The Makeup Box

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Review: Kiehl’s Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB and Micro Blur Skin Perfector!

If you love the lightweight, silky texture and effectiveness of Kiehl’s  Dermatologist Solutions Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF50 PA+++ (I believe it’s called Super Fluid UV Protection SPF 50 PA+++ in the US), you’ll be excited to know they finally came out with a BB cream which has the same sun protection rating.

I don’t know about you but I’m kinda glad at the return to old-school BBs with an emphasis on skin treatment, after the slew of later bandwagon products that claim to have 6-in-1, 8-in-1, 10-in-1 properties, but mainly just give coverage and hydration with minimal skincare.

Kiehl’s promises theirs has not just immediate color-true coverage but also clinically-proven results to protect and improve skin tone over time. 

Pros:

The key ingredient is the high level of stabilized Vitamin C, which can prevent oxidative stress on the skin and also clarifies uneven skintone. I haven’t used this long enough to see a noticeable difference yet but I would pick 3 straightforward promises rather than 10 gimmicky benefits. 

The coverage is very lightweight, as you might expect of a tinted sunblock, but as shown above, it IS buildable and stays natural-looking when layered. 

It’s extremely lightweight, but stays dewy and moist-looking. I would think this might be a great product for adding some natural looking radiance to dry or mature skins. 

Cons:

The first one I can mention would be the strong medicinal smell. This is completely fragrance-free but the smell might get to you. It does fade away a minute after applied, but I’m just letting you know!

There are only 3 shades available (4 in the US) and I - at NC25 - am wearing the deepest shade available in Singapore, Natural. The pigments are a nice neutral tone and seem to be quite forgiving so I believe it will fit a pretty good range of skin tones, but I’m just not sure it can cater to darker skins.

This is not greasy, but the dewy finish can be problematic for very oily skins. You will probably need to set with powder if you have oily/combi skin.

Kiehl’s Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB retails in Singapore for $52 (US$37).

Another product that might be exciting for those who are concerned about grease and visible pores is the Micro-Blur Skin Perfector, which will be launching in May 2014.

Unlike most mattifying primers which don’t really do more than just layer a lot of silicones and silica on the skin to absorb a bit of oil and create the illusion of matte skin, Kiehl’s again expects their product to be dual-function. Besides mattifying the skin instantly, it also contains lentil extracts to tighten pore walls and Lipo Hydroxy Acid (LHA) to support gentle exfoliation, which automatically reduces the appearance of blackheads. 

The thing this geek is most interested in is Lipo Hydroxy Acid, which is a popular surface exfoliant for those with sensitive skin. If you haven’t heard about it, It’s an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory acid like Salicylic Acid but structured slightly-differently so it doesn’t penetrate as deep or have the same irritation potential. While it’s not as good at pore-clearing, it does give cleaner and more even surface exfoliation so it allows women with more sensitive skin to do gentle exfoliation for radiance.

Long term use also has been show to stimulate cell renewal and to strengthen the extracellular matrix, so definitely look out for this ingredient!

Kiehl’s recommends Micro-Blur Skin Perfector as the final step in the skincare regimen, to be used after application of UV or BB Cream, in place of primer, before foundation.

What I found is that:

  • it takes a couple of minutes to reach maximum “matteness”. When you just pat it on, it still looks dewy. Resist the urge to keep applying more and more. (I was surprised when I took a photo a couple of minutes later because I initially thought, “It’s not mattifying at all!” but it did become more matte after awhile.)
  • Even if you use a patting motion as recommended by Kiehl’s, there’s no avoiding the removal of some coverage. The red/brown spots on my skin became more visible after I patted this on, even though skin texture was noticeably more matte. You’re probably going to need to follow with some concealer if you have any blemishes to conceal.

Cons: 

It does work as a mattifying primer, but only slightly. Don’t expect dramatic matte results, and don’t expect to stay matte for many hours either. 

That said, this is not a problem for me because I don’t use primers for their mattifying effect anyway. It’s just a temporary effect and a blotting sheet is my preferred choice. Remove the excess oil, don’t hide it.

Pros: 

I would still pick this over regular primers in a heartbeat, just cos of the additional skin regulating properties. A good primer should either make your foundation look better and last longer, or help treat/protect your skin. It shouldn’t JUST look matte.

Kiehl’s Micro-Blur Skin Perfector will retail in Singapore for $52 in May 2014. (I don’t have details on the US release at this time!)

Rainbow! My Makeupgeek Eyeshadow and Pigment Swatches and a Super-Quick Review

Ah…. what’s better than affordable, beautiful shadows?

I picked out 24 shades and 4 pigments from the Makeupgeek (MUG) line for review, and here they all are. You’ve already seen me use Latte shadow and Afterglow pigment in a red eyeliner look a while back.

But I figure I should swatch everything and let you see them before I forget. 

All swatches are done on bare skin, without primer, without wetting.

My verdict:

Love the pigments I got. Liquid Gold is just incredible, and I can just imagine Paparazzi applied wet as a thick sparkly liner. Both the soft champagne shades are beautiful as well, though one is sheer and sparkly, the other is satin.

Shadows-wise, I did find some of the matte and sparkly shade felt a little gritty when touched, and Stealth, Bitten and Latte were probably the patchiest of the shadows here. You have to make sure your lids are either completely dry, or else covered with an even layer of primer so that everything goes on evenly. And press/pack your matte shadows on. Don’t buff these.

The black shade, Corrupt, on the other hand, felt gritty and grainy, but it went on beautifully and was absolutely jet back even without a base. Worth getting out if you can’t seem to find a good black shadow.

As for the metallics, most of them are beautiful and smooth. My top picks are: Homecoming, Cosmopolitan, Nautica, Shimmermint, Pretentious, Twilight.

For those of you outside of the US, Makeupgeek.com ships internationall and prices start from US$6 for smaller orders. 

Dior Addict Fluid Sticks: Gorgeous, Lush, Slick Liquid Lipsticks!

There’s a plethora of lip creams being launched lately, and there are slight differences to each range, but I have to say I’m very impressed by Dior’s new Addict Fluid Sticks.

They remind me slightly of YSL’s Glossy Stains in texture, except the color is much more intense and doesn’t stain. The formula is water-based, not wax-based, and it goes on watery and slick, but the solvents evaporate quickly, and you’re left with an almost gel-like film on the lips which is high-gloss, but not greasy or sticky feeling.

The applicators are nice and easy to use; nothing as tricky as the YSL Babydoll Kiss & Blush applicators, which is a major plus, since you need to get these on relatively quickly for nice even coverage. 

Wear-time is decent; I had no problems wearing it to the 7-hour mark before I wiped it off for a late lunch. The sheen does wear away a bit after a couple of hours of talking, pressing the lips together, and sipping from a cup, but most of it does stay on.

The 4 “It” shades Dior recommends for the season are variations on coral, and all swatched above:

338 Mirage - coral-toned beige

551 Aventure - pink-hued bright coral

575 Wonderland - pink-toned red coral

754 Pandore - bright poppy red

Of course, there are always coordinating “It” nail shades too.

551 and 754 have matching polishes, but the other 2 nail shades are slightly different. 338 Mirage is a bright orchid purple instead of beige, and the last nail shade is a gorgeous candy pink, 575 Wonderland (which incidentally DOES have a matching Fluid Stick, but it’s 439 so check that out instead of the 575 lippie).

My bet is on 551 and 439 being the hot favorites for the lips, and 575 Wonderland being the winner for the nail category (or at least tying with 551)!

P.S. a note on that last picture; I recalled Aventure looked a little familiar, and found an Innisfree Creamy Tint Lip Mousse No 3 (lip swatch in the link), which looks very similar in tone, if a little brighter, less glossy and more opaque than the Dior. (The Innisfree texture is closer to the Shu Uemura Tint In Gelatos, although there isn’t an equivalent color.)

If you’re in Singapore and on a shoestring budget, these are something to look at as they cost S$47 each.

Crabtree & Evelyn Pear and Pink Magnolia
One new release that I’m really enjoying right now is Crabtree & Evelyn’s oh-so-pretty new Pear and Pink Magnolia.
(Even the name sounds pretty.) 
This fruity-floral opens tart and juicy-sweet, then becomes more delicate, fresh and floral as it blooms on the skin. 

Top notes: Pear, Bergamot and Passionfruit
Heart notes: Pink Magnolia, Osmanthus, Jasmine
Base Notes: Cedarwood, Amber, Orris

Prices start at S$13 for the scented 25g Ultra-Moisturizing Hand Therapy and Triple Milled Soap, and goes up to $75 for the 100ml Eau de Toilette. The purse-friendly 30ml bottle (pictured above) is $38. If you like fresh fruity-florals like Marc Jacobs Honey, you just might enjoy this one too.
The only con - coincidentally enough since I mentioned Honey - is the lasting power. It also opens in a nice big burst, but doesn’t stay on very long. I have to sniff my arm to find it after about 2 hours. Then again, considering the much lower price tag compared to Marc Jacobs Honey (and much more bag-friendly bottle shape) just bring it out with you and reapply!
*Other products in the line include a body wash, body lotion, and body soufflé.

Crabtree & Evelyn Pear and Pink Magnolia

One new release that I’m really enjoying right now is Crabtree & Evelyn’s oh-so-pretty new Pear and Pink Magnolia.

(Even the name sounds pretty.) 

This fruity-floral opens tart and juicy-sweet, then becomes more delicate, fresh and floral as it blooms on the skin. 

  • Top notes: Pear, Bergamot and Passionfruit
  • Heart notes: Pink Magnolia, Osmanthus, Jasmine
  • Base Notes: Cedarwood, Amber, Orris

Prices start at S$13 for the scented 25g Ultra-Moisturizing Hand Therapy and Triple Milled Soap, and goes up to $75 for the 100ml Eau de Toilette. The purse-friendly 30ml bottle (pictured above) is $38. If you like fresh fruity-florals like Marc Jacobs Honey, you just might enjoy this one too.

The only con - coincidentally enough since I mentioned Honey - is the lasting power. It also opens in a nice big burst, but doesn’t stay on very long. I have to sniff my arm to find it after about 2 hours. Then again, considering the much lower price tag compared to Marc Jacobs Honey (and much more bag-friendly bottle shape) just bring it out with you and reapply!

*Other products in the line include a body wash, body lotion, and body soufflé.

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette and Sweetheart Blushes in Peach Beach and Something About Berry!

Swatches swatches swatches! 

Received a gift card from a very lovely lady and picked out a few gorgeous things at Sephora the other day. 

Too Faced has just brought out its new makeup products, and these 3 are what I consider the Must Check Outs. 

Chocolate Bar palette (SGD$69)

This neutral palette is formulated with real cocoa powder, so it does actually live up to its name in more than just appearance. The colors are pretty intense but a beautiful blend of soft pink/lavender tones, and warmer browns.

I have to say the mattes are slightly chalky, so they work better as definer shades along the lashes or in the socket, rather than as a main color over the majority of the lid. The metallics, in true Too Faced fashion, are absolutely jaw-droppingly beautiful. 

If you find the NARSissist palette too smoky and dark, and the Naked 3 a little too metallic and pink/pale, this is somewhere right between those 2, with an extra pop of lavender for some fun.

Sweetheart Blushes in Peach Beach and Something About Berry (SGD$39)

I loved the first Sweetheart Blush trio Too Faced brought out last year and still regret I didn’t get one. It was a gorgeous blend of sweet blossomy pinks. 

This year though, there are 2 new shades fill the gap! And besides getting 5.5g of product, you can use each of the 3 strips on their own for a slightly different color, or swirl them all for a 4th shade. 

Peach Beach is a bronzy-pinky-peach which is a GORGEOUS alternative to NARS Orgasm (not as sparkly or red) and Deep Throat (more intense than Deep Throat). It’s lovely as a shimmery peach blush on pale to medium skins, and also works as a warm highlighter on tan to dark skins.

Something About Berry is a hot raspberry pink shimmer. Lovely on tan to darker skins because it’s translucent but has enough rich intensity to give a beautiful flush. On medium to light skins it can be a bit too much, so use a light hand. It’s a look though, if you like dramatic pink cheeks.

RMK Kaleidoscope Nuance Color 02 Translucent Coral Pink

A multitasking “smart” beauty powder?

I’m there. 

This powder is quite silky and creamy-feeling; like a pressed powder foundation or high-end blush more than the typical pressed or illuminating powders. Pigmentation is also similar to a pressed foundation and you get pretty good pay-off.

  • Swirl the bottom half together for a coral blush
  • Sweep across the top curve of the pan for a bronzer
  • Sweep along the central triangles for highlighting
  • Swirl all around for a luminous warm face powder

The cons? 

Price: RMK is not cheap in Singapore, and this pretty powder costs $79 a pop for 7g. Definitely higher end.

Skintones: The range of skintones where all 4 usage shades will show up nicely is limited to the medium-ish. For everyone else, usage is more limited.

If you’re very fair, the highlight isn’t light enough and it might also be a little too dark swirled all around as a face powder. As a soft bronzer and a blush though, this would be perfect as it’s not too muddy or dark, and the peachy undertones are flattering.

If you’re tanner, obviously the contouring color won’t show up well, but you can use it as a beautiful highlighter and illuminating all-over powder because the texture is not chalky and there are enough warm pigments to brighten the skin.

Kaleidoscope powders are limited edition for Spring 2014, so if you’re keen check outh your local RMK counter to try it on yourself! The other illuminating powder is a lighter one with pastel blue, pink, white and beige triangles. It’s a better match as a face powder for my skintone (mac n2-3 ish) but that one can’t be used as a multitasking powder, so perhaps note worth the price-tag compared to this one.

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