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Monday, July 6, 2015

Review & Recommendation: Deconstructing Eden Part 1 (7 scents)

I discovered Deconstructing Eden after a rave review from /u/dahliasmiles. I mentioned in the comments that I wanted to buy it after reading the review, but someone told me that they use perfumer's alcohol and international shipping may not be feasible. I was totally planning on getting someone to mule me these perfumes, when Toni PM-ed me asking if I wanted to try 5 scents on her. I always feel bad receiving press samples from indies so I offered to send Toni some oud and candies from Indonesia.

Anyway, since I plan on trying this company out anyway, I asked Toni if I could buy a set of 7 samples from her as well, and combine the shipping with the 5 press samples. She said yes so I was expecting 12 perfumes. This is what came instead.

Yes. She sent me 9 extra samples. Holy crap.

So I'm splitting my review into 3 reviews, because these scents are so complex, I end up needing tons of pictures to describe them and the reviews get long.

Btw...I love the packaging! Even though they're samples, they're all individually wrapped and have a cap!

All of them were individually wrapped!


Perfume General Review

Ok, you all know that I'll still give my honest review even if I get press samples, and I'm genuinely impressed by the quality of these scents. If you love Sweet Anthem (I do. So much.), you'd love Deconstructing Eden (DE) too. From all the scents I tried, I think DE's strength is creating extremely luxurious sort of scents, that smell like high end mainstream scents I'd gladly pay over $100/bottle.

DE also has this signature, luxurious powdery sort of scent that's somehow more elegant and luxurious than old lady-ish or baby room-ish. If you like Black Violet's Paper Dolls or Ten Three Labs' Aussie Rice Treat, it's a similar sort of powderiness, only it's more luxurious version of it that makes you think of classy socialites that ooze luxury without being crass, instead of young women in baby doll dresses.

What surprise me is how cheap they are. I've long accepted that indie perfumes are more expensive than mainstream perfumes, but that's the price you pay for getting unique scents you can't find in mainstream perfumes. Indie perfumes are typically $12-20+ for 5ml, which means they cost $1.40-4+/ml. Meanwhile, mainstream perfumes are typically $30-100+ for 50ml, which means they cost about $0.60-2/ml. These are DE's prices:

  • 1 oz – $28 ($0.95/ml)
  • 15 ml – $18 ($1.20/ml)
  • 5 ml – $9.75 ($1.95/ml)
  • 2.5 ml – $2.75 ($1.10/ml)

It's about the price of a mid range mainstream perfume, but I personally think the quality is that of a high end mainstream perfume so I'm a fan.

When it comes to the sillage, you get a few top notes floating around to up to casual conversation distance like most alcohol based perfumes I've encountered. To get the full body of the scent, you'll need to get up to faux whispering distance. After about 30 min to an hour, the scent stops wafting around at casual conversation distance, but you can still smell the full scent at faux whispering distance for at least 1.5 hours.

These scents definitely linger on your skin for a long time. When I wear the scent to bed, I can still smell pretty strong traces of it on my skin when I wake up 8h later. This is why my review is going so slow! I can only review 1-2 scents/day. 

So now it's time for the reviews! As always, reviews are done blind until the TL;DRs are written. If any of the notes surprise me, I write an overview. I've also started adding a "Final Verdict" section to help me keep track of my perfumes and figure out what to destash, since my perfume collection is starting to get messy. Here are the categories I came up with for my "Final Verdict":
  • Love: Most awesome perfume ever. Need endless supplies of it and will swap my first born child for the last drops of it if it's limited edition. 
  • Like: Like it, may buy a full size of it, but it's not urgent. 
  • Interesting: I don't really like it or I don't think I  can wear it in public, but I appreciate the artistry of the scent. It's like a beautiful but unwearable runway piece you won't buy on your own, but don't mind owning.
  • Ok: It's okay. I like it enough, but may destash for a good price to keep my collection manageable. 
  • Destash: Kill it with fire.
  • Age it: Maybe it will smell good one day. One day. Just wait.



"Sunflowers, bergamot, orris, melons, peaches, pink grapefruit, jasmine, honey, lilies, sweet lemon, sandalwood and palo santo wood." 

This scent took a while to settle on me since my skin loves amping up sweetness so it went way too sweet for a while. The sweetness calms down after about 10 min, but it's still pretty sweet on me. 

It's a juicy, fruity scent that makes me think of bursts of mangoes, but it's more of a creamy, mango chewy candy sort of mangoes. There's also this luxurious soapy scent to it, mixed with a floral bitterness that calms the scent down and makes it more elegant and grown up. 

Somehow, this scent reminds me of one of my mom's friends –this astoundingly beautiful, graceful woman who used to intimidate me when I was a kid. She was always so perfectly poised and coiffed, she seemed surreal. There's actually no reason to be scared of her since she's actually really friendly, charming and always the best hostess ever, but there's just something about her that makes you think that she's untouchable and more to be admired from afar. I can see her wearing this scent when she's in a tropical mood, if it's less sweet (and it probably is less sweet on a different skin chemistry).

It's so hard to find pictures of Asian models sometimes...but this model reminds me the most of her.
Amazing photo by Polina Rabtseva

TL;DR: Chewy mango candies turned into an elegant, luxurious scent that's perfect for the Stepford housewife. 

Overview: I guess the mangoes come from all those fruits combined because I couldn't pick out any of those fruits individually, even when I tried it again. I think the melons is what gives the scent the sort of rounded touch to it, and the floral bitterness probably comes from the jasmines.

Final Verdict: Ok.


Alyssum House

"Alyssum, violets, a drop of Jasmine, pale peach roses, and a clean, warm skin musk."

This is a powdery and very feminine scent and makes you think of warm, peachy pinks, frills and lace.  There's a slight floral bitterness in this and it keeps the scent from going too girly and gives it a very classy elegant feel as opposed to garish and Dolores Umbridge-esque. I guess the interior decorating equivalent will be an upscale shabby chic style that has elements of frilliness but look classy as hell and costs a bomb. Something like this:
Image courtesy of

It's personally too powdery for me, but I can see it being perfect for one of my friends –an extremely calm, elegant woman who still love girly flowers and frills, but somehow makes them so grown up and elegant.

TL;DR: Warm, peachy pink, powdery feminine scent that's still elegant and classy.

Final Verdict: Like



Cucumber, apple blossoms, white Alban rose, muguet, freesia, orchids, osmanthus, magnolia, camellia and orange blossoms on the barest background of oak. 346

The first notes that float up and hit me were roses. Slightly heavy roses. But they blended into the rest of the scent fast on me. I'm not sure if that's the note that would hit people first when I walk around though.

This is definitely a very sweet floral scent, but it has a green freshness with a fruity tartness to it. The slightly tartness and overwhelming sweetness makes me think of Escada scents from my teenage years, though there's this cool, woody bitterness that makes the scent a bit more mature. It's still a really sweet scent on me though, but my skin chemistry tends to amp up sweetness.

It's actually a really nice scent, but it just smells too much like a mainstream perfume dupe that I get a bit bored. If you like Escada type of scents and want a cheaper dupe, you'd love this.

TL;DR: Escada type of sweet scent, with a bit of a cool, woody bitterness.

Final Verdict: Ok


Black No. 1 

"Milk white skin, a haze of clove cigarette smoke, burning leaves and the blackest patchouli in my collection."

There's a medicinal and smoky bitterness that usually would make me gag, but somehow I don't hate this scent. In fact, I'm in love with it. There's this cool and silky touch to the bitterness that makes me think more of seductive venom rather than medicine. It's a luxurious, dark and silken scent, and it's how I imagine high end opium dens would have smelled like. Black No. 1 is definitely a great name for it because it just makes you think of black leather, black silk and slipping into darkness. This scent just captures willingly drowning yourself in sinful pleasures. It makes me feel drugged in sin and I love it. I think this would make a great unisex scent too, and I would really love to sniff this on a guy.

It's definitely not a scent I'd recommend to everyone because it may be too out there, but for my jaded nose, it's so refreshing.

This is probably the picture I'd pick to describe this scent:
Searching for opium just gets you tons of pictures of fields of poppies.
Gorgeous photography by carlosandesther

As the scent starts to dry down, the bitterness lost its edge and the scent starts taking on that luxurious powdery scent that I've now associated with DE's signature scent. The scent it leaves lingering on your skin is a clean soap, but it's the soap you get in 5-star hotels.

TL;DR: Wilfully drowning in sinful pleasures.

Overview: Omg, I'm so glad Toni picked this out for me, because I normally would never have picked it from the notes. I can't express how impressed I am with this scent. Patchouli usually makes me think of something old, but this just smells sinful and luxurious. Nothing old in this scent at all.

Final Verdict: Love.


Camellia House

"Camellia, peony, honeysuckle, carnations and the palest of pink roses."

I got the smell of crushed buds of small flowers with that realistic zesty smell you get when you crush fresh plants. There's florals in this scent, but it's a more muted, classic sort of florals that makes me think of quaint, English cottages surrounded by flowers. This smells like drinking tea inside a quaint, English cottage with a prim and proper English dame. The florals are not strong, just wafting in the background with the tea-like freshness taking the foreground. It's not an old smell though, it's a scent I can see on someone in her mid to late twenties. I really, really like this scent, but I'm still waffling on whether or not I like it enough to grab a full size.

TL;DR: Drinking tea inside a quaint, English cottage with a prim and proper English dame.

Overview: Ah, I know where the tea's coming from. Carnations always smell tea-like to me.

Final Verdict: Like


Catherine de' Medici

"Oakmoss, precious woods, spices and cinnamon in the base. Ripe peaches, jasmine sambac and roses in the heart and top notes of very understated citrus and bergamot."

Ok, so on first impression, I was reminded of one of those red autumn Yankee Candles sort of candles –the kind that has cinnamon, apples and other fall spices. That was the top note that's floating around and hits you first.

Somehow, this scent was more complex though, and it took me a while to figure out what it was. There was something that has a nutty sort of richness at the base, and the heart of it, there's this velvety sort of rose scent. The rose scent isn't exactly rose, it smells like Santa Maria Novella's rose soap, which only has a mild rose scent and the dominant scent is this cool, clean soap.

The rose is mild and the main part is the cool, clean soap sort of scent.

After about 30 minutes in, it smells so much like these rice soaps that I once got in Thailand. I bought  them in cinnamon and jasmine scents, and this is the scent of those two rice soaps mingled together.

TL;DR: A more complex, red Autumn yankee candle, turning into rose soap, turning into cinnamon and jasmine Thai rice soap.

Final Verdict: Like



"Ambergris, red leaves, black agar wood, a touch of leather, amber key accord, rosewood, cassis, a touch of lime and the barest drop of fresh apple. The fruits are not at all sweet and this blend is absolutely masculine."

Oh. My. Gods. This is such a hot, masculine scent. It's spicy in a cool, deep way with hints of tartness. There's a powdery quality to this scent, only it's too rough and masculine to be called powdery. Maybe sandy? There's a woody sort of bitterness to it too. I don't know why, but to me, this is the smell of burying your face in the chest of a hot guy wearing a thick, fitted coat. Something about this seems more winter than summer.

It's a more mature (in a good way) scent and I can see this scent perfect for a guy in his late 20s all the way up to his late 30s. Definitely the type of guy who's more serious and would be wearing suits frequently. The kind of guy you want to put a ring on fast.

I wish the model's wearing those glasses...
Image courtesy of
TL;DR: The kind of guy you want to marry.

Overview: Of course it had to have leather. I love leather. And Toni didn't lie, it doesn't smell sweet at all! It's a purely masculine scent and I'm in love with it.

Final Verdict: Love

Friday, July 3, 2015

Review: 12 Scents from Siberie Perfumes

Before I got 10 free samples from Siberie (store here, Etsy here, I'm listing both since they have different selections), I actually placed an order with them before. I sent the package to Singapore first though, so I just got it recently. I also won a Siberie giveaway and ended up getting a free full-size of Potion D'Amour and samples of Angelica & Mina (which I coincidentally ordered before too XD). Anyway, in my previous order, I ordered a set of 10 samples and got 1 free sample, so now I have a total of 12 scents to review.

Yes, the old sample bottles leaked a bit, but the new ones are completely tight and leaking is no longer a problem.

And now the scent reviews! As always, reviews are done blind until the TL;DRs are written. If any of the notes surprise me, I write an overview. I've also started adding a "Final Verdict" section to help me keep track of my perfumes and figure out what to destash, since my perfume collection is starting to get messy. Here are the categories I came up with for my "Final Verdict":

  • Love: Most awesome perfume ever. Need endless supplies of it and will swap my first born child for the last drops of it if it's limited edition. 
  • Like: Like it, may buy a full size of it, but it's not urgent. 
  • Interesting: I don't really like it or I don't think I  can wear it in public, but I appreciate the artistry of the scent. It's like a beautiful but unwearable runway piece you won't buy on your own, but don't mind owning.
  • Meh: It's okay. I like it enough, but may destash for a good price to keep my collection manageable. 
  • Destash: Kill it with fire.
  • Age it: Maybe it will smell good one day. One day. Just wait.

Quick Disclaimer: I found that sadly, my skin hates Siberie's vanillas and turns them sour. This will definitely affect how some of the scents smell to me.



"Heavy florals with sweet resins. Notes of night blooming Violets & Orchids caressed by fresh white Magnolias, Hyacinth & Oriental Jasmine hugged with teases of Vanilla and Wildflower Honey. It finishes in an alluring soft powdery base of Sandalwood, Myrrh & Labdanum."

Oh wow...something smells amazing in this. The top note that's floating around is exactly the kind of complex florals that I'm craving for lately. Light, cool, with layers of velvety florals I can't identify individually, and a hint of a floral bitterness. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure there's vanilla here, because at the base, I'm getting that sour smell Siberie's vanillas tend to turn into on my skin, mixed with a powderiness that can lean either soothing or heavy, depending on your preference. Luckily form me,  the vanilla going sour sticks close to my skin and there's also the floral bitterness and powderiness masking it a bit.

This scent is turning a tad too sweet on me, unfortunately. My skin's tends to amp up sweetness. I still like this scent and think it'll be great on another skin's light, elegant, soft, powdery and velvety florals all at once. It's a florid scent, yet clean and elegant at the same time. If I'm picking an ad for this scent, I'd probably pick this picture:

I wish it's socially acceptable to go to work wearing that head piece.
Gorgeous photography by Yvette Leur

TL;DR: Complex, elegant florals that's light, soft and velvety with a powdery base.

Final Verdict: Like



"Wild Freesia, Orange Blossoms, Bergamot, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Musk"

Cottony musk and citrus. I tried using this at different times of the month, and it still doesn't work out for me. It's either cottony musk and citrus where the musky bit gets a tad too heavy on me and smells old lady-ish, or it's a car perfume sort of citrus that gives me a headache.

TL;DR: Old lady or car perfume citrus.

Final Verdict: Destash.



"Vanilla Cake, Buttercream, Caramel, Bay Rum, Dark Cherry"

Almond cherry and burnt caramel. I don't know why this reminds me of children's cough syrup. The kind that smells so delicious that kids want to sneak into the medicine cabinets to drink more of it...but still cough syrup.

TL;DR: The most delicious cherry cough syrup.

Final Verdict: Interesting.



"Lime Blossom, Wild Orchid, Sweet Pea, Pink Peony, Cedar Wood"

There's a scent that reminds me of colognes for teenage boys that would have some nautical themed name. It's a tad too sweet on me, but my skin loves amping up sugary scents. Underneath, there's a green sort of scent, but it kind of reminds me of vegetables. 

After about 10-15 min, the scent calmed down enough for me to get a citrus note that makes me think of pink grapefruits, and star fruits. The blue part takes a backseat. It's a great summer scent, but somehow strikes me as a very teenage scent. It smells like the first summer scent you'd buy when you were in high school. The kind that would have a very wholesome looking ad with kids in polo shirts like this Polo perfume ad:
I feel so old looking at this. Objectively, the guy's pretty good looking, but all I want to do is tell him to comb his hair, fix his shirt, and ask him if he's working hard enough for his college applications.
Image found on

I like it, but it's too young for me.

TL;DR: High school summer scent.

Final Verdict: Meh.



"Ocean Breeze, Coconut Cream, Vanilla, Fresh Citrus, Beach Air"

Mmm...creamy coconut...with unfortunately, vanilla going sour on me. Somehow the sourness works with this scent though, like a coconut-lime combo. The coconut is leaning towards turning into sunblock, but it stays mostly delicious on me. It ends up smelling like the most delicious creamy coconut body butter, that has hints of citrus.

TL;DR: Creamy coconut body butter with hints of citrus.

Final Verdict: Meh.



"Mirabella Plum, Black Raspberry, Peony, Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Amber"

This is such a beautiful, fruity scent!  It's fresh & light, and smells honeyed. I suck at identifying fruits, but it smells like a Japanese pomegranate tea to me. The sweetened ones that come in a bottle. It's definitely some sort of dark red/purple fruit. I can't remember the brand right now, but the pomegranate tea I'm thinking of is this more than just pomegranate tea. Like a lot of Japanese bottled fruity tea drinks, the tea is fragrant to the point where it smells floral, with hints of a black tea sort of smokiness.

It's a gorgeous scent and I like it enough, but I'm not sure if I want to go out smelling like I spilled pomegranate tea all over myself.

TL;DR: Japanese pomegranate tea.

Overview: Ooops, looks like I couldn't guess the fruit combination again. I sniffed it again, it still ends up smelling like the pomegranate tea I was thinking of.

Final Verdict: Like.



"Notes of amber, patchouli, rose and sandalwood blends beautifully with nuances of jasmine and citrus to bring out subtle spice undertones. Base notes of delicious vanilla and soft powder completes this rich & captivating scent."

I'm getting this cool, white florals that almost make me think of sparkling, turquoise water. There's also this mung beans smell underneath though. Is there vetiver in this? Vetiver sometimes turn into mung beans on me. The mung beans smell definitely dominate and takes on a bit of a burnt smokiness, which makes me think of burnt mung bean dessert soups. I'm pretty sure something is going wrong in this. Now it smells like trying to hide a kitchen disaster where by spraying it with expensive white floral perfume, but the burnt mung bean soup smell still dominates.

TL;DR: Hiding burnt mung beans with white floral perfume.

Final Verdict: Destash.



"Honeysuckle, Fresh Fallen Rain, Jasmine Sambac, Wildflower Honey"

Clean, fresh honey with in a wet, green leaves. It's a luxurious scent that reminds me of spring time in a fancy hotel. I wonder if there's vanilla in here because at around 5 min, I get hints of sourness that I determinedly ignore because I like the rest of the scent. I start getting bursts of light florals too. It's a bit heavy on the florals and starts making you think of an Indonesian wedding where the bride/parents/wedding planner went crazy and tries to drown the ballroom in flowers, but if you're in the mood for a huge burst of light florals, this is it.

This is all from the same wedding. This is a typical Indonesian wedding...crazy ostentatious.

I got traces of a slightly off-putting waxy smell at the base of this, but it stays close to my skin and is drowned out by the light florals, honey and green notes.

TL;DR: Explosive burst of light florals.

Overview: I'm not sure what's creating the waxy scent...I don't think it's the jasmines since jasmines tend to agree with me.

Final Verdict: Meh.



"Pomegranate, Cognac, Clove, Ginger, Dark Amber"

Knowing Kim's passion for history & mythology, I knew there has to be pomegranate somewhere in this, but while I did get sweet, red fruit, it doesn't really smell like pomegranates. It's sweet, light, clean and almost soapy sort of fruity scent. Thanks to the soapiness, the scent does remind me of a shampoo I once had.

TL;DR: Red shampoo.

Final Verdict: Meh.


Potion D'amour 

"This delectable fragrance opens with notes of Tahitian Vanilla blended with Indonesian Teak, sensuous Sandalwood and a proprietary blend of warm spices with the soft lingering nuance of powder. There is one pinch of a secret floral note in it too!"

On first application, I'm getting a sour smell that may be a vanilla going sour on me, and it's mixed with something woody and nutty. Once the scent settles on me about 5 min later, it's really grows on me –it's creamy, but in a more soapy sort of way and smells really luxurious.  It smells like a nutty floral soap with a hint of tartness.

It's a warmer, creamier scent than what I like in my current mood, but I have to say it's pretty. It's definitely not a mainstream scent, but it still strikes me as classically elegant and more demure than edgy. It's like a rich hipster who got called up by her parent to attend a social function, and has to be an elegant socialite for a night –elegant, seemingly demure, but still a non-conformist at heart.

Gorgeous photography by Evgeny Kuznetsov
TL;DR: Classically elegant and more demure sort of non-mainstream scent.

Final Verdict: Interesting.



"Pumpkin Chai, Vanilla Cream, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Amber"

When I first opened the bottle, I got a whiff of the most delicious banoffee pie. Ok, this is too good to be true. It can't smell this great on my skin. When I first applied it on my skin, the banana part gets kind of artificial like a Lipsmackers sort of banana, but the coffee bit just got deeper, a bit more bitter, and richer. This is awesome! Unfortunately, I get hints of vanilla going sour here and there. I really hate the fact that my skin doesn't react well to Siberie's vanillas.

After about 5-10 min, it just becomes Starbucks' Chai Soy Milk Latte with hints of coffee. It's still nice, but I'm kind of sad since I way prefer banoffee pie. I've encountered tons of chai soy milk latte scents, but I've never encountered banoffee pies before. As the scent wears on, the soy milk part becomes dominant.

TL;DR: Banoffee pie with the banana going artificial turning into Starbucks' Chai Soy Milk Latte with hints of coffee.

Overview: idea what caused the banana and coffee scent. Did this scent get contaminated when it leaked? As for the Starbucks chai soy milk latte scent, I encountered in it another Siberie scent, Contessa. Here are the notes for Contessa:

"Dark Vanilla, Marshmallow, Cardamom, Cloves, Cinnamon, Amber, Sandalwood"

Looks like it's the Vanilla, Cinnamon, Clove & Amber combination causing the chai soy milk latte scent.

Final Verdict: Like.


Sakhar (discontinued)

"Honey, French Vanilla, Maple Sugar, White Chocolate and a dash of Bay Rum at the base"

Mmmm...burnt caramel. The caramel smells like Starbucks caramel lattes and similar to Solstice Scents's sort of caramel-vanilla. As I wear it, it develops a boozy sort of sharpness to it and starts altering between Starbucks' caramel latte and Bailey's with an extra shot of Kahlua. It's actually a really nice scent, but it's something I've often smelled so I end up not sounding too enthusiastic about it. If this is your first boozy caramel latte sort of scent, I think you'll love it.

Kim told me this has been discontinued since they weren't selling as well, but I'm actually surprised by it. I do find it kind of boring, but I know a lot of people who would like this scent.

TL;DR: Starbucks' caramel latte or Bailey's with an extra shot of Kahlua.

Final Verdict: Meh.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review & Recommendation: Lady Mignonne Leather Charms

I'm so excited to introduce an Indonesian indie, Lady Mignonne! This woman creates handmade leather charms you can customize. For her ready made items, you can head over to her Etsy store. For customization, you'll have to chat with her and there's usually a waitlist. To see all the cool stuff she made before, head over to her instagram page!

I picked the customization option and this is what I got.

Miss Fortune & Lulu!

Yup! Lulu & Miss Fortune charms!

Here's what the customization process timeline was like for me.

  • June 10: Sent her pictures of Lulu & MF and discussed what I wanted

  • June 11: Received sketches of the potential designs, agreed on the final design and made the first payment.

  • July 1: Design completed, made final payment

  • July 2: Received!

I really recommend this store, it's so awesome! I mostly communicated with Sari, the woman behind Lady Mignonne in Indonesian, but I think she's pretty fluent in English too. If anyone needs translation help, let me know and I'm more than happy to help!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Review, Recommendation, Swatches & Mini Tutorial : 4 of Chinovi's Brow Powders

I made an order from Chinovi sometime ago but only got around to reviewing them now. Here's what I got:

  • Brow Powders (Dirty Blonde, Medium Brown, Deep Auburn, Dark Brown)
  • Eyeshadows (Pool Party, Vulcan, Vesta)
  • Blushes (Bianca, Gidget, Jocelyn)

And I got a free sample of Doww! 

For this review, I'm only reviewing the brow powders since a) I'm having a break out so I can't swatch the blushes on my face since I'm using minimal make up to avoid further angering my face, & b) I'm adding a mini tutorial on mess-free brow powder application, so this post is getting long.


Customer Service

Vanessa was great! So the international shipping amount was a bit high, which often happens when websites calculate shipping amount by total purchase price. Vanessa actually manually invoiced me so I get charged the right amount. Here's the TAT:

  • Paid: July 12
  • Shipped: July 21


Brow Powders Swatches

Dirty Blonde, Dark Brown, Medium Brown, Deep Auburn
All done over bare skin, taken under natural light.

I'm loving the smooth texture! Brow swatches:

Dirty Blonde, Dark Brown, Medium Brown, Deep Auburn
If you guys are wondering why I got Dirty Blonde, I used to have blonde & red ombre hair and wanted to do blonde & red ombré eyebrows.

Unfortunately, these are how they look like on me zoomed out:

Dirty Blonde, Dark Brown, Medium Brown, Deep Auburn
Yup, very, very little difference between them thanks to my dark brows.

Now I know why brow mascaras are more popular in Asia, it's just that Asian hair is so dark, you have to coat it with a mascara to cover the natural colour of your hair. Dark Auburn is actually a perfect match for my current hair, unfortunately, it doesn't hide my darker natural eyebrow colour. I'd love a brow mascara in this exact shade though!


Formula Review

Like all other brow powders out there, there's tons of fall out. That's why I find it a bit hard to use, and kind of frustrating when I have my eye make up perfect...and then the brow powder falls on it and ruins it. I also notice fall out when you're trying to blend, but it could be because some of the brow powder gets on the hair instead of the skin, and brushing out your brows cause them to fly out in a puff all over your face. I've included a mini tutorial on how to get around this problem below.

The annoyance of brow powders in general aside, I love the formula of these brow powders! They're great on bare skin and apply so freaking smoothly. So guess what I used them as?

Yup. That's Medium Brown blended with Dark Brown on my lids, over bare skin. No primer whatsoever. They last me 12+h though it does get faded. Here's the full face look:

Ignore the lips...I got an insect bite at this time so I ended up looking like I'm a cheap idiot who decided to get lip injections for only 1/4 of my lips.

Ok, now I need to discuss something I noticed with the ingredients. So initially, the ingredient list can only be found on my actual products and the ingredient list on the site is a bit unclear. Here's the only mention of the ingredients:

Screenshot taken on 10 June, 2015

I bought this before I learnt the importance of looking at ingredients, so I didn't notice. As you can see on the products picture above, the ingredient list on the actual products simply says: Mica, Iron Oxide. So it looks like nothing is omitted, but I had to check with Vanessa anyway and she confirmed it's correct:

Now, I'm confused about how something so simple could have a better formula than all the indie mattes I've tried before, so I decided to do some experiments to see if you can get such an awesome result with just sericite mica and iron oxides. Unfortunately, I don't have access to plain sericite mica in such a short time so I had to use treated sericite mica, but here's the results of the experiments with treated serircite mica & a quick & easy DIY matte eyeshadows guide!

TL;DR: yes, you can make a matte eyeshadow by just grinding treated sericite mica with iron oxides, BUT your colour options.


Fuss Free Brow Powder Application Tutorial

Ok, this is my preferred method of applying brow powder without having a rain of powder ruining my make up. First, select the foiling medium of your choice. Here are some options:

  • A foiling medium like TKB's Mineral Wetliner/Darling Girl's Foil Me – I only own TKB's mineral wet liner, and it gives that slick, liquid liner sort of effect. I personally find it too unnatural for my brows (see pic wayyy below)
  • Water – May not work for formulas heavy on oil dispersible titanium dioxide, which ends up having a water-proofing effect. You can check out my review for Daisy Bird eyeshadows, where I ran my eyeshadow covered hand under running water, to see what I'm talking about.
  • Alcohol – Some people are against this because it's harsh & drying for your skin, but personally, this gives me the perfect balance between adhesion & blendability. Oh, and I'm a tad of a germaphobe and I already sterilize my brushes before use, so adding a bit more alcohol doesn't bother me.
Mix the powder with the foiling medium of your choice to get the right consistency for you. Go with a consistency you're comfortable with. There's no "right" consistency for this. Some people like very bold, slicked back brows and may prefer a wetter consistency, some people may want a lighter touch and have a more powder-like texture.

I usually work on the cap of one of my eyeshadow tubs:

If you're using alcohol, you can pretty much dampen your brush with it's good to go. This is why it's my favourite "foiling" medium. Once your brush is damp from the alcohol, tap it into the brow powder, then tap off the excess powder before using it.

 And now you can apply it with no fall out!

Oh, and I'm sure some of the craftier ones will ask this....

Since you mentioned actual foiling mediums has a liner effect, can I mix the brow powder with it and turn it into a sort of brow mascara?

I did give it a try. 

I mixed it on my hand since I don't have an eyeshadow cap big enough for my spoolie.

I used Dirty Blonde since the effect would be most obvious and mixed it with TKB Trading's Mineral Wetliner.
I added more pigments after this but forgot to take a picture >.<

As you can see, it doesn't coat my brows at all, and ends up sinking to the skin. So nope, you can't use a loose shadow foiling medium to create your own mascara.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Japan in 12 Colours (Days 1-6)

So for the past few days, I've been in Japan. I needed to pack light for my trip, so I only brought 13 samples with me. Seems like a lot, but it's way less options than I'm used to...and being dumb, I didn't check my own swatches and ended up bringing 2 colours that are dupes of each other (Backstreet Makeup Co's Laissez-Faire & Eccentric Cosmetics' Earl). So this leaves me with only 12 colours to play with...

Here are the colours I picked:

  • Backstreet Make Up Co — Laissez-Faire
  • Beauty For The Win — The Fault in Our Swatches
  • Blackbird Cosmetics — Dog Days
  • Blanche Neige — Little Mermaid 
  • Chinovicosmetics — Gidget (blush) 
  • Daisy Bird Cosmetics — Dandy Dandelion
  • Dawn Eyes Cosmetics — Momo
  • Eccentric Cosmetics — Earl
  • Life's Entropy — Enchant
  • Mad Lab Cosmetics — Pearl
  • My Pretty Zombie — Grandma Cleavage
  • Notoriously Morbid — Melancholy One
  • Ten Three Labs — Electric Love

Thanks to lack of wi-fi & being too lazy to update the past few days, here's a compilation of the first 6 looks:

June 17 

  • Daisy Bird Cosmetics — Dandy Dandelion
  • Eccentric Cosmetics — Earl
  • Life's Entropy — Enchant
Sorry for the crap lighting! The hotel room's dark!
    Lips is Limnit's Abracadabra, sheered out with a DC's lip balm. Btw, DC's lip balms are awesome...they taste soooo good and they're super moisturizing and creamy. The oilier formula is also the best for sheering out lipsticks to get a more stained look!

June 18

  • Beauty For The Win — The Fault in Our Swatches
  • Notoriously Morbid — Melancholy One
  • Ten Three Labs — Electric Love

June 19

  • Backstreet Make Up Co — Laissez-Faire
  • Blanche Neige — Little Mermaid 
  • Dawn Eyes Cosmetics — Momo
Sorry for crap lighting again! Had to leave early in the morning when the sun's not out yet.
Limnit's Abracadabra on lips again!

June 20

  • Dawn Eyes Cosmetics — Momo
  • Eccentric Cosmetics — Earl
  • Life's Entropy — Enchant
  • Mad Lab Cosmetics — Pearl
  • My Pretty Zombie — Grandma Cleavage
  • Notoriously Morbid — Melancholy One
I'm kinda sad Momo didn't really show up in the center, and just turned the colour slightly brownish in the centre instead.

Lips is Fyrinnae ombréd out with another lipstick I customized.

June 21 

  • Backstreet Make Up Co — Laissez-Faire
  • Blackbird Cosmetics — Dog Days
  • Blanche Neige — Little Mermaid 
  • Eccentric Cosmetics — Earl

June 22

  • Beauty For The Win — The Fault in Our Swatches
  • Daisy Bird Cosmetics — Dandy Dandelion
  • Eccentric Cosmetics — Earl 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Discworld Inspired: Granny Weatherwax

Ok, I'm REALLY sucking at updating while I'm traveling. Somehow, I thought I uploaded this already but apparently not. Oops. 

Background: I wanted to create several EOTDs that's Discworld inspired but still wearable for work. 

This one is inspired by Granny Weatherwax. Seems kinda cheesy to pick emerald for Esmeralda Weatherwax, but I was actually going for a green & purple look as a nod to the colour of magic, octarine. Of course it has to be rigid and structured to capture Granny's iron hard self-control.

Friday, June 19, 2015

DIY Cosmetics: How to Make Easy Matte Eyeshadows

I recently encountered a product that seemed to have an incomplete ingredients list since the ingredients listed was just: Mica, Iron Oxides

The thing is, the formula was great. It was blendable and works well on bare skin! I decided to test out if it is possible to create a great formula with just iron oxides grounded with sericite mica. Unfortunately, the only sericite mica I have access to are carnauba wax treated sericite mica, and methicone treated sericite mica, so the results I got may be different than if I used just plain sericite mica (and the ingredient list would be: Mica, Iron oxides, Carnauba Wax/Polymethylhydrogen Siloxane instead of just Mica, Iron Oxides).

This was the first experiment I did:

As you can see, my iron oxide & carnauba wax treated sericite mica mix isn't as smooth as the Medium Brown eyeshadow I was swatching, even with a primer.

So I decided I may need to get the precise ratio, so I mixed Ferric Ferrocyanide (I wanted a blue eyeshadow) with carnauba wax treated sericite mica in different quantities and here's the results:

SM = Carnauba Wax Treated Sericite Mica
FF = Ferric Ferrocyanide
As you can see, the perfect mix is somewhere between 4-5 parts carnauba wax treated sericite mica to 1 part Ferric Ferrocyanide. Unfortunately, it now has a bit of a sheen and the colour became much lighter. It also didn't blend as well as shadow I was testing out:

I was wondering if Ferric Ferrocyanide just didn't blend into the mica as well as iron oxides, so I did a 4:1 methicone treated sericite mica & iron oxide mix. Yup, I know this isn't a perfect experiment and I should've stuck to carnauba wax treated sericite mica, but I didn't know what sericite mica to use so I just bought small amounts of the different sericite mica available. Here's the result over bare skin:

Looks perfect! Looks like you can make iron oxide based mattes by just grinding it with methicone/carnauba wax treated sericite mica. But what about when you add micas in? Well, I added Hilite Blue Mica and that's when patchiness set in:

So in conclusion, you can totally make smooth, buttery matte shades by just grinding iron oxides & treated sericite mica, but you have some limitations on what colours you can create.