Category Archives: Beauty

Nourish Your Skin with the Rose Whipped Hydra Mask from Botáni

Some of you may remember that I suffered from facial eczema patches for more than 1.5 years and was cured of them after I started using natural and organic Botáni skincare products, available at Love Organic. It has been more than 6 months since I started using Botáni products religiously and I am happy to report that I have been free of eczema.

My skincare routine has been very nicely cleaned up, and so is my skin! I rarely suffer from irritation or breakouts; even the monthly hormonal surges barely aggravate my skin now. In fact, I love the Botáni products so much that I bought some as Christmas presents for my friends last year!

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Over the past 3 months, I have also had the opportunity to try the Rose Whipped Hydra Mask, gifted by Love Organic. I have been using it once or twice a week as an overnight mask (one can also clean it off but I like to leave it on for pampering nights). I was a little concerned about the scent at first, as I am very sensitive to smell but the mask proved to be very soothing indeed, so long as I apply a thin layer (which is more than sufficient for adequate hydration in an air-conditioned room) to my face. I wake up with smooth and glowing complexion, and my skin feels soft and plump, even after a night of sleeping in the freezing cold (M likes the room chilled…’sufficiently’). On the eve of date nights or functions where I would like to look my best, the mask is my go-to for an overnight perk-me-up as well!

The Rose Whipped Hydra Mask is packed with nourishing botanicals such as natural Betaine, Mountain Pepper Berry, Olive Squalane (the natural, best alternative to the squalene in our skin) and Olea Europaea Fruit Oil. It boasts hydrating and antioxidant properties, and help to deliver moisture deep into the skin while strengthening the skin’s barrier at the same time. Before you go wondering if the mask is oily, thick and much too rich for our hot and humid weather here, it is really quite like that delectable, whipped cream, one that is lighter than many night creams and masks, as its name suggests. I have normal-to-combination skin (it used to be very polarised with a disgustingly oily T-zone and dry patches on the periphery, but my skin has since calmed down after the switch to natural and organic skincare) and while the mask works very well for me, it is said to be suitable for all skin types.

I have to say that I rarely use masks because they are expensive and/or they don’t do very much for me. As much as I am vain, I don’t like sleeping with a thick mask slathered all over my face just to look better either, but the Rose Whipped Hydra Mask is something that I look forward to using for its hydrating, soothing and relaxing properties. I consider it to be a very affordable mask to add to one’s skincare routine as well, given its efficacy and I’d be a fool to not purchase another tub when my current one runs out.

You can shop for Botáni skincare at Love Organic.

*I was given the Rose Whipped Hydra Mask for the review. No additional monetary compensation has been received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored service/items, should I find the products/services unsuitable.

 

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Miracle for My Skin: Love Organic, Love Botáni

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In the third trimester that I was pregnant with Ethan, three eczema patches showed up on my face that left me wondering what went wrong with my skincare regime. At first, I thought it was just pregnancy hormones messing my skin up, but when the three scaly, itchy, dry patches grew larger, even long after I have given birth, I had a hunch that my body was reacting to the chemicals in the skincare products I was using and that it was time to overhaul my beauty regime. Yes, I was on a mission to clean things up, quite literally, because I am convinced my skin was suffering from the effects of harsh chemicals slathered on my face.

For many months, I used calendula on my skin. The formulation we had worked wonders to get rid of Faith’s eczema, and I applied the calendula ointment on my face to see if it might help with the patches. The wonderful bit is two of the three patches cleared right up. The bad thing is one stubborn patch remained on my left cheek. That patch annoyed me to no end, as it looked red if I didn’t put on any makeup, and if I did paint my face, the patch showed up dry and flaky and there was nothing I could do to conceal it.

After this, I tried different organic and natural skincare products from local and international brands in an attempt to improve the condition of my skin. Whilst the products have been excellent at really nourishing my sensitive skin without stinging or causing itch, none could get rid of the third eczema patch on my face. I was about to give up on the search and cave into using steroids when I stumbled upon the Botáni range of natural and organic Australian skincare carried by a local store, Love Organic.

Karen, of Love Organic, very generously sent me a couple of Botáni products to try, and one and a half months after using them, I am completely sold. Yes, COMPLETELY, you read that right.

Just a little background on Botáni products before I go into the details of how the products helped me. All ingredients used in Botáni products are Eco-Cert approved, and do not contain petrochemicals, mineral oils, PEGS, silicones, paragons, artificial fragrances or colours, animal derived ingredients, propylene glycol and sulphates. The signature ingredient of Botáni skincare products is Olive Squalene – nature’s only biocompatible ingredient which bears the closest resemblance to human squalene, our body’s in-built moisturiser. We are all born with 12% squalene and this starts to decrease from the age of 25 onwards, leading to premature ageing, dry skin and fine lines among others. In short, olive squalene should be your new best friend, even if the ravaging effects of time isn’t.

The Olive Skin Serum is my favourite of all the products that I have been given (or my favourite of all skincare products I have ever used in my life, for that matter). I would go as far as to call it a Miracle for my skin because the third eczema patch has been banished to oblivion two weeks after applying this serum on my face. My skin feels extremely nourished, and is so much suppler and smoother than before.  I noticed that my skin looks more radiant too and I feel more confident about going out without putting on makeup. This is unsurprising, given that the serum is infused with highly concentrated 100% phyto-active Olive Squalene, vitamins C and E. The serum has been clinically proven to increase moisture levels by 50% within 24 hours, to stimulate cell renewal and collagen production, and is ideal for sensitive/eczema skin. I have been told that it doubles up as a makeup primer too; in my case, it’s good for holding my makeup in place for about 4-5 hours. A little goes a very long way when it comes to this serum. I use it once in the morning and once at night, and only require two drops each time for my entire face and neck area. The best way to use it is to pat the drops onto damp skin (fresh from toning, don’t wait until the toner dries out) until it is completely absorbed. Because the serum is incredibly hydrating, I don’t always apply moisturiser after that (not even if I am about to go to bed in an air-conditioned room) and only do so if I want to give my skin a little extra pampering. The serum alone is enough to keep my skin nourished and hydrated, and I wake up with clearer, suppler and smoother skin even after a night in an air-conditioned room. This workhorse is a must-have for me. Case in point below.

This is a photo of me taken first thing in the morning under natural lighting. I just woke up half an hour before the photo was taken, was bare-faced and the photo is not filtered or altered in anyway. My skin is not perfect but it’s so, so, SO much better than before I started using Botáni skincare! I would never publish a selfie taken in broad daylight if my skin were looking battered like before. (Note: The two red blobs on the bridge of my nose are tell-tale signs of nose-pads from my glasses. Had to point that out as it’s nothing harmful caused by the products.)

The Rescue Eye Treatment, enriched with anti-inflammatory plant actives such as Arnica Root, Licorice Root, Acacia Senegal Gum and Olive leaf extract, works wonderfully to hydrate my awfully-dry undereye area. I used to sport fine lines not unlike wrinkled crepe paper and dark circles that were telling of the lack of restful sleep. Half a pump is more than enough to take care of my eyes and whilst the gel feels slightly tacky at first, once it’s absorbed into the skin, it no longer feels sticky. I would say that my dark circles have lightened by up to 40%-50%, and the lines are not so pronounced now. I highly recommend giving this a shot!

I absolutely love the Soothing Facial Mist too. It is alcohol-free and refreshingly scented with Rose Damascena, and makes me feel so good on a hot day or when I just need to perk up! I did use this as a toner before patting on the Olive Skin Serum, but it smells like such a luxury (and is much more expensive than the toner I have been using, which works well for me) that I like to keep it for critical moments throughout the day instead (like kids driving me nuts and I’m completely flat out of battery, or when I am feeling irritable and sticky, or when I am on the road and want to feel energised). I also spray this on to set my makeup, and…have I mentioned how refreshing this is?! Okay, I think you get the point.

The Olive Soothing Cleanser is a cream-based cleanser that is absolutely wonderful at cleansing my skin. It leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean, without stripping its moisture, or weighing it down like some cleansing oils do. It was also effective at removing non-waterproof makeup. Just 2-3 pumps for the entire face should suffice and it can be applied directly on dry skin before you wash it off when you are done massaging your face! Unfortunately, this is a little expensive for me as a daily cleanser but I would definitely purchase it to remove non-waterproof makeup because I know I’m in good hands when I use this. I mean, I had enough with gentle cleansers claiming to remove non-waterproof makeup AND not working.

Two other product samples that I was given were the Boost Balancing Moisturiser and the Olive Repair Cream. The former is very lightweight and easily absorbed, and works wonderfully to hydrate my skin as a day moisturiser. But what I really adore and will purchase again is the Olive Repair Cream which packs a punch when it comes to delivering moisture to my skin. I’m reaching my mid-thirties soon and I do appreciate intense hydration and healing properties of a good moisturiser, and the Olive Repair Cream, which is an ideal treatment for eczema, psoriasis,  redness and irritated skin, does just that. It is touted to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve the appearance of scars and even out skin tone, but the sample I received was only good for 2-3 applications, so I can’t vouch for that but I am eager to test that out when I purchase the full-sized product!

So there you have it! I know this review is a little lengthy, but if you have made it down to the last lines, I hope my thoughts and experience with the different Botáni products will help you in some way! I have experienced the benefits of green beauty (I’m only months into cleaning up my regime) and  I must say that I am loving how nourished, clean and unburdened my skin feels now. Botáni has proven to be an excellent choice for me, and the products are mostly very affordable, so I’m definitely making it a huge part of my regime now. It doesn’t hurt that Love Organic is an online store based in Singapore, and there several stockists island wide too if you want to touch and feel the products. Please let me know if you have tried the other products and seen real benefits from using them! I would love to give the rest a try too.

*I was given the Botáni products for the review. No additional monetary compensation has been received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored service/items, should I find the products/services unsuitable.

How I Protect My Skin From The Sun: NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen

[*SPONSORED POST] When I was in lower primary, I was often teased for having fair skin. I was called all sorts of things, including a vampire, and man, did I detest having a fair complexion.

When I grew older, I was still at the receiving end of this mockery and I didn’t embrace what I have until I was in my mid-twenties. I remember going out to the beach on weekends during my late teens, just to get a tan, but funnily, all I did was to turn into a lobster and then revert to channeling Morticia Addams. I must add that I sunbathed without sun protection, and I regret it because I do have a few spots on my face now that I am in my thirties. Had I known that exposure to the sun will cause hyper-pigmentation later in life, I would have been more consistent about sun protection when I was younger.

It’s a little late to start anti-ageing skincare routines in my late twenties it seems, because those spots had shown up on my face by then, but I guess it’s better late than never! I apply sunscreen on my face and body everyday, even when I stay at home; reason being our apartment is flooded with natural light and I get exposed to UV rays even when I am indoors. I also make school runs and the sun hits my arms and the right side of my face whenever I drive, so I am rather strict about applying sunscreen before I leave home.

For years, I wasn’t too concerned about using chemical sunscreens and I have unconsciously leaned towards those that do not leave a white cast (which means they are likely to be made with chemical UV filters), but lately, I have been reading up on greener and safer skincare options and realised that it is just better to use physical sunscreens (stable in sunlight, good balance between UVA and UVB protection especially if it contains zinc oxide, generally do not contain harmful additives). You can have a read about the general differences between a physical and chemical sunscreen over here. The dreadful thing is physical sunscreens are thick and opaque, and are known to leave a white cast even after you have had a good workout rubbing the product into your skin. I don’t mind it at all if I were just going for a swim but I don’t really want to be walking around looking like a splotchy plaster wall when I am out and about.

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About two months ago, Tim invited me to give the NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen a try. It boasts an SPF of 50 and protects from both UVA and UVB rays with its physical filters (15% zinc oxide, 5% titanium dioxide), is preservative-free, and is touted to be incredibly moisturising. I couldn’t say no after learning about its benefits, and it helps to know that the NAÏF line of skincare products is formulated with babies in mind, are dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic, pH skin neutral and the products are made without any harmful ingredients. Yes, you heard right. The products do not contain mineral oil, parabens, phenoxyethanol, SLS/SLES and harsh chemicals. Indeed, a quick check on the EWG site reveals that the ingredients of the Protecting Sunscreen are ranked low in hazard scores.

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I have been using the NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen on my body since then and it is amazing! It is runny, wonderfully emollient and incredibly easy to apply compared to other physical sunscreens I have tried; seriously, it takes only ten seconds to rub it in and the sunscreen does not leave a white cast. It keeps my skin moisturised, and I come off smelling clean and fresh. Have I mentioned that I am super-sensitive to smells and feel dizzy upon inhaling most scents? This, I have no qualms whatsoever!

The NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen really is a godsend, and I will purchase it once I run out as it is remarkable and convenient for daily use. Baby Pure Singapore, exclusive distributor of NAÏF products, also gives back – the company sponsored $10 vouchers for approximately 6500 Hair for Hope participants and it also donates a dollar to the Children Cancer Foundation for each Protecting Sunscreen sold. I can’t think of a better way to protect myself against the sun AND to do good at the same time.

NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen retails for a very reasonable $35.90 online and you’d be happy to know that one gets free delivery within Singapore with a minimum purchase of $60!

*I was gifted the NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen for the review. No additional monetary compensation has been received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored service/items, should I find the products/services unsuitable.

Smooth As My Baby’s Bottom

I am convinced that the sleep gods hate me.

More than four months after sleep went down the toilet with Faith’s epic regression, I went from ‘OMG what the fish happened to our shortlived period of unbroken sleep’ to ‘this too shall pass’ to ‘this kiddo will not sleep through the night till she is 18’, before (currently) resigning myself to fate and thinking, ‘wake me up when September ends’, except that the joke is on me because…it’s only March, isn’t it, and I am being @£);!?#}^*%! woken up all too frequently at night. As if the daytime mothering gig isn’t draining enough, the nightshifts are taking its toll on my appearance. I look like that peeling wall in a charming 17th century cottage, except that it’s not so pretty on me. My skin, oh my poor skin, is parched, sallow and no longer supple. I feel old, dammit, and dry, and wrinkled, and sad. And yes, ‘You look tired’ is the only hello that friends can muster when we meet up these days.

Before you go all judge-y on me, I still love my daughter with all my heart and I have no regrets becoming a mother. BUT it would be nice to have a little me-time, to touch my face and feel a little less like a peeling fresco and more like my baby’s bottom (that’s about the only time when it’s good to be someone’s arse, anyway). It would be nice to look in the mirror and not feel bothered about the meandering and deepening cracks on my face.

I was contemplating a trip to the spa for a full-on pampering session after seeing a few friends take their hard-earned breaks from mothering but I hesitated as my baby girl refuses to take breastmilk from a bottle and I couldn’t be away from her for too long. Timely as it was, Porcelain, The Face Spa then invited me for The Restorative Facial which helps reduce skin sensitivity and water retention, while improving skin tone, hydration and elasticity. I was told that the treatment lasts about an hour. One quick hour, all to myself? I was sold…save for the fact that I have never had a facial and was a tad worried that I would return from the session, scarred for life. I was assured that the treatment uses natural extracts such as that of aloe vera, cucumber and rose, and to this, I figured the worst that could happen was that the facial does nothing for me.

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I received a lot more than I bargained for. The treatment was very relaxing and did wonders to restore hydration and suppleness to my skin. I left the spa with a visibly smoother complexion (sans makeup, as the spa promotes a natural approach to maintaining a clear and healthy complexion), and bouncier skin. I was delighted to see, and feel the results! My skin felt like mochi, no kidding!

The best thing about the facial is the use of natural extracts renders the treatment safe for breastfeeding mothers. This was a rather important consideration for me as I am currently nursing my daughter. I went home, happy as a lark, smooth as my baby’s bottom and relieved that my daughter did well without Mama me for slightly more than an hour!

Mothers’ Day is just around the corner and now, you can treat and your Mama to The Restorative Facial too. A 1-for-1 session is going at S$195 until Mothers’ Day and I reckon this could make a lovely gift to that special woman in your life. I hope you ladies reap the benefits from a good ol’ relaxing facial!

Now, *pause for drama* back to the mothering dungeon…

Thanks to Porcelain, The Face Spa, and Protocol for the invitation.

Porcelain, The Face Spa is located at:

15 Cantonment Road
Singapore 089739

Christmas Wish List Guest Post on MsGlitzy.com!

When my high school classmate, MsGlitzy, asked me to contribute a Christmas Wish List guest post on her blog, I jumped up from the couch and said YES! It is after all something that I have always wanted to write about, but for some reason, I haven’t quite gotten round to doing it on my own blog. Recipes and overenthusiastic ramblings about food and only food seem to constantly get in the way, and I do apologise if I have strayed somewhat from the lifestyle-related content that I started out with, can’t help myself around food, can I? =p

Now, just a little bit on my classmate. MsGlitzy writes at and runs a very successful and prolific lifestyle blog over at MsGlitzy.com. Unlike my very rudimentary-looking blog, her glossy pages are glistening with the hottest tales of fashion, beauty trends and tips, food expeditions as well as fun things you should be looking out for in Singapore and beyond! Ever since she started writing, I have come to read her blog for a very comprehensive take on everything that I need to know as a person who is also interested in fun, food and fashion! So if you like the same things as I do, do pop over and say hello to MsGlitzy, if you haven’t already! MsGlitzy also does videos for some of these topics, now that is something you should also keep a lookout for! Whilst you are at it, don’t forget to check out my guest post on my Christmas Wish List (any generous Santa or Santarina out there, please show yourself….) and comment away! Let MsGlitzy and me know if you are looking out for the same/similar items this year, and what YOUR Christmas Wish List is, if you want!

Happy Christmas to all of you, just three days to go! Have a lovely festive weekend!

What’s In My Bag

I’ve been tagged! by Miss Ene to do a little show-and-tell on What’s In My Bag? (check hers out on that link!!). What better time to do this than on a fine Sunday afternoon, when my living room is choking with testosterone shaking its manly fist at the Arsenal vs Liverpool game? Being completely exhausted by gym this morning and cooking for the whole afternoon, I am in no mood to join the boys for the game. I decided to make a retreat into my little girly space and let you take a peek into my What’s In My Bag-ful of stuff.

So here it is ladies, my trash.

I do bring a shitload of stuff when I move around and it differs, depending on whether it’s for work or leisure, and whether I’m packing it in with the rest of London in the tube, or being ferried around by M dearest. I’m showing you most of the usual stuff that I have in my bag, sans the boring work pass, pens, used tissue with snot still in it, yada yada. Whatever it is, my bag almost always weighs a tonne. *shows off shoulder muscles*

I have a couple of bags that I like to carry, also depending on whether I’m using it for work or leisure. For fun times, my current favourite is the dirty blue Mulberry-inspired bag that my sister bought for me from a blog shop (can’t remember which shop it is…). It’s slightly slouchy, has a great wash, hangs right, and takes on plenty of my stuff with gusto. I can even pop my DSLR in it, together with all the other junk.

Money, keys and my phone are the most important bits in my bag. I alternate between two wallets – a Kate Spade one from my family, and a Chanel one that was an impulsive buy from Paris. I don’t have many cards in UK, so either of these is enough to contain my stuff. In fact, I seem to accumulate more receipts than anything else. My keys are kept together on a keyring that I bought from Taipei more than 2 years ago; it has short forms of our names embossed on the ‘leather’ tag. My iPhone4 is nestled in a really lovely, hardy case that M bought for me last Christmas; I cannot do without my phone but I abuse it quite a bit, so having a case like that helps. I have also taken to bringing the iPod that my brother gave me to work so I can listen to some angsty music if I need to shut the world out. The sunnies from Charles & Keith are a new addition to my bag as the sun has recently decided to grace spring with its presence. I can’t tell you how much I love the purple tint and grey frame of these shades.

As social calls might come abruptly, I have taken to bringing some makeup around – my Shiseido foundation compact and eyebrow/eyeliner palette, as well as Palmer’s Dark Chocolate and Peppermint lip butter are staples. Sometimes, if I know that I have plans that evening, I’ll bring my M.A.C eyeshadow palette, Chanel lipstick and Clé de Peau concealor. These are great for covering up dark circles/blemishes, and brightening up my face after a long day at work.

I haven’t taken a photo of the other boring stuff I usually bring – my ugly umbrella for the unpredictable weather in London and a black pouch of essentials like tissue, paracetamol and antiacids (I get headaches and gastric problems more than anything else), and the monthly stuff that ladies need. Oh and of course, being an overenthusiastic food freak, if I am going out for meals, I’d bring my DSLR or my LX3 to annoy fellow diners too.

So there you go, the skeletons in my closet. What are yours? Write ’em up and link it back to this entry so we can all snoop around in your bags!

By the way, some fabulous ladies have also spilled their guts on their equally fabulous bag contents. If you send me your links, I’ll put them up here too!

Read all my beauty reviews here.

Check out my other fashion posts!

 

Fundraising for Japan – A Success, And Yes, We Have A Winner!

Thanks to your generous donations, The Pleasure Monger’s fundraising event for Japan was a success! We may have fell short of the £2000 target, but we did raise a whopping £1510, which amounts to 76% of our target! To be honest, I wasn’t sure if anyone would donate when I organised this, but a number of you did; the funds that we’ve raised together are so much more than I could ever give on my own. I’m grateful for your support and I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The fundraising page that I’ve set up on JustGiving will run till 2016, so please continue to drop a pound or two to help the victims of the earthquake in Japan. I’m sure everyone knows that the people in Japan are still suffering from the aftermath. For people like us who can’t be there to deliver aid, we can help in other ways. Yesterday evening, I was just thinking how wonderful it would be if everyone who stops by this blog could give a pound or spare some change; we could very well raise £20000 in a month! And then we have other bloggers who are trying their best to raise funds (read the updates at the bottom of this post for more details on how you can get involved), bloggers who are way more popular, prolific and well-known than I am, and if every reader of theirs give a pound for every post they read, they could raise so much more. That £1 makes such little difference to us, but for the victims, every penny counts and the success of the fundraiser thus far proves that we can pool our resources together and make a HUGE difference. So please continue to give, within your means, to any of the avenues that are most accessible to you.

Now, let’s realise the promise I made. When I organised the fundraiser, I said that I would pledge a USD100 Amazon gift card to one lucky donor so long as he/she donates before 31 March 2011 (GMT2359h). So today, I used the random integer generator on random.org to pick a winner and the gift card goes to…….

SHIRLEY!

I’ll be in touch in the next few minutes with an Amazon email containing the gift card. Congratulations and thank you for your donation!

xx

 

Fundraising for Japan

Dear readers,

In light of the recent events that hit Japan, I have started a fundraising page on JustGiving to raise some money for the disaster relief efforts. My nominated charity is ShelterBox, which is rallying resources to help the people in Japan. Temporary shelters are getting increasingly overcrowded right now, and if you’ve read the news, many have died in the bitter cold. The Japanese authorities are requesting ShelterBox to deliver emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies to the north of Japan. Thousands of boxes of such supplies are either in Japan or ready to be mobilised now, and we can help to deliver to the needs of the homeless in Japan. Please, let’s not leave them out in the freezing temperatures, and let’s work to give them a home and some warmth, literally and figuratively.

Anyone can donate, you only need a debit or credit card to do so. I can’t make a difference on my own, so instead of donating the money directly to charity, I am pledging a USD100 Amazon gift card to this fundraising event. I will randomly select the gift card recipient (using http://www.random.org/) from the list of people who donate on my fundraising page before 31 March 2011 (2359h GMT). By giving a little incentive, I hope that this will boost numbers a little and make the event worthwhile.  The gift card can be used on Amazon.com and I will email it to you before 10 April 2011. I will also announce the winner on this blog.

Please note that whilst I am not allowed to publicise this gift card raffle on my JustGiving page (as I am bound by terms and conditions), anyone who donates on my page, with a valid email address, will be eligible for this raffle. In order for me to contact you, please make sure you make your email address available to me on the JustGiving fundraising page.

Thank you for your help. Please also spread the word around, the success of this fundraising event relies on our collective effort.

Updated: I would also like to bring your attention to other avenues of donation. Some of my food blogger friends have set up an initiative called Bento4Japan, they have very generously put up some bento-related items up for auction on eBay. Please visit this site and start bidding! Or you can visit meemalee’s kitchen to have a look, she has written a nice summary of how you can help the people in Japan. Chika of the very beautiful blog, She Who Eats, is also giving away sakura ingredients to raise funds for Japan.

P/S: The fundraising page will be active till 2016, but only donors who contributed to this page before 31 March 2011 (2359h GMT) will be considered for the raffle. I am doing this because I am trying to encourage as many people to donate soon as the relief efforts are ongoing and urgently needed – WE HAVE A WINNER!

 

The Makeup Post, Anyway.

I had loads of fun doing the little layout for my latest outfit post. I do have a bit of time on my hands now before the next onslaught of work that might maim my blogging activities, so I decided to take a break from foodfoodfood writing to do another layout for the makeup products I used on my birthday. I have to warn you about the length of this post, there are 15 products reviewed here, and let’s just say that the sheer long-windedness of this entry should make up for all the beauty reviews that I should have done, but haven’t, owing to the airtime that food has been getting on my blog.

Birthday Makeup

I don’t wear makeup unless I’m meeting people. And on the days when I’m seeing someone, I slap on enough to not elicit nightmares…unless we’re going out somewhere nice for dinner or for a function. Well, my birthday is sorta a function (to me), and we were going to some place nice for dinner. I also wanted to feel pampered and girly. In fact, I was dying to ditch my home rags after eons of thesis writing and couldn’t be more ready to put on a new face. I even went for a haircut a week before my birthday. I know this is going to sound superficial, but I was looking forward to spending a full hour on grooming before dinner on Sunday. I took a hot shower, smoothed out the frizz in my hair with an iron, and slapped on happy amounts of makeup! I dug out products that I don’t usually use (either because they are too expensive or too much for a natural look) and had loads of fun putting them together. I was going for a natural finish on the complexion with strong eyes and slightly bold lips and I think it worked well with the cheongsam-inspired dress. The eye makeup didn’t quite show up in the photos but I thought my eyes were pretty smokey and strongly lined, by my standards anyway. I took the photos after the dinner too, so the lip gloss was gone by then. Here’s a run-through of  what I used to create the look, and if you are doing something similar, perhaps you could send me pictures of your makeup and give me recommendations on what you love to use!

Prime: After cleansing and moisturising, I let my face dry out a little and used the oil-free photo finish primer from Smashbox (1). This is the best primer I’ve used to date, it holds makeup well and smooths out the skin. One squeeze of the bottle should yield enough for the face. I allowed this to sit on my face for about 2 minutes to set.

Complexion: I discovered the Cle de Peau Beaute collection when I was in NYC in 2009. This is the high-end range from Shiseido, my all-time favourite for skincare and makeup. The beauty advisor at the Cle de Peau counter in Saks sat me down for a short consult, before testing the makeup products on my face and I LOVED them. My skin was a little flaky during winter last year, but she managed to smooth everything over with the incredible cream foundation (2) and the amazing concealor (3). These two items were very expensive (USD120 for foundation and USD70 for concealor), but I couldn’t resist getting them because Cle de Peau isn’t available in London. I am not sure if this is sold in Singapore too, so if anyone knows, please give me a shout!! I have a bottle of liquid foundation from Laura Mercier, but I haven’t been using it because I still prefer a light pat-down of Shiseido’s powder to liquid foundation. Cle de Peau’s cream foundation, on the other hand, is very light, and I only need a tiny amount (just one twist of the bottle to give you a red-bean sized blop of foundation) to even out my patchy complexion. This also means that the foundation will last a while, so it’s comfortable on the wallet.

Using my fingers, I dabbed the concealor on my blemishes (really harsh-looking broken capillaries, pimple scars etc). This is the best concealor you could ever own. I’m serious. It works just like a second skin, very light even though it’s a stick concealor, and so easy to blend with flawless coverage. If I have to choose one item that I can’t live without, it’s this concealor. Unfortunately these two items are too expensive, and I only use them on special occasions.

Eyebrows: I have been using the eyebrow and eyeliner compact in Light Brown (BL3) from Shiseido (4) for ages and it’s the only thing that I would ever want to shape my eyebrows with. It comes with an angled-applicator, perfect for shaping and filling in the brows, and a long-ish sponge applicator on the other end, which is great for lining your eyes. I tend to use this for eyebrows only because I have oily skin and this tends to smudge on my eyes if I use it as an eyeliner. The duo colour compact also means that you can blend the colours to the right intensity for you. This is great if you colour your hair frequently, there’s no need to get multiple pencils to match your brows to your hair colour! Once you get the hang of using the applicator, you’ll find that this gives a much more natural finish than pencils.

Setting the foundation & Blush: I set my foundation and brows with the pressed powder (5) from Shiseido and lightly swipe the apples of my cheeks with the Boots No.7 Mineral Perfection Blush in Soft Damson (6), a blush with rosy hues. I love this blush, it’s cheap, it’s good, and it’s very slightly luminous.

Eyes: To conceal my dark circles, I used YSL Touche Eclat in No.2 (7). It’s illuminating, gives good coverage and easy to blend. It’s also very light and thin, so it’s perfect with the cream foundation. (I have another favourite concealor for my dark circles, but I tend to use that with powder foundation.) Next, I primed my eyelids with the primer potion from Urban Decay (8). This is a godsend, I tell you!! It helps eye makeup stay on forever, and I never have to worry about smudges on my fleshy lids. My love-hate relationship with eyeshadows was transformed after I discovered this primer. It also intensifies the colour of your eyeshadow. A little goes a long way, so a bottle like this should last you for ages. Use your fingers to blend it over your eyelids and allow it to set for 2 minutes. Following this, I lined my upper lashline with the gel eyeliner from Bobbi Brown (9). This is great stuff too, because it doesn’t smudge and it’s really easy to apply with the eyeliner brush! To line my lower waterline, I used the Infallible Indefectible eyeliner from L’Oreal (10). I got this for free when I purchased a mascara from L’Oreal at Boots (yay to Boots for insane amount of freebies!!) and tried it for the first time on my birthday. I half-expected my waterline to bleed by the end of dinner since the waterline is very moist, but nope, this stuff stayed and it was a breeze to apply and remove. It comes an eraser on the other end if you want to correct mistakes! I didn’t have to use the eraser, and this is saying something about the ease of using this product. I rarely line my lower waterline and when I do, I end up looking like a panda because of unsteady hands.

I painted my eyes with the Sorceress palette (this was released for the holiday season in 2009) from M.A.C. (11). It is the only eyeshadow palette that I use and the colours are right up my alley! Purples, greys and blacks work well on my skin tone. I highlighted my brow bone with the white shadow, and dabbed on a little of the shimmery light purple on the inner corners of my eyes. I swiped the lightest purple over my eyes for a base, and blended the darkest shimmery grey and purple onto the creases. While I was at this, I added little flicks at the outer corners to widen the eyes. I blended the flicks so they wouldn’t look too harsh. The idea is to achieve soft-focus smokey eyes. For the first time ever, I also used a blending brush to help me. I used to just rely on the applicators that came with eyeshadows and well, let’s just say that proper brushes are way better. I also applied a teeny bit of the darkest shimmery purple close to the outer corners of my lower lashline.

I curled my lashes with my trusty S$2 curler from Guardian Pharmacy (12) (yes, these work just as well, if not better than the high-end ones) and fixed Shu Umeura’s false eyelashes (s217) (13a) onto my upper lashlines. I highly recommend the eyelash glue from Shu (13b) as well. The s217 false eyelashes are the same ones I used for my wedding and they are brilliant. They open up your eyes and yet, stay very natural-looking.

Lips: I love Palmer’s Dark Chocolate and Peppermint Lip Balm (14), this is the only lip balm that has worked for me, and after allowing it to set, I lightly dab Urban Decay’s Timothy lip gloss (15) on my lips. This gloss was a freebie from Boots. It is a very strong, coral-red hue, so if you’re afraid to use it, just dab a little at a time (don’t swipe!) and press your lips together to blend it. Check for intensity before dabbing on more.

I set my face once more with pressed powder and I was good to go, makeup stayed on (except the gloss), and the strong eyes with slightly bold lips worked well with the cheongsam dress. You need to work out a balance between the eyes and lips though, as equally strong features on both ends of your face spell a disaster. I chose to dress my eyes up more than my lips, as I don’t have naturally big and lovely eyes. Not that I have nice lips too, but it is true that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Mine really needs curtains and a good wipe, so there.

Hope you enjoyed this post. It will be a while now before I write another beauty post (perhaps one on the usual products I use for natural day makeup), so for those who felt nauseous after reading this feeble attempt, you may heave a sigh of relief now!

Read all my beauty reviews here.

 

My Beauty Staple for Summer!

Summer’s going ahead at full steam in London, and it’s prepping me for the weather when I return to Singapore for a short break. This also means that I’ve had to change my skincare routine to suit the hot weather. So I’ve gone off the heavier La Mer moisturising cream (reviewed here), and switched to Biotherm Aquasource Non-Stop Oligo-Thermal Gel Intense Moisurisation for normal and combination skin. I apply this at night, rather than in the day, as this doesn’t have SPF like the day moisturiser that I use.

Biotherm Aquasource Non Stop Oligo-Thermal Gel

I absolutely love how lightweight the gel is. It goes on easily, and penetrates my skin well without making me feeling like I’ve been dunked in a tub of grease. It hydrates surprisingly well for the light texture. One of the things that I love best about the gel is how clean and fresh it smells, I feel like I’ve just stepped out of the shower every time I use it!

I’ve been using this for about 2 months, and the results have been great! My skin is clearer, more supple, pores on my cheeks appear so much more reduced, even M noticed the improvement in my complexion! It’s pretty affordable at £27. I have heard that it’s much cheaper in UK than in Asia.

I’m keeping this on my beauty must-have list, and I’ll definitely be using this on my ‘London-fied’ skin back in Singapore.

Read all my beauty reviews here.