Friday, March 28, 2014

Liquid Lipsticks Done Right: Shiseido Lacquer Rouge


This past winter may have been long and harsh , but the (grudging) arrival of Spring means COLOR. Let's take a moment to rejoice, and to celebrate Shiseido's wise decision in expanding its Lacquer Rouge line.


L-R: RD320, PK425, VI324

I was gifted three of the new shades when I attended the launch months ago. RD320 is a coral red, PK425 is a cool candy pink, and VI324 is a bold violet.

The Shiseido Lacquer Rouge formula is lightweight and comfortable to wear. I estimate the wear at 4-6 hours, after which it fades marginally. What I like is it doesn't stain the lips even though it is long wearing, and even better, non-drying. It is also not sticky and has no fragrance. With the palatable price point, I'd say it's easily one of the best liquid lipsticks in the market and I couldn't recommend it enough.

For the difference in formula between Lacquer Rouge and Lacquer Gloss, shimmy on over to this post.


VI324


PK425


RD320


To break the monotony of "deer in headlight" photos, here's a smile instead. Enjoy the weekend ahead!

Shiseido Lacquer Rouge retails for $25 and is available at Sephora, Nordstrom and Shiseido.com.

Products Used:
Shu Uemura Retractable Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown
Suqqu Balancing Eyebrow Palette 01 Moss Green
Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N 102
Le Metiér de Beauté Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer Shade 1
Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink
Guerlain Crazy Paris Meteorites Radiance Powder Compact (Holiday 2013)
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 08
Le Metiér de Beauté Nouvelle Vague Kaleidoscope
Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara
Look 1: Burberry Earthy Blush / Shiseido Lacquer Rouge VI324
Look 2: Addiction Cheek Polish in Rose Bar / Shiseido Lacquer Rouge PK425
Look 3: Addiction Cheek Polish in Fresh / Shiseido Lacquer Rouge RD320

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample products sent by PR or the manufacturer for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N 102


When I think about my skin, I always mutter a silent thank you to my mom for blessing me with good genes. All I need to do to keep it in shape is minor maintenance, comprising of a basic cleansing and skincare regimen. Thus, foundation is usually the last on my list of priorities.

I say that, but there are at least six different jars and vials of second skins sitting on my vanity, collecting dust. And when I heard whispers of a magical foundation from an elusive (at least in the US) Japanese brand, I decided I had to find out if the rumors were true, even if I didn't use foundation. The beauty blogger's curiosity kills common sense (and the wallet), if not the cat.


Opportunity strikes! A dear friend's visit to Japan enabled me to obtain the hallowed Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N, in shade 102.

I think this is a fantastic full-coverage foundation for oily skin. It's drying not in the sense that it sucks moisture out of my skin, but it would look dry without adequate prior moisturization. The trick to applying this foundation is to make sure your skin is moist when you pick up half a pea-sized dollop and dab it at the key areas of your face. Use both hands to quickly spread the foundation around. Once your skin dries, the foundation will no longer be pliable.

Also, while moist skin makes application infinitely better, wet skin does not. I applied it once after spraying on face mist and the foundation ended up swimming around unevenly.


Was it everything I dreamed of and more? I'm not sure. There is a definite learning curve to application – sometimes I treat it like a video game, racing against time to finish applying the foundation before my skin soaks up the goods (toner, serum, moisturizer). Perhaps it's due to this rushed application method that occasionally I would notice accentuated smile lines, like the foundation couldn't properly meld with my skin. Or maybe I am not used to the effects of foundation after all.

That said, this foundation is perfect for photography. I will not hesitate to use this for a wedding, for example, because it will stay on all day and in the immortalized photos I will look like I have Photoshopped skin. If you'll excuse my bout of vanity, I am in awe with my skin in the photos I take for the blog, so much so that I actually find myself wishing that my skin looked like that in real life (which to be fair, it probably does. I recognize that I may just be far too critical of my real life self, i.e. scrutinizing my face an inch from the mirror).

Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N 102 retails for something like $110 at the cutthroat ichibankao.com.

Products Used:
Shu Uemura Retractable Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown
Suqqu Balancing Eyebrow Palette 01 Moss Green
Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N 102
Le Metiér de Beauté Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer Shade 1
Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink
Guerlain Crazy Paris Meteorites Radiance Powder Compact (Holiday 2013)
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 08
Le Metiér de Beauté Nouvelle Vague Kaleidoscope
Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara
Burberry Earthy Blush
Shiseido Lacquer Rouge VI324

Monday, March 24, 2014

Two Purples from Shiseido


Shiseido Lacquer Rouge VI324

Did you know my favorite color throughout my adolescent years was purple? I gradually moved on to maroon, then white, to refusing to name just one shade, but I will always have a soft spot for mixing red and blue.

I'm not sure what reignited my fervor in purple, but it is all I want to put on my face now (a stroll through Saks last weekend yielded an arm full of purple swatches). For eyes, I've been revisiting this Rouge Bunny Rouge trio; for cheeks, Clinique Plum Pop. For lips, two shades in particular have snuck into my rotation of products: Shiseido Lacquer Rouge VI324 and Shiseido Lacquer Gloss RS306.


Shiseido Lacquer Rouge VI324

Lacquer Rouge VI324 is, I quote the Sephora description, a bold and sexy violet. No sparkles. Lacquer Gloss RS306 is violet with a tinge of rose. Also no sparkles.

The biggest difference between the Lacquer Rouge and Lacquer Gloss formula is the amount of shine you get from the products. Obviously, the latter is wetter. While it makes sense that Lacquer Rouge would have more coverage, don't write off Lacquer Gloss either. The first layer goes on semi-sheer, but two layers yield some mighty pigment. I prefer the Lacquer Gloss formula because it's lighter and feels more comfortable on my lips, and it's arguably more pliable.


Shiseido Lacquer Gloss RS306

Shiseido Lacquer Gloss RS306

Along with color, I'm rediscovering other old favorites, like Burberry Earthy Blush used above. Many lighting setups ago, I called it my go-to contour shade. While I no longer sculpt with Earthy (well, I no longer sculpt, period), I find it to be a great barely there blush that accentuates my bone structure just so.

Also, I'm really digging the smudged out cat-eye look lately. So simple and quick, but makes me look infinitely more made up.

Shiseido Lacquer Rouge and Lacquer Gloss retail for $25. They are available at Sephora, Nordstrom and Shiseido.com.

Products Used:
Shu Uemura Retractable Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown
Suqqu Balancing Eyebrow Palette 01 Moss Green
Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N 102
Le Metiér de Beauté Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer Shade 1
Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink
Guerlain Crazy Paris Meteorites Radiance Powder Compact (Holiday 2013)
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 08
Le Metiér de Beauté Nouvelle Vague Kaleidoscope
Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara
Burberry Earthy Blush
Shiseido Lacquer Rouge VI324
Shiseido Lacquer Gloss RS306

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample products sent by PR or the manufacturer for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ushering in Spring with flowers from Clinique


Maybe "eternal" is a little too strong, but looking at how the Clinique Cheek Pops have been holding up at the rate I'm using it, I'm pretty sure the petals will only disappear when I'm close to hitting pan.

Clinique has been absolutely on point with its makeup innovations of late, and these new-for-spring Cheek Pops take the cake. They are housed in sturdy clear plastic containers, making them great everyday travel companions. The texture is a little out of the ordinary. I would call it densely packed powder, since it takes a bit of work to pick up the pigment with a soft blush brush. The swatches below were made with fingers: one single hard swipe for Plum Pop and Peach Pop, two hard swipes for Ginger Pop.


L-R: Plum Pop, Peach Pop, Ginger Pop

Ginger Pop is a neutral red blush, and what I suspect would flatter the majority of skin tones. Peach Pop is a shimmering coral. In the swatch, it looks like NARS Orgasm without the sparkle. Plum Pop is the cool plummy pink blush I never knew I was missing. Again, it looks scary in the swatch, but on the cheeks (see below) it is quite demure.


Ginger Pop. Look breakdown here


Plum Pop. Look breakdown here

While they come off as almost too bright on my arm, these shades are flattering and can look very natural when applied to the cheeks. While finger application works fine in a pinch, I prefer building up the color with a blush brush. The blush lasts all day on me, though the color is slightly faded by the end of the day.

Clinique Cheek Pops retail for $21 and is available at Clinique.com, Sephora, and Nordstrom.

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample products sent by PR or the manufacturer for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Monday, March 17, 2014

How to have a crackling fireplace in an NYC apartment


When I was young, I eagerly awaited the arrival of Mid-Autumn Festival every year – not because I wanted to hang up pretty paper lanterns, but because my mother would allow me to gather the dried twigs and leaves in my backyard and create mini campfires out of them. Even though Malaysia is a tropical country (average temperature is 32C/90F), I fantasized about bonfires and fireplaces and making s'mores. Now, as an adult in an actual cold country, I still become giddy when I hear the crackling of burning logs.

So how could it be that I only recently found out that wooden candle wicks are a thing? I was fortunate to be gifted an Alex and Ani Four Leaf Clover Large Candle, but I barely noticed the pleasant scent (notes of juniper, fig, and moss) when it was lit because I was too busy cooing at the soothing crackle.

This revelation has changed my whole approach to candles. I can have a mini fireplace in my bedroom! Why have it any other way? (Alright, who am I kidding? I will forever still want those Diptyques.)


via Gilt

A chance tweet alerted me to DayNa Decker (apparently a purveyor of candles with wooden wicks) candles on Gilt. And then I realized that Gilt actually has tons of candles on sale. I went a little crazy on the "Add to Cart" after that...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Clé de Peau Beauté Spring 2014: Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink


Once upon a time, I thought nothing of the Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancers, dismissing them as "too sparkly" after a chance swipe at the counter. Little did I know it was all overspray (this is why I don't like overspray) and what lies beneath is highlighting gold. Another reason I may have overlooked this gem was because the existing shade selection didn't suit my skin tone, and this new spring shade Delicate Pink was just right.


One cannot discuss the Luminizing Face Enhancer without admiring the light-reflecting shell, though mine has been slightly marred by scratches. It goes to show how much I've been using this powder since I got it four months ago. I bring it everywhere even though the case is quite hefty. It's that good. I also have to give props to the included brush. The bristles are dense but soft, so it picks up a healthy amount of product and is a pleasure to apply.


Applied under eyebrow arch, at inner corners of eyes, down the nose, above cheekbones, on cupid's bow, above the chin

What makes one highlighter conclusively better than another, I do not know. Perhaps the shimmer in this one is just much more finely milled than the other ones I own, but it truly melds to the skin and imparts a lit-from-within glow. I have never skipped the highlighting step since acquiring this compact. It's amazing how much more alive my face becomes with these subtle strokes.

For those mystified by highlighting and its place in makeup application, you are welcome to visit my highlighting tutorial.

Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink retails for a whopping $95, though you can purchase the refill alone for $55. It is available at Nordstrom, Saks, and Barney's.

Products Used:
Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow in 40 Brown Black
Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N 102
Le Metiér de Beauté Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer Shade 1
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 08 Eye On
Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara
Clinique Cheek Pop in Plum Pop
Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink
Shiseido Lacquer Gloss VI708 Phantom

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample products sent by PR or the manufacturer for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Importance of Brows (aka get this if you don't have any)


It's a running joke at my workplace that I have to "put on my eyebrows" before any important meetings (I don't wear a stitch of makeup otherwise). If you've been reading Messy Wands for some time, you'll know that I have the world's sparsest eyebrows. Recently I've even considered tattoo-ing some on so I won't have to deal with the meticulous application ever again, but the risk-averse part of me could never go through it.

Now, I have been very satisfied with my staple Shu Uemura retractable brow pencil. I have a healthy supply of refills even though I can only get them when someone from home visits me. The reason I picked up the Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow in 40 Brown Black was because I wanted something waterproof for my trip to the Dominican Republic a month ago, and because Geekz invoked Jeremy Renner. When that man says "brows, lashes, lips," who am I to argue?


You've probably seen enough pictures of me sans eyebrows by now (and if you're new, here's an eyebrow tutorial, complete with browless pictures and funky hair) so you'll know this product gives some serious eyebrows. It's a little darker than my Shu Uemura pencil, but I think it's closer to my hair color.

When using Aqua Brow, heed the cliche "a little goes a long way." To apply, I squeeze a smidgen out of the tube and brush it evenly on to my Shu Uemura 60B Natural Brush (most people squeeze it onto the back of their hands, but I like to eliminate mess when I can). I start from the center and with quick strokes, color the brow in – I find it easier to first draw in the tail, then work towards the front. Don't worry if it looks too dark, you can always use the spoolie to tone it down.


I submitted Aqua Brow to all manner of tests during my trip. After sweaty days under the sun and in the pool, I can confirm that the formula is indeed waterproof. However! It is not smudge proof, so you'll still have to be careful with your hands.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow in 40 Brown Black retails for $20 and is available at Sephora.com.

Products Used:
Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow in 40 Brown Black
Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N 102
Le Metiér de Beauté Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer Shade 1
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 08 Eye On
Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara
Clinique Cheek Pop in Plum Pop
Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink
Shiseido Lacquer Gloss VI708 Phantom

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cat-eyes and Red Lips


Like an updated version of this post, but I was actually inspired by this simple look from the Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2013 runway. Clean face, thick brows, a smudge on the eye, and a bold red lip:


Image via


The beauty of this look is it's so simple. The only trick that needs to be elaborated is the cat-eye: I love how her cat-eye wasn't precise, like it was more of a smudge (note the blended out edges). I recreated it using the Shu Uemura Kolinsky Brush 10f dipped in black eyeshadow, flicking it out from the outer corner of my eye. Instead of a q-tip, I used my fingers to straighten out the edges (this could get messy, but since it's black eyeshadow instead of liner, the mess wouldn't stay on skin if you rub it off quickly. Or if it does, clean up with a q-tip dippped in makeup remover!).



As for the rest, I applied foundation and highlighted my face, painted on eyebrows, tight-lined my eyes, swiped on mascara, and made sure that red lip stayed within the lines.

Products Used:
Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow in 40 Brown Black
Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N 102
Le Metiér de Beauté Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer Shade 1
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 08 Eye On
Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara
Le Metiér de Beauté Nouvelle Vague
Clinique Cheek Pop in Plum Pop
Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink
Burberry Lip Velvet in Military Red
Chanel Le Vernis Dragon

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tatcha Indigo Skincare Collection


Can I go one month without talking about Tatcha at least once? If you follow me on my various social media platforms (Instagram! Twitter! Facebook!) you'll know I simply don't have it in me. But that's okay. This blog is a diary of pretty things, and pretty things shall be spoken of!

Tatcha's newest pretties are part of the Indigo Skincare Collection, which marks Vicky's first foray into body care (huzzah!). Firstly, though it shows my lack of education, I never knew "indigo" was ever more than the name of a color. How pleasantly surprised I was to find that it was also a flower, and an extremely vibrant one at that. It makes me want to bring the plant to various deli owners in New York City as explanation of why it's not okay to dye flowers into unnatural hues.


I have a funny story to illustrate how good these products are. My boyfriend and I have been using Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Butter to alleviate our dry skin woes with much satisfaction for the past two winters. Then I received the Tatcha Soothing Silk Body Butter and hastened to test it because Vicky Tsai is like my fairy godmother of miraculous skincare. The blue cream literally seeps into your skin as soon as you apply it. There is credence to its name, because it really does soothe the skin upon touch. My nose is not discerning, so I can't really tell you what it smells like, but I can assure you that it's wonderful.

Back to the actual funny: my boyfriend is as most boys are – ambivalent about his grooming routine (though particularly attached to Dove Beauty Bar. He has a stockpile of it in his bathroom closet). He started moisturizing when we started dating because I was concerned about the cracked skin on his knuckles, but was largely unconcerned which moisturizer we used. When I was testing the Tatcha butter, I also applied it on him, and since then, he asks me if we can "use the nice stuff."

The Tatcha Soothing Silk Hand Cream, by the way, is basically the body butter in portable form.

One of the many reasons I love the brand is because of its commitment to quality and craft. Each Tatcha product is packaged exquisitely and with care, and while that is the norm in Japan, you rarely see it in companies based in the US, even those with Japanese roots. I've also been lucky to receive one of the brand's signature gifts last Christmas, namely the Obon Tray featured in the pictures above. It adds a touch of glamour to my nightstand and makes my cluster of candles look much more organized.

Tatcha Soothing Silk Body Butter retails for $48 and the Soothing Silk Hand Cream goes for $38. Available at tatcha.com and select Barney's locations.

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample products sent by PR or the manufacturer for editorial consideration.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Punch of Pink from Clinique


It was a whopping 13C/55F in New York City today. It's incredible what gentler weather does to the spirits – I haven't seen as many smiles on the street since... fall, probably? – and I suppose the evidence is in this blog post. After all, it got me writing.

Something bright was in order, so I reached into my ever-growing pile of Make Up I Should Test. Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Plushest Punch emerged, so here we are.


Firstly, I knew it was called intense, but I didn't know how intense it was going to be (this is an occasion where the brand team got the product name totally right). One swipe and I was like woah!, and then obviously, I went all out.


Plushest Punch goes on glossy and dries to a stain-like finish in an hour, though color is as vibrant as ever. Wear time is a solid 3-5 hours, but with the pen shape, reapplication is a breeze. I love lip products that make coloring outside the lines virtually impossible.



I have not taken hi-res pictures of myself in almost six months, and I have to say my skin surprised even me in these pictures. It behooves me to inform you about the two products I used: the newly acquired Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation (from Japan, or *wince* ichibankao.com) and Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink, which has acquired HG status in my stable of highlighters. I use it on cheekbones, nose, cupid's bow, below/above eyebrows, and with my ring finger, dab the beige-ish shade on the inner corners of my eye. This palette is so magnificent it brings tears to my eyes.

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Plushest Punch retails for $21 and is available at Clinique counters everywhere!

Products Used:
Shu Uemura Retractable Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown
Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N 102
Le Metiér de Beauté Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer Shade 1
NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
Clé de Peau Beauté Eye Color Quad 212
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 05
Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara
Clinique Cheek Pop in Ginger Pop
Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink
Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Plushest Punch

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample products sent by PR or the manufacturer for editorial consideration. This entry also includes affiliate links.

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