It's almost Chinese New Year!
Sorry for the long absence... we've been rushing to complete some work before the holiday period. And clean the house. And do some new year shopping. And pack the dreaded red packets.
If you've known me for any period of time, you'll know I enjoy CNY as much as I enjoy wedding dinners. (Aka "not at all".)
But you can still make the best of it by focusing on the enjoyable aspects. For me that's dressing up and dolling up. Lol.
What can I say? I'm a Rooster.
Roosters are apparently flamboyant so Imma enjoy the clothes and makeup and try not to look bored the rest of the time.
Yes I'm about to turn 36 this year - good lord, where has the time gone?
Don't you ever feel each year that you can't believe you are about to turn XX yrs old that year? Sigh. Then again if you let me rewind time I don't want to either. So I've concluded I'm pretty happy.
I've been going through changes in terms of career track and all, so this year should be interesting.
Gonna try and catch you up on all the beauty insanity recently, beginning with things I'm clinging to for the new year period.
TomFord's relaunches their Lips & Boys mini lippies last week and there are 25 new shades including 10 mattes and 10 metallics. I'm a matte addict so of course I'm excited. Sadly there wasn't time for me to swatch all 10 shades at the launch event last week.
Speaking of mattes, anyone else enjoying the Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets?
When I saw the ad a while back I was RIVETED by the texture.
I love the velvety matte with the soft-focus edge to the lips. It's dark and polished but not severe or aging. It's not easy to recreate the effect because "soft focus" can become blurry/smeary very easily.
And if you've tried all the high-end velvet lip creams so far you will know they are all satin more than velvet. Especially in Singapore where the heat makes lip products shinier.
I picked up Fawn (deep rosy beige), Military Red (bright ruby-toned red) and Black Cherry (blackened plum brown).
The shade I most wanted (Oxblood of course) was out of stock on Sephora.sg and yo' sis here has no time to run down to town this week... so it will have to wait. But I will get it. Eventually.
I have Oxblood in every formula they have. No joke.
I love that deep browny ruby red.
I have to say - don't be scared by these when you swatch on your hand. They look uneven and seem drier and harder to spread. But that's because of the mousse-like texture.
They spread fine on the lips.
They are still not completely matte. Most of the luxury brands avoid that flat 100% matte look if you notice. This is because the products need to feel luxurious and easy to use, and most lip products (except gloss) will slowly get more matte after an hour on the lips.
The trick is to apply a thin layer all over the lips, blot lightly with tissue, and then build up one more layer from middle outwards, then lightly blur the edges with a cotton bud.
This is a more "Parisian" catwalk approach to matte lips and quite different from the heavily outlined look on Instagram. It's meant to look more effortless and chic. (Ironically it's not really effortless.)
If you are afraid of dark colors bleeding, use a nude liner around your lips 1st.
I also have to say I'm usually not too interested in MAC's Chinese New Year offerings. I always felt they wanted to cash in on Asian consumers but didn't bother spending time creating colors that we would REALLY like.
But I'm actually impressed this year.
I think some thought went into putting together colors and textures that are flattering and wearable for our skin tones, and that will go well beyond the new year period.
There are 2 options for the lips.
A soft sheer barely-there peach pink nude called Peach Blossom (it's a slightly warmer alternative to MAC Angel lipstick) which is super wearable. And the bright option is Dangerous, a matte neon vermillion red-orange swatched here.
This first came out in a Retro Matte collection 2 yrs back. In bright daylight this color GLOWS. It's glorious on yellow-toned skins with just black winged liner. And if you happen to be pale, it is drop-dead gorgeous. Try it out.
Of course if you are feeling like something safe, go with Peach Blossom.
The other nice thing about the collection is the Eyeshadow x 9 palette. The original ones got mixed reviews because the textures weren't always consistent and people complained about the pigmentation level etc.
Honestly, I dunno why people swatch MAC and gasp like the formulas have changed greatly. MAC has never been that pigmented. (That's not a bad thing per se.) Our expectations have just been raised in recent years.
BUT! Based on generic expectations if you are used to shadows from all over, this is a good palette. The mattes and frosts are smooth and buttery. Not super super pigmented but good by my standards. And you get good payoff plus they are easy to blend.
The warm dusty rose brown tones are also very flattering. The only shades which are less pigmented are the luster shades on the left. But trust me when I say I own some in single pan form and these are on par or even slightly smoother.
In general I think MAC needs to rework their Luster formula anyway. The pigments they use to create that formula mostly dust right off the skin.
To max out the shine and adhesion pick some up with a brush and then mist the bristles before applying.
(When dry, medium to deeper Lusters work better than many of the paler ones.)
I was at the new UD boutique at Ngee Ann City last week to have a look at the Vice Liquid Lipsticks.
SADLY these will only launch in April here. (Don't ask me why. I'm surprised that in this day and age brands still continue to ship us products months after they launch and expect us to be super excited when they are old news.)
I haven't tested these on my lips but they are liquid to mattes and do come in creme and metallic formulas.
I personally would go for the mattes over the metallics.
Metallics looks beautiful when wet but become dull and emphasize rough texture and wrinkles even more than typical mattes once dry. (I mean that for all liquid-to-matte brands not just UD.)
So my suggestion if you have less than perfect lip texture and shape, or need to overdraw etc, is to stick with non metallic matte cremes. And if you want true metallic bling, non-setting formulas tend to look much better than liquids to mattes.
Just my two cents!
What I ended up more excited about were the newly repackaged sprays and new primer.
The CNY + Valentine's period will be a great time to test everything out... cos its the time we dress up and need things to look perfect all day.
I will need that Hydra Charge cos I used to enjoy their B6 vitamin pre-makeup spray.
Will give you guys more updates as I get down to using them. I'm still going thru my current bottle of All Nighter Setting Spray.
P.S. I do actually recommend Deslick as a great spray on primer for guys in your life. I've recommended it to a few guys who wanted to control shine but would rather not carry around a powder compact.
Blot with a paper blotter or clean tissue to lift off excess oil (Mandom's powdered papers are still my fave), spray over, and you're good for a few hours.
Another heavy duty release is Shiseido's Ibuki Smart Filtering Smoother.
I've consistently been impressed with their base products and this is a serum-primer designed for combination/oily skins.
The idea is to put smart oil absorbents in there to cut and diffuse shine without making u too matte, as well as treat skin with extracts known to calm overly reactive skin.
The Ibuki approach is to slowly balance skin from inside out and it might not have instant results like applying a drying toner.
They believe problem skin needs help to rebalance and calm itself down, so I'll be interested in the longer term results if any of you with oily skins tries this!
I had good results with things like Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil to reduce oil secretion when I was oilier, so I know there are things that help oily skin to normalize itself.
I'm a bit on the normal to dry side now and while it still can be used on other skins I can't really say if Ibuki works to reduce oil on myself.
And yass, some of you might have see the gorgeous Centennial edition Rainbow Powders from Shiseido on IG the other day.
This is a reproduction of Shiseido's 1st ever makeup product launched in 1917. And they were revolutionary for introducing the idea of selling women a set of 7 color correcting powders. The nice thing is the colors are all separate so u apply wat u need WHERE u need. I have a detailed breakdown on blogger.makeup-box.com.
The kicker is the S$320 pricetag.
This is a collectible after all.
And there are only 145 sets in Singapore so if you miss out you will need to ship it in from Japan.
I personally can't bear to use it. I spilt a bit while shooting them the other day and my heart cracked a bit.
It's a bit like owning a piece of history. Especially when you imagine that it would be wealthy women, famous actresses and geisha using it back in the day.
And I've been into very matte skin recently. Matte skin, and matte lips. But no longer very heavy mattes. In fact I've been applying a base of clear balm under liquid to matte lipsticks so they set to a softer matte and don't dry up so completely.
Where possible I've gone for mon-setting mattes like Colourpop Ultra Satin liquid lips instead of their Ultra Mattes. (The shade here is Tiny Chum fr the #HelloKitty collab.)
My lips have been quite dry and after I use traditional liquid to mattes I look like I stuck a piece of aged leather on my mouth.
That said the satins from Colourpop's line are still more matte and last a lot longer than most "velvet" lip creams from other brands, but it doesn't go SO dry that it parches your lips.
One of my fave kick@ss reds is #JeffreeStar's Rich Blood. This cool toned ruby red has a slight pearl which isn't that obvious on the lips.
But I want it to retain that ruby vibrancy and richness instead of setting completely into a darker duller finish, so I apply it over clear balm. (Stick ones are best cos they are less shiny and won't melt your liquid lipstick.)
It won't be 100% transfer proof but very little comes off and it still lasts the whole day if you aren't eating a cheese burger.
Oh on my nails? Black polish from NARS called Back Room, and coral-gold-green poly glitter called Pixie Petals from an amazing site called bulkglitters.com (don't forget the s) where they sell cosmetic and polyester glitters for cheap. Like US$1-$1.25 for small pots, which is all you'll need for cosmetic use.
Glitter is in right now. Nails lips eyes everything. So if you want to mimic that Burberry chunky glitter look but don't want to pay $40 for a teaspoon of glitter, check out this site.
You apply black polish, then a slower drying thick top coat (Sally Hansen Gel Effect is the BEST) let it dry until there is a slight imprint if you press your nail but the surface doesn't smear.
Then use a sponge or flat eyeshadow brush to stroke glitter over the surface. Coat completely first, then gently buff over the surface so the glitter flakes lie flat. (That makes them the shiniest.)
Then you apply more gel effect top coat, one more coat of glitter for max bling, and top coat again.
And try ombre too. My nails have been so bling recently that people keep commenting on them when I meet them LOL. It's hard to ignore them when you look like you have a galaxy on each finger.
It's a pain to remove but I just soak cotton pads in remover, wrap them around my nail, then use a piece of aluminium foil to hold the cotton in place while I watch TV. After a few minutes it all melts right off.
Btw I've been trying my best not to break out (I'm PMSing right before the CNY period, FML) and my skin's been a bit oilier lately so I was using the new Skin Inc Optimizer Voyage Blue.
This is a low frequency + Blue LED device that mimics aesthetic facial machines. It's S$238 which I suppose isn't cheap but that I would have no problem paying for if it does calm skin and reduce likelihood of breakouts and over-secretion over time.
This is about a week of use so I can't say much yet.
I did get one small zit a few days back so on one hand I'm thinking "Nooou I want you to prevent ALL zits!"
On the other, I AM PMS-ing and that was a day after an intense workout (i was sweating and grimey for 3-4 hrs outside before I got to shower) and in most cases, I know my skin would have had it a lot worse than this.
So it still remains to be seen!
Anyone else checked it out yet?
There IS one other thing.
No MAKE UP FOR EVER did not bring in a whole range of those incredible Artist Lip Inks (in my fantasy world that would have happened already). But the Artist Acrylip Lip Paints are no slouch either. The campaign is fronted by Jessie J (I LOVE that woman) and the product is a non-drying squeeze tube lip paint in vivid colors.
These are like OCC lip tars in an ideal universe. (Not much bleeding, no separating in the tube.)
The coverage is buildable but definitely quite full. I've tested 4 shades so far and I quite welcome the lightweight options these days after the matte liquid lip madness last year.
Here is the coral shade 202 worn normally. No liner no base. The color is very full and even.
But hello, you can also wear it sheer.
I applied the super dark blackberry shade 501 in the center of my lips and used my ring finger to tap and blend it out for a softer look.
This actually looks really pretty in real life and if I had to pick one single shade for multi-purpose use it would definitely be 501. I can use it dark for a vampy look, or sheer for a deep plum flush without it going too brown or dull.
Lastly, CNY means new clothes... so I had to drag myself out of my cave to go shopping.
(I'm the sort that shops maybe twice a year and then spends 4-digits each time. I don't make small purchases every few weeks lol.)
Anyway there are a few stores I like to go for good statement pieces, and BCBG MaxAzria is one of them. I've been into pleats for awhile and this one stole my heart the other day.
The metallic foil chiffon Marie skirt.
It looks darker on the rack but when the airy fabric catches the light and moves the metallic surface whispers and reflects silver, bronze, rose-gold.
Ugh - more pleats please.
Funny cos one of the skirts I remember my mom owning in the was a 70s color-blocked metallic silk pleat skirt which I thought was so passé when I saw it in the monochrome 90s.
It ALL comes back around LOL.
Thursday, 26 Jan 2017
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