Monday, July 1, 2013

Effortgirl is on holiday

Effortgirl will be right back after this holiday.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Canmake Whip Mousse Lip in 02 Orange

The Canmake Whip Mousse Lip in 02 Orange was in fact my first orange lippie for 2013.

This product received several good reviews online and I decided to get it when it was on offer at Watsons. 

Not a doefeet applicator. I think the description of fuzzy spatula comes closest. 

It is supposed to be a matte orange, but the colour leans towards coral on me. I actually do like the shade, however, this is not a product for dry lips. The product did not appear to have any significant scent, which is a plus point. 

Although I smear on a heavy duty lip moisturiser beforehand and blot away the excess before applying the Mousse Lip, the product highlights the dry condition of my lips. I have yet to try this as a cheek colour but do believe the colour might work as blusher.

Would I repurchase this? Not likely but I would recommend it to friends who do not have dry lips. 

Disclaimer: I received no payment or payment in kind for writing this blog post. Any opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Detox foot patches and Bad Science

I was happily reading Bad Science: Quaks, Hacks and Big Pharma Flacks by Ben Goldacre and applauding the clarity of his essays against 'pseudo-science'  when I came across a section on detox foot patches. 

I no longer have the book in my possesion and cannot quote sections, but Mr Goldacre basically debunked detox foot patches. This came a bit of a shock as I am a big fan of detox foot patches. I even used them throughout my pregnancy to relieve my body aches!

One of the points Mr Goldacre made was that the foot patches consists of ingredients which would turn dark upon absorbing moisture, much like silica gel changes colour in a humid environment. The 'supposedly detoxed/darkened patches' were nothing more than a colour change due to absorption of moisture.

I decided to test this out (to the best of my abilities). 

I opened 4 patches and did the following:
A) Applied 2 patches to the balls of the feet. Feet were dry before applying.
B) Applied 1 patch to the ankle of one leg. The right leg had 1 patch on the inner ankle and 1 patch on the ball of the feet. 
C) Left 1 patch on the tabletop exposed to the same air-conditioned environment as my sleeping conditions. I even 'covered' half of the patch with a towel to simulate the blanket. I was unable to turn and toss this exposed patch similar to my movements while asleep.

Original detox foot patch when removed from its plastic packaging 

Applying 2 patches to the balls of my feet 

Applying 1 patch to the ankle 

1 patch left out on the table and 'covered' with a 'blanket' - to simulate what happens when I fall asleep

I promptly went to bed and removed the patches when I woke up in the morning. The patches on my feet showed their usual, darkened, slightly moist goopey side. The patch placed at the ankle showed a small corner of darkened & moist surface. The patch left out in the open showed no changes.  

1 & 2 - patches on the balls of my feet
3 - patch placed at ankle 
4 - patch placed at tabletop 

I believe, detox foot patches work on the theory that since every point on the sole corresponds to a part of the body, drawing the toxins out via the sole will similarly draw out toxins from the corresponding part of the body.

Close-up of patch placed at ankle and patch left out in the open

I admit, I had never given the science of detox foot patches much thought before reading Bad Science. Even after reading the book, I'll freely admit that I don't understand how these patches work or why they should make me feel better. It could be a placebo effect or just the impact of a good night's rest on the body.

If Mr Goldacre is entirely correct, then the patch placed at the ankle should show more change as the patches on the feet (since both the sole and the skin on my ankle would perspire during my sleep). The patch left out in the open did not change due to 1)the air conditioned environment is dry and there is no moisture to turn the patch darker or 2)the patch did not come into contact with skin/toxin so there is no change. 

I will continue to use up my current supply of detox foot patches but I might not continue to purchase any in the future until I've figured out the science/philosophy behind this. As it is, I do feel better after using the detox foot patches but I have no way of knowing for sure how much of it is due to the detox foot patches.   

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Tony Moly Petite Bunny Gloss Bar in 06 Orange

During my Gmarket Korea haul, one seller offered a PWP option; one could purchase selected items at a special price with any purchase. I took this opportunity to try some Tony Moly products (see my review of the Tony Moly Tony Tint here). The Petite Bunny Gloss Bar in 06 Orange was the other PWP item I selected.

The product being twisted out to its full length

Date of manufacture on the bottom of the gloss bar

The Petite Bunny Gloss Bar in 06 Orange was more sheer than I expected. I personally found the colour more coral than orange but the shade is very appealing and was quite good for a natural 'look'. It felt like a lip balm and the colour wearoff was similar to a tinted lip balm. 

Would I repurchase it again? For the colour and product itself, there are better lippies out there. However, the angry bunny packaging is quite humourous and the twist-tube style of the gloss bar makes it easy to apply. 

Disclaimer: I received no payment or payment in kind for writing this blog post. Any opinions expressed are my own. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My sunscreen collection

I have a reputation when it comes to sunscreens. I've managed to convince my family to wear sunscreen whenever they're swimming etc and Mr E has at least 3 bottles of sunscreen in his golf bag. Even the family kids are not spared. 

As you can see in the picture, I have sunscreens from both 'East' and 'West' - US, French, Japanese, Taiwanese brands are all represented. 

A friend recently went to USA and I couldn't resist buying more sunscreens. I'm currently searching for pure physical sunscreens, which explains the am+pm, Coppertone Pure & Simple water babies and Banana Boat Natural Reflect Baby sunscreens. 

Out of the 3 new additions, the am+pm Ultra Soothing Sunscreen SPF50 is the most expensive, at a retail value of NTD$449 or about S$19 for 30 ml. However, the ingredient list indicates titanium dioxide at 11.7%, and I tell myself that I'll use it as sunscreen around the eyes, which makes the cost per ml easier to swallow. 

My neck is visibly darker than my face and this is the best testimony to sunscreens (I've been using sunscreens on my face religiously since my late teens). 

Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment or payment in kind for writing this blog post. Any opinions mentioned are my own. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Herborist Discovery Kit

My interest was sufficiently piqued after Herborist was introduced on Nu Ren Wo Zui Da sometime ago (女人我最大). 

Googling Herborist after the show, I found that Herborist was the only Chinese brand stocked at Sephora France. This news was quite prominent in China's media for a while due to the perception that a skincare brand from China had made it in France! 

I decided to purchase the Herborist discovery kit while at the Watsons flagship store one day. While browsing the actual products, the packaging is fairly luxe. The heavy containers with beautiful floral/herbal imprints would not look out of place beside Japanese skincare packaging. 

Herborist Discovery Kit 

Actual plastic box of the kit when the paper cover is removed

The Herborist Discovery Kit consists of 4 products:
1) Black T'ai Chi Mask
2) White T'ai Chi Mask
3) Revitalizing & Firming Day Cream
4) Revitalizing & Firming Eye Cream

According to the instructions, I was to use the products in the following order
A) Black T'ai Chi mask
B) White T'ai Chi mask
C) Day Cream
D) Eye Cream

L to R: Eye cream, White T'ai Chi mask, Black T'ai Chi mask, Day cream

I skipped the eye cream but followed the first 3 steps. I believe the Black T'ai Chi mask is meant as cleansing and exfoliating, since the instructions stated applying the black mask and massaging for 5 mins. It got increasingly difficult to massage as the black mask started drying up and I felt as if I was just trying to smear mud on my skin. 

Comparing the Black T'ai Chi mask to another black exfoliator product, the Kose Seikisho Exfoliating Massage Gel, I much prefer the Kose product due to the particles that I can feel as I massage my face. There doesn't seem to be any tactile particles in the T'ai Chi mask, only thick gloop. 

The products are lightly scented and quite pleasant, however would I repurchase these products? Highly unlikely. The T'ai Chi masks did not make a strong impression on me. Although I might just try other products in the Herborist line as I am intrigued by them. I'm also planning to bring the black and white T'ai Chi masks on my next holiday as the size is handy.

I will update this post with the ingredients list soon (it's difficult to capture the words on the transparent box with a compact camera!).

Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment or payment in kind for writing this blog post. Any opinions mentioned are my own. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tony Moly Tony Tint in Cherry Pink

I ordered a Tony Moly Tony Tint in Cherry Pink when I was hauling from Gmarket Korea. Unlike Benefit's Benetint, this stain might actually only be meant for the lips (ad images only show it for the lips). 

Held just directly under the light 

The Tony Tint comes with a doefeet applicator, which makes it easy to apply on lips. It comes in 2 colours, and Cherry Pink is the darker colour. 

Stain after rubbing 

As a stain, the Tony Tint works well. However, I find that it does not suit me due to my dry lips. Tints do not have moisturing properties and I had forgot about that before I ordered. 

Also, after I dab on the tint with the applicator, I use my finger to smear the tint around, ensuring an even coat. This means my finger gets a reddish tint, much like after voting!

Quite frankly, without blotting, the shade of Cherry Pink looks scary on the lips. It is far better to apply and blot vigourously. 

Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment or payment in kind for writing this blog post. Any opinions mentioned are my own.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quirky finds

Just found these photos which I forgot to blog about! 

Check out the Japanese packaging of these lip balms!

It says "Jordache Women Our Version of Chanel No. 5 for women" and "Jordache Unisex Our Version of CK One". I'm pretty sure a million copyright rules were just flouted.

Gel sunscreen (meant for the body), not waffle syrup

Japanese sunscreen wipes

Even Schwarzkopf feels the need to 'kawaii'-ify their hair dyes

 Blackhead extraction gun

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dior at Tangs

In May, I received a 'Dior at Tangs' leaflet alongside with the brochure announcing Tangs' sale info.

From 14-30 June 2013, Tangs claim to allow you to "experience a taste of the .. grey salons". I quickly thought of the Dior Harrods exhibition in March, but quickly brought myself down to earth by thinking it through. 

Dior Harrods Photo credit: Style Bubble) 

Not sure if this will take place as a Dior pop-up store within Tangs but it'll be interesting to see what Dior/Tangs has got up its sleeves.

The brochure mentions a Dior Makeup Artist Showcase (which is actually a fancier way to say makeover but with a possibly international makeup artist) and Dior's Art of Gifting.

For Tangs cardmembers they are offering a discount off the 'Backstage Makeover' S$120 instead of the S$150. If you do the makeover with a friend, both of you get a Dior manicure for two thrown in.

For more information on the Dior Harrods exhibition in London, check out Susanna's blog

Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment or payment in kind for writing this blog post. Any opinions mentioned are my own. The information was based on DMs sent to Citibank credit cardmembers. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Duty Free Shopping in Singapore - Changi Airport

To 99.9% of travellers leaving/arriving Singapore by air, there is only Changi Airport (Seletar Airport is private jets only).

Typically, most airports only sell items at tax-free prices (downtown price less the sales tax). Not at Changi! They go one better and sell items at lower prices. These lower prices are not limited to the pricey departmental store brands.

Is it any surprise then, that Changi Airport is one of the best places in Asia for duty free shopping? In fact, my Taiwanese friend expressed her regret at not buying SK-II from Changi Airport.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain selling at S$12.20 at Changi (compared to S$18.90 everywhere else). 

Lancome's Teint Miracle selling at S$53.50 at Changi compared to S$66 downtown

As if the lower prices weren't enough to encourage spending, the duty free Changi stores have also cleverly managed to secure limited edition versions of products or travel retail exclusives for sale. 

Kose Sekkisei Lotion Limited edition 500ml bottle selling at S$125/ (a better price per ml compared to its usual prices/sizes)

Changi Airport has just launched a new website to cater to those leaving Singapore. You can now shop online, add products and pay for them and collect items 60 mins before your flight departs Singapore.

Nuance Watson operates the Perfume & Cosmetics stores in Changi Airport and their website offers a similar order before you fly option.

If you're intending to shop before your flight, do take note of the time your flight departs.

I took an early morning flight out once and only 1 Perfume & Cosmetics store was open at a central location (as opposed to the many closed Perfume & Cosmetics stores on the way to the gates). In fact, I discovered that most stores in Changi were only open at 6 am.

Although the draw for duty free shopping are its lower than downtown prices and exclusives, duty free shopping means that they don't have the full range of products that the downtown stores have. For instance, Lancome's Mat Miracle was not available at Changi in April although departmental stores had been promoting it by then.

There is also a lack of time to try and test out products as you have a plane to catch. I've found shopping at Changi to be most efficient when I know what product (and shade) I want. The duty free shopping then becomes 'pick-and-go' and the non-shopaholics will thank you.

That is unless you get tempted by their GWPs and have to spend some time thinking about how to add enough to your basket to get those minis.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Madre Labs Concentrated Green Tea Skin Cream

I purchased a bottle of Madre Labs Concentrated Green Tea Skin Cream from iherb when I was looking through trial products. I was keen to try a EGCg product after reading The New Science of Perfect Skin and the trial price offered was tempting.  

I purchased this at a trial price of  USD$9.72 (50ml). The usual price for this product varies between USD$19.95 (iherb) or USD$22.55 (Amazon seller). 

When I first applied the cream on my face, I felt a smarting (mildly tingling) sensation around my nasolabial lines. I quickly went online and asked around. Apparently, I was probably reacting to the tea tree oil in the product. Despite forummers asking me to stop using the cream, I persisted but using less product around the laugh lines. 

I did like the cream after using it for a while (only 1/4 of the cream is left) but felt that it didn't address my hydration issues. As a moisturiser, it did fairly well in making my skin feel less tight. But I personally prefer the 'moist' feeling of my skin after using hyaluronic acid products. I must say that I felt I had clearer skin in the days that I used this cream, possibly due to the tea tree oil inside. 

Would I repurchase? Unlikely as I have tonnes of moisturisers to try out, but I would suggest that friends with oily/acne prone skin try the cream, especially if it comes back on a trial price.

You can get a discount off your first order (USD$10 off your first order of USD$40 or above by using the code: ESO758.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Skincare and traditional Chinese medicine

In a recent  feature, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner wrote about clogged pores (comedones). The article states that comedones are probably caused by dysfunction of the lungs, stomach, large intestine, liver and kidneys.

It's interesting to read about dermatology via a TCM viewpoint. The 'Western'/mainstrem perception towards skincare includes benzoyl peroxide for pimples, AHA/BHA for chemical exfoliation, retinoids to accelerate skin cell turnover etc. But in the TCM feature, the practitioner recommended facial acupuncture and cupping therapy as ways to dispel the pathogenic factors.

There are no TCM dermatologists as far as I know. Most TCM practitioners view the skin as another organ to view symptoms as any problems with skin are usually accompanied by issues elsewhere. Afterall, the skin is the largest organ in the body.

The TCM way to improve skin seems to focus more on diet and treatments which would arguably take a longer period of time to see improvements vs smearing on creams. Typically when I take a TCM-prescribed remedy, it's to fix 'heat' and 'dampness' within the body. 

I've tried acupuncture (to fix a knee problem), gua sha and cupping therapy and I would personally try to keep the needles for vaccines, thank you very much. 

But just a diet of vegetables and fruits promotes good skin health, I might consider drinking some TCM-prescribed drinks to help my skin get clear and luminous. The only issue is a need to consult a TCM practitioner (on a weekly/month basis) as the TCM belief is that the body is in constant flux and there is a need to constantly adjust the prescribed remedy.    

Note: Although it might seem that collagen drinks for good skin health comes from the 'East', there is no TCM basis for drinking collagen supplements. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal eyeliners

After reading raves about the Rimmel Scandaleyes eyeliners, I decided to order them when was having 30% off their makeup department.

 Not me

Going through the Rimmel USA and UK websites, I quickly discovered that 006 Deep Blue was a USA- exclusive shade. So Deep Blue went into the shopping basket (am a sucker for *insert country of choice*-exclusive). I thought of trying something brighter and 007 Turquoise seemed like a good choice. 

Diagonal left to right:
Deep Blue (1 stroke), Deep Blue (2 strokes), Turquoise (1 stroke), Turquoise (2 strokes)

I felt that Deep Blue is in fact closer to purple, it is very dark and very close to a charcoal grey. Turquoise, to me, leans towards teal but I do like the shine without any glitter particles. I sometimes tightline and I prefer to use eyeliners without any particles in them. 

Rimmel has a "Try It On" feature on their website which is fabulous! You can select a model similar to your colouring/ethnicity (Rimmel USA has different models from Rimmel UK), select the style of eyeliner e.g. winged, cat's eye etc, pick the shade you're interested in and watch how the eyeliner will look on the model.

With eyeliner on the right eye only (Taken from Rimmel's website)

There's even a before/after section where you can choose to see the eyeliner only on 1 eye and see the other eye without eyeliner. Great job on the website, Rimmel!

So far, I've worn the Rimmel Scandaleyes Turquoise eyeliner on two occasions. First time, I used it to tightline for a dinner party (in all air-conditioned comfort) and used a black eyeliner on top of my lashes. Second time round, it was used as 'normal' eyeliner, on top of the lashes, for a morning at the beach (typical hot humid Singapore weather) and subsequently, an afternoon out. 

The eyeliner lasted beautifully during the dinner party but didn't do so well during the second time. There was fallout onto the lower eye area but as the shade was light, it didn't look too bad.  

I do like the texture and the price (RRP USD$4.49) and will continue using the eyeliner. I will attempt to replicate what I used on my eyes during the dinner party again and see if the fallout will continue during the day.  

Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment or payment in kind for writing this blog post. Any opinions mentioned are my own. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bifesta Bright Up Cleansing Lotion

The Bifesta cleansing lotions have received many good reviews from beauty bloggers. Several Asian bloggers like to compare the Bifesta Cleansing Lotions with the Bioderma Sensibio removers. I decided to get one in Taiwan if the price was right.

With only the Bifesta Moist Cleansing Lotion and the Bright Up Cleansing Lotion were available to choose from on the day of my flight leaving Taiwan, I decided to go with the Bright Up one. I was actually on the lookout for the Bifesta Eye Makeup Remover but couldn't find it in the Watsons store.

Before this, I had typically removed makeup via cleansing oils, cleansing milks and bi-phase removers (for eye & lip areas). I would then proceed to wash my face with a cleanser and this process is typically known as double cleansing. Apparently, the Bifesta makeup cleansers promises to keep your face clean without the need to double cleanse. Its various cleansing lotions also claim to have skincare properties; the Bright Up Cleansing Lotion promises to brighten up your skin after extensive use. 

Actually I have to admit that after years of using makeup removers which leave a 'layer' on the face and requiring a further wash-off with a gel cleanser, the Bifesta Cleansing Lotion is very different and takes getting used to. I sometimes pour makeup remover into my palm and start patting it on my face and subsequently rubbing the makeup off (when I forget to bring cotton pads into the washroom). This does not work with the Bifesta Cleansing Lotion as it is the consistency of water. You will need cotton pads or some textile material to absorb the lotion before using it. Perhaps "Cleansing Water" is a more apt description, "lotion" to me conjures up a runny texture.

On the other hand, this Cleansing Lotion is very good at its job. In fact, I used it to remove eyeliner on a few occasions when I couldn't find my eye makeup remover. It does not sting the eyes and is quite effective at removing eyeliner.    

Unlike some Japanese brands which do a different version of products for overseas markets and a version for the Japanese domestic market, the Bifesta cleansing lotions sold outside Japan appear to be the same as the ones sold in Japan. 

I purchased this at NT$350/S$14.70 RRP (I think I got a 15% discount on it but the receipt shows an overall discount off my total spend) and the Bright Up Cleansing Lotion sells for S$18.90 in various locations in Singapore. This is an extremely friendly price, considering the lotion is 300ml. 

Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment or payment in kind for writing this blog post. Any opinions mentioned are my own.

Tangs and Takashimaya

I'm no stranger to online shopping (hears scoffing in the background). In fact, I love online shopping, especially in the hours that I can't sleep. However, I've been conditional online shopping recently. Instead of buying makeup from the US and having them shipped over, I've been looking at buying them locally where possible. I still shop online for the brands or products which are not here yet.  

One reason is that I've realised that online shopping is not as cheap as it looks, even when I shop during sale times. The international shipping charged by consolidators can be high if you're only getting a few items. And there's the wait. 

Another is that more beauty brands have established themselves in Singapore, taking the distance out of overseas brands. We still don't get the full collection (for example no eyeshadow palette from MAC's All About Orange collection) nor all the shades (for example Revlon's ColorStay Foundation) but things have been improving.

I love to wander around the beauty halls of departmental stores but I spend much more time at these two compared to the rest.
MAC All About Orange collection launched in Singapore before US/UK

Tangs (I go to the Tangs Orchard store) stocks Aveda, Sulwhasoo, NARS, Giorgio Armani, Burberry Beauty just to name a few brands. Tangs holds members' closed door sales a few times every year where they give a whopping 12% rebate off your purchase. In their recent members' sale, they were also giving away a $25 beauty voucher with a minimum spend of $250.

NARS GWP offer at the Tangs members' closed door sale

Other than the usual departmental suspects (Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Dior, Lancome, etc), Takashimaya stocks several Japanese brands. Think Albion, Lunasol, Kanebo, Cosme Decorte AQMW and Kose. There's also the Watsons flagship store, Aveda/The Body Shop/Kiehl's/MAC stores within Ngee Ann City which is a 2 mins walk away from the Takashimaya departmental store.

Lunasol GWP offer at the Takashimaya sale

I wasn't able to make it down when Tangs did their members' closed door sale earlier this month but I made my way to Takashimaya on the first day of their sale (members enjoyed an additional 10% off all prices during the first 3 days of the sale). 

Cosme Decorte GWP offer at the Takashimaya sale

It was then that I realised that although the beauty brands had published their GWPs offerings for the sale, the brands were having discounts/rebate vouchers alongside which was not stated in the brochure. One brand was offering a $15 voucher with every purchase of $100 and another was doing 20% off with a minimum spend of $500. And Takashimaya cardmembers got to enjoy an additional 10% off on top of these vouchers/discounts. 

Considering that the 2 brands having the offers were brands not found at duty free stores in Singapore, it was an amazing deal! I was mighty tempted to stock up but stopped myself by insisting that I shop my stash before I get any pricey products.

It's easy to support the local retail economy when stores like these are getting really smart with their pricing and offerings!