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For those who wear makeup on a regular basis, all the more you need a proper cleansing routine to remove impurities thoroughly. Slapping on expensive or highly-raved cleansers ain't going to cut it. Sometimes the best tool is one's own fingers but they can't reach out to the deep crevices in our faces.

The cleansing puff is inexpensive and the blend-able sponge is able to remove impurities from tricky areas especially around your nose where sebum and powder tend to accumulate easily.

Some like to pour a dollop of cleansing solution on the sponge and build up a foam from there. I prefer to foam by hand, apply it on my face evening and massage for a good 2-3 minutes before scrubbing off with the tool. I especially like to use this method with my exfoliators, because it removes bead residue more effectively.

Normally I would use a brush to apply foundation then a sponge to blend for that airbrush effect. But I observed that using these makeup wedges to apply foundation and concealer saves time with no streaky marks. Blending concealer especially is a breeze.

These tools come in assorted shapes but I'm biased to the ones with flat planes because they blend better. Plus they can be re-used over and over, but just remember to wash them after each use. You don't want to keep re-applying bacteria on your skin, right?

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There is this misconception that toners are meant to remove any residue where your cleansers fail. If this sounds familiar, fret not for it's not too late to utilise your products properly. I, too, fell victim when I started taking care of my skin.

Also known as lotions and softeners, there is a wide variety available in the market, with properties that target your various concerns - whitening, hydrating, anti-aging etc. While some prefer to skip this step and dive straight into serums and moisturizers, the Japanese women firmly believe that toners are essential to their daily regimen. They function by softening the skin to allow forthcoming products to be absorbed more efficiently.

During my recent visit to the SK-ll Boutique Spa, I had raise concerns over clusters of bumps on my chin, thinking they were congested and in need of professional help for deep extraction. Through a skin analysis, they turned out to be "ancient" whiteheads that have hardened overtime due to lack of immediate treatment.

I was advised to use more softeners during this toning step and exert more of the product and pressure on the area of concern. Not only does this stimulate and rejuvenate your skin, the whiteheads will soften in time and you'll be able to treat them accordingly. Although pouring the Facial Treatment Essence on a cotton pad is extravagant, I do that sometimes and concentrate on my chin to aid recovery.

It's been 2 weeks since my facial - most of the whiteheads are too stubborn to budge, but there are a few that have emerged and taken care of. YAY!

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Chinese New Year is around the corner, and most of us will be house-visiting one after another. The Singapore weather may be unpredictable recently with the surge in pouring rain, but when Brother Sun decides to come out of hiding, I need a good blotting device to avoid looking *shiny* Here are a couple of selected products to consider over your last minute shopping.

STARBUCKS Serviettes
I always make a point to take a few whenever I pop over to the nearest outlet. These brown recycled napkins managed to absorb the excess sebum and mattifies my face efficiently. Though the texture is slightly coarser than the average tissue, it doesn't roughen your skin one bit. That being said, please do not rush over and lug home an entire bundle of serviettes, and do not quote my blog should you get caught (lol)

Blotting Papers
There are various brands of blot papers in the market. I strongly advise you to refrain getting those scented and powdered ones, for they might cause a break especially if you have acne-prone or sensitive skin.

MAC Blot Powder
This is the best blot device out of the bunch - one application could prevent shine for as long as 3-4 hours, depending on the climate. I have already mentioned it in a prior post, thus a long-winded introduction may be excused.

Now we have come to the highlight - it may not be up to par with MAC's, but this product is worth a mention. My mother almost went batshit crazy when I picked this up few weeks ago. "Ah Girl, this is something your Grandma would use, why did you get it?!" So I replied saying that this was once seen on her own dressing table eons ago, Grandma (lol)

Sam Fong Hoi Tong Powder
Indeed, this product had been used by the Chinese for many decades, commonly employed on the face prior to shape one's eyebrows to prevent any unnecessary cuts. In olden days, street beauticians spread a decent amount of the powder on their customers' face before proceeding to thread off excess facial hair, and helps to smooth the complexion.

What has been often neglected is its oil-control properties. Just like MAC's blot powder, it can also be used to control sebum and set your makeup. Although it looks chalky(Note: not Geisha white) when swatched, the texture is finer than the former and glides on the skin really well. My face start to shine around 2 hours later, but you might want to consider this as a cheaper alternative. It cost around $2-3, depending on place of purchase. It comes in white and pink, though I have yet to try the latter. 

This can also be used as a mask - dip a slab into water and slather on the water. I have no idea of its whitening properties either. But I gotta caution you to check the label on the back of the compact case. Purchase the ones that are manufactured in Hong Kong, according to my friend, the formula is smoother. There are a number of counterfeits sold online, so be careful!

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After settling Christmas presents for friends and family, I finally have the time to sit down and decide what to get for myself! Not everyone gets to receive, you know what I mean *inserts grumble* Anyway, while browsing the Web to do some potential research, my mind drifted back to Lancôme Génifique which supposedly activates the youth proteins in your genes.

With claims to see "visibly younger skin in just seven days," I had previously tried a week's supply but did not notice any difference to write a first-impression review. It felt like any regular serum, and to be fair, I did not expect drastic results *cues Michelle Pfeiffer's magical rejuvenation*

I was itching to purchase the product to write a proper review but was appalled upon stumbling this "review" on MakeUpAlley: (click for larger resolution)

Lancôme and L'Oreal share the same corporate owner, L'Oreal Group but operates independently. Besides the distinctness in product pricing, the obvious difference is one being a prestige brand, while the other is mass-marketed. Since they are under the aforementioned parent company, there's bound to be some overlapping of ingredients used in their various products.

Lancôme Génifique claims to reactivate your genes whereas L'Oreal's latest anti-aging gene-inspiring skincare range Youth Code is supposed to induce the gene's ability to produce proteins. To put this blatantly across, both products function in a similar manner - by reactivating aging cells to prompt the skin to produce more youth-enhancing collagen yada yada.

Comparsions of Ingredients
Lancôme Génifique
Aqua/Water/Eau, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Dimethicone, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Salicyloyl Phytosphingosine, Amonium, Polyacryldimethyltauramide/Amonium, Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Limonene, Xathan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Octyldodcanol, Citric Acid, Citronellol, Parfum/Fragrance.

L'Oreal Youth Code Concentrate
Aqua/Water, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Dimenthicone, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Peg-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquisterate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Salicyloyl Phytosphingosine, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Adenosine, Ammonium, Polyacryldimethyltauramide, Disodium Edta, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Chrysin, Octyldodecanol, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Limonene, Parfum.

It doesn't take a dermatologist to point out the number of identical ingredients; keep in mind this is a quick glance at the components thus I am not going in-depth on the scientifics. I made the trip down to the nearest drugstore to check out Youth Code Concentrate - the texture is rather creamy, as compared with the runny consistency from Lancôme. In regards to the pricing, it cost merely S$45.90 whereas Génifique sets one back at a staggering S$170.

Naturally as a consumer, it's logical to choose the product that would save dollars. In this cost, a whole lot. But I urge you to do more research on the various un-highlighted ingredients to get a better understanding, and will help gauge the justification in getting Génifique.

On the makeup spectrum, I had a moment of epiphany upon setting eyes on the eyeshadow quad from Lancôme's L'Wren Scott Holiday Collection a while back. The colors resemble L'Oreal Open Eyes Eyeshadow Palette in Stellar! I have been prowling everywhere and kicking myself at the same time, because the product is nowhere in sight... (つд⊂)

I should also mention that L'Oreal Group owns Maybelline, which explains why their latest Open Eyes Pro eyeshadow palette in Black spots the almost-too similar monochromatic shades. While I cannot comment on the texture, but this is another prime example of, for lack of a better term, product recycling.

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A Hypothetical Scenario
With sheer dumb luck, some hot stud winks at you as he passes by. Rooted to the ground, daydreaming obliviously away towards the day he bends on one knee, the day both of you exchanging vows... HOLD ON A SECOND! Why is he shaking with laughter on the other stretch of the pathway? You hurriedly retreated to the washroom and...a panda reflection staring back in the mirror? That is entirely hypothetical, of course. Pinkie swear!

Anyway I have this annoying tendency to yawn more often than usual in air-conditioned places, like the malls here blasting the AC on full-mode as if the depleting Ozone layer don't mean a thing!! Sometimes even the most durable mascara or eyeliner will start to head south. There's also the case of tucking your lips in unconsciously immediately after applying your lipstick, resulting in color stains on my teeth.

Human errors are unavoidable -be it intentional or otherwise- thus no matter what expensive primer that you may be using, even living under this tropical weather makes boo-boos all the more difficult to stay away.

It is understandable if these embarrassing blunders go unnoticed when you're out on your own, but what if you are with company? When you spy such boo-boos on your friend, would you let her know in the most tactful way possible, or fake ignorance because she might take it the wrong way?

To my chagrin I have fallen victim to such situations albeit nothing too humiliating. I would prefer to have it pointed out in a subtle way; pull me aside to let me know and save myself from any necessary embarassment. Unfortunately, some friends I know would just keep quiet for ulterior reasons, that I would leave it to one's imagination.

Everyone have their ways to deal with such situations. If however you choose to stay mum for whatever reasons, please put yourself in the shoes of your friend and think, would I want to walk around town looking like a panda?

Here's some bloopers shots while preparing for this entry, it would be a pity to not share them with you. Milo camwhoring at his very best~.

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There are differing opinions in regards to pairing makeup with your outfits. Some find it "safe" to pair up, say a pink top with an eyeshadow of the same color, while others call it tacky. To avoid looking like Kueh Lapis, I opt to coordinate with the warm or cool color tones: Brown or yellow cardigan goes with gold or bronze eyeshadow; blue dress to match with pink lips etc. I adhere to this system when I'm rushing for time or simply not in the mood to play around with loud colors.

Suffice to say, I tend to accord my blush and lipstick with shades within the same tonal family. To avoid looking like a walking fashion catastrophe, give your cheeks a nice sheer of blush, whilst keeping a stronger lip color.

SHISEIDO Luminizing Satin Blush in RS 302

CLARINS Rouge Prodige in 107 Tea Rose

Having had to make a trip down to the hospital over the weekend, I had on a white sundress with florals designs like the ones seen on mahjong tiles. To avoid looking too cheery, I opted to forgo eyeshadow and emphasize on my cheeks and lips.

I'd wanted to give my cheeks a rosy glow, a trait visibly absent on most patients in the hospital. A healthy color that will not dampen my grandmother's spirits. It was intentional to use both products in TeaRose and results were more than satisfactory; 2 nurses tending to my relative inquired about the color and brand. 

In my opinion as long as the results doesn't overkill, it does not matter if you decide to play matchy matchy. Afterall it's up to one's creativity and confidence to pull off even the tackiest look.

Milo says hi, by the way. Here I have my wand and discerning if he is an Animagus. Sadly, he's just an ASSBUTT through and through. The other day he caused me to take a tumble and I landed on my front, resulting in a hefty bruise on my knee.

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