Thursday, October 30, 2014

Goodbye to a beloved eyeliner | Elite Paris Matt Liner in Matt Brown | Swatches + Review

For some, it's mascara.  For others, it's lipstick.  For me, if there's one product I do not leave the house without, it's eyeliner.  Eyeliner.  It can be bold or subtle.  It can create a come-hither cat eye or a "I'm awake" look.  With my heavy, hooded eyelids, sparse lashes, and small eyes in general, eyeliner was a game changer for me.  With eyeliner, my eyes actually looked open and attractive in pictures.  My eyes finally stood out under my glasses.  I love eyeliner.

I first discovered eyeliner in high school.  I would always get the same one because I got lucky and the first one I purchased was a fantastic choice - Lineur Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner from L'Oreal.  It met all the requirements: soft, felt tip, pigmented color, easy to apply, long-lasting, non-irritating, easy to remove.  They also lasted a really long time, especially since I was using the liner every day.

Fast forward to March 2013, when I received my third GlossyBox...

Meet Matt Brown.  He's a keeper.  He's waterproof and long-lasting.  He has a soft, felt-tip applicator that's easy to use and control.  He has a formula that dries quickly and turns into a beautiful, soft matte finish.  His deep and intense brown color complemented my eyes yet could be made to look very natural.  Seriously, this was the eyeliner that I was looking for all along.  Matt Brown was a keeper and I looked high and low to find more of his kind.  Unfortunately, he doesn't exist anymore.  That's right, discontinued.

What is a girl to do?  I had to move on. My Matt Brown was drying up.  I put two drops of Bioderma cleansing water into the liner which gave me a couple of months, but I still needed options.  One day my husband came home with an order from  By chance, he had purchased an item that was on my wish list: Eyeko Visualeyes Liquid Eyeliner in Mocha.  I was hesitant to try it, because how could it possibly be as great as Matt?  Turns out this Eyeko liner is probably the closest dupe I could ever hope to find.

Tip comparison
Left: Eyeko Visualeyes Liquid Eyeliner in Mocha
Right: Elite Paris Matt Liner in Matt Brown

So what's the difference?  Eyeko comes in a sleeker package.  It has a nearly 1 cm long, tapered brush tip.  It has twice the amount of product (0.55 mL versus 2.5mL).  The brown color has a hint of black.  It was made in in Japan and assembled in Korea (Matt was German made).  Most importantly, it's available on the market and easy to buy (, $19).  Who knew, of all people, my husband would be the one bringing home my dream eyeliner?

Above: Swatches in natural light
Left: Elite Paris Matt Liner in Matt Brown
Right: Eyeko Visualeyes Liquid Eyeliner in Mocha

Above: Swatches in direct sunlight
Left: Elite Paris Matt Liner in Matt Brown
Right: Eyeko Visualeyes Liquid Eyeliner in Mocha

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A blacktie palette for a black tie event | Dior Backstage Couture Creations Palette | Swatches

I'm traveling this weekend and that means I have to pack.  While I'm an expert at choosing outfits to bring on a trip, I have a major issue with makeup and skincare products.  It's not that I can't choose, I just end up packing way too much!  I definitely get the gene from my mom.  When I was younger, I remember settling into a hotel room after a long day of sightseeing and seeing her opening a sizeable train case full of travel-sized toners, serums, moisturizers, creams, you name it - she had it.  While it was a mini treasure chest of products right in her lap, it was quite heavy and not very practical.

Today, I want to share a more friendly way to travel with the products you love.  I took one look at this makeup palette and fell in love with the beautiful selection of face, eye, and lip products.

On the left, there is a gorgeous yet subtle golden highlighter that looks luminous on my NC-20 skin.  I use it on my cheekbones, forehead, cupid's bow, brow bone, and down the bridge of my nose.

The blush is very subtle and with my flushed cheeks, it's difficult to see.  That being said, I think it's a versatile, universal soft pink shade that will look great on most skin tones.

The eyeshadows are just delightful.  The top row of shadows are for the "day" look.  The peachy-pale pink shade highlights the inner corners, the shimmery brown is perfect for the crease.  The gold has discernible glitter particles but because it's not concentrated resulting in a subtle sparkle, perfect to emphasize the center of the lid.  I wore this eyeshadow look today and got plenty of complements!

L to R: swatches of highlighter, blush, shimmer shadows x2, "glow look" x2, "smoky look" x2, natural lighting, above

Here are the instructions that were included with the palette.

I wore the daytime look with a mixture of the two pink lip colors included in the palette.  The top color is more glossy and has a small amount of gold shimmer.  The bottom color is more matte and opaque.  I topped it off with my favorite gloss at the moment, the Chantecaille Luminous Gloss in Pink Melon, which is hydrating, long-lasting, and gives the illusion of full, plump lips.

 Swatches of Rouge Dior Nude (L) and Dior Addict Gloss (R), indirect sunlight, above
Rouge Dior Nude: "Smoky Look: enhance your look with Rouge Dior lipstick for a touch of nude color and instant radiance."
- Matte to semi-glossy pink shade
- Long lasting, medium to full pigmentation
-Natural finish
Dior Addict Gloss: "Glow Look: give you lips natural definition and shine with Dior Addict Gloss."
- Light pigmentation
- Some shimmer
- Glossy finish

Chantecaille Luminous Gloss in Pink Melon, above

I have yet to use the night-time look eyeshadows but I am definitely excited to.   I just need a special occasion to go to.   Dinner with the hubby might do!

Do you have a all-in-one makeup palette that you fell in love with at first sight?

The palette details:
- 0.25 oz Diorskin Nude Shimmer illuminating powder
- 0.20 oz Diorblush #830 powder blush
- 6 x 0.04 oz Eye shadows in Light pink base #614, Iridescent Brown Colour # 669, Mono Gold Highlighter #616, Light Grey Base #034, Purple Colour #968, Black Sparkling Liner #085
- 0.04 oz Dior Addict Gloss lip gloss
- 0.04 oz Rouge Dior Nude lipstick in Charnelle #459

Friday, July 18, 2014

Zelens Transformer Instant Renewal Mask

No, this isn't a review for the umpteenth Transformers movie.  It's a mask that talks big game.  Unfortunately, I just was not impressed with it nor its price tag [$195 for 50mL/1.7oz].

The texture is quite different from your run-of-the-mill clay mask.  It's silky, glistening with shimmer particles, and quite transparent.  When first applied, there is a light, tingling sensation, however this dissipates immediately.  I left the mask on for about 20 min. even though the instructions state 15.  Even with the extra 5 minutes, the mask did not appear to dry out.  After rinsing off the mask with a warm, moist cloth, I just couldn't see any difference in my skin.  Perhaps this is a product that needs to be tested for at least one month, but because website claimed that this mask was used on celebrities immediately before red carpet appearances, I was hoping for immediate results.  Also, with "Instant" in the name, could I expect any less?

For now, I will stick with my Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask.  Yes, there's the word, "Instant" again.  But this time, it's legit!

Transformer Instant Renewal Mask
Here are the "active" ingredients; I'll let you decide for yourself:

Oxygen complex
"A highly effective synergistic complex of yeast extract, marine glycogen and Vitamin C. Possesses regeneration and repairing properties. It increases oxygen consumption, stimulates energy production in skin cells and reduces the release of harmful free radicals. Oxygen complex helps restore vitality and youthful appearance of the skin."

Bio-energising complex
"A complex containing adenosine 5-triphosphate (ATP), magnesium and brown sea alga called Oarweed (Laminaria digitata). Demonstrates several functions: boosts cellular energy, delivers essential minerals, protects the skin and increases its natural defenses while providing hydration. It has strong revitalizing and invigorating effect."

Enzyme complexion
"Transfomer is powered by two enzymes that stimulate skin renewal: protease and subtilisin. These enzymes increase the cellular turnover and reinforce the skin’s natural renewal ability by allowing dead cells to be removed quickly."

Multi-functional lactobionic acid
"A novel bionic acid derived from naturally occurring lactose (milk sugar). Lactobionic acid enhances cell turnover and causes a measurable increase in skin thickness. It is a potent moisturiser that binds water to form a film on skin providing softness and smoothness. Lactobionic acid is also known for its strong antioxidant properties."

Sesame protein
"Sesame protein demonstrates an immediate tightening and anti-wrinkle effect. This protein also effectively moisturizes the skin."

Seaweed complex
"Nourishes the skin and reinforces the skin’s moisture barrier since it is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Demonstrates also energising, firming and anti-oxidant properties."

Hyaluronic acid
"A key component of connective tissue. Zelens uses a low-molecular weight hyaluronic acid to restore skin moisture, plump the skin and avoid epidermal thinning occurring during aging."

Pearl extract
"An extract from natural pearls containing 16 amino acids, proteins and polysaccharides. Increase skin moisture, enhance skin radiance and improve skin smoothness."

Have you tried this mask?  Should I stick with it?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Wish List

  1. Jouer Matte Moisture Tint SPF 15
  2. PERRICONE MD No Foundation Foundation Serum
  1. Napoleon Perdis 'Two Faced' Eyeliner Duo (Limited Edition): Power
  2. Eyeko Visual Eyes Liquid Eyeliner Duo: 15% off if you sign up for newsletters from HSN
  2. HOURGLASS Ambient Lighting Palette
  1. NARS Lipstick: Honolulu Honey
What is on your wish list for summer?


It's that time of year when drugstores and supermarkets stock their shelves with loads of sun protection products, reminding people to protect their skin!  I had a chance to review Copperstone's Clearly Sheer Suncscreen, thanks to BzzAgent, a social marketing company that I've had the opportunity to work with for over 5 years.

I've used Coppertone for years, so I'm comfortable with the brand and their products.  The Clearly Sheer is a newly released line with a revamped formula.  The sunscreen claims to be non-acenegenic, non-comedogenic, moisturizing and sheer.

I prefer higher SPF on by body so I used the SPF 50 when I went to the LA Dodgers game a few weeks ago.  It was a convenient travel size version which fit perfectly in my handbag without weighing me down.  The spray nozzle is great to use as well - I have little patience when it comes to applying suncreen.  Case in point: as we were walking from the parking lot toward the stadium (about a half mile hike), I was able to thoroughly spray down my legs, arms, back and neck in less than 3 minutes.  I  then passed it on to my fellow male companions who did the same.  By the time we reached our seats inside Dodgers stadium, we were protected from the harsh, afternoon LA sun.

Let me say that I don't think the boys would have been inclined to use sunscreen if they had seen me laboriously lathering on lotion.  I think the spray can was quite appealing to them!

Here is the product information and ingredients for those that are curious.


Clean and light formulas are ideal for everyday use under makeup with a fresh citrus scent that’s appropriate for routine daily activities.


Delightfully light, refreshing formulas feel clean on skin, are water resistant for up to 80 minutes and have a subtle tropical fruit and flower fragrance.
Principal Display Panel - 142 g Can Label

So going back to the shelves of sunscreen, why choose Coppertone Clearly Sheer over the others?  To be honest, I would choose first by price.  This product range tends to be average price when compared to its competitors.  The real distinguishing factor is the formula.  The Clearly Sheer is lightweight and absorbs rather quickly into the skin. The texture is much less "gloopier" than the drugstore brand.  Also, it only takes a light hand for the lotion to disappear whereas other formulas you'll be rubbing and rubbing with no clear skin in sight.

I can't attest to the longevity of the formula as I tend to apply sunscreen every hour or so and especially after I've been in the water.  I would, however, warn those with sensitive skin because the spray formula contains alcohol and fragrance which may be irritating.  Also, I don't use these sunscreen on my face for the above reason and because I prefer to use Clarins UV Plus HP - Multi-protection Day Screen, SPF 40.  It's seriously good stuff (non-irritating for my ultra sensitive face) and plays nice with my foundation or BB cream.

What sunscreen do you prefer to use on your body?  What do you use on your face?  I would love to hear your thoughts!  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Laneige BB Cushion Whitening #21 Natural Beige

I have to get up quite early lately for work so I've managed to cut down my makeup routine.  Those extra few minutes of sleep are so precious to me (cranky vs. somewhat awake and ready for the day).  Thanks to the Laniege BB Cushion (whitening version) in #21 Natural Beige, I can get base makeup down rather quickly - in under 3 minutes to be exact.

I absolutely love carrying this solidly built compact around.  It's durable, has a great mirror, and just feels great in the palm of my hand.  I'd say the packaging looks quite luxurious!

It also comes with a "cushion" - a sort of synthetic "anti-bacterial" puff to apply the BB cream.  There's a plastic divider between the mirror and the makeup to store the cushion.  I dab the cushion in the product then tap, tap, tap the foundation in light, gentle patting motions onto my skin.  It has a nice cooling and moisturizing effect on the skin at first, but then the sensation goes away after multiple uses.  I find that putting on two layers gives me medium coverage over my hyperpigmentation spots.

I learned that Target is now carrying the US version of this product in different skin tones and purpose (no whitening benefits) but with the same, great SPF 50+ coverage.  As you can see in the color chart below, Koreans like their skin quite vampire-like; naturally, Laneige is offering darker colors to their US customers.  You can find out where to purchase this product here.  The color I use, #21 Natural Beige, converts to "Light" in the US version.

In terms of lasting coverage, I would definitely tell you to reapply this product during the middle of the day if you are a greasy gal like me.  Also, the product tends to fade in a way that's not flattering to pores - hard to explain but true.  So if you are a set-it-and-forget-it type of person, this may not be the product for you.  Overall, I like simplicity of using this product, the lightness of the BB cream in a compact package.  The formula isn't perfect, but it's good enough for my needs.  I use Dior Diorskin Nude Compact in 020 Light Beige to set the foundation which also works great for touch ups.

What base products do you use that cut down your makeup time?