Saturday, May 5, 2018

Ingredient Breakdown: Live Clean Healthy Scalp Balancing Shampoo & Conditioner

Soooo the weather transitioning from winter to spring has really messed with my skin, including my scalp! My scalp is normally a bit dry (small white flakes) and not very itchy, but lately I've been seriously horrified by the volume of flakes I was seeing and the itchiness. My skin generally responds poorly to changing seasons, but it's the first time that even my scalp is going haywire. It was like I couldn't even exhale a breath without some tiny flakes falling >__< I'd been waffling about picking up a new shampoo for a while--committing to a full-size bottle is hard!--but I was extra motivated now because I had to deal with this crappy dry scalp. After a random trip to Shoppers Drug Mart, I unexpectedly was won over by Live Clean Healthy Scalp's ingredients list and $6.99 price tag.

Live Clean Healthy Scalp Balancing Shampoo Conditioner review and ingredients list

So what was it about the ingredients list that convinced me to give it a try? It's been a long time since I dove deep and did an ingredients list breakdown, so here we go (it gets long, sorry!)
  • Salix nigra (willow bark) extract - the second ingredient after water; a source of salicin, which has some anti-inflammatory properties (source, source)
  • Chamomilla recutita extract - #4 on the list has some soothing, anti-inflammatory properties and in one study, improved atopic dermatitis-like lesions in mice when used with emollients (source)
  • Camellia sinensis leaf extract - aka green tea leaf extract with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects (see article from FutureDerm that explains way better than I ever could)
  • Hydrogenated castor oil / sebacic acid copolymer - conditioning and smoothing (source); this abstract from people with ties to a company that makes this ingredient, trade name Crodabond CSA) states that it smooths and coats hair by smoothing down the lifted cuticles in damaged hair
  • Salicylic acid - a chemical exfoliant (source) and the main ingredient that attracted me to the product. In this Allure post, Randy Schueller from Beauty Brains says it can speed the skin's natural shedding process; which may help in cases like dandruff where the process is slow, and is also anti-inflammatory. It's also oil-soluble, so it can penetrate even if my scalp is a little oily
  • Coconut oil and olive oil - high- to mid-penetration oils to condition and protect hair (source). My hair is a bit damaged and dry from years of colour-treating so I thought these oils might help. I'm wary of too much oil and other conditioning ingredients weighing down my fine hair, but the oils are very low on the list (after salicyclic acid, which can't be more than 3% maximum and more likely much less) so it wasn't too much of a concern 
  • Glycerin - a humectant to draw and bind water to skin
  • Tocopherol acetate - aka vitamin E, soothes and hydrates

Friday, April 13, 2018

Essie 2018 Desert Mirage collection

Hi all! I just wrote my final two weeks ago and have spent some time decompressing, including finishing Persona 5 (now starting a replay on New Game+ mode :P) With all this newfound free time, I finally got around to editing photos and organizing my thoughts on Essie's Desert Mirage collection. This is honestly one of my favourite polish collections in recent memory--a great mix of colours that are contrasting yet cohesive and definitely gives me desert vibes without being too on-the-nose about the theme.

Essie Desert Mirage swatches

Essie Desert Mirage swatches Bluetiful Horizon
Blue-tiful Horizon has a slightly muted, kind of indigo blue base and rose-gold, coppery pearl to it. I'm not usually big on pearl finishes, but this combination is so pretty and mesmerizing. This one is very unique to my collection.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Red & gold dry brush nail art - CNY 2018

Red & gold dry brush nail art for Chinese New Year 2018
How was everyone's Chinese New Year? This is my first year as a married-person so it means it's my turn to start giving out red pockets--it was also my nephew's first Chinese New Year so it was perfect timing for him ;)

I posted these nails on my instagram a little while ago but wanted to put out some extra photos because I really enjoyed how the gold dry-brush look came out. Essie's Be Cherry! is such a lovely classic red polish--a perfect fit for the recent holiday collection. The formula is nice and forgiving, and the colour is almost a one-coater. Orly Luxe is my absolute favourite gold foil polish and so reliable, smooth, and opaque for nail art. BUT, when I took it out of my drawer, I realized that the last time I used it, I didn't completely close it. That was probably a few months ago, and as soon as I felt the loose cap, I knew exactly what to expect. Dry, thick, gloopy gold foil polish :( Luckily, that's not such a bad thing for dry brushing, but I'll definitely need to pick up a replacement for future nail art.

Red & gold dry brush nail art for Chinese New Year 2018
As a final touch, here and there I dabbed on a little OPI Goldeneye, a deep gold glitter. It doesn't show up very well in the photos, but it added a warmer gold sparkle for more dimension.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Maybelline Total Temptation Mascara, Shadow + Highlight Palette

Have you guys seen the new Total Temptation makeup from Maybelline in stores yet? The collection debuted early January and says it's "the most addictive makeup yet"! I tried out the mascara in Blackest Black, as well as the 10-pan eyeshadow and highlight palette recently (the brow pencil was unfortunately not the right shade for me.)

Maybelline Total Temptation review
The Total Temptation mascara claims to have a "soft touch" and a "sensuous glide" o__o;; The brush is your average mascara wand. While it did apply through my lashes cleanly without too much clumping, it didn't deliver much of the promised "addictive volume". My straight, classic-Asian lashes also quickly lost their curl. The black area on the tube packaging is flat, which gives you a nice area to rest your thumb while applying mascara, but that was basically the only thing I liked about it. Sadly, this mascara was just like all the other standard drugstore mascaras I tried as a teenager that left me feeling disappointed.

Maybelline Total Temptation mascara review

Saturday, February 17, 2018

One Year Later (ish)

Hi! It is scary to realize that though I've been somewhat active on Instagram, it has been nearly a year since I posted here. A year ago, I was still stressing out about planning a wedding. A year ago, I had never traveled overseas before. A year ago, passing my CFE for CPA sounded like a far-off goal. A year ago, I was still wondering if I could own a home in Vancouver's insane real estate market. And today: I'm married after being with this dude for almost 12 years; I'm itching to go back to Japan; I'm still scared as hell about writing my CFE, though I'm much closer to it; I'm writing this post from my office/makeup room in my condo.

Bunny swarm at Okunoshima, Hiroshima prefecture
And yet when I look at my second-to-last post, from February 2017, it echoes what I was planning to say here about the future of this blog!

It's still my creative outlet, and I still have so many post ideas always percolating. It is starting to shift more and more away from being strictly a beauty blog to a more personal, "lifestyle" blog, though. Things you'll expect to see this year: a series of wedding planning diaries/tips posts, more fashion nail art, and any other random stuff I manage to churn out. And one way or another, I'm clearing my photo backlog, dammit--it goes back to 2013! Whether that means just finally letting go and deleting stuff that isn't relevant or up to my standards anymore, or being a little kinder to myself and posting something without obsessing over it for hours. Although I might not be able to post so often, and (to fellow bloggers) I might not be able to keep up with my blog roll very well at times, I hope you'll keep reading. Thank you! ♥

Basically, a lot has changed for me in the past year, but I see that deep-down I'm still the perfectionist-procrastinator I've always been lolol. Those things up there are absolutely still true. I underestimated all the life things I had going on in 2017, and honestly once I fall off the blogging wagon, it's very hard to get back into the habit. I recently had to reformat my computer, and in the process of reviewing all my files, let go of a lot of old crappy photos in my backlog and was also re-invigorated by all the potential content I had, just waiting to be posted. I still need to work on being kinder to myself, putting myself and my content out there with more confidence, but I'll get there. Thank you again for reading. 

Yes, I still have wedding posts planned

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bite Beauty Lip Pencil & Amuse Bouche Lipstick: Honeycomb & 020 / Whiskey & 044

Considering that lip products is all they do, I was surprised to learn that Bite Beauty had only just recently rolled out a line of lip liners! Bite's new The Lip Pencil promises creamy coverage that is opaque yet feels lightweight. Unlike other lip liners encased in fancy packaging (think Clinique's Quickliner or Smashbox Always Sharp), Bite chose to go old school with a sleek, wooden barrel that will need sharpening from time to time.

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Honeycomb Lip Pencil 020 review
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche lipstick in Honeycomb & Lip Pencil in 020
In my Influenster VoxBox, I received 020, described as "beige nude", and 044, the deepest colour of the range in a dark burgundy. Both colours are not what I usually wear - thankfully the box also included coordinating Amuse Bouche lipsticks in Honeycomb and Whiskey, otherwise I might have been rocking some seriously mismatched liner/lipstick combos in this post!

Okay, I admit that I almost never use lip liner when I wear lipstick; I kind of like the soft-edged look of an unlined lip (also, lazy). Sooo I'm not all that experienced with lip liners, but I like what I see in Bite's The Lip Pencil. Both pencils glided on smoothly with a creamy matte finish and didn't feel heavy. The pencils were soft enough to impart good coverage without pressing too hard, and didn't crumble or flake bits off during application.

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Whiskey Lip Pencil 044
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche lipstick in Whiskey & Lip Pencil in 044

Monday, February 13, 2017

Looking back & looking forward

February is a little late to be getting all retrospective about the year behind us, but by now I'm sure you are all well aware of the kind of posting schedule I keep >:D

Clinique Hula Skirt nail polish - Pantone Colour of the Year 2017 Greenery
And what better nail polish to include in a post about 2017 than my closest match to Pantone Greenery, 2017's colour of the year? Clinique Hula Skirt is from the 2013 summer collection and a close match to the grassy, yellow-toned Greenery. Buuuut from writing this post, I just found out Clinique no longer sells their nail polish line?? :( Which is a total shame, because I was going to talk about how this polish is so smooth, easy to use, and relatively long wearing. (The matching Clinique base/top coat sucks as a top coat and takes forever to dry though, hence all the smudges.)

2016 was a big year for me - it was the year I started an awesome, new, challenging job and took a big step towards my career goals; it was the year bf and I decided to get married, after being engaged for literally years; it was the year we finally moved in together. So you can see why things have been a little quieter around here lately. After not posting for a few months, I thought about whether I wanted to continue this blog. I started it 7 (!!!!) years ago on Tumblr as a creative outlet and have met so many wonderful people, had amazing opportunities, and made some lifelong friends.

Anyway, I decided I'm not ready to part with it yet! It's still my creative outlet, and I still have so many post ideas always percolating. It is starting to shift more and more away from being strictly a beauty blog to a more personal, "lifestyle" blog, though. Things you'll expect to see this year: a series of wedding planning diaries/tips posts, more fashion nail art, and any other random stuff I manage to churn out. And one way or another, I'm clearing my photo backlog, dammit--it goes back to 2013! Whether that means just finally letting go and deleting stuff that isn't relevant or up to my standards anymore, or being a little kinder to myself and posting something without obsessing over it for hours. Although I might not be able to post so often, and (to fellow bloggers) I might not be able to keep up with my blog roll very well at times, I hope you'll keep reading. Thank you! ♥

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Rose Gold on White

New year (sorta), fresh new nails! I thought a simple stripe of Orly Rage would be the perfect addition to a simple test run of a new white polish. (By the way, I bought Rage years ago, and I still think that name is hilarious for a pretty rose gold metallic polish.)

Rose gold stripe nail art on white
I run out of white nail polish really quickly because I use it so often in nail art, both as a base and accent/detail work. A good white polish is surprisingly hard to come by - OPI Alpine Snow and Sephora Formula X White Matter are my absolute favourites, but I'm not too keen on spending $10+ every couple months for a new one! Shoppers Drug Mart had Ceramic Glaze on sale for $3, so I snapped one up in Pure.

Rose gold stripe nail art on white
It's not quite on par with Alpine Snow or White Matter, but it's a pretty good white polish for the price. The brush is a little stiff and uneven though, making application not as effortless as the other two. However, the formula is smooth, opaque in two coats, and not too thick or gloppy - you'll be seeing this polish often in future posts!

Happy belated new year to you all! I have so much going on lately and so many blog post ideas for this year - I hope I can find the time to work on them and not go so long in between posts. Tell me how 2017 is going for you so far! (Also, tell me your favourite white polish!)
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