April 30, 2011

L'Occitane Verbena

This week, I tried out a bunch of products from L'Occitane's Verbena line - Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower Gel and Body Lotion.

Verbena is popular in the world of Aromatherapy because of its uplifitng and stimulating properties.

The Shampoo is suitable for all hair types.  Its more watery than regular shampoo so I had to use more than usual but was easy to work into my hair.   It left a delicious smell.

I thought the Shower Gel was just as delightful to use.  Just like the shampoo, the formula was watery but I did not have a problem getting it to lather.  My skin did not feel dry or irritated afterwards.

Their Body Lotion had a light formulation that my skin easily absorbed and it did a great job in keeping my skin moisturized for hours.  It did not feel sticky or greasy which is the last thing anyone needs right now (the heat here is unbearable).  

The only thing I wasn't a huge fan of was the Conditioner because of the scent - yes, there was a hint of Verbena but there was a strong wax smell.  Kind of like candle drippings when aromatherapy candles weren't all the rage yet.  It was really strange but at least it the smell was gone after I rinsed it off.  To be fair, my hair did feel smoother after using it.

I've been dying to purchase a tube of Crabtree and Evelyn's Citron Hand Therapy because of the scent but it's not available here yet.  Because I got to try out some products from this line, I'm going to see if the Verbena Ice Hand Cream Gel is a good alternative.

I can tell you I am officially in love with this product line - the scent reminded me of lemon drop candies I had as a child.  It's light, happy and refreshing.  Perfect for the summer!

April 27, 2011

Wishlist: Neutral Palettes

So I mentioned in a previous post that I'm on a mad hunt for neutral palettes.  Here are some that have caught my eye.

For shimmer and all things sparkly and pretty, I'd like to try NYX Nude on Nude, Smashbox Softbox Summer 2011 and Urban Decay Naked.

And here are two palettes I want even more because of the matte shades (which are more difficult to find) - Kryolan TN1 Professional Eyeshadow Set and Viseart.

Of course it would be silly of me to go for all of these palettes.  As if I would get to use them all.

I find it very frustrating that these aren't easily available here.  Urban Decay stuff are mostly sold by online sellers on Multiply... and some of them are worse than Rustans when it comes to marking up their stuff.

NYX is available via Multiply... let's see how that goes...

Smashbox, I'm glad, they sell at Beauty Bar... I really should go visit soon and see if they already have this.  Sometimes they don't have all the collections available.

Kryolan is just a hassle to go to.  Too far from my home but hey, at least they have presence here.  Plus points.

I did find someone selling Viseart but the price is highway robbery.  It's about $40 on top of how much it's being sold in the US.

The best way for me to get these palettes?  Except for Smashbox, the rest I'd buy online and have it sent here through someone.  For now, I continue to dream ;)

April 24, 2011

Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Booster

People who have dry or dehydrated skin benefit from products that contain Hyaluronic Acid because it keeps the skin hydrated with just a small amount.  It also helps keep skin smooth and claims to help reduce and prevent fine lines.  Dermalogica's Skin Hydrating Booster is one such product.

I started incorporating serums to my skincare routine two years ago.  Some people say it's an unnecessary step but for me, it's something that works. This serum is super concentrated that all I need is two drops to cover my entire face.  The 1 oz bottle lasted for almost 2 years.

I've read articles that say you need to moisturize at least one hour before going to bed to make sure that everything is absorbed into your skin.  With this product, I can go to bed within minutes because it gets absorbed really fast.  I skip using a moisturizer at night because the Skin Hydrating Booster is enough to keep my skin hydrated and it keeps it that way until I wake up (even when I sleep in an air conditioned room).

The only time I use this during the day is when my skin feels extra dry.  I just apply it before a moisturizer.

Does it work?  I can't say that this product alone did it... my entire skincare regimen was what made my skin less dry.  Definitely, this product helped.  Worth a try, if you need it.

Dermalogica is an excellent brand that I've been using for over 5 years.  Their products are safe and effective.  They don't use artificial color or fragrance and they don't test on animals :)

Aside from their products, I am also a huge fan of the services they offer.  If you're not certain about investing in Dermalogica products, at the very least try out their face mapping service... better yet, give their facial a try.  I swear, they are so good at what they do and the products that their therapists recommend are what you need to address your skin concerns.  Travel packs of their products are available and each set can last for up to 2 months.

April 22, 2011

Dollface 28 Neutral Palette

28 Neutral Palette with flash

I've been on a mad hunt for neutral palettes that have both matte and shimmery shades.  It's part of an "experiment" I'm doing.  Apparently, finding such a palette isn't as easy as I thought - most of what's out there are just too shimmery.  The 28 Neutral Palette from Dollface seemed to be just what I was looking for.

Did it live up to my expectations?  Well, this palette cost only Php800.00 (approximately $18) and given its very inexpensive, I didn't expect it to be spectacular.
28 Neutral Palette no flash

What I did not expect was getting an allergic reaction. No stinging, but my eyelids became swollen within minutes of applying some of the matte colors - specifically the brown ones. The last time that happened was way back (like a decade ago) and none of the eyeshadows in my traincase today have done that. One would think we've come a long way in that department... apparently not. Now I'm trying to figure out which of the ingredients caused that reaction.

 Fortunately, it did not happen when I used the shimmery shadows.

Two other things that disappointed me was the poor color payoff and that it as too powdery (which lead to a lot of fallout).  In fact, the swatches below were applied wet and I had to swipe it not once, twice, thrice but several times just to make the swatches look decent.

Definitely not something I recommend to people with sensitive skin.  It's better to invest in something that might cost more but is of better quality.  If you're on a budget and are certain that you're not allergic or have tried similar palettes (Coastal Scents, etc) then go for it.

Below are swatches that you can refer to:

Row 1 without flash
 Row 1 with flash 
Row 2 without flash
Row 2 with flash  
Row 3 without flash
Row 3 with flash
Row 4 without flash 
Row 4 with flash

And so, my search for a good neutral palette continues. Any recommendations?

April 17, 2011

Bobbi Brown Pink Truffle Pot Rouge

There are a lot of multi-purpose products out there and I have say, this is one you should definitely check out.  Pot Rouge is a cream-based makeup for the lips and cheeks.  I can't say that I prefer this as a lip product over a blush because it works really well as both.

The color payoff is excellent.  A lot of companies claim that "a little goes a long way" but in this case, it's the truth.  All I did was press my pinky on the product and pressed once on my skin (that's the one of the left).  Then I pressed again and blended (right).

no flash

with flash

See how crazy pigmented this thing is?  Plus, it doesn't come in a small pot.  There's actually .38 oz (11ml) here which if used every single day as both lip color and blush, would still last you over six months.  I dare say even a year.

As a blush, it stays on for a fair amount of time provided it's set properly.  With other cream blushes, you'll need to build up color.  In this case, you actually need to be careful that you don't put too much on the first go.  As a lip color, I find this to be creamy and it doesn't dry up the skin as fast as the others.

Here's the thing: it's quite pricey here (what else is new?!) but if bought in the US, the wallet damage isn't that bad ($24).  I didn't purchase this pot - it was given to me by my mom.  I'm pretty sure I'd get another pot but I'll wait until I only have a few cheek and lip colors left in my traincase.  That way I'm sure to use this more often than I do now.

The color swatched is Pink Truffle.  Originally, I thought it was too dark for me but since pink lips and bold cheek colors are all the rage this season, then this works.

April 15, 2011

Tub Time!

I guess I lucked out because my new apartment has a tub (tubs are not typical in homes here).  And this compensates big time for the absence of any type of storage space in the bathroom.  I am so delighted that I can now use the bath & shower gels that I received from family and friends.  I used to use them in the shower with a bath lily but nothing beats soaking in the wonderful scent of these babies.  It's a ritual I enjoy at the end of a stressful day.

My sister gave me the rubber duckies years ago... one of it floats sideways.  Hahaha...

Anyway, some stuff I've tried in the past and am dying to stock up on:
  • Bath Salts from Muji - the Lavender & Eucalyptus ones smell really good... but I haven't seen them in any of the local Muji stores.  Bummer.  I'll stock up when I return to HK.
  • Bath Gels from Bath & Body Works - too bad they don't have a store here.  Thank goodness for online stores ;)
  • Bath Bombs from Lush - love these!  I used to buy them everytime I would be sent to an out of town work trip to make my soaking in the hotel tub time worth it.
  • Bubble Bars from Lush - okay, I confess... I already stocked up on these.  I got a Flosty Gritter (vanilla & lavender) slice and two Christmas Eve (jasmine, ylang ylang & gardenia) slices because they smell absolutely divine and who can say no to pretty glitters?

Take that, lousy former landlord! :p

April 13, 2011

Human Nature Hydrating Facial Wash

Human Nature is a company that produces organic and natural skincare products.  What I love about Human Nature is that they support impoverished local communities through their trade while at the same time selling quality products at affordable prices.  It reminds me of The Body Shop to some extent.  I'm glad that a company like this has become global - well deserved!

Since I'm not exactly young I decided to give their Moringa and Aloe Hydrating Facial Wash a try because it is formulated for dry and mature skin.  It has a milky texture and doesn't lather that much but it does a decent job at cleaning my face.  I use this at the start of my day to give my skin a fresh, smooth & clean feel.  At night, I use this after my cleansing oil (I double cleanse) or whenever I use a lot of makeup.  It's very gentle and is great for anyone with sensitive skin because it doesn't dry nor sting.  Another thing I love is that the expiration dates are clearly printed on the bottle.

The only thing I'm not fond of is the strong floral smell which I suppose is caused by the natural oils and extracts used.  They don't add fragrance to this.  Aside from that, it's a really great product to use.

If you have oily skin or are prone to breaking out, you may want to skip this because it might just aggravate your skin condition.

Since I'm battling adult acne (the horror!), I think I'm going to try their Balancing Facial Wash as well and combine both.  Hydrating during the day and Balancing at night... or maybe the other way around?  Does this sound like a good idea?  I'm also planning to try out the Facial Toners.

Human Nature ships internationally so do check out their website.

April 6, 2011

I'm Back + Shu Uemura's Rouge Unlimited Sakura Collection

Having been absent from this blog, I still found new material to post.  Last week, I received an invitation view Mika Ninagawa's collaboration with Shu Uemura.  This includes the Rouge Unlimited Sakura Collection which I swatched below.

 without flash 

with flash

Aren't these the prettiest colors?  It's so soft and feminine yet it makes quite a statement.  I want them all...

Now, what about Shu Uemura and animal testing?  If you go beyond the first few pages of Google search, there are some groups that claim Shu does not test on animals.  Even if the parent company does, the subsidiaries have their own facilities and labs that make these products.  So it's very confusing.  Some claim that Shu Uemura does animal testing, some say they don't.  For now, I will wait until the company releases a statement.  I hope they do that soon!