Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Review

On a trip to Singapore last year I went to a Guardian Pharmacy specifically to pick up a bottle or two of Bioderma. It is a product from France and I had seen many positive mentions of this on YouTube as well as around the net and wanted to see whether for me, this product will be a star.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O is a gentle cleanser and makeup remover which is suitable for sensitive skin. It is fragrance and alcohol free and the first item on its ingredients list is Aqua or water.

Here are the ingredients:
Aqua, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Propylene Glycol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Fructooligosaccharides, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Disodium EDTA, Cetrimonium Bromide.

It is a clear liquid not unlike water but if you give the bottle a little shake, you will be able to see that the liquid bubbles up a little. When you first see this product, the packaging is simple and quite straightforward I must say. No frills about this at all. I almost missed it at the pharmacy because it didn't quite stand out, but I was determined not to walk out of that place without at least one bottle of this in my hands!!

I was curious as to how a product that looked like water would be able to lift away all my layers of makeup? So I tried it out for myself. The way to use this product is to pour out a little onto some cotton pads and then skim it over your face to remove your makeup. I take two cotton pads, pour out some liquid and the take the pads and place them over my eyelids for about 3 seconds before I swipe it all around my eyes to remove eye makeup, then I used the cotton all over my face to remove make up there. Lastly,I turn the cotton over and use the other side to take off the residue.

The hubs watched me do this one day as I was cleansing and chatting about something (important I am sure!) and as we were talking I saw his eyes grow bigger and bigger and thought that there might be a giant spider on the wall behind me! Before I could scream (I cannot stand the sight of spiders!! EEEK!) he said "Wow, what is that? It seems to be taking everything off so easily!" Well, let's just say he was immediately schooled on all things Bioderma!

If you don't mind the ickyness of removed makeup, I have a picture of how much one swipe around the whole face turned up! Foundation, eyeshadow and eyeliner all gone.

The first thing I notice is that my eye makeup which includes, eyelid primer, cream shadow as a base, eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara (sometimes waterproof) will 'melt' upon contact with the product. This is the reason I leave the soaked cotton pads over my eyelids for a few seconds. It cleans the area quite well as I wipe it around my eyes. To remove the last stubborn makeup which is usually waterproof eyeliner (usually at the base of the eyelid) and mascara, I need to turn the cotton over and wipe again. And the picture below shows the other side of the cotton after cleansing the second time. I concentrated on the hairline too especially for this step of cleansing.

Amazingly, because of its ingredients, this solution does not hurt the eyes at all. I was initially conscious when wiping makeup under my eyes that this will sting and cause my eyes to go cloudy but it did not at all. This product does not irritate sensitive eyes like mine so no red eye! This is especially good because undereye makeup is at the lashline and if you want to really get liner off properly, you cannot help but sometimes get into the eye. Well, with this product, there is no need to worry because there is no stinging even. Thats how gentle it is.

Even though this is a cleanser, I still follow up with a face wash with my regular cleanser, just to ensure that the last bits of grime are washed off and nothing clogs my pores. However, I sometimes skip this step and still feel comfortable enough to come back and wash my face later.
I have also used some of this on a q-tip to clean off some makeup mistakes....while I was doing my eyeliner one day, there was a loud thunder that scared me so much I got waterproof eyeliner all over the side of my eye and this was great in removing that. There was no greasy residue to deal with and after the area had dried off completely, I applied a little powder over the area which restored it to looking like new.
Overall, this is a great product and I have been using this everyday since I started about 4 months ago. As you can see from the pictures, I am halfway through already!

The downside to this great find is that it is not available in Malaysia. In Singapore, it retails for around $39 for 250ml which is steep. However, since I enjoy using this, and it is convenient, I can overlook that. You can find these sold online or if you have relatives or friends in Singapore, you could enlist their help in getting this.

Bioderma also claims to be fragrance free but I still detected a faint smell probably from the cucumber extract that is in this product.

Although Bioderma is called a cleanser, for me, this was not the last step in my cleansing process. I still needed to cleanse using a regular facial wash to really clean my face. On one occassion, I cleansed with Bioderma several times until my cotton was not stained with foundation and other makeup anymore....this to me felt like a waste especially since this is not the cheapest cleanser around.

This product will be a godsend to those who happen to have a long day and just want to climb into bed as quickly as possible. You will be able to reasonably clean your face with this and off you go!

I would recommend this product because it is waterbased and is very gentle on skin.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Real Techniques Brushes By Samantha Chapman Available In Malaysia!

Ladies, I am sure some of you out there will be happy to know that Real Techniqes brushes by Samantha Chapman has arrived at our shores. I was looking to purchase these online but was pleasantly surprised when they were discussed on a Facebook group I subscribe to and even more surprised to learn that these were sold at Shins! To pursuade the hubs to take me to Mid Valley where Shins has an outlet was not too difficult, thankfully! Although there is a small Shins outlet at Festival City, a spanking new mall which is a hop and a skip away from my abode, I knew that they were too small an outlet to carry these away we went to Mid Valley. 

Samantha Chapman is a YouTube makeup tutor or a 'guru' as many would term her and she forms one half of the Pixiwoo team together with her sister Nicola Chapman. She is also an accomplished makeup artist and has worked on a host of runway shows as well as with top photographers. Now, she has created her own line of brushes for eyes and the face in order for us to be able to create looks that are professional and polished.

I picked up several brushes - the foundation brush, powder brush and the starter set for eyes. One of the first things you notice is that these brushes are color coded. Brushes for different functions have ferrules of a different color such as this:- purple brushes are those you use for eyes and brows; orange are for the face, to apply your base and pinks are your stippling and blush brushes. If you are a seasoned makeup user, one look at the brush head and you would know what it was for, so the color coding sort of did nothing for me in that sense. Also, one brush made for one purpose does not necessarily mean that we only use it for that purpose. I don't know about you but some of my brushes are multi-purpose and it is exciting to discover a new use for a brush that you bought for a different purpose altogether. For me that's stepping outside my comfort zone to stretch my abilities and make things work for me.
So I must say that the color, even though it adds a lovely touch, did not really set my mind to what function it coordinated to.These brushes also has the corresponding name printed on the side so you can identify the function and use of the brush. Quite useful if you make video's and and constantly using different brushes to create your looks.  The ferrules are made of aluminium and is therefore very lightweight which I quite like.

Real Techniques brushes are made from taklon which are synthetic fibres and hence makes them cruelty free. The brushes I purchased, came with varying degrees of sofness with the softest so far being the powder brush. As soon as I got my brushes, I gave them a quick rinse and noted that not one of them shed a single hair, despite some vigorous sloshing around to get the cleansing solution to penetrate into the bristles!

Here is a view of the brushes I bought:-

The FOUNDATION brush. Retails at RM68.00. My first impression of this is that the bristles are not as soft as the powder brush and seems a little stiff to me. I hope that it does not poke at my skin and I am eager to find out how it dispenses and diffuses my foundation - will this be a replacement for my current favourite Shiseido foundation brush?


The POWDER Brush. Retails at RM78.00.
So far the Powder brush is the only brush I have used and I have fallen in love with how soft it is. What I have now for applying powder is a MAC 182 and I do love that but for a change from using a stubby brush, the long handle of this one was quite a refresing change.

The STARTER Set has the following brushes (pictured below  from left to right in this order):- 
  • deluxe crease brush, can be used to contour the eye sockets
  • base shadow brush to apply all over wash of color
  • accent brush that can be used for highlighting, and smudging
  • pixel-point eyeliner brush for eyeliner application
  • brow brush for shaping and filling in color to the brows

This is the back of the box which has a picture of Sam and a quick run down of the brushes included.

This set is sold at RM135.00. The brushes also come in a "Panoramic 2 in 1 Brush Case plus Stand". Very useful for when you are travelling and need something to store your brushes in as the case closes with a velcro clasp. Better yet, there are a few additional storage spots in the case for other brushes that you may want to store so you can ideally pick your favourite brushes and customize this storage case! If you prefer to have this stand on your dresser, then you can simply fold this in half by pulling on the toggle rope provided and prop it up as you can see in the pictures below.

The Starter Kit in it's Panoramic casing.

To be really honest, I took the brushes out and kept them in the big vase that I have for all my brushes and this case sits in my drawer. I did not find a standing case useful because I like all my things neatly kept away and displaying this on my dresser would only mess it up and look out of place.

The other nice touch to these brushes which Sam added were the fact that they are able to stand up straight if set on a flat surface as the ends of the brushes were all designed flat. It is a great feature but not quite compatible with my clumsy little paws! Also, I may now need to get a new container to house all my bruses as the wider flat end needs more space compared to my other brushes with more tapered ends. If there is a pressing need to shop....I am not complaining!!

Don't even think of drying your washed brushes standing up, my dear readers! That would not be good for your brushes as the water would run down the inner ferrule and ruin the glue that keeps your bristles together!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lookin' Sharp in SLEEK - Some Love from the UK!

A friend went on a trip to the UK to meet up with some of her friends and she asked if there was anything I would like from there and frankly, who could resist this offer? So I asked her to pick up a few items from Sleek which is a brand that I was interested in for some time already.

Sleek Makeup originated in the UK and is found in drugstores such as Superdrug. This brand can also be purchased in the US through its online store as well as drugstores. Their mission statement is "a colour cosmetics brand dedicated to providing a comprehensive make-up range for all women, especially those that are often under-represented by mainstream brands."

I really like that they care for ladies that are under-represented by mainstream brands because it sounds like my story and I am sure, for a lot of other ladies out there who were not born fair skinned. Back in the 80's when I was getting into makeup, the colors offered by most brands were limited. It got better for the likes of me who tried hard to find colors that were suitable or complemented my skin. Some of my friends who had darker skintones had a tougher time and most resorted to not bothering with makeup at all!

Enough rambling!

Thanks to ANR, here's what she got me:-

  • Two eye shadow palettes - the 'Oh So Special' and 'Storm' palettes 
  • Blush in 'Flushed'
  • Contour Kit in 'Medium'
  • Pout Polish in 'Perfect Plum'

Here is the I-Divine 'Storm' Palette and if you love neutrals, then you will love this palette. This palette offers plenty of opportunity to create smoky looks as well as office appropriate looks if the smoky thing won't cut it in your office! There are 9 metallic shimmer shadows in here as well as three matte colors to create lots of interesting looks. I not such a big fan of shimmers but I find that plenty of blending helps to ensure that my eyes don't look like disco balls before I leave the house! I have used about three colors from this palette and I must say that they are truly pigmented and applied smoothly. So be very careful when you pick the colors up with your brush - go easy and build up the color.

This is the 'Oh So Special' palette and this one came witha plastic insert with the names of the shadows. So easy when you want to reference them in reviews. I have not dipped my brushes into these yet but when I look at the palette I see so many possiblities. I like that it has some warm shades thrown in bacause it can add a little subtle warmth to some eye looks. This palette has 7 matte shades and 5 metallics.

  • Sleek black case, classic and not cheap looking.
  • Very pigmented shadows - which is a tall order for a drugstore brand
  • Blendable texture
  • lovely selection of colors
  • At GBP 6.49 = MYR 31, it is very cheap

  • The design embossed on each shadow
  • I noticed a slight fallout with the black shadow in my Storm palette
  • The fact that it is not sold in our drugstores!

Sleeks blushes also were something I was keen to try and I picked Flushed which is a deep berry color and I must apologise that my mobile phone camera was unable to pick up the color accurately. It looks intimidatingly dark when you look at it but does not apply that way. It gives my cheeks a lovely flushed look which I like and because of that, I have been reaching for this quite often. A good way to keep strong colors soft and not too overpowering is to ensure that you ligtly tap the product with your brush and keep applying in layers until you are happy rather than squashing your brush and swirling it vigorously to get the color....unless you are a clown and need the pop of color.

This cost GBP4.29 and works out to about RM20! For 8grm of product, I think its a steal!!

Something I specifically wanted to try was the contour kit and I chose the color medium. Used to sculpt and define the face, this kit is quite something!

I used the darker shade  under the cheekbones once and I must say that doing so adds a subtle lift to the cheeks which is better than plastic surgery! However, an expert hand is needed in blending this in so there are no harsh lines and because I am in a rush every morning, I do not incorporate this step into my routine. BUT the highlight shade is something else! It adds a very nice glow on the tops of the cheeks and I have also incorporated this as my brow highligher and I use it at the inner corners of my eyes to add a pop of shimmer and to give me a brighter look overall. The color is very subtle and close to my skin shade so its the perfect shade for me. I must confess that I have thoughts of purchasing this online so I can sleep better knowing there is a backup of this lovely shade in my drawer somewhere!

The retail price is around RM31.

Here is the pout polish which functions as a tinted lip conditioner. I used this once on my bare lips and it came off quite lovely and shiny and made me feel like I had a 'bee stung' look. This is in "Perfect Plum" and its a MLBB color on me. Love!
Costs around RM20 and it comes in a 10grm screw top pot.

My first impressions of the items I got were positive. Although I have not really gotten into the two eyeshadow palettes yet, I know that the shades are one's that I will be coming back to again and again.  I will show you some swatches of these soon and will post up looks that I created as well.   

Monday, January 30, 2012

Revlon's Colorburst Lip Butters - They're Here!

Revlon's Lip Butters have been talked about and reviewed on the 'net since late last year and I was amazed to actually see them on our shores this quickly! Imagine my surprise as I was at Watson's Pavilion to get some vitamins and stumbled upon a small collection of these lip butters at the Revlon display. I was actually looking at the new Age Defying Foundation when these Lip Butters caught my eye!

There were only about 8 shades to pick from although I know that there are 20 shades in total that the US drugstores carry. Out of these limited shades, I picked out 4 and they are Brown Sugar, Sugar Plum, Fig Jam and Macaroon. Such delicious sounding names!

The packaging has quilted imprint on the side that is quite translucent. The casing also does not open at the halfway mark like most lipsticks do. I find it easier to open the 'traditional' lipstick casings as you can firmly grip the bottom half and then open the cap to reveal your lipstick. As for this product, the top casing encompasses two thirds of the lipstick. I do have some difficulty gripping just the edges of the bottom to release the top part. Having said that, I do like the packaging as the cover reflects the shade of lip butter that is in the tube and when your lipstick drawer becomes a tad can still find the shade you need!

I just eyeballed the colors that I thought would most suit me or that I could work with because as with all testers - the one's at Watsons were pretty much decimated! Do you notice this as well? Its as if someone hands all the testers to a bunch of chimpanzees prior to putting them on the shelf for us to try! I have seen ladies walk in to put on their makeup using all the samples and then take off...possibly heading out to meet their dates! Shameful!! The most I would do is test them on the back of my hand and have a tissue handy to wipe them off.

These are how they swatched on the inside of my hand. The colors are sheer although I swatched it several times. I also noticed that these swatched very creamily on my hand. As these are not straight up lipsticks, be aware that they will not have the same intensity. Hence imagine a creamy lip balm that is tinted. I imagine that if you use a lip liner and smudge a thin layer all over your lips and then apply the Lip Butter, it would look lovely and have that lipstick effect you are looking for with the added advantage of a glossy sheen as well. Also, if you are the sort who likes a sheer wash of color, one swipe of this on your lips would keep your lips moisturised as well as add some color. There are times that I only want some moisture on my lips with a small amount of color to brighten up my face and I forsee this being perfect for such a time as that.

I will have pictures of these on my lips and a review of how the product holds up soon so do watch out for that.These retail for RM25 each which is such a small price to pay for a quick pick me up!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush

I was on a mission recently and spent a considerable amount of time looking for a brush that would be suitable and have firm enough bristles to deposit foundation in a thin layer, evenly all over my face. As I was shopping one day, I came across this brush from Shiseido – a brand which I did not care for nor explore due to a bad experience many many years ago. Japanese and Korean brands I have found do not really cater for women of color and I was told once by a rude SA that the brand is for fair skinned people only.
That aside, my prejudices against a brand did not stop me from exploring it again and I did come away (thanks to a sweet SA that day) with not only a brush but with the most gorgeous shade of purple cream eyeshadow! (Review coming!)

I have used this brush almost everyday for about two months now and I must say that I am ready to throw out my sponges as well as some other foundation brushes which are in the category of “blah” at this moment.

The bristles are firm but has a soft rather velvety feel to it and therefore able to hold and spread the foundation thinly and evenly without scratching your face to bits. Also, the bristles are very tightly packed so you are able to pick up as much of the product as you need. In order to have the coverage that is ideal for you, you can pick up a little bit of your foundation and work it in a thin layer all over your face for light coverage or if you are going for more coverage, then you can slowly layer on the foundation until you reach your desired coverage. For me to be able to do this well with the brush, I use the back of an old CD to pump my liquid foundation on and then work the brush into the product picking up as much as I need or less depending on the look. I always use two foundations on my face, one the exact shade and another in a lighter shade. This is done to create some depth on the face. I start off by using the lighter shade above my eyebrows, bringing it down under my eye and then around my nose and the sides of my lips. Then I blend the color that is my skin shade all over, overlapping the first shade. This brightens up the area around my eyes and creates a look that is not flat. 

Works well with liquid, cream or powder as the website claims but I have not used it with powder so I am unable to tell how effective it is. Its not a flat top but its angled a little and this is brilliant because it allows for the brush to reach the crevices especially around the nose and undereye areas.
The handle is a little on the short and thick side and does take a little getting used to. Initially when I used it, my fingers would hurt a little from the thickness of the handle but I am now used to it.
Using this brush results in even application of your foundation be it liquid or cream and the best part of all, you get an airbrushed quality application. Since I have used this, several people have commented on how smooth my face looks which I think is testament to how well this brush performs.
The price is quite reasonable at  around RM96 and a good bargain too seeing that I use this everyday to apply my foundation. If you are looking at investing in something that delivers well then I say go for it.
I rinsed before I used the brush and was pleasantly surprised that there was no shedding and after a week of using the brush, I washed it with a washing liquid that I purchased from Daiso. Again, all the product residue came off the brush but no shedding.
If and when I find another brush that I like, this will be my go to brush for a while!
Please note that the picture of the brush above was taken from the Shiseido website as for the life of me, the pictures that I took right after I purchased this cannot be found - it must be somewhere in the black hole of missing photo's!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vichy Purete Thermale Purifying Foaming Cream Cleanser

Do you always use the same facial cleansers? Or do you change brands once you are through with your current one?

I was very much into one from Estee Lauder called the Perfectly Clean Foaming Facial Cleanser which filled my needs but sort of lacked the umph that I was looking for. I went through a few different ones, mostly drugstore brands with different price points. None did it for me and the current one Total Effects Revitalizing Foaming Cleanser by Olay supposedly claims to deliver 7 anti-aging properties in one! I am sorry to report that it did not deliver even on its basic claim which is "thorough cleansing while enhancing skins natural radiance" - quite disappointing.

My cleansing routine with makeup on is to first use a cleansing cloth to remove all makeup especially waterproof stuff off my face. I then follow up with a cleanser to thoroughly cleanse whatever is left. This ensures that there are no traces of makeup and takes care of my skin. There is nothing like the feel of a freshly cleansed face after a long day of wearing makeup, I tell you. The problem with Olay was that each time I washed my face, it still did not feel clean. When I look in the mirror, I certainly saw a clean face with no trace of makeup but when I used a toner which I sometimes do just to have a once over around the hairline and on my neck which are notorious places that hold traces of foundation and soap, I noticed that there was a whole lot of residue on the cotton pad! And this was consistent everyday. I wash my face three times a day - once in the morning, again in the evening as soon as I get back from work and then once more before I retire for the night. I only use a toner in the evening (sometimes) and morning to prep my face for my makeup. So all in all, this cleanser does nothing to achieve a thoroughly cleansed face.

I recently became interested in the Vichy range of products which are available at our pharmacies and my first purchase was this cream cleanser. The clincher? The fact that it is parabens free and does not dry the skin. I was sold from the first use. I loved the scent which is fresh yet mild and the creamy consistency of it as well as the fact that you do not need to use a whole lot to clean your face.

The claims are that it will cleanse from deep within without leaving your skin feeling dry and indeed I can say that this is true. My skin feels fresh and soft as well as cleansed well after I use this and I love that. Its plain, simple, no frills and no silly claims about a million other things it can do for me while cleansing.....I like that.

Here are the ingredients which I could not take a picture of as there was a sticker in the way. I took this list from the Vichy website:-

What facial cleansers are currently on your list of favourites? Vichy Purete Thermale Purifying Foaming Cream Cleanser is certainly on mine!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Inglot's AMC Liquid Blush

Wow! I am still buzzing from how much I am enjoying all the products I purchased from Inglot! I have been brave and used some of the bright colors in my Freedom System Palette - if you read my past post here, you would know that I picked out a few bold colors namely:- 362 (bright pink), 331 (medium green), 370 (bright yellow),371 (bright blue),372 (green with slight blue undertone), 441 (purple). I would love to put up some of the looks I have done hopefully in a future post - I am not diligent enough sometimes to take pictures of every look I do but I will make more of an effort so I can show you how these beautiful colors look on my skin.

Another item I purchased which I am quite in love with is the AMC blush in the auspicious number of 88! The lovely deep berry shade caught my eye and I knew it would work well on deeper skin tones. I have never tried a liquid blush before and was quite looking forward to the challenge of applying this. Besides for 15ml's of this at RM62 - I thought it was a steal! Not only that, the blush is very, very pigmented (as with their eye shadows) and a tiny amount goes a very long way. The other thing I love about it is the fact that it comes in a pump bottle which if pumped gently, will give you the smallest amount necessary to do both cheeks. Also, its hygienic because the pump means your fingers never come into contact with the product.

Being a novice at using liquid blushers.....I tried the pump cautiously the first time and dispensed way too much but using pump dispensers is a 'feel' thing right - you need to get a feel of how much pressure to assert on the pump and test it a few times before you get it right. Thats why in the picture below you see two blobs of the blush on the back of my hand. I just spent a few good seconds looking at the color and admiring it.
Here I rubbed the color in a circular motion to test how it would turn out and I was amazed at the incredicly pigmented color. I was afraid of it when I saw this as I thought, it was way too dark for me but I perservered and as you can see from the picture further below.

In the picture on your left, I continued to buff the color and it became quite sheer but I continued to buff the edges and gently work it in.....what you see on the right is the color that I felt really happy with (very very slight difference)!

Subsequently, I used this on my cheeks one morning and again used my fingers. This time I used much less than the first time and put a few dots of it on either side of my cheek. I then tapped on the color to disperse it all over the cheek bones to diffuse the color. This time, it came out very sheer and lighter than what you saw on the back of my hand. Overall, I loved it and noted that the color did not fade the whole day. I did use a light buffing of powder to 'set' the color in place.

At the price of RM 62, if you used a teeny tiny amount.....this product could last forever!! I saw many other colors when I was at the store and sadly I did not have enough time to swatch all the colors......but if you have any of the other colors, do share your thoughts on it.