Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May Japanese Magazine Freebie - All About Totes

A picture of azaleas because they make better cover...

Instead of buying random makeup (that I end up not loving) at Sephora or Macy's,  I decided Kinokuniya is a better place to kill time before concerts. My knowledge in Japanese is still too poor to read books but they have magazines and magazines have freebies! Since my everyday bag (one in deep olive green) is a little too deep for summer, I decided it was time to shop for the magazine section of Kinokuniya.
At the center, there is Sweet with (what it looks like) a very well made Mickey Tote. I love it but would rather not buy anything with Saeko (yup, the covergirl) on it (she played quite a few obnoxious roles in  dramas...).

Bijin Hyakka with Lanvin makeup bag. I like Izumi Risa but I am curious if people get lured by big brand name slapped onto a freebie.
25ans has a sequin pouch. Domani and Eclat doesn't have any.
Glow has a bland one with initials
April issue (guess it's not selling) has a tote. I like the outfit though. Rosy has a makeup pouch and some mask (that didn't get through thanks to FDA, instead they are 20% off)
CanCam has a makeup brush that got blocked. Why?
I love prints of Tsumori Chisato and I love green but somehow this is a little fugly? The Love Nordic on upper right is cute though.
SM2 with 3 way bag
In Red has a straw tote.
Nonno doesn't have freebie but I like their models.
I used to like Mina so much 10 years ago because it has my name written allover it (implicit egotism?) ... The style is so cute, girl next door and it has a bit of everything. Now it's just what it calls itself, a basic fashion magazine without a theme. Anyway, the makeup here (with red eyeliner) is really cute though.
Vicka, Fudge, latest Mina (another red liner!) and Cluel
Two mooks - I Hana and Ungrid
Found the one I like enough to have bought! The June issue of Liniere has three Moomins totes, the medium one fits my camera and the small is good for key/metro card/bus pass and flash drive.The quality is good enough for everyday use.

When I flipped through the magazine at home, I realized this magazine is totally my style! Actually, I was wearing the same color scheme as the cover (yellow dress with silk long cardigan) on that day. 

(Not sure if it's bad English or they are trolling). I totally have a few of dresses like these.
That color! The puff sleeves! The socks! I want Nonen Reina's whole outfit.
My own earrings kind of blend right in (these are amber, natural and heat-treated green ones from mineral show). 
Handmade (by me) pearl earrings and the models. I prefer my own of course...The photography style of Liniere is really clean and closed to life, something I prefer over the overly editorial ones.
Another self made earrings (that will get lots of wear during summer). I loved the content of the June issue so I grabbed the freshly released July one...

It was quite disappointing. The outfit are nice (kind of the same old higher end take on Muji through out) content are much less thoughtful (they didn't even try too hard for the cover!). The freebie bags and bus pass case are usable but badly stitched... 

And I thought I found my favorite magazine.
Elle has Alexander Wang...pill case and pouch? I understand people who buy designer brands for design and/or higher quality...but pill case? How can I show my great/expensive taste with those?
Back to Mook - This one is from Qpot
I am sure this is not Chanel (because it was around 40 bucks before 30% off discount). I want it as a gag gift for myself though.
Rilakkuma Towel Bag (well there is no onsen closed by)and Mysteric Mini
Spur has a leSportsac tote
More straw bag. 
I stopped by Uniqlo to look for sundress and saw these Jason Polan totes! They are small but lined and very sturdy. Maybe I will get the pretzel ones later (or just wait for magazines).
Love the store front too! 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Battle of the Bottles - Holysnails Shark Sauce vs Stratia Rewind

If you have been visiting/lurking over the r/asianbeauty subreddit, Shark Sauce should be no stranger. If you are not, let me first reassure you that no shark or shark part is involved. Shark Sauce is a DIY serum originated from the subreddit (by Chel of Holysnails), where is has gained a cult following. 
I started testing out Shark Sauce last summer and later on ventured into a comparable niacinamide serum (by another redditor Ally of Stratia) called Rewind.  Having finished a bottle each I thought it's time to do a little comparison. 

Shark Sauce was first created when a user/ friend of Chel (Jude Chao of Fifty Shades of Snails) wanted a simple 5% Niacinamide serum with N-acetylglucosamine (two known ingredients that helps with hyperpigmentation) and seaweed. It was formulated and later put into (what I understand to be) one woman production and BOOM, it got really popular and everyone was talking about it, including mainstream magazines.

Shark Sauce (29$) comes in a light plastic bottle with squeeze nozzle and labeled with paper (non-splash proof) sticker label. The packaging is very plain but at least it gets the job done. 
The product has a very light watery gel texture that feels hydrating and blends into a non-detectable finish. On warmer summer days, this alone functions as my sole moisturizer. It has been generally very pleasant to use, except that it smells like drool.

While I was testing out the sample (cutely named Dwarf Lantern) last summer, I was suddenly getting those  angry breakout on my face that I promptly stopped using it in the process of elimination. 

It took me a few weeks to realize that the culprit was the La Roche Posay sunscreen (and  later I concluded that I was sensitive to most chemical filters). Anyway, Shark Sauce itself is gentle (non peeling or exfoliating) but do keep in mind that the ingredients niacinamide and seaweed can cause reaction on some individuals. 

As for the effects, Shark Sauce does indeed deliver the fading of acne scars and overall evening of skintone. The process is subtle, gradual and continuous. I only noticed its effects after several weeks (much slower than what I get with vitamin C) but it was effective yet gentle enough for me to keep using it. I like it both as a standalone item (for spot) or to alternate with certain vitamin C (which are more effective and sometime harsh).

After I finished my first bottle of Shark Sauce (I bought two at a time to save on shipping), I started to search for similar products because 29 dollars is rather expensive for indie skincare. While money isn't a huge issue for me, I prefer spending that much on an established brand with research and quality control.
Shark Sauce on the left and Rewind 
Stratia Rewind ($16) is an comparable serum that's much more affordable. Beside the 5% niacinamide and N-Acetylglucosamine that I was looking for (and minus sea kelp ferment), Rewind is mainly marketed as an anti-aging serum with DMAE to undo past damages, including hyperpigmentation.

Rewind has a frosted glass bottle with dropper, labeled with thicker sticker. Presentation wise, it's a streamlined and more professional-looking. While its texture is more fluid, Rewind spreads more like lotion on the face, leaving face a bit of dewy finish that's a little sticky at first but goes away after a few minutes. There is a very faint smell, nothing like drool though.

During winter, the combo of Rewind and Liquid Gold (reviewed here) kept my skin smooth, moisturized and free of flake and it has given the same gradual evening of skintone. For the current weather, I can use it by itself but admittedly I prefer the surge of hydration I get from Shark Sauce, something also saves me a minute or two of dry time before sunscreen. 
Ingredients of Stratia Rewind

Overall: Both serums are effective on me but the two are different enough that one might prefer one over the other. For Holysnails Shark Sauce, the gel feels really nice on the face and they have been coming up with monthly edition of special sauces (like Lemon Shark, Honey Shark etc.) to satisfy the fickle minds (I can't keep up with the new releases so I never bothered). 

Stratia Rewind in the other hand, has a low key personality (that doesn't generate as much hype on reddit). I like its price, brand philosophy and presentation. While I prefer the feel of Shark Sauce just a little bit more, I am more likely to repurchase (I have repurchased both) Rewind next time. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Revlon Kiss Balm, HD Lip Color and Colorstay Moisture Stain

Two weeks ago while I was replenishing my ice cream stock, I noticed Revlon was on a 40% off promotion. I haven't paid much attention to the brand for the last three years (but I never stopped bitching about it in my spy cam posts) so I thought maybe I should try some of the newer releases. 
The Kiss Balm is a new range from this spring. It's a range of sheer tinted balm with a bit of shine and delicious candy scents. The stick is harder than Maybelline Baby Lips and less slippery. I got Crisp Apple, a warm red. 
It gives a light gloss on healthy lips and moisturizes a bit. The dome is quite convenient for application as well. It's nothing outstanding but works well enough at the 3-dollar sale price.
Ultra HD Gel Lip Color is a slim tubed lipstick. I usually think a slim tube is for a very squishy or melty kind of formula. 
The Revlon HD gel isn't that soft, it glides easily enough and deposit quite a bit of color with high intensity and opacity (They could call it gel since it's not 100% opaque).
I got HD Lava (another warm red) the formula isn't too travel-prone but it still slips around a little bit. It's an serviceable lipstick but I thought the overall look is clown bright on me. It isn't a terrible product but when compared to the old formula from Revlon or shade selection from current Wet n Wild/NYX, HD Lava doesn't fill and void in the market.
Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain was first out in the summer of 2014 and I finally got to try it as it's being phased out. I picked up Miami Fever and I guess the stock is pretty old that it's already clotted...
Still trying to get one use out of it...I assume the formula would be somewhat like L'Oreal Gloss Stain. 
Crisp Apple, Miami Fever and HD Lava

Overall: These are mediocre (at best) and I could have gotten two fancy sandwiches instead. I really need to stop wasting my money and time on Revlon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Covergirl Melting Pout, Luxe Pop Nail Lacuqer and Wet n Wild Blushes

Spotted at Rite Aid - Covergirl Melting Pout
Just looking at the name, I assume they are supposed to be similar to Too Faced Lip Color.
 Each is 8.99 (at Rite Aid/would be a few bucks more at Duane Reade)
 Luxe Pop Festive Chic Nail Lacquer - The names instantly reminds me of some youtuber I no longer bother to follow.
 Acoustic Guitar, Fringe Vest, Floral Halo
 Music fest, Hitch a Ride, Mood Ring, 1960s Vinyl and Barefoot in Bell Bottoms
Prestige Eyeshadow (pictured are the trios, the singles and lip color are worth getting at 75% off) is on clearance at Duane Reade (The Duo Chrome singles Hocus Pocus is totally worth hunting down) 
Probably not new - Wet n Wild face sticks, bronzer and Color Icon blush
 This is the first time I see the Ombre blush and highlighting powder.
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