Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: Soap & Glory The Fab Pore Hot Cloth Cleanser

Ok, I promise this is the last Soap & Glory product I'm reviewing for now! (I'm not buying any more of them right now only because I'm out of funds. Hehe.) It's the Fab Pore Hot Cloth Cleanser and I think it costs S$24 (~US$16) for 100ml. I've read reviews online and people say it's a more affordable alternative to Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish or even the scarily expensive Eve Lom Cleansing Cream. However, it's still kind of expensive to me. (Does that make me a cheapskate??) I will explain shortly after.

First let me describe the texture of the product... (Oh no I forgot to include a photo of it!) It's a lovely buttery cream, the texture is kind of like L'occitane's shea butter hand cream, but less "oily". It is not oily at all, it smells wonderfully of lavender and other essential oils. Some people might not like the scent (it is a very true, earthy, non-synthetic scent), but I love it because it is very natural. If you have used Dr Hauschka or Jurlique products, you will probably know what I am talking about. When I cleanse my face with this, I feel like I'm undergoing some form of aromatherapy session!
You can see it comes with a free muslin cloth, pretty thin and it doesn't have as much bite as the Body Shop ones I used previously (then again, the Body Shop no longer sells muslin cloths, they tell me). This makes it more gentle than regular muslin cloths, I'd imagine.
As you can see from the description of the cleanser, it's supposed to remove make-up as well. The recommended way of cleansing is just a one-step process. I apply a humongous splodge of cream cleanser to my dry face, rub it all in (somehow my skin will 'absorb' the cleanser like a cream, so I need a huge splodge), wait a minute, then wet the muslin cloth with super hot water, squeeze it till it's just the slightest bit damp, then put the huge square of hot muslin over my face to open up the pores. (Breathe deeply! Smell the lavender and relax...) I will repeat the hot muslin step a couple more times, then finally use the damp, warm muslin cloth to gently press away all my make-up, rinse the cloth, then use the cloth to exfoliate till my face is clean. The cloth will look really dirty from all the make-up but after rinsing and repeating, all the make-up will be gone.

As I am used to double-cleansing, sometimes when I have a full face of make-up, I'll cleanse my face per normal, then repeat by reapplying a fresh splodge of cleansing cream. It is very important that the face is dry when the cleansing cream is applied, because it will not remove dirt properly on wet skin. Is it as time-consuming as it sounds? Hell yea!

Now I will explain why this habit is expensive. I don't spend a lot on cleanser - the most expensive cleanser I purchase would probably be about the same price as this cream cleanser, but it would be for about twice the amount of product which would last me more than twice as long. Even if I factor in double-cleansing or the cost of a separate make-up remover, it would probably still be more economical than this cream cleanser. I think the 100ml tube of hot cloth cleanser will last me about 2 months. I've used it for 3 weeks now and I've got 2/3 of the tube left.

You might wonder if a cream cleanser can really leave skin clean? Well, I only use this in the evening (I use a regular foam cleanser in the morning) so it has worked pretty well this way. I definitely have to be careful about cleansing near the hairline with this cream cleanser, and I always follow with toner to remove any remnants of cream. (I use Simple toner, and with this cleanser, you need to use the cotton pad way of applying toner, to remove traces of cleanser. I wouldn't use a Japanese kind of softener or toner with the patting motion together with this cleanser.) Also - I have tried using this cleanser to remove waterproof, super budge-proof Majolica Majorca mascara and it did it easily! Impressive.

How do I feel about this cleanser? Well, I really really really love the scent of it, it's so relaxing, and going through the tedious ritual every night (with lymphatic drainage massage when applying the cream on, if I'm diligent) is really soothing. However, it is just too time-consuming to do on a regular basis and while my skin does glow after use, sometimes I just feel like using a regular cleanser because it feels like it 'refreshes' my skin more. I would probably repurchase this, but I might use it only on the weekends.

Rating: 9/10
I hope everyone had a great Christmas! I know I did! I'll be going on a mini family vacation early tomorrow morning and oops, I haven't started on packing yet. >_< I'll end with a funny photo:
Michael Jackson = Soy milk and grass jelly. Because it's black and it's white! Haha. Saw this at Holland Village food centre. The owner is kinda grumpy though and honestly, this stall's drinks don't taste so nice. :P

Till next time!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Review: Soap & Glory You Won't Believe Your Eyes Illuminating Under-eye Serum

Recently I've been going crazy over Soap & Glory. You Won't Believe Your Eyes is an illuminating under-eye serum that I bought recently because my regular Simple eye cream was running low and I've used and repurchased it so many times, I got kinda bored of it even though it was working fine for me. (I'm so fickle, I know...) I get my Simple eye cream at S$13 for 15ml which is super cheap, but You Won't Believe Your Eyes costs about S$26 (~US$20) at Sephora which is twice the price for the same amount of 15ml. It is still pretty affordable though if you compare it with other drugstore eye creams, for example, from L'oreal.
What's unique about You Won't Believe Your Eyes is that it comes with a tri-roller ball applicator and it really is illuminating. The tri-roller applicator feels really cool to the touch and feels really good going on in the mornings, when I'm so sleepy. Still, after rolling it on in upward motions, you need to pat it in evenly in order to blend the illuminating sheen evenly.
As you can see, when I roll it out, the cream comes out streaky... so it needs blending and patting on just like any other eye cream.
This is after light blending. My camera doesn't really capture it that well, but you can see it really is illuminating and glowy and really helps to fake the awake look! It's like a glowy sheen, kind of like an understated MAC Strobe Liquid or Smashbox Artificial Light luminizing lotion. Using this before under-eye concealer does make a subtle difference. And while the texture of this under-eye serum may not seem as moisturizing as a regular cream-type under-eye cream, it actually does help moisturize, smooth and firm the under-eye area really well.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Mica, Propylene Glycol, Acrylates Copolymer, Polyacrylamide, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Juice, Polysilicone-11, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Phenoxyethanol, Nylon-12, Silica, Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Laureth-7, Sodium PCA, Urea, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Citric Acid, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 40, Allantoin, Disodium EDTA, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polyquaternium-51, Sodium Hyaluronate, Trehalose, VP/Polycarbamyl Polyglycol Ester, Hydrolyzed Sesame Protein PG-Propyl Methylsilanediol, Tin Oxide, Phosphoric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Triacetin, Sodium Sulfite, Benzoic Acid.

Overall, I really love this under-eye serum, I love the glowy optical illusion of awakeness it gives. However, I only use this in the day (not night) because nobody's gonna see the glowiness at night anyway and I don't want the additional glowy stuff at night (it seems too make-up-ish, not like actual skincare). Plus, the instructions say you can reapply over make-up if you want something glowy under your eyes, but I wouldn't recommend it because it's unsanitary.

Rating: 10/10
Out of all the GWPs this Christmas season, the most unique and useful would be the Fancl 2012 calendar! It is so useful for anyone who has a desk in the office.
It has nice big boxes for you to scribble appointments in... and you can put it on your office desk and flip it to get different "status updates" so your colleagues will know when you're "Out for Lunch" or "On Leave" or "In a Meeting". Cool, right? And it comes with a sheet of stickers too with "Payday" and "Facial" etc... so useful!
Anyway here are a few random photos to end the post...
I saw these cute little birds (they have mohawks and they look like ninjas because of the black eye mask thingy they have!) at my friend's place. We visited her palatial mansion (no understatement at all!) and played Just Dance 1/2/3 on her Wii for 4 hours... so many calories burnt... my arms and legs ached for days after.
And just last night, I hosted a barbeque at my place and took a photo of this cute cat... doesn't it look like Puss in Boots from Shrek?! It's so adorable... It stays around the barbeque pits and is really fat from all the barbeque leftovers people feed it.

Christmas week is here! I'm so excited! :)))

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Review: Soap & Glory Scrub Your Nose In It

My favourite brand at Sephora has got to be Soap & Glory. I absolutely love the cute pink retro packaging with the quirky wordings, plus the products are not too outrageously priced. This tube of Scrub Your Nose In It is about S$17 (~US$13) for 125ml which is more expensive than drugstore but more affordable than counter brands... a pretty good balance.
And every time I read the descriptions on Soap & Glory products... I'm sold! They have all these old-school designs where they display all their crazy outrageously amazing claims with lots! Of! Exclamation! Marks!!! (I love exclamation marks too!) And it helps that their products are pretty amazing really. Let's look at Scrub Your Nose in it... It's a lovely scrub with tiny micro particles (kind of like a microdermabrasion scrub), but you can leave it on your face too, as a deep-cleansing mask, because it contains clay to suck up all your impurities. So it's a multi-tasking marvel!
You can see the scrub particles are really fine, which is great because it is gentle... yet the particles are dense and plentiful enough to feel properly scrubby! The mask is green with a pleasant light tingly mint feeling. The instructions say to use a pea-size, but I use twice the amount for a good clean. After cleansing, I used this scrub on a damp face, concentrating on the T-zone and other problematic areas, then I leave it on for a few more minutes to let the clay do its work, and rinse it off.

It leaves my skin super smooth and feeling really clean. My pores definitely look smaller after, and I like how this scrub mask is like a microdermabrasion and a mask (fantastic multitasker) which deep-cleans, yet also maintains moisture. Also, I love the scent and how it feels more natural than other microdermabrasion masks I've used (Estee Lauder Micro-D deep thermal refinisher) which feel more... chemical, somehow.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Kaolin, Solum diatomeae (Diatomaceous earth), Glycerin, Sodium cocoamphoacetate, Montmorillonite, Stearic acid, Myristic acid, Palmitic acid, Lauric acid, Vaccinium myrtillus fruit/leaf extract, Sodium chloride, Potassium hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Saccharum officinarum (sugar cane) extract, Parfum (Fragrance), Salix nigra (Willow) bark extract, Xanthan gum, Methylparaben, Limonene, Ethylparaben, Citrus medica limonum (Lemon) peel extract, Citrus aurantium dulcis (Orange) flower extract, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium pyrophosphate, Butylphenyl methylpropional, Acer saccharum (Sugar maple) extract, Dipropylene glycol, CI 42090 (Blue 1)

Rating: 10/10

This is one of those products which make me feel happy to use it every day, even just to look at the packaging, and I feel like I'll never tire of it! I've actually purchased a few more Soap & Glory products, I'm definitely doing more reviews... their products are truly outstanding in my opinion. The only thing I wouldn't try though, is the fragrance. Their perfume bottles look really pretty, like Juicy Couture knock-offs, but the scent... is not my type, unfortunately. >_<

It feels weird blogging on a weeknight, but I missed my regular weekend post so I decided to just post this. I have such a backlog of stuff to review cos my skin was bad the past few weeks and I was so depressed, I couldn't wear too much make-up cos it just makes bad skin looks worse. Then I tried some new product and it really improved my skin. :) Will do some review on it soon after I ascertain its efficacy! Christmas is coming, falalala~ I'm excited!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Review: Mentholatum Acnes Medicated Tea Tree Oil Clay Mask

I purchased this Mentholatum Acnes medicated tea tree oil clay mask a while ago at the drugstore because it seemed really cheap (I think about S$6?), but as I used it I realised the tube is really light and only contains 50g which might last me at most 10 uses, so it's actually not as affordable as it seems.  
The texture is really creamy, not like a true mud mask. This mask will not dry up on your face totally, it is more like a creamy clay mask that you wipe off after 10 minutes. It contains tea tree oil for anti-bacterial effects, kaolin clay for oil control and aloe vera for softness. It has a very strong scent of tea tree oil (which I like) and it spreads very easily. After 10 minutes, I wash it off with a damp washcloth and it leaves my skin smooth, moisturized and clean. It minimizes my pores somewhat and calms any zits down

While it provides a refreshing tingling mint feeling on my skin, it doesn't sting at all, so it's a relatively gentle mud mask, good for calming skin down on bad days. As it is not a drying kind of clay mask, it doesn't suck out all the oil and gunk in my pores, but that's ok. I like the balance between moisture and deep-cleansing that this mask provides.

Ingredients: Water, Butylene glycol, Bentonite, Kaolin, Glyerin, Triethylhexanoin, Titanium dioxide, Illite, Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, Phenoxyethanol, Xantham gum, Disodium EDTA, Dipotassium glycyrrhizate, Water (and) butylene glycol (and) alcohol (and) aloe barbadensis leaf extract, Citric acid, Water (and) butylene glycol (and) PEG-60 almond glycerides (and) caprylyl glycol (and) glycerin (and) carbomer (and) nordihydroguaiaretic acid (and) oleanolic acid, Cl19140, Cl42090.

I have to note that I was quite surprised to enjoy this mask because I didn't really like using the Mentholatum Acnes creamy face wash (it seemed to leave a residue on my skin and didn't clean very well, plus I didn't like the scent.) I think this Tea Tree Oil Mud Mask is one of the stand-out products of the line.

Rating: 8/10

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Review: The Body Shop Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask + Kite-flying at Marina Barrage

I recently finished a tub of The Body Shop's Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask. My sister tried it out and thought it was good so she actually bought a second tub! For me, it wasn't especially fantastic and it costs S$32.90 (US$22) which is kinda pricy for a 100ml tub, so I wouldn't repurchase because there are many good clay masks out there and I'm always trying new stuff. (I only repurchase when the product is seriously seriously good - I should probably devote a post to the items which made it on my repurchase list.) But anyway, I'm pretty sure the 100ml mask can last up to half a year with weekly usage (I only used it up faster because my sister was using it as well), so I guess it's not that expensive.
The mask is really a mud mask (the texture is like mud, with tiny silt particles in it) and it has an oceany fragrance which... kinda smells like the sea. Honestly I don't really like the fragrance, I guess it's supposed to smell nice - to me, it smells like the sea (real seawater really doesn't smell that nice) and some sort of fresh fragrance which is trying to cover up the smell of the seawater. Fragrance doesn't bother me much though - the substance is more important!

The description on The Body Shop's website goes "100% natural clay complex cleanses and revitalizes skin; negatively charged ions act like magnets to draw out dirt and impurities from the pores." The instructions say to use weekly and it's best for oily combination skin, and that is totally true. I have oily but dehydrated skin, and it acts pretty well to draw out the gunk in my pores. The mask isn't the best at drawing out impurities, but it is 80% there in degunking my pores; at the very least, after I rinse the mask away, it is much easier to do extraction and my pores look smaller and cleaner. However, I find I can only use this weekly - any more frequently and it stings my skin slightly.

How I use it is that I'll slather it on, leave for 10 mins until it dries (this is the kind of mask that will dry), then lightly dampen my skin and rub it off my skin gradually, adding more water as necessary until it gets all rinsed away! This way, the tiny silt particles help provide extra exfoliating action. While the mask stings my skin if I use it too frequently, it is not drying.


Overall, I'd have to say that this mask does what it claims to do (good for oily/combination skin) but if you have sensitive skin, skip it. Mainly I deducted points for the fragrance and the price, but it's still a good product.

Rating: 8/10

A couple of weekends ago, I went to Marina Barrage for a picnic and some kite-flying! It's a really nice place to go to - it's all windy but it can get real chilly after 8pm.
2 little boys were flying Angry Birds kites - so cute!
Last Friday I had dinner at Watami with an old friend cos she just graduated. It's always great catching up with people especially to get the goss on new boyfriends, etc, haha! We had the Watami set dinner which consists of the following and made us really, really full. The milk custard was ala carte and seriously good! Really value-for-money.
And recently my friend WhatsApped me the following photo:
It's dress-up Rilakkuma stickers!!! So adorable OMG!!!!!! :D

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Review: Neutrogena Hydroboost Water Gel and Hydroboost Essence

My favourite kind of moisturizer contains hyaluronic acid and is gel-like in texture. So when I spotted the Neutrogena Hydroboost range at the drugstore, I had to try it. Usually hyaluronic gel moisturizers are made by Japanese brands, but this one is by Neutrogena! So I was really curious to see how it turns out. I'd previously tried and reviewed the Neutrogena Hydroboost Mousse Cleanser so I got the water gel and serum next. They contain olive extract and hyaluronic acid with a 'progressive release system' which progressively releases moisture throughout the day, which sounded so attractive because I work long hours in air-conditioned dryness and getting my moisturizer to last is a big priority!
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
This comes in a delicious, thick gel-cream texture which feels hydrating on the skin, and smooth when gliding on (thanks to the dimethicone and other -cones in the formula which may not be universally appreciated). It sinks into skin very easily and I think this is meant to be used after the essence. However, it performs very well on its own too. It really works well to not only hydrate but deeply moisturize skin and yes, the progressive release system does work! At the end of the day, when I remove my make-up at 11pm (after about 16 hours since putting it on?), my skin doesn't feel dry or flaky, but smooth to the touch.
The scent is a lovely fresh, light and clean scent which is the same throughout the Hydroboost line. The slightly siliconey texture of the gel might feel slightly heavy at first if you have oily skin, but the trick is to use just enough of it! I always apply moisturizer in thin layers - if it sinks right in and my skin feels like it needs more, then apply a second layer. If you apply a thick layer at one go... that's just wrong and your skin will feel it.

Here's the ingredients list:
If I had to choose one item to purchase from the Hydroboost line, this would be the one. Also, it's pretty affordable - I purchased this 50g jar for S$14.90 at a Beaute Spring store (which sells products from Garnier, Neutrogena, Olay etc at cheaper prices than Watson's or Guardian drugstores, and guess what, the manufacturing dates are all recent).

The only thing I'm annoyed about is the jar packaging - not too sanitary! I don't understand why they don't sell the full-size in a tube instead because the gel-cream texture would totally work in a tube. In fact, I was introduced to this product by a sample I received, which was in a tiny tube. So it works! Please make this in tube form!

Overall - fantastic and affordable moisturizer for all skin types. Oily-yet-dehydrated skin will love this because it keeps the water-oil balance of your skin in check, and dry skins will benefit from using this over the essence. The progressive-release moisture system totally impresses me.

Rating: 10/10 (even if it's in a jar!)
Neutrogena Hydroboost Essence
I think this essence is meant to be used under the the water gel. I remember it cost me about S$12.90 for 30ml. The bottle looks huge but it really only contains 30ml, so the bulky packaging really wastes space.  
So basically the essence is a milky lotion which also feels a little siliconey with a lot of glide. Because of the silicone, it also feels slightly heavy for an essence. It feels nothing as light as my other hyaluronic acid serums such as Juju Aquamoist or Skincology Advanced Hydrating Serum. I would think that people with oily skin might be able to get away with using this on its own as a light moisturizer. However, for me, if I had to choose between the water gel and this, I would opt for the water gel as it hydrates much better. For me, the essence mainly aids in extending the moisturizing capabilities of the water gel.

Don't write this off as an unnecessary complementary product - it really helps increase the moisture level when used in conjunction with the water gel, my skin feels much softer and smoother when I use them both together as opposed to the water gel alone. While people with oily skin might find it heavy to layer 2 products together, it is good for extra moisture after you've exfoliated, when you're experiencing abnormal flakiness, or for night use in an air-conditioned room.

Rating: 9/10
Here's some photos from last weekend-
Photo at TWG tea with a friend, pardon the cheesy caption which she added with some iPhone app.
Scones and caneles - really lovely!

The black macaroons are caramel - nicer than the hot pink ones which have a tart blackcurrant filling.
I went for my company's dinner and dance, the theme was Back to School and I wore fishnets and Vans. I didn't spend money on a single thing - everything was already in my closet, and I wore my junior college tie. (I don't believe in spending money on things I only use for a night... though my friends would probably mention how I take less than a second to fork out $100+ for a bottle of SKII, lol)
We stayed at the Resorts World Sentosa's Festive Hotel... each room has a king-sized bed, a loft bed and a sofa bed which makes it good for families and cheapskates like us. I really liked the toiletries (shampoo and shower gel) in the bathroom, they smell really good like they're full of fragrant essential oils. Love it! Oh and can you see that I'm wearing the bedroom slippers which are neon orange... so weird! Why can't they stick to plain white. I felt like I couldn't sleep after looking at my neon slippers, they were so blinding.
I liked the orchid mural.
At work, my peak period is starting... I can't believe I have survived a year. I hope I can keep it up! I booked a bunch of massages and facials for the Nov/Dec season to relax and prepare for the Christmas season! ^_^ Christmas decorations are already up at the shopping malls and it's feeling festive. The crowds are annoying though! Has anyone gotten Christmas shopping done yet? :)


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