My daily make-up routine is no longer the 40 minute melodrama of my youth nor the 15 minute slapstick comedy of my undergrad years. Calling it a “daily” routine is probably a half lie. I am barefaced 90% of the month since glamour has no place on university grounds. Good coffee, yes, but going to uni with layers of face paint seems more JAFFY-like than anyone would care to admit.
Diving into my archives is an unearthing of coloured shadow and light; I was all about the eyes when this blog was first conceived: I was 21 when I made my first shit make-up tutorial, photographed numerous smokey eyes I did on myself (God have mercy) and gave my cousin a glitzy makeover. These entries don’t happen much anymore since my free time is boxed up in the lost and found section of my life, tagged “RECLAIM AFTER GRADUATION”. But if I am to be honest with you, it’s mostly because my perspective on beauty has gone all Phoebe Philo.
No, Céline isn’t making cosmetics but like the label, I’ve come to appreciate some minimalism in the make-up department. Is this an indication that I’m finally reaching the frontiers of proper maturity? On issues of vanity, maybe a little. Bobbi Brown and our mothers has schooled us in the necessary fact that true beauty is from within and while I make no arguments against the truth, I have to point out that beauty is, in some ways, artifice. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I enjoy make-up’s inherent trickery; its talent in making me feel certain enough that I can leave the house without scaring grown men away (my dark circles, man. I’ve had ‘em since I was 9).
I’ve had my fill of cray eye colour combos but it’s time to move on to the next level of deception: The Five Minute Face. It’s a step above what women love to call “no make-up make-up”, but this is only because I’m still not over the red lip. My other 47 lipsticks are beginning to feel the neglect since I am a few Pantone universes away from ever using them on my lips. I don’t know, guys. There’s just something wonderful about red lips and the way it works with my milky skin; it gives everyone else the illusion that I’ve got my shit together when I really don’t. Beauty is artifice, save and repeat.
And this is all you need. Honest. Oh wait, I see my concealer isn’t in this photo. For reference’s sake, I use MAC’s Studio Finish Concealer and I have converted legions of friends to this because it is fantastic. I have strayed away from it a few times out of sheer stupidity and wanting to try something ‘different’, but I always come back to it like a first love story.
The Garnier Oil-Free BB Cream is something new to the blog, I’ve had it for a month now and having hated their original BB cream, this oil-free version is heaven sent. It’s very watery so fingers are the best tool for smoothing this on your face – no need for pesky brushes since 5 minutes is all we have. Coverage is light but buildable and the only thing I hate is that it comes in 2 shades: Light and Medium. I use Light; it’s half a shade lighter than my face which isn’t too bad but Medium is way dark – there are no variations in between. It’s so cheap though, I only paid AUD11 for my tube which makes it the cheapest BB cream I’ve purchased. If you can make either Light or Medium work for you, get it!
L’Oreal gave me a few new products to try the last time I was in Singapore (thank you L’Oreal!) and I am now convinced Maybelline might not have the monopoly on the best mascara after all whoops. Look at my lashes after a coat of their Curl Impact Collagene Mascara omg, it’s so..fluttery. I want to try their Voluminous Million Lashes formula when I’m done with this though – my friend, Simone, has these angelic eyelashes (I’m sorry but there really is no other adjective to describe her eyelashes) and she swears by that mascara. Unfortunately, it’s about AUD$30 here last I checked so imma be cheap and stick with my freebie.
You’re probably familiar with the tea noir heavyweights: my go-to eyebrow gel, MAC’s Brow Set in Girl Boy, and setting powder, the everlasting but forking expensive, MUFE HD Powder. Also, I like a light buffing of Rock and Republic’s Contrived Blush onto the cheeks with a kabuki – it adds some life into the skin and balances out the red on the lips. The blush was a birthday present from Cat and you can see more pictures of its amaze packaging here. It also happens to be her birthday today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY HONEY!!!
Giant image for further emphasis on how FECKING AMAZING this baby is. The L’Oreal Shine Caresses are dupes for the YSL Glossy Stains, that ridiculously expensive but cool hybrid lipstain/colour/gloss everyone’s been whispering about at cocktail parties. Well, thank you L’Oreal Group (they also own YSL Beaute) for extending the invitation to try these Glossy Stains, in the form of the Shine Caresses, to broke ass students such as myself who can’t drop $40 on a lip product without hyperventilating straight after. I’m wearing Shade 702 in Juliette – it’s a rich coral red that works similarly to having a lover’s bite on the lips i.e. it lasts forever and may be tough to remove ;p
Having never tried the Glossy Stains myself, I can’t make any comparisons between the two but I will trust what others have said: the two products are almost the same, with the exception of a few ingredients and YSL’s luxurious packaging. Texture-wise, the Shine Caresses have a strange polymer-like feel to them – they feel tacky at first and they’ll set into a non-sticky gloss after a few seconds. That description probably didn’t help very much but you’ll have to forgive me, it’s one of those weird beauty innovations you’d have to try and see for yourself.
This has been one heck of an entry but I hope it’s meaty enough to make up for my absence the last two weeks? My thesis supervisor pushes me hard and expects work to be completed three weeks before its due date, yikes. She sees right through me; there is no room for procrastination when I’m with her but I’m not complaining, I’m already well ahead of my peers in terms of pace and I’m thankful, even if it means having no time for myself or this blog.
And since we are dipping into matters of the personal…
It’s my best friend’s non-birthday today! Aaron’s a Jehovah’s Witness so he doesn’t do birthdays (yes, there are people who don’t celebrate birthdays gasp!) I’ve been trying to keep it cool and pretending it’s just another ~ordinary~ day but obviously that’s not happening. We’ve known each other for so long you’d think I’d be better at this but NO. I CAN’T. 23 years ago today, my best friend was born into this world and through some odd bits of WTF, we, a Jehovah’s Witness and a Muslim, got stuck together. HAPPY EXPULSION DAY BB! I love you more than Hedi Slimane loves his job at Saint Laurent Paris O SNAP.
P.S I take half credit for making you look haute in this photo I took of you.
It is counterintuitive to be productive on a weekend; I’m too hard-pressed to get out of bed and depending on how ruthless the past week has been, my brain falls into varying stages of incompetence. I’d elaborate but there are just better things to write about today….like my plan to write an entry every week to get this site back on track.
Seems a little far-fetched for someone who disappears for a month only to return with feeble, guilt-ridden hellos and a long ass entry about what went down on, say, Valentine’s Day (nothing but brunch with a girlfriend happened goddamnit). But bear with me. This is my last year of uni, my last year of freedom, so to speak, before I proceed with the slow, painful recipe for corporate success: shackling myself to a desk and what would likely be a computer running on Windows. I need to utilise this time carefully: do more writing for my portfolio, get to know the other Singapore and Melbourne-based bloggers, read and allow myself to dream a little.
Writing doesn’t come easy for me. It’s one of the scariest things I’ve chosen to do since I constantly live in fear of the blank screen. Half a bar of chocolate and 3 cups of extra strong English breakfast tea: that’s what I had to eat/drink to write this and I know the process will never get any easier. But as long as I wait for the right conditions and my writer’s muse to reappear – I’m not going to get anything done. Weekends are best for sleeping in, but also for waking up to do the best creative work of your life.
Today I’ll be reading issue 27 of Dumbo Feather, an Australian indie magazine that interviews people we ought to know, from chocolatiers, stylists, bakers, to publishers. Next to it, a milky cup of China Jasmine tea. Tea is my favourite therapist and drink but I also like taking the weekend crash therapy session by piling more sweet-scented beauty products on my face.
My friend, Felix, bought me a tube of Aesop’s Rosehip Seed Lip Cream for Christmas with an insinuating note which said “Ilyana, Because I know you like things that squirt or ooze”. The lip cream’s been difficult to live without in this heatwave Melbourne’s been having, it’s very nourishing and I won’t be surprised if I run out when I actually need it the most – winter.
This damned weather has also sucked the moisture out of my face so I’ve been remedying it by massaging Weleda’s Wild Rose Facial Oil capsules into my skin. It smells like a $200 bottle of perfume but every time I use this, I’ll be on automatic house arrest because the oils won’t absorb into the skin until several hours later. This is my plan for a creative Saturday, what will you be doing today? (Someone share brunch stories and make me jeals, please).
Oh I forgot to mention I’m currently freelancing for inSing.com so here are some shameless self-promos/recommended readings for your weekend:
Image credit: Elise Crombez, Vogue Netherlands Dec 2012.
I love red lipstick but I suppose wearing it is not without consequences: sometimes you run the risk of being branded a harlot by mothers in their 40s when dining in a family restaurant. It is a colour that requires boldness, a necessary shift in attitude, and hinges on a precise application with a good lip brush if it is to be worn at all. The basic principle? If you think you can pull it off, you can, and if you think you can’t, you can’t. Confidence is as important as disregarding the fear of what everyone might think of the scarlet on your lips.
My favourite red is Burberry’s Ruby Lipstick: it’s a bright, cool-toned red with a satin finish that’s moisturising and comfortable to wear. With its exorbitant price tag, it should be just sayin’. In my FOTD, I layered Ruby with a bit of clear gloss mixed with MAC’s Melon pigment just to see what it looked like – red and gold is always a beautiful combo whether you celebrate Christmas or not, oui? ;D In my Spring Break Beauty Essentials post, I listed Covergirl’s Liquiline Blast as the best tool for a minimalist’s smokey eye. My FOTD is proof of that lol – my eye make-up only consists of two eyeliners, Liquiline Blast in Brown Blaze and SAVVY’s Soft Glide eyeliner in Glitzy Gold, all smudged out with the brush end of the Liquiline Blast. Brown eyeliner is often overlooked but I think it’s dreamier and beautiful against our Asian eyes. With strong, carefully filled-in lips, it’s always nice to keep the eyes soft, imperfect and almost romantic maybe? It’s an entirely different mood from my Summertime Sadness FOTD, for example, with my dramatic black eyeliner and dark lips. That look also features another Burberry Lipstick, Brick Red, a deeper red with brown undertones so check out that FOTD if you want a comparison against Ruby!
I haven’t found a drugstore alternative to Burberry’s Ruby yet but I do love Kate Moss x Rimmel’s lipstick in 001, seen above in the first photo. That photo used to be my twitter profile picture and I always, always get asked what lipstick I have on in it! 001 is a similar blue-toned red that’s about 2 shades darker than Ruby. It’s the perfect crimson actually and at a fantastic price point (AUD$9 on ASOS), it’s a lipstick every red lipstick fiend should get.
And if you’re new to red lipstick and want a sorta stepping stone before investing in a full blown red-red, might I suggest Revlon’s Lip Butter in Candy Apple? I’m wearing it in the second photo and it’s a non-threatening coral red that works well as an everyday lipstick. Unfortunately, it’s not available in Singapore but you can easily get it off Drugstore.com. There’s also Cherry Red, another Revlon Lip Butter shade you can find in Singapore. It’s a more muted, shimmery red but if I am to be really honest with you, I don’t like it as much – the shimmery Lip Butter shades are more drying and feel very gritty on the lips after 1-2 hours of wear so I’d stay away and stick with the non-shimmer ones.
I’m always looking out for new reds to try so please let me know in the comments what your favourite red lipstick is!
p.s: the last two images were stolen off my Instagram (@ilyana) account, I usually post my FOTDs there if I don’t have time to take a snapshot with my camera – come say hi! x
It’s spring break guys!! I’m heading to the Gold Coast tomorrow with my friend, Nad, who’s going to be flying in from Singapore! I haven’t seen her since my last trip home so I suspect there will be plenty of bitchery over coffee and late night gelato. My travel beauty kit is always the first to be packed and I realised some of the products I’ve chosen to bring with me haven’t been formally introduced on the blog yet so here it is: my spring break beauty essentials.
Tortoiseshell Sunglasses: These are from Peony Lim but they’re currently sold out. I think you can find a similar pair from Karen Walker, bit pricey though.
Revlon PhotoReady Foundation in 004 Nude: I had no interest in the PhotoReady foundation but when I spotted bottles going for SGD$15 at the Changi Airport, HELLO INTEREST KINDLED. There have been a lot of mixed reviews regarding this line: some think it’s great, others argue that it’s too much of a glitter puff. I think it’s perfect. It’s light, has medium coverage and the shimmer blends right into the skin for me.
Maybelline 24-hour Color Tattoo in Bold Gold: Haven’t tried this out yet but I’m going to be using this as an eyeshadow on days when I need to have my sunnies on 24/7 (stalking surfer boys MEHEHE) or as an eyeshadow base on days when the Gold Coast sun isn’t out to blind me.
Bobbi Brown Day to Night Warm Eye Palette: Previously seen here. I was just gifted Urban Decay’s Naked Palette for my birthday this year but this Bobbi Brown one gets to travel with me because it’s a lot smaller and has a good mix of neutral and dark shades.
Topshop Cream Blush in Pinch: Also artfully reviewed here. It’s always handy to have an item that’s versatile enough for your cheeks and lips when on holiday!
Revlon Lip Butters in Candy Apple and Peach Parfait: These lipsticks certainly live up to their hype, they apply so smoothly and have a great assortment of shades. Candy Apple is my favourite because it’s the first red lippie (albeit a little on the coral side) I have that doesn’t need to be applied with a lip brush. Amen.
Biore UV Perfect Milk SPF 50+ PA+++: After my little skin cancer scare last year, I’ve become such a sunscreen hoarder omg – I buy two bottles at a time whenever my current bottle feels considerably lighter. My biggest beauty fear is running out of sunscreen and having to stay indoors until I get the bottles shipped over to me from Asia since this particular sunscreen isn’t available here. I’ve tried many brands from Neutrogena (gross) to Kose (too expensive) but Biore’s is definitely the best because it’s cheap, doesn’t smell like sunscreen and has a matte finish.
Covergirl Liquiline Blast in Brown Blaze: Easily the best beauty purchase I’ve made in a while. The eyeliner is great but I think the amazing thing about the Liquiline Blast is the smudge brush that comes with it. Line your eyes a little thicker than usual, blur out the edges with the smudge brush, and you’ll have an effortless 2 minute smokey eye. Great stuff.
Maybelline One by One Volum’Express Mascara: It’s similar to my former HG mascara from Majolica Majorca but is a lot easier to remove.
MAC Brow Gel in Beguile: I switch between this shade and Girl Boy depending on my mood and it’s been my favourite for 4-5 years now? I’ve tried eyebrow pencils but I always go back to brow gels – it’s so much easier!
I should probably get back to packing before I forget other important things like my plane tickets, or my passport .__. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you guys after my holiday!
I’m a huge fan of Jurlique and when they emailed me 2 months ago asking if I would be interested in a blog partnership with them, I was in dizzying euphoria: “OH MY GOD JURLIQUE EMAILED ME THIS MORN. JURLIQUE ASKJLADJS, WHAT DO I SAY??”, I texted to two of my friends. It took a lot to quell my excitement: a cup of coffee only heightened it and I spent the next hour with the jitterbug in my legs. Still, when the jitters wore off, the excitement never waned until the point at which I looked at my clock and remembered I had a tutorial starting in half an hour. Ah, university – always the one thing that puts me back in my place.
I’ve been incorporating Jurlique products into my skincare routine since the start of the year and one of my favourite must-haves from the company is their Rosewater Balancing Mist. It softens the skin, imparts that special ritualistic feel when you spritz it on and for about 5 seconds, you get to breathe in soft clouds of rose – who wouldn’t like that? I love smelling the roses (lulz) and I love smelling like the roses – when I went on a no holds barred Jurlique spree at the airport, I thought it was a little unusual that Jurlique didn’t have a Rose range considering how popular their mist was. I would’ve been all over it like the bees. And what must have been a thousand roses blended carefully in the lab later, Jurlique has finally launched their Rose Moisture Plus range with two new products, the Moisturising Cleanser and Moisturising Cream, added to their extensive skincare line.
Jurlique kindly sent me the entire range to try out and guys, if you can only afford one item from the line I would recommend getting this Rose Moisture Plus cleanser. It is beautiful, just beautiful. I’ve been cheating on my Sukin cleanser in the mornings with this and I don’t feel the least bit guilty. I still love my Sukin cleanser but washing my face with pillows of rose foam makes my 7am starts a pinch more bearable. I was alarmed by the addition of pumice in the cleanser’s formula when I was reading the ingredients list….pumice as in the stone? Isn’t that abrasive? Surprisingly no, the pumice is so micro-fine I didn’t feel anything while cleansing my face. It’s formulated to combat dryness but isn’t too generous with the moisture stockpile either: my combination skin is perfectly balanced and it’s happy with the green tea, lavender, rosemary and other plant extracts it’s been fed with.
The Rose Moisture Plus Moisturising Cream has a thicker consistency than most creams; if you’re familiar with Jurlique’s Calendula Cream (review here), the texture’s similar! And as with all Jurlique creams, you are meant to warm only a small amount with your fingers and press it gently into the skin. I don’t know how the company does it but the moisturisers they make sink into the skin almost immediately, leaving none of that awful forehead polish (yep, we’ve all been there). It’s winter here so I like applying this cream on dry spots I get on my face and also on days when I feel my skin needs to take a break from all chemicals it’s usually subjected to. My only gripe is that I wished it came with SPF because I already have a night cream (also by Jurlique btw) that I adore too much so I’d much prefer using the Moisturising Cream in the day.
Again, the Rosewater Balancing Mist needs no further introduction. But obviously Jurlique wasn’t going to sit back and let it be part of their new Rose line without some extra zing: the new mist is reformulated with botanical extracts of willow, sweet violet, black elder flower (wow lol) and a whole list of ingredients that only a botanist would be able to recognise. Yes, the Rosewater Balancing Mist has always been amazing but Jurlique, you’ve brought me down to my knees – the Rose Moisture Plus range is small but impressive with three products designed to hydrate and soothe the skin. Now all the company needs to do is come up with a rose perfume and I would be set for life – what would it take for you to recreate that amazing scent into an eau de parfum, Jurlique? I can help you pick out the roses x
LE GIVEAWAY: To celebrate the launch of their new range, Jurlique is giving away several sets of their Rose Moisture Plus products. However, the giveaway was originally open to US residents only but Jurlique has generously agreed to open their giveaway to my readers in Australia. Thank you Connie for making this possible!
All you have to do to enter is to like Jurlique’s Facebook page using the pink form in my right sidebar. Following them on Twitter is optional but it would be lovely if you could ;D This giveaway is open to anyone living in Australia who are at least 18 years of age. One entry per person please and winners will be notified by Jurlique via email. Contest ends Friday, 27th July 2012. Good luck, everyone!
Happy Ramadhan to all my Muslim readers!
I don’t often blog about skincare because it’s one of those things you have to try out for a couple of months – almost comparable to being on casual dates – and if it works for you, it’s a keeper and if it doesn’t, well, shit.
My skin has been retrograding towards the bratty, pimply sort that reigned in my 18-year-old rockstar phase. It’s frustrating trying to deal with spots at my age when everyone tells you acne should stop when you’re in your early 20s or you’re probably doing something wrong. Lies. I just happen to have overactive hormones that enjoy attacking my chin every month, that’s all. It sucks but I know people have it far worse than a few zits on the chin so I really should be thankful. I have gone through a ton of products to get to the current line-up you see here and I’m pretty happy with it – I think it’s almost perfect, it just needs that one amazing, to die for product that erases zits and the angry mark they leave behind in 24 hours. We can all dream
1. Naruko Tea Tree Oil Out Acne Cleanser – Nadz’s been telling me all sorts of great things about the Naruko skincare line and she bought me a bottle of tea tree serum to try, swearing it would absorb instantly into the skin, your skin will be matte all day, miracles will happen etc. I can tell you there were no miracles, only break-outs. It’s stupefying because everyone seems to rave about the damn serum but my skin just hated it – that’s how picky it is. Anyway, one of my readers, Shafah, works in Taiwan (where Naruko’s from) and she got me their blackhead remover to try. Now, that’s a product I like. I don’t have blackheads but I like using as a t-zone mask and mm, what a scent.
Not willing to give up on Naruko, I picked up this cleanser before I left. I’ve been using it for about two months now and hrm I don’t know..it’s clay-based and has the same beautiful scent as the blackhead remover but I’m starting to think it might be a little too drying for my skin? I like it too much to throw it away though so I use it on nights when I feel my skin’s gone cray cray with its oil production. Also works well as a mask too LOL.
2. Sukin Cream Cleanser – HOLY GRAILLLLLL. It all started with my roommate actually. My skin was a little dry one night so I asked her if I could use her cleanser instead. She’s a bit of an Estee Lauder maniac and her mom recently got her this tube of EL’s cream cleanser for dry skin. Oh my god. I never knew something so heavenly existed. It’s got plenty of squalane in it so you’re supposed to tissue it off instead of washing your face – which I did – and I woke up with nice, plumped up skin.
That same morning I had a skincare breakthrough: why haven’t I considered cream cleansers before? My skincare routines were always caught up in the cyclical remove oil, remove remaining grime and kill all spots. Maybe I really was doing it wrong – I was just stripping my skin of everything else and perhaps, if I focused on skincare that was gentle to the skin, things would get better. It did.
I didn’t want to spend so much money on the Estee Lauder cleanser and I reckoned it was going to be too rich for everyday use anyway so I bought this $10 alternative. Sukin’s an Australian skincare brand and they’re known for their paraben and sulphate-free products. I’m pretty sure you can find it in Singapore’s Watsons? I’ll get back to you on that.
The cleanser’s made from a blend of rosehip, jojoba and avocado oil with some cocoa and shea butter in it so if you have really sensitive skin (or are acne prone!), this is going to be so good for your face. You can choose to wash it off or remove it with cotton wool/tissue so I usually wash it all off in the morning but sometimes when I feel my skin needs some moisturizin’, I tissue it off. Scent-wise, Estee wins but the Sukin cleanser’s scent is a nice homely orange-vanilla. It’s just hard to win against a cleanser that smells like the petals of a hundred flowers went into each bottle LOL. But hey, at $10 – Sukin, I adore you.
3. Jurlique Calendula Cream – This is tons better than the Naruko serum imo. It’s a bit scary out of its pretty tube packaging: a very thick yellow cream that smells like plastic. But you’re only supposed to use a tiny amount, warm it with your fingers and press it into your skin. Hey presto, it absorbs instantly, soothes the skin and has such a nice matte finish. The perfect moisturiser for day. Calendula is also good for acne too, I hear. This picture also reminds me I’m running low and need to buy a new tube stat. For the first time in my life, I will be repurchasing something other than pimple cream – you know it’s good.
4. Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant – A trial tube I purchased from eBay, it’s a 15 minute mask that actually does what it says on the tube. Will be investing in a full-sized tube when I run out.
5. Jurlique Herbal Recovery Night Cream – If you think night creams are heavy, very emollient and the recipe for a potential break-out – this stellar product from Jurlique breaks that stereotype. I can never stick to moisturizers because all the previous ones I’ve tried never seem to sink into the skin but srsly, JURLIQUE CHANGES EVERYTHING. Bad news is it’s slightly expensive but worth every damn penny. That scent, that lightness – perfection.
6. Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist – I really have to credit my best girl, Amy, for introducing Jurlique to me. I never took notice of the brand until she gifted me the Calendula cream, this toning mist and a truckload of other Jurlique samples for Christmas. My skin has never looked better. The rosewater balancing mist is probably the best rose-scented item ever, after Paul Smith’s Rose, and I am OBSESSED with it. So obsessed, I already have another back-up next to it LOL
7. Alba Botanica Papaya Enzyme Mask – This works like the Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant except you’re only meant to leave it on for 5 minutes. I can’t decide which one works better though: I think the Dermalogica one is good for clearing zits while this papaya mask seems better at refining and clearing pores. This mask has a sticky gel texture to it so I only use it in the shower.
8. Epiduo gel and Clean & Clear Persa Gel 10 % – Holy grail zit busters. Epiduo gel is prescription-only so you have to see a doctor before you can get it. Unfortunately, it isn’t available in Singapore when I checked in February so boo ;( Epiduo’s pretty intense and it will make you peel like crazy but the results are well worth it! The Persa gel works really well too, without the peeling side-effect, and I’m using it so I can slowly wean off my dependency on the epiduo gel.
9. Shu Uemura Skin Purifier: still the best make-up remover ever since its conception ;p You can read a more comprehensive and comparative review here.
Not pictured: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (review here) – it was in the shower so I forgot to take a photo of it lol. My love for it is still going strong!
Also, remember my holy grail Neutrogena scrub? I had to stop scrubbing my face with it because I now use the Clarisonic Mia when cleansing so I’m not allowed to use scrubs with particles in it sigh. Such a shame really, it’s one of Neutrogena’s best products and I would recommend it to anyone who suffers from hormonal acne, or acne in general.
Good god, this entry is way too long and look, you’ve read it all! Thank you so much for reading it all/tried to read it all but tl;dr halfway through LOL. It’s nice to be back here, rambling about my favourite things and with everyone of you as a willing audience..k this is beginning to sound like an obituary piece. It’s just been a hard month for me so far: they say the last year of uni is always the hardest and ugh, every bit of it is true. Still, I will never give up this space – it reminds me that yes, I am capable of creating beautiful things, words or pictures, and I take comfort in that somewhere in the world, you share the same dreams as I do.
This entry is for Sarah Karenina who suggested I share my skincare routine with you guys in my previous entry. Thanks for reading, Sarah! x
President dress in Hot Pink – courtesy of MAIA, Gold belt – ZARA, Pearl and enamel necklace – Mom’s, Bag – Louis Vuitton x Sofia Coppola ‘SC’ Bag, 200 denier tights – ASOS, Amaaazing Jil Sander knock-off Heels – Tony Bianco.
I had these photos taken on the last week of my holiday in Singapore, I’d insisted these photos to be taken really early – I think it was a Tuesday – because I wanted to get it out of the way before I began my last food frenzy before my flight on Sunday. I was brought to 3 buffets in the same week and I can tell you truthfully that I would need a bottle of talcum powder and some powerful zip tugging to get into that pink dress.
The MAIA President dress was sent to me as a surprise – I had no idea they were giving me something else other than the two pieces I was allowed to pick, aren’t they just lovely? Thank you so much, Diana and the other girls behind MAIA! I have a lot of pinks in my make-up bag but not in my wardrobe since I much prefer the darker colours of fall. But thankfully, the President dress is a lot more wearable than most acid coloured clothing simply because of its black top. I’ve paired it with jewelry and a bag, both in a dark brownish red hue that complements the hot pink without having to do so much. If pink is not your thing, the dress also comes in the most incredible ink colour.
The Louis Vuitton x Sofia Coppola ‘SC’ bag was actually my mother’s birthday gift from my dad and of course, it is no coincidence that suddenly, my ultimate dream bag becomes my mother’s LOL. My mother wanted a classic LV bag without the monogram which was perfect because there could be no other bag but the Coppola for her (and me). We searched for it in Paris and Singapore but everything was gone to my mom’s utter disappointment. A secret phone call to my resourceful and well-connected LV maniac best friend and one week later the bag was hidden in plain sight in my mother’s room where she took 10 excruciating minutes to notice there was a huge ass LV paper bag on her bed. My dad took a video of this and I wish I could put it up here – it’s the funniest thing!
This bag is so effortless, so beautiful yet so casual that I can take it with me anywhere; for dinners with the family and coffee with friends. Another funny story is when my mom went shopping at Chanel, she left her Coppola bag at the counter and another customer lifted it up thinking it was a Chanel LOL. She almost died of embarrassment when my dad said, “I’m sorry, this is my wife’s bag.” We tried really hard not to laugh.
I also have a special attachment to the necklace I’m wearing in this entry. Again, it’s mom’s and it’s been with her for more than a decade now. It is seriously a work of art – I put on a simple top, pants and add this stunning art deco necklace and instantly I’m all dressed up, which is exactly what I did when I was in Kuala Lumpur. I believe in minimalist dressing when on vacation (save the luggage space for all your shopping!!) but I always take an incredible piece of jewelry with me to anchor the look. I had to give the necklace back to my mother before I flew back to Melbourne so I feel extremely gutted every time I look at these pictures. Sigh, they just don’t make jewelry like this anymore.
Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 hour Foundation in 103 True Ivory
MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC20
TOPSHOP Cream Blush in Pinch
KATE Quick Eyeliner S in Black
MAC Browset in Girl Boy
Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Neo
Burberry Lip Cover in Brick Red
After years of playing around with make-up, I finally mastered the perfect winged eyeliner omg. It’s not all about steady hands; the eyeliner you use also plays a big part as well. It’s really about figuring out what you’re most comfortable with: I like KATE’s Quick Eyeliner S in Black, it’s works literally like a pen. Uncap and you’re ready to draw on a crisp line. Doesn’t smudge, lasts forever and so cheap – it is, to me, the holy grail liquid eyeliner. A lot of people love their gel eyeliners, e.g. MAC Fluidline, but I don’t know, my hands can’t work with a reed thin eyeliner brush lol.
I have Catherine to thank for my red lips, she sent me a Burberry lipstick sampler for Christmas and the shade I’m wearing is no. 19 Brick Red which a gorgeous deep brownish red. I have become SO obsessed with the Burberry lipstick line and bought one right before I left but that’s a story for another day..
Thank you Dejiki for the beautiful photos and my mother’s LV LOL. My other best friend, Aaron, just graduated yesterday and he’s leaving for a 3 week trip in Europe tomorrow so I got that summertime sadness right now Congrats bb, take care and please buy me all the beauty crap you can get from the French pharmacies!
I’m slowly getting back to the swing of things here, school has been so exhausting but I’ll try to whine less and write more. Hope everyone’s had a good weekend!
I haven’t written about beauty in such a long time. You guys can probably see a pattern emerging here: in Australia, I rattle on about food and how much school sucks. But put me on the plane home and I start writing about girly superficiality because (almost) everything is cheap when you’re paying in SGD$ – *snaps fingers* Then whoa! Ilyana becomes interesting again! 8D
I’ve had this Topshop blush in Pinch for a while now – my cousin, Nadz, gave it to me for my birthday half a year ago – but I stupidly forgot to pack it into my luggage when I was due back in Australia so it’s been unopened and hidden in my drawer ever since. But every make-up sob story has a happy ending: I’ve rediscovered it, torn open the chic box packaging, and smacked it onto my face. Literally.
I made the mistake of thinking the blush would glide on my face like a NARS Multiple and that I’d be able to blend it out easily. ’twas a no go. This is why one should read the instructions on the back of the box: DOT ON CHEEKS AND BLEND (see 4th image). What did I do my first time? Swirled two fingers in acid pink, confidently swiped the blush onto my cheeks and shrieked in horror when I realised that was it – the blush was nearly set. Cue panicky smacking into skin to blend the streaks into something that resembled radiant pink nothingness (if that makes sense at all).
It took forever and sore cheeks but I managed to fix my blonde mistake and..omg such perfection. It is the prettiest dolly pink I’ve found and because it’s cream, it gives you the best fake glow ever lol! It doesn’t have shimmer in it but it does give your skin a slight sheen. Since it was a gift, I’m not too sure about the price but I know the TOPSHOP make-up range is very affordable so it’s definitely below $20? It’s beautiful, it’s cheap but as I’ve highlighted, you can’t just swipe and go – dot it on your cheeks and blend it quickly because this baby sets almost immediately. And once it sets, it will take some brute force on your part to get this blended properly. It takes some time to get it right but when you do – AMAZINGGGG.
Oh yes – that picture of me? I’ve fallen down the dark path of Photobooth photos HAHA! I just cannot be bothered anymore :/ I wish I had someone who could take photos of my FOTDs and stuff but sadly, this girl rait here is FOREVER ALONE T_T Every girl has that paradoxical ‘no make-up’ make-up look right? This is mine.
MAC Studio Fix in NC25
MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC20
TOPSHOP Cream Blush in Pinch
Paul & Joe Eyegloss in 05 Murmur
MAC Browset in Girl Boy
Maybelline Full n Soft Mascara
Lush Lipbalm in Whipstick (MY FAVE – tastes like chocolate omg!)
What’s your favourite pink blush? Let me know in the comments x
I usually have a light wash of colour on my eyelids on most days but with my new glasses, my eyeshadow color tends to get lost behind the frames and morphs into a less stellar, muted version of itself. And what used to work perfectly before now becomes a glum waste of eyeshadow. So I’ve decided to amp up my usual repertoire of browns by tossing in a steely grey creme eyeshadow and blending the dark shade into my crease. It’s not too dramatic for the day but there’s still some roughness, some edge to it that I like.
And speaking of things that used to work perfectly, I had to change up my foundation routine last week because somehow I got fairer in Singapore what. the. fork. Maybe it’s because I’m always hiding in shopping malls to escape the heat? Whatever the reason, it’s distressing when your go-to foundation (mine was Dr Jart’s Black Label BB Cream) becomes an unattractive bottle of fake tan. Thankfully, I found my old samples of Everyday Minerals foundation I got back when the brand was all the rage and am now wearing the Sunkissed Fair shade in the Original Glo formula. I’m dreading the day my tiny sample runs out because I heard Everyday Minerals reformulated all their foundations so I’m a lil’ wary of ordering another batch. Does anyone remember the awesome value for money kits Everyday Minerals used to have? Man, I miss those!
Everyday Minerals Foundation in Sunkissed Fair
MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC20
Lavshuca blush in RD-1
Paul & Joe Eyegloss in 05 Murmur
Topshop cream eyeshadow in Darkness
MAC Browset in Girl Boy
Maybelline Full n Soft Mascara
Lancome L’absolu Rouge in Rose Rhapsodie
Two tips if you’re using mineral foundation: 1) Always use a moisturiser or sunscreen before buffing in the foundation with a kabuki brush. My Kose Sekkisei sunscreen makes a great base for mineral make-up, plus it doubles as a light moisturiser too. This way your foundation applies smoother and doesn’t end up patchy in drier areas of your face.
2) After applying your foundation and the rest of your make-up, instead of setting your face with finishing/loose powder, try spritzing on some Avene thermal water! I AM SUCH A CONVERT U GUYS. I can’t tell if the thermal water makes a difference to my skin but this magic water shiz is so brilliant at setting powder or mineral foundation. I hate that too dry, matte look you get with said foundation types but a couple of spritzes of Avene and HOLAAAA FAUX DEWY SKIN!
Sorry for the late update guys and fork I am so behind commenting – I’ve been so busy! :/ I flew off on Sunday night, had a transit in Brisbane on Monday morning for two hours and then landed in Melbourne just before noon. Two hours later, I was back in school attending my first lectures of the new semester until 6pm. That was two days ago and I’m still exhausted! Guess I’m not cut out for any sort of jet setting lifestyle LOL.
I’m so excited about my subjects this semester: Television & Popular Culture, Lifestyle & Consumer Culture, Asian Public Relations (IKR LOL if I don’t get a distinction for this, I should quit being Asian lor, as most Malays would say: “buat malu aje!”) and Short Fiction! Sounds like fun, huh? Up until the assignments are due anyway, rofl. Wish me luck!
Not everyone has perfect skin. And that is precisely why I don’t believe in beauty miracles, not for my skin anyway. If you’re lucky enough to have a minimal skincare routine and still have beautiful skin, brb while I stab my pores with a miniscule fork. I beg you to lie and tell me you swear by an amazing $1,000 cream made from fermented marine kelp, or if you like, just name any cult skincare product from the top of your head that my paltry student allowance can never afford. I’ll mope around for a bit but it’s going to make me even more determined to discover the right, affordable products for my skin.
That’s been my mission since the start of the year. I won’t lie. Ever since I started university, the condition of my skin has just gone south. It’s the change of weather, increased levels of stress and frankly, when you’ve got to juggle cleaning, cooking and writing essays all at once, you don’t have time to think about beauty and vanity (yes, they are interchangeable!). But things are a little different now. I’ve gotten used to my life in Melbourne, I know roughly how long it’ll take for me to write an essay and I can whip up some fricking good pasta in under half an hour. Now, the last thing I have to deal with? My skin.
The first product I’m going to review in my illustrious search for the best is Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Power-Clear Scrub. I’m actually surprised how well this scrub has worked for me, considering my decade-long hate campaign against Neutrogena. I first used Neutrogena in my early teens and uh, it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Their products did not work for my skin and might have aggravated my oily teen skin even further if I remember correctly. Oh but this scrub I love so much! You can see from the photo I’m actually about to finish it too and that’s incredible because I usually abandon a product after a month to try a different one lol.
The scrub has 2% salicylic acid in it to combat pimples but honestly, I don’t think it’s the salicylic acid that’s helping my skin: the scrub also contains an unlisted percentage of glycolic acid. I don’t know what it is about glycolic acid but my skin tends to behave better when it’s been fed teeny amounts of it. Of course, the scrub is by no means a miracle product. While it doesn’t completely eradicate acne, it has dramatically lessened the number of zits I get during my monthly PMS-induced break-outs. On that note, the painful hormonal cysts I get on my chin during said period of facial turmoil have disappeared completely which makes this a phenomenal product in my eyes. Plus, it has the most soothing cucumber scent!
I use the scrub 3 times a week and leave it on like a mask for 20 minutes, allowing the glycolic acid to sink in before washing it off. I think it might be too harsh to use it more than that but since I am quite the obsessive scrubber, I use my Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant on other days. I’m still looking for other products that would help me in my quest for good skin (e.g. the perfect pimple cream) so if you guys have any recommendations, please let me know in the comments