Budget Buys: Best Zara Fragrances

This was a random video that I shot and edited in one night after watching one of my favourite fragrance Youtuber, Redolessence’s video on a Zara perfume that I loved and no one talked about. Ever since I have joined the “fraghead” community and started deepening my interest in all things to do with scents, I started expanding my perfume collection. I love switching my scents depending on my mood, the weather and my outfits. But as you can probably imagine, fragrance collecting can be a financially demanding hobby. It certainly burns holes in my wallet, purchasing designer and niche fragrances that cost well over $100 a bottle.

Enter Zara and their underrated collection of scents that serve as dupes for the more expensive originals or just plain good scents for a low, low price. I became obsessed with their surprisingly good perfume collection and started owning more than a few bottles. I think people tend to scoff at their scents, thinking that they are nothing more than faint body splashes, to synthetic smelling “wannabe” perfumes. In a blind sniff test though, I dare say you would think that their scents are easily designer level at the very least. Plus, they have unique offerings like fragrances that use notes of tobacco, oud and even tonka bean.

The thing is, their collection is so huge (and often easily discontinued) that you might not know where to even start. As with most cheapie fragrance houses, it’s all hit-or-miss. So I tend to approach it like a treasure hunt. And I’m happy to report some gems I’ve found in the midst of it all!

Here are my top 5 Zara fragrances that I think you should check out currently. Of course, Zara is always pumping out new clothes and fragrances, almost on a daily basis (as with most fast fashion houses). So this list might change in the future, but all these scents are SO SO good. You should get your nose on them ASAP!

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5 Skincare Staples I Used Up

We are well into the new year. I can’t believe that January flew by already. Honestly, the older I get, the harder it is for me to grasp the concept of time. Since this month is all about starting afresh, it’s only right that I throw away all the trash that I’ve been hoarding, and finish up all the products that are close to the end of its life.

Turns out, I managed to finish up quite a lot, which I am pretty cuffed about. My resolution this year is to use up as much of my stuff as possible and get the most out of everything. And to buy less beauty products in general, so that I can use everything fully. I have this bad habit of getting bored of the item halfway and switching to another. Hence, I have to so many half-empty bottles lying around.

So a disclaimer: Any product I feature in my empties mean that they are relatively good products. I usually will give away products that don’t suit me, sell them off and try to find a good home for them.

Here are 5 staples that everyone needs:





1. Banila Co. Clean It Zero Purity, SGD$30

This is a CULT product from South Korea, sort of their take on cleansing balms. The Clean It Zero line features a solid sherbet cleanser that you scoop out with a spatula (that’s provided). Upon contact with the warmth of your skin, it melts instantly into a thin oil that obliterates makeup. It’s amazing for waterproof eyeliner and budge-proof liquid lipstick. This Purity version is the best one they offer, in my opinion because it isn’t mineral oil based. It contains hydrating oils like argan oil and evening primrose oil plus a bunch of plant extracts, making it the ideal choice for people with sensitive skins like me.

Once your face is an oily, streaky mess, you just add water to emulsify the oil into a milk and then rinse. The product rinses clean, which is CRUCIAL for me as I have oily, acne-prone skin. I won’t recommend the other Clean It Zero formulas because I find them overly fragranced and have a more potentially skin-irritating ingredients deck. But this one, I do recommend.

2. BCL Tsururi Ghassoul Oil Cleansing, SGD$19.90

For my skin, however, I tend to prefer straight up oil cleansers. Midways through my Clean It Zero tub, I realise that I didn’t enjoy using it to remove my face makeup, simply because the texture was too thin for my liking. It felt like I was tugging at my skin, even though it removed makeup decently.

Hence, I went back to my tried and true. This is my third bottle of this stuff and I can’t tell you how much I love this oil cleanser. It’s thick and plush, almost the texture of honey. It spreads onto the skin effortlessly, without any tugging, so there is almost a blanket of emollience separating your hands from your face. This formula is olive oil based, with honey to add moisture (it’s also a great antibac) and charcoal to draw out impurities for a deeper clean. I LOVE this cleansing oil. It removes makeup so well, whilst still leaving the skin balanced and completely purified.

So, I used this to remove my face makeup and reserved the Clean It Zero for my eyes (mostly so that I won’t run through this cleansing oil so quickly).



3. Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser, SGD$41

I got this on a whim. Mostly due to my obsession with charcoal. The texture is a strange, thin, black gel that lathers decently. Once you rub the gel onto your damp skin, it instantly warms up. Most people might find this gimmicky and horrible in a tropical climate like Singapore, but I find it comforting. It heats up for about 10 seconds. It gets pretty hot too, I might add.

I use it as a second cleanse, but it does remove makeup well enough. I just prefer to cleanse my skin rather than remove makeup. This is a relatively small bottle, you think “only 150ml?”, but don’t worry! It lasts literally forever. You only need a small amount to clean your whole face and this bottle lasted me almost a year. Midway I got bored using it and was frustrated with the nozzle constantly getting clogged with charcoal, but once I scraped the dried charcoal off and used it again, I realised how much I really liked this cleanser. The ONLY reason I wouldn’t repurchase is the price.



3. Keana Nadeshiko Rice Cream, SGD$27.90

I wiped this tub CLEAN. I am so deeply, enamoured by this simple tub of moisturiser. Again, this is a Japanese brand that mainly uses rice and sake as their signature skincare ingredient. This formula contains rice bran oil, sake and other soothing ingredients to calm and balance the skin, whilst still injecting it with a shit ton of moisture. The texture is my favourite part of this cream. It appears to be a hefty cream but melts into the skin beautifully, not at all greasy. For my oily skin, it’s just the perfect amount of supple moisturisation, without being clogging and overbearing. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to putting on at night.

My only qualm is that it’s a pretty small tub for the price and I ran through it pretty quickly, considering that I only used it as a night cream. That is the ONLY reason I would hesitate to repurchase.



4. Sephora Mud Mask Purifying & Mattifying, SGD$26

This is the older packaging but this powerful clay mask is now housed in a different tub. It’s enhanced with zinc to help mattify and soothe the skin, while the clay sucks out all the gunk in your pores. This one doesn’t play games. It is often referred as the dupe to Glamglow masks (that are extortionately expensive). I personally think it’s more powerful that that. If you have sensitive skin like me, the initial application will feel as if your skin is burning. It’s a sign of activity because once it dries and I’ve washed it off, my skin isn’t red and aggravated. Instead it’s noticeably clearer and calmer, albeit in need of a moisturiser.

It’s rather difficult to wash off as it clings to the skin like super glue and it is a tad too drying to be used frequently. Despite that, I enjoyed using it and it’s godsend for when your skin is breaking out. It works great on blemishes and clogged pores. Plus it’s heaps cheaper than the Glamglow counterpart.

I would recommend all 5 of these and they are ALL staples. Everyone needs a good oil cleanser to breakdown makeup, detoxifying cleanser, soothing moisturiser and purifying mask.

I’m trying a new skincare routine this year and will definitely keep you posted on any gems I find.

My quest for the PERFECT skincare routine continues!

Must-haves : Japanese Skincare

As I mentioned in my previous visual diary episode, I wanted to do a round up of some awesome Japanese skincare I have fallen in love with. I go through phases with my skincare, moving from continent to continent. Currently, I am loving Japan’s simplistic approach, adorable packaging and affordable prices.

While I researched more on Japanese skincare, I found very few English sites that does reviews or provide information on Japanese products. It’s especially difficult as most products are entirely in Japanese, without translations.


Tip #1 : Find the item online, even on a Japanese site and cut and paste the ingredients to Google translate. It gives you a rough idea of what’s in the product, just in case you have any skin sensitivities. 


To cover every single Japanese product I love would take ages, so I will probably do a follow up on other things like haircare, makeup and so on. For now, I will pick out my favourites for each category that I think the Japanese excel in.


Here are my top picks.








Japanese sunscreens are where it’s at. Their formulations are always cutting edge, leaps and bounds ahead of others in the market. They are known for their light textures that never leave a white cast whilst providing the perfect base for makeup. My favourites are the Hada Labo Air Aqua UV Day Emulsion SPF 50 PA+++ (S$19.90) and Labo Labo Super-Moist UV-Cream 5H x 5C SPF 30 PA++ (S$21.90). Though they sound they same, they are actually from different companies. Both are drugstore Japanese skincare brands and very affordable. I love these two because they are light but can be used alone without a separate cream underneath. They are undetectable when applied on the skin and are alcohol free.

The Hada Labo one comes in two formulations, but my favourite is the fresh version that contains anti-aging ingredients such as vitamin C, resveratrol and hyaluronic acid. The Labo Labo version is a thicker cream texture, more like a traditional moisturiser that is formulated with 5 types of hyaluronic acid and collagen. Best sunscreens EVER!!



The Japanese are masters at formulating facial lotions. In Western terms, these lotions would be classified under toners. You would soak them on a cotton pad and use them after cleansing to prep the skin for serums and moisturiser as well as giving it added benefits and balance the skin’s pH levels. Japanese lotions come in all shapes and forms but I recently discovered the economical ones that come in giant half a litre bottles. These lotions are unbelievably inexpensive and actually have a simple, yet effective ingredients list.

The one I recommend would be the Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewing Skin Care Lotion. The skincare line is based of a famous sake brewery in Japan and features sake as a skin care ingredient to help tone and brighten the skin. What’s mind-boggling is that this giant bottle costs S$14.90. An amazing budget buy that actually works. It comes in two versions. The Light version is great for hot weather as it is weightless and refreshing whilst the High Moist version has added ceramides to help provide extra moisture and is alcohol-free. Both are fantastic, though Singapore weather does better with the light version.

I can’t wait to try other giant bottles of Japanese lotions because they seriously make the best toners and are such money-savers.






Japanese skincare is big on gels and gel-cream formulations because they tend to prefer light, fast absorbing skincare that are great for layering. However, I do love a good night cream that helps lock all the moisture in while I sleep. After much searching, I found one that I am completely smitten with. Presenting the Keana Nadeshiko Rice Cream (S$27) ! This rich cream in housed in an adorable little orb that’ll look just so cute on your vanity. Keana Nadeshiko brand is known for tackling issues with pores using primarily natural ingredients such as baking soda and rice bran oil. This particular cream is packed with fermented sake, rice bran oil, rice bran extract and saccharomyces ferment (aka pitera).

I was initially worried that this would be too rich for my oily, acne-prone skin but I was pleased to find that it’s just right. The cream is luxurious to spread on the skin but sinks in very well. I wake up to plump skin despite using acids and acne treatments on a daily basis. I cannot recommend it enough. I was so pleasantly surprised how much I fell for this product. My only complain would be that it’s a more pricey product and the jar is rather tiny with only 30 grams of product. The results are worth it though.



LOVE Japanese masks. I have written an ode to Japanese sheet masks, which you can read here for an extensive list of my favourites. The one I consistently repurchase again and again are the LuLuLun Masks (S$8.90). They are inexpensive and tackle different concerns depending on which colour you picked. The ones I love most is the brightening mask that comes in a silver packaging.

Another awesome thing is that these masks are so affordable. Even more so than the korean ones. Enough said.



I know this is something you wouldn’t really think is a big deal. But for a girl with oily skin, oil blotters are LIFE SAVERS. I am never without it, ever. I have one packet with me at all times to help me absorb excess oil and keep my face looking fresh. The best kind are the paper ones, and the Japanese variety are just the best of the best. Japanese blotting papers are revolutionary because they absorb oil so well and do not disturb any makeup you have underneath. I find that the plastic film types tend to lift my foundation and leave my face looking patchy. So now, I will only use paper.

The Japanese oil paper blotter are very affordable. No matter the price, they all work the same. If ever you are at a Japanese store or in Japan, I say stock up!


Cotton Pads 

A necessity that no one cares for. Cotton pads are rather dull, really. So no one ever wants to talk about them. However, I am incredibly picky when it comes to my cotton pads. I hate cheap cotton balls or squares that shed lint all over my face. Some that are too thin to hold and deposit your skincare properly. That is not to say that you should splurge on “luxury cotton”.

Japanese cotton pads are on another level. They are so soft, never shed and are designed to be a delivery system for your skincare. And they are affordable to boot! While many rave on and on about the coveted Shiseido cotton pads, I very much prefer the Muji Unbleached Cotton variety. They are identical to the Shiseido ones in terms of thickness, softness and never shedding. Fortunately they are cheaper. But the ones I repurchase the most are Silcot brand. The Silcot Lintfree Cotton Pads (S$4) feel like pillows on your face, I tend to use that for hydrating toners. The Silcot Uru Uru Sponge pads (S$4) are my favourite for acid toners (or really expensive toners) because they help you use 50% less toner. Truly I can attest to that. It’s a sponge-like pad that gets really soaked with very little product, which really help stretch your skincare product for longer.

It is AMAZING. I can’t be without this now. Otherwise I feel like I’m wasting so much product.




And there you have it! If you ever visit Japan and are overwhelmed with the plethora of beauty products, try these out or go for the categories I’ve highlighted.

It’s so amazing that you can get such great quality and results at drugstore prices. I can never justify buying a 50 dollar cream anymore, when the Japanese have such superior formulas for so much less.

Try them out and let me know!

(Down in the) Dumpster Books

I’m coming at you with some book reviews. Thought that it might be a good segue from the last post, before plunging into frivolous beauty talk.

I’ve always put off reading because I claimed that I had no time before. Hence, when I am presented with all the time in world, I don’t really have that excuse anymore. I kicked my ass into reading mode, because it is the one thing I do for fun that doesn’t feel like a waste of time and is enriching.

When I was younger, reading was a form of escapism. The lesser the association to real life, the better. Now, as an adult, I tend to appreciate books that are more “slice of life”. I tend to choose books that are borderline depressing because it’s a great way to commiserate, without dumping your negativity on someone else. Most people would turn to self-help books, or something light-hearted and motivational when they are dealing with any crises. Those books tend to have the opposite effect on me.

So, if you are going through a tough time and are looking to commiserate, wallow in self-pity for a bit, let me suggest three books to help you on your journey.






Start things off with…


The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath


Cannonball straight into the deep end of the pool with this one. Although it claims to be fictional, I can’t help but think that the author’s first novel is very much autobiographical. The narrative follows Esther Greenwood, a prize winning college student being invited for an amazing opportunity in New York. The future seems so bright, doors are opening left and right. Throughout the book, you are in her mind as she spirals from the top and descends into mental illness.

The pace is slow and laborious, so it’s for those days where you feel like wallowing all day. What strikes me most is the imagery she uses. It describes Esther’s feelings so aptly. Feeling as if she is trapped in a glass bell jar, watching the world go by. Sounds and sights are muted but outwardly, she seems so normal. The slow detachment and how each experience is dulled down. Plath makes powerful images that are unnervingly accurate.

The ending wasn’t satisfying to me. Although I have been told that I am very hard to please when it comes to endings. But this one is melancholic and open-ended, as these sort of books are.

We move on to a more thought-provoking title.








Veronika Decides to Die by Paolo Coehlo


Don’t be fooled by the depressing title. It isn’t a tearjerker as one would expect. This book is made for people who want to commiserate and slowly reel themselves out of that rut. It’s a pretty short and digestible novel. The story follows a depressed woman named Veronika, who at the start of the story decides to commit suicide. However, she fails and finds herself in a mental institution. Turns out she didn’t REALLY fail because the doctor tells her that she has one week to live as the doctors couldn’t get to her in time.

You think, “So what?” right? Just a few more days won’t make a difference. But then Veronica starts making connections with the people in the institution. They were people who truly understood her. All of a sudden, that shift in perspective is very powerful. The idea that life is mere banality that stretches on to uncertainty makes death seem like something you just want to get over. However, knowing exactly when the end will come fills each day with a sense of purpose. Knowing how short her time left was and the fact that people thought of her as mad anyways, Veronica felt liberation as she lived each day like she has nothing to lose.

And she really didn’t.

The book became a lot more uplifting than I expected it to be. Which is both good and bad. As much as there were poignant moments in the book. I kinda felt as if I was tricked into reading a very well-disguised self-help book of some sort. Hence, why I would recommend it for people looking for ways out of negativity.






Finally there’s…

I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak.


God, this book is amazing. It’s an incredibly deep and thoughtful book for a young adult novel. You kind of have to suspend reality for a moment when reading this one because the fact that Ed Kennedy was somehow “chosen” to be a messenger and how he somehow accepts his tasks willingly seems unlikely in real life. Basically, Ed is an underage taxi driver, completely average guy, trying to make ends meet. Until one day, he was instantly turned into a hero when he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That was when the first Ace was delivered to him and he became a “messenger”.

This book is simple but incredibly well written. Ed meets a diverse variety of characters while he executes his tasks as a messenger and you see each and every character’s struggle. This book puts your own misery into perspective. There is a need to realise that everyone is struggling in some way or another. Though it is unhealthy to compare, it is good to be aware and realise that you are not alone.

Ed is a lovable protagonist, just in the fact that he is SO ordinary. Which is precisely his charm. You relate with him and realize that small acts make a hero too.




There you go, 3 books for when you are feeling depressed. I always felt that its good to acknowledge your feelings and really simmer in them. Sometimes, you don’t feel like talking to people about your problems.

Books are the best in those situations because not only do they provide escapism, they also provide commiseration without actual social interaction. The ones I mentioned are profound and wise, like an old friend that has been through a lot. They give you new perspectives and even a little push to get out of that rut.

Poppin’ My Colourpop Cherry


I think it’s safe to say that everyone has either heard of or own some Colourpop cosmetics. But for those who are unfamiliar, Colourpop is a cosmetics brand from the US that sells affordable and unique makeup. Their Ultra Matte Lip blew up in the last year or so. Now, they have a huge offering from face to eyes and lips. They are known for their signature, spongey powder formulas that almost feel cream to powder and are particularly famous for their liquid lipsticks that come in a variety of finishes at USD$6 a pop.

The hype on Colourpop is deafening, especially with Youtubers and other beauty influencers singing it praises. Until last month, international shipping was not offered to the official Colourpop site, which was why it was difficult to get your hands on them here in Singapore. You could get them from resellers on Carousell or other sites, but they tend to hike up the prices. Plus I always get suspicious when it comes to resellers. So, once they offered international shipping, I was over the moon excited.

Then, I thought I would share my overall experience with Colourpop as an international customer. So, if you guys ever wanna purchase anything from their site, you would know what to expect.



Wait Time

As you would expect, wait time is about 3 weeks. Orders from UK and US tend to take around that time, unless expedited. I ordered on the 25th of September and received the package mid this week, second week of October. What’s interesting was that my order was not packed and despatched until a whole week after my order was confirmed. The confirmation email say that you will receive a tracking number once shipment has been despatched. I didn’t receive that tracking number until a full week after my order was confirmed.

So don’t worry if you are faced with radio silence after they took your money and your order was confirmed. Apparently Colourpop takes, on average, 3-4 days to actually assemble your package, excluding weekends and holidays. And on promotional periods, it can take longer. I was having anxiety that my order got lost somewhere, but I simply had to wait. Hence, it is something to take note of, as I would imagine that they have a high volume of orders, considering how popular they are.

What I did appreciate was the tracking number that let’s you see the check points your package went through before arriving to its destination. It gave me a sense control over the whole thing and I could roughly gauge when the package is likely to arrive.


Presentation & Packaging

The box that it arrives in is unique to Colourpop. Outwardly it looks like a regular package, but inside it has the Colourpop logo with fun designs. The products themselves are padded with only flimsy foam sheets, hence they aren’t tightly packed and do rattle around. Some of the Lippie Stix boxes were open and none of the individual boxes are sealed in any way. I was initially worried that someone went through my package but turns out there was no issue. That’s just how they roll.

The actual product packaging was the standard Colourpop packaging. One of my Super Shock Shadows was cracked (but salvageable) and my Ultra Satin Lip in “Mess Around” came without a stopper, hence the wand was completely glopped with excess product. I then asked my other friends who also ordered around the same time as me, Sofi from Singapore and Liz from France. They had some issues with their product packaging as well. One Liz’s lipgloss came without a stopper like mine and Sofi’s blush came completely shattered. It’s interesting to note as well that out of the 3 Ultra Satin Lips I owned, 2 of them came without a stopper.



Final Thoughts

The products themselves are great quality for the price. The Ultra Satin Lips’ formula is one of my favourite lip formulas of all time. They are pigmented, opaque and go on the lips like butter. They are also so comfortable on the lips. Personally, I can’t wear the Ultra Matte Lips, but my sister enjoys them. The Super Shock Shadows are ultra creamy and pigmented. Best applied with fingers. However, I own quite a few of them and they have the tendency to dry out after a while, especially the matte and satin formulas. So make sure you screw the lid on tight to prevent it from drying out quicker.

Unfortunately, I am unimpressed with how poor their quality control is. I get that they have large volumes of orders. But it doesn’t make it okay to send customers lip products without stoppers that help remove excess product. And this wasn’t just my experience. I knew lots of friends who received products this way, which is one too many. I understand if only one of items arrived that way, but to find so many people experiencing the same issue is quite concerning.

While I do like the mail packaging overall, I think that they should’ve wrapped their fragile cream-powder formulas in bubble wrap to protect them from being shattered in transit. I have shopped at many online retailers and they will usually wrap each individual product to prevent breakage or use packing peanuts to prevent the products from rattling around in the box. Considering how soft the Colourpop formulas are, I thought that this would be a standard packing process for them. I get that how roughly the packages are handled by the post is not their fault, but Colourpop could’ve packed the products in a manner that can minimise possible damages.





Eyes : Game Face // Elf Mad About Matte Palette 

Lips : Matte X Lippie Stix in Hollywood Blvd

Overall, I think their prices are great! And their products perform well. I LOVE their colour range and I am OBSESSED with their Ultra Satin Lips. So soooo good.

However, upon reviewing my personal experiences and my other international friends’, I don’t think that it’s worth the risk as an international shopper. On top of the price of shipping, you can get charged for customs (like Liz did) and for the products to come shattered, cracked and without a freakin’ stopper, I think that I’ll wait until I have a friend in the States who can help me order some.

Sheet Mask Smackdown!

Sheet masks have never been my thing.

I have and will always be a clay mask kind of girl. Thanks to my oily, acne prone skin, I found lots of sheet masks overbearing on my skin. Particularly Taiwanese & Korean ones that are absolutely DRIPPING in essence. So much that there is usually a pool of excess essence left in the packet, which is a good thing that people tend to look for. However, for me, it’s just too much.

Most masks are so saturated that it feels as if they are slipping and sliding off my face. The essence is so thick that it feels as if it isn’t penetrating my skin. Thus, I hated “patting” in the goo after I have removed the mask from my face. Often times, I end up breaking out.

As I grew older though, my skin has definitely changed. It’s now more combination oily. Plus, after using retinol, my skin does get dry and I have to be more diligent about hydration.


With new formulations and new brands, I decided to give sheet masks another shot.






LuLuLun Masks, US$3.90-$19

This is my first introduction into Japanese sheet masks. My best friend, Diyanah, brought back a pack for me from Japan. Their masking concept is slightly different because there are 7 sheets in a pack and it is meant for DAILY use. Though it sounds excessive, these masks are perfectly formulated for that. They are thin cotton masks that are saturated in a cocktail of skin-loving ingredients. The keyword here is “saturated” but not soaking, sopping wet. It’s perfect for oily skinned girls like me who can’t stand rich textures. The LuLuLun masks are hydrating and emollient, but not occlusive.

I’ve tried a bunch, my favourite being the brightening one that comes in a silver packet. The moisturizing range is bit heavy for me, so I do find that I have to rinse my face after use, to get rid of any residue. They are alcohol free, which is very important for me and have a short but effective ingredients list. If you are confused as to what is in the different ranges and colours, I found a blog that explains the different types you can get here.

Best of all, they are so inexpensive at less than 10 bucks a pack.


Leaders Insolution & Mediu Masks, S$3-$9.90

The hype on these masks are real. The Leaders masks are well-loved globally. They are pretty pricey, but boast immediate results. I have tried two types and I have to say that I really do like both (insolution & media amino masks). It brightens and any acne I have going on is visibly less red and irritated. The cotton used in these masks is thicker and more plush than the LuLuLun ones. They cling to the skin better and have a better, more luxurious fit on my face.

As expected, I had to wash off the residue after taking off the mask because korean mask formulas are just too moisturizing for my skin. But the results are still noticeable. This would be a special occasion mask for me. Perhaps if my skin is experiencing a bad breakout or is generally looking a little rough, I would splurge on a sheet as a treat.




Naruko Snail Essence Hydra Repair Masks, S$29.90

This Taiwanese drugstore skincare brand always impresses me with their ingredients list. It is packed with botanical extracts and effective ingredients, whilst omitting alcohol, parabens and other nasties. I’ve heard great things about their snail essence mask and I was not disappointed.

First thing you will notice is how incredibly slimy the mask is. Absolutely dripping with snail goo, which isn’t the most appealing thing to slap on your face. But once you get over that, the mask itself is thick and stays wet for a very long time. There is a rather strong fragrance – a notable downside for me. It’s very cooling and this treatment can be left on longer than all the masks I’ve tried.

The essence does drip around a bit so be warned, it can get messy. The result is worth the slimy hassle because I was left with clarified and calm skin. It really helped with my hyper pigmentation and acne scars. It’s another special occasion type mask but it’s great stuff!


Japan Gals Pure 5 Essence Masks, S$24.90

This is, I daresay, my HOLY GRAIL sheet mask. I found this Japanese sheet mask on a whim at John Little. It has a similar concept to the LuLuLun masks in the sense that they are meant for daily use and come in large packs of 7 to 30. Personally, I have never heard of this brand, but what peaked my interest was the simplicity of the ingredients list. It’s very simple, without any alcohol or parabens, featuring 5 main ingredients that make up majority of the formulation. Due to the lack of parabens, the masks have to be used up within 2 months of opening. That pushes me to use them daily and oh my god.

My skin has never been better. The masks come in a giant resealable bag, with plastic tweezers to take a sheet out, making it more sanitary. The cotton masks themselves are of a thicker, more plush cotton than the LuLuLun and they have a larger surface area as well. This is one of the very few masks that completely absorbs into my skin, leaving zero residue. I can put on moisturizer and makeup as soon as I am done masking, without feeling sticky or slimy. With regular use, my skin tone is SO much clearer and even toned. So even that I have been going out without a shred of foundation or concealer. It’s liberating.

I highly recommend this mask for anyone with oily or dull skin. They offer a wide range addressing different skin concerns. It’s relatively inexpensive considering there are 30 sheets in the pack. But keep in mind that these are meant for daily use.


For what it’s worth, unwinding everyday for 10 mins with a little pamper routine like this can do more good for you than your skin. Treat yourself!



Best of H&M Beauty

If the H&M beauty launch last Saturday is making you go hmm, let me put your mind to rest. It is worth the trip to town because it is BOMB. I have been waiting for this to launch in Singapore for almost a year. H&M beauty launched in the UK and US in the last quarter of 2015 and I have been patiently waiting ever since. It’s amazing that Singapore is the first to launch the ginormous beauty collection in Southeast Asia.

And ladies, it was worth the year long wait.

The prices do not disappoint. Nothing is above SGD$20, that includes liquid foundation, powders and bronzers. Which is impressive, considering the quality and other drugstore brands like Revlon have foundations priced at SGD$30.90.


First and foremost, let’s talk packaging.






It is monochromatic goals! Everything is black, white and gold. Though they don’t feel luxurious in your hands, they are a sight to behold. And that is good enough for me, considering the price. Packaging aside, the formulation of the products I’ve tried are incredible. I would never have guessed that it was drugstore. Part of the reason, I think is because majority of the makeup is made in Italy. Italy is known for their superior makeup formulations are unreal prices. Most of my favourite drugstore brands, such as Catrice and Essence, are European. Hence all the formulations can be encompassed in two words: Creamy and pigmented.

If you are overwhelmed, like I was, on where to start, here are my recommendations.





1. Single Eyeshadows, S$9.90

The H&M single eyeshadows can put MAC to shame. The formulas are buttery and blend like a dream. Not only that, they have impressive pigmentation which means that you don’t have to work very hard to get them to show up true to colour. They have every colour you can think of from neutrals to bright greens and blues. Collectively they are pricier than a Maybelline eye palette, but the quality is far superior. I suggest getting a statement shade that you will reach for or a matte neutral that you need every single day.


2. Colour Essence Eye Cream, S$9.90

These things are INSANELY good. I want every single shade. I am not even joking. This is what I wanted the Maybelline Colour Tattoo eyeshadow pots to be like. Dare I say, I prefer this even to my MAC Paint Pots, which have been my go-to cream eyeshadow formula for years. The texture is luxurious and light, almost whipped and moussey. They have mindblowing pigmentation and a sophisticated sheen. Once blended out on the lid, they set and do not budge. These cream shadows blend so well with my finger, it’s effortless. They make the perfect one-shadow eye look that makes it seem as if you spent hours doing your makeup. Most shades that they offer are shimmery, but that’s what I love on a day to day basis. I cannot recommend these enough.


3. Cream Lipstick, S$14.90

Currently, H&M is only offering one cream formula for their lipsticks. Although they also have Lip Lacquers and other types of lip products, the traditional lipstick bullet houses very creamy lip colours that just glide on the lips like butter. These lipsticks go on fully opaque in one swipe, so they aren’t messing around. They are comfortable but do not feel overly thick or balmy. Hence, it stays on your lips for a long time, unless you are eating or drinking. The colour choices are as vast as choosing paint in an art store. They offer unique shades on top of popular neutral ones. Even if you are a lipstick hoarder like me, you will find a shade that you have yet to add to your collection.


4. Cream Blushes, S$14.90-S$19.90

Their blushes in both the powder and cream formula are amazing. You can’t go wrong with owning either. I went with a lip & cheek pot because I fell for it’s chic all black packaging. Also, even for a super oily skinned gal like me, their cream blushes do not make me look overly greasy. In fact, they have a velvety finish that is flattering and natural looking. This is the most natural looking blush I own. Granted because of that, they are not the most long lasting, but they last a decent amount of time and I love pulling out the dinky compacts to reapply. They are so silky and are a joy to put on.


5. Lip Definers, S$7.90

If there is ONE thing that you need from this launch, it is THIS. I have tried many lip liners, both high-end and low-end. But this lip liner formula tops EVERYTHING. First of all, the colour range is perfection. It goes from nudes to deeper nudes, reds, corals and even a berry. A lip liner to go with any lipstick in your collection. I was most impressed by how easily they glide on the lips. They aren’t drying at all, but don’t let that fool you. These liners will not budge. I had the hardest time wiping them off my hand after swatching a bunch. They are matte and they will stay all day. I would say they are very similar to Huda Beauty Lip Contours and Urban Decay Lip Liners.

I am OBSESSED with them. I want every single shade. Considering they are just 7.90 a pop, that claim isn’t too far a stretch either.


So there you have it my top 5 picks! Needless to say, I will explore deeper. But for now, the Lip Definers and Cream Eyeshadows are MUST HAVES.

Trust me.

You can thank me later.


Empties #3 : Makeup

More and more empties! This, in particular, is a round up of makeup items that I’ve thoroughly finished up, along with my thoughts and whether I am willing to repurchase ’em. You know the drill by now, and yet I still preface these posts.

God knows.

Makeup tends to be my kryptonite when it comes to empties as it is really tough for a makeup addict like me to actually use a product constantly until it is completely done. Hence, majority of the products mentioned are my makeup essentials and are always in my makeup routine, regardless what eye or face look I end up going for that day.

My number one essential is of course, BROWS.

The one thing I cannot leave the house without doing are my brows, which sadly are non-existent. Therefore, I am not only very picky with brow products, but I tend to use them up quite quickly.




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Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour, S$30

Eyebrow pens are my favourite type of eyebrow product. To me, they are better than pencil, powder and pomade. They can mimic the look of hair most realistically, in my opinion. I tend to use them for the front and tail end of my brow, which are my most sparse areas. I draw them on with hairlike strokes and they last all day on me without fading or smudging.

The Stila version in medium has been my go-to for years. I have repurchased many times, but have since then found drugstore dupes that work just as well for half the price. The Etude House Tint My Brow Pen, particularly, is a pretty spot on one.


Anastasia Brow Wiz, USD$21

One of the brands that has not made its way to Singapore shores, much to my dismay. Anastasia was all the rage a year ago and the hype died down a bit after other companies started to make their own micro brow products, pomades and liquid lips. We tend to forget that Anastasia was one of the OGs.

I love this brow wiz. I go back and forth with this product because as much as I enjoy using it, I cannot warrant the price tag, with very similar products available at the drugstore. The brow wiz has a tiny nib, making it perfect for creating hairlike strokes on the brows. While it does create the illusion of fuller brows, I think it’s a little TOO pigmented for my taste. I have to consciously use a light hand, for fear of blocky “Instagram” brows. Instead, I prefer its hip younger sister…


Urban Decay Brow Beater, S$33

She is the cooler, edgier sister to the brow wiz. The packaging is just stunning. It feels luxe but young. Not mention, the writing doesn’t rub off as easily as the Anastasia one does, so you won’t lose track of your shade. Besides the outward appearance, the product itself is very similar. Retractable, micro fine nib with a handy spoolie at the other end.

To me, the result I get with the Urban Decay is more desirable. The formula is waxier than the brow wiz, doesn’t deposit too much pigment and gives me a more natural looking brow. Only problem with stiffer formulas is that they tend to break off easily, which was what happened with mine. The price hurts my wallet as well. So I didn’t repurchase this one.




Anastasia Clear Brow Gel, USD$22

More brow products! Can you tell I have a problem? This is the coveted brow gel that everyone swears by. It’s so bloody expensive for what it is. The packaging is lovely. I wish all clear brow gels are housed in such an elegant, opaque casing such as this one. It’s weighty and the brush is slightly large-ish, though it doesn’t really matter as you don’t have to be super precise with a clear gel. It holds my brow hairs in place without looking wet or stiff. Plus, my brows stay that way all day.

But is it worth repurchasing? No. Personally, I get comparable results with the Milani Brow Shaping Clear Gel and the Elf Brow and Lash Clear Mascara. Granted the packaging isn’t as amazing, but it does the job.


Nudestix Lash & Grow Mascara, S$37

Possibly the best mascara in the world. Ever. I wanna sing love songs to this mascara. That’s how good it is. It lengthens my lashes to the point that they actually look like falsies. You can layer coats without ever getting clumpy. Your lashes just look long, volumized and fluffy. It’s sexual.

Plus, it has peptides and ingredients inside that help your lash grow too. I can definitely attest to the fact that my lashes are so much stronger when I use this compared to other mascaras. Can you tell I love it? My only issue is the price. That is honestly the only reason why I have yet to purchase a third tube. 37 bucks for mascara is painful. I’m definitely repurchasing once I can afford the splurge.


Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer in ‘Light’, S$19.90

When this concealer finally made its way to Watsons, I literally squealed. I have heard nothing but rave reviews. The coverage is amazing with a thin consistency. However, I found that it looked a little dry under my eyes, despite having eye cream underneath. I felt that the tiny lines under my eyes were more prominent, even though it completely cancelled out my dark circles. I prefer the Maybelline Fit Me concealers instead. They are less heavy duty in terms of coverage, but far more hydrating and blendable. If dark circles aren’t a big issue for you, I suggest switching to the latter.


There you have it. Mini reviews of makeup products I’ve gone through. Safe to say, I have a brow addiction. I’m on a mission to use up more products because I can never completely finish up one thing before moving on to another. It’s an awful habit and something I am determined to get better at.

Here’s to more makeup related empties to come!

The Battle of The Dry Shampoos

Like many women out there, I have a deep, deep love for dry shampoos. Ever since I discovered its existence at the age of 16 (I was late to the dry shampoo party), I couldn’t live without it. I consider as much a necessity as an actual shampoo or oxygen.

Despite that, I realise that there is still a certain stigma that comes with using dry shampoo or proclaiming your love for it as I have. Some have the misconception that dry shampoos are for lazy, unkempt girls who don’t bother washing their hair everyday. It isn’t a reflection of your personal hygiene or a mark of your laziness. Simply put, dry shampoo is a convenient way of reviving hair on the second (or third or fourth) day  and is brilliant at creating volume and texture.

Busy women and men use it to refresh their hair in the morning and I personally use it because I don’t think washing your hair everyday is good for your scalp. I find that the less I wash my hair, the healthier it looks and feels. My natural oils help my hair grow quicker and my scalp is less likely to be dry. Furthermore, it helps me conserve my hair colour for a lot longer.

Sometimes I use dry shampoo even after I shower to add body and volume to my limp hair. It’s much less drying than sea salt spray and gentler than a full-blown hair spray.

Needless to say, I have gone through hundreds of bottles over the years and have tried many different brands. I thought I would share with you my thoughts and preferences of the four that I have used in the past year.


Let’s commence, The Battle of The Dry Shampoos!!

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The Holy Grail

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (for brown to dark hair)

I’m going to start with a bang. The Klorane dry shampoo formula is something that I picked up in Paris and it’s a complete revelation, especially when I got my hands on the tinted version for dark hair. It leaves no visible white marks in my roots that makes me resemble a senior citizen. It smells clean and fresh, nothing overpowering and does not interfere with any fragrances you would like to wear after, but effective enough to make your hair smell clean. The aerosol spray distributes product evenly so, you don’t have to worry about accidentally spraying too much. The gentle formula is my favourite because it is effective at sucking up all the oil and grime, without drying out my sensitive scalp.

While it’s currently my holy grail, there is still room for improvement. It comes in a 150ml bottle, which is minuscule in my opinion. If you use dry shampoo as much as I do, this bottle will typically last you slightly over a month. To me, that makes it quite a pricey purchase at $14.90 a pop. Pisses me off every time I finish a bottle quicker than I anticipated, but I still go back to it. Every time.


The Smelly One

Toni & Guy Matt Texture Dry Shampoo

This giant bottle lasted me a good number of months. Part of the reason is that it comes in a massive 250ml aerosol can. Another part of that reason is that I couldn’t spray too much of it without gagging and choking in fragrant fumes. Fumes is not a exaggeration. I would pick this up if I’m on my third day hair and I want to make sure that my hair smells as if I just washed it. The fragrance is very strong and will definitely interfere with your perfume. But it’s a great refresher after gym.

It comes out as a white powder, but it doesn’t leave too serious of a white cast, if I’m careful. I also can’t spray too much because I get a massive headache from the overpowering fragrance. However, it’s very effective at getting rid of oil and creates amazing volume. It definitely has elements of a texturising spray in it because my hair has a lot more body and is easier to style whenever I use this one. It does mattify my hair quite a bit, so go easy on this one. Great value for money and my hair looks (and smells) fresh all day.


The OG One

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Eden

Ah, Batiste! The original formula that made dry shampoo a household name. Comes in a standard 200ml bottle and a million different “flavours”. The one I am using currently is one that smells of sugar melon and honeysuckle. It’s super fruity but not offensive. The scent dissipates after a few minutes and doesn’t interfere with your own fragrance. I have tried both the tinted and the regular formula and unexpectedly, I prefer the regular one without tint. I found that the tinted dry shampoo for brunette made my hair look dirtier for some reason, as if I had rubbed soil or cocoa powder in my scalp, no matter how little I use. So the white powder formula is the better one, in my opinion. I never get too much of a white cast, if I apply the product from a distance.

It refreshes my hair, soaks up grease and gives it some body and volume though it is not at all gritty in texture. It doesn’t build up in my hair like the Toni & Guy one does but is definitely more drying than the Klorane formula. The bottle lasts me at least 3 months of regular use, making it a great drugstore purchase. My tip is to find a scent you like and you’ll love this one.


The New Girl In Town

COLAB Sheer + Invisible Dry Shampoo

As a follower of Ruth Crilly’s blog and youtube channel, I was so delighted to see that her range is finally being sold at Watsons. I’ve heard so much about her range of dry shampoos and was desperate to try them. To be honest, after finishing a bottle, I’m a little ‘meh’ about it. Perhaps I was hyping it up too much. This dry shampoo is perfect for any coloured hair because it is truly invisible. I was the most heavy handed with this one and I can attest that it’s truly invisible. Also, ‘Monaco’ smells absolutely divine! So fresh, lightly floral but with a certain depth. I would wear it as a perfume. The scent lingers quite bit in your hair, but it will disappear after about two hours. It gives me lots of volume without being as heavy as the Toni & Guy one.

However, my only gripe with this is that it takes a lot of product to get rid of the grease in my hair. Therefore, I finished this 200ml bottle in slightly over a month and that angers me slightly. Granted it is cheaper than the Klorane one, I still wouldn’t want to repurchase it every month. Perhaps it’s due to its invisible formula that it is less mattifying than the others, but the whole point of a dry shampoo is to get rid of grease. I think for someone with a dry scalp this would be great. The product never builds up or weighs my hair down, even after the third day. I’m just disappointed that it didn’t last longer.


Ultimately, my search for the perfect dry shampoo continues! But these are the tried and tested. I’ll keep you posted if anything bumps my current holy grail.


Life’s a Peach.

Let’s talk about something that has taken the makeup world by storm and is almost impossible to get a hold of.


Behold! The Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette!

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This is a limited edition eye shadow palette to release from Too Faced, just in time for the summer season. It was released in the US a couple months ago and because of some major YouTube hype, people made a mad rush for it. It was constantly out of stock and therefore, you know how it is. The moment you can’t get your hands on something, you want it even more.

Seems like Singapore is the same thanks to our YouTube culture. My friend, Liz, told me that its everywhere in France because they don’t really gravitate to these peachy colours, which I thought was really interesting.

Currently this palette is out of stock in all the major Sephora’s in town but I’m pretty sure it will come back, otherwise, they would’ve just gotten rid of the display.

I’ve actually highlighted this ages ago on a summer post about product I can’t wait to get my hands on. People are going bonkers, either obsessing over this palette or completely bashing it, saying it’s just another neutral palette. Despite all this craziness, I managed to get my hands on it and I have to say, I don’t regret it at all. And even if there wasn’t all this hype, I would still go ahead and purchase it – based off the simple fact that these are my preferred eye shadow colours.

Is it another neutral palette? Yes. Definitely.

But it’s neutral with a warm twist. I personally am not a fan of any of the Urban Decay Naked palettes. Even though I own the original, I hardly pull it out because I felt the colours didn’t mesh well with my skin tone. I did not rush out to buy the other Too Faced Chocolate Bar palettes or the previous Chocolate Bon Bons either. We all know how huge the hype was on those. Personally, they never called to me as I truly preferred an entirely warm palette.

My favourite palette had always been the Lorac Nude Skinny Palette. And if you look the colours in that one, they all very warm and peachy. So naturally, the Sweet Peach palette is my jam.

Seems like warm orange-peach colours are on trend for Summer and I ain’t mad. So when my prayers were answered and the Sweet Peach palette finally made its way to Singapore shores, I was ecstatic. The palette did not disappoint.



Formulation is stunning. One of the best I’ve tried and I dare say, superior to Urban Decay that tends to deliver colour with lots of fall out. Though it’s rich in pigment, the colours have barely any fall out, and it holds true even for the matte shades. Which I think is bloody impressive. All the colour appear true to colour, as in the pan, except for “candied peach”. That one shows up more matte on the lid, with specks of random pink glitter. Hardly noticeable, to be completely honest. I still use it as a crease shade to warm up a look and it works brilliantly.

The one thing I would say that this palette lacks is a solid mid-tone blending shade. The matte browns are way too deep on my skin, and tend to darken eye looks, making them more dramatic than I intended initially. The other gripe I have with this palette is the smell.

*cue gasp* Yes. To most, it’s the major selling point. People seem to be obsessed with the Too Faced palettes because their powdered products are infused with sweet fragrances. The Sweet Peach palette is supposed to smell like peaches, though to me, it has a very synthetic fruity scent. Imagine a combination of fruity candy and cough syrup. I don’t enjoy it at all, and it’s very strong. So strong, that it actually scents up my room whenever I open it up.

Perhaps I am the only old-fashioned one here who prefers my eyeshadows unscented, particularly as it will be around my eyes. But it seems like I’m alone on this because everyone else is raving about the scent.

So what’s the verdict on this one?

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I would say get it if you are a fan of large palettes, smooth buttery formulas and a completely warm toned look. This palette isn’t multi-faceted and thus, you can only create one sort of look even if you mix and match the shadows. You can’t do cool-toned looks, there aren’t any sophisticated, muted colours. Everything is pretty much bold and warm. And if that’s your thing then the Sweet Peach palette is worth the hype.

If you are looking for versatility and are looking to achieve a wide variety of looks, then skip this one. Also, if you are very sensitive to scents, most definitely skip this one. There are other shadows and palettes out there that can help achieve similar looks, so it isn’t incredibly unique.

But it’s a nice one to have, especially for a warm toned makeup lover like me.