Makeup and Beauty Product Reviews and Swatches

Baking Soda (~$2 to $5)
Believe it or not but plain old baking soda mixed with a creamy cleanser actually makes a pretty good exfoliator. I always use this with my Cetaphil cleanser whenever I run out of my favorite exfoliator or when I need something mild yet effective. And the best part is it does not even cost more than $5! Definitely give it a try!

Jurlique Biodynamic Beauty Refining Treatment ($35)
This is an all natural exfoliant from Jurlique’s latest Biodynamic Beauty range. It contains Jurlique’s one-of-a-kind Biodynamic Blend – Rose Gallica, Licorice Root, Black Elder, Chamomile, Pansy and Sweet Violet – to reduce redness and fade discoloration; along with Calendula, Horsechestnut, Soapbark Tree, Apricot Seed and Willow Bark extracts. It does not contain parabens, mineral oils, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, synthetic emulsifiers, artificial colors or fragrances.

I definitely like the idea of this being a natural product since green is now the new black. The grains are medium-sized but do not scratch my uber sensitive skin a teeny bit. My skin just feels clean and smooth and never dry. The smell is also very natural and pleasant and reminds me of this moisturizer from Fresh. My only complaint is its price. $35 is pretty steep for an exfoliator – you can definitely find something with similar results for a cheaper price.

St. Ives Apricot Invigorating Scrub ($5)
This used to be my HG when I was younger. It contains 100% natural ingredients like Apricot extract, Walnut extract, Swiss glacial water etc. to deep clean pores. The grains are medium-sized and it is very effective in removing deadskin and cleaning out blackheads. I used to use this once a week and my skin would look so smooth and radiant afterwards. But now that my skin has gotten a lot more sensitive, I find it a little too harsh to use on my face. It still makes a great body scrub though.

I used to think that expensive curling irons and flat irons were just gimmicks but when I finally got myself a CHI flat iron, I can see why people are willing to fork out that extra money for it.

The Farouk CHI Turbo Flat Iron 2″ is extremely lightweight and it has a slightly longer, 360-degrees swivel cord to help it from getting all tangled up. The controls are placed on the outside for easy access and the velvet lining on its handles makes it really comfortable to grab onto and less likely to get your fingers burnt. The indicator light is located on the outside as well but the light itself is really crappy so it can be hard to tell if the flat iron is heated up or not.

Temperature-wise, there are two settings – low and high – with a range of 175F/80C to 356F/180C. I normally use the highest setting and it never takes more than half a minute for the flat iron to heat up completely.

I also love how how the 2″ plate allows me to work with more hair at a time. Five minutes is all it takes to straighten my long, Asian hair and most importantly, my hair is left looking shiny and smooth and it stays straight even until the next morning, which almost never happens with my other cheaper flat irons from Sally’s! Plus my hair never gets dry or damaged when I use the CHI Turbo, even without a heat protector.

Overall, this is a very user-friendly flat iron that is great for beginners and pros. I am proud to say I am now a CHI convert!

The next goodie to review from the Total Beauty Blog Summit is Redpoint StayPut Eyeliner with Sharpener ($21).

I have this in Conga, a metallic dark brown color (think MAC Coco Beach pigment) and it just makes my brown eyes pop! It is highly pigmented, very soft and it glides onto the skin without tugging, making application oh-so-effortless! It also contains an “anti-aging TriPeptide complex to help your eye area appear firmer, smoother and more hydrated”. And the best part? It is *super* long-wearing, in fact the most long-wearing out of all the pencil liners I have ever used. I apply this in the morning with a few coats of mascara and it stays put for over 12 hours without smudging the slightest bit – now that is definitely something! Plus it comes with a built-in smudger and a sharpener. What more can you ask for? I think I have finally found my HG pencil eyeliner!

Zorpia Photo Sharing: Free Unlimited Storage & BandwidthThanks to the Total Beauty Blog Summit 2008, I got to bring home a bag of goodies from Redpoint, a “revolutionary line of color cosmetics infused with breakthrough anti-aging and skin transforming complexes, to make you look and feel better than you ever have”.

At first glance, the red packaging (and even the price tag) reminded me a lot of my favorite Japanese makeup line – Inoui – which was created by the supa dupa awesome Dick Page but is now discontinued *sob* And because of that, I was hoping that this line would somehow be comparable to Dick’s line.

After testing some of their products for over a week, I have to say they are all of really good quality and I am truly impressed with the line. Below are some reviews of the products that I absolutely adore:

Zorpia Photo Sharing: Free Unlimited Storage & BandwidthNOC-Out Cover-Up Compact ($38)
This concealer definitely reminds me a lot of Inoui The Enhancer. Perhaps it is the oh-so-sleek red compact that is about the size of a MAC powder compact or simply the fact that it contains different shades to “neutralize, obliterate and conceal” imperfections (hence the name NOC, how clever right?) The yellow is meant to neutralize the appearance of redness; the salmon color to obliterate dark spots or any heavy pigmentation; and the beige to conceal any discolorations on the eye area. Texturewise, this feels slightly waxier than most concealers yet it goes on very smoothly and does not feel dry nor heavy at all. I use mostly the beige color to cover up my undereye circles and it has never failed me. Two dabs of this baby under my eyes and more than half of my undereye circles are gone! The uber natural finish also means you can use it with or without foundation. This is totally worth the $38!

Zorpia Photo Sharing: Free Unlimited Storage & BandwidthRejuvenating Bronzing Silk with Kabuki Brush ($38)
This is the most expensive and silkiest bronzer I ever used! It comes in a sleek red compact about the size of MAC’s powder compacts. It contains Lipexel, “a vital plant-derived ingredient to help enhance the skin’s moisture content and prevent the drying effects normally associated with powder” and is also packed with anti-aging ingredients to make it super fine. It feels very soft and creamy on and the finish is a silky, matte glow that never looks cakey. The custom-made Kabuki brush that it comes with is also very soft and great for application. My only complaint is that it does not come with a cap but other than that, it is perfect with the bronzer.

Check out the rest of Redpoint’s products at Redpointbeauty.com. They are currently doing a promotion where you can get a 3 piece try-me kit for only $19.50 – check it out!

Image credit: Redpoint.