July 19, 2014

New In | First Impressions

I spent some money lately. #sorrynotsorry

The thing with not living in the US is whenever I read about something amazing, I need to hold off getting all excited about it until I confirm that I can actually access that product here in Hong Kong. The Bumble & Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish is a classic example. About a year ago the online beauty community was all over the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray and the B&B Thickening Dryspun Finish. With fine and limpy pin-straight hair, both sounded like they'd be up my alley. Sadly both were unavailable here in Hong Kong. Fast forward a year later, a random stroll into Joyce Beauty and I caught eyes with the B&B spray. Heavenly celebratory jingles started playing in my head. A minute later I was walking out the store with my very own bottle.

It was love at first spray. I wish I were one of those put-together ladies who wake up 2 hours earlier to sip coffee, do some reading and leisurely get ready for work, but unfortunately being quite the opposite, this spray is a lifesaver for mornings I have literally seconds to do my hair. I toss my head upside down, spray a few streaks down my hair, work the product in, and TA DA! Flat, lifeless morning hair transformed into voluminous, blown-out looking hair. If you're a lazy girl in the morning like me, get this.

My other new purchase has not been as impressive. Benefit has been very aggressively promoting the Benefit They're Real Pushup Liner lately - game stalls, Instagram hashtags, hot guys dressed up as policemen... they're going all out this time. It's been so over-the-top that I couldn't imagine the product being anything but amazing. Unfortunately my first impressions so far have been that 1. it's time consuming to apply, 2. it's unforgiving, and 3. the applicator is unpractical. Thick, dry gel product through a rubber tip does not give an easy, even application. Yes it's very black, but there are tons of blackest-black options that are more user-friendly. Gel liner in pen form is like the best of both worlds, and I've been waiting for someone somewhere to attempt to make it a reality, but unfortunately this product has been a great idea poorly executed.

Last but not least, I picked up this bright red-orange scarf from Zara, on sale for 50% off. Hong Kong summer weather is way too hot for scarves, but malls (and my office) blast the AC all year long, so a big shawl/scarf definitely comes in handy. I love the print against the turquoise blue and violet accents, and how it's soooo s w o f t. :)

What's your latest purchase?

July 12, 2014

Bring on the Heat | Summer Everyday Products

You think you know heat, until you've lived in Hong Kong. It's really hot here. It's like what you experience in a sauna - very humid and slightly suffocating. Pair that with a very densely populated city of sky scrapers and you're basically living in an oven. Sweat is an understatement - you're sticky all over, the moment you step out of the shower every morning. Needless to say most makeup doesn't work like they're supposed to, and instead leaves you looking worse than if you've went out bare faced.

That was an extreme description, but ask any Hong Kong girl and I promise they'll tell you it's not exaggerated!

After lots of (painful) trial-and-error, I've finally found some products that I find work well in this climate. It's like the ultimate makeup product test - if they can work their magic under such extreme conditions, they'll work anywhere!

I've been skipping eyeshadows most days this summer, and instead reaching for my MAC Paint Pot in "Groundwork," a fool proof mid-toned brown. It's barely visible on the lids but gives just that a little dimension. This stays put and does not crease when layered on top of the NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base.

Ettusais Lip Essence has been my every day lip gloss AND lip moisturizer. I've raved about it in my last post so I'll keep it brief. But on days I want a slightly brighter lip (which I especially like pairing with a defined brow and mascara-only eyes), I've been layering the Ettusais Lip Essence on top of the Etude House Dear Darling Tint in 02. It's a bright red, gel-consistency lip stain that smells like Welch Grape Juice. Think Benefit's Benetint, but more blendable. Slightly drying but the Lip Essence makes up for that.

Leaving the best for last, my long time favorite Laura Mercier Mineral Powder is the one product that I find actually works better under a bit of heat and humidity. Throughout the course of the day, the natural oils of the skin reacts with the powder to decrease cakiness, and up the dewiness. I tend to apply just a very teeny amount of this but that's really all your need for the naturally healthy-looking complexion.

Sorry for the very sporadic posts... 11-12 hour work days have been getting the best of me! I'm trying to get back into the blogging routine as I've discovered quite a few new favorites lately, so wish me luck!

July 2, 2014

Something Only Lip Gloss Addicts Will Understand...

I've found it. I've found the perfect clear lip gloss.

That probably makes no sense to the majority of the world's population, but to all you clear gloss lovin' gals out there, you know exactly what I mean.

Meet Ettusais Lip Essence, the signature product of this Shiseido-owned beauty brand.

has SPF 18 PA++,
strikes the perfect gloss/moisturizer balance,
has a non-sticky yet substantially nourishing formula,
looks naturally glossy on (no in-your-face shiny or broken-glass type of look)
and actually sinks into lips leaving them baby soft (instead of just sitting there as a layer of goop).

It's all those wonderful things one looks for in a gloss AND in a chapstick combined; something many products claim they do but few really deliver. But yes, turns out you can have it all. 

I've been wearing my Lip Essence all day every day since my birthday in June. (That's a lot of "days" in one sentence. Can you tell how smitten and excited I am with this?) I've also been applying a thick layer of this on before bed as an overnight lip mask for days my lips feel chapped or sensitive. Surprisingly this works even better as a lip mask than any other traditional cream/balm formulas I've tried.

And let's not mention the variations of adorable, limited edition packaging (artist collabs, Sanrio collabs, fashion brand collabs... Google-Image it!) that Ettusais comes out with every now and then.
There are several variations of this, including an extra nourishing version and tinted color glosses. I've yet to try those and probably won't in a while as I am very happy with the original.

Ettusais is available on Sasa.com, which ships globally.
For those in Hong Kong, Ettusais has an adorable counter at Hysan Place, and can also be found at select Watsons drugstores.

Move over Dior Addict Lip Maximizer, sorry to say but you've been replaced!

June 24, 2014


I celebrated my birthday this past weekend.

It was perfectly laid back yet eventful, my kind of weekend. Brunches (of course), cakes, candles and treats pretty much sums it up. My besties Christy and Crystal spoiled me with my first ever Diptyque candles (photographed above), a gorgeous trio of minis. I know it's going to take me a good while before I'll want to burn them... they're too pretty!

I spent most of my birthday relaxed and sans makeup, enjoyed an *epic* homemade brunch with heaps of guacamole, toast, eggs and salsa, watermelon and blueberries, (a.k.a. my favorite foods all in a meal!), and spent an afternoon by a beautiful poolside with Alan, swimming, reading, and just being lazy bums.

The day ended with ice cream, which really should be a thing. Birthdays ending with ice cream.
Thank you for all the birthday wishes!

Cake, anyone? :)

June 8, 2014

Tiniest Skincare Product, Ever!

Today I share with you a groundbreaking discovery (thanks to my friend Tracy!).

I've really never seen anything like it. Suisai, the drugstore skincare line of Japanese beauty giant Kanebo, has these tiny face wash capsules called Suisai Beauty Clear Powder. And yes, photographed is the full size, not a sample! They come in a packs of 15 or 32 tiny capsules, each filled with white powder which turns into a foamy, milky face wash when mixed with water. One capsule goes a long way - I'd say about 2-4 washes.

 I was skeptical at first. A powder as a face wash... could it be just a gimmick? But this definitely proved to be worth the craze (I had no idea these were so popular in Asia until I did some research!). For starters, the powder foams up really, really well, turning into this foamy, almost marshmallow-like milky face wash that removes excess sebum/oil but still leaves skin feeling moisturized. Also, the foamy texture lightly exfoliates skin without the traditional harsh gritty particles. The product contains soy-based enzymes to remove dead skin cells, cleans out clogged pores and reduces the appearance of whiteheads and blackheads. I like that the scent is clean and classic - like an old school soap bar type of smell. Overall it's like the classic, soapy foamy cleanse, version 2.0.

And what's the point of tiny packaging? Smaller, individually sized packaging keeps the product fresh; a concept that has become popular among Japanese brands like Fancl. Due to its exfoliating properties, I prefer to use this 2-3 times a week rather than daily - so that means a fresh new capsule every week. The tiny and powder form packaging also makes these perfect for traveling. And let's face it, tiny products are the cutest!

After Tracy's capsule I knew I had to get more of these. Thanks to Google I've found that they're available at Sasa.

Would you give these teeny tinies a try?


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