Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Tale Of Two Sunscreens - La Roche-Posay and Ipsa

Hello, I have a tendency to try new sunscreens.  I have been trying two new sunscreens since February and experienced very different reactions.  They are La Roche-Posay Athelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid and Ipsa Sun Protector.  Before I get to them, here are some basics I look for in a new sunscreen:

1) Must be broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) with minimum SPF30

2) Can be physical, chemical, or combination of both.  I prefer physical sunscreens, but I also use chemical sunscreens.  In case you are interested, below is a list of FDA approved sunscreens found on the Skin Cancer Foundation's website:

FDA-Approved Sunscreens
Active Ingredient/UV Filter NameRange Covered
UVA1: 340-400 nm
UVA2: 320-340 nm
UVB: 290-320 nm
Chemical Absorbers:
Aminobenzoic acid (PABA)UVB
DioxybenzoneUVB, UVA2
Ecamsule (Mexoryl SX)UVA2
Ensulizole (Phenylbenzimiazole Sulfonic Acid)UVB
Meradimate (Menthyl Anthranilate)UVA2
Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate)UVB
Octisalate ( Octyl Salicylate)UVB
OxybenzoneUVB, UVA2
Padimate OUVB
SulisobenzoneUVB, UVA2
Trolamine SalicylateUVB
Physical Filters:
Titanium DioxideUVB, UVA2
Zinc OxideUVB,UVA2, UVA1

3) Must be good for sensitive and dry skin

La Roche-Posay Athelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid

There have been a lot of positive write ups on this sunscreen around the web.  In February, I read this is Charlize Theron's go to sunscreen, so I thought it must be a good one and I had high hopes for it to work for me.  

It is a physical sunscreen with SPF 50 for the face.  I like that it is water-resistant and fragrance and paraben free.  It has a runny milky consistency and it needs to be shaken up in the bottle before use.  You can get a white cast from it if you apply too much, so a little goes a long way.  It can be found in most drugstores that carry La Roche-Posay. 

During the first week of use, my skin had no problems and tolerated well.  I continued to use it everyday for weeks and I began to notice dry patches developing on my cheeks.  Given the weather was still cold and dry and I was constantly exposed to indoor heating, I thought the environment was the culprit for the dry patches.  But I never had dry patches in the past, so I was not entirely sure what caused them.  This sunscreen provides a matte finish, so I figured it must contain oil control ingredients.  I finally decided to stop using it and the dry patches began to dissipate.  I exfoliated and used a drugstore and some high end moisturizing products to combat the dry patches for good.  I will discuss these products in another post because they really work on dry patches.  Now I am back on with my regular skincare and have no problems since.  

My conclusion on this sunscreen is that it is more suitable for oily skin or if you live in a humid environment and need a sunscreen with oil control.  I really wanted to like this product, but unfortunately I will no longer be using it on my face.  I will however try to finish it by using it on the body instead.

Ipsa Sun Protector SPF 30 PA+++

In my early days of wearing sunscreen, my go to sunscreens were always Japanese brands such as Shiseido.  I have always trusted Japanese brands in skincare and I have tried numerous brands over the years.  Some friends of my mine swear by Japanese skincare and they have flawless and perfect skin to show for.

I picked up Ipsa Sun Protector SPF 30 PA+++ during my last trip to Hong Kong.  I have read good reviews on their makeup, but I did not know anything about this sunscreen.  This particular sunscreen was recommended to me by the SA because it is good for dry skin.  I have been using it for over one month and I must say it is fantastic.  It is a chemical sunscreen and it feels almost like a light moisturizer.  It has a light fragrance to it.  The weather has been warming up and it is the perfect opportunity to test it out.  So far, I have not been getting darker while using this.  I feel well protected with this sunscreen.  

Overall, this one is a winner for me.  The only downside is that it is rather hard to find in the US, as IPSA is sold exclusively in Asia.  There are some Asian cosmetics websites that sell it, but it is more expensive compared to the price I paid overseas.  I plan to repurchase this the next time I head to Asia.

What is your go to sunscreen these days?  Until next post......

Friday, May 25, 2012

Random Sightings of Summer 2012 Makeup Displays

Hello,  The summer makeup collections are kicking up several notches in the color department and there are bronzers everywhere!  Here are some favorites...

Loreal It's Gold Or Nothing At All

Dior Croisette


Wet N Wild Feeling Hot, Hot, Haute!

Illamasqua Human Fundamentalism

Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist

Revlon Escapism

What is your favorite Summer 2012 makeup collection?

Until next post......

Monday, May 21, 2012

Nars Cosmetics Runway to Reality Event

Hello, This is a long over due post about the Nars Cosmetics Runway to Reality Event that I attended at the beginning of May.  It was held at Nordstrom in San Francisco from May 1-5, 2012.  The Nars National Makeup Stylist team worked at this event, so it was an excellent opportunity for me to learn from the pros and to brush up on my own makeup skills.

I remember attending my first Nars National Team Event at Saks Fifth Avenue in San Francisco over ten years ago.  The brand was smaller back then, but I was already intrigued by the range of colors Nars had to offer.  Francois Nars made a personal appearance at this particular event and I remember having a star struck moment when I met him.  He was a soft spoken man and he was nice enough to autograph my face chart.  Of course, the face chart is now long gone after all these years.  At the event, he looked at each client and he hand picked the colors for his team of artists to put on our faces.  For me, I recall he picked out:

Eyes - Nepal eyeshadow and there was a brown eyeshadow and a highlighter used which I do not remember the names.  They could be Bali and Biarritz? 
Eyeliner - Mambo?
Cheeks -  Orgasm blush 
Lips - Cabaret lipstick (I believe this color is no longer available) with Papua lip liner?

I do not recall what was used on my face, but most likely a powder foundation and not liquid.  The finished look was a classic and polished everyday look.  

Via Google images

Now fast forward to the event in May 2012, I learned some new tips and tricks from my makeup artist, Kelly and Jenny Smith, Nars Lead Makeup Stylist.  These tips may not be new to some of you, but they are good ones to remember:

1)  Concealer - Use two shades lighter than your skin tone for concealing under eye area and for highlighting the face.  Kelly used Nars concealer in Vanilla on me and my true match is Custard.

2)  Crease - Use a matte color to define the crease for everyday looks, it gives a more subtle and natural look.  Kelly likes to define the crease first before adding colors to the lid and brow bone.  For my well defined almond-shaped eyes and they are not deep set, Jenny said I do not need to over extend the crease color too high because it creates a more dramatic look and it does not work for the office or everyday look.  The crease color should be placed to show slightly over my own crease and that should be enough.  You can always check whether the crease color is in the right place by looking straight ahead at the mirror with your eyes open.

And I got my nails painted with the limited edition Thakoon for Nars nail polishes in Kutki and Koliary.

The Nars Summer 2012 Collection is now available, check it out!  Thanks for reading!

Until next post......

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Aveda At Home Facial and Pure Privilege Double Points Weekend

Hello, Do you have a skincare brand that you do not stray from?  For me,  Aveda is that brand.  I mean I do stray, we all do.  But I always come back to Aveda.  Since I was first introduced to Aveda in my college days, I have always re-purchased their products and keep them on hand all these years. 

I really like using Aveda skincare especially when I am under a lot of stress and it shows on my skin.  Above is the line-up I have been using for my facial at home.  I am a big believer in combining aromatherapy with effective natural ingredients in skin care.  The aroma in Aveda products is not overpowering, instead it is calming and relaxing.  They are great choices to use for facials.

The line up for my at home facial including Aveda and other brands:

Eye Mask

Origins No Puffery - It de-puffs and cools the eye area, very refreshing on tired eyes. I have used this product on and off for many years.

Facial Mask

Aveda Tourmaline Charged Radiance Masque - A creamy mask containing tourmaline, mushroom extract, sugar, lycopene, and other ingredients working together to exfoliate the top layer of dead skin and brings back radiance to stressed and dull looking skin.  This is one of the Aveda products that I have re-purchased over and over again.  I really like treating myself with this mask.  If you have concerns with tired and lack luster skin, the Tourmaline line is a good one to try.


Aveda Green Science Refreshing Toner - It is a thick lotion, unlike other typical runny toners.  It is a multi-tasker, it exfoliates with salicylic acid and glucosamine and it moisturizes with argan oil.  I do not like using toner everyday, but I love using this one because it works for dry skin.


Aveda Green Science Lifting Serum - The Green Science line is an anti-aging line, so the serum and moisturizer offer lifting and firming properties.  Although I do not need much lifting and firming yet, but I believe prevention is important.  The scent of this serum is intoxicating, it is a little herbal but fresh.   I was not able to try the Firming Face Creme before because they were pulled from the stores to be re-formulated.  The new formula is available now and I am planning to try it in the near future.

Blemish Oil

Burt's Bees Herbal Blemish Stick - A natural tea tree and juniper oil blemish eliminator.  I like it just as much as the Desert Essence Blemish Touch Stick.   They are very similar and both products attack and dry up blemishes in a short time.

Pore Strips

Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips - I am sure most of you are familiar with pore strips.  It cleanses your pores by sucking out the nasty oil and dirt with the strips.  This is a good at home alternative to facial extractions for me because I do not go to the spa for professional facials as much as I would like to.

If you are an Aveda Pure Privilege member, it is double points weekend at the stores from May 10-13.  I know I will be stocking up a few things this weekend.  Happy shopping!

Do you use Aveda skincare and what do you like to use?  Until next post......

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fuchsia and Pink Gold Glitter Nails with Essie and Revlon

Hello, This fun nail look was created with one coat of base coat, two coats of Essie Super Bossa Nova Nail Lacquer (bright fuchsia), and one coat of Revlon 261 Sparkling Nail Enamel (clear with pink and gold glitter).  Glitter polishes are known to be hard to remove and Revlon Sparkling is no exception.  The good thing about it is that it actually helped protect the nail color and this look was chip free for two whole weeks, impressive!

Sparkles never get old and we are never too old for sparkles!

Thanks for reading.  Until next post......

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Guerlain by Emilio Pucci 'Terra Azzurra' Summer 2012 Sneak Peek


Hello, Guerlain by Emilio Pucci 'Terra Azzurra' Summer 2012 is Guerlain's latest makeup collection.  I played with the colors at Bloomingdale's a few days ago.  I was in awe of Guerlain's quality as usual and fell hard for the packaging.  The Pucci blue and green print on the packaging and pouch is gorgeous and it just works for Guerlain's summer makeup collection.  In terms of colors, tangerine or coral, pink, blue are colors you can expect to see a lot of this summer.   

Going in, I knew I wanted to replenish the Meteorites Powder, so Pearls d'Azur Illuminating Powder was at the top of my list to get.  The Meteorites Powder has a huge following.  I have used the original in Teint Rose 01 in the past and enjoyed the soft focus look from it.  The old packaging I had before was made out of card board, but this collection offers it in a dark blue tin with a Pucci print lid.  I had to take advantage of the lovely limited edition packaging.  Imagine how nice it would look sitting on the vanity table!

For those who are not familiar with the Meteorites Powder, this is a brief description for this particular powder from the web:  

Multicolored little pearls are adopting their summer wardrobe. Encased in Emilio Pucci–adorned packaging, they are enriched with a corrective blue pearl to create a flawless complexion. Formulated like the classic Meteorites Pearls, the Pearls d'Azur beautifully adapts to the demands of the sun by combining six colors that even out and correct every skin tone.

Featuring blue and pink to counter the yellow tones in tired complexions for a corrective effect, beige and orange to warm up the complexion and create an even tan for an evening effect and ivory and white-gold light reflectors for an illuminating effect.

The second item I was drawn to was the Powder Bronzer and Blush, housed in a jumbo sized wood compact that is quite heavy and not really practical for carrying in your bag or traveling.  The compact is made from two separate pieces of wood which fit and close together by small magnetic rivets.  One piece contains the mirror while the other piece contains the bronzer and blush.  The colors of the bronzer and blushes are magnificent, you can fake the perfect summer tan by swirling the bronzer and blush colors together or use them individually.  It can be a bit dark on lighter skin tones.  Guerlain makes the best bronzers, I am a fan of Guerlain 'Terracotta' Light Sheer Bronzing Powder in No. 3 Brunettes.

Lastly, the SA introduced me to Terracotta - Terra Inca Khôl Kajal in 01 Black Frida.  This color is not from the summer collection.  Indigo blue is the new color in the summer collection.  The SA told me this is wonderful and safe for tight lining and can be used on the water line.  I have not used the traditional Middle Eastern or Indian kohl eyeliner before, I am not sure how this one compares to those.  This one seems very easy to use though.

I purchased everything from Bloomingdale's, but everything in the post has been linked to the Nordstrom website because the Bloomingdale's website has not been updated with the new collection yet.  Once I get to try all the products, I may review and do swatches in due course. In the meantime, there are some awesome pictures of swatches from this collection at naturalNchic makeup blog.  Go check it out!

Have a nice weekend!  Thanks for reading.

Until next post......