Sunday, August 28, 2011

Review: Kose Softymo Airy Whip

I purchased this can of Kose Softymo Airy Whip about a month ago from an online seller. I've been using it every morning since and I think it's gonna last me quite a long time! For each wash, I pump out an amount slightly larger than a golf ball in size. The foam is quite nice and dense:


My only gripe is the pump: it requires some strength to pump out the foam and so you can't really pump it out while holding it in the air; you need to have it stable on the sink/counter.

Lots of people have reviewed this wash before, I bought it cos it's quite novel and I've never used an aerosol wash, so I just wanted to try it out. Then again, aerosol cans aren't good for the environment so I will not repurchase (it's not great enough for me to have that on my conscience, y'know?).

The scent of the foam is a very generic Biore scent that I can't describe, but that I was pretty disappointed in. It's not offensive in any way, just that it's a typical Japanese drugstore scent and I kind of expected a more luxurious scent. Then again, Airy Whip is quite inexpensive so I shouldn't have had such high expectations. The foam is really nice and dense and I feel that my skin is really soft after using it. However, I only use this as a morning wash as it isn't very good at cleansing thoroughly. I'd use it in the evening only if I've worn very little make-up that day, and I'd use it with my 3M Nexcare facial cleansing cloth for better cleansing. I like that this cleanser is quite mild and gentle but it might not be suitable for really dry-skinned people as it might leave dry skin slightly tight. Personally, it leaves my skin really soft but I have oily-combination skin.

Ingredients list in Englishhere, I'm not too sure how accurate it is as the ingredients list on the can is in Japanese.

Overall, I think this is just a rather gimmicky facial foam - the aerosol can made me want to try it out cos it looks cool, but honestly this is just a very basic, generic drugstore cleanser.

Rating:7/10

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review: Vichy Essentielles Repairing Hand Cream, Malaysia day trip and food photos

I'm crazy about hand cream - I have an obsession with washing my hands and thus they're always dry. My mum lent me this tube of Vichy Essentielles Repairing Hand Cream recently and I'm loving it! (Plus it has hot pink packaging, my favourite bimbotic colour! ^^)

I'm not sure how much it costs, but Vichy products are typically a wee bit on the expensive side. I like that this tube is small enough to bring with me everywhere. Plus, it's paraben free!

Ingredients:


It's a really rich and thick cream with a light, comforting and unobtrusive floral scent. (In comparison, Crabtree & Evelyn's Lavender and Rose hand creams are heavily scented.) The cream is not greasy at all and a little goes a long way! The texture of the cream is quite thick, kind of like Gold Bond hand cream (which also has a nice scent and is a more affordable alternative). I like how this cream is concentrated so I don't have to reapply too often (because some people comment about how vain I am when I reapply too frequently, lol), and while one 50ml tube seems quite tiny, it lasts me a long time as I don't use a lot as compared to other hand creams.

Rating: 9/10 (-1 cos it's pretty expensive)


--------
A couple of weeks ago I went to Johor Bahru, Malaysia for a day trip. It's been so long since I've been there! I went to Aeon mall at Bukit Indah which is super near Singapore and very convenient (just across the border). I liked how the mall is very organised - they have one row for food, one row for shoes, one row for hairdressers and salons... There's Jusco (department store) which didn't impress me, and Tesco (supermarket) which is slightly better cos I found so many interesting and weird skincare brands, like Likas papaya soap (which I read about online)! And I had PappaRoti, the super yummy coffee buns which used to be available in Singapore but went bust. They have shops in places like Australia and Korea though! Let the pictures do the talking -


Tea, cheesecake and omelette for brekkie




Stonegrill steak for lunch - huge portion


Fruttare ice pops! Really yummy like sorbet with real frozen fruit inside - I do think the strawberry one tastes like Haagen Dazs strawberry sorbet. Good alternative and cheap too!

Dinner @ New Hong Kong Chinese restaurant - fried tofu, spinach with 3 eggs, butter prawns, yam paste pork ribs and kungfu tea






Shopping wasn't great cos I try not to buy poor quality things no matter how cheap they are, you know what I mean? I found nice, good quality shorts at Tesco for S$10 (~US$7) but the salesperson was seriously careless (and so were we) cos he charged us twice for the same pair of shorts, and he forgot to remove the plastic ink-filled anti-theft device. Tsk. I found a cute floral dress in the juniors section that looks like something I saw on Urban Outfitters, but it was quite lousy in quality with no lining so I didn't purchase it.


All in all, I think JB is an ok place to go shopping, I think I might consider going there once every 6 months to stock up on contact lens solution, eyedrops and some other beauty items which are slightly cheaper than in Singapore. The immigration officers in Malaysia were really friendly when we had to do our biometric records for the first time. (There was some fiasco over the immigration officers mistreating some Singaporeans the other time, but I think it was the Singaporeans' faults too cos they were kinda careless and just drove through immigration without stopping when they saw there wasn't an officer at their booth. -_-U) Quality of food and apparel is not that great though, that's why most of the stuff I buy are from the pharmacy from international brands, which are ok. They have great coffee buns and durian puffs though!! :D And some of Tesco's house-brand apparel items are quite nice, they remind me of Target's!

And here's some more food photos from the past month-
Yuan yang (coffee and milk tea mix) and yuzu tea

Cheese baked rice from Kim Gary (some Hong Kong cafe)


Chocolate cake from Cedele for tea break in office - not that great though it's pretty

Cheesecake from Starbucks for tea break in office
Let me end off with a card an intern gave me-


When I was in a bad mood, I thought the quote was so depressing - it's like no matter how hard you chase after it, happiness is unattainable. But when I was in a better mood, I looked at it from a different perspective - happiness is everywhere depending on how you look at it. Hmm. I am way too mood-swingy to be happy all the time though. Lol.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Review and swatches: Fancl Nail Color, Jelly Nail Coat and Nail Color Remover

There was a Fancl anniversary sale (20% off) a couple of weeks ago and since I had the Isetan credit card which gives me 5% off, I bought a nail color, jelly nail coat and nail color remover, plus a bunch of other stuff. I saved so much!

I bought Fancl nail polish because I always had the impression that Fancl's products are 'safer' with ingredients that are free of preservatives. I've always hated the chemicals in nail polish (smells horrid and kills your brain cells) so I thought Fancl would be a good alternative.



With flash


After 5 days, slight tip wear, no chipping

Fancl Nail Color - Skinny Beige
This is a nice coral-nude color. In my swatches above I had 2 coats on, no top coat. Consistency is on the thicker side. Coverage is opaque from the first coat but looks neater with a second coat. I find this polish works best with a double coat; the thick consistency makes it difficult to build up a third coat as bubbles might appear and it'll be more difficult to dry. Drying time is average, about 10 minutes. The thing I really like about this nail polish is that the thick texture makes this super resistant to chipping (I think it's due to hydrolyzed silk), you can see from the photos above that I get slight tip wear after 5 days which is very even with no chipping, quite a feat as I do quite a bit of violent typing. ^_^

Ingredients:


Price is S$16 (about US$11) for a regular sized bottle that expires 1 year after opening and 3 years from manufacturing date. It comes in 5 colors: skinny beige, milky pink, ice rose, pink bronze and sparkling gold. Check it out here. I'd love to try milky pink next. I think the only thing bad about this polish range is the limited variety of colours! Pretty affordable for a counter brand, especially when I purchased it at 25% off. (:

Rating: 9/10



Fancl Jelly Nail Coat Base & Top
The jelly nail coat is supposed to give a jelly appearance, like Gelish nails, I suppose. The photos above are 2 coaters - I find 1 coat not shiny enough and 3 coats too difficult to dry and not worth the trouble. The jelly coat can be used as both base and top coat, but it's not a particularly great top coat because it's not as tough and chip-proof as Sally Hansen's Mega Shine top coat. Also, I'm not too satisfied with its 'jelly' claims because I would have preferred it to looks 'squishier' like real jelly nails. Also, drying time is a wee bit too long. I think it takes like 15 minutes to dry 2 coats properly.

Price is the same as the nail color. I don't think I'd repurchase again; I'd prefer to try other jelly nail coats, like Canmake's!

Ingredients:

Rating: 7/10

Fancl Nail Color Remover
This is a star find! It comes in a nice glass bottle, S$13 (about US$9) for 55ml It's alcohol free so it's non-drying, and it contains Nail Emollient Oil which help nourish your nails. I can feel the oiliness but I'm fine with it, it does feel like it's conditioning my nails. And the best thing is, this strips color really fast! Way better than other cheap nail polish removers which are drying and stink. The best part - this nail polish remover smells like artificial melon candy! (It's a kinda sickly sweet melon candy scent, but still better than the regular acetone fumes. Plus, a little goes a long way. I drip a little on a cotton pad and it's enough for one hand. A very worthy purchase!
Ingredients:


Rating: 10/10

I don't know if Fancl is easy to purchase in other non-Asian countries, but it's really a pretty good brand. I'm sure everyone knows it for its Mild Cleansing Oil (which I love as well), but it does have other really good products as well. The nail polish was a good find, I do think I'll repurchase the nail color and nail polish remover. I've also repurchased their powder foundation (hope to review soon) and drink Tense-up (their collagen supplement) when I'm on stressful engagements that wreck my skin. Overall I think Fancl is a pretty good brand (there were so many people swarming the counter during the anniversary sale) that's worth a try! I hope to review more products soon when I have the time. >_<

Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: PCA Skin pHaze 13 Pigment Bar, Nexcare Facial Cleansing Cloth

PCA Skin pHaze 13 Pigment Bar
I bought the PCA Skin Pigment Bar about 3 years ago, used it on-and-off within the last 2 years and have been using it very conscientiously within the last 6 months. I don't think many people have heard of this brand because in Singapore it's only sold through dermatologists or skin clinics. I bought it online at Drugstore.com for US$30 for about 90g which is pricier than what I usually spend on a cleanser, but after trying it, I think it's money well spent because I think a jar can last me a year (or more!) when used once in the evening daily.


Here's what it looks like - an amber-coloured bar soap with little white bubbles in it that look quite creepy.

Ingredients: Water, Saponins, Glycerin, Vegetable Oil, Sorbitol, Lecithin, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Powder, Kojic Acid, Azelaic Acid, Maltose Monohydrate, Glucosamine HCl, Tannic Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana Water (Witch Hazel), Sodium Lactate, Niacinamide, Calcium Ascorbate, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Oil (Rosewood)

The Pigment Bar is supposed to treat hyperpigmentation, so the kogic acid and azelaic acid work to exfoliate and make skin more even-toned. It comes with 3 flat little sponge discs - the sponges inflate after you wet them, really cool! You're supposed to use the soap with the sponge, leave the foam on your face for a few minutes, then rinse off. I find the included sponge way too rough for use on my face (and even my body) so I use my Nexcare facial cleansing cloth instead (which I shall review further on in the post). I have also tried using the soap with a muslin cloth or the Fancl facial sponge which works pretty well too. I've also heard of people using their Clarisonic with this. The main thing is, don't just use your hands, because it's difficult to get anything out with just your fingers because it's a hard bar soap. I usually moisten my cleansing cloth, use it to rub the surface of the soap which makes it easier to get product out since it's damp. While the instructions ask you to leave the foam on for a few minutes, I just cleanse and rinse, cos leaving the foam on too long makes my skin tingle.

I use the Pigment Bar daily in the evenings (it's a little harsh for morning use) and it really cleans out every pore really well. It can be drying for some, so you really need to moisturize well after use, and always use sunscreen because the acids will sensitize your skin. I do notice my skin becoming more even-toned, my pores becoming smaller and the great thing is, the Pigment Bar actually helps prevent breakouts! I find that if I use the Pigment Bar and my cleansing cloth every day, it actually exfoliates enough so that I don't have to use a face scrub or deep-cleansing mask so often, which saves time for lazy me.

There's an offer on Drugstore.com now, it's going for US$24 (instead of US$30) and I'm seriously thinking of getting a back-up if not for the fact that I have like 20 more cleansers waiting for some love. :(

Rating: 9/10



Nexcare Facial Cleansing Cloth
Speaking of my Nexcare cleansing cloth, I've been including it in my evening routine for quite a while now. I find it helps remove gunk from my face better, and I also think it is absolutely necessary when using a mild cleanser (which might not cleanse well enough). I only use it for evening though, I find I don't need such heavy duty cleansing in the mornings.


Here's how the cloth looks like up close - really soft (feels like a cloud when I use foamy cleansers) and the little loops help remove dirt and oils well. It's not harsh at all and it does not in any way replace my face scrubs/exfoliants. Comparing the cleansing cloth with a muslin cloth, I'd say the muslin cloth has more bite and a muslin cloth actually exfoliates while the cleansing cloth merely lifts dirt using the little loops. For foaming cleansers, using them with a muslin cloth might cause the foam to go flat, but Nexcare cleansing cloth doesn't do that. (Not as badly as the muslin cloth anyway). This Nexcare cleansing cloth is also gentler than the Fancl facial sponge and easier to dry.



Ok, here you have a seriously disgusting photo of my Nexcare cleansing cloth, before and after. :P The cleansing cloth, at first, feels like a cloud. I think after a couple months' uses, it'll start feeling less soft (but still does the job) and you can see the loops very clearly. I used the old Nexcare cloth to remove clay masks from my face, which is why its condition deteriorated quite rapidly (it's pretty difficult to remove clay from the cloth and I think the clay ruins it, so I'm not using it like that anymore).

It's a pretty cheap cleansing cloth, costs about S$4 or US$3 when I bought it in Hong Kong (but slightly more expensive in Singapore), and if you take care of it well and wash it regularly, I think it could last you a pretty long time. A cheaper alternative to the Clarisonic I think! (I'm still waiting for the Sephora Friends and Family sale to get the Clarisonic Mia)

Rating: 9/10

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