Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review: Etude House Face Designing Brightener

Hello all! Back today with another Etude House product, the "Face Designing Brightener" in the shade Cutie Face. (Gotta love that name!)

This has quickly become my HG highlighter. It was one of the first products I picked up in Korea, and I completely bought it on a whim. There are two shades available, but I picked this lighter pink shade because it seemed different from other highlighters I had seen before. It was pretty cheap, somewhere between USD $10-15 if I recall. I'm glad I got it!

Packaging: This product comes in a large pan with an equally large mirror on the lid. The packaging feels sturdy, I've dropped it *quite* a few times and it hasn't come unhinged yet! The lettering on the front has already started to wear off, which I notice happens frequently with any drugstore or lower-end beauty products. The powder itself has a raised sparkle design which hasn't rubbed down yet, so it still feels like new.

Application: I found this product especially hard to swatch out with my fingers. That's one of the things that drew me to this product originally - I thought there would be no way I could overdo it. However, when applied with the brush this goes on very nicely and is quite noticeable. Something I don't like about other highlighters I've tried, such as the Revlon Skin Lights Powder or the Paul & Joe Highlighter Powder Duo, is that it seems barely noticeable once applied. Of course a highlighter shouldn't be over the top, but I don't like that some products get lost on the skin completely. This shows up and doesn't look over the top even when I apply extra.

Top: Flash
Bottom: No flash

Wear: I use this on the tops of my cheekbones and on my brow bones and tear ducts. The effect on the eyes is especially nice when I'm not wearing much makeup. My new everyday eye look is just a little transition shade in the crease (a bronzer if I'm especially lazy) and this highlighter. You do have to be careful not to over-do it on the brow bones, as it can look overdone with a very neutral eye look.

I find that this product looks especially nice with matte blushes. Recently I picked up MAC Peaches, and this over Peaches and whatever bronzer lightens up an otherwise very dark cheek look. 

This product is especially long-wearing. I notice it more at the end of my day in my tear ducts than I do on my cheekbones, but I have the very bad habit of touching my face during the day, especially when I'm studying. I'm sure I wear most of this off my cheekbones but I still notice it's there. Even when I rub my eyes this product stays in the tear ducts, which is really amazing. 

Overall: This product is it for me. It's pigmented, long wearing, and you get a lot of product for your buck. I won't be shopping for a new highlighter any time soon! 5 stars! I recently found an Etude House in Japan and I might consider getting the other color, whcih was more beige/nude. Stay tuned!

What Etude House products are your favorite? What kind of reviews would you like to see next? Let me know! 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Review: Etude House Lip Tints!

Hello everyone! It's been a while since I posted. I went to Seoul and hauled a TON of skincare, beauty, etc. and can't wait to share it with you!

I heard a lot of buzz on the internet about Etude House's various lip tints. I won't even lie, Etude House was my first stop in Korea... our hostel was right next to one! Needless to say I dropped in multiple times. Over the course of my trip to Seoul I picked up five different types of tints from Etude House, all of different varieties. I assumed at least one of them would have to be a hit! I tried to get a range of colors to try out, but many of them wound up looking similar. I'll have all the tubes with their swatches at the end. Enjoy!

Rosy Lips Tint #4: Sweet Potato

Packaging: This is the only tint I bought with a sponge applicator. The product is dispersed through the opaque squeeze tube and comes out on to a white sponge. Mine was new so I assume the sponge would get much more drenched with product over time.

Application: It applies smoothly to the lips and is highly pigmented. The finish is semi-matte but does not have an overly drying effect. It blends beautifully and can be worn either very dark (like the swatch above) or blended out as a very cool-toned (i.e. blue) magenta shade.

Wear: This tint is moderately long wearing. The color stays deep and lasts through eating and drinking, with touchups required. I imagine the sponge tip would make it easy to create the trendy "ombre effect", but without a good YouTube tutorial I can't see myself trying that!

Color Pop #2: Sunny Pop

Packaging: I'm a sucker for the design on the tube! This tint comes in a solid tube with a sponge applicator. The tube is solid white and black on the inside, making it impossible to see how much product is left. The applicator is nicely curved so it contours to the lips. If I could take this applicator out, clone it, then stick it in all the other tints that would be great!

Application: This product has a semi-sheer consistency. It wears much more red than orange on the lips, which I like. Its a very dramatic color payoff for a semi-sheer formula.

Wear: The formula doesn't feel drying but it isn't very long lasting either. I would say this wears 2-3 hours without eating or drinking. It does not stain the lips as much as I would have hoped, and performs more like a long-lasting gloss.

Fresh Cherry Tint PP501 (limited edition?)

Packaging: This product comes with a sponge applicator, which is straight and can be somewhat difficult when applying to the curves of the lips. The handle is quite long which is nice. The packaging is opaque and the container is quite light, so I wonder how much product is actually in there.

Application: This product has the sheerest consistency of all the tints I picked up. It has a high gloss finish and feels moisturizing on the lips. It shows up more pink than purple on the lips, which was somewhat of a disappointment for me - I wanted to rock the purple look!

Wear: The shine of this tint fades with any eating or drinking, but the color LASTS! Out of all the tints I bought this has one of the best staining powers. It also stains the lips evenly and isn't as much of a problem for flaking lips, which is kryptonite to lip tints (: Also, it smells like sweet tarts. I can't get over the smell!

Color Lips-Fit #RD301: Perfect Fit Red

Packaging: This product comes in a sturdy tube with a long handle and a sponge applicator. This product is the heaviest of all five reviewed here. The tube is see-through so you can see how much product is left.

Application: This product has a matte finish and dries quickly on the lips. Unfortunately the lips dry along with it, and without a balm on top this tint looks very ... crusty. Ew. Despite being labelled "red" this is absolutely a hot pink. Perhaps it was labelled red because it is more orangey than other pink colors I bought in Korea, which were almost all cool toned.

Wear: This tint is very long lasting considering the intensity of its pigment. With eating the middle of the lips wears down and reapplication is required. However, if you're not eating a full meal this product wears well for most of the day. I wore it walking around Seoul and didn't have to reapply while drinking bottled tea or iced coffee. It also showed up nicely in photos.

Kissful Tint Choux #4: Tangerine Choux

Packaging: Shout-out to the cutest, girliest packaging! How could I resist the little hearts and sparkles?? haha. This product dispenses in a toothpaste-like tube. Its quite malleable so I know just how much is in there, and I think I'll get every last drop out of this little guy!

Application: The end of this applicator reminds me of lip treatments. Its extremely imprecise, which is frustrating. If you wanted to get a crisp, defined lip out of this you would have to use a brush. I usually dispense this in the middle of my lips and move it around. It has a very glossy finish and feels moisturizing on the lips.

Wear: This is the most effective tint out of the whole bunch. The color lasts through eating and drinking, BUT the color changes throughout the day! It goes on the light tangerine color you see in the swatch above and becomes hot pink within about 15 minutes. Both colors are lovely but the first time I put this on I was surprised to see myself in the mirror an hour later!

I'm glad I invested in these little guys. They're a lot of fun to play with, and I see myself using the brighter shades in the summer. Out of all of them, I would have to say the Color Lips-Fit and Color Pop are my least favorites, whereas the Fresh Cherry Tint and Kissful Lips Choux are my #1s. (These names are ridiculous!) Three shades were very similar: the Rosy Lips Tint, Color Lips-Fit, and Kissful Tint Choux (after 15 minutes). I'm slightly disappointed that I would up with three similar hot pinks, but hey, I suppose I won't need anything else in that shade for some time!

Do you own any Etude House tints? What do you think? Let me know & I hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Showdown! Japanese Oil Cleansers

Hello Everyone! For a lack of a better title I'm calling this review/comparison a SHOWDOWN between three oil cleansers: FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil, DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, and Kokuryudo Hipitch Deep Cleansing Oil. I picked up FANCL and Hipitch based on reviews, and DHC for all the rave English language reviews I've found online.

Product Descriptions:
FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil - A unique cushioning effect will allow your fingers to glide without pulling or tugging. Rinse clean with lukewarm water and follow with FANCL washing liquid/FANCL Cleansing Powder. (x) [About 2300 yen (approx. USD $23)]

Kokuryudo Hipitch Deep Cleansing Oil - instantly removes dirt, excess oil, impurities, dissolves makeup, water-proof mascara and lipstick. (x) [598 yen (approx. USD $6)]

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - Water-soluble Deep Cleansing Oil contains a rich blend of skin-loving vitamin E and hydrating olive oil. It helps unclog pores by clearing impurities and make-up, leaving your face a grime-free zone. Rinses away to help leave skin fresh and clean. Olive oil and vitamin E fight free radicals. (x) [943 yen (approx. USD $10)]

Packaging: All three come in plastic pump bottles. Only DHC has a cap (unless I lost the rest!). Of the three Hipitch has the most product and DHC has the least.

FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil

Kokuryudo Hipitch Deep Cleansing Oil

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
I know I know, my photos are pretty awful. ***shame***

 Test: I compared these products on my hand, seeing how they could wash off two layers of mascara (Majolica Majorca and Heroine Make). I did not use waterproof mascaras as I prefer more lash-friendly formulas. First I lightly rubbed each mascara swatch with the oil, then rinsed with warm water and rubbed a little more.

My dirty hand... you can see I accidentally rubbed some of that middle mascara off on the wall while waiting for it to dry! :o

Oil Cleansed hand. From left: FANCL, Hipitch, and DHC
Shout-out to my cherry blossom nail stickers for sakura season!

Results: Of the three, FANCL did the worst job of removing mascara. As you can see it did not remove much, instead moving the product around my hand. I noticed the same thing when using it on my face. The sales associate at FANCL told me I should finish a bottle after two months, and I assume it expires after this. I was at the very end of this two-month period and I still have a little left, so it feels like a waste but I'm worried about using expired products. Overall I was not impressed. Because this product held the #1 spot on I expected a lot more! 2/5

As you can see, the middle swatch, Kokuryudo Hipitch, did the best job overall! No mascara left! Hipitch also has a very pleasant citrus scent that does not last but is very nice while rinsing. The other two have very mild, unnoticeable scents. 5/5

Lastly, DHC did a decent job, removing most mascara. However with all the hype this product had, I have to say I'm slightly disappointed. It's pricey for the small bottle you get and I was really hoping for more from this cult beauty fave. Oh well, I guess I can say I tried it. 3/5

AND THE WINNER IS... Kokuryudo Hipitch Deep Cleansing Oil! I expected the least from this product as it had the lowest price tag, but it did the best job removing makeup overall. I decanted some of this into a travel bottle for my upcoming trip to Seoul (I leave TONIGHT!) and I'm sure it won't let me down. The only downside is the weird name - Hipitch? Strange. But for these results and the low price tag, I'll deal. :D

What did you think, did you like my "showdown"? What other product comparisons would you like to see? Let me know! <3

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review: Benoa Japan CC Cream and BB Powder Foundation

Hello again! Today I’ll be sharing two products I found recently at an ACB Cosmetic’s Store closing sale. I had never seen ACB Cosmetics until I spotted this sale, and I was surprised to see a LOT of products I had never seen before, including a bunch of Korean skincare goodies. Since these two products were on sale for 8-10 USD each I had to give them a try!

I  like to wear BB/CC cream because I find it stays on longer than regular sunscreen. I use two cream routines depending on what I feel like, my coloring, and what I’m up to that day. On days when I want a coverage quick and I’ve gotten a bit more sun, I’ll reach for my Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in #23. But on days when I’m a bit lighter, I have time, and I want some extra coverage, I combine these Benoa products. Only in Asia would I combine CC and BB products! :D

Product Description:
Benoa CC Cream:  今一番注目されているC.Cクリーム! 肌色を補正し、潤いを与え、UVA/UVBから肌を守ることで完璧な羽田に見せるメイクアップ保湿クリームです。 BBクリームの簡単な使用方法、スキンケア、ファンデーションのカバー力が1つになった画期的商品♪(x
Translation: Right now the number-one popular item is CC Cream! This cream is skin-toned, is moisturizing, and protects skin from UVA/UVB. Its a skin-perfecting moisturizing cream. Used in just the same way as BB Cream, it’s a groundbreaking skincare and foundation product.

Benoa BB Powder Foundation: なめらかファンデーション(パウダリー) おすすめ肌質:脂性・普通肌 スルスルとなめらかにのびて、肌の悩みをきちんとカバーしながらも、素肌そのものが美しいかのような仕上がりです (x)
Translation: A smooth foundation (powdery), this recommended smoothing and moisturizing (?) powder glides on smoothly, going over trouble areas and covering them, making them beautiful as well.

Both products are SPF 30 PA++

Packaging: Both products come in matching white cases. The CC cream comes in a squeezable tube, and the BB powder foundation comes in a compact with a mirror, puff, and disc to keep the BB powder clean. The BB powder’s compact is very sturdy and I don’t see it breaking any time soon (let’s hope that’s not a jinx!)

Benoa Japan CC Cream:

Benoa Japan BB Powder Foundation:
Application: The CC cream, like many others I’ve swatched in Japan, starts out white with small grey capsules and turns skin-toned when blended. The CC cream is easy to blend and turns skin-toned quickly, unlike the L’oreal Magic CC Cream for Redness I had been using before this. The CC cream turns colors much more quickly when using fingers or a foundation brush, but I still reach for my Beauty Blender most of the time since I’m lazy like that. It has a faint scent which almost reminds me of citrus but doesn’t last after application.
Benoa Japan CC Cream, unblended
 Benoa Japan CC Cream, blended
Please pardon my lighting! I’m still figuring it out D:
The BB Powder Foundation, which I didn’t swatch because it looks exactly like it does in the pan when worn, applies nicely and isn’t cakey. I find it stays on almost all day and does a good job setting and adding extra coverage to the CC Cream. I use it mainly on my forehead, nose, and chin. I would not recommend using it to set under-eye concealer however, as I find it settles in to fine lines. I apply it using the puff that came with it in and pressing it on, and set it using a mineralized water mist (my current one is by Evian).
Wear: The CC Cream evens out some redness, namely the hormonal redness I get on the sides of my nose. I notice no difference in the color of blemishes or scars. It has a VERY “dewy” finish, which I suppose is part of its claim to be moisturizing. At first I thought the dewy finish might be caused the sheet masks or essences I used before the cream, but even without those I get the same result. The color does last all day, and although the dewy effect lessens throughout the day it does not disappear completely.
If the dewy look isn’t for you, I recommend using the BB powder on top. The BB powder lessens but does not take the dewy look away entirely, which is nice. When I first moved to Japan I thought a lot of the women here looked oily, but I’ve come to like the glowing, dewy look. It seems much healthier and more natural than a fully matte face. The BB powder does not stay on all day but helps with the longevity of the CC Cream. Being in a compact, the BB powder would be easy for on-the-go touchups.
I tried taking pictures of myself wearing both today, but I can’t figure out how to get good lighting! What pictures I did take took away the dewy finish that you see in real life. :< Does anyone have any photography tips?
Overall: The CC cream would be perfect for someone looking for a dewy look, and the BB cream does an excellent job of covering and setting without being too matte or cakey. Both products are SPF 30 PA++, which is also an added plus. The CC cream is long-wearing especially when combined with the BB powder, but since I’m not fully committed to the dewy look I would give these two products a 4 out of 5. I could see myself repurchasing the BB powder, but perhaps I’ll foray deeper into the world of Japanese CC creams before revisiting Benoa.
Was this helpful? What would you like to see next time? Let me know!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

REVIEW: Canmake Cream Blush

My first review! 
It took me almost a year after moving to Japan to discover the wonder that is Cosme net is the Japanese equivalent of MakeUpAlley (which if you don’t use, you should!). A while back while browsing I came across the highest-ranked product I had ever seen on the site: the Canmake Cream Cheek. At only 600 yen (approx. $6 USD) and with stellar reviews, I had to try it out. And I wasn’t disappointed!
Product Description: Creates a complexion that exudes health from deep within your skin, like a fountain of happiness.Blends in with your skin as though melting into it, ensuring that your complexion stays looking dewy-fresh for hours on end. (x)
I got two varieties: regular, and “clear” which is a sheerer formula.
Packaging: The cream blushes come in small plastic jewel-shaped containers, and are very “Japanese”. The packaging has a very drugstore feel to it, which doesn’t bother me. The tops of one of mine broke off, but it was easy enough to snap back on. 
Canmake Cream Cheek in 05
Canmake Cream Cheek in CL01 (“clear”)
Application: These blushes are beautifully pigmented and easy to blend. They have a creamy-dewy finish. I usually use my index finger to dot small amounts over my cheek, blending with a flat-topped blush brush. The color blends easily and can spread quite quickly, so you have to be careful not to blend too far out with your brush. Iʻm sure you could use your fingers to blend these out easily.
05: unblended, finger blended
CL01: unblended, finger blended
Wear: The color lasts all day with some fading. I like to blend them out and keep them natural-looking. They could also be used as a blush base if you are going for a heavy cheek look. I think the regular and clear formulas are very similar.
These are so pigmented that Iʻm almost certain these are what Japanese girls use to achieve what I call the “war paint blush” look, which is literally two lines of unblended blush right under the eyes. Itʻs certainly different!
Overall: For the price, pigmentation, and blendability, I would give these products a 5 out of 5! These are absolutely going to be my HG blushes in the summer. Of the two I think CL01 is my favorite, only if its my first and only red blush. Itʻs a lovely, natural, yet noticeable color. I only wish Japanese drugstores carried more than four shades. I’m itching to try an orangey shade in the summer!
Did you like my first review? What would you like to see next? Let me know! :)