Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review: Muji Cleansing Oil (Normal Skin)

Photo credit: Muji Europe

Description (also from Muji Europe): In Japan, oil based cleaners are generally recognised as superior. This highly effective combination of olive oil and jojoba oil blends in quickly and completely removes make-up. Gently massage 3-4 pumps onto your skin. Rinse with water after use.

Price & Amount: I bought the 200ml bottle (red label) in Singapore for $13, which is a little less than 450 pesos. The sensitive skin variant (blue label) in the same size is available in Muji Philippines for 395 pesos according to Project Vanity, so presumably this version is cheaper here. I didn't see it when I visited the store, though. There are also 50ml and 400ml versions.

Packaging: Clear plastic bottle with a pump and a no-spill clip for the pump, which is super useful especially if you have lots of bottles on your shelf that you can easily knock over with one swipe. Save it! :) I also love the simple design of the bottle. I tried translating the Katakana front label using my very rusty Japanese and came up with "mairudo oiru kurenjingu" which roughly translates to "mild oil cleansing".

Review: On a trip to Singapore, I came across the Muji store in Paragon and was super excited. I had heard of this cleansing oil online and it was the only thing I walked out of the store with. I have no regrets. :) Since the labels were all in Japanese I did a bit of Google-fu and found this ingredient list on the Muji Europe website:
Hydrogenated polyisobutene, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, ethyl oleate, sorbitan oleate, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, healianthus annuus (hybrid sunflower) oil, dipropylene glycol, citrus aurantium dulsis (orange) flower water, water, butylene glycol, propylparaben, butylparaben, tocopherol, prunus armeniaca (apricot) juice, glycerin, prunus persica (peach) leaf extract.
One of the big points for Muji cleansing oil is that it does not use mineral oil, which can apparently clog pores. This does, however, have parabens, if you are avoiding those.

To use, pump out your desired amount and massage it on your face, taking care around the eye area. Dampen your hands with water and rub it in to emulsify the oil, then proceed to completely wash it off. I've heard that warm water is better with cleansing oils but cold water is just fine as well.

The oil has a faint oil-y, herbal smell that I actually quite like, but would probably not want to sniff more intensely. One pump is enough to clean off everyday makeup, and I add a half pump more if I'm using waterproof mascara. My eyesight gets somewhat blurry during use, but it's gone once I wash the oil off. It removes everything pretty well and does not leave my face feeling too greasy, but I still follow up with a facial cleanser out of preference.

Overall I'm impressed at how easy it is to use cleansing oil, and how well it removes makeup. Plus, it's cheap compared to other known cleansing oils in the market. I hope Muji restocks soon because I need backups and travel sizes. ;)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Review: Daiso Charcoal Cleansing Cream

What? Cleansing cream? Not mask?

Image by me, please do not save or use without notice.

Why yes, I meant cream. This is not the famous Daiso charcoal mask, which is the bottle in the middle of this picture:

L-R: Charcoal cleansing foam, mask, & cream. Image from Saizen Philippines

Thankfully the cute stickers on top and English lines at the bottom help us tell the difference. The packaging can be confusing when you're faced with these in-store.

So, on to the proper review!

Description: Small tiny halls of charcoal absorb dust or pollution. It helps to clean dust from skin pores and to make up.

Amount & Price: 85 pesos for 80g of cleansing cream.

Packaging: Fat squeeze-type tube with a screw-on cap. The nozzle is covered with foil which ensures product freshness and sanitation, and dispenses a decent amount of cleanser depending on how much you squeeze. However it does not feel very hefty, as though the packaging size did not merit the amount of product inside.

Review: I chanced upon the Saizen Multiply while browsing and quite literally made a list of things to look for when I visited the store. The cleansing cream made it to my list because my skin started becoming terribly dry in November, and I had to stop using my usual facial cleansers and/or supplement them with cleansing creams & moisturizers. Ironically, this  included Pond's Pure White Deep Cleansing Facial Foam with activated carbon (gosh what a mouthful), and essentially charcoal is carbon. :) I needed something that had decent cleansing power and moisturizers to keep my skin from feeling tight after washing.

Enter the Daiso Charcoal Cleansing Cream. At 85 pesos I had little to lose by trying it out, so I grabbed a tube. The product itself is a gray cream, and if you look closely enough you will see little black specks of (presumably) charcoal. The product has a sweetish, perfume-y, unimaginative smell, which you can still sniff during and after using the product, so sensitive noses may want to stay away. I take two pea-sized amounts and that's usually good enough for my face and a bit of the neck, and I give it a good rub/massage before wiping it off with tissues or cotton rounds. There is, unfortunately, an oily film left behind, which is a bit greasier than I would like but is not as bad as Pond's Cold Cream. I always follow up with a facial cleanser so it's not much of a problem to me.

In terms of cleansing power, it easily removes the usual face makeup, but I found that it's not as effective in removing mascara. You'd really have to rub it in, and even after using this + a facial wash I still found black specks under my eyes the next morning (!!). Best to use a lip & eye makeup remover before this. For the price, though, I'd still recommend this product, and I wouldn't mind repurchasing.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Review: The Body Shop All-In-One Face Base

Description: This combined foundation and powder gives a velvety, matte base. Use this product dry for a light matte finish or wet for higher coverage. Includes sponge and detachable mirror. Dermatologically tested.

Amount & Price: 1,295 pesos for 9 g / 0.3 oz. TBS regularly has sales though, sometimes they give 40% off on this product. Or you can go for the "buy 1 at regular price, get 50% off on your next" promo which is still good value depending on what you buy.

Packaging: Plastic case in silver (lid) and TBS' signature green color (everything else). The silver lid is scratch & fingerprint heaven and isn't as easy to wipe off as a glass surface, I think. When you open the case the first thing you see is the sponge compartment, and right underneath it is a decently-sized mirror. The "detachable" part in the mirror description means that you can flip the mirror up, not completely remove it as I thought when I read it, haha. The product is found in the bottom compartment. The case overall is a bit bulky but it's still a nice size for my small hands. Ingredients may be found by peeling off a sticker underneath the compact.

I remember buying this on my birthday, when it came in a gift pack of sorts with a blush. Coverage is medium when applied dry, which I found to be enough for me. I never tried it wet, because I would usually try to use up my BB cream and top it with this when I wanted fuller coverage. I don't need much oil control but this provided for that as well; I only had to blot once during a workday. The velvety matte finish is something I particularly liked, and I never realized how much I liked this product until I started using other powders. Now I'm anxiously waiting for another 40%-off promo so I can stock up! Used everyday, this powder will probably last you anywhere between 6-9 months. There are 6 shades to choose from but they all lean on the fair-medium side, so morenas might have to look for another alternative. I have this in shade 05 and I was matched as NC20-25 (!! will have to reaffirm this) on my only visit so far to a MAC counter. Speaking of MAC, I think this Face Base is TBS' answer to MAC's Studio Fix Powder Plus foundation, which I've personally never tried. If you've tried that, this just might work for you too, and it's a bit cheaper as well. I will definitely repurchase as I really like this, and I'm glad there's a powder foundation I can come back to if my other purchases don't work out.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Review: Etude House Dr. Oil Solution Shine Free Dual Primer

Photo credit: Gmarket

Description (from box): "Moisturizing and pore coverage makeup primer improves foundation makeup expression and longevity." I like the part about improving makeup expression, I've never heard that from a product before :) It's a fanciful way of saying it'll help makeup look better (which is to be expected of all primers), but not so fanciful that it's unbelievable. What do you think? :p

Price & Amount: 498 pesos per 35 mL + 1.5 g.

Packaging: The Dr. Oil Solution line is housed in decidedly more serious packaging than most if not all of Etude's all other products. Nevertheless, the packaging is clean and bright enough to still have that Etude House feel. Near the top of the tube one can see white ruler lines against the baby blue, which I find quite cute. The primer is in a standard plastic tube with the product label and amount, but no ingredients. You'll have to check the box for that. The tube ends in a small nozzle, perfect for the product type and in terms of how much of the product you'll need for each use. The cap is screwed on and is bigger than usual because it houses the pore covering primer at the end, accessed via a flip-top cap. Not very hygienic but something I can live with... that and a spatula, anyway. On the underside of the cap is a magnifying mirror, which is a nice touch especially when you're applying this on-the-go.

I have a confession to make: I do not know my skin type. I've always thought that I have combination skin, because I suffer from neither the cornflake nor the oil-mine syndrome. (I tend to believe these exaggerations, yes.) What I do know is that my nose shines up every now and then, so while the makeup I put on in the morning stays for the better part of the day, I need to make sure that my shiny nose will not draw attention. This is where this product comes in.

The Shine Free Dual Primer is a 2-in-1 product in that you get two kinds of products in the tube: one is a liquid primer while the other is a solid, meant for covering pores. Respectively the box refers to them as Moisture and Pore Cover. It sounds a bit awkward to me, but maybe it's just me :p

The liquid primer is apparently meant to moisturize as well as to prime the face, and it contains quite a few plant extracts in its ingredient list. A few examples are grapefruit, cranberry, lavender, and tea tree (so if you react to any of those, especially tea tree, please do not use this). It is still a primer, though, because 1.) it contains silica and 2.) it has a very thin consistency, which I think doesn't provide ample moisture. Therefore I still would recommend using your favorite moisturizer underneath this, and to treat it as a makeup product, not skincare. It has a very nice, clean smell, which reminds me a bit of bath soap.  You only need a little to cover the whole face, and it does leave my face looking a little more flawless and put-together.

The solid primer is meant for those areas with noticeably larger pores. For me this means my nose and the cheek area right between the eye(bags) and nose. When applied on the skin you may notice some slight sparkles, but the effect is very subtle. And it really does cover pores! I loved the effect of this. Dimethicone and silica are its top two ingredients so you can bet it's the actual primer of the two (silica falls low on the liquid primer's ingredient list), but it also contains the same plant extracts. Dimethicone is a known sunscreen ingredient as well, so this (along with titanium dioxide, also in the ingredients) offers you some degree of sun protection. There is no indicated SPF for this product though, so it doesn't replace your regular sunscreen.

Did this product alleviate my shiny-nose fears? Yes! Not for the entire time, of course, but it sure lessened my paranoia about an oily nose. I have yet to check whether I break out with this, though, because I haven't been using it consistently. (I've been using it sparingly, haha!) Silicone isn't for everyone, especially for someone who still has to discover their skin type. I might have combi-dry skin for all I know and silicones shouldn't be a priority :p

Overall this is a good product to have for some oil control and pore coverage without the hassle of having to touch-up every few hours. Perhaps once or twice a day will do, unless you have really oily skin. I also recommend this product if you're looking to try something from Etude House, since it really does work. :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review: The Face Shop Ice Flower Hydra Essential Toner

Photo credit: The Face Shop

Description (found on back of bottle): Formulated with Masterwort extract, rock crystals and Alpine glacial water, this moisturizing essential toner hydrates dry to normal skin for a smoother complexion. Additions of revitalizing Baobab Tree extract enhance moisture retention for healthier skin.

Amount: 130 mL / 4.39 fl. oz.

Price: I bought this on sale for around 600 pesos, I think. It was around 10% off, so it's safe to say this bottle would have regularly cost around 700, 750 pesos at the most.

Packaging: Elegant frosted glass bottle with ice-blue plastic cap. At the mouth of the bottle there is a plastic cap with a small hole for dispensing the product.

Prior to purchasing this toner, I thought the only purpose of toners was to more thoroughly clean the face after cleansing. The toners I used before this certainly did that and so I did not expect anything less with this one. I felt that this didn't grab dirt effectively so I was a bit disappointed--after all, I could have gotten six bottles of my old toners with what I paid for this, haha. It was only when I was surfing through beauty blogs that I got wind of the issues surrounding toners, their functions and their application. Yes for enlightenment! The TFS Ice Flower toner in fact delivers what it should: hydration for the skin. Considering how it was meant for people with dry to normal skin, it's not supposed to take away anything, but to give. (I'm starting to sound like I'm talking more than just skincare here...) I use a cotton round to apply. My face and neck feel refreshed after using this, and my cheeks feel supple, as though they were able to retain enough water to do so. The Ice Flower's ingredients promise no less, and sound wonderful to have on the skin since they're all natural, made from plant extracts and Alpine glacial water and all. Reading the description makes you think of clear blue skies, crisp fresh air, and the cleanest water on earth. Plus it smells sooo good! It's a flower scent that best accompanies visions of what I just described, hehe. You can smell a bit of alcohol in it, however.

My only issues are (still) the dirt-grabbing ability and the packaging. I like my toners to look and feel like they're taking off the muck on my face that I couldn't remove with double-cleansing, so it's a personal preference. For this toner, I compensate by using a stronger facial wash. As for the packaging, while it's pretty to look and hold, it's not travel-friendly. I decant the toner into a smaller container I bought from Beabi for travelling. The small opening at the mouth of the bottle also dispenses less product than I'd like, though ever since I poked it out for decanting (and put it back), it's been better. I don't know how that helped, I just know that it did. Oh, well.

In summary:

  • Very hydrating, skin feels supple after use
  • Smells really good
  • Doesn't clean very well
  • Packaging is not travel-friendly
  • Dispensing hole may not work very well
I'd recommend this toner to people who need some hydration for their dry or normal skin. This is a treat to use during the summer because of the cool feel on the skin, but also good for use in colder months due to how it promotes water retention. I might repurchase as a fallback, but as of now I'm still exploring the good ol' world of toners. Who'd have thought these buggers were so hard to use up? :)

Friday, June 25, 2010


This blog was a long time coming! I first developed an interest in make-up around a year ago, when I was reeling from a series of unfortunate events that sent my self-esteem going rock bottom. Makeup was a way of making me feel better about myself, of ensuring that I still looked (and felt) pretty despite going through a very trying point in my life. A few pimple scars and several months' worth of allowance (when I still had it) later, I'm still at it. It only seemed fitting to actually chronicle the things I learn while I'm on my way. So here's to the journey; crossing fingers!