Shall We?

Those of you who are familiar with this blog know that I love exclusive niche skincare. I really like smaller brands. It's just so nice to get to know a small collection with succinct products.

Created by the mother-and-daughter team of Karen and Kristin Petrovich, sjal (pronounced "shaal") offers only 7 products so far. I have the full-size balans cleanser and the serum 1, and a few samples.

The cleanser (on the very left) has African whitewood extract, fig leaf extract, pearl extract, gold, silver and geranium as active ingredients. It is a thick gel that doesn't foam. It smells a little lemony. Two pumps does a good job of cleansing if you don't have a lot of makeup on.

For me, it's a tiny bit dry afterwards, but it's fine if you follow it up with a moisturiser.

The serum (on the very right) is the most expensive item in the collection, with hyaluronic acid, Brazilian algae, grapeseed extract, pomegranate extract, platinum, gold, silver, blue-and-green copper and a lot more.

One pump of the stuff is enough for the entire face and neck. I'd use even less than that, because it's so packed with goodies. It is a runny, iridescent gel that gets absorbed quickly.

I started using it in autumn, and it felt like it was too rich. I think I should just use a pea-sized amount from now on.

Check out their website. It's a fun read...


Hundred Dollar Baby

I'm never one to talk about money or mention prices of things, but I thought this could be fun. All numbers are just approximates.

Morning routine
Cold tap water: $0
Shu Uemura WR EX Whitening Emulsion: $30


Makeup routine
Shu Uemura UV Under Base: $32
Giorgio Armani High-precision Retouch: $37
La Mer Loose Powder: $60 (?)
M.A.C. 4-eyeshadow Pro Palette: $50
Too Faced Lash Injection mascara: $20


Bedtime routine
Taer Icelandic Complete Cleanse: $34
Avène spring water mist: $18
Revive Moisturising Renewal Cream: $195

Grand total=$476

Hey, this isn't so bad :-P


Gone Fishing (again)

Hi everybody, sorry I haven't been posting. Happy Chinese New Year!

I went to Geneva for the Salon Internationale de Haute Horlogerie last week which was amazing. But then I came down with a bad cold, and completely lost my voice. I had to mime instead of talk. I am still coughing... Phlegm, fun stuff.

I'm looking for disposable mascara wands (does any one of you use that?). It's something that doesn't exist in Italy (figures), so I might have to order online.

This past weekend, I got an automatic lip crayon from Shiseido in an iridescent transparent colour. I just use it over my chapstick and it shows up as a beautiful lilac sheen on my lips.

Also, I got birkinbagbeauty's swap item which was a beautiful Lunasol palette! I will have to do a look with that next time.


Sick... (cont'd)

Thank you for the get-well messages you girls left me! Before I pass out in bed again, let me show you what I've got lately:

Birkinbagbeauty sent me:

Elisha Coy Alway Nuddy BB Cream (so I can finally understand what all the hype around BB Cream is about!)

Jadilla J Dear Shine Base (another Korean brand)

Etude House Crystal Pack Peeling

Lotree Triple Balance Make Up Base and Liquid Foundation

Shu Uemura Luminizer, and (phew!)

Nixie blush in Confidence

A big thank you to Birkinbagbeauty!

In the lower left-hand corner of the photo is a brand called sjal (pronounced "shaal" in Swedish). Turns out the Italian PR works right upstairs from my office, and she dropped by last week to give me some samples. She included a handy little brush too!

I will tell you more about sjal next time. It's sold on eluxury.com

I will be in Geneva for work Wednesday and Thursday so I'm afraid I will have to catch up with your posts this weekend.



Hi ladies, I haven't posted for over a week. I've been feeling real stressed and fatigued, and today finally I came down with the flu. Hang in there, I'll be back...


Second Skin

(Update on swap: the Acqua di Parma body cream is gone, but I still have a few goodies left. Please refer to the link on the right column.)

I've been looking into a new foundation. I don't need a lot of coverage and want something that is friendly to my skin. I figured: either mineral, or liquid.

My order of some Alima Pure samples arrived at home back in the U.S. so mommy is sending them over :-)

In the meantime, I looked into Sisley Paris. Both the Transmat foundation and the tinted moisturiser have beautiful texture, but I didn't like some of their ingredients. Next.

Since I like my Giorgio Armani high precision re-touch concealer so much, I decided to take a look at their foundations.

Along the lines of wanting something natural and easy to apply, I checked out the Face Fabric Second Skin Nude Makeup with SPF 12.

I like the tube packaging which means no mess. The texture is buttery. As I smoothed it over the back of my hand, the product just blended beautifully.

I've been wearing this foundation for over a week, and am very happy with it.

It goes on matte, and as the day goes on, it becomes more luminous, not oily. I've had it on literally from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The colour remained fresh and true all day long.

I primed with Shu Uemura UV base first. Then, I warmed up a pea-sized amount of product on my finger tips and spread it all over my face. The texture is so beautiful that no application skill is required!

Then, I applied two layers of Make Up For Ever HD powder over the foundation to make it last.

Here I used a matte pink blush. On my lips is Bobbi Brown Lipshine in Toffee.

A closer look at the Giorgio Armani foundation right after application. It's a perfect matte and a perfect shade (#1). What more do I want?!

My only concern is whether this foundation can take the humid heat during summer. Has anyone used this product before?


Fresh Start

I'm going back to work tomorrow. It's been a very restful, two-week holiday :-)

About the swap, for those of you who are interested, please take a look at what you have and let me know. I will respond to your comments one by one. Thanks a lot!


Let's Swap!

I'd like to let go of quite a few things in my vanity. What better way to do it than swapping them with you? :-D This is only offered to the approx. 20 beauty bloggers that I regularly communicate with.

It's hard to part with my babies (lol), but I've never/hardly ever used these things.

Swap 1: La Roche-Posay Unifiance "Optic Smoothness" foundation, Shade #21 (light beige).

I've used a few pumps of this. I realised I simply am too lazy to use liquid foundation every morning.
The packaging is a pump so the product is absolutely hygienic.
This is great if you're just curious about La Roche-Posay's makeup line.

Swap 2: Guerlain "Parure Aqua" foundation, Shade 03 "Beige Naturel". I swatched this once on the back of my hand, and realised the colour was too dark for me. Opened cosmetics cannot be returned in Italy.

Swap 3: Make Up For Ever blue glitter. This was one of their very first products when the brand was founded. This is a full jar.

Swap 4: L'oréal H.I.P. lipglosses in Giddy 636, Astounding 724.

I swatched a tiny bit of these on the back of my hand, and realised they were going to be too sticky for me. These are full tubes.

Swap 5: Biotherm "Biosource" 30-ml (1 fl.oz.) clarifying lotion, 20-ml (0.67 fl.oz.) clarifying cleansing gel. These come with their own pouch!

This was a present, but I simply don't use Biotherm anymore.

Swap 6: Acqua di Parma body lotion in "Mirto di Panarea", unopened.

I believe you don't even find this scent outside Italy?! It's a refreshing, unisex aroma.

I'm happy with my Caudalie lotion so I'm letting this one go.

Specifics of the swap:

  • Comment with your email address, saying which swap number you're interested in, and what you'd like to swap in return.

  • I'm open-minded about what you might have to offer: makeup, skincare, etc. I love natural stuff, but am also curious about Japanese products.
  • The above products are not sample-sized so any samples will not be accepted.
  • For hygiene reasons (lol), only unopened or once- or twice-swatched products can be swapped. If you have a product that's a tube or pump, please let me know its condition.
  • If you simply want to buy these product off me, please let me know too.