Thursday, August 21, 2014

Korean makeup exploration with MISSHA Prism Mix Wave Blusher and M Prism Powder Pact

This post features press samples.

MISSHA is a Korean cosmetics brand best known for their BB creams. This one in particular should look familiar to you:

Here in Toronto, currently there's just one store at Pacific Mall, but we can always shop online at their web-store that frequently offers sales and promotions (MISSHA Canada/MISSHA US). I knew of MISSHA, of course, but until now I haven't yet had the opportunity to try their products. I received four MISSHA products to review and decided to write two posts. First up are MISSHA's Prism Mix Wave Blusher and M Prism Powder Pact.

M Prism Mix Wave Blusher
(No. 2 Glam Coral)

Have a look at the product page to learn about its formula, benefits and even check out a cheek swatch! As you can see, it's a shimmery baked blush, divided into a soft coral pink and a marbleized mixture of the same shade plus pearlescent white and bronze shades. There isn't a huge difference between the two components, and despite my initial fear that the blush would be too pale and too shimmery, the Prism Mix Wave Blusher produces a soft and glowy look that manages to be both natural and pretty. Unlike many other baked blushes, the powder is extremely refined and leaves no visible traces of dust or kick-up in both the pan and on the face. The packaging feels quite sturdy and secure despite the bulky plastic exterior, but I'm not in the habit of carrying around blushes since I have little trouble with fading and don't require touch-ups. In short, I was pleasantly impressed by this blush. I do wish that the case was more sleek and the colour a touch more vibrant, but I find that the high quality of the product within stands up to the CAD$22.99 price tag, if a soft, pretty and glowy look is what you're seeking. BLUSH FIEND APPROVED.

(The box is unfortunately written mostly in Korean, which is not the case with some of their other products. Made in Korea.)

M Prism Powder Pact
SPF30 PA+++ (#23)

M Prism Powder Pact focuses on "brightening" and blurring imperfections, the former claim being debatable and the latter spot-on. The powder feels soft, silky and smooth to the touch, and you'll find that dipping with the sponge will result in medium to full coverage, which this particular battle-scarred blogger rejoices in. The powder also offers hydrating effects for those with drier skin, which corresponds with my finding that it unfortunately doesn't have any mattifying powers to keep shine at bay -- but that's not what this powder claims to do, anyway. I find myself using M Prism Powder Pact on top of BB creams with a big fluffy brush to lightly sweep all over face for a final touch of additional coverage, for a sort of natural air-brushed effect. And there are plenty of days when I go all-in with the sponge and press the powder into the cheeks to cover acne scars and pock marks. There's an alluring "bounce" to this powder that works well over textured skin -- like a more hydrating and refined version of the SilkyGirl BB Powder that I used to love so much. Shade #23 currently works well over my summer complexion, but I will find it slightly too dark by autumn when my skin begins to lighten.

Unfortunately, two elements keep the powder from declared a must-have product: that it only comes in three rather light shades and the strong old-fashioned Korean cosmetic scent that has me frowning every time I open the compact. (I don't know how to describe it, but I associate this smell with my mom and aunts' cosmetics when I used to examine their makeup as a child in Korea. I didn't like the smell back then either.) The scent doesn't linger and isn't noticeable once the powder is on the skin, but I really wish that cosmetics weren't scented so strongly. Other than those two factors, I really like this powder, because it does for me that I was hoping that the MAC Mineralize SFN would do, and the little clear plastic hinge that keeps the used sponge away from the powder is just genius.

Read more about the M Prism Powder Pact on the MISSHA website. It retails for CAD$23.99 but is currently on sale for $12.00. Made in Korea. (Again, the text on the box is written in Korean.)


Before: bare skin.
After: M Prism Powder dusted over a bb cream. No concealer over spots.
Wearing Missha Prism Mix Wave Blusher. 

I'll update the post with the ingredient lists, if possible.

Have you tried anything from MISSHA before? I'm tempted to pick up a few things the next time I'm near Pacific Mall. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Speedy Nail Polish Post #1

Manicures have become a chore to me, which is odd considering how feverishly addicted I was to the fumes emanating from nail lacquers a few years ago. (I'll leave you guessing as to whether I mean that literally or figuratively.) I still like to sport a well-chosen mani, but I can't be bothered to apply it more than once a week. That must sound reasonable to the average person, but there was a time when I used to switch up the manicures 3-4 times a week with joy and glee each instance. Nowadays, sometimes I'll even take off an entire manicure after just a couple of days and just go bare nailed all month. The following are the only surviving manicures from the past 4-5 months. And gasp -- I only applied one pedicure all summer long and I think that's going to be it until September. Horror of horrors.

Illamasqua Trilliant

Sally Hansen Black and Blue

Deborah Lippmann Girls Just Want To Have Fun

China Glaze Fade Into Hue

Pinky to middle finger: YSL Bleu Celadon (summer 2014 limited edition that I tested at the counter)
Index finger: Revlon Gel Envy Full House (clearly not a dupe; rather, a faildupe.)

Hard Candy Pop Art King of Pop on top of above combination

Coco + Lulu by Cake Beauty Ma Belle

MAC Formidable! from the Venomous Villains Collection

Formidable! from different angle/lighting

Venomous Villains was such an awesome collection. I think MAC should create a Part 2.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Purple Lips

I was going to save this post for another month or two, but the weather around here is definitely autumnal. WHYFOR HAVE YOU ABANDONED US, SUMMER??? *tears hair, rends clothing, throws orange lipsticks at the wall*

Ahem. Having gotten that out of my system, I've decided to just go ahead and embrace fall makeup trends RIGHT NOW. Confusion and madness. All is not well in Denmark.

I've been working on this purple thing for a while, looking mainly in the drugstore aisles for fun pick-ups because, as much as I'm loving this colour at the moment, it's likely a passing trend. Or... maybe not. Some of the shades are surprisingly wearable at any time, any day. Others take a little more courage and coordination with the rest of the makeup, hair and dress. (I roll out of bed, drink coffee and swipe on some purple. Complicated!)

The picks, from left to right: L'Oreal Extraordinaire Purple Prelude, Joe Fresh Liquid Lipstick Baie Sauvage, NYX Butter Gloss Raspberry Tart, Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm Shameless, and MAC Rebel.

I know. Rebel isn't exactly the purplest of purple lipsticks out there. From MAC alone, there are at least 5-6 lipsticks that are more clearly purple and less burgundy. (Or, as one Painted Rogue would put it: "weak sauce burgundy cop-out stuff." LOL!) The ones that comes to mind immediately are Heroine and Pure Heroine, from MAC's collaboration with Lorde this past year. I didn't pay too much attention at the time of launch, but the image of Lorde's awesome hair, purple lips and liquid liner flick probably has a lot to do with my current hankering for purple lips.
And while googling, I came across this image of Taylor Swift of all people Lording it up with purple lips. It's definitely not a shade I associate with Swifty, but I think that she's rocking it.

And because as an East Asian I have a hard time adjusting to the idea that yellowy skin doesn't necessarily clash with violet lips, I just adore the next shot. That's like... a shimmery purple? With silvery nails and mauvy lids. And KILLER brows. And a 'do that resembles a dystopian bee hive. SO GREAT.

And the next image is pretty close to what a Shu Uemura sales associate advised me to do one day when I was bent over their eye shadows (next obsession): pair purple lips with shimmery goldy shadows. Super pretty combination.

In terms of what I personally wanted? Revlon Shameless pretty much delivers when it comes to shade match. It's a high impact unforgiving purple, non-glossy and non-shimmery. However, it applies a lot patchier than Audacious, which is problematic when applying multiple coats for high impact opacity. (And just because I can't resist a bargain, I picked up a corresponding nail polish on clearance.)

And lip swatches:

Revlon Shameless -- I can make it look darker, but that's when the patchiness starts to look obvious. It's already darker than anything else that I usually wear, so we'll leave it at that.

L'Oreal Prelude to Purple -- Really milky and shiny. It looks a lot prettier in person because zooming up to the lips is always an exercise in grossness, unless your name is Beauty Swatch.

NYX Raspberry Tart -- Your typical lip gloss but a nice one with a smooth glide that isn't sticky or thick. Less purple and more berry on lips.

Joe Fresh Baie Sauvage -- Yeah, that looks super bright and nearly deranged when first applied but dries down to a more natural looking shade. I'll be reviewing this and another Joe Fresh shade in due course.

Other contenders in deliberation: MAC Up The Amp and Tom Ford Violet Fatale. I'm inclined to just work with the handful shown here and stop swatching, but maybe I'll try them on just to exorcise (or exercise!) the obsession.

Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 Empties Part 3

The bag got too full, and so I'm forced to write this post. Going to try to keep it short and sweet, but I have my doubts. I suggest you have a seat and maybe a beverage, too.

* = press samples

Hair & Body

*John Frieda Frizz-Ease Serum - Previously reviewed and gladly finished. I haven't replaced it yet, but that's because I'm confused about the redesigned packages and increased number of serums for different types of hair. Which should I get? Also: this review made it to #4 of Buzzfeed's list of hair products that actually work. Yay?

L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil - Also reviewed and hoarded for extra pamper sessions when I felt the need to use something other than press-provided St. Ives... which are perfectly fine, but you know what I mean. I might or might not pick it up again. It's lovely, but the crazy button has to be pressed to shell out that much for a body wash again. (I might have given all my crazy to YSL this year.)

Garnier Anti-Dandruff Clean & Fresh 2 in 1 blah blah - It was out on the market for like three seconds before it got pulled. I bought like ten bottles in one shot because it was down to less than a dollar per bottle. I have dry scalp, not dandruff, but sometimes dandruff solutions also work well. I think that this is the final bottle from that insane discount batch. I'd like an exciting shampoo now please. *presses crazy button*

*Dove Oxygen Moisture Shampoo - Reviewed and love it! The Oxygen Moisture line rocks. I will be defaulting to this series by Dove whenever I'm in need of budget necessities.

Face Cleansers & Toners

Neutrogena Face Foaming Cleanser - I have had this for years and years and years. I used it to clean makeup brushes because I didn't like how it felt on the face.

*Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Cottonseed - Reviewed. I liked it a lot and a little really went a long way. My sister and I used equal amounts of it and the tube just lasted like crazy. Truly worth the high cost if the product suits your skin type. I'd like to try other cleansers from Clarins now however.

Thayers Lemon Witch Hazel Toner - I wanted something lemony and astringent last summer but managed to forget that real lemon is photosensitive. Not the best thing to put on your face without sun protection in the summer blaze. I want to try the Rose version next, if I ever recover from the rose overdose I threw myself into a year and a half ago.

*VICHY Normaderm Tri-Activ - Reviewed. Awesome product and already replaced! My face loves this. I was thrilled when it was on sale at Shoppers for $15 recently.

Face Treatments

Clarisonic Normal Brush Head (for Mia 1) - I got rid of my Clarisonic in the last blog sale (it went all the way to Italy - ciao!) and this was the last brush head I managed to use up before I realized my skin no longer needed this method of exfoliation. I do fine with cotton/muslin wash cloths now and regular chemical exfoliations (primarily AHA-based products).

*The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lip Makeup Remover - Reviewed. Great bargain during sales and BOGOs but not better than any other non-prestige bi-phase removers out there. I'm still using up a Clarins version (awesome but pricey), and I'll decide what to replace it with when I'm done that.

*VICHY Eau Thermale and Avene Eau Thermale - Both dispense fine mists of super-charged mineral water and feel awesome during heat waves. The question remains: do they actually do anything other than to cool you down? I'm looking into doing a post on these along with a bottle from La Roche-Posay. I'd like to not spend money on waters in cans, but I love misting. LOVE.

LUSH Eau Roma Water - As discussed last post, I've secured a second bottle because it's that good. But then again, I am a face mist junkie. I cannot be trusted when it comes to misting.

*Philosophy Full of Promise for Eyes - Reviewed. I wish they would sell the lower eye part separately. Then I'd buy it.

REN Resurfacing AHA Concentrate - I loved using this right after a thorough face washing session with the Clarisonic Mia. (Read an old post about it here.) I liked it so much that I bought a second bottle. But finishing it this time around was a struggle, only because I got swamped with testing new things and shoved this into the back of the beauty cabinet. I'd buy this again if I were to take the time to trial the entire REN Radiance series.

Miscellaneous Mumbo Jumbo

Blotting papers, facial cottons, sample sachets. Not much to say except that the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Gel is nice enough that I want to buy a full size. (Well, actually, I did, because the jar went on sale at Sephora for CAD$33 -- but then I returned it because I have so many other things on the plate -- and then OH released a redesigned bottle of this in a pump jar which makes so much more sense.) Oh, and I'm looking for alternatives to the Shiseido cottons because $11 is kind of in the insane territory, even if you do the math to calculate that it's a bulk deal and sort of worth it... but the price still makes me cringe because I remember when it was $7. Everyone's busy producing copycat cottons nowadays, so I figure someone's going to get it right very soon.

Masks and Wipes

I wish Innisfree was in Canada. That is all.

Discards (...mostly makeup)

The only two things worth buying from this lot are The Face Shop Freshian Volumizing Mascara and CoverGirl Outlast Lip Stain (#400) if they still sell it. I liked the Rimmel Match Perfection Concealers until recently when someone (I think Monika?) pointed out that they dried sort of funny and crusty under the eyes -- and OMG, why didn't I ever see that before? And, yeah, don't even think about dallying with their Exaggerate Undercover Shadow Primer because it pills and has like no hold or colour enhancing qualities whatsoever. Damn it, drugstores -- is it so hard to come out with a cost-effective shadow primer?

And on that bitter note, I bid you adieu until next time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Speedy Blush Post (Laura Mercier, Tarte, Hourglass)

How do I love thee, blush? Let me count the ways.


You'd think that I have enough by now, but you thought wrong. All the blushes must be mine.

I managed to snag some very good deals over the summer, so I give you The Speedy Blush Post featuring three infamous blushes plus one under the radar.

Laura Mercier Lush Nectarine - Long and much expounded as a beauty blogger "must-have," I beg to differ. There's no denying its pretty apricot shade and subtlest of shimmer, but it's a shade I feel is most flattering (and visible) to light skin tones. In my current tanned state, my cheek just seems to eat the colour. Disappoint.

Laura Mercier Spiced Cider - This is the one that's under the radar. I've secretly been cheating on clown cheek reds with earth tones, and Spiced Cider seemed like a great option. It's a bit too brown for my liking and I discovered that terracotta is actually where it's at, with a touch of red (can't get away from you!) mixed with brown to add a flattering flush.

Tarte Exposed - Yawn. It's another easy blush for light skin tones. I felt absolutely no joy in applying this much-lauded but unexceptional blush. I had to try, just to see what all the fuss about, but it is the world's most boringest blush ever. I might have liked it once a upon a time, but those days are long behind us, my friends.

Hourglass Diffused Heat - Someone said it and now I can't unsee it: bacon blush! I love bacon and I love blush. This is meant to be. The glowy diffused effects of these Hourglass blushes aren't impossible to mimic with a regular blush and highlighter, but it's nice to have the perfect mixture in a nice compact with HOURGLASS stamped on it. Out of the four featured here today, this is the only one that I will be keeping.

Any new blushes in your life?