Saturday, August 16, 2014

Benefit They're Real! Push-Up Liner - Hit or Miss?

One of my favourite cosmetic brands, Benefit, has released their highly-anticipated 'They're Real! push-up liner' which follows in the footsteps of the best-selling 'They're Real! Mascara' along with another product, the 'They're Real! Remover'. After trialling this eyeliner for just over two months, I can finally share my thoughts on it. Now I know that there are already many reviews for this but I reckon I might be able to offer something different (at least, that's what I think).

To be honest, I wanted to review this product within days of receiving it because I was that excited and that keen on sharing my first impressions. So then you might be wondering... what happened, and why is this review up two months later instead of days later? Let me walk you through my thoughts and experience...


The eyeliner itself looks great, and even better when surrounded by jewels

This all sounds and looks very exciting

I wonder if I can make my eyeliner look this awesome

A handy instruction leaflet in the box

So here's the eyeliner with an orange tip protector which needs to be removed and discarded first

The base is twisted to 'push up' the gel eyeliner. The excess is wiped off and you're left with the gel liner sitting right on top of the Accuflex tip

Something that I found to be a bit difficult was making sure that I didn't twist the base too many times for too much product to come out (this actually happened a few times). It doesn't always go by how many times the base is rotated as there tends to be a delay after each twist. You twist, you wait, nothing comes out so you twist again and then all of a sudden a chunk of it comes out instead of a small amount which you were hoping for. It may sound dramatic but that is what really happens. When this happens, the excess can't be pushed back into the tube so it gets wiped off and straight into the bin. I wish it could be helped! If only it had the same mechanism as those automatic twist-up eyeliners and eyebrow pencils - at least the product goes back into the tube and nothing goes to waste.

The swatches look great

I was quite pleased with the swatches on the back of my hand as the black was very pigmented and matte (perfect for oily lids). However I was a bit concerned about its consistency with slight parts of the lines being lighter than the rest. I think it's noticeable in the bottom line where it's lighter at the top on the right. This can also be seen on the first swatch image of the horizontal lines where the line becomes lighter and less crisp.

Gel eyeliners can be difficult to work with due to their thick, cream consistency which requires a more effort when applying/pressing right above the lashline compared to say, liquid eyeliner. I have very thin eyelids so the gentlest motion can cause minor tugging (even when I try to hold the sides of my eyes taut), thus the gel liner pen doesn't allow me to achieve crisp lines as a result of the tugging. It works better on the back of my hand because the skin on the back of my hand is less thin and fragile compared to the skin on my eyelids, hence less tugging and smoother lines.


You can see how the line is jagged and not smooth

I'm getting better at applying it but still I can't make the lines look super-sleek


I'm really envious of those who have no issues with applying this eyeliner! I've seen many reviews and images where the eyeliner is applied well and no matter how many times I try, I can't perfect my eyeliner with this which to me feels like such a fail for a beauty blogger :( I have no problems with 'stamping' the wing and connecting it - it's just the lining itself being a very fiddly, time-consuming task.

So to answer the question as to why it's taken me so long to put up a review... it's all to do with me. Initially I was thinking of posting a negative review because I was quite unhappy with this product not working as well as I hoped but then I realised that it doesn't feel right to blame the product itself for not catering to my thin eyelids. After all, I am part of the minority (thin eyelids isn't common and MUAs have pointed it out) and this is a newly-released product that may have its flaws/room for improvements. Not every product is for everyone and this happens to be one that isn't for me, unfortunately.

Although I can't personally rave about it and tell you how amazing it is, I can still find positives in this product and I know that others can and do too. I truly believe in the saying that there is always a positive to every negative, even when it seems impossible to find:

Pros:

+ Matte black, superb pigmentation (tick tick, impressed)
+ Accuflex tip allows ease of alignment with its angled shape (achieve the perfect wing)
+ Smudge-proof, waterproof, long-lasting (it doesn't budge)
+ Neat, attractive packaging (sleek, criss-cross pattern)
+ Innovative, creative design (the first ever gel liner in a pen)
+ Hugs the lashes as it claims (it pretty much goes into the lash line, if that makes sense)
+ Stamping method the assist with connecting the lines (for accuracy)


Cons:

- Inconsistencies with line smoothness (refer to swatches)
- Can be tricky to use and may cause tugging (especially when having thin eyelids)
- Particular eye makeup removers required (dual-phase ones or the They're Real Remover)
- Troublesome to remove excess before/after each use (a bit of wastage)
- Unable to create very thin lines (would need an additional tool like a brush)


Hit or Miss?

Based on my review, the answer to that question should be obvious. However that's only my answer from my own experience and I can't speak on behalf of everyone. It may not have been favourable for me but for you, it could be exactly what you're looking for :) So what will I do now, you might wonder? I might try using it with a brush like I would with regular gel liner or I'll just stick with my liquid pen liners.

If you are interested in trying this product, I would suggest that you try going to your nearest Benefit counter and have them do a demo on you, if they can.

Questjens for you, yes more than one:

Do you use gel liner?
Would you/have you used the Benefit Push-Up Liner?


Occasionally I would use gel liner if I want my eyeliner to last all day/night without flaking i.e. for special outings and I have been using the Tony Moly one with a very thin brush to make it glide on smoothly. It takes time to apply but the results are worth it. My go-to eyeliners will always be liquid ones because they're so quick and easy to use. With the help of an eyelid primer, liquid eyeliner can stay on for a number of hours.



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Disclaimer: Product was provided for consideration with no obligation to share or review. This is not a sponsored post, nor am I affiliated with the company mentioned in this post. All opinions stated by me are 100% honest and unbiased. See more at http://www.questjen.com/p/disclaimer.html for full disclaimer.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Current Hair Products

Hello, it's been way too long since I last did a hair-related post so I thought I'd do one today. I'll be introducing you to all the products that I am currently using on my hair to help maintain its colour, smoothness, cleanliness (of course), texture and strength. I don't have an actual routine where I am constantly using these products or repurchasing them as my hair is quite low-maintenance which allows me to try all sorts of products without having to worry about my hair getting out of control. Also, I don't pay as much attention to my hair as I could, simply because caring/styling for my hair is not a main priority of mine, and I don't particularly enjoy it as much as say, applying skincare products and makeup to my face. However I always make sure that my hair is well-kept and looks presentable. Here's a little hair profile that I've compiled as an introduction:

Natural colour: Black
Current colour: Dark brown
Length: Medium to long
Type: Straight 
Style: V-shape at the back, long layers, side fringe
Last cut: Early June 2014
Last dye used: Revlon 'Light Ash Brown' x2 
Washing intervals: Every second day
Drying method: Only towel-dried
Use of styling products i.e. straighteners, curlers: Occasionally
Current condition: Free from split ends, smooth but slightly frizzy/static, scalp prone to oiliness, flat
Goals: To have fuller, livelier hair, less breakages/fallouts, intensified hair colour and be frizz and static-free

I've dug up some recent photos of me and my hair that I was thinking of sharing as an OOTD thing but hey, they're somewhat relevant for this post so here we go:

Dead-straight hair as a result of using my ghd. It works a little too well!

Yesstyle snood scarf, coat from China, Supre knit, Levi's jeans, Kate Spade NY bag, S5 case from eBay, Michael Kors watch, Oroton umbrella


Shampoo and conditioner

  • Alchemy Ylang Ylang Colour Care Shampoo for Colour Treated Hair*
  • Davroe Colour Senses Conditioner*

I had been using the Davroe Colour Senses shampoo but I ran out of that faster than the conditioner (isn't it usually the other way around for people?) because I brought it with me to my overseas trip last December and didn't bother bringing conditioner. Conditioning my hair isn't a crucial step for me so I was fine without it while I was away from home. I find that the scent of the Alchemy shampoo is a little overpowering however I still like to use it because it cleans my hair well and is recommend for colour treated hair like mine. I prefer the scent of he Davroe conditioner so I guess by using this conditioner after washing my hair with Alchemy, it sort of masks that overpowering scent. Although they're not from the same brand, I feel that they work well together because of their ingredients (paraben and sulfate free) and their uses to help enhance coloured hair and vibrance.


Treatments/serums/hair masks

  • Essential Nuance Airy Ultra Honey Hair Mask
  • Davroe Ends Repair Leave-in Treatment*
  • Dove Nourishing Oil Care Nutri-Oil Serum*

The Essential hair mask is my latest hair product purchase which I bought off Sasa a couple of weeks ago. It's a Japanese product that has been highly raved about online and these positive reviews have made me want to try it out so badly. Verdict? I love it! The product making my hair silky-smooth seems like an understatement because it feels even smoother than silk (if that's even possible). It works better than any ordinary hair conditioner in my opinion, and it smells wonderful. The scent straight from the jar may be a bit overpowering but once a golf ball-sized amount is used and rinsed out of your hair, it leaves a light, pleasant scent. People with dry/damaged hair can really benefit from this hair mask as it restores it and makes it feel healthy again. I don't know how it does it! This is definitely a product that I want to purchase over and over again.

Two years later and I'm still using the Dove Nourishing Oil serum which I reviewed *here* (sorry all of the pictures are gone) and also pairing it with the Davroe Ends Repair Leave-in Treatment specifically for my ends to hopefully reduce or prevent split ends. So far so good - a month and a half since my last haircut and there are still no split ends.


Spritz/sprays

  • Davroe Colour Senses Daily Protect Spray*
  • MUK Hot Muk Thermal Protector*
  • John Frieda Frizz-Ease 100% Shine Glossing Mist
  • Les Stafford Poker Straight Dry Shampoo for Oily Roots

The Davroe Colour Protect spray is used to help protect and extend the life of coloured hair while adding shine and colour-fade protection. Although it's a 'daily' spray, I haven't been using it daily but I do use it at least a few times a week to give my hair some protection and refreshing scent. I like how it can be used on damp or dry hair. Another spray that I use a few times a week is the John Frieda Frizz-Ease Glossing mist to help smooth flyaways and reduce frizz which is one of my hair problems. It's very lightweight, so lightweight that it doesn't even feel like it does anything for my hair but still manages to make my hair stay together without having to use hair sprays that make my hair all hard. I absolutely love the scent of this product - it's a worthy purchase.

Between washes I occasionally use this Les Stafford dry shampoo for my oily roots. I received this in a Priceline goodie bag and I'm not much of a dry shampoo user however I do prefer this over the Batiste one that I used to have because it seems to work better and I prefer this scent.

Whenever I use a straightener or curling iron I use this MUK Thermal Protector spray beforehand. I like the apple-like scent and it seems to be able to control my frizz and static hair quite well.

---

I'm content with my current hair routine and products but I am always willing to try new ones in case I discover something that will change my life forever! Okay, that's pretty dramatic but you know what I mean, right? There are some things out there that make you ask yourself, 'where has this been all my life?!'


New VO5 range*

  • VO5 Smoothly Does It Frizz Free Creme
  • VO5 Give Me Texture Shampoo
  • VO5 Give Me Texture Conditioner
  • VO5 Give me Texture Tousled Style Spray
 
I have used VO5 products in the past and now I've been introduced to their new range with mostly pink packaging (which is so me) and promises to 'give me texture'. Did these products manage to do that? Yes, they certainly did! I have thin hair strands but my hair as a whole is not thick nor thin (also, I don't thin-out my hair) however I had always been lacking texture and volume as my straight hair tends to just sit flat on my head and doesn't do much for me. The spray in particular really helps to add definition to my hair and the bottle states that it is particularly great for layered hair, which is what my currently hair style is. I'm a big fan of the packaging and also the fact that they already have heat defence so that you can style your hair right after washing and not have to worry about heat protection sprays/creams. This is particularly convenient if you are short for time or if you need those extra minutes to get ready :)

I've noticed that VO5 have had some of the best-smelling scents for hair products and with this range, they've introduced a 'fabulous new fragrance'. It's pleasant but I wish they had stuck with their previous one/s because personally I find this new scent to be too musky for my liking . You or others may like it though, and after all it did get the nod!

So I guess this VO5 range does include products that have made me wonder where they have been all my life, especially the frizz free creme and tousled style spray. I can use ordinary shampoos and conditioners like the VO5 ones or my current Davroe and Alchemy ones but when it comes to treatments/sprays/serums etc, ones that work specifically for my hair type and style are the ones that I benefit from the most. Plus I love it when I find products that do what I need them to do because it makes things a whole lot easier.

Questjen for you:

Which hair product is your holy grail?

For me, it's tough picking one but I'll have to say my ghd! Even if my hair is super messy and getting oily, straightening my hair gives me so much confidence :) Below is a pic that I took when my limited edition set was brand new. But it all still works and looks as good as new!

The 'Alfa Romeo' of hair stylers. Completely agree.




Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, nor am I affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this post. Products were purchased by me unless marked with a * which have been provided for consideration, with no obligation to to share or review. All opinions stated by me are 100% honest with no bias. See more at http://www.questjen.com/p/disclaimer.html for full disclaimer. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

f(x) 'Red Light' MV Inspired Look - Krystal

Hey, I love it when my favourite K-pop groups make a comeback, especially girl groups because I always look forward to seeing their concept for their 'teaser' photos and music video, and to possibly get some inspiration from those. Think of these concepts as 'cosplay' with all the different hair colours and costumes but not based on any particular character and are created by their stylists. f(x) recently came back with their 'Red Light' title track and album and their style is not overly cute nor sexy (the two concepts that many girl groups aim for these days) but instead consists of dark makeup and camo-style outfits. From seeing f(x)'s teaser photos and music video, I was immediately inspired to create one of their looks on myself and share on my blog for fun. Here's how it went:
 
 
I decided to base my look on f(Krystal) because out of all the members, hers looked the most dramatic and when it comes to inspired looks like these, the more dramatic the better! And she dyed her hair platinum blonde and then I remembered I had a blonde wig (which I rarely use) and was perfect for this :D
 
Here are more shots of Krystal from the MV:



She wore a headpiece and a crown
 
The thing that really captured my attention from the look was the one black, smokey eye and the other almost completely bare with a coloured contact lens on. This was pretty consistent with all of the members however I felt that Krystal stood out the most with her super dangle-y headpiece and ice-like crown/headband (where would I get one of those?!)
 
As I say for all of my inspired looks, my intention is not to create a replica or tutorial on how to get this look - this is just my own interpretation where I have used items that I already had, to look as close as possible to the items worn by Krystal.
 
A tick for the blonde wig, a tick for an army-green jacket but with the headpiece... that was where I had some issues. Considering that I never wear headpieces or anything on my head (if you see me with a headband a la cat ears, it means I'm wearing them for a special occasion), I wasn't thinking about buying one and thought I could just wrap some gold chains around my head... but that didn't work. 
 
I had a browse online and found this one and thought it was perfect but now it's sold out!!! And it's called 'Crystal' like Krystal too, omg. I settled for the cheapest one I could find in the store ($4, online it's still full price) to wear and draped gold chains over it. Unfortunately I only had two gold chains and I didn't have crosses but I had butterflies:

Accessories sorted!

These are the products (minus tools such as brushes) that I used to achieve the inspired look:


FACE:
ELES Age Defying BB Cream 30*
Tony Moly Crystal Light Gold Beam
Rimmel Stay Matte Dual Action Concealer 
Ardell Brow Sculpting Gel

EYES:
GEO Angel Blue Lenses
Australis Eyeshadow Primer
ELES Signature Shadow Quad in Minimalist*
ELES Mineral Matte Shadow in Sand*
Australis Eye Pencil in Blackest Black
Rimmel Soft Kohl Eye Liner Pencil in 071 Pure White
Maybelline HyperSharp Liner
Benefit They're Real! Push-Up Liner (still trialling for review purposes)*
Maybelline The Falsies Waterproof Mascara
Dolly Wink Eyelash Glue
Taiwan Bottom Lashes in 011

LIPS:
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in 625 Iced Amethyst
Couleur Caramel Rouge a Levres Lipstick in 119*


I used the lightest shade of BB Cream that I had to correspond with Krystal's pale complexion and used concealer for extra coverage. I highlighted my nose bridge, brow bone, cheek bones and cupid's bow. For my brows, I kept them a natural brown like Krystal's and used my light brown brow gel to fill and lighten them up a bit. I couldn't see any blush on Krystal's cheeks so I didn't apply any.

Krystal's contact lens is a blue-green colour with no limbal ring (the black around a circle lens to give a dolly look) however I didn't have any other lenses that were blue so I used my GEO Angel Blue ones. This gave my eye a more doe-eyed look compared to Krystal's.


Left eye (no lens):

I applied eyeshadow primer all over my lid and applied black matte eyeshadow right up to the groove of my eye socket. I also applied the eyeshadow to my bottom lash line. I then used the brown matte eyeshadow and placed it right above the black eyeshadow and directly under the black used on the bottom lash line. I blended these together to create a smokey look and minimise any harsh lines. I winged my eyeliner, curled my lashes and applied a few coats of mascara. I used bottom lashes (half) that had a similar thick-thin style.

Right eye (lens):

Again, eyeshadow primer went on first and then a sand-coloured matte eyeshadow all over my eyelid and bottom lash line. Using my liquid eyeliner, I drew a thin line on top of the lashes and applied white eyeliner on my waterline. I finished it off with curling my lashes and applying mascara to the top and bottom lashes.

It all sounds pretty straight forward but it took me a few tries to get the smokey eye right and the way I wanted it to be. Perhaps it's because I hadn't done one in such a long time. Anyway I'm glad I only needed to do it on one eye or else it would've taken me even longer!

And finally to the lips:

It's so weird seeing the blonde against the bottom half of my face... doesn't even look like me o_o

I made my top lip look thinner than usual and my bottom lip slightly thicker (not like it needed to be any more thick haha). Krystal's got a dark ombre lip going on with purple matte lip products. I've only got one purple matte lipstick and it happens to be my darkest one, so I used it for the centre of my lips. The outer lipstick is a lighter purple and has a creamy consistency, hence the glossiness. I could have went for fully-matte lips but I didn't want to risk drying out my lips, plus I prefer smooth, glossy lips!

So there we go, the finished look where I had a few hiccups along the way with the accessorising and makeup application but overall I'm pleased with how it turned out :)

In the end I even added a small 'freckle' near the side of my nose, Krystal-style!

Oh and here's the full MV if you're keen to see the rest of the girls' looks and/or listen to their latest track:



Questjen for you:

Whose look did you like the best in the Red Light MV?

If you don't know their names, you can identify them by their hair colours/styles

I could say good things about each look and although I was most inspired by Krystal's, I was fangirling the most over Sulli! I wanted to recreate her look too but I didn't have brown lenses or the right accessories~


She's the youngest member of f(x) and she's all grown up looking more and more stunning

I hope to do more of these inspired looks in the near future and if there are any requests, feel free to shoot them my way!




Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, nor am I affiliated with any of the companies mentioned. Products marked with a * had been provided for consideration.

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