Curel UV Protection Milk SPF25 PA++ (for face and body) review/ swatch

Over the last year I've became a massive fan of Curel products and the brand in general. I've pretty much purchased most items from their original line (featured by green cap/ white bottle packagings) which is targeted at sensitive skin that needs moisturisation.

This was about 20-25USD in Asia. Available most commonly in Japan, then HK and Taiwan.
 Curel also has a whitening line which is featured by grey and white packagings.

Here's a review of the UV protection milk, which is Curel's version of a day moisturiser for face and body with sun protection.

Comes in a simple packaging with cardboard backing below:

Contains 60ml:

Comes in a small nozzle opening like this:

It's not quite those liquidity sunscreen that requires shaking before use like the Mentholatum sunkiller line, this feels less liquidpapery in consistency , it does require shaking but it doesn't have that fast evaporating feel like those liquid-paper consistency sunscreens. It's a light milky fluid. Unscented.

It smooths out easily, leaves a very slight shine, but not sticky.

I took this with me on holiday in Thailand- and quickly realised it may not be waterproof. Hence it's best used as a light day sunscreen for face and body instead. However when used as a body sunscreen I feel like you need a fair bit of product to get the right coverage so the 60ml is very small for use on the body. 

As for the face it's a pretty low SPF rating (SPF25 PA++) so I did not feel like it gave complete sun protection. It is lightly moisturising too so doesn't give that tight or dry feeling which some sunscreens leave behind. It's not quite oil controlling on the face though so does seem to make my makeup slip a bit quicker especially when I was in Thailand with the high humidity and all.

Overall this is best for use on a daily basis regular city life, I still prefer Sofina SPF for my facial sunscreen. For the body I like Kanebo Allie line. Both have consistencies I prefer. 

Rating is 3.5/5. It's a good sunscreen on the go and reasonably priced if you are using it as a facial sunscreen. However I just think Sofina is more compatible with me with higher SPF and better finish under my makeup.


Canmake Powder Cheeks Blush PW20 review/ swatch

I went through a phase of Canmake blushers and collected quite a few colors. This particular shade was one which I reached for quite often for about a month.

Canmake 'powder cheeks' are small compact blushers housed in a plastic container and also contains a very small blush brush. It's handy to have the brush inside but it's definitely nowhere near the convenience or ease of use of a proper full sized blush brush.

This shade is "PW20" , which is a soft candy pink in the pan:

You can see in the pan there's visible shimmers in the blush, sort of silvery shimmers:

Some swatches (below on the left is Chanel irrellee blush #80 tea rose, just as a random comparison), on the right is Canmake PW20 blush.

All swatches below are Canmake PW20 blush.

You can see it's really finely milled and does have a slight silvery sheen (rather than visible silver flecks). It's a true soft, milky candy pink, adds that pop of innocent pink on the cheeks.

While it's a rather adorable shade, after a while I got a bit bored of it- I think Jill Stuart blushes often have a quad in this particular pink (e.g. #13 milky strawberry mix blush), which is more flattering than Canmake in general because Jill Stuart blushes have a bit more 'translucency' to the finish which looks even more natural than Canmake. Of course, Jill Stuart blushes are like about 4 or 5 times the cost of these..

Nevertheless I would still recommend getting one or two Canmake blushes to have a try- they are good quality drugstore blushes that retails for like less than $10USD in most places. These are also sold in Taiwan.

Rating: 3.5/5.


MAC Tropical Taboo SIMMER Mineralize Blush and MAC NC20 Pro Longwear foundation fluid swatch/ reviews

MAC 2013 Tropical taboo collection came out with a bunch of usual mineralize blushes. Here's a review of the "Simmer" mineralize blush.

I thought I got an unusal one where there's way more of one shade than the other. Then I looked around online reviews and turned out it did seem like MAC intended this to have less heavy shade and more light shade in the same pan.

It's a apricot-beige-gold shimmer on one side and a plum on the other. It's a warm plum (though could be because the pan size is so small it's hard to pick up the shade without getting a bit of the apricot beige color in it too), not very dirty plum .

I'm not sure how the veining works underneath, but it does seem like there's gold shimmer on top for a few layers then there might be more plum underneath.

Here's the swatch: 

You can see it's a typical MAC mineralize blush consistency, there are bits of 'flecks' of shimmers while the rest of the color seems more evenly pigmented. It's not chunky by any means but does show up as visible shimmer under the sun.

Here it is on my cheeks- I used an even mix of both. I had to use a stippling / skunk brush (just a cheap sonia kashuk one, which is like MAC 187 brush but less bristles).  The lighting is indoor so overall a bit warm.

I also listed the other items I was wearing. I'm wearing Fancl skincare base creamy in shade "Natural pink", which is an illuminating foundation base, and trying my new MAC NC20 pro longwear foundation too. Then followed by a sheer application of Cezanna UV powder foundation (one in the blue case, shade #1 Cream Beige) then the MAC Simmer blush.

My cheeks are naturally a bit red so any blush shade does get influenced by that. It comes out as a plummy red. I thought the shade was a bit of de javu, like easily replicated by a lot of other plum blushes on the market, especially given my red cheeks which probably changes the color a bit. Unfortunately I didn't love the effect under the sunlight as it accentuated pores.

Here's MAC NC20 Pro Longwear foundation.

On my arms a quick swatch- I was in a bit of a shock when I applied some and realised how yellow the shade seems. I purposely applied some near a tiny bruise on my arm to see the coverage.

Below is before blending:

Blended out a bit on top of the bruise- again you can see the yellow tone.

Blended more

Fully blended. Yes it does have a decent coverage, probably covers half the bruise.

It's creamy but pats in to the face easy- though if you don't blend quickly or have dry skin it probably sticks to creases a bit like below.

Again, finished look. It gave a refined finish actually, it's not a full coverage (but I'm sure it's buildable). But after powder foundation on top it's medium coverage even though I applied a rather sheer layer.  A little also goes a long way.

I'm quite surprised it didn't turn out as yellow as it looked on my arms (my arms are probably a shade paler than my face though), but as I applied it over face I can still see a yellow cast, not sure whether it's because I had an illuminating primer underneath plus a paler powder foundation on top so the yellow tint didn't come through as much.

In terms of longwear of the foundation, I thought it was average, after 5-6 hours I still see a bit more oxidation like how my skin reacts with most liquid foundations- it always look a bit more dull in the afternoon. In the cold winter at the moment I think this is not very forgiving if you have any flakies or uneven skin, it does tend to sit in the lines a bit. The finish is a satin matte finish, it's not glowy or dewy or super 'natural'. It looks like "you have good skin, but I can see you are wearing makeup" sort of finish.

Blush rating 3/5. Foundation rating 3/5.


Kerastase Resistance Ciment Thermique heat-activated reconstructing milk review

I used to go to hairdressers and always end up buying whatever styling products they recommended because  whatever they did, it made my hair look fabulous when I step out from the salon. Sadly once I get home I can never replicate the same look and end up wasting the products.

After that I've stopped buying any hair stylist recommended products for quite a while, because often your hair looked so awesome was because of the careful blowdry, the end styling product virtually just 'finished it off' or added a little bit more shine or hold. Hence what probably needed improvement on my part is my hair blowdry skills...

Then come this little thing! I went to get my quarterly hair trim, the hairdresser applied a bit of this on my damp hair before blow dry and also a little bit after. I was absolutely blown away by the scent, I couldn't stop sniffing the air! It was like a mild fragrant 'neutral' floral scent yet also a touch of herbal, not sickeningly sweet, but yet not clinical or overly strong herbal.

Not to mention my hair looked really silky after that (again, that was really to the merit of the blowdry rather than this product).

Afterwards I asked the price (was about $30-35 AUD or something) and just grabbed a bottle home!

It comes in a classy light green paper box- the product is 125ml which lasts a while.

It's made in Spain- if anyone wants to know.

Comes in a squeeze tube like this. It's a screw off cap.

Click below to enlarge- basically it says apply to damp hair, start at the ends then brush through. Walnut sized.  If styling with straightening iron, dry hair completely first with blowdryer, then use iron ideally at 180 degrees Celsius temperature, and iron through.

Looks like this- it's light and not oily. Absorbs really quickly.

I always try to be as truthful as possible with my pictures- from my pictures of before and after I can't tell much difference. Top picture is before, bottom is after. This is probably because I just had a trim so all the dry ends are gone.

What it really does is it's a wonderful leave in treatment that kind of "seals" the end of hair together so it feels really smooth and feels like it mends any split ends temporarily. Not to mention it's also a heat protectant- I don't have too many leave in treatments at the moment that works well with curling irons. I have other common products like Moroccan oil and Kerastase elixir oil ultimate in the original gold bottle (and other variations of it like the pink and purple bottles) or the oleo relax oil (and a lot of other things), I find that oils work better with blowdry (since it helps even heat distribution so you can blowdry hair a lot faster). This product also makes blowdrying a little bit faster but not as dramatic as say, moroccan oil (which helps me dry my hair in half the time compared to without it).  

What it does best is before straightening iron- I find that when I use hair oils with straightening iron or curling iron, because it almost conducts heat faster, it ends up frying my hair. So oils are better as a 'finisher' after straightning to add some gloss or tame frizzies down.

It's not a miracle leave in treatment which can turn straw hair into silk immediately, but it does what it markets to do- protects against heat and seals the end so hair feels smoother.

Overall rating 5/5. I'm heavily biased due to love of the scent though!


IPSA Skin Beauty Lipstick S2 review/ swatch

IPSA is one of those Japanese brands that never seems to be getting much discussion other than outside of Japan...even though it's sold in Taiwan and Hong Kong etc, I still ever hardly read reviews on these.

So I felt obliged to introduce at least a few things I've tried at some point- this is probably from an earlier collection, it's the Skin beauty lipsticks, RRP3000 Yen and comes in a twist up tube a bit like Cle de peau's version which cost an arm and a leg, or the Dior serum de rouge.

Like the Cle de peau and Dior counterparts, it's a very soft, creamy and glossy consistency.

The shade "S2" looks like a medium muted pink in the tube:

However on the skin you can see how creamy and pigmented it is- it glides on like melted butter.

It has amazing coverage- however it's almost too creamy for me- it went on my lips a bit too opaque and because the color is probably not a great match to my skintone, it just looked a bit too mature/ serious- like a medium soft pink with a hint of maroon undertone.  It seemed a little bit darker applied than in the tube.

Actually my thoughts were the consistency and finish reminded me a lot of YSL's Rouge Volupte formulas (the original, super creamy opaque versions).

Compared to Cle de peau and Dior, those ones have a slightly more 'natural' finish (though I do have a CDP one which is shade 116 or something which looks a lot similar to this and a tad darker in shade that is equally not very wearable on me ). But my general impression is it's easier to wear the CDP and Dior colors. The IPSA skin beauty ones are just a tad too creamy on me and not a really 'natural' lip look I prefer.

It's unscented and fragrance free. I would recommend trying these before purchase.

Rating is 3/5.


Chanel Irreelle Blush #80 TEA ROSE review/ swatch

I did a major clean up of my stash and threw out a lot of things which I had for a while to make room for new things and came across this old baby.

Do you ever read some random blog reviews and feel like you must have something?

Well a few years ago this happened to me and that was Chanel Irreelle blush in shade #80 tea rose.

I think the Irreelle blush line was continued a few years ago already. So the only one I could find was a tester on ebay. None the less I was happy I got to try this.

In the pan it looked lik a muted medium pink berry with a hint of peach undertone and a subtle glow.

It swatches like below. The irreelle formula was nothing like the joues contraste blushes which are more soft and powdery nowadays. It was a bit hard to pick up any color (and the surfaces go hard after a while making it even harder to pick up enough color with brushes).

You can see it's a subtle cheek color, almost melts into the skin on my arm- like a natural red pink glow.

It's a bit of soft red, pink and peach- flattering and natural.

Below is more heavily swatched with fingers. It picks up slight more red pink finish.

After years of makeup collection I was finally ok to let this go because makeup has came such a long way since the Chanel Irreelle blush times- you can find a lot more lovely blushes with better finishes nowadays.

Rating is 3/5.