Follow:
      Makeup

      Instagram Giveaway

      I’m new to this whole beauty blogging thing, especially on Instagram! I’ve been testing the waters on Blogger for a few months and have finally gotten a grip of it, and I’m still learning. Despite a rocky start (finding out I was pregnant when I was just about to start and having to postpone blogging for a while), I couldn’t be more grateful. I’ve just been so overwhelmed by the support I’ve been getting from fellow beauty Instagrammers and bloggers for the past two weeks, I didn’t know how embracing and supportive the beauty community on social media could be!

      I was so pleasantly surprised. I’ve only been here for two weeks yet I feel like I’ve made so many friends, especially on Instagram. I have just started my @beautybucketeer account for less than 2 weeks, with only a few posts, and have surpassed 500 followers by now. I’m so happy and humbled.

      So, as a token of my gratitude and appreciation, I’ve decided to host an International giveaway and there will be TWO WINNERS, chosen randomly, as there are two categories of prizes to be won!

      One winner will win these MAKEUP goodies:

      1. Boscia BB Cream (Mini)
      2. Eyeko Lengthening Skinny Mini Mascara
      3. LORAC Mesmerizing Dark Chocolate Cream Eyeliner Palette
      4. Sephora Birthday Palette (Limited Edition)
      5. Tarte Cheek Stain in Flush (Mini)

      Another winner will win these SKIN/BODY CARE goodies:

      1. Bliss Hand Cream in Blood Orange + White Pepper
      2. Cle de Peau Mini Skincare Starter Set
      3. Konjac Sponge for Normal/Oily Skin
      4. L’Occitane Ultra Rich Lip Balm 2g
      5. Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips in Tri-Bal It On

      THE RULES

      1. Must be a follower but DO NOT follow to unfollow (genuine followers only, no spam accounts)
      2. Repost this picture then tag me and hashtag #beautybucketeer in the caption
      3. Tag three friends in the picture
      4. Giveaway winner will be announced on 1 September 2014 at 5:00 PM AEST (Melbourne time) so please make sure your account is public that day (accounts on private at the time of decision will disqualify)
      5. TWO ENTRIES per person, but must tag three different friends in the second picture
      I hope my readers here and my followers will enter this fun giveaway! 
      Good luck and thank you for all the love and support! 
      XO
      Makeup

      Review: Revlon ColorBurst Lacquer & Matte Balms

      These twist-up jumbo-sized pencil colored lipbalms certainly tickle my fancy! For the price, I think it’s certainly worth it, and I even like it more than the Tarte LipSurgence lip tints, which is about 2-3x the price of these ones!

      I would love to show you guys how they swatch on my lips but my lips are currently very dry and chapped – been slacking on using lip treatments overnight and have been sleeping with the heater on all night, plus the crazy winter chills and pregnancy hormones! I will start treating my lips tonight and will post the lip swatches once I can.

      Anyway, these balms come in two finishes: lacquer (glossy, moisture balms) and matte (velvety, matte moisture balms). The lacquers are definitely more sheer at first swipe, but its intensities are buildable and some of them leave a stain on the lips when they wear off. The mattes are seriously opaque but so easy to work with and does not dry out my lips.

      These have a slighlty minty scent and tingles on my lips for a short while, but certainly not irritating at all – maybe it’s the hydrating ingredient? I wouldn’t say these could replace or function as “lipbalms, I just see them as moisturizing lip colors.

      All in all I was really impressed with these. I find that these last a whole lot longer on lips that are smooth and well-moisturized, not dry/flakey lips!

      Read on to see the individual reviews.

      Oh, btw when I did the shoot for these balms I only had 5, but I recently purchased another one of the Lacquer Balms in the shade Coquette! The review for this one will be at the very end.

      1. Revlon ColorBurst Lacquer Balm: 120 Vivacious

      This was one of the shades I was most excited about! Vivacious is a warm, reddish hot pink with a quite opaque, glossy/high-shine finish.

      Since this has a rather sheer opacity, the color will translate differently on different people, depending on their natural lip color. The skin on my arm is a bit fair so that’s why the shade looks like a vibrant, bright pink. My natural lip color is a bit on the darker side, so this shade looked more like a warm, dark (pinky) red rather than a vibrant hot pink.

      This shade, unlike the other two lacquers I purchased have no shimmer/glitter particles at all.

      It lasted for a good 4 hours (fading a bit by the second/third hourbut there was still a slight residue of gloss by the fourth), but could probably last a bit longer, it’s just that I was so hungry by the 4th hour mark I had to eat! :p But even after eating, I notice that this balm left a slight pinky stain on the lips.


      I would give this a 4/5 just one point off because I’m not a big fan of the shade on me, but otherwise a very nice, smooth, creamy (but light!) formula.

      2. Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm: 210 Unapologetic

      Unapologetic is another one I was intrigued by. The finish is an interesting velvety matte and the shade is a vibrant reddish coral, and under certain lighting kind of looks like a reddish orange neon.

      This applies very smoothly and there was no tugging at all, unlike some other matte lip products. The texture is thin though, unlike lipbalms in general, but the pigmentation is remarkable even at first swipe on the lips.

      To make it last longer, I always apply a few layers and lightly blot the excess on a tissue paper. This lasts around 4-5 hours but will immediately fade once I start eating.

      Sadly I can only use this on days when my lips are smooth and well-exfoliated, not dry and even slightly chapped. Throughout the day it can get a bit dryer and may cling on to dry flakes on the lips. If your lips are chapped or uneven, this might accentuate the flakes and unevenness of the lip surface. The shade just ends up looking blotchy and uneven on the lips. So, again, I personally never use this on days when my lips are chapped, which I think is a loss because this product is called a “balm” and conventional balms should be able to treat, or at least accomodate, dry lips!


      I would give this a 3.5/5 because the application was so smooth and I like how the color translates on my lips, but 1.5 point off for being very unfriendly to chapped lips!

      3. Revlon ColorBurst Lacquer Balm: 115 Whimsical

      This is a shade I would probably only use in the fall or winter. Whimsical is a vampy purple shade. Well, not exactly “purple” but more of a dark cool-toned pink, but it looks purplish on my lips and reminds me of the stain red wine usually leaves on the lips, but more intense, which I love!

      It’s rather opaque at first glide on the lips, but is definitely buildable. I usually wait a few seconds after applying the first layer to apply another layer. I think this is the best way to apply this shade. Layer after layer, allowing each layer to dry out before adding another layer. This makes the color really intensely pop and stand out.

      This shade has micro glitters in it and you can definitely see them on the lips if you look at it up close. But don’t worry, it’s not visible at all from a distance, you’d have to look at the lips super closely to notice the glitters. They actually accentuate the shine the balm has, giving it more dimension, which is just lovely.

      However, I did notice some of the glitters gliding around my mouth area when I drank and wiped the sides of my lips, and it was darn hard to remove from the skin! But I wouldn’t worry too much about it, they’re so tiny no one would notice unless they look at your skin from a very close, intimate distance!

      One thing I didn’t like about this is the fact that the micro glitters are difficult to remove, even with a makeup remover. I can always see bits and pieces of glitter left on the lips.

      Like the Vivacious shade, this lasted around 4-5 hours, which is pretty damn good considering this is a “balm” and not a lipstick/lipstain.

      I’m going to give this 4/5 because aside from the glitter issue, this shade is otherwise perfect!

      4. Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm: 205 Elusive

      This one is my favorite out of the bunch! Elusive is a warm-toned nude pink. Its finish isn’t completely matte, it has a rather satin finish to it.

      The first layer applied is opaque but certainly does not feel heavy at all, which I love, but it is rather creamy and ever-so-slightly slippery so if you want to add a few layers, the color may glide around and become streaky if you apply the second layer straight away. When I’m in a rush, I just apply one layer and lightly blot it on tissue paper and apply a second layer, and so on.

      Once this color dries and settles, it has the most beautiful satin/matte finish and the color is just strikingly beautiful. This is the perfect everyday lippie for me!

      Unlike Unapologetic, this somehow does not accentuate flakes and dry patches on the lips. However, I’m not quite sure if this lasts as long as Unapologetic. One time, it started to fade a bit around the 3rd hour mark, and was almost completely gone by the 5th. At another time, though, this lasted around 5 hours, even with drinking. I have yet to figure out why the longevity differs on different occasions, but I don’t mind reapplying this throughout the day because it’s so easy to apply. One layer is enough!

      I am giving this 5/5 because it is hands-down my favorite!

      5. Revlon ColorBurst Lacquer Balm: 150 Enticing

      This one sure is enticing! Another one that I really, REALLY like. Enticing is a medium-dark toned warm, brick red, which looks more like brownish-red on the lips but orange-red on my arm.

      At first I really didn’t like this shade because I feel like it made me look old, like, I’m-in-my-50’s old. But I realized that it was just a matter of application. If I apply just one layer on my upper lip, blot my lips together and let the color transfer on to my lower lips, it actually looks really nice and sophisticated. I really like the warmth in this shade!

      It has a bit of sparkle just like the Whimsical, but somehow it doesn’t really show up as intensely as it did with the Whimsical. So I’m happy about that!

      Finish-wise, I like that this shade doesn’t slide around even though it almost always feels like it will. It has a rather slippery, glossy finish when I apply both on my upper and lower lips. However, when I only apply on my upper lip and blot my lips together, the finish becomes matted a bit and I feel more secure.

      Longevity-wise, I was really impressed with this. I was so dehydrated one day when I used this and drank a lot, but this shade stayed put and did not fade at all. It lasted for about 5 hours until I started eating. Even when I was eating, the color stayed on pretty well and only disappeared after I wiped my whole mouth with a napkin. I had a pretty messy dinner that day, I think I had a Grill’d burger!

      I’m giving this one a 5/5 as well! It’s currently my go-to lippie when I want a more mature look 😉

      6. Revlon ColorBurst Lip Lacquer Balm: 110 Coquette

      This shade is the most recent one I got and is certainly the most sheer. Coquette is a sheer, medium warm-toned pink with bits of sparkles in it, but less noticable than the sparkles in Whimsical.

      It somehow oxidizes on me – at first it looks so sheer like I had a slightly-tinted balm on, but after a few seconds the color starts to brighten and ends up being the perfect shade of glossy, sheer medium pink on my lips. It accentuates the natural color of my lips really well!
      Longevity-wise, it sadly only lasted about 2 hours. It could be because this is one of the sheerest shades. However, since this is a low-maintenance shade and is so easy to apply without a mirror, I really don’t mind touching up during the day even when I don’t have a mirror with me. It’s just like touching up your lips with a sheer lipgloss or balm.
      Another 5/5 from me! 🙂
      Pictures of this one coming real soon!
      So I hope you guys enjoyed this review! Let me know if you have these and have a different opinion about these, I’m always curious to know what other people think!
      XO
      Skincare

      Battle of the Cleansing Water Solutions: Bifesta, Bioderma, Garnier,Lancome, L'Oreal and Koh Gen Do

      For the past year and a half I’ve been trying different types of cleansing water solutions, and I’ve got to say, these were all pretty impressive. Some were exceptionally great, some falls short of the standard the others have set, but overall still impressive.

      I’ve been using cleansing water solutions to remove my makeup for over five years, but only in the past two years has there been a sudden surge of them in the beauty industry. Ever since the Bioderma gained popularity, lots of companies in the beauty industry suddenly started to produce them too. So nowadays we can be overwhelmed by the wide variety of choices we are offered by these companies, whereas five years ago I just heavily relied on my Chanel cleansing water and Bioderma.

      Since I’ve recently tried my fair share of them, I thought I’d give you guys a quick run down of each of these cleansers to help you decide easier.

      I’ve also included comparison swatches of makeup products removed with one swipe of each solution on a saturated cotton pad for your guidance (click images to enlarge).

      Liners L – R are Anastasia Brow Wiz in Brunette, Milani Liquif’Eye Eyeliner Pencil,
      Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil (WP),
      Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Intense Black (WP), and
      Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Perversion (WP).

      Lipsticks L – R are Maybelline The Elixir in 075 Fuschia Flourish,
      NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in San Paulo, Rimmel Apocalips in 101 Celestial,
      and Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Pomegranate.

      L – R are Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in SX09 mixed with SX08,
      Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream Waterproof Cream Color in 6,
      MAC Paint Pot in Constructivist and Maybelline Color Tattoo in 55 Immortal Charcoal.

      Note: 

      • I let the makeup sit on my arm for about 10-15 minutes before removing them to ensure they’ve settled.
      • The photos above only show the makeup removed with one swipe. I let the saturated cotton pad sit on the makeup for 10 seconds before wiping them.
      • The following review is listed in alphabetical order.

      1. Bifesta Sebum Cleansing Lotion

      I got this as a gift-with-purchase when I was repurchasing my favorite waterproof eye makeup remover at Watsons in Singapore – the Bifesta Cleansing Express Eye Makeup Remover. I started using this straight away after I got this in Singapore because the only face makeup remover I brought with me at the time were cleansing wipes and I didn’t really like using cleansing wipes in general, the only reason I had them with me was because they’re easy to travel with.
      Anyway, I ended up liking this, though not as much as the Bioderma, which is my favorite.
      Packaging: 
      This review is for the 50 ml travel sized product. It comes with a screw-on lid and I think it’s great for travelling because screw-on lids are safer and much more secure compared to caps that open and close because they can break and who knows what’s gonna happen if they break. However, when at home, I prefer the latter because they’re easier and faster to open up. Screw-ons take a bit more time to open and close. 
      The plastic bottle itself is pretty damn sturdy! The fact that I’ve tested this while travelling really proves how sturdy it is. No spills, no breaks, no dents.
      I can’t comment on the original/full-size packaging which comes in a pump because I’ve never owned one, but I do plan on purchasing the full size when I run out of this one.
      Ingredients:

      I don’t see anything that could be harmful and it’s completely oil free. 
      Performance:

      This effortlessly removes light face and lip makeup, but it does take a while to completely remove eye makeup. I can only remove eyeliner and lip products after 3 wipes. As seen in the swatches above, one swipe doesn’t do much, but I’m glad it’s able to remove everything after 3 wipes because a few others can’t remove the stains at all.

      This “Sebum” line is designed for people with Combination and Oily skin so it’s perfect for me since I have combination skin, oilier when I’m in tropical countries though. However, this does not seem to irritate my drier skin since I’m now in the midst of the Australian winter. The consistency is a bit thicker than the Bioderma, which basically feels like water, so it feels much more nourishing than the Bioderma but I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I’ve never used this on its own without rinsing so I can’t comment on its solo performance, but the thicker residue it has on the skin makes me feel a bit skeptical about it.
      Price:

      I forgot how much I got it for at Watsons in Singapore, but it is approx. AU$20 on eBay for a full sized 300 ml bottle.
      Overall: 4/5

      I love that this is cheaper than the Bioderma although the quality is quite on par. However I have never tried this on its own as a cleanser, without rinsing it off afterwards, so I can’t comment on that aspect. I would still repurchase this though because it removes makeup really well although it does require some work.

      2. Bioderma Crealine H2O Solution Micellaire

      This is one of the very first (if not the very first, I can’t really remember) cleansing water I’ve ever used. I didn’t start wearing makeup until I was in my early 20’s (yes, late bloomer!) and even then I never wore heavy makeup. So I loved using the Bioderma. It was recommended to me by a SA at a Sasa or Bonjour store when I was in Hong Kong way back in 2007 or 2008. 
      I somehow stopped using this along the way because I was introduced to the Chanel cleansing water (forgot the name!) and I liked it more because it smells so nice (yes it is fragranced) but didn’t irritate my skin. However, ever since the Bioderma became a huge trend in the beauty world I was drawn to it again.
      Bioderma Crealine H2O Solution Micellaire cleansing water
      Bioderma Crealine H2O Solution Micellaire
      Packaging:
      I have this in a variety of sizes because I purchased this in France when I was travelling, I wanted one tiny bottle for me to put in my carry on bag, one mid-sized one for my skincare travel bag, and a huge one to use back home. This is one of my favorite aspects about the product – its variety of sizes! Most cleansing waters only come in one, huge size which is very inconvenient.
      In terms of its packaging per se, I love that it comes sealed and that people won’t be able to open the lid and sniff them in the store. It’s also pretty sturdy – with a tightly sealed cap and strong plastic bottle. I had the mini and mid sized open with me while travelling in Europe earlier this year and I did not experience any leakage. Certainly a pleasure to travel with!
      Ingredients:

      I like that this includes cucumber extract, which is very soothing for the skin. It also does not include anything harmful or comedogenic. It is fragrance free which makes it perfectly safe and gentle for sensitive skin.

      Performance:

      As with all cleansing waters, I use this by saturating a cotton pad with it and wiping it all over the face to remove makeup. When removing eye makeup, most cleansing waters require the cotton pad to be placed over the eyelids for about 10 seconds before wiping it out. With the Bioderma, as long as I’m not wearing waterproof mascara, I barely have to wait until 5. It somehow removes any trace of makeup so effortlessly.
      I do have to swipe the lashline back and forth a bit to get rid of eyeliner, but I’m not worried about getting the solution into my eyes because it’s very gentle and I don’t even need much pressure, so it won’t tug on my lashes.
      What I love most about this is that I don’t have to worry about cleansing my face with water after using this. I always remove my makeup with this when I’m travelling by air because I can’t wash my face in the lavatory as the sink water contains so much harsh chemicals, so I rely on this to remove makeup and cleanse my skin without having to worry about it breaking out my skin. As you’ll read on later, this isn’t the case with some of the cleansing waters I tried!

      Price: 

      I personally got mine in France, and don’t remember the price of the 250 ml (mid sized) bottle. However, the large 500 ml bottle was €19.90 (approx. US$26.50) and the mini 100 ml bottle was €6.20 (approx. US$8.25).
      US Prices: $30 for 500 ml.
      AU Prices: $40 for 500 ml.


      Overall: 5/5
      $26.50 (even $40) for a 500 ml bottle is so worth it for a product that:
      1. Has a very secure packaging
      2. Removes all makeup effortlessly (although waterproof mascara is a bit difficult to remove)
      3. Does not break out the skin even without double cleansing (rinsing off after use)
      4. Perfectly safe and gentle for sensitive skin and the eyes
      Honestly, this one will always be my favorite, along with the L’Oreal. But read on to see what I think about the others!

      3. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

      This is the most recent one I got, and the only reason I got it was because it was on sale for less than $8 at my local supermarket. I’ve only used it for about 4-5 times, and I’m honestly not that impressed. It has the worst performance with regards to removing eye and lip makeup, even non-waterproof ones.
      Packaging:

      The packaging is also the worst. It did not come sealed, so people could’ve easily opened up the cap and sniffed the bottle which is not hygienic and honestly grosses me out a bit, but the plastic bottle is pretty sturdy. I’ve never taken this travelling with me (and don’t plan on doing so), so I can’t comment on its durability.

      Ingredients:


      This actually has less ingredients than the Bioderma, so I’m guessing it’s very safe for people with sensitive skin. It also says “ophthalmologically tested, which means it has been tested to be safe for the eyes, which means it is very gentle.

      However, the second ingredient listed, after water, is Hexylene Glycol, which is a type glycol that is known to produce the most severe skin irritations (click here for more information). But don’t worry, glycols in general only cause minimal to mild irritations, so Paula’s Choice has deemed this ingredient to be “Good” (i.e. safe).
      The other ingredients listed (there are only 7 in total including water and Hexylene Glycol) are perfectly safe.

      Performance:

      As I said previously, this has the lowest performance. It requires a lot of work in removing even the lightest eye makeup. Don’t even get me started on mascara. It leaves behind quite a significant amount of stain/residue that is so difficult to remove even after several vigorous wiping.

      When testing the swatches (see images above) I actually had a hard time removing all the makeup residue with this one. I ended up having to use my Bioderma to remove the lipstick stains and some eyeliner stains that this cleanser couldn’t remove.

      On the packaging, it says “no rinsing needed” which means this can work as a cleanser on its own. So I wanted to experiment and I tried removing makeup and cleansing with this and continued on with toner, serum and moisturizer as usual. I was surprised when I saw two new, shiny, red spots on my cheeks.

      So, personally, for me, this did not work as a cleanser. Only as a light face makeup remover.


      Price:

      I got this on sale for about $7 but the original price is AU$11.99 at Priceline.

      Overall: 2.5/5
      Although this has been said to be comparable to the Bioderma, it is personally my least favorite out of the bunch and I am glad this was the cheapest. As much as I’d love to love this product for its price, I honestly can’t and will not repurchase because it requires too much work. However, if you don’t mind using an additional eye and lip makeup remover, this is very gentle for the face and removes face makeup really well.

      4. Lancome Micellar Cleansing Water

      The only reason I got this one was because it was on sale for US$29 at a CCO, and it retails for US$38 in Sephora and department stores.
      Packaging:

      The plastic bottle is strong and is sturdy. It comes with a pump, which pumps out the perfect amount of product, so is it very hygienic.

      Ingredients:

      As with the Garnier, the second ingredient listed, after water, is Hexylene Glycol but this product contains a bit more ingredients than the Garnier, which I’m honestly a bit skeptical about.

      It contains Benzyl Salicylate, which is a fragrance ingredient, and also lists parfum/fragrances further down in the ingredient list. The last ingredient listed is rose flower extract. This thing is filled with fragrances! So those of you with skin that is sensitive to fragrances, please beware!


      Performance:

      This is the most expensive out of the bunch but doesn’t remove makeup as fast as the Bioderma, which is a fraction of the price. As you can see in the swatches, it leaves quite a bit of residue (especially with liners and lipstick) and I had to wipe another 3-4 times to have every single remaining stain removed.

      Price:

      US$38 for 200 ml. 

      Overall: 3.5/5

      Being the most expensive, I expected a lot from this product. However, this turned out to be too heavily fragranced and doesn’t even remove eye and lip makeup well. It removes face makeup like foundation, powder and blush really well though, but my concern is just with the fragrances.

      5. L’Oreal Skin Perfection 3-in-1 Purifying Micellar Solution

      This one is only available in the UK, I believe. I’ve been trying to find this in the States and Australia, but I’ve never been able to find them. I hope they will be available here soon because this is the closest thing to the Bioderma that I’ve tried!
      Packaging:

      Worst packaging. ‘Nuff sed. Lid easily opens, doesn’t latch well. Content spilled everywhere when I was travelling because the lid was loose, and so I had to tape it up while travelling which is such an inconvenience. Also, the plastic bottle (top part) cracked a bit, which can sometimes cause a bit of leakage. The plastic bottle is so much thinner compared to the other bottles.

      Ingredients:


      This only has 5 ingredients, and contains Hexylene Glycol as well, but never causes irritations on my skin. All other ingredients are perfectly safe and gentle for sensitive skin.

      Performance:


      Best one compared to Bioderma! As you can see in the swatch comparisons, this removes a significant amount of makeup with just one wipe! I’ve never used this without rinsing it off though, so I can’t comment on its performance as a toner.

      Price:


      £3.33 (approx. US$5.5/AU$6) at Boots.

      Overall: 4/5
      Excellent! One of my top favorites but minus one point for the terribly fragile packaging!

      6. Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water

      Requires double cleansing. Broke me out day after. But otherwise a good makeup remover!
      Packaging:


      Sturdy and hygienic (sealed).

      Ingredients:

      This contains Methylparaben which is a type of paraben, a group of preservatives that people tend to avoid due to allegations that they cause breast cancer, and is marked as harmful by lots of people. But the Paula’s Choice reserach team has done significant research to prove against these claims. They’re marked as safe ingredients by the Paula’s Choice team.

      Click on the infographic below, provided by the FDA, which explains what parabens are and why they are safe to enlarge it.

      So I’m not too concerned about the paraben in this. However, I am a tad concerned about the essential herbs in this because some people may be sensitive to these plant/herbal extracts. It is a little known fact that sometimes herbs and plants (and purely organic skincare) can cause much more irritation than processed chemicals such as glycerin and dimethicone.

      I am happy about the Lactic Acid (AHA) and Arginine (Antioxidant) in this though.

      Performance:

      This probably has the most promising “claims”. On the packaging, it states how it contains natural herbal essence and Izumo SPA water (whatever that is) and that it is oil-free and mildly acidic.

      I actually really like this one, but only for removing non-waterproof makeup. However, this did cause some irritation when I used it without rinsing. I brought this with me when I was travelling in the Middle East.

      We were in the Mount Sinai area in Israel and the hotel was horrible, and the water was dirty. We were only there for a night (thank God!) and I had no choice but to cleanse my face with this because I couldn’t use the water to cleanse my face with water (I didn’t take a shower that day too!). So I used this to cleanse with a cotton pad and then just applied moisturizer. I had itching and redness all over my face the next day, the texture of my skin became gritty. 



      Once we arrived at the next destination (a nice resort in the Red Sea), I was able to cleanse properly and my skin went back to normal the next day. Phew!

      I guess it was all the herbal extracts that drove my skin nuts?

      Price:


      US$13 for 100 ml, and US$39 for 300 ml at Sephora.

      Overall: 4/5

      Expensive, but quite nice considering it removes makeup well (although not waterproof makeup). However, this does require double cleansing because the herbal ingredients are too strong not to be rinsed off.

      So I hope you guys enjoyed my break down of the six cleansing waters I’ve tested, and I hope this will somehow help you decide if you’re not sure which one to get.

      I know the Garnier one has been getting a lot of hype lately and lots of people out there will disagree with me, but this is just my opinion based on my experience.

      So I’d love to hear what you guys have to say about these cleansers if you’ve tried them before!

      Let me know in the comments below 😉

      XO

      Haircare, Makeup, Skincare

      Out The Door in 5 Minutes: Skin Care, Makeup, Body Care, Hair & Fashion

      In honor of Mondays… Ooh, the most dreaded day of the week, I’ve decided to post this to help you all out there who often had too much fun on Sunday nights and totally forgot you’ve got to work/go to school the morning after.

      So…

      Woke up late? Need to be out of the house in literally 10 minutes? Or even 5?

      This, honestly, happens to me a lot ever since my highschool days!

      My morning rush must-haves!

      If this also happens to you a lot, I strongly urge you to have the following items handy at all times at home:

      • Face Mist or Toner
      • Tinted Moisturizer with SPF
      • Tinted Eye Cream
      • Tinted Lip Balm/Lip Butter
      • Body Moisture Spray
      • Dry Shampoo
      • A set of go-to clothes
      • Protein/Granola/Muesli Bars or Liquid Breakfast
      • Mints/Breath Fresheners
      So, here’s my out-the-door in 5 minutes routine for your inspiration:

      1. Brush your teeth

      After jumping out of bed and realizing you only have 5 minutes to storm out of the house, BRUSH YOUR TEETH, there is no excuse! You don’t want to suffocate people around you with your lovely morning breath. LOL!

      But then, when you’re rushing you tend to forget things. So at the end of the post I have a list of things you always need to have in your handbag – one of them are mints or breath sprays. However, these should never be a replacement for a good ol’ conventional teeth brushing. (30 seconds)

      2. Tone your skin

      Forget about washing your face if you have a well-cleansed and well-nourished skin from the night before. You weren’t sleeping rolling around in mud so you don’t really need to wash your face, simply apply toner with a cotton pad to get rid of any excess oils or dirt on the surface of the skin, or mist your face with your favorite face mist/spray to freshen up your complexion.

      Lush Tea Tree Toner Water
      Lush Tea Tree Toner Water

      If you have problematic skin, the Lush Tea Tree Toner Water is super freaking awesome because it will also help treat your acne/congestions. (10 seconds)

      3. Protect your skin

      SPF is so important – this is one step you should never skip, even during the winter! If your skin is in need of coverage, opt for a medium-coverage tinted moisturizer that contains SPF. If not, a moisturizer that contains a minimum of SPF 15 will do.

      Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer,  Etude House 2NE1 Lip Tint in Pink Follower, Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel & Garnier BB Cream Eye Roller
      Makeup must-haves for the occasion!
      (L – R) Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer,
      Etude House 2NE1 Lip Tint in Pink Follower,
      Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel & Garnier BB Cream Eye Roller

      My favorite tinted moisturizers are the Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer and NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. You don’t have time to moisturize, apply SPF foundation, and concealer separately, so a tinted moisturizer, BB or CC cream is the way to go! Applying with your clean fingers is much faster. (1 minute max.)

      4. Treat and conceal your under eyes

      Brighten up your eye area as you most likely would still have puffy/red/dark under eyes from being sleep deprived, or maybe allergies?

      Garnier BB Cream Eye Roller’s rollerball

      Quickly dab on a tinted eye cream/treatment like the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer, First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy, or Garnier BB Cream Eye Roll On. This will help hydrate and treat your under eye throughout the day while also concealing any dark circles/puffiness/redness you may have. (30 seconds)


      5. Enhance your features (Optional)

      If you have more than 5 minutes to get out the door, you can always choose to apply an additional 1-2 makeup items that is a MUST for your face.

      How to decide? Simply choose two features of your face that need to be enhanced the most.

      For me, it’s definitely my eyebrows because I have thin and sparse, almost non-existent, eyebrows. The second makeup item I choose is normally mascara or cream blush. Or both if I have the time, but my eyebrows are my number one priority!

      To save time, I usually opt for a tinted brow gel instead of brow pencil/powder.

      Anastasia Brow Gel
      Anastasia Brow Gel

      I also prefer cream blush over powder because they usually last longer and give a very natural flush to the cheeks. My favorite is the Josie Maran Cheek Gelee in Pink Escape and the Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow in Pravella.

      Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow in Pravella
      Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow in Pravella

      Another item I usually add when I have the time is tinted lip balm. It’s important to keep your lips moisturized, but it’s nice to add color to your lips too. I have so many favorites but one of them is the Etude House 2NE1 Lip Tint in Pink Follower, which has a blue bullet but when applied on the lips, turns into a pinkish hue. The final color varies depending on the natural color of the lips and how many layers of the balm is applied – the more layers, the more intense the pink gets. Best thing is, this balm has SPF23!

      Etude House 2NE1 Lip Tint in Pink Follower tinted lip balm

      Make sure you don’t choose to do complicated things like contouring, or colorful eyeshadow application, or doing a winged liner. Keep it simple, neutral and fast. If you really want eyeshadow, opt for long-lasting cream shadows like the Maybelline Color Tattoos. My favorite is the shade Bad To The Bronze.

      6. Moisturize your body

      Of course you won’t have time to slather your skin with body lotion, let alone shower! Grab a body moisture spray (basically a body lotion/moisturizer in a spray bottle) like the Sanctuary Spa Body Moisture Spray or the Vaseline Spray & Go that will moisturize and add a glow to your skin, and spray liberally all over your body to fake an “I showered this morning!” look.

      Sanctuary Spa Body Moisture Spray
      Sanctuary Spa Body Moisture Spray

      With these products you don’t have to spend too much time rubbing the product in like you would with lotions and creams. One swipe is enough to rub the product in. (30 seconds)

      7. Apply deodorant

      Please do everyone around you a favor and don’t forget to use deodorant. It’s so much more important than perfume, especially if you live in hot and humid climates! Hehe. It’s because perfumes cannot control the odor the comes from your underarms, only anti-perspirants can do that.

      Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Grapefruit
      Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Grapefruit

      My favorite is the Dove Deodorant Anti-Perspirant Aerosol and Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla  Grapefruit(10 seconds)

      8. Fluff up your hair

      Got limp, flat, oily hair? Always make sure you have dry shampoo, especially if you’ve got dark hair. Blondes can get away with baby powder, but people with dark hair will end up looking like they’ve aged overnight if they use baby powder, if you know what I mean!

      Batiste Dry Shampoo XXL Volume, Lush Tea Tree Toner Water,  Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Grapefruit, and Vaseline Intensive Care Spray Moisturizer Vaseline Spray & Go
      Bod, hair and skin must-haves!
      (L – R) Batiste Dry Shampoo XXL Volume, Lush Tea Tree Toner Water,
      Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Grapefruit, and
      Vaseline Intensive Care Spray Moisturizer (Spray & Go)

      My favorite is the cult classic Batiste Dry Shampoo in Cherry and on days when I need more volume, the XXL Volume version. Quickly spray it all over your hair (try to get to the roots as best as you can) and massage it into your bed head to add volume.

      If your hair’s a really hot mess, just bun it up! And if your hair gets super tangled a lot, make sure you have a tangle teezer handy! (1 minute)

      9. Dress up

      The quickest way to get out the door looking decent is by always having in mind your set of go-to clothes and accessories. The key is to choose clothing that is easy for you to slide into. Avoid clothes with buttons, and opt for zippers instead. As for shoes, choose something you can easily slide into without having to worry about bits and pieces falling out, causing you to stumble.

      For me, it’ll be a pair of leggings, an appropriate top/shirt, a cardigan, a statement necklace/bracelet(s), and a pair of flats. Ideally, it’ll be better if you had these prepared the night before if you know you’re going to wake up late in the morning! (1 minute)


      10. Carry breakfast to-go

      Do NOT skip breakfast! But you only have a few seconds left? Always keep in your pantry some protein/granola/muesli bars that you can just throw in your bag and eat on the way. Or, a liquid breakfast like Up & Go milk, which is my favorite! (10 seconds)

      Aaand…VOILA! You’re ready to storm out of the house.

      I hope that does not inspire you to wake up late all the time, but I do hope it’ll help if you ever have to rush in the morning!

      Is this similar to your routine if you ever wake up late? Let me know in the comments what you’d do differently/the same! I’m always looking for inspirations 🙂
      Just wanted to add one last thing. If you’re a morning racer (i.e. always having to race out the door every morning), it’s a good idea to always have these in your handbag/purse:
      • Breath mints/spray: Just in case you forget about brushing your teeth!
      • Dry shampoo: I always have a mini sized dry shampoo handy just in case my hair gets all cray-cray on me.
      • Perfume: You never want to smell offensive, but you didn’t have time to shower or use deodorant, so having a mini sized perfume handy is never a bad idea!
      • Protein bar: Or any other “bars” in case you don’t have time to grab breakfast.
      • Touch-up powder: This is a must if you have oily skin!


      What else do you think should be added to this list?
      Hope you enjoyed this post! XO
      Favorites, Skincare

      Pregnancy Body & Skin Care Favorites

      Our bodies go through a lot of changes during pregnancy, including the skin. Stretch marks, veins, dryness and rashes are just some of the road bumps our bodies will have to go through during this incredible life-making journey, so it’s crucial for us to invest a little more of our time and energy in nourishing and replenishing the skin to aid in the healing and prevention of these skin issues.

      Skin problems I’m personally facing during this pregnancy are dryness, stretch marks, and hormonal acne. So today I’d like to share with you my personal body and skin care favorites that have really helped me maintain my skin’s health!

      1. Body

      a. Body Boost by Basq

      These two are my babies! My mom got them for me and I can’t be happier about the quality of these products. 
      I use these two every time I get out of the shower.

      I apply the Basq Body Boost Milk & Honey Stretch Mark Oil all over my belly, taking it down to my upper pubic area where my stretch marks start, and the sides of my hips up to my waistline where I have stretch marks too. 
      I really, really regret not using this ever since I found out I was pregnant! It could’ve prevented the stretch marks but I was way too sick in my first trimester to take care of my skin. So I’m urging you ladies out there who are still early in pregnancy or are thinking of getting pregnant to find time to take care of your body no matter what
      My stretch marks have not gotten worse, I haven’t gotten any new ones ever since I started using this in my early second trimester when the stretch marks started to appear. So I’m really happy about that, and I’m hoping this will aid in the healing and fading of the marks.
      I love how the oil does not leave a sticky, greasy or gross residue. It is oily, of course, since it is oil, but it does not bother me at all because it gets absorbed into the skin pretty fast and just leaves the skin supple and moisturized. I love that it also nourishes my hands when I apply it.
      Best of all, it smells amazing! Paired with the body butter, I feel like I’m swimming in a pool of milk and honey. Literally.
      After applying the oil, I slather the Basq Body Boost Milk & Honey Stretch Mark Butter to the rest of my body, sometimes even going over the area where I’ve applied the oil with this.
      The thick gel-type consistency is not too difficult to work into the skin which makes it perfect for use right before bed because it won’t make your skin feel tacky and greasy. It just makes the skin feel super smooth and supple.
      Sadly, I think this has been discontinued for a while. However, there are lots of other alternatives out there!
      Here’s a list of my other pregnancy body butter/oil favorites:
      Sanctuary Spa Collagen Boosting Body Butter is an alternative I’ve been using on days when I want a bit of a change in scent. It smells sweet, but not as sweet as milk and honey. It has this soothing rose-infused sort of scent, mixed with shea and cocoa butter. The texture and consistency is of a thick, buttery gel, similar to the Basq.
      Estelle & Thild Pregnancy Body Oil is an alternative body oil I’ve been keeping beside my bed on days when I’ve forgotten to apply body oil while in the bathroom (and can’t be bothered to return to the bathroom. LOL). Honestly, the cute pink packaging is the only reason I got this. The scent isn’t as pleasant, although not off-putting, and the packaging is very fragile. Mine has already gotten a dent from where I’ve squeezed it, and the cap is broken. Scent and packaging wise, not the best. But it’s organic so I guess that’s my favorite thing about it 🙂
      Mustela Stretch Marks Double Action is another product I use a lot of. I use this in the morning, all over my belly, hips and thighs because I don’t shower in the morning since it’s winter here and I prefer showering at night. I find that the body oil and butters are too much to be used in the morning. This cream is so much lighter in consistency, but does require a much longer time to get rubbed and massaged in to the skin. Oh, and the scent isn’t pleasant at all, I actually really dislike the scent. But I’ve heard great reviews about this product and it does work tremendously well for a lot of people, including my sister in law who actually recommended this to me. She only got stretch marks in areas where she did not apply this. So I’m hoping this will prevent more stretch marks for me!

      b. Lush Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner

      I’m sorry I don’t have a photo of this since it’s already wet and grubby in my shower! :p

      This is basically a body moisturizer that you apply in the shower as your last step. How cool is that? If you’re lazy or tired and really don’t have the energy to moisturize after you shower, this is the perfect solution for you!

      Once you’re done shampooing, shaving and doing everything else you need to do, turn off the shower for a bit and scoop out this product and slather it over areas you want to moisturize (for me, it’s the whole body!) and massage it in. Turn the shower on again and rinse it off. You’ll see the product get rinsed off, it doesn’t lather at all, but it does leave an oily film on your skin. Don’t fret though! It’s a good thing! It does feel weird when you’re still rinsing it off in the shower, but once you step out and towel dry your body, it will feel soooooo moisturized. It’s safe for you to go straight to bed or go about your day without applying an additional body moisturizer after showering with this.

      For me, this is perfect for days when I’m fatigued and super exhausted after a long day out. I sometimes don’t have the energy to slather on different types of products on my skin after a long day, so I just hop in the shower, finish up with this body conditioner, towel dry and go straight to sleep.

      A popular alternative is the Nivea In-Shower Body Moisturizer (it’s only A$5 at Chemist Warehouse!) but I’ve never tried it before. I’m halfway through my Lush Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner, and will be purchasing this after I run out since the Lush is so expensive at A$32.50 for 225g! This one is only a crazy A$5 for 250ml!

      c. Sanctuary Spa Body Moisture Spray

      Words can’t describe how much I love this product. Since it’s winter, I only shower at night because that’s when I need it most, and showering twice a day during winter just worsens my dry skin.
      So I use this in the morning before I start my day.
      This is basically a body moisturizer in a bottle. It’s a very, very light oil that you spray on your body and you don’t even need to rub it in too much, unlike body lotions and creams. It doesn’t leave any kind of film or residue on the skin, so it’s great for use when you’re in a rush! You can immediately dress up after spraying your whole body with this without having bits of cotton and materials sticking on to the skin. I often rush in the morning so this is perfect for me.

      The scent is also amazing and it lingers for quite a while!

      An alternative I’ve been loving lately is the Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer. It has more of a lotion than a light oil formula, and it requires a bit more rubbing in than the Sanctuary Spa, and it’s slightly greasier and absorbs slower. Scent-wise, I also still prefer the Sanctuary Spa, but this is an excellent alternative nevertheless.

      2. Skin

      a. Hydrating Facial Mists

      I can never get enough of facial mists! My skin gets so dry and dehydrated during the day, especially if I’ve spent a majority of my time outdoors, and ever since I was pregnant. So I always have one in my purse, even on my bedside table.
      Facial mists really help your skin stay hydrated, it’s a great boost of hydration for when you don’t have time to re-moisturize of if you’ve got makeup on. These mists do not mess up your makeup at all. If anything, they can help your makeup stay on longer.

      I have three favorite face mists, here they are:

      My all-time favorite is the Avene Eau Thermale Thermal Spring Water because it’s the most basic and reliable of its kind. I keep this by my bedside and also have a mini size in my travel toiletries bag for when I’m travelling by plane. This is an air travel staple for me!

      This was featured in my Holy Grail post – I’ve been repurchasing this over and over again for years no matter how many other face mists I have because this is the most reliable out of them all. It is created for sensitive skin by Avene, a French skincare company that specializes in skincare for people with sensitive skin. This one is the safest to use, and the only one I use, when my skin is a bit reactive, allergic or is breaking out because it’s non-comedogenic, oil free and fragrance free. It is the lightest in formula compared to my other mists, it just feels like you’re spraying fresh water on your skin. The mist is very fine, which makes it so easy for the skin to absorb, and it also has a continuous spray and there is no need for you to pat your skin dry after spraying.

      So no matter how many other face mists I have, I will time and time again return to this face mist because this really is the most reliable. I know for sure that this will not break me out or cause irritations.

      Another one of my favorites is the Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist. I love how the soothing rose scent lingers for quite a long time, I seriously love the smell of roses that are subtle and refreshing.

      The spray isn’t continuous but it is very fine, and about 4-5 sprays are enough for the whole face. It doesn’t leave any kind of residue on the skin and does not require to be patted or rubbed in to the skin, which is always a plus.

      However, one thing I’m not quite happy about is how heavy the packaging is. I’d love to be able to travel with this and throw this in my purse, but it’s so heavy! This 100ml bottle is the smallest they have, but the opaque, matted bottle is so thick and heavy. I hope they will release a travel-friendly version soon!

      This is the one I’ve been keeping in my purse, the Chanel Hydra Beauty Essence Mist. Gosh I love the scent of this whole line, I’m currently using the Chanel Hydra Beauty Serum as well, and am loving it. I have also tried the moisturizing gel and it is divine.

      Like the Avene, this also has a continuous spray and has a very fine mist. What I love most about this is that unlike the other face mists, this actually adds a glow to the skin!

      The only downside to this is the price. It retails for US$90 at Nordstrom for 48g and the Avene is only about A$6-7 at chemists for 50ml! The price difference is insane but I would still repurchase this (and use it rarely) because I love the scent and the glow it gives!

      b. Lush Tea Tree Water Toner

      On mornings when my skin feels tight, and don’t want to dry it out even further, I avoid washing my face. However, since I do need to treat my hormonal acne, I still have to get any skincare residue from the night before to start fresh. To do this, I go straight to toning my skin. 
      A toner/facial pad I’ve been loving is the First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Blemish Patrol Pads, but I’m currently running out of it and won’t be able to repurchase it until I head back to the States at the end of the year. So I went looking for an alternative and am glad I remembered loving this back when I was in college.
      This is a super safe, all-natural option for pregnant women out there who are afraid to use skincare products with ingredients such as Salicylic Acid, but still need to treat nasty breakouts.

      This can be applied in two ways: by spraying it straight on to the face, or spraying it on to a cotton pad. On mornings when I don’t wash my face, I apply this on to the skin with a cotton pad to make sure it really gets the skin clean, but I spray it straight to the face on days when I do wash my face, just to freshen it up, balance out my skin’s ph level and prep it for moisturizer and sunscreen.

      This feels like water on the skin and does not have an off-putting smell even though it is tea tree infused. I’m currently alternating between this and my First Aid Beauty pads until it’s finished (I probably have about 4-5 pads left) and my skin has never looked better.

      This is a must have during pregnancy for me because it’s pregnancy-safe, is alcohol free, has natural ingredientstreats and prevents acne, and does not strip the skin.

      c. Pure Paw Paw Ointment

      Another one of my staples is paw paw ointment!
      Paw Paw ointments in general are described as a topical ointment to treat cuts, burns, rashes, insect bites, chafing, open wounds, nappy rash and dry/flaky/chapped skin. This is not just a pregnancy must have for me, but a general must-have! Everyone needs to have this in their lives.
      I used to use (and still have) the good ol’ Lucas’ Paw Paw Ointment which everyone and their mamas love. However, I recently spotted these cuties at Priceline!
      Pure Paw Paw Ointments come in four different scents (or flavors?) and my personal favorites are the Grape and Strawberry. I forgot what the other two were, but one of them was Watermelon, I think.

      These ones aren’t as thick as the Lucas’ Paw Paw Ointment, they’re much more slippery and thin in consitency but that’s why I love it. It’s a bit difficult to layer the Lucas with other lip products like lipstick and lip gloss, but these ones are so light that applying a light layer and then topping it off with lipstick makes the lipstick appear glossy and pretty.

      But what really got me into these are the yummy scents! Well, obviously the cute packaging too. But the scent is seriously what makes me gaga over these, the grape scent is so divine! It doesn’t linger for too long, but when you apply, you can definitely sniff it. So adorable!

      At night, I apply this not just on the lips but around the mouth area as well because I tend to get flakey skin around there. Sometimes around my nose as well. 

      3. Inner Health

      Aside from all the topical stuff, you really need to focus on what you’re doing on the inside too. What your body is like on the inside is reflected on the outside, so if you have a healthy body, it will also be reflected on your skin.

      These are the additional things I’ve been loving that’s been so beneficial for my skin:

      a. Nails, Skin, and Hair Supplement

      Prenatal multivitamins are a must, of course, but for those of you suffering from stubborn hormonal acne problems, taking additional supplements for the skin is unlikely to be harmful. My OB has given me the green light to add this supplement to my daily vitamin intake, and ever since I’ve been taking it, I’ve had no additional hormonal breakouts!

      I’m currently only struggling with the acne marks/hyperpigmentation but don’t actually have any active breakouts. Maybe it’s my skincare routine, but it could be this as well!

      PLEASE NOTE: Always consult with your practitioner(s) before taking extra supplements during pregnancy.

      This supplement contains Zinc which is known to be great at reducing acne, and it is considered safe for consumption during pregnancy because it doesn’t contain Vitamin A, which is generally a no-no during pregnancy.

      Consult your OB for additional skin health supplements to help with your acne. This has personally made a huge difference for me.

      b. Greens

      I’m not gonna write an essay on this, even though I could! But seriously, greens are so important, even when you’re not pregnant, but you need it even more when you’re pregnant. Not just for the health of your bub, but yourself, and your skin!

      Check out this great article about the benefits of kale, my favorite green veggie! I drink kale juice every single day and love it blending it with berries and apples.

      I’d love to do a separate post on this one day! 🙂

      c. Water

      Yes, so cliche. But it’s true! Water hydrates your whole body and thus nourishes your skin. There are numerous benefits of staying hydrated with water, not tea, coffee or carbonated drinks – but pure water.

      This has been fun! Of course I have a lot of other skincare favorites, but these are just a few of my staples.

      Hope you’ve enjoyed this and do share with me what your pregnancy favorites are/were!

      XO