (I'll be blogging about the rest in the future):

Hush is a matte nude multipurpose powder which I use as an eyeshadow and love because it goes with everything.  Most of the time, I use it without any other eyeshadow color - it looks fantastic coupled with Ethereal, their black multipurpose powder I use as eyeliner.

Revive is a wonderful undereye concealer.  It's salmon colored (it doesn't look it in this picture but it's a lot more orangey in person) and works well in lightening my super dark undereye circles.  In fact, it's done a better job compared to the other cream and liquid concealers I've tried.

Because I suffer from rosacea and have broken capillaries, I can't do without this green color corrector called Innocence.  It won't totally hide everything but putting this under my foundation makes it less obvious and that makes a world of difference.

Anyway, my Ellana Minerals Christmas catalogue arrived in the mail the other day and I haven't had time to carefully go through it just yet.  I'm pretty sure once I do, some of their stuff will end up on my Holiday Wishlist.

photo courtesy of Ellana Minerals

November 23, 2010

The Body Shop Berry & Chestnut Cheek & Face Powder

How can you not love how they packaged these?  The moment this collection was released, I wanted it just because it was so darn cute!

These two powders are part of The Body Shop's 2010 Autumn collection and comes in two shimmery shades - Berry (above), which has shades of pink, gold and bronze and Chestnut (below), which is peach with deeper shades of gold and bronze.

The first time I tried these was at a make up workshop The Body Shop held a few months back.  I loved the fact that I just needed to get a small amount of this product using a brush and lightly tapped it on to my cheeks for a sheer glow.  The lighter shades function as a highlighter as well.  This product goes on smooth and is very easy to blend, which is extremely important if you want a natural look.
Needless to say, I am in love with this product and I don't think I'll be purchasing any more blush for a long time (by that I mean a year).

This is perfect for everyday wear but if you're looking for something to use in photos or you want something that's bold, this isn't the blush you're looking for.

As luck would have it, I found it on sale in Hong Kong for a third (YES, a third!) of the retail price.

Unfortunately, this is limited edition so it's no longer being sold.  BUT The Body Shop is known for putting items on sale after a few seasons have passed so just keep an eye out for it.

November 17, 2010

Beauty Shopping in Hong Kong

So many things to see and do in Hong Kong and shopping is definitely one of them.  In fact, shopping in Hong Kong (Tsim Sha Tsui, to be exact) is not for the faint of heart... or feet for that matter.

You can easily find make up and skincare products to suit your budget.  Stores like Sasa and Bonjour (which can be found on almost every street corner) carry affordable brands like Revlon, Maybelline, The Balm, as well as some mid-range stuff.  They also sell travel sized items of Clinique, Lancome, Shiseido, Dior and SK-II products.  These are actually the free samples you score when you purchase stuff in the US.  Why they sell it baffles me.  Anyway, this is great if you're not too sure about a product and just want to try.  In my case, since I throw away a tube of mascara after three months, I figured it would be better to just buy them in this size instead of having to throw away a full-sized tube with so much product left over.

FACES at Harbour City (Ocean Terminal) offers brands like Bobbi Brown, Shu Uemura, MAC, Clinique, Benefit, etc.  Lane Crawford, which is located right across, carries higher end stuff.  One thing you need to do before you splurge: scout the prices in your country before buying cosmetics in HK.  Sometimes, it's much more affordable to buy your make up there.  For example, NARS' The Multiple costs way less in HK compared to other Asian countries.  But there are times when it costs less elsewhere compared to HK.  In this case, Laura Mercier cosmetics are better priced in the US.

If you're pressed for time and want to score some cosmetics, here's a tip:  Make a list of what you want to buy and go from there.  There are just too many choices out there and it will be overwhelming if you're not sure what you want.  Be as specific as you can.

Aside from beauty stuff, there are so many places to shop for clothes, bags, jewelry... it's nuts I tell you!  :)
Enough about dreaming of the things I want to buy.  For now, it's back to reality.

    November 11, 2010

    My Travel Beauty Kit

    Very soon, I will be going on vacation for a few days and I'm super excited about it!  Work has been crazy the last few weeks (increased workload and longer hours) that I have been so stressed.  This is something I really need.

    My friend, Sam, has been traveling a lot the last couple of years and recently wrote an article for BLUSH magazine which was just what I needed.  I've been planning in my head all the things I need to bring.  I wouldn't want to forget anything, but I don't want to go overboard either.  Thanks to her article, I was reminded of what was important, which made packing my beauty essentials a cinch.

    YAY for travel-sized products!  Happy about not missing a single step in my skin care routine.  Cetaphil is a great skin cleanser - it works as a make up remover for light make up and it cleans the skin without drying.  Next, I use a toner to get rid of stubborn dirt and to moisturize my skin.  Since I have dehydrated skin in some parts of my face, I need a serum to help absorb and keep the moisture in for a longer period.  This is followed by applying moisturizer, lip conditioner, eye cream and finally, sunscreen. 

    For make up, I'll be bringing my brow kit, concealer, cheek stain and colored lip balm.  I typically would not bring anything for my eyes however, this was the perfect opportunity to see if MAC Prep & Prime Eyes works in colder weather - so I'm bringing that and a small pot of mineral eyeshadow.

    What are your travel must-haves?

    November 9, 2010

    MAC Midnight Media Mattene Lipstick

    In retrospect, this should have been posted last Halloween.  However, in my world, black lipstick can be used anytime

    Imagine my excitement last year, when this became in fashion.  Unfortunately, only a handful of these MAC lipsticks were in stock and were gone in a matter of days.  It's a good thing that these were still available in Canada.  I asked one of my best friends to get me a tube.

    In order to get a solid black color, I had to apply several coats.  The color didn't last long - it faded within an hour.  My lips felt dry and flaky.  I was very disappointed.

    Come to think of it, I had the same experience with MAC's other matte lipsticks - the first one I tried was the original Viva Glam back when I was in high school.  Yeah, so stay away from their matte lip stuff.

    I didn't want this product to go to waste so I had to experiment.  Finally, I found a way to wear this:  first, I wore a moisturizing bright red lipstick (in this particular case, the one from Bobbi Brown worked great).  Then I applied several coats of the black lipstick on top of the red and blended it using a cotton swab.

    Another way to make this more wearable is to first apply a lip conditioner or lip balm.  Use a lipbrush to apply Midnight Media and top it with a dark colored lipgloss.

    This would do for now but my search for the perfect black lipstick still continues... And your recommendations would be much appreciated ;)

    November 6, 2010

    The Face Shop Face It HD Perfect BB Cream

    I've been looking for a good tinted moisturizer for a few weeks now - I want to try different brands to find the one that's best for me.

    When I entered The Face Shop, I asked the sales lady if they had tinted moisturizer.  She said they did, and she showed me this product.  BB (Blemish Balm) Creams supposedly function as a moisturizer, make-up base, sunscreen, concealer and foundation all in one product.  I read that BB Creams were originally used to treat patients who had recently undergone cosmetic procedures.  Eventually, it became big in Korea and the rest of Asia joined the bandwagon.  I was curious, excited and skeptical all at the same time.

    The first thing I asked the sales lady was if this product was non-comedogenic.  She gave me this look which obviously read that she had no idea what that term meant.  The Face Shop, you need to train your people!  You can't sell cosmetics and not have them know what non-comedogenic means.  It's a mortal sin!

    I still ended up buying it because I was THAT curious, and here's what I have to say:

    If you're the type of person who does not like scented cosmetics, skip this.  It has a really strong  "soapy" smell that lingers.

    The texture was thick and was difficult to blend.  It feels close to tacky which when applied feels like I put on a mask.  I had to really work the BB Cream into my skin a litter harder than normal liquid foundation when using my fingers or a brush.  A damp sponge dilutes the formula and works better if you want this to be easier to blend. 

    I was told that it was only available in one shade.  When I put it on, my skin looked ashen and I was horrified.  Think Chin Chan Su, Kabuki and Espasol.  After an hour, the color blended a bit but I really can't wait that long.  They say that with BB Creams, it should oxidize and match your skin within that time frame.  I think this shade will only work on people with light skin and olive undertones.

    In terms of oil control, it did not make a big difference.  I still had to blot several times throughout the day.  I also noticed the product settled on the side of my nose.   It made the dry parts of my skin a bit flaky and obvious so as a moisturizer, I don't feel it was effective.

    When it came to acne control (I hate having adult acne!) this did not cause any break outs.  A plus point for this product.

    I used this  for about three weeks, hoping that the results would improve after some time.  The only other thing I liked was the fact that it provided sun protection (SPF 30 PA++).

    This was the first time I tried using BB Cream.  And I'm hoping the others that I try in the future perform better.

    November 3, 2010

    Cellex-C Sun Care SPF 30+

    While shopping at Watson's last year, I overheard a conversation that I will never forget.  A woman was asking the lady at the counter for face powder.  Sales lady recommends one with SPF.  The woman replied she didn't need SPF.

    I was absolutely horrified.

    Wearing sunscreen is probably the most important part of your daily skincare ritual.  Exposure to UV rays lead to pre-mature aging, skin cancer, etc.  And you don't even have to be under the sun to get exposed - artificial light also emits these.  So even if you're indoors or you're working at night (because outsourcing is big here), you still need sunscreen.  No, I'm not kidding - I've spoken to 3 dermatologists and they've confirmed this.
    The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that we use 15 SPF at the very least.  Personally, my minimum is 30 SPF.

    Now, on to our review... I used this product for 3 months. It's a sunscreen and moisturizer in one (I love multi-functional products!).  The label says it's formulated for all skin types, including sensitive skin.  It's also non-comedogenic, so your skin won't breakout.  This product contains parabens, so if you're allergic to that, you may want to skip this.  In my case, I have very sensitive skin that's acne-prone and my skin loved this product.

    All you need is a pea-sized amount to cover your entire face and neck area.  The texture is much like mousse, which makes it very easy to blend.  Unlike other sunscreens, this did not feel sticky or heavy and did not leave white streaks on my face.  However, there wass a faint "sunblock" smell - you know what I'm talking about.  It's not bothersome and goes away quickly.  My face looked a bit shiny after application but blotting it with some face powder did the trick.

    Overall, this is great stuff and I highly recommend this for everyday wear.