The Makeup Box

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LJH Vital CC Cream and Oxygen Bubble Brightening Pack Trial

I hadn’t heard a whole lot about LJH (Lee Jiham) Doctor’s Care Cosmeceutical products before this, but I recently got the opportunity to check out some of their best-selling products via HKCplaza.com. They might not be the most well-known internationally but they were apparently one of the first companies in Korea to start selling cosmeceutical products (cosmetics with skin-treatment properties).

Outside of Korea, it’s hard to get hold of their products but HKCplaza.com ships internationally for free - without any minimum purchase required. The products aren’t cheap though, so it’s up to you which products to check out, and make sure you take note of the free trial product redemption and discount code at the end of the post!

Above are demos of 2 bestsellers; the Oxygen Bubble Brightening Pack, and Vital CC Cream.

Oxygen Bubble Brightening Pack is a rinse-off oxygenating mask similar to Bliss’s. What it does is:

  • Brightens and evens
  • Detoxifies
  • Exfoliates

How you use it? You apply 1-2 pumps of the white-ish gel over your face and it will quickly puff into a layer of fine foam. After that, you can start to rub it in until it disappears.

My experience? This does brighten and remove dead skin very well, but if you have sensitive skin, don’t leave it on or rub too long. I felt a bit of mild stinging when I rubbed and rubbed for a longer than instructed. This is a quick-acting mask! 

For those that wonder: this brightens by exfoliating; no bleach and I wouldn’t try or recommend anything that does!

Price in SGD: $58

Cellabel M.C. Vital CC Cream

A lot of CC creams claim to correct skin tone but end up an odd color with little coverage. This is a white cream that blends out and adjusts to a skin-tone and does a decent job of covering flaws. 

Natural-looking satin finish (not matte, not dewy)

Evens out skin tone and texture with medium coverage

Natural, neutral coloring

Vitamin C and plant extracts to condition, protect and treat the skin

How you use it? Just dab on and blend like you would any product. I would recommend working with your fingers just so you can properly activate the pigment capsules or it can look a bit pale and unnatural if not blended out well.

My experience? Definitely worth checking out if you’re a BB/CC cream fan. This is more natural looking than a lot of BB or CC creams from Korean brands that have very few shade options. It really doesn’t look like makeup after blended in. Just nicer skin. You won’t need much concealer after that. It promises to be gentle enough and non-aggravating for acne-prone skins but you will probably need a bit of powder to help it last longer if you are very oily.

Price in SGD: $72 (But this is 50% off now while stocks last so it’s $36!)

I would say to start with the CC Cream if you’re really interested in this brand. They have a new face cream and Propolis Ampoule that I’m curious about as well, but to be perfectly honest it is not a cheap brand. If you’re getting anything, make sure to redeem one of the free starter kits!
10% discount code: SB01000JAD (usage guideline

My Lush Collection!

Not sure how many of you are LUSH freaks but I first purchased their soaps and shower gels about 10 year ago, and I’ve seen a lot of favorites come and go.

They’ve become more popular among the younger crowd in Asia recently, and just opened a new outlet at Gateway (Orchard) in Singapore. If you’re not too familiar with the brand and are curious, here are some of my favorites. But I want to know what your faves are as well, so comment below and tell me!

Even after all these years, my favorites from the brand are still the shower products, although I dabble with their face products sometimes. I don’t have a bathtub in my apartment so I really only use the bath-bombs and bubble-bars when I’m traveling.

  1. Honey I Washed The Kids and Rock Star soaps: These are 2 very sweet soaps and bestsellers in LUSH’s range. Honey I Washed The Kids is really a caramel scented soap with some powdery honey scent thrown in, so I need to be in the right mood for it cos it can smell a bit heavy in warm weather. In cold weather it’s perfect, not just for the comforting scent but also because it’s very moisturizing. Rock Star is a fun one for those of you who love the sugary smell of bubblegum and vanilla. I didn’t like it initially but got a small bar one day and found myself getting quite addicted to it.
  2. Snowcake: I am hopelessly addicted to this delicate milky-almond scented soap and it’s changed appearance over the years, but the rose- and benzoin-infused formula is still as soothing and smoothing on the skin. I even use it on the face when I need a quick gentle cleanse. This is a holiday-only product in the West, but it’s available year-round in Singapore. (Yay.)
  3. Lust: I have an all-abiding lust for all things Lust, from the soap bar to the Gorilla perfume. I mentioned it awhile back as a “dirty jasmine”. It’s made with a very dense and rich jasmine absolute with a slightly green and very natural kick; and there’s a warm vanilla to round it out without turning it into a sticky candy-ish mess. Sadly I can’t find the soap on the UK/US sites anymore so I’m worried it’s been discontinued. The perfume and dusting powders might be the only things left of this range.
  4. Orange Jelly, Sexy Peel and Miranda soap: I love citrus soaps in the shower, so I’ll always have a bar lying around. They’re toning and invigorating, and I love how they scent the entire bathroom for hours after. 
  5. BIG shampoo and Seanik shampoo bar: I need volume for my limp locks, and BIG is one of the best I have ever tried. Just a tiny scoop of this grainy sea-salt infused shampoo goes a long, long way, and one jar lasts a long time even though it’s quite expensive. Ditto for the shampoo bars if you’ve never tried them. One small bar lasts me about 3 months (in a soft-water region) so it works out to be quite economical. And an extra bonus, these both smell divine.
  6. Happy Happy Joyjoy Conditioning Hair Perfume: This is one of those things I use just because it smells so gorgeous. If you like orange blossom and grapefruit, and most conditioners weigh your hair down, give this a try. This never makes my hair limp or greasy.

Tip: To get them to last longer, cut out a smaller chunk to use and/or place them on a proper soap dish to drain the water away. Soaps don’t last well and their scents fade if they’re constantly wet.

Face scrubs/masks:

I’ve only just started exploring the Fresh face masks so I’m not the expert on those, but I do enjoy Cosmetic Warrior (after I got over the very medicinal tea tree and garlicky smell) as a anti-blemish mask and I might try Cupcakey next! I did try Mask of Magnaminty a few years back but I wasn’t impressed. It didn’t do anything a normal clay mask couldn’t do better. (Sorry LUSH!) 

The problem with the Fresh masks like Cosmetic Warrior and Cupcakey is you need to refrigerate them and use them up by the stated expiry dates, and it’s almost impossible to, unless you mask almost daily. So it’s worth considering splitting one tub with a friend so you don’t waste product and money!

The ones that keep for slightly longer are the exfoliating cleansers like Dark Angel (blemished skin) and Herbalism (Sensitive/combi), but I do still recommend keeping them in the fridge. You take a small amount in your palm, add water until you get a paste, and then you apply and massage over your face gently before rinsing. Dark Angel, I actually leave on like a mask. I find the charcoal bits a bit too rough on the skin. Herbalism on the other hand, is very very gentle and quite fun to use.

A note on LUSH massage bars:

I won’t say too much cos these are quite self-explanatory. They’re solid shea and cocoa butter bars that melt at skin temperature, and there are so many to explore, including holiday limited editions. I always break them into smaller pieces and bring them out in tins cos they make a nice quick moisturizer in the middle of the day when my skin’s feeling parched in air conditioning.

The one I’ve used and repurchased for years is Hottie, the sweet and spicy bar with pepper and ginger to soothe aching muscles. But I really just like the very soft zing from the spices mixed with the sweetness of the nut butters.

One final tip before you go!

If you’re keen to check out lots of exclusive new formulas in small batches that haven’t been released yet, check out LUSH Kitchen on their UK site. I was actually tipped off to this by the LUSH team in Singapore. They’ve been fanatically ordering and shipping new products to try. I’ve already got my eye on a few items!

Last-Minute Mothers’ Day Gift Ideas

Mothers often spend too much time on others and never enough on themselves. Mother’s Day is the one day of the year when everyone focuses on them instead, so here is a list of some nice stuff that I think would make great treats for the Mrs in your life. 

If you haven’t been able to find something yet, here are 9 suggestions for you!

  1. Mrs On-The-Go: Chanel Les Beiges Harmonie Poudre Belle Mines No 1 - highlight, bronzer, and coral blush combined. (Above S$50)
  2. Mrs Classy: A tin of Guerlain Meteorite powder is just the thing for her boudoir when she wants to powder her nose with a little something luxe. (Above $50)
  3. Mrs No-Fuss: A nice little box from Crabtree & Evelyn filled with pick’n’mix Bath Gel, 2 x Hand Therapies, and a Body Lotion will allows her a bit of pleasure when she manages to find a quiet moment in the day. And she gets to choose from 4 scent ranges; Rosewater, Lily, Lavender, Wisteria. (Below $50)
  4. Mrs Quiet-Elegance: Any item you pick from Fresh’s Rose series would be a lovely sensorial treat for her skin AND her nose. My recommendation would be the Floral Toner and Face Mask to pamper, tone and refresh her skin. (Ranges from below to above $50)
  5. Mrs Ageless: Being busy and tired often means you need extra help in the skin department. Pick up a 75ml jumbo size Powerful Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate from Kiehl’s this May and let the 10.5% pure Vitamin C formula go to work on her skin tone, texture, radiance, and fine lines while protecting against future damage. And while you’re there, you might want to check out Super Multi-Corrective Cream, which contains jasmonic acid, hyaluronic acid, and beech tree extract to help retexturize, firm, and hydrate the skin at the same time. (Above $50)
  6. Mrs Radiant: VDL Lumilayer Primer is a quick and inexpensive treat to add an instant glow back to the skin when she doesn’t have the time to go for a facial. It feels fresh and works under AND over makeup. (Below $50)
  7. Mrs Yummy Mummy: YSL’s limited edition Rose Baby Doll nail lacquer and lip varnish are a gorgeously intense shade of rose. Not quite red, not quite fuchsia. Just very very chic and pretty. (Below $50 for one, above $50 for both)
  8. Mrs Sweetie-Pie: It doesn’t always take an expensive gift to make her feel happy. Something as simple as Too Faced’s Sweet Hearts blushes will bring a smile to her face simply because they’re so cute. (Below $50)
  9. Mrs Chic: Dior’s silver-quilted Nude Shimmer No 1 Rose compact makes quite the statement when she pulls it out for a mid-day touch-up, and the blush-pink shade looks pretty on most skins. 
Nail Polish Crush: Lancôme Vernis In Love Gris Angora 407N
Was at a L’oreal private sale the other day and picked up some varnishes going at less than one-third the usual price.
This soft grey with a hint of lavender, Gris Angora, is my absolute favorite polish shade right now. It is just gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. Enough to dedicate an entire post to it.
Neutral and polished, but never dull.
What more could a girl want???
I’m just wondering why I never noticed it until now. 

Nail Polish Crush: Lancôme Vernis In Love Gris Angora 407N

Was at a L’oreal private sale the other day and picked up some varnishes going at less than one-third the usual price.

This soft grey with a hint of lavender, Gris Angora, is my absolute favorite polish shade right now. It is just gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. Enough to dedicate an entire post to it.

Neutral and polished, but never dull.

What more could a girl want???

I’m just wondering why I never noticed it until now. 

The Whitening Story (plus New Laneige White Plus Renew Products and BB Cushion!)

If you’ve never lived in Asia, you might find it odd that “whitening” is a big thing in skincare here. It frequently out-sells color cosmetics and other skincare lines for many of the brands.

One thing you need to understand is that “whitening” in Asia generally doesn’t carry the same stigma that it does in the West. It doesn’t stem from the same concept as some Western skincare brands in the early parts of the 20th century, where “white skin” was associated with superiority and women of color were often sold skin-lightening products and encouraged to change their appearance.

Many East Asians ARE very fair-skinned to begin with, and culturally, we grew up associating porcelain skin with unblemished beauty and well-preserved youthfulness. So if you ask many women here, it’s more about achieving (or mimicking) pristine, perfectly-preserved skin that looks like it has never been exposed to any photo-aging and environmental damage, than about emulating other races. (That’s why you’ll see most women here buying sun creams and foundations with as high an SPF factor as we can find.)

Ironically, in modern days, a tan, golden appearance is more associated with Western ideals and pop culture!

Long-winded story aside, the 2 powerhouses where the most popular whitening ranges originate are Japan and South Korea. And every Spring, we usually see a bumper crop of new whitening products launched.

The latest “thing” among many of the whitening ranges this year are groups of active ingredients that work together to treat 3 forms of discolorations. Redness (flushed skin, capillaries), darkness (melanin), and sallowness (poor circulation etc). Japanese brand Shiseido’s new White Lucent serum promises the same as Laneige, although the pricing and ingredients used to achieve those vary slightly.

Laneige introduces 3 new products that contain the new “melano-crusher” complex.

  1. The updated White Plus Renew Original Essence (S$76 for 40ml): the serum contains the highest concentration of the whitening complex and is used day and night before moisturizer and sunblock. 
  2. The White Plus Renew Capsule Sleeping Pack (S$42 for a pack of 16): These fun little portable vacuum-sealed pods contain a white cream suspended in a clear gel. Open one, mix up the cream and gel using the spatula that comes in the box, and apply in place of moisturizer twice a week as an intensive treatment before bed.
  3. BB Cushion SPF50 PA+++ (S$65 per box with 1 case and 2 stamp pads): The latest iteration of the super-popular BB cushions (portable little stamp-pads soaked in a lightweight BB cream) come in 6 shades; the 4 above, plus 2 darker shades for tanned skins. The texture and finish is dewy, with light to medium coverage depending how you apply it (pat for higher coverage, rub for lower coverage). The new version give the same glowy perfected skin finish as the Soothing BB Cushion, but includes the new whitening complex for added skincare benefits. 

My favorite out of the 3? It’s hard to say since I haven’t had a lot of time to try each of them, but here are my first impressions.

  • Essence: Very fresh and soothing to use; the ingredients and the science behind it sounds promising, but I’ll have to use it for a longer period of time to say if it can really repair and sooth the skin as well as promised, but so far so good!
  • Capsule Sleeping Pack: Super fun, and feels extremely soothing and luxe on the skin, but I have to say a single capsule easily contains enough product for 2-3 uses, so it’s a bit of a waste unless you’re traveling and want something portable. You can try to use some and store the opened capsule in the fridge for another day, but I probably won’t recommend that because some ingredients can degrade with air exposure, so you won’t really be getting maximum efficacy if you do that. Great as a special treat before special occasions though!
  • BB cushion: I don’t need to say all that much about this; it’s a huge hit in Asia because of the amount of coverage it gives, and how convenient it is. (A multi-purpose skincare-slash-base with SPF50 PA+++, in a portable compact so you can touch up through the day; no brainer for all the lazy girls who’d rather sleep in than apply serum, lotion, sunblock, primer, foundation, etc). I do have to say this is better for normal to drier skins, as it doesn’t really “set”, and can rub off on oilier skins. 

Shade reference: (this is an approximation, so do make sure you test it out and check in daylight before purchasing!)

NC15/NC20 - 13

NW15 - 14

NW20/NC25 - 21 (this I can guarantee cos it’s my shade!)

NW25/NC30 - 23

NW30-35/NC35-37 - 31

NW40/NC42 - 33

The shades are quite forgiving, but I’d say if in doubt, go one shade darker. If you go lighter, you might get a white cast that’s more obvious because of the high SPF. And I do have to say the shade range isn’t quite large enough for women with darker skins, even though 6 shades is pretty impressive compared to most Korean/Japanese brands which carry about 2-3 colors max in their BB ranges. 

Shopping My Stash: I Rediscovered My Rainbow Lime Crime Arsenal!

Back when I just started my blog, there were a few brands I was obsessed over.

  1. Coastal Scents and BH Cosmetics (all those 88 palettes, 120 palettes and hundreds of pan shadows!)
  2. TKB Trading (pigments, pigments, glitters, pigments… and pigments…)
  3. Wet n Wild (back when they revamped their products and the Color Icon range was still big news)
  4. And of course, Lime Crime.

Lime Crime has always been about over the top cuteness and indulgent fantasy role-playing. It’s almost Japanese in its counter-culture aesthetic, and it’s extremely girly and fun. 

The brand has had its share of controversies in the past, so before anyone asks I always advise people to steer completely clear of all that speculation and just decide very simply if you like the products and whether you think they are worth the price. Just like with any other brand.

In the end, it’s just makeup. If you can’t enjoy it, don’t spoil it for everybody else. If you want to take up a cause, go volunteer at the animal shelter. At least pick something more meaningful - and POSITIVE - to devote all your spare energy to.

BACK TO MY POINT.

I have sort of been neglecting my Lime Crime products in the past year or so. (There was a period of time I was sporting neon pink, bright orange and purple lips at work, much to the alarm of my then-boss. I only drew the line at green, blue and black in the office, which - if you’ve worked in a conservative environment, is really something. Most people won’t even wear red to work.)

Then I rediscovered my sizable stash while I was packing up to move to my new apartment.

Here are some of my all-time favorite products:

  • Velvetines - Red Velvet is the best dramatic matte red in the world. And I don’t say this lightly. I like the convenience of Ruby Woo (I can remove it and touch it up easier) but Red Velvet is 10 points higher on the drama scale. They recently came out with Pink Velvet, which I haven’t tried yet!
  • Alchemy palette - China Doll and Aquataenia seem to be more popular just gauging from the instant reactions most people have to seeing them for the first time, but let me tell you - Alchemy is the most dimensional and interesting in my opinion. Every shade is more than it appears, and if you have brown or hazel eyes, this is a WICKED palette to own.
  • Coquette lipstick - my absolute favorite nude lipstick.  Kittenish but not deathly. If you are about NC25, NW20 or fairer, you might want to check it out!
  • Airborne Unicorn - best bright purple I own. And I do own quite a few. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this lipstick is that it’s actually very flattering. Don’t knock it til you try it!
  • Cherry On Top and Candy Apple Carousel glosses - I won’t say the applicators are perfect. Everyone likes different types of brushes and wands, so it’s really personal. Also, let me tell you straight up these are high-maintenance, color-saturated glosses. You will need to spend some time applying them perfectly so you don’t become a hot mess. But the colors, OMG. 

For those who are new to the brand, remember that they do international shipping for a very reasonable flat rate so I always recommend getting a bunch of girlfriends together for a big group spree to split the already low shipping cost.

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