Sunday, May 26, 2013

Evening Routine Staple: Dermalogica Precleanse

Be it make-up wipes, dual phase remover, micellar water or ritual chanting - all of us make-up wearers have our favorite way of removing the slap from our faces at the end of the day. After trying and liking the DHC Cleansing Oil, I was on the lookout for a natural oil-based option and I've stumbled upon this little gem: Dermalogica Precleanse ($37 for 5.1 fl oz/ 150ml), a deep-cleansing oil featuring a blend of apricot kernel, kukui, rice bran, sunflower, safflower and olive oils.
'Deep-cleansing oil melts impurities and make-up from skin. Achieve ultra clean and healthy skin with the Double Cleanse regimen that begins with PreCleanse. Thoroughly melt away layers of excess sebum (oil), sunscreen, waterproof make-up, environmental pollutants and residual products that build-up on skin throughout the day with skin fortifying Olive, Kukui and Apricot oils. Add water to transform this hydrophilic (water-loving) formula into a milky emulsion that easily rinses debris from the skin's surface, allowing your prescribed Dermalogica Cleanser to penetrate even further for professional cleansing results. Formulated with conditioning Rice Bran and Vitamin E oils, this gentle blend can be used around the eye area to even remove waterproof mascara. Offers a deep cleansing ideal for even the most oily skin conditions. Formulated without artificial fragrances and colors.' (from the blurb on the cardboard box)

The packaging is rather simplistic and utilitarian, although I find that one has to quickly tip the bottle upside down, shake out the preferred amount and then tip it back up to avoid wasteful spillage down the side of the cap. The product is clear and not very viscous, which makes the application a tiny bit more challenging, and smells lightly and very pleasantly of tangerine hard candy/ lemon drops.
As described, I usually pour a bit in the palm of my dry hand (by bit, I mean the size of a nickel, or about 7 drops... see, I'm anything if not technical), and then dab the oil on my face, starting on the forehead, cheeks and chin. Whatever is left, I gently dab onto my eyes, and then with both hands I first massage the oil on my face, then moving onto the messier eye make-up; I simply prefer not to smear black mascara all over my face. I delicately rub the oil between my lashes to get everything off, then rinse my hands from the oil, and with damp hands emulsify the oil on my face, starting with my eyes this time (same reason as above). Like promised in the product description, it turns into a milky lotion after adding the water from my damp palms, which in turn rinses clean with warm water. Oh, and by clean, I mean no residue, but no squeaky feeling either - it just leaves my face feeling soft and comfortable and with neither a trace of make-up nor even a smidge of mascara on the lower lids. I then move on to using an actual facial cleanser.
To sum up, on the plus side Dermalogica Precleanse is a (somewhat) natural cleansing oil that's very effective and pleasant to use. On the down side, it's rather pricey, hard to come by (as Dermalogica can only be carried by spas or wherever there's an esthetician on hand... and which is why you probably shouldn't be buying it from Amazon; they have their own online store, though) and definitely more time consuming than using something like a make-up wipe (brrr!). I'm not sure yet if I'll repurchase; after the recent price increase, I may want to try Nude's slightly cheaper version first, or come back to micellar waters. But if you do like cleansing oils and are looking for a more natural alternative, I do recommend you check out Dermalogica's Precleanse for its gentle but ultra-effective formulation.

Have you tried using cleansing oils in your evening routine? What is your favorite way of removing make-up?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lips Like Velvet: Givenchy Le Rouge in Rose Taffetas

Recently, I've been on a mission to somewhat revamp my lipstick collection; I swatched, compared and roadtested most of my stash and then gave away a significant portion to make room for some newer and better lipstick specimens. And so, via the irresistible incentive of Sephora VIB sale and an equally alluring post from Driveller Kate, came into my possession this luxe beauty: Givenchy Le Rouge in Rose Taffetas no. 201 ($36 for 3.4g/ 0.12 fl oz).
 (As a side note, does anyone else find the name just a touch pompous? It's like calling your product 'The Lipstick'. I know the French can get away with almost anything and sound glamorous, but isn't this kind of a tall order to fill...? The Lipstick? I'm not quite sure if it's more impressive or just megalomaniac.)
 Lo and behold, this lipstick is a true beauty; in fact, I do not own a single piece of make-up that is more beautifully packaged than Le Rouge. The cap is envelopped in genuine soft black leather interrupted by a silver metallic accent, engraved with the brand's name and decorated with a single stud at the base. The design under the cap is just as harmonious, and the lipstick bullet comes engraved with the Givenchy logo of quadruple G's. The attention to detail is so tremendous that I honestly had a hard time bringing myself to actually using this product.
 Givenchy Le Rouge in Rose Taffetas is described as a 'light pink coral' but could also be categorized as a warm rosy pink. All of Les Rouges 'deliver intense color and semi-matte finish all in one stroke' (as per Sephora's website), and if you're wondering about the semi-matte, it's almost like a velvety effect - it's not completely matte like the Revlon or MAC offerings, but it's definitely not a cream either; there's no visible glossiness or shine to the product. If anything, the finish is very much like the bare skin of one's lips.
 In terms of consistency and wear, Le Rouge goes on smoothly on the lips with no tugging, and covers very well in a couple swipes. It doesn't seem to plump up my lip lines but doesn't make them more apparent either. After 3-4 hours wear, it does start to feel a bit clingy and drying, though this can be alleviated by adding another layer without compromising the finish. I would say it lasts somewhere around the 5 hour mark (by which point I obviously have to eat... and it doesn't make it through the meal without needing to touch up). My lips do feel a bit dry after wearing Le Rouge for the day, however they're not completely parched like they would be after wearing a full on matte, and wearing a good matte lip balm underneath (Nuxe Reve de Miel, of course!) helps a lot as well.
Compared to my other light pink corals, Rose Taffetas (left) is similar to MAC Viva Glam Cyndi (middle) but more vibrant, opaque and obviously without shimmer. Compared to YSL Rouge Pur in Pink Grenadine (right), it's quite a bit lighter and with more pink rather than red undertones. On the lips, it also doesn't look like anything else I have in my collection and goes with a variety of different eye looks as a slightly brighter but still rather classic option.
Have you tried Givenchy Le Rouge formulation? What is your favorite matte or semi-matte lipstick?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Skincare Additions

I'm slowly but surely going through my accumulated skincare backups and introducing some new(er) products to my routine, so I thought it'd be interesting to share my experiences with you.
As you've probably deduced from reading this blog, I absolutely love trying new skincare products, even though I think my face often does not appreciate the constant rotation - but I also think I've been finding some long-term favorites recently!
First off, a product I've been using the longest now: John Masters Organics Vitamin C Anti-Aging Face Serum ($30 for 1 fl oz), a certified organic product with Vitamin C, extracts of sea algae, nettle and rosebud to moisturize, stimulate collagen production and bring antioxidants to the skin. I'd purchased it on a recommendation from another beauty blogger who absolutely swore by the product, and I was hoping the serum would help to fade my post-acne hyperpigmentation. After a couple months of testing, I think it does help a little bit to get rid of unsightly dark marks, although the effect is by no means dramatic or particularly fast. I'm also not the biggest fan of the texture, as it remains slightly sticky on the skin after application, and it seems my moisturizer doesn't absorb quite as well on top of this serum. Overall, it's an ok product but I would not repurchase.
 At the same time I've started using the Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion, I also introduced one of their night creams to my routine: Murad Essential-C Night Moisture ($63 for 1.7 fl oz). The product features a patented technology to increase elasticity by stimulating collagen production, vitamin C to fight free radicals and shea butter to moisturize. I was getting a tiny bit bored of using my Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil and thought this would be a lighter option for warmer weather. This definitely has a thicker consistency than the Skin Perfecting Lotion, which is expected from a night cream; what I didn't expect though is that it absorbs very nicely with no oily residue. It has a refreshing, orange & thyme scent and it does make my skin feel soft and hydrated by the morning. I have a lot of night creams to power through but I might repurchase at some point in the future!
Lastly, somewhat of a cult favorite: Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free Toner ($7.99 for 12 fl oz). This toner is a blend of aloe vera juice with witch hazel extract, rose water, glycerin and some vitamin E - can't really simplify those ingredients any further! At first I just couldn't get used to the strong rose geranium scent of this toner but it definitely grew on me and I look forward to its refreshing boost now. As far as the results, it does exactly what is says on the front: it's gentle, it's moisturizing, it helps to tighten the pores slightly and for me reduces some of the redness and the number of breakouts. I actually like this product a lot and I think it's a steal for the price; I recently got talked into a different toner by an aesthetician that was 3 times the price and half the size of Thayers and I can't see any benefits from it at all. Go check Thayers witch hazel out if you're in the market for a new toner!

As a side note, if any of these products piqued your interest, they're now available at with a 20% off discount for their Friends & Family event, and although I haven't shopped with yet (and I'm trying to be good and not buy anything now!), I'm obsessed with their partner site Just thought I'd let you know!

Have you introduced any new products to your skincare routine recently? What is your favorite toner and night-time treatment?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Zoya Nail Polish Exchange

As some of you fellow polish fanatics may know, Zoya was offering their annual Nail Polish Exchange deal in honor of Earth Day a couple weeks ago, and I just could not stop myself from getting some new lacquers (just $4 each!), especially that previously I'd only had 2 of their bottles in my collection. Well, and since they're just too pretty, I just had to share with you.

 The minimum order requirement for the Exchange was 6 bottles, so I purchased (clockwise from top): Aurora, Jem, Kimber, FeiFei, Wednesday and Julie. I think I did quite a good job picking out shades that suit my preferences but I have to say that I expected Wednesday to be a bit bluer and in fact it's a pure medium mint green. Below is a look at my entire Zoya collection with added Pandora and Jules in the bottom left corner.
Now, for the polishes that I exchanged the Zoyas for... it's a motley bunch, with mostly drugstore. Instead of shipping the rejects back to Zoya, I decided to save on postal fees and just give my old polishes away to friends. I got rid of 3 Sinful Colors polishes in Hot & Sour, Aqua and Cinderella, a discontinued OPI in Panda-monium Pink!, an Essie in Demure Vixen, one Essence polish, one polish from Joko (a Polish brand) and one Petites polish in Passion Orange. I haven't worn any of these polishes in a very long time and decided that overall, I wasn't a fan of how they looked against my skintone.
As a little extra, here's how Zoya Julie looks on my nails - very soft and feminine, no? My weeding out of old unloved polishes has been rewarded not only with a lovely bunch of new shades but also an incentive at work by which I'm able to score some free OPIs of my choice, so watch out for some more nail polish related posts. Out with the old, in with the new!

Have you bought any new polishes lately? What are you wearing on your nails right now?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Blue and Purple Fyrinnae Looks

I've promised some make-up looks featuring the new Fyrinnae eyeshadows I've had for a month or so now, and since I'm not overly talkative today, I thought it'd be a good moment to post. The eyeshadow looks themselves aren't terribly new and innovative but I've had some fun trying them out and all in all, I can say that I'd used a lot more color for the past month than in the past; so a win overall. Unfortunately, the photos don't do the shades justice - they all turned out majorly overexposed... I think I must underestimating the amounts of daylight we get in now after the winter gloom.
Green and purple: Herbivore all over the lid, blended out with a matte taupe Inglot (I know - cheating!) and a pop of mint in the inner corner thanks to Arcane Magic in Electric Stardust. You can't exactly see that but this combo is fanastic, Electric Stardust picks up on the green duochrome in Herbivore and it's insanely harmonious, colorful but still quite subdued. Lips are NYX Mega Shine gloss in Dolly Pink.
Violet: When I Grow Up all over the lid and along the lower lashline, blended out with Snow Leopard, Moon Child to highlight the inner corners. A very simple look but with enough impact thanks to that vibrant violet shade, possibly in my top 5 favorite purples of all time. By the way, that should be a fun post, no? Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick in Warm Me Up patted lightly into the lips.
Gradient Liner: Feisty Fennec Fox all over the lid as a neutral shade to offset the colorful liner: London Mod in the outer corner, When I Grow Up in the middle and Crimson Ghost in the inner corner. I believe I also used some Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in Binge as a base for the shadows. A new Givenchy patted lightly on the lips, details soon to be revealed.

And there you have it, some slightly less neutral looks from me; I think I would like to do a couple pink & purple looks and some blues & greens still, so I might share these at some point. Have you been experimenting with color lately? Any favorite shades?