Sunday, October 23, 2011

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural

Mineralize Skinfinish (MSF) Natural is one of my favorite products from MAC. I  prefer the natural Mineralize Skinfinish compared to the ‘colored’  Skinfinish. I still can’t figure out how to use the popular Stereo Rose. It’s just too frosty as a blush or even as a highlighter. I remember being so excited when I got Stereo Rose and now it’s just sitting in my makeup drawer :(.

Mineralize Skinfinish Natural is another story, I’m in love with this powder. I have this in medium dark as I was tanned when I got the powder.  I would use the powder on days that I was pressed for time or when I was too lazy to put on foundation. After applying primer, I used MAC 182 Kabuki brush to buff the powder all over my face. It gave me light coverage, just enough to even out my skin tone . The finish I got from this powder always looked natural, there was never a time when I felt like I applied too much when I used this alone on top of a primer.

MSF is dome shaped when new 

top swatch: blended, bottom: heavy swatch

Now that I'm paler, I use the powder mainly as a sheer bronzer . I use 187 to a apply the powder on places the sun would naturally hit - forehead, nosebridge, and cheeks.  It can also be used as a contour powder and if my foundation is a bit too light, I add some color by dusting  the powder lightly all over my face using MAC 187 or 134 brush. More care should be given when using MSF natural to correct a 'light' foundation. Powder should be applied lightly with a brush, it can look patchy if too much powder is applied. I tried to apply MSF with a powder puff and it did not look good. I don't know if it will work with the lighter shades, but medium dark has too much pigment for the powder puff to pick and deposit on the skin.

Whenever I'm asked what would be a good product to try from MAC, I always suggest MSF. I think this multitasking powder is worth every cent.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk UV Foundation SPF 20

Foundation is probably the most important part of a makeup routine, the right foundation can make or break a whole look. My favorite makeup look is natural looking makeup with flawless complexion.  I have accumulated a collection of foundations because of my quest to achieve this.  I have yet to find my perfect color match, but there are some foundations that I like and are worth mentioning in a review.

Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk Foundation SPF 20 is a water-based foundation designed to  withstand extreme conditions and last all day. It provides medium coverage and feels light on the skin. The company describes this to have a matte finish, but on me,  it is more dewy than matte. The liquid has a light consistency, but not runny. The 8 shades are divided into 3 categories, fair to medium, medium, and medium to dark. The sales associate matched me to 5.5 Natural Beige which is the darkest in the fair to medium shades. It turns out to be a tad too light and too beige for me. I can still get away with this lighter shade as long as I also lightly apply foundation down my neck and don't wear a low cut top.

I have oily combination skin and the foundation does last all day on me, there is some breakdown of the foundation between my eyebrows (the oiliest part of my face) after 10 hours, but the rest of my face is usually fine. The medium coverage it provides is enough for me, I rarely need to use concealer  afterwards. I also often mix this with my MAC Studio Fix Fluid to get a better color match and they go well together.

Lasting Silk is a good foundation that I like to use if my skin is in its normal state. I cannot use this if I am having even just a little bit of a bad skin day, it makes every flaw more noticeable. No matter how lightly I apply the foundation, the liquid will stick to every rough patch, magnifying the area. I also noticed that if my skin is a little bit dry, the foundation will not go on smoothly and is harder to blend. Of course, no foundation looks good on a bad skin, but on a bad day, Lasting Silk looks twice as bad on me compared to my other foundations.

Based on my experience, I don't think that this will work for those with dry skin, the brand's Luminous Silk Foundation is probably a better option. For people with oily skin like mine, this is a good option if you are looking for a lasting foundation. As for me, the search for my perfect match continues.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Earth Therapeutics Natural Wooden Pin Massage Brush (Medium)

There are arguments whether brushing long hair is healthy or not. I personally like to brush my hair and I used to do it even if my hair was wet. Brushing wet hair is not recommended by hair experts because wet hair is fragile and easily damaged. Eventually, I learned to curb the impulse to brush my hair all the time and do it only when it is dry.

Since I have long, thick hair, I prefer brushes with bristles that are set wide apart. The Earth Therapeutics Natural Wooden Pin Massage Brush has wooden pin bristles that are set in a soft pneumatic air cushion base. I got the medium size because I want a brush that I can conveniently carry in my bag when I travel. The bristles are wide apart and the surface of each bristle is so smooth, there is no danger of the bristles snagging and damaging hair. The brush also massages the scalp and distributes oil from the scalp down the hair shaft. 

 Keeping hair brush clean is also important. I wash my brushes and combs once a week and air dry them. Another brush that I love is The Body Shop's Paddle brush.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion

Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (DDML) is a 'classic' product from Clinique, it had been around forever and has won the loyalty of so many people. It is part of the the brand's 3-Step Skincare system, wherein in the last step, the moisturizer provides the 'drink' that the skin needs to maintain moisture balance.  Compared to the moisturizers in the market today, DDML is pretty basic, as shown below, it does not have a gazillion ingredients.
Water, Mineral Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Oil, Propylene Glycol, Tea-Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Lanolin Alcohol, Petrolatum, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 33
The fact that it has very little ingredients is both the strength and the drawback of this product. With so much emphasis being given today on anti-aging moisturizers by the beauty industry, some might think that DDML has long been left behind. The fans of the product will argue that 'less is more' and the fact that it has been around for so many years proves that it works.  

Because my skin had been dehydrated lately, I chose the lotion formula (Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel is available for those with oily skin), and since I was trying the product for the first time, I bought the smallest size.  Mine comes in a 50ml plastic bottle without a pump. The yellow colored lotion has a light and runny texture. It does take awhile for it to be absorbed in the skin, but once it is absorbed, it does a good job of keeping my skin moisturized without the greasy feeling. It wears well under makeup, but since it does not contain any sunscreen, I usually avoid using this during daytime. 

Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion and Intensive Repairwear Eye Cream are my first products from Clinique. I am definitely more satisfied with the moisturizer, but is it a 'holy grail'? Sadly, not for me. Although it is a good moisturizer, I am not likely to repurchase. I am in my 30's and I want a moisturizer that has antioxidants |(for night) and spf (for day). At the moment, I'm using other face products to address these  needs. I don't feel that I have an ideal skincare routine. I think that I'm applying too much product and the whole routine is just too complicated. I'm looking for ways to simplify my skincare routine and a multi-tasking moisturizer is probably more ideal for me.

Have you found your 'holy grail' moisturizer? Are you happy with your current skincare routine? I am interested to know what works for other people. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Clinique Repairwear Intensive Eye Cream Review

Eye creams are one of the most expensive products in a skin care line, those teeny weeny tubes and jars sometimes cost twice as much as a moisturizer. I'm not really a fan of these products, I tried several drugstore brands in the past and none delivered on their claims, and I find that my facial moisturizer works  just as well.

Last month though, I suffered from severe allergic reaction. The upper and lower lids on both my eyes were swollen and the skin became dry and flaky. After a course of anti-histamine and hydrocortisone cream, the swelling subsided, but the dryness and flaking remained, and my left eyelid had a rough texture. I also noticed that the skin around my eyes were darker and there were fine lines in the inner corners of my lower lids due to dryness. In other words, I looked like crap and using facial moisturizer was no longer enough. I needed something more moisturizing, help diminish the fine lines and brighten the area. This pushed me to give eye creams  another try. 

I decided to settle on Clinique's Repairwear Intensive Eye Cream because it seems to have everything I need. The cream comes in a small jar that contains 15 ml of product. It is supposed to target eye area lines and wrinkles, replenish antioxidants and strengthen vulnerable skin for brighter, vibrant and refreshed look. The cream is rich and thick, goes on smoothly and is easily absorbed by the skin.

The first time I applied the product, I felt a slight stinging sensation for a few seconds. I was not quite sure if it was due to the product or because my eye area was still sensitive. I gave it a few days and tried again, I felt no stinging or even tingling sensation this time so I continued to use the eye cream. I would dab liberal amount around my eye area especially at night time, but after a few hours, my eyelids were dry and flaky again. I had to apply the cream several times a day to keep the skin around my eyes hydrated. I knew I had some issues because I was recovering from the effects of an allergic reaction, but for the price of the cream, I expected it to perform better.  

I have been consistently using the eye cream for about 3 weeks now, and although the flaking have improved, the skin around my eyes remain dry. There is also no improvement with the fine lines on the inner corners of my eyes and I don't notice any significant brightening effect. 

I will continue to use the eye cream for now, because although it fell short of my expectations, it is not doing me any harm either. Perhaps 3 weeks is also not enough time to show significant results. I will give it more time with the hope that it will eventually deliver its claim.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick in 03 Secret

Secret is a deep rosy beige shade that is part of Chanel's Rouge Coco range. Chanel describes the range as a lightweight lip colour that glides on for easy application, and features a Hydratendre complex to help soften, soothe and condition lips - even boosting their ability to hold in moisture.

Although the lipstick is indeed moisturizing, I don't find it to be lightweight. I am certainly aware of the lipstick when I have it on and the some of the product settle on the lines of my lips. On the plus side, it has a rich creamy texture and glides easily on the lips. It is pigmented enough that one coat is usually enough for me and the deep rosy beige shade makes it the perfect everyday lipstick.

Secret is what I thought 05 Mademoiselle would be. Mademoiselle is also beautiful but it turned out to be a little too pink for me. I prefer my everyday lipcolor to lean towards nude beige or rosy beige. Secret is one of the lipsticks I brought with me on my trip to visit my family for 3 weeks. I am using it regularly thesedays and loving it. 

Just an Update

I'm currently on a 3 weeks break and is visiting my family. I thought I will forego making blog posts during this time, but I actually missed blogging so I decided to make short blog posts every now and then. I will be reviewing some of the stuff I brought with me on this trip and perhaps some new stuff as well.

The fun continues...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Blush Review: Giorgio Armani Sheer Blush in #4 Sand

 Giorgio Armani is one of my favorite brands. I love their color palettes and the overall quality of their products. I am yet to be disappointed by my purchases from them. Sheer Blush in Sand is no exception.

I was looking for a peach-tone/neutral blush and the Armani sales associate helped me pick this one. According to the Armani makeup website, #4 Sand belongs to the pink color family. It does have a hint of pink in it, but I see the shade as more of a terracotta peach. 

The blush is made of  finely milled  powder. There are obvious glitters when looking at the blush in the pan, (which almost turned me off), but when swatched or applied, the glitters are not visible at all, they just add a subtle glow to the blush.

The  blush has a very smooth texture and blends really well. It is a sheer blush so don't expect a pop of color on the first swipe of the brush. The color can be built by layering more. I prefer sheer blushers because I'm quite heavy-handed with my makeup application. Sheer blushers allow me to have some color on my cheeks without looking like I went 'blush-happy'.

I find  this particular shade to be more versatile than my other blushers as I am able to use it as a contour powder as well. As a blush, It gives my cheeks a subtle flush without accentuating my large pores. If I'm using it to contour, I like to pair with a light pink blush, usually the Blending Blush Duo from the fall 2010 collection. Whether I'm using the blush alone or as a contour powder, I'm always happy with the result. 

Bottom: Heavy Swatch, Top: Blended

Sheer Blush #4 Sand looks nothing especial in the pan, I had to wear it to appreciate it. Now, it's one of my favorites and I'm getting a lot of mileage out of it. Another hit from Armani.
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