Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: Shu Uemura | Drawing Pencil & Pret-a-Palette | #eyeloveshu

Shu Uemura fans are a loyal brood and while you don't always hear word on the street about Shu, those who love their products are fiercely protective.

While famous for it's iconic eyelash curlers, Shu is also a master colourist. The brand produces a beautiful array of artisan colours stemming from Mr. Uemura's ideology of making makeup more creative and enjoyable for all women.

The Summer 2014 Collection highlights the newly reformulated Drawing Pencils, the ready to wear Pret-a-Palette and the Petal Lash Mascara. Today's post and look will focus on the shadows and pencils both of which are all about bringing more colour into your everyday makeup wardrobe.

SHU UEMURA | Pret-a-Palette* $85cad | Pink Hues

Available in 4 ready to wear, pre-selected colour combinations, my pink palette is filled with 6 pink and purple toned shadows each weighing 1 gram for a total of 6 grams altogether. The case itself can be taken apart, allowing you to refill individual shade ($19cad each) or create your own perfect rainbow combination. The full array of Shu eyeshadow pans comes in 5 finishes including matte, pearl, iridescent, metallic and glitter.

The 6 shades in this palette include
  • PK01 | Off white matte
  • PK02 | Iridescent light pink
  • PK03 | Pearl pale rose pink
  • PK04 | Medium pink glitter
  • PK05 | Cool blue pink matte
  • PK06 | Medium-deep aubergine matte
All colour descriptions above are based on what I see in the pan but a few colours like the PK3 and PK4 swatch differently on the skin. The pearl shades have a particularly reflective sheen that can appear to be two slightly different colours depending on the light.

All the colours had a pleasant smooth texture that was incredibly smooth to blend with the exception of PK4, which came off only as a fine glitter with just a slight hint of colour rather than the bright pink as seen in the pan.

What I find really beautiful about these shadows is how well they layer over one another. I must admit pink is not one of my most reached for colours for the fear of looking like a red eyed rabbit but the addition of the slightly smokier mauve and purple shades made this a much more wearable palette than expected. When worn over a pink base, the deepest aubergine transforms into a near magenta shade that's colourful and unexpectedly pretty. A touch of of the glitter shade right on the center of the eyelid is one of my favourite ways to finish up an eye look.

Now if you're eyeing that pop of colour on my lower lash line, that is thanks to the reformulated Shu Drawing Pencils which come in 4 textures and 24 shades for infinite mix and match options. And when Shu says colour, we're talking reds, baby blues, yellow and even a hot pink in addition to your wearable everyday neutrals. If you're having a hard time choosing your colours, 10 shades are specially picked out to fit Asian skin tones: M01, P01, M02, M03, M04, M05, M81, M82, M83 and M84.

SHU UEMURA | Drawing Pencil* $28cad | 24 shades total

These pencils boast a soft texture, blendable consistency, intense colour payoff in a waterproof formulation and I say they pass all the above. They have a firm feel that allows for control but still smooth enough for an easy glide, a little less creamy than the Rimmel Scanadaleyes but perfectly workable.

The intricate combination of ingredients contains an evaporating agent which allows the colour to be blended almost like an eyeshadow when applied but once the solvent evaporates, it sets and your fine work is here to stay. I even ran my hand under water and proceeded with some vigorous rubbing which made absolute no difference to the eyeliner. Can we say, thoroughly impressed?

L-R | M11, ME7, M81, M01

To compliment the Pret-a-palette, I wore the matte black to fill in my upper lash line, M11 (red purple) along the outer lower lash line/slightly as a base in the outer crease and ME71 (sparkly purple) along the lower lash line topped off with PK06 eyeshadow for a really vibrant look.

On the cheeks and lips I am wearing the Shu Uemura Lip and Cheek Tint* in "gelato".

Twitter | Facebook | Youtube |
For a limited time, free shipping is available online for all orders with the code: "PETAL".

For a girl who prefers colour on her lips rather than eyes, I must say I am happily impressed by Shu Uemura's approach to colour. The Pret-a-Palette is easy to work with, travel friendly, design smart and layers beautifully for all kinds of experimentation. It was very important that they don't get muddy when blended but build smoothly with each layer and these certainly fit the bill. The matte shades are especially worth checking out if Shu is within your budget. For those seeking for maximum versatility then the Drawing Pencil liners will be your new favourite play thing. Reminiscent of artists colouring pencils, I've seen Shu makeup artists create some incredibly quick and polished looks with just a few of these blended together. Altogether, I am beginning to understand why Shu has such a faithful following and I can't wait to work these colours more into my every wardrobe.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Foodie Chat: Food & "D" Word

As a child my relationship with food was fairly simple, I ate because I was hungry and I ate because Mom's homemade noodles tasted too good to resist. As the years past and my youth became replaced by the complexities of adulthood, so it also seems my relationship with food.

Growing up, I've never had any reservations when it comes to food perhaps except for the decisions of what tasted good and what didn't. I never looked at food based on fat content, calories or anti-oxidant properties. Yet more and more these words have seeped into my everyday life. Every where I look the person next to me is eating kale, cutting out diary or going gluten free and often not for any particular medical reasons. Even my own father will sometimes prod me with a joking "Are you sure you want to eat that? Better watch your weight."
Are we becoming overly obsessive? Should I be doing this too?

In the past few months I've been looking at ways to shape up my life. Fitness guides and blogs I've been searching often make this sound like a momentous task of life over-hauling in order to get in shape. The word "diet" scares me. There's always been something restrictive and controlling about the word that never sat right in my vocabulary. I'm the type of girl who can't imagine trading up her white bread and full fat butter for a green shake and handful of nuts. I'm afraid I can not look upon a bowl of dry looking granola with the same love as a bubbling bowl of ramen. It's just going to happen. 

How do you see food in your everyday life?
Can you get in shape while still eating with love?
I'd love to hear your thoughts and tips!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Review: Maybelline | Color Show Nail Polish & Swatches

It absolutely bewilders me how I'm attracted to nail polish like a bird to shiny things despite not wearing polish on a regular basis. But over the past few years I've somehow managed to amass quite a decent selection of Maybelline Color Show polishes. With their attention grabbing ads in magazines, to their constant flow of limited edition colours, this little beauty bird just keeps picking them up.

Brand: Maybelline New York
Product: Colour Show Nail Polish/Nail Lacquer
Colours: 48 shades (not including limited edition)
Details: 3-Free, no formaldahyde, DBP or toulene
Size: 7ml
Price: $3 - 4 CAD (often on sale)
Availability: Drugstores nationwide
Would I repurchase: Possibly.
Website: www.maybelline.ca

Maybelline has been making nail polishes on and off for decades but these new fashion forward Colour Show polishes were launched in mid 2012 and seems to be part of a bigger brand strategy to overhaul its overall appeal.

Fully coordinated in shiny black caps, a base range of colours were put out and is supplemented with seasonal limited edition options during the year ranging from new colours to textures and finishes. The cylindrical glass bottles certainly have a more modern stylized feel to them and the small bottles actually contain 7ml of product rather than the traditional 15ml of most brands. A rather smart move in my opinion as I'm one to like options in my collection but rarely find myself finishing up an entire large bottle of polish.

Although been dubbed the "easy flow" brush, there doesn't seem to be anything particularly new in this department. It doesn't hold a very large amount of product so if you have a larger nail bed, you're going to need a few dips to finish your each nail.

The consistency of the product seems to vary depending on the finish, the creams can be slightly streaky but the metallics and sparkle finishes go on great. Most colours I own require 2-3 coats for complete coverage.

Rose Bling (LE) | Gold's Night Out (LE) | Sea-Quins (LE) | Clearly Spotted

The sequins and polka dot collection are some of my favourites as they make for a fun accent nail or top coat. All of these seem to have a high ratio of giltter/specks to clear polish so not I'm sitting around layering 5 coats to get some action. Do note that the sequins can dry out a little but a little top off with a clear polish should take care of the issue.

Midnight Swim (LE) | Styled Out | Navy Narcissist

The Colour Show collection makes some of the best blues around and with an interesting mix of finishes and textures. The "denim" series is unique formulation that contains a subtle glitter mixed into a base colour which minics the natural sheen and irregularity of real denim.

Metal Icon (LE) | Impeccable Greys | Purple Icon | Iced Queen | Poolside (LE)

I like the idea that Maybelline doesn't make too many "repeat" shades and the focus is very much on trendy brights, neons, pastels or textures instead of merely safe girly neutrals. Paired up with it's limited edition offerings and you can very quickly build up quite a substantial colour palette. Drying time is rather quick but the shine factor varies with the finish you choose.

My major issue with these polishes, especially the cream shades is the extremely poor wear time when worn solo. Granted, I put my hands through a lot during a normal day but these have been known to chip with in the day for me and that's not way for a polish to behave. A base coat and high shine topcoat is an absolute must if you plan on wearing these for more than just a quick wardrobe change.

All the swatches below are done using two coats of polish.

With so many good things going for it, the Maybelline Colour Show Nail Lacquers are easy, colourful, fun and very inexpensive. The formulation needs a bit of work as it has a hard time staying on my nails and thus I normal reserve these for date outfit matching, when I only need it to stay pristine for a few hours. This is not going to be a favourite, reliable product for me but I'm rather certain I'll continue to get lured in by the great shades that Maybelline puts out.


Wearing | Poolside & Clearly Spotted

Ingredients: (May vary slightly depending on colour)
Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol/Trimellitic Anhydride Copolymer, Nitrocellulose, Triphenyl Phosphate, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Stearalkonium Bentonite, Ethyl Tosylamide, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Tosylamide/Epoxy Resin, Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate, Benzophenone-1, Alumina, Aluminum Calcium Sodium Silicate, Citric Acid, Silica, Tin Oxide, Dimethicone. May Contain: CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide, CI 77120/Barium Sulfate, CI 19140/Yellow 5 Lake, CI 15850/Red 6 Lake, Mica, CI 77491, CI 77499/Iron Oxides, CI 77510/Ferric Ferrocyanide, CI 15850/Red 7 Lake, CI 77266/Black 2, CI 15880/Red 34 Lake, CI 77000/Aluminum Powder, CI 42090/Blue 1 Lake, CI 73360/Red 30.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Review | A'PIEU | Aurora Luminous CC Cream

If at once you don't succeed, try try again.

A'Pieu is a Korean beauty brand that has been on my beauty radar for quite a while since hearing about them through popular Korean beauty shows yet my first trial with their bb cream left much to be desired (read it here). Not one to call it quits so fast, I decided to try out their Aurora Luminous CC Cream that was featured in the hit show Get It Beauty by a Korean makeup artist demonstrating a 10 minute multi-tasking makeup look.

Brand: A'PIEU
Product: Aurora Luminous CC Cream* in CB01
Colour: 2 Shades Available
Size: 2.9g (Concealer), 30ml (CC Cream)
Price: $24.74USD (via W2Beauty)
Availability: W2Beauty (online), A'PIEU (Korea)
Would I (re)purchase: No
Website: www.shop.beautynet.kr/apieu

A'Pieu's CC Cream comes packaged in a dual dispensing system identical to that of the (discontinued) Laneige Snow Crystal Foundation. In fact, the design of the product is what caught my attention straight away as its both hygienic and easy to control exact amount you need per application. The cap portion opens up to reveal a creamy concealer, mirrored under the lid for easy touch ups. A quick push on the top of the bottle dispenses the cc cream itself which is white, sweetly scented and littered with tiny colour bursting beads that adjusts as you "burst" them when rubbing into your skin.

The colour adjusting process takes quite some vigorous blending to achieve and the beads feel slightly gritty at first but nothing that takes away from the final look. Due to the thicker consistency, I found that blending in directional strokes with a sponge worked out much easier than using bare hands. Apply less than you think you need and work in one small section of the face at a time.

Even though most cc creams focus on tone correcting, I was pleasantly surprised to find this A'Pieu version offered medium coverage. Paired with the medium to buildable concealer, which had a slightly peach tone perfect for under eye darkness, I ended up with quite an amount of coverage overall. The final look was a satin glowy finish and my skin tone was more uniform with small blemishes perfectly concealed.

Infused with extracts of borage seed oil, argan oil, aloe vera and marine collagen, the Aurora Luminous CC Cream was very moisturizing...too moisturizing in fact for my combination skin and this is exactly where it all went wrong. While it did keep my skin plump and hydrated, I found this to have little staying power. Even minutes after application, you see the cc cream sinking into my marionette lines around my mouth (evidence below) and within 2-3 hours the product was merely just floating on top of my skin ready to be rubbed off onto any object that came into contact with my face.

Sadly, after just a few days of wear my skin called it quits and showed it's annoyance with a few spots and clogged pores which sealed the fate for this product.

Loved the concept, loved the coverage and the 2-in-1 product packaged into one easy bottle but the A'Pieu Aurora Luminous CC Cream just did not get along with my skin. While I don't have the full ingredients list in English to see what went wrong, I suspect the heavier consistency was too much for my easily clogged skin. The concealer itself was especially lovable for its creamy smooth feel and medium to full coverage. Altogether, I'd only recommend this for very dry skin or those living in dry cold climates.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review: Sibu Beauty | SeaBuckthorn Facial Cleansing Bar

Soap. I've always had a fondness for the idea of them but the abundance of liquid cleansers in the modern era seems to have left soaps in the dust. Yet with the resurgence of natural skincare coming back into popularity, natural body bars and soaps in more traditional formats are resurfacing once more and today's feature is giving some of my favourite cleansers a run for their money.

Brand: Sibu Beauty
Product: Sea Buckthorn Cleansing Face and Body Bar
Range: Full skincare range from cleansers to serums as well as health capsules.
Size: 3.5oz
Price: $6.95USD (often on sale at iHerb)
Availability: Sibu (online), iHerb (online), Well.ca
Would I repurchase: YES!
Website: www.sibubeauty.com

I'll admit, even though I've heard about Sibu Beauty through the grapevine for the past year, the only only reason it made it into my shopping basket was because I needed a little extra something to get my order to free shipping. Scouring around on iHerb, this inconspicuous looking soap caught my attention because of its affordable price and its key ingredient, the sea buckthorn berry.

It turns out that that these tiny tangerine coloured fruits, native to the highlands of Tibet and certain parts of coastal Europe, house powerful doses of vitamin C, high omega fatty acids and has soothing anti-inflammatory properties. Extracts of this berry can be taken internally as a supplement or used topically. In this soap, sea buckthorn is combined with oats, tangerine, lemon peel and soymilk to create an all around face and body bar.

Fitting comfortably into my hand, the soap has a speckled appearance and an overall amber colour. A faint citrus scent is noticeable during use but its light and doesn't linger on my skin. If you've been spoiled by high lathering facial cleansers, this soft creamy low foaming soap will need some getting used to but the results will certainly be worthwhile.

Now I usually don't see cleansers as anything more than removing makeup, dirt and daily grime from my skin but this Sibu soap left me with soft, calm, plump skin that felt absolutely lovely. I use this as the second step to my 2-step cleansing routine (makeup remover then a skin cleanser) and every single time I am impressed by how gentle this is and how refreshed my complexion looks even after a long day of full faced makeup. Do note that it does take a few more splashes of water to rinse off thoroughly but for combination skin like mine, it is neither stripping nor greasy and seems to perfectly balance my skin and prepare it for my skincare treatments.

Tip: As with any product containing natural ingredients, make sure you look over the label in case they contain allergy causing additives. Just because a product is all natural, it doesn't except it from causing skin reactions in certain people.

Sometimes aimless wandering can lead to some surprising treasures and this sea buckthorn soap by Sibu Beauty is certainly one of them. While I normally tend to put more attention towards serums and moisturizers in my skincare routine, this little bar of soap has thoroughly impressed me with its combination of natural ingredients and beautifying effect on my skin. I would highly recommend this to everyone, all skin types except for very oily skin but especially anyone with sensitive and problematic skin looking for a skin calming everyday facial cleanser.


Ingredients: Coconut oil, palm oil, safflower oil, glycerin, purified water, oatmeal, sodium hydroxide, sea buckthorn puree, sorbitol, sorbitan oleate, fragrance orange/lemon, soybean protein, sea buckthorn leaves, titanium dioxide. 
 Paraben-FREE and Cruelty-FREE. No dairy, wheat, gluten, sodium, yeast or preservatives. Our sea buckthorn is sourced through fair trade agreements with local harvesters in Tibet.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review | Biotherm | Life Plankton Essence

Dubbed as a "miracle for your skin", I haven't heard so much excitement about a bottle of water in years. Biotherm, as one of the leading researchers of aquatic skincare, has finally bottled the single most powerful ingredient at the heart of its brand into a high concentration treatment water after more than 60 years of dedicated development.

Brand: Biotherm
Product: Life Plankton Essence Fundamental Skin Treatment*
Details: "Renews skin in just 8 days, visible signs of skin quality improvement. Paraben Free."
Size: 125ml
Price: $67
Availability: Biotherm Online, Sephora Exclusive
Would I (re)purchase: Undecided.
Website: www.biotherm.ca

In tune with the oceanic theme of its brand, Biotherm packed this in an elegant yet eye catching tear drop bottle, the glass tinted with a blue gradient as if the product is rising from the depths of the sea.

The key active ingredient, being infused for the first time at a concentration of 5% in this treatment is named by Biotherm as "Life Plankton". History dates it back thousands of years to the French Pyrenees hot spring where the healing waters were said to transform and invigorate those who bathed in it. Fast forward a few thousand years and researchers have isolated a particular plankton that is the key to the water's powers and thus became the foundation of Biotherm's skincare range.

Meant to improve skin's condition in as little as 8 days (in blind testing), this Life Plankton Essence is meant to help with hydration, skin radiance, resilience, skin texture and minor visible fine lines. It can be used as an add-on to your pre-existing skincare routine (right after your toner but before your serum) or used in place of toner/serum which is exactly what I did.

Other than the key ingredient, it's also worth noting that this essence also contains some known hydrating and anti-irritation additives such as hylauronic acid, adenosine and p-anisic acid.

Pouring it out of it's open nozzle into my palm, this essence has an unexpected watery texture with a slightly cloudy appearance similar to that of the first rinse of rice. My nose picked up a faint soapy scent but it doesn't linger long enough to be irritating. Application was simple and easy, just a few drops into the palm of my hand and then smoothed onto freshly wash skin. The water felt slightly slippery when wet and dried down within a few seconds with a slight hint of tackiness on my skin. Pop on some moisturizer however and I couldn't feel it at all.

Here are my results (above) after a consistent 10 days of usage, twice a day, with no other special treatment products. I'll let you be the judge from the photos if there are any visually perceivable improvements to my skin but to the touch, my face certainly felt softer, more hydrated (the hylauronic acid in here might have helped) and my skin texture to be slightly finer (pores and all). No dramatic improvements in dark spots/blemishes but I did see a consistent reduction in redness after application. Something about this water seems to really soothe my easily dehydrated skin without causing greasiness or breakouts.

Biotherm's Life Plankton Essence Skin Treatment has some big research and big claims behind its title and I put it to a strict 10 days test. For such a short amount of time, I found the product itself to be very enjoyable and the results likeable but I am undecided if it is really $67 dollars worth of skin miracle. Granted because of the small amount needed per application, this bottle does even out to be reasonably economical if you are categorizing this as a treatment product but it seems like a hefty amount to put down all in one go. If Biotherm is within your beauty budget and you are looking for a skin conditioning product with hydrating, skin soothing and refining properties then this is worth a try. Currently, I don't see it as a must have product but I will happily finish up the bottle and re-edit my opinion if it changes.


Aqua, glycerin, maris aqua, butylene glycol, propylene glycol, ppg-6-decyltetradeceth-30, sodium chloride, sodium hyaluronate, sodium hydroxide, vitis vinifera extract, cellulose acetate butyrate, p-anisic acid, adenosine, ammonium polyacryldimethyltauramide, disodium edta, caprylyl glycol, vitreoscilla ferment, xanthan gum, polyphosphorylcholine glycol acrylate,polyvinyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, linalool, geraniol, limonene, citronellol, butylphenyl methylpropional, benzyl alcohol, benxyl beonxoate, parfum (f.i.l. b163971/2)