Skin Deco

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Triple Reviews: Washable Mascaras

A, B or C? 

Time and time again, you've heard me moaning about non-waterproof Western mascaras and how most of them don't work on my lashes (except ONE). It did make me wonder; how about Asian non-waterproof mascara? Would they work?

I was in for a surprise.

While the weather and my constant sweating calls for waterproof mascaras, on many occasions, I'd rather use washable ones because they're a lot easier to remove and certainly more gentle on the lashes. Sadly, the only one that I truly loved was the Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash which is far too much to pay for a mascara! And yet, I'm on my third tube... *sighs*

In our washable mascara line-up we have 2 Asian formulas against 1 Western formula. Let's see who's the winner in my books.

L'Oreal Curl Impact Collagene 

First week of using: Meh 
Second week of using: Hmmm 
Third week of using:  Not bad 
Fourth week of using: Pretty good 
Fifth week of using : Uh... 
Now: CLUMP CITY! 

The tube's not even dried up and the formula is already clumping like crazy! The brush is pretty cute with its curves. I was really starting to like this mascara and then it clumped so horribly after a month. Nonetheless, out of the lot, it held the curl best. But I can't see properly with goop on my lashes!

If I'm not wrong, this mascara is RM59.90 which is EXPENSIVE for a drugstore product. Seriously? 60 bucks for this?

Maybelline The Magnum Superfilm 

Maybeline has been a trusty brand for decent mascaras. Superfilm is the non-waterproof version of The Magnum (Fantastic mascara but I can't use it. Please read review). While it's nowhere near as good as the waterproof version, I like the fact that the formula is dark to make the lashes appear thicker.

The major downside about this mascara is that it doesn't hold up a curl for more than 3 minutes. I mostly use this over false lashes since it's washable.
 
Priced at RM35.90 

Benefit Bad Gal Mascara 

Many many years ago, I thought Bad Gal was a pretty awesome mascara but back then I had only ever used 3 mascaras in my entire life. Fast forward a few years, I've Bad Gal another go and concluded that I wasn't too far off.

Despite being Western and non-waterproof, this mascara is actually good. Of course, not Smoky Lash good but good enough to have me tote it around in my bag. The formula is dark, the huge brush adds a good amount of volume and it fairly lengthens. It doesn't have the holding power to make my lashes look perky but it doesn't weigh them down too much so the result is naturally curled lashes.

Why does it have to be a hundred bucks? The last last last time I checked, Benefit Bad Gal was RM95 RM75. I'm not sure of the price now but regardless, RM95 RM75 is reasonable for a high end brand but it's still for a mascara.  

Moral of the story: Be content with affordable and reliable waterproof mascaras. It's gonna be very difficult to find a cheaper substitute for the Smoky Lash.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Getting Fit: Fitness Planning

 
The fact is, exercise alone may not help you lose a significant amount of weight yet it plays a very important role in helping to increase your metabolism, burn off excess calories as well as tone up flabby areas and improve your shape.

Occasional exercise such as climbing a hill once in a few months isn’t going to do much to up your fitness level. In order to get fit and stay fit, exercise should be a consistent part of your lifestyle.

But how do you go from zero exercise to exercising regularly?
Read on...

"Start walking; even if it’s walking to the local shops, parking your car further away from the office, LRT station or the mall. Take the stairs not the elevator if you can. Sometimes, being less sedentary simply means changing how you usually move every day." -- Jeremy, C25

We tend to complain about parking further away from the mall entrance or having to wait long for the lift. Whenever I have to walk more or climb the stairs, as long as I’m not pressed for time, I don’t dread it. Rather, I see it as more calories being burned and it became natural to me. You can’t expect to lose weight just by doing this but it’s an active start nonetheless.


"If you already walk in the park, start power walking, it’ll burn more calories than normal walking. For joggers, if you get tired and need to walk, then power walk, don’t slow down completely. Power walking keeps your heart rate up at the level of a slow jog, so remember, keep moving!" -- Jeremy, C25

When I told myself that I wanted to lose weight, the next thing I did was walk for exercise. I was horrible at running so I walked. Power-walking can definitely get your heart rate up and make you sweat but it’ll take about 20 minutes of fast, wide steps with a few uphill slopes to heat up. Compared to strolling, power-walking will burn almost twice the amount of calories [check out how much calories you can burn by walking].

These days, I run and if I need to slow down, I jog. While I’m still not very good at running, the more I run each week, the more improvements I see in my endurance and speed.

 
"If you are a member of a gym, take advantage of the numerous free aerobic classes they have. The high intensity will help burn more calories than trying to motivate yourself on the gym floor." -- Jeremy, C25

My official “new beginning” started when I took up a gym membership after a 1-week free trial. That was when I started fitting exercise into my daily routine. Besides the convenience of location and facilities, I was mostly attracted to the group exercise classes. I was keen to try every class once. If I’m not doing a class, I’d be on the treadmill or fumbling with the weight machines. I’d go to the gym in the morning, in the evening and spend hours there on weekends. I was really into it!

Problem was, I didn’t quite know what I was doing. The popular classes were always packed (at least 30 pax). I could barely keep up with the moves and the instructors couldn’t provide much guidance. Going in the evenings was the worst because you’d have to wait your turn to use the machines. To beat the crowd, I learned how to utilize the freestyle training area using things like the BOSU, medicine ball, step-board and dumbbells.

"If you want to take it to the next level, try an outdoor group exercise programme like circuit training. Many people who don’t like to be stuck inside a gym, can’t motivate themselves or aren’t sure if their exercise routine is right for them prefer to do this. And you’ll be exercising with like-minded people in an outdoor environment." -- Jeremy, C25

A Circuit25 session at KLCC Park

My Current Exercise Plan 
  • Three mornings a week I’d spend about 20 to 30 minutes in the gym doing freestyle exercises. 
  • Once a week I’ll do a low intensity class such as Pilates. 
  • I’m challenging myself to run 5km a week so I’d fit that in whenever I can. 
  • Two evenings a week I’d do circuit training (Circuit25) with Jeremy and work my butt off! I’m usually totally burned out after C25 so I’d sleep in the next morning to recover. 
Exercise shouldn’t be a chore. It should be incorporated as part of a daily routine so that it becomes a habit. Doing something a fun activity like dancing or playing a sport will certainly help to make exercising more enjoyable.

In my case, I find interval training and resistance training fun. Partly it’s because I don’t get lost in the moves but mostly it’s because I find pleasure in monitoring progress so that I would know if I was improving. On top of that, I am more aware of the areas that I want to work on.

It took me some time to realize that it’s not how long you spend working out. Rather, it’s how effective the workout is and how efficient you are at doing it.


If you have any questions for Jeremy regarding fitness or diet, please don't hesitate to ask them in the comment section below.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Look: Peek-a-Rainbow

I love colors! <3
You should've known that by now. Sadly, being a "working professional" I tend to go for neutrals, occasionally sneaking in the dark green or dark purple.
However, on Fridays, I'd opt for brighter colors. Usually I'd go for my purple liner but this time, I went Rainbow! This stunning idea was from Ronnie of Bows & Curtseys.

A few more shots after the jump!

I wanted the colors to be super bright so I whipped out my MANLY 80-Color Palette which I haven't used in the longest time. While there are 7 colors in a rainbow, I think I used at least 10 to get the colors nicely blended into on another. I skipped the glitter. I figured I'm already pushing it with wearing rainbow eyes to the office.

It wasn't too difficult to do and I like it a lot! Let me know if you'd like a tutorial for this.

Check out the rainbow I spotted while I was at the KL Bird Park. It was gone after 10 minutes of the shot.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Getting Fit: Goal Setting


“Enhance your commitment by developing a health plan that is focused on an ultimate goal. What is the number of pounds or inches you want to lose? What size clothing do you want to wear? What percentage of body fat do you want to have? Do you want to get rid of any aches and pains? These are the types of goals that you should aim for.” - C25

Now that we've gotten a bit of momentum going on, let's set a goal, shall we?
In my opinion, goal setting for weight loss is crucial to keep you focused. I've tried many times to just "go with the flow" and make some adjustments to my lifestyle in hope to hit my desired weight. It didn't really happen. I was nowhere near my ideal weight.

Read on to learn how you can set SMARTER goals for your weight loss.


Specific

Most people, time after time, will say that their goal is “to lose weight” and chances are it doesn’t happen. Be specific when you set your goal to lose weight. Things you ought to lay out: Why do you want to lose weight? How many kilograms do you want to lose? When do you want to lose that weight? What do you have to do to achieve that?

Measurable

To measure your progress, keep a record of a measurement be it your weight, fat percentage, inches of areas you’re trying to trim, etc. Figures may drive you a little nuts at times so don’t be too hard on yourself if the numbers don’t quite satisfy. Take into account the more subjective progress such as fitting into a pair of tight jeans, losing the double chin, increased stamina or even positive remarks from your peers (they’ll notice eventually). Nonetheless, having some sort of figure to monitor will help you know if you’re on track so that you can make adjustments if you’re not.

Attainable and Realistic

A goal should neither be overambitious nor too modest. I’ve known people who have either given up on trying to change their body weight or underestimate what they could achieve and simply set very low goals for themselves. At the same time, there are people who set goals that are too far-fetched in proportion to the effort that they are willing to put in. For instance, if you don’t intend on exercising and watching your diet, is it realistic to lose 10kg in 2 months? Even with average effort, that would be unlikely to achieve healthily.

An attainable and realistic goal should push you enough that you feel stretched yet practical for you to manage and accomplish. The timeframe that you allocate for your goal to be achieved should also be attainable and realistic.

Timely

Procrastination is a talent that many of us are born with where we put off what needs to be done and rush when the due date approaches. Unfortunately, you can’t “cram” weight loss. Yeah, you can push yourself a bit harder towards the due date but you can’t condense burning 10,000 calories in 10 weeks to 1 week or eating 1000 calories less a day to starving for 40 days.

“To help keep track of your progress, make mini goals that can be measured in a week or a month. Creating these smaller, short-term goals help you stay focused and driven to achieve your long-term goal.” - C25

Set a timeframe and spread out your main goal into weekly goals. Taking many small steps will seem far more achievable than taking a giant leap to reach that finish line. The goal that you set today may not be the ultimate. As you progress, you may make amendments to your goal to make it more SMART or discover your potential and set a more challenging goal.

Here’s My Current Goal:

On top of my overall goal, I have more short term planning on what kind of workout I do and what I eat. I also throw myself mini challenges to give my progress a boost such as “No cookies” or “Run 5 km every week”.

Evaluate

To monitor my progress, I weigh myself every 10 days to 14 weeks and compare my current result with my previous ones. It's advisable to use the same weighing scale, wear similar clothing and weigh at a similar time of the day to get more consistent results. For me, I'd use the weighing scale at the gym, always in my workout attire (sans socks and shoes) and weigh myself in the morning before working out and having a meal or much water. As you monitor your progress, evaluate if you're happy with the results and if not, think about what you can do differently.

“Keep track of these achievements and be proud. Have weekly or monthly exercise plans, and keep in mind that like anything else in life, you should be prepared for unexpected and unavoidable roadblocks. Don’t be discouraged, just push on!” - C25

Reward

"Remember to celebrate your progress, and reward yourself with something other than food, like new shoes, a haircut or a night out with friends." - C25

When I achieve my goal, I'm going on a little shopping spree for new clothes! My old ones are gonna be too loose by then ;)

Your task for this week is to set a SMARTER goal for yourself! 
Feel free to share them with us to get you motivated or if you would like Jeremy's input on your goal.


If you have any questions for Jeremy regarding fitness or diet, please don't hesitate to ask them in the comment section below.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

V-Day Tutorial: "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri


"That wasn't the look Christina wore in the video!"
Mmhmm, it's not. This Purple + Chocolate look was inspired by Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years", which was also the soundtrack for Breaking Dawn.
I'm pretty sure it's the love song of 2011. After all, it was the most requested song!



Who's in the mood for love?
More on the inspiration, up-close pictures and listing of products used...

A few things inspired me but mostly it was the itch to use purple. For some very odd reason, I wanted to do a purple look. And then I thought about Alice Cullen (From the Breaking Dawn movie though I didn't watch it. Read the book) and how she'd wear a look like this. Colorful like her personality but still dark and sultry. The initial idea was to pair the dark chocolate and purple eyes with a red lip but it didn't really go so I went for stained red lips instead, which balanced out the look better, I think.

Items Used:

Eyes:-
Urban Decay Primer Potion
Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeshadow Pencil in Delinquent
Ben Nye Lumiere Eyeshadow in Amethyst
MAC Eyeshadow in Give Me Liberty of London (very sheer pink)
I Nuovi D27 Eyeshadow in Techno
MAC Eyeshadow in Spiced Chocolate
Scott Barnes Illumineye Eyeshadow in Night (soft black)
MAC Eyeshadow in Tete-a-Tint (soft peach to blend)
MAC Eyeshadow in Ricepaper (highlight)
MAC Pigment in Gold Dusk (highlight under brow)
Maybelline Hypersharp Liquid Eyeliner Pen
I Nuovi Pencil Eyeliner in Noir (tightline)
Red Cherry Faux Lashes in #523
Maybelline Cat Eyes Mascara
Maybelline Extreme Stiletto Mascara
Shu Uemura Hard 9 Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown

Face:-
Shu Uemura Nobara Stick Foundation
Origins Brighter by Nature Powder in 05
Too Faced Pink Leopard Bronzing Powder

Lips:-
Chanel Rouge Coco in #26 Venise


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Friday, February 3, 2012

Nails Polish Noob: Matte Red Nails

Looks pretty cool right?

I'm usually a fan of glossy nails since they're so shiny that they bounce off the imperfections... And then I saw these hot pink matte nails and was like, "COOOOL!!"
Lyn of Beauty Cabby told me about Essence having a Matte Top Coat and while I had an intention to buy, I wasn't really looking until I stumbled upon an Essence counter in Mid Valley.

Conclusion, I bought the Essence Matte Top Coat. Review after the jump!
You would use the Matte Top Coat as if you're using a regular top coat. Simply apply one layer after applying your regular nail polish. It'll turn your glossy polish into a matte finish. Keep in mind that the color will dull and if you use this top coat over shimmery or metallic polishes, they're gonna dull too. 


I feel matte works better with solid colors. It's a bit more tricky to get an even coat and you'll have to get it right with one layer. If you add another layer, your nails may look somewhat unattractively "textured". If you miss a spot, you'll get a glossy streak. It dries pretty quickly and doesn't chip too easily. 

The matte effect is not bad at all but it last probably 3 days max because our fingers come into contact with oil a lot (moisturizers, hand cream, nose oil, Nasi Lemak, etc.). The matte will wear off and the nails will start to look a bit more shiny. 

The top coat is a cloudy white color but mine's now a pale pink ever since I used it over red polish (Anna Sui in #405). If you're into matte nails, definitely check this out and even if you're not sure if you like matte nails, it's not gonna hurt much to try. 


The Essence Matte Top Coat is only RM8.90
I haven't seen Essence anywhere else besides Mid Valley (An island store called Coci something in Centre Court, 1st or 2nd floor. Sorry, I was too preoccupied with the matte polish at that time). But I believe some of the bigger Watsons should carry them too? I haven't seen any though.
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Getting Fit: Getting Started NOW!

Now that Chinese New Year is out of the way, are you ready to start getting fit?

The first thing we think of when wanting to lose weight is how much weight we wanna lose (usually a dramatic figure). After that we start eating diet cereals and drinking slimming shakes. Then, we get all psyched up to jog everyday or join a gym. By the end of the week, we're sick of it and since there's gonna be a big dinner this weekend, we'll start again next week. Maybe. Someday..

"Someday is not a day of the week! The best time to turn that clock around is now." - C25

If you want to get fit, the first thing to do is to stop procrastinating. No more tomorrow or next week or starting on your favorite date. Get started NOW! Getting started doesn't mean you have to go at full blast. We are creatures of habit and unfortunately, you can't get rid of a habit. You can only replace it with another habit and habit is slowly developed.

In this week's post, Jeremy shares Ten Basic Changes that you can make immediately to start getting fit. Under each point I will also share what are the changes that I've personally made to get me started.

"Your plan can start off quite simply by opting for the stairs instead of the elevator, fruit in place of chocolate, and active rather than sedentary activities" - C25

#1 Small steps : Have realistic, short-term goals that you are more likely to keep. 

I had a 3-month plan with weekly goals which was to lose 0.5kg every week. When I didn’t hit my weekly targets, I got frustrated. Then again, were my goals practical? Now, rather than using my weight as the only indicator of my progress, I use clothes. My first goal was to fit into a pair of black shorts that I could barely button. I’ve managed to achieve that :) The next goal is to fit into a denim mini-skirt.

#2 Share the responsibility: It’s often easier to commit to a healthy regime if you and a friend start it together. 

In my case, I’ve had friends start but not really commit and it’s not my place to lecture if they don’t. If you have friends who have the same goals and commitment as you do, that’s great! But if you don’t, you’ll have to motivate yourself to stay committed. In time you’ll come across people who will encourage you and keep you going, as I have.

#3 Develop a plan: Log your progress so you can see yourself getting closer to your goals. Weighing yourself once a week, keeping a diet journal, the number of workouts etc. 

Many people want to be fitter and eat healthier but very few would actually put that desire into action. This journey can be pretty lonely and sometimes it’s hard to have the people around you relate to what you’re going through. My way to overcome this is to keep a journal on my goals, progress, diet, and workout or just to vent. You could also join fitness forums to share your progress and seek advice from others.

#4 Exercise: Start slowly. Whether it be simply walking in the park, jogging or an aerobics class. Start with a couple of times a week and build from there. It gets easier as your body adapts to the exercise you’re putting it through.

Attempting to lose weight without exercise is miserable. I’ve been down that road before and yeah, I lost weight but I was hungry, grumpy, moody, lethargic, weak and flabby. Learn to appreciate what exercise can do for you. Small changes such as choosing to take the stairs instead of the lift or walking to the nearby store instead of driving will make a difference. We’ll talk more on exercise in later posts.

#5 Diet : Spread your daily intake into 5 small meals. Allowing your body to eat often at regular intervals speeds up your metabolism, increasing the ability to burn calories.

I love eating so if I get hungry or eat things that are not tasty, I become very grumpy. What I’ve started to do is make better food choices and be more mindful of what I put into my mouth. For instance, instead of fried chicken, I go for Tandoori chicken. Instead of snacking on sandwich biscuits, I snack on fruits. I’ve done a lot more with my diet since I began but I’ll leave that for another time.

#6 Get a good start: Start with a protein-rich breakfast. Eating breakfast stabilizes blood sugar levels. Protein will reduce hunger later in the day. 

I’m not a big breakfast eater especially on weekdays because before work I’ll either be at the gym or spending far too much time putting on my makeup. If I exercise in the morning, I’ll have a banana 45 minutes before and when I’m at the office, I’ll have a cup of Milo with brown rice powder. If I do have time for breakfast, I love half-boiled eggs.

#7 Keep it fresh: Get used to eating fresh fruit and vegetables, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. 

In our climate, fresh fruits are very easy to come by. Just downstairs my office, we have a truck that sells fresh cut fruits. My favorite is guava and mango. If I know I’ll be having a small lunch, I’ll eat a fruit before so that I’ll feel fuller. Sometimes I’d buy a guava for later as a mid-afternoon snack. Please have your fruit without the assam powder or kicap.
Drinking water sounds easy enough until I actually monitored myself drinking 2.5 liters (10 glasses) of water every day. Besides all the flushing and hydrating, drinking water keeps my mouth occupied from wanting to munch on something and makes me feel fuller.

#8 Reduce the fats: Avoid sugary or carbonated drinks. Reduce fatty foods as well as starchy carbs such as rice. 

I’m currently avoiding fried foods, sugary drinks and cookies. I initially set out to do it for 2 weeks but it has been easier than I thought it would be that I’m continuing with it indefinitely. I’ll still have them once in awhile but only if it’s so good that it’s worth an extra half hour of exercise. For the record, I went through the entire Chinese New Year without eating cookies. No regrets whatsoever.

#9 No late night snacking: Your last meal should be mid evening. Avoid eating too late at night as the calories will store as fat in your body overnight.

Late night snacking I’ve managed to abolish but having dinner earlier is still a challenge. Nonetheless, I try my best to not eat anything at least 2 hours before sleep.

#10 Get enough sleep: The body needs 6-8 hours sleep each night. This will give your body the energy to perform your new exercise regime. 

If I were to do any vigorous exercise the night before, I would skip working out the next day so that I can sleep in longer and have enough rest. Or if I know I want to work out in the morning, I’ll sleep earlier the night before. That way I don’t over exhaust myself and dread exercising because I’m sleepy or too tired.
---

I believe the Ten Basic Changes are very much achievable by anyone. When you're just starting out, the changes you make don't have to be major. It's more effective to make small changes and stick with them long enough that they come naturally to you. Rather than make dramatic changes only to give up on them after a week, falling back into old habits. When you've gotten into the rhythm of this new modified lifestyle, progressing to the next level is going to be a lot more bearable.

Starting NOW, your challenge is very simply to start the Ten Basic Changes.


If you have any questions for Jeremy regarding fitness or diet, please don't hesitate to ask them in the comment section below.


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Review: Peeling Masks for the Feet!

You gross people just wanna see gross pictures of skin peeling off my gross feet, don't you?

Check out the doggies in the background. We're all feeling sleepy on a weekend afternoon and I've got my feet up, wrapped in the LUS Foot Exfoliation Peeling Sheets...

Yes, there's gonna be gross pictures of my feet so please make sure you're not eating anything right now and have a strong stomach.
Here goes.


In a pack of the LUS Foot Exfoliation Peeling Sheets, you get a pair of foot covers soaked in the magic peeling solution ie. foot masks as well as a pair of plastic covers so that you don't get the solution everywhere. After cleaning the feet, wrap up the feet with the masks and the plastic covers. Leave them be for 2 hours.

The first round I left the masks on overnight and had trouble walking on rough surfaces the next day because my soles became very sensitive. Soon after you've removed the masks, you're probably not gonna see any changes to your feet.

The peeling actually takes place when there's friction on the feet so the more you walk, the more your feet will peel. A good reason to get some exercise! If your feet hardly touches the ground, the peeling might not be too obvious. I also find that I get more peeling if I wore sports shoes. After 2-3 days, the peeling will start to look very apparent.

When you remove your shoes, your feet may look like this:

Okay, I know you just wanna see the peeling and not my dirty feet but if I washed my feet first before taking the picture, the peeled skin would not have been obvious. So, don't judge me!

As tempting as it is to peel the skin off yourself, I won't recommend it. I did that and over-peeled until a big chunk of my heel came off and it was painful! If you just let it peel itself, it's not gonna hurt.

After about a week, the feet will stop peeling and it's just the remaining bits that will rub off. At this point, I'd suggest applying a foot cream to moisturize. I didn't do that so even though I got smoother soles after the peel, my feet went back to being rough the following week. Doesn't help that I stand a lot for work either.

A box comes with 2 pairs of peeling sheets retailing for RM48. RM24 per use is not exactly cheap but at least it's cheaper than going for a foot scrub? Anyway, if you'd like to give this a try, it's available at Sasa and Supermodel's Secrets.

Another product that I was given to try was the LUS Wine Hand & Foot Masks. I wasn't too sure what to expect from this product since I don't really pay attention to my hands and feet. The masks did smell very strongly of grapes though. Each pack comes with the cloth masks and plastic covers. They felt awkward with the plastic which eventually came off while I was in bed.

What did impress me was the mask itself. I was expecting the cloth to be similar to facial sheet masks but these were like toe socks and gloves! The material is sturdy and thick so I didn't throw them out after use. Instead, I washed them to be used as regular gloves and socks. Who knows? I might need them someday. *hoarder*

They're RM12 per pack, which is alright but I don't know if the effect is worth the trouble. Yeah, my hands and feet were softer but there wasn't any WOW effect. This is also available at Sasa and Supermodel's Secrets.

*The products featured were sent to me for review on Skin Deco

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