[XMAS BUFFET] Feast in Merriment @ Element, Amara Singapore

Hello everyone!

Let’s begin this post with a Christmas song sing-along! I know, why don’t we sing Deck The Halls, a crowd favourite at any Christmas party for sure?

♪ Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la 
♪ Tis the season to be jolly FATTY
Fa la la la la, la la la la ♪

Throw away your skinny jeans and belts because with all the Christmas-themed buffets in town, stretch pants are back in fashion once again! With so many festive buffets to choose from but a limited calorie budget to work with, hopefully this write-up on the Yuletide dinner and lunch buffet that’s set to launch on the eve of Christmas at Element (courtesy of Amara Singapore) would help you decide if it’s worthwhile to expand your waistline for. That is, unless you belong to the ‘I-can-eat-as-much-as-I-want-and-I-will-still-be-skinny’ group.

In which case, I hate you.

—🎄 Appetisers 🎄—

Cognac Lobster Bisque

Cognac Lobster Bisque

In the pot, this may look like an ordinary lobster bisque to you but it actually includes an ingredient which gives it an extra zing of flavour – Cognac. Added last to the bisque for a stronger kick, the smoothness and silky richness of the Cognac marries well with the sweetness and creaminess of the soup. Perhaps to cater to children and non-drinkers at the buffet, only a soupçon of Cognac was added so the slight bitter and tangy aftertaste that I got from the lobster bisque didn’t occur to me that it was Cognac. In fact, I had thought it was the spiciness from pepper because the distinctive bold flavour of Cognac just wasn’t picked up by my taste bud! Ironically, Fiona, who isn’t a fan of alcohol, could tell in one sip that there was liquor in the bisque 🤷 But it wasn’t too overpowering so she cleaned the bowl in no time!

Personally, I did not really like the texture of the lobster bisque as it was a little too watered-down for my liking and I prefer it to be creamier and heartier. Still, this is a rare find at any buffet and a must-try if you are a crustacean lover like me!

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa (reviewed here)

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa (reviewed here)

One of my favourite dishes at Element makes an appearance again this Christmas! If you’ve not read my verdict on the tuna tataki on my previous post, I urge you to do so now for a more detailed review! But in summary, the cool, softly chewy texture of the Tataki was what does it for me and this was also probably why it was snapped up so quickly at the media tasting event 😍

Editor’s note: Most of them was taken away by you, my dear.

Smoked Duck, Salami and Prosciutto

Smoked Duck, Salami and Prosciutto

Honey Baked Butter Squash with Honey Mustard and Pumpkin Seed

Honey Baked Butter Squash with Honey Mustard and Pumpkin Seed

Diced to bite-sized pieces, the butternut squash felt squishy in the mouth, almost like the texture of potato but softer, and has a lightly sweet and nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin (although many would argue that they’re basically the same considering that they are used interchangeably in certain countries) on its own. The pumpkin seeds give it an added crunch while the honey mustard lends a slightly zestier and more savoury edge. This is definitely the dish to go for if you intend to start the buffet on a healthier note. But being someone who is huge on more piquant flavours, this was rather bland on my palate.

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

A fine example of a simple yet elegant pairing that cannot go wrong, this dish features shredded crab meat mixed with a mayonnaise base and topped with a mountain of prawns. The prawns, which are deshelled for fuss-free eating, have such irresistibly crunchy and firm texture that I could not help but gobble up at least 15 pieces of them in one sitting. No doubt this is going to be a favourite among children and adults alike at the buffet table!

Marinated Duck Rilette with Red Wine, Dried Fruits and Gherkin Salsa

Marinated Duck Rilette with Red Wine, Dried Fruits and Gherkin Salsa

Believe it or not, the duck rillette took me some courage to overcome my apprehension of trying it. Apart from the fact that I had never eaten meat prepared Rillette-style (a cooking method originated from France 🇫🇷) before, it honestly wasn’t the most appealing dish on the buffet table. But I recalled tasting the tuna tataki for the first time and instantly falling head over heels for it. Thinking that this would turn out the same way, I took the plunge and scooped some of the duck rillette along with the sauce onto my plate.

Voilà! Fortune favours the brave, perhaps. The duck rillette (or rillettes de canard, as the French calls it) came across as a breath of fresh air. Soft and smooth in texture, it was akin to the texture of a pastry or pâté. By itself, the meat was rather salty (and in Fiona’s words, tasted like “mushy canned food”) so pairing it with the red wine sauce – which resembled and tasted delightful like cranberry jam – would be highly recommended as the sweetness of the sauce evens it out. This would also go perfectly with bread!

—🎄 Main Course🎄—

Turkey Buah Keluak

Turkey Buah Keluak

What’s Christmas in Singapore without roast turkey smeared with the familiar buah keluak (yes, it isn’t charred although it looks like it)? From cempadak creme brûlée to pandan pudding, it seems like we can always count on Element to come up with the most innovative fusion food ideas regardless of the occasion. And in case you didn’t know, buah keluak (or pangium edule, Malay for “the fruit which nauseates” 🤨) is dubbed the black truffle of the East as it is considered an acquired taste. Used mainly in Malay, Indonesian and Peranakan cooking, these seeds are obtained from their poisonous fruit and are then made safe for consumption by fermentation.

The presence of the buah keluak lends a bitter and earthy taste to the turkey, which would otherwise be terribly bland and dry like chicken breast meat (but twice as bad). According to the chef, this took three days to prepare which, unless the turkey is served to a large group of people who love jaw-tiringly chewy meat, isn’t worth the effort (and slaughter). That said, I truly appreciate the creativity and ingenuity presented in this dish and would recommend this to homesick non-Asians who don’t mind a little South East-Asian twist.

Stir-fried Moreton Bay Bug with Salted Egg

Stir-fried Moreton Bay Bug with Salted Egg

Who would have thought a foreign-sounding crustacean could be localised into a dish that would fit my palate to an absolute T? The creaminess of the salted egg sauce coupled with the firmness and lightly crispiness of the meat was a dream-come-true.  Unlike typical salted egg dishes that would bring you to a state of surfeit (i.e. “gelat“) after a few mouthfuls, this just kept me asking for more. I figured it was probably due to it being infused with some spice during preparation.

Steamed Garoupa with Lime Beurre Blanc topped with Tomato Vierge

Steamed Garoupa with Lime Beurre Blanc topped with Tomato Vierge

Roasted Chicken with Meat Floss

Roasted Chicken with Meat Floss

Tajima Wagyu Beef with Foie Gras, Truffle Mashed Potato and Port Jus

Tajima Wagyu Beef with Foie Gras, Truffle Mashed Potato and Port Jus

The addition of the foie gras (those whitish slabs but in very limited quantity) was a splendid touch as it helped to bring out the flavour of the wagyu beef even more. However, probably to cater to the masses at the buffet, the meat was generally cooked to medium which made it somewhat tough and chewy and thereby cheapen the quality of the meat. I feel that this would be better suited at the live station so patrons can request for their steak to be cooked to their preferred doneness (which in my case, would be rare). Furthermore, as an avid lover of wagyu beef, it also kinda annoyed me that the beautiful marbling of the wagyu beef was wholly concealed by the charring and port jus sauce 😫 Where’s the justice for the poor wagyu cattle that died for this?

— 🎄 Desserts🎄—

Cempedak Creme Brûlée

Cempedak Creme Brûlée

The Cempedak Creme Brûlée is like the pinnacle of the Christmas tree as it is, without a doubt, the ⭐ of the dessert section (and as a result of that, effectively stealing the thunder from the log cakes at a Christmas-theme buffet 🤣). Find out why this is the best dessert in my tummy’s opinion on my previous review here.

Macarons (Gingerbread Spices / Coconut / Blueberry + Salted Caramel) - 6 pcs/pack at S$16+ or 10 pcs/pack at S$25+

Macarons (Gingerbread Spices [pink] / Coconut [white – highly recommended] / Blueberry + Salted Caramel [blue – highly recommended]) – 6 pcs/pack at S$16+ or 10 pcs/pack at S$25+

Ho, ho, ho! Spot me on the Christmas log cakes!

Ho, ho, ho! Spot me on the Christmas log cakes!

Fancy gifting your loved ones a log cake to commemorate the season of giving? Element also offers traditional log cakes in three tantalising flavours to suit different tastes. They are available for order at the restaurant.

Amara's Signature Cempadak Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$65+)

Amara’s Signature Cempedak Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$65+)

Out of all the log cakes that were brought out, the Cempedak Yule Log Cake was the first to be reduced to nothing which pretty much attests to the popularity of the cempedak in Element’s dessert line-up. The log cake had a fluffy texture with a very robust cempedak flavour that was fragrant and yet not too overpowering at the same time. Each bite of the cake melted in my mouth before I realised what was happening.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+)

Dark Chocolate Cherry Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+)

 

Pink Champagne Lychee Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+) - this is alcoholic

Pink Champagne Lychee Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+) – this is alcoholic

Christmas is the time to spend with your family and loved ones, and what better way to do so than to indulge in some cempedak goodness (and many other crowd favourites) at Element? If you’re interested to dine at Element, do make your reservations in advance to avoid being a sad 🐼!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Element at Amara Singapore · 165 Tanjong Pagar Road Singapore 088539 · Tel: 6879 2607 · Nearest MRT station: Tanjong Pagar (EW15) · Click here for more information
Prices and time for Christmas Eve/Christmas Buffet Lunch and Dinner as above

Prices and time for Christmas Eve/Christmas Buffet Lunch and Dinner as above 

The writer is a glutton who occasionally allows his appetite free rein and steals food from Fiona’s plate. Among some of his favourite food are a good steak and meaty crabs doused in chili sauce. Read more posts by Alphonsus here.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized food updates!

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REVIEW: shu uemura × Super Mario Bros. – Rouge Unlimited in RD187 & PK 375, Invincible Superstar Premium Curler & Dual Stamp-Me Liner

Hello everyone!

A few days ago, I posted my review on the Peach’s Eye & Cheek palette and as promised, this second part will see me blabbering on about the rest of the items I’ve gotten from this collection. Read on to find out how two shades of the lipsticks, the eyeliner and eyelash curler from the Super Mario Bros. collaboration fare in my book!

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros (PART II)

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros (PART II)

click here to read my review on the shu uemura × Super Mario Bros PEACH’S EYE & CHEEK PALETTE

#1 Dual Stamp-Me Liner

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Dual Stamp-Me Liner (US$34 / S$45)

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Dual Stamp-Me Liner (US$34 / S$45)

Clear indication on the body of the pen for easy location of the stamp end

Clear indication on the body of the pen for easy location of the stamp end

Super Star motif on the inside of the box

Super Star motif on the inside of the box

It's not stated on the website, but I suppose "Hidden Star" is the name of the shade

It’s not stated on the website, but I suppose “Hidden Star” is the name of the shade

The felt tip on the liquid eyeliner end

The felt tip on the liquid eyeliner end

See the eyeliner in action

See the eyeliner in action

Thick-winged eyeliner

Thick-winged eyeliner

Classic eyeliner flick

Classic eyeliner flick

Available only in one shade (a jet black with pinpricks of multicoloured glitter), the dual-ended eyeliner offers a stamp on one side and a felt-tip liquid eyeliner on the other for regular use. For clarity, I’ll talk about the latter first.

Unlike most eyeliners, this wasn’t love at first application. For a start, it skipped and dragged slightly on my lid, and while it is great that the felt-tip has a firm texture for a more controlled application, it felt somewhat scratchy. The ink somehow does not flow consistently and bleeds quite terribly on every first use so I have to test the eyeliner on the back of my hand before applying it to the lids every time. Although those problems would have been curtailed on subsequent uses (within the same application), some pressure still has to be exerted upon the applicator – which I try to avoid because it pricks – for a more pigmented finish.

The eyeliner didn’t budge an inch on my upper lid after eight hours of wear but it smudged on my lower lid (partly because I was watching a comedy and I tear up easily when I laugh 😂) and that was even with a layer of eye shadow beneath it to supposedly prevent it from running. I tried to smudge it further with my finger to balance out the unintentional smokey eyes but it stubbornly stays put!

But looking past these flaws, its coverage is remarkably opaque for a liquid eyeliner. Apart from that, it is waterproof, dries down moderately fast with excellent staying power. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you would be a whiz with creating an intense cat eye and other graphic looks!

The pattern on the stamp end

The pattern on the stamp end

Super Star stamp on the temple

Super Star stamp on the temple

Super Star stamp on the cheekbone

Super Star stamp on the cheekbone

If your attempts to draw perfect stars on your face have always ended in failure, listen up! You can now achieve them in just one simple step with the Super Star stamp!

Truth be told, the stamp feature initially felt like a gimmicky tactic to market the eyeliner so I was half-expecting a blotchy mess from it. But, boy oh boy, was I blown away by the precision and pigmentation it delivers in a single punch! Not only did it hold up to my longwear tests (by rubbing and showering with it), it had very minimal bleeding on my sandpaper-rough face too which contributed to crispness of the stars’ corners. The stamp is fairly easy to use and does not require much pressure to get a clean and even impression (plus pressing the stamp down too hard would also cause the rim to leave an imprint). The ink stays all day without distorting the shape and, on top of that, removes effortlessly with my Sephora cleansing wipe.

Granted, the idea of makeup stamps may not have been pioneered by shu uemura (see Milk) but I’ve not seen any with a hollow middle like this one which gives users the liberty to fill the stars with whatever colour they want for a more rockstar appeal à la Kat Von D 😝 That said, if only there were more designs and colours to choose from! A sparkle or snowflake imprint would have been so apt for the festive season, don’t you agree?

Stamp and eyeliner (two strokes to show continuity of ink flow) swatches. The first pass of the eyeliner is directly below the star. Notice how it bleeds more than the one next to it?

Stamp and eyeliner (two strokes to show continuity of ink flow) swatches. The first pass of the eyeliner is directly below the star. Notice how it bleeds more than the one next to it?

Compare finish and pigmentation with eyeliners of other brands (pardon the redness of my wrist caused by rubbing my lipstick swatches off too vigorously)

Compare finish and pigmentation with eyeliners of other brands (pardon the redness of my wrist caused by rubbing my lipstick swatches off too vigorously 😝)

The line-up of lipsticks in this collection includes five popular shades from the Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte series (PK 375, PK 376, RD 187, BG 954 & OR 570) and two limited edition Sheer Shine shades (Stage Cleared & Saved Peach) in translucent dark fuchsia plastic casing housed in light pink box graced by an enlarged pixel art of Princess Peach. The packaging in this collection is to die for but the inner video game nerd in me is totally geeking out over the various 8-bit Super Mario graphics plastered all over the (all-pink 😍) lipsticks in particular. Oh, would ya just look at that?

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte (S$38)

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte (S$38)

Super Mario motif on the inside of the box

Super Mario motif on the inside of the box

The lipstick packaging

The lipstick packaging

Furthermore, the lipsticks come largely in my favourite finish 😁 In my first shu uemura Rouge Unlimited review, I had declared my desire to try their Supreme Mattes and this collection just about provides the opportunity to do so! To cut a long story short, I loved the finish so much that I actually hit the store to purchase another shade despite having sent me one as a PR sample already.

Swatches of 4 out of 5 Supreme Mattes (BG954 not pictured) from this collection

Swatches of 4 out of 5 Supreme Mattes (BG954 not pictured) from this collection

#2 Rouge Unlimited in RD 187

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in RD 187

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in RD 187

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in RD 187

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in RD 187

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in RD 187

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in RD 187

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in RD 187

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in RD 187

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in RD 187

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in RD 187

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in RD 187

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in RD 187

RD 187 is a vivid red with blue undertones and has a “superb matte effect” which shu uemura attributes to their careful selection of matte powders. This lipstick applies with some slip and has the ability to smooth out fine lines without stripping away the moisture so exfoliating prior to application wouldn’t be absolutely necessary. The colour goes on evenly without tug and infuses the lips with fullness and sensuality in spite of the minimal shine.

Lightweight with a comfortable texture, it has a medium coverage but is buildable to a full opacity. It stays put throughout the day where unctuous and heavy food and drinks are not involved and fades evenly when they are without the tell-tale ring of colour around the lip line. Also, it is neither drying nor hydrating.

Swatch comparison for RD 187 with reds from other brands

Swatch comparison for RD 187 with reds from other brands

#3 Rouge Unlimited in PK 375

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in PK 375

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in PK 375

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in PK 375

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in PK 375

(single swatch)

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in PK 375

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in PK 375

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in PK 375

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in PK 375

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in PK 375

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in PK 375

PK 375 is a muted plum with pink undertones. Non-glossy, it envelops the lips in a soft matte colour which applies with some tug. This shade gives a medium coverage but is, once again, buildable to a full without weighing down the lips. It has a reasonable wear time (about the same duration as RD 187) and most of it managed to last through the Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Burger I had for dinner the other day, albeit with some of it settling visibly into my lip natural crevices.

As compared to RD 187, this actually has a much drier consistency with a slightly powdery texture which could explain its tendency to emphasise any signs of dryness and imperfection. Nevertheless, this self-purchased lipstick still wears rather comfortably (the texture isn’t bothersome) and is overall neither drying nor hydrating.

Swatch comparison for PK 375 with rosy pinks from other brands

Swatch comparison for PK 375 with rosy pinks from other brands

#4 Invisible Superstar Premium Curler

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Invincible Superstar Premium Curler (S$30)

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Invincible Superstar Premium Curler (S$30)

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Invincible Superstar Premium Curler

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Invincible Superstar Premium Curler

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Invincible Superstar Premium Curler

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Invincible Superstar Premium Curler

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Invincible Superstar Premium Curler

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Invincible Superstar Premium Curler

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Invincible Superstar Premium Curler

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Invincible Superstar Premium Curler

Super Star motif on the inside of the box

Super Star motif on the inside of the box

Putting the Invincible Superstar Premium Curler to the test

Putting the Invincible Superstar Premium Curler to the test

The curler managed to capture most, if not all, of my upper lashes

The curler managed to capture most, if not all, of my upper lashes

Before and after using the Invincible Superstar Premium Curler + mascara (side view)

Before and after using the Invincible Superstar Premium Curler + mascara (side view)

Before and after using the Invincible Superstar Premium Curler + mascara (front view)

Before and after using the Invincible Superstar Premium Curler + mascara (front view)

Touted as the Holy Grail of eyelash curlers, the critically acclaimed shu uemura eyelash curler takes on a special appearance for this collection as it gets an all-gold treatment with a polished Super Star charm on a detachable gold beaded chain. For the uninformed, the “uniquely curved” eyepiece is designed to be universally fitting on most eye shapes while the shape of the silicone pad gives an elongated sweeping curl. In addition, the durable hinge at the center of the curler “regulates the amount of pressure applied to the lashes which ensures safety”. Unlike the eyelash curler in shu uemura’s regular line, this does not include a replacement pad (and neither does the brand sell them separately) so despite being priced the same, the limited edition is essentially marginally more expensive without it. But hey, what’s a few dollars more for a rare packaging like this?

Having already owned a shu uemura eyelash curler from the Karl Lagerfeld collaboration years ago, I have a set of expectations in mind and this works just as well as the one before – or even better. It grabs every strand of my lashes (including the hard-to-reach ones on the inner and outer corners of my eye) without pinching despite having problematic hooded eyes. Suitable for beginners, it doesn’t require much effort to give the lashes a natural curl which held up for more than an hour bare (but could be shorter with mascara on). For this, I could actually feel the impact of the curler on my lashes even without squeezing it much. The sharp edges of it left a small impression on both corners of my lid but they fortunately went away after some time. However, I still find the eyelash curler slightly too big for my eye although that’s certainly not enough a reason to stop me from using this amazing tool.

Generally, the products in this collection – especially the lipsticks – perform up to par even though prices are steeper than usual. It’s a worthy expense if you like Super Mario Bros or cute, limited-edition packaging. Just don’t get the eye and cheek palette.

Without a doubt, shu uemura stole the show with this totally rad throwback collection and judging from the overwhelming response it gets everywhere (most of it are sold out in the U.S. as well as at Tangs and Sephora online), I guess the public agrees too!

Wearing every shu uemura × Super Mario Bros product I have! Which side do you prefer?

Wearing every shu uemura × Super Mario Bros product I have! Which side do you prefer?

What are you favourite products from the shu uemura × Super Mario Bros. collection? Did you get anything? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or simply take a poll!

 

Thanks for reading!

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros is now available on the Sephora Singapore (online), at TANGS and shu uemura boutiques islandwide.

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[SHOUT-OUT] Shopee × Seoul Shop Pop-Up Store @ Suntec City

Hello everyone!

The Prudential Marina Bay Carnival opens tomorrow and those who’ve planned to go there might be wondering what to do before the doors open at 4 pm. Well, perhaps you could consider adding Suntec City to your afternoon itinerary since it’s just one stop away from Bayfront MRT and has a free shuttle service to the carnival. Most importantly, if you’re into all things Korean, there’s something new there to keep you occupied for at least an hour!

From now till 17 December 2017 (that’s two days from now), get your Korean fix without leaving Singapore! In partnership with Shopee, Seoul Shop (the same management behind I’M STARTICE) has set up a pop-up store at Suntec City (West-North Link) that provides a unique (believe me on this) and fuss-free shopping experience!

Expect an array of products ranging from beauty, accessories to household essentials flown in from South Korea at the store which will make great Christmas gifts! For the neat freaks, I spotted some nice 2018 planners on the shelves too 😆

The aisle

The aisle

Cutesy stationery found here!

Cutesy stationery found here!

If you're a fan of LINE Friends, this is why you should go to the pop-up store!

If you’re a fan of LINE Friends, this is why you should go to the pop-up store!

Handheld LINE Friends fans (if you didn't manage to score one from McDonald's)

Handheld LINE Friends fans (if you didn’t manage to score one from McDonald’s)

Isn't this the cutest tea infuser you've ever seen?!

Isn’t this the cutest tea infuser you’ve ever seen?!

Iceberg-inspired cup cover and infuser! Gwiyo

Iceberg-inspired cup cover and infuser! Gwiyo 😍

Writing pads!

Writing pads!

A durian-looking humidifier? Not expensive at all - only S$13.41 (before discount)!

A durian-looking humidifier? Not expensive at all – only S$13.41 (before discount)!

Wigs! Quite a number of styles available!

Wigs! Quite a number of styles available!

Vanity mirror for you to see if the wig looks nice on you!

Vanity mirror for you to see if the wig looks nice on you!

I guess.. these are hair dyes? Buy one get one free!

I guess.. these are hair dyes? Buy one get one free!

Eye shadow palettes

Eye shadow palettes

Lipsticks! Don't expect insane pigmentation though because Koreans like barely-there makeup looks!

Lipsticks! Don’t expect insane pigmentation though because Koreans like barely-there makeup looks!

But how is this little retail space different from the surfeit of pop-up stores out there? For one, a customer service counter takes the place of the cashier because the shop adopts a contactless payment system whereby only credit cards are accepted through the Shopee app. In other words, all purchases at the pop-up store are made through @hiseoul.sg on the Shopee app so you don’t have to tote around your bulky wallet! Hence, don’t be deceived by the lack of customers waiting in line at the counter (as given the Singaporean mentality, when a shop has short or no queue, it is presumably not good, right?) because checkout queues are practically nonexistent at the pop-up shop!

That said, do arm yourselves with the app already downloaded on your phone to speed up the transaction process (and save your mobile data). Once you have the app installed, register for an account with your mobile number, add a credit card via Account Settings and you are good to go! In the meantime, you can browse the catalogue to get a better sense of what may be available at the pop-up shop. Due to space constraints, only a small selection of items (from the catalogue) is sold at the pop-up shop so it is advisable that you drop by before you make any order on the app.

To add new credit card, go to settings (gear icon on top left) on your profile page

To add new credit card, go to settings (gear icon on top left) on your profile page

Tap on 'Bank Accounts/Cards'

Tap on ‘Bank Accounts/Cards’

Then, tap on 'Add New Credit Card/Debit Card'

Then, tap on ‘Add New Credit Card/Debit Card’

What’s more, buying through the app entitles you to a 15% off your total bill with the code “HISESEOUL“! If your Korean sheet mask supplies are running low, I suggest you take this opportunity to stock them up! Don’t say I bo jio worz 🤭 Prices reflected on the shelves are before the discount is applied!

When it comes to mask packaging, Korea wins hands-down!

When it comes to mask packaging, Korea wins hands-down!

I spy the Americano and Latte Mask on the bottom right. Like, what?!

I spy the Americano and Latte Mask on the bottom right. Like, what?!

More masks! The ones on the bottom row are mask for your feet! Bought one box and it friggin' works!

More masks! The ones on the bottom row are mask for your feet! Bought one box and it friggin’ works!

Buy this Peel Off mask and film down your reaction XD #waystogoviral

Buy this Peel Off mask and film down your reaction XD #waystogoviral

There will be a live makeup demonstration by native Korean makeup artist Jinnie Lee on Saturday and Sunday (16/12, 17/12) at 1-2 pm and 6-7 pm so be sure to stick around if you’re heading to the pop-up store this weekend! Psst.. I heard there will also flash deals up for grabs over the weekend! You won’t wanna miss them 🤤

Can’t make it for the event or want something on mobile but is not available at the store? If you don’t mind the wait, go ahead and place your order with ease because Shopee is currently offering FREE local shipping on top of the 15% discount that is extended to orders made through the app! Simply apply the same code “HISESEOUL” at checkout to enjoy the offer! But remember, all good things must come to an end – this irresistible promotion sadly runs right up until this Sunday, 17 December 2017. The good news, though, is that you get to keep the Shopee coins (100 Shopee Coins = $1 discount) you earned from your Seoul Store order for three months!

Some products available on the app

Some products available on the app

That’s not all! Shopping at the pop-up store comes with an extra treat – a goodie bag! But do act fast because the goodie bags are available while stock lasts on a first-come-first-serve basis and are limited to one redemption per person. Psst.. get another friend to make the payment of half your order to fully utilise this offer 😜

Mmm, what else? Oh yes, a grand draw! Who can say no to contests? Stand a chance to win a pair of tickets to Seoul by following @hiseoul.sg on Shopee. And as an added bonus for your support, you get to double your chances of winning with any purchase on @hiseoul.sg from 11 to 17 December too! Easy, right?

Look for 'Seoul Shop' in the search bar

Look for ‘Seoul Shop’ in the search bar

Hit the 'Follow' button!

Hit the ‘Follow’ button!

So, wait no further and start Shopee-ing now! 😁 Who knows? You could be the lucky one jetting off to Seoul next year!

Shopee × Seoul Shop Pop-Up Store · 11 – 17 December 2017 · Suntec City West-North Link 1-2 (Outside Cotton On) · 3E Temasek Boulevard Singapore 038984 · Operating hours: 11.00 am to 9.00 pm · Nearest MRT stations: Esplanade (CC3) / Promenade (CC4/DT15) / City Hall (NS25/EW13) · More information here
This post is brought to you by Seoul Shop.

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REVIEW: shu uemura × Super Mario Bros. – Peach’s Eye & Cheek Palette

Hello everyone!

Before the internet became a household fixture, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was a huge phenomenon which provided hours of enjoyment for children cooped up in the house all day (like myself). Through the NES, users were introduced to a whole new world of video games. The “Jump Man” in Donkey Kong in particular received so much attention that it was eventually made into its own game called Super Mario Bros. Today, the character is undeniably one of the things that is synonymous with the ’90s.

This year, the Italian plumber – who recently turns 32 – gets his big break in the beauty world when he was invited to collaborate on a holiday makeup collection by shu uemura. Released on 1 October in the U.S., this 25-piece Super Mario Bros-themed collection offers lipsticks, palettes, cushion cases, cleansing oil and many others presented in packaging that will hit you gamer girls right in the childhood.

Having grown up with Super Mario Bros, saying that I was excited for this launch would be an understatement. I was literally counting down the days until this collection finally makes its appearance at the local shu uemura counters on 15 November!

But sounds like Christmas came early this year as shu uemura Singapore had kindly sent me a few products to blabber about here 😍 In this first instalment of my two-part review on this collection, the spotlight will be solely on the Peach’s Eye & Cheek Palette (which has sold out in the U.S., by the way 😨).

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Peach's Eye & Cheek Palette (S$128)

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Peach’s Eye & Cheek Palette (S$128)

Goomba motif on the inside of the box!

Goomba motif on the inside of the box!

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Peach's Eye & Cheek Palette

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Peach’s Eye & Cheek Palette

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Peach's Eye & Cheek Palette

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Peach’s Eye & Cheek Palette

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Peach's Eye & Cheek Palette

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Peach’s Eye & Cheek Palette

Inspired by Princess Peach (a character in the Mario franchise), the limited-edition eye and cheek palette includes a dual-ended brush, six eye shadows and two glow ons (shu uemura’s version of blush that enhances the natural glow of cheeks) embossed with some distinctive elements of the game. The shades, organised in quads of purple and brown hues, are specially curated to create two highly-achievable monochromatic looks and are exclusive to the palette.

Made with acrylic plastic with a glossy surface, the palette is pink on the outside with pixel art of some notable characters and items of Super Mario, and white on the inside. It is thin yet sturdy and doesn’t take up much storage space. Upon opening the lid, you will be greeted with a removable transparent sheet of plastic with the names (or rather purpose) of each product placed on top of the pans to guide application and perhaps, to prevent the inbuilt mirror from getting dirtied by powder residue.

From top row, left to right: IR pink, S mauve, P plum, G gold light, ME orange, ME bronze eye shadows (1.0 g x 6 / 0.03 oz) // bottom: dreamy peach, brave orange glow ons (3.5 g x 2 / 0.12 oz)

From top row, left to right: IR pink, S mauve, P plum, G gold light, ME orange, ME bronze eye shadows (1.0 g x 6 / 0.03 oz) // bottom: dreamy peach, brave orange glow ons (3.5 g x 2 / 0.12 oz)

☆ Eye Shadows ☆

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Peach's Eye & Cheek Palette eye shadows

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Peach’s Eye & Cheek Palette eye shadows

The base shade on the first half of the palette is described as a pink with an iridescent finish which, according to shu uemura, “offer(s) glimmering reflections of changing colors”. It is a light wash of cool pink with finely milled shimmers which have a gritty texture to it. Sheer in coverage, it acts as a lightening and smoothing agent for the shade applied atop it. It can also be used on its own for a dewy look. This feels smidgen dusty and is prone to sheer out when applied dry. Hence, you would get better results (i.e. colour intensifies and a more pronounced shine) when used with a wet brush. Otherwise, if you don’t want to leave a water stain on the eye shadow, perhaps using a dense brush would help the colour show better on the lid.

Compare Base with other similar shades from the Kat Von D Shade + Light (Plum) and Urban Decay Naked 3 palettes

Compare Base with other similar shades from the Kat Von D Shade + Light (Plum) and Urban Decay Naked 3 palettes

The styling shade is described as a mauve with a shimmery finish. It appears more of a violet to me with warm undertones and has a slight metallic sheen to it. This shade is safely one of those eye shadows that appears dull when applied, but comes alive when light hits it. It applies sheer at first but is buildable to a semi-opaque coverage. It isn’t too soft or firm in the pan which gives it a smooth and blendable texture. The edges also diffuse rather well without losing much intensity. I experienced a negligible amount of kickback in the pan when I dabbed it with my brush but there wasn’t much fallout on me.

Compare Styling with other similar shades from the Kat Von D Shade + Light (Plum) and Urban Decay Naked 3 palettes

Compare Styling with other similar shades from the Kat Von D Shade + Light (Plum) and Urban Decay Naked 3 palettes

The defining shade is described as a plum with a pearl finish which, as defined by shu uemura, lends a “silky shimmer of light for luminous radiance”. This deep violet contains chunkier purple glitter and has a drier and somewhat uneven texture so undoubtedly there would be fallout during application. Moderately dense and generally patchy in consistency, it sheers out quickly when blended but can be built to an opaque coverage if used with a dense brush. The metallic sheen becomes rather glaring as the eye shadow is piled on. Similarly, this applies noticeably better with a dampened brush. Occasionally, I would use this shade alongside the browns to give my eyes a smokier look.

Compare Define with other similar shades from the Kat Von D Shade + Light (Plum) and Urban Decay Naked 3 palettes

Compare Define with other similar shades from the Kat Von D Shade + Light (Plum) and Urban Decay Naked 3 palettes

APPLICATION & SUGGESTED LOOK

Apply the base colour all over lids with the shader side of the dual-ended brush

Apply the base colour all over lids with the shader side of the dual-ended brush

With the same end of the brush, apply the styling shade above the base

With the same end of the brush, apply the styling shade above the base

Define the eyes while still using the shader brush

Define the eyes while still using the shader brush

Apply styling colour along the lower lash line with the precision end of the brush

Apply styling colour along the lower lash line with the precision end of the brush

Using the same brush, add definition along the outer corner of the eye and do a little bit of crease-cutting on the upper lid. Blend out harsh edges with shader brush.

Using the same brush, add definition along the outer corner of the eye and do a little bit of crease-cutting on the upper lid. Blend out harsh edges with shader brush.

From plain to glamourous!

From plain to glamourous!

The base shade on the next half of the palette is described as a gold light with glittery finish which adds “abundant sparkles for glistening glamour”. It is a cool-toned pale gold with a powdery smooth texture. The glitter in this eye shadow is more sparkly in appearance. Although it also seems more scattered, it was fortunately not messy to work with. It may offer sheer coverage but as a base colour, this packs a punch of glow even on the first layer and piling on the product will only build up the shine. I find that this shade applies more smoothly and evenly with the finger tip. On top of that, it can also be used as a lid topper to enhance the sparkle of the main eye shadow colour.

Compare Base with other similar shades from TheBalm NUDE 'tude, Urban Decay Naked Heat and Juvia's Place Nubian 2 palettes

Compare Base with other similar shades from TheBalm NUDE ‘tude, Urban Decay Naked Heat and Juvia’s Place Nubian 2 palettes

The styling shade for the second look is described as an orange with a metallic finish which is supposedly “smooth like liquid with a metallic glow”. It is an orange with brown undertones and has micro-glitter distributed uniformly to give a nice, frosted sheen. This shade applies evenly and goes on semi-opaque on the first swipe when used with a finger or dense brush (dry or dampened – it doesn’t really matter). Buildable to a completely opaque coverage, it is lightweight and blends fairly well on the lid. It may feel a bit gritty in the pan but there is hardly any kickback and fallout. If I have to pick a favourite in this palette, this will be it!

Compare Styling with other similar shades from TheBalm NUDE 'tude, Urban Decay Naked Heat and Juvia's Place Nubian 2 palettes

Compare Styling with other similar shades from TheBalm NUDE ‘tude, Urban Decay Naked Heat and Juvia’s Place Nubian 2 palettes

Lastly, add some definition to the eye with a metallic bronze. This warm-toned brown has faint multicoloured micro-glitter that seems more loosely incorporated into the product. The eye shadow has a powdery smooth consistency with rich pigmentation. It is best applied with a dampened brush for maximum coverage and colour intensity. However, it would require a firmer hand to completely diffuse the edges.

Compare Styling with other similar shades from TheBalm NUDE 'tude, Urban Decay Naked Heat and Juvia's Place Nubian 2 palettes

Compare Styling with other similar shades from TheBalm NUDE ‘tude, Urban Decay Naked Heat and Juvia’s Place Nubian 2 palettes

APPLICATION & SUGGESTED LOOK

Apply base colour all over the lid with the shader brush

Apply base colour all over the lid with the shader brush

Using the same brush, pack on some colours with the styling shade

Using the same brush, pack on some colours with the styling shade

Define the eye by adding a darker shade on the outer corner

Define the eye by adding a darker shade on the outer corner

Cut them crease with the darkest shade on the palette!

Cut them crease with the darkest shade on the palette!

Be extra - apply defining shade on the inner corner to add emphasis to the center of the lid

Be extra – apply defining shade on the inner corner to add emphasis to the center of the lid

Line the lower lash line with the styling shade

Line the lower lash line with the styling shade

Followed by the defining shade on the outer corner

Followed by the defining shade on the outer corner

Don't forget to blend out the edges!

Don’t forget to blend out the edges!

From girl-next-door to femme fatale 🤗

From girl-next-door to femme fatale 🤗

When glam meets edgy

When glam meets edgy

☆ Glow Ons ☆

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Peach's Eye & Cheek Palette blush

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros Peach’s Eye & Cheek Palette blush

Dreamy Peach is a warm pink with flecks of gold shimmers even though it appears to have more orange undertones in the pan. This Super Star and Super Mushroom-embossed blush has sheer pigmentation and can be built to a semi-sheer at most. It blends quite easily owing to its soft texture but has the tendency to sheer out on normal or drier skin (I had swatch it on my wrist a couple of times and it fades away quickly every time). It doesn’t cause any kickback in the pan nor leave any noticeable dents even after multiple uses and that is great if you, like me, don’t want to ruin the cute embossing on the glow ons 😁

Darling Princess (3-4 swipes)

Darling Princess (3-4 swipes)

Darling Princess Darling Princess (3-4 swipes, blended out)

Darling Princess Darling Princess (3-4 swipes, blended out)

Brave Orange is a pale neon orange with yellow undertones topped with accents of gold shimmers. It comes with Fire Flower and the iconic Question Mark Block embossed on it. Soft and lightly powdery in texture, this blush feels luxuriously smooth to the touch and is buildable to a semi-sheer coverage. I actually find this more pigmented than Dreamy Peach and surprisingly, does not camouflage into my Chinese skin tone nor look too yellowish on me. It can be doubled as a bronzer for lighter skin tones to give a subtle contour. However, it does have the tendency to cling onto the drier areas of the skin which could be why it applied slightly uneven on me and needed some effort to buff out the unsightly streak.

Adventure Princess (1 swipe)

Adventure Princess (1 swipe)

Adventure Princess (3-4 swipes)

Adventure Princess (3-4 swipes)

Adventure Princess for contouring (using Sigma F04 Extreme Structure Contour™ Brush)

Adventure Princess for contouring (using Sigma F04 Extreme Structure Contour™ Brush)

Adventure Princess for contouring (using Sigma F04 Extreme Structure Contour™ Brush)

Adventure Princess for contouring (using Sigma F04 Extreme Structure Contour™ Brush)

Two looks (without the lipstick, yet!) side by side. Which one do you prefer?

Two looks (without the lipstick, yet!) side by side. Which one do you prefer?

As a Japanese brand serving international markets, shu uemura has managed to strike a balance between bold and delicate with this palette to cater to people on either ends of the preference spectrum. While it delivers a relatively lighter wash of colour with a touch of glitter when used as-is, these attributes can also be easily amped up on the lid with your finger tip or a dampened brush. That said, the choice of shades (especially the glow ons) seems to gear towards lighter skin tones in general.

And in case you didn’t catch the price earlier, this would set you back a whooping S$128 so unless you are obsessed with Super Mario or don’t mind splurging a few hundred dollars on a high-end product (made with top grade ingredients and presumably state-of-the-art technology, no less), I honestly don’t think this is worth burning a hole in your pocket for in terms of the price per ounce for each product in this palette.

What are your thoughts on this adorable palette? Let me know what you think in the comments below or take a quick poll!

 

Totally unrelated to this palette but what are some of your favourite NES games? Apart from Super Mario Bros, I was hooked on playing Antarctic AdventureIce Climber, Circus, Duck Hunt, Bubble Bobble, Popeye and Bomberman 😆 There should be more but I can’t remember their names at the moment. Just listening to the 8-bit music of these games brings back so many childhood memories!

Anyhoo, thanks for reading and stay tuned for part two of this collection 🙂

shu uemura × Super Mario Bros is now available on the Sephora Singapore (online), at TANGS and shu uemura boutiques islandwide.
The product featured in this review was editorially selected. All opinions, as always, are genuine and uninfluenced.

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REVIEW: Fenty Beauty – Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 200 & 260, Match Stix Trio in Medium & Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Hello everyone!

Rihanna has been dominating the beauty headlines lately with the launch of her newest business venture, Fenty Beauty (backed by Kendo Holdings which also owns Marc Jacobs, Kat Von D and Bite Beauty). More notably, her line of foundations, which boasts a diverse (never-seen-before) range of shades that complements the palest to the deepest of skin tones, has kinda set the benchmark for diversity in the beauty industry. Now, this is what I call a breakthrough!

Although I was equally thrilled about the launch as many of you, I did not rush into buying anything when the brand landed here. Instead, I decided to wait for the Sephora sale to kick off before getting some of their highly-raved products to try. Clearly, a similar plan was also devised by many others, as evident from the almost-bare racks to emptied samples of Fenty Beauty at most outlets during the sale which left me with no choice but to guess my shade online.

Sephora has a shade finder tool on their mobile app that determines the foundation shade (of almost every brand) that matches your skin based on the existing ones you are already using. The Fenty foundation shade that corresponded to my Benefit Big Easy and M·A·C NC25 foundation suggested by the app was 240 but since that was already sold out everywhere, I took a gamble and bought two other shades I felt were also rather close to my skin tone.

But before we go into the reviews, let's take a minute to appreciate the original, clean-cut, no-nonsense, hexagonal packaging of Fenty Beauty. The design is truly an eye-pleaser. They tessellate with one another so it is very easy to store them. And the foundation looks really prestigious with the glass bottle.

But before we go into the reviews, let’s take a minute to appreciate the original, clean-cut, no-nonsense, hexagonal packaging of Fenty Beauty. The design is truly an eye-pleaser. They tessellate with one another so it is very easy to store them. And the foundation looks really prestigious with the glass bottle.

#1 Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation (200)

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 200

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 200

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 200

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 200

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 200

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 200

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 200

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 200

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 200

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 200

...did I just find my PERFECT foundation match?!

…did I just find my PERFECT foundation match?!

Shade 200 is described as a cool in the medium range with a matte finish. It provides medium to full coverage in just two layers and has little to no trail of moisture on the surface. Lightweight, the foundation gives a smooth, natural veil effect and acts like a second skin which conceals my blemishes and redness rather nicely. However, I find that I have to work it into the skin very quickly because it dries completely like greased lightning (a perfect ally for people who are always tight for time) even on my misted face or with a damp sponge. Any tardiness in blending out the edges will result in conspicuous patches on my face. That said, it adheres well to the skin and isn’t prone to transfer so I did not have to worry much about the foundation melting off my face when I was outdoors.

But about ten minutes into wear, the foundation oxidises to a darker beige that, although isn’t too far off my natural shade, creates an overall uneven complexion (which kinda defeats the purpose of putting on foundation). Furthermore, despite the claims of this foundation being “climate-adaptive” as well as “resistant to sweat and humidity”, it failed to keep my face shine-free in the hot and humid weather of Singapore. As a matter of fact, not only did my face became oilier than ever at the end of the day, my pores also became visibly clogged and enlarged.

#2 Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation (260)

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 260

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 260

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 260

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 260

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 260

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 260

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 260

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 260

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 260

Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 260

Shade 260 is described as a neutral in the medium range with a matte finish. This shade, for the most part, applies like 200 but has warmer undertones to it. It provides medium to full coverage and does a decent job in concealing my blemishes without imparting a tacky feel.

However, it dries twice as fast as 200 and, for this reason, cannot be built without leaving obvious patches on the face, therefore making this foundation extremely difficult and frustrating to work with. Fade-free and transfer-proof, the texture feels powdery smooth but slightly more drying once it settles on the skin. But about five minutes into wear, the foundation oxidises to a strange orange hue which darkens intensively over time, thereby turning me into another case of spray tan gone bad. Similarly, my pores became increasingly clogged and pronounced and my face was also visibly oilier after three hours (which can be fixed with Fenty Beauty’s blotting paper, I guess?). In spite of these issues, foundation surprisingly didn’t become cakey.

In all honesty, I would still have liked the foundation despite it turning me orange because I loved how it sits on my skin (and not forgetting 200 actually matching my skin tone perfectly). But I just can’t. My skin went into full rage mode and erupted in pus-filled pimples all over my forehead, cheeks and jawline after using it. Considering that this isn’t my first time using silicone-based foundation, it puzzles me as to why these would break me out so bad!

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

I stumbled upon this useful list of water- and silicone- (an ingredient known for filling in pores and allow for a smoother and flawless application but may, at the same time, trigger severe breakouts) based makeup products which may be helpful to you. Kudos to the kind soul(s) who came up with or contributed to this comprehensive list!

Patchy appearance of 260

Patchy appearance of 260

Comparing swatches of 200 and 260

Comparing swatches of 200 and 260

Bare-faced versus 200 and 260 on the face

Bare-faced versus 200 and 260 on the face

Compare 200 and 260 with other foundations (in terms of texture and finish)

Compare 200 and 260 with other foundations (in terms of texture and finish)

#3 Match Stix Trio in Medium
(Bamboo, Mocha & Trippin)

Match Stix Trio in Medium (US$54 / S$79)

Match Stix Trio in Medium (US$54 / S$79)

♫ I'm in love with the shape of you. We push and pull like a magnet do ♫

I’m in love with the shape of you. We push and pull like a magnet do

Match Stix Trio in Medium

Match Stix Trio in Medium

Match Stix Trio in Medium

Match Stix Trio in Medium

The Match Stix Trio is a bundle of three full-size match stix (worth US$25 / S$37 each) specially curated for different skin tones (100 for light, 200 for medium, 300 for tan and 400 for deep) to conceal, contour and highlight. If none of the preselected shades suits your skin tone, you can customise your own Match Stix Trio exclusively at the official Fenty Beauty website (free U.S. shipping on orders of US$50 or more) and get it delivered to you via a forwarder.

Getting the trio as opposed to the individual pieces essentially gives you a saving of US$21 / S$32. That’s really value for money and a way more affordable alternative to the KKW Contour and Highlight Kit (approx US$62.95 including international shipping) if you ask me. I totally wouldn’t forgive myself if I hadn’t bought one during the Sephora sale! For obvious reasons, I picked out 200 Medium which corresponds to my matching Fenty foundation shade and in it are Bamboo, Mocha and Trippin.

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Bamboo (fully twisted up)

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Bamboo (fully twisted up)

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Bamboo

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Bamboo

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Bamboo

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Bamboo

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Bamboo

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Bamboo

Bamboo is described as a neutral with a matte finish. A cool ivory that offers medium to full coverage straight from the tube, it can be used as a concealer or a matte highlighter to subtract contours to the facial features. It has a creamy consistency which enables it to apply smoothly on the skin without skipping. Although it was largely able to blur out the appearance of pores and cancel out redness on my skin (and it stayed that way throughout the wear!), I find that it didn’t do too well as an under eye concealer because not only did it not blend very well, it also tended to accentuate the dryness and settle into the lines of that delicate area. But so long as you don’t use it directly below your eyes, it shouldn’t pose any issues.

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha (fully twisted up)

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha (fully twisted up)

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha

Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha

Mocha is described as a cool with a matte finish. It looks mauve brown on the Skinstick but turns a hue cooler once it goes onto the skin and then becomes increasingly warmer once it is blended out and exposed to the oxygen in the air. I realised that it gets more orangey with every layer so unless you want to appear like you’ve got a blotchy fake tan, one swipe is enough for a softly sculpted look. This shade applies creamy without being too greasy and settles like powder. It provides medium to full coverage while smoothing out the complexion with even payoff. This is great for oily skin as it has mattifying properties and helps diffuse the appearance of pores.

Mocha vs Hoola

Mocha vs Hoola

Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Trippin (fully twisted up)

Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Trippin (fully twisted up)

Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Trippin

Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Trippin

Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Trippin

Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Trippin

Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Trippin (after blending out Bamboo and Mocha)

Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Trippin (after blending out Bamboo and Mocha)

Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Trippin

Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Trippin

Trippin is described as a gold-glazed apricot with a shimmery finish. I swatched this in-store and had a sneaking feeling that it would camouflage with my Chinese skin and, as it turned out, I was right. There is a bit of an orange tint in the product at first but once it gets blended out, it disappears entirely into oblivion.

To get a noticeable payoff, some back-and-forth pressure has to be applied to the skin and this may move the foundation if a Non-Fenty one is used, creating an unsightly gap. But even so, it does not give a faceted glow because the shimmers, although concentrated, appear very faint on the skin. It applies slightly chunky and also emphasises the natural texture of my skin. Boo, me no like! On top of that, this product made me feel uncomfortable throughout the wear, like, I kept feeling it on my face. It doesn’t feel tacky whatsoever but I just had the urge to wash it off the very moment I put it on!

Trippin vs Watt's Up! Cream Highlighter by Benefit

Trippin vs Watt’s Up! Cream Highlighter by Benefit

Step-by-step process of using the Match Stix Trio

Step-by-step process of using the Match Stix Trio

And finally, the highlighter that beauty addicts from all over the world have been singing the praises of…

#4 Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter
(Trophy Wife)

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

Before and after blending out Trophy Wife

Before and after blending out Trophy Wife

Trophy Wife is described as a 3D hyper-metallic gold, mostly made up of loose gold shimmers which can be quite intimidating for strobing amateurs (like me, maybe). But if you’re one who fancies something obnoxiously blinding on your face, this will definitely earn holy grail status. Highly versatile, this multipurpose highlighter can be doubled as an eye shadow or a topper. It can also be applied as-is or with a dampened brush for heightened intensity. Making a bold statement has never been simpler!

For the record, I used it as is. The finish looks uneven on the overall as the shimmers tend to clump up distinctly at some parts and dispersed on other. While it does not leave any kickback in the pan when I tried to pick up some product with my fan brush, there was noticeable glittery fallout on my cheek when I blended out the highlighter (and my wrist for at least two days after I swatched it in-store 😑). It is smooth and lightweight but kinda emphasises the natural texture of my skin. Furthermore, I don’t think it complements my skin tone? It pops on my face, but rather unnaturally I feel so I doubt it would change my opinion of it even if I had applied it with a dampened brush (but sure, I will try it out one day). I kinda like it more on deeper skin tones, though. See how beautiful it looks on this dark-skinned YouTuber here?

Swatch comparison for Trophy Wife (from my Whisper of Gilt review)

Swatch comparison for Trophy Wife (from my Whisper of Gilt review)

With all the hype surrounding Fenty Beauty, I thought I would, too, be head over heels in love with this brand. But I can’t do it, not after how using the products led to a horrible breakout (my worst since having my skin treated by a dermatologist more than a year ago, in fact) on my face. It’s sad because I really wanted to love them.

Even though I was elated to have found my perfect foundation match, I don’t think I will be using any more of the product for fear of battling another episode of breakout, much less repurchasing it. Likewise, those with severe acne conditions or easily aggravated skin should probably stay entirely away from the face products if you don’t want your self-esteem to take a serious nosedive for the next couple of weeks.

What are your thoughts about Fenty Beauty? Let me know what you think in the comments below or simply take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading!

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna is now available on FentyBeauty.com and in all local Sephora outlets.

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