Friday, February 25, 2011

Holika Holika Single shadows

Holika Holika Single shadows
Price: 4000 won ($4)
Every Korean brand has its own line of single shadows. I  find, they suck. Even a normally nice brand cheaps out on its singles.
But, I like singles. Almost every time I buy a duo, trio or quad, I use up one color LONG before the rest.
There are just some colors I use a lot. So I have been in search of decent Korean singles. (lol) My search isn’t over. Holika’s singles are ok looking. The packaging isn’t bad. A clear top with a silver or black bottom (silver is for the metallic shadows). Their logo is imprinted into the powder.
They are also designed to be easily depottable.

Inside the shadows are pretty generic, but the quality is pretty good. Better than I usually see in singles. The colors are nicely pigmented, apply smoothly and last well.
I bought two colors, both are copper, in the same tone, that coordinate beautifully. One is a dark copper, the other is a lighter copper. The colors in the silver case, the 'metallics' are more pigmented. It is the darker and slightly more orange of the two. I use it as a liner and for shading. The lighter color is less pigmented, and applies a lot lighter than it looks in the pot. 

The colors are nice, not that exciting, and tend to be a little orange. The overall quality is decent, they last, and have decent pigmentation. They don't sound amazing, but.....honestly, they are the best Korean single shadows I have encountered.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Anessa (Shiseido) – Mild face sunscreen

Anessa (Shiseido) – Mild face sunscreen
SPF 46 PA+++
Price (for full size) 48,000won ($48)
I am madly in love with Anessa sunscreens! They are amazing, and amazingly expensive!
I received a deluxe sample of Anessa mild face sunscreen along with a full size of Anessa Ex.
Surprisingly the Anessa MFS is totally different from the EX or Pearly!!! It’s a runny cream, with a light texture, but it feels nothing like the other Anessa sunscreens! In fact it feels like a regular, chemical sunscreen. So this particular one lacks the qualities that I LOVE in the other Anessa sunscreens.
But on its own, it is lovely. It’s super light, and absorbs into the skin beautifully. It basically just disappears. It does leave my skin soft, but not nearly as soft as the EX.
It doesn’t leave a white cast, and feels very very light, invisible in fact. It also completely lacks a greasy after feeling. Nor does it clog my pores.

It is a really lovely sunscreen, but…. I don’t feel it is worth the price. Most sunscreens are under $20. Even nice expensive ones don’t usually get up to $50, especially considering it only contains only 60ml (for the full size!)
I feel the EX and Pearly are worth it, because they are unlike any other sunscreen I have ever encountered. They are basically in a class of their own. The Mild face sunscreen is lovely, but it’s just an expensive variation on a common theme.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Etude House – Juicy Pop Tube

Etude House – Juicy Pop Tube
Price: 2,500won ($2.50)
One of the very first things I bought when I got to Korea was a Juicy pop tube. How I love it, a lemon sweet taste, a beautiful color, a cheap price….. (check out my old review!)
And Etude house has redone their Juicy pop tubes. The packaging is different, the texture and taste of the glosses are different, and the colors are different.

I picked up an interesting color,  color #2, pale lavender.
It doesn’t taste the same as the old style. More like candy and less like lemon. The scent is also gone…. This is a big disappointment for me, since I LOVED the old version, but honestly both the taste and the scent of the new one are fine.
The color, though it looks odd in the tube, applies clear, with a bit of a cool tint. Really it is lovely. I know in the pictures it looks pink, but that’s just me. The gloss has a thick but not sticky texture, it’s very wearable.  It really is very smooth and slick, but not greasy.  The color in the tube looks as though it would be pigmented, or might streak on the lips. It doesn't! It's surprisingly subtle.
Honestly, I think I really like it. Or I would, if it weren’t for my disappointment about the old style….

Friday, February 11, 2011

Anessa (Shiseido) – Perfect UV sunscreen EX

Anessa (Shiseido) – Perfect UV sunscreen EX
SPF 50 PA+++
Price 52,000 won ($52)
Size : 60ml
This is the sunscreen I mentioned on my Favorite skincare of 2010. But honestly, this is my favorite sunscreen EVER!!!
I reviewed another Anessa sunscreen – perfect pearly (Which I had bought while living in Japan). EX is similar, it’s just not pearly. I bought it at Olive Young, it’s basically like a Watson’s/Boots/Shoppers, except without the Pharmacy. I’ve only ever seen the stores in Korea, and they sell mostly Japanese (and some foreign items).

It’s my go to place for Japanese things, when I am in Korea (which my boyfriend finds hilarious).
But Olive Young is SO EXPENSIVE! But Anessa was expensive even when I bought it in Japan. *sigh*
Seriously though, if you can afford it, or you have sensitive skin, this sunscreen is worth it.
It is so gentle and lovely. I am certain it’s more like zinc oxide, and physically blocks UV. Rather than the chemical sunscreens you can usually get at the drugstore. I certain that’s why it is so awesome.

Like Anessa's pearly sunscreen, EX comes in a bottle with a small squirt top. There is a bead inside, to mix things up when you shake the bottle. I always shake it before using, but even my old Anessa pearly has never clumped of separated, and it's 3 years old now... (I had a little left and I forgot about it!)

My skin is really sensitive to sunscreen, and sunlight.  Sometimes sunscreen makes me break out in a rash (*euck* I know.) but not Anessa.
 It doesn’t leave a white cast, or clog my pores, or make me sweat(some sunscreens do, it’s really weird).

As you can see from the picture, it is very runny. It's a liquid, not a cream like most sunscreens. It is also super light.
When it dries, it doesn't leave a greasy layer on the skin, like I sometimes find with other products. Instead it dries almost matte. It's odd, because a lot of things that make the skin feel matte are really drying. This isn't. 

It makes the skin feel smooth, and matte, but soft and not at all dry. It reminds me a little of that soft dry feeling of baby powder. But it's not dry or powder.....
The matte finish makes it amazing as a makeup base! It actually helps my makeup last in the hot Korean summer ;D

Best of all makes my skin feel SO soft. Like my skin is brand new. It feels better than after a good exfoliation. It's sooo smooth I find my self stroking my own cheek (*creepy*)
It’s basically magical.

Wonderfully it came in a package with a few freebies! Korean brands are amazing about giving samples, but Japanese brands are hit or miss. If you buy expensive sets, or magazines, sure you get awesome freebies. But I rarely get anything with a single item.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Face Shop -Face it – Nail Quick dryer

The Face Shop -Face it – Nail Quick dryer
Price 7000won ($7)
I know a lot of you out there are fans of the Face shop.  But for me, it’s a brand that has been a bit hit and miss. 2 of my MOST HATED products of last year, were from the face shop. One was a nail polish that stained my nails SO bad, I had to wait until the stain grew out! It was HORRIBLE!!! But on the other hand, 2 of my favorite polishes, 1 of my favorite eye shadows and a few other lovely products have come from there….. It’s totally hit or miss.
The Nail Quick dryer is unlike anything I have ever seen before. I know back in North America there are Aersol quick dryers for nail polish. But honestly, I’ve never used them.
So the Nail Quick dryer is kind of the same idea, it’s a spray, which helps set your nail polish faster.  The difference is, it’s not an Aerosol! Which is good for so many reason. Mostly Aerosols are bad for the environment, but more specifically for my situation, you can’t travel with them…..

The spray itself is easy to use, just a quick squirt on wet nails. It has almost no smell (or at least after the smell of nail polish I can’t smell it!).
As for how well it works…. It’s probably not going to blow your mind….
It does work. Really. But if you spray it on wet polish, it seems to do nothing. It doesn’t instantly make it go hard (tee hee).
What it does, is make the nail polish less… soft.  I HATE it when I’ve spent ages getting my nails perfect, waiting quietly for them to dry, think they are dry, then doing something, only to have the nail polish bunch up. You know, when it’s set on top, but all the layers haven’t quite set yet.
I found I was having this problem often. Not because I didn’t wait long enough in between layers, but the heavy top coat I was using seemed to melt anything already dry. (so I could put the top coat on day old nail polish, and it still will smear….)
So the Nail Quick dryer helps all they layers dry more solidly.
Since I am obsessed with the Konad system, and I now put so many more coats of nail polish on then I used to, the Nail Quick dryer is awesome.
It still takes me just as long to do my nails, but once they are done, they don’t get messed up!
So even though the quick dryer is like $7, it is worth it to help protect works of art. Plus it seems to last FOREVER! :D

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Face shop - Prorance – eye shadow

The Face Shop - Prorance – eye shadow
Price : Forgotten... But it was between $4 and 6
So this little white eye shadow is a bit of an aberration. The face shop has lots of different eye shadows, in lots of different packaging. But his white eye shadow was the only one in the whole series. I noticed it not long after it came out, sitting next to all the other types of eye shadows, in very different packaging. Every other line of eye shadow at the faceshop has Numerous colors.  They even have a sample board, with one of every color de-potted on it, for testing (rather than having the single pots you open yourself). This wasn’t part of any of the color lines, any of the eye shadow lines, it wasn’t on the sample board.
Sure there was lots of the white shadow, but no other colors.
I just found it really odd.
So, I had to buy it. Without testing it! Something I almost never do!

And it is exactly as it appears, a white eyeshadow. With a pressed diamond imprint (which is different from the pressed pattern on all the other shadows!)
But truly, the white shadow is unlike any I’ve encountered. It is VERY white. It is VERY opague. It is the perfect white shadow. I find white shadows are often soft, so when applied to the corner of the eyes, they blend in, or it takes coats and coats to get it to look really white.

This is the perfect white for in the corner of the eyes, or lining beneath the eye. It does have a bit of a pearly sheen to it, and some white sparkle, but since I never use it as an all over shadow, the sparkle is minimal, and the pearly sheen is lovely!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Holika Holika Sugar Syrub Gloss

Holika Holika Sugar Syrub Gloss
Price : 4000won ($4)
Color : 06
If you read the title then I am sure you are thinking ‘Sugar Syrub??????’. Yes, I agree, it should be sugar syrup. But the tube says ‘Syrub’.
The Sugar syrub line is Holika’s cheap line of lip glosses. Every brand has them, and they range in price from $2.50 to less than $5.
So this gloss is at the higher end of the spectrum. I have loads of these cheap glosses. I love them :D. Plus I Always lose my lip-glosses, so there really is no point in investing in good ones.
I was attracted to this one because of the peculiar opaque color. It looks like lipstick in a tube.

So as you might guess, it’s kind of strange as a gloss. The texture is like a gloss, so when you apply it, color doesn’t end up evenly deposited. It tends to look…. Uneven.

 A thicker coat even things out. It’s really weird though. It has the texture of a gloss, smooth silky, but looks like gloss over lipstick.
It can look nice, it’s not nearly as opaque as it is in the tube, and if it is carefully applied, it has a pretty, muted effect. 

See the streaks?

The taste is also… odd. It tastes like candy, like those sticks that come with candy powder (Fun-dip), with an after taste of lipstick. It’s not bad, kind of tasty.
I know this was a really ambiguous review….. I am kind of ambiguous on the gloss.  But I am fairly certain all the problems with it are due to the color. The rest of the glosses in the series are clear, more normal. I am willing to bet they are lovely, and will eventually buy some to test my theory!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Most Loathed products of 2010

Most Loathed products of 2010
Living in Korea, buying things can be hit and miss. I don’t speak enough Korean to read all of what’s on a label, or to ask many questions about an item. So often I buy things that really don’t work out.  But honestly, I have been far more successful buying skin care and makeup here, in Korea, than I ever was back home.
Honestly, I find Korean Makeup and skin care to be of better quality, more inventfull, and just generally more awesome.  But there were a number of products that didn’t just suck, items that I truly hated.

 Nature republic – Eau de Shine
 What in the world this is? I don’t know. I thought when I bought it, it was a blush. It just looked so pretty.
The four colors are bright, vibrant and interesting!
It’s not a blush. It’s not pigmented enough. It turns almost white on the skin. 

Which made me think it might be a finishing powder. But if it is, it sucks. 2 of the colors are sparkly, very sparkly. So it’s far too sparkly to be a finishing powder, plus it does have some pigment, and looks odd.
Worst of all, the price I paid 16,900 won (almost $17!!!!!!). *SIGH* it was such a depressing waste. Plus, they have now repackaged the same product in a new box. Don’t be fooled! It still sucks!!!!!!!

The second worst nail polish ever!
The face shop - Triple finish 
This nail polish looks gorgeous in the bottle, chunky shimmery flakes at the bottom, a layer of pink, then a layer of clear.
I wasn’t precisely sure what it was. It came in a box, that proclaimed at the top Triple finish.

So I suspected it was a top coat.
I brought it home,  shook it up, and tested it out. It went on very clear, with a hint of shimmering flakes. So I was certain it was indeed a topcoat, there wasn’t enough pigment to be a polish.
I did 3 coats, I really liked the shimmer, and I wanted it to show.
I went to bed, my nails looked lovely in the morning, shimmery with a touch of pink. Then I went off to work the next morning.

It wasn’t until lunch time I noticed something, my finger nails looked funny. All dark and grey.
I went to the bathroom and washed my hands.
It wouldn’t come off. The dirt and grime of working with kindergarten kids had attached to the nail polish. Turning my nails grungy and grey (they looked like lint).
They looked SO Dirty! It was gross. And, worse, it wouldn’t come off!!!!!!!!
The nail polish is so weird. It isn’t smooth or slick at all, so all the dirt attaches to it, then won’t come off.
I removed all the nail polish immediately when I got home.

Skinfood – Carrot Cleansing oil
This is the first product from skinfood I have ever truly disliked.
It’s a cleansing oil, as you might have guessed by its name. It even does an excellent job at cleansing, removing make-up cleanly and thoroughly.
But, it’s terrible none the less. I made the mistake of using it to remove my mascara. I find oil makeup removers usually do a much more thorough job of removing makeup than anything else, and are my preference for removing Majorica Majolica. But the carrot cleansing oil stings, and makes my eyes red for days. Ugh it’s horrible.
But, I admit, my eyes can be sensitive to make up removers. So I continued to use the carrot cleansing oil on my face, just not around the eyes. For the eyes I use the WONDERFUL eggplant eye makeup remover by skinfood. But after a few days, I noticed my skin breaking out! It never does that!
It was the stupid cleansing oil.
And a co-worker, whom I dragged to skinfood because it is so amazing, and we bought the carrot oil together, found the same thing!!!!

The worst Nail Polish EVER!!!!!!!
Let me tell you a harrowing story. One day, excited to try out my new The Face shop polish, I failed to base coat my nails. I have ever so many polishes from the faceshop, and they have always been gentle on my nails, so that day, because I was in a hurry, I failed to base.
I covered them with a thick coat of Matte yellow. So mustardy, so modern. I was thrilled.
The finish was ok, a bit rough, and uneven, but the color was something. Wow.
I went to work, and went about teaching children English. It was lovely, until I noticed my nails chipping. Not a big deal I thought, until I looked closer. And my nails looked yellow, even where the polished had chipped off.
At the end of the day, I rushed home, cleaned off my nails, only to discover, they were bright mustard yellow. I tried everything. The color would not go away.
For months I cleaned and buffed. But in the end, I had to wait, 5 months, 5 long embarrassing months, for the color to finally grow out.

So that marks the end of my most hated items of the year.  There were many more I disliked, or wasted money on, or were just bad. But for some reason, these were the ones that bothered me the most.
I have posted full reviews of all of them.

 And I would Love to hear about your most loathed items!!!

The Face shop Matte polish 매트

The Face shop Matte polish
Price : 4 or 5 something….
So last summer when Matte nails were just becoming fashionable in Korea, The face shop released a small line of Matte Nail polishes! It even says, right on the little label 매트  (matu). Tee hee!
I was ecstatic! I had so wanted to try Matte, but couldn’t find anything in Korea up until that point. Face shop only had four colors at the time, a green, a yellow, and two others(I can’t remember. Does anyone know?) I picked the yellow. It was just so lovely and mustardy.
I didn’t try it right away, I don’t have many clothing options that coordinate with mustard. But finally one night, I painted my nails and had to use it.
I was in a hurry for some reason, and I didn’t base my nails first. I usually do, but I had never had a problem with Korean Nail polishes.
The finish was… ok. It was very matte, and the color was nice, but the texture of the polish was too thick, and it turned out uneven. Plus, since Face shop didn’t release a Matte top coat, I couldn’t top coat it.
I went to work the next day, my nails chipped and flaked, but that’s understandable when you consider there was no top coat.
But then I noticed something odd, where the polish had chipped of, my nail still was colored. My nails looked yellow.
I went home and stripped off the nail polish. It came off easily, but beneath it, my nails were mustard yellow.
I tried EVERYTHING I could think of to remove the stain. Nothing worked. I scrubbed, and buffed and cleaned. Nothing.
So for the next 4, or 5 months I was stuck with yellow nails. OMG it was awful!
I love nail polish, but I was teaching kindergarten, and polish just isn’t practical. It chips after a hard morning with the munchkins. But the yellow was so noticeable! People commented.
I was ashamed.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Skinfood Carrot Cleansing Oil

Skinfood Carrot Cleansing Oil
Price 13,900won ($13.90)
Size : 170ml
Have I mentioned how much I love skinfood? There is a store in Moogeodong, Ulsan that I often go to, and the ladies who work there are ever so nice. I was down there one day with a couple of my friends. They ‘dragged’ me to skin food, because it seems I’ve become the local expert.  I pointed out a number of my favorite items, the best things for them to try. So they bought stuff. I didn’t (shocking isn’t it!)
With their purchases they got this adorable little carton with the new (at the time) carrot toner and emulsion.
I’m sure my eyes widened with envy.
And the woman behind the counter handed me a sample set too :D
They are just so nice there!

So that was my introduction to the carrot line. I’ve gotten many samples of it since, and generally it’s quite nice. But I didn’t buy anything full size until the Carrot Cleansing oil.
I’ve been on a mission (a never ending mission), to find a really good eye makeup remover. I am addicted to a couple of very difficult to remove mascara, and I have sensitive eyes. So far I have found but one, Skinfood’s eggplant mascara remover. It’s is amazing, but the tube is SO tiny.
So I though a cleansing oil.  Perfect right? Plus since it’s about the same price as the eggplant mascara remover, but you get tons more, it would be a great value.
Except…. It’s super hard on the eyes! It’s so bad, it leaves my eyes red the next day!!! Plus it stings like the dickens (…. A weird way to put it, I know). Ugh.
But, I though, it’s not a total loss. I do like oil cleansers, just to get the makeup off, so my regular cleanser can go to work. So silly me, I kept using the Carrot cleansing oil.
Until something happened, something that almost never happens to me. I broke out. I stopped using it for a while, only to try it again later, and guess what…
I broke again.
Not only that, but a friend and I bought the cleansing oil together. After I had convinced her how WONDERFUL skinfood is, then she broke out too.
*sigh* This stupid product made me look like I don’t know what I’m talking about!!!! I hate looking foolish.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Nature republic - Eau de Shine - Prism blossom Powder

Nature republic - Eau de Shine - Prism blossom Powder
Price 16,900 won ($17)
Size : 20g
Ah Nature Republic, how I hate thee.
It was payday, and I was on my way home. Heading the long way to pick up something from the Bakery for breakfast, when the shiny newness of the local Nature republic pulled me into it's depth. A dire mistake.
Usually I don't blow money on things that I honestly have no use for. Generally I try to be sensible, and not wooed by pretty packaging.
I try at least.
But on this day, my will power was weak. It might have been the long day of work, the fact I hadn't eaten since noon, or the flush of money my once a month pay day instills. Whatever it was, I spent $14.50 on this piece of junk.

It's a plastic container, albeit shiny and sleek, containing four seperate loose powders, in pale peach, purple, pink, and a brighter more intense pink.
I brought it home, only to discover that as lovely as the loose powders look to be in the package, they are woefully un-pigmented. I swatched tehm on my arm, in the picture they look pale, but I put like 5 coats on, to get them to show that much color. It doesn't work as a blush at all. 

They are far more like a finishing powder than a blush. Not even shimmery, so unusable as a highlighter.
I've considered it might be a finishing powder, even though the box says blush. And so I've attempted using it as such, with limited results. It can be used as a finishing powder. It does work.... It's certainly pale enough. But it's not a very good finishing powder, and the peach colored section contains sparkles. I personally don't like sparkly finishing powders.
This stupid container was a complete and utter waste of money.