Review: REN Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser

I went a little nuts on cleansers and toners a while back after stumbling upon Caroline Hiron’s blog. After that I literally bought everything I could that she recommended or approved and the REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser was one of the products she had mentioned before.

Claims by REN:
REN’s ClearCalm3 system combats the 3 key causes of breakouts and blemishes: excess sebum; build up of dead skin cells; blemish-causing bacteria… without harshness.

Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Water, Kaolin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Benzyl Alcohol, Oryzanol, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Leptospermum Scoparium Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Linalool, Limonene, Zinc Gluconate, Bisabolol, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Dehydroacetic Acid, Crataegus Oxyacantha Stem Extract, Glucose, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid, Tocopherol.

I have no clue what those ingredients are so they are just there for your reference. I will only judge it base on how my skin reacts to it.

I love the packaging – it is a see-through bottle so you know when the product is running out. It’s quite affordable; I bought it off a UK website for £18.00 with free delivery, and at 150ml, I think it’s really great value.

In terms of texture, it feels really different from any other face wash that I’ve tried. It’s very thick and very creamy, and does not foam up. It kind of feels like a clay mask except that it doesn’t really harden. When I first used it, it felt really weird because its like washing your face with mud. One thing I didn’t like was that it feels difficult to get off; after washing I felt like there was still something left behind on my face.

Although the texture is like clay, it does not dry up my skin, which I was pleasantly surprised about. I only use it once or twice a week though, because most clarifying cleansers are too strong and drying for regular use on my very dry skin. However, I think that’s where the benefits end. After using it for 3 months, I don’t think that it prevents blemishes at all. I only get hormonal breakouts though, but even then I don’t feel like it helps to calm the skin down during moments like that.

I won’t be repurchasing this; I don’t like the texture, the way that it never feels fully clean, and that it does not seem to be doing anything for my skin. It’s not a terrible product – it doesn’t make my skin worse, but I don’t think it lives up to its claims and I don’t like the way it feels.

Rating: 2.5/5

Review: Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector SPF 26 PA+++

The Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector  – I’m not sure what to call this; I am inclined to call it a tinted moisturizer as it does not call itself a BB cream, but yet it claims to be a “all-in-1 moisturizer with a BB finish”. What on earth is a BB finish? So it is not a BB cream but it has a BB finish? Never mind, I shall stop ranting about it and see what the brand has to say for themselves.

Claims from the brand:
The 1st BB moisturizer from Garnier that gives you an amazing fairness and provides total solution for fair and perfect skin in a flash. Enriched with BB mineral pigments for a nude coverage and natural long-lasting wear. Skin benefits: 1. More radiant 2. More even-toned 3. Less dark spots 4. Less visible imperfections 5. Reduces redness 6. Smoother 7. More hydrated 8. Less visible lines 9.  Less visible pores 10. Reveals its healthy glow.

So apparently it is a BB moisturizer. Wait, what is a BB moisturizer?! I’m so tired of brands randomly sticking the “BB” on everything (Bourjois, I’m looking at you and your BB glosses). If it is a tinted moisturizer, why not just call it a tinted moisturizer? And what is with the long list of 10 benefits to your skin claims where some of them are practically the same?

If not for the name and all its crazy claims, I actually really liked this tinted moisturizer (yes, I am going to call it a tinted moisturizer). I find that it gives a really nice natural finish and dries down really quickly with a very lightweight feel. It also has a good amount of coverage; it covered most of the discolouration on my face, and all I need is a concealer for spots. I think there is only 1 shade, which blended in perfectly with my NC25/30 skintone.

It’s actually rare for a tinted moisturizer to make my skin feel good and soft without prepping with another moisturizer, but this actually did the trick. On my very dry skin, I find it lasts about half the day, before breaking down quite rapidly to nearly nothing. I usually wear it on the weekends and I love it for a no-makeup makeup day because it’s so natural.

I bought a trial size of it from Watsons for S$2.50 and it lasted me a pretty long time. I actually did the math and if you can find it, it’s better to buy 2-3 tubes of the trial sizes, which gives you more product than if you bought the full size and comes to less than half the price. Just saying.

Rating: 3.5/5

Random Thoughts #3: On Time

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.” ― Benjamin Franklin

A really quick and short weekend ramblings post; it just hit me the other day that time is passing by so fast after my boyfriend said “it’s nearly 10 years since we entered University”. Ouch.

Which can be both good or bad; good, because my life is not boring and I have so much to do that I don’t even notice that the year is nearly up; bad, because I am getting old before I know it.

I’m not one of those people who believe that every moment must be spent doing something; I think just taking a moment out to do nothing with loved ones or even to rest is a good use of time as well.

Of course, I’m not saying that we should laze around wasting time watching TV every hour of the day, but rather, having a time for everything – be it work, fun, learning, taking a break, and spending time with loved ones.

I hope everyone enjoy the weekend; cherish every moment and live it to the fullest the way you define it. 🙂

Review: Kiko Water Eyeshadow in Shade 206

During my September holiday in Italy, I picked up a couple of products from Kiko Makeup – I’ve shown them in a haul post but after playing with them for a couple of months, I’m finally ready to give a verdict on some of them! First up is the Kiko Water Eyeshadow in shade 206.

Claims from the website:
Revolutionary eyeshadow with instant colour release and dual wet and dry use. A mixture of groundbreaking spherical powders for an outstanding colour effect, bringing together extreme coverage, pure luminosity and long lasting. Its soft, creamy texture enables the creation of a multi-dimensional make up, for colour with “bright” volumes and remarkable purity.

I bought this for 8.90 euros; I thought the price was reasonable – not exactly cheap but there’s quite a lot of product at 3g, as compared to 1.5g for a single MAC eyeshadow. The product is housed in a simple light weight black plastic square shell with a small mirror, without the usual lousy applicators. I love how it looks in the pot with its wavy shape and I almost feel bad about using it. Shade 206 is a shimmery dark brown/coffee colour.

The eyeshadow can be used wet or dry. In the above picture, I have made a few swatches using different application techniques – going from top to bottom: foiled with no primer, used dry with primer and used dry on its own without primer. I find that using it wet gives makes the shimmer stand out a lot more whereas using it dry makes it more of a satin coffee colour.

I have to say that I really love it; it’s very pigmented even when applied dry, blends easily and I don’t really experience any fall out. It lasted throughout my long work day with a primer. I don’t usually apply it wet because I just find it too troublesome. I also like how it appears to be multi-dimensional; I can achieve different ‘shades’ by switching between brushes such that I can get a deep dark brown with a stubby hard brush and a soft satin brown when using a really large fluffy brush. One tiny flaw is that it doesn’t feel as soft as it can be – it is a tad dry but I don’t find it a problem to work with. My only regret is that I did not grab more of these!

Rating: 4/5

Midweek Peek #4: The Facial Cloth Mask Stash

I admit – I am obsessed with facial cloth masks. I have a big shoe box filled with over 30 facial cloth masks from brands such as The Face Shop, Fancl, Dermal, My Beauty Diary; you name it, I have probably tried it. I love how it’s so easy to apply and so hydrating.

I’m someone who needs her alone time so I love being at home about one or twice a week, turning on the aircon at full blast in my own room (given Singapore is hot all year long) and then putting on a cold facial cloth mask while I watch the latest Korean drama by myself – I find it very therapeutic.

I also bring along facial cloth masks on holidays because the boyfriend loves it as well; we always use them after a long day out sightseeing, putting our legs up and enjoying some together time. It’s almost become a ritual that it doesn’t feel like a holiday if I forget to pack them!

I don’t usually splurge on expensive facial cloth masks because I feel it is such a waste when it is only on the face for 15-30minutes, so I usually stock up on drugstore brands when there is a sale or import them in bulk from Korea or Japan, and then share them out with my family members.

What about you? Have you tried facial cloth masks and what are your thoughts on them? Any favourite ones?

Unboxing: Vanity Trove Nov 13

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve subscribed to beauty boxes; I used to have it delivered every month for more than a year, but stopped early this year as I found the offerings to be less and less attractive and the samples were also smaller and totally not worth it.

However, Vanity Trove recently had a revamp – such that you can pick what samples you want! Depending on how fast you are, for $25 a month, you can actually get a couple of full size products. Plus, they add new items every week and there is an option to subscribe only whenever you want it so you don’t have to commit to a box every month. So I was pretty keen to give it a go again!

So what’s in my box this month?

  • Fancl Aging Care Mask – Full Sized
  • Fancl Aging Care Essence 18ml – Full Sized
  • Elizabeth Arden Visible Whitening BB Cream – 7ml
  • Elizabeth Arden Visible Whitening Smoothing Cleanser – 15ml
  • YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Illuminating Foundation in B30 Beige – 5ml
  • Benefit the POREfessional – 7.5ml
  • Batiste Dry Shampoo – 30g Travel Size
  • Watsons Bird’s Nest Whitening & Firming Facial Cream – 2g Sachet
  • Kerastase Elixir K Ultime – 3ml

I’m pretty happy with my box this month – a full size Fancl essence which retails at about $78; I’ve never tried anything from Fancl so I’m excited. I’ve always wanted to try out the YSL Le Touche Eclat foundation and I’m happy it came in a good sample size in a tube. I have also never used dry shampoo before so I’ll be looking forward to test it out. I think, just the above-mentioned 3 products have already made me happy about my beauty box this month and I will be enjoying testing out the rest of the box!

Have you subscribed to any beauty boxes and what do you think of them?

Beauty Wish List: Nov 2013

Wish List: November 2013

I’m really determined to stay on course with my beauty budget and have not really bought anything significant, but that doesn’t mean that I cannot google new beauty products everyday, drool and pray that someone – the bf, or a relative – might decide to get them for me. I’m also thinking that I might be able to include at least one very well-selected Xmas gift for myself without going beyond the budget.

I’m really torn between the Chanel Ombres Matelassees de Chanel Eyeshadow Palette in Charming and Dior 5 Couleurs Couture Colour Eyeshadow Palette in Golden Flower; I have a feeling that the Chanel palette will charm its way into my collection, because the Dior palette looks 90% identical to last year’s offerings, which I already own. I’m sorry; I couldn’t resist the bad pun.

The Too Faced Jingle All The Way Pop-out Makeup Palette wins hands down for overall cuteness; I don’t think I will actually buy it, but it would really look cool in the bag. I’m tempted to get the Tarte Pure Delights 8-Piece Lipsurgence Lip Set, because I’ve heard about how moisturising and comfortable they feel while having amazing pigmentation, but the minty scent is holding me back for now.

Last but not least, Hakuhodo Large Pointed Yachiyo Brush is something that I have been lemming for a really long time but can never justify the purchase; I’m praying the bf sees this post and think I deserve it.

How about you? Anything on your beauty wishlist for now? Is there any that we share in common?

Review: Bifesta Brightup Cleansing Lotion

Another skincare related review; I hope I am not boring everyone! But as I get older I’m finding it more important to have good skin. Don’t get me wrong; I love make up, but having good skin makes everything so much easier. And of course, what goes on must come off. For someone who uses full makeup on a daily basis, removing it all is equally as important.

Previously known as Cleansing Express, Bifesta is Japan’s 1st water-based makeup remover brand. There are four different types of cleansing lotion from the brand to suit different skin types – Age Care, Moist, Sebum and Bright Up; I chose the “Bright Up” version that is meant for dull skin.

I love cleansing waters as a quick way of removing makeup when I’m too tired to go through double cleansing, or just as a last step after using a cleansing oil to make sure that there are nothing left at all and for that totally clean feeling before I go to bed.

I like how the Bifesta cleansing lotion comes with a pump which makes it very convenient to use. The bottle is also clear so it’s easy to see if it’s nearing the end and it comes in a good size of 300ml for $18.90. I don’t detect any scent in this at all.

In terms of efficacy, I would say this is one of the best cleansing waters that I have tried. It removes face makeup very easily without having to rub or tug on the skin, and can remove most eye makeup by soaking the cotton pad and pressing it onto the eye for a few seconds before wiping it off.

But like most cleansing waters, I don’t think it removes waterproof eye makeup very well; there’s always some residue left that I have to ‘tug’ on in order to remove, so I prefer to use the bi-phase eye makeup remover for removing my eye makeup first and followed up by the cleansing waters.

I like that this doesn’t dry out my skin like some other makeup removers and takes so little time to remove an entire face of makeup. I don’t, however, think that it brightens up my skin as expected from its name. Will I buy it again? Definitely; even without considering the price, I already think that this is a great product, and at $18.90 this is a great product at a terrific price!

Rating: 4/5

Random Thoughts #2: Omakase Burgers and Children

Two weekends ago I celebrated my niece’s first birthday. I’m terrified of children, so I made a lame excuse to run away every chance I get. Thankfully the place where the party was held is at Turf Club – home of the Omakase Burgers.  Needless to say, I spent the bulk of the 3hours there lounging in the Omakase Burger restaurant. Yum yum for my tum tum. If you haven’t tried it already, you should give it a try!

I wonder why people bother to hold a first year birthday party – I mean, they’re one. I’m sure they don’t know what on earth is happening except being passed around like a sack of potatoes, being ogled at and having their cheeks pinched. I would be quite terrified if I’m the kid. But like all my relatives say, maybe it’s something that I will only understand if I ever become a parent.

Anyway, just a short random thought for this weekend; I’m thinking of going for a tree top walk this week so hope the weather will be on our side. I hope everyone else have a great weekend too! 🙂

Skincare from Within: Vitamins & Supplements

Up until a couple of years ago, I’m not one to reach for vitamins and supplements, mostly because I have a scatterbrain and can never remember to take them, but also I was young and it didn’t seem to matter. But now that I am older and it seems to take longer for me to recover from illnesses and cuts, I think it’s time to wise up and boost skincare from within. Plus, it’s not as expensive as taking care of the skin externally, so why not?

I have been taking the Complete Omega Triple 3-6-9 which contains three different types of omega fatty acids, mainly for my skin. I’ve noted before that I suffer from a health condition that frequently causes angry protruded red rashes on my cheeks; whilst it is not proven to help, personally, I felt the Omega oils actually controls the inflammation very well and much better than the prescribed medication. It’s also supposed to help skin health in general, improve memory, and reduce stress.

As a long sufferer of problematic bowel movements, I’ve also recently added the Optibac probiotics. I do think that I have been seeing some improvements, but lets not give too much information in this area.

Last but not least is the Blackmore’s Women’s Vitality Multi, which contains a variety of vitamins and minerals such as Siberian ginseng, milk thistle and iodine. I don’t take this everyday because it stinks – I can’t stand the smell of Vitamin B so I’m still trying to be more disciplined with this.

Do you take any vitamins or supplements? Which ones do you take?