ELF Liner Sealer v/s Makeup Forever Aqua Seal

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ELF Liner Sealer with Sealer Pot. Makeup for Ever Aqua Seal

I have oily lids and hooded eyes but I like eye liner pencils.  So this is what happens: On my upper lids it travels UP to my crease to leave a ‘cut-crease’ kind of line and on the lower lids it travels down to give me racoon eyes.

Try sealing it with a primer or powder, nothing works!

My only choice liquid liner, but pencils are so convenient! So my quest to SEAL that line has been going on for YEARS!

Till I stumbled upon the ELF Eye Primer Liner Sealer in Target.

The primer I am ho-hum about but the Liner sealer on the other end I LOVE.  It took me a while and few Youtube videos (praise and rants ) to figure out HOW to use it but I have tailored it for my needs.

The way you are supposed to use ELF Liner Sealer is, dip brush in Eye shadow powder and apply it to your eyes like a liner. And it doesn’t move. I have done that and it stays pretty good. But I think for an effect like that you might as well invest in a gel liner or use water.

But because I like the convenience of eye pencils this is how I use it.


Apply eye liner pencil. Then lightly dab the sealer ON top of the line you have drawn. The sealer does burn a wee bit, so make sure you dont have excess sealing liquid on the brush. Dab along sides of the bottle of take off excess.

The brush is a stiff white brush. The instructions say “wipe brush off after use” I did, after I dabbed it into an eye shadow,but it stains anyway. Just so you know.

The Makeup Forever Aqua Seal I bought it in HK just to try something that I could buy in HK, instead relying on my trips to the US.


I don’t like it ATALL ! At HKD 250 its bloody awful. Granted it’s rubbish for the way I want to use it, but we don’t get ELF in HK “so what do you want me to do Hong Kong?”

It’s a pain to use.

A pain get it onto the brush.

It doesn’t come with a small container or anything, so you have to scramble around for some thing to pour a drop onto. Then  it dispenses more than you wanted, so you waste it. It’s sticky and as you pour it out it dribbles, arrgh a MESS !

Anyway this Bobbi Brown brush is a liner brush that frayed on me in about 2 secs, so I use this one to play with the Aqua Seal. I hold brush tip to mouth of dropper and wet it.

I dabbed it onto my liner and look what happened. It smudged. It crept upto my hood. It then made the liner flake off.

Top: Flaked off. Bottom: Smudged. Side: Transferred onto hood

Look the liner does stay put dont get me wrong. But the smudging of it initially and the transfer I do not like. But most of all what I don’t like is the inconvenience of the product.

Drips and dribbles as you pour and makes everything sticky.

ELF does its job and easy to use.

ELF you win.

Facial Cleansers & Makeup Removers

Winners and Losers in my bathroom

Losers: SK-II Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser, Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Foam  (ok my fault it DID say FOAM) Cleanser, Clarins Pearl to Cream.

2015-06-23 19.12.32Foaming cleansers are terrible for your skin – dry, oily, dehydrated or combo/normal. That tight-post-wash skin, mistaken for ‘squeaky clean’, is what’s also bad. I don’t need to tell you, google it or read Caroline Hirons.  It really annoys me that HK shelves are full of foaming cleansers, basically laundry detergent, for the face.

Thank God for samples, so you don’t feel too bad when you try them once and then you open your front door and tell them to leave your home and never show their drying-foaming faces to you again !

Estee Lauder
Goodbye and never darken my door again!

Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Foam was horrible, sucking every bit of hydration out of your face. NO! Go Away! I still gave it 2 gos, to be fair and then told it to ‘get (the f-) out’.

The SK-II was neither a Treatment nor Gentle. Load-a-crap. It is drying and has Sodium Lauryl listed the SECOND ingredient.  Might as well sell it in the dishwash section at the local Park n Shop!  (very angry face)

What disappointed me was Clarins. I like grandpa Clarins products.

I love the Clarins Brightening Toner after Sali Hughes (http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/series/sali-hughes-beauty) recommended it and I thought this cleanser would be the perfect partner for a clarifying clean.

But it FOAMS which I am not happy about and lists Sodium Sulphate , albeit low-ish  on the ingredient list.

But the Clarins Pearl to Cream Brightening Cleanser doesn’t have that harsh, soapy feeling and still rather soft as you massage your makeup off, has a lovely fragrance and doesn’t drip all over your face even when it foams up.

Rinsed off it didn’t leave my normal-dry skin with that skin-tightening dry feeling. The Clarins is still on my bathroom shelf.

Winners: Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil, Clinique Take the Day off Balm, Body Shop Nutriganics Softening Cleansing Gel.

2015-06-23 19.13.50Shu Uemura Oil is my star. It’s my first cleanse to remove make-up.

I absolutely love it. I have used the Neutrogena Cleansing Oil (the Blue one. The only one available in HK at that time) and didn’t quite enjoy it. On emulsifying it felt a bit harsh and also left a residue.

As I remove my makeup with the Shu I can give my face a good massage because it such a beautiful oil. It washes off without a residue.

The Clinique is also my first cleanse and does it’s job. And before my I bought my Shu, this one was my lush-full-of-motherly-love face massage cum clean balm. But now my Shu feels more lush.

You dont need both. A balm or an oil is perfect for your first cleanse to take make-up off.

On Caroline Hiron’s recommendation I bought the Body Shop Softening cleansing gel. This is my second cleanse, after removing my make-up.

I try and hit Body Shop whenever I can because of their ethics, but I must say they do have some duds that really PISS ME OFF. Bad performance or bad (Denatured Alcohol) ingredients.

I must say I am a bit confused about this one. If I apply this gel on a dry face it’s a bit difficult to move it around and since I don’t like yanking and rubbing my skin too hard I don’t feel satisfied because I cant do a quick massage.

And if the face is too damp then it emulsifies to a milk too soon and drips down and I feel like I didn’t give my face a good ole clean. Still trying to work out the perfect method.

The Nuxe one is a sample. It’s my second cleanse and for me it was meh!  Will use it but not really bother to re-purchase.

What I will purchase once the Clinique is over is the Body Shop Chamomile cleansing balm.

I think Balms and Oils are DEFINITELY my go to formulas for removing makeup.

Eyes and Lips: I bought this to figure out what the Hoo-Haa about Micellar water was.  The Garnier got good reviews and was way cheaper than the Bioderma, so I bought it.

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Verdict: I am not sure why it got good reviews ? I use it ONLY as my initial eye and lip makeup remover. The step before my First cleanse. Its not that great at removing eye liner or mascara, and I dont wear ANY waterproof eye makeup.

I will definitely not remove ALL my makeup with it. I tried it just because of all the good reviews on Makeup Alley, and it took loads and loads of this product to take my makeup and it still didn’t.

Basically you need atleast 1 min to really massage your foundation and sun block off!

I am just waiting to finish this and then I will buy my old stand by, the Body Shop Chamomile eye make-up remover.



Stila One Step Correct

Is there a hype on this ? I have been ODing on beauty vlogs and blogs for 3 years now, and haven’t seen anything. Or is this ‘so last year?’ Tell me, enquiring minds want to know.

And then let me tell you some-

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I wanted to try this for a bit and then comment. My NC40 skintone has dark circles, not too bad, and around my mouth its darker than the rest of my face, which means a lot of makeup will look ashy around my mouth especially if I wear lipstick. This is my face with the Stila One Step.

Even! The darkness under eyes and around mouth are not noticeable. Worn over moisturiser. Please DO moisturise prior!


This is like a serum but not silicone-y ( silky soft feel that silicone based products have.)

It says brighten as a product function but I dont see a luminosity like my Bobbi Brown Illuminating Balm. But probably the evening out of skintone gives a natural anti-dullness lets say. In the pictures it does look “white” but that I think is my camera. Its definitely not ashy atall.

I also do believe that on lighter skins it might have a more noticeable effect because of the redness that a lot of caucasian skin tones have. I hardly have any redness.

This is a primer but I dont see any blurring of pores etc, just the evening out of skintone. Benefit’s Porefessional is the master of blurring fine lines and pores. Even my Smashbox cant live up to the Porefessional.

Back to Stila One Step- it is a primer and when I tried to dab,sweep, dab, sweep my BB cream over it, it did ball up. So this morning I waited a while.

Rough Time: moisturised face, then moisturised body. Then come back and applied Stila.  Gently rub product in. Then chose clothes, ironed top, wore clothes, did eyes, applied MAC concealer with sponge wedge in dab dab motion (to hide bags) then applied the BB cream over Stila.

Now I always feel a BB cream is harder to apply than a foundation and I always do a dab, dab, press press, light sweep. I dont rub it in.

And this time there was no balling up. So basically wait a while.

Stila has definitely turned me onto the wonder of CC creams and love this evening out. Now the struggle is to whether repurchase Stila One Step or to move up a notch and buy a tinted CC cream.

Decisions, decisions.

The Colour of Friendship (Bobbi Brown, Guerlain, Armani)

..is when a friend relocates countries and leaves you her make-up. She is every colour of the palettes she left for me. I see her in my mind’s eye in High Def colour.  A more lasting memento I am yet to appreciate.

Guerlain, Dior, Estee Lauder, Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge, Giorgio Armani and Benefit Lust Duster

I hit the JACKPOT

Because my friend is a meticulous Virgo with excellent taste I hit the JACKPOT.  Sparingly used, spotlessly maintained Guerlain, Bobbi Brown, Giorgio Armani and Dior.

I think of her everyday as I apply the tinted Bobbi Brown moisturiser (not in above picture, it’s in my gym bag) on my face, and rejoice. There is something about this moisuriser. There is a inner glow. There is not a hint of sparkle, gleam or shimmer but I am lit.

I am going to buy this to re-place of my Bobbi Brown BB cream.

The other magical one is this Guerlain blush palette. As I blend I think ‘wow <name of friend> (http://pausetoponder.com/) this is a great find!’ I would typically never pick a Guerlain.

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It’s a rich pigmented blush and what I find magical is the more you blend the more the colour seems to strengthen. Odd huh ?

Ignore the brush. Why even bother to include a scratchy brush ?

I haven’t focused on the staying power so cant comment but what I can say is a little goes a long way. Its not shimmery or anything, though you can see flecks in the darker coral and the baby pink.


The Dior palette is subtle. A ‘my features but better’ palette for my skin-tone.

My fav out of the lot is the shaded bronzer. No shimmer and makes for a subtle contour on my NC40 skin-tone. The blush looks brown here but its a Dusky Rose. A natural flushed look.

Unfortunately I can’t give details on the palette, because I depotted them AND moreover it was probably Inflight Duty Free 🙂

Now these two products below make me laugh. Because I know my friend. How did she end up buying these I keep forgetting to ask her. Even I am fearful of these two and I know she is a fledging makeup user. The Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill and the Benefit Lust Duster

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Top Benefit Lust Duster. Bottom Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill cream eye shadow

I can’t really review these two, because I am not proficient enough to use them.  The Benefit one is just a clear Pearl dust and the Armani is a cream turquoise/sky blue shimmer shadow.

Though having said, after swatching it for this post, I might start playing with them. But not sure what look I would create. Probably a thin line above the lash line for that pop. I personally wouldn’t apply the Armani all over my lid, I would just look like that over madeup old lady on the train!

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LEFT: Armani. RIGHT: Lust Duster

The Armani is a cream shadow and applies well with fingers or my flat Shu Uemura brush, that frankly works with anything, even jam. There is fall though so do it before you apply your foundation/concealer/cream.

And oh, also I put a face mask on while writing this post and I splashed my face over the basin to wash the mask off, forehead, nose, cheeks and the Armani didn’t budge!

The other lucky find in my friend’s stash was the Estee Lauder palette. But I could cry! I tried to depot and couldn’t save the eye-shadow or the coral blush.

That mauve-y brown eye shadow shade, 2nd row, left,  I have not been able to find anywhere in Hong Kong. The closest was Bobbi Brown Heather, but its too ‘bruise-y’ on me.

And that coral blush ? To die for. ‘I just worked out’ flush.

Thankfully the setting powder and lipsticks escaped scot-free, thank god! They are nice but the stars of the palette are unfortunately dead.

Anyway this post is long overdue but thank you R for leaving me with these absolutely wonderful memories . I enjoy them immensely and you are always on my mind, atleast once in the morning and once post gym  🙂





Beauty Blendercleanser Solid (Brush Cleaner)

Amazing. I love it, will re-purchase. But not from Amazon because I can’t. They wont ship this item to Hong Kong. Why ? I have looked all over their website and the WHY has never been answered. Maybe we smell.

This IMAGE is from AMAZON Beauty Blendercleanser site. Check it out for shopping/shipping details

But then thank God for Singapore! More precisely for Sephora in Singapore. My next trip I am definitely stocking it up before I return to HK (where you can buy – NOTHING!)

I am a non fussy brush cleaner. Baby Shampoo and Olive oil is what’s sometimes recommended on the DIY pages of the Internet, but I am a harsh, haphhazard, swipe-brush-on-Bar of Dettol Soap- and-dry kind of person.

The Dettol soap bar is in my bathroom and bang-bang done.

And then a reviewer on YouTube was raving about it. I forget his name, but he seemed to know what he was saying admidst his slightly mental raving-reviews, hehe.

There is something magical about the Beauty Blendercleanser and I don’t know WHAT .


And look I have used the MAC brush cleaner too. And I just didn’t feel satisfied.  The MAC one was like cleaning your face with a Make-up wipe while the Beauty Blendercleanser feels like a good old double cleanse!

This is what I do. Wet brush, swirl, swipe over solid cleanser. Then I brush it over my palm, back and forth to remove makeup. Once clean I wash it under water, squeeze brush (gently) dry and then hang upside down OR flat, angled down slightly, to dry.

On the box it reads “lather up” but not sure what that means and so far hasn’t seemed necessary to me.

The magic is it cleans very well, quicker than my Dettol/Shampoo and also the brushes seem to dry faster (?)

I dont own the Beauty Blender sponge because frankly my fingers and an ordinary wedge sponge from Sasa does the job, but this cleaner is FAB!


Getting Lippy: ELF v/s Body Shop lip scrub

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ELF lip Exfoliator v/s Body Shop lip scuff

ELF wins, end of post.

As if.

Applying the ELF lip exfoliator on bottom lip. The top is the BODY SHOP lip scuff.mir_20150617_070227

The ELF is distinctly sugar based and you can see it applying more transparent. It is gritty and has more of an exfoliating action.

The Body Shop (top lip) is slightly minty, green and applies very thick. Thick as in trying to apply vaseline that you might have stored in the fridge (not that you would). There is barely any gritty/exfoliating action. The granules are almost too minimal.


But for the ELF Lip Exfoliator PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! You must dampen your lips before applying.

If not, then like me and a lot of youtube reviewers you will get pissed off.

Also the ELF one is season-temperamental (made up this phrase.)

I live in HK. Summer temperature 33-38 degrees Centigrade, humidity can vary from 50% to around 85%. And my bathroom faces the mid-day sun right until sundown.

My exfoliator is in my bathroom in a dark box, but no denying it is a HOT bathroom.

So in a situation like this I dont need dampen my lips because you can tell the emollients in the exfoliator are already softened (as seen in the picture) and I apply a bit and then lightly rub my lips to together or lightly brush it with a toothbrush.

However when it is NOT this hot, winter and spring, you must dampen your lips slightly and then start to exfoliate. The product needs that slip.

If you dont it wont work.

Then wipe off with a wet cloth. You will feel your lips a bit ‘exfoliated’ so apply lip balm.

The Body Shop Lip Scuff is rubbish. It is hard and thick (lips damp or not) and with minimal granules that barely get any exfoliating done because of the thickness of the base and honestly there just aint enough of these little critters.

There are some reviews that will say ‘apply and then rub lips together’. Waste of time, really.

Vaseline and toothbrush is your better friend.

I use it because I bought it.

The Body Shop Lip conditioner of the other hand is divine. I like it almost as much as the Elizabeth Arden lip balm.



Shu Uemura Calligraphy Eyeliner Pen

UPDATED COMMENT: Do not store this Nib down it will leak/waste product. Store it lying down. Also this is the ONLY eyeliner pen I have used so far where I can line my lower lid!



I am a liquid eyeliner pro. 20 years of liquid eyeliner. The bottle kind. Its because I have oily eyes and everything gives me racoon eyes except liquid

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 Over the years I grew bored of my Indian Lakme eye-liner and decided to graduate to eyeliner pens.

I went for the usual Maybelline and Loreal and they wobbled, skipped and dried up. The Pop beauty and E.L.F eyeliner pens were no better. I was irritated and didn’t want to spend another $ on a liquid pen.

I didn’t even trust the Japanese Dolly Wink and K-Palette 24 hour tattoo liners of the world.

And basically all over the internet the verdict was, pens will dry. And for me personally, more than drying, it was the wobbling and the skipping.

Till Mr. Shu came along with his  Calligraphy Pen. Shu Uemura ? ‘Ok’, I thought ‘one more try and if even the Shu Uemura doesn’t work out then I will give up on pens forever’.

Its not cheap. HKD 240 for the Pen + the re-fill cartridge. Its not a big cartridge, maybe little finger size ?

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The write-ups talk about how depending on the pressure the thickness of the line changes.

The secret- light, ‘nibby’ strokes. Especially on my crepey lids (not ‘creepy- rapists eyes’ as hubby will call them- he took that line from the Mighty Boosh. Silly silly British show).Shu Flick

The uneven lines is my first stroke- because of aging lids. But LOOK! I have never, repeat never in my life been able to do a flick, even the tiniest one and with the Shu I was BAAM! First try, done! I thought I was the Goddess of liners. Felt so powerful.

Zoor ShuThis is the dark brown. Yep didn’t look dark brown on my eye shadow. But when I applied without the shadow, it was very much brown.

Its waterproof and doesn’t budge. Even after a run in 30 degrees C , 77% humidity! Slight ‘flaking’ on my lids, thats it. (Phone camera in the elevator- sorry!)



If this puppy doesn’t dry up on me then its a definite re-purchase. And with my current love for Shu I will gladly invest in the Japanese economy.