You Don’t Have to be Pretty

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As someone who is not very active on social media, I just found this quote today. Wrongly attributed to Diana Vreeland, it is actually by Erin McKean – a paragraph in one of her blog post. If you are bored with the standard fashion blog of More Expensive Things No One Can Afford, then check her blog of thoughtful posts, a mishmash of fashion and art history, popular culture and DIY projects.

Demi Lovato on the Cover of Latina Magazine

Demi Lovato Latina Magazine (3)
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Ever since hearing her sing Stone Cold live, I paid more attention to Demi Lovato. Not only for the singing, but her makeup on that performance made a huge impression. Recently I tried a Kindle free trial of Latina Magazine because Demi was on the cover with gorgeous makeup. See for yourself!

I’ve copied these looks but haven’t yet been able to get the right balance for a day-to-day look that can be done quickly (sans the editorial brows, of course). But it’s a fun look, especially the last picture below – shimmery pink and taupe on eyes, peachy cheeks, beige lips and mad bronzing. Neutral with a kick, and I think this is doable with the recent palettes.

The article was also interesting. I did not realize that this time around is her second coming. Her story reminds me of Drew Barrymore, who’s been to the doldrums a few times, always coming back stronger for it.

Demi Lovato Latina Magazine (1)
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Demi Lovato Latina Magazine (2)
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Mega Himalaya Herbals Face Wash Review: Neem, Exfoliating, Whitening, and Oil Control

Himalaya Herbals face washesSeveral years ago I got a few gently-used Himalaya Herbals products, and was blown away by how good they were. This line of product is based on ayurveda, or ayuverdic medicine, which originated in India.

Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) is one of the world’s oldest medical systems. It originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and remains one of the country’s traditional health care systems. Its concepts about health and disease promote the use of herbal compounds, special diets, and other unique health practices.  (Source)

At that time, Himalaya Herbals products were not widely available in Indonesia, with only one known store in Jakarta, so I mostly purchased them when overseas. The brick-and-mortar store then closed. But during the last year or so, Himalaya is back in Indonesia, and the good thing is, they are now widely distributed across drugstores (e.g. Watson, Guardian, etc),  supermarkets and convenience stores (Alfa Mart, etc). Initially, the face washes were all that’s available, but increasingly, other products as well, e.g. moisturizers, face mask, etc.

This review is for the face washes that are sold in Indonesia, and I list them in order of preference. You will find the ingredients list for each variant at the bottom of the page.

Purifying Neem Face Wash

This has been the product I consistently used for many years now – I think it has been over 5 years. There are two version of this wash, the gel version and the foaming version. I have tried both a few times. In truth, I like them equally, and happy to purchase either one, and usually price dictates my choice, so will choose whichever is on sale or has a special bundling event. I always stock up when there is a special, as it’s a product that I continue to use.  I’ve found no difference in performance between the gel or foaming Neem cleansers that I bought overseas (Singapore, Malaysia Philippines) with those bought in Indonesia. In the picture above, the tube second from the right was bought overseas.

I use the Neem facial cleanser in the morning, or in the afternoon if I have mainly stayed indoors without makeup. Unlike the other facial washes which are heavily scented, this one has a mild floral fragrance, a bit plasticky to my nose, but not to the point that it bothers me.  I usually put on the cleanser on dry skin and message thoroughly over my face before rinsing off. For those concerned, note that this face wash (as also the other variants below) does contain a surfactant (i.e. a lathering agent, in this case ammonium lauryl sulfate).

Gently Exfoliating Daily Face Wash

This face wash has some small granules, said to be apricot seeds (and the ingredients list does list apricot kernels). The granules are very fine and not very abrasive, so it would be great for gentle exfoliation, although I still would not use this daily. Maybe once a day or every other day would be great. This cleanser also contains neem, aloe, etc. Sometimes I will mix a little bit of this into the Neem Facial Wash to get a bit of polishing action. The scent is very strong though, and not pleasant to my nose, as are the other washes below.

Clear Complexion Whitening Face Wash

This one is just ok. I don’t detect any whitening/brightening (and I actually do not expect any – I don’t believe that a face wash can whiten). Again, the scent is very strong.

Oil Control Lemon Face Wash

I dislike this the  most as the scent is very strong. It is advertised for oily skin, but I do not detect any more cleansing power than the rest, though it does not dry out the skin either.

So, bottom line, I would recommend highly the Purifying Neem Face Wash for all types of skin as a morning cleanser. I’ve recommended this numerous times to people, and most do find this great. If you are looking for a cheap yet effective manual exfoliator, then try the Gentle Exfoliating Daily Facial Wash for intermittent use, and this should be great for teen skin which don’t need heavy duty exfoliation yet. Both products are cheap and effective.

Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Face Wash
Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Face Wash
Himalaya Herbals Gentle Daily Exfoliating Face Wash
Himalaya Herbals Gentle Daily Exfoliating Face Wash
Himalaya Herbals Clear Complexion Whitening Face Wash
Himalaya Herbals Clear Complexion Whitening Face Wash
Himalaya Herbals Oil Control Lemon Face Wash
Himalaya Herbals Oil Control Lemon Face Wash

Makeup Rip-off…not!

I’m always vexed at people who quatsch when the price of a palette is higher than purchasing individual items (in terms of value per volume). Rip off! they say. Well …. no. Look at the higher price as the premium you have to pay for  1) the convenience of having all the colors in one package, which can be convenient for storage and travel; 2) the opportunity to buy more colors at less cost, e.g. if singles are @$50, and a palette of two colors with each half the volume of singles is $60, you are saving having to shell out $100 (for something you don’t know you’re going to really like or will use up, etc). In other words, the $10 is the premium you pay for lowering your risk and/or the opportunity to spend the $40 in something else.

It’s really nice when companies sell palettes at a lower per unit cost than singles, but in some cases, a higher per unit cost still makes economic sense. Like all things, not everyone will value the convenience, but that hardly makes the product a rip off (making it sound like the company is trying to steal something from you) anymore than anything else you don’t value (Hello Kitty anything, why??). Especially if the price and product volume is clearly in the labels – that’ what 2nd grade math class/the calculator on your phone is for. The best you can say is, the company over-estimated people’s values for the convenience.

 

 

Nail of the Week: Chanel Espadrilles…dupe!

I really wanted Chanel ‘Espadrilles’ nail polish after I saw it on Sabrina, but no only is a Chanel counter a few hours away, it’s likely the counter would not have this color yet. Boosted by confidence from past lab mixes, I headed to the lab (aka makeshift space on my work desk) to mix a dupe.

Espadrilles is a bright orange red. So obviously, would would need a red to mix one. I know I have a reliable one in the OPI ‘Over and Over A-Gwen, from the Gwen Stafani, my first red love. Next, perhaps a yellow? After mxing Zoya ‘Creamy’ (a yellow) in the the OPI, and vice versa, I wasn’t satisfied with the results – too muddy and not bright and sparkling.

Next I tried mixing a little of the red OPI into a bright orange cream – OPI ‘Brights Power’ – and…bingo! I got what I wanted, a bright orange red! I really like this combination enough that I am ok with not having Espadrilles, although I did keep a lookout of it in the Chanel Changi counter, though did not see it.

OPI 'Over & Over A-Gwen' mixed with OPI 'Brights Power'
OPI ‘Over & Over A-Gwen’ mixed with OPI ‘Brights Power’

I think I need a back up of Over and Over A-Gwen, it is such a useful one to have!

Left: OPI 'Over and Over A-Gwen' and right, mixed with OPI 'Brights Power'
Left: OPI ‘Over and Over A-Gwen’ and right, mixed with OPI ‘Brights Power’

Bonus: I also like the look of OPI ‘Pineapples Have Feelings Too!’ but didn’t really like the online swatches that I saw – the multicolor glitters are drowned by the yellow – so layered Milani ‘Gems’ over China Glaze ‘Golden Opportunity’ and voila! A big stash of polish is really a useful one!

Milani 'Gems' over China Glaze 'Golden Opportunity'
Milani ‘Gems’ over China Glaze ‘Golden Opportunity’

Makeup as Skin Care

Guerlain Rouge G lipstick
Guerlain Rouge G lipsticks (which tout hyaluronic acid and mango butter for hydration)

When someone mentions a must-do about beauty and skincare, I immediately roll my eyes. Yes, it’s a wonder these eyes haven’t popped out due to so much eye-rolling. But Renees’s list of 5 Skin Care Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes* did not result in such eye movements. I’ve been reading Renee’s tips for many years now. She’s an esthetician to the stars (well, I only mention it because performing artists need to look their best at all times), with non-nonsense and rational approach to skin care and to basic biology, and this list is a classic Renee.

You can read the list of 5 mistakes you probably make (none of which I make, ha!) but want to draw on the most interesting point she makes, and that is makeup as skin care. This is somewhat my approach to makeup to0, nowadays, especially as technology evolved and enabled active ingredients to stay stable. In the article, Renee mentions foundation as skincare, and I find that is true, especially with the higher-end makeup line. Another are lip products, touting hydration, sunscreen and even wrinkle-fighting.

Ironically, people are now flocking to ‘natural’ products, and they’re missing out on these technological advances in makeup (and skincare) products. Not to mention that most people think ‘natural’ is non-chemical (honey, they’re ALL chemicals; it’s a matter of being organic or synthetic, and further mistake is in thinking that organic is safer  – well, not if you ask these regulators). Of course, knowing which is which, and what ingredients benefit you according to your needs, will need you to know about … ingredients! No surprises there.

*Information courtesy of www.ReneeRouleau.com, a website with skin care tips, products based on nine skin types and advice from skin care expert and celebrity esthetician, Renée Rouleau.”

PSA: The One-Woman Fashion Show is Back on the Road!!

Kate India Bhutan tourI do not use the double exclamation marks lightly – this is probably only the second time in my adult life. Or thereabouts. But! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a royal tour of India and Bhutan! Only two places I’ve always wanted to go to.

So far, the fashion does not disappoint. I love the very interesting Alexander McQueen red dress (above picture, left) – peplum and a split skirt, two of my favorite dress elements. Practical, to boot!

The Anita Dongre dress (middle) is both ethnic and contemporary. I love the color. I do wish she had opted for a shalwar kameez – that would have been practical for the cricket bout she’d have in that dress. But pehaps that would be too costume-y, too early, and too Diana-ish. Check out the story on how the dress had been altered and in turn, the altered version being offered by the original designer. What economic power house! *swoon*

The striking blue Jenny Packham evening dress is a lovely if too-safe option, especially considering she’s mingling with Bollywood elites.

For an engaging discussion of Kate Middleton fashion, check out the What Kate Wore Blog – the best blog ever on personal style.

Aaah, it’s going to be an enjoyable week. Bring on more of the one-woman fashion show!

kate middleton india bhutan tour
Source: The Telegraph