Judge Judy: Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro (400)

For today’s Judge Judy post, I’m gonna be reviewing the Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro Liquid Lipstick. This lipstick is an Allure Best of Beauty 2016 Award winner for “Best Liquid Lipstick”, so I am pretty excited to be trying it out for the first time, in 2017.

Image result for giorgio armani lip maestro

(Image source: http://www.beautezine.com/product/giorgio-armani-lip-maestro/)

Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro in 400:

  • 38.00 USD for 0.22 oz
  • Velvet-matte, high pigment liquid lipstick
  • Creamy formula with a non-sticky soft texture
  • A single swipe is enough to create definition
  • Offers 8 hour wear

Described as “The Red”, this is how the shade 400 looks on me:



Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro in 400:

The iconic shade 400 is said to be Giorgio Armani’s signature color. It was created to be a universal red that is suitable for all skin tones. The tea is that 95 shades have actually been rejected before “The Red” (shade 400) was born. Looking at the tube itself, 400 appears to be a deep, and kind of a neutral shade of red. On the lips it surprisingly appears that way too. It is not a bright warm red or a cool blue-toned red and neither does it have any orange or pink undertone to it. I would position its depth of red to be right between a scarlet and a ruby, and I believe what makes this red universally flattering is the neutral tone. So color wise, I give this red an A+.

Consistency wise, I would agree a hundred percent with the description of it being a creamy, non-sticky formula. Its creaminess reminds me a lot of the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick. In fact, I felt the Armani Lip Maestro to be slightly more lightweight and comfortable on the lips. Once it dries down, it is not tacky and does reveal a soft texture.

As to its hue and intensity, shade 400 is definitely a pigmented one. One swipe is all you need to cover your entire lips with full opacity. However, the Armani Lip Maestro does not dry down to a full matte. It claims to dry down to a velvet matte, but I compared this with a few other liquid lipsticks with a creamy consistency and a supposed velvet-matte finish (Tarte Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint, BareMinerals GEN NUDE Matte Liquid Lipcolor) and the Armani Lip Maestro does not dry as matte as the rest. In fact, there is a slight sheen to it, almost like a satin-matte finish, reflective of some sort of moisture still lingering on the lips even after five minutes. Since I wanted a more matte finish, I gently pursed my lips once on a facial tissue to get rid of that sheen to achieve the velvet-matte finish above. While this doesn’t truly bother me, I would understand why some would be frustrated spending almost forty bucks on a liquid lipstick and having to remove part of it to achieve a matte finish.

Did this liquid lipstick last me 8 hours as claimed? Prior to me having a soup-based dinner, the lipstick held on quite well for 5 hours. After dinner though coverage on the center of the lips faded, and what’s really left is a dark red lip line and basically a light pinkish stain on the lips itself. So this product does require touch-ups after a meal. I’m not too sure though if this is due to its lighter consistency or the fact that I did remove the top coat when I dabbed my lips with tissue to achieve the matte effect earlier. But whatever it is, the hassle that I needed to go through to achieve the finish I prefer (considering that I do not have to do this for many other more affordable liquid lipsticks I own) and the product’s inability to last through a meal (again, in comparison to other more affordable products I have tried) renders it not quite worth the expenditure.

For me this product wins in terms of its spot-on perfect shade of red that I’ve been searching for as well as how comfortable and lightweight it feels on the lips, but due to the fact that I actually have to do a little more to make the finish work for me, and possibly then reducing its longevity brings down its rating a little. So, my final thoughts – Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro 400 is worth a try if you have not found your perfect red, and if you are looking for a lightweight and comfortable not-too-matte liquid lipstick.

VERDICT: Recommended


No Thanks Holiday 2017 Collection

It’s that time of year again folks! Cosmetic companies are releasing their limited edition holiday collections, enticing you with what appears as exclusive must-haves, not just for yourself but as gifts for your loved ones too. Now, you know how I feel about limited edition releases – the quality is almost never on par with permanent collections. It’s a fact that holiday releases are really more about style than substance. The selling point is more often than not the attractive packaging rather than an enhanced quality of the product itself. For example, some cosmetic companies that normally manufacture their permanent line in the United States would actually outsource their holiday collection production to China and this constitutes inferior ingredients and manner of production. The packaging however tends to be more glamorous and tempting than the permanent line, which I believe is what’s sucking most consumers out there into its vortex.

So before you get all excited seeing pretty things in stores and online, let’s take a look at some holiday collection releases that should not be tempting you to fork out your hard earned money just because they’re pretty.

Too Faced The White Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette Holiday 2017 (45.00 USD)

Image result for too faced the white chocolate bar holiday 2017

(Image source: http://glory.news/too-faced-white-chocolate-bar-palette-for-holiday-2017)

What’s my No Thanks post if Too Faced is not on the list right? LOL. But jokes aside, I’m truly not including Too Faced just because. I honestly feel a dearth of innovation with every new Too Faced releases these days, especially their limited and holiday editions. The ‘I Want Kandee’ collection with Kandee Johnson was a pain for me to just run through the entire line, all because it was really nothing but cuteness overload. Their many other exclusive palettes after that looked just like any of their previous palettes. It really seems as if the creative directors at Too Faced are just paid to recycle old or existing products into new packaging. Now, with the release of Too Faced The White Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette Holiday 2017, I’m not wrong at all, am I?

The White Chocolate Bar, is yet again nothing new for Too Faced. Aside from the fact that Too Faced is known for their Chocolate Bar eyeshadow palettes, they’ve also formerly released a White Chocolate Chip Eyeshadow Palette I believe end of last year or early this year, but it was a clutch-sized palette featuring 11 dull-looking shades with extremely poor quality that it received terrible reviews and rating on both Sephora and ULTA. Now, just for comparison sake, let me include a shot of said palette below. (I have actually featured this palette in a previous No Thanks post – https://sitihajaresa.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/no-thanks-sephora-cyber-monday/)


(Image source: https://www.toofaced.com/p/eye-shadow-palettes/white-chocolate-chip/)

I don’t know about you but to me, both palettes appear to share the same vibe and tone and finish, even name. If you cover the shades Mint Chocolate and Frosted Apricot from the White Chocolate Bar palette, I think it looks almost identical to the White Chocolate Chip palette. And of course excluding those two shades means that the White Chocolate Bar palette is similarly a bland and uninspiring palette. This doesn’t imply that including those two shades would render it any more interesting. Also, since this is a holiday release I’m not too sure about the quality either. If it is reminiscent of the White Chocolate Chip palette then that’s totally bad news. I’m sorry Too Faced but you have failed to impress me, yet again.

Tarte Park Ave Princess Highlight and Contour Palette Holiday 2017 (46.00 USD)


(Image source: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bar1DMNHJu4/?hl=en&taken-by=trendmood1)

Now I’ve to admit that this is a hard one. Really hard. When I first laid my eyes on it, I was just so tempted to get it. I mean check out the packaging – so sleek, yet classy and glamorous at the same time. However, I had to pause, calm myself down and really think whether I do need this palette. First of all, I have not tried any of Tarte’s contour products. But I do own Tarte’s permanent blushes and highlighters, along with their Summer 2016 Tarte Tarteist limited edition blush palette. Based off that experience, I have to say that the limited edition palette does not share the same quality as the permanent line. Whereas Tarte’s Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush is very silky smooth, the limited edition blush is very powdery and does not last even half the time of the former.

So with this new holiday release I am truly skeptical of the quality but I cannot say for sure because I’ve never owned Tarte’s previous Park Ave Princess collection. In addition, I was just trying to process why I would need that many contour shades. I only have one skin tone, why would I need four different shades to bronze or contour. While some may say that the browns can be used as eyeshadow, hello, I didn’t buy a ton of eyeshadow palettes just so I can doll up my eyes using a contour palette?!? But I feel that this palette might be a great catch for pale girls as the matte highlight powders and first two contour shades look cool-toned enough for very fair skin.

As for me, I honestly am still sitting on the fence about this one mostly because I am almost out of my Kat Von D Shade and Light Contour palette, and am considering if I should try out Tarte’s Park Ave Princess next. But if you still have not hit pan on your existing highlight/contour palette, then I would suggest to skip this, or at least swatch it to know its quality. Don’t be afraid that it will sell out. Tarte’s holiday palettes are almost rarely sold out fast. In fact, I can still find the previous Park Ave Princess palette sold on Tarte Cosmetics. So, you don’t need to rush for this.

Morphe Brushes Dare to Create Holiday 2017 Collection


(Image source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BauFN21HR04/?hl=en&taken-by=trendmood1)

So for Holiday 2017, Morphe Brushes is releasing its ‘Dare to Create’ Collection consisting of several eyeshadow palettes (two 15-pan palettes and one 39-pan palette), two liquid lipsticks, five metallic liquid lipsticks and a bling brush set. Well, I am not going to purchase any of them because I do not need them, nor do I want them. The two 15-pan eyeshadow palettes no doubt look pretty and suitable if you are just getting into makeup and wouldn’t mind your makeup products manufactured in China. The 39-pan eyeshadow palette is clearly made for makeup artists since it includes a row of transition shades for all skin tones. I don’t need any new liquid lipsticks and I detest the thought of buying brushes just because it is covered with “bling”. So, that’s that.

MAC Cosmetics Snow Ball Mini Lipstick Kit Holiday 2017 Collection (69.50 USD)

Image result for MAC Cosmetics Snow Ball Mini Lipstick Kit Holiday 2017 Collection

(Image source: https://www.chicprofile.com/mac-snow-ball-holiday-2017-collection)

While I love MAC lipsticks, I am totally not in love with this mini holiday kit. Besides the fact that they look cute and pretty blah blah blah, I don’t need this entire kit for myself. As an average makeup wearer, I do not need to own this many shades. As a seasoned makeup wearer, I know which lip colors I love and gravitate towards so I don’t need to waste money purchasing a kit of which only a quarter of the lipsticks appeal to me. If you’re looking to include a mini lipstick in your gift bags for your loved ones, this may be something special. But if you just want lipsticks for yourself, go ahead and check out the tons of MAC permanent lipsticks and get a couple shades you truly love.

Tatcha Mini Lipstick Trio Holiday 2017 Collection (60.00 USD)


(Image source: https://www.tatcha.com/shop/mini-lipstick-trio)

If you’ve never heard of Tatcha, let me sum it up for you. Tatcha is a Japanese skincare/cosmetics line that sells expensive products. I’m talking Tom Ford and SKII expensive. Their Silk Cream Moisturizer will set you back 120 USD, their setting spray (Dewy Skin Mist) costs almost 50 bucks and their full sized lipsticks is priced similarly with Tom Ford’s Moisture Core Lip Color, at 55 USD. That’s truly a hefty price tag. And for a set of mini lipsticks to be priced at 60 USD is pretty ridiculous to me. For that same cost, you can get yourself a multitude of combinations of full-sized lipsticks of your choice. I can get three full-sized MAC lipsticks of my choice for less, or three Smashbox or NARS lipsticks for almost the same price. I can get three full-sized liquid lipsticks from Kat Von D, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Tarte Cosmetics, Huda Beauty and more. I can go drugstore and purchase ten NYX lipsticks. The possibility is wide. So why would I spend that same amount of money on tiny lipsticks that aren’t even my favorite shades to begin with. And not to mention these mini lipsticks are always given out as freebies. I have a ton of those from NARS, Marc Jacobs, Milk Makeup and more, so why would I want to fork out 60 USD this time round? For the packaging? Huh, no thanks.

Christian Louboutin Rouge Metallisme Holiday 2017 Collection


(Image source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BaweLsnH3rp/?hl=en&taken-by=trendmood1)

Last but not least, a brand that even if it is not a holiday collection, I wouldn’t purchase from. Christian Louboutin. Probably selling one of the most expensive lip products in the cosmetic industry at 90 USD per lipstick. The selling point? Of course the unique and provocative weapon-like packaging. Are the formula any good? From reviews I’ve read and watched, they’re pretty average, nothing wows you about the quality of the lipstick itself. You only want this if you want something eye-catching on your vanity. So, long story short, this holiday collection is not for people who genuinely want a good satin or metallic lipstick or nail polish. However, if you have lots of cash to spare and is dying for such an intriguing looking lipstick, then it’s all yours. As for me, NO THANKS!

The holiday releases can be a bit overwhelming especially if you are bombarded by their alerts and updates. Just remember to think through why the product is not worth your money before impulsively spending on them just because they look pretty. Till the next one!

Judge Judy: Makeup Geek Plush Lip Creme (Jetsetter)

In my previous Judge Judy post, I reviewed the Anastasia Beverly Hills liquid lipstick in the shade Stripped. (https://sitihajaresa.wordpress.com/2017/09/29/judge-judy-anastasia-beverly-hills-liquid-lipstick-stripped/). I mentioned in the post that Stripped was a lighter and more peach-based nude as compared to another brown-based nude lip color I truly enjoyed. That’s when some of my friends asked me about that other lipstick I was talking about. So, I am going to give my full review on the Makeup Geek Plush Lip Creme in the shade Jetsetter.

Image result for makeup geek plush lip creme jetsetter

(Image source: https://www.temptalia.com/product/makeup-geek-plush-lip-creme/jetsetter/)

Makeup Geek Plush Lip Creme in Jetsetter:

  • 14.00 USD for 0.10 fl oz
  • A hybrid of cream and mousse to give the lips a soft, “plush” feel
  • Highly pigmented shades in a smooth creme finish

Described as a soft peach brown with a creme finish, this is how the shade Jetsetter looks on me:



Makeup Geek Plush Lip Creme in Jetsetter:

I believe that I own and have tried a lot of lipsticks that are a variant of this particular shade. Of the top of my head, Bite Beauty’s Honeycomb is pretty similar, NYX’s Sable is up there and I am dead sure something from MAC looks alike (MAC Self-Aware probably?). But Makeup Geek’s Jetsetter has always stood out for me, and I do reach for it more often than any of the aforementioned products. Its pull factor in my opinion lies in its ultra-comfortable formula that’s accompanied by high pigmentation and opacity.

Despite Jetsetter being the lightest color in the range, it was such a breeze to apply. With just one dip from the tube, my entire lips are decently coated with no visible streaks or patchiness. A second dip would seal the deal with a hundred and ten percent opacity, so hooray for the pigmentation. I am also impressed at how the shade has been aptly described. It was indeed a soft peach brown on me, spot on!

As for the hybrid cream-mousse formula that is said to give your lips a “plush” feel, I couldn’t agree more. Now this is no matte liquid lipstick. It is far from that. Though it is a creme finish, it does appear as a soft velvet-matte blanket over your lips. It is not drying at all, in fact my lips always remain soft and moisturized throughout wear. When you purse your lips together, they do not stick or feel tacky. Instead, a very comfortable mousse-powder like consistency is what you feel on your lips, and that is what I believe Makeup Geek is referring to as a “plush” effect.

At its price point, and given how pleasant it feels on my lips as well as how satisfied I have always been with how it looks, I would definitely recommend Makeup Geek Plush Lip Creme, more so in the shade Jetsetter especially for those of you looking for a peach-brown based nude color. The Makeup Geek Plush Lip Creme comes in eight other shades that include soft pink, reds and multiple tones of purples.

VERDICT: Highly Recommended

Look of the Day – Simply Versatile

Here’s a simple one for any occasion, any season and any time of the day.


Products used:


  • Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer
  • Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Perfect Skin Foundation (Medium 6)
  • Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting Concealer (Fair)
  • NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder (Translucent Crystal)
  • Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Micro-Powder (2 Medium)


  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz (Medium Brown)
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade (Medium Brown)
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel


  • ZOEVA Smoky Eyeshadow Palette (Sweet Smell – transition & lower lashline, Ashes Awake – lid, Relieve the Moon – brow bone highlight)
  • NYX Lid Lingerie (Night Glow)
  • NYX Slide On Eye Pencil (Jet Black)
  • Urban Decay Perversion Mascara (Black)


  • Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer Perfect Tan (Tantric)
  • NARS Blush (Goulue)


  • Jouer Powder Highlighter (Rose Quartz)


  • NYX Slim Lip Pencil (Pale Pink)
  • MAC Cosmetics Matte Lipstick (Really Me)

Setting Spray:

  • MAC Fix Plus

Color Up: Sugar Maple Honey

It’s been a hot minute since my last Color Up post and I decided to squeeze one just in time to welcome fall! Though I’m not sure at all if fall has started here in SoCal. But anyways, I miss the maple tree I used to have right beside my previous house back in IL. So, this Color Up look is inspired by the beautiful orangey tones of sugar maple!

I’ve also decided to shorten my Color Up post to make it easier to follow as tutorials. Who the hell got time to read lengthy paragraphs when doing makeup, right? So, I hope you like this simple version instead.

The Look



The Colors

Image result for abh modern renaissance

(Image source: http://beautypointofview.com/anastasia-beverly-hills-modern-renaissance-palette/)


The Application

Our Photos20-001



Since I was going for colors inspired by Sugar Maple, I chose the oranges and brown from my Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance eyeshadow palette. Started my transition and crease using the lighter burnt orange colors (Raw Sienna & Burnt Orange), and amplifying a true orange on the lid with Realgar. Deepened the outer V with a touch of brown (Cyprus Umber), then went back in with Realgar to intensify the orange on the lid. Pulled the whole eye look together by re-blending the transition and crease colors and applying them onto my lower lashline as well before using Primavera for my inner corners.

And here’s the result:


For the first look, I wanted to go full orangey mode so I went in with my Anastasia Beverly Hills Matte Lipstick in the shade Peachy, a nude sandy peach color.


To get into the deeper shade of fall, I paired the orangey eye look with a chocolate brown lip color using the Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Fudge.

So that’s it for my sugar maple, fall inspired look. Till then, happy autumn!

Basics Baby: My Skincare Routine

“I regret taking such good care of my skin,” said NO ONE ever!

Having good skin is such an asset, and the best defense against premature aging. It may be one of your best investments, and one that you should take seriously. So do I have flawless, amazing skin? Au contraire mon cheri. I’ve had my fair share of skin-related struggles, particularly back when I was in my teens, even till my late twenties. And if you’ve followed my account from the beginning, you’d know that the positive effects of my revamped skincare regime has incentivized me to pen down my very first blog post (https://sitihajaresa.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/basics-baby-the-toner-edition/).

Blackheads, whiteheads, acne, acne scars, you name it all, I’ve had them all. Battling problematic skin has to be one of the most stressful periods of my life, and not to mention that vicious cycle of stress-inducing acne. Despite having a great interest in maintaining a good skincare regime, I realized that I have been looking at the wrong products all along. Alcohol-laden toners and pore-clogging moisturizers are amongst the lineup of skin-irritants I unknowingly slathered onto my face during my phase of oblivion. Now, I take pride in the fact that none of my skincare items contain skin-aggravating ingredients of any type, form or shape and that shows in how my skin has improved over these couple of years.

Now, I wouldn’t dare to claim that my skin is currently problem-free. I do have the occasional hormonal pimple, and blackheads here and there. And my acne do leave blemishes. However, the situation has improved a whole lot. The frequency of imperfections forming on my skin is way less than it was in the past. Inflammation has significantly toned down, and my skin’s reparative ability has improved. Most importantly, my skin now feels well-nourished and healthy, neither too dry nor too oily. And it’s all thanks to the skincare regime I had put together and tested for the past two years. So, if you’re having problems with your skin, you’re not alone. I hope this sharing can help you in one way or another.

Before I go into details of specific steps and products used, let me quickly summarize my skincare philosophy.

  • Only use products that do not contain any skin-irritant and skin-aggravating ingredients.
  • Opt for gentle yet effective products that do what they claim.
  • Products have to be affordable for the long-run.
  • Results must be visible within the time frame stipulated.
  • Routine should not be a hassle.

Skin Type: Combination, blemish-prone skin

AM Skincare Routine

Step 1: Cleanse

Of course the basics to every skincare regime is to cleanse your skin off any dirt, grime and excess oil. Every morning I would cleanse my face using my First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser with Antioxidant Booster. For me this is the perfect cleanser as it is gentle and fragrance-free, yet effective in purifying my face. I cannot tolerate cleansers that give a tight, almost too squeaky clean feel as that gives me the sense that all my natural moisture has been stripped off. FAB’s pH-balanced formula however never leaves my skin too dry or tight, and its powerful botanical antioxidant blend is a great bonus, though such infusion in cleansers particularly does not leave any significant impact on the skin.

Step 2: Exfoliate

This specifically is the most important addition to my skincare routine that changed my skin condition. In the past, I have known exfoliation in its traditional sense i.e. physical exfoliation using a facial scrub of some sort. Two years ago, I was introduced to the amazing world of gentle exfoliants. Formulated to help effectively unclog pores and smoothing skin’s surface, gentle exfoliants exfoliate dead skin in a non-abrasive way that it can be used everyday, even twice daily.

For my AM skincare, I use the CLEAR Extra Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution with 2% Salicylic Acid from Paula’s Choice Skincare. This gentle exfoliant unclogs pores and has a potent acne-fighting formula that helps to clear pimples and blackheads. The water consistency renders this product weightless on skin and provides light hydration to prevent any flaking or dry spots. The first few times I used this exfoliant, I noticed my imperfections begin to diminish in a couple of weeks. From then on, using this exfoliant truly helps to maintain my skin temperament.

Step 3: Moisturize

Moisturizing is sometimes greatly misunderstood, especially by people with oily skin. Why would I slap on more moisture when my face is already an oil well is the logic. Though this may sound like a skincare cliche, moisturizing is an essential step that should not be overlooked by people of any skin type. The key is to choose the right moisturizer for yourself. Even when your skin is oily, it needs a moisturizer to balance out its sebum secretions. Also, an overly oily complexion can in fact be a sign that your skin is dehydrated, and therefore in dire need of moisture. A quick tip is that oily skin goes very well with gel and water based moisturizers while dry skin benefits from a lotion to a cream type of consistency.

For daytime though, the vital skincare item to NEVER leave out is sunscreen. I choose to make things easy for myself by using a moisturizer containing sunscreen for day. My favorites are all from Paula’s Choice Skincare – the SKIN BALANCING Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (chemical-based), HYDRALIGHT Shine-Free Mineral Complex SPF 30 (mineral-based) and RESIST Super-Light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 (mineral-based with a light tint). The reason I love PC’s sunscreen moisturizers is that they are light and does not clog pores, yet effective in protecting your skin. They also perform well under makeup. The addition of antioxidants is a great touch to boosting the efficacy of the products. I never go a day without one of these sunscreen moisturizers on my face. Today, my face is free of any hyperpigmentation or sun spots.

And that’s it for daytime skincare, only three products. Since morning is known to be the rush hour, you don’t want to include too many steps or complicate your regime. Just make it quick and simple so that you’ll always follow through with it.


(My skin today, after my AM skincare routine.)

PM Skincare Routine

Step 1: Cleanse

For night time, I prefer to use a slightly stronger cleanser, one I feel removes dirt and any makeup residue much more effectively. Thus, I opt for the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. Now, don’t mistake what I mean by stronger cleanser to be a harsh cleaning agent. I find the CeraVe to be “stronger” than my First Aid Beauty cleanser due to its good foaming action, which I feel makes it easier to cleanse off any excess impurities on the face. The CeraVe cleanser is ultimately still a gentle, unscented product that cleanses without disrupting the natural protective barrier on your skin. On days where I have makeup on during the day, I would remove it prior using my Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water. In cases of long-wearing, water-proof or stubborn makeup, I’ll opt for the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil. Then I would proceed with the CeraVe cleanser. I prefer to double cleanse this way to ensure that no potentially pore-clogging makeup residue remains on my skin.

Step 2: Exfoliate

For night time, I prefer to exfoliate my skin with something more hydrating. Especially after a whole day of wearing makeup, my skin tends to feel a little drier than it does in the morning. For the boost of hydration, I first use the RESIST Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner from Paula’s Choice Skincare that rehydrates and lightly moisturizes while renewing skin after cleansing. Applying it with a cotton pad also helps to ensure that all final traces of makeup, if any, are thoroughly removed. Then I go in with my RESIST Daily Pore-Refining Treatment with 2% BHA to gently unclog my pores and naturally exfoliate my skin.

Step 3: Moisturize

As with my AM moisturizers, I do have a variety of options for my night-time moisturizers, all of which are fragrance-free, gentle and non-irritating to skin. If my skin feels quite balanced, I would either use my SKIN BALANCING Invisible Finish Moisture Gel or RESIST Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator, both from Paula’s Choice Skincare. Her moisturizers don’t only feel lightweight on the skin, they too contain an effective dose of antioxidants and skin-restoring ingredients. If my skin leans towards the drier side, I would go for my First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum, a water-based gel which key ingredient is hyaluronic acid – a moisture-locking agent that helps to hydrate, plump and nourish the skin. Alternatively, I would use my B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel from Drunk Elephant which delivers as good, if not only slightly better hydration and soothing properties to the skin as the FAB serum. However, I do not re-purchase the Drunk Elephant moisturizer as often as it is more expensive than the rest at 52.00 USD.

Step 4: Treatment

Since I do have the luxury of time to indulge in my skincare at night, I would always boost my routine with a targeted form of treatment. Since my concerns are mostly hydration and pore-minimizing, I alternate between a few treatments every day. My favorite concoction is mixing a few drops of Paula’s Choice RESIST C15 Super Booster (with 15% pure vitamin C to help brighten and replenish skin) and her RESIST 10% Niacinamide Booster (helps reduce appearance of enlarged pores, wrinkles and dry skin). For the colder months when my skin feels drier, I would apply a good dose of the RESIST Moisture Renewal Oil Booster, an antioxidant-enriched blend of pure-nourishing plant oils and skin-renewing ceramides. My skin always feels hydrated and rejuvenated after using these booster treatments.

Additional Skincare Routine

These subsequent steps aren’t exactly essentials, but I don’t skip them either as I feel my skin does benefit from them.

Under eyes

I truly dislike wrinkles or fine lines around the eye area, so I try to minimize its appearance by using a daily under-eye product. My go-to is the Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream, a fragrance-free under-eye moisturizer containing plant-based antioxidants and peptides. For a lighter hydration, I would use the more affordable ELF Eye Refresh. It has a water-light consistency and is infused with pomegranate, rosemary, green tea, cucumber and grape to alleviate under-eye puffiness and sorts.


Mask is a weekly indulgence for me, serving two purposes – as a purifying treatment and a hydrating treatment. To decongest my pores and remove excess oils, I apply the Clarifying Clay Masque from SkinCeuticals. Only during the colder seasons do I use my Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask from Paula’s Choice Skincare to replenish my skin and provide it with intense hydration. The latter can in fact be used as an overnight mask if your skin feels extremely tight and dry.

Physical Exfoliation

Despite my daily gentle exfoliation, I still believe in a weekly routine of physically exfoliating my skin. Therefore, on Sundays I would replace my PM cleanser with an exfoliating gel scrub, specifically the Sebium Exfoliating Purifying Gel from Bioderma. My skin instantly feels much softer and smoother, thanks to the instant deep exfoliation.

So, that’s all for my sharing on my skincare routine. A skincare regime is largely personal and highly dependent on your skin type, lifestyle and preferences. So, go for a routine that works for you. Bottom line is to choose products that do not contain any skin irritants including alcohol, witch hazel, certain essential oils and fragrances. Also, practice a little more caution when using natural ingredients such as lemon as though they are natural, the acidity in them can be a little too harsh for certain skin types. So, experiment with what you’d like to incorporate into your skincare routine and if there’s no adverse effects within a week or so, you’re good. So, here’s to healthy skin!


Basics Baby: How to curb your spending desires (makeup and more)

Are you a self-diagnosed makeup addict? Do you find yourself spending on a few makeup items every week? And are you a familiar face in the shops or online every time there’s any sort of beauty deals, offers or sale? If you are struggling to restrain your ravenous appetite for more, be it makeup or any other obsession, then this read may be worth your while.

Image result for throwing money to sephora

(Image source: https://www.pinterest.com/rachelbayyy/makeup-quotes/)

Doused in a powerful and magnetic consumerist stream, the typical shopper today is faced with an overzealous and aggressive market. The concepts of purchasing and ownership, especially in the cosmetics industry today are very much geared towards serving a hankering that is born out of curiosity rather than necessity. Every new product piques your interest and begs for your experience and a sense of ownership in a bid to own whatever’s “good” out there. Hence, battling the propensity to continuously purchase something, no matter how small or affordable, just to feed your insatiable desires isn’t the easiest feat in the world. It takes great determination, focus and a hell lot of commitment to shake off that unquenchable urge.

Personally, I am definitely going through this phase to some degree. Though I wouldn’t pronounce myself a makeup addict in the sense of the word, I do fall victim to what I deem to be highly attractive offers and discounts. But with the intense profit-driven marketing strategies, alluring beauty deals seem to be on the table every other day. How do we then not allow ourselves to be entrapped in this whole vicious cycle that unceasingly encourages us to spend, spend and spend?

If you are uncomfortable with your current spending desires and truly wish to overcome it, here are some tips that hopefully you and I can try out together and eventually regain greater control of our purchasing lust. Quick disclaimer, these are some things that I read about and also just think about as I analyzed my own situation, dealing with an insistent impulse to “optimize” sales and offers. These are what I figured should logically minimize what I call “enablers” to your spending desires as well as help you have a much firmer grip of what you already have, what are necessities and what are the kinds of expenditure I would term as throwing hard-earned money to large money-grubbing corporations who seriously do not care if you go bankrupt.

Image result for throwing money to sephora

(Image source: https://memegenerator.net/instance/56147551/di-caprio-throwing-money-sephoras-holiday-sale-got-me-like)

1. Understand what you own

There are countless times when I am either doing my makeup, or re-arranging them that I keep finding “new” things in my vanity that I totally forgot about. And I am constantly making room for new products. If you encounter the same things for whatever your obsession may be even if it’s not makeup, these are signs that you are owning too many things and that you even lost track of what you have.

You need to pause, and take a good look at what you own. Take the time to ascertain what and how much you have, as meticulously as you wish. (https://bemorewithless.com/my-cosmetic-obsession/) suggests calculating the financial worth of your cosmetics, further segmenting it into different categories so that you have a much clearer sense of what you already have. Also, the financial worth of what you already own may also really hit you as to how much you have actually already spent on your obsession. This helps a great deal in deterring you from further spending.

After this exercise, you would most likely realize that you do own all that you need, and much, much, much, much, much more. This is the best time to de-clutter your items, discarding old, expired products, giving away or donating unused products that you never knew existed or returning recent purchases that you realize you do not need (provided they are within the 30-day period for Sephora, 60-day period for ULTA and so on).

2. Set your goals

Once you have a better understanding of what you own, now’s the time to tackle the frequency of your purchases, as well as the amount. You have to be in control here. When and what you purchase shouldn’t be a sole and direct result of an offer advertisement you saw the day before, or a latest release that is the talk of town. Realistically speaking, I’m not asking you to swear off any sort of indulgence especially for new product releases. But what I’m encouraging is for you to be in control of it.

Specifically, draw up a sort of an annual purchase plan. Set the number of times in that particular year that you’d allow yourself to make purchases for that obsession of yours. Go a step further and set a budget for each purchase. There is no one size fits all for this; tailor it to suit your own financial means and goals.

If you truly are a makeup addict for example, you would have had an idea of how often sales occur, and when the best time is to purchase certain products. Keep that in mind when setting your purchasing frequency. For example, I prefer to take advantage of the 25% off deals that occur at year end (Sephora) and I also know that ULTA’s 50% off offers may be worth it. So, in planning my purchase, I would keep in mind these two events and allocate a budget for them.

In my case, I am keeping to four makeup expenditures per year, one per season as I know there would always be attractive seasonal sales. I would then allocate 50 dollars for each purchase. I would allow myself reasonable flexibility i.e. if one of the purchases amount to say 20 dollars, I would allow myself an extra purchase for the amount of 30 dollars, and that would still be aligned with my financial goals. However, if you overspend, then do the right thing by cutting the expenditure allowed for the next purchase. Once you have hit the maximum expenditure allowed for the year, do NOT allow yourself to spend on your obsession anymore for that year. This also ensures that you follow your spending schedule and I highly advise you to spread your purchases over a year instead of doing it all within the first month or so, to prevent that dry spell that will surely kick up the desire again. Plan your schedule in the most feasible and sustainable way.

3. Modify your shopping habits

I notice that I tend to be more impulsive when I buy online as compared to in stores. In stores, I get to test the products and usually that kinda cures my curiosity. I also tend to be more focused on the product quality as I get to see and touch them, and in 99 percent of cases, end up not purchasing anything that I do not plan to. Most, if not all of my trips to shops are based on a list that I have already penned out way before.

When online however, I am highly driven by my curiosity and impulse. I want the product because I want to know how it feels, how it looks in real life. I want the product because I just saw it on the bestsellers page, and it looks kinda interesting, I want to try it. Though I can return it if I end up not liking it, that rarely happens. And I always find a reason to keep my things. So for me, online shopping stimulates my never-ending need for new things because I am sparked by inquisitiveness. Therefore, I make a vow to not shop online, wherever possible. I understand certain products are only sold online, so if the product is a need then of course do it. But I will try to stop window-shopping online, and only go to the shop with a specific list and stick to it.

4. Deactivate your enablers

You may not realize it but there are many things that you constantly engage with, or are a part of, that act as enablers to your insatiable shopping desires. Social media, for one, is the greatest enabler of them all. Specifically for makeup lovers, following the Instagram accounts of Trendmood for example is feeding right into your ravenous appetite for more. Such platforms that serve as alerts to disseminate information on new product releases or beauty deals and offers will not do you any good if you are currently struggling with your addiction. Take that bold move and unfollow them. I am not asking you to unfollow all makeup-related channel or accounts, just those that you know you always fall victim to. This is a key step to healing.

In addition, unsubscribe from all email alerts that will notify you of new product releases and offers. If you want to know of new product releases to consider purchasing, head to the store and check them out for yourselves and if you like the product, make sure they fit into your spending schedule. Also, do not fret if you can’t seem to meet the requirements to renew your Rouge (Sephora) and Platinum (ULTA) membership. Why would you spend a thousand dollars every year just to be a Sephora Rouge member? There’s no real prestige in that, nor are there any rewards or benefits that differ substantially from Beauty Insiders. It’s not worth it. I am going to lose my Rouge membership by end of this year as I didn’t spend enough to get it renewed. But I feel relieved that I don’t have to succumb to this pressure to constantly spend a ridiculous amount every year to gain that title. So, make your peace with it.

5. Adopt a healthier philosophy

Last but not least, take on a new perspective to the things you own. If your obsession is with clothes or bags, there will always be new ones. You can never own them all. There will always be a new style, new materials, new finishes. Same goes with makeup – there will always be a new lipstick shade, a new formula. Every product, every new release WILL make you feel incomplete. Shake off that feeling to own a “complete” makeup collection, or a “complete” shawl collection, “complete” bag collection, what have you. It will NEVER be complete.

Instead of wanting to own a bit of everything, focus on owning a finite number of things. Do this by developing a signature look or style, and stick with a finite number of staple products to achieve this look. Stick to your holy grails, keep using products that work awesome on you, don’t need to mend it if it’s not broken. This is a much healthier approach to consumerism, and not to mention for your bank account.

I am so excited to be practicing what I’ve preached. I can’t wait to be spending on things that are much more necessary and worthwhile like taking up foreign language classes, than on more and more makeup that I clearly do not need. I hope you found these helpful. Feel free to DM me your success stories, if any. Till the next one.