Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer essentials

Summer seems to start in June in the US, but I feel like mid-July is the start of Summer for me.
Mid-July is when schools go on summer vacation, and it's also when the temperature gets really HOT and HUMID.  Japan might not be as hot and humid as other countries, but a lot of us walk everywhere.  That's a lot of time out in the sun!

Here are my 10 summer must haves

1. Sunscreen / Sunblock
 Do people still tan?  I try to avoid it at all costs.  However, I can't make myself wear gloves and long sleeves like many ladies here (yes, THIS is a common sight).  Sunscreen is a MUST HAVE!
The middle sunscreen is a spray that I got in the US.  I really wish we had these in Japan.  This is so convenient.

I'm not sure if there is a difference between sunscreen and sunblock.  In Japanese, both are called 日焼け止め = "tan stopper".

2. Concealer
In the summer, I don't often wear a full face of foundation.  However, I have a few discolorations on my face that tinted moisturizer can't cover.  I like to wear concealer and powder if  I'm in a super hot climate.
I'm still looking for my HG concealer.  I'd love to try NYX Concealer in a Jar.

3. Blotting paper & powder
Even if my skin isn't 100% perfect, I feel that I look pulled together as long as my face isn't shiny.  It's important to me to blot and then dust my face with a light powder.  
Yo-jiya blotting sheets are VERY popular here.  You can only find them in Kyoto and in the airports.
The Ponds powder is a gift from Iyah, which I'm really loving.  I have done a review on the Skin Food Powder here.

4. Whitening/brightening skin care
Like many east Asian women, I am obsessed with making myself look lighter.  
That's an exaggeration, but I do want to minimize the sun damage that I get.  I try to use products that help to combat sun damage.
 This lotion is from the same line as Hada Labo.  I don't know how well it works for brightening/whitening, but every little bit counts.


5. Cooling skin care
My body overheats VERY easily.  My skin will become hot and I'll have headaches.  It's very important to me that I stay cool, but I don't like having the A/C blaring all the time.
The left hand product is from Gatsby and it's a deodorant wipe.  I love it because it is SUPER minty and leaves my skin minty cool.
The orange bottle is a deodorant spray from Seabreeze.  Like other Seabreeze products, this also leaves my skin feeling cool and refreshed.


6. Bling

I love bling all the time, but summer helps me step out of my comfort zone.  Ponytail holders are very popular right now in Japan.  What a great place to start with bling.

7. A bright pedicure
(not my picture)
Bright toenails scream summer to me.
Right now, my toenails are painted bright red, but I really want to experiment with more colors.

8. Sweat/Oil/Smudge proof mascara
Ahhh, the never ending search for the perfect mascara!   The non-waterproof version of Cover Girl Lash Blast is currently my favorite.  It is the best mascara for me in terms of not smudging/flaking/leaving dark circles under my eyes, and it gives me the volume I want.

9. Eyebrow top coat

 (not my picture)
This product is a lifesaver for me!  I brush it onto my eyebrows to prevent the parts that I've penciled in from fading.  This product is best used if you cut the hair on your eyebrows very short, like many Japanese girls in magazines.
I usually buy these at Daiso (100 yen store).  Similar products are sold at drugstores as well.

10. Blush with a sheen
I love a flush of color on the cheeks.  I think a blush with a sheen looks great in the summer.  I'm not very good with cream blushes, though.  Right now, I'm loving my Milani Luminous (the infamous Nars Orgasm dupe).

What are your favorite products this summer?  Please let me know!

xoxo, K

Sunday, July 25, 2010

MAC haul! (In The Groove & Permanent items)

A very kind girl helped me with a Custom Purchase for some MAC items, including some things from In The Groove!
From In The Groove... the much hyped Stereo Rose MSF

By Candlelight MSF

MSFs are about 4000 yen (about $45 at the current exchange rate) in Japan versus $28 in the US.  Even with US tax and shipping costs, they are far cheaper in the US!

This lovely girl also helped me buy some eyeshadows which were recommended to me in my last giveaway.

Club

Contrast

Beauty Marked

Cranberry

Pink Venus

Espresso

And a blush!
Cantaloupe

I'm so excited to try these!  Thank you so much!!!

I usually do a giveaway every few months, and I'm getting the urge to do another one!  
I hope I can hold another fun giveaway!

xoxo, K

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review: iVi Scents

This is a review of iVi Scents products!

I wrote about my haul before here.  I bought some bath bombs, a body cream, and a soap.


Soft Drop Minis (Bath Bombs)
I tried them in Duo, Pillow Fight, Seafoam, and Honey Bun.

Clockwise from top left: Pillow Fight (pink), Duo (yellow), and Seafoam (blue)

Honey Bun

What it does:
iVi Scents Soft Drops are the perfect bath time delight. Packed with soothing oils and lots of fragrance! Your skin will feel smooth, clean, and oh so soft. Just drop one in and watch it whirl. Scent, color, sparkle, fizz! Oh what a joy it is!
(from the iVi Scents website)

Price: $4.99 each


Pros:
- the scent is not overpowering
- lightly moisturizes your skin

Cons:
- the scent descriptions on the website were unclear (to me).  For example, the description for Pillow Fight says, "Sweet Scent: A pillow fight during a sleep over birthday party".  I have no idea what a pillow fight smells like.
- the bath bomb smells nice, but the scent does not transfer to the water.  I like my bath to smell nice when I use a bath bomb!
- leaves my skin feeling slightly oily.

Would I repurchase? Probably notThere are a lot of cheaper bath bombs in Japan!

iSmell Soap in Ozone

What it does:
iSmell Soaps are a better way to cleanse, because they are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) free. So your skin will feel baby soft regardless of the season, location, or weather.
(from the iVi Scents website)

Price: $6.50 for 3.5 oz (100 g)

Pros:
- Does not contain SLS
- Lathers well
- Large for the price

Cons:
- This is a very soft soap.  The website suggests cutting it into pieces so that you can store the pieces that you do not use in a dry place.  The piece I kept in my shower melted very quickly.
- VERY overpowering smell.
- Smells like generic perfume.

Would I repurchase? No

iCing Body Frosting in Sandcastle
What it does:iCing Body Frosting is a super thick, extra rich, butter that's better than a lotion. It goes on creamy , but dries to a silky-smooth, powdery finish -- just like iCing on a cake! 
(from the iVi Scents website)

Price: about $11 for 4 oz (113 g)

Pros:
- Creamy, whipped consistency
- Contains shea butter and aloe vera
- Very large amount for the price!

Cons:
- THE SCENT.  This was a very cheap, generic scent.  It did not smell like "Fresh Scent: A warm, sunny day at the beach" (from their website), unless it meant I was spending a day on the beach with your grandma!

Would I repurchase?  No


I was hoping that these would take the place of my Lush things.  Strangely, I find these scents more overpowering than Lush.  I find that Lush smells more like herbs, while the products I tried from iVi Scents smell like perfume.


This is probably the first time I've done a negative review.  All my previous reviews have either been "I like this product!" or "this product was just OK".  I really did want to like iVi Scents' products!  I think the products themselves are pretty good, but the scents are just too generic-perfumey for me.   Please remember that scents are very much a personal preference.  I hope your experience with this brand is better than mine!

xoxo, K

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekend shopping in Osaka!

I went to the Namba area of Osaka recently for some shopping!
Here is a wikipedia link to the area (specifically, Dotonbori). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C5%8Dtonbori


Some of the most famous sights of Osaka are found in this area, where there are a lot of mechanical signs.
The Glico Man

The Giant Crab at Kani Doraku
(Its legs move!)

Kuidaore Taro
(He's mechanical too!  Not my pic)

This is one of the first H&M stores in this region.
Unfortunately, I didn't buy anything.  It was CRAZY CROWDED!!!

Here's the line for Krispy Kremes.  The guard at the end is holding a sign that says "20 minute wait"

The streets of Namba remind me a little bit of New York.
All of these buildings are high end brand stores.

If you go off the main road, you'll see streets lined with stores like this one.


Osaka is famous for its takoyaki
Takoyaki are balls of batter with a piece of octopus inside them.

This store seems to be pretty popular.  Look at how long the line is.

Hope you enjoyed my virtual tour of Namba, Osaka

xoxo, K

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thank you! Love from Blair!

Blair sent me a wonderful love package!

She said it was for my birthday.  Yes, my birthday was back in March.  She spent all this time looking for a certain product that she knows I love!!!!!  Thank you SO MUCH for your love!

YSL Fard A Levres Rouge Pur - 148 Tea Rose
I am so excited to use this product.  The claim says it's a lip color and lip care in one.
Blair knows that my lips peel easily.

My Beauty Diary Masks - Japanese Cherry Blossom / Mixed Berries
I love MBD masks.  They are really hard to find in Japan, even though they are made in Taiwan.  

Assorted Coastal Scents loose eyeshadows
I've already pressed some of these.  I now have a MAC 15 pan palette consisting solely of loose eyeshadows that I've pressed.  I love the color payoff of loose eyeshadows but I hate the mess.  I also find that pressing them gives them better payoff, probably because I use a binder.

And finally...
Fair & Lovely Skin Clarity Anti-Marks Fairness Cream
This is the product that Blair searched high and low for!
Blair originally sent me this product a very long time ago, and I loved it so much that it got a place on my 2009 favorites.  Blair, thank you so much for looking so hard for this!!!  You are so sweet!

A sweet note, candies and samples
I love getting these sweet notes from blogger girls.  I keep all of them pasted in an album.

Thank you again, Blair, for your love!  Blair is probably the first friend I made on blogger, and I'm so glad we are still friends!!!

On a totally separate note, I recently bought this:
Mixed whole pepper
Mixed whole pepper is hard for me to find where I live, so I bought some online from a spice dealer.  I ground some of these in my spice mill and OH WOW.  They smell and taste NOTHING like pepper that I'm used to.  I finally understand why some perfumes have pepper in their notes.  It was almost fruity.  Wow, I am so glad I bought pepper from this store!!

Hope your week went well!

xoxo, K

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Review: Keana Nadeshiko Baking Soda Scrub Powder Facial Wash

This is a review of the Keana Nadeshiko Baking Soda Scrub Powder Facial Wash! (毛穴撫子重層スクラブ洗顔パウダー)

"Goodbye Keana (pores)!"  Sounds promising!

What it does: A powder facial wash with baking soda to eliminate "strawberry pores" and "orange peel pores".  The baking soda acts as a scrub to declog your pores of excess sebum and to gently exfoliate the dead cells around your pores.

*strawberry pores: clogged pores which make your nose look like a strawberry
*orange peel pores: pores which are so big you can see them, like the peel of an orange
Both of these phrases are fairly common in the Japanese beauty world!

Price: 1260 JPY / 100g (about $14) This may seem pricey, but it is a pretty normal price range for a Japanese drugstore product!

Pros:
- This is a facial cleanser in powder form, but it still foams up very well
- The baking soda particles don't fully dissolve, and are a good gentle exfoliator

Cons:
- I could make this myself, by adding baking soda to my facial cleanser


Would I repurchase?
Probably not.  I really liked what this cleanser did, so I'd probably add baking soda to my facial cleanser!

Tips: 
- Always take off your makeup first, as Japanese facial cleansers are not made to remove makeup unless it is specified in the claim!
- Use a facial cleanser net (a tool to foam up your facial cleanser) so that you can get enough foam.  The bubbles should be touching your face, not your fingers.  (Should I do a review on a facial cleanser net?  I've seen some blogs where the girls use them incorrectly...)
- This product also comes in cream form

Yes, this product was slightly pricier than other facial cleansers, but not overly so.  Actually, this lasted A LONG TIME!!!  100g of powder is A LOT!  I really did like this product and it helped to clear out my pores.  I still recommend a pore strip to get all the gunk out of your pores!  Like I said above, I could probably get the same effect by mixing baking soda with my facial cleanser.  I love to find cheaper alternatives!

Hope you enjoyed my review!

xoxo, K

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Review: Skinfood Fermented Pomegranate Whitening Sleeping Mask

This is a review for the Skinfood Fermented Pomegranate Whitening Sleeping Mask

I got this when I went to Korea.  Blair recommended it to me. (thanks, Blair!)



What it does:

A skin-brightening sleeping mask containing arbutin and pomegranate ferment extract forms a protective layer onto skin.  It provides continuous moisturization overnight and suppresses the formation of blemishes and dark spots, making skin look clear and radiant by morning.

After emulsion or essence, apply desired amount evenly onto face and gently massage to absorb.
(from the Skinfood website)

Price:
approximately 14000 Korean Won (about $11.50)


Pros:
- Light enough to use in the summer and moisturizes enough that I can use it in the winter
- Not sticky
- Very light, watery texture


- Absorbs very quickly
- The packaging has a pump which is more sanitary than a jar



Cons:
- I did not experience any whitening effects
- It's expensive in Japan


Would I repurchase?  I would if I went to Korea! 

I really liked this, and if I lived in Korea, this would probably take the place of my nightly moisturizer.  I was wary of sleeping masks at first.  I thought, "I slather this on my face and then go to sleep?  Won't it get all over my sheets?"  However, this sleeping mask gets absorbed into my skin very quickly.

Hope you liked this review!!


In related news...
Skinfood has recently opened some branches in Japan, and one of them is in Kobe!  I stopped by last weekend, hoping to pick up some stuff...


In the end, I didn't buy anything since it was REALLY expensive!  I was surprised!  The Mushroom BB Cream, which is about 13000 Korean Won (about $11) in Korea, was $25.  That's more than twice the price!  I can get the same BB cream cheaper online.


xoxo, K

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Haul: iVi Scents!

This is my haul from iVi Scents!
I think I found out about this brand from a youtube video.  I was interested to buy some products because all of their products are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate free.  I'm not sure how I feel about SLS yet, but I know that a lot of girls are trying to avoid it!

iVi Scents only has 4 types of products right now - a sugar scrub, a body cream, bath bombs, and soaps.

Here is what I got!
Three Soft Drop Minis (Bath Bombs) in Duo, Pillow Fight, and Seafoam

iVi Scents always has a freebie that you just have to add to your cart! When I ordered, it was a free Soft Drop Mini.  I got the Honey Bun one!

An iCing Body Frosting Lotion (Body Cream) in Sandcastle!


An iSmell Soap in Ozone
Cute packaging!

The soap comes with a recommendation that you cut it into pieces and use each piece, so that you can prolong the scent and so that it doesn't all melt in your shower!
Ozone is a bluish color! (Yes, this is a piece I used... )

I'll post some reviews about the products once I get a chance to use them!
Here are some initial thoughts about the company!

Here is the front label of the package I received.
First, I really liked that they have a caution message that these products may melt.
Their website also labels which products may melt.  If you live in a hot climate, you can avoid buying those and having them melt during shipping!

Next, let's take a look at the actual shipping cost above ($12.48)...

And then at the shipping cost in my invoice ($14.48)...

As you can see, they are only charging $2 above the actual shipping price!
I thought that was pretty decent!  I've seen many companies with a very increased shipping cost!

My package also came with this card
On the back, it had a message saying who packaged it and when!
The package also came with a referral card!
It says to email referrals@iviscents.com for a free gift.  I don't know how it works, but try it out if you are interested!
(The card also says that I receive something for referring people, but I don't know if they send gifts abroad!)



Hope that was interesting!
If you have any recommendations on any soaps/body lotions/bath products, please let me know!

xoxo, K

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