Sunday, April 26, 2009

Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush Luminous and Sparkling Shadows

After this sneak peak waaaay back when, I finally got around to trying some of these Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush Luminous and Sparkling Shadows...sheesh! These loose powder eye shadows come in tiny little plastic pots with a foamy rounded applicator with a pointy tip. They were my first loose powder shadows (I know, I need to get with the program) so I didn't know better and paid a whole lot for very little as these contain a minuscule amount of shadow for $7 each. Yes, you can also get 2 for $12 or 5 for $20, but even then I still think it's expensive as they really should be, like, $0.99!

And seriously, the eye shadows are truly worth only $0.99! They are smooth, soft, and blendable, but they have zero lasting power! ZERO. Especially the darker colors, they fade after only a couple of hours and by mid day, there was nothing left of them on my eyes! This is particularly bad because I always wear waterproof sunscreen even on my eye lids and it acts as a primer of sort, helping to keep my eye shadows in place. But even that couldn't keep these eye shadows from fading! So considering the price, the amount, and the nonexistent lasting power, I conclude that these Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush loose eye shadows are a waste of money.

That said, I did find a few colors that are quite interesting (see comments on individual shadows below). If you would like to give these a try, I would recommend waiting until they go on sale and/or buy them with the promotions/coupons that Victoria's Secret usually emails or snailmails to you. Once you start buying from VS, they will relentlessly spam you with promotional emails/catalogues/coupons - trust me, I get them every freaking day! Otherwise, I honestly think the rest of these eye shadows are not worth it.

Another thing that irks me about these loose eye shadows is the minute difference between the so-called Luminous and the so-called Sparkling ones: a few iridescent shimmers! So much for the hot pink rounded stamp on the applicator handle of the "Sparkling" shadows that says "High Sparkle" (see Glamethyst and Purple Dazzle). Excuse me, but a few more iridescent shimmer don't really add up to high sparkle. As for the Luminous shadows, some of them are practically matte while others have metallic finish. So in addition to all the bad points mentioned above, these loose shadows are also inconsistent and are totally hit and miss!

- "Sparkling" Glamethyst: pearl, very sheer. As you can see from the swatch on the back of my hand, it's not that "sparkling" at all but instead only has some puny iridescent shimmers that my camera flash didn't even pick up! Also, it looks white in the swatch but is in fact a very pale lilac with pearly lilac iridescent shine. Okay for highlighting the inner corners of the eyes but would fade after a couple of hours.

- "Luminous" Too Too Pink: matte, low intensity, a fleshy pink. Although my camera's flash picked up some small shimmers in the swatch this color goes on practically matte. As I have mentioned above having found some interesting colors - this is one of them. Too Too Pink honestly sucks as an eye shadow, but is surprisingly great as a concealer for the eye area (just for the eye area though...)! Weird, huh? I know the color shows up pretty darn clearly pink in the swatch but it somehow just blended in with the skin around my eye area, providing coverage instead of color! And since I always sweep highlighting powder over my under eye area as a finishing touch, this actually helped sealing it in and kept it from fading!

I have never ever used a concealer before and it wasn't until I used this eye shadow that I finally realized why some people swear by them! Concealers are pretty darn neat stuff! The day I first wore this eye shadow, I was completely exhausted from working long hours the day before. My lids were puffy and my under eye area was purple like I hadn't slept for days! But after applying this eye shadow, I didn't look like I was wearing any eye shadows but instead just looked refreshed and awake! So not to contradict what I said above, but I would actually purchase this particular color again to use as concealer for the eye area.

- "Luminous" Plum Passion: metallic, high intensity. A beautiful metallic mauve, but didn't work out too well with my skin tone. It made me look like I had been crying for days with red and swollen eyes and everything! Horrible!

- "Sparkling" Purple Dazzle: Shimmer, medium intensity. The packaging makes you think the eye shadow will be a deep eggplant color, but it turned out to be a darker plum color instead. And sparkling? Nope. There were few sparkles. Grrr... I used it to lined my eyes, and it disappeared after a couple of hours. Next.

- "Luminous" After Midnight: shimmer, high intensity. A deep inky blue that was perfect as a liner, only it didn't last at all and faded after a couple of hours, just like the rest. Sad. Sigh...

- First row, left to right: Plum Passion, Glamethyst, After Midnight
- Second row, left to right: Purple Dazzle, Too Too Pink

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rose & Co Apothecary Extra Fancy Soap Lavender

I've been in a soap spree lately :D This is Rose & Co Apothecary Extra Fancy Soap in Lavender. I believe this soap is only available in 2 fragrances, Rose Petal and Lavender. My first intrigue for Rose & Co was from this blog post. At the time, I was already a few tins into the Rosebud Perfume Company's many salves, so my interest in other similar products was peaking. Looking around on Rose & Co's website, in addition to their salves I bought their soaps.

I used to dislike lavender when I was younger. Well, may be not strongly dislike, but I do not prefer it. I remember thinking, "What the heck are they talking about?" when I read over and over that lavender was soothing and calming, because at the time, I perceived lavender to be anything but. In fact, lavender used to be too strong for me and, depending on the brand and product, the scent would give me a headache. And then I got older, and may be, just may be, wiser (ha. ha. ha.), but I slowly learned to appreciate lavender. No, no, I haven't gone nuts and buy every lavender-scented thing out there, but I tend to deviate towards soaps scented with lavender.

The Lavender Extra Fancy Soaps from Rose & Co Apothecary smell wonderful! The scent is engulfing but not suffocating. I put just 2 soaps in the soap basket stored my linen closet and every time I open the closet door, it was as though I opened the door to a field of lavender (this has got to be a symptom of brainwashing from the Downy commercials!). The fragrance lingered in the air just long enough for me to get whiff of but dissipate before I get sick of smelling it and start waving the door :P

Other than the scent, these soaps threw me for a loop: although they crack after the first few days of use, which is a big huge red flag(!), so far they have yet to dry out my already-very-dry hands! And it's very dry inside my apartment still (hydrometer reads 30%, up only 10% from a couple of months ago), so it wasn't because the environment has somehow changed and gave these soaps some help. Isn't that odd or what? Remember when I declared that good soaps don't crack? That is because the soaps that tend to crack are harsh and stripping soaps. But then how can I explain these these Rose & Co soaps that are cracking all over the place but at the same time super duper gentle to my skin? They are quite a paradox, these Extra Fancy Soaps!

Whatever. I like them. A lot. Will definitely buy more as gifts. See how nicely they were wrapped?

Monday, April 13, 2009

VOV Daily Fresh Mask Strawberry Yogurt Collagen

I got this VOV Daily Fresh Mask in Strawberry Yogurt Collagen solely because the packaging was attractive :) What, you don't think all those strawberries in the glass jar looks yummy enough to slather all over your face? :P

VOV is a Korean brand that makes interesting-looking makeup and skincare products. I'm eyeing a few eye and face palettes from this brand. The problem is G-market doesn't like my Powerbook, so I'm left to the mercy of the Ebay sellers, and we all know they aren't very nice when it comes to cut throat prices. Sigh...we'll see. If I'm desperate enough I'll pay the price. Until then, I'll just go screen shopping :D

Anyhoo, back to the Strawberry Yogurt Collagen mask. Actually, it was kind of disappointing. First off, it was a bit too harsh for my skin. The moment I put it on, the area above my lips started to burn. I wasn't surprised as this usually happen with a product that has lots of alcohol in it. Secondly, the word strawberry yogurt made me think the essense would be milky, but opening the package I thought, Heeeeey, where's my milky yogurt?!? The essence turned out to be crystal clear! Come on, yogurt isn't supposed to be clear, folks! Where's my yogurt? Not just that, the mask's scent reminds me of...medicine. It smelled like strawberry cough syrup with hints of yogurt, and I didn't really dig that. And last but not least, it was kind of expensive, $3.50 per mask.

So yeah, my conclusion is just to skip it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ichikami Shampoo & Conditioner

Ichikami Shampoo & Conditioner is my first haircare products from Kanebo/Kracie. So far, I've tried Kao's Asience, Shiseido's Tsubaki, Super Mild Chikara, and had used the original Super Mild for many years, but I don't know why I haven't thought to try Kanebo stuff. I guess I just never thought of it, which makes Ichikami sort of...thrilling to me. I guess I am just that boring :D

I got my Ichikami Shampoo, Conditioner & Treatment Set at the local Asian grocery store for $20. Although the set was probably sold for much cheaper in Japan, this is a pretty good deal since the shampoo, conditioner, and treatment tube each goes for $15. So as usual, if you are interested in trying this shampoo, keep an eye out for the sets and check your local Asian grocery store first before buying online.

Ichikami Shampoo, Conditioner & Treatment Set

***Pictures from

Hmm...what to say, I have mixed feelings for this shampoo. The first time I smelled it, I was totally put off. The scent was a mix of floral and fruity, though stronger floral than fruity, but in general very extremely feminine, not of the girlie kind but more of an older woman kind. Mind you, I didn't say old but older, you know, as in the older Auntie scent O.o But man, after that first wash I felt like I had turned 40 and dripping with womanly pheromones. What the hell?!? The weirder thing was that hubby actually liked it, as in really really liked it. He kept smelling my hair and says it Urgh, sorry, just can't imagine myself that way. I've never really been that feminine (yes, even though I like makeup and other girlie things, got a problem with that?). Bleargh. Shivers.

Anyhoo, odd things didn't end there with this shampoo. The second time I used it, its scent totally changed on me! This time, it smelled more fruity than floral, and sweet. Heck, it smelled like canned fruit cocktail, a mix of pears, apples, and grapes! Especially the grape scent, it was very obviously grape-y I was shocked I didn't notice it last time! And I guess the scent stopped bothering me since then LOL

So now that I got over the scent, I must say I really like what the shampoo does to my hair! It makes my hair super soft the way Asience did, minus the grease fest the day after. Even during the shampoo rinse my hair already started feeling soft. But we'll have to see how long this one will last on me :P I'm rather fickle. No, make that I'm really really fickle and I get bored quickly and easily. So I dunno, if I get bored with Ichikami I will go back to Super Mild. That one did hold my interest for a few years, after all. A huge feat for a shampoo!

The Body Shop Vitamin E Sink-in Moisture Mask

Update April 10, 2009

As a turn of event, I used this Vitamin E Sink-in Moisture Mask as a moisturizer for my neck and chest and what do you know, I really liked it! It was sort of greasy when used on my face but for my neck and upper chest, it made my skin baby soft! Since it was kind of away from my face, the rose scent wasn't as overwhelming and it didn't bother me as much. Oh, I put it in the refrigerator too, and the coolness made its light and bouncy cream texture (think fat-free yogurt) really refreshing. Now why didn't I think of that earlier?

Perhaps I will buy a full size after all...if there's a good promotion :D

Original post Monday, August 11, 2008

I've never even tempted to try The Body Shop skincare products, but since I was given a generous GWP of the Vitamin E Sink-in Moisture Mask, I didn't hesitate. After all, I'm totally in a moisturizing/hydrating treatment mask craze right now!

***Picture from The Body Shop USA.

The instructions to this moisture mask sounds simple enough, apply a thin layer to clean face and let it sink in. Then either massage it all in or tissue it off. I've read reviews that most people would just use it as an intensive moisturizer, so I tried it out with my under eye area. Sounds crazy, huh? Most people would try things anywhere but their under eye area since that's the most sensitive area on the face! I guess I'm a bit...nutty, and perhaps not so smart at that moment...

My verdict is that I won't be purchasing the full size. It's an average product and is nothing more than a heavier moisturizer. It turned my under eye area a bit greasy, in fact, even though I did as the instruction says and applied with a light hand. Another thing I just couldn't stand is the heavy rose perfume. Bleargh. Nearly gave me a headache. Oh well, I'll just finish using the GWP for now and look forward to the better stuff out there.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Moisturizers VS. Hydrators

Nowadays, with the vast majority of skincare products available on the market being indiscriminately labeled as "moisturizers," it is no wonder most people have no idea some of those "moisturizers" aren't really moisturizers at all! At least in my case, I didn't know there is a difference between a moisturizer and a hydrator until a few months ago!

It all started with my skin going bonkers since I got home from the vacation. It just got so dry! I wasn't surprised at all since I live in such a temperamental area. It can get disgustingly humid here in the summer, but as soon as the temperature drops, it would just flip into desert mode. I mean, I came home from my vacation in January and the hydrometer in my apartment read 9% (as oppose to the 80% in the summer)! And the several weeks I had just spent in a tropical environment only made it worse since I went from one extreme to another!

I really didn't know what to do at the time. I was already using a moisturizer I love, the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream (hubby uses it now too!), and using more than the usual amount would only make my skin greasy. So then why did my face still feel so dry? In a panic, I thought about layering with a lighter moisturizer. See the disconnect there? If I couldn't put more moisturizers on because it would make my skin greasy, why would it help to layer on a lighter moisturizer? But I was too desperate to notice my ill logic, so I thought of the generous GWP sample of the Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief I got from late last year and started reading reviews. I will review this item soon myself!

So why did I think of the Clinique GWP out of the gazillion other samples and GWP items I have? Well, its gel-cream texture was super light and super attractive, simple as that. Little did I know it was exactly the thing I need, just not for the reasons I thought it would be. You see, reading the reviews for the Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief, especially this review by username Haruka, led me to more product experiments and further readings, and I finally concluded that my skin was actually dehydrated.

Dry VS. Dehydrated Skin
What is the difference, you say? In brief, your skin needs both oil and water to stay nice and soft. A moisturizer provides the oil, and a hydrator provides the water. Makes sense, right? It can get confusing too though, especially when everything you see at the store are, whether their names include "hydro-" or "hydra-" or whatnot, [sometimes mis]-labeled as "moisturizers." By the way, you can always Google this information yourself. I didn't provide any links for further readings this time because a lot of the websites where I read about this were pushing their own skincare products. So it's just best for you to research on your own :)

For now, here are some very basic information: because the skin produces its own oil to begin with, dry skin means your skin does not produces enough oil, making it a long term condition that will only gets worse with age. If you haven't noticed, it is time to think back to why those skincare products targeting older women are almost always very thick and greasy. This is because their skin needs lots of help as it has been gradually loosing its ability to produce oil over the years.

So, you get the oil part of your skin, yes? Now for water part: hydration is nothing your skin provides on its own. Actually, hydration is something your skin looses on its own due to evaporation and environmental effects (dry weather, pollution, etc.). This makes dehydration a temporary condition (versus long term with dry skin) that can be restored with proper treatment. You can probably recall during so-and-so celebrity interview, she was asked to reveal her secret for glowing skin and replied with a rather simple-sounding answer, "I just drink 8 glasses of water a day." But while that answer is over simplifying things a bit, it is not entirely untrue. You can help your dehydrated skin (and body!) by drinking plenty of water everyday. Then again, with most of us being rather forgetful busybodies (quite literally!) while often mistaking thirst for hunger, some skincare products can lend a helping hand for the facial skin. These products are what they called "hydrators."

Now the question is: how the hell do you tell if your skin is dry or dehydrated? I don't claim any expertise whatsoever (so don't sue me), but in my experience...
- If you use a "compatible" daily moisturizers ("compatible" as in it doesn't react to your skin and using too much of it will make your face greasy, precisely my case with Cetaphil) but your face still feels dry, then your skin is most likely dehydrated.
- If your skin is oily and shiny (I would assume you're not using a moisturizer in this case) but still feels dry, then most likely it is dehydrated.
- If you don't have any problem drinking plenty of liquid every day, but your face (and sometimes your whole body too!) is red, itchy, flaky with patches of dry skin, and you're not experience any sort of reaction to a product or seasonal allergies, then your skin is just plain dry.
- Keep in mind, too, that it IS possible to have both dry/combination-dry and dehydrated skin. In my case, I used to have oilier skin during my teenage years, but now it is combination dry with more-often-than-occasional dehydration, especially during the winter.
- Last but not least, it is also possible that your skin is neither dry or dehydrated because your skin produces just the amount of oil it needs and you are doing your part of keeping yourself well hydrated. If this describes you, you are one lucky butt and should continue to take good care of yourself and your skin!

Moisturizers VS. Hydrators
How the hell do you tell the true "moisturizers" from the "hydrators?" Again, from what I know (and I don't know everything, so don't bite my head off)...
- The best bet is to read the ingredients: if it does not contains ANY oil content (mineral, olive, castor, etc.), it is a hydrator.
- If an ingredients list is not available, then read the instructions: if it says to use "over/under/in addition to your daily moisturizer or makeup," it is probably a hydrator.
- If an ingredients list is not available but a tester is available, you can try guessing, sort of: most hydrators are gel-cream or gel or sort of runny in texture and will absorb so thoroughly you won't even feel like you've put anything on! Of course, this way of guessing isn't very accurate at all because some moisturizers out there do absorb completely too.
- Keep in mind too that hydrid, double-duty products do exist: wouldn't it be nice to stumble upon a lotion/cream/gel-cream/gel that both moisturizes and hydrates? Damn, it's definitely on my wishlist, that's for sure! I hate layering stuff on my face!
- Lastly, don't let the names confuse you. Most "water sleeping face packs" popular in Asia are hydrators, although some are hybrid products. Also, most "serums" and "essences" out there are "specialized" hydrators, tasked with specific ingredients to fight wrinkles, anti-aging, antioxidant, whitening, etc., the list goes on...

Anyhoo, this is all I know :) Comments, feedback, additions are most certainly welcome. If I am flat out wrong about something, please do point it out. Good information helps everyone, not just me!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

DHC Revitalizing Moisture Eye Strips

Tearing into the DHC Revitalizing Moisture Eye Strips, which are supposed to be gel strips, so I was expected something along the line of the Hadabisei Under Eye Gel Masks. Instead, I was totally thrown off by these sheet mask-like under eye strips that are completely dry! Peeling them off of their plastic sheet cover, their other side is indeed gel, but the gel side, too, felt dry and boy were they S-T-I-C-K-Y, much more so than the Hadabisei ones!

According to the instructions on the DHC North America website, you are supposed to leave these gel strips on for 20-30 minutes or even over night for a more intensive treatment. But as you'd guess, applying these was much more difficult than applying the Hadabisei strips, because they were that much stickier. They totally adhered to my skin like a sheet of gel adhesive!

After half an hour or so, the skin around my eye area felt really tight because, I guess, the gel strip was drying up. I started doubting whether going to bed with these on would be a good idea since they were already tugging on my fragile under eye skin, but I ended up leaving them on in bed anyway. I woke up at around 4 A.M. and proceeded to take them off, expecting them to pull on my skin. Surprisingly though, they didn't! The area underneath my eye felt nice and soft too! It was a strange experience, but I guess that's just how these eye strips work! I examined my under eye area later in the morning when I actually got out of bed, and they weren't puffy as they would get whenever I over-moisturize them. So yes, I would buy these again, although I think I like the Hadabisei strips better.

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