[REVIEW] Lancôme L’ Absolu Rouge

My first review of a non K-beauty product goes to Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge! I once read somewhere that Lancôme is one of the top beauty brands that Koreans love to use, together with other names such as YSL and Estee Lauder.

Lancôme L’Absolu is a great example of Koreans’ love for the brand. Kim Go-eun was sported wearing different shades of it in her latest drama Goblin, and as with all successful K-dramas, fans will be scrambling to wipe PPL-products off the shelves. However, it was also reported that this product was already famous before this drama even aired, which says a lot!

son-lancome-mau-264-cua-kim-go-eun-1

How does a poor high school student afford a SGD 46 lipstick? No one knows.


Product description

Envelope your lips in rich, satiny colour with this deeply replenishing lipstick. Infused with moisture-boosting Pro-Xylane™, the formula imparts high-colour payoff without dryness, leaving lips soft, smooth and comfortable for up to eight hours. It’s enriched with antioxidant-rich vitamin E to help keep lips safe from environmental aggressors so that they look and feel healthier day after day. Available in an array of nudes to plums to bright reds—its stay-true colour won’t feather, flake or fade. Lancôme’s Satin Color™ Complex allows for an even deposit of colour upon application.

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 46


The shade I got was 338 (Rose Centifolia), which is a deep, purplish colour. It’s not exactly a shade that would be my first choice, considering my preference for nude and coral colours, but if I had to choose my favourite lipstick formula, this would be the one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve faced problems with getting my lip product colour to stay on, or dry my lips out – or even BOTH – but L’Absolu really ticks all my boxes for being a fantastic lipstick. If I were in a rush and just need a lipstick to stay on without making me feel dried out, I’d absolutely go for this.

12145172_1516229828697081_470734970_n

Psst… #187 and #079 look gorgeous


Final Verdict

I would love to get more shades of this lipstick, if it wasn’t for the price, a very personal reason. It’s fully justified for a luxury cosmetic brand, especially considering how good its formula and colour payoff is.

If you’re looking to buy a luxury brand lipstick other than the famed YSL Rouge Pur Couture in No. 52 Rosy Coral (yes, the one that Jeon Ji Hyun sported in You Who Came From The Stars), this is absolutely the one you should be going for, though I can’t guarantee that you’ll look as lovely as Kim Go-eun.


Rating

Colour payoff: ✮✮✮✮✮
Ease of use: ✮✮✮✮✮
Staying power: ✮✮✮✮✮
Value for money: ✮✮✮✮

Advertisements

The odbo BB Cream

You have probably never heard of the brand The odbo before, unless you have gone on tour packages in Korea. Neither did I know this Korean brand existed until last December. Apparently, even the Koreans themselves have never heard of it, because it’s a brand targeted at tourists. It does sound a tad dubious to buy cosmetics and skincare from a brand that you’ve never heard of. What’s worse, they only have a few ‘outlets’ in Singapore. I was pretty skeptical about this brand despite all the live demonstrations shown by their beauty advisors, and it doesn’t help that their products are not cheap at all.

However, I did get a few products to try, and it wasn’t until recently that I started using their BB cream. The packaging looks really professional though, and reminds me a bit of Lancôme and La Roche Posay.


Product description

Skin favouring BB cream provides sensitive skin protection against environments leaves skin moist and radiant with Portulaca Oleracea Extract and Opuntia Ficus-Indica Extract

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 68.00


In all honesty, even their product description sounds dubious.

BUT

I’m super glad to say that this is by far the best BB cream I have used! It’s pretty hard to believe, considering how it’s a brand that has no star power to boost, not much advertising, and is unheard of by Koreans themselves.

I’ve faced a lot of problems with using BB cream thanks to my oily skin that a) clogs up easily & b) has a lot of acne at times. I previously used Etude House’s Precious Minerals BB cream and it really clogged my pores badly due to the oil in it, so I had to find an alternative that wouldn’t kill my skin.

The odbo BB cream comes only in one shade, which is really strange, but I’m lucky that it fits my skin tone and colour. Application is easy, and it really evens out my skin tone very well. The best part about this product is how long it stays on my skin, in comparison to my previous experience with a Maybelline one that oxidized within hours, so… yeah.


Final Verdict

BB cream is supposed to make your life a lot easier because you get to skip steps like foundation, concealer, sunscreen etc (if you’re not that particular), and for that reason, I really really love this BB cream, despite its dubious origins.

My acne has cleared up a fair bit since I used this one because it’s not as oily, and it stays on much longer than previous products that I have tried. I would definitely recommend this if you have very oily skin like me, unless you’re very particular about the brand, but I have to say that my skin has only benefitted from using their products so no worries ~

My biggest gripe about The odbo BB cream is the price. $68 for 40ML is really not affordable, and you could probably get other brands that are equally as good, and at a cheaper price. I’m not sure how long this product can last me for, but I’m hoping it’ll do for at least 6 months of constant usage. Hopefully.

In addition, it would be really nice if they could create more shades to suit more skin tones. I know Korean beauty is all about being fair, but it would be fair (haha) to at least have more products to suit customers with different needs.


Rating

Colour payoff: ✮✮✮✮✮
Ease of use: ✮✮✮✮✮
Staying power: ✮✮✮✮
Value for money: ✮

Etude House Silk Scarf Hair Treatment

I bought this in Korea, and I suspect that you can’t buy the exact same product in Singapore, because I can’t find it on the Singapore website. There are a few alternatives, but I’m not entirely sure if they work the same as this product.

As a bit of background, I have thin, wavy hair that is rather damaged by the various rebonding and dyeing I have done over the past few years, so my hair gets easily tangled, and becomes either very limp or very frizzled in the hot & humid Singapore weather. Essentially, my hair always looks like a mess, so I’m always on the lookout for products that can at least make my hair look normal.


Product description

Specially formulated with oil complex and floral scent, this highly concentrated treatment restores and reinforces brittle and damaged hair, preventing future breakage and leaving your hair extraordinarily strong, sift, silky, and manageable.

Official Retail Price (International): USD9.10 


I’ve been alternating my usage of this conditioner and another Innisfree one everyday, of which I will talk more about in a separate post. Despite the advice to use it once or twice a week, I’ve been using it almost every alternate day, which adds up to about 3-4 days a week. As of yet, I have had no problems of extreme hair loss or damaged hair thanks to my frequent usage, and in fact I’ve heard that you should use conditioner everyday (not sure if this is true), so you might want to give this a go if you have very dry and tangled hair!

The hair treatment smells very nice, in true Etude House style. Then again, a lot of hair conditioners I have used thus far often have a wonderful fragrance, so I wouldn’t exactly call it something new or amazing. It is also rather disappointing that the fragrance doesn’t really stay on your hair after you wash it off, because what’s the point of the treatment smelling good but not my hair, right?

Using this hair treatment is pretty straightforward, and I can immediately feel the difference after I wash it off. My hair instantly feels silky, smooth, and a ton more manageable than it usually is.


Final Verdict

For its price, I would definitely say that Etude House Silk Scarf Hair Treatment is worth buying. Even though I use it very often, I can safely say that this will last me for at least 6 months.

I was initially a bit skeptical of using this, because Etude House is not that famous for its hair products, but I changed my mind after just the first usage. To add on, it actually made me look forward to trying the brand’s other hair products, especially the Silk Scarf range, in future!

My only gripe about this product is that the silky feeling and the fragrance doesn’t really last long. It does, however, make my hair a lot easier to manage, which is probably the best I can ask for out of a hair product.


Rating

Ease of use: ✮✮✮✮✮
Effectiveness: ✮✮✮✮
Value for money: ✮✮✮✮✮

moonshot – lipfeat

I knew this brand as the cosmetic brand by YG Entertainment, which gave us Kpop legends like BIGBANG and 2NE1, but I had no idea whether their products were as good as their artistes (haha). I also first saw their products on social media, which speaks a lot about their branding as a cosmetic brand marketed by celebrity power.

lipfeat is a lipstick promoted by YG’s latest girl group BLACKPINK, and boasts of bright colours, almost telling of the girls’ bright personalities on stage.


Product description

One touch true color, now your lips on stage

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 29 (only available in Sephora)

moonshot


I bought S811 Barely Nude, which was marketed as Rosé’s favourite. It’s a very gorgeous nude shade that is neither too orange nor pink. I love these coral / apricot shades a lot, as seen from my previous reviews of LANEIGE Two Tone Lip Bar and MISSHA Coloring Multi Stick. They are really flattering and natural-looking, and a nice change from the usual sweet pink tones. I find this colour rather easy to apply with any type of make-up as well because it doesn’t look too strong.

Personally, I really, really like all the shades in the Acoustic Nude range, but I just picked something that would ‘pop’ less because I wasn’t so sure I could pull those colours off. My next top pick would probably be S210 Peach and Cream, a richer & more pink version of S811.

moonshot-lipfeat_4

UPDATE: I recently purchased another colour, M114 Muse Pink in Korea.

I feel that this shade fits me better than the Barely Nude shade I got (sorry Rosé’!) due to my slightly tanned skin. It’s a lighter shade of pink that would go well with most skin tones, and I highly recommend this shade if you’re afraid that nude shades might not go very well on you (e.g. make you look rather sickly).

If there’s one thing I love about this product, it is the colour payoff. It is as rich as it claims to be, and you can see the colour with just one smooth swipe on your lips. The unique, flat shape of the lipstick also helps in making application super easy because it fits your lip contours nicely. The colour also stays on for rather long, even after I repeatedly drink water, and even eat.

However, this product still comes with its own flaws. Firstly, the lipstick is really small. For something that I like to use very often and on the pricier end of my lipstick collection, I seriously wish this comes in a bigger volume. Secondly, it tends to dry my lips out quite easily, and creates a bit of an uneven stain on my lips – sort of like the LANEIGE Two Tone Lip Bar. I don’t really encounter this problem with other brands like LANCÔME, so I’m guessing it could be the formula.


Final Verdict

I’m quite impressed that this product works beyond the star power it comes with. In fact, I have seen a lot of good reviews about moonshot’s products, and it also helps that YG artistes use them very often when they make public appearances. If YG makeup artists use it so often on their idols, who are widely scrutinized by public for long periods of time, it does say something about the quality and staying power of their products.

I think this is pretty worth-it for something of such good quality and boosted by YG star power. The colour range is also very tempting, especially when it looks so good on BLACKPINK. There’s almost one shade for every mood, and the golden mist can even double as an eyeshadow!

I’m just a tad worried about how long one lipstick can last me, because I really enjoy using it so much. If you share the same concerns as me and just want to find something that you can keep using for a long time, this is not the product for you. However, if you’re the kind of person who hoards 100 lipsticks and uses 1 different product everyday, you may want to try this out, because you’ll be left with no regrets.


Rating

Colour payoff: ✮✮✮✮✮
Ease of use: ✮✮✮✮✮
Staying power: ✮✮✮✮✮
Value for money: ✮✮✮

Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask

As a fan of sheet masks for their convenience and how good they immediately make my skin feels, I had my fair share of doubts about wash-off masks when I got a sample of  this with my Innisfree membership (go sign up if you haven’t!)

Frankly, it’s not often that I see very enthusiastic reviews about Innisfree – most are just okay with the products, some rather happy, but none as eager as the ones I have seen regarding this mask. I had seen so many raving reviews about this product all over the Internet that I thought I would just give it a go.


Product description

A 6-in-1 pore treatment clay mask containing super volcanic cluster capsules to effectively absorb sebum and cleanse pores

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 22.16

wpid-main_en20130822


Ingredient list

WATER, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, VOLCANIC ASH, GLYCERIN, SILICA, TREHALOSE, KAOLIN, BENTONITE, POLYVINYL ALCOHOL, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, ZINC OXIDE (CI 77947), GLYCERYL STEARATE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, JUGLANS REGIA (WALNUT) SHELL POWDER, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, CITRUS UNSHIU PEEL EXTRACT, OPUNTIA COCCINELLIFERA FRUIT EXTRACT, ORCHID EXTRACT, CAMELLIA JAPONICA LEAF EXTRACT, PVP, PEG-100 STEARATE, POLYSORBATE 60, STEARIC ACID, PALMITIC ACID, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL, XANTHAN GUM, IRON OXIDES (CI 77499), ZEA MAYS (CORN) STARCH, SORBITAN STEARATE, POLYACRYLATE-13, MANNITOL, MICROCRYSTALLINE CELLULOSE, LACTIC ACID, POLYISOBUTENE, MENTHOXYPROPANEDIOL, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, TETRASODIUM PYROPHOSPHATE, POLYSORBATE 20, IRON OXIDES (CI 77491), DISODIUM EDTA, PHENOXYETHANOL

I don’t do this for my reviews on makeup products, but I try to take special care when it comes to skincare – after all, I’m trying to save my skin, not kill it. As usual, what really jumps out from this list is how highly ranked Volcanic Ash is, which is a good sign!


I have very serious issues with my pores and oily skin – I could clear my black and whiteheads on one weekend, and have them appear again the next day. Thus, I’ve been on a hunt for any product that could help me keep this problem under control, and I’m so glad to find something that really, really works.

This is pretty easy to apply, even though it does take slightly more effort than your usual sheet masks. Just spread it over your face, wash it after 10-15 minutes of application, and you’re done!

After applying this on my face and rinsing it off, I can see the immediate difference. Gone are my white and blackheads on my nose, and my pores are significantly smaller than before. It works so much better than my Bioré Pore Pack, which only helps to yank out some blackheads (emphasis on some), but not help me to absorb excess oil off my T-zone. My face instantly feels refreshed and tighter after a quick mask session that I would use this everyday if I could – but it’s not recommended (!) and my sample is only 10ml worth, so I can’t afford to waste it, haha. This is really different from the sheet masks I usually use, because those do not target pores and oil control.

wpid-brief_2_9fcb86f1-18ea-4cde-b661-f8b13d28f6bc_grande


Final Verdict

After just the first time I used this, I became so thoroughly convinced by its effectiveness that I’m extremely keen to get a full-sized product. I’m very fussy about the skincare products that I use, because I tend to have very oily, sensitive, acne-prone, dull skin (a ton of problems, I know), so it says a lot when I strongly recommend a skincare product.

I think the price is very justifiable as well. A 10ml sample is likely to last me for 5 months, with 1-2 applications per week, so a 100ml one is more than sufficient to cover your masking needs for very long. It’s almost as good as a cheap sheet mask you can get from Innisfree, but with targeted application.

The only downside I can find about this product is that it does not really moisturize your skin, nor feeds it with as much ‘nutrients’ as other masks promise to do, or at least make you feel like they do. If you face dry skin, this is probably not the mask you’re looking for. However, if you have skin that is really oily, and pores that need tightening and cleaning, you cannot give this product a miss.


Rating

Ease of use: ✮✮✮✮✮
Effectiveness: ✮✮✮✮✮
Value for money: ✮✮✮✮

[REVIEW] Innisfree Bija Trouble Facial Foam

I first bought this product in Jeju, Korea. It’s not exactly one of their star product lines (think Jeju Orchid, Green Tea and Volcanic Pore Clay Mask) and I couldn’t remember exactly why I chose this over, say, the Green Tea Facial Foam. Maybe I thought that my face was in dire trouble and needed help from a product advertised as targeting trouble skin. Some quick facts:


Product description

A refreshing facial foam for skin trouble

  1. This refined, foamy lather thoroughly cleanses pores while preventing and relieving skin trouble.
  2. Contains natural ingredients, such as salicylic acid, to remove dead skin cells and treat skin problems

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 14.78


Ingredient list

WATER, GLYCERIN, STEARIC ACID, MYRISTIC ACID, PEG-32, POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE, LAURIC ACID, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, GLYCERYL STEARATE, TORREYA NUCIFERA SEED OIL(750mg), SALICYLIC ACID, CITRUS UNSHIU PEEL EXTRACT, ORCHID EXTRACT, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, DEXTRIN, CAMELLIA JAPONICA LEAF EXTRACT, DISODIUM EDTA, MENTHOL, OPUNTIA COCCINELLIFERA FRUIT EXTRACT, ROSA CENTIFOLIA FLOWER EXTRACT, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, PEG-100 STEARATE, THEOBROMA CACAO (COCOA) EXTRACT, SODIUM BENZOATE, FRAGRANCE

I’m still trying to learn more about reading the ingredients in skincare products. It’s similar to reading the ingredient labels on food, except I found out that this can really get pretty complicated.

At one glance, you can see the long list of natural ingredients that Innisfree prides itself for: Torreya Nucifera Seed Oil, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Orchid Extract, Camellia Sinesis Leaf Extract, Camellia Japonica Leaf Extract, Opuntia Coccinellifera Fruit Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract…. let’s be honest, we might not really understand what all these ingredients are supposed to be / do for our skin, but it sure does look like an overload of natural stuff.

What’s pretty disappointing is that star ingredient, Torreya Nucifera Seed Oil, is pretty far behind on the list, meaning to say that it probably comes in smaller quantities in the formula.


Final Verdict

I have been using this product for about two months, and I honestly have not experienced much of an improvement in my acne problem, which is rather disappointing. Using this product does leave a rather nice, cooling sensation on my face after a good wash, but other than that I have not seen any marked improvements in my skin condition.

Word of caution though, this may have been due to the fact that I use a lot of other products (toner, masks, etc.). My acne breakout (or lack of improvement) could have been caused by something else, like oily skin caused by BB cream clogging my pores. For example, I’ve seen some good reviews of this product on the Innisfree website, such as:

Perfect for controlling my oily skin and acne. I’ve noticed changes within a week. My blemishes have faded and I don’t have many bumps on my cheeks any more. Refreshing and soothing, calms the skin and has great coverage. I only use a bead as small as a pea and it successfully washes my full face and neck. Lovely product, will be purchasing again. Definitely recommend using along with the whole Bija Trouble Care range, including the toner and lotion. Would love to also try the spot cream. Easy steps when combing the three products.

Also what works for me may not work for you, different skin types so may work differently. But definitely worth a try.

 I still think it’s slightly pricey for a cleanser, but the huge volume had me sold when I first saw it (lol). I would recommend this if you don’t have sensitive skin, because not everyone’s skin is suited to using natural ingredients such as Camellia Japonica Leaf Extract. However, if you have sensitive skin AND a bad acne breakout, I would suggest trying something else instead, because you really need a product that can thoroughly flush out the dirt and oil while being gentle on your skin.


Rating

Ease of use: ✮✮✮✮✮
Effectiveness: ✮✮
Value for money: ✮✮✮

[REVIEW] Etude House Precious Minerals BB Cream (Blooming Fit)

It hardly comes as a surprise that I use so many Etude House products, considering how affordable and good-quality they are, compared to a lot of other brands out there in the market. I’m not even a huge fan of the pink, princessy stuff which they brand themselves with, yet here I am singing praises of them haha, so I guess that tells a lot.

Personally, I think BB cream is probably the best makeup product invented. If you read it up on Wikipedia, BB cream ‘is promoted as an all-in-one facial cosmetic product to replace serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunblock’. It may sound dubious to have a product that can claim to do it all, but I’m vouching for its effectiveness as someone who is extremely lazy and cannot afford the effort to do a long and lengthy makeup routine. If you wake up feeling like your skin (or maybe your whole body) is dying, you’d be amazed at how BB cream can make you look alive, even when you’re dying inside.


Product description

A signature BB cream that gives a shiny and glossy look with mineral pearl ingredients.
3-in-1 formula with Whitening + Wrinkle care + UV protection (SPF30 / PA++) functions.

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 25.90


Korean brands were the pioneers at promoting BB cream as a must-have, and yet buying BB / CC creams from Korean brands is such a HEADACHE sometimes because of the colour range. Fair enough (pun intended), they always sell such light shades because it’s meant for the Korean market, where fair skin looks like a given + something they deem a mark of beauty. However, it also makes things hard for everyone else who doesn’t have porcelain skin, and who struggle to find a right colour fit, even if they choose the darker shades.

This precious minerals series includes Perfect Fit, Cotton Fit and Blooming Fit. I’ll be reviewing the Blooming Fit, which I got in the Honey Beige shade (W24).124241_6f9bea8a-fca6-11e4-895f-813487772fbablooming_img2

Application is as simple as the picture makes it out to be. The BB cream comes in this convenient packaging where you can just squeeze out a small amount, and just apply it evenly on your face. In Korea, I was taught to gently pat the cream into my face instead of simply spreading it all over for maximum absorption + better coverage. I think it probably works better that way too, but it can be rather time-consuming.

I was also told that cosmetics bought in Korea have a different formula from those sold in other markets. I haven’t compared the one in Singapore yet, but the one I bought in Korea feels really very oily, which is not very pleasant because I have oily skin to begin with.

It’s advertised as ‘Brightening: Containing bright pearl layer to provide delicate brightening effect on skin and care darkened skin with sebum for clear and delicate skin tone.’  I do admit that it gives you a nice dewy look thanks to how shiny & radiant it makes your skin look, but it only lasts long if your face is not an oil well.

I’m glad though, that the Honey Beige colour works pretty well for me because it’s just a tad lighter than my original skin tone. The coverage is also pretty good, but I feel that it doesn’t have strong staying power. It does cover all the red spots as necessary so that your face has a more even colour tone, but doesn’t necessarily make your 3D pimples look any flatter – sadly.


Final Verdict

It’s value for money, and there’s really nothing to hold you back from trying this product UNLESS, UNLESS, UNLESS you have oily skin. I could probably use this for 6 months or more, but the major problem I have with this is the oil.

I realized afterwards that the Blooming Fit is actually marketed as containing optical oil that reflects light to regular directions to maximize gloss and shine. I honestly won’t recommend clogging your pores with more oil just to achieve this gloss and shine, especially if you live in a hot and humid country like Singapore.

Really, if you have oily skin, please just get another product from the Precious Minerals series, such as Cotton Fit, which promises matte skin. Take it from a fellow oily-skin peer.

I’ll update again if I do try the other BB creams in this series.

cotton20fit20new2

You’ll like Etude House a lot if you’re a big fan of Krystal Jung ~


Rating

Colour payoff: ✮✮✮✮
Ease of use: ✮✮✮✮✮
Staying power: ✮✮✮
Value for money: ✮✮✮✮