Chocolate Collection

wp-1490665818331.jpgI’m weak for chocolate scents and that has started to become noticeable when you look at my makeup and skincare collection. This photo is lacking three products that I still use on a regular basis. I’ve got the Dark Chocolate version of the Gummy Bear Hand Gel in addition to the Cherry Chocolate one seen here, I’ve also got a Sesame Street Cookie Monster version of the Chocolate Macaron lip balm, and lastly, I’ve got a chocolate scented body wash from Etude House.

The Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar palette probably doesn’t need an introduction. It’s a series of highly pigmented shadows (almost to the point where they’re pigmented enough to be annoying) in a chocolate bar style package and it all smells of chocolate.

As you may have noticed from the photo, a lot of the chocolate scented/themed products I have are from SkinFood. Sure, the All Over Muffin Cake Finish compacts are a bit of a stretch but they’re close enough to the whole chocolate theme to count. However, one thing SkinFood does really well is scents. Both the Gummy Bear Hand Gels really do smell like cherry chocolate and dark chocolate respectively. The Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake doesn’t have a scent, but it contains two chocolate brown colours. One of those colours has a hint of red that works quite well with my current hair colour, so I’ve been using it more and more.

Lip balms are great products for scents and flavours. These macaron lip balms from it’s Skin are amazing and really convenient to keep on your desk or bedside table.

Scents appeal to our most primal senses and we are hard-wired to respond to them. The scent of chocolate is comforting to many of us and we generally associate that specific scent with happy memories. Even the scent of chocolate is a bit of a pick-me-up on bad days and being able to get that benefit from makeup and skincare is amazing.wp-1490621034059.jpg

Review: SkinFood’s Gummy Bear Jelly Hand Gel

wp-1490621038790.jpgBrand: SkinFood
Product: Gummy Bear Jelly Hand Gel
Scent: Dark Chocolate
Price: 8 USD at Ulta (other scents)

Available from: StyleKorean, Ulta

First Impressions: It smells just like dark chocolate, your hands smell good enough to eat. It’s very moisturising and smooth. The bottle is adorable but on the small side. This product lives on my desk and I use it several times a week.

Packaging: It’s a big gummy bear, what’s not to love? One massive plus is that the head always ends up facing forward when you’re putting the cap back on. It’s soft enough for you to be able to squeeze product out quite easily. Again, it’s pretty small.

Usage: Products that moisturise your hands are seldom complicated to use. It’s quite easily absorbed, so you don’t need to worry about your hands being gooey afterwards.

Would I recommend this: Absolutely. The scent is awesome, the packaging is awesome, and it’s a good hand creme. Go for it.

Packaging – Why it matters

 

It’s no secret to anyone who even occasionally reads this blog, I adore the Korean packaging culture. It is innovative, creative, and still doesn’t compromise on the practical issues. So why aren’t Western companies doing the same thing as their Korean counterparts?

I think it’s quite simply a matter of realising that adult consumers like fun. There seems to be this notion that products need to be serious in order to be scientifically valid as well as the notion that you shouldn’t try too hard. Recently there’s also a trend in the west that everything should be ‘natural’, which is a word that means shit all in makeup. No matter how organic or natural something is, every product you put on your face is 100% chemicals. But the organic/natural trend seems to have influenced packaging to be minimalistic, plain, and well, boring.

Makeup is the adult version of face paint and somehow we often fall into the trap of taking it so seriously that we forget the fun. Korean women on average spend more money and time on skincare and makeup than Western women do and I believe this is a key factor in why Korean companies try to make makeup & skincare more fun. If your customer is going to spend a lot of time with your product, you want to make the whole experience positive.

 

My gummy bear hand cremes from SkinFood aren’t less good because they’re in packaging made to resemble massive pieces of candy. The TonyMoly powder compact I keep in my bag isn’t less effective because it has Jigglypuff on it, and my lip balm from It’s Skin isn’t less moisturising because it has the Cookie Monster’s face on it. These products get the job done, but in addition to that, they also make me smile. My day gets a little bit brighter when I get to laugh at the silliness that is “Psyduck Cheese Firming Cream” as I apply it after a shower. My skin gets moisturised and I get amused.

Looking at Sephora Australia’s website, the vast majority of the products I see look almost… clinical. There’s a handful of brands that have some fun with packaging. TheBalm, Kat von D, Benefit, and Too Faced are probably the Western major brands that dare to have fun with their packaging and themes. No one is going to look at the Chocolate Bar palette and assume it’s for kids or that it has to be low quality, and yet this is the assumption I’m often faced with when someone sees my Korean products.

Makeup & skincare are meant to be fun and functional, let’s have the packaging reflect that.

Korean Haul

wp-1486510254163.jpgI was thrilled to discover that my order from MIK Australia this morning. MIK imports products from Korea and it’s a great way to access products not normally sold in Australia.

My haul includes a lot of SkinFood and limited edition TonyMoly, mainly because those are the two things I haven’t really been able to find in Australian stores. It’s pretty evident from the photo that I went kinda nuts for the Pokemon collection from TonyMoly and I’m so keen to finally try it out.

I’ve only tried a handful of the products so far, and I have to say, the gummy bear hand creme is amazing. I’ve only tried the golden one and it has an incredible scent of dark chocolate.

This haul cost me just over 200 dollars. Full list of products below

List;
TonyMoly x Pokemon Pikachu mini cushion blusher – 01 Pink Fantasy
TonyMoly x Pokemon Pikachu Pika Get It Tint – 02 Red Hot
TonyMoly x Pokemon Pikachu Pika Get It Tint – 03 Red Joy
TonyMoly x Pokemon Gorpaduck (Psyduck) Cheese Firming Cream
TonyMoly x Pokemon Foam Cleanser – Isanghessi (Bulbasaur): Green Tea
TonyMoly x Pokemon Purin Peach Pact (Jigglypuff) – Vanilla
TonyMoly Easy Touch Auto Lip Liner – 02 Rose Pink
TonyMoly Egg Pore Tightening Cooling Pack

Innisfree Camellia Essential Hair Mist
Innisfree Apple Seed Cleansing Tissues

Skin Food – All Over Muffin Cake Finish – No. 05 Cocoa Cream Quarter Muffin
Skin Food – Salmon Dark Circle Concealer Cream – 02 Salmon Beige
Skin Food – All Over Muffin Cake Finish – No. 03 Gold Banana Muffin
Skin Food – Gummy Bear Jelly Hand Butter – Dark Chocolate
Skin Food – Gummy Bear Jelly Hand Butter – Cherry Chocolate
Skin Food – Peach Sake Pore Pact

It’s Skin Macaron Lip Balm – Sesame Street Edition -05. Love Choco (Cookie Monster)
It’s Skin Babyface Mellow Stick Eye Shadow – No. 05 Marron Cocoa
It’s Skin Babyface Creamy Lipliner – 04. Rose Beige

The Face Shop – Face It Styling Mascara – 02 Edge Curling

Nature Republic – Botanical Apple Dome Blusher – 01 Pink Apple
Nature Republic – Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel

Etude House – My Beauty Tool Strawberry Sponge Hair Curlers

 

Kat von D’s Serpentina – Swatches & Impressions

I bought this palette a few months ago to broaden my options when it comes to more colourful eyeshadows. I’ve been quite happy with my purchase despite not using the palette that much and was surprised to see that it has gotten mixed reviews. Here are my impressions of it.

Packaging: Bulky but nicely designed. Not a palette you’d travel with, but it comes with a mirror which is always a bonus.

Range: The palette has two matte shadows, six metallic shades, and one metallic pigment. I cannot understand why the pigment isn’t a pressed eyeshadow.

Pigmentation: The metallic shades and the pigment are all quite pigmented and easy to build up. The red matte is a bit meh but can be built up to look good, it’s also one of the few red shades that actually looks red on the skin. The purple shade, Venom, is a different story. Of all the swatches, that’s the one I spent the most time trying to build up and it’s still patchy. It might work well with a primer, but on it’s own it’s nothing to get excited about.

Wearability: I’ve used the bronze/copper toned shade a fair bit as a discrete metallic look just on its own. It’s worked really well and can be turned into more of a statement look if you use a primer. The antique golden shade makes for a really nice accent colour.

Character Creator: Abigail (Stardew Valley)

Now, there are two things that make translating Abigail’s look difficult. Firstly, she’s portrayed as pixel art. Secondly, her most characteristic feature is her purple hair.
Thus I decided to exaggerate certain aspects of her look but also kept it close enough to where people would recognise the character if the person wearing it wore some type of costume. Sometimes, it’s very liberating to use a character to draw inspiration from rather than trying to copy their look completely.

Step 1: Pale foundation.
Since Abigail is very fair skinned, I used a foundation that’s a few shades lighter than my current skin tone. For this, I used the BCD cushion from TonyMoly. I also decided to keep the dewy look to give the illusion that it’s a natural skin tone rather than opting for a more matte & fuller coverage foundation.

Step 2: Shape
In terms of highlighter, it took me a while to figure out what to do. Abigail’s face is fairly round compared to the many highly contoured looks we often see today. To draw focus to this without looking too bloated, I used a blend of Too Faced’s Unicorn Tears lipstick and a slightly pink toned lipstick (forgot to write down which one, sorry) as a combined blush-highlighter. It was surprisingly discrete and worked to make my face look slightly round and young without being too distracting. The slight addition of the pink colour brought some life into the look without looking too harsh.

Step 3: Lipstick
Abigail has fairly bright pink lips that look rather natural on her. However, that simply wouldn’t work with my current hair colour and would have made it look weird rather than close to the original. Instead I used a purple toned semi-sheer lipstick that has enough pink in it to work for the look, but that’s also a shade compatible with my hair. For this, I used Revlon’s Colorburst lip butter in the shade 085 Sugar Plum.

Step 4: Eyes
Abigail’s artwork hints at purple eyeshadow and a lot of mascara on the top lashes. The lower lashes are left bare and no eyeliner is used. It took three palettes to get a look I was happy with. I started with some of the original Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion all over my lid to make the colours pop a bit more. I applied the shade Milky Way from the Galaxy palette all over my lid and brow bone as a transition colour, used Serpentina’s Venom in the crease, and covered the lid with Cosmic. Then I went back in with a combination of two of the purple/burgundy shades from the Sleek palette in the outer v to add a bit of dimension (and help blend). Lastly, I used the shade Moon in the inner corner of my eyes to brighten things up a bit. Add two layers of Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara and you’re almost done.
The very last thing I did was to use the shade Venom from the Serpentina palette to fill in my brows. Considering it’s a very pigmented and very very purple shade, it worked surprisingly well and helped make the look feel more like Abigail.
Palettes: BH Cosmetics’ Galaxy Chic (shades – Moon, Milky Way, and Cosmic), Kat von D’s Serpentina (shade – Venom), and Sleek’s i-Divine Vintage Romance 141 (unnamed shades).

“Hitting Pan Challenge” Kinda.

Realising I have a tendency to jump between products without actually finishing them, I decided to revive an old makeup challenge. It’s essentially called “hitting pan” because why not get straight to the point. The idea is to commit to using up as many of your products as possible, or in the case of powder based products, hitting pan.

Thus I’ve decided to create what I call a Priority Bag. Simply a makeup bag in which I keep products I want to use up for one reason or another. I keep it right where I normally do my makeup to encourage me to reach for these products out of convenience.

It’s a mix of skincare and makeup, to encourage me using at least some of it even on days when I don’t plan to wear makeup.

So far I’ve finished the makeup wipes and used the powder foundation and lipstick almost daily. I’ve also been pretty good with using the essence and skincare mini. Additionally, I’ve found that this has encouraged me to use more sheet masks, which my skin has been pretty happy about.

The bag contains everything I need for a complete look but doesn’t lock me into wearing any specific look since I can still switch it up if I want to.

Contents: Innisfree green tea essence, moisturising skin care sample from BareMinerals, NYX eyeshadow palette, primer, and bb creme, Estee Lauder mini lipstick, Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, an eyeliner from Marc Jacobs, a palette from Sacha cosmetics, a Geek Chic powder foundation, and a setting/no sebum powder from Innisfree. I’ve also thrown in some random samples just to encourage me to try something different.

The photo on the right shows a quick everyday look I put together using the items in the bag.

6 Makeup Products That Should Be A Thing

As the new year begins, I find myself searching for upcoming releases in the makeup world and come up with nothing. Apparently MAC are releasing 50 new products and there’s a collaboration between Kat von D and Too Faced, but that seems to be it really. So since reality doesn’t offer up much for the imagination, I thought I’d write about the things I’d like to see.

  1. Red Revival
    It’s no secret that I believe red creamy lipstick to be the best thing ever invented in terms of makeup. What I’d like to see in 2017 is for matte nudes to give way to a classic creamy and moisturising red. I’d love for brands to focus on developing the perfect shade of red and to truly nail the formula.
  2. The Truth is Out There
    So the 1990’s was a thing in 2016 and if we’re going to continue that trend in 2017, then for the love of everything holy can someone please release an X Files eyeshadow palette. I’d love to see what a brand like Kat von D or Urban Decay could come up with. Or heck, I’d love for brands from the indie scene to work with this theme.
  3. Cushion Blushes and Highlighters
    Now that the western brands have finally realised that cushion foundations are kinda good, it would be great to see them expand to blushes and foundations. They are easy to apply in a discrete way and a more controlled option than their contemporary liquid counterparts.
  4. Yooka-Laylee Nail Polish
    Yooka-Laylee is a video game scheduled for release in 2017 and it’s deemed to be the spiritual successor to many of the Rare games that were popular on the N64. With its bright colours and playful design, I think a nail polish collection based on Yooka-Laylee would be a lot of fun for summer.
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy Collection
    One of the most brilliant superhero movies is having its sequel in 2017 and I want an entire collaboration or collection based on it. It would be even better if they included a limited edition foundation in that unique shade of green (that then turned out to be liquid eyeshadow or liquid lipstick IRL), just because it would suit the movie so well.
  6. Perfumes inspired by Moana
    Out of all the Disney movies, I bet the scenery in Moana smells the best. I cannot think of a better inspiration for a series of perfumes to be worn in summer. Fresh ocean mist, coconut, sunshine, sand, and tropical flowers. Naturally it doesn’t have to be a collaboration, but the movie would be a good source of inspiration.

The Polished Cryptids 2016 Awards

Unlike most ‘awards posts’,  I won’t limit myself to things that were released in 2016, but rather base it on my own experiences. So if you want a highly subjective awards post that covers makeup, video games, and life, then you’re in the right place.

Makeup

New Discovery – Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipstick in Rum Raisin. It’s the first brownish lipstick that has ever worked for me. The runner up here is Urban Decay’s Vice Lipstick in Sheer Liar.

Why Do I Keep Buying These – Single eyeshadows. Never reach for them. Have barely opened any of the ones I have and yet I keep buying more. In particular from ColourPop and Geek Chic Cosmetics.

Overhyped – Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara. It is not better than sex, nor is it better than my other mascaras. It’s alright.

Constant Companion – NYX BB Creme in the shade 01. I haven’t wanted to wear heavy foundation this year and this has been what I’ve reached for more often than not.

Cutest Collaboration – Tony Moly & Pokemon. Seriously want this entire collection right now.

Why Aren’t You Out Yet – Too Faced’s White Chocolate Chip Eyeshadow Palette. Not yet out in Australia.

I Loved You Once – The Tony Moly Delight tints. I love the look but they wear off so unevenly and are tricky to work with.

Worst Trend – The Drag Queen Trend. About 94 layers of all of the products in your makeup collection worn all at once in exaggerated application…

Colour Scheme – Mine has been bronze and rose.

Lifesaver – Geek Chic Cosmetics’ Cutie Face Foundation in the shade Kahlan. Accidentally got really bad sunburn on my face and the best thing to do when then going out turned out to be a moisturising SPF and then this powder foundation on top. Evens out the redness without being heavy or caking on uneven skin.

Work Horse – Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Concealer. No matter if it’s a breakout, dark circles, or redness, this concealer is my go to quick fix.

 

Video Games

 

Game of the Year – Stardew Valley. It’s not necessarily anything revolutionary from a technical point of view, but it feels a bit like an Animal Crossing for grownups. Despite minimal written dialogue, all characters are well developed and show a lot of nuance as you get to know them. It’s a perfect game to play when you need a break from everything and play a low-intensity game. Perfect for study breaks and days off alike.

Guilty Pleasure – Contradiction. This game is a cheesy gem and I love it still.

Biggest Disappointment – No Man’s Sky. Thankfully didn’t buy it, but this is probably the biggest disappointment and wtf in this generation of games.

Best Escapism – Stardew Valley.

Best New Indie – Beholder

Please Drop in Price So I Can Buy You – Dear latest Civ game, the only reason you haven’t won another category is because you’re a bit too expensive for me at the moment. I look forward to seeing you on sale soon.

Best Redemption – Final Fantasy XV has managed to redeem the series by the looks of it, considering the damage XIII did in the west, that’s a major feat.

Life

Coping Mechanism – Work! Followed by food and wine. I swear I had more pizza in 2016 than in any other year of my life.

Achievement Unlocked – Did the whole graduating with good marks thing.

Lesson – Giving people the benefit of doubt seldom pays off.

Addition – Car! I finally have a car again and I’m terribly fond of it.

Support – Coffee

Party – Had a great NYE

Mood Raiser – Animals. Hanging out with animals made 2016 so much better.

First Impressions: Revlon’s Rum Raisin Lipstick

wp-1480657861165.jpgBrand: Revlon
Product: Super Lustrous Lipstick
Shade: 535 Rum Raisin

Available: most drugstores.

Impressions: I’ve been looking for this shade forever and it seemed like everyone else in South East Queensland were trying to get a hold of it too. Finally found one hiding at my local chemist.

Since I decided to get a new hair colour, I’ve struggled to find lipsticks that look good for everyday use. It’s easy to go full on vamp with a really deep red lip, but it’s not something you’d wear out to breakfast. At least not all the time. This shade was recommended to me for two reasons: firstly, it works really well with auburn hair. Secondly, it is rumoured to be a shade worn by the character Dana Scully in the X Files. Having developed a minor obsession with that show, I simply had to get it.

The shade works really well for me and I’ve previously found Revlon’s formulas to be quite okay. Not expecting this lipstick to be the Holy Grail in disguise, but it seems solid. It feels good on the lips and has a soft scent of mint. So far so good, might return with a full review if I encounter any unexpected issues or benefits.