Sofina Beaute UV Cut Milk SPF50 moist sunscreen/ moisturiser review/ swatch

Sofina Beaute UV Cut Milk SPF50+ PA +++ Moist  is my staple summer sunscreen. I've gone through 3 full bottles of this already in the last 2 years ( I usually have 2 different types of sunscreen open at once for the face so it's not really that 3 bottles lasted me 2 full years).

It is marketed as a sunscreen with moisturiser so you can skip your moisturiser before this if you don't have very dry skin. I find it excellent in terms of the consistency- while it's not super moisturising per se, this also means once layered with my usual serums it won't make my skin too clogged and unable to breathe.

Here's the back, in pic below on the right (the bottle on left is the Sofina Beaute Moisturiser which I have already reviewed separately).

Comes in a 40ml bottle- not huge amount but it lasts months for using on the face.

It has a small nozzle which makes quantity control very easy.

Here it is, a light runny milky consistency. Not as runny as real milk, but just a tad thicker. Has a very light pleasant scent which disappears very quickly on application.

Spreaded out:

Once blended- you can barely see anything there! It's not intended to be a makeup primer or foundation base etc, but my makeup usually goes over this just fine.

Honestly I've used this around Australia and also when I was in the middle east during the hottest months of September/ October, I mean I'm standing at the edge of the dead sea under 46 celcius heat (yep 46) and on other days literally in the middle of the desert with this on my face and very little makeup, and this was for a whole month, and my face got barely tanned.

It's also reasonably sweat proof etc (at least for the face, I use other sunscreens for the body).

Very impressed with this SPF50 moisturiser. Lightweight, dries velvet finish, does not interfere with my other skincare or makeup. The only thing I can think of is anyone with really dry skin or peeling skin might want to prep your skin well with a normal moisturiser, as any peeling can show a little bit with this.

Overall 5/5. I'm honestly yet to find something better.

For comparison sake, during my middle east trip I also used up a full bottle of La Roche Posay anthiolos fluid SPF50 (orange label white bottle), that was excellent and slightly more moisturising than Sofina (but slightly thicker), but I still prefer the lightness of Sofina Beaute.

I also used a full bottle of Shiseido Anessa sunscreen in the gold label bottle, that was good for the body but extremely difficult to remove and quite drying. Plus a full bottle of the Japanese drugstore brand Mentholatum Sunkiller SPF100 (the Japanese doesn't seem to regulate the suncreen protection level and just let them label even above SPF50s), which was a bit drying too even for the body and I didn't feel too much SPF protection as I still got burnt on some days.

(No kidding...I really used 5 bottles of sunscreen during a 1 month trip!)


Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub review/ swatch

Apparently the Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub is the first Aesop body scrub made. I was of course eager to get this when it was out in 2011. It retails for 21 pounds in UK or around $45 or 50AUD in Australia (for 170ml)

According to Aesop, this is:
An invigorating, gel-based body scrub for all skin types.

Aesop's first body scrub is a much-anticipated addition to our Geranium Leaf body care range. Geranium Leaf Body Scrub uses two 'soft' abrasive agents blended in a precise ratio for ideal exfoliation. The scrub detoxifies and cleanses the body – sloughing away dead surface cells and deeply ingrained grime – without scratching or damaging the skin.

Ok I would like to clarify- I didn't ruin this tube- it is the crappiest design I've seen to date for any skincare for the last 3 years, especially for a body scrub.  It's in a foil sort of feel toothpaste tube with a plastic flip top opening.  Which means it will NEVER stand upright in the shower, and the tube wrinkles easily, and once you put too much pressure on the tube, the product just ooozes out (remember the MAC eye paint in the old days? this is like as annoying as a giant paint). I have only used this like 5 times and it looks like this already!

170ml for a body scrub that is very close to like 40-50USD, you would expect far better designs.

Leaving the packaging aside, here's the product, it is a translucent sheer green gel base with scrubbing beads suspended inside. The particles are apparently 'pumice and bamboo'. To put it into perspective it feels a bit like grounded almonds or something, but not as coarse and rugged edges as the original St Ives apricot scrubs.

Add some water and it does emulsify a bit (but doesn't give much foam), and the scrubbing beads feels mild on the skin (would not be using this for the face, since it feels slightly too scratchy for my inner wrist already, but fine on the arm). The exfoliating pumice and bamboo beads do not melt away or anything. In fact a little stretches a long way with this scrub. With the quantity above I was able to do my whole lower arm.

Rinsed off and pat dry:

This feels more like a body wash and exfoliant in one, I would say you wouldn't need a separate body wash when using this, which makes it rather convenient.  It is a medium strength scrub, thinking back to other things I've used I would say this is slightly milder than St Ives apricot scrub (the original version).

I love the scent though, I cannot quite pinpoint it, maybe it's the geranium leaf scent? It's very fresh and slightly zing/ sour in a good way, not tangy like oranges or lemon but does have almost a citrus note (without that annoying sting on the nose like a lot of citrus scents tend to do). It is nothing like other citirus bodywashes I can think of.

As for exfoliating properties, this is just right for my sensitive skin. I usually do a full body scrub just once every week or fortnight. (Used to be more but over time my skin is quite sensitive and I get eczema outbreaks during changes in seasons). I have not found this body scrub to irritate, or leave my skin tense and dry, but  I always follow with a separate body moisturiser.

Overall 4/5 for the product. It's a nice body scrub, pleasant scent, easy to use, rinses off clean and doesn't leave skin taught. However for the price it is really very steep. (As mentioned before, a little goes a long way so a 170ml size here probably translates to other brands body scrub in 300ml sizes).

As for the packaging- omg whoever in Aesop decided this packaging should really wake up.. I cannot recall how many times it's dropped on my shower floor since it won't stay upright properly (and way too bulky to be placed horizontally on my shower tray), not to mention the oozing which makes quantity control difficult! and all the scrubs sort of get left stuck in the cap. Packaging gets s 0/5 from me.


MAC Semi Precious Mineralize Skinfinish- Rose Quartz, Pearl, Goldstone, Crystal Pink swatches / review

Here are the MAC Mineralize skinfinish items from 2011. There are 4 mineralize skinfinish from the collection, being Semi precious Pearl, Rose quartz, Goldstone and Crystal Pink.

Here are the 3: Rose quartz on top, on left is Crystal Pink, on right is Semi precious pearl.

Semi-precious Pearl below:
Swatch of pearl below, the inner rim is a bronzy rose, outter rim is a pale champagne pearl. Mixed together you still get a paler rusty bronze rose sort of shade. There's sufficient pigment to make this a blush.

Crystal Pink below:

To tell the truth, it's hard to differentiate Pearl and Crystal Pink, you can see Crystal pink's swatch below, it's a bronzy beige inner rim with a more champagne pink outter rim, as the color difference of the outter rim compared to Pearl is very minor, the overal effect is still a shimmering beigy bronze. However overall it will be paler than Pearl.

Below is Rose Quartz- this one clearly has a bit more pigment and shows up with outter rim as a very pale rosy pink. I find it difficult to differentiate the inner rim and outter rim under flash photography though, despite in the pan one seems darker, but once swatched they are similar. Overall when blended together it's a soft shimmering rose. Probably my favorite out of the whole collection.

Separately here's the Goldstone one:
The outter rim is a medium bronze with adequate pigment, even the inner rim shows up with more beige pigment ocmpared to Pearl and Crystal pink. Overall the effect is a shimmering golden bronze on the warm side.


Here are swatches for all 3 similar ones, Crystal pink, Pearl and Rose Quartz, I tried to swipe the inner rim, outter rim, then on bottom is when the two are blended together. I didn't label them incorrectly but it's pretty obvious crystal pink looks a bit more beige/ bronze than Pearl, which comparatively looks more pink. Rose quartz on the other side is clearly a soft pink rose shimmer.

All 3 shades are shimmery. They are not 'glittery' as some other MSFs but definitely a visible shimmer, I would highly recommend trying them in stores before purchase as we all know how much shimmers can accentuate pores at times.

My overall thought of the collection is you do not need all 4. Rose Quartz is clearly more usable as a blush color, while the Goldstone shade is a bronzer (but with shimmers which would mean difficult to use all over face).  Crystal Pink and Pearl are definitely really similar to each other. I also find the size of the inner rim/ outter rim varies between each piece of mineralize skinfinish. Some you get a much larger area and some you get far less.

Rating is 3.5/5. They look pretty and unique in the pans, but the mixed inner rim means it's hard to know what color you are picking up exactly, and the lighter shades are sort of not quite a blush and not quite a highlighter. If you layer on too much trying to get more color, the MSF clearly becomes a bit too frosty to look natural on the face.


MAC Feeling Flush mineralize blush review/ swatch (semi precious collection)

MAC semi-precious collection in 2011 also comes with a few mineralize blushes.
This is Feeling Flush reviewed below:

Looks like a soft pink in the pan, with some raspberry shimmering veinings throughout.

However once swatched a bit more heavily, it looks surprisingly more like a soft raspberry pink and darker than it looks in the pan. I quite like this as it's a brightening pop of pink. There is a soft shimmer/ sheen to it like most mineralize blushes, but the shimmer is far less than the mineralize skinfinish in the same collection.

The semi precious mineralize skinfinish in Crystal pink (yes I was not impressed it hardly looks like pink!) on the left, and the two stripes on the right are Feeling Flush blush. You can also see the difference in the shimmer factor.

Overall I do like this shade, it's a brightening raspberry pink that is soft enough to look natural, and the shimmer factor is very manageable to not accentuate any large pores.

Aveeno Essential Moisture Lip Conditioner review/ swatch

I love the Aveeno body moisturiser and thought I'd try the lip conditioner as well. I had to get this from Taiwan as strangely, I didn't see my local priceline in Sydney selling Aveeno lip conditioners.

Ingredient list:

Comes in a slightly yellow tined balmy consistency. It's on the softer side, so if you swipe too hard on the lips sometimes a 'lump' can sort of goop up on the lips. It's not as soft as the Fresh sugar lip treatments though.

Here is a quick swatch:

It leaves a slight shine on the lips, it does offer a bit more 'coverage' or has more thickness compared to the other harder balms, like the Canus lip balm. Also has a light vanilla scent which is rather pleasant.

Comes with SPF15 with sun protection.

Overall an adequate lipbalm. It also lasts a while and a tube would easily go for a few months. Due to the slight thickness, it offers a bit more coverage for lips against dry winds or heater. However in terms of 'healing' properties, I do not experience a whole lot. It will protect your lips from chapping but does not treat it. If your lips were chapping and dry, this sort of just sits on top- I was hoping it would given how well the oatmeal based body moisturisers does for my body.

Rating is 4/5.

Sofina Beaute Toner II review

Sofina Beaute Toner is easily my favorite toner for 2010 and 2011.

It comes in 3 or 4 different types, I, II and III (there might be a IV like the moisturisers but I'm not too sure). I is for oily skin, II for normal/combo, III for dry skin etc.

Comes in a elegant tall bottle with a pretty blue cap. I bought Toner II which is for normal/ combo skin. This is my 3rd bottle already.

Comes in the similar opening design to the moisturiser, which is double-ridged to prevent liquid from dripping from the edges.

Looks basically clear on the cotton pad. Usually I saturate the cotton pad ( just wet enough but will not drip), then apply to cleansed skin. It feels so refreshing, and comes with the signature Sofina Beaute scent which is clean and crisp.

I like this toner because it feels basic yet adequate, no wildly fancy ingredients, but it just normalises your skin and calms it down after a hot shower and takes away any redness.

I used to think toners are absolutely waste of money before I was 25, then once you start wearing makeup regularly and travel a bit more, you learn the benefits of using a toner easily.

A good toner helps to remove very last trace of any impurities on the skin and help to prep the skin for the moisturisers or serums to follow. I also find a toner really important when I'm travelling- when you travel it's often that your skin will get irritated from the different water composition (e.g. minerals, or just pollutants) and that's often the cause of irritated skin during travel.  Using a toner will help your skin to normalise to a condition that it is used to. Not to mention the slight exfoliation it gives to help unclog pores and I find that after using a toner regularly, my skin feels more refined, and the need to use a exfoliant or scrub is reduced to once a fortnight.

Overall 5/5. Will happily repurchase.


Fancl Washing Powder/ FDR washing liquid review

Fancl Washing Powder is often a favorite paired with the Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil ,

I've honestly given this washing powder at least 2-3 tries, using it on and off whenever I get a smaller sized travel bottle (which is abundant!) whenever there's those Fancl MCO special packaging promotion (which comes with either a full sized MCO in special packaging plus a travel sized washing powder or mini MCO.)

Here is my washing powder in the limited edition print, isn't it adorable. Comes in a flip top cap similar to the full sized ones.

It contains 13g, but given its powder form you don't need much at all.

Here's an average sized use for my face. You can see it's a finely milled powder (not so mine as to become dusty).  It has a comfortable sort of baby shampoo scent that is rather mild.

It foams quite well (I probably added too much water here) but especially used in conjunction with the foaming puff sold by Fancl separately (or sometimes comes as a special promotion set with the washing powder). That puff will generate a lot of foam out of this washing powder.

There's a certain family of thought I read a lot in Asian beauty magazines about how the more bubble there is and the finer the bubble the better it is for your skin etc. Therefore in Japan you can find a huge array of little tools helping to "foam" up your cleansers more, like foaming net etc type if you do a quick eaby search.

Here's my palm after a quick rinse off. You can see it rinses off easily.

Ok the roundup is, I wouldn't mind using this if I have nothing else at hand, and it is portable for travel in the mini size I got. However as a face cleanser I find it a bit drying for my face, which is quite odd since I usually do ok with most Japanese brand foaming facial cleansers. Perhaps there's just something about the underlying composition?

Overall 3/5. If you have normal to oily skin this will feel refreshing for the face. However I don't like the fiddle with powder type of products and any water will make the powders clog near the opening, which is unsightly and a bit annoying to clean.

Also note this is not a 'enzyme' type of cleansing powder like Dermalogica Microfoliant which is possibly the only powder type of skincare I'd like. The microfoliant will exfoliate lightly while the Fancl washing powder doesn't.

If you like Fancl face wash but like something abit more easy to use and even more gentle, I highly recommend the Fancl FDR Washing Liquid. It's hardly mentioned but it is so underrated. It is a gel/liquid type of cleanser in a bottle and is sooooooo nice on the skin plus extra gentle. I got a lot of other foaming cleanser stockpiled to finish up before I can get back to repurchase the FDR washing liquid, but I definitely will for that one.

FDR Washing Liquid description here:

Looks like it retails for SGD21 for the 60ml bottle, or 2 bottles for SGD38. 50.
I think it's a bit more pricey than the washing powder though. FDR Washing Liquid comes in the 60ml bottle (which lasts for ages- easily 3-4 months). Unfortunately Fancl says the expiry date of the washing liquid after opening is 30 days after opening (a bit ridiculously short and I never listen to it).

MAC Glamour for All Lipglass Swatch/ review (all ages, races, sexes)

MAC Glamour for All Lipglass was from 2010 All Ages, All Races, Sexes.

It looks like a creamy opaque nude beige with pink tone in the tube, it has no shimmers or glitters but is very glossy.

It has that siganture MAC vanilla scent, it's definitely on the slightly thick and sticky side too.

The swatch looks nice, color applies evenly and so creamy looking.

Then the lip swatch- oh when am I going to learn my lesson about MAC lipglasses. They tend to have awesome color payoff but they are just not very skintone friendly if you are the wrong skintone.

I have reasonably pigmented rosy lips. This covers all the color completely because it's pigmented. Which really translates to an unnatural nude on me. Not corpse-like, but it's sort of there. The opacity and color base actually meant that while it does not look anything like lilac in the tube, it turns a bit mauve/lilac pink on me which is very unflattering for most yellow skintones.

If you have pigmented lips, this will also sink into lines and any wearing off will look very obvious (e.g. you would have a red ring around the lipline once it wears off from the lipline).

Overall 2/5. Again, disappointed by MAC.


Chanel Illusion D’Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow 82 Emerville 83 Illusoire swatch/ review

This season it's almost like all the big makeup brands decided it'll be the trend to create cream eyeshadows (or dry powder eyeshadows with consistency of almost like a cream). Chanel, Armani ..etc

Chanel Illusion D'Ombre eyeshadows #83 Illusoire and #82 Emerveille are below:
Comes in a sturdy, screw top cap and glass container.
This is #82 emerville below:

#82 illusoire is on the left:

Comes with little brush applicators that are probably better for a denser, firm finish.

#83 illusoire on left 2 applied sheerly then more heavily, and #82 emerville on the right.

You can see it's an interesting almost crumbly powder consistency, and the flecks of shimmers are quite visible applied loosely. However at the same time applied more heavily gives you a consistency like a cream eyeshadow and you can get a very rich, metallic shimmery finish.

#83 Illusoire is a brown taupe, it has a hint of a very dark eggplant purple undertone, but I would think it's more taupe. The little flecks of shimmers are more visible (i.e. bigger) compared to #82 emerville.

#82 is a beigy peach, applied more heavily and you get a bit more brown to it. However it will probably be best as an overall wash color.

Overall I quite like these eyeshadows, I'm not usually fond of single eyeshadows since they are hard to store, hard to use and hard to carry around. But with these two shades, they are great blended into 1 eye look or just apply each over eye as a simple wash of color, add some eyeliner and mascara then I get a very quick 3 minute eye look that's polished.

The consistency also means you can build up the shimmers or metallic finish based on your preference, as a most actual cream eyeshadows tend to either go too sheer or too heavily metallic and thick.

I also have the Armani eyes to kill eyeshadows and they are quite similar. Chanel doesn't look as great as a sheer wash of color as it is hard for the shade to show. While Armani is a bit too intense metallic at times and look too frosty in some shades. So definitely check both ones out befoer making up your mind!

Overall 4/5. Illusoire is probably more special a color, but Emerville is more versatile for me as I don't tend to use a lot of dark shades other than for lining my eyes or a very light handed crease color.