A Love and a Shrug #1 (ft. Liole and Em-Cosmetics)

May has been a great month for me in terms of beauty products as I've discovered quite a few new favourites, one of which is the Liole Triple the Solution BB Cream. This product is really one of the best Asian BB creams out there and is everything you would hope for a base product to be: high coverage, lightweight, and natural looking. One coat of this BB cream is basically full coverage for me. It smooths over all the redness and hyperpigmentation in my skin, all while looking very natural and skin-like. The finish is sort of a plump, dewy look. I have normal/combination skin and find that I can get away without powdering, but those with oily skin might want to powder down the t-zone. Although full coverage, this product does not feel heavy on my skin. Honestly I barely feel it there at all. The only downside of this is the limited colour selection, which is a common problem to BB creams. There is only one colour available, which matches my fair-light complexion with peach undertones pretty well. I think the product may be able to adjust to skin tones slightly paler or darker than my own, but still offers a very, very limited colour range. Unlike other BB creams, this product does not look ashy at all on the skin, just really perfected and healthy. 

A product that I was less than impressed this month was the Em Cosmetics Waterline in Ro's Gold. Like many others, my makeup story started with watching Michelle Phan's makeup tutorials on Youtube, and it wasn't until much later that I began looking to other Youtubers and bloggers for beauty knowledge. I admire Michelle's success in the business world and the name she has built for herself, although there are messages in her videos that I don't agree with as much (eg. the very over-played "girl waiting for prince charming" storyline in some of her short film/tutorial hybrid videos). In any case, I was excited when Michelle launched Em Cosmetics and have been itching to try some of her products ever since. First of all, at $18 for an eyeliner, this is not exactly a cheap product, but I am ok with splurging as long as the quality is there. It comes with a liner at one end and a smudger tool at the other end. While the packaging is definitely rose gold, the product itself is more of a red-bronze to me. When swatched on the back of my hand and allowed to dry, the product was definitely long lasting and didn't budge no matter how much I rubbed it. However, on the waterline - which is what it is intended for - I found it very difficult to get adequate colour payoff. This eyeliner was definitely not as creamy as I hoped, and didn't exactly glide on in any easy fashion. After swiping it back and forth several times in the waterline, the product was still virtually undetectable. 

The last straw for me was the fact that the eyeliner was broken when I received it and all of the product slid out into my hand. I almost dropped the entire piece onto the floor before I could even swatch it on my hand. For an eyeliner that's quite pricey, I was really hoping for better quality, and this just did not deliver. 


Brand Focus: Fresh

It's probably quite evident from my posts that Fresh is one of my all time favourite skincare brands. Their products are free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and most of them are also fragrance-free, which makes them ideal for sensitive skin like mine. They also contain lots of great antioxidants and plant extracts, which are ingredients I always look for in skincare products. I've accumulated quite a few pieces over time, so I thought I would give you a few of my thoughts on these products.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

 I've already mentioned this product here and here, so I won't go into too much detail. The Soy Face Cleanser is actually my favourite cleanser of all time. It's a gel cleanser that's very soothing and calming on the skin. While I like to get this cleanser up to a foam with the use of a foaming net, the product is not stripping or drying at all.  Whenever my skin is freaking out with breakouts, redness, sensitivity, or any other wacky skin problems, I always go back to this cleanser to sort my face out.

Also, not included in this picture is the Fresh Rose Cleansing Foam, which I honestly just forgot I owned at all (my skincare collection is not a small one, and yes my wallet is crying). It comes with a convenient foaming pump, so the product comes out as a foam. The Rose Cleansing Foam basically does the same thing as the Soy Face Cleanser, but I find the Soy Face Cleanser to be more hydrating.  I also find that I go through the Rose Cleansing Foam much faster, because I have to use 3-4 pumps to cover my face and neck. Overall, I would recommend the Soy Face Cleanser over the Rose Cleansing Foam in a heartbeat.

Fresh Rose Hydrating Gel Cream 

This is a daytime moisturizer with the consistency of a clear gel. It's more of a thicker gel due to the presence of silicones, but I personally don't get that matte silicone feeling from this product at all. It's incredibly lightweight on the skin and is very hydrating for a gel, likely due to the presence of ingredients such as rosewater and hyaluronic acid. This is my current go-to morning moisturizer as I find that this moisturizer absorbs quickly and sits well under makeup. The only complaint I have is that there is no way to tell how much product is left in the bottle. Oh well, better keep a back-up just in case.

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Radiance Lotion

This lotion is another daytime moisturizer offering from Fresh, but has the formula of a very lightweight cream/lotion. If you dislike the feeling of silicone, this might be a better option than the Rose Hydrating Gel Cream. This product contains lots of antioxidant ingredients to fight against free radicals and protect against wrinkles and dark spots. I find that it's not as hydrating as the Rose Hydrating Gel Cream, but definitely looks more luminous on the skin. Not in a really oily or "wet" sort of way, just a soft glow over the skin. I'm not really sure how that happens, but it does make the skin look very pretty. Additionally, the packaging is clear, so you can always see how much product is remaining. Personally, I do prefer to get more hydration, so I opt for the Rose Hydrating Gel Cream, but this moisturizer is also one of my favourites.

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream

Coming from the same line as the Radiance Lotion, the Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream is the corresponding night cream. However, the consistency is that of a light cream, so those with dry skin could probably use this during the day time as well. I find that this cream sinks into the skin almost immediately, and I'm not left with that feeling of having a thick layer of moisturizer sitting over my skin. However, in the morning when I wash my face, I can still feel this cream on my skin, meaning it has done a good job to preserve moisture throughout the night. It has a very silky texture, and a subtle, pleasant smell, but there is no fragrance listed in the ingredients. I've actually used the entire pot up and have been scraping the walls trying to get more product out of it (with no success to be honest), which really shows how much I enjoyed this product. I find that this cream really helps to soothe and calm my skin down, and does not aggravate any breakouts. Although the pot packaging is not ideal for hygienic reasons, I would still repurchase, probably in the very near future.

Fresh Rose Face Mask

I did a full review of this mask here, so please take a look if you haven't already. This is a hydrating mask with a jelly texture, with rose petals suspended in the gel. And well, I think it does a great job at hydrating and calming the skin, so what more could you really ask for?

Fresh Peony Brightening Night Treatment Mask

Another mask offering from Fresh, this is meant to be used overnight. It claims to lighten dark spots, improve uneven skin tone, and brighten skin. The product looks, feels, and smells almost identical to the Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream. However, it isn't nearly as hydrating as the face cream. This mask is actually the only product from Fresh that I wasn't immediately impressed by, and I still have my doubts for it. I have many acne scars, so I was really excited when this mask landed in Sephora. Lightening my scars while going to sleep sounded like just about the best thing ever. So far I've only used this mask twice. Along with it not being hydrating enough, I suspect that this mask makes me break out, which makes me very hesitant to keep using it.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment

First of all, I just have to say that all the Fresh lip products smell amazing. They have a sweet lemon scent that I just absolutely adore and have to resist biting the lip balm off every time. I imagine it wouldn't taste quite as good as it smells anyway. While I don't find this lip balm to be massively hydrating, it is somehow very perfecting, and sort of smooths over any patches and lines on your lips. Seriously, this stuff just does some sort of magic to make your lips look extra smooth and kissable. Plus, the SPF 15 is always a bonus.

Also not included in this picture is the Fresh Black Tea Age-Delay Instant Infusion. I'm still testing the product out, so I wanted to give it a bit more time before I talked about it on the blog. Overall, I think Fresh offers skincare products that are very sophisticated and well-formulated. The products are great for sensitive skin, and, apart from maybe the Peony mask, never cause me to break out. If you have yet to try anything from the line, I would definitely recommend them.

Have you tried any Fresh products?


Makeup Menu #1

Exam season is finally over (cue huge sighs of relief) and I am back with blog updates. I have recently established a skincare routine that I am loving and my face is seeing to better days than ever before. While I would still like to give my skincare products a bit more testing time, I am also reluctant to try new products, so maybe we could do a month of Makeup May in the mean time.

"Makeup Menu" posts are going to showcase the selection of products I use for my everyday face. As a university student, every extra second of sleep in the morning is precious, so I like to go pretty simple with my products. This month, I've skipped primers and foundations and BB creams and all that jazz, and have turned to the much covetted Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (the shade Vanilla matches my fair-light skin perfectly) as my sole base. I had bought this concealer during the huge blogger craze, but never really got on with the product. I thought the product didn't blend well on top of foundation or BB cream and just had a very obvious made-up look to it. However, I recently tried this concealer on top of bare skin and have been loving it. I have a lot of acne scars, so I never thought I'd be able to pull off such a light base, but this concealer gives me such a perfected skin-like finish. I like to dab the applicator on any active spots or darkest pigmentation so I have the most coverage there, and then dab the rest of the product on the lighter spots. Then I just blend out the product by lightly tapping my finger, blending the product out in circles. One light layer of this product has my skin looking completely even, with some of the natural flush peeking through. If you have a lot of redness in your skin, this might not work for you, but the sunscreen I'm using has a bit of tint in it and has done wonders in evening out my complexion, so check back on the blog for a full review of that product.

I then immediately set my concealer with another blogger favourite, the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light. To be honest, I don't think this product does a whole lot for me. I have yet to see the Instagram filter effect of blurring over my pores that everyone seems to rave about. The Nars Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder actually does have that effect and is basically everything I wished the Hourglass powder would be but was not. However, I am at my family's house for the week, and the Nars powder is a loose powder and does not allow for easy travel, so I have opted for the pressed Hourglass powder for less of a mess. If you are looking to try out a high end setting powder though, I would 100% recommend the Nars option.

Then on to a bit of brows, I've rediscovered the Shu Uemura Hard Formula Brow Pencil in my drawers and have been adoring it. The formula of this product is quite interesting. It's a wax pencil that sort of melts on contact with the natural oils on your face, so while the product is not very pigmented when swatched on your hand, it disperses just the right amount colour on to your brows. Very hard to overdo it with this pencil. I have the colour Hard 9, which is perfect for those with black hair.

Since the Nars concealer allows the natural pink tones in my skin to shine through, I've honestly been skipping blush altogether most days. When I really want an extra bit of colour to perk my cheeks up, I have the Gosh Natural Blush in Flower Power. This just gives a very natural rosy pink flush to the cheeks, and I'm all about rosy cheeks for spring. It's very pigmented for a drugstore blush, so application is easy. For lips, I've been loving another drugstore selection which is the Bourjois Color Boost Glossy Finish Lipstick in 03 Orange Punch. This comes in the form of a lip crayon and feels like a very hydrating balm. The colour just glides on and can easily be built up to your desired intensity. I am still loving orange lips, and this is perfect for a more subtle option.