Monday, September 21, 2009

Clearlast treatment primer- For dark circles eye primer

Size: 20g

Price: 1900yen

I have dark circles uder my eyes. I’ve always had dark circles under my eyes.

They drive me insane, because people are always saying how tired I look.

I’m just pale!  Veins and dark circles show up more clearly on pale people!

*grumbles* It’s an ongoing issue.
Anways... Since teh rest of my skin is fairly clear and even, I don’t like to use heavy foundation...
And I have trouble finding a decent concealer, and making it stick... The skin under my eyes is also super smooth...
So I spotted the Clearlast primer in a cosmetics store in Kobe.
It was 1900 yen which is nearly $20US... So it was the longest time before I actually bought it.
I would just go and look at it every time I was near that particular store...
I know $20 isn’t that much, since I obviously wanted it so much... But at that time I was trying to save up money for my flight home.
Anyways, obviously I eventually broke down and bought it...

I don’t regret buying it... but what the hell is it for?????

Seriously... I thought it was one of 3 things either a concealer, a primer or a eye treatment.
I know it says primer but skin care in japan doesn’t always translate into what we exect a word to mean in English...

It’s a thin white liquid... It applied to my under eyes smoothly... Then does nothing.

I can tell you it’s definitely not a silicone based primer based on the feel.

I’ve tried applying a light layer under my eyes, than makeup on top... But it worsens the staying power of my regular make up... It’s worse than just foundation over bare skin.
It doesn’t affect my dark circles at all, even after a week of using it every day... It’s colorless and doesn’t cover them....
I guess it must be a primer... It just really doesn't work.
The only reason I don’t regret buying it is I know, that If i had not bought it, it would still be bugging me to this day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Skin 79 BB creams sampler
Size 4x 5g tubes
Price: $11.60 US
Skin79 is a Korean brand with both skin care and make-up. I haven’t used very many Korean skin care products, them being not commonly available in Japan. But since I got a job in Ulsan, I’m going to have to start...
So since I added the skin79 miniature set to a mini order I was doing on Adambeauty.

It comes with 4 mini BB creams.
BB stands for blemish balm. But what BB creams really are a super tinted moisturizers. They are the rage over here in North America...
Anything that eliminates a step from the make-up routine.
So the skin 79 BB creams are basically the same idea. They are tinted moisturizers, most of them with SPF with one or more additional features.
It’s really the additional features that sell me!
I got

Super+ BB
Its UV protection SPF25 Pa++ (considering most tinted moisturizers here are Spf15, or 20 at most, 25 is pretty awesome)
It also claims to be whitening and wrinkle free (whether that means wrinkle minimizing, wrinkle preventing or wrinkle hiding I’m not sure..._

Super + BB – the gold collection
Uv 25++, whitening and Wrinkle improvement
It sounds about the same as the previous one, but the Skin79 website shows a ton of added ingredients, like arbutin and adenosine (both are good for whitening), Q10, phyto complex, Gold and Caviar...
But the full sizes are both the same price... So...

BB diamond collection
It doesn’t say it on the sample tube but it too has Uv 25++, whitening and Wrinkle improvement
according to the Skin79 website.
But apparently this is the newest... It contains many similar components to the other two but it now contains EGF! Which is epidermal growth factor. It’s supposed to help increase cell turnover. (By increasing the growth rate not by removal of dead skin cells.)

BB diamonds collection – Pearl
it’s the same as above, but with added “pearl”
I’ve wanted a BB cream for ages. They seem like the perfect solution to minimize my skin care routine. Now I currently apply a light moisturizer, sunscreen and foundation separately.
I don’t use a tinted moisturizer with all 3 because of the really low SPF (15 is so not enough for me).
I use SPF 50 on a daily basis.
Plus all the ones i’ve tried either have a weird color (too dark or too orange, since tinted moisturizers rarely have more options than light medium and dark) and they tend to irritate my skin. So component in sunscreen actually makes me break out in a rash. For some reason this happens more often with North American brands... It’s horrible. Though I was using the Clinique super city block for a while, but the tint was a little too dark for me, so I had to carefully blend it in.
Anyway... I predicted that the SPF in many BB creams would be better, since BB creams are super light (and it seems to be the heavier the sunscreen the more it irritates me), plus Japanese sunscreen works for me...

The result; I am madly in love with All of the skin 79 BB creams.
Seriously LOVE!
They are all super light, they spread easily and the give light coverage.

As you can see the Super BB and the diamond BB are slightly different in color.
With the Super(s) being slightly darker, and the Diamond(s) slightly more orange,
But once they are spread out they are light enough to blend in perfectly even though they appear to be slightly darker than my skin tone. Honestly once they are on I couldn’t tell you the difference between them (except for the pearl of course.)
It’s the same coverage as the Cover girl trublend I’m currently using as my foundation!
Plus, as you can see from the swatches, there isn’t much color variation between the samples (I expected at least a couple to be totally wrong/ too dark/ too orange.)
But they all are pretty close to my skin tone, and blend like a dream!
They also last well, as good as or a bit better than my CG foundation.

As you can see though, applied they are all basically identical, except for the Pearl.
Sadly it’s not a subtle glow like my Anessa pearly sunscreen. It’s more of a small sparkle.
It’s not quite subtle enough for me for day.
A little too much sparkle when applied all over the face.
But 3 out of being Perfect *Smiles*
Now I just have to decide which one I want in the full size...

Anessa perfect pearly sunscreen
SPF 50 PA+++

Price: US 15.75 from alphabeautystore
I hate North American brand sunscreen. I am allergic to something in some, but no all sunscreens.
When applied to my face, certain sunscreens with make me blotchy, and purple, and I feel as though I’ve been burned.
It drives me Nuts. I try to wear sunscreen every day. I’m super pale and super paranoid about skin cancer.
But when 90% of sunscreens out there do bad things to you.... It makes it a chore.
So for the past 5 years I’ve tried nearly every sunscreen out there.
And discovered that there are two basic forms of Sunscreen, physical and chemical.
The physical sunscreens, like Zinc oxide don’t bother me.
It’s the chemical ones that make me uncomfortable.
But since walking around with a big slab of zinc oxide on my face... not so practical (Unless Clown was my choice of profession)
so onto chemical sunscreen. I’ve discovered that the thicker the consistency of sunscreen, the more it irritates my skin.
So those thick cream beach sunscreens.
I REFUSE to touch anything of the sort.
So as you might expect, a lot of lower SPF sunscreens work better for me. Like SPF ... useless.
Anyway, eventually I have found a couple of NA brands that work for me, Neutrogena Moisture – SPF 15.
Plus sheer cover mineral make-up has an SPF value...
But while I was in Japan, I ran out of all the safe sunscreen I brought with me.
I then attempted to buy sunscreen there, hoping I wouldn’t have to have stuff flown in (ah drama).
And out of all the brands I tried; only a couple bothered me.
Wait what?
Back home, I can only find a couple that don’t bother me, yet here only a few do...

Japanese sunscreen and NA sunscreens are very different.
In NA, they are generally very thick, very heavy creams; whereas in Japan they are very running liquids.
I think the difference is Sunscreen here is meant mostly as beach ware. Meant to be applied everywhere. And even though lighter facial sunscreens are becoming more and more popular they still maintain their roots.
Whereas the Japanese lines are meant for the face, and designed to apply lightly under make up!

The Anessa sunscreen is a drugstore brand by shisedo. It seems expensive at 15.75US (It’s cheaper in Japan of course...) especially when the size I have is only 25ml. This is tiny. Especially compared to my Neutrogena 120ml. But honestly it applies so well, and you need so little that they both take almost the same amount of time to use up!

So the Anessa perfect pearly sunscreen is a super runny liquid with an SPF of 50 PA+++!
It is lightly pearly but not sparkly. So it applies beautifully under makeup, leaving a soft slightly luminous finish.
It dries almost immediately. Plus it’s not greasy/oily at all. It makes a very good base for apply further make up application.
It doesn’t seem to make further make up slide off, or reduce the lasting time.

So if you have the opportunity, switch to a Japanese sunscreen, do it! They are a little more expensive than the usual drugstore sunscreen, but the quality and lasting power makes it worth it!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mini haul from adambeauty

I just wanted to taunt you with my shipment that arrived today from adam beauty!
I needed a new makeup remover desperately, and decided to add in two other little things...

Mandom cleansing lotion
Dariya hair sheets
Skin79 bb cream sampler
Reviews will follow shortly!
PS Lime green Bed sheets.. fabulous or tacky? 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sheer Cover Mineral blush

Price= $25
Size = 1g
The Sheer cover mineral blush comes in the same boring black compact as pretty much all of their point make-up. There is a fairly large mirror in the compact. Big enough to be actually useable.
The blushes don’t come with a little mini brush or sponge, but that’s fine with me since I never use the applicators that come with make up anyways.
They come in three colors, Pinched (Pink), Plum perfect and Ginger.
Pinched is on the left, ginger is on the right.

They can be bought singly, or for a little more you can get a duo of Pinched and Ginger.
Pinched is the most wearable color, and can be worn on nearly any kin tone. The Ginger and Plum are a lot more iffy. The Ginger is orange enough that even on warmer skin tones it can look a bit odd.
The sheer cover mineral blushes aren’t exactly what I’d look for in a blush... They are very matte, and two of the 3 colors do not appeal to me. Since I have the duo half of my blush is pretty much wasted.
                                                             Mixed, Pinched, Ginger

As you can see on the swatches, when I swirl over both colors the resulting blush is too dark for me!
I occasionally use both colors, but very very lightly.
                                               This is me wearing a very light layer of Ginger.
They are medium pigmented, so one or two swipes on me results in more than enough color. 
The texture are smooth, and only a little bit of excess blush comes up each time. And even though they are only one gram in size, they are pigmented enough that they last a really really long time.
                                 This is me in Pinched. A much better color for my skin tone.
I pretty particular when it comes to blush, there are certain types and colors that I avoid like the plague.
I HATE cream blushes... I always seem to make a mess, getting too much on the brush; smearing it...
I also avoid dark colors and Matte blushes. Since the foundation I use is very Matte, I like my blush to either have a hint of shimmer or preferably to be a tint.
But as far as matter powder blushes go the sheer cover are of good quality. They last forever and they have pretty solid colors.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Suisai by Kanebo- Enzyme cleansing powder

Here in North America, enzyme peels seem to be all but forgotten, a little used alternative to the more hard core acid peels and rough scrubs.
I mean you go the drug store, and just about every Skin care line now has physical exfoliators.  Neutrogena “healthy skin rejuvenator”, St. Ives Apricot Scrub, etc.
My first introduction to exfoliation way back in Junior high was at a Sleep over party, and my best friend introduced me to St. Ives apricot scrub.
I didn’t even care about skin care back then, but my face felt so smooth.
Obviously it made an impact since I remember it even still.
But the Apricot Scrub is a prime example of something sooo bad.
Most of the physical exfoliators are WAY too rough for the face.
The other common alternative is an acid peel, most commonly Glycolic acid, but salicylic acid is out there.
I myself have the L’Oreal Anti-aging glycolic mini peel kit.
It’s lovely, but really it’s more intense than I need at 23 years old...
So... what am I to do?
There are gentle physical exfoliators like OLAY, which has little micro beads which are smooth and super gentle. And there are products with super low levels of glycolic acid.
But if you ever tried any of these “gentle” products, the results are...  mediocre at best.
*sigh* I can melt off the top layer of skin, or scrub away the top two layers, or I can feel like I’m doing nothing at all.
I’m sure I can’t be the only one who wants a middle ground. Something that exfoliates, makes you skin smooth, but isn’t too harsh or aggressive.
For me, enzyme peels are the answer.
I have a Pineapple (contains Bromelain the ultimate fruit exfoliate, it’s used in the food industry as a meat tenderizer!) enzyme peel which I use for my body. It’s dirt cheap and actually works.
And for my face, I have Suisai.
The pouch contains 15 individually wrapped portions of 0.4g (tiny I know)
this stuff is the shit.

It takes off enough dead skin that a couple of days use keeps me soft and fresh.
With no side effects.
So no stinging (like from chemical peels) and no scratched up skin.
It’s not quite as satisfying as a real peel.
The Enzyme peel works basically the same as and dry cleansing powder.
Dump the dry powder in the palm of your hand, ad a couple of drops of water, work into a paste, and apply to your face (I apply it dry, but some people moisten their face first).
I leave it on while I brush my teeth, then add some more water, and using my pore brush, work it into a lather and rinse.
My face is a little tight and a little dry at the end, but also soft and smooth.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sheer Cover Concealer Duo

Size : 1.5 g/ 0.05 oz
Price : 14.95 US (OUCH)
Generally my skin is pretty good. I’ quite pale, and I rarely get blemishes. So a sheer to medium foundation is generally enough for me.
But I do like to have a concealer of some sort for the occasional imperfections, or when the shadows under my eyes are too dark to hide easily (which these days is more and more)
The Sheer Cover concealer comes automatically with the entry kit.

Similar to the foundation you get two colors. I received the Light/medium combination with my light kit. My mom got the Light/Medium with her Medium kit...
There other colors are Extra light (which I’ve had and misplaced...), tan and dark. For anyone with a Dark complexion the Dark is probably not dark enough!!! Plus it’s weirdly red...
Yes that’s correct; you get the same concealer for both kits. That’s because like the foundation you are supposed to mix the concealers to get your correct shade.
*sigh* I hate mixing concealers. I really do.
With foundation you can kind of get away with an imperfect match if you blend the foundation well.
But since concealer gives you heavier coverage, a color mismatch is even more noticeable.
The concealer itself is smooth and thick. In fact too thick...  It needs to be warmed a little to spread smoothly, especially if you want medium instead of heavy coverage.
Generally It’s easier to apply the concealer to the back of your hand, let it warm a little, mix to get the right color shade, and then apply with a concealer brush.
The pots are a big enough size that you can use finger application (which works better if you want lighter coverage) or a brush.

The weirdest thing about the concealer is that it tends to crease when applied with the SC mineral foundation...
Even though you apply both lightly it will crease significantly...
The concealer used on its own, with only a little bit of loose powder to set it doesn’t crease too badly, but they don’t work in combination.
*shakes head*
Anyways, for the price this concealer is a PASS.
I’ve found better for a lot cheaper at the drug store.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sheer Cover mineral foundation

SC Mineral foundation

Size = 4g of Foundation in the regular size
Cost = $14.95
Foundation is quite possibly the least exciting of all the forms of make up in existence. If it’s doing its job right one should barely know it’s even there. A good foundation should cover problems and even skin tone without looking made up, or dry or greasy. That should be easy right? Maybe for some people it is... I however am plagued by foundation that goes on one color, and the mysteriously changes into another, by too much coverage and too little, by make up that sweats off or rubs off on my clothes. After ruining 3 nice white shirts with rub off I spent a Year refusing to wear anything white.
So if anyone out there has seen the Sheer Cover infomercials you’ll know it seems like the Perfect product. The infomercial touts customizable colors (so one can match their skin tone perfectly); easily customizable coverage and sweat/rub proof staying power. Of course none of this is revolutionary since mineral powders have been around for ages. But most brands don’t have a late night infomercial to temp insomniacs.
But even though the infomercial was tantalizing as a rule I do not buy stuff from the TV or over the phone. So it wasn’t until my employment situation changed (IE I returned from Japan and had to find something local) and all of a sudden I had bountiful access to all things Sheer Cover (and Meaningful Beauty, Youthful Essence and Proactive, but UGH!) So I started using it (I mean it’s there so Why not...)
The Colors
The mineral powder comes in 9 colors from super light to Darkish (It’s supposed to be for African-American complexions but generally is still too light)
When you order the kits you get two foundation colors
Light= Nude + Bisque  
Medium = Buff + Latte
Tan = Almond + Golden
Dark= Mocha+ Almond
Special Colors = Frost(Super Pale) and Chocolate (Super Dark)
If you are super light (Like me!) or super dark you have to order your shades special because they aren’t available in kits. But why the Chocolate color is considered special order I don’t know since it’s really not all that dark.
The colors paired in each kit contain two different tones, one yellowed toned and the other pink.
They have intended the color mixing to be the ultimate in customization (Or they say that as an excuse to cover up the laziness of only having 7 shades). I mean, how many of us can’t find the right shade of foundation from popular brands, it’s always too dark, to yellow or too pink. It’s downright aggravating.
But the sheer cover solution isn’t much of a solution. It’s downright frustrating. You have to Mix to find you perfect shade.
Using my Mother for example, her coloring tends to pink (like me) but a whole lot darker. She fits perfectly into the light category. Bisque is just the right level of darkness, but it’s so yellow that no matter how she blends it, her makeup doesn’t match her skin tone. The nude shade, which is pink toned is darker than Bisque, and so even though it’s the right tone, on its own it’s too dark to be worn alone.
So now comes the tricky part, her ideal shade is somewhere between those two colors. But finding it... *sigh* I can’t tell you how much make up we’ve wasted trying to get it right.
The result is sometimes my Mom looks lovely and smooth, as though she woke up looking perfect. But sometimes she goes out and all of a sudden she’s too yellow or too dark or too yellow and too dark. I concede that the lighting in her bathroom isn’t the best but in all her years of using other Make up brands my mom has never gone out looking so wrong.
It may be worthwhile to practice mixing to find you Perfect shade, but it’s time consuming and finicky, so really unless you have awesome lighting and lots of time, it’s better left to the professionals.
But, my experiences with SC are a bit different from my mothers. See I’m so pale that the lightest shade is just near perfect, no mixing required.

The Review

The powder is smooth, finely milled and Matte.  The finish it creates is totally unlike the glowy finish of Bare Minerals. But if you’re tired of the too glittery, too obvious finish Bare minerals can create SC can be a good options.
SC is also a step up from a lot of the common drug store mineral powders, seeing how it doesn’t contain Talc, and has a more intense color pay off.
Application is similar to other mineral foundations- you are supposed to “swirl, upwards in circular motions”. The instructions dictate that it’s to be applied after the moisturizer has dried, - the result a dry powdery finish, totally unlike the soft dewy finish on the infomercials.
On me anyways. If you have a bit oiler skin this method might work a bit better for you.
For me, I apply the foundation when my moisturizer is just barely still damp.  This achieves a smooth dewy finish.
In fact, random strangers have stopped me to say how perfect my skin is...
Lasting Power
The infomercial touts “Sweat resistant”, showing a woman who’s been jogging for like 40 minutes but still has perfect make up... Yeah, right.
The only reason the model has perfect make up is the mineral power can be so drying it just absorbs the sweat (ew....)
However it is true that the makeup won’t slid right off your face (do many people have this problem?)
But it will rub off on everything.
As for staying power under normal conditions, eh. It’s ok. It lasts most of the day, just gradually fading.

Creasing + Pores
*sigh* It’s wonderful and awful in turns. If you aren’t careful I your application (very little on the brush and lots of swirling) it can clump in pores and fine lines.
And unlike liquid foundation where you can gently smooth out mistakes or Touch up with a Q-tip, with SC you generally have to wash it all off and start again.
On the other hand, once correctly applied it firmly resists creasing (well... unless you apply tons, then it can gradually shift...)
The Verdict
Having tried many many mineral powders (bare minerals, physician’s formula, Revlon, etc.) Sc is pretty good. It’s smooth and well pigmented. But it’s also very matte...
So I’d stay it’s a step up from drug store, but not nearly as nice as most of the brands at Sephora (mmm smash box)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pretika light therapy review

Pretika Light Therapy wand
The silly looking tool above is my Light therapy wand.
If you're addicted to skin care, and the newest coolest tool, then maybe you've come across some of the new light therapy tools for at home use.

Then again, maybe you haven't. Light Therapy seems to be only slowly taking on popularity.
Probably because it tends to be expensive...
Maybe even because a lot of people (like me) can't help but wonder how an LED light is supposed to make my skin smoother and firmer...
I mean really? light?
But when I found the Tanda light therapy tool on I came down with a serious case of LUST.

Oh my GOD, I wanted it.
And then I read the reviews, the glowing reviews promising dramatic results...
Then I just had to have it.
But seeing the Tanda system is oh... nearly $300...
Well, that's a little out of my price range unless I'm guaranteed it's going to turn me into Megan Fox.

So I squashed the urge to stick the purchase on my credit card, and tried to forget...
Then one day, I came across Pretika...
And the light system was significantly cheaper.

It was so much cheaper that even if the whole thing failed I wouldn't be heartbroken (or just plain broke).
So I snapped it up for $30.
And excitedly went home to use it.

The device  is pretty simple, Like a red flash light with two settings, pules (I) and steady(II).
The pulse is supposed to better stimulate collagen production (so why are there two settings?)
You are supposed to keep the  lights about two inches from your face, I put it against my face because I`, concerned with damaging my eyes, and in the more expensive brands that what you are supposed to do.
Then you spend three minutes on each area of your face.
I spend maybe 9-12 minutes a night doing this (While watching Tv or something), but there are only a couple of spots on my face that I`m particularly concerned with wrinkles.
The first, and the bane of my existence is a single wrinkle above the left side of my upper lip.
I HATE that wrinkle.

My forehead and between my eyebrows are two spots starting to show expression lines (I`m only 23 it`s not fair... )

The results...
I`ve been using the Pretika thing for a couple of months now, not as regularly as I should, but fairly steadily.
And I am seeing REAL results!!!!!
The EVIL lip wrinkle is seriously diminished and one some days invisible.
The furrows between my brows are just about invisible, except when I frown, and my forehead is even smoother!!
Plus as an odd and unexpected side effect, my lips are plumper...
Specifically the left side (They are not uneven :P)
Honestly, I didn`t really think that the Red light would do anything.
I have been proven wrong, wonderfully so.