Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: NYX Round Lipsticks

Photo credit: NYX (cropped by me)

Description: A velvet-textured lipstick formulated with mineral oils to provide moisturizing benefits and rich colors. NYX's top selling lipstick, the Round Lipstick offers long-lasting, non-smudging color.

Price & Amount: Amount is 4 g./0.14 oz. This retails for $4 from the NYX website. Locally, this is available for P299 in Pure Beauty in Serendra & Beauty Cocktails in Glorietta 4. I was able to buy this for P160 from Digital Traincase, though prices by online sellers can go as high as P250.

Packaging: Black and white plastic tube with a clear part at the bottom that shows you the shade, which is quite helpful considering the rest of the packaging. It looks and feels cheap, but hey, it is cheap. The locking mechanism when you twist the lipstick down for storage is more obvious and reassuring here compared to the other lipsticks I own (MAC, Maybelline, Etude). I found this to be true for all but one of the lipsticks I have, which is really loose on the other hand. Inconsistencies in packaging perhaps, or just bad luck.

Review: When I received the NYX Round Lipsticks from Sol of Digital Traincase after coming home from work, I had to resist using them right then and there because I wanted to experiment with taking product pictures during daytime. The next morning I snapped so many pictures and used two cameras, so forgive me for the trigger-happy entry.

My general thoughts:
  • Wide, overwhelming selection of shades and finishes. Swatches on the website, however, may be rather inaccurate and give no indication of the finish. Best to Google around for a particular shade that catches your fancy to see how it would really look on the lips.
  • Very pigmented and creamy. I find that they stay put until I eat or drink, at which point it disappears. The creaminess of the lipstick means I have to exfoliate thoroughly beforehand or it catches onto any and all dry patches. Settles into fine lines a bit as well, though it's not as obvious with the darker shades.
  • Synthetic scent and taste, but something I can live with. The scent could cause headaches if you really sniff it (which I did for testing purposes, haha).
  • They are also drying, and cause trouble for my already dry lips. I slather on more balm and have to give it time to settle before applying the lipstick, or else it will just slide.
  • The price (depending on where you buy) allows you to indulge without fear of wasting money. Thus, I ordered a couple of bold shades to try next to the everyday ones I really wanted.

Jump for photos and swatches!

Monday, February 21, 2011

I fancy an FOTD!

I'm alive! I was in a bit of a lull last week; I'd begin editing an entry for one product or another but lose interest halfway through--or sometimes, before I even added anything new. Try as I might, nothing would come. I realized I shouldn't force myself to write if I didn't feel like it; my entries wouldn't be personal otherwise. I hope to keep on writing about the things I love, and when I'm loving them.

I am inspired to type out this entry because I went to a wedding today, and I did my own makeup. I seldom wear eyeshadow (concealer-and-lipstick type of girl here), so I had to put in a bit of effort for this one.
I just realized that the blending isn't even for both eyes. Goes to show you how much I have to learn! (And good thing no one said anything about it at the wedding...)

Prepping the eye area involved a touch of Urban Decay's Primer Potion and Skinfood's Salmon Darkcircle concealer. All my eyeshadows are Ellana Multipurpose Mineral Powders. Patting motions were used to put Inspiration (golden beige frost) on the lid, while I worked Delicate (taupe brown frost) into the outer V and crease. Honeybunch (pale brownish peach frost) went on the browbone, and Confess (pale rose frost) into the inner corners of the eyes. These were all done using a variety of makeup brushes, both full and travel-sized, from Charm.

I lined my eyes with Maybelline gel liner in brown & used a matte brown eyeshadow from a GWP Lancome palette to set it. Lastly, I used Maybelline's Cat Eyes mascara for my lashes. I tried using a mascara guard from Etude House, but it takes some getting used to! Also, my brows are bare in the picture, but on the way to the church I used In2it's brow kit.

As for the rest of my face:
Skinfood Red Bean BB Cream SPF 20 PA+ was applied using a wedge sponge, followed by NYX Concealer in a Jar in Beige and  in areas that needed a little more help. I got a bit of Ellana Sheer Velvet HD Mineral Finishing Powder in White Chocolate--oy, what a mouthful--to tame down the shine from the BB cream, using my kabuki brush from The Body Shop. You can also see a hint of the mineral blush in Fulfillment from Ellana yet again, which I applied rather sparingly because it's pretty bright. Lastly, I applied NYX's round lipstick in Tea Rose over Mentholatum lip balm.

Aaand that's it. If any of the products I've used (including the brushes) have caught your fancy and you'd like to know more about it, drop me a line in the comments! I have so many drafts of reviews, I'm just not sure where to start. Your feedback would be really helpful. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review: Etude House Magic Enzyme Pack Peeling

Photo credit: Etude House USA

Description: Gommage treatment with enzyme & yogurt to exfoliate and nourish complexion and remove oil, dirt and excess.

Price & Amount: I bought this for P628 for 115mL. It is locally available in Etude House stores in the country. 

Packaging: Hefty glass bottle in cute pink and lavender colors. It is a bit hard to get product out through the top (similar to my problem with The Face Shop's toner), also party because of the bottle itself. However, you only need a bit of product per use.

Review: Peeling packs are nice alternatives to scrubs because they're purportedly more gentle on the skin. Scrubs work to physically remove dead skin cells, while peeling packs use chemicals. The "gommage treatment" claim on this particular peeling pack sounded interesting but a little confusing, so a bit of Google-fu was in order.

The word "gommage" reminds me of rubber, and I guess it was a close enough guess: gommage is from a French word that means "to erase". They're commonly found in spas as treatments for either the face or the body. It comes in the form of a paste or cream which is applied in a thin layer over the skin, left to dry for a few minutes, then gently massaged away. The gommage usually has ingredients that help dissolve dead skin cells, such as enzymes. The rubbing action of the massage helps to slough off the dead skin cells, leaving smoother skin. Essentially then, peeling packs and gommage treatments work the same way.

Etude House's Magic Enzyme Pack Peeling, however, is a milky liquid with a thin consistency. No creamy/paste-like stuff here. I know some peeling packs are thin in consistency, so the gommage treatment part comes in through the yogurt ingredient I think. It has a nice floral-citrus scent, and it took me some time to rack my brains on this one but it smells like Clean & Clear's Clear Fairness moisturizer.

After a few tries I found that the best way to use this product is to take a good amount and constantly rub the skin with it until it balls up. The instructions on the bottle say to leave it to dry but since the product is very thin, it would dry up fast and take a good amount of rubbing before it balls up. It's painful for areas with fine hair. :( The result is lovely smooth skin, though, with a bit of a brightening effect. I decided against using this on my face and now use it on my knees and elbows instead. It works quite well in those areas. :)

Do you need this? No, not really. It was a fun product to try, but not something I'd feel like repurchasing in the future. Plus, one bottle will last you quite awhile.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2010 Beauty Favorites

I realize it's already February of the new year (unless you're Chinese; Happy CNY! c:), but 2010 was my first full year of being into makeup and one lovely year of experimentation. I ended up loving quite a few things, so here's a fun tag to show them off with! I got this off the wonderful Giorgia of beautifulwithbrains.

1. Which lipstick/lipgloss did you use most often in 2010?
Etude House's LUCIDarling Fantastic Rouge Lipstick (review here) won my heart for most of the year. I got it in a lovely pink-brown color that swatched sheer but was quite opaque on the lips and added a bit of shine. It was my lipcolor for everything, be it work or play.

2. What was your favorite eyeshadow this year?
I'm not big on eyeshadow because I'm still not sure how to blend things together, but when I did want a wash of color I picked up Ellana's Multipurpose Mineral Powder in Inspiration. The website describes it as a "golden beige frost" and the frost was just so pretty on the eyes. Later in the year I also picked up Delicate, which is a taupe brown frost, after reading about the work-safe wonders of taupe eyeshadow.

3. What product for the complexion (foundation, blush, etc.,) did you use the most?
The Body Shop's All-In-One Face Base (review here) and I were together for a reaally long time. I used it so much that the sifter jar I had for it (I shattered it at one point) started cracking from being in my bag all the time. When I was down to the last of it I saved it for special occasions. I'm trying a new powder now but if TBS has their 40% off sale again I'd buy it in a heartbeat!

4. Your favorite nail polish color of 2010?
I have a love-hate relationship with nail polish because I have psoriasis, but when I wanted color I went for The Face Shop's nail polish in BL606. It's a lovely bright blue color that's perfect for summer. :)

5. Which skin care product would you not give up under any circumstances?
Moisturizer! Saved me from dry skin during the cold months and rough skin in the summer. Can't live without it.

6. What is your favorite personal care product?
Wet wipes. I use them to remove makeup, clean just about anything (makeup brushes, sticky spills, etc.). I always carry a pack in my bag and take one out when I need to feel refreshed. I use So Soft (a local brand, I think) because they have a peppermint variety that's just awesome.

7. Your usually worn fragrance in 2010?
Kenzo Flower! It always makes me feel like a lady.

8. What was your personal favorite jewelry piece?
I feel naked without a pair of earrings. Any pair, as long as it's not too heavy. I rotated between several and still do. They're usually heirloom earrings passed down by my mom.

9. What have you discovered in 2010 that is new for you (new products, inspirations, blogs, hobbies, etc.,)?
Honestly? I discovered the wonderful world of Apple. Haha! I got a Macbook Pro for my graduation and it has not been the smoothest ride (three times serviced in the first six months, anyone?), but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Now I know why they say "once you go Mac, you never go back"!

10. Do you have resolutions for 2011? If so, what are they?
Wear sunscreen, take good care of my psoriasis, and be happy. :)

11. Tag other people!
Tagging my followers (hi girls!), and anyone who wants to do this! Leave a link; I'd love to know about your 2010 beauty roundup. :)

P.S. It's my dad's birthday today and while it is a full training day for me, I am looking forward to a lovely Japanese dinner at Edsa Shang. Woohoo!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Review: Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Scrub

Photo credit: Walmart

Description: Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Scrub is specially formulated with effective clenasers and bursting beads, which burst with energy and vitamins, and help nourish skin. It also contains scrubbing beads that gently exfoliate away dull, tired-looking skin to reveal softer, more radiant skin. With an invigorating citrus fragrance that will instantly enliven your senses, Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Scrub leaves you looking and feeling energized for the day ahead!
  • Won't clog pores
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Oil-free
  • With Vitamin C & ginseng
Price & Amount: I got this in Duty Free but I can't remember the price. This goes for $5.40 for 141g in, and is unfortunately not available locally. I wish it were!

Packaging: Semi-transparent bright orange tube, so you can see how much product you still have left. The tube is huge, around as big as Etude House's Happy Teatime Cleansing Foam (which I have and will review soon!). The flip-top cap is clear and pretty secure.

Review: I picked this up on a whim because the "wakes you up" claims got me curious. I love Clean & Clear's range of products here so I figured I wouldn't go amiss with this purchase. The cleanser itself is a clear, runny gel with lots of little grains, which are white and pale yellow, and orange beads. It has a nice citrusy scent which reminds me of their Daily Pore Cleanser (which is apple-scented, I think). Less vigorous scrubbing is needed with this because the cleanser does the job for you anyway. It claims to have "bursting beads", but I don't feel them burst either because they're too small or they really don't. Either way they do a good job of exfoliating.

The cleanser really does wake you up. My face feels fresh after use, and for a non-cream cleanser I'm impressed because I don't feel any tightness in the skin despite the weather. I love using this on early mornings or times when I haven't had enough sleep, though I only use this every other day or so since too much exfoliating is bad.

If you're able to find this abroad or on a trip to our Duty Free, I don't think you can go wrong unless you break out from Clean & Clear cleansers. I'd repurchase if it were more readily available! When I run out of this and I miss it, I'll probably pick up the Daily Pore Cleanser as an alternative. :)

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Review: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 50+ PA+++

Photo credit: FemaleNetwork

Description: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 50+ (PA+++) is a breakthrough in sun protection. Stabilized with Helioplex, it provides superior balanced broad-spectrum protection against skin-aging UVA and burning UVB rays, and combines it with Dry Touch technology for an ultra-light, non-shiny finish. This lightweight sunblock has a light fresh scent and is gentle enough for even sensitive skin.
  • Waterproof, sweatproof, resists rub-off
  • Non-comedogenic (won't clog pores)
  • Oil free and PABA free
Price & Amount: When I bought this, it was a little less than P500 for 3.0 fl. oz. / 88mL. The price has increased in recent times but no more than P550, I think.

Packaging: Matte squeeze-type bottle which is nice to hold. The dispensing hole is a bit big so you have to be careful when squeezing the tube lest you want to deal with projectile blobs of sunblock :)

Review: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch is the answer to my wish for a non-greasy sunblock or sunscreen. The consistency is thicker than the Cetaphil moisturizer I previously reviewed (click here), but spreads easily also. I think it even spreads better than the Cetaphil one, because it absorbs much more quickly. Again, it dries to a non-greasy finish which I absolutely love, though you could still tell/feel that you applied it. Still, the finish for me is more than good enough. :) Its SPF 50+ rating protects you from UVB rays while the PA+++ rating is the highest you can go for UVA ray protection. I use it mostly for my body though I have tried it on my face before and it's comfortable enough. However, I avoid putting too many layers on the face with this sunblock on because it will start to feel heavy. Also, I think it broke me out. :( It has dimethicones in the middle of the ingredient list which may explain why.

Overall, though, I'm very pleased with this sunblock and I'd definitely repurchase. For a facial sunscreen, though, I'm trying out Leyende's Place In The Sun but I'm also interested in Neutrogena Waterlight. Or even Venus & Mars tinted sunblock, which Kira reviewed before. Choices, choices :)

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Facts about Sun Protection

Thinking about protecting my skin from the sun led me through a few Google searches for product reviews, which also led to some reading on what all those SPFs and UVA-UVB stuff mean. I found them to be pretty informative so I thought I'd share what I learned. :)
  1. Sunblocks are different from sunscreens. The obvious difference is when applied, sunblocks are more opaque than sunscreens. Sunblocks usually contain ingredients like titanium dioxide which physically block UVB rays. Sunscreen ingredients break down faster when exposed to the sun and need to be reapplied more often.
  2. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and measures the strength of a product against UVB rays (which cause reddening & sunburn). If you're using a sunblock with SPF 50, the amount of UVB rays it takes to burn your skin will need to be 50 times more than that, so you can stay longer under the sun.
  3. PA stands for Protection Grade UVA and measures the strength of a product against UVA rays (which cause darkening/tanning and can cause cancer). The more pluses next to the PA rating, the longer the protection. The highest I've seen so far is three pluses (PA+++).
  4. While higher SPF is definitely better, beyond SPF 25 the percentage of UVB rays that you are blocked from is only around 1-2% bigger than the previous SPF, but needs more amounts of sun-blocking chemicals. Of course, the more stuff we apply to the skin, the more potential it has to do harm than good. (To your wallet as well as yourself.) Only purchase the SPF that you will really need from day to day, and simply reapply when in sunnier places like the beach. Reapplying is safer because the sun-blocking ingredients will have broken down after a couple of hours or so after exposure anyway.
  5. The consistency of any sunblock will tell you that it should be applied well before sun exposure for it to absorb better. Ideally you should apply 1 teaspoon of sunblock to your face. To know how much 1 teaspoon is at a glance, look at your pointy finger and bend it. The length of the finger from the tip 'til the first bend is an (admittedly imperfect) estimate of how much 1 teaspoon is.
  6. While face powders with SPF are very attractive buys because of the convenience, the thin layer of powder we usually apply and the speed with which it fades from the skin greatly reduces the protection it offers. Applying too much powder will result in a cakey face and an unattractive white cast. So best to still use sunscreen underneath, and think of your powder with SPF as a complementary to it instead.
Of course, nothing will be better in saving you from the sun than staying out of it (even those high SPF sunblocks). If you can, do avoid exposing yourself to the sun's rays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., which is when the sun is strongest. :) Hope it helps!