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.”

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

 

[Local] La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette: Review and Swatches

While tooling around in the traditional market for the Purbasari lipstick, this little gem of a travel palette by local brand La Tulipe caught my eyes: Asian Beauty Travel Palette (normally Rp165,000 ~ US$12 but was on 15% discount). It was one of two La Tulipe travel palettes that I was shown, but I bought this one since I prefer its  color combination and cover illustration.

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Inside the La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette

The first row in the palette has four eyeshadows which are unnamed: #1 shimmery orange-y copper; #2 shimmery light pink; #3 a satiny matte dark brown (more on this below); and #4 golden cream. The second row is occupied by a face powder (suitable for someone NC 25-30, and described as a two-way cake though I haven’t tried it wet yet), a shimmery and slightly bronze-y peach blush , and two lip colors (a shimmery almost translucent orange, and a matte peachy pink).

Now, the dark brown is relatively matte, but with a very slight sheen. That’s why I mentioned it as a satin-y matte. In a jam, this will also work as brow color, if you use sparingly and just to fill in the gaps. It is not too red, so that’s a plus, but if you try to shape with it – where some color show on skin rather than amongst brow hair – the shine will show through more.

The palette is made of cardboard,  10.5 cm width x 14.5 cm length x 1.5cm deep (comparable to a conventional postcard). It comes with a plastic separator and a good-sized mirror. Two mini brushes are included, which were useless and I’ve thrown away.

The pros: cheap; the colors relatively pigmented and neutral for Asian skin coloring; shimmery but still office-appropriate; the powders soft, buttery and blend easily; the lip colors not drying; the individual pans not too small; and the packaging classy.

The cons: the eyeshadows will need a primer to be longer-lasting; all the powder products heavily fragranced; and some people may find the color combination old-fashioned.

Edit: I’ve had a chance to use the face powder wet, and results are not good. There is some coverage, but the buffing takes time, oil control is poor, and the finish is very coarse. This is best as a setting powder in a thin layer.

Bottom line: I think this is probably the best travel palette I’ve ever seen from a local brand. It’s a classy palette that you won’t be embarrassed whipping out in front of co-workers or in the airport lounge. Recommended!

Backside of the La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette (click to enlarge)
Backside of the La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette (click to enlarge)
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Swatches of all contents, La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette
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Wearing #1 (left) and #2 lip colors, the face powder and blush (over MAC BB Cream), La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette
Face powder and eyeshadows, La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette
Face powder and eyeshadows, La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette

[Local] Review and Swatches: Purbasari Lipstick No. 82 Mirah

Purbasari Matte Lipstick No. 82 Mirah (4)These ultra cheap Purbasari Lipstick Color Mattes have been making local waves for a while now, but I’ve only been able to acquire one recently. They’re really down-market, so your best bet in finding one is at cosmetics shops in the traditional or wet markets where they’ve been selling briskly.

I got No. 82; on the bullet, it is called Mirah (ruby, in English). I could not find the color name on the box, though. The color swatch on the box is actually quite accurate  – it is a berry red. Visually the bullet looks nice, but feels flimsy.

Mirah is a true matte that goes on thick and opaque in one swipe. If you like precise application of your lipsticks, then you will need to use a lip brush. The lasting power is very good (no fading even after 4 hours with many drinks), and it does not stain cups when you’re drinking. Mirah lasts through a moderate meal, leaving a good amount of stain on the lips. It feels dry, but not to the point of discomfort. This actually reminds me on a Lancome matte lipstick I had, in this exact color, in the late 90s, ha!

Overall, this is a great product for its price of only Rp29,000 (about US$2!). I am not a big fan of the matte lip look, but Mirah also looks great glossy. At this price, purchasing more will satisfy cravings for new makeup without breaking the bank!

Purbasari No. 82 Mirah (left) and compared with Colour Pop Too Sexy and NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Prague
Purbasari No. 82 Mirah (left) and compared with other matte lipsticks, ie. Colour Pop Too Sexy and NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Prague

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Purbasari Matte Lipstick No. 82 Mirah - ingredients
Purbasari Matte Lipstick No. 82 Mirah – ingredients