May 31, 2014

Real Techniques Your Eyes/Enhanced Starter Set

If you have been a follower of makeup news, I'm pretty sure you heard of the Real Techniques brushes developed by Samantha Chapman.

Samantha Chapman is a makeup artist based in London. She owns a makeup studio where she runs makeup courses and sharing a Youtube channel with her sister teaching makeups under the name Pixiwoo. Her fame started way before her Youtube became popular. Samantha has been a makeup artist for more than a decade, working with the M.A.C. Pro Team. Her work appeared in numerous shows in fashion week, leading fashion magazines and working closely with celebrities.

I have a high hope for products that developed by makeup artists. They understand what a good brush should be and they have higher standard compared to brand-produced brushes.The quality control will definitely be more strict.

I got this brush set from Cindy (she's also a beauty blogger in Malaysia!). It is relatively hard to find Real Techniques brushes in Malaysia because the retails here just don't carry the brand. However, in UK and US, the Real Techniques brushes are selling like hot cakes.

These brushes are made of synthetic bristles and they're all hand cut. I was glad to know that the brushes are not tested on animals too.

(L-R) Blending brush. Crease brush. Flat shadow brush. Eyeliner brush. Eyebrow brush.

In general the brushes bristles are super good. They are very stiff. It feels like the bristles are held down towards the black part of the brush and the white part gives a soft touch.

The saddest part about the brush is the handle that is dipped with rubber. It has the same material as NARS packaging which I really hate. It tends to get dirty especially when in contact with foundation. It is impossible not to dirty it. I understand that the purpose of the rubber end is to prevent the paint of the brush from peeling off when you put in your brush holder. But I just hate it!

Let's get into details of each brush:

1. Blending brush
The dome of the brush is way too big compared to my small eyelid. They blend perfectly well. I'm quite happy with the result of the brush. I think this can be a cheaper dupe for the MAC 217. The only downside of the brush is its size. I'm sure people with larger eyes will appreciate this brush better.

2. Crease brush
I use this brush as a substitute for blending. It works fine for blending as well. I really love this brush.

3. Flat shadow brush
I can't tell if a flat brush is good or not. So I can't give a comprehensive comment on this brush. I usually use flat brush to pick up the pigments of the eyeshadows. Most brushes don't seem to have a problem doing that with a good job.

4. Eyeliner brush
This is the worst brush out of the lot. The tip of the brush is too big to give a precise line for eyeliner. I think won't be reaching this brush that often. However, I think this brush will perform well to smudge out the eyeliner for a smokey look.

5. Eyebrow brush
This is my everyday brush to fix my eyebrow. I love it because the brush is quite thin and gives a very defined line when you are filling in the brow. Totally love it!

Tips when buying new brush: ALWAYS clean your brush before using, especially foundation brush. You wouldn't know what happen in the factory or who the last person to touch the brush.

P/S: I saw Real Techniques brushes being sold at SHINS 1Utama. Do check it out if you want to purchase it. They don't have sample units for you to feel the brush. So make sure you do a lot of research before purchasing it.

May 28, 2014

[Haul] Sally Hansen's Nail Product & Triple Shine Swatch

Today I want to share with you another haul and all these products are from Sally Hansen. This post can be a little bit lengthy. If you're into nail products, do read on. Some of the products can be a savior to your nail problems. I will do a Step-by-step Manicure with Sally Hansen post after this. I don't want to overload this post with too much info. This is just a "show & tell" of all the Sally Hansen's products that I have and what are their functions.

Before I start my haul, let me tell you a little bit of the brand history. Sally Hansen suffered from weak and brittled nails. In the late 1950s, her husband, who was a chemist, developed a nail potion to help her overcome the problem. This is the Hard As Nails - The Nail Clinic in a Bottle.  Few years later, the nail potion became America's most sought after nail protection product. Later, Sally Hansen developed more nail treatment products and the brand.

1. Hard As Nails - The Nail Clinic in a Bottle
2. Instant Cuticle Remover
3. Vitamin E Nail & Cuticle Oil
4. Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat
5. Moisturizing Nail Polish Remover

6. Fuzzy Coat (Textured Nail Color) in 200 All Yarned Up
7. Triple Shine in 170 Great White (Iridescent)
8. Triple Shine in 150 Pool Party (Iridescent)
9. Triple Shine in 280 Dive In (Cream)
10. Triple Shine in 210 Reef-Raf (Cream)

Let's start with the Hard As Nails - The Nail Clinic in a Bottle since this is the very first product that launched by Sally Hansen.

What it is: The original strengthening treatment, Hard As Nails gives nails a smooth, chip-resistant surface & helps to provide long-lasting protection. Nails grow longer & stronger.

The brush applicator. So easy to use.

My guitarist friend told me that she swear by this product. She never had perfect nails because they're easily damage when she plays guitar. I've been wanting to try it but since I have natural strong nails, I've been delaying in getting it. Now that I run out of my base coat, I can use this to substitute the ordinary base coat. You can use this by itself for a clear finish effect or you can use it as a base coat to strengthen your nails.

This product is perfect for people with weak nails, for those who does a lot of house work, and for those who applies nail polish regularly.

Next is the Instant Cuticle Remover that dissolve dry cuticles in just 15 seconds. This product helps to remove calluses too.

What it is: A cuticle and callus-busting gel. The product contains revolutionary formula that helps break down excess cuticles in seconds and contains moisturizing Aloe & Chamomile to help condition and soothe.

When use on cuticles, squeeze one drop of the product on your nail tips and spread it out evenly to cover your cuticles. After 15 seconds, use an orange stick or cuticle pusher to push back the cuticles. Wash off the excess and you'll have a nice nail. Use this to prep your nails before applying your manicure.

For callus, cover the callus spot with a thin coat of the product. Leave it for only 1 minute and then wash it off thoroughly. This product is suitable for those with extremely dry cuticles or those who wear heels everyday to get rid of the callus under your feet.

The next product is something which suitable for everybody. It is the Vitamin E Nail & Cuticle Oil.

What it is: An intensely moisturizing Vitamin E oil that softens cuticles & cares for dry, brittle nails.

Same packaging as the Hard as Nails

This product nourishes your nails and cuticles. It comes in a nail polish-like bottle with the brush for easy application. I suggest you to put this on every night before you sleep. Apply one drop of the oil with the brush and gently massage it so the product absorbs thoroughly. When you wake up, you will see a drastic improvement on your nails and cuticles.

If you don't have the patient to sit around and wait for your nail polish to dry, you got to have the Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat.

What it is: As the name suggests, it is a fast drying top coat. Unlike other top coat that dries up only on the surface, the Insta-Dri has an exclusive acrylic polymer complex that dries any nail color in 30 seconds. It also gives a superior shine to your manicure and protects it from chipping.

And the next product is pretty general, but I still want to talk about it. It is the Moisturizing Nail Polish Remover.

Sally Hansen has a few different nail polish remover that give different benefit. I've tried so many of it, and I love them all. I can't remember the exact name of the nail polish remover, but I do remember the color. I had the purple, pink and yellow one. This time I'm trying the green one. This green one is made for dry and brittle nails. I guess it works on any type of nails, except that this one is extra moisturizing. It contains Pro-Vitamin B5, Vitamin E & Aloe.

We finally get to the most interesting part of the post. The nail color!!!

Let's start with the Fuzzy Coat. I think this is a pretty interesting textured nail polish by Sally Hansen. It creates a feather-like texture when you apply to it. They have 8 different variations, and the one I have is called 200 All Yarned Up.

The Fuzzy Coat can be worn by itself, or it can be applied on top of your nail polish. On the bottle it says apply 2 to 3 coats, however if you want to apply it by itself, I think you need about 4 to 5 coats. Top coat is optional. When applying the Fuzzy Coat, you have pick up the "fuzzies" with the brush and then dab it on your nails. The process is similar as how you apply glitter nail polish. The "fuzzies" will be dragged off if you apply it like how you normally apply your nail polish.

1 coat of Fuzzy Coat on top of Dive In

2 coats of Fuzzy Coat on top of Dive In

I'm very excited to show you all the Triple Shine nail polishes. This is not a new line from Sally Hansen, I believe. But it is pretty new in Malaysia. Sally Hansen has a few lines of nail polish under the brand, namely Insta-Dri (for fast drying), Complete Salon Manicure (for salon effect manicure), Hard as Nails & Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear (for durability), Diamond Strength (for chip resistance) and now they have the Triple Shine.

Which color is your favorite?

The Triple Shine line is meant to give extra gloss to your manicure. Even without top coat, your manicure will still look shiny and glossy. The bottle comes with a cap and a separate brush handle. A lot of people complain that the cap serves no purpose and it is a waste of resources, I would like think otherwise. It is pretty useful to cover the bottle when you are painting your nails under the fan or when you are doing nail art so the nail polish doesn't dry up.

You can temporary cover the bottle with the cap so that the nail polish don't dry up easily under the fan.

The Triple Shine nail polish comes with an interesting brush. The brush has a rounded shape at the edge and it is flat. The bristles are quite intense. The brush helps you to apply your manicure smoothly without making a mess.

There are three types of formula under the Triple Shine line - cream, iridescent, and glitter. I skipped the glitter one because glitter is not my thing, but I have 2 cream and 2 iridescent to share with you. Let's start with 170 Great White because this is my favorite color among the whole lot.

It is a pearl white nail polish with white micro shimmer. In certain angle when the light hits, the shimmer look green. It takes about 2 coats for full opacity. This is a perfect color for bridal.

I love how it shines under the sun. Super love this color!!!

Next one also has iridescent finish, which is called 150 Pool Party.

The base color is a light metallic blue. In the bottle, this can pass as a duo-chrome shade, but when applied, the duo-chrome effect is not so visible at all. The formula is a bit sheer with this one and it is also a tricky one. If you think you can't apply nail polish perfectly yet, do skip this color. It tends to be a bit streaky. For full opacity, you might need 4 coats. Or, you can apply the Great White as base and then apply the Pool Party on top. That will bring out the color easier.

3 coats of Pool Party

The cream color that I choose is the shade that everyone probably love a lot.... It's a turquoise shade called 280 Dive In.

Dive In is an aqua ocean green color. This color is perfect for spring, summer, beach holiday, pool party and island getaway. The formula is super creamy. It can pass as a one-coater, however I apply two coats below.

We finally come to the very last item, which is another cream Triple Shine color called 210 Reef-Raf.

Reef-Raf is a plastic pink that looks similar to Barbie pink. This color is perfect for anything! I grab this color because it is good to have a true pink color like this for nail art or when in doubt, you can never go wrong with pink. It is a safe color to have. I'm pretty sure I have a similar color in my collection, but I still love it a lot.

Without top coat. Look how shiny it is!

Phewww... That was a pretty long post. Remember to come back and check out my Step-by-Step Manicure with Sally Hansen. I will probably post it up tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.

Anyway, do let me know if you want me to do a full review on any of the item above. I will do a full review on Hard as Nails and the Insta-Dri, hopefully soon.These are the products that I think you really should get. But I do need sometime to get to know the product better.

P/S: I will update on this post a full swatch of the Triple Shine colors and Fuzzy Coat soon. I can't find the nail wheel that I have swatched on.

May 23, 2014

[Haul] Collection Cosmetics & First Impression

Last month I received an invitation to the launch of Collection Cosmetic in Malaysia. I RSVP-ed to attend the event but on the very last minute I decided not to attend because it was raining super heavy and the venue was right in KL city center. I asked the PR to send me a press release of the event or any relevant info about the brand, but they didn’t reply my email. I tried to Google for it but I didn’t find anything about this brand. I really wanted to let you guys know about this brand since it is new in the market. In the end, I decided to try it out myself and let you all know of my two cents.

Collection Cosmetics is apparently a UK brand cosmetic. I actually haven’t heard of this brand before and I certainly never seen it in the UK.  Have you heard of this brand before? Or have you seen it in Watsons lately?

These are the stuff that I grab from Collection Cosmetics lately.   

1. Super Size Fat Lash Mascara in Ultra Black 17
2. Illuminating Touch Brightening Concealer in the shade 2 Natural
3. Cream Puff Moisturising Lip Cream in the color Cotton Candy 1
4. Blush in the shade 02 Bashful
5. Hotlights Lipgloss in the color 5 Glow

Super Size Fat Lash Mascara (RM26.90)

They have quite a few mascaras on the shelf, but I took this to try because of the name that suggested this is the mascara for lengthening and volumising. Unfortunately, it doesn’t give the effect as how the name portrayed. The formula of the mascara is a bit dry and creamy. The packaging reminds me so much of Maybelline mascara tube. There’s nothing interesting about the wand. 

I think you can skip this mascara and try other types since they have a lot of mascaras under the brand. I really don’t find anything interesting about this mascara to shout.

Illuminating Touch Brightening Concealer (RM19.90)

This reminds me so much of YSL Touche Éclat. On the packaging, it says “Helps conceal dark circles and blemishes. Light infusing particles naturally illuminate eyes”. I really love the packaging. It is neat, easy to use and easy to store. However, the formula is quite dry. I don’t like putting it around my eyes, but I think as a highlighter, it will work well. 

Tips on using brightening concealer: NEVER use a brightening concealer like this to hide your acne. The brightening concealer is means to give glow and enhance certain parts of your face. Instead of hiding the acne, it might make your acne more prominent by drawing attention to it. 

Cream Puff Moisturising Lip Cream (RM19.90)

OMG! This looks/feels/smell exactly like the NYX soft matte lip cream. If you blindfold me, I wouldn’t be able to guess which is which. The only difference is the words printed on the tube. Even the packaging is exactly the same!

Anyway, the lip cream is a soft lipstick. It has matte texture, non-drying and provides adequate moisture. I think this is totally worth a try. I will do a product comparison between this and the NYX one.

Blush (RM19.90)

The blush is pretty ok. The color doesn’t show when you swatch it on your hand. However, when applied on face, it looks pretty ok. The formula of the blush reminds me of Silkygirl blush. The packaging is pretty usual. The product itself is pretty ok. I kinda like the shade, it is a soft coral with very little shimmer.

Hotlights Lipgloss (RM21.80)

The packaging of this lipgloss is super interesting. It has an automatic LED light illuminated once you open the tube. And it also has ready mirror at the side of the tube. This is a ready-to-go lipgloss for party people. 

The formula of the lipgloss is pretty usual and non-sticky. The color 5 Glow is a dark coral pink and infused with intense micro glitter. Comes with the usual doe-foot applicator.  I actually find the LED light pretty annoying. When applying, you can’t see the true shade of the lipgloss because the LED is too distracting.

Overall, I find the products pretty ordinary. The packaging is ok, looks like other drugstore makeup packaging. The price point is pocket-friendly. It definitely won't break the bank if you decided to try it out. I do suspect that the products are OEM because of the lip cream. It probably comes from the same factory as NYX. On the packaging, all the products are made in China. 

Have you tried Collection Cosmetics product before? Do you feel like trying it? Do let me know if there is anything you like and want me to review specifically. I will give you a comprehensive review if you decided to try any of the product above.