Essie Vanity Fairest #505 Nail Polish swatch/review

Essie Vanity Fairest (code 505) is a vanilla white, actually it is very much like the OPI I'll take the cake which I just reviewed below, in the same base color.  However it doesn't have the gold shimmer in OPI I'll take the cake, instead it's slightly more opaque and milky (but it's not a full creme), with very subtle and delicate white silver shimmers.

It looks my nails look really clean. It's a lovely office color. However when I'm a bit more tanned, I do not like this as a french mani color, as it can be just too 'white' and not quite natural enough.

On my paler days it does look so polished, clean and pretty.

Here it is under warmer lights- you can see how subtle the tiny tiny white silver shimmers are. Barely picking it up in photos.

Again, 2 coats in pictures above.

Overall rating 4/5 .
Not the 'necessary' best french nude colors there, but it is pretty and a good way to start into Essie french colors.


OPI I'll Take the Cake H24 Nail Polish Swatch/ review

OPI I'll Take the Cake is from the Garden Party collection (which was a collection of pastels and french mani sort of colors). Code is NL H24.

It's one of those safe pastel colors, however whether it looks nice on people or not would probably depend largely on your skintone. I think this shade is a bit cool/neutral toned, it's an ivory white with tiniest tinge of pink (but still mostly ivory) that's not fully opaque or creme, but still see through after 2 coats, in a slightly golden shimmery finish. The gold is quite subtle, does not make it warm toned.

I thought I'd like this color a lot, but once on my nails I wasn't so sure anymore- it might be a bit too cool toned for me. Usually I prefer more pink toned pales or they'd need to be more champagne toned either way.

Overall 3.5/5.

It wears like most OPI, I do think the finish could be streaky or uneven because it's is a bit creamy. Best worn with at least 2 coats.

RMK Recover Gel Intensive Night Treatment Anti-Roughness and Hydration

I have to admit I'm a bit of an easy target for makeup companies that sell things of interesting consistency or formulation.

RMK Recover Gel is one of them- it's basically a treatment moisturiser (I don't see any warning against being used daily so presumably fine as a night time moisturiser regularly). It's a gel consistency (with a faint grapefruit yummy smell that I don't mind at all), with a lot of small white beads inside, that supposedly releases active ingredient once massaged into face.

Direction of use actually says apply after your night time toner and moisturiser, then apply this last as a treatment.  Apply a dollop onto face, massage in, then lightly press palm over your face to help absorb.

I just apply this after my toner anyway.

I take about 2 pea sized amounts then dot around my face, then massage in until all the white particles dissappear (takes no time at all, not longer than applying usual night time moisturisers).  It does dry a bit tacky, but not unbearable. Definitely for at night though because it probably wouldn't sit under makeup at all.

Here's what it looks like on the skin before and after.

Here's a terrible pic of the ingredients, since I can't read Japanese anyway so I didn't attempt to take another picture... =P

It's 40g and retails for 5800Yen, which is about 60USD? Not the cheapest item for sure.

Overall I've used this one and off for 6 months and not too sure what it does.

Used it again last night and made a point of putting on a bit extra, and massaging it in.

It didn't really calm my slightly irritated face immediately (lack of sleep the night before), when I woke up in the morning, actually noticed 2 or 3 very small congested spots or irritations. I'm not sure whether it's associated with the lack of sleep or this gel cream! They did go away very quickly overnight (back on my regular skincare).

Other than that, my skin felt a bit smoother, it is relatively hydrated (but then hydration hasn't been much of a problem lately).

Will try again when I'm more rested this week.

Tentative rating: 3.5/5

Will update if my thoughts change about this.


Chanel Le Nail Vernis English Rose #205 swatch and review

Chanel #205 English Rose is a medium pink with a pearlized finish, not as pale as a pink rose in real life, in fact I think this should really be called a pink geranium. Looks like geranium petals when they first blossom.

It's sort of a delicate mid-tone color, not anywhere near a hot pink. It's very office friendly as with most Chanel mid tone colors.

It's a definite pearl finish, not quite that shimmery, nor frosty. It's just has that pearly reflective finish, again probably requires two coats to mask any unevenness or brush stroke marks.

It will look a bit paler in color in certian lights, e.g. picture with indoor flash below.

Overall 4/5. Not all that unique, but I cannot actually think of an OPI or Essie dupe for this one, and I have quite a lot of mid-tone pinks.

Finish and consistency is similar to most other Chanel polishes, I get a solid 3 day wear most of the time, but if my hand spends a bit of time in water, it does 'flake' off in large pieces pretty quickly.


OPI Sonora Sunset P05 Nail Lacquer Polish swatch

OPI Sonora Sunset (code P05) is one of those colors that doesn't seem to get much love around most reviews.

It's one of those mid-tone colors that will probably only be liked for those with suitable skintones , as if with most mid colors, some people will complain it's not light enough, some say it's not dark enough.

However I quite liked this one especially when I'm a bit paler. It's a mid tone rose with a medium pink and light touch of red, in a pearly finish. Not metallic, not frosty, but general pearly/ shimmery sort of finish.

Two coats I get full coverage. This is one of the pretty earlier OPI collection colors though, I do think the recent 2 years formula and color/ wear has been better than the older collection. This one does seem a bit plain- nonetheless it looks nice on me for the office anyway so I do reach for this color every now and then.

Overall 3.5 or 4 out of 5.
Not spectacular color, but nothing wrong with it either.

Again, I'm wearing 2 coats + seche vite top coat. Lasts a good 4-5 days on me.


YSL Palette Collection Collector Powder for the Complexion Autumn Winter 2008

I forgot since when, but YSL started releasing a collector's face powder every year usually during autumn/winter collection or Christmas. They feature wonderful prints and are usually a little bit luminous.

This was the one from 2008, yes took me a while to review this...

It comes in 3 color stripes, with the YSL Collection text as a gold overspray on top. One single swipe and the beautiful text is gone.

Comes in the standard YSL shiny gold mirrored compact, with YSL font on top.

There's also a pretty average brush included. It does ok as portable brush but if given any other choices, I'd just go with my regular powder brushes.

The three colors are a soft luminous pink, an ivory with very fine gold shimmers, then a velvet (almost matte) light beige.

Here's a swatch- you can see the color is barely picked up, because this face powder really does have minimal color. On the very right is all the colors mixed together, which is a soft pinky-glowy beige face powder. The golden shimmers are more prominent there because of the YSL golden text overspray. Once that goes, I expect a lot less visible shimmer.

The powders are mostly 'luminous', which works well as an overall face powder after regular foundation just to finish the face off. It doesn't provide any coverage, but just seems to even the skintone out.

I like the very subtle tint, because some foundations can go on a bit mask like or too pale, then this helps to bring some 'natural' color back into my face.

Overall 4/5.

It's definitely not essential and if you actually hunt this down you'd probably be disappointed, because it is a pretty basic simple overall face powder, does not quite double as a highlighter either given the luminousity is so subtle. No way would this work as a blush due to the lack of pigmentation too.

The compact only contains 9g of powder, (most pressed powders or powder foundations 8g (e.g. Burberry powder foundation, to 9g, e.g. Fancl lucent pressed powder). With the powder being so finely milled, I actually do think you need a few extra swipes to get enough quantity, so 9g would probably not last all that long.

However, I do like this, after all half the thing about using makeup is being able to look at pretty things, and this is very pretty indeed.


Guerlain Terracotta Gloss & Shine Moisturising Lip Balm Sun Shimmer #01 Blonde Sun review/swatch

Isn't the name a mouthfull? Really, it is honestly that long!

Guerlain Terracotta collections are released virtually every single summer. The Gloss & Shine Moisturising Lip Balm Sun Shimmer has been in the collections regularly  (with different color released each time) for last 2-3 years as far as I can remember.

This shade #01 Blonde Sun was in from the Orient Sun themed Terracotta collection (I think 2010?). It was the lightest looking one out of the 3 released at the time, so I thought I couldn't go wrong with it.


To my surprise, despite being called moisturising lip balm and 'gloss and shine' and all, these are more like liquid lipsticks- the consistency is a bit thicker than expected (e.g. comparable to MAC Lipglass in the more pigmented shades I thought).  Definitely not a lip balm or tinted lipbalm/gloss like I expected.

You can see based on swatch on the skin how pigmented these are. On the lips they show with as much pigmentation. The shimmer is pretty consistent too so it will show up on the lips as well (instead of wearing off like a layer of glitter). 

#01 Blonde Sun is a bronzed rose- or rose tan shade, with same colored shimmers infused throughout. It's very pigmented, you can see on the second skin swatch even spreading it out it still remains equally pigmented. I thought I was going to get a soft nude pink based on the color in the tube, how wrong I was.

Overall 3/5. 

Mostly because it's just not my color nor the consistency I expected.  I sort of understand why the Terracotta line doesn't sell as well in Asia (as with most bronze/ tan themed European brand collections), these tan/ brick shades really brings out a lot of yellow from my skin and I look rather sallow.

The high pigmentation and consistency also means I can't just slap this on without it looking rather out of place on my lips. It looks like a color a lot more suitable for those who are naturally more tanned, or with a golden/olive skin tone, or need to be complemented with a bit more makeup such as a bronze cheek color.

In terms of moisturising properties, it's as good as most lipglosses out there, it's not drying but I wouldn't call it a lipbalm because it's just not what you would expect a tinted lipbalm to be. This should really be marketd as a liquid lipstick.


Paul & Joe Nail Color vernis #17 swatch/ review

Now this is a color I love and adore. Wonderfully screams a summer/ spring shade.

This is from Paul & Joe nail color, shade is #17 (they sometimes have color names for these but they are not printed on the boxes which makes it rather confusing). This is NOT from the new Paul & Joe Nail Color N line, but the original nail color line, so not sure if it's still available.

#17 is a golden pink grapefruit with golden shimmers, and flashes gold in various angles. (not because of duochrome or anything, simply because of the gold base and gold shimmers).

 It's so gorgeous!

Pic one if indoor light.I think this one is most true to color.

Pic below outdoors, in the shade.

Pic below is indoor, flash, which shows the most yellow tone and picks up the gold the best.

Overall 5/5 for wear, color and consistency.

Paul & Joe nail colors applies smoothly, the brushes aren't as wonderful as the OPI Pro-wide brushes, but they are not difficult to use by any means. How opaque the colors are depends on individual shades, but generally 2 coats is enough. They are not super glossy/ high shine but I always use a topcoat so doesn't really matter.

And who can resist the bottle design and the raised flower print. Definitely love this one.


Bobbi Brown Brush Cleansing Spray review

Those with many makeup brushes might know what a chore it is to try to clean them regularly. Luckily Australia has one of the most dry climates in the world so at least airing makeup brushes dry is not too difficult...

My usual brush cleanser is the MAC brush cleanser. It does the job fairly well so I'm on my 2nd or 3rd bottle already, haven't thought of switching.

Then I saw the new Bobbi Brown brush cleansing spray- which is meant to be used to keep your brushes clean between regular washes. e.g. if you used your blush brush, then decided you wanted to apply another blush color in the next 5minutes- but your brush is dirty, what do you do?

Bobbi Brown brush cleasning spray- simply spray a few spritz on a clean tissue (or kitchen paper towels are better I think...because they have less fluff). Then brush your dirty brush over the paper towel, until no more color comes off.

Here's back of box- it say sit's alcohol-free, spray formula designed to clean brushes instantly between makeup applications. You can use it for both natural and synthetic brushes.

Spray nozzle.

Here goes the test- two brushes- one is Calvin Klein powder brush (limited edition- unavailable now), the other is Sonia Kashuk skunk brush (not fantastic- but they are cheap and works with pigmented blushes,  so I have 2 of them so I don't have to keep cleaning my brushes). You can see they both need some clean- especially the original white tip of the skunk brush needs some clean as it's now stained pink.

Both of these brushes are synethic bristles.

Here's the after- the top tissue is clean, bottom tissue was sprayed with 3 spritz of the Bobbi Brown brush cleansing spray, then I just swiped the dirty brushes over the tissue on the bottom 5 or 6 times each.
Any traces of blush powder or color comes right off.

You can see the color stays on the bottom tissue now (compared to the new tissue on the top).

Here are the brushes after cleaning. Honestly they look as good as if I did a proper wash in water then airdry, with MAC brush cleanser.

Probably need to use kitchen paper towel next time, as tissues have some fluff so it's picked up in the picture below on the left brush (not because there's any residue left on the bristles).

But you can see how clean the skunk brush is, the bristle restored to white. They are pretty much instantaneously dry. I still swipe a few more times on a clean tissue just to make sure any remaining cleansing spray is removed, after all the brush comes in direct contact with your skin.

It's 3.38fl oz or 100ml, which must last for ages!

Only issue I might mention is, even though the bottle is not aerosol or pressurized can, I ordered this from overseas and during transit I think there was some minor liquid seeping out (the bottle was in tact and no further spillage experienced). So I'd assume the bottle is not fully air tight so pressure during air transit probably just forced some liquid out.

Overall 5/5.

It does the job, while it shouldn't replace a full brush clean, it's great for inbetween cleans. I can imagine it works wonders for those people who use several eyeshadow brushes from day to day. This would make life very easy!


OPI (Australian collection) Suzi Loves Sydney A52 Nail Polish Color swatch

A52 Suzi Loves Sydney was from the OPI Australia collection.

It's a rich, luscious velvet wine red, with jewel-toned shimmers. It looks a bit chocolate red in the bottle, however I cannot pick up much brown tone ones on my nails (though I have seen other online swatches where it does look a bit more chocolatey).

It is dark- almost a bit vampy on me- it really makes my hands seem very pale (well I think these pics were taken during my palest days too).

See...it does look a bit chocolate based red in the bottle below.

Overall 5/5.
It's in the new pro-wide brush, which makes application super easy and smooth for me. This color applies ultra smoothly too, two coats and I get full coverage, no streaks, definitely full opacity as well.
Again, topped with Seche vite top coat, base coat is Orly bonder.

Bihada Aqua Gel Cream (美肌一族) Moisturiser/ Makeup base

Bihada (also full name is Bihadaichizoku) which means the "beautiful skin clan" or something, has became a more regular popular Japanese drugstore brand, it was probably released about 5 years ago? It was a huge hit because it featured the drawings of Japanese comic character on the packaging. (the blonde girl). Which was sort of unusual for drugstore brands back then.

The main hit from the series were actually the face sheet masks- which I'm yet to try. Hrrmm maybe that's where I should started instead of with this moisturiser.

See the packaging above...it's a bit ...too cute for my liking anyway...I never really followed the comics in similar genre so they don't mean a whole lot to me!

To my surprise the drawing is on the plastic cover over the tube, i.e. once you un-shrinkwrap the tube, you get the following!

I got mine from Taiwan a while ago, hence the back label has added Chinese text with ingredient list and all.  In Chinese it's roughly translated to  mean "pearl egg-shell coating moisturiser" which is trying to say it gives you skin as smooth as a peeled egg and luminous like pearl I guess.

Here's the full Japanese label on the tube. It retails for 2100Yen, tube contains 130g which is fairly generous.
Basically, all it is is a gel-creme to liquid moisturiser. Supposedly also doubles as a makeup base.

Here's the consistency, straight from the squeeze tube.

Once spreaded out, it turns into liquid- like picture below, then dries down to a reasonably non-sticky consistency. A bit different to usual gel-cream moisturisers.

Does it work as a moisturiser to give me supple, peeled boiled egg like skin? No. It barely does anything on my combination, sensitive and acne prone skin. I tried using this in summer, in winter, makes no difference. The whole gel-creme to liquid is quite gimmicky at best.

As the also advertised makeup primer, it doesn't do anything either- does not prepare my skin for a moisturised base before makeup, does not help makeup stay longer.

Overall 1/5.

For 2100 Yen prize (which is like over 20USD?) I expected more. Especially when there are lot of Japanese drugstore brands out there that does nice products for even cheaper prices.

Might use the rest as body moisturiser in summer, it does feel refreshing on application I guess... (then again on that front, it does very little for my dry skin too).