shopping for make-up stuff

Which was exactly what I did at the Tangs Citibank 12% rebate event. Quite frankly, I am not a make-up person and I don’t shop for cosmetics frequently; only when I need something do I ever check out make-up counters so places like Sephora, despite it being a haven for make-up junkies (and of course including other associated toiletries products and accessories) have yet to be an alluring place for me even if on some occasions I have walked into their huge bright sparkly stores.

I think the last 12% rebate event wasn’t too long ago, because I also went there to replenish a blusher that had run out completely. Yes that is how I use some of my make-up items like blusher and loose powder, until their very last particle. Other things like eyeshadows are usually binned before they pan, because of infrequent usage and also I don’t want to take my chance on the shelf lives of some of these products.

The visit to Tangs, which was a quick one, as I had planned to just get the Chanel loose powder that had also run out and leave. When I got there it was past 8:30pm, and there were still shoppers who like me, had just arrived, but the crowd wasn’t overwhelming like those at the Isetan private sales, or maybe Tangs is now much bigger in terms of shop floor and movable space after their major renovation, or it was just the timing. Nevertheless, the make-up counters were quite well-prepared for the event as there were plenty of sales/beauty associates around to tend to customers. I was served within a minute of arriving at the Chanel counter, and the SA who served me was really friendly and helpful. I didn’t get her name though but I was quite happy with the prompt and polite service.   

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And in addition to the loose powder I purchased, I was given two samples of a eye cream to try. If I like it enough, it could be the next eye-care product to try when the Origins eye cream/balm runs out. Haha.

So that part of the shopping was purposeful and to-the-point, pretty much how I shop these days when it comes to cosmetics. But then I decided to pop over to Bobbi Brown too, because when I received the Tangs mailer, I saw that they were selling the Pink Coffret set, which contained a pink blush and brush, a limited edition item sold in support of the Breast Cancer Foundation Beam15 project, where Estee Lauder had indicated that 100% of the profits (not sure how much that works out to be though) will go to this project. Being able to do my part to support a cause, and as well get a new blusher, I had wanted to buy this the last time it was launched but it sold out really quickly, and this time I was lucky to lay my hands on the last piece last night! I didn’t try the blush colour to see if it would suit me, but I guess it should be fine, even if I have not tried Bobbi Brown blushes before, and the last blush I got from the other recent 12% rebate event was MAC’s Well-Dressed, also a pink tinge; let’s see in future how they compare with each other.  20131004-093703.jpg

So these were my spoils from the short trip to Tangs, and yay to the 12% rebates earned that can go towards offsetting future shopping at Tangs! I quite enjoy shopping in Tangs and if I weren’t so tired after Bikram Yoga last night, I might have considered venturing to the upper levels to check out the shoes and clothes. Oh well, maybe I’ll set aside more time for shopping when it gets closer to Christmas. I think I need a wardrobe revamp, and I need to seriously declutter and throw out more of those clothes that I know I won’t be wearing anymore!

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Etude House Surprise Stick Concealer

I find the Etude House website to be rather unhelpful when it comes to looking for product information, or maybe I have not gone to the correct website. Instead, it was so much better to just google for reviews of their Stick Concealer, which I have been using over the last couple of years maybe, ever since I was first introduced to it by one of my dear make-up junkie sisters who highly recommended it. It was like, since the first time I tried it, there was no turning back, and for good reason!

I didn’t really read the reviews that I found online, but from a quick glance it seems that this is quite a popular make-up item amongst the online beauty community judging by the words I saw i.e. “rave”, “favourite”…, you get the drift. Just for comparison purposes, and also to show how slow I am in using concealers, despite that I am quite the intensive concealer user, for my perennial under-eye dark circles and the blemishes whether active or scars. I am only into my second stick so far, and one stick actually lasts me for a good many months I think. The first time I bought it, it came in the dark brown tube and costs S$12.50. When I finally finished that stick, I went back and found that the packaging has changed, and it costs S$12.90. I was pretty appalled by the degree of price increase, but at that amount it is still way cheaper than the last concealer I had, which was Cle de Peau’s stick concealer, that set me back by more than S$100.  

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Pardon the blurry image of what I attempted to snap of how the stick looks like up-close. It comes in 2 shades, and the one that I am using is No. 1, the ligher shade. 20130603-091836.jpg

This stick concealer has a creamy texture that I like, because due to the creaminess, it makes application a breeze and doesn’t dry up to leave unsightly fine lines under the eyes. The only time when I get lines is when I’m using it to conceal my active zits that I had applied some other acne lotion that dries up my skin. Otherwise, on spots / blemishes / pigmentation, it works quite well. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I have this tendency to need to re-apply the concealer after dusting loose powder. I don’t use foundation, so the loose powder is what I use as a base before (yes, before and not after like how it is supposed to be) the blush, etc., but after dusting on loose powder, maybe I was a little over-zealous with the brush, I probably brushed off the concealer too so as a finishing touch, I will dab on a bit more of the concealer on the spots or blemishes. Not the under-eye part though, because by then the loose powder would have made the area matte and putting more concealer on it would give it a cakey look, besides that it makes application more difficult by then. I am not one for re-application or touching up of make-up during the day but in terms of its staying power, I think it lasts pretty long, even on my skin that skews towards the oily type.

I still have the Cle de Peau, which I should probably try to finish up in case it passes its shelf life, but seriously for the Etude House concealer, at S$12.90 a pop (or whatever its price may be at now) for something that works almost like the Cle de Peau, go figure why it has become my trusty go-to concealer! I have tried various other brands that are more costly that don’t work as well or even come close, so thank goodness for affordable cosmetics!

powdery goodness

My make-up regime isn’t too complicated, although I think according to some it make already be too much and time-consuming. Perhaps my latest obsession with eye make-up has led to a little more time painting my face in the mornings but besides that I think it is actually rather easy and straightforward! After the usual skincare stuff that I slap onto my face, the last of it being sunscreen, I’d apply concealer always underneath the eyes for those blasted dark circles and some blemishes, then it’s loose powder and blusher. I’d fill in some colours to my eyebrows, curl my lashes and apply mascara. C’est fin. That was before the eyeshadows and eyeliners became a part of my life.

But today is not about eye make-up. I am hesitant to try new things especially where skincare and make-up is concerned, because I think I have sensitive skin that can be prone to pimples if the wrong products are used. Generally I stick to a brand that is tried and tested to be safe on me. So it was already a rare occurrence when I decided to try Paul & Joe’s face powder, upon my friend’s recommendation. Check out how girly and sweet the packaging looks.

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This is the kind of dusty pink that I like so it wasn’t hard for me to decide to get it after I visited the counter at Isetan Scotts. The downside is that the container is gigantic by loose powder standards, so this is something that I only use at home. When I travel or when I go to the gym/yoga on weekends, I’d bring other loose powders that come in smaller packaging.

I love the puff that is used to apply the loose powder on the face because it’s so soft, and the best part is that this loose powder has a subtle fragrance to it that I really like. It is light and definitely looks very natural, although I might have gotten a shade too light. The SA suggested that I get it in the lightest shade (which is 1) but sometimes I feel that it makes me look too fair, even if the colour on my face is way lighter than that on my shoulders and arms. I should perhaps try #2 for my next purchase but I don’t want to risk looking darker due to oxidation of the powder after a few hours of use. I’ll see how, anyway it’s really sad that P&J is pulling out of Singapore so their make-up and skincare will no longer be available locally soon.

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My very first loose powder to which day is still one of my most trusted brands, is Bobbi Brown (#5 soft sand). It provides rather good coverage despite it being just a loose powder, because I use it to mattify the skin after the sunscreen I use that kind of leaves a shiny appearance on the face. I can’t use BB creams and foundation because tried them before and upon prolonged usage, pimples start to happen, which could be a result of tardy cleansing I don’t know. Now Bobbi Brown loose powders come in an even smaller packaging than before, flatter than the original size that I got used to. I think the thicker container is still available but the one that I have here (maybe less than 3 cm in height) was from DFS, where I get most of the make-up/skincare items from when I’m waiting for the flights.

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When I went to Taipei last year and helped my friend to get some products from Laura Mercier, that was the first time I heard of the brand. I also bought a face primer which to date I have probably only used less than 10 times but it wasn’t bad. I just didn’t want to apply too many things on my face and also it is a matter of laziness. Then when I was in New York I popped into Sephora where I decided to get the Laura Mercier mineral loose powder. I like its container because you can twist it shut to prevent the powder from ‘overflowing’ when you bring it around so you don’t end up catching too much powder on the brush that you will then have to dust off.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t really like the mineral loose powder. I think it’s meant to perhaps be used with other products but it tends to oxidise too much for my liking and then it appears a little cakey after a few hours, making it look so obvious on the face. Now I mix it with the P&J powder so that after everything has been painted onto the face, I dust a little of the LM loose powder to set it. I don’t know how this makes it better but I think it’s better than before in terms of appearance. It doesn’t look as cakey as compared to when I used it on its own.

So anyway, I think my conclusion is that I will stick to Bobbi Brown and P&J (if I can lay hands on it overseas), and if you have any other recommendations do let me know so that I can try them too! 🙂

tri-coloured

Last night’s post on the Ombre Perlees de Chanel eyeshadow palette made me decide to snap a picture of the current eyeshadow palette that I am using almost on a daily basis. I have a few palettes, and I really like the idea of palettes because it’s just a wonderful idea to have a few colours for mixing-matching around with rather than just a solo pot. Besides, usually in these palettes, a lighter shade is provided as well that can be used as a base or highlighter. At least that is what I usually use it for.

Where eyeshadows or make-up is concerned, I am the last person you would want to ask regarding reviews or the know-hows. I use eyeshadow for vanity reasons and also because when I visit drugstores in Tokyo or the ubiquitous skincare shop (the likes of Face Shop et al) in Seoul, it’s hard to not wander around the shop and pick up something that initially comes up as useless to me.

So this is from Etude house that I bought… I can’t remember, maybe last October, or was it from an earlier trip in July 2010? Nevertheless, I am rather fond of this palette that is incidentally extremely cheap. I cannot recall its price but all these things are way cheaper in Seoul than here, maybe by more than 50% of our local retail price.

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I like playing around with eye make-up occasionally because I have seen the wonders that it can do for people with tiny eyes like myself. Definitely I have yet to master any techniques for ‘opening’ up the peepers but it is something that can come with practice (think YouTube tutorials). For sure, I have felt how I am a little more adept at using eyeliners now, be it in pencil, gel or liquid form. But the problem I have is that my skin, especially the eyelids, tend to get oily very easily, and our humidity doesn’t help one bit in making things better. I have tried applying a primer but within a few hours, my eyes are a smudged mess of colours. Not a pretty sight at all.

Waterproof eye make-up you say? Tried them but they don’t work. I have used different types of so-called waterproof mascaras and eyeliners but almost all of them smudged after a few hours. Maybe the oil secreted from my eyelids are a natural emulsive for removing make-up. My solution to this is to instead use dark eye-shadow as a liner; easier to apply, double as an eye-shadow and presents a much softer look that I prefer as compared to the defined lines of an eyeliner. I don’t need to ‘smudge’ the eyeliner to make it look less harsh. If you like having defined lines then of course the eyeliner will be the way to go. For me now, I think it works the best, because the smudging situation isn’t as bad!

maiden try

I think I travel more than the average person, even though it is not like I really jet around that much. I don’t travel on a short-term basis to be considered a jet-setter but generally I fly about once a month, to and fro a foreign destination for work purposes. So I have been in the plane pretty much, especially when some of these trips sometimes require me to be confined in the cattle class for an extended period of time.

In addition, I love travelling, for leisure of course. So even before I took on my current job I had travelled rather often for vacation. Each time I settle into the cramped tiny seat of the airplane, I would always start rummaging through the seat pocket (and hope to not find anything gross left behind by the previous passenger that Aircraft Interior Cleaning folks had missed clearing) for the magazines, starting from the inflight shopping catalogue, moving on to the entertainment catalogue (since this is usually online for the typical kiasu Singaporean me to already check out the available movies) and finally whatever else is left, such as on SQ planes, the Silver Kris magazine, which is often a pretty good read offering interesting information on various destinations.

So when I leaf through the shopping catalogue I would always start making a mental list of the things that I would consider getting when duty-free sales on-board open. But somehow after so many years I have never bought a single item. Maybe the time between me reading the magazine and the operating time of sales allowed me to ruminate if I really want to get the item and if I really need it, etc. so I end up not making an impulse purchase. Many of these items are toiletries and cosmetics and sometimes travel exclusive items. Or perhaps I just was so absorbed in my meal or the movie that I did not want to pause mid-way and buy something. Either ways it resulted in me never contributing to the inflight sales volume.

But on the most recent trip back from Shanghai, I decided to get something that I already saw when I was on the Beijing-bound flight a couple of weeks earlier.

This isn’t a picture I took, but that I got online from this blog. You can click on the link as well to read her review on this item because I have not personally tried it or even opened it to see what it really looks like. I was still hesitant on getting it because I belong to a perhaps endangered specie of people who find it a chore to press the call button on the remote control of my seat to summon the flight attendant. Somehow I have never pressed that button before, believe it or not. I just don’t like it, I don’t know why. But yet there are some people who have no qualms about pressing it maybe 10,000 times during the course of a flight from Singapore to Hong Kong. Ok I know I am weird like that but the flight attendant whom I stopped to ask while he was serving drinks told me to write the request on the paper found in the catalogue and press the call button for someone to come take it from me to check availability of stock. I didn’t obviously, so I almost did not buy this. It was only when I decided to go to the washroom and as I was returning I passed another flight attendant whom I passed the paper to.

So! This marks my very first inflight purchase after how many years of flying…?

Anyhow, that was just a very lengthy description of oddities in inflight behaviour of the kind of passenger that I am. And that palette cost me S$80; from the review that is found on the blog I got the image from, it was a bad review. The reviewer said it was probably one of the worst Chanel palettes she has ever bought, because the colours just do not stay and they are not pigmented so it takes several swipes to get the colour onto your eyelids. Hmm, so apparently my very first purchase didn’t seem to turn out too brilliant a choice. But there’s always a first time and it isn’t the first time I have made a bad purchase anyway. And besides I haven’t tried it personally so I wouldn’t really know. I am not a very cosmetics kind of person as well since I can just buy one blusher or one eyeshadow and use it until it runs out before I’d get another. The only things that I indulge in in large quantities happen to be just clothes and bags.

And things like make-up don’t need to be expensive to be good too. The current eyeshadow palettes that I own and which I use more frequently are all bought when I was travelling, from Korea or Japan mainly, from drugstores. And they are really cheap. But they work fine and they haven’t given me too much problems. So maybe I shall just stick to those from now on. After all, even if they turn out to be major disappointments I won’t be losing too much!

creating an illusion

On and off I’d be really tempted to do something drastic, like cosmetic surgery, not so much to change the way I look but to refine some parts of my face. I always do not like my eyes for their lack of symmetry. Both eyes are not of the same size, and it is further exacerbated by the fact that one eye has a more visible ‘hidden’ double eyelid as compared to the other, so in photographs the difference in size is offendingly apparent.

Aside from this asymmetry, of course I would like to have larger eyes. I know that we are all supposed to be content and happy with what we are born with, religious we are or not, and that artificially-attained beauty is but an illusion. But don’t we all like aesthetically-pleasing things? Over time, studies have perhaps proven, whether orthodox or not, that better-looking people have it easier in life. You can say it is very superficial to think this way and that it is the personality and character of a person i.e. inner beauty, that is more important. This, I do not deny. A person is not defined by how he or she looks because ultimately it is how he/she is as a person, towards work, towards other people, etc., that characterises him/her. However, we can’t refute that first impressions are also important in their own way. More often than not, we are probably guilty of giving more concessions to people who are more pleasing to the eye, aren’t we?

But with all said and done, I am still undecided on the procedure, because I don’t think I have a good threshold for pain associated with the recovery from eyelid surgery. I have heard of it and seen the pictures and they just put me off. And also maybe I just think too much because I will consider the what-ifs of the procedure back-firing on me, and my eyes turning into a disaster zone should it go awry.

So what is the alternative to a permanent change? Make-up of course. We have all heard of how there is no ugly women but only lazy women, and where making up is concerned I fall somewhere in between. I use make-up on a daily basis but I’m not one for putting too many things because simply I cannot be bothered with the effort and my skin can’t take too much of these stuff. Aside from the skincare that I apply more diligently, make-up on the face is a combination of concealer and loose powder with some blush. I haven’t used foundation or primers much because I always have this weird idea that my skin can’t breathe with it.

The only eye make-up that I have grown accustomed to using on a daily basis is mascara because of my pathetically short and sparse lashes. Occasionally when I am more hardworking I will try to line the eyes or apply eyeshadow, but that rarely happens, one because I don’t know how to do it such that it makes my eyes look better i.e. bigger and nicer, and secondly I have very uncooperative skin. My skin belongs to the combination type and where eyelids go, they tend to be rather oily, as evidenced by how fast eyeliners and shadows smudge after a while.

I’ve tried gel liners (Maybelline and Bobbi Brown), liquid liners (Etude House, Maybelline) and pencil liners (Shiseido, M.A.C.), and they all smudge like nobody’s business, leaving me in a black smudgy mess. I know one way I can perhaps slow down the smudging process is to use a primer but it means adding another item to be applied onto the skin, which I’m quite reluctant to. Recently, I’m quite into exploring eyeliners and was recommended to Chanel’s Stylo Yeux liner by M, who also suggested I read this. So after a quick think, I went to get myself the liner in Ebene, and check out what nice packaging they had!

I tried it on the day after I got it, and it’s really easy to glide on as compared to the other pencils that I’ve used. I could almost draw a smooth line in one stroke, even on the lower lashline. However, I think it still can’t pass my oily skin test, because a few hours after using it, I realised that it’d smudged although the degree of smudging wasn’t as bad as the others (pencil or liquid). I will try M’s suggestion of priming the eye area with some powder before application, and see how things go from there. The Stylo pencils come in many great shades and if I like it enough, Espresso will be the next item on my list to get!

Oh and it isn’t too difficult to remove; I used my usual make-up remover and it works alright. Although I did in the dark in a less than sober state so that was more the reason for not removing all traces of it. ;p

TANGS Preview sale

The Thursday that just passed was also the TANGS preview sale with 12% rebate for members and Citibank cardholders. I haven’t been to the event for the past few times it was held, due to various reasons but I thought since I was free that night I’d just pop down to town and check it out.

That night, they actually closed the place and had someone standing outside the door, allowing only people in after flashing either the Citi card or the TANGS card. I can’t remember if this was done before, but I don’t think so. I wonder if that was the reason why the place was not as crowded as I’d expected it to be, especially if you compare it with the Isetan Private Sale where the entire Isetan Scotts is thronged with shoppers from the moment doors are opened. The crowd at TANGS is somewhat more manageable.

I didn’t really have anything I wanted to get, and as well mood, because mainly I was still feeling tired (yes as always) from sleeping too little on Wednesday night, and anyhow crowds just put me off. I thought of getting some new shoes but the shopper:sales assistant ratio made me turn away because I reckon I would have to wait ages to get an available SA to get the shoes I would like to try. So then we just went to the cosmetics section (which is R’s favourite place in the whole place) and headed straight to M.A.C. which supposedly launched something new recently? You see, I’m not at all informed about cosmetics and skincare stuff because I only buy stuff I need where these are concerned. It’s all good because sadly the same doesn’t apply to clothes, shoes and yes, bags. While I was browsing with R, I thought I’d just pick up something too. It’s just a shopping thing, when someone is happily buying I’ll be inclined to buy something as well. Haha.

So this was what I bought.

I haven’t actually tested it on myself to see how it’ll look like; I just did a swatch on the back of my hand and thought the colour looked pretty nice. I cannot recall when was the last time I used any lipstick but it was probably M.A.C. too. The rest of the time I just use lip glosses and balms, which I never get around to finishing anyhow because I am never disciplined to re-apply during the course of the day after eating, etc. Oh well, I know they all say there is no ugly women, only lazy women. Where make-up or rather lip make-up is concerned, I am guilty as charged. Maybe I will try to be more diligent in making sure I apply at least lip balm since these days I find gloss a bit too sticky.. and due to all that cabin air my lips have started to become a little dry sometimes.