Saturday, 18 April 2015

Base Make Up: The Foundation & Concealer Edition

(L-R) Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation, NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, YSL Touche Eclat Foundation, Skinfood Salmon Dark Circle Foundation, YSL Anti-Cernes Multi Action Concealer and Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser

So on top of using BB Cushions, I've been sampling and trying to finish up some base make up products lately. I think I'm getting closer towards finding my perfect liquid foundation but it seems that I'm still on the hunt for HD under-eye concealer.  Concealers have always been hard for me considering that I have dark brown eye circles against the backdrop of pale skin. Nothing seems to really work!

But anyway, onwards we go to some mini reviews on a plethora of base products that I've been using recently. 

1. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation in Sand 
I was given a generous sample of this foundation to use at home and I'm close to buying this...but am holding off just in case there's something better. I think this pretty much sums up my feelings towards the foundation. It's great but there's nothing that makes me think that I need it straight away.

Sand, a light neutral colour that seems to lean towards beige, is the perfect colour for me during the warmer months. I honestly don't think I've ever been matched up with a better shade. The colour matches my neck and the formula doesn't seem to oxidise much, if at all. The foundation looks like second skin and seems to hide light redness pretty well. I find that it's a light-medium coverage foundation.

Bobbi Brown just announced the launch of its Intensive Skin Serum Foundation which I'm guessing is aimed at drier skin types. I'm totally excited about it and a part of me wants to impulsively buy it. But I'm going to hold it together until I hear some reviews on it. LOL.

2. NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Deauville and Mont Blanc
Everyone seems to rave about this foundation!

Can I just say that there doesn't seem to be anything sheer or glowy about this foundation?! In fact, to me, it provides medium coverage and a slightly matte finish. It's also heavier than what I'm used to but I find that I don't mind it that much. It covers imperfections very well - redness and pores can be blurred nicely.

I find that, because I'm used to lighter coverage, I'm happy using only a smidge to cover my face. I'd imagine that if I were to purchase this, it would last me a long time.

However, the reason why I can't pick this up is because there isn't a shade for me. There isn't even two shades I can mix to get the perfect colour. I was initially recommended Deauville, which is described as a neutral balance between pinks and yellows, but I found it to be too yellow. It made my skin look dull and, over time, it would turn gray. I was then told to try Mont Blanc, a light pink toned shade, and I found that, that was a little too pale for me in summer. For winter, Mont Blanc is actually pretty good with bronzer/blush.

On the 'might purchase' list. 

3. YSL Touche Eclat Foundation in BR30
I actually own this in B20 and, at one point, I thought that it was a decent foundation. I loved that radiant glow it gave my skin but it didn't offer much coverage. Then my skin condition changed. I have some acne scarring and underdeveloped zits/pimples.

I went to the counter to get rematched and was given a sample pot of BR30. The SA said that B30 would be too yellow for me and that BR30 would be better. I tried it at home and it was just way too dark!

I've tried mixing this with my B20 but I can't seem to get the right shade for myself. So it's a no to purchasing a new bottle.

Having said that, I think this is a good foundation for those with already good skin. 

4. Skinfood Salmon Dark Circle Concealer in # 2
On to the concealers! I've always wanted to try this because it's enriched with salmon oil, making the texture more emollient. I really hoped that it'd be moisturising on the under-eye.

The first problem with the concealer is that the shade doesn't properly conceal my eyebags. It just makes them look ashy. I know I need a corrector for my brown eyebags, so the product isn't entirely to blame. But the second problem is that it's a very light coverage concealer despite it being in a cream form. It's quite oily and shiny on the skin and, because of that, it tends to slip and slide. It disappears very quickly and you have to reapply quite often.

It is pretty moisturising compared to other cream and liquid concealers I've used but too bad that it tends to move around. I think this can be rectified by powdering the under-eye area afterward but that usually emphasises my lines, so I always skip this step.

5. YSL Anti-Cernes Multi Action Concealer in #2 Nude Beige 
Can you believe a YSL SA recommended this concealer stick for the under-eye area? And can you believe that I believed her and bought it?

Initially, she suggested the Touche Eclat but I scoffed because that I already owned it and know that the pen is a brightener not a concealer.

The stick is dry but very pigmented. I'd imagine that this is better for concealing spots.

The colour is too dark for me now as well. It was okay when I picked it up but I guess if I was totally desperate, I could always used it as a subtle cream contour. 

6. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circles Eraser in Brightener
I have this in Light, which is a yellow toned concealer and, funnily enough, does a decent job of correcting my dark circles. It's not fool-proof but it's a lot better than other shades that are matched to my skin tone.

The Eraser creases after a period of time but, at least, the texture is smooth and creamy. I twist the pen and will put product on the back of my hand before applying it with my fourth finger.

For some reason beyond me, I thought that the Brightener shade would help my dark circles and so I paid full price for me (yes, let me whinge because I never pay/enjoy paying full price for drugstore brands. Why would you when there are always sales?!). 

When my eyebags aren't that bad and I've had enough sleep, the Brightener looks pretty good on me. It's kind of like what I expected my Touche Eclat in #1 to do. This shade is also pinker than the Touche Eclat which means it doesn't wash me out too much.

Which base products are you loving or hating at the moment? 

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Sunday Reads: Reverse Culture Shock

I'm back in Sydney from an extended stay in Hong Kong and I am relieved to be back.

I loved Hong Kong and shed many, many tears leaving that sleepless city. But I truly did miss Sydney. I missed the fresh air, fresh seafood, strong coffees that actually need a stick of sugar...

I missed being able to drive!

I didn't think I'd miss this place that much because I have travelled back and forth between Sydney and Hong Kong quite frequently. It usually doesn't take me long to adapt to either cities but this time it was totally different. Dare I say that I had reverse culture shock when I got back to Sydney?

So strange because I was born and raised here. I mean, this is my first home. Alas, I had a great deal of trouble getting back into the Sydney routine.

Here's a short list of blunders that I encountered.

1. LANGUAGE/ACCENT: Getting used to the Australian accent
For whatever reason, I always lose my accent when I leave Australia. In Hong Kong, the dominant English accents are British, followed by American. So, whenever I'm there, my accent deviates between American and British. The way I pronounce my vowels turns into a bit of a drawn out drawl, whereas my Australian accent is less pretentious snappier.

I didn't get to meet up with a lot of Australians while I was over in Hong Kong and  when I did, we spoke Cantonese with each other. So I went by not hearing the Australian accent for a very, very long time.

But the moment I got to my boarding gate on the way home, the Australian accent was everywhere and it was so incredibly... jarring. It was the oddest sound! I kept going, 'Ahhh do I really sound like that?!'

Since coming back, I've been going through this weird transition period where I get tongue tied speaking in English. It's so incredibly embarrassing because I always get asked whether I can speak English (do I really look that fob?! LOL). I've become really good at Cantonese and even Mandarin, so much so that I started thinking in Chinese! So my brain worked twice as hard, having to form the sentence in my head and then translating it back into verbal English.

2. DRIVING: Car sickness
I never drove in Hong Kong because you honestly don't have to. Public transport over there is so convenient and well organised. CityRail is primitive compared to the MTR. Buses aren't always on time but they're double decker and they go literally everywhere. There's also minibuses that can take you through 1-2 suburbs at the time.

Admittedly, whenever I found myself in a car, it was always for a 10-15 minute ride and at about 10-40km/h. There's way too many people on the road and the traffic is pretty intense in Hong Kong.

So coming back home and having to drive at 70km/h made me a bit queasy. It gave me some weird palpitations - especially when I went over jagged road. Pretty sure this is road sickness?

3. PLASTIC BAGS: 50 cents a piece
There's a plastic bag levy in Hong Kong. About 3 000 or so retail stores including supermarkets don't offer you plastic bags with your purchases. It costs 50 cents to purchase one. From April onwards, with some exceptions, all stores will be banned from giving out plastic bags. You can still purchase one for 50 cents.

When I came back and purchased some groceries from Coles and the girl asked if I needed a bag, I seriously was so taken back that I honestly almost cried in relief.

I promise I don't abuse the use of plastic bags!

4. SPEAKING: the need to slow down
In Hong Kong, things go a million times faster than any other city I've been to. They really take the phrase 'time is money' very, very literally. Hence, everyone is mindful of your time and they expect you to be aware of theirs. People tend to think and act very quickly and the best place to see this all in action is in a Cha Chaan Teng or Hong Kong-style cafe.

(My favourite is the Australian Diary Company in Jordan, Kowloon! They served THE best scrambled eggs, hands down!).

Customers are sat on communal tables and either make an order immediately without looking at the menu or will use a millisecond to scan it before ordering. It was intimidating at first because the staff as always lingering around with notepads waiting for you to place an order and they can never understand why you need that extra second to weigh up your calories options.

Sydney is, of course, much different. It's much slower and I had to consciously slow my speech so that people could understand me. It was actually really annoying because I've always been a quick thinker and talker - Hong Kong exacerbated that. So when I came back and people looked at me like I was way too intense, I kept thinking that I needed to get back on the plane to Hong Kong... because this was insane!

It's gotten better now but I still have a tendency to talk quicker than the most people. AHAH.

5. NIGHTLIFE: there isn't one...
Every night is late night shopping in Hong Kong. You want to go out for a shop at 9PM? Plenty of stores are still open. You want to go for supper at 1AM? There are some places that open well into the morning.

One of the negatives of Sydney is that there's no nightlife. Yes, sure. There's the Friday and Saturday night scenes but I was never really into that. I'm more into the food, culture and shopping side of it. The streets are always bustling with people well into the night in Hong Kong. People are out having dinner, shopping or just hanging out with friends.

In Sydney, you can go out for dinner, a few drinks and then you go home because all the shops are closed and there's nothing else you can do.

There's always a new hotspot in Hong Kong or a new menu to try - it's a tiny city but there's never short of something new and exciting to do.

If you could go anywhere in this world, where would you go?

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Should You Buy A Cushion Foundation/BB Cream?

With Lancome's introduction of their Miracle Cushion Foundation, it seems that finally the whole world is talking about cushion foundations!

Of course, cushion foundations have been around for quite awhile now with Korean beauty houses starting off the trend. It then spread to other Asian countries thanks to the popularity of the KDrama 'You Who Came From The Stars' (I love Cheon Song Yi!). In the drama, Cheon Song Yi uses the IOPE Air Cushion Sunblock XP SPF 50+/PA+++ and all of a sudden, every girl wanted one. 

In the past few months, I've tried the infamous IOPE Air Cushion in C21 and also Laneige's BB Cushion SPF 50+ PA+++ in No. 13 and 14, and Sulwhasoo's Evenfair Perfecting Cushion in No. 21 and 23

I can only imagine that with Lancome's release, there will be more brands that come out with similar products at different price points. At one point in time, you will be asking yourself whether you want a cushion yourself! But to people who have never heard, let alone use, a cushion before, they can be slightly daunting! 

So here's my breakdown of cushions and whether they're for you.

The short answer is that it's a compact that houses your liquid BB cream/foundation and applicator in the one case. There's a sponge that is soaked in your base product and it comes with a dense puff applicator that ensures the application is light and natural looking.
They're also marketed as more than a base product. Most cushions boast anti-aging, hydrating and sun protection abilities.

2. COVERAGE: high or low? 
The large majority of cushions on the market right now are BB Cushions and their coverage is surprisingly good. They can look as light as your second-skin or built up to a close-to-medium coverage without looking cakey.

Foundation cushions have comparatively higher coverage and are very good at covering redness and acne scars.

3. HYGIENE: looks like it'll be a great place for germs
I'd be the first person to agree with you if you were to say that cushions seem like a wonderful place for germs to congregate. Unlike liquid foundations/BB creams, you can't apply the product directly onto your skin without dipping the applicator back and forth between the cushion and your face. 

That's why it's so important that you clean your applicator regularly. This in itself isn't an easy task - it's one of the biggest cons of using cushions. I use a mixture of DHC's Deep Cleansing Oil and regular soap to get mine clean. You can't be rough washing them either because they do tear easily. That's why I've bought back up sponges in case one breaks or I can't find the time to wash it.

4. THE APPLICATOR: is king. Literally. 
Having said that, the applicator is the cushion's real star. The puff makes your make up look very, very natural and second-skin like. I always thought that my Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush was pretty amazing at giving me that barely there foundation look. But the included puff sponge is EVEN better. I use it for my concealer and my under-eye area looks a whole lot less cakey. 

There seems to be different schools in how to actually use the applicator. The liquid is meant to be pat into the skin with the puff but some people appear to like swiping it over the face. I personally prefer to pat and dab.

One cushion lasts me around 7 weeks and this was from using it every single day. I rarely reapplied it during the day because it did feel unhygienic. 7 weeks was really pushing it as well. People always say that you can flip the cushion over and there will be plenty of liquid on the bottom. I flipped me about 10 times before I absolutely gave up.

Some cushions came in a box with a refill which you can just pop into the compact (it's super easy!). The refill includes a brand new puff as well.

It's hard to say definitively that they're great for a certain skin type. Some cushions that I've tried have been great for my winter skin and others that haven't worked, perform really well during the summer.

It's probably more useful for me to say that cushions are for people who want an even and barely there make up application. Cushions are very good at giving your face that dewy, healthy glow. They're also super convenient and quick to apply - so it's a great choice for any one who is time poor.

Got any questions on cushion foundations/bb creams?
Ask away!