2014/06/28

My Top Sun Protection Products


It's the end of June, summer is around the corner. Are you protecting your skin from the strong sun? Here are my top sun protection products that I've been loving this summer!

1. Organic Argan UV Cut Spray
Love this UV cut spray not only because it provides long-lasting (and waterproof) UV protection of SPF50+ PA+++, but it smells divine. I don't even need a perfume when I wear this handy sunscreen which you can spray easily on your back, the back of your legs and hair.

2. Clinique Superdefense Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 20
This moisturiser with SPF20 is perfect for a lazy weekend when I'm not wearing foundation. It has a slight sunscreen scent that I'm not a big fan of, but it goes away after like 5 minutes. Love the fact it gives a matte finish, too.

3. Clinique Superdefense SPF 20 Age Defense Eye Cream
Why don't all the eye creams in the world have SPF? This moisturising eye cream is tinted which brightens up my eye area instantly, while protecting the most sensitive areas to the sun. I am glad that they brought out an eye cream with SPF as I tend to get dark spots around my eyes, and this product makes me feel secure!

4. Origins Smarty Plants CC Cream / Light
I use this SPF20 CC cream to correct my complexion and to protect my skin against UV. I wrote a full-review HERE so I'm not going to ramble here about it, but it's such a lovely CC cream that evens out the skin tone and gives a subtle glow to it. I find the texture a little too heavy for me during summer, but I love wearing it in Spring, Autumn and Winter!

5. Origins Brightening Protector SPF40 PA+++
This is the sunscreen from their brightening range only sold in Asia. I love this one more than Smarty Plants CC Cream during summer, because it has higher SPF and the texture feels lighter on the skin. It doesn't have the sunscreen smell at all, and I enjoy the fruity scent that most of their products have. 

6. Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence
You can read my in-depth review on this product HERE. It smells of citrus, and has NO sunscreen scent at all. It doesn't feel greasy on the skin, or face, I don't mind wearing it all over my body at all as it feels like I'm not wearing sunscreen! I would repurchase it once I've ran out of this current tube. That's how much I'm in love with this sunscreen!

I like Japanese products when it comes to sunscreen. They usually don't smell of sunscreen at all, and they don't leave your face looking like ghost's. It surprises me how many old-fashioned sunscreens are out there still, as it's even hard to find them in Japan lately. What's your favourite sun protection items?

2014/06/24

L'Oreal L'Extraordinaire by Color Riche


L'Oreal L'Extraordinaire by Color Riche
First of all, let me thank lovely Danniella from famousinjapan, who kindly sent me the shade Nude Ballet from L'Extraordinaire when we did a swap a couple of weeks ago. I had been eying on L'Extraordinaire since the launch in the US, I knew I would love them because I love L'Oreal Glam Shine Stain Splash, and L'Extraordinaire seemed very similar and even better.

The shade Danniella sent me was Nude Ballet,  and I purchased Rose Melody myself on eBay because I loved Nude Ballet so much and wanted to try other shades.


The left is Rose Melody, a beautiful nude pink with tiny silver glitter particles. The right is Nude Ballet, a creamy nude beige with a rosy / pinky undertone which doesn't wash you out.



Rose Melody
Look how pretty it looks on the lips! I'm so glad that it's not a kind of pink that has a blue / purple undertone which I'm not a big fan of. It's a perfect nude pink that you can wear on daily basis.



Nude Ballet
I've been in love with nude lips since I discovered Nude Delight and Notting Hill Nude from Rimmel, as a nude lipstick makes the whole look sophisticated when the shade is right for you. And I must say that Nude Ballet is the new favourite nude of mine! It goes with any look, from smoky-eye to natural no-makeup-makeup. It makes your lips look pinker yet less red if that makes sense...You know why I love this shade, look at the photos, it's gorgeous!! 

I must mention that it has a subtle scent that some people might not like. For me it  smells like Origins Drink Up, kind of fresh and fruity. I don't mind the scent at all, but I can understand if someone says it's disturbing. 

L'Extraordinaire is not a lip stain, but it stays on the lips for hours. It remains pretty glossy for hours without reapplication, which is very handy for me at work as I literally don't have time to re-apply a lippie. One thing I don't like about this product is that it is a little bit sticky and kind of gooey on the lips. You never forget that you are wearing it on your lips, as it reminds you every time you open and close your mouth. But at the same time, I shouldn't be complaining about it because this is why it stays on the lips for so long...If you are not a big fan of sticky lipgloss, you might not like this product.

Overall I'm loving both Rose Melody and Nude Ballet at the moment. They are always in my bag, I take them wherever I go. I wonder why L'Oreal in Japan is so crappy, although the brand has so many great products in the US and UK. I've been eying on the nude lips that were inspired by the actresses. I'm thinking of getting Cheryl's nude or Eva's nude! 

What's your favourite L'Oreal product?

2014/06/21

Bourjois Nail Polish Collection


If you are in Japan you must have heard already, but Bourjois is leaving Japan in July. I was gutted to hear that back in May, as Bourjois is one of my favourite drugstore beauty brands that you can get in Japan. Their price tag is ridiculous considering the one in the UK, but still I have been loving their foundation, concealer and lipsticks. And now PLAZA is having 20% off sale on all of Bourjois' products, so I decided to stock up with their nail polishes. You can get Bourjois from ASOS and lookfantastic, but nail polishes cannot be shipped because of the restriction. I thought it's smart to stock up with something I cannot get from ASOS.


So laque glossy nail polish #02
(How odd that we don't have a name on each shade in Japan. Boring!)
This is such a gorgeous summery shade! I've been wearing it none-stop recently as it pops yet goes with any style. This orangey-red shade compliments my skin tone, I love wearing it on my toes as well. The formula is very opaque, you only need two coats to get the colour and it never goes on streaky. And it doesn't chip for days.

 
One second gel nail polish #19
Love the shade, such a unique purple with a brown undertone. The brush is wide and easy to apply, but I tend to miss the tips of the nails with this brush for some reason. I have to be extra careful, otherwise my nails look chipped although they are freshly painted!


One second gel nail polish #05
I thought I would love this shade but I am not a big fan actually. It's more orangey than I wanted it to be, and it makes my skin look dull. I also don't like the glitter particles, without them it would look much more glossy I guess :(


So laque glossy nail polish #07
Love this nude shade with a hint of pink, it makes my fingers longer and slimmer! The only downside is that it's too sheer that you need like 3 coats or more to get the colour in the bottle. I usually apply 2 coats only though you can see the nails through the nail polish. It doesn't go on too streaky, but you definitely need multiple coats to create an even finish.


So laque glossy nail polish #09
This shade is pain in the butt to apply!! I literally applied 4 coats when I took the photo above. You can see how thick it looks on my nails. It's so streaky and apply unevenly. I want it to look a bit sheerer and paler but I just needed to apply coat after coat to fix the streaky finish. I love the shade, it's such a pretty pale blue but I don't recommend it if you are not a professional manicurist who don't have a special technique to make it work...because it takes ages!

Do you have any other favourite shades from their nail polish collection? What is your favourite item from Bourjois? :)

2014/06/17

Cleansing balm smells like orange juice! RAFRA Balm Orange


RAFRA Balm Orange 3240yen
I had never heard of this brand called RAFRA before I was sent this beautiful cleansing balm smells like fresh orange juice. RAFRA calls for a theory of "simple skincare" and this cleansing balm is their main product which acts as a cleanser, make-up remover, massage balm, exfoliator and face mask. It warms up on your skin and remove dirt in the pores, while hydrating with hyaluronic acid, collagen, royal jelly and honey.


It looks like jelly in the tub (is it a tub? or a jar? or...what is this?) but actually the texture is slimy which is more like honey. I warm it up in my palms to make it softer before applying it on my face, otherwise it's pretty hard to work on the skin. Once applied, it immediately warms up and remains warm for a long time. I usually massage my face for about a minute, and apply a little bit of warm water around my eyes where I want to remove my makeup the most -that way all my mascara and eyeliner dissolves- and rinse off. 

This whole process is so relaxing because of the amazing scent. It literally smells like fresh orange juice, and I don't think there is anybody who hates this scent. It's such a lovely, fresh and sweet scent that makes me want to eat it.


And another amazing thing about this cleaner is that it makes my skin so soft and smooth. I didn't expect it to work this well as an exfoliator because it doesn't contain AHA/BHA or salicylic acid. This is the most gentle exfoliator I have ever tried, which works wonders without irritating or drying my skin. 

I use this cleaner every 3-4 days. I want to use it every single day but the price tag stops me to do so. You don't need too much to remove makeup, but still 100g jar isn't going to last for months if you use it every day. Every time I use it, my skin feels softer, smoother and very hydrated without being oily or greasy.This is definitely one of the best cleansers I have ever used. They have a trial set which is handy for travel as well, which I might purchase for a holiday that I'm planning in September. They also have a limited foaming cleanser which has a cooling effect which sounds refreshing in summer. RAFRA definitely has become one of my favourite skincare brands!


2014/06/15

Worth the hype? Physician's Formula Organic Wear Mascara


Physician's Formula Organic Wear Mascara $9.55
First of all, I want to apologize for not being able to update my blog for 2 weeks. My work had been hectic, and my personal life was also full of problems, and my health reacted as well and I literally did not have time and power to blog. I might have to slow down a bit, as managing 3 blogs takes energy obviously and my health isn't in an ideal condition at the moment. But still I will try to blog as much as I can.

Anyway, moving on to my review on this hyped-up mascara from Physician's Formula. I have heard some bloggers including Tati and Fleur raving about it. I had been eying on it for ages, but I had never thought of trying. But for some reason, I just thought of this mascara suddenly and went to iHerb.com and purchased it without hesitation. iHerb.com is such a wicked website which delivers the products from the states to Japan within 3-4 days. And the shipping is around $4 which is pretty awesome.


So this mascara is made with 100% natural ingredients including soy and olives, and 47% of them are organic. It's also free of harsh chemicals, synthetic preservatives, parabens, synthetic colors and fragrances. 

The brush is thicker than I expected. I had a very bad experience with a brush like this -I guess it was a mascara from covergirl but don't remember the name of it- so I was ready for disappointment. But I was surprised in a good way when I actually applied it on my lashes as although the brush was pretty big, it caught all my lashes and made them look fuller.


This is just one coat, but of course you can build it up by applying 2nd and 3rd coats. It doesn't clump, separates the lashes and make them look fuller naturally.


Looks beautiful, doesn't it? My only complaint is that it never settles. It remains wet for ages. God knows when it completely dries. I didn't notice on the day I tried it for the first time, and I touched my lashes when my contact lens felt uncomfortable. Then the mascara transferred to my fingers and smudged around my eye. And it was more than an hour after the application. Which mascara does that? None that I'd tried! Since then I always apply Maybelline The Rocket after this, to make it smudge-proof. I wonder why it doesn't settle on its own, but it just doesn't. 

I like how it makes my lashes look and I have been using it none-stop since I got it. I recommend it to anyone who wants natural-looking yet defined lashes. Would I repurchase? Probably not, as there are many other mascaras that would work as good on their own.

Have you tried this mascara? And what's your favourite mascara at the moment?

2014/05/31

Beauty Destinations in Japan


I often get messages though this blog from girls from different countries, asking where they should go to to pick up Japanese beauty bits when they come to Japan. I always write them back, but most of the time they don't write me back once they've got the answer (phew!) so I thought to write a blog post about it so that I can share the information with a lot of people at once!

If you're on the hunt for drugstore beauty products...





Matsu-Kiyo is the biggest drugstore in Japan. You see the yellow sign everywhere especially in Tokyo. Some are bigger than the others, but I'm not sure which branch is the biggest. They have anything from toiletries to makeup, as well as medicines of course as it's a drugstore.



Don-Qui is a discount store that has many branches in Japan. They sell anything from video games, stationary, food, cos-play costumes, and of course beauty products. I don't particularly enjoy the atmosphere as it's so noisy and always crowded, but if you are looking for Japanesey goods at low price, you might want to drop by.

 

Tokyu Hands is a "home centre" that you can get daily goods inclusing DIY stuff and party materials. I sometimes go to Tokyu Hands just to browse, as they often have interesting goods. It depends on a branch but they often carry Japanese drugstore beauty brands such as CANMAKE, ettusais, excel, CEZANNE and many more. 



4) Loft

Loft is similar to Tokyu Hands, but I strongly recommend going to Loft if you go to Shibuya. The beauty floor at Shibuya Loft is heaven for beauty junkies. The entire floor is full of beauty bits, where I can be browsing for hours. They also have a wide variety of natural beauty products. There are shop assistants who have good knowledge about the products as well, and it's really handy to have them as they don't belong to any specific brands.


5) PLAZA

They mainly carry imported goods such as stationary, snacks, fashion items and beauty bits, but they also carry Japanese products when it comes to the beauty section. Their pricing isn't a purse-friendly compared to the drugstores, but it's a fun store to look around.

Department Store





Isetan is one of the biggest department stores in Japan. Shinjuku branch opened in 1933, and about 30,000,000 people visit the branch per year. I strongly recommend you to stop by if you are into luxurious and natural / organic brands. On the ground floor you would find major luxury brands like Chanel, Dior, Estee Lauder, Tom Ford, Armani as well as NARS, Jo Malone and MAC, and on the B2 floor called Beauty Apothecary, you will be surrounded by natural beauty products from all over the world. You will never get bored.

Along with Fashion Shopping...





If you are greedy like me, or don't have much time to go beauty shopping, you can stop by Opeque Marunouchi. It's got 2 floors including fashion items, beauty bits, hair salon and florist. Marunouchi is a very nice area to shop, and you have another shopping building KITTE to stop by as well.





Hikarie opened 2 years ago and has been one of the main commercial complex in Tokyo. You can enjoy shopping for hours if you are into fashion, interior and beauty, and there are many nice restaurants and cafe that you can take a break at, as well. They have Jo Malone, Aveda, Diptyque, SABON, LISSAGE, Ayura, RMK, Three,  Shiseido, and many more popular brands such as Dior, Clinique and DE LA MER. It also have Cosme Kitchen that I will write more about after this. I like American Pharmacy where you can buy Caress Shower Gel!

For the Organic Beauty lovers...





The pioneer of the organic beauty craze in Japan, Cosme Kitchen opened their first branch in Daikanyama in 2004. They only carry natural and organic beauty products, and the shop assistants are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. It's a must-see if you are into natural beauty products!

Hope it helps, enjoy your time in Japan! x

2014/05/27

Are "natural" beauty products good for you?


Recently, I often hear people raving about "natural" and "organic" beauty products on the blogs and YouTube videos. I hear them say "This product is amazing, and it's good for your skin because it's natural" or "You should try to use as natural products as possible, they are good for you". I want to object to that, and decided to write a blog post about it.

More than 5 years ago, natural and organic beauty products started becoming popular in Japan. Some specialised shops like Cosme Kitchen, Crayon House and Terracuore were the pioneers. I was studying aromatherapy at that point, and I found myself totally into those products.

I thought artificial colouring, perfume and preservative as well as silicone, paraben, sulfate and those "chemicals" were bad for you, and can be a cause of cancers. I tried my best to avoid them, and I checked all the labels whenever I would buy beauty products, to make sure those were "safe". 

After a while, I found myself having breakouts on my skin. I thought it was stress or dry skin. I tried my best to cure it, I even went to a clinic as I was suffering from breakouts for more than 6 months at that point. The medicine didn't work. One day, in England actually, I had an opportunity to use a moisturiser which is not organic for a couple of days. I thought it would make my skin worse, as I believed that the organic ones were better. But it ended up clearing my skin up completely. That's when I realised that my skin was reacting towards the natural and organic products.

Since then, I stopped using organic skincare products. I stopped using organic shampoo and hair treatment as well. Then what happened? My skin became silky smooth like before, and my hair no longer looked like a bird's nest. Organic shampoo and conditioner that don't contain silicone contains oils instead, to make your hair feel smoother, which can stay on your scalp and get oxidized, that can cause an odor. It happened to me as well, and I used those products even more to get rid of the odor, which was just a negative spiral.

There are loads of chemicals you should avoid, such as paraben and artificial perfume. There are some natural preservatives that can be used instead of paraben. Essential oils can smell better than artificial perfume. But you need to remember that the natural and organic ingredients are not purified and sometimes contains impurities, which means it has a higher risk for your skin to react badly towards the ingredients. The natural ingredients are said to be sometimes stronger than chemicals, and chemicals are made for benefits (not only beauty purposes of course, but you know what I mean) whereas natural ingredients are just natural ingredients, they are not specially made for the beauty purposes. They have benefits as well, of course, but they also have impurities which can irritate your skin. It would be great if your skin doesn't react to it, but you should know that that's just you. Not everyone.

Some people react to chemicals, and some people react to natural ingredients. I am not sure what my skin did not agree with, but since I stopped using all organic products it has been in a very good condition. I still like some brands such as REN, balance me and Liz Earle that don't attack my skin. But on the other hand, I have so many brands (mainly organic ones) that broke me out so bad and I have been staying away from. 

I want to say to those people, especially influential bloggers and YouTubers, that natural ingredients cannot always be good for you. I hate it when people say "It's natural, so it's good for you". You need to know that it works for you because your skin agrees with it. There is a big difference.

I am not against the natural beauty products, there are tons of them that are good, and that I like. You should switch to natural products it for sure if your skin likes them, because they don't contain ingredients that feel good for now but could be harmful later. 

I'm against the people who say "You should go for natural beauty products, chemicals are bad!" or "Natural products would clear up your skin, as they are safer" or things like that, because that is not true. Look for products that your skin likes, not ONLY because the products are natural or organic.