Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Comparison review: Milani Liquif'eye Metallic Eyeliner Pencil vs Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil.

This is a comparison review of the Milani Liquif'eye Metallic Eyeliner Pencil, and the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil.  Many reviews have mentioned that the Milani eyeliner is a great inexpensive dupe, so I compared the two side by side.

I have the UD pencil in Zero, and the Milani pencil in black.
UD eyeliner on the left, Milani eyeliner on the right

Price: Urban Decay - $18, Milani - $5.50

Swatches: As you can see from the swatches, the Milani eyeliner is a darker eyeliner
Urban Decay on the left, Milani on the right

Pros of the Milani
  • Much cheaper to Urban Decay
  • More pigmented (although apparently UD has a more pigmented black eyeliner called Perversion)
Pros of the UD eyeliner:
  • The Milani eyeliner smudged slightly on my lower line, while the UD did not smudge at all
  • Creamier and easier to apply than the Milani, although the Milani is also very creamy
Notes:
  • Both eyeliners lasted on my top line the same.
  • The Milani eyeliner gets an A+ rating on Temptalia, while the UD eyeliner gets an A rating.
  • Milani products are not sold at all drugstores and may be harder to find

Conclusion: I'm still on a journey to find a cheap eyeliner that doesn't smudge on me! 

Hope you enjoyed this review!

xoxo, K

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weekly Reads #46: January 26, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone that celebrates it! I hope that the year of the dragon will bring you lots of happiness!


xoxo, K

Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: Nanoce BB Sorbet - a sherbet-like BB cream

This is a review of the Nanoce BB Sorbet. This was a gift from Yuming from Beauty Box when we met up in November. The shade I received was #2 Natural Ochre, the darker of the two shades.



What it does: (From ishizawa-lab.co.jp, the makers of this product. Translated by me)
Like a sherbet! This cooling BB foundation will tighten your pores, and prevent makeup from melting in the summer. 

Yuming has a detailed post on how to use this product. It comes with a sponge, which you spray the product onto and use to apply to your face.


Price: 1890 JPY, about $25. This may sound expensive to you, but this is a pretty normal price range for a drugstore foundation in Japan. For reference, Revlon Color Stay liquid foundation is 2100 JPY (=$27) in Japan, compared to $8-10 in the US.

Pros:
  • The coolness of the product was very interesting
  • Good for those who want sheer to medium coverage
Cons:
  • I still needed a concealer with this product
  • This product stayed "wet" forever and never set on my face. Hence, it transferred a lot (Interestingly, Yasumi felt it was too dry for her).

Note: To avoid the sponge from absorbing too much of the product, I would dampen it with water first.

Would I repurchase: Unfortunately, this did not work for me. It was just too moist and made me overly conscious about transfer. I will continue to try to make it work, since the "sherbet" was a very interesting concept!

I'm really curious why this product did not set on my face, while it was too dry for Yasumi. This goes to show you that the same product may work differently on different people!

Hope you enjoyed this review!

xoxo, K

Friday, January 20, 2012

Weekly Reads #45: January 20, 2012


 Hope you enjoy the links!

xoxo, K

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator - one of the most hyped MAC products

This is a review for the MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator. This was released as part of the Style Black collection in the summer of 2009. I have reviewed it here in case it is rereleased in the future. 


What it does: (from Nordstrom.com)
A highly effective, dual-purpose foaming, cleansing and exfoliating scrub blending natural volcanic ash with fine sugar crystals. Refines and unclogs the skin, adds instant moisture, leaves skin feeling soft and comfortably clean. Mineral-rich. May be used effectively on any part of face or body. Rinses off with warm water. 
Pink Sith has a very detailed breakdown of the ingredients and what they do.

Price: $19.50/3.4 oz. This product was originally released in 2008, but the 2009 version has a different formula and the container/size/cost is different.

Scent: smells like charcoal. I really appreciate that MAC didn't give this product a "fake" scent.

Pros:
  • Exfoliates well using sugar and silica
  • Absorbs facial oils without making my skin feel stripped

Cons:
  • This product is MESSY
  • This is one of the most hyped products that MAC releases, and can be difficult to find even if it is rereleased. Is it really worth the craze?
  • This feels exactly the same as a product with charcoal in it, such as the Lush Coal Face Cleanser or the Lush Dark Angels

Would I repurchase?  Maybe. If I found it at a CCO, I would definitely pick it up, but I wouldn't want to face the craze to get it. There are other products that use volcanic ash or charcoal.

Note: Remember that you can Back to MAC this and many other skin care containers!

Hope you enjoyed this review!

xoxo, K

Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: Canmake Color Stick Concealer - cheap and very popular!

This is a review for the Canmake Color Stick Concealer. This concealer is pretty popular in Japan, and is consistently in the top favorites lists in several magazines. This concealer comes in several different colors, including white for highlighting.

I have this in 02 Natural Beige.

What it does: (from canmake.com)
This is not only a concealer that will cover flaws in your complexion; it is a multi-purpose cosmetic stick in a range of colors that can be used to cheeks and as highlighters to provide luster, translucence and definition. Moderately hard, it clings tightly to your skin and can be spread thinly over your face for a natural-looking complexion that looks even more beautiful than bare skin. 
Apply directly with the stick or apply to your fingers and spread thinly over areas that have flaws or that you want to look more attractive. This product is considerably more effective if applied thinly and then reapplied with a patting motion.

Price: 609 JPY, about $8 USD.
The Canmake website lists these as 580 JPY, but the price does not include the country-wide tax of 5%.  This price may seem very high if you are used to American drugstore products, but it is in fact extremely cheap compared to most Japanese drugstore products.

Pros:
  • very affordable 
  • creamy and easy to blend 
  • light to medium coverage 

Cons:
  • this concealer does not have enough coverage for me 
  • this concealer must be set with a powder or it will transfer easily 
  • I would not recommend this for concealing blemishes since it is quite oily. 

Would I repurchase? No. This concealer just doesn't have enough coverage for me. I can make it work by setting it with a powder foundation, but that is just too much work for me.

After trying this concealer, I'm surprised that it is so popular in Japan. I think there are several drugstore brand concealers that are better than this one!

Hope you enjoyed this review!
xoxo, K

Friday, January 13, 2012

Weekly Reads #44: January 13, 2012


Thanks to everyone who voted in my poll last week about which mug I should buy. When I went to go buy one last weekend, they were all sold out, even though I went to 2 different Starbucks!

Oh well, on to my Weekly Reads!
xoxo, K

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Steamcream - the packaging!!!

This is a review of the much-hyped Streamcream. This was a gift from Yuming from Beauty Box when we met up in November.

What it does: (from steamcream.co.uk)
We handmake STEAMCREAM in the UK and Japan with fresh natural ingredients, fused together with a shot of steam. Our unique method means that STEAMCREAM gives your face instant refreshment the moment you use it. It’s super-moisturising, sinks deep down and revives your skin straight away. Use it to soften your body, hands and feet too. 

Price: 10.50 GBP or 1500 JPY. At this price, the British version is about $3 cheaper.

Pros:
  • Lightweight moisturizer that absorbs quickly into the skin.
  • Skin feels moisturized after use, but not sticky or greasy
  • The scent disappears soon after applying. 
  • Because of the above three points, I liked using this on my hands. I hate it when my hands are greasy or when they smell too strongly of my hand lotion!
  • Steamcream often comes out with different designs which are super cute!
Cons:
  • Steamcream suggests to use this everywhere, including on your face and body. It was too heavy for me to use on my face, but too light for me to use on my body during the winter.
  • Dipping your hands repeatedly into a tin is not very sanitary.

Would I repurchase? Maybe. I think the price point of this hand lotion is not really worth it, but the packaging is amazing. I might repurchase this if I find a cute design. This is a great item to give as a gift, since it's something that most people wouldn't splurge on!  Thanks again to Yuming for this!

Hope you enjoyed this review!

xoxo, K

Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara - a volumizing mascara without the clumps

This is a review for the L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara. I bought this when I went to Hawaii last year. I have this in the color Blackest Black.



This mascara has a rubber wand with thin spikes.

What it does: (from L'Oreal's website)
For lashes that look a million times multiplied and perfectly defined, there’s only one mascara – NEW Voluminous Million Lashes. The built-in Clean-Sweep Wiping System wipes the brush free of clumps leaving the perfect amount of mascara for an ultra-volumized clean lash look. The Millionizing Brush evenly thickens lashes from root to tip. The result? Lashes look so multiplied, so clean, it’s like seeing millions. 

Price: Will vary, just like all other US drugstore products. L'Oreal's website lists the price as around $9, but I see it online for $7-8.

Pros:
  • This product defined my lashes without making them clumpy!!!
  • The formula is smooth and the brush is great for applying mascara evenly
  • I did not get smudges under my eyes, even though this is not the waterproof formula.  
  • The tube clicks shut. When I twist the wand to close the product, it clicks when it is shut. I really like this because then I know when it's closed properly.

Cons:
  • Obviously, I did not get a million lashes
Would I repurchase?  Yes!  This product is great if you want mascara that will give your lashes volume without making them thick and clumpy. My lashes look like they have natural volume with this product. However, don't count on getting a million lashes! Only falsies will help you do that.  I also really liked that this product didn't smudge, since most mascaras smudge LIKE CRAZY on me!!!

Hope this review helped! What is your favorite mascara?

xoxo, K

Friday, January 6, 2012

Weekly Reads #43: January 6, 2012

I'm thinking of buying one of these two Starbucks mugs for Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the dragon! Please vote on which one you think is better! (not my pics)

1. Flying Dragon

2. Dragon Face
  


  • Worst of Beauty 2011, via Beautiful with Brains. Many bloggers have done a favorites list (including myself!), but I also love to read about products that bloggers didn't like!
  • Zoya Fleck Effects Reviews, via Temptalia. I am excited to see flakies since Sally Hansen reformulated their much loved Hidden Treasures!
  • How to fill a bachelor pad, via Ask Metafilter. What do you buy when you are living by yourself for the first time?
  • Steamed squash salad, via Macheesmo. This is a refreshing recipe to help you recover from holiday eating.
  • Chicken Liver pate, via Simply Recipes. LOOOVE pate, but canned pate is extremely expensive in Japan!

By the way, you might want to take a look at Beautiful with Brain's Best Posts of 2011. A lot of these have been featured on my Weekly Reads. This is such an amazing blog!

xoxo, K

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Yet another Project 20 Pan

I seem to be doing a Project 10 Pan every 6 months. The reason is that I no longer buy cosmetics.  It sounds horrible to be saying that as a beauty blogger!

Many of you may know the reason why I do not buy many cosmetics anymore. I live in a part of the world where mail is very unreliable, so I no longer buy things on the internet. I could buy local cosmetics, but all of the good brands are either from Japan, Taiwan or Korea, and are heavily marked up.

I do buy a few things every time I am back in Japan, and some of my very kind friends send me a few things when I am on vacation.  It's a little sad not to be able to try out all of the new products on the market, but it also gives me a chance to really think about what products I really want. For example, right now I'm really coveting the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette. But since I can't get it, I'll wait until my next trip to the US. By then, I may have forgotten all about it!

I have a separate blog post where I shared some tips on how to complete Project 10 Pan. Please take a look if you are interested in Project 10 Pan but don't know how to make it work!!

On to the products! (If I have reviewed the product before, you can click on the product name to go to the review)

As I mentioned in my review, I loved the scent of this product but I thought it was severely overpriced.

Bath & Body Works Body Lotion in Twilight Woods
I have several bottles of this product, and so I'm still getting through my collection!

 Yet another bottle of Bath & Body Works Body Lotion in Twilight Woods.
This is the travel sized bottle, while the bottle above was full sized. It still takes me over a month to go through the travel bottles!

As I mentioned in my review, I loved the lemongrass scent of this product. It is still strange to me that Lush considers lemongrass to be a winter scent.
This product was a limited edition product for the holidays.  It is currently being rereleased!

Bath & Body Works Body Lotion in Enchanted Orchid
I did not enjoy this scent as it was too floral for me.

NYC Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in Sunny
One of my favorite youtubers, emilynoel83, highly recommends this product. It is not highly pigmented, plus it is very cheap, so I recommend it if you are new to bronzers.

As I mentioned in my review, this is a great dupe for a silicone-based face primer such as Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, at 1/9 the price.

I have also reviewed this product before. This is my favorite non-silicone face primer. I heard that Rimmel has a new Fix & Perfect primer, so I'm looking forward to trying that out!

I loved the product, I loved the scent, but I did not love the price for something I could easily make at home!

I had an interesting time trying to use both sides of the soap evenly!

H2O+ Marine Daily Hydrator
This was an oil-free moisturizer that I received as a gift. It was a great light moisturizer, but I did not feel it was anything special.

This is currently my favorite foundation and was on my 2010 favorites list. This foundation is light on the skin, but has pretty good coverage.

This shower gel was very popular when it came out, since it supposedly smells similar to the Lush Honey I Washed The Kids soap.  It was originally limited edition, but has now been made permanent.

I reviewed this product quite recently. It is a great hand lotion, but I prefer not to scent my hands so strongly.

I received the largest size bottle (17 fluid ounces) as a gift, and it took nearly a year to use up! Of course, I didn't use it continuously.  Still, it reminded me of why I always buy the smallest bottle.

I also reviewed this product recently. If you have not used one of Lush's solid shampoos before, I suggest you try this one.

As I mentioned in my review, I felt this product was really overpriced for what it did. It also smelled cheap.

Another cleanser I reviewed recently. Hint: Cetaphil is very similar and less than 1/4 of the price!

The Face Shop Wrinkle Stop Eye Cream
This was a great hydrating eye cream, but I really did not see any difference in my eye area.

Bath & Body Works Body Lotion in Butterfly Flower
I remember not liking this scent so much, but it wasn't so bad this time. It is a little too much like perfume, though.

Bath & Body Works Shower Gel in Butterfly Flower
Yes, I'm slowly getting through my stash of Bath & Body Works products!

What products have you used up recently?

xoxo, K

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Favorite Products 2011

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2012 is a fantastic year for you!

Here are my favorite products of 2011. As many of you know, I bought almost nothing last year. It has helped me make a dent in my huge stash. I brought 3 full boxes of beauty products with me when I moved in October of 2010, but now I'm down to about 1 box. 

Please also check out my favorites of 2010 and 2009. I still love a lot of those items!

Best Skin care item
This is the only new skin care item that I loved. It is a great daily cleanser that exfoliates gently. I love the scent as well!




Best makeup items
Mezaik
In 2011, I started to use Mezaik to change the shape of my double eyelids. Now, it is a must have product for me!



Drugstore companies come out with so many new mascaras that it s difficult to tell which one is which. This was a great volumizing mascara.


Gosh Lipstick in Darling
 I picked this up in London only because it was so hyped on the internet. It is too flesh-toned for me and makes me look dead. However, I love it to tone down lipsticks that are too bright for me. A lot of Japanese girls use concealers for this purpose, which dry out my lips and make them flake. This is a very creamy lipstick, and I wish I had picked up some different colors.  It is also super affordable!

Best tools
Sonia Kashuk blush brush
This is a great brush - it is soft and affordable. Unfortunately, I ruined mine, so I really really need to buy a new one!

Clarisonic
I love my Clarisonic, but I only use it during the warmer months!


Favorite new tips/tricks
I've done quite a few rounds of Project 10 Pan in the past. In this post, I shared with you my tips and tricks to be able to stick to it.

I used to travel a lot for work, so I've picked up a few tips on how to pack beauty products so that you don't either over- or under-pack. 


Who doesn't want to squeeze out more uses from their bath bombs?  By using this technique, you can get more from your bath bombs without feeling like you've sacrificed anything. 



Most reviewed brand on Cosmeddicted in 2011
Lush (14 times)
You may not be surprised, but I am! I had no idea I reviewed 14 different Lush products this year, since I bought only 1 new item. This is an increase from 2010, when I reviewed 8 Lush products!

Favorite Lush item
This has been one of my favorite products for a very long time. It is also super expensive in Japan, so I take every opportunity to buy it in the US or in the UK!
(stock photo)

Favorite blog post of 2011

This is my favorite post because it took so long before I got around to doing it. Originally, I planned to post this as my very first blog post, back in March of 2009! I had a lot of fun making the picture above as well!

Most viewed blog post
Amazing - I posted this in the August 2010, and it continues to be the top viewed post on this blog!




Please leave a comment letting me know what you would like to see more of this year!


xoxo, K

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