Base Makeup Journey: Part 2

Posted on 01-04-2017

Hi again.  So one of my greatest insecurities is my dark circles.  I’m fortunate in that they are not too deep-set, but they are very discoloured and hard to cover. So I’m on a constant quest to find the best undereye concealer.

I’ll be honest though. It’s been a struggle.

I’ve tried all sorts of concealers, including everyones holy grails at ridiculous prices.  Lemme just put it in list form for you all to see how much money I have thrown at the beauty industry:

  1. Revlon Age Defying: A really good concealer for undereye circles, but discontinued
  2. Maybelline Fit Me: A lot of people like this, so maybe the formula has changed since I bought it a few years ago. It was terrible – hardly any coverage and too watery.
  3. Maybelline Age Rewind: Still my staple undereye concealer, but does not work well with other concealers in the mix.
  4. Skinfood Salmon Undereye Concealer: This is weirdly shiny and never sets, but it honestly saved me when my undereye got all dry and patchy – it was the ONLY concealer that didn’t cling to the dryness.  I recommend it for dry skin, the shininess can be mostly covered up by foundation or powder.
  5. The Saem Cover Perfection Tip: Supposedly a dupe for Nars Radiant Creamy but that is definitely not the case – the consistency just isn’t as good as the RCC, it just isn’t as thick and creamy so it doesn’t have as much coverage.  It isn’t that bad, but I was too scared to continue using it with its strong floral scent.
  6. Inglot Undereye Concealer:  Super, ridiculously watery so impossible to get high coverage from it. Unsure if the product has changed since.
  7. YSL Touche Eclat: basically no coverage, it is not suitable for concealing.  It’s ok as a highlighter.
  8. Nars Radiant Creamy:  Lovely texture and consistency, but can be drying and obvious.  I still like it, but it doesn’t do the job 100% for me (and its forty bucks tho, I die).
  9. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye:  Very thick and heavy, people swear by this but I don’t think it worked well for me at all.  It’s very hard to blend due to the thickness, fingerprints basically get fossilised in it if you aren’t careful so your dark circles show through anyway.  Cannot use a brush to blend it effectively, must use warmth of fingers making it fiddly. Also, mine leaves an odd cast under the eyes – with their limited shade range I just don’t think it is suitable for me.
  10. Tarte Maracuja Creaseless:  Very thick texture like Bye Bye Undereye, but it was pretty damn terrible overall – similar issues to Bye Bye Undereye. I also think my skin also reacted to it so I haven’t gone back.
  11. Tarte Shape Tape:  I bought it in a shade WAY too light.  Light sand is light, everyone.  Not like Maybelline shades at all.  Still, it is obvious why everyone loves this concealer.  It has great consistency and coverage.  However, it can be drying and emphasises dryness, which is a problem if you have dry undereyes like me.
  12. MAC Pro Longwear: Mine is a shade too dark, and it oxidises a LOT.  The pump sucks, so it is hard to control the product.  But I still don’t mind it overall – it has excellent coverage and not a bad consistency. Works well mixed with other concealers. Can be a bit drying.

I think that’s all of my concealers.  These days I’ve been using most of them in rotation to see which one works best.  So far, I enjoy mixing the Shape Tape with other concealers such as the MAC Pro Longwrar, then baking with Laura Mercier Translucent Powder, mainly because mixing them matches my skin tone, but sometimes it just isn’t enough.  While I love the smooth result from baking, it can really dry your skin out and it can be risky if you mess up your concealer somehow, because you CANNOT fix it after the powder is on.

Honestly, because of where I place my concealer (under the eyes where there are the most wrinkles), I find the concealer far more important than foundation because if I need to use too much or the wrong formula, it looks cakey, dry or it ages me.  Sigh, I can’t wait for the day that find the perfect concealer so that I can rest my wallet.

Ok, so foundations.  I used to use BB creams but these days I’ve been leaning towards foundations more because my skin is a little darker than most bb creams.  I used to use Holika Holika Aqua Petite Jelly but since it ran out, I just haven’t bothered to purchase it again despite fairly good results.  I still LOVE my Lioele Triple the Solution BB cream (it has run out and I haven’t repurchased but I would still say it’s the best bb I’ve tried with it’s gorgeous finish and full coverage).

I wasn’t a fan of any of the pact or cushion bb creams I’ve tried – from the Face Shop to Mamonde to Clio.  They all seem to sit on top of my skin weirdly – possibly because even the darkest shades are too light.  Skin79, Missha, and those old school bb creams are far too grey.  So I’ve moved on.

My first semi higher end foundation was the MAC Studio Finish.  I can’t really remember how good it was but I liked it at the time, but now NC35 is way too dark for my skin.  My true awakening was when I discovered Estee Lauder Double Wear.  I’m shade Ecru, but I could go to Desert Beige if it is summer.  I still love this foundation pieces – it is super high coverage and has a lovely matte texture.  When I wear it, I don’t feel like I’m wearing makeup which is why it’s so great.  However, my skin is becoming drier and less oily – it used to be combo/oily but now I would say it is all over the place but leaning dry.  These days I’m looking for something less matte and more “skin-like” and natural.  Double Wear looks amazing but you can certainly tell you’re wearing makeup.

So I dropped a whopping $60-something on Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk in Shade 5 on sale at Cosme-De.  In Australia, it retails for like $99 or something which is INSANE.  Like actually nuts.  Double Wear is only like, $40-50!  Anyway, I wanted to splurge on it after returning my Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer, seeing as it has many people raving.  It’s supposed to give a luminous finish but I would say it’s pretty matte, which is kind of disappointing.  It is LOW coverage imo and buildable only to a medium at best.  I don’t really understand why people think it’s medium to full when it does nothing to cover my sunspots with 3 layers – am I missing something?  Have I been spoiled by the absolute 100% full coverage I get from Double Wear?!  It also has an old lady scent, which I hate because I hate fragrances lol.  For something that retails at almost $100 I was expecting so much more.

Anyway, the trick with this foundation is that you must get a color match – too light or too dark will not work and it is not forgiving about that (my hand is a bit darker than my face and I could see the lighter foundation settle into my skin texture).  A brush is not very effective with this foundation – the beauty blender gives a much, MUCH nicer finish.  Additionally, you have to wait a while and let it set before you see the full effect.  When wet it is very movable, blendable and sheer.  I’m disappointed but I’m going to keep trying with different primers and we will see how it goes.  I’ll probably do a full review after I’ve tried this out for another few weeks.  See you next post!

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Long time, no see (x 100) – Base Makeup Journey: Part 1

Posted on 31-03-2017

I haven’t updated in a year or something and I have no excuse.  Maybe I’ve grown out of blogging or something?  But I still keep this site up because it’s just nice to know that there is a place for me to flesh out my thoughts.

Anyway, I’m going to talk about makeup today.  I might do a full review of some products at some point, but at the moment I just feel like talking about it.

I’m a splurger when it comes to makeup.  If I choose to spend my money on anything, it’s makeup.  I have some unhealthy addition and retail therapy is the only thing that’s getting me through this final semester, to be quite honest.

I rarely buy eye makeup.  I’m still getting to the last drop of my last Dollywink eyeliner from my Japan trip and I still live off my Naked Palettes.  I did get a Tarte Tartelette In Bloom palette for christmas, but I don’t think I’ve spent on a palette in a long time.  I also hardly spend on contour – my trusty Too Cool for School and Naked Flushed are still going strong.  I spend a little on lip products but I have so many now that I can’t justify any more – I’ve never even reach the bottom of my favourite Mac lipstick in Honey Love.

However, I will spend copious amounts of money on base makeup and skincare.  And my skin has never been happier.

Let’s talk skincare first.  I have struggled with keeping a good skincare routine.  After stalking of reddit skincareaddiction, I still don’t understand AHA’s and BHA’s but I am fortunate enough not to have acne prone skin. My greatest skincare problem is probably millia, sun spots and dryness under my eyes which was TERRIBLE for months after I had a reaction to some product.  I was on a mission to fix my skin and did a full skincare detox, cutting everything from my routine and slowly reintroducing gentle products.

Finally, my skin is in a good place.  The dryness is still sort of permanently there but no patchiness like before and my millia seems to be largely gone as well but I’m not sure why.  My routine now consists of: Cetaphil Daily Advance Ultra-Hydrating Lotion, Banila Co Clean It Zero Purity and a Neutragena Cleanser for sensitive skin (with no fragrances, yay!).  I completely cut out toners and serums as my skin doesn’t seem to react well to so many products.  I occassionally use Aloe Vera gel, SK II eye cream, Biore Watery Essence Sunscreen and Cosrx Snail Mucin when my face feels like it needs more, but for the most part I think consistent double cleansing and using Cetaphil really helped fix my skin.

BUT, one thing I’ve given up on are the sunspots – they are just a part of my face now.  But that is ok because base products are basically my life.

I think it’s completely justifiable to spend on base products because they go all over your face, almost every day.  That isn’t to say that cheap products aren’t good, but spending to find what products ARE good for your skin is kind of reasonable.

So, Primers.  They make some difference in the application of your foundation, so it’s important to get a good one – I learnt the hard way when I tried an Australis primer with terrible results.  I was dumb at first, buying into trends of pore-filling primers when I really have no pore issues.

I first used the Banila Co Prime Primer in Purity and I loved it, but honestly I didn’t notice much of a difference overall.  It just wasn’t bad.  I tried Etude House Face Blur but I reacted badly to it – I’m always afraid of fragrances now.

I also liked the Face Shop Velvet Skin, but when I took it home it split into a liquidy mess – which, btw, is what also happened when I bought the ridiculously expensive Hourglass Mineral Veil (such deja vu…).

On the plus side, the Hourglass has a lovely short ingredients list and beautiful texture.  I couldn’t bring myself to exchange the faulty split one I got with another though.  For me, while it was great I really couldn’t justify the price.  I already spent a buttload on the Hourglass Ambient Lighting palette a while ago anyway.  I exchanged it for money back and a primer that was half the price, the Mecca Cosmetica Hydrating Primer.  At first, I was like – really, I’m downgrading to a ~home brand~ primer?  And still an expensive one at that.  But having tested it in-store I really liked the fact that it is hydrating given my dry undereye issues.

Its smooth, matte texture is largely reminiscent of the Face Shop primer I previously enjoyed.  However, it was only when I got home that I realised it has a horribly strong floral scent.  I absolutely hate scents in my makeup so it’s quite disappointing.  But overall I’m liking the primer so far because it seems to cancel out some of the under eye dryness, though we will see in a few weeks how my skin reacts.

I also had a brief stint with the Skindinavia Oil Control Primer spray, having purchased a mini version of that and the setting spray.  I do like it but I can’t really tell the difference in my makeup application by using it.  Misting your face just feels nice, I guess.  It also feels good just not having silicone on your face, which is a plus.

Anyway I’ll talk about Foundations and Concealers in my next post because this is getting way too wordy already.  See you next post!

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Day 7 in Japan: Bye Ryokan & Kyoto

Posted on 14-05-2016 | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Short post because I didn’t take a heap of photos on this day :)  I swear I took some of Honganji Temple but I guess not.

Today we woke up early for our 8am Ryokan brekky!  It was a Japanese style breakfast with a few little bits and pieces – very yummy!  Then we checked out and received some free hankerchiefs from the Ryokan as souvenirs.


Across from our Ryokan, like literally right outside our door — there was a huge temple called Honganji, which we found out was the largest wooden structure in the world!

We walked all the way to Shijo and to Nishiki market for sushi train and snacks.  As you guys probably know, I love Japanese Lucky Bags (fukubukuro) so we grabbed one of the sweet shop bags for $10.  It had so many random Japanese snacks – they were all decent tasting, most were very peculiar but none really stood out that much to me.  I should have taken a photo!  But I’m dumb and didn’t and now they’re all gone.

We should have walked to Gion after, but I was so dead I just wanted to go “home” (aka back to Shinsaibashi).  After dropping our stuff back at the apartment and reconvening with Isaac, it was time to have dinner in Shinsaibashi (the shopping street).


We ate LOBSTER ROLLS!  They were delicious!  So much lobster, although they were quite pricey at 15 bucks per small roll.  And obviously, this wasn’t a Japanese meal LOL.  I don’t regret buying them at all though, they were delicious and who doesn’t love lobster?!

We had more dinner at some random yakitori place because Bryan was still hungry, but to my dismay it was a full smoking-allowed restaurant and I was dying the whole time because I don’t do well with smoke.

Afterwards we met up with Michael, Kathy & Nelson and went to the arcade!  No one won anything (LOL sadface).  Everyone wasted a lot of money, but it was pretty ~worth it~ anyway because arcades are all about having fun with friends.

We also had sushi for dinner at some fancy sushi place in Dotonburi.  It was really yummy, I finally tried otoro and fell in love with it.  FML why is it so expensive to get in Australia?!

Anyway, that’s all for now!  Thanks for reading c:

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Day 6 in Japan: Kyoto – Arashiyama

Today we went to Kyoto! We took the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto, then another train to Arashiyama with Bryan’s family.

I had been looking forward to Arashiyama for pretty much the entirety of the trip since I had heard a lot of great things about it from Bryan’s cousin who had just recently been.  I was so excited to ride a bicycle around to see the sights but… well, I kinda messed up.

I thought I could ride a bicycle, but turns out I can’t remember how LOL.  Not sure whether it was because these bicycles were really different to what I was used to, but LMAO.  Can’t believe I forgot how to ride a bike.  I was so sure I could!  We even rented bicycles but I had to return mine (luckily they gave us a refund for it). Sooo embarrassing, but oh well.  It was still a fun day out — we visited some temples, the Togetsu river & the Bamboo Forest before returning the bicycles.












The bamboo forest is really serene, the air feels weirdly fresh!  The only thing is that it was quite crowded – not so bad that you can’t move but it is difficult to bring bicycles through and I wouldn’t recommend bringing them in next time.  It’s definitely a great experience though.



Next was the Monkey Park which was the highlight for me!  We were greeted by a pretty red entrance:



It was a surprisingly long walk up to the top of the mountain where the monkeys were.  If you’re planning to visit the Monkey Park, make sure you wear walking shoes and be prepared for a little hike – it is very much worth it though!  I was worried the monkeys would be mischievous but they were cute little angels, hahaha.


The path up the mountain eventually branches off into different sections, but we chose the one that was a longer walk because Bryan’s dad had a feeling it would be a lot better or something.  I definitely recommend the longer path though – the view was breathtaking!  Picture spam time:









The monkeys were so cute and so close too. There were baby ones which were adorable! I took a lot of pictures, and even fed some in the special little feeding enclosure. Bryan even got pushed by a monkey a little as it ran away










Afterwards, we had lunch  at a random udon place.  Idk, I feel bad for saying it, but I’m already sick of udon/the benito/dashi flavour!  I actually find myself craving fries/chips and pasta more and more.  It was still yummy, but I’m missing the variety of Aussie food.

We then went back to the station and returned to Kyoto again, for Inari Shrine. It was pretty cool there, the thousand gates were impressive and we ate some shrine food — preserved strawberries (they tasted yummy like jam) and mochi.




At around 3pm we said our goodbyes to Bryan’s family, and Bryan and I headed off to our Ryokan in Kyoto: Ryokan Izuyasu!  It was sooo lovely there, such a Japanese experience — like what you see in anime and TV with a tatami filled room, the most awesome heated toilets & tea. We were given yukatas, and the place had three communal onsens that you could basically reserve for your room (no need to book the onsen ahead of time though).  Too bad my camera ran out of battery by the time we got there, so I couldn’t take any HQ pics – but I took on my iPhone.

I love how peaceful it is here! The walk here was only 10 mins from Kyoto station (a straight path from the exit near to Century Hotel Kyoto), and it was a little scary because the streets seem so colourless compared to Tokyo and even Osaka, but the Ryokan stands out with it’s traditional decor.

Entrance Ryokan Entrance

We were greeted with sugar snacks and tea, and our room has it’s own private garden. Ahh, it’s beautiful. Breakfast is included with the room price, so I am looking forward to that tomorrow.

Our Room

[Grabbed this pic of our room from their website, just so you can get a better idea of what it looks like:]


After getting settled, we went to Kyoto Station for a bit of shopping and bought some white choco covered strawberries from Muji and a caramel bamkuhen (it’s a rolly layer cake). We had tea in our room with the little cakes, and relaxed for the afternoon.


We didn’t book dinner at the Ryokan, so we went out to Kyoto station to grab a bite to eat. We had monjayaki, a specialty of Kyoto in terms of okonomiyaki.  I was craving beef, so we had some of that — although I wasn’t that big a fan of it because it tasted just like basic Aussie beef (I may even go so far as to say I prefer the beef we have at home!  Lesson learnt: don’t order regular beef in Japan again when there are so many other foods to try).  We also had an okonomiyaki of course – we ordered a pork one, and it was tasty.

My legs were dead by then, so soon after we went home and used the private onsen!

I find it pretty gross using the same water as everyone else tbh… I don’t know if I could deal with a public onsen. I loved the temperature and everything though, it’s very relaxing. We wore our yukatas (traditional clothing) and went to bed with what Bryan calls “cloud” blankets — very soft and puffy blankets.  Looking forward to tomorrow!

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Day 5 in Japan: Osaka Castle Park

Posted on 10-05-2016 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Hey guys, long time no Japan post!  I finally got around to posting this, even though I didn’t have a lot to really blog about (and I totally forgot to do a detailed post at the time – my bad ) .  It’s mostly picture spam but, enjoy!

Osaka is so lovely!  I don’t know if it’s the awesome apartment, the perfect location of our apartment (so close to Shinsaibashi) or just the dessert talking but nothing beats a crisp winter morning in Osaka

Bryan, Isaac and I woke up and went for a short walk to a nearby cafe.  I can’t remember the name, it was a pretty standard cafe – the place we were going to try wasn’t open or something.  I had a yummy apple cinnamon pancake and a green tea latte (of course haha).


We then went off to Osaka Castle / Osaka Castle Park with Bryan’s family – it was a gorgeous day and the views were beautiful!

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There was a short walk to the actual castle, on the way we stopped by some food stalls and passed this cool little building where there were people inside doing martial arts (no idea what it was tbh).  Picture spam time:

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Finally, the Castle:

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Anyway, I wouldn’t recommend doing the tour of the actual castle, it was $6 and boring LOL. The only good part was going to the top and enjoying the view – but if you haven’t seen a lot of historical stuff before then it’s worth having a look.

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[Okay so here is where I blogged really briefly and I can’t remember any other details LOL sorry]

Had lunch at a random place near the Castle – I had Chicken Katsu, which wasn’t bad:

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We then went to Namba, a shopping area – I didn’t think it was good as Shinsaibashi.  We then passed Dotombori which is pretty much joined to Shinsaibashi, where I bought a bunch more stuff from shops like GU (a cheaper Uniqlo) & Sanrio.

We finally ended the night with dinner at a yummy skewer place – omfg the silverside beef skewer was to die for. [I legit can’t even remember where this was now though Stupid me for being lazy about blogging.]

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