HIFU Sygmalift at The Clifford Clinic: Non-Invasive Facelift for a V-Line Face

Hello everyone!

Face shape is pretty much a make-or-break factor to a new look or hairstyle. Having naturally bestowed with one that is globally adored (for which I thank my Dad), my V-shape visage – characterised by a small and slim oval face narrowing down to a sharp chin and a refined jawline like a melon seed (how the Chinese descriptive term for this face shape – 瓜子脸 – is derived) – has always been on the receiving end of compliments because it is perceived to impart a sculpted and youthful appearance while enhancing facial features. In the eyes of the Koreans and Chinese, a V-line face is also a mark of feminine beauty.

But like everyone knows, nothing is eternal. As the face undergoes the ageing process, it begins to lose structure and elasticity, and slowly becomes an inverted V with a droopy jowl area and a broader lower face. Contrary to popular beliefs, these unwelcome changes can take place as early as in our 20s – or about 25 in my case as evident from my growing double chin – and are often exacerbated by late nights and an unhealthy diet, no thanks to our poor work ethics. If this were the 20th century, the loss of volume in the face would be irrevocable and only get worse as the years go by. But luckily for us, the advancement of technology in recent years has made it possible to reverse these effects brought about by ageing and, what’s more, even alter the appearance of the face by creating a more pronounced cheekbone and chin – all administered by professionals and without the need to go under the knife!

Granted, there may be over-the-counter products that promise similar results but in terms of efficacy, safety and speed, nothing honestly comes close to Sygmalift – a non-surgical, painless process that has risen in popularity among those not ready to deal with the risks of a nip and tuck. It uses combination therapy of High Intensity Focal Ultrasound (HIFU) for facial remodelling and lifting, and Cold Laser 635 nm for bio-stimulation and enhancing skin glow. Not only does it yield long-term results without the downtime, it is also relatively quicker (about an hour) and more affordable than traditional facelift procedures that can amount to thousands of dollars.

The Clifford Clinic

The Clifford Clinic

The Clifford Clinic

The Clifford Clinic

One of the pioneer aesthetics clinics to offer this newest and most advanced HIFU technology in Singapore is The Clifford Clinic where I was invited by Dr Gerard Ee to experience this wonder first-hand to hopefully address my anti-ageing woes. As opposed to traditional HIFUs which penetrate at precise depths in the skin with very focused large beams and thereby causing a lot of discomfort and pain during treatment, HIFU Sygmalift uses fractionated beams that enable them to painlessly bypass the surface of the skin and penetrate at very precise depths to stimulate and remodel collagen without the need for painkillers or application of numbing cream.

HIFU Sygmalift machine

HIFU Sygmalift machine

Before undergoing Sygmalift. This was the state of my face in November 2017 - so horribly sad! So apart from Sygmalift, Dr Ee also recommended a series of acne treatments for me to try and these experiences will be covered in my next post!

Before undergoing Sygmalift. This was the state of my face in November 2017 – so horribly sad! So apart from Sygmalift, Dr Ee also recommended a series of acne treatments for me to try and these experiences will be covered in my next post!

Preparing to receive the therapy

Preparing to receive the therapy

Let's get started!

Let’s get started!

Suitable and safe for all ages and skin types, this treatment is perfect for facial rejuvenation as well as for saggy cheeks, crow’s feet, jowl and laugh lines reduction. Depending on your age and skin condition, it is recommended to be done once a week over a span of 3 to 6 weeks. Admittedly, my skin hasn’t quite reached a state of crisis so intensive care wasn’t necessary for me. Thus, I was only required to undergo 2 sessions of Sygmalift nearly 3 weeks apart. Results of skin tightening and lifting can be observed progressively within 40 days and are expected to last up to 12 months. In fact, there was already noticeable difference during my first session which followed after my Hydrafacial (but that’s another story and shall be told another time 😉).

From the chin

From the chin

To the jawline

To the jawline

And then to the cheekbone

And then to the cheekbone

Notice that my face is slightly lifted on the right now?

Notice that my face is slightly lifted on the right now?

Both times, my makeup would have been entirely removed by the therapist performing the Hydrafacial on me prior to the Sygmalift procedure (otherwise, I’d have to remove it myself), so there was always a sparkling clean surface to work on. Upon applying a layer of cool gel all over my face (as a conductor for the beams to penetrate better into the skin as well as to reduce friction), the therapist firmly pressed the handheld device down onto one side of my jawline (it may take awhile to get used to the pressure), slowly and smoothly sliding her way up to the cheekbone. The whole process involved repeating the same set of steps at one targeted area several times before proceeding to the next, and because it was so therapeutic, I tried very hard to fight off my drowsiness in the middle of the treatment just so that I could keep tabs on what was happening. But my perseverance level plummeted by the second session and I subsequently slept through the next 😂

Moving on to the left side!

Moving on to the left side!

From this picture, you can tell roughly how much pressure is exerted onto my face

From this picture, you can tell roughly how much pressure is exerted onto my face

Done! My face felt a little swollen after the procedure but it was just temporary

Done! My face felt a little swollen after the procedure but it was just temporary

The treatment comprises two parts – the first being the focal ultrasound which helps reduce the fat and lift the muscle while the second the laser to stimulate collagen production and tightening. The latter would require me to wear laser-protective goggles and put my ability to take pictures without a sight to the test 😂

Wiping off the cool gel in preparation for the next part of Sygmalift

Wiping off the cool gel in preparation for the next part of Sygmalift

Putting on the safety goggles...

Putting on the safety goggles…

Part 2 begins now!

Part 2 begins now!

Post-Sygmalift

Post-Sygmalift

So, did I fare well? LOL.

On that day I underwent my final session, I had my passport photo taken and was pleasantly surprised at how much sharper my chin and jawline had become as compared to how I looked previously in 2012! But considering that I have also started frequenting the gym and engaging in more intense exercises, I must say that my weight loss does play a part in reducing the chubbiness of my face as well.

November 2017 (left) and 2012

November 2017 (left) and 2012

As an added bonus, here's me throughout the years XD

As an added bonus, here’s me throughout the years XD

Although no downtime is associated with this treatment, there is still bound to be some sort of aching along the jawline from the continuous pressure of the therapist on the device. But the feeling was mild enough to be ignored without causing any inconvenience and it generally subsided by the next day, leaving no signs of bruising.

For the most part, Sygmalift is relaxing and pain-free, and I would recommend it to those in dire need for a “facelift” but have low pain threshold. It is also great for those who do not have the luxury of taking long leaves because effects are (almost) instant and does not require any time to heal.

What do you think about Sygmalift? Let me know your views or experience in the comments below!

Do stay tuned to find out how, with the help or The Clifford Clinic, I successfully got rid of my acne. 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 HIFU Sygmalift, do visit Their website or Like them on Facebook and Instagram.

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REVIEW: L’Oreal × Balmain Lipsticks – Legend, Power, Rebellion, Liberation, Confidence, Confession, Fever, Balmain Instinct & Glamazone

Hello everyone!

In possibly the most bizarre (or rather, mismatched) beauty partnership in the history of celebrity makeup collaborations, drugstore brand L’Oreal Paris joined forces with high-fashion French label Balmain to create a range of 12 exclusive couture matte shades (Legend, Power, Rebellion, Freedom, Liberation, Domination, Confidence, Confession, Fever, Urban Safari, Balmain Instinct & Glamazone) designed under the creative direction of Olivier Rousteing (the man with those unbelievably high cheekbones in the promotional picture below) himself.

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain for Winter 2018

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain for Winter 2018

Drawing inspiration from the diverse ethnicity of the 12 supermodels fronting the campaign, the revamped Color Riche Moist collection is divided into three colour themes to represent the three tribes of L’Oréal Paris × Balmain Paris femininity – Glamazone (green), Couture (black), and Rock (blue). They are formulated with pure pigments and camellia oil and were made available for preorder on U.S. online retailers Ulta and Barneys New York (where I bought mine using ComGateWay’s BuyForMe service) last October, and subsequently rolled out in stores (Singapore included) in January. Judging from the almost-empty racks in Watsons within the first month of launch, I reckon this collection had a remarkable reception.

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick packaging

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick packaging

Each lipstick is housed in premium packaging inspired by precious gemstones (albeit not as lavish-looking) bearing the iconic logo of the Balmain. Prices, although significantly higher than those in the regular line, are nevertheless kept relatively affordable despite the prestige name attached to it. So if you have been dreaming to own an authentic designer piece without taking out a mortgage, this is the opportunity you have been waiting for!

Barneys New York decides to ruin the aesthetics of the packaging further by sticking on an ugly price tag..

Barneys New York decides to ruin the aesthetics of the packaging further by sticking on an ugly price tag..

And it also leaves a residue upon removal :

And it also leaves a residue upon removal :\

Since this collection has already been out for awhile, many of the shades would’ve been sold out by now in Singapore so pardon me for the delay in posting this review. This was supposed to be completed before the new year but life somehow got in the way (and someone has got to pay the bills, y’know 😕 #life). That said, many of the shades are still pretty much available on Robinsons Singapore for a steal. Otherwise, you can still snag them all on Barneys New York through ComGateWay’s BuyForMe service if you don’t have a U.S. credit card.

My ComGateWay’s BuyForMe cost breakdown (FYI)

Cost of lipsticks: US$14 × 9 = US$126
BuyForMe service charge (5%): US$6.30
PRIME Shipping (estimated as cost was for multiple parcels): US$15
Total: US$147.3

Estimated cost of each lipstick: US$16.37 (≈S$23) or less after discounts

* STILL CHEAPER THAN IN SINGAPORE 🤩 *

Being one of the first cosmetics brands I was introduced to when I transcended into the makeup realm in my teens, L’Oreal surely has an element of nostalgia associated with it. Hence, talking about it certainly feels like a major throwback. Years after making the switch from drugstore to higher-end products, things have turned full circle now that NINE L’Oreal × Balmain lipsticks (through careful consideration – I would’ve gotten all if my bank account permitted) have earned a spot in my stash!

My L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick haul!

My L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick haul!

Swatches at a glance

Swatches at a glance

Uncapping the lipsticks one by one, what struck me was the unmistakable smell that wafted from the bullet (which the online beauty community had warned about) – a whiff that will either wrinkle your nose or make you huff it like puppy breath. For me, it was both, or rather a gradual transition from pleasant to kinda revolting. What I initially thought was an artificial-but-still-bearable sweet floral scent morphed into a reminiscent of headache-inducing cheap perfume peppered with stench of sweat (or what many would describe as old lady perfume) after some time, and it was the same for the rest of the lipsticks in this post. Fortunately, the smell did not last long on the lips but it certainly made me more hesitant to wear them.

Rock series

Legend

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Legend (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Legend (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Legend

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Legend

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Legend

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Legend

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Legend

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Legend

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Legend

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Legend

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Legend

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Legend

Legend is described as a dark brown with a matte finish. This reddish ash brown tugs and skips slightly on the lips and lends a somewhat streaky application with a medium but buildable (to some extent) coverage. The amount of pigment deposited isn’t as intense as most mattes but it’s still passable. It provides minimal shine and does not leave a tacky surface nor settle into my lip lines. The texture, however, feels drying although it does not appear so.

Power

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Power (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Power (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Power

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Power

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Power

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Power

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Power

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Power

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Power

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Power

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Power

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Power

Power is described as a red brown with a matte finish. A cool-toned brown when swatched on my hand, the lipstick transforms into a deep rusty brownish burgundy when applied on the lips. It provides medium pigmentation and a semi-sheer coverage which builds up to a more dramatic colour in about three swipes and is neither drying nor hydrating. The consistency is slightly leans more towards satin than matte.

Every additional coat seems to intensify the grainy appearance of the product and accumulate in my lip lines. Furthermore, it also left a texture that resembled dry erase marker grime on my lips, and its streaky and patchy consistency made me look like I had scabs all over my lips even though they were as smooth as baby’s bottoms. Hence, I reckon this would exacerbate any dryness or imperfections on the lips, so exfoliate away! Nevertheless, this shade instantly adds glamour to the face and is suitable for all skin types, especially darker ones.

Rebellion

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Rebellion (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Rebellion (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Rebellion

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Rebellion

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Rebellion

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Rebellion

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Rebellion

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Rebellion

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Rebellion

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Rebellion

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Rebellion

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Rebellion

Rebellion is described as a blue with a matte finish. This deep cobalt blue has a dry consistency that causes it to tug and drag during application, thereby giving rise to a slightly uneven and patchy appearance and a weighed-down sensation to the lips. For the same reason, it is also prone to settling in my lip lines.

It has a semi-opaque pigmentation which strangely stays the same even when more layers are built upon it. Hence, what you see on the first swipe would virtually be how it is like at its fullest potential. The slightly tacky texture tends to lift and separate the colour when I press my lips together, leaving very visible gaps at areas that have been touched. So, bring along a pocket mirror and be prepared for frequent touch-ups if you want the colour to remain immaculate throughout the day!

Couture series

Liberation

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Liberation (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Liberation (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Liberation

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Liberation

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Liberation

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Liberation

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Liberation

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Liberation

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Liberation

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Liberation

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Liberation

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Liberation

Liberation is described as a dark purple with a matte finish. This beautiful deep cool-toned purple has a consistency similar to that of Rebellion but better to some degree, mainly because it applies more evenly and its patchiness, being only noticeable at a close distance if there aren’t any flaws on the lips for it to throw spotlight on, are more forgiving and can mostly be mended with additional coats of colour. This shade is buildable to full opacity in just three swipes and does not budge as easily as Rebellion. That said, I still couldn’t shake off that drying sensation when I wore it.

Swatch comparison against Rebellion & Liberation

Swatch comparison against Rebellion & Liberation

Confidence

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confidence (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confidence (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confidence

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confidence

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confidence (virtually invisible)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confidence (virtually invisible)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confidence

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confidence

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confidence

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confidence

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confidence

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confidence

Confidence is described as a metallic rose gold with a matte finish. Probably the most disappointing purchase from this collection, this gold shimmer-infused light-medium peach is hardly pigmented anywhere on my skin. Running the bullet across my lips, I felt as if my lips were undergoing another process of exfoliation. The bullet was dry and uncomfortably grainy, and it coarsely deposited a colour (or lack thereof) that disappeared into the void, leaving just unevenly dispersed glitter – most of which decided to settle into the cracks on my lips and only reveal themselves when the right amount of light hits them (an effect that can also be achieved by any lip gloss – easily and more affordably). People with darker skin tones would have better luck at this shade. But still… I wouldn’t recommend this at all.

To be fair, L’Oreal had advised that this be used as a lip topper but I can foresee it rubbing off the lipstick (unless, of course, it’s a matte liquid lipstick) it is supposed to enhance. So, really, I do not understand the point of this shade.

To add insult to injury, the scent of this particular lipstick is exceptionally unpleasant and pungent, so much so that I actually feel paranoid wearing this for fear that I may inadvertently ingest the harmful chemicals behind this nauseating smell. Regardless, steer clear of this trash!

Confession

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confession (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confession (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confession

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confession

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confession

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confession

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confession

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confession

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confession

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confession

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confession

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Confession

Confession is described as a peach with a matte finish. One of my favourites from this haul, this warm-toned coral glides moderately smoothly on the lips with minimal tugging and yielded an evenly pigmented and opaque payoff in one stroke without emphasising every single line and crack in the lips.

While the lipstick feels creamy and a notch more moisturising at first, it does eventually wear down to a completely matte texture over a couple of minutes and this causes it to feel somewhat drying and prone to flaking. But I am happy to turn a blind eye to these minor flaws on account of its other merits. This shade stayed on well for nearly four hours before fading to a lighter orange stain.

Glamazone series

Fever

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Fever (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Fever (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Fever

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Fever

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Fever

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Fever

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Fever

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Fever

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Fever

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Fever

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Fever

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Fever

Fever is described as a red orange with a matte finish. The most sought-after shade in this collection, this one-of-a-kind muted brown-toned burnt orange sold out unexpectedly in a flash during the pre-order period and again when it was restocked for a brief moment, though it is not difficult to fathom why.

As daunting as it seems, Fever is actually incredibly wearable and complementary on all skin tones, especially olive complexions. Apart from the richly pigmented colour it provides, it applies evenly across the lips and is buildable to a full coverage in a matter of three coats, tops. The pictures above don’t do it justice (and I dare not adjust the colours much because they may appear differently on screens with varying colour resolution), but this hue of orange is really unlike what I’ve owned or seen before. It also has relatively good staying power as I was able to sustain that orange pout for about three hours before it came in contact with grease. The consistency, however, feels slightly heavy and there would be some inevitable tugging and dryness, but this can be alleviated with a little lip balm beneath it.

Swatch comparison against Fever & Confession

Swatch comparison against Fever & Confession

Balmain Instinct

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Balmain Instinct (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Balmain Instinct (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Balmain Instinct

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Balmain Instinct

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Balmain Instinct

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Balmain Instinct

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Balmain Instinct

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Balmain Instinct

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Balmain Instinct

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Balmain Instinct

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Balmain Instinct

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Balmain Instinct

Balmain Instinct is described as a green with matte finish. Loaded with fine gold glitter flecks, this olive green is the unusual lipstick colour I never knew I would dig. The green is subtle enough to rock solo or blended with another conventional colour of your choice to spice up the look a bit while the shimmers prevent you from resembling the walking dead.

But these still do not discount the fact that it has a streaky consistency which causes it to accentuate my lip lines. On top of that, this shade fails to deliver in the pigment and texture departments – it takes at least eight coats for the colour to build up substantially (and rubbing off some existing product in the process) and even so still appears sheer and patchy. Judging from how terribly it applies, I reckon it also won’t hold weight in the longevity arena – I can totally imagine it dissipating into the lip lines as the hours go by.

Swatch comparison against Balmain Instinct & Confidence

Swatch comparison against Balmain Instinct & Confidence

Glamazone

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Glamazone (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Glamazone (US$14 / S$28)

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Glamazone

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Glamazone

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Glamazone

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Glamazone

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Glamazone

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Glamazone

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Glamazone

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Glamazone

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Glamazone

L’Oreal Paris × Balmain lipstick in Glamazone

Glamazone is described as a brown with matte finish. At a glance, this grey-toned brown may seem similar to Legend but this certainly looks duller and patchier in appearance. In addition to that, this shade has a slight glistening sheen and a sheerer coverage which can barely build up. But on the plus side, its lightly creamy and emollient texture enables it to glide across my lips without tugging and settling into my lip lines. It is also noticeably more hydrating and comfortable to wear. Considering that the lipsticks in this collection generally have the tendency to dry my lips out, this is actually a feat!

Swatch comparison against Legend, Glamazone, Power & Balmain Instinct

Swatch comparison against Legend, Glamazone, Power & Balmain Instinct

All in all, this collection is a hit-or-miss, but mostly a hit if we disregard their awful smell. But on a serious note, I find the consistency and pigment yielded by many of the lipsticks pretty much comparable to those from mid-range beauty brands. The payoff of Fever, Liberation and Confession far exceeded my expectations of a drugstore brand, to be honest. And you know how drugstore lipsticks always advertise their lipsticks to be matte but in actual fact are more lustrous than my engagement ring? I am so glad none of these L’Oreal lipsticks turned out that way!

What are your thoughts about the lipsticks in this collaboration? Let me know your views in the comments below or simply take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading!

L’Oreal × Balmain is now available on Barneys.com (U.S. only) and Robinsons.com.sg and in all local Watsons, Guardian and SASA outlets, as well as major departmental stores.

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REVIEW: M·A·C × Jade Jagger Lipstick in Sunset Pearl & Mineralized Eye Shadow X4 in Golden Shine

Hello everyone!

Each year, M·A·C graces us with collaborations with adored names from popular culture, some having almost no relevance to the beauty world. Before 2017 came to a close, they surprised us with yet another unexpected partnership, although this time with one bearing a last name that would ring a bell even if not acquainted with the Rock ‘n’ Roll scene in the 60s and 70s – all thanks to Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera.

Notably known as the daughter of Mike Jagger, the lead singer of the legendary rock band Rolling Stones (and also the subject of the song “Moves Like Jagger”), Jade Jagger spent her glamorous childhood surrounded by celebrities including late pop artist Andy Warhol who often babysat her following her parents’ divorce. But in spite of her privileged upbringing, she would then go on to make a name for herself as an esteemed jewellery designer, occasional model and a socialite.

Recognising that jewels and makeup are an essential part of a woman’s ritual when getting dressed, she brought her “gemstone proclivities and free-spirited sensibilities” (while paying tribute to her Rock ‘n’ Roll heritage) to her first collaboration with M·A·C and created a capsule makeup collection of luxurious jewel tones and deep metallics.

Launched last December, the eight-piece collection includes lipsticks (Opal Beach, Sunset Pearl and Rolling Red), eye shadow quads (Burning Nights and Golden Shine) a blush (Moon Shimmer and Perfect Bronze) and highlight (Satin Shimmer) – all of which fall under the brand’s Mineralize Rich range (which was one of Jagger’s top preferences for containing natural pigments) and complete with glitzy yet edgy gold and black packaging to complement her jewellery line.

Take a look at the collection (photographed during the launch here at M·A·C ION Orchard) below:

The display

The display

Swatches for all lipsticks in the M·A·C × Jade Jagger collection

Swatches for all lipsticks in the M·A·C × Jade Jagger collection

Swatches for bronzer and blush in the M·A·C × Jade Jagger collection

Swatches for bronzer and blush in the M·A·C × Jade Jagger collection

Swatches for Burning Lights eye shadow quad (those of Golden Shine will be shown later in the review). I was initially planning to get this but the blue really disappointed me. The colour when swatched was nowhere near the vibrant blue on the palette (it actually looks like grey?) and it had a messy, talc-like consistency. Nope.

Swatches for Burning Lights eye shadow quad (those of Golden Shine will be shown later in the review). I was initially planning to get this but the blue really disappointed me. The colour when swatched was nowhere near the vibrant blue on the palette (it actually looks like grey?) and it had a messy, talc-like consistency. Nope.

As per what is expected of the Mineralize range, this collection features packaging with a magnetic closure and, in the case of the eye shadow, a mirror (which, in my opinion, is too small and set too far into the lid to be practical for my beady, short-sighted eyes) and is significantly pricier than usual because of the nourishing ingredients and technology that go into formulating them.

But on the downside, the steeper price tag has also been a deterrent for me to purchase anything from the Mineralize line, which is why it is hardly talked about here despite me being a considerably fervent supporter of M·A·C. Hence, much as I really liked the Haute Dogs collection, I didn’t feel propelled to buy anything because I couldn’t justify paying almost double the price for what could be found in the regular line. Likewise, when I knew this collaboration was going to be sold under the Mineralize umbrella, I was already prepared to pass on it altogether.

Then came the invitation to the launch event which coincided with the first year anniversary of the opening M·A·C ION Orchard in December. In celebration of the milestone, event attendees were given M·A·C shopping vouchers (among many other freebies) and I gladly spent them on Mineralize Eye Shadow in Golden Shine and Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Sunset Pearl 😆

My picks!

My picks!

Mineralize Eye Shadow X 4: Golden Shine

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Eye Shadow X 4 in Golden Shine (US$46 / S$)

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Eye Shadow X 4 in Golden Shine (US$46 / S$)

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Eye Shadow X 4 in Golden Shine

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Eye Shadow X 4 in Golden Shine

The eye shadow quad comes with a protective film over it

The eye shadow quad comes with a protective film over it

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Eye Shadow X 4 in Golden Shine

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Eye Shadow X 4 in Golden Shine

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Eye Shadow X 4 in Golden Shine

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Eye Shadow X 4 in Golden Shine

Swatches applied with wet and dry brushes

Swatches applied with wet and dry brushes

A powder formula of refined baked minerals, Golden Shine promises ultra-lightweight coverage in four coordinated warm non-matte shades including a soft champagne gold, rose gold, bright copper and deep reddish brown. According to M·A·C, unlike traditionally pressed shadows, each of the shadows in this palm-size (easy to carry around) palette is moulded into small round terracotta tiles (like little hemispheres) measuring less than 2 cm in diameter and presented à la CHANEL (think Les 4 Ombres palette) which I am not a fan of because it looks rather old-fashioned.

Infused with Mineral-rich Yeast Extract – a Multi-Mineral Complex which purportedly nourishes while providing silky-smooth, buildable coverage, the eye shadows are carefully baked for 24 hours to allow for an exceptionally sheer and light application. M·A·C recommends that they be applied dry for low to medium coverage with a shimmery finish, or wet (with setting spray such as M·A·C Prep + Prime Fix+ instead of water for better results) for more intense coverage and colour. If you intend to use them wet, do make sure you only moisten the brush after dabbing it into the eye shadow to prevent the pan from becoming wet (which can subsequently cause mold!).

Soft champagne gold is a brightened, light-medium gold with yellow undertones and a frosted sheen. When applied dry, the glitter particles are sparse and the texture feels gritty. The payoff is sheer yet easy to blend, making it a great alternative to face highlighter (so you won’t have to make space for a highlight compact in your cosmetics bag!). The shimmers are more well-distributed when wet, and they capture light better to deliver even more radiance. The eye shadow also has greater buildable coverage when used with a dampened brush.

Swatch comparison for soft champagne gold

Swatch comparison for soft champagne gold

Rose gold is a medium reddish brown with a shimmery finish. Its shimmer particles are much more fine with a looser consistency and these factors contribute to its uneven (but buildable) consistency. Thus when applied as is, it falls out. However, the moment the eye shadow interacts with a speck of water, the particles pack densely together and the colour also appears deeper with a visibly opaque payoff. On top of that, application becomes a lot smoother and edges can now be diffused rather easily. For these reasons, I feel this shade performs better when applied with a dampened brush.

Swatch comparison for rose gold

Swatch comparison for rose gold

Bright copper (presumably, because no matter how I look at it, it does not look like copper to me) is a gaudy medium-deep gold with brown undertones and a frosted sheen that has the potential to transform into metallic with more pressure is applied to it. The payoff for this shade is almost identical when dry and wet. In both instances, it delivers a smooth and silky consistency and a highly pigmented and opaque finish with about two layers, coupled with very densely packed particles and a buildable coverage. Perhaps one distinction when applied wet is that the texture tends to stiffen slightly, causing the edges not to blend out very well.

Swatch comparison for bright copper

Swatch comparison for bright copper

Deep reddish brown is a blackened brown with pink shimmers that are thinly dispersed. That said, this shade has noticeably less shimmers that are not as obtrusive as the others. Without moistening, the first few layers give a semi-sheer, soft and blurred finish. But once it gets slightly wet, the edges become more well-defined – which, on the downside, doesn’t allow for easy blending – while greatly intensifying the colour payoff and opacity.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

APPLICATION & SUGGESTED LOOK

For a more accurate depiction of the eye shadows’ payoff in this review, they are used in their unaltered form without any wetting agent to create the suggested look below.

[BEFORE] As always, I primed my lids before applying eye shadow

[BEFORE] As always, I primed my lids before applying eye shadow

Look how small the palette is!

Look how small the palette is!

Rose gold as the base colour

Rose gold as the base colour

Blend it with soft champagne gold to create a little ombré effect towards the brows

Blend it with soft champagne gold to create a little ombré effect towards the brows

Fill the creases with bright copper

Fill the creases with bright copper

Add additional layers of bright copper to make it pop. Make sure to blend it with the rose gold above

Add additional layers of bright copper to make it pop. Make sure to blend it with the rose gold above

Apply bright copper to the waterline

Apply bright copper to the waterline

Complete the look with deep reddish brown to add some depth

Complete the look with deep reddish brown to add some depth

[AFTER] The result

[AFTER] The result

A closer look

A closer look

With eyeliner

With eyeliner

In general, the eye shadows, apply a lot less chalky than expected and they adhere to the lids fairly well even when dry. That said, they have a looser consistency than traditional ones and can generate a bit of a mess as they tend to kick up more product than necessary when I dip my brush into the pans (so I had to keep wiping away the fallout on the palette after every use). Furthermore, being mostly complementary colours, there won’t be much of a dramatic contrast between any of the two neutrals but this also makes it ideal for fail-proof everyday definition.

Aftermath...

Aftermath…

Lipstick: Sunset Pearl

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Sunset Pearl (US$25 / S$)

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Sunset Pearl (US$25 / S$)

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Sunset Pearl

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Sunset Pearl

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Sunset Pearl

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Sunset Pearl

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Sunset Pearl

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Sunset Pearl

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Sunset Pearl

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Sunset Pearl

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Sunset Pearl

M·A·C × Jade Jagger Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Sunset Pearl

Sunset Pearl is described as a midtone rosey brown in Mineralized finish. A limited edition shade, it is specially formulated to be lightweight with nourishing properties to condition the lips with maximum moisture. This reddish beige glides comfortably on the lips like butter to coat every contour and fine line with semi-sheer coverage. But because it isn’t entirely opaque, it does not provide enough pigment to conceal rough patches substantially and adding additional layers will only amplify their texture even more (as the rough patches will seem a lot darker than other areas). Therefore, it will be advisable to exfoliate the lips before application.

Buildable to a deeper, more opaque colour, this lipstick has emollient and hydrating effect, leaving the lips soft and supple. Since starting on Oratane about a month ago, my lips have been exceptionally prone to chapping and this actually manages to keep my lips from flaking further within the first three hours of wear (until I have my meal, basically). A pretty neutral that is not too light and not too heavy, this shade does a phenomenal job in bringing out the sparkle of the colours layered over the lids using the Golden Shine palette!

Swatch comparison for Sunset Pearl

Swatch comparison for Sunset Pearl

Although the collection is no longer stocked in stores, it is still available on MAC Cosmetics website in very limited quantities (as the last time I checked, the eye shadow quads have been taken down already), so hurry and snatch up your favourites before they are gone for good!

What do you think about this collection? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or simply take a poll!

Thanks for reading!

M·A·C × Jade Jagger is now available on MACCosmetics.com and was sold in all local M.A.C outlets.

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REVIEW: M·A·C × Patrick Starrr Lipsticks – Patrick Woo, Mamastarrr & She Betta Werrrk

Hello everyone!

The 21st century has brought about several significant changes in the realm of beauty, one of which is how society’s perception of beauty has evolved over time. Because of that, cosmetics giants such as Maybelline and Covergirl are also publicly expanding the boundaries of what is conventionally associated to femininity by including male makeup-wearing models in their advertisements and campaigns. But when it comes to inclusivity, I believe no other brand does it more naturally than M·A·C who had partnered with the likes of Gabriel Zamora in the past. Obviously not new to the ‘boy beauty’ movement, M·A·C decided to join forces with Patrick Starrr to create a series of makeup collections for all ages, races and sexes.

 

Patrick Starrr for M·A·C

Patrick Starrr for M·A·C

Born in the U.S to Filipino parents, Patrick Starrr (whose real name is Patrick Simondac) was training to be a nurse at the university when he found his calling as a makeup artist through his stint at Sephora and M·A·C. Upset that he wasn’t assigned any hours at M·A·C after the holiday season in 2013, Patrick turned to YouTube as a means to maintain his artistry and as an outlet for creative freedom.

Although being one of the few boy beauty gurus at that time helped attract many eyeballs to his videos, it was after the late Talia Joy – a 13-year-old cancer patient who became a YouTube beauty guru and honorary CoverGirl – liked one of his videos that his fame exploded almost overnight, gaining him 20,000 followers in just a month. Since then, his channel has passed the 3 million subscription mark and Patrick himself has gone on to become a full-blown household name in the YouTube community with brands lining up to work with him (and was even given the opportunity to do Kim Kardashian’s makeup!). From Sephora to ABH, it was only a matter of time Patrick teamed up with the OG of collaborations (and the company that fuelled his passion in makeup artistry).

Patrick Starrr for M·A·C

Patrick Starrr for M·A·C

Patrick Starrr for M·A·C

Patrick Starrr for M·A·C

Dropped in the U.S. in December last year and in Singapore early last month, the M·A·C × Patrick Starrr collection (and this is just one part of his year-long project with the brand. Meaning to say, there’s more to come!) boasts a packaging that is nothing short of flamboyant – products are encased in reflective silver material and put in boxes embellished with glitter and metallic foil accents.

It comprises a setting powder which M·A·C members were able to pre-order on their U.S. website, three shades of lip pencil (in Brick, Edge to Edge & Mahogany) and lipglass (in Mamastarrr, Patrick Woo & She Betta Werrrk) with their corresponding lipsticks sold separately, as well as two eye shadow quads (in Glam AF & Goalgetter). But this review will only be focusing on the lipsticks in this collection.

Patrick Woo

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Patrick Woo (US$17.50 / S$33)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Patrick Woo (US$17.50 / S$33)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Patrick Woo. The label on the left camouflages into the packaging which makes it very unreadable. Why isn't it printed in black, though?

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Patrick Woo. The label on the left camouflages into the packaging which makes it very unreadable. Why isn’t it printed in black, though?

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Patrick Woo

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Patrick Woo

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Patrick Woo

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Patrick Woo

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Patrick Woo

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Patrick Woo

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Patrick Woo

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Patrick Woo

Patrick Woo is described as a deep yellow-red with Matte finish. Highly pigmented with an opaque coverage, this warm-toned red delivers a soft-matte appearance without accentuating any fine lines and instantly transforms the lips into a bold camera-ready pout.

In comparison to Ruby Woo, this feels a lot more moisturising although a discernible amount of tugging and dragging persists as it goes on my lips. Still, this universally-flattering lipstick allows for an even application in just one stroke and envelopes the lips in a rich and long-wearing timeless colour.

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Patrick Woo swatch comparison

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Patrick Woo swatch comparison

Mamastarrr

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Mamastarrr (US$17.50 / S$33)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Mamastarrr (US$17.50 / S$33)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Mamastarrr

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Mamastarrr

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Mamastarrr

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Mamastarrr

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Mamastarrr

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Mamastarrr

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Mamastarrr

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Mamastarrr

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Mamastarrr

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in Mamastarrr

Exude a nouveau bohemian vibe with Mamastarrr, an incredibly wearable darkened terracotta which does not draw attention away from your elaborate eye makeup while still enhancing the overall appearance of the face. Described by M·A·C as a reddish brown with Satin finish, it goes on smooth with minimal tugging and skipping to provide full-coverage and an unobtrusive sheen in one swipe.

As gorgeous as it seems, however, it has the tendency to amplify dry patches and settle into lines, making the lips look more wrinkly than usual. That said, it does not strip moisture from the lips and cause them to chap and peel (which happens to me a lot) after several hours of wear. This colour fades to a subtle beige stain after a full meal.

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Mamastarrr swatch comparison

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in Mamastarrr swatch comparison

She Betta Werrrk

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in She Betta Werrrk (US$17.50 / S$33)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in She Betta Werrrk (US$17.50 / S$33)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in She Betta Werrrk

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in She Betta Werrrk

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in She Betta Werrrk

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in She Betta Werrrk

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in She Betta Werrrk

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in She Betta Werrrk

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in She Betta Werrrk

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in She Betta Werrrk

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in She Betta Werrrk

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr in She Betta Werrrk

She Betta Werrrk is described as a soft pink with Matte finish. A better reincarnation of The Pinkprint with only a smidgen of its shine, this cool-toned muted rose is darker and certainly far more superior in terms of longevity, coverage and consistency. It goes on the lips more evenly and is more resistant to transfer.

Having said that, the texture isn’t exactly creamy and pliable – it applies with some tugging and requires a couple of layered coats to achieve full opacity. But the more I run the lipstick over my lips, the more it seems to intensify the appearance of my lip lines. On top of that, this colour is noticeably more drying, so much so that my lips started to flake as the hour went by. This colour is best suited for porcelain complexions in my opinion because it looks kinda odd against my yellow-toned skin.

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in She Betta Werrrk swatch comparison (oops, I compared it so much with The Pinkprint and yet I had forgotten to swatch it against it. I will add the comparison here soon!)

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr lipstick in She Betta Werrrk swatch comparison (oops, I compared it so much with The Pinkprint and yet I had forgotten to swatch it against it. I will add the comparison here soon!)

Although it was really thoughtful of Patrick Starrr to have opted for safe shades that would work for most skin tones across the board for this collection, I found the choice of colours a tad too boring and repetitive for my liking (even though they generally apply a lot better than their precedents). Hopefully, we get to see a more diverse selection in his subsequent M·A·C releases.

And seriously, what’s with his obsession with triple Rs, though? 😒

What do you think of the M·A·C × Patrick Starrr collection? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading!

M·A·C × Patrick Starrr is now available on MACCosmetics.com and exclusively in M.A.C ION Orchard and TANGS Vivocity outlets.

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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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REVIEW: M·A·C × Rossy de Palma Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow, Lipsticks in Rossy & Phenomenal Woman

Hello everyone!

Before the Snow Ball collection took center stage with it stunning marketing visuals, there was another contender that had attracted a great deal of attention for its equally innovative packaging design.

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma for Fall 2017

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma for Fall 2017

Born Rosa Elena García Echave in Spain, Rossy de Palma is a former fashion model, an actress and a charity spokesperson for the Ghanian Charity OrphanAid Africa which among other causes, advocates for the closure of illegal orphanages. Often dubbed a walking Picasso painting, de Palma doesn’t fit the stereotypical definition of a high-profile actress – she doesn’t have doe eyes, sharp nose nor a perfectly proportioned mouth. But it’s this extraordinary (like, literally!) look of hers that had earned her the right to walk the runways for Mugler, Gaultier, and Givenchy and become the face of luxury ad campaigns. What a role model she is!

In this day and age of nip and tuck where most people won’t even bat an eyelid to modify their appearance with cosmetic surgery (and end up looking like they were all stamped out of the same cookie cutter), her unique aesthetic comes across as striking yet authentic at the same time, like a breath of fresh air. In fact, don’t you think she looks like a Picasso-esque version of Lady Gaga?

The display (FYI the one with the nose image is the contour kit - kinda like that one too)

The display (FYI the one with the nose image is the contour kit – kinda like that one too)

My haul!

My haul!

And what better way to embrace your (im)perfections than partnering with M·A·C on a collection centered around them? This collection takes inspiration from Cubism – an early-20th-century art movement created by Picasso – with gold as the primary colour and Rossy’s artistic signature plastered on all the products. For a more Cubist approach, a lenticular image of her (zoomed in, no less) unconventional facial attributes are featured on the packaging of a selected range as seen in the promotional picture above. It may not be the intention, but I like how Rossy de Palma and M·A·C are delivering a subtle screw you to bigots who have criticised her looks with this collaboration.

“Hate my fractured nose and my asymmetrical eyelids, you say? Here’s every part of me you dislike on your makeup. HA, take that!”

All jokes aside, I don’t usually venture out into buying anything else apart from lipsticks from any M·A·C collection. But the packaging is just too brilliant to resist 😆

#1 Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Veluxe Pearlfinish Shadow (US$32 / S$72)

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Veluxe Pearlfinish Shadow (US$32 / S$72)

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Veluxe Pearlfinish Shadow - the lenticular effect!

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Veluxe Pearlfinish Shadow – the lenticular effect!

Other details

Other details

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Veluxe Pearlfinish Shadow - the shades

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Veluxe Pearlfinish Shadow – the shades

SWATCHES & REVIEW

Close-up of the 6 shades, all in pans of different sizes

Close-up of the 6 shades, all in pans of different sizes

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Veluxe Pearlfinish Shadow swatches

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Veluxe Pearlfinish Shadow swatches

Pinky is described a bright pink with Veluxe Pearl finish. It is a warm-toned medium pink glistened with very fine fuchsia shimmers and is filled in the smallest pan of the palette (the same with Money) which can be a little hard for a fluffy brush to reach without touching the shade next to it.

Semi-opaque in coverage, this shade works great as a base colour. Probably due to its soft and smooth texture, it causes quite a bit of kick-up in the pan (chunks of product would come off) when picked up with a brush. Despite its flaky consistency (which is rather noticeable on the lid), it blends well on the lid without having much fallout and leaves an evenly silky finish. Also, it doesn’t have the tendency to stain like most pink eye shadows and can be easily removed.

Swatch comparison for Pinky

Swatch comparison for Pinky

Smokes is described as a soft lilac with Veluxe Pearl finish. It is a cool-toned purple with fine blue shimmers (albeit more subtle than the others). Powdery in texture, this shade applies unevenly on the lid with both dry and dampened brushes and has sheer colour payoff with very limited buildability. When blended out, it loses its intensity to the extent of almost fading to nothing. I had to use small patting and dabbing motions for the colour to show reasonably but it still creases and fades away the moment my lids show signs of oiliness. Therefore, I won’t recommend this to be used on its own as a single shade.

Swatch comparison for Smokes

Swatch comparison for Smokes

Charcoal is described as a black with multi-colour pearl. It has a Veluxe Pearl finish mostly made of white, sparsely-scattered, in-your-face sparkles with an overall chunkier texture and powdery consistency. When hit with a brush, it leaves a negligible amount of kickback in the pan. But when applied on the lid, some product came dusting off into my eyes. Although it has fairly good pigmentation with semi-sheer (but buildable) coverage on the lid, it does not blend very well, unfortunately.

Considering that this shade would most likely be the least used of all since it is less versatile and more difficult to work with, it is pure bewilderment that it is allotted the largest pan size on this palette. Makes me wonder what the thought process behind the apportion of the pan sizes to the shades is like 🤔

Deep which is described as a dark blackened navy with Veluxe Pearl finish. This captivating shimmery cool-toned deep blue is as close as it gets to a metallic blue because of the densely packed sparkles. Deep goes on semi-opaque when first applied but can be built on to achieve full coverage. It is fairly blendable with a cream-like texture, therefore making it a joy to work with. It is definitely one of the better performers in this palette with a payoff on par with or a tad better than Pinky which wore well on me.

Swatch comparison for Charcoal and Deep

Swatch comparison for Charcoal and Deep

In the bottommost pan on the palette is Money, a soft green with Veluxe Pearl finish as described by M·A·C. This turquoise with fine green shimmers has a flaky texture like Pinky which tends to ball up in the pan. When applied, it gives a sheer to semi-opaque coverage (don’t be deceived by the swatch – the pigment is nothing of the sort on my lid) that would take a few coats to build the colour intensity up. A point to note, though, is that Money is rather loosely pressed as compared to the rest of the shades. Hence, although digging the brush into the pan may be necessary to get a decent payoff on the lid, it is not advisable lest you break it apart.

Nevertheless, this shade is a disappointment. Not only is it flighty on my naturally oily lid, it creases even over primer. I also had some trouble blending and diffusing this shade because it budges with the slightest contact. Even if I managed to get it work on my lid, it is only fleetingly as it started to look splotchy after two hours of wear.

Swatch comparison for Money

Swatch comparison for Money

APPLICATION & SUGGESTED LOOK

The products I will be using

The products I will be using

Using Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion to prime the lids

Using Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion to prime the lids

Pinky as base colour

Pinky as base colour

Money to make the eyes pop

Money to make the eyes pop

Smokes as a transition colour

Smokes as a transition colour

Deep to add depth (no pun intended)

Deep to add depth (no pun intended)

Smokes again to define (you can clearly see the colour rubbing off here)

Smokes again to define (you can clearly see the colour rubbing off here)

Mirroring the colours on the lower lid

Mirroring the colours on the lower lid

Charcoal for even more depth

Charcoal for even more depth (actually, I just wanted to wear all the shades on my lids)

Mirroring, again..

Mirroring, again..

And again..

And again..

How the shades in the pan translate onto my lids

How the shades in the pan translate onto my lids

The final look!

The final look!

#2 Lipstick – Rossy

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick packaging

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick packaging

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Rossy (US$17.50 / S$33)

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Rossy (US$17.50 / S$33)

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Rossy

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Rossy

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Rossy

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Rossy

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Rossy

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Rossy

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Rossy

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Rossy

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Rossy

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Rossy

Rossy is described as a dirty mauve purple with Matte finish. Creamy in texture, this warm-toned purple glides on like butter and imparts a hint of lustre to keep the lips looking (and feeling) moisturised. The texture is slightly oily for a matte which makes it susceptible to transfer and shorter wear time. On top of that, I notice that this shade also tends to settle into my lip lines. It applies evenly and has pretty good pigmentation but requires several swipes to be reasonably opaque.

Swatch comparison for Rossy

Swatch comparison for Rossy

#3 Lipstick – Phenomenal Woman

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Phenomenal Woman (US$17.50 / S$33)

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Phenomenal Woman (US$17.50 / S$33)

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Phenomenal Woman

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Phenomenal Woman

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Phenomenal Woman

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Phenomenal Woman

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Phenomenal Woman

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Phenomenal Woman

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Phenomenal Woman

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Phenomenal Woman

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Phenomenal Woman

M·A·C × Rossy De Palma Lipstick in Phenomenal Woman

Phenomenal Woman is an online-exclusive described as a dark plum with Matte finish and is the only lipstick in this collection to sell out online. This cool-toned burgundy has a richer sheen to it which is not something I would expect from a matte formula. In fact, I think it looks more satin than matte. This shade tugs and pulls lightly at the lips during application, giving a streaky and uneven payoff which is mostly caused by the product seeping into the lip lines and clinging onto the dry patches on the lips. It has a thin and tacky texture that is neither hydrating nor drying on me.

Swatch comparison for Phenomenal Woman

Swatch comparison for Phenomenal Woman

I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised that, despite the fanciful packaging and unchanged pricing, the quality in the products (maybe save that few shades in the eye shadow compact that didn’t apply very well. Shame!) did not really take a beating. Has M·A·C finally come to the realisation that in the eyes of consumers, quality is king? If that’s the case, I can’t wait to see what more M·A·C has to offer for the coming year!

What do you think about M·A·C × Rossy De Palma? Let me know your comments below or take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading!

M·A·C × Rossy de Palma is now available on MACCosmetics.com and in all local M.A.C outlets.

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REVIEW: M·A·C Snow Ball – Face Bag (Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt), Lipsticks in Elle Belle & Holiday Crush

Hello everyone!

You know Christmas is just around the corner when mentions of M·A·C Holiday collection hit the internet. This year, our beloved beauty brand introduces Snow Ball – a massive collection wrapped entirely in gold snowflake-emblazoned packaging that would make you want to empty your bank account.

M·A·C Snow Ball for Holiday 2017

M·A·C Snow Ball for Holiday 2017

One of the many displays for M·A·C Snow Ball

One of the many displays for M·A·C Snow Ball

M·A·C Snow Ball Mini Lipstick Kit / M·A·C Classics (US$69.50 / S$150) featuring 12 shades: Party Commencing (Matte), Little Darling (Matte), Please Me (Matte), Mangrove (Matte), Ruby Woo (Matte), Rebel (Satin), Flat Out Fabulous (Matte), Good Kisser (Matte), Diva (Matte), Velvet Teddy (Matte), Whirl (Matte) & Stone (Matte)

M·A·C Snow Ball Mini Lipstick Kit / M·A·C Classics (US$69.50 / S$150) featuring 12 shades: Party Commencing (Matte), Little Darling (Matte), Please Me (Matte), Mangrove (Matte), Ruby Woo (Matte), Rebel (Satin), Flat Out Fabulous (Matte), Good Kisser (Matte), Diva (Matte), Velvet Teddy (Matte), Whirl (Matte) & Stone (Matte)

The Snow Ball Mini Lipstick Kit was an especially great bargain. If I hadn’t already owned 90% of the shades in there, I would have bought it in a heartbeat when it was pre-released to the M·A·C Obsessed members on the U.S. site.

M·A·C Snow Ball Extra Dimension Eye Shadow - all swatches (US$20 / S$37 each)

M·A·C Snow Ball Extra Dimension Eye Shadow – all swatches (US$20 / S$37 each)

M·A·C Snow Ball Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Face Bag - all swatches (US$49.50 / S$90 each)

M·A·C Snow Ball Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Face Bag – all swatches (US$49.50 / S$90 each)

M·A·C Snow Ball lipsticks - all swatches (US$17.50 / S$33 each)

M·A·C Snow Ball lipsticks – all swatches (US$17.50 / S$33 each)

Some other products from this collection not show above are the Face Powder (US$34 / S$46), Lash (US$17 / S$25) and Snowflake Adornment (US$16.50 / S$23). Unfortunately, the Prep + Prime Fix+ Kit (US$20) is not available in Singapore and you won’t be able to purchase it from the U.S. site too because of restrictions on shipping liquids. Ah, bummer! 😫

Apart from the to-die-for packaging, prices also seem to be a lot lower as compared to the previous years. Either M·A·C had decided to listen to the feedback of their customers or they had felt the pressure to keep their prices affordable from the growing competition in the market. Whatever it is, it is a win-win for both sides – customers wouldn’t feel much of a pinch shopping the collection and M·A·C gets to clear their stocks fast. And by fast, I mean wiping out almost everything in the collection within the first hour (both online and in Singapore stores)! 😲

Fortunately, I scored what I wanted on my list (many thanks to M·A·C Singapore 😘) and here’s my review:

#1 Face Bag (Gold)

M·A·C Snow Ball Face Bag (Gold, US$49.50 / S$90)

M·A·C Snow Ball Face Bag (Gold, US$49.50 / S$90)

M·A·C Snow Ball Face Bag (Gold)

M·A·C Snow Ball Face Bag (Gold)

Everything inside

Everything inside

Inside the bag

Inside the bag

Products in the Face Bag - Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt and 140 Synthetic Full Fan Brush

Products in the Face Bag – Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt and 140 Synthetic Full Fan Brush

M·A·C 140 Synthetic Full Fan Brush

M·A·C 140 Synthetic Full Fan Brush

The Snow Ball collection features two Face Bags in gold and peach with an US$85 value. Both bags, cheaply covered with scratchy sequins (gawd, I swear this is the laziest way to glitz up something) with a faux-fur pom pom hanging from the zipper, contain a different shade of snowflake-embossed Extra Dimension Skinfinish in rose gold packaging as well as an exclusive rose gold-handled 140 Synthetic Full Fan Brush worth US$42.

The peach version comes with Show Gold – which is already in the permanent line of Extra Dimension Skinfinish – while the shade in the gold one is limited edition so obviously, the demand was going to lean towards the latter. The brush, according to M·A·C, is “made from a blend of synthetic fibres in different diameter sizes to optimally pick up and apply powders”. The bristles are fluffy and smooth to the touch wonder but I why it is even included in the bag if it is more suited to applying loose powder which the highlighter isn’t?

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt

left: 3 swipes applied with my index finger / right: 3 swipes applied with slightly damp Sigma F35 Tapered Highlighter Brush

left: 3 swipes applied with my index finger / right: 3 swipes applied with slightly damp Sigma F35 Tapered Highlighter Brush

One of the most anticipated products in this collection, the Whisper of Gilt was first released in 2012 as a limited edition Extra Dimension Skinfinish and subsequently repromoted last year as part of the Sweet Copper Face Compact for the Nutcracker Holiday collection. The current holiday edition of the bestselling highlighter has a net weight of 7.5 g (0.26 oz) as opposed to the 9 g (0.31 oz) when it was launched in its original packaging. Each full-size Extra Dimension Skinfinish is sold for US$34 / S$55.

— APPLICATION (with M·A·C 140 Synthetic Full Fan Brush) —

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt - with the M·A·C 140 Synthetic Full Fan Brush

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt – with the M·A·C 140 Synthetic Full Fan Brush

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt - with the M·A·C 140 Synthetic Full Fan Brush

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt – with the M·A·C 140 Synthetic Full Fan Brush

Kinda looks like little beads of sweat above my cheekbone

Kinda looks like little beads of sweat above my cheekbone

— APPLICATION (with Sigma F41 Fan Brush) —

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt - with my Sigma F41 Fan Brush

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt – with my Sigma F41 Fan Brush

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt - with my Sigma F41 Fan Brush

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt – with my Sigma F41 Fan Brush

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt - with my Sigma F41 Fan Brush (much better!)

M·A·C Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt – with my Sigma F41 Fan Brush (much better!)

Finished look

Finished look

Whisper of Gilt is described as a pale gold shimmer with very finely milled luminous particles to give a sparkling finish. It is a champagne-toned highlighter that is neither too white nor gold, making it absolutely flattering on light to medium skin tones. Smooth to the touch, it has a soft consistency which makes it possible to blend and diffuse on the skin easily while adding just the right amount of glow. However, it does emphasise the natural texture of my skin to some extent (as I didn’t realise I had a little pimple above my cheekbone until I layered it with this highlighter 😐).

When applied with the M·A·C powder brush provided in the Face Bag, the highlighter appeared hardly visible on my skin. But with my Sigma F41 Fan Brush, it rendered a sheer to semi-opaque coverage (depending on how heavy-handed I was) and a moderate glow with two to three coats. Having said that, it is certainly capable of building to greater opacity when applied with finger or a denser (damp) brush if a more blinding radiance is preferred.

Whisper of Gilt as compared to highlighters from other brands (in terms of colour similarity, finish, etc.)

Whisper of Gilt as compared to highlighters from other brands (in terms of colour similarity, finish, etc.)

If you had missed out on the opportunity to snag a Face Bag at your local M·A·C store, or cannot bear to part with your money on a redundant bag and brush, Champagne Pop and Bigger and Better (from ColourPop’s Gimme More! Palette) are some more affordable dupes that you may want to consider.

M·A·C Snow Ball lipsticks packaging

M·A·C Snow Ball lipsticks packaging

M·A·C Snow Ball lipsticks packaging

M·A·C Snow Ball lipsticks packaging

Encased in gold tubes with smooth, glossy frost effect on the outside and kept in see-through plastic boxes with gold geometric snowflake patterns, the lipsticks are packaged similarly to the highlighter to conjure up that Christmas vibe. They’re so pretty and shiny, you can literally use them as your Christmas tree ornaments 😍

#2 Lipstick – Elle Belle

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Elle Bell (US$17.50 / S$33)

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Elle Bell (US$17.50 / S$33)

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Elle Bell

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Elle Belle

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Elle Belle

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Elle Belle

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Elle Bell

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Elle Bell

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Elle Bell

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Elle Bell

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Elle Belle

Elle Belle is described as a deep red with a Amplified finish. This luscious cool-toned berry red goes on smoothly with no drag and gives an opaque colour payoff in just one swipe. It has a glossy sheen and buttery texture to it but those somehow translate to an oily consistency which causes the lipstick to budge very quickly. Although hydrating and relatively comfortable to wear, it settles into the lines and emphasises dry patches, resulting in blobs of uneven colour on the lips if not properly exfoliated prior to application. When this shade fades to a plum stain after a few hours of wear, vertical streaks of the lipstick can be clearly seen along the lines on the lower lip. Yikes! 😣

Swatch comparison for Elle Belle

Swatch comparison for Elle Belle

#3 Lipstick – Holiday Crush

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Holiday Crush (US$17.50 / S$33)

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Holiday Crush (US$17.50 / S$33)

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Holiday Crush

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Holiday Crush

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Holiday Crush

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Holiday Crush

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Holiday Crush

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Holiday Crush

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Holiday Crush

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Holiday Crush

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Holiday Crush

M·A·C Snow Ball lipstick in Holiday Crush

Holiday Crush is described as a muted pink with sparkle and a Frost finish. This cool-toned muted copper glides on smoothly without tug and lends an evenly-distributed metallic shine across the lips to give a reflective-foiled look. It is lightweight and lightly emollient but feels slightly tacky on the lips. This shade catches light beautifully at every angle and takes about two coats to be fully (or reasonably) opaque. However, the finish seems to intensify the appearance of the lip lines and can make me kinda self-conscious if worn out in public so I’ll probably use it as a lip topper instead. But I cannot lie. This shade is a stunner!

Swatch comparison for Holiday Crush

Swatch comparison for Holiday Crush

Despite the price drop, I’m so glad M·A·C did not compromise on the quality and actually rolled out products that the customers really want. It seems like M·A·C is finally back in the game!

What do you think about this collection? Did you manage to get anything? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below or simply take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading!

Have a dazzling holiday!

Have a dazzling holiday!

M·A·C Snow Ball is now available on MACCosmetics.com and at all local M.A.C outlets. However, most items (e.g. lipsticks) are already sold out at all stores but you can still try your luck at Carousell or eBay 🙂

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