February Roundup.

Happy Leap Year, everybody! It is a cliche thing to say, but damn this year is zooming by. The end of a month is a good time to look back and reflect on certain things that made the month either amazing or bearable.

For me, I would think about my essentials, daily routine and how certain products have worked their way into becoming a crucial part of my life. Well, my life in February at least. Who knows what March might bring and who might be knocked out of my precious routine.

 

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1. MCM glasses

Future post alert on these babies I bought late January and been wearing to death all February. MCM eyewear is now more readily available in many optical stores and they have expanded their sunglasses and spectacles range. The ones I have are the MCM2600A model, which are rather large and oversized but that is precisely the reason why I love them so much. From the colour to the fit, I fell in love with these hardcore. More on this soon!

 

2. ZOEVA 227 Luxe Soft Definer

You can read more about my absolutely essential eye brushes here. These things are so crucial to my makeup game that I can never be without it. As I tried to experiment more with my eye makeup this month, I realised again how amazing these affordable brushes are.

 

3. CATRICE Glossy Lip Glow

A super random addition to my ‘handbag makeup’ but this Catrice lipgloss is something I quickly became obsessed over throughout the month of February. Catrice is a drugstore brand from Europe that makes good quality, affordable makeup that is very “on trend”. It’s not the most ‘luxe’ looking thing in the world, but its so affordable and such a joy on the lips.

I initially bought this intrigued by the ‘Lip Glow’ title. It reminded me of the Dior Lip Glow in gloss form. To be honest, I had zero expectations for this gloss, as I sampled the entire ‘Lip Glow’ range from Catrice. Fast forward to the present and I’m already a quarter through this gloss because its so incredibly moisturising while giving a very subtle tint to the lips. That subtle tint is perfection. I can wear this without a shred of makeup and it keeps me looking less corpse-like. Furthermore it’s scentless, tasteless and absolutely FLAWLESS.

 

4. Too Faced Hangover RX Replenishing Primer

HOW IS THIS NOT IN SINGAPORE STILL?! I have been waiting for this primer to be sold in Sephora since Autumn 2014 when it first launched in the US. We’re well into 2016 and it’s still not here. I grew impatient and decided to buy it online from Beautylish. I had to pay for shipping but it was worth it.

This primer is a daily staple and I’m almost out. It’s a moisturising primer that is silicone free. I personally have oily skin, yet I find that this primer keeps my face well-balanced throughout the day. It has electrolytes from Coconut Water as well as probiotics to provide skincare benefits along with its priming action. In a pinch, I can even use this as a replacement for my day moisturizer. I’m going to be so, so gutted when I actually run out of this because Beautylish no longer stocks Too Faced. *cue my frantic screams of panic*

 

5. Netflix

Another thing that we were late on the bandwagon. However, I will happily jump on this one because their website and app is LIFE for people who want access to a variety of movies and TV shows in HD. It is still in its initial stages and I am currently waiting for them to expand on their current selection of movies & TV series, perhaps even add more international titles. Imagine how much they can make if they started streaming Korean Dramas. Currently, I am addicted to ‘Suits‘ (in fact, it is playing as I am typing this out) and I have rediscovered the magic of Quentin Tarantino.

 

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6. Black tote from ‘Miles To Go

I normally refer to this as my ‘giant black hole with straps’. It’s astonishing what I can fit inside this thing. My MacBook Air, makeup, books… the list goes on. It’s a real life version of that Beaded Pouch that Hermione carries. I bought this in Perth at a local Bookstore because I loved this quote from Kurt Vonnegut. But you are able to purchase this online as well, with a wider selection of literary quotes.

I didn’t realise how versatile a black tote bag was. The only annoying factor would be that it does take a while for me to dig things out. Sometimes I find myself standing there, rummaging through my bag for a good 5 minutes trying to locate my house keys. But it’s a small price to pay considering how it matches every outfit I decide to throw on and is the perfect bag for everyday.

 

So there’s a roundup of all the fabulous bits and bobs that I loved in February. More to come in March!

One Brush to Rule Them All.

I don’t know about you, but makeup is something I wear in order to give me confidence to face the day. When I do have a good makeup day, it automatically makes my day a 100 times better. And while the actual products we put on our faces play a huge role, the techniques and tools we use are equally important in ensuring that we always have a good makeup day.

The trickiest bit about makeup, I find, is eyeshadow. It is finicky and involve a good amount of effort in order to make things look effortless (the irony, I know). I would watch YouTube makeup tutorials trying to figure out how to best accentuate my eye shape, how to create the perfect smokey eye without looking like I’ve just been in a bar fight. These “gurus” would use countless brushes on their faces in order to achieve one look. And when you are a beginner, the whole thing is quite overwhelming.

I am here to tell you the secret to a perfect eye look.

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The ZOEVA 227 Soft Definer brush is the answer to your prayers.

It is the perfect brush for any eye shape and any type of eye look you are going for. And the best part is that, despite its amazing quality, you don’t have to break the bank (SGD$14.50). This is said to be the dupe to the famous MAC 217 blending brush. And while MAC brushes are good quality, you can buy a few ZOEVA Soft Definer brushes for the price of one MAC brush. Plus the brushes are almost identical.

The reason why these brushes are so popular are because of its versatile shape. The bristles are soft, yet dense enough to pick up the right amount of product. The slightly flat, tapered shape allows you to place product on the lid while still being fluffy enough to blend the colours out, in order to diffuse the product. You can wet this brush to create a stronger impact and more pigmented looks or use them dry for a light wash of colour for everyday.

It is perfection.

 

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I personally have at least a dozen of these so that I will always have a clean one ready. Most probably because I am too lazy to wash my brushes regularly, but it also convenient to have a clean one available to help with blending. It’s the secret to my most complicated looking eyeshadow looks. I strongly believe that anyone can be a makeup pro with this eyeshadow brush.

The ZOEVA 227 comes in a variety of bristle types. My personal favourite is the ‘Luxe‘ version, with natural bristles made out of goat hair. For those who prefer to work with cream eyeshadows, you might opt for the ‘Vegan‘ version that is made out of synthetic bristles, as they are stiffer and work better with creams. Both available at Sephora SG. Hence, it is very accessible.

If you are having trouble making your eyeshadows work, or if you can’t seem to be achieving that eye look you are envisioning in your head, you are probably missing this crucial tool to your makeup craft. Get this and I promise it will change your makeup life.

From beginner to pro, in a blink of an eye.

 

Magic Stick?

Hold up, Magic Mike! Because we got ourselves a new contender.

Mascara is one of those things that transforms a face. I personally cannot live without it. Usually for quick, minimal looks, I would even out the complexion, put on my brows and load up the mascara. I end up with a fresh, girly look without even trying.

The key to my kind of ‘minimal make-up look’ is mascara. Its the makeup item I obsess about and I am always game to try on a new mascara. We are all in search for that “perfect” mascara, aren’t we? I think I have found one.

The Nudestix Lengthening Mascara is a total underdog.

 

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You don’t hear any buzz about this item as Nudestix is mostly known for their unique “stick” makeup, such as their lip pencils and eyeshadow sticks. With its unassuming packaging, a simple black tube, it often gets overlooked by the average shopper. But don’t overlook it again, ladies, because this mascara is AMAZING.

I, first heard of this mascara from Serein Wu, an American Youtube/Blogger. I was not born with thick, dark, fluttery lashes, much to my dismay. While my lashes are relatively long, they are really sparse and fall out a lot. Hence, I require a volumizing formula that is jet black and holds a curl, without clumping or making my lashes stick together. The Nudestix Mascara also boasts lash lengthening ingredients (ie. peptides) in its formula that help with the growth and strength of your lashes, the more you wear the product.

This is the ultimate selling point for me. I often fiddle with harsh mascaras that make my lashes feel brittle and ‘stick-like’, and some of my lashes break off whilst I remove these harsher mascaras. It helps me sleep better at night knowing that my lashes are being nourishes, even when I’m wearing makeup. And hey, who doesn’t want longer lashes?!

Another thing to note is that this mascara is amazing from the get-go. Most mascaras tend to perform better after it has been opened for a while as the formula gets dryer. But not this one. This is just two solid coats on my lashes. BEHOLD.

Before

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After

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I mean, what more could we want, really? Its fluttery and separated, plus its not a pain in the ass to take off at night. People comment on my lashes when I wear this mascara. That’s saying something considering that I have barely any lashes to begin with.

In terms of its “lash lengthening” claim, I will have to use this product for longer to determine its results. I can safely say that my lashes look a lot more nourished and less brittle from using this mascara daily.

Truly magical!

Anti-Aging Virgin

As someone in their mid twenties, teetering on the edge of late twenties, the concept of aging scares the crap out of me. I’m sure many young women out there feel me on this. Aging is certainly inevitable, so my main concern is not to prevent aging but instead to age as gracefully as possible.

A hero anti-aging ingredient that has been used for many years is retinol.

 

What is Retinol?

Retinol is basically vitamin A that is applied topically on the skin. Vitamin A helps with the renewal of skin cells and is a resurfacing agent to reveal brighter, younger skin. The strongest form out there is called Retin-A. However, that is prescription only. You will be able to get it from a dermatologist, depending on whether your dermatologist feels it is necessary. The side effects are quite extreme as the skin is likely to turn red and peel. The skin will also be highly photo-sensitive and thus, SPF is absolutely mandatory when using retin-A or a retinol product.

Retinol is the over-the-counter version and is much less potent than Retin-A. But that does not mean that it is any less effective in terms of its resurfacing capabilities. Granted that the side-effects are far less severe, and results are more gradual. Retinol is used for many purposes besides anti-aging. Some claim that it can help with acne as it helps the skin regenerate at a rapid rate and pores are more likely to shrink and be less prone to clogging. There has been many recorded successes in Retin-A and retinol products, helping people suffering from acne. However, it is still very subjective to the individual’s skin type and reaction to the product. Therefore, it isn’t the answer to all acne woes.

 

Side-effects of Retinol

Going back to anti-aging, I wanted to try a retinol product to keep my skin looking clear and plump as I age into my late twenties. After a bit of reading up, I was a little worried on the side effects that were mentioned by people. Many experienced skin sensitivity, redness and peeling. The scariest ones are the ones who had allergic reactions to retinol, or experienced “skin purging” with cystic acne. At the same time, there are many who praise it to the heavens and say that the side-effects are worth it for the end result.

 

Best Product for an Anti-Aging Virgin

 

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I present to you Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Brightening Solution. This is GODSEND for someone dipping their toes into the anti-aging skincare front. Dr Dennis Gross combines ferulic acid which is an amazing antioxidant with the resurfacing power of retinol to create the perfect facial cocktail. The ferulic acid helps brighten the skin, helping create a more even canvas while the retinol refines texture and helps the skin regenerate. This powerful cocktail is water-based, making it perfect for all skin types, even oily. It sinks in quickly and is an easy addition to your current skincare routine. This solution also has salicylic acid and glycolic acid to target troubled skin and help exfoliate.

I was initially really confused when I opened the package and saw some cotton pads that came along with it. I believe you can soak the cotton pads with the product for a more saturated and exfoliating application. But I ditched the the pads as I felt that it would waste too much product. And considering that this is expensive, I was not going to waste a drop!

 

Results

After using it consistently for over 8 months, I am just about done with my bottle (30ml). I used it daily before my moisturiser and after my toner at night and made sure that I wore SPF in the morning. My skin is definitely more even toned, brighter and it helps clear acne scars a lot more quickly. It did not break me out at all, even with my acne-prone skin (THANK YOU, water-based formula), and I did not experience any of the side-effects that retinol products usually give.

*Keep in mind that I have been using AHAs and chemical exfoliants for many years to help combat my acne. So my skin might be more resilient than some.

I love this product so much! It really helps with the overall texture and appearance of my skin. My pores are less visible and my complexion is more luminous. However, if you are looking for a retinol product to help with acne, I don’t think this is a product for you as it did not help me clear up my acne break-outs. But what I can definitely vouch for is how bright and youthful my skin looked after using this product consistently. Thus, I think its perfect for retinol virgins!

The age of grace is upon us!