Rounding Up 2014 on Icyabstract!

Hello again!

As we count down to the new year, 2015, let’s have a look at the highlights and happenings of 2014!

In some ways, I’m really glad for this blog because it allows me to look back at different phases of my life as I continually pen down my thoughts through the day.

Albeit it is about makeup but each product and each entry triggers a thought and memory of the period when I was writing the entry and while my goldfish memory can’t recall well enough what I had experienced through the whole year, this recap is good enough for me to sum up some highlights in the beauty realm (on this space) and also bring to mind certain events and situations that were referenced.

Let’s have a look at the year of the horse (my year), 2014, shall we?

For the benefit of some, I have inserted ‘(➡︎)’ to indicate outgoing links because the link color difference isn’t very major with this current template of mine.

  • A little sad to say but I had a bit of a frustrating start to the year, and ranted about it (➡︎) but it all worked out along the way!
  • Another sponsorship for Baby and it’s pampers this time! I documented a couple of episodes (➡︎) of it and it’s nice to look back at how small and baby-ish she was then! She’s such a big girl now.
  • Discovered (because I was sent) a truly beautiful scent (➡︎) from L’Occitane that I’m glad to have in my stash. It has also piqued my interest for all things Neroli scented from here on.
  • Celebrated turning 24 (➡︎) with a spankin’ new gear (Olympus EM10!!) and of course lovely makeup pieces from my dear girls (Sophia, Mabel & Eliza!)
  • The move (➡︎) to this spankin’ new place. This is probably one of the best things I’ve done for my blog thus far, apart from the Olympus EM10 that is.
  • One of Lancôme’s biggest launch of the year (➡︎) – their swan-neck Grandiôse mascara that took the makeup world by storm with both the way it works and the way it looks.
  • Starting the K-Drama segment with this little post (➡︎) because I just needed an outlet to rant and ramble about what I’m currently obsessed with (watching).
  • The year I took really good care of my skin through loads of facial sessions. I think I got really lucky with this. I can’t link to just one but here’s the facial tag (➡︎) should you want to read more!
  • Allowed myself to be introduced to The Entertainer (➡︎) via an event and I will say, it’s one of my best money-saving (mainly where dining is concern) discoveries. Why was I not acquainted sooner!
  • Welcomed this amazing travel palette (➡︎) into my life and while at that point (of receiving it) I didn’t think much of it, I can imagine this being incredibly handy next year. You’ll know why next year, maybe ;)

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Wrapping Up 2014, Hustlin’ & Bustlin’ in 2015

So, phew, 2014 was some year huh! I think it’s probably one of my busiest blogging year in terms of how frequent, or rather how good I’ve been (ha!), with keeping this little space of mine relevant.

Backlogs are still aplenty of course but I’m glad to have been able to ‘keep with the times’, somewhat, and be able to put up multiple looks for certain product releases. It’s something I don’t think I’ve ever done so religiously on my blog before and frankly, I loved doing it. All the look features, look books and such.

A combination of both moving to a better platform (WordPress) and having more efficient tools on hand (Olympus Em10) to be able to quickly and easily shoot up images for entries definitely helped with it!

That aside, I also want to thank each and every one of my readers who take time out of their schedules, days and offer a couple of minutes to pop by my site. It may feel like nothing to you but it means a whole lot to me to know that my words, or pictures, are of help and interest to you!

I’ve been trying to ‘let go’ and allow my blogging style to be more candid, goofy and hopefully more light-hearted and easy to read! I mean, I’ve always had this rambly-ness in me but I try to keep a ‘clean’ and objective tone about the blog just to keep ramblings to a minimal, and have it sound more polished I guess, but these days I’ve found that an injection of personality and some humour isn’t that bad too!

That’s just me and my preference for blogs I read these days at least and frankly it’s not too huge a difference from the way I used to write since I’ve been progressively allowing myself to ramble more since my ‘polished’ starting days. There was a time I felt like I was writing a press release with each entry given my neutral tone and how I strived to be brief and eloquent, but with the amount of bloggers emerging from the boom of social media these days, I guess it helps to differentiate yourself a little even if it shows how much of a dork you can be (or rather I can be, hurhur).

Okay, too much words. As much as rambling is fun I still try to prevent myself from writing a novel, where necessary.

I digress, but really I want to thank you all truly and sincerely because I’m well aware of how the social media realm has changed and is changing. Instagram is on the rise and in some aspects – like quick information dissemination – it replaces blogging. New personalities are also emerging from Instagram along with this style of keeping everything pretty and perfect – perfectly posed products, perfectly new items, flowers, pretty outfits, poses, shots etc.

In some respects it works but how much can a pretty picture tell you about how a blush would look on, or how an eyeshadow would work when paired with another hue? And in some examples of the, well, examples the actual showcase of makeup wearing is dubious and reason why these personalities never made it their practice to show products in the way we do. I believe there’s bound to be some fatigue from this trend and I don’t know about you but I’m starting to feel it. So while I do my share of posting product pictures, I try to accompany it with a follow up of how it looks or even a long-winded blog post about it.

It’s a whole new world out there now but like Sophia mentioned in her 2014 round up as well, we’ve been around before that trend arose and we’re just still here keeping it real and showcasing products as truly as we can – how they work and sharing our thoughts on how they feel as opposed to just posing them prettily accompanied with generic text so… I guess we’re (or at least I am) glad for people who still feel that blogging and the good-ole beauty sharing is the best resource and those who feel our mentions and entries are credible and chose to stick by our sites even after all these years! Not forgetting the new visitors, followers and readers who share the same mindset. Truly, a very big thank you given, as I had mentioned in 2013, the blogging society is fleeting and fickle so for us to still be present today in the blogging realm and to brands makes a credible claim on what we’ve been doing so far!

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I know I’m getting especially sappy (and long-winded) in this year’s round up but let’s just say there may be a period of disappearance next year (I’ll talk about it) and if anything I want you all to know that I appreciate each and every one of you, really I do. I’ve been blogging since 2008 and I have never regretted the amount of time I’ve put into it because I know I enjoyed every second!

I’m not religious but I genuinely feel blessed for everything I have experienced and received on this blogging journey of mine thus far. All the love and products from brands, friendships forged from fellow blogger pals or brand personnel and receiving encouraging comments or emails from you readers! It’s hard to describe and I never thought that blogging would end up meaning so much to me but it has and it always will.

Okay, too many feels, I’m going to sign off now! After a long and mushy post, I’d suggest to read some awesome travel rambling by Mabel in her annual round up!

Look out for the Hello 2015 post for more information on that cryptic life update I spoke of!

Have a great year everyone! Who’s off to countdown and who’s off to wake up to 2015 instead? Ha!

All I Want For Christmas Is…

More lippies!

Well not exactly, but where makeup is concerned you really can’t go wrong with more lip products, right?

Unlike foundation or eyeshadow even, you don’t (or at least I don’t) feel this sense of guilt when you acquire another, even before you finish up any from the mountain that you currently have.

With the multitude of lip options available, from shades to finishes and textures, I think lip items are things I don’t mind having more, more and moarrrr of because they’re so easy to use, to change up, and to swap around that even having 100 at a go feels justifiable.

Am I the only one who thinks this way?

What’s more these lippies here are miniatures! All the better to finish up and feel good about it, right? Though truth be told I think they’re too darn cute to use!

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Long story short my beauty pals (Beauty Anonymous girls, Sophia & Mabel – Eliza, you’re missed!) and I did a gift exchange and somehow the bulk of the gifts ended up being lip products.

Apparently we’re on the same wavelength where makeup usage is concerned, heh! When in doubt, lips.

So anyway, let me digress to a shot of the night with the girls (and the gifts – pre-opening).

Back to this, this post is just a quick look at some of the items we had gift-swapped.

It’s a pointless entry, really, given I didn’t manage the time to swatch them for this or haven’t used many of them so I don’t have thoughts to share but I was shooting these for the fun of documenting it, while they’re still pristine, and thought why not just do a share-post.

In a way it also serves as a bit of an announcement that you’ll be seeing these lip products mentioned in LOTDs to come! Or if I feel so strongly about any of them I’ll dedicate a whole Look Feature / Review to them.

I am so excites, I can’t wait to slather them on! It helps that I haven’t tried any of these lip products prior – not the Melted Kisses (have been meaning too), not the Fresh balms (have been meaning to too), nor the Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks (have been lusting over them).

Let’s have a look!

 

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This miniature set truly is very miniature but even then, each bullet is beautifully done and doesn’t feel cheapy in any way given the smaller size of them.

It’s one of those things that’ll be really cute to hang on a Christmas tree (hence the ribbon) if I had one!

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The shades are simple and iconic ones from their Permanent line.

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Left to Right: Penelope Pink, So Marilyn, Bitch Please

Next are Fresh lip balms!

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Would you believe that I’ve never tried these given the amount of love this has received online?

I don’t know why but I know I’ve been meaning to, just that I never got around to it and I’m glad I can give these minis a go before deciding if I’m in the rave camp or the meh camp.

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SuperDry Lip Crayon! I had no idea this brand did makeup, with such cute sporty chic packaging at that, and I love the shade that was picked out for me!

Despite its scary outlook, the product is actually a balmy sheer wash of color that’s great (and easy) to wear naturally or to layer over lip colors to change their hue.

It feels really moisturizing on as well!

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This little Too Faced Melted Kisses set makes me so happy!

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Mainly because I’ve been considering these myself and the question is always, which color to get without getting them all? So this set perfect answers that!

You have a nude, a soft pink, a vibrant fuchsia and a much needed red. It’s perfecto!

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So that’s all the lip loving going around this Christmas from my end (from the girls) and while I don’t know about myself but I will say, for the girls at least, that I think we know each other and each other’s makeup preferences very, very well!

:D

Do share, what are some of your beauty gifts this year? Or what are some beauty gifts you have given?

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Thanks for reading!

 

My Little Makeup Space (A Camera Test-Shot Series)

Hello!

When I had first moved over to the hubs place (almost 3 years ago, wow) I promised shots of my new makeup space once I got settled but somehow, that didn’t really happen.

Both the entry and me fully settling down to the point of being contented with how my stash was arranged.

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My bad, really.

I did feature bits and pieces of the stash once in awhile but never a formal entry about my stash setup and part of that would be because I felt like I never fully did unpack and set up my space to, what I deem as, perfection.

Even to date, as my stash is getting all messed up once more, I still have areas that are still ‘under construction’, so to speak. So they’re empty and housing a whole bunch of random stuff now because I had no idea what to dedicate that drawer to to begin with.

In short, I guess I never found my storage options to be unique and interesting that it would be something to talk about.

While I still feel the same now, this series of stash shots came about from me fiddling around with a new toy that I got my hands on. One shot led to another and what would you know, I’ve got a quick look at my stash!

It’s really brief and hardly indepth but it shows you how I store what and what goes where, in case anyone is interested to know.

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It’s embarrassing to say that this is only a small amount of what I have and I mean that in no braggy sense (of course, you guys know me). It’s really more of a reminder for me to get my act together and start packing / sorting everything out.

Apart from these, the rest of the stuff are housed un-glamourously in A4 paper boxes stashed away in another room – out of sight out of mind, right? Heh…

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Makeup brushes – the commonly used ones in front and the rest in another ‘stand’ at the back.

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The rest of the stuff in easy access on my vanity – stuff I’m making myself use and more brushes stashed there. I don’t use these RT brushes enough.

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Lipglosses and lip crayons at the back.

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Lipsticks, arranged from the neutral and natural ones in front and the deeper bolder ones after the divider. But clearly it’s overflowing all over.

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Eyeliners infront, mascaras inbetween and eye sharpeners / misc brow stuff right at the back.

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Eyeshadow and eye palettes!

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Blush drawer – this one I’ve really got to pack

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Foundations (mainly liquid) and face powders such as setting powder, all over face illuminators etc.

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Bigger palettes go into the second last drawer (nails in the last drawer, not pictured).

And look who waltzed into the room while I was snapping my pictures and decided that she wanted to have a go at ‘taking pictures’ too. Kids learn way too fast these days!

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p.s. the phone is Hub’s old note that we don’t use anymore (it’s always off). She picked it up from the shelf while coming in, we don’t usually let her play with it.

I’m not one to make resolutions but it’s about time I do something about these overflowing and messy drawers and pack the place up proper.

So, if I’m going to make any resolutions this year, it’s going to be packing this place up, making sure everything sits nicely instead of being randomly chucked into drawers, etc.

I’ve got a mind on how I want some things done so now it all boils down to actually souring the storage options and see if they come together, shifting stuff around and such. It’s going to be a slow process (because I’m a procrastinator, heh) but I will make it happen in 2015!

If anything these pictures here are a reminder and look back, to me mainly, of the mess that my stash is right now and what needs to be done.

 

So, some may have questions about this so, I’m going to mention it as well.

The camera in question here is the Sony A7R (I know a new one is coming up) with a F1.8 55mm lens on it, hence the delicious depth of field. It’s definitely not going to replace the Olympus EM10 that I have, for many reasons and one of which being the Sony A7R isn’t mine but that aside I do have more options (lens-wise) with my Olympus and it has my preferred settings for eye / face shots etc so… yes.

The Sony A7R is something that makes a guest appearance every now and then but doesn’t replace the ‘regular cast’

It’s a lovely camera, this one, and truly worth it’s insane price tag. I feel.

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So, yes, new year and hopefully a new space (or rather reorganised old space) soon! I’ll see to it that it gets done amidst everything else that I’ll be busy with in 2015.

I’ll speak more about it in life updates to come. I’m feeling particularly nostalgic, reflective and rambly in this time of the year so I’ve got a lot of words and a lot about life coming up soon if you don’t mind all that.

So, wrapping this up, thank you for reading, love you all my beloved readers and as always, thank you for sticking around! <3

Have a great 2015 ahead and hope you wrapped up 2014 on a good note!

Merry Christmas Everyone! Here, Have A Festive Manicure!

I wanted to do a On My Nails post and then a separate HOLLA It’s Christmas! entry but figured, nevermind… I always end up rambling way too much in my nail entries (for no reason, really) so combining the two topics could be a way to remind myself to ramble less.

Try to, at least.

So… yes, a VERY VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

I don’t have this manicure on anymore, sadly, but that also means that I am able to report that while gorgeous the glitter here (as with all glitter in polishes) was quite a pain to remove.

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Sigh, why must pretty glitter be such a pain.

I know there’s that whole soaking method to remove glitter but sadly it doesn’t work for my hyper sensitive skin. The last time I tried that, my skin felt like it was burning and got all red from irritation – not fun.

That’s probably why, despite how a glitter polish can lend such a lovely touch to a manicure, I avoid them like plaque because it’s just too much trouble to remove.

Though before I get to the glitter, let me show you how that rich red – Boss Lady, hurhur, cute name – looks on its own first.

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I know I said I wasn’t going to ramble but given that this brand is new (to me and I assume to a good few of you lot), let me just talk about it a little.

I’ll keep it as brief as I can with some key details but if anyone is interested in finding out more about the brand I would most certainly do an overview / round up to come, once I get around to swatching up all the shades I had received.

I was provided with a nice selection of shades which I hope to get around to swatching and featuring but for now here’s the two pictured earlier.

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I think overall I am quite pleased with the brand. I can’t say I love their polishes because there is a catch to them but the colors are nice and rich, opaque in one coat and the brush is functional.

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It’s almost perfect except for the fact that it takes forever to dry. Like, forever.

I think we’ve all been spoilt with the glossy and quick-dry polishes of late that this is a little reminiscent of polishes before the gel era. Should I have discovered this brand about 3-4 years ago I think it would sit well with the bulk of nail polishes of that time.

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Though these days with gel effect polishes that give you beautiful shine, a flawless finish along with an incredibly quick dry time so you can get back to your chores asap, this one just feels a tiny bit lacking.

That, and the fact that this polish doesn’t last a very long time which was why I didn’t manage to wear it till the Christmas period. About a week into wear it start chipping very obviously at the tips and I had no choice but to remove it and move on.

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It’s these little itty bitty bits that is turning me off from swatching the rest of the shades but in its own fairness the color selections are rather pretty.

I have a gorgeous deep teal that I’m curious to try. Perhaps this time I’ll pair it with that Sephora quick dry oil that I have and hopefully that will make the process of enjoying these polishes a little better.

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I’ll report back again! Though in the meanwhile if you’re curious to find out more from Madam Glam for yourself, you can hop by their website and give it a look!

p.s. they’re having a 40% now if you’re willing to take a chance and haul first, decide later.

Alrightey, I’m sorry for this entry becoming such a ramble even though I tried not to.

I didn’t want to just upload a Christmas greeting alone so hopefully pairing it with a manicure made it a little more worth your time to read through.

I hope that everyone is having a blast this Christmas be it if you celebrate it religiously or just enjoy the commercial aspect of it, the get-togethers and the gift exchanges.

Regardless which angle of Christmas you enjoy, as long as it’s spent sharing laughs with people you love, it’s a joyous celebration no less.

Merry Christmas everyone! <3

 

I’ll see you guys again once the Christmas festivities is over!

LOTD: All Pink-ed Out With MAC (Sweet Sentiment Blush & No Faux Pas Lipstick)

Hello and I’m back with another face!

As promised, this LOTD features the 2 pink numbers that I had just spoken about in an earlier entry – the MAC Sweet Sentiment Mineralized Blush and No Faux Pas lipstick.

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Unlike recent LOTDs, the focus this time around isn’t on the eyes but rather the cheeks and lips. Though if you hone in to the eyes becuase it’s your preference, by all means go ahead too ;)

Though I do want to give some mention to the products used on the eyes, but I’ll save that for a little later on in this entry.

The look is very clean and simple. I want to say it’s an everyday look but I did try wearing this consecutively and by Day 5 my lips were crying out for a break from the matte lipstick. It’s not the lipstick itself but rather I guess my lips could only go so long without a smooth nourishing and buttery lip product while facing a longwearing matte that doesn’t exactly dry your lips out but doesn’t lend moisture either.

It’s a shame because wearing this feels very K-Drama to me, somehow, like the approach that koreans would take where professional makeup is concerned – clean and light but with a good dose of color.

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The red eye strikes again, please don’t mind that…

I could ramble on and on about this look which was what I did when I first drafted it up but after re-reading what I wrote, I deleted it all and decided to just let pictures speak for themselves.

After all, it’s quite straightforward what a lovely vibrant pink lip No Faux Pas is and what a nice flush of color Sweet Sentiment can be so, here you go, the look!

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Sweet Sentiment actually carries a soft reflective sheen. It’s hardly much of a shine to be called a sheen but it’s definitely not a matte blush either.

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While not exactly the star of the entry here, I want to take a quick second to talk about the eyes.

It features some products I’ve yet to give spotlight to on here, I have no idea why myself, but yet are products I really enjoy using. They aren’t much to shout about, as you can see, but they are workhorse basics that get the job done and are there when I need to rely on them.

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For the eyeshadows, I used the browns from Urban Decay’s Naked 2 Basics palette which I’ve dropped mentions of for awhile now but given that it’s permanent (I believe, right?) I haven’t gotten around to featuring it.

You know the fate that permanent products get on here, heh.

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The eyeliner (on the upper lash line) is Eyeko’s Eye Do Liquid Liner, something I’ve had sitting around in my stash for awhile but I’ve only started using of late.

I don’t know what I delayed opening this but I absolutely love it – it’s gives such a perfect slick, sharp, crisp and dark line that I really can’t stop raving about it. If you haven’t tried this and you like your liner flick perfect to a tee then you need to give this a look!

For the liner on the bottom lashline I think I may have finally found something to replace the position MAC’s Powerpoint Liner in Engraved had in heart for the longest time (p.s. if you don’t know, that’s the liner I almost always use on my lower lashline for almost 5 years now) and that’s Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Pencils.

I have on Zero here but I love both Zero and Perversion, depending on how deep and dark I want to go that day (Perversion being the darker one)

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So, there you have it! Sorry to end of this entry with a creepy red-ish eye but yes, here’s a feature on these MAC pinks and also a little mention on some staples that I have been using and loving of late. I know they deserve an entry for themselves, I’ll try to get on that as soon as I can!

In the meanwhile do check these MAC lovelies out and have a great Christmas celebration you guys!

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Thank you for reading!

MAC’s Sweet Sentiment Mineralized Blush and No Faux Pas Matte Lipstick is Limited Edition, available at MAC Counters now!

Sponsorship disclosure

MAC Holiday 2014: Heirloom Mix – Sweet Sentiment Blush & No Faux Pas Lipstick (Swatches)

Where MAC Holiday collections are concerned, I usually adopt 2 approaches to it. Okay, maybe 3, depending on the situation…

It’s either – I love it so much I learn every aspect and product of it or the sheer quantity and options confuse me so much I freak out and blank out at it.

This year, and in recent years, I’ve been adopting the second approach of steering myself away once the holiday collections hit.

 

Sure MAC puts out a huge array of options and products in beautifully festive and gorgeous packaging but I guess when faced with this many options, some of which resemble their permanent or pre-released items, I just get so confused I shut myself off entirely.

Case in point, I had no idea there was a third Holiday collection – Keepsakes and Objects of Affections aside – called the Heirloom Mix and that’s where these pretty face color pieces are from.

I guess my point is, that there’s nothing wrong with a smaller festive collection and that’s what I have been preferring these days but, of course it’s not like MAC to do it since they thrive on options on quantity so, let’s have a look at 2 items from MAC’s sea of holiday makeup.

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Someone needs to hand me a directory already!

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The Heirloom Mix collection houses a more individual approach to products, as opposed to the sets and bags in the other two so if you’re looking at individual lipstick pieces or blush, this collection should be a good place to start.

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These aside, I do have one more item from the Heirloom Mix collection, a kohl liner I think, which I’m still hesitant on featuring. I haven’t gotten around to using it and fear that by the time I get to it could be too late so, we’ll see how that goes!

But back to this, the 2 items I am showcasing here are similar in tone – of being pinks – hence I decided to feature them alongside each other instead of individually.

To give you a little more backstory about the Heirloom Mix collection, you’ll find 5 matte lipsticks released with it and 2 Mineralized Blushes. Of that lot, I have 1 matte lipstick and 1 Mineralized Blush to talk about – Sweet Sentiment (the blush) and No Faux Pas (the lippie).

 

First up, let’s have Sweet Sentiment, the Mineralized Blush, because I want to take this time to talk about how far MAC’s Mineralized Blushes have come!

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I remember when I was crazy about them back in the day, when they were still relatively new and only starting to crawl about in the makeup realm.

Even then, when their textures were not as refined and sometimes felt a little gritty on, they were snatched up all over and in such demand.

These days it seems like MAC has learnt to step up their mineralized releases despite their huge initial success even with a fairly crude, or should I say unrefined, formulation.

Though here and then there are still some pieces that are reminiscent of their starting baby steps, Sweet Sentiment isn’t one of them. This mineralized blush comes in a perfected dome that is smooth the touch, not powdery at all and blends really nicely on the skin with a brush – no powder kick up or powder cloud with use.

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Of course this smoothness cannot match that decadent buttery and creamy feel you get with certain brands and certain products, it’s a fair improvement no less.

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The color is a nice dusty mid-pink which doesn’t appear too unique but I like that it straddles nicely between being a nice pop of pink yet with a soft enough dusty tone to prevent it from being too ‘bright’ on.

The dusty tone of it doesn’t seem to turn ashy once on the skin either which is a plus for those with tanner / deeper skintones since most often dustier shades can turn ashy and cool on them.

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I’ve found myself reaching for it quite often because it picks up well on the brush and a quick dab is all you need to blend some colors on your apples!

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Moving on to a lipstick that compliments this blush so well, No Faux Pas which certainly is no faux pas!

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A vibrant pink lipstick, this has a bit of red to it to keep it from being too stark or too bright and allows it to work well on deeper skintones too.

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In the case of hot pink lipsticks, sometimes tanner complexions struggle with how ‘pink’ and stark fuchsia can be but this is a nice pink option that is actually rather wearable. It’s funny to say that a loud fuchsia lipstick would be wearable but it truly is, if you’re up for a pop of color of course.

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I don’t have many (or any… actually) of MAC’s matte formulas because I usually prefer their Amplified and Satin finishes but I will say that I was pleasantly surprised with this. For a matte, it glides on smoothly without any tugging and while intense the color is controllable too.

You know how some lipsticks are so intense you just need a lip brush with it for that precise application otherwise it seems to just get all over the place and smear everywhere? Thankfully this doesn’t seem to be like that.

It didn’t feel lip-sapping on through it’s very long wearing period but it’s definitely not a hydrating lipstick either.

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Overall I was really impressed with its lasting power and, of course, love how bright a pop the color is.

You can get away with quick neutrals on the eyes, a crisp black cat-eye, a sweep of Sweet Sentiment blush and this on the lips – that’s a perfect and fresh look right there!

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In fact, I took a cue from the sudden ‘look inspiration’ I got while drafting this up to create said pop-pink look with clean and neutral eyes so that entry is coming up next!

I’ve also talked about a couple of other much loved products that I haven’t gotten around to featuring singularly so you can read about that ramble very soon!

Though in the meanwhile, if you’re looking for a last minute gift or still thinking up that perfect holiday look then I suggest giving these pop colors a look at your nearest MAC counter!

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Thanks for reading!

MAC’s Sweet Sentiment Mineralized Blush and No Faux Pas Matte Lipstick are part of the Heirloom Mix Holiday 2014 Collection. This is Limited Edition and had launched 24th November 2014

Sponsorship disclosure

Tarte’s Got Just The Thing For Ladies Who Lash!

Hello, I’m back for a bit and I do want to say pardon me for the silence that was last week.

Work got the better of me with loads of deadlines to meet before the office closure so I hope I’m not too late with this gift idea / mention!

 

After all, I presume that many of you are probably busy wrapping it up at work too so last minute gift grabbing isn’t that peculiar a sight. You’ve got 3 days till Christmas – hurry and get your gift!

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This one here is for all the ladies who love a little lash action going on so if you’re someone like that or you know someone like that, head on down to your nearest Sephora and grab this up before it’s all gone – either sold out or not stocked anymore.

Either ways, hurry!

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When it comes to the Art of Lash, curling is an absolute must in my books.

If I’m going to use mascara, I’m going to need my eyelash curler. While I’m thankful that my lashes aren’t the most problematic around, I do know that curl is not something they come with naturally.

What’s more, my lashes are rather fine (as with my hair actually) so they have a tendency to droop and fall with certain mascara formulas. Thus, curl is a bigggg thing for me.

Big!

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An eyelash curler is an absolute must and while makeup tools aren’t something you cycle through very often, it’s nice to pick up a new one if you have been using the same one for a good amount of time now!

Plus something pretty and new is always fun to sit on the vanity.

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I’ve used a good number of eyelash curlers around (not all, of course) to say that I generally don’t have an issue with them. I find most of them relatively comfortable to use and the only thing I find myself having to get used to, with every curler change, is the grip. Not so much the crimping portion.

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That said, while I can’t be the best judge of how comfy this opulent (their word, not mine) and pearly Tarte Lash Curler feels on the eyes, if I may share an opinion, lash curler handles like these are actually my favorite.

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The ones with loops are cute and help with grip but given the way I’m used to holding and using lash curlers, I prefer those that look like this – simple, without loops, so it’s easier and quicker to use.

Do let me know, is it just me or are there others who prefer such handles too?

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Lash curler aside – though that is the star of the show or in this case, star of the pack – Tarte had also included a miniature Lights, Camera, Lashes™ 4-in-1 Mascara.

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One of their most notable mascara offerings, to me at least because I’ve heard so much about it, it boasts (and is proven too apparently) a 330% increase in lash volume.

That’s some crazy statistic to live up to and I feel a little sheepish writing this post up but saying I haven’t used the mascara but trust me, I’m curious and also excited to.

I have heard a good amount of things about this mascara and while a 330% increase in volume is a lot to claim, I think I’ll be happy enough if this holds my curls well and makes my lashes look fuller, deeper and my eyes more accentuated. At least that’s what it seems to do to bloggers that have reviewed it so I’m hoping the same for myself!

What’s more miniatures are perfect to travel with and where mascara is concerned I could hardly finish up a full tube even during my daily mascara-wearing days that miniatures should be more than enough to last you a couple of months, of which you’ll be able to test this well enough to know if you need the full size!

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Cutting this very rambly and long entry short, this is a mention on a gift set that is absolutely adorable to gift a girlfriend who’s big on lashes and can’t go a day without her lash curler.

Or if you’re that kind of a girl, there’s no harm in picking this up for yourself. That pearl studded lash curler handle is absolutely darling!

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If you ever need more incentive, Tarte products are formulated without parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, triclosan, SLS or gluten!

 

Thanks for reading!

Tarte’s Ladies Who Lash Picture Perfect Eyelash Curler set retails for S$34 and is available at Sephora Singapore.

This is Limited Edition (though curler and mascara sold separately are permanent)

Sponsorship disclosure

Look Feature – MAC Keepsakes Smokey Face Palette + Sweet Sentiment Blush

Heyo! So, I’m back but what would you know, I’m busier than ever.

Gosh!

Though that’s hardly anything to be surprised about after a one week disappearance at work during a peak period so… yes, give me a while to plough through my work and get my head back on track (as well as hurry up with whatever I want to say before the anticipated silent nights during the festive period, hurhur) so yes…

I’m going to leave you with a little Look Feature of the MAC Keepsakes Smokey Face Palette which I had talked about over here. The blush, Sweet Sentiment, featured here is also from MAC and I’ll have a post about it (coupled with another festive release, No Faux Pas lippie) to come!

Hopefully soon. Racing against the end-of-year clock here and I need more speed!

 

So anyway, given how compact this palette is, the eye options (of 3 shades) are rather limited and if you ask me this is the only way I would choose to wear them.

Of course you can choose to place the colors differently but when I’m faced with black and silver shadows, I automatically go really safe and throw on something that looks like this:

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I did a bit of a fancy schmancy split-screen or rather split face thing here to showcase both lip colors and in the midst of trying to align the pictures I think I made my face shape come out a little odd but nevermind, look past that!

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I’m not the sort to smoke it up a whole lot or do a dramatic cut crease but hey, if that’s your kinda thing then you should be able to achieve that with this palette by loading up on Carbon.

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Though I must warn you again that the textures of both Filament and Aristocratic Aura are a little iffy to work with. More so for Filament (the lighter one) because that sparkly color is so flakey it doesn’t stick well and once you blend the color freaks out and runs away… Oh gosh.

It’s like a rebellious child that needs constant nagging and maybe a gentle whipping to work well. I’m just saying…

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But in all, I think the look works once you get past the fact that we’ve been quite pampered by smooth creamy formulas of late and manage to make the shades behave and stay (intense) put.

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The rest of the palette is a little easier to take to, like with the Pearl Cream Color Base (that I used as a base for the eye look and then a brow highlight) being a nice creamy texture that doesn’t apply patchy or too greasy on.

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Even the iridescent face powder that I decided to sweep across my cheek bones in the red-lip look (because I forgot when I snapped the nude lip pic, heh) turned out quite wearable for day to day looks.

No disco ball face despite its resplendence within the pan. You know I’m exaggerating right. But in truth, it is quite shimmery in the pan.

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What I like the most from the palette would be the lipsticks or lip pans. Though Petulance (the nude) was a little disappointing as far as nude lips went, I guess it was a nice option for a neutral and natural lip look should you want that. Posh Evening (the red) on the other hand is really quite a pretty red. I mean reds are aplenty in the lipstick realm but this one is truly lovely on – very classic and rich.

Here, have a look at the same look above but with different lip shades.

Petulance (the nude)

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Evening Posh (the red)

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Much as I love them, I do have one itty bitty gripe about these… these lipsticks/lip pans aren’t the sort that cling on to your lips for dear life.

The good, is that they didn’t seem to be drying on. The bad, they stray really easily and get all over the place so bear in mind to remove this before you start eating unless you want lipstick all over your mouth. Like, on the outside of your mouth.

I’m not kidding, it happened to me and breakfast at work but thankfully it was in the confines of my cubicle, so… speaking from experience here.

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Though otherwise, if you’re looking pretty and chatting or choose to have some insurance by using a lip liner, I think you’re good!

Products Used:

BROWS
Shu Uemura Hard 9 Pencil in Walnut Brown
Shu Uemura Brow Manicure in Honey Glazed

FACE
Vichy Normaderm Anit-Imperfection Hydrating Care
Dior Diorskin Nude Liquid Foundation
MAC Select Moisturecover Concealer
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer
Tarte Smooth Operator Micronized Clay Finishing Powder

EYES 
Urban Decay Primer Potion
MAC Pearl Cream Color Base
MAC Filament Eyeshadow
MAC Aristocratic Aura Eyeshadow
MAC Carbon Eyeshadow
MAC Tempting Eyeshadow (not in the Face Palette)

CHEEKS 
MAC Sweet Sentiment Mineralised Blush
MAC Born to Dazzle Iridescent Face Powder

LIPS 
MAC Lipstick (lip pan) in Petulance & Evening Posh

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All in all, I feel that there are many ways this palette can improve but its not to say it’s bad either. I mean, if you’re eyeing it it could be for the packaging and if so, there’s no way to really talk you out of it, right?

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It does work and I like what MAC chose to include – though I still think maybe a cream blush would have been a nice option instead a pearl cream color base shade but that’s just me.

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Overall I still feel this falls under the bar a little even though the intention is there. If the shadows were a touch smoother and more buttery, it could have been near perfect.

 

Thanks for reading!

MAC’s Keepsake Smokey Face Palette is part of MAC’s Keepsakes Collection. This is out island-wide and is Limited Edition.

Sorry I don’t have the price of this on hand!

Sponsorship disclosure

MAC Holiday 2014 – Keepsakes’ Smokey Face Palette (Photos & Swatches)

You know how in recent months I’ve been complaining (at times) about my writing being a little off?

I mean, somehow my writing brain is back now and I’m able to string together proper and acceptable (by my standards) sentences but there’s this fleeting thought that it’ll crumble again and I’ll back to that sputtering self where whatever I write is just… missing something.

But let’s not think about that now in case I am willing it to happen again. Though do you know what else seems to be missing a little something?

The MAC Face Palettes for the Holiday 2014 Keepsakes Collection.

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It’s quite a bold thing to say, I know, that this palette seems off but I just can’t help but get that vibe from it.

In many aspects, it’s really pretty and quite thoughtfully put together but something just doesn’t sit right with me and I can’t place my finger on what exactly is off about it either.

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Though before I get to that, here’s a background about its place in the massive MAC Holiday 2014 collection.

Rolling out with products to cover you from the eyes to lips, cheeks and all, MAC had 2 Face Palettes within the Keepsakes collection and I have the Smokey variant to show.

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The other Face Palette is in Natural and it’s quite an earthy neutral mix of browns, leaning towards the warmer scale. It’s quite pretty actually but I do like the dimension found within the Smokey Palette as well.

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I just wished the quality was a little more even across the board because what I found here is that the eyeshadows (while a good color mix for they classic smokey eye look) were a little dry to the touch.

The best performer amongst the shadows was Carbon but that’s a loved permanent MAC matte black shadow anyway.

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The other 2 eyeshadows within – Filament (light silver) and Aristocratic Aura (mid-silver-grey) – weren’t particularly eventful or inspiring when swatched. They imparted pigment quite okay though it felt a little dry and fallout was inevitable.

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Yes, I misspelled Aristocratic Aura. Move along now ;P

Though if you really want this because of the packaging then it’s consolation to say that it’s not that bad and you can still work with the shadows to create a look. Albeit a little more patting and blending is required but if you’re willing to do that, then why not.

 

The other items within the palette are a little better, I felt, especially the Born to Dazzle iridescent powder which I’ve come to like.

While it looks rather shimmery and intimidating in the pan, and somewhat sparkly when swatched on the hand, it actually wears well on the face.

Enough shine that it illuminates the skin in a slightly fancier way than a soft glow but nothing tacky or over the top.

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It’s a nice touch for all the party-ing that’s coming up though I doubt my parties would be as hip as most of y’all since it involves slinging a baby in one hand and a baby bag in the other but I’m sure we can still make the sparkles work.

 

Apart from the powder pans, the Face Palette also sees the inclusion of some cream products and MAC had thoughtfully included a built-in plastic ‘cover’ so your powder doesn’t get all over the creams.

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I like this sentiment because it isn’t a flimsy piece of plastic placed over but rather a proper swiveled and sturdy cover.

Plus the fact that the creams and powders are so closeby and these powders don’t leave the cleanest trail, this extra touch will prove to be a lifesaver in keeping your palette clean.

So for cream products, we have a Pearl Cream Colored Base and 2 Lipstick pans – one in Petulance (beige) and the other in Evening Posh (the red).

I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t cared for lip pan products for such a long time or that all these new ones coming out have seriously up-ed their game but the lipstick pans found within swatch well in both pigmentation and texture.

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As for the Cream Colored Base, I’ve always been curious about the exact function of these but I guess the correct answer from a MAC Artist would be, wherever you need it.

My need for categorization and everything to be in its own place feels slightly ruffled at multi-purpose products but for a compact palette as such I believe this would come to great use either as a face highlight or a brow bone highlight (given how flakey and gritty Filament is, you don’t want that near the browbone).

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I don’t think any of you would care for this but just to mention, there is a tiny dual ended MAC brush within as well.

One side serves as a shadow brush and the other for the lips (or cream stuff) though I felt that using my fingers for quicker coverage and then going in to refine the edges with said included brush worked better than using the brush alone.

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So, in all, my confusion about the Face Palette lies in understanding the choice and products included because it is a nice compact mix  of items within a darling palette but I’m curious why MAC didn’t want to include a blush within since it is a Face Palette after all.

Or perhaps it’s a clever marketing technique since there are blushes within the Keepsakes collection so it’s good to get those to complete your look, yes?

Though if anything it’s an interesting take on Face Palettes to tout on the go. After all, when you whip out a palette like this adorned with soft shimmers, pearls and a cameo to touch up while you’re out, I’m sure you’re bound to turn some heads!

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Though speaking of pearls, I do have a bit of beef with these. While beautiful, they feel a little flimsy and some areas feel like they aren’t stuck on proper since I could wiggle them around.

Maybe it’s paranoia speaking because I haven’t come across anyone saying they’ve lost their pearls (trying to link to something comedic but lost my train of thought along the way) but it’s best to be careful when handling the palette.

It’s built for travel and for you to put on a face on the go but unless I keep it in a special pouch of its own where it can remain protected and pristine, I would think twice before touting this out!

Actually a pouch isn’t a bad idea, MAC should have included a cute sequined one to complete the ‘set’!

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Regardless, if this MAC Smokey Face Palette has caught your fancy and you’re willing to overlook the just-miss quality of some of the items within because the packaging is just too awesome then, head down to your nearest MAC to pick it up.

Be it for yourself or that MAC loving friend (which could be yourself as well, heh).

If you ask me, I’m conflicted about recommending this. On one hand the quality on average isn’t superb only because I’m looking for that near perfection and luxurious feel but yet if you want special, pretty, and rather-acceptable/usable in quality then I guess you wouldn’t mind this.

It’s your call really, why don’t you head down to MAC to give it a swatch? Perhaps I’m just being too critical about my expectations.

 

Thanks for reading!

The MAC Keepsakes Face Palette is from the Holday 2014 Keepsakes Collection. It is out at all MAC stores islandwide and is a Limited Edition.

I’m sorry I don’t have the price of this on hand.

Sponsorship disclosure

For the Wanderlust, Acca Kappa has You Covered! Your Hair & Body That Is…

I’m really not a fan of year-ends.

I mean, I like the festivities and I think the holiday mood buzzing in the air, along with carols and whatnots, is totally fun and lively but do you want to know why year-ends aren’t my preferred time of the year?

Because no one is ever around! Everyone is jet-setting all over the place which truly isn’t my business but when it does come to business and work, it’s impossible to get a hold of anyone!

Every email I send out (almost, every) is met with an autoreply and it so happens that year end periods are the busiest for me because a lot of things have to be finalized, produced and prepared for next year’s ad launches etc. Of course there’s always the option of preparing ahead of time but unfortunately those in the business know what it’s like. No matter how much you chase your media partners, things will only arrive on your table (or inbox) the day they (the vendors) are flying off.

Tsk!

But of course, if the roles were reversed or if my job itself isn’t so packed during this time of the year then maybe I would join the bulk of people holiday-ing right now, enjoying the whole festive mood and period of the end of year.

If I were jetting off to a beach holiday maybe, or even a return to the metropolitian city of Japan, the yummy food in Hong Kong or the rustic and lovely beaten streets of Bangkok then I think I would certainly love to lug this little fella along with me.

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It’s a given that unless I am going to Japan (solely due to my awesome hotel toilet amenities experience there), I almost always bring my own shampoo & conditioner.

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I can skip out on bringing the body wash sometimes but given the sensitivity of my skin right now I would feel a little safer bringing something I know would keep my skin clean yet still nicely hydrated and nourished at the same time.

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We all know how some hotels offer shower gels that strip your skin or worst yet, multipurpose bar soaps for handwashing and body washing. Eeps!

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The body lotion bottle in here is a little small for my liking – only because you know me and my tendency to slather myself up almost every waking moment – but I’m sure if you’re only slapping it on after the shower and in the mornings, it’s really more than enough!

I think, even for me it’s good enough to last a little over a 5 day vacation (who am I kidding, it’ll surely last that) but I’m paranoid that way.

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In short, if you’re flying off somewhere and are looking for a travel kit to meet your requirements of a nice Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower Gel and Body Lotion, all in the same matchy matchy scent at that, then this Acca Kappa kit would certainly be a good one to look into.

It’s a little luxurious I’m assuming (I don’t have the price for this, I’m sorry!) given that their body lotion I had reviewed earlier costs S$50, I am assuming this may hover about there or just below.

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Though one assuring thing to know, given my experience with the brand at least, is that you would know that your skin and hair are in good hands because the last thing you would want, especially if you’re traveling to a whole different climate, is for your skin to feel itchy and dry or your hair to be all frizzy and static-y.

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That’s bound to upset a trip or at least cause some annoyance so, it’s better to pack safe and bring what you know would work!

If you’re not thinking to travel, you’ll be glad to know that you can get all these items at full size at the Takshimaya counter too!

As mentioned in my earlier post, White Moss (the scent featured here) is one of Acca Kappa’s best-sellers so it’s certainly worth a look!

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Initially I had a plan for a ‘pretend-holiday’ where I lugged this along to my parents place during the period that my in-laws are out of town but plans changed and I guess we’re staying home the whole way so… I’ll just have to find a way to utilize this little guy in another way in future!

Maybe to Seoul next year?

It’s just a thought… we’re still working on that one!

 

Thanks for reading!

Acca Kappa White Moss Travel Kit is available at Beautique, Takashimaya Level 3. I’m not too certain of the price.

Sponsorship disclosure