Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Lancôme Super Serums - Génifique and Visionnaire

As you probably know, I'm obsessed with skincare and making my skin feel like a baby's bottom (that is not meant to be creepy). While Lancôme is pretty much a skincare household name, I'd never tried their products, since I thought they were for mature skin, but I was proven wrong when I was given Génifique and Visionnaire, Lancôme's "Super Serums", to trial.

Génifique and Visionnaire were both developed after many years of research. Génifique Youth Activator
contains active ingredients Bio-Lysat and phytosphingosine, and is touted to "revive genes' activity" and "stimulate the production of youth proteins". It's claimed to improve skin radiance, tone and smoothness, giving it the appearance of youthfulness. It's won over 130 awards worldwide.

Visionnaire [LR 2412 4%] Advanced Skin Corrector is a slightly different product. It targets enlarged pores, wrinkles and pigmentation, and contains LR 2412, a chemically altered derivative of jasmonic acid (from the jasmine plant), which is purported to act as a signal molecule which tells skin to repair itself. This penetrates to the dermis, where it supposedly boosts the skin's self renewal process. When given to a group of women to trial, 84% saw improvement in overall appearance of skin after 6 weeks. It's one of the best selling serums in Europe.

When the two are used in tandem, it's claimed that 80% of women saw their skin transformed in only one week. So I was quite excited to see if these products lived up to the hype!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Lacquerheads of Oz group blog announcement and Australia Day mani

Happy day-after-Australia-Day! I hope all the Aussies had a good day, with Tim Tams, cheese and barbeques galore (heh).

Yesterday was particularly exciting in my eyes because it was the birth date of Lacquerheads of Oz. This is a group blog that a bunch of Aussie nail bloggers/technicians/just plain obsessives (30-odd of us!) started, as a place to compile all those little nail tips and tricks that people assume are common knowledge, but aren't really - like clean-up, where to buy certain brands, how to store your nail polish, what "HTF" means, how to tell if your OPI is a fake. It's going to become a Wikipedia of nail knowledge!

There's not much there at the moment because it's brand spanking new, but soon it should become a fount of nail-related knowledge. Please follow and like and all that jazz to get the latest updates :)

And now the boring bit of my post - my Australia Day mani. Simple, but pretty and wearable, and didn't take long at all:

I was in a rush, so this was just Hello Darling Wanderlust (gorgeous blue with purple shimmer), topped with ulta3 Disco Fever and Nubar White Polka Dot. I wanted to go all-Aussie but didn't have a white glitter. I'm going to do a second one tomorrow because this was so blah - I think a nice green will do me good!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Non-BB skincare foundation time!

I'm an Asian BB cream devotee - after my bad breakouts while using heavy MAC foundation, the combination of skincare and medium coverage was a happy medium. But I've tried to branch out lately with these new products (while also buying a 4-variety sample pack of Skin79 BB creams to feed my addiction of course). 

Arbonne Sheer Finish Tinted Moisturiser SPF15

I've only ever tried one tinted moisturiser when I was 13, and it was medicated, so it's never gotten me excited. I was pleasantly surprised by this one though - I actually managed to forget I had anything on, but the boyfriend (who pays more attention than I give him credit for) could tell the difference. 

It gives a lovely natural finish that smoothes capillaries and light freckles out a bit, but doesn't do much for any darker blemishes, which is standard for a tinted moisturiser. The sheer coverage also means colour matching isn't that important, and it blends in well with just your fingertips. It naturally gives a dewy finish, but I add powder for my oily skin. I've been loving this for casual and active days - it's great forgetting you have make-up on!

Pros: very light feeling, skincare ingredients (vit A, C and E, polypeptides,) 

Cons: low SPF, light coverage only

Shades available: Fair, Light, Medium, Medium Beige, Warm Beige, Dark (I used Fair) 

RRP: $50 for 50 mL, available at

Lycogel Breathable Camouflage

This is on the opposite end of the spectrum - full, "second skin" coverage. Lycogel was originally developed for camouflaging medical wounds after cosmetic procedures and promoting recovery (much like the original BB creams), and is great for concealing skin conditions like acne and rosacea without exacerbating the problem. 

While having the heaviest coverage I've ever tried of any make up product (and SPF30, yay!), it certainly doesn't feel the heaviest - it feels like my regular BB cream. Lycogel needs a bit of damp sponge handiwork to blend (a little goes a long way), but once it's on and set, it's water and transfer resistant. On the flip side, this also means that it doesn't come off easily with standard cleanser - waterproof eye make up remover does the trick though. 

I can't see myself using this regularly, but for special occasions like weddings where there are photographers aplenty and not much time for touch-ups, or if I'm having a really bad skin day (or if I ever get "work" done!), this would be perfect. 

Pros: Really dense coverage without interfering with skin recovery, waterproof

Cons: Takes a lot of effort to remove

Shades available: Ivory, Creme, Beige, Honey, Caramel, Taupe, Almond, Tawny, Cocoa and Ebony (I use Creme)

RRP: $99 for 20 mL, for stockists visit

These products were provided for review, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Artsy Wednesday: Inspired by the view out your window

I was originally going to have adorable manga-style clouds on my nails for this week's "view out your window" theme, but I ran out of time and got a bit lazy, so here's a very abstractly inspired "Australian summer" manicure to reflect the heatwave that we recently had:

The base is Emily de Molly Ego Friendly, a pastel turquoise crelly with green, turquoise and purple glitter. Those are pretty much my favourite polish colours all together, so I'm loving this shade - it looks a bit like the semi-overcast sky we've had of late. I added a gold gradient to the tips using Hello Darling 24K, a gorgeous pale gold glitter, which looks like the summer sun and beachy sand.

More (and hopefully more inspired!) view out your window manis:

Giveaway: Personal Planner

As you might have gathered from an earlier post, I like organisation. But I like it My Way. That's why I've never managed to buy a personal planner and stick with it - the ones that are a nice size have ugly covers, the ones with nice covers have bad layouts, the ones with good layouts are too heavy... at the moment, I actually format my own planner on Word, print it out and stick it into a notebook.

That's why I was really excited when I found out about Personal Planner - you get to put together your own planner, kind of like those "put your kid's name inside a book" books that you get by mail order (I had a great one about dinosaurs). You can:

- design the front and back covers (plain with text, funky pre-fab design or upload your own image)

- pick what goes on each page (columns? to-do lists? gym workouts?).

- add friends' birthdays straight from Facebook

- pick the start date

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

What's in hair conditioner, and how does it work?

The right hair conditioner can make your hair glossy and bouncy, but the wrong one can instantly make it lifeless and lank. What's in them that make them so different?

pH and hair

The most important thing about hair conditioner is that it's acidic (pH < 7). Hair is made up of three major layers - the innermost medulla, the cortex where hair dye sits, and the cuticle, which is made up of overlapping flat cells like fish scales. These are supposed to lie down flat in a smooth, shiny layer, which is held together by forces called hydrogen bonding (I promise you it won't get much more complex than this!).

As you might expect, the more hydrogen there is, the better the hydrogen bonding! Acids have lots of hydrogens, so the scales stick down better when the hair is acidic. So as you might have guessed, conditioners are usually acidic. Unfortunately, shampoos often contain things that like taking hydrogen ions away from the cuticle, so conditioner is sometimes necessary to stop your hair from being one big tangle after you wash it.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Jeunesse Luminesce Daily Moisturising Complex

I've been trying out a new cream recently - Jeunesse Luminesce Daily Moisturising Complex. This is a lightly scented day cream that claims to have anti-wrinkle effects by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin (proteins which are more abundant in young, plump skin) using a patented formula. While I'm too young to really notice this effect, what really intrigued me was that this cream is SPF 30, and claims to "absorb instantly" and be "non-greasy" - really now?

Friday, 18 January 2013

Tutorial: How to put on false eyelashes

I've been really getting into falsies lately (I'm Asian and I have no lashes so I need all sorts of help). At first I was completely daunted, but after doing them at home twice, I managed to put them on on a moving train.

There are a lot of methods out there for putting on false eyelashes, but this is mine. Hopefully this comes in handy if you new at this. Don't be scared - it's the first few times that are the hardest.

You'll need:

Eyelashes: I'm using Glam by Manicare Jessica Lashes, which won beautyheaven's 2011 Best in Beauty award. They're really luscious, voluminous lashes which

It's a full lash that I worry might be too over the top, but they always look lovely in photos. A tube of hypoallergenic eyelash glue is included, but I just stuck to my usual.

Eyelash glue: I use Ardell LashGrip Glue in Clear out of habit - it's the first tube of glue I've ever used, so I can't compare! Make sure it's for strip eyelashes and not for permanent individual lashes, otherwise you're in for a world of pain later.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Artsy Wednesday: Earthquake mani/POKÉMON NAILS

I've been in love with the earthquake design for a while. since seeing this one by fellow Aussie Bec, so I was really excited when it came up for Artsy Wednesday. But for some reason, instead of just showcasing two colours with a simple, bold design, my mind decided that it was Time to Do Pokémon Nails, and that was all I could think of.

Me and Pokémon go back to around when I was thirteen, when I would go over to my cousin's house and, while he and the other kids battled it out on Mario Kart, I played Pokémon Yellow or Blue on his Gameboy because I didn't like losing to eight-year-olds. (I'm a pretty sore loser sometimes. I almost broke up with the boyfriend over a game of chess. I kind of originally got together with him after I smashed him at Scrabble - he says he let me win, but I don't believe him, although the fact he consistently doubles my score in Wordfeud says he's probably right - NO. I refuse to accept it.) When I went to Europe, instead of soaking up the pleasure that's simply being in a different country, I was pretty much glued to my laptop, playing Pokémon Silver on an emulator, and of course I made the boyfriend deal with the legendaries (the whole time he muttered about how he was dating a nine-year-old boy).

Anyway, here are some earthquake Pokéballs and a Pikachu, who isn't even my favourite Pokémon but he's pretty recognisable - my favourite is usually whichever one I start with, I'm too sentimental to make a good trainer! :) I'll have to do a proper earthquake mani sometime!

More earthquake manis:

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

New addiction: light hand creams (review)

Ever since I've been out of lab, I've been getting into hand creams (don't have to worry about microgram-weight greasy fingerprints on glassware anymore!). Sometimes a nicely scented pampering product is necessary in the afternoon.

Here are three currently in rotation next to my keyboard:

Endota Spa Lavender & Alpine Pepper Hand Cream - RRP $10 for 20 mL, $34 for 90 mL (Endota Spas, David Jones, online)

This cream smells amazing! It's full of soothing lavender, and its scent combined with alpine pepper somehow makes it less grandmotherly, but still relaxing. Alpine pepper is touted to stimulate circulation, and it's also got licorice for skin brightening.

While I'm ambivalent about the brightness and blood in my hands (at least til winter when I will regret saying this), I'm in love with how nourishing this is - it's moisturising, but sinks in quickly enough that a brief tissue blot (who am I kidding? Lounge pants rub :P) stops me from greasing the mouse up. It's on the pricey side, but you don't need much - a pea is more than enough. It comes in a sleek flat tube with a flip-top lid, which is great for storage and the handbag.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Guest Post: How to Apply Eye Makeup on Asian Eyes

Today I've got a guest makeup picture tutorial by Patricia of MakeupMew on a topic that I definitely need training on - how to apply makeup on Asian eyes (although mine are a right doozy - not quite double, possibly triple, definitely kind of hooded!) Hopefully this is helpful for those of you with tricky eyelids...

I personally find it more difficult to apply eye makeup on Asian eyes even if I’ve had to deal with my own for so long now. Asian eyes are also known as “monolids” or “single eyelids”. “Parallel eyelids” or “tapered eyelids” are also common among Asians. While it certainly makes us look unique, it can be quite difficult to learn how to apply makeup because most makeup tutorials on Youtube are of non-Asians! I remember how frustrated I’d be because no matter how carefully I tried to recreate their looks, the end result would always look different or unflattering on my eyes. If you’re experiencing the same problem, maybe it’s because you’re employing the wrong techniques.
Today I’m going to teach you how to apply makeup on Asian eyes. For reference, my eyelids are a mix of single and double eyelids, depending on the day and the amount of sleep I’ve gotten.

1. Apply a primer all over your lid, if needed. This helps your eyeshadow stay put, if you have oily skin. A primer also intensifies the color of the eyeshadow. 

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Alanna Renee - Swatches and Review Pt 2

Two more swatches of Alanna Renee's first collection this morning! Part 1 was here, now for some fiery colours...

Ablaze is another shade I'm completely enamoured by. I was a bit unsure of the black glitter dust (also in Reptar) at first, but it's really grown on me. As well as the black dust, Ablaze has irregular matte yellow, orange and red glitter shards and mini hexes in an orange jelly base. I love orange, but I don't have many orange indies - it's not the most common colour, and the glitter in this also makes it totally unique as far as I know. It looks like fire and ash - very appropriate for the Australian summer! This is with top coat:

Black Cherry has a cocktail of red glitter (big hexes, squares, small hexes) and black glitter in a blackened purple base. It's dark and sexy - it makes me think of lingerie. I know what I'm wearing for Valentine's Day! Again, with top coat:

Again, the formulas of these are excellent - only the bigger hexes in Black Cherry need a little bit of fishing to get out. Dabbing helps spread the glitter evenly on the nail, and a couple of layers of top coat smoothes out the surface. If I had to pick, my favourites would be Reptar and Ablaze, but the other three aren't far behind!

You can buy Alanna Renee polishes here for $7.99 each - at the moment it's Australia-only, but there may be international distribution in the future. Follow Alanna Renee on Facebook for updates (e.g. restocks).

These polishes were provided for consideration, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy

Friday, 11 January 2013

Alanna Renee - Swatches and Review Pt 1

Today I have something special - my first set of swatches from a new indie nail polish line, Alanna Renee. This was created by Alanna of Pretty Purple Polish, one of the first friends I made blogging. If you've seen her blog, you'll know that she knows her polish! Alanna Renee launched last week, and several shades are sold out already (rest assured, a restock is happening soon!).

I'll be showing off the blues and greens today - come back tomorrow for the other two gorgeous shades.

Reptar is my favourite, and Alanna's favourite too. It's named after the Rugrats dinosaur and contains matte black, white and fluoro yellow glitter dust in a pale green base, with matte red and purple hexes. As you might have gathered, I love matte glitter! 2-3 coats with top coat:

The colour combination is unusual enough to be unique in the sea of indie polishes, but still totally wearable. It dries gritty (like reptile skin!) but flattens out after a couple of coats of topcoat. I used this in the base of my butterfly wing mani on Wednesday. Because of the dense glitter dust this applies a bit weirdly with the first coat, but sorts itself out with further coats. Without top coat:

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Artsy Wednesday: Butterfly manicure

The theme this week is butterfly mani, and I decided to do some butterfly wings (which, appropriately, I wore to my pole dance class where we're working on a routine to "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"):

The base is one of my new favourite polishes from Alanna Renee - Reptar. This is a new indie line launched by Alanna of Pretty Purple Polish, who is an Artsy Wednesday participant and one of the first friends I made blogging! I've tried out a few of her polishes, and I'll be posing swatches on Friday, so consider this a teaser. It's my favourite polish of hers that I've tried, and I've worn it twice already.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Essential beauty products for camping

So as you probably know, I recently went camping in the bush, with practically no amenities. And I came back in one piece. How does a girl survive out there? With the help of some well-chosen beauty products of course! I took a bag full of girly stuff, but these are the things I ended up using regularly...

Dry shampoo - This is a godsend when you're camping in summer and don't have shower facilities! A quick spray-and-comb every two days kept my scalp from getting super itchy, although by the end of the week my hair definitely needed a proper wash (it didn't help that my hair was ridiculously tangled from the heat/sweat/swimming and brushing it out properly was nigh on impossible). I used both Batiste Dry Shampoo in Blush and Klorane Dry Shampoo, and both were pretty good.

Swiss Army Knife - My trusty Swiss! I have the Victorinox Deluxe Tinker, and it has pretty much everything I want in a pocket knife (scissors, surprisingly decent tweezers, can opener, knives). Things I used it for included cutting stray threads off my clothes, pulling out thorns from a sock, chopping up capsicums, opening a can of peeled tomatoes and fixing the boyfriend's monobrow which was pissing me the hell off.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

OPI Euro Centrale Swatches and Review

Euro Centrale is OPI's Spring/Summer 2013 collection, inspired by the clash of classic architecture and modern art in four Central European countries - Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania . It's got a bunch of cremes, with a few shimmers and a glitter topper thrown in.

I've swatched three of the shades from the collection:

OPI... Eurso Euro is a rich, primary blue creme that's a bit darker than Revlon Royal. Also happily, unlike Royal, it's opaque in 2 coats. This would make a great base for Fantasy Fire. Unfortunately my swatch doesn't do the colour's deep brightness justice! Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to wear it again soon.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Peach/gold blush showdown: Benefit vs Face of Australia vs BYS swatches and review

It annoys me that Princess Peach wears pink and no peach. Yeah. Burn, Nintendo!

Anyway, here are four peach blushes with gold-hued shimmer that I've been trying out lately. It's the combo in the infamous, flattering-on-most-people NARS Orgasm blush. The four that will do battle today (Super Smash Bros style heh) are Face of Australia O Peachy!, Benefit CORALista, BYS Coral and Face of Australia Angel Flame.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Artsy Wednesday: Indie (Aussie swatch spam)

The theme this week is indie, but since I'm away, I thought I'd just post some swatches of Gloss 'n Sparkle, Emily de Molly, Femme Fatale and Pretty Serious instead of attempting nail art.

Gloss 'n Sparkle Witches Britches - purple crelly with three sizes of black, jade and orange glitter. This was a Halloween limited edition polish, and it's a beaut!

Gloss 'n Sparkle Passion Pop - coral (my favourite neon shade!) crelly with glitter in white and two types of red, plus some silver dust.

Emily de Molly When Planets Collide - black jelly with lots of blue glitter, some greenish holo hexes and orange scattered throughout. My favourite EdM.

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