Finally, an Entertaining Beauty Vlog: violette_fr

Most people talk too much on beauty videos. Talking without much content. Then Karen hooked me up to this gal and I’ve been binge watching! Violette_fr one speaks just enough words, with a specific style and a fresh take on beauty.

[Local] Review: Wardah Lightening Facial Serum

?????????????I just bought my third box of Wardah Lightening Facial Serum, so obviously this is a good one. It’s a box of 5 ampoules, each 5ml, and is marketed as containing Vitamin B3 to help brighten skin. Each of the ampoules has a twist cap opening, and the liquid content is a clear gel (not too runny) with a very faint floral scent.

wardah lightening facial serum 2

Wardah Lightening Facial Serum list of ingredients
Wardah Lightening Facial Serum list of ingredients

Niacinamide (or Vitamin B3) is the second ingredient after water in Wardah’s Lightening Facial Serum, and this was what caught my attention. Niacinamide is a very popular ingredient in products targeted for skin brightening or lightening, since it is touted to reduce wrinkles, hydrate, peel, AND help skin turnover at the same time, with many clinical trials and scientific research to prove the claims. You can read a bit more here, here or here, and googling will result in many more info about this ingredient.

Not only that, Glycerin and Aloe are also high in the ingredient list, and both are hydrating substances. Tocopheryl Acetate or Vitamin E, and Sodium Hyaluronate, another hydrating ingredient, are also present at relatively smaller amounts (but potentially still of sufficient quantities to be effective, as the list is relatively short). Housing the Serum in small ampoules is also a smart move as it reduces contact with oxygen (therefore slowing the breakdown/degradation of the ingredients).

Each ampoule of 5ml is sufficient for 4-5 applications in my experience – I use this liberally to coat my face, neck and upper chest. I use this only at night, after a thorough cleansing of my face, and the Serum is followed by a basic moisturizer to ‘seal in’ the hydration (I like St Ive’s Collagen Elastin Moisturizer). Even without the additional moisturizer, this Serum alone is hydrating enough for my oily facial skin, but I put on moisturizer on top since my neck and chest area can always use it.

So, great ingredients and packaging – but what about performance? Indeed, I see the brightening impact even after the second use! After the use of one ampoule (4-5 consecutive nights), I see significant brightening and overall evening out of skin tone.

I never use more than one ampoule continuously, preferring to switch around what I use to get the most benefits from different skincare ingredients. I usually take a few weeks before opening and using the next ampoule. So a box can last me at least 3 months. At a price of Rp54,000 for 25ml (less than US$5, and it is often on sale), this product is obviously a winner. Highly recommended and I applaud Wardah for making a good product (using internationally proven effective ingredient) at a price that everyone can afford!

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 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.”

MAC Ellie Goulding Halcyon Palette: Review and Swatches

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My Halcyon Days palette from the MAC and Ellie Goulding Collection has landed! I’m a big fan of Ellie and there’s a few posts here on her music, but it was a pleasure to support Ellie’s makeup collection too. And one that I am liking a lot!

I chose the Halcyon Days palette ($44 from MAC but about $60 through purchase order) mainly because I love MAC cream color bases (CCB). I have a few in red and pinks which I use as blush and lip color – they are very pigmented, true to pan in term of colors, long lasting, and just an overall pleasure to use. I also wanted to try MAC’s blot powder, included in this palette.

Let’s go over the CCBs first.  MAC was relatively accurate describing the colors as they translate on my skin. Color #1 Wish I Stayed is a light cream pearl and #2 Tint is a peachy brown, and both are good for eyes and lips in my case. Note that I don’t use highlighters – I have my own internal glowing mechanism i.e. my oily skin – otherwise #1 and #2 would also be good as highlighters. Color #3 Root is a taupe brown with shimmer, good for the eyes. Color #4 Everytime You Go, is a peachy pink, suitable for eyes and cheeks, but washes out on my lips if on its own. I double it up with #2 for a more wearable look.

All the CCBs are nicely emollient, sparkling in color, and blends easily. Using fingers are best for these, I find. The one downside of these is that they are not as long-lasting as my other CCBs. Without primer, on eyes, these fade noticeably after a couple of hours, and after 4 hours, only about 50% remains on my eyes. As blush, #4 lasted a bit longer but again, not as stellar as my other, full-size CCBS. I have not used them with primer yet.

The blot powder is describe as ‘medium dark’, and it’s really not that dark. I think even darker gals (NC 45) can use this – it is very, very sheer. A really good match for my NC25 face. This is definitely great for blotting, and for dusting over the CCBs to tone down the shimmer without sacrificing color. However, it’s not very good in controlling oil.

Overall, no regrets in this purchase. I really enjoy using the CCBs and the blot powder together, and if I may say so myself, it gives a very ‘Ellie’ look. My eye area has gotten drier as I age, and using these CCBs as eye color is a real pleasure. This palette would also be great for travel and I can’t wait to take it places.

Bottom line: no regrets even at the inflated price I obtained it for, and recommended for those who want to try MAC’s CCBs, and those with dryer skin.

MAC Halcyon Days palette
MAC Halcyon Days palette

MAC Halcyon Days Ellie Goulding (4)

Two Cleansing Oils: The Body Shop Camomile and The Face Shop Rice Water Bright

The Body Shop Camomile The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing OilsI recently finished two cleansing oils,  The Body Shop (TBS) Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil and The Face Shop (TFS) Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light Oil. Both are widely available in Jakarta and do not contain mineral oil (for those who care – I don’t).

TBS Camomile (Rp199,000 or about US$ 15 for 200ml) has a relatively thick texture with a mild and (to my nose) pleasant floral scent. The main oil ingredient is soy oil.  The pros are that the texture is thick and spreads easily; cleans very well including all waterproof makeup and sunscreen; does not sting eyes; and rinses off relatively squeaky clean with water so I don’t feel a need to rinse off with a foaming cleanser.  The cons: not as squeaky clean as Muji Sensitive Skin Cleansing oil

TFS Rice Water Bright is 150ml and was bought under Rp200,000 during a sale (I’ve forgotten the exact price).  It’s main ingredient being rice bran oil, this indeed has a light texture, and a stronger scent though not unpleasant to my nose. Tried as I might, I could not find a positive thing to say about this. The texture is too runny: you need to quickly message onto skin or it will drip down to your neck. I need to use a lot more to take the makeup off, than other cleansing oils I’ve used and even then, it does not take waterproof eyeliners completely off. It stings the eyes, and leaves a filmy residue after being rinsed off with water, so a second cleanser is needed (not a good sign in my book, as the whole point of cleansing oils is the convenience of cleanse-and-rinse in one go).

Bottom line: Compared to these two, I still prefer Muji Sensitive Skin cleansing oil, but the TBS Camomile  is a good alternative. I was contemplating a permanent switch from Muji to the TBS Camomile when the later was priced at Rp139,000, but now that it is Rp199,000 (about the same price as Muji), I will not be switching. The TFS Rice Water Bright was a pain to use, and I will not be purchasing this again.

Ingredients list - The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing oil and The Face Show Rice Water Bright
Ingredients list – The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil and The Face Show Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light Oil