K-Haul

Korean beauty has been increasing in popularity for the past few years. 2016 seems to be the year that Korean beauty trends are transcending Asian regions and infiltrating the Western. Beyond the BB and CC creams, there are cushion compacts in every shape and form. Also, Western consumers can find Asian beauty products more readily available at Sephora stores and online Asian beat sites.

In Singapore, we are lucky enough to have a good mix of East and West beauty products to choose from. Personally, I am equally influenced by both. While I favour the Western style of make-up with bronzing, contouring, highlighting and the works, I tend to lean on Asian and European products for skincare.

Recently though, I have grown more interested in Korean skincare due to the hype it is having in the West. It’s easier for me to see reviews of products on different skin tones and types that are not just Asian. Also, more sites are translated to English so I can read the ingredients and directions more thoroughly. I was going through a major K-pop phase when I was younger and was obsessed with anything Korean. But I remembered coming out of it with pretty bad skin as I had adverse reactions to their skincare products. I found them too rich and highly fragranced with ingredients that aggravated my teen acne.

Safe to say I was semi traumatised by that experience and swore of Korean beauty products for years.

Now, I am slowly dipping my toes in it again. This time with a life vest and float. And by that I mean, proper knowledge of ingredients and how they work with my skin and a plethora of websites in English telling me whats inside each product with suggestions on how to best use them.

Isn’t the Internet great?

So, recently, at Duty Free, I picked up a couple of goodies that I thought I’d share with you.

 

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1. Belif First Aid Aqua Rush Mask

Belif is a Korean brand that has an amazing philosophy. It’s packing reminds me slightly of Kiehl’s in a sense that it’s simple and almost medical in style. Belif claims to leave out nasties like mineral oil, synthetic dyes and fragrances in their formulations. Making it great for sensitive skins. It’s pretty pricey but I was shocked at how much cheaper it is  at Duty Free Singapore. Almost half the price! It wasn’t even on sale or anything!

I have been interested in their “Aqua” range because I have dehydrated, combination skin. With all the travelling I did and using Retinol has created some dry eczema patches on my face, while my T-zone remained oily and acne-prone. Hence I needed something intensely hydrating yet non-poreclogging. I was initially interested in the Aqua Bomb moisturiser that everyone is raving about. But I hesitated as Alcohol Denat is quite high up in the ingredients list. So I opted for this mask instead and decided to use it as an overnight mask, even though it is meant to be removed after 20 mins.

It’s amazing for my dehydrated skin. It has a rich gel texture that feels great. It sinks in but still leaves a dewy film. I wake up to super plump looking skin.

 

2. Chosungah 22 Dong Gong Minn Brow Maker

I’ve been intrigued by this brand ever since I saw my favourite YouTubers haul it. It was on the Sephora US website for a while before the brand finally made its way here to Singapore. Exclusive to SASA, this is a makeup brand that is created by famous Korean makeup artist, Cho Sungah. I mainly am attracted to its distinct and quirky packaging. This one in particular is so fun!

It looks like a highlighter but it’s actually a tinted brow gel. The premise is to make the makeup look like inconspicuous items that one can bring to work or school easily. It’s a little pricey for a tinted brow gel, I’ll admit. Also, it has a strange spoolie, which claims to help you both fill in your brows and set them in place. More on this product soon!

 

3. Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner

This one, on the hand, is so affordable. Missha is famous for their Time Revolution range that contains the same fermented ingredients that is found in the super expensive SKII line. I bought this toner, thinking that it can somehow perform like the SKII Clear Lotion did on me. I’m genuinely shocked that the active ingredients are so high up the list and it doesn’t contain any nasty ingredients nor parabens. It’s amazing that it is so affordable with such quality ingredients in it.

I’ve been using this for a while now and I’m happy to report that my first impression is that it’s very comparable, if not more effective that the SKII counterpart. This toner has more AHAs and BHAs in it than the SKII Clear Lotion. Hence, it provides a stronger, but still gentle, exfoliation. Perfect for my easily congested skin. Will update you guys on the progress but so far I’m very happy.

 

4. Banila Co. Clean It Zero Purity

I have been eyeing this product for MONTHS. This is a cult Korean product that people swear by. It’s basically a cleansing balm that removes makeup quickly and effectively, without leaving any residue on the skin. It comes in various versions for different skin types and concerns, but the most popular will be the classic Clean It Zero that comes in a pink tub. I decided to go for the “Purity” version, which is made for sensitive skin as I do suffer from skin sensitivity. More so though, I opted against the original version as its primary ingredient is mineral oil, a cheap filler oil that doesn’t warrant the price tag and may potentially irritate the skin.

I haven’t tried this one yet as I am still using up my Japanese cleansing oil. However, I’m certainly looking forward to it.

 

5. It’s Skin Power 10 Formula GF Effector

Look at this amazing packaging! I almost mistook it for a very premium Skin Inc product. I was flabbergasted at how affordable the It’s Skin products are. This serum is part of their Power 10 serum range that has a serum for any concern you have. The one I chose was the hydrating serum as my skin, at that time, was super dry from the airplane air. You would think that at a price like this, the ingredients would be pretty rubbish. But ingredient deck is surprisingly impressive.

I’ve been using it for a while now every morning and I’m quite happy with it. It glides on the skin silkily and sinks in quickly, yet still leaving my face feeling super hydrated. It has knocked my previous morning serum out of my routine, which was the Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Serum.

 

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I also received the Missha Tinted Gel Gloss in a coral colour. I got this for free when I purchased the Missha toner. It was so unexpected because the item was so affordable and yet they still gave me a free gift. Love Missha as a brand!

 

So that’s it for now! I’ll definitely do an update once I’ve properly tested these products out.

 

March Favourites

March came and went in a breeze. I almost didn’t realise that April had begun. It snuck in so quickly. Of course, I’m bringing a monthly round up of a few favourite things. I did some travelling in March so, I really got a good sense of what I consider an essential as I had to edit down the amount of stuff I packed. I’m far from a minimal packer, but I definitely strive to be. Don’t we all!

 

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1. Kindle  (SGD$ 250)

This is an absolute ESSENTIAL for me when I was travelling in Jakarta. I never went anywhere without it. With the crazy traffic in Jakarta, I spent long hours in the car trying to get from point A to point B. Though snoozing the whole way through is an option, I’m eternally grateful for my kindle because I managed to finish two books whilst I was there. Since I have the Paperwhite version, it has a lit screen, making it easy for me to read in the car even at night. It’s so light and compact, I can’t believe how I have lived without this.

 

2. Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask  (SGD$ 27)

Besides it’s adorable frosted pink packaging that just looks so pretty on my vanity, this lip mask is a saviour for my dry, chapped lips. I wear lots of matte lipsticks during the day. Furthermore, the dry Jakarta air and airplane ventilation has ravaged my lips. Turning them into cracked desert ground. This lip mask is designed to be slapped on before bed, and you wake up with moisturised lips.

Firstly, I love the glossy, thick texture. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea as some don’t like the slippery consistency. I love it! It’s emollient, coating my lips with berry scented goodness. It isn’t the MOST hydrating thing I’ve tried, but it’s a pleasure to put on every night and it makes my lips very plump.

 

3. Hada Labo Air Aqua UV Day Emulsion, SPF50/PA+++  (SGD$ 19.90)

This is my holy grail sunscreen, hands down. Super accessible at Watsons or Guardian. It’s a light, runny moisturiser with a high broad spectrum SPF and it protects me from the tropical Singapore sun. I had initially regretted this particular purchase as I had accidentally bought the “dry skin” formula, instead of the one for oily skin. But I find that I am using this everyday as an all-in-one type product due to its extra moisturising properties. It truly acts as a moisturiser, sunscreen and primer in one. Helps me get ready quicker in the morning, cutting down all the product layering I previously had to do. It leaves my skin soft and velvety, also makes my pores look less apparent.

 

4. Real Techniques Setting Brush  (SGD$ 18)

A brush sold by itself (thank god) in the signature Pixiwoo Pink. This can be found in our local drugstores at a reasonable price. While this brush is made for precise setting of areas of the face with powder, it is incredible at multitasking. Thanks to its small size, yet fluffy  bristles, it is perfect to buff out concealer under the eyes and all over the face for a flawless, airbrushed complexion. The Setting Brush is also great for placing and blending highlight on the cheekbones, for a diffused luminosity. Perfection!! I definitely need more than one.

 

5. Anastasia Brow Wiz in Dark Brown  (USD$ 21)

I’m back together with my OG brow pencil that I was once upon a time crazy about. This is still nowhere to be found in Singapore. I had to buy it off Beauty Bay and pray that it arrived to my house safely. Nowadays, I would recommend purchasing it from Beautylish. The hype for this micro brow pencil has finally died down and that was when I decided to pick it up again. I wanted to go through all the back ups I bought, due to the hype and I fell back in love with it. For people with sparse brows like me, this gives you the most natural looking full brows you can ever get. More so than the pomade, the definer and the brow powders, this brow wiz is the perfect consistency to imitate the look of hairs.

 

Special mention to Zayn’s new albumMind of Mine” has been on repeat all through March. To be honest, I had no real expectations, despite loving his single “Pillowtalk”. I was actually blown away by the Robin Thick-ese style with some solid R&B tunes. I also loved the Bollywood/Urdu influences that’s sprinkled in the album. Honestly, my jaw dropped when I heard him sing “Intermission:Flower”. So. Bloody. Good.

However, my favourite song in the whole album is hands down “Borderz”.

 

 

And that’s about it for last month. We are already full swing into April. Content on the site is likely to change in terms of its upload schedule as my job is starting to get a little hectic. But I will definitely be posting weekly, as per usual. Look for them especially on the weekend.

Ahoy, April! Let’s go!

Empties # 1

Today, let’s talk trash! I’m bringing a popular series from YouTube into the site called “Empties“. This is a common beauty series that most beauty gurus do where they literally keep all their beauty-related trash and show them to their audience, summing up their thoughts after finishing the product as well as whether they would repurchase them.

I don’t know about you but I get so satisfied when I finish up an item. Unless it’s limited edition or really hard to get a hold of, in which case I will be gutted. For the most part, it’s hard for me to use a single product consistently and finish it up completely before moving on to the next one. Simply because the options are endless and new things are always popping up every day! It’s difficult to stay loyal to a product. But when I am loyal to something and finish it up, you know the love is real.

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So here’s a quick round up of my beauty trash!

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1. Pixi Glow Tonic  (US$30.50)

One of the most highly raved about AHA toners out there. Ever since skincare expert, Caroline Hirons, mentioned these, it blew up! Everyone in the UK started using it and it became a super hyped product in Europe and the US. Unfortunately, as with many things that are amazing, we can’t get this brand in Singapore. I actually picked this up when I was in London late last year. But do not despair! Recently ASOS has expanded their beauty section and you can now order this with free international shipping through them. However, be wary when purchasing items online (especially from ASOS). 

That being said, I would repurchase this and take that risk in a heartbeat because this toner is EVERYTHING. The Pixi Glow Tonic is an acid toner. Hence, it is packed with 5% Glycolic Acid as well as Ginseng extracts to help chemically exfoliate the skin. The AHAs in this toner will get rid of your dead skin cells without tugging the skin to reveal youthful, clear skin and it definitely helps with any textural issues I had. It’s great for all skin types and gentle enough to use daily. It’s one of those cases where a product is truly worth the hype.

I’ve used other AHA toners such as the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner, but this is by far superior in its formulation. Definitely more forgiving on the skin, without losing its effectiveness. I’m already on to my back up bottle. Cannot live without this one!

 

2. Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (SGD $15.90)

Holy Grail dry shampoo!! I know that dry shampoo isn’t exactly the most exciting thing to talk about. And it isn’t as widely used here in Asia as it is in the states. If you aren’t using Dry Shampoo, try some! It will change your life I guarantee it. It’s perfect for second day hair or refreshing your style after a low intensity gym session. Contrary to popular belief, it is damaging to wash your hair daily as it strips it of the natural oils it need to grow and become stronger. It’s especially bad for people with colour-treated hair as washing your hair too much can strip its colour.

This is the best dry shampoo I’ve found. And trust me, I’ve tried a substantial amount. The formula is gentle yet effective and does not leave a major white cast on your roots (hello fellow brunettes). This Klorane one also does not leave the hair feeling dirty or overloaded with product, like the Batiste one does for me. It’s very airy and has a gentle inoffensive scent that doesn’t clash with your perfume. Furthermore, it adds subtle texture to your hair whilst absorbing unwanted grease. When I found that Klorane made a tinted version for brown haired girls, you can just imagine the elation. Pure joy!!

Needless to say, I will definitely be repurchasing this, forever and ever. It’s completely flawless.

 

3. La Roche Posay Serozinc Spray (£8.50)

I think it is apparent that I am a huge fan of French Pharmaceutical brands. I find most of their formulas very gentle and suitable for my sensitive acne prone skin. Speaking of which, I have finished up another bottle of my Serozinc spray toner from La Roche Posay. This is my third bottle and I have 2 more back ups, ready for me. Yes, it is THAT good.

Although the brand is sold here in Singapore, this particular toner is only sold in France. But due to its popular demand, recently certain UK sites have started carrying it and they do have international shipping. Why are people going ga-ga over this? This is basically a zinc sulphate solution, designed specifically for oily, acne prone skin but people of all skin types are able to use it. Zinc sulphate helps reduce inflammation and soothes skin irritation. On top of that, it balances the skin and also contains sodium chloride, a mild astringent to help purify. Just three ingredients in total, including the La Roche Posay signature thermal spring water.

This is GODSEND for days when I am having breakouts and my skin is red and angry. It prevents the spread of my breakouts, whilst treating it and reducing its redness. As with all gentle products, it isn’t a miracle worker that cures acne overnight. However, I love how balanced my skin feels every time I use this.

Love. Love. Love. 

 

4. Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturising Eye Cream (SGD $21.90)

This is a standard eye cream that I enjoyed using. No fragrance, mineral oils plus a lightweight cream formula that sinks in quickly and does hydrate the skin under the eyes very well. Hada Labo features a super hyaluronic acid formula that contains 3 types of hyaluronic acid that really helps with oil-free hydration. Perfect day and night, works amazing under makeup. I’m not sure if I will go back to this, because this eye cream only targets hydration. I might graduate and take it to the next level by trying out a more anti-aging formula next.

 

5. Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution (SGD $120)

Amazing entry level retinol product that really does help with hyper pigmentation and scarring. I used this religiously for months, every night. You can read more here, where I explain in detail what retinol does and how this really helped my skin. I will definitely repurchase this for the ferulic acid, because it made my skin bright and even toned. However, I have since then moved to a stronger retinol formula so I will not be repurchasing this immediately. But I highly recommend this for its lightweight and effective concoction of antioxidants, acids and retinol. Say hello to bright, even skin!

 

 

 

Most of my empties are skincare products as I tend to use those up much more quickly than any makeup product. These kinds of things really give you a good idea of the prolonged performance of a product and encourages me to be less wasteful, to truly get every penny’s worth. I’m pumped to keep doing this and use up even more of my things.

Shop my stash more and be less fickle when it comes to beauty products.

 

Sexcited about Summer

Here’s a quick one for your weekend reading pleasure!

I always get so excited around this time of the year because all the major makeup brands are coming up with new collections for Summer. We get sneak peeks on new products that are made for hot summery weather. It’s all about glowing, bronzed skin in a lightweight formula. This is what I’m ALL ABOUT!!

As usual, the US has a head start to all the cool product launches. I’m praying that Singapore isn’t too far behind, so I’m thinking these might launch in June 2016. If it isn’t launched by then, most probably it isn’t launching at all in Asia. Which would be a damn shame. (Can you tell I’m still bitter about Too Faced Hangover X Primer not being launched here?)

I’ve been stalking websites and I’ve already made a small list of products I’m dying to see in person and try out. I thought I would just share with you my list really quickly as a small appetiser, to get your appetite going and peak your interest at some future launches.

 

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1. Tarte Double Duty Beauty Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation (US$39)

Lightweight gel formula with medium buildable coverage that can last through the Summer heat. It boasts bioploymer filling spheres to help reduce the look of fines lines and pores along with hyaluronic acid to provide moisturization. It’s oil-free and also has vitamin C and Barley extract for extra goodness. Though I am more interested in the gel formulation than anything else. It sounds perfect for oily skin gals like me, who still appreciate a little bit of hydration. It’s cooling with a soft rose scent to boot! Ticks all the boxes.

 

2. Too Faced Sweet Peach Eyeshadow Collection, Limited Edition (US$49)

Umm, can we just take a moment for this gorgeous palette? Though I am not a fan of large palettes as I find them rather bulky to travel with, and the choice of shadows tend to be quite overwhelming for a quick morning routine, I feel like I might need this palette just for the beautiful range of warm eyeshadows. Due to my yellow undertones, warm shadows tend to look most flattering on me and I am loving the reddish orange hues of this palette. Plus, it smells like PEACHES! Sadly this is limited edition so I’ll definitely be swiping one as soon as it launches.

 

3. Urban Decay Beached Bronzer (US$28)

I live and die for bronzer. My pale yellow skin has the tendency to look sallow and sickly, so I always find that bronzer helps to give my face warmth whilst defining my features. I never leave the house without it! While I have my tried and true NARS Laguna, the Urban Decay new offering is calling my name. From it’s palm tree packaging to the gorgeous matte brown shade, I am finding it hard to resist the temptation. I feel like whipping this out on a beach holiday and putting this on, just might transport me there (in my head).

 

4. Nudestix Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil (US$24)

Y’all know I’m a huge fan of Nudestix for their mascara and lip products. So when I found out that they will be releasing matte versions of their lip pencils, I was ecstatic! The NARS Velvet Lip Pencils have been my favourite formulas, though I find them quite drying at times. I have high hopes for the Nudestix formulas since they are made for both cheek and lips. The range of colours are stunning with great nude shades and incredible brights. From the swatches online, I am eager to get my hands on this one for an easy, chic matte lip.

 

5. Naked Skin One and Done Hybrid Complexion Perfector (US$34)

Another complexion product! They are truly my biggest weakness. I can’t get enough of them. Probably because I am always on the road to flawless-looking skin. It’s my biggest insecurity and something I obsess about constantly. This tinted moisturizer sounds amazing for oily, combination skin girls like me. With blurring technology and light reflecting spheres, it’s supposed to help you achieve a more perfected looking skin whilst still maintaining the look of “real skin”. The weightless yet long-lasting formula is perfect for daily use and claims to reduce the look of pores. Can we get a “HELL YES“?

 

Needless to say, the excitement is real! The Spring/Summer season has some of my favourite launches to date as it suits Singapore’s hot, humid weather. This, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. This only covers mostly US brands that are sold at Sephora. There are still launches from Asian brands as well as the drugstore. I could really sit here for hours just researching and talking about this. However, these are just a few that I’m looking out for and can’t wait to try out.

Let me know what launches you guys are hyped about!

 

Awaken Your Senses!

When we walk into a Sephora or Watsons, we are immediately surrounded by hundreds of brand from all over the world to choose from. Truly we are spoilt for choice. More often than not, we are attracted to packaging and product presentation, I know I fall into this trap time and time again. When it comes to skincare, I am a little more wary and I will look into the ingredients list before making a purchase, making sure that there’s nothing that my skin could potentially have an adverse reaction to.

But let’s take a step back. Where are the local brands? And what are we actually putting on our skin? 

This was when I was introduced to Rania Hasna’s skincare range that she makes from scratch. The superficial girl in me was initially attracted to the simplistic packaging that gives me major “MUJI” vibes. I loved the clean and simple look. And then I dug deeper into the brand and what it’s all about.

 

Rania Hasna Nature Elements is all about knowledge. Knowing exactly what you are putting on your skin and what purpose they serve to you. Rania started this line, first as a mother. Her motherly instinct to protect her son made her start asking questions and doubting the integrity of mass produced items sold in drugstores. They are marketed for sensitive skins, suitable even for babies but when she dug deeper and researched the ingredients, there were so many cheap fillers and harmful substances that were passed by the HSA (Health Sciences Authority) due to “low” amounts present in them. But why are they present at all?!

So she took things into her own hands. 

All her products are formulated on her own, using organic produce and cruelty free. The brand is also environmentally conscious, encouraging customers to recycle their empty product containers in exchange for dollars off their next purchase. Made in Australia, she uses the highest grade essential oils and thus, only can make small batches at a time. In essence, she gets rid of all the unnecessary nasty stuff and just focus on the good.

And we all could do with a little bit of good.

 

Due to years of using more chemically potent products on my face, I have always been rather adverse or underwhelmed with “natural” or “organic” products. I find that they don’t give me the fast results that I am looking for. But gentle products are not supposed to be abrasive and I realised how much I liked knowing what is going on my body.

 

The star for me is the Awaken Oil.

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Just the name, ohh~ YAS! Give it to me! This product only has 6 ingredients, 5 of which are amazing oils and the last ingredient being Vitamin E. It has a herbal smell that comes from the oils in the bottle itself. All her products contain no artificial fragrances. I personally love herbal smells and I find it extra relaxing when I am massaging this onto my skin.

 

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My skin type is Oily and Acne-prone. Contrary to popular belief, oil is amazing for oily skin as it helps regulate the amount of oil your own body produces. I find that the more I hydrate my skin, the more balanced it is and the less oily I am.

However, it’s all about finding the right balance as too much hydration can clog my large pores. I find that the best way to use this oil is to mix a drop into my night moisturizer. Due to it’s thicker consistency, my night cream helps it become more emollient and easier to spread over my skin. I also find that it sinks in more quickly this way. And I wake up to plump and juicy skin.

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I truly admire people who go out and make things happen for themselves. It is especially difficult in a country like Singapore, where international brands take center stage and we ignore our own people. Here is a mother and entrepreneur who is looking to make a difference in teaching people what they are actually putting into their bodies.

 

This woman goes against the grain and I salute that!

 

 

 

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I’ve been wearing prescription glasses since I was 12 years old. That is genuinely decades of being bespectacled. Unlike some, I actually enjoy wearing glasses tremendously. Sure, there are times when I think contact lens are the way to go (i.e. working out, fancy dates). But for the majority, I love wearing glasses and if you invest in a couple of pairs like I have, you can consider them as fashion accessories to add to the look of your outfit.

 

I’m a big believer in having an eyewear wardrobe!

 

If you are a four-eyed person like me, it’s absolutely life changing. Being able to mix and match your outfits with your glasses will just add that extra bit to make you look 100%.

 

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The ones I am currently obsessing over are my MCM glasses from their new eyewear collection that launched September 2015. MCM is a German fashion brand best known for their iconic studded leather bags covered in their signature logo. On top of that they have done amazing footwear and their luxury clothing brand is internationally recognised, especially popular in Korea. This time, MCM has expanded their range of eyewear to include some gorgeous vintage inspired prescription glasses with their own little twist.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!

I first saw these in a regular optical shop in a heartland mall. So I would assume that these are quite widely available. Their price range is similar to any luxury brand eyewear such as Burberry, Coach and Raybans. However, not extortionately expensive like Oliver People, Tom Ford and Miu Miu. So for luxury eyewear, I would consider this mid-range.

The collection features thick frames and modern twists to classic shapes. I tried on so many! Because of their thicker frames, I would suggest trying them out before purchasing as the shapes look different on than they do off. They are not as straight forward to purchase as something like Raybans that seem to have a more universally flattering shape.

 

 

Untitled-1 copyThe one I went with is the MCM2600A model (S$259).

 

It has large oversized lens and a medium thickness in frame with the most gorgeous taupe/tan gradient. This style comes in other colours too, including black, brown and even purple. These feature a more rounded shape despite being oversized, which I love! The sides are the same thickness as the frames and is accented with a long gold stud that is engraved with “MCM“. A luxurious and sophisticated touch that really elevated the look of these glasses.

When choosing your glasses, you want to think about not only the look you are going for, but also what are the undertones of your skin and how versatile the shape is for your daily outfits. This particular one is able to look casual and “fancy” at the same time and I love that about it. It suits most outfits, save for maybe a ball gown.

But once again, glasses are so highly personal. It is a definite case of “You do you“.

This sturdy piece is going to get a lot of wear from me. Though I am lusting over pieces that I saw in the Garrett Leight’s collection. Unfortunately for us, they don’t sell it in Singapore. So until I figure out how to get my greedy hands on a pair of those.

I am content with this gorgeous pair! (for now)

 

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Oh, what a Site!

The social media craze is alive and strong today and it’s not looking to die down any time soon. Just like with anything that becomes insanely popular, the capitalist nature in humans simply cannot resist monetising this venture. Social media has become such an effective marketing tool. Just when you think you can escape ads that have invaded your favourite spaces like YouTube and Facebook, it has even permeated Instagram with “sponsored” posts and product placement by influential accounts.

Nothing is sacred any more. 

But perhaps nothing was sacred to begin with. With the developments of social media, I have ironically become more selective about the types of people I would follow and the types of websites I would read. I grew sick and tired of YouTubers raving about how *insert name of product* has CHANGED their life and then literally the next week *insert another product name* has changed their life AGAIN. Scroll down and you will find that everything was a LIE and it was all a #AD. Can you tell I’m bitter about this?

With this post, I would like to share my favourite Instagram accounts and websites. I’m excluding YouTube channels because my subscription list is out of hand. We will do a separate post on that entirely.

The bulk of these are fashion and beauty inspirations for me. However, I also enjoy photography accounts and lifestyle sites. The one thing I enjoy about all of them is that they have their own stylistic integrity and they do so despite the need to do sponsored posts or feature certain places or products. I don’t feel as if they are shoving ads down my throat as they are genuine in their creative endeavour.

 

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1. Carmen Hamilton

A blogger for her own website and Vogue Australia. She is blonde, beautiful and incredibly stylish. Her style is relaxed but well-thought through. Also, she has a blogspot site that is just chic as hell. Who says blogspot is so “1999”? She also makes more flat chested ladies like me feel confident about my body image and shows me how I can look incredibly feminine, without the need to emphasise any cleavage and curves.

 

@chroniclesofher_

 

 

2. Gritty Pretty

Absolutely stunning website and Australia’s leading e-magazine. With the drop dead gorgeous Eleanor Pendleton as editor and publisher, the site oozes “chic”. The e-magazines are free for you to browse and they have quality articles and tasteful ads. I love e-magazines more and more as they are able to play around with gifs and moving images, which adds a dynamic quality to an article. Furthermore, if you are interested in any item they are featuring, you can simply click on the image to shop the product. Internet shoppers rejoice!

 

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@gritty_pretty

 

 

3. Jane Aldridge

Writer for the blog “sea of shoes”, one of the first fashion and style websites that I discovered and check religiously at the tender age of 15. Jane’s style is vintage and colourful, which is something I enjoy after a sea of monochromatic fashion shoots. I love her quirky style and her posts are simple and to the point with zero sponsorships. She genuinely loves sharing her fashion style and inspirations.

 

 

@seaofshoes

4. Weston James Palmer

A gorgeous human being with an Instagram feed and website that I am obsessed with. Weston is an artist, currently in LA (he also kinda looks like Jared Leto *yum*). His signature pink accents are everywhere in his designs, photographs and website. Its creative, inspiring and a visual pleasure. His videos are also done in the same style, with his comments handwritten on the screen. If you are having writer’s block or are experiencing a creative rut, check out his work and I guarantee it will get your creative juices going.

 

@westonjamespalmer 

 

 

5. Anna

Anna excels at everything from her blog, Instagram page to her YouTube channel. I enjoy her blog most of all the three mentioned. Her articles are the right length, relatable, witty and with good quality photos. Great and mostly honest recommendations. I love her girl-next-door personality. She feels like an old friend, which is why we are all on a first name basis with her.

 

@viviannamakeup

And it’s a wrap!

All the names are clickable for your viewing pleasure. I highly suggest you check them out because they keep me inspired and give me hope that artistic integrity is still a thing, even when my YouTube subscription and Instagram feed is drowning in a tsunami of sellouts. 

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!