Skin Deco

Monday, January 30, 2012

Getting Fit on Skin Deco

Happy Chinese New Year! 

We've entered a New Year but the most popular resolution is nothing new at all.
You've guessed it! Losing weight and getting fit.

If the same resolution remains every year, that probably means there has been little or no progress.
While I can dedicate a long and whiny post to my sap story about weight issues, I'm not going to. We all have our stories.
Rather, this is an invitation to join me on my journey to getting fit and staying fit.

Read on for details on this new series and here's to a fitter Year of the Dragon!

*We all know weight loss resolutions truly begins after CNY because of eating too much over the holidays 

My decision to make a change wasn't out of a New Year's resolution. Actually, it wasn't even a 360° change. A couple of months ago, I just thought that I'd do something different and just kept doing it repeatedly. Over time, I have educated myself, set goals, developed plans and formed discipline. My journey to getting fit may have just begun but I've learned and experienced so much already. I have visions in my head of what I can accomplish in terms of my strength, endurance as well as physique and it's slowly becoming a reality.
This time around, I'm going to do it right.

I was a little hesitant about incorporating fitness into the blog mostly because I was doubtful of my own commitment. At some point, it was going to happen but I wasn't expecting to do this so soon until opportunity presented itself in the form of a knowledgeable certified trainer named Jeremy Bird.

Circuit25 aka C25 is a group personal circuit training which focuses on cardio, core as well as strength and resistance exercises. Prior to C25, I was already practicing interval training but not quite at a high intensity. After trying out several types of exercises, I found that interval training suits me the best because I can't keep up with large exercise groups and the treadmill is dreadfully boring. Also, with interval training, I'm more aware of the areas that I need to improve on. I won't go into detail but you can read more about High Intensity Interval Training [here].

SO! Starting this week, there will be a brand new series on Skin Deco called Getting Fit.
This series is a collaboration with Circuit25 where we'll have our expert, Jeremy, on board to share his tips on weight loss and fitness. In each post, we will address a specific topic and since the series will be progressive, we will go in-depth with the topics as time goes by.

On top of that, for every post, we'll have a Q&A session where you can ask Jeremy any questions you have regarding diet and fitness.

The first Getting Fit post goes up on Wednesday so watch out for it!
For years I've shared posts on how to look good from the neck up. Now, let's have a body to match!

Meanwhile, if you have any questions for Jeremy, ask away in the comment section below :)

Read more!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review: Makeup Brushes by Lauren Luke

Panacea81 aka Lauren Luke is no stranger to the YouTube Beauty scene and I'm very proud of her accomplishments over the years. Not too long ago, she released a line of makeup brushes that she has personally designed. Best of all, the brushes have very pocket-friendly prices!

Even though there weren't many reviews out there for these brushes, I was inclined to try them out anyway. I ordered the Flat Eye Shadow Brush, Pencil Brush and the unique-looking Foundation Brush.

After using them for awhile, I must say that I'm quite pleased!

First things first, allow me to squeal over the pink metal ferule! Isn't it too pretty? I've come across pink-handled brushes and found them tacky but having the ferule in a brassy pink is girly but classy at the same time. The brand name, "Lauren Luke", on the glossy black handle is also pink :) The Pencil Brush comes with a clear tube cover to keep the bristles in place though I wonder why the rest of brushes don't have them.

Flat Eye Shadow Brush

This brush appears to be a lookalike of the MAC239 brush meant for shading. Initially, I didn't think much of this brush because the bristles weren't very dense but I was wrong. It picked up good amounts of eyeshadow and packs them on with minimal fallout. The tapered tip is also great for softening harsh edges. The bristles are made out of soft goat hair.

Only £4 for this handy brush. That's about RM20! Bargain!

Foundation Brush 

The one brush that I had my eye on was the uniquely-shaped foundation brush. It's a cylinder with a tapered tip? Or dome-shaped, as described on the website. The densely-packed synthetic bristles are so so so soft that I kept petting it as if it was my kitty's paw. I used it with liquid and also cream foundation, which the brush blended so beautifully. The shape and the size is narrow enough on the tip to sweep across tight areas such as under the eyes and side of the nose. Yet, it's not too small so buffing in the foundation doesn't take forever. Because the bristles are dense enough, there was very little streaks during application.

£6 (~RM29) makes this a winning buy!

Pencil Brush 

Right after I ordered this brush, I was surprised with the MAC219 as gift from a friend (You know who you are! *hugs*). Naturally, I had to do a comparison. MAC219 is a wee bit fatter with bristles that are more dense. In terms of performance, it won't be fair for me to say that they perform the same. When it comes to applying color, they work very similarly but buffing-wise, the MAC219 did better. The handle of the MAC one is also longer. I use both brushes interchangeably to apply eyeshadow on the outer-V or on the lower lashline.

At £3.25 (~RM16), you can't beat the price.

Not only did Lauren made these awesome brushes affordable, she also made them accessible. International registered shipping is only £5.99 and took around 2 weeks to arrive from the UK. These brushes along with a variety of five more and a set can be ordered through the Lauren Luke Shop.

Read more!

Review: Anna Sui Nail Colors

Anna Sui has done it again with their packaging! This time around in their Palace Sparkle collection, Anna Sui has released nail polishes with loads of glitter. Very appropriate for the holidays and I've had loads of fun glittering up my nails. Yet, they got me thinking -- are they worth the price tag?

Yes, they do look very pretty in the bottle but in terms of content, I can't give Anna Sui that many points. #402 is a deep wine shade with sparse gold shimmers. Pretty, right? Guess how many coats it took to achieve that opaqueness? Three! I really like the color but it takes far too long for me to apply the polish and one unintentional scrape (which is very likely to happen in my case) means I'll have to start all over again. On another note, this color applies smoothly and although deep, doesn't stain the nails.

My 2nd favorite out of the lot is #081 which has a mix of pink, gold and silver glitters. I used it in one of my Nails for Noobs posts. Glitter is glitter so I can't say if it's great quality-wise.

Next in line would be #005 which is basically gold shimmers with the occasional chunks of glitter. I find this shade a tad frustrating because the larger chunks of glitter is not consistent so in some applications, I'd get a lot of them and in some, none at all. If I layered on the glitter, I'd get too much.

The shade I liked the least is #082 and from the close-up, you can probably tell why. The glitters are just very flat and uninteresting. I would've preferred glitters with more dimensions especially when they're not gonna come cheap. The effect just wasn't impressive.

All of the polishes have the classic Anna Sui rose scent which can be overpowering and get you dizzy whilst you're applying the polish. After a few days, the scent will fade and that's when you'll catch me sniffing my nails *awkward*.

The polishes retail at RM54 each.

Read more!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review + Look: Lancôme Trésor Midnight Rose

Such a beauty, isn't it? (I meant the perfume, not me)
The new Lancôme Trésor Midnight Rose exerts feminine romanticism with this elegant purple and gold gradient bottle, accented by a satin rose.

They couldn't have picked a more fitting ambassador for this perfume -- the young and promising Emma Watson. How she's grown to be such a lady! 
My attempt to re-create Emma's look in the video, unfortunately, fell short. Nevertheless, it was fun to pull out the red lipstick again.

Read on for more on the look and my thoughts on this perfume as well as details on how you can score a free sample of this gorgeous perfume.

Top Notes: Raspberry, Blackcurrant Buds
Middle Notes: Jasmine, Peony, Rose Absolute, Pink Pepper 
Base Notes: Virginian Cedar, Musk and Vanilla 

Overly sweet perfumes may not be my cup of tea but the tangy berry-like sweetness of this perfume is light and comfortable to the nose. I may not read notes but I definitely picked up the Raspberry scent right away! It smelt fresh and springy which probably contradicts the perfume's name since it's meant to be a "midnight" scent.

Despite being an EDP (supposedly more concentrated), I found this perfume somewhat on the mild side and while the scent lingers, it doesn't remain strong throughout the day. In fact, it isn't strong in the first place. In my books, this perfume falls into the "Day Fragrance" category. Just as portrayed in the commercial, this perfume appears to be mysteriously sensual from the at first glance but in reality, it's playfully innocent.

A 50ml bottle retails for RM205 and 75ml at RM265.
If you'd like to give this a try, until the end of January, Lancome's giving out free samples of Trésor Midnight Rose via their Facebook page.
Check out what my blogging buddies have to say about this fragrance: 

The eyes were quite simple with champagne shadow on the lids and greyish brown on the outer corner as well as the lower lashline. The liner had a slight angle but it wasn't winged out. Loads of mascara, of course. She probably had natural falsies on but I was too lazy. The red lipstick on her was more on the cool side, which I don't own. I also could've gone darker with the brows. Just some light contouring on the cheeks with a hint of pale pink blush.

Read more!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Taking Song Requests!

Valentine's Day is a little over a month to go and every year, I'd post up tutorials of looks inspired by love songs.

Nominate your favorite love songs!

If I can think of a look to go with that song then I'll pick it :)

Read more!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Facials of 2011: The Good & The Bad

In 2011, I've had my fair share of facials. Partially because I started deal-shopping. When facials are well below RM100, they're hard to pass up! I've learned a few lessons though. To be honest, I don't find facial necessary but occasionally, it's just nice to escape into a few hours of serenity and wake up looking refreshed.

What was your best and worst facial experience? I'd love to hear your stories! 

Check out some of my better facial experiences in 2011 and some never-to-return-again ones!

The Good 

SanPuri Beauty 

After my first deal-facial experience (will be storied below), I was somewhat fearful of taking up another deal. But I figured I might make it through since the Thalgo brand's pretty established and I'll have my cousin there to protect me should anything were to happen... From the outside, SanPuri Beauty looked as ordinary as any other shop-lot salon. We went in and it still looked ordinary. Then we walked pass the reception area and whoaaa.... It's like a whole other place! Though the space was small, the decor and ambiance was very spa-like with soothing music and water sounds... dim lights... aromatherapy air... and a fish spa pond!

Before we went in for our facial, we had a foot soak and also inhaled aromatherapy steam for relaxation. The facial I did included a microdermabrasion treatment and while it wasn't the best facial ever, I appreciated the service. Most typical facial places would take an extractor to my face and poke unnecessarily, eventually giving me more pimples. This therapist however, just used a towel and her fingers. Thank you for seeing that I don't need to be poked!

Best of all, no pushy sales talk! The regular prices are quite reasonable as well ie. you can get a basic facial for less than RM100 and add RM50 (I think) for microdermabrasion.
SanPuri Beauty is located in Dataran Mentari, Sunway (03-5622 2168)

Clarins Institut (KLCC)

I've had several Clarins facials before and they're always pleasant. The techniques used are for relaxation and the facial includes light hand and feet massage. Previously I only tried the [hydration] ones which were quite good.

Recently, I went for the whitening facial and it was probably one of the best from Clarins. I snoozed, as usual, but had some dejavu moments because the steps used were a series of repetitions. After the facial, I thought my skin looked brightened and refreshed. Actually, what surprised me most was the reaction of a total stranger when she stopped me in the middle of Sephora to look at my naked skin. Positive reaction, of course. I was floating after that!

Energy Day Spa (Great Eastern Mall)

Probably one of the most relaxing facial experiences of 2011. Read this [post] for my full experience.

However... the place has a reputation of inattentive front-desk staff according to some friends. My facial was for a review so my experience could've been not quite genuine.

The So-so 

CRES Wellness (Kepong)

The facial promised many things and I kept being woken up in the middle of the facial because the management wanted to take before-after pictures. Ultimately, the results were so-so just like the facial was. [Full review here].

The Bad 

S2 Slimming (Kepong)

This was the first deal/coupon facial that I bought and I became fearful of facial deals for half a year! The ad said that there would be microdermabrasion. I went through the facial, anticipating the microdermabrasion that never happened. Overall the facial service itself was okay. Very typical salon-type of facial.

After the facial, I expressed my disappointment to the staff saying that I was expecting the microdermabrasion. She insisted that it wasn't part of the deal and I didn't argue because I didn't have a copy of the ad with me and I only paid RM38.

Upon hearing that I was interested in microdermabrasion, the staff immediately took it as an opportunity to push the package to me. I had zero intention on signing up a facial package. Probably it was my fault for being "too polite" but the girl pushed her hardest! For every excuse/objection that I had, she'd have a counter! She was very very persistent! I think she used practically all the tricks in the book. I was confined in the consultation room for a whole hour!

Eventually, I won and she gave up but I've never seen SUCH a pushy salesperson in my life EVER! Even if I was interested in a trial for the microdermabrasion, I wouldn't DARE go back there. She might throw me in a cage next time!

Read more!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What's In My Makeup Bag?

Happy 2012!!

One of my "resolutions" in 2012 is to rotate the products in my makeup bag. A brilliant idea sparked by Kimoko.
Most days I do my makeup out of my pouch and sadly, many of my stuff ends up being neglected.
So, every week, I'll refresh the items in my pouch so that most ("all" isn't realistic) of my makeup would get a fair share of use.

Do you have any beauty resolutions for 2012?

Listing of what's in my makeup bag after the jump!

  1. MAC Mineralize Foundation SPF15 in NC30
  2. RMK Loose Powder in P00
  3. MAC Mineralize Blush Duo in Happy Together
  4. elf Mineral Eyeshadow Primer
  5. I Nuovi Pencil Liner in Noir
  6. MAC Paint Pot in Constructivist
  7. MAC Eyeshadow in Glamour Check!
  8. MAC Eyeshadow in Sassy Grass
  9. MAC Eyeshadow in Tete-a-Tint
  10. Inglot Eyeshadow in 463
  11. Scott Barnes Illumineye in Night
  12. Shu Uemura Hard 9 Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown
  13. Lotree Pen Eyeliner
  14. Benefit Bad Gal Lash Mascara
  15. MAC Splashproof Lash Mascara
  16. Stage Eye Liner in 06 Oscar Olive
  17. Paul & Joe Eye Gloss in 03
  18. Anna Sui Spot Concealer in 03
  19. MAC Lipglass in Viva Glam V
  20. Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencil in Bourbon

Read more!

Review: Ciracle Eye Contour Gel

When it comes to skincare, there are a few sins that one could commit:
  1. Not cleansing off makeup properly before going to bed
  2. Pay little attention to hydration
  3. Not applying sunscreen
  4. Skipping on eye care
While I'm usually quite diligent, the fourth sin is one that I commit over and over again.

Do you use an eye treatment? What's your current favorite?

Allow me to whine about my eye area after the jump and then I'll tell you if the Ciracle Eye Contour Gel is of any help.

First of all, let me emphasize the importance of eye care...

The skin around the eye area is very much thinner than the rest of the face (except lips) and yet it's one of those areas that get stretched out a lot. Be it from laughing a lot, applying eye makeup, removing said eye makeup, wearing contact lenses, etc.
And the eyes also get strained a lot from staring into the computer screen several hours a day.
If signs of tiredness and fine lines were to show up, they'd be most obvious around the eye area.

Unfortunately for me, without the help of concealer, I'd look like I need a sleep coma *sighs*. Worse still, most eye treatments do squat for me. Well, except for ridiculously expensive ones.

Suffice to say, I've sorta stopped shopping around for eye treatments since I'm rather pessimistic towards their effectiveness. My expectations towards the Ciracle Eye Contour Gel was pretty much neutral.

Did it help with the dark circles and puffiness? Ummm....
What I can tell you is that the gel feels like a serum and absorbs readily with just a few taps. Upon application, the skin around my eye area would look smoother and the fine lines less apparent.

To say that Ciracle works would be difficult but I like the texture and how it makes my skin feels enough that I'm inclined to using it daily. I'd also tap the excess on other creased areas such as the smile lines and forehead.

The Ciracle Eye Contour Gel is available from WishTrend for USD22.99

I'm still on the lookout for an eye treatment that can solve my dark circles woes without costing a significant fraction of my salary!
Being told that I "look tired" when I have no concealer on is starting to get annoying...

Any suggestions?

Read more!
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