REVIEW: M·A·C Mirage Noir Lipsticks in Noon Noir & Beach Nut

Hello everyone!

Makeup is like clothes; it changes with the season and is generally influenced by the particularities of the physical-geographical environment at the time. But instead of associating summer with jarring bright neons and glitter-flecked chrome hues that illuminate in the glisten of the sun like many of us would, M·A·C stepped out of the norm to drop a collection themed on bokeh and city lights (albeit with a bit of an ’80s vibe) to kick-start the festivities.

M·A·C Mirage Noir for Summer 2018

M·A·C Mirage Noir for Summer 2018

Launched mid May, the whole of the collection includes lipsticks in 5 different finishes (Twig / Goodbye Kiss / Beach Nut / Noon Noir / Nothing To Wear), 5 Lipglass (Oysterized / Strip ‘N’ Dip / Midnight Dip / Treasure Beach / Soft Shell), 4 eye shadow singles (Slow As You Glow / Sun, Tan And Repeat / Dust Off / Sun Speck), 4 bronzing powder compacts (Golden Rinse [ED] / Delphic [ED] / Baiana Bronze / Matte Bronze), a Pearlmatte Face Powder (Mother O’Pearl), 2 Face and Body Foundation (Light Pearl / Medium Deep Pearl) and a fan brush (140ES) – all decked out in holographic duo-chrome packaging that shifts from blue to purple when viewed from different angles (yes, even the brush and bottled foundation!).

I am not gonna lie – this collection wasn’t exactly up my alley, but the packaging was just too irresistible to say no to. Whipping out my trusty credit card, I proceeded to break my no-buy for the rest of May (in view of the expenses involved in my wedding.. and also because I had already spent a bomb at Sephora earlier – damn sales!) for two lipsticks. Incorrigible, I know, but thank God for mid-year bonus 😜

Noon Noir

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Noon Noir (US$18.50)

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Noon Noir (US$18.50)

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Noon Noir

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Noon Noir

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Noon Noir

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Noon Noir

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Noon Noir

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Noon Noir

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Noon Noir

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Noon Noir

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Noon Noir

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Noon Noir

Noon Noir is described as a frosty brown with Frost finish, which essentially means that the formula would be made up of three parts fine glitter and one part pigment. This cool-toned cocoa brown contains brownish-purple shimmers, rendering the shade a metallic sheen that masks most of its pigment when the light hits it.

Gliding smoothly on the lips, the first swipe gives a sheer payoff of a rather poorly distributed product where some areas appear much darker than others. Moreover, it has the tendency to gather around the lines and cause it to look streaky and patchy. But with a few additional passes, the lipstick becomes more opaque and certainly more pigmented although, at the same time, you can see the product settling into the lines. That said, if you dig the frost finish, this also makes the perfect candidate for a lip topper as due to its lightweight consistency, it won’t really move what’s beneath it.

Swatch comparison for Noon Noir - All I Want is lighter and warmer

Swatch comparison for Noon Noir – All I Want is lighter and warmer

Beach Nut

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Beach Nut (US$18.50)

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Beach Nut (US$18.50)

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Beach Nut

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Beach Nut

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Beach Nut

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Beach Nut

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Beach Nut

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Beach Nut

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Beach Nut

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Beach Nut

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Beach Nut

M·A·C Mirage Noir lipstick in Beach Nut

Beach Nut is described as a deep violet in a matte finish. Although matte, this warm purple is emollient, has a lightly glossy appearance and does not emphasise any imperfections on the lips. The downside of it is that it does not last as long on the lips as traditional mattes do because it is very prone to transfer. This lipstick applies creamy without dragging or skipping, providing a mostly opaque coverage (but easily buildable to full opacity with another stroke or two) with a slightly patchy consistency.

Swatch comparison for Beach Nut

Swatch comparison for Beach Nut

Discounting the thought that this collection isn’t very summer-appropriate (seems more fall if you ask me), the lipsticks – the ones I bought – are all right, but nothing exceptional. And maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t see the relevance of the retro discotheque-ish theme to the year-long heat and humidity I’m experiencing in my room now. In terms of publicity, I think this collection is a failure despite the eyeball-grabbing packaging. Perhaps there is too much hype centred on the M·A·C Aaliyah collection (review is in the works 😉) that practically no one is paying attention to this. Don’t believe me? Google “MAC Mirage Noir” and tell me how many reviews on this collection you see.

What do you think of this collection? Let me know what you got in the comments below or simply take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading!

M·A·C Mirage Noir is now available on MACCosmetics.com and in all local M.A.C outlets.

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REVIEW: M·A·C × Patrick Starrr (PART II) Floral Realness Full Face Kit in Me So Fleek – Eye Shadow X4 in Stay With Me, Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home, Lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey! & Lipglass in Queen P

Hello everyone!

If having a cosmetic line is any indication of success in one’s YouTube career (I mean, it has to be, judging from the announcements of new makeup lines we are inundated with by beauty gurus almost on a monthly basis 🤷🏻‍♀️), Patrick Starrr has hit a home run by scoring an unparalleled five collections – which will be rolled out over the course of this year – with the world’s most influential makeup brand, M·A·C.

Following his holiday collection last December, Patrick returned with a second instalment (we are well into the third as we speak) that had a floral theme to it just in time for spring. And to make our lives easier, he had specially curated two kits for the entire face, each comprising a Lipstick, Lipglass, Eye Shadow Quad and Powder Blush Duo, all of which are not sold separately. But don’t worry, at under US$50 per set (with a US$97 value), they won’t break the bank either.

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr (PART II) - Floral Realness (lol he looks like me in my cover picture above)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr (PART II) – Floral Realness (lol he looks like me in my cover picture above)

Available in on-trend hues of Me So Fleek and the natural everyday shades of Me So Chic to choose from, this collection covers both ends of the style spectrum with colour schemes that cater to the adventurous and sophisticated crowds. Consolidated in a box alongside a face chart, the products – which are individually wrapped in purple crepe-like paper to prevent breakage in transit (but failed – you’ll know why) – are designed in pink packaging with a kaleidoscopic floral motif that serves as the backdrop for Patrick Starrr’s signature.

Inside the Me So Fleek kit

Inside the Me So Fleek kit

It was tough choosing between the two worthy contenders but my daredevil nature eventually led me to pick the Me So Fleek kit which is centred around deeper and more unconventional and contrasting hues. Me So Chic may look generally fuss-free and easy to work with, but it lacks variety in my opinion.

Eye Shadow X4: Stay With Me

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Eye Shadow X4 in Stay With Me

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Eye Shadow X4 in Stay With Me

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Eye Shadow X4 in Stay With Me

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Eye Shadow X4 in Stay With Me

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Eye Shadow X4 in Stay With Me

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Eye Shadow X4 in Stay With Me

Reading stories about makeup arriving broken in the mail might have geared me up for this dreadful nightmare since most of my purchases have to be subjected to long-distance air travel before they reach me. But for it to happen to an order that seemed to be far more protected from shock was certainly what I would have least expected.

So, imagine being so psyched about your order only to find one of the shades in the eye shadow palette crumble into a powdery mess, and it had somehow spilled over on to the case and ruined the aesthetics of it. Unlike fixing a snapped lipstick, reconstituting a broken eye shadow can be a real pain in the neck because modifying the formulation with an additional ingredient (e.g. rubbing alcohol) to revive the product will not only affect its performance, but it also is just a temporary fix. Hence, I’m leaving the damage as is and review it in its flawed state.

According to M·A·C, these eye shadows are ophthalmologist tested and safe for contact lens wearer. They can also be used wet or dry but personally, these work better dry because the colours (apart from All’s Rosy) lose a ton of their intensity when applied damp.

The following palettes were selected for comparison purposes due to their similarities to Stay With Me: Too Faced Rebel · M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow · Juvia’s Place The Masquerade

The said victim of this misfortune is In Living Pink, a muted warm peach described by M·A·C as a pinky coral with gold micro-shimmers and Frost finish. Perhaps because it has disintegrated in the pan, the texture felt incredibly soft and smooth like baby powder, which could also explain why the loose heap exacerbates and breaks down into even finer particles every time it is utilised.

When applied, it renders great colour payoff and blends very well without sheering out too easily. The shimmers are rather fine and not chunky (but you can definitely tell they are there) so they add a beautiful sheen to the lid without being too in-your-face. Unfortunately, because of the mess it causes on the palette every time I dab my brush into it, I feel compelled to knock some scores off its grade.

Swatch comparison for In Loving Pink

Swatch comparison for In Loving Pink

Hickie is described as a bright pink with pink micro-shimmers and Frost finish. This hot pink has a semi-rough texture which looks kinda matte at first glance. Although applies with nearly sheer coverage on the first coat, it builds up to a more opaque pigmentation with three or four coats (which is also when the shimmers begin to be more conspicuous). As this shade is being blended out, it loses its intensity very quickly (the pigment couldn’t even hold up past 1 cm when I swatched it on my wrist) and can turn out to be quite patchy especially when applied on larger surface areas. Hence, in order for the colour to show up more vibrantly, I had to employ the pat-and-dab technique a few times on my lid.

Swatch comparison for Hickie

Swatch comparison for Hickie

All’s Rosy is described as a dirty midtone pink with a matte finish. Although a repromote from the Padma Lakshmi collaboration, this version appears to be slightly different as it has more of a muted brown-toned plum hue to it and without the gold pearl. In terms of application, this doesn’t apply as pigmented and, on top of that, has the tendency to ball up. It also gives a semi-sheer coverage with a mildly dusty and uneven consistency which renders it a bit more difficult to work with. This shade blends out fairly easily and adheres well on the bare skin.

Swatch comparison for All's Rosy

Swatch comparison for All’s Rosy

In The Shadows is described as a vibrant dark blue with cobalt-blue micro-shimmer and Frost finish which appears almost metallic-like due to its densely-packed shimmers that reflect light to add sparkle and glamour to the eyes. This electric blue has a lightly creamy texture and a finely-milled formula which goes on opaque on the lid with little effort. Although it packs a punch of pigment (which makes it not-so-forgiving towards mistakes during application), it can also cause quite a bit of fallout on the face, so it is best to apply it before putting on foundation (so that any stray specks of the eye shadow can be erased with ease). This shade blends out exceptionally well without sheering out too much.

Swatch comparison for In The Shadows

Swatch comparison for In The Shadows

APPLICATION & SUGGESTED LOOK

Below is what I had come up with using the aforementioned palette because I felt that the suggested look on the given face chart had placed too much emphasis on the blue that it sorta overshadowed the other shades. Furthermore, this look is less intimidating and more suitable for everyday wear.

My face before applying eye, cheek and lip makeup

My face before applying eye, cheek and lip makeup

First shade - All's Rosy

First shade – All’s Rosy

All's Rosy as the base colour

All’s Rosy as the base colour

Jumping straight to the deepest colour next - In The Shadows

Jumping straight to the deepest colour next – In The Shadows

In The Shadows to define the eyes

In The Shadows to define the eyes

Bravely applying In The Shadows in the inner corner of my eyes as well which, if not careful, would have really ruined the whole look

Bravely applying In The Shadows in the inner corner of my eyes as well which, if not careful, would have really ruined the whole look

Then, going into the Hickie pan

Then, going into the Hickie pan

Filling Hickie in the centre of my lid to create an ombré with the blue

Filling Hickie in the centre of my lid to create an ombré with the blue

Blend harsh edges with the help of some All's Rosy on the brush

Blend harsh edges with the help of some All’s Rosy on the brush

Last but not least, the messiest pan on the palette - In Living Pink

Last but not least, the messiest pan on the palette – In Living Pink

In Living Pink to make the eyes pop a little bit more. You can also use this as a topper above the more pigmented shades

In Living Pink to make the eyes pop a little bit more. You can also use this as a topper above the more pigmented shades

Duplicate the whole process on the lid onto the lower lash line

Duplicate the whole process on the lid onto the lower lash line

Without eye shadow → with eye shadow → with eyeliner (As you can tell, Hickie had started to fade the moment I tried to blend it with In The Shadows)

Without eye shadow → with eye shadow → with eyeliner (As you can tell, Hickie had started to fade the moment I tried to blend it with In The Shadows)

Powder Blush Duo:
Take Me Home

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home - Soft Coral Pink (top shade)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home – Soft Coral Pink (top shade)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home - Soft Coral Pink (top shade)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home – Soft Coral Pink (top shade)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home - Soft Coral Pink

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home – Soft Coral Pink

The powder blush duo (0.35 oz / 10 g) comprises a soft coral pink (top shade) and a muted pink plum (bottom shade) with Satin and Matte finishes respectively, and it was the vast contrast in both shades that sealed the deal for me in deciding to purchase this kit. Both blushes are pressed very densely in the pan so do not kick up any excess and dirty the mirror within.

The soft coral pink is a muted warm rose with sparsely-distributed silver shimmers that aren’t very obvious and do not catch every light. The blush goes on fairly pigmented when pressure is applied, and yields quite a lot of product as compared to the muted pink plum when swatched on my wrist although it somehow does not show much on my cheek (which, in all fairness, could be due to the fact that I had used a tapered brush instead of a buffing one). It has a smooth and silky texture without being too powdery or dry on the skin. Sheer on the first pass, its opacity can be built up with more layers without emphasising the pores or rough texture of the skin.

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home - Muted Pink Plum (bottom shade)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home – Muted Pink Plum (bottom shade)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home - Muted Pink Plum (bottom shade)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home – Muted Pink Plum (bottom shade)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home - Muted Pink Plum (bottom shade)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home – Muted Pink Plum (bottom shade)

The muted pink plum, on the other hand, is a muted cool plum with a flat matte finish. Even though it appears deeper than the other shade in the pan, it is actually somewhat lighter and sheerer on the skin but is moderately buildable to a semi-opaque coverage. This shade applies with an uneven consistency unless on a sticky and moist surface, and would leave harsh edges if pressure is not applied uniformly on the skin. Hence, to get a more consistent payoff, you may have to sweep the brush lightly on the cheeks back and forth a couple of times. This shade blends out easily and does not appear dry or cakey on the skin despite its being a matte.

Swatch comparison for Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home

Swatch comparison for Powder Blush Duo in Take Me Home

Lipstick: Hey, Boy, Hey!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Hey, Boy, Hey!

Hey, Boy, Hey! is described as a dirty pinkish plum with Retro Matte finish which is notoriously known to be incredibly drying. However, it was not entirely the case for this medium-dark reddish purple which, even though isn’t slippery on the lips per se, applies with very minimal tugging and skipping. This lipstick deposits an evenly, semi-opaque pigmentation (but buildable to full coverage in just a few strokes) across the lips with a consistency that is negligibly streaky. Although some product did settle into my lip lines, the formula generally did not suck out all the moisture off my lips like the other Retro Mattes that I own (I’m looking at you, Ruby Woo) and leave them chapping like crazy at the end of the day. This shade adheres to the lips very well and stayed on for more than 5 hours.

Swatch comparison for Hey, Boy, Hey!

Swatch comparison for Hey, Boy, Hey!

Lipglass: Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipglass in Queen P

Queen P is described as a neon pink with blue pearl. This warm fuchsia has a glossy finish infused with a mix of blue and purple shimmers. As someone who absolutely loathes the tackiness of lip glosses, this is actually quite wearable and lightweight despite the thick consistency. The texture isn’t exactly tacky to the point that it makes me want to remove it the very instant I put it on, and it has the ability to camouflage any imperfections on my lips.

Fairly pigmented (enough for me to properly line my lips) with a semi-opaque coverage, this Lipglass can be used on its own or as a lip topper. When used in conjunction with the lipstick, the shimmers blend into the purple without altering its colour much or moving it while giving the lips a luscious and juicier shine, as well as a fuller appearance. Queen P is neither drying or hydrating and it stayed on my lips for about 2 hours (until I took a sip of my drink, that is).

Hey, Boy, Hey! + Queen P

Hey, Boy, Hey! + Queen P

Hey, Boy, Hey! → Queen P → Hey, Boy, Hey + Queen P

Hey, Boy, Hey! → Queen P → Hey, Boy, Hey + Queen P

As the brains behind this partnership, Patrick Starrr had, no doubt, put a lot of thought into developing such coherent collection while still living up to the high standards of the brand. But quite frankly, the choice of colours for both kits didn’t quite blow me away because I’ve already seen similar schemes (of the eye shadow quad in the Me So Chic kit especially) a couple of times in past M·A·C collections. That aside, just judging based on the quality alone, the Me So Fleek kit is certainly a bargain at this price so if you haven’t own anything from M·A·C yet, now is the time!

What do you think about this collection? Did you snag any of the kits?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or simply take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr (Part II) Floral Realness Full Face Kits are now available on MACCosmetics.com and M·A·C ION Orchard Outlet.
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REVIEW: M·A·C NICOPANDA Lipsticks in Galactic Mint, Pop Babe & Toung ‘n’ Chic

Hello everyone!

With almost every colour on the spectrum made into cosmetics, much of consumerism now boils down to the aesthetic appeal of the products. In this aspect, we can always trust M·A·C to come up with irresistibly enticing packaging design that has the ability to trick you into wanting makeup you might already have, such as those in the NICOPANDA collaboration.

M·A·C NICOPANDA

M·A·C NICOPANDA

My M·A·C NICOPANDA haul

My M·A·C NICOPANDA haul

M·A·C taking cute to the next level with a panda-theme packaging

M·A·C taking cute to the next level with a panda-theme packaging

Founded by Italian-Japanese fashion director Nicola Formichetti and his brother Andrea in 2015, NICOPANDA is a New York-based street brand best known for its edgy and playful approach to ready-to-wear and accessories, and it revolves around the panda cartoon that looks like Nicola whose bear-like chubby frame and long beard during his younger days had earned him the nickname “Nico Panda”. Despite the relatively short time the fashion line has been on the market, Nicola has, in fact, more than a decade of experience in being the creative force behind some of the world’s most influential brands, publications, and pop stars including Lady Gaga and Brooke Candy. Busier than a one armed paper hanger, he currently serves as fashion director of Uniqlo apart from managing his personal business venture.

Chose this picture of Nicola Formichetti because #dogsarelife

Chose this picture of Nicola Formichetti because #dogsarelife (source)

Launched in April, this M·A·C collection features an infusion of fresh spring colours in the form of matte lipsticks (Kawaii Party, Pink-Off, Toung ‘n’ Chic, Nico Kiss, Galactic Mint & Pop Babe), Lipglass (Sugar Coat, Dreamz, Panda Kiss & Glitter Parade), a Gleamer Face Powder, Full Face Kits (Stay Cute, Primapanda & Preppy Panda), lashes, an adornment and a brush bag, all of which come entirely in the most adorable panda-centric packaging (which, I have to admit, isn’t too practical storage-wise). But in spite of the fancy presentation, the prices of the lip products – surprisingly – remain largely the same (at least in the U.S.), so purchasing the three lipsticks below didn’t feel much of a pinch on the wallet.

Galactic Mint

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Galactic Mint (US$18.50)

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Galactic Mint (US$18.50)

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Galactic Mint

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Galactic Mint

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Galactic Mint

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Galactic Mint

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Galactic Mint

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Galactic Mint

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Galactic Mint

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Galactic Mint

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Galactic Mint

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Galactic Mint

Galactic Mint is described as a clean seafoam green with a matte finish. Moderately emollient with some slip, this bright cyan deposits a great deal of pigment (a rarity for a fluorescent shade) upon application but most of it ended up settling into my creases and putting a spotlight on the rough texture of my lips. A fairly thin coat gives an opaque but awfully chalky consistency (marked with gaps that are impossible to fill) which amplifies with additional layers, hence making it a challenge to get an even coverage out of this problematic shade without the aid of a primer and a lip brush. It is probably more suitable for creating a small portion of an ombré lip as opposed to being used as the main lip colour.

Swatch comparison for Galactic Mint

Swatch comparison for Galactic Mint

Pop Babe 

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Pop Babe (US$18.50)

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Pop Babe (US$18.50)

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Pop Babe

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Pop Babe

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Pop Babe

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Pop Babe

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Pop Babe

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Pop Babe

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Pop Babe

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Pop Babe

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Pop Babe

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Pop Babe

Pop Babe described as a bright clean pink with a matte finish. The only sold-out lipstick shade from this collection online, this non-drying cool-toned fuchsia applies easily while providing an intense and opaque colour payoff with a subtle shine in a single swipe. The texture is lightweight enough to comfortably and evenly conceal all the creasing and cracking going on. As someone who isn’t too big on vibrant colours, I think Pop Babe is a gorgeous and versatile colour that suits most skin tones. Whether you are going for a rebellious bombshell or a quintessential girl-next-door image, this lipstick can also somehow be paired with various looks.

Swatch comparison for Pop Babe

Swatch comparison for Pop Babe

Toung ‘n’ Chic

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Toung 'n' Chic (US$18.50)

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Toung ‘n’ Chic (US$18.50)

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Toung 'n' Chic

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Toung ‘n’ Chic

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Toung 'n' Chic

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Toung ‘n’ Chic

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Toung 'n' Chic

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Toung ‘n’ Chic

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Toung 'n' Chic

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Toung ‘n’ Chic

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Toung 'n' Chic

M·A·C NICOPANDA lipstick in Toung ‘n’ Chic

Toung ‘n’ Chic may be described as a deep plum with a matte finish, but this medium wine is nowhere near as drying. Gliding effortlessly on the lips without tugging or pulling, it imparts a lightly glossy sheen that could pass the lipstick off as a Satin one. Although fully opaque in one swipe, the product tends to build up on drier and uneven parts of the lips, resulting in an inconsistent texture and unsightly dark patches like those in the pictures above. It also sinks into the lip lines within the first hour of wear, further intensifying the parched condition of the lips. Hence, exfoliating the lips before applying this lipstick is a must to achieve optimal payoff from it.

Swatch comparison for Toung 'n' Chic

Swatch comparison for Toung ‘n’ Chic

Usually when reputable brands go the extra mile to market their products in gimmicky packaging, they usually fall short in terms of quality to make up for the cost of attracting eyeballs. But I have to admit that this collection generally ticks all the right boxes. If not for space (and money) constraints, I would have gotten more shades!

What are your thoughts about this collection? Did you manage to get anything? Let me know in the comments below or take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading!

M·A·C NICOPANDA is now available on MACCosmetics.com and in all local M.A.C outlets. Enjoy up to 50% off when you purchase 3 or more items from this collection at any Singapore outlet.

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REVIEW: M·A·C Viva Glam × Sia Lipstick

Hello everyone!

Makeup collections come and go in a matter of weeks, but one M·A·C collection in particular generally stays all year round. The Viva Glam line, which turns over annually with a new range of product(s), has gotten Sia as its spokesperson for the year and I am beyond thrilled – and it’s not just because she has made explaining how my last name is pronounced so much easier.

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia

Having written chart-toppers for Shakira (Try Everything from the movie Zootopia), Rihanna (Diamonds) and Flo Rida (the catchy chorus for Wild Ones), among many others, the Australian singer-songwriter needs no introduction. Since lending her cathartic voice to David Guetta’s Titanium (in which she showcased her songwriting chops), Sia’s popularity has not only skyrocketed, but also disrupted her plans to solely be an all-pop songwriter for hire. Her prominence prompted her to come out of retirement from being a recording artiste to release her sixth and seventh studio albums (yes, she had already made a name for herself as a successful singer prior to this) made up mostly of rejected tracks she had written for other artistes. Proving that one man’s meat is indeed another man’s poison, her comeback spawned a couple of number-one singles including Chandelier, Cheap Thrills and The Greatest which remained as earworms in my head for a long time.

But her success did not come without setbacks. During her early years, Sia struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had even contemplated suicide while dealing with fame (which intensified when the press found out about her bisexuality). Sobering up eventually, she realised the damaging effects of fame and retreated from public view. Hence, despite being a critically-acclaimed musician now, Sia does not feel comfortable being in the limelight and would obscure her face with giant wigs, use a proxy performer and refuse to promote her material (yet was able to sell millions of copies worldwide!) to avoid a celebrity lifestyle and maintain some privacy, that is, with the exception of her partnership with PETA to help end the animal homelessness crisis.

Sia behind the wig

Sia behind the wig (source)

As an extension of her philanthropy, Sia collaborated with M·A·C on their Viva Glam campaign which finances educational programmes aimed at preventing HIV/AIDS and helping people with the disease. The product – a red lipstick – is a compatible match with the notoriously camera-shy singer who is often seen rocking her signature red pout (which I learnt today is Ruby Woo) under her bob wig.

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia (US$18.50 / S$36)

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia (US$18.50 / S$36)

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia

M·A·C Viva Glam Sia

Consistent with the preceding Viva Glam lipsticks, Sia’s version features her signature emblazoned on the polished black surface of the tube. Described as a bright yellow-red with a matte finish, the lipstick delivers a vivid medium red (supposedly to mimic Ruby Woo, but more hydrating) with a soft sheen and nanoscopic gold flecks only noticeable up close when applied. With just a single swipe, it deposits a full-on lightweight layer of opaque coverage for a bold and sophisticated look without bleeding into the lip lines. It tends to skip and drag a bit across the lips owing to its slightly drying texture (typical of matte lipsticks), but it does not strip moisture off the lips over time. This lipstick is almost transfer-proof as most of it stayed put on my lips for more than 8 hours. When it did wear off, it faded to a pretty stain.

Comparing Viva Glam Sia with other popular red M·A·C lipsticks. Viva Glam Sia isn't too different from Ruby Woo, perhaps just a little warmer and definitely more moisturising

Comparing Viva Glam Sia with other popular red M·A·C lipsticks. Viva Glam Sia isn’t too different from Ruby Woo, perhaps just a little warmer and definitely more moisturising

Ruby Woo has always been one of my favourite red lipsticks but its annoying drying tendencies put me off, so knowing that Viva Glam Sia can be a substitute for it certainly earns it a few extra points. I’ve got to admit, though, that red may not be the most interesting lip colour in this day and age where every beauty brand in the market is constantly trying to differentiate itself with never-seen-before lipstick shades, but it is likely the only colour most people would associate Sia with.

What do you think of the Viva Glam lip colour this year? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading!

M·A·C Viva Glam × Sia is now available on MACCosmetics.com and in all local M.A.C outlets. Discounts are not applicable to all Viva Glam products as 100% of the proceeds of the sale are donated to the M·A·C AIDS Fund.

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REVIEW: Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Porefining Face Mask + Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment

Hello skincare fanatics!

Unless you have gone on a social media diet, you would definitely have been at the mercy of Facebook and Instagram’s algorithm and seen numerous videos of people prancing around with a pink (or blue) jar or letting out an orgasmic sigh as they slid some pink mousse-like paste down their cheeks. Well, if you didn’t manage to sit through the advertisements to find out what the rage was all about, wonder no more as this review will take you through the exact same products that had sent so many people into a state of euphoria.

*squeals* I'M SO EXCITED!

*squeals* I’M SO EXCITED!

Ohh hey there!

Ohh hey there!

It's the Sand&Sky Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment and Porefining Face Mask!

It’s the Sand&Sky Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment and Porefining Face Mask!

Founded by Australian twin sisters and supermoms Emily and Sarah Hamilton – who were also the creators of beauty box subscription company, Bellabox – in April 2017, Sand&Sky was born out of the realisation that there was a gap in the market for luxurious yet affordable and effective face masks, as well as their desire to showcase the efficacy of the botanical ingredients (ethically) obtained from their motherland in skincare.

So, gathering their market intelligence on consumer behaviour and experience in collating beauty products for Bellabox members, the Hamilton sisters formulated a millennial pink (😱) clay mask that contains 50% Kaolin clay (Kaolin tops the ingredient list as shown here and it is a considerable amount as compared to the 10-15% in many clay products) sourced from remote pockets of Southern and Western Australia to remove toxins and impurities from the skin, and organic liquorice to diminish the appearance of skin discolouration. Apart from organic aloe and pomegranate to tighten pores, soothe, and stimulate collagen production, this much-revered formula also includes a combination of kakadu plum and mangosteen to create a defence shield that would leave skin clear and glowing.

Porefining Face Mask

Mini brush

Mini brush

Enclosed in the box together with the pink jar (note that it’s no longer blue) of clay mask is a handy flat brush (high quality with soft bristles 😍) which I feel is a really thoughtful gesture on Sand&Sky’s part to maintain the sterility of the product during application. On top of that, it also helps ensure even coverage fast and prevents wastage while keeping our hands clean.

Everything inside the box

Everything inside the box

Protective seal

Protective seal

Protective cover

Protective cover

The product

The product

Cool when first applied, the mask – which had a subtle musty and earthy smell – became warmer as it settled on my towel-dried skin. There was some tingling sensation (but no discomfort or itchiness whatsoever) and gradually, areas where pores were most visible turned red slightly beneath the mask. Perhaps because the fan was blowing in my direction, it kinda expedited the drying time so the mask took less than 5 minutes to solidify completely.

[BEFORE] Cleansed face

[BEFORE] Cleansed face

Gonna pick up some product with the cute brush!

Gonna pick up some product with the cute brush!

How the product looks like when applied! P/S: I filmed the application process on the left side of my face - check out my Instagram for the video!

How the product looks like when applied! P/S: I filmed the application process on the left side of my face – scroll all the way to the end for the video!

When it's still moist, and before I transformed into a Chinese Opera performer

When it’s still moist, and before I transformed into a Chinese Opera performer

TAKE NOTE 📌
Clay masks are known to dry out when exposed to humidity or a drastic change in temperature. Therefore, refrain from storing the clay mask in the bathroom as this will cause it to dry faster. Instead, keep it at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. Should your clay mask harden prematurely in the jar, add a few drops of serum or water (about half of the amount of clay left in the jar) to rehydrate it.
Almost there..

Almost there..

100% dried up!

100% dried up!

Ahhhh so smooth

Ahhhh so smooth

Still, it was left on for the suggested 10 minutes before I removed it with a damp cloth in an upward motion. Just to sidetrack a bit, I cringe every time I see reviewers drag their skin down with their cloth as if having a droopy and saggy face is a worthy trade-off for a brighter complexion. As far as possible, we want our skin to be both firm and youthful, so never do that! Alternatively, if you have no cloth available at your disposal (and don’t worry, it doesn’t stain), you can easily wash it off – again, in upward motion – with warm water, which was what I eventually did when I realised that the wiped-off product on my cloth kept transferring back onto my face (the product liquifies instantly when comes in contact with water), repeatedly forming white casts with every wipe 😑

Try'na remove the mask with a damp cloth..

Try’na remove the mask with a damp cloth..

But it keeps coming back >_>

But it keeps coming back >_>

So I washed it off!

So I washed it off!

For best results..
♥ Oily skin to combination skin, use 2 to 3 times a week;
♥ Dry or sensitive skin, use up to 2 times per week

My verdict? The Porefining Face Mask delivered what it promised – a tightened, rejuvenated and shine-free complexion without harmful chemicals and the unnecessarily excessive use of preservatives, which ultimately make it suitable for sensitive skin like mine (even so, doing a patch test on your inner elbow is advisable), and safe to use in pregnancy. The results were even more prominent on my 60-year-old mother (unfortunately, no pictorial evidence as I had experimented on her out of boredom and didn’t expect it to work so well) who was absolutely amazed to see her fine lines smoothed out, wrinkles softened and an overall improvement in her complexion after use. Her skin felt silky to the touch too so for the first few minutes she couldn’t keep her hands off her face!

R E F R E S H E D

R E F R E S H E D

Smoother complexion

Smoother complexion

Pores tightened

Pores tightened

I must, however, add that this is not a cure for acne (but can be used alongside your regular skincare products). In fact, in the process of detoxification and purging, little poppable bumps – like in my case – may surface on congested areas a few days later. But they never grew beyond their initial minuscule size and they disappeared entirely once gratifyingly popped 😂

Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment

Exfoliating scrub

Exfoliating scrub

Since the tremendous success of the face mask, Sand&Sky has followed up with a second product that would complement the erratic schedule of career-oriented women: an exfoliating scrub that doubles as a flash mask which can be applied in-shower. It is also more nourishing than the original mask, making it an ideal option for those with extremely dry skin.

Likewise, the Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment also contains Australian Pink Clay to draw toxins, pollution and impurities from deep within the skin. But because it has more water content, it appears translucent to reveal the physical exfoliating particles when spread out on the skin. Apart from that, it has, among many other ingredients, low amount (less than 10%) of AHAs from Australian finger lime to promote cell turnover, collagen production and the absorption of moisture into the skin, bamboo stem extract to restore elasticity and suppleness to the skin, as well as rosehip seed oil for face rejuvenation and its anti-aging benefits. For the complete list of ingredients, click here.

The back of the tube

The back of the tube

Protective seal

Protective seal

The product

The product

To use, gently massage the exfoliating scrub into cleansed, moist skin (avoid eye area) in circular motion for about 30 seconds to allow the granules to remove dead skin cells. Then, leave it on for 5 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. And there you have it – radiant, sensationally soft and smooth skin in just half the time needed earlier! Plus, it also allows for better and more effective absorption of any serums and moisturisers that come after.

Scrub-a-bab-ba-bab for 30 seconds

Scrub-a-bab-ba-bab for 30 seconds

As the product loses its moisture, it also loses its opacity

As the product loses its moisture, it also loses its opacity

Only the physical particles are visible now!

Only the physical particles are visible now!

Rinse away after 5 minutes!

Rinse away after 5 minutes!

However, it wasn’t until I looked in the mirror the next morning that I saw the full extent of the effect. My face seemed like it was given a new lease of life as it appeared to be more refreshed and clear, and the newly smooth canvas made it really easy to apply my foundation. Moreover, the experience provided by the scrub was quite different from that of the clay mask. Besides the coarse texture and the fact that I had to get my hands “dirty”, the warm and tingling sensation felt when using the mask was noticeably absent this time.

Smoother complexion

Smoother complexion

Pores exfoliated

Pores exfoliated

Smooooooth

Smooooooth

For best results..
♥ Oily skin to combination skin, use 1 to 3 times a week;
♥ Dry or sensitive skin, use up to 3 times per week

With the key ingredient Australian Pink Clay present in the clay mask and exfoliating scrub, one may ask if it is necessary to purchase both. In all honesty, it depends on the intent for using the products. I would say the primary function of the clay mask is to purify and tighten enlarged pores and reverse dull skin while the scrub is mainly to exfoliate and eliminate those nasties responsible for clogged pores. Personally, I would pick the scrub over the mask out of convenience, and also because I don’t like to be rushed into finishing the clay mask before it dries out. But both products work best together so ideally, you should get the Perfect Skin Bundle (save 15%!). Bear in mind, though, that they should not be used on the same day because too much good stuff may irritate the already-delicate skin 😝

Furthermore, getting the honourable nod from PETA also meant that Sand&Sky does not test on animals, nor does it contain any animal components or by-product. Thus, if you’re a firm believer that no animals should suffer for our vanity, this reason should propel you to support this brand!

What do you think about this brand? Have you tried any of them? If not, do you intend to? Let me know what you think in the comments below or simply take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading and stay gorgeous! 😘

Sand & Sky is now available on their website (with free delivery on all orders), ZALORA and Beauty Bay.
Products were supplied by Sand & Sky in exchange for this review but all opinions expressed are my own.

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Small Face Care at Yakson, the House of Golki Therapy Masters

Hello everyone!

The ‘kiasu‘ mentality ingrained in the Asian culture has led us to believe that bigger is always better. But when it comes to the size of our face, we tend to favour smaller visages which, unless blessed with this desirable face shape by birth, is only be attainable with plastic surgery, right? Well, newsflash – thanks to a breakthrough discovery by Yakson House, reducing the size of your face can now simply be achieved with a massage!

Yakson Singapore

Yakson Singapore

The first of its kind in Singapore, Yakson (literally meaning “mother’s hand”) is a Korean aesthetics brand that provides a unique range of natural and non-invasive aesthetic treatments with zero downtime. Established in 1979 with over 120 outlets worldwide currently, Yakson is also the coiner of the now-ubiquitous K-buzzword Golki therapy.

Golki therapy…?

Golki therapy, or bone therapy, is a method of remodelling the face and body through unique bone massage techniques to realign the bone structure (which shifts with age, bad posture and misuse) to its original, symmetrical shape. It is based on the guidelines set forth by Julius Wolff (i.e. Wolff’s law), an orthopaedic surgeon in Germany in the 19th century, who theorised that repetitive dynamic (rather than static) loads on the bone trigger remodelling (to adapt to the stress). Moreover, the facial massage promotes blood and oxygen flow, which in the long term increases collagen production and therefore lending a youthful glow.

S P E C I A O F F E R
New customers enjoy 1-for-1 a la carte session with free consultation at all three outlets in Singapore!

This technique, however, may not be the most ideal for those looking to achieve immediate and drastic results because a minimum of 20 consecutive once-weekly sessions of the treatment is recommended for it to reach its maximum potential. That said, a slight lifting effect may still be observed in the face after a single session. As a way of measuring efficacy of the Golki therapy programmes, a plaster mask of the face is made on the first, 10th and 20th lesson of the treatment so that clients will be able to compare and see the measurable changes in their facial structure. But this service wasn’t necessary for me since my experiential treatment only lasted for one session.

Plaster mask of one of Yakson's customers (source)

Plaster mask of one of Yakson’s customers (source)

Additionally, those with low pain tolerance may also not be accustomed to the intense pressure applied to the face (at least for the first few sessions). But as the saying goes, “No pain no gain”, and if you ever decide to bite the bullet, you can rest assured that your face will be in good hands as the therapists performing the Golki therapy are native Koreans who have undergone extensive training by the founder himself at the Yakson headquarters in Seoul before they are certified to practise in Singapore.

Inside Yakson Singapore

As a testament to Yakson’s popularity, they are often fully booked across all three outlets here so fixing an appointment with them (especially on closer dates) can be a challenging process. For this reason, the House maintains a rather strict policy on punctuality in order to fulfil all scheduled appointments and ensure customer satisfaction. In case of late arrival after the 10-minute grace period (it almost happened to me because of slow traffic along the expressway 😫), the duration of the treatment would be shortened to fit into the remaining appointment time.

To prevent no-shows, a reminder SMS will also be sent one day prior to the treatment to which the customer has to reply to confirm her (sorry guys, treatments offered in Singapore are currently catered only to females only) attendance by 6pm; otherwise the appointment will automatically be cancelled. The message was condensed to 160 characters on my Conversations screen (Samsung users will understand) and had left out the do-reply instruction (which was right at the end), so I didn’t know I had to respond until a second reminder came in a few hours later 😆

With the only slot available on a weekday morning at their Harbourfront Centre outlet (the farthest from my place of residence) then, I had to drag my nocturnal self out of bed. But at the same time, I took comfort from the fact that I would likely be able to repay some of my sleep debt during the 1.5-hour treatment. Boy, how wrong I was!

Yakson (Harbourfront Centre outlet)

Yakson (Harbourfront Centre outlet)

Yakson (Harbourfront Centre outlet)

Yakson (Harbourfront Centre outlet)

Upon arrival at Yakson, I was ushered into a treatment room where I changed out of my outfit into the massage attire (which was quite frankly pointless because I had to be naked for the body massage anyway). Rather than having a designated area for storage like the other outlets, I noticed every room at the Harbourfront Centre outlet is installed with an electronic locker. Taking centre stage in the room was a thermal massage bed which had a clear plastic covering and was heated to a comfortable temperature enough to keep the chills away throughout the session.

Treatment room

Treatment room

Sandals

Sandals

Massage attire

Massage attire

Treatment: Small Face Care

Aimed at streamlining the face for a more proportionate profile, the Small Face Care treatment promises better-defined features that will complement any hairstyle. The effects are long-term and permanent with the proper lifestyle changes and if weight is maintained (an additional course of treatment may be necessary with sudden weight changes of more than 4 kg).

Back massage

Back massage

The treatment began with a quick question from the masseuse: “Do you want [to concentrate on the] front or back?” to which I hastily answered, “back” because it had a larger surface area to work on because I wanted to ease the strain from the long hours of sitting in front of the computer. With her expert hands, she massaged my upper back, arms and scalp to relieve any tension before getting me to flip over to remove my makeup.

Eye makeup removal

Eye makeup removal

Eye makeup removal

Eye makeup removal

Foundation removal and cleansing

Foundation removal and cleansing

Cleansing

Cleansing

Towel-drying

Towel-drying

Towel-drying

Towel-drying

End of part 1!

End of part 1!

Once that was done, another lady speaking Korean-accented English – presumably the Golki therapist – took over her place and administered the next round of massage on my rib area and shoulders, working towards the collarbone (i.e. the most sensitive part of my body – was on the brink of laughter so I had to tell her to move on 😫) and both sides of my neck before proceeding to the highlight of this treatment – Golki therapy for a slimmer face.

Therapist takes over - upper frontal body massage

Therapist takes over – upper frontal body massage

I had to turn my head in this manner on both sides

I had to turn my head in this manner on both sides

Working her magic on the temples

Working her magic on the temples

Squeeze those Pikachu cheeks!

Squeeze those Pikachu cheeks!

Upward prodding

Upward prodding

Double chin, be gone!

Double chin, be gone!

My very flexible cheeks, haha

My very flexible cheeks, haha

Skilfully and carefully, the therapist vigorously kneaded into my bare skin, going back and forth five to seven times (and you know it wasn’t exactly enjoyable when I was conscious enough to count in my head, hoping to arrive at the magic number at which she would get on to the next area 😂) predominantly along my jawline and cheeks, eliciting a sense of soreness and prompting me to clench my teeth. But amidst all the upward kneading, squeezing and prodding, I could actually feel my facial structure shifting like the Earth’s tectonic plates and paving the way for a more chiseled-looking appearance (without the need for a contour kit!).

Pre-mask. My (more) prominent jawline!

Pre-mask. My (more) prominent jawline!

The other side

The other side

Following that, a soothing sand-coloured mask (made from natural and herbal ingredients) was applied on my face and left on for a couple of minutes to cool the skin. The whole treatment then ended with a few more finishing kneads (shorter and less painful this time), and cheeks still flushed from the exertion of the massage. Despite the discomfort (and the subsequent aching sensation in my cheekbones) the treatment had brought on, it was surprising to note the tightening effect it had on my skin, and how refreshed and supple my face felt after just one session.

Mask time! The mask looks like baby food

Mask time! The mask looks like baby food 😋

Letting the mask set (without flash)

Letting the mask set (without flash)

LOL looks like my foundation colour

LOL looks like my foundation colour

Finishing touches

Finishing touches

The end! How I wish there's Golki therapy for the eyes as well to make my teeny weeny Asian eyes appear bigger and brighter

The end! How I wish there’s Golki therapy for the eyes as well to make my teeny weeny Asian eyes appear bigger and brighter 😁

But a word of caution: even though the products used in the treatments are suitable for acne-prone and sensitive skin, as a former acne sufferer, I must warn that the constant rubbing from Golki treatment would be too harsh on moderately to severely blemished skin and may aggravate the condition. Alternatively, you may want to consider trying the skin treatments offered by Yakson.

Smaller face… or your money back!

To further boost your confidence about the treatment, money-back guarantee is also offered to customers (between 20 and 60 years old) who do not see any improvement in their facial structure. On top of that, Yakson is particularly transparent about their prices; they are fixed with no hidden costs and are made publicly available on their website (though prices reflected are before GST) to obliterate any ambiguity, thus giving customers a piece of mind knowing that there aren’t so-called preferential rates and they won’t be subjected to hard-sell tactics.

Tea is served

Tea is served

Yakson cares! Let them know how you felt about the treatment.

Yakson cares! Let them know how you felt about the treatment.

What are your thoughts about this all-new non-surgical way to achieve a slimmer face? Will you be keen to try it? Let me know what you think in the comment below!

Thanks for reading!

Yakson Singapore is located at Harbourfront Centre (1 Maritime Square Harbourfront Centre #02-17 Singapore 099253), The Star Vista (1 Vista Exchange Green #B1-24 Singapore 138617) and Wheelock Place (501 Orchard Road Wheelock Place #05-12A Singapore 238880). For more information, visit their website or like them on Facebook.
Treatment was complimentary in exchange for this review but all opinions expressed are my own.

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Individualised Acne Treatments at The Clifford Clinic: Hydrafacial + Q-switch Laser + Topical & Oral Therapy

Hello everyone!

LONG READ WITH SOME REVOLTING IMAGES AHEAD BUT THE INFORMATION YOU’LL SEE IS VERY BENEFICIAL FOR ACNE SUFFERERS, I PROMISE

Pardon me for sounding like a broken record, but for the sake of new readers who have only seen spotless (pun intended) pictures of me in my makeup reviews, I need to make a revelation: they were most likely photoshopped to save you from throwing up. “But why? Are you that ashamed of your flaws?” Of course I am, especially when struggling with acne as bad as this:

This is still far from the worst I've experienced

This is still far from the worst I’ve experienced

Having suffered from acne since I was 15 years old, I know firsthand the stigma attached to it. At my lowest point, I dreaded going outdoors because my pimply face would attract looks of disgust. A trip to the mall was never one without pushy salespeople reminding me about my skin condition in a desperate attempt to sell me acne-fighting products. With my confidence at rock bottom, I kept to myself as I was afraid the next conversation would revolve around my face, again. I was apprehensive about standing up for myself in conversations or arguments for fear that my acne would be used against me, and I lost count of the number of times I broke down in front of the mirror – all these aggravated by the fact that I’ve been called “pimple girl” or “mo peng” (Hokkien for pockmarked face) for the most part of my secondary school life.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne vulgaris – or commonly known as acne – is almost like an epidemic which plagues about 85 percent of teens in each generation. Depending on your luck, the condition may persist for only a year or two, or when you eventually grow out of it. But unfortunate souls like myself have to deal with it for the decades because literally nothing worked to cure it. Some topical products did help to subside a few existing cysts, but not without allowing new ones to form. Thus for 13 years, my face was constantly riddled with angry pimples and scars which no amount of makeup was able to conceal due to their dark and bumpy nature.

M Y T H   D E B U N K E D
Contrary to popular beliefs, acne is not caused mainly by poor personal hygiene although cleanliness does play an important role in skin care, and this is coming from me, whose once porcelain-smooth complexion was blemished by agonising pustules and cysts time and time again despite being a clean freak and religiously washing my face twice or thrice each day. So don’t, for God’s sake, tell an acne sufferer that she’s in dire need of a shower. It’s not funny.

The acne eruption became so extensive and severe as I grew older (how ironic, when acne is supposed to get better with age) that I had conceded to the fact that I would have to live with breakouts for the rest of my life..

..until Dr Gerard Ee of The Clifford Clinic came to my rescue. In fact, their acne treatment wasn’t one of my initial considerations because I thought my condition was already under control by the antibiotics given by my previous clinic. But as soon as the course was completed, BAM! The pimples returned in full swing. Seeing how promising their acne treatment is, I decided to take a leap of faith and entrust my face to Dr Ee.

Surprisingly, much as this condition is mostly associated with puberty, adult acne has also been on the rise globally with “more than 50 percent of women in their 20s suffering from acne, and over 35 percent and 26 percent of women in their 30s and 40s respectively” going through the same ordeal. Although the causes for adult acne are debatable, research has shown links to hormones and genetics, not forgetting stress which is prevalent in today’s fast-paced society so you never know when you’ll be affected by this distressing problem.

To gear you up for any unforeseen bumpy ride, below are some acne treatment options I had explored at The Clifford Clinic which you may want to consider trying out in times of crisis. For the handful of you who have been suffering from since adolescence, they might just be the permanent answer to your skin woes.

HydraFacial

HydraFacial® is a medical-grade treatment and the only hydradermabrasian procedure that cleanses, detoxifies, exfoliates, extracts and hydrates all at once to achieve better acne control for all skin types and complexions. A non-ablative facial treatment that uses the patented 4-in-1 Vortex Technology™, it involves a four-step process including Vortex-Exfoliation™, Vortex-Peel™, Vortex-Extraction™ and Vortex-Fusion®, each marked by a different coloured HydroPeel® tip for attaching to the handpiece. But most incredibly, the whole procedure only takes less than 45 minutes (depending on whether you have makeup on) while offering noticeable results with no downtime, thus making it a great lunchtime beauty fix.

HydroPeel® tips

HydroPeel® tips (source)

Before beginning each treatment, my therapist would carefully remove my eye makeup with a couple of drenched cotton pads, and then gently massage cleansing foam into the rest of my face. The makeup removal process is so soothing that I would admittedly wear makeup to the treatment even when there wasn’t any need to just so that I could enjoy those additional minutes of pure luxury 😝 Most of the time, I would descend into a rejuvenating sleep at this point.

Note: all images are unaltered and were taken during the first session unless otherwise stated
Melting away the eye makeup

Melting away the eye makeup

Wiping away foundation

Wiping away foundation

Taadaah! My horrible skin!

Taadaah! My horrible skin!

Cleansing stage now

Cleansing stage now

Love the massage!

Love the massage!

But I have mixed feelings about the therapist touching my neck and collarbone hahaha damn ticklish!

But I have mixed feelings about the therapist touching my neck and collarbone hahaha damn ticklish!

Towel-drying my face before HydraFacial

Towel-drying my face before HydraFacial

(P/S: Kindly pardon my unsightly double chin. These were taken before my first Sygmalift session 🤣)

HydraFacial room

HydraFacial room

HydraFacial machine

HydraFacial machine

The treatment starts off with cleansing and exfoliation using Activ-4™ serum – a combination of Lactic Acid and Glucosamine – to resurface the skin and create a clean canvas. Acid peel is then performed using the GlySal™ solution (7.5% Glycolic Acid and 2% Salicylic Acid Peel) in tandem with Vortex-Fusion® technology to slough off dead skin cells before extraction is painlessly carried out with a vortex suction nozzle (instead of squeezing – ouch!) to draw impurities out of the pores. As a finishing touch to the now-radiant skin, Antiox-6™ – a powerful formula made up of the deeply moisturizing Hyaluronic Acid and detoxifying antioxidants such as Vitamins A, E, White Tea Extract, Horse Chestnut Extract and Rosemary Extract – is applied to replenish the skin’s natural elasticity and hydration. At the same time, it also helped detoxify and protect the skin from environmental free radicals. ˢᵒᵘʳᶜᵉ The therapist then concludes the treatment with a therapeutic massage on the face and neck area.

HydraFacial (Extraction)

HydraFacial (Extraction)

Sucking out more junk from areas with clogged pores..

Sucking out more junk from areas with clogged pores..

And my zits.. horrible, horrible zits..

And my zits.. horrible, horrible zits..

Absolutely pain-free!

Absolutely pain-free!

More massage!

More massage!

Time for mask! This step was specially incorporated into the session to suit my skin, so be sure to ask for it (additional charges apply) if you're keen!

Time for mask! This step was specially incorporated into the session to suit my skin, so be sure to ask for it (additional charges apply) if you’re keen!

One more snap before I doze off..

One more snap before I doze off..

Mask removal, and a little bit of massage

Mask removal, and a little bit of massage 😍

Post-HydraFacial!

Post-HydraFacial!

HydraFacial felt vastly different from all the facials I’ve had in the past. Every session was truly a relaxing and indulgent experience and I actually enjoyed every single part of it, even taking the opportunity to catch forty winks after a long day’s work which wouldn’t be possible with traditional facials. Unlike traditional facials that punish horrible skin with an excruciating extraction process which often leaves the face looking terribly blotchy at the end (also why I dreaded facials – my face always seemed worse than before so I often wondered why people pay to torture themselves), Hydrafacial manages to achieve similar effects (i.e. immediate reduction of redness and inflammation) without putting the person through sheer hell. In fact, Dr Ee does not advocate the use of comedone extractor or any form of squeezing for the main reason that these old-school techniques can potentially lead to scarring.

Psst.. first-time customers get to enjoy HydraFacial at an introductory rate! Find out more by calling The Clifford Clinic at 65322400 or through WhatsApp at 83186332.

According to the clinic, between 5 to 10 sessions are needed to clear up the whole face but as always, results vary from person to person. Much as I take delight in getting my face pampered, Hydrafacial alone did not come close to improving my condition which I suspected had been due to inner factors. So while it helped reduce clogged and congested pores to some extent after each session, it didn’t take long for them to revert to their original state *sigh* But instead of stopping Hydrafacial altogether, Dr Ee suggested I do it in conjunction with other treatments.

Can I interest you with pictures taken during my second HydraFacial session?

Can I interest you with pictures taken during my second HydraFacial session?

After the session. LOOK AT MY FACE.

After the session. LOOK AT MY FACE.

Right side

Right side

Left side

Left side

Topical & Oral Therapy

For optimal results, proper at-home care in between visits is imperative – that’s why Dr Ee prescribed a series of topical products to me to ensure that oil production was regulated even when I wasn’t in the clinic, and hopefully treat my acne too. The first set of products ranged from face cleanser to moisturiser and acne cream. But prior experience and more than a decade of trying my luck with topical products told me that they weren’t going to miraculously pull the plug on acne, so I requested for oral antibiotics to kinda like nip things in the bud.

First set of topical products from The Clifford Clinic

First set of topical products from The Clifford Clinic

Hence, apart from the clinic’s self-formulated Balancing Facial WashBalancing Facial Cream (a really light moisturiser which restores the levels of missing free fatty acids, namely linoleic and linolenic acid, without the excessive oiliness), and Stieva-A Cream (a tretinoin cream which stops acne growth by keeping skin pores clear and making skin less oily), I was also given a month’s dosage of green capsules called Doxycycline which supposedly target and kill the acne-causing bacteria in the pores while minimising any inflammation of the skin. True enough, my face started clearing up tremendously within a few days of taking the medication (although my skin did become flaky around the chin area), giving me the confidence of going makeup-free at work. I had found my cure – or so I thought.

On Doxycycline

On Doxycycline

Sadly, the effects were short-lived. Soon after completing the course, my pimples returned with a vengeance, causing daily makeup application to be ever more challenging and time-consuming on the bumpy surface. Doxycycline was then replaced with Ermycin, another antibiotics that prevents excessive oiliness of the skin. This was supplemented with Epiduo Gel, an antibiotic-free topical acne treatment with a fixed dose combination of 0.1% adapalene and 2.5% benzoyl peroxide and a proven track record of being highly effective on acne. But likewise, the condition was suppressed only right until the very last pill. And to make matters worse, my face reacted unusually sensitively (allergy reaction?) to the benzoyl peroxide in the cream despite the low concentration and swelled like a puffer fish. Worried that it would affect my day-to-day activities (it was my busiest week of the month), I paid an emergency visit to Dr Ee the following operating day and was given a soothing cream and some medication to calm the swelling (which thankfully went down in a week).

Epiduo day 2, one day before it officially turned me into a puffer fish

Epiduo day 2, one day before it officially turned me into a puffer fish

My face was starting to itch quite badly

My face was starting to itch quite badly

AND BOOM. My face turned crusty, warm and itchier. Furthermore, I couldn't take leave from work because I had an important presentation on that day! 😭

AND BOOM. My face turned crusty, warm and itchier. Furthermore, I couldn’t take leave from work because I had an important presentation on that day! 😭

With almost every option exhausted, Dr Ee persuaded me to try taking a kind of oral medication – a controversial one for severe acne conditions, in fact, which I had been resisting because of the scores of side effects it brings about such as extreme dryness of the skin and birth defects if a woman takes it during pregnancy, coupled with the fear that my acne would flare up even more after the course (this is a misconception, by the way). The prescription is an incredibly potent medication which works by cutting down the amount of oily substances (sebum) made by glands in the skin, and if this turned out to be ineffective as well, Dr Ee would have to resort to the AGNES treatment, which involves a downtime (not advisable for my job which long sick leaves are frowned upon) and high pain tolerance.

Determined to put an end to my nightmare, I relented and started with a low dose of the medication. In the first week, the unforeseen happened and my acne actually got worse. At that point in time, I felt kinda angry with Dr Ee for his “ill-advised” recommendation and was this close to quitting. But not wanting to leave a useless drug lying around, I decided to press on and complete the course.

One after another, the cystic pimples on my face shrunk and faded away as the days went by, leaving a baby-smooth complexion that was more glowing and flawless than before. Amazingly, I could even wear foundation for the whole day in humid Singapore and not spot a single trace of greasiness on my face! And for the first time in 13 years, people complimented my skin! But I didn’t want to keep my hopes too high only to be knocked down again by another massive breakout after the last pill so I waited..

After 10 hours, my makeup still looked the same as when it was first applied. Sorry for the lips.. couldn't control myself from picking them

After 10 hours, my makeup still looked the same as when it was first applied. Sorry for the lips.. couldn’t control myself from picking them 😭

And waited..

I am in love with my new skin

I am in love with my new skin

AND STILL NO NEW ZITS AFTER TWO WEEKS (and counting, even with a diet of fried food and late nights 😂)? Goddammit, this thing actually works! 

Excuse my French, but the prescription is the shit and I am kicking myself for not taking it earlier – it could’ve saved me from all the agony and self-loathing. My skin has never been better even though understandably, I have been getting itchy rashes all over my body. On top of that, my lips have also been chapping like crazy (arm yourselves with tons of lip balm!) and I have to refrain from using matte lipsticks. But sheesh, what’s chapped lips compared to a decade of acne-ridden skin? Lipsticks can wait 😂

This prescription had certainly enabled the other treatments mentioned here (without which my condition wouldn’t have improved so quickly) to perform more effectively. However, due to its possible complications, oral medication is only available on prescription only and you’d have to sign a consent form before it is dispensed to you. On top of that, what may work for me may not necessary work for others, so it’s always best to seek medical advice from a skin expert like Dr Ee who has probably seen (and cured) the worst of cases of acne.

Q-switch Laser

So, I have finally found a solution to my acne. Now what? The truth is, only half the battle is won. Those pesky pimples left behind a strewn of irate scars to remind me that they were never going to be exterminated.

My acne marks

My acne marks 😡

Thirteen years ago, they would have gotten their way. But not anymore. To eliminate acne and its remnants once and for all, Dr Ee recommended Q-switch laser, a no-downtime method for pigment removal (e.g. hyperpigmentation, freckles, melasma) which involves emitting short pulses of high-energy laser light towards the affected area to break down the pigment molecules into smaller fragments. The laser energy is cleared away naturally by the body’s lymphatic system upon being absorbed by the skin, making it safe with no side effects. Moreover, because this treatment only requires 10 to 15 minutes, it is typically done during lunchtime and after which, patients can expect to resume their normal activities.

SCARS BE GONE!

SCARS BE GONE!

Q-switch laser

Q-switch laser

Post-laser. Eyes turned red from the sudden change in lighting haha

Post-laser. Eyes turned red from the sudden change in lighting haha

A single session is capable of lightening or removing 70 to 100% of acne scars. In my case, probably 75% of my scars were visibly lighter than before while the more stubborn ones took about three sessions to be completely gotten rid of.  In addition, this treatment is also an excellent preventive measure against acne as it eradicates the sebaceous glands and removes the bacteria that causes pimples and acne. For pre-existing acne, it helps reduce inflammation and minimise pores so the skin is less prone to leaving marks.

But all these benefits are not without some stinging sensation as the procedure is being executed especially during the first few sessions which made my eyes tear behind the protective goggles 😂 Even so, the sting was still tolerable for me and it sorta diminished in intensity with more sessions. After the treatment, your nose will also constantly pick up slight burning smell (to be exact, the smell of fried facial hair) until you wash your face.

Still, these are small change compared to the many more years I would have suffered from acne if I hadn’t gone to The Clifford Clinic.

Skin now // 8 months after first consultation with Dr Ee and 4 months after starting on Oratane. Can't be more thankful to the clinic!

Skin now // 8 months after first consultation with Dr Ee. Can’t be more thankful to the clinic!

What are some of your experiences with acne and how did you deal with it? Also, let me know in the comments below if this review has helped you!

Thanks for reading!

The Clifford Clinic · 24 Raffles Place #01-03 Clifford Centre Singapore 048621 (Exit A from Raffles Place MRT) · Tel: 6532 2400 / 8318 6332 (WhatsApp) · For more information about the acne treatments offered by The Clifford Clinic, do visit Their website or Like them on Facebook and Instagram.
Treatments were complimentary in exchange for this review but all opinions expressed are my own.

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