I can't believe I actually typed 2016 correctly the first time around - at least for the title. I somehow messed up the first sentence by typing 2015...oh well, small victory-ish. The past month has been one with reunions - I've had some old friends fly back to the island country to vote in the presidential elections and of course, reunions were warranted. Also, I never thought I'd be freezing in Taiwan as the winters here have the average temperature of 14 degrees celsius. So about 3 days, it seemed as if the apocalypse was near as the temperatures were around 3 degrees celsius - on flat land. The mountains were pretty much decked with snow - even the ones that were only a several hundred meters high. My fingers are freezing as I'm typing this and I never thought I'd wish to have central heating here in Taiwan. The absurdity.
Enough with the life update and back to the consumerist front. I haven't changed my makeup look that much, but I've been shaking up the products that I've been using. I've rounded together some items that have really given me the heart eyes the past 31 days.
The most exciting thing has to be the Innisfree Water Glow Cushion Foundation. I hauled this at the start of the year and it's been a great start in the 2016 makeup newbie lineup. This is the base that I've opted for 90% of the time, only ditching it when I was massively breaking out and needed a slightly higher coverage foundation. I have a review of this in works so hold your horses, people.
I've been getting back into blushes the past month as the Innisfree Cushion Foundation does tend to wash me out a tad. The first one should be no surprise as I've harped on and on about Tarte Exposed. Even going as far as making the bold claim that this would be the one blush I would keep if I had to give away all the other cheek colours in my collection. It's a natural looking blush that adds life and dimension back into the face and will work with any look, ranging from au natural to flamboyantly glamorous.
Another cheek colour I've really been enjoying isEssence Berry Me Up!, this is the first blush I've tried from the brand and I can see why they're just about everyone's favourite drugstore blush. Heck, it's probably even one of the best formulas in my collection. Soft to the touch, the formula is pigmented enough to create a natural looking blush colour with your usual blush brush, but not overly so that it's hard to work with. Berry Me Up! despite the shade name, is a beautiful medium rosey mauve shade. I could see this being a good natural shade for people with medium skin tones, but it's a great flush of colour if you lean more on the fair-light shade spectrum.
Last but not least, let's get to the usual suspects of lip products. The year started with the odd sense that it seemed to be a new beginning and I'm still not sure what I'm doing with myself. Combined with the constant rainy days and the sun refusing to show face, I needed an equally gloomy lipstick to match the lethargy I was going through. MAC Up The Amp (swatch and review), a grey-ish lavender shade, was the perfect colour. It's moody enough to match the sentiments but had just enough brightness that it didn't drag in depression - it was almost that depressed romantic feeling.
Things started getting better towards the latter of the month - not so much the weather, but I was compelled to go out a bit more and socialise with people that I hadn't realised how much I missed. There's something weird about wearing a grey-lavender lipstick to meet old friends. Under these circumstances, MAC Taupe (swatch and review) was the my go to. It's a lip colour that walks on the fine line between looking natural and adding some drama. It's a wonderful daytime shade, adding a bit of red and effort into an otherwise neutral look.
January, overall, has been quite the emotional up and down. I'm still not quite sure how I've felt about the month in whole, I think I enjoyed the most of it. But the makeup products have not let me down, I hope that's a good indication of what's to come in the 2016 makeup lineup! What have been some of your favourite products in the opening month?
Where to Buy in Taiwan: Innisfree - in stores, Essence - selected Watsons, MAC - Sogo
I've only been to one wedding in my adult life and it was one of a friend's friend that involved me wailing in front of my closet, wondering why I only buy t-shirts and jeans, and ended up desperately borrowing a bold red, borderline inappropriately scandalous bodycon dress from a friend. Now, I'm not going to lie and say that I didn't have a double take at how awesome I looked when I saw myself in the mirror, but it wasn't exactly wedding appropriate. That particular wedding also involved quite a bit of champagne and there wasn't the 'when are you preparing to cure cancer' life plan interrogation going on. So frankly, it was like a big fat party that ended with my heels killing me.
Fast forward to next month. My cousin is getting married, and it's a big deal as he's the first in our generation to, well, can guys use 'walk down the aisle'? Anywho. Guys, I need help. While I'm prepping myself with 1001 creative ways to answer the 'why are you still single?' and 'what's your life plan?' standard questions, I need your help with the 'presentation' front.
Basically - What kind of dresses are appropriate for family weddings? Can I wear black? Am I allowed to wear heels when I already have 20 centimeters on the bride and would probably be as tall as, if not taller, than the groom??? Is red lipstick too scandalous???? Should I just stick to a nude lipstick even though there probably won't be wine? How many times do I have to endure the 'there must be a nice boy for you out there if you lower your standards' before I go all dark and emo and respond with a nasty 'we all die alone anyways'?????
I'm a social disaster. I NEED HELP PEOPLE. TELL ME YOUR SECRET TO SURVIVING FAMILY WEDDINGS without the aid of wine. Also tell me your creative ways of fending off the 'why don't you have a nice man friend?' question.
I previously talked about how I'm on the fence with liquid lipsticks - they tend to make me feel like I've been let loose in an art class before I've fully developed my motor skills. I've refused to give up on this trend and I think I might have found the perfect product for people that have a tendency to look like they've overindulged in strawberry jam whenever they use a liquid lipstick.
The NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams aren't anything new, but I never had the chance to try them out until a couple months ago. I wasn't sold on the hype, nor did I think I would end up liking the product as much as I did - cuz y'know, I don't tend to fall in love with things that make me feel inadequate. But you know that weird urge to get everything when there's a sale going on? Yeah, that happened and I bought 4 of these, all the while thinking that I probably wouldn't even like them all that much. But I'm glad I did cuz these colourfully-tubed lip products are flippin' amazing.
Let's get this out of the way first. Although I'm throwing the NYX SMLC into the whole liquid lipstick category, I'm not exactly certain that I would call them liquid lipsticks. These have more of a moussy consistency, making it less messy to apply. In fact, I thought that I had gotten an empty tube when I first opened one as there wasn't the usual 'goopy-ness' on the doe foot applicator of liquid lipsticks. But turns out, it's just the moussy texture that's making it less gloopy, and more 'toddler friendly'.
I quite like the efficient colour-coding packaging - it makes it a lot easier to look for a certain shade and I'd be more prone to 'collect' more from the same line. But other than that, the packaging isn't really anything to write home about. It's your standard doe foot applicator and works really well with the moussey texture of the product. One layer is all it takes to get an opaque lip shade. I need to double dip to entirely fill my lips, but it's an easy process that I can finish in the same amount of time I use for a traditional lipstick. These products smell quite strongly of tiramisu - I'm not fond of it and have to hold the open tube away from smelling vicinity. But I have a male friend that adores the smell - to the point where he would ask me for the product so he could sniff it like he was a junkie.
(swatch L-R: Zurich, Cannes, Prague)
I have the shades Zurich - a warm nude pink, Cannes - a mauve nude with a tint of brown, and Prague - a bright plum with a tint of red. I also had Antwerp - a soft coral pink, but later gifted it to a friend that wore the shade a lot better than I did. Can we take a moment to talk about the names? My favorite naming technique other than clever puns, are geographical locations. Especially if I can find a shade that somehow brings back a travel memory or something. It hasn't happened yet with these products, but maybe one day. Anywho. The shades that I have all apply evenly and smoothly, but I would make sure that there aren't any dry patches as I could imagine the product clinging to the flakey bits. They're really light on the lips, I often forget that I'm actually wearing a lip colour. I've worn it up to 8 hours with minimal fading, although it did get a bit drying towards the end. These don't transfer but can easily be rubbed off with a napkin if you want to dive into a burger (I personally don't like wearing lipstick if I'm about to perform a carnivorous act). I've heard that these don't hold up to meals, but I've worn them through sandwiches and noodles, nothing particularly oily. So in short, coffee and snacking friendly.
I'm all about the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creamsnow and think I need more, if not all of them. I'm thinking Morocco, San Paulo and Copenhagen. There are also some new shades that released late last year in America and I have my eyes on Seoul, Paris, and Budapest. Have you tried the NYX SMLC before? If so, what are your favourite shades and which ones do you think I should get next?
I'm going to say this first as I can already see the potential backlash this post might bring. I am in no ways making fun of the people that wrote these lyrics, nor do I have any ill intention of mocking people's language abilities. Hell, I'm not even able to English nor Chinese properly most of the time.
I've listened to K-pop, or Korean pop music, along the years here and there, but it wasn't until the past year or so did I develop quite the fondness for the genre. I've always listened to foreign music, but Korea has really nailed it for me. Especially since finding out that one of the South Korean military tactics of dealing with their uh, gangsta neighbouring country is to blast K-pop at them through loudspeakers. I am way too easily amused, and when there's one line of English amongst a sea of Korean lyrics that I don't understand, well, it stands out. I've rounded up my favourite ones, the lyrics that make me replay the whole song just to be amused by the two seconds.
"It's timeless just like plastic, it'll never change cuz it's classic' -Classic by Wooyoung, Suzy, and Taecyeon
I have a serious obsession with Taecyeon from 2PM. He looks all hot and dangerous in their music videos, making me wonder if I'm still stuck in the 'bad boy' phase I briefly went through when I was young and naive. In reality, this boy is a 5 year old child that's stuck in a really fit adult body. Growing up in America and now getting his masters degree, the boy is smart and speaks at least 3 languages. He also writes his own lyrics at times. So really, I wonder what was going on in this boy's head when he wrote these lyrics???Love, plastic, and classic are not words that I would put together. But for some absurd reason, this seems to be perfectly logic in this child's brain. I keep calling him 'child' but he's 3 years older than I am.
"You be my curry, I'll be your rice." -Daddy by Psy (ft. CL) ....but what if I don't like curry?? What if I'm not fond of rice????? I'm Asian, yes, I'm also allowed to not be fond of rice alright???
"Hey, where'd you get that body from? I got it from my daddy." -Daddy by Psy (ft. CL) Slightly weird, and also slightly disturbing. But damnit, I love this song and the silly dance.
"Oh my god, she is so fine." -Hot by 2PM It's not the lyrics, but rather how they break up the beat and sentence for it (1:32 into the video). I just can't.
"Ain't nobody fresh than my true swag." -True Swag by Jun K. I'm not going to lie, I had second hand embarassment when I first heard this song. It took me several tries before I could make it past the first couple sentences. It's a catchy song, but I cringe at the title and just about every english sentence in it.
"Francis Bacon in the kitchen." -Zutter by GD and T.O.P. This sentence might make sense if I understood the Korean following it, but I laughed when I heard this line the first time.
"Ready or not, yeah, we don't give a what" -Bang Bang Bang by Big Bang I'm 99.6% sure they don't give a what because they couldn't give a f*ck.
I'm quite fond of Korean music. I think they bring a certain kind of artistic weirdness that doesn't exist in other country genres. I only listen to a couple of groups/bands(?) but I'm always willing to expand. Do you listen to kpop? What are your favourite bands? Also tell me your favourite lyrics if you have them.
What happens when three of your products run out at the same time and there's an abundance of Korean makeup stores in the near vicinity? You shop.
I have never really gravitated towards Korean makeup, a lot of it due to the packaging that I came across being well, very pink. I prefer my packaging to be sleek and less 'I'm stuck in a Polly Pocket' - just a personal preference. But then I came across Innisfree - the simple and not pink packaging caught my attention, as well as the bright, open, and very grass-y store front. A little poking into the brand, and I found out that this Jeju Island originated brand is eco-friendly, not only in terms of ingredients, but also the way the company encourages the recycling of packaging. A couple more swatches in store and stalking tutorials online, Innisfree quickly became a brand that I was more than intrigued by. Fast forward to when a handful of my products ran out at the same time, and I had a legitimate excuse to start spending money on the brand.
The Jeju Volcanic Pore Scrub Foam was the first thing that was on my shopping list. I love manual exfoliants as it's quite exciting to feel the grittiness of the scrub between your fingers as you massage it in the face and imagine the fickly dead skin cells just giving away. But for some absurd reason, there isn't a wide browse of manual exfoliants in the regular drugstores in Taiwan. Also, I'm no expert on natural ingredients but volcanic mud is supposed to be really efficient when it comes to deep cleansing. I'm going to give this a good run and see how it works in cleaning out my pollution stuffed pores (Honestly! The air pollution is horrendous here in Taipei!).
I'm not sure if it's also down to the cancer-inducing pollution here in Taipei, but my trusty micellar water just doesn't seem to be cutting it anymore. I've been pondering to go for an oil-based cleanser for some time and I knew I wasn't able to pass up the Apple Juicy Cleansing Oil when I smelt it. It literally smells like juicy apples, and not the fake apple smell either. Like real, drool-inducing apples. I've been using it for just over a week now and not only does it do a superb job at removing my makeup, my skin is ridiculously soft afterwards.
I've almost run out of my favourite Etude House Drawing Brow Pencil and have the sinking feeling that they're about to discontinue it since I can barely find it anywhere. So I decided to pick up the Eco Brow Pencil while I was already splurging anyways. I'm not sure what makes it eco, or if that's just the brand concept. I'm milking out the last of my current brow pencil before I tear the sealing from this one so I'll report back to see if it's as good or even better than my former Korean brow love.
Last but not least, I finally jumped on the cushion foundation band wagon. I've been eyeing them up since I was still in London. But I decided to wait until I came back to the Asian island as there's a wider variety here. Plus, you know, less luggage weight. I picked up the Water Glow Cushion after hearing great reviews from my friend. And it's been the only base that I've used for the past couple weeks. I might do a whole review on this if you guys want it, but in short, the coverage of this is just enough to even out the skin tone. And there's an iffy shade range (I have the darkest shade available and it's a tad too light). But it's ridiculously convenient and lightweight on the skin - like lighter than my beloved NARS Tinted Moisturiser. The finish of this is also hydrating and glowy. There are other lines in the brand's cushion foundation that I would like to try some time in the future.
It was a small but satisfying haul. I've since gone into the Innisfree shops a couple more times than necessary, but I've been good. I haven't bought anything as I'm trying to take control of my bank account and be more responsible towards my makeup collection. Have you tried anything from the brand before?