Sunday, August 27, 2017

Holy Grail Makeup & Skin Care Products

I'm not sure how useful this is but I decided to compile a list of my favorite makeup and skincare products. Some of these are products that I have been using for years and some are recent discoveries that I am in love with and plan to continue using. I don't claim to have the widest knowledge in makeup and skincare but these are items that have worked well on my skin, so I'm just writing out of my personal experience.

My skin type: Oily
Shade: Fair with neutral undertones - NC15-20; Kat Von D 45 Light Neutral; Maybelline Fit Me 120 Classic Ivory
Typical weather conditions: Hot & humid

Pictured is the current new version of the cleanser but I was using the old one for a couple of years until I ran out. I really enjoy the fizzy texture of this and that a little bit is all you need to get a good amount of foam for your face. There seems to be some exfoliating bits too so that always comes in handy. This removes residual makeup on your face so you can just use this to cleanse your BB cream or foundation at the end of the day (double cleanse if necessary).

Pros:

  • Foams easily
  • Exfoliates, removes dirt & makeup
  • Does not clog pores/break me out
  • Cheap
  • Made in Korea
Cons:
  • None
This is the current cleanser I'm using since I've run out of the baking powder one. I don't like it as much as the baking powder cleanser but it does pretty much the same thing and it has 10 in 1 benefits for your pores. It has a creamier texture instead and I'm not much a fan of that because creamy cleansers are a bit tricky for my skin. From my experience, they make me get oily easily and clog my pores so I try my best to stay away from them. This one isn't too creamy and there are exfoliating beads in it but they are so sparse that it is pretty useless.

These are the 10 benefits if you're interested. I'm not sure how effective all of them are (e.g. pH level) but so far, it has been pretty good to my skin. Honestly, I don't find my pores to have gotten smaller or my skin to be less oily. 

  1. Deep cleanse pores
  2. Minimize appearance of pores
  3. Control a large amount of sebum
  4. Moisturize the inside and outside of skin
  5. Complete smooth glass-like texture
  6. Balance skin's ideal pH level
  7. Refine skin tone
  8. Keep the elasticity of pores
  9. Remove skin surface's dead skin cells
  10. Cleanse pore insides with cooling effect
Pros:
  • Foams easily; a little goes a long way
  • Cooling effect
  • Removes dirt & makeup
  • Cheap
  • Made in Korea
Cons
  • Exfoliating beads are not useful
  • Benefits advertised do not have a large effect
I've been on the search for a good moisturiser that isn't too moisturising so that my face doesn't end up getting oily because it is too moisturised or under-moisturised. So many moisturisers that I've tried previously for oily skin have failed me that I gave up using moisturiser altogether because my face doesn't dry out anyway due to the hot & humid weather condition I live in. However, when I tried this particular moisturiser out, I fell in love because of the lightweight gel-like texture that provides my skin with just the right amount of moisture. I brought it overseas to test it out in a dryer climate too and it helped my skin so much. My skin used to flake and break out all over because I was using the wrong moisturiser but this one kept my skin in the same condition throughout my trip. It seriously controls the oil production on my face and I notice a difference when I use it. 

Pros:
  • Lightweight gel texture that absorbs into the skin easily
  • Pump tube
  • Hydrates skin while controlling oil
  • Noncomedogenic; Doesn't clog pores
  • Smells amazing (contains green tea, eucalyptus, algae and Irish moss extracts)
  • Made in USA
Cons
  • Pricey
I received this to do a review post but I ended up falling in love with it. Firstly, it's pink so that's pretty to look at. It has a strong scent but it isn't repulsive. It stings a bit at first when you put it on but I just took that as a positive sign as the mask working to purge the pores. It dries down pretty fast too. I have been using this for a few months and I see instant results every time. My pores look so much smaller whenever I use it, pimples seem smaller and calmer, and my face feels so smooth and amazing. It's great for clearing up your skin and keeping it clear but the price tag is ridiculous.
Pros:
  • Provides instant results
  • Detoxes and tightens pores
  • Brightens complexion
  • Reduces oil production
Cons
  • Expensive
I have been using this for years to remove my blackheads and it's always fun to examine the results. I highly recommend using a sebum softener prior to putting on the mask for it to be effective. I used to buy the 3-step blackhead peel off mask kits but the mask part always ran out before the other stuff so I switched to using the Daiso mask in between since it is only $2. The sebum softener will loosen the blackheads so that the mask can pick it up. Otherwise, you won't really get anything off your face. It removes dead skin and fine facial hairs as well so your face feels really smooth after the mask. It doesn't hurt when I peel it off but that's just me. 

Pros:
  • Cheap
  • Smooths skin and tightens pores
  • Made in Japan
Cons:
  • Must be used with a sebum softener to be effective
  • Limited availability
I haven't really tried a lot of primers but I wanted a cheap and good primer for my oily skin. Previously, I was using the Skin Food Peach Sake Serum as my primer to mattify my skin and control oil but it wasn't very effective. I've also tried the YSL blur primer but that ended up clogging my pores so badly. Then, I got the chance to try this Kiss NY Professional primer and it worked great with my skin. The texture is a little weird and unlike other primers. It comes out of the tube looking thick and stiff but it's actually quite spread-able and absorbs quickly. It feels tacky when absorbed at first but it transforms into a matte feeling. So far, it has helped to control oil and the fact that it is oil free reassures me that it won't be contributing to the oil production on my face. It doesn't clog my pores or break me out.

Pros:
  • Paraben free & oil free
  • Mattifies skin
  • Cheap
Cons:
  • Doesn't blur pores or minimise appearance
  • Limited availability
I have been using this BB cream for 6 years. I use it daily, whether or not I've done makeup on other parts of my face. It has medium-full coverage and the shade is a match for me so I can wear it alone without looking washed out/lifeless. I absolutely love this BB cream because it has helped to treat my skin over the years. Apart from the SPF 30 PA++, this has whitening and wrinkle care too (it's never too early to start). This BB cream is one of the least oily BB creams in the market and has a smooth matte finish, so I'm a huge fan of that. 

Pros:
  • Medium-full coverage; covers blemishes, evens skin tone, hides pores
  • SPF 30/PA ++ 
  • Whitening & wrinkle care
  • Not greasy or sticky; leaves a smooth matte finish
  • Controls oil decently
  • Pump tube
  • Made in Korea
Cons:
  • Only 1 shade available
  • Pricey
  • Limited availability
This is my second favorite BB cream to use. It has higher SPF 43/PA+++ although the picture says 30, which is weird. There are 12 in 1 effects in it but it's not listed on their website so you'll have to dig around to find out more. However, I can tell you that the coverage is medium-full and it helps to conceal blemishes, even out your skin tone and minimise the appearance of pores. It provides hydration so it helps in controlling oil production. 

Pros:
  • SPF 43/PA+++
  • Medium-full coverage
  • Smooth matte finish
  • Controls oil and provides hydration
  • Made in Taiwan
Cons:
  • Small tube & considerably pricey
  • Only 1 shade
  • Limited availability
If you've never tried ColourPop's super shock products, then you should. These are by far my favorite eyeshadow formulas for all day wear. Plus, they are super affordable! They are similar to cream shadows but they aren't oily and slippery. They have a mousey bouncy texture and their shadows are packed full of pigments. You only need a light swipe to get enough pigment to use. The ultra metallic and ultra glitter finishes are so beautiful and blinding. If you love the glitz and the glam, you definitely need to add some to your collection. These last all day long for me. Once they set, they hardly move and the base color stays put very well. I don't have creasing problems with any shadows but I do notice that powder shadows fade while these super shock ones do not.

Pros:
  • Pigmented
  • Affordable
  • Wide color range
  • Lasts all day
  • Made in USA
Cons:
  • Dries out if product is not tightly shut
  • Packaging is bulky
  • Can only be ordered from their website

This is another product that I have been using for years. It is the one and only black eyeliner that I ever use and I don't intend on switching. There is just none like it. This is super pigmented, transfer proof, water proof, smudge proof aka life proof. I'm not kidding here. I have shed tears while wearing this and it didn't budge or fade. It doesn't flake throughout the day too. I haven't come across an eyeliner as life proof as this and I can count on it not to give me panda eyes or broken wings. The only thing that will remove this is an oil based remover. I would also like to point out that the brush tip is really precise and soft. It gives me perfect wings every single time.

Pros:
  • Pigmented
  • Life proof; transfer proof, waterproof, budge proof
  • Precise application
  • Made in Japan
Cons:
  • Pricey
  • Limited availability
My favorite life proof mascara is also by Heroine Make. They know how it's done. This is water proof and budge proof as well and it doesn't flake off throughout the day. They have another version that gives volume & curl instead but I've only tried the lengthen & curl one. These truly holds a curl and ensures that my naturally stick straight lashes stay curled. The applicator gives my lashes a good coat and it is in just the right size and shape for my eyes. The only con about it is that it is quite difficult to remove. There is a special remover that you can purchase separately, and it works quite well, but an oil based makeup remover will take it off ONLY if you soak your lashes for awhile. 

Pros:
  • Life proof; waterproof, budge proof, does not flake
  • Holds a curl
  • Made in Japan
Cons:
  • Difficult to remove
  • Pricey
I'm not sure if the palette is sold on its own but this has been my go-to contour palette for chiseling my cheekbones. The brushes and sponge are bomb too and I use them along with the palette. This is a powder palette but the powders are so pigmented and creamy smooth to apply and blend. The contour shades are so pigmented that I only have use a tiny dab. The fairer highlight shades do not seem to make a large difference on my skin (because I do not have much discoloration), but I love the contour shades. My favorite is the second from the bottom because that is a neutral brown with no orange or red undertones. It goes with my skin shade perfectly and gives me my desired effect. I have no qualms about using the others though. There is one shimmery highlight shade and that is also very pretty to pop on your cheekbones or inner corners for a subtle shimmery glow.

Pros:
  • Pigmented
  • Creamy & blendable
  • Cheap
Cons:
  • Made in China


This is another favorite face palette because of the contour shade. It is another neutral (matte) brown with no nasty orange or red undertone. The blush (matte) is a beautiful dark pink and both are so pigmented that you only need a little bit to add enough color to your face. The highlight is a gorgeous yellow gold but I can see how some people may not like it. I think it is absolutely beautiful on deeper skin tones and I think these three colors work so well together.

Pros:
  • Pigmented
  • Cheap
  • Made in USA
Cons:
  • Matte shades are powdery and have kickback
  • Only available on their website
You might find this orange/peach toned blush intimidating but let me assure you that there is nothing scary about it. This blush gives the perfect natural tan to your face so that you have a neutral glow to your cheeks without it looking pink or orange. It's more of a nude blush. I'm not so sure about deeper skin tones but I find that this blends so well with the beige tones of my skin. On a no makeup makeup kind of day, you can just put this on top of your foundation/BB cream to give your cheeks some life and you're good to go. The highlight is also gorgeous because it is a nude toned highlight so it blends very well with fair skin to give a nice natural glow.

Pros:
  • Pigmented
  • Cheap
  • Made in USA
Cons:
  • Blush is powdery; has kickback
  • Only available on their website
ColourPop x Sonya Esman Here Comes The Sun Super Shock Cheek Palette
This item has been discontinued but I sincerely wish that CP made more products in this formula because it is so so so good. It has a similar moist, creamy and bouncy texture as their super shock products but this feels more pressed and compact, and doesn't dry out. The shade of this blush looks peachy which normally isn't my color but because it applies sheer, it gives me a very natural looking flush and I'm in love with it. There is a gold sheen to it but it isn't very obvious when used lightly. It is definitely buildable though. The highlight is equally gorgeous. I didn't find it blindingly shimmery at first but I think it is now. You can layer it for that blinding glow or tone it down for a shimmery glow. 

Pros:
  • Amazing unique formula
  • Made in USA
Cons:
  • Limited edition
Just like their super shock shadows, the super shock cheek products are equally awesome because they share the same formula. Super pigmented and packed with shimmer and glitter (depending on the finish). My all time favorite super shock cheek product is Flexitarian, which is an ultra metallic highlighter with lots of glitter. It gives me that blinding glow when I pack it on or a decent glow if I sheer it out. The other super shock blushes and bronzers are equally good for their purposes. I'm just highlighting this one because I am obsessed with it.

Pros:
  • Pigmented
  • Long lasting
  • Made in USA
Cons:
  • Dries out
  • Bulky packaging
  • Only available on their website
I love all my liquid lipsticks but this is my all time favorite formula for a matte liquid lipstick that dries to a true matte with that dry smooth-to-the-touch texture. It is quite smudge proof too. Despite being matte and transfer proof, it is super comfortable to wear all day as well, which is impressive for a matte liquid lipstick. The applicator is also really good for lining your lips and filling them in. It picks up more than enough product and the dip hugs your lips for an even coat.

Pros:
  • Comfortable; does not dry lips out
  • Transfer proof
  • Cheap
  • Widely accessible
Cons:
  • Limited shade range
Another bomb formula is ColourPop's ultra satin liquid lipsticks. They are super cheap too and highly highly pigmented with a wide range of shades to choose from. All of them are very flattering and comfortable to wear. You can blot them down a little for a matte finish, otherwise it will be a satin matte. They are not transfer proof but they do not transfer like mad and a lot of color stays on your lips even if transfer occurs. 

Pros:
  • Highly pigmented
  • Wide shade range
  • Comfortable
  • Made in USA
Cons:
  • Only available on their website
I haven't had too much experience with setting spray but if it works, it works right? Recently, ColourPop launched priming and setting sprays. I tried out the Aventurine setting spray because it is targeted towards oily skin and I'm very impressed with it! It smells great and controls oil on my face while keeping my face matte for a longer period of time. The only downside is that the spritz isn't a fine mist so that kinda sucks and leaves large droplets on your face for awhile.

Pros:
  • Glass bottle packaging
  • Controls oil
  • Makeup lasts longer
  • Made in USA
Cons:
  • Thick mist 
  • Doesn't cover a wide area
  • Only available on their website
  • Limited edition