Beauty products I’m currently loving!

So, I get questions from girls from time to time (actually all the time so hopefully after this post people stop repeating the same questions!) asking what products I use to cleanse my face with, how to make themselves fairer, how come my hair color lasts so long, etc…

Today, I decided I’d do a compilation list of products that I absolutely love, and recommend, complete with in depth personal reviews!!! I don’t really do beauty posts often because everyone’s skin and features are so different, something that works well for me may not work for other people, but for these particular products, I’m pretty sold. I am not paid to write good things, or anything at all, about these brands. I just wanna share good stuff I ♥ with y’all, and I think you girls will really like them :) Some of these stuff I got for free because I’m a blogger, but just so you know, I get free stuff pretty often and don’t write for a lot of them, unless I really like it.

Why hello there.
This is my face, all natural, 100% me.. with 0% products.
You can see a few blemishes here and there, slight uneven skin tone, dark eye circles…. Yep. I used to never bother about skincare regime and used body soap to wash my face (this happened only just last year) but I can’t continue to act like that any more. Age is catching up with a 20 year old. T_T Better take care of my skin now and reap the rewards later on.
I believe the most basic part of a skin care regime is cleansing your face. Dirty face = clogged up pores, unsightly pimples and bumps… not good. Using a cleanser that is not suitable for you will result in worse complexion over time! So our first star product of the day is:
This is awesome: Rachel K Stem Cell Purifying Cleansing Gel
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting our pretty Miss Singapore Universe 2009, Rachel Kum, at her beauty line launch event. I’ve heard of Rachel K cosmetics prior to the event, but never really checked it out properly because I was kind of skeptical about a home grown cosmetics line. I went home with a big bag of her goodies, most of which I use quite often, but this and her CC cream are two things I make a point to use ALL the time. I also really enjoy using Rachel K’s Night Cream to moisturize my face. I’ve had a few months to use the products religiously and have noticed a significant improvement to my skin after using a combination of her cleanser, moisturizing cream, facial serum and CC cream.
What I like about it: My absolute favorite thing about the Rachel K Stem Cell Purifying Cleansing Gel is the scent. It smells so amazing!!! Like green apples, aloe vera and freshness all at once. Love it. Quite subtle, not too overpowering. Using it makes me happy :D If a product is good but has a smell that I don’t like, I can’t bring myself to use it. I’m that particular. 
Secondly – I really like the consistency of it. It has a half liquid half gel like texture, which I prefer more than foamy soaps. I noticed my T zone being less oily after using it for a month, and it makes my face feel squeaky clean without being too harsh and sucking out the moisture. I have combination skin, oily in some areas, dry in others, so I need products that are relatively mild. After using unsuitable facial cleansers, my skin will feel tight and dry around the cheeks and have an oily sheen on my forehead, but this one leaves it feeling refreshed, and eliminates a lot of unwanted oil!!! 
Where I got it from: Rachel K herself. You can purchase the Stem Cell Purifying Cleansing Gel at $19 for 80ml, from Watsons.
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This is awesome: Rachel K Mineral CC Cream
Ok. Like I said I’m not getting paid for this, I just really enjoy using most of her products, lol. I was thinking if I should just feature one of her products instead of two (I initially thought of three) but…. I settled for two in the end. This CC cream is AMAZEBALLS, and it’s the only product I like applying on my whole face.
What I like about it: So many things. First of all, texture is super important. This CC cream is super light, absorbs very quickly and nobody can tell you have it on at all. I’m not looking to cake up my entire face, I’m looking for something extremely natural looking that will help me even out some dark spots and reduce redness around my nose and forehead area. I hate the use of foundations because that stuff just makes my skin’s condition worse, like it clogs up my pores, makes me look older because it seems I have so much make up on, and my skin just can’t breathe the whole day. It’s awful. The CC cream has a slight pinkish undertone (I use Neutral instead of Original, the pink tube) and it has a sheer whitening effect once applied.
See for yourself!
Apply dots all over your face, like so. I used 5 dots for picture taking purposes but normally I make little dots everywhere. Blend it out with your fingers lightly, you won’t need a brush for this.

A few seconds later…..

There you go!

I know before my skin already looks fine, but after it’s just… better. Brighter. Smoother. Amirite?
My biggest problem area is around my chin. I get dark spots, redness and pimples there all the time. The rest of my face hardly bothers me at all. As you can see, a thin application is all you’ll need. It does not leave a sticky or cakey feeling and has no smell to it, so really it feels like your own skin. Additional benefits are that it contains SPF 35, no need for sunblock application!!! Great for lazy people like me. I must highlight that the coverage for this is pretty light, so for people who are looking for something a bit heavier, you’d perhaps need to layer it with powder. I skip the powder step and directly finish off with concealer around my chin, and under my eyes.
Where I got it from: From Rachel K… Yes I know you’re rolling your eyes, lol. Buy it from Watsons at $35 for 50g. Her products are pretty fairly priced! 
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This is awesome: Gorgeous Cosmetics iLine Liquid Eyeliner Pen
I use liquid eyeliner to line the top part of my eyes all the time, to give myself a relatively thin and extended winged line. I’m not a fan of gel eyeliners, because I just don’t think the line gets thin or natural looking enough, and I can’t tolerate the cumbersome dip-brush-in-pot-motion. I usually aim to finish my make up within 20 minutes, so everything has to be hassle-free and precise. I’ve played around with a lot of different liquid and gel eyeliners, but this one has got to be the most convenient, and reliable that I’ve tried.
What I like about it: The tip is super fine, and just the right hardness. And I know it’s not hard to find a liquid eyeliner with thin tips these days, but my problem with most liquid eyeliners is that their brush is either too soft, or too hard.

If the brush tip is too soft or fragile, the lining will not be precise because it bends and warps as I run it along my lash line.  If the brush tip is too hard, then it feels harsh on my skin and tugs / drags it along when I’m drawing the line. So it really has to be perfect. 

It is precise enough for me to write this on my hand! Another thing I love about it is that it works just like a marker, except for the face. You know how with liquid eyeliners, you might get a splattering or spilling disaster once in awhile? If the bottle of liquid eyeliner leaks or topples, black shit goes everywhere. Yikes.

I’ve had my Chanel make up pouch soaked with liquid liner once before… not a good feeling. This liquid eyeliner is a miracle because it works like a pen. You just open the cap, and draw. No pumping motion, no dipping it in a pot. Absolutely brilliant. I’ve been completely accident free since I’ve started using it, yay!

Hello arm hair, meet blog readers.

Gorgeous iLine claims to be water resistant, so I put my hand under a running tap for 3 seconds to see if it would bleed. Surprisingly, it didn’t. That does’t mean it is waterproof though… it can be removed with some rubbing and water, but water alone it can still withstand to a certain extent. It also manages to last the whole day on my upper eye lid, and half a day on my lower lids. Lower lid lines tend to get smudged easier. This product is here to stay in my make up pouch, for sure!

Where I got it from: The nice folks at Zalora, at one of their events. Thanks guys! To my knowledge, Gorgeous cosmetics are pretty difficult to find in Singapore because it’s not readily available in any departmental stores, so you can buy it online from Zalora at $34, including free shipping, here.

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This is awesome: Benetint Rose-Tinted Lip & Cheek Stain
If you see me in real life without any make up, you’d realize I’m a pretty pale looking person. I’ve struggled with anemia and low blood pressure since I was in primary school. I don’t have enough red blood cells in my system to keep myself healthy, hence I tend to fall sick and get tired easier than other people. Migraines, headaches, fatigue and dizzy spells are all too familiar to me.

 I’m better now after the consumption of medicine and iron pills for a few years, but I still suffer from side effects of my situation. I used to have scary black outs in school all the time because there wasn’t enough oxygen flowing to my head, and thought I was going to die because I couldn’t breathe and I could literally feel life being drained out of my body……… but let’s get back on point. 

Apply three strokes of Benetint on your cheeks, like so.

Then blend away with your fingers! Again, no need for brushes. There is no place for make up brushes in a busy lady’s life.

See what I mean when I say I’m pretty pale-faced? After doing my cheeks, I apply Benetint onto my lips as though I was applying lipstick.
The aftermath?
Rosy flushed cheeks and I no longer look like I’m about to die!!! Yay! Although I now look like a fish, for some reason.
What I like about it: You can have a bath, and your blush won’t disappear. You can eat, drink, have a make out session, and some of your lip color will still remain. What it basically does is stain your cheeks and lips a lovely rose color. That means you can try to wash it away with water, and it won’t come right off as lipstick would. The only way it goes away is with time, or with vigorous scrubbing with make up wipes. I don’t fancy using blushers so much because they can look quite unnatural and over the top some times. Girls who put on too much blusher look very Wayang. :3

But with Benetint, I get just the right amount of color, every single time. I like wearing lipstick but don’t like having sticky gunk on my lips. Aiya I’m a very strange girl. I love wearing make up, but my make up has to try its best to pretend it doesn’t exist and that its not there. I can’t stand FEELING like I have make up on, but I really like the effects of it, so yeah… My dry lips usually get dried out even further with most lipsticks, and it’d become all grossly flaky at the end of a lipstick-wearing-day. Benetint doesn’t dry out my lips because it is essentially a liquid! It looks so natural, just like the CC cream, if you don’t wear too much of it nobody can tell you have it on ;) I’m a pretty firm believer that less is more, when it comes to everyday make up. Your skin will thank you later on. 

Where I got it from: $62, 12.5ml from Sephora, Singapore. Ouch. Why are all Benefit cosmetics so expensive?! It has lasted me more than a year now, and I still have more than a quarter of the bottle left, so I think it’s a price worth paying. If you can find it online, it will probably be cheaper.
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This is awesome: L’Oreal Color Vive Shampoo
For those who wonder why my red hair seems to last forever…. Aside from my awesome hair sponsor Shunji Matsuo @ 313 doing a fantastic job using specialized Matrix red dyes for me, I give this shampoo the rest of the credit!!!

What I like about it: It does a fantastic job of preserving hair color. Anybody who has brightly colored hair NEEDS this in their life. My red hair can stay a bright red for more than 2 months without fading to some weird brown. I’ve tried going a week without this shampoo (while I was away in Australia I forgot to pack it along with me), during that time my hair color faded SO much quicker, and became a dull gross color. I was devastated, and headed back to Shunji Matsuo @ 313 immediately when  got back to refresh my red dye!!!!

I love how my red hair makes me look so much fairer. Cheat one. Without this shampoo, my red hair wouldn’t be as vibrant…. as you see it in the pictures, it’s been over 1.5 months since I last had a dye job done. For the record, I didn’t even have to bleach it! :D
Where I got it from: Mum buys the shampoos in the house, so I don’t know where exactly she got it from and the price she paid.. But I googled and apparently even NTUC FairPrice has it retailing for $14.90, 350ml! I assume you’d easily find this in most decent beauty shops, supermarkets and departmental stores.
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This is awesome: Vichy BI-WHITE MED Deep Corrective Whitening Lotion
This product is really new to me, but I LOVEEEE it so much. Thanks to the introduction of monthly beauty boxes that has been all the rage here in Singapore, I’ve had the pleasure of trying out interesting products from brands not well-known or readily available locally. And although I’ve never heard of the brand Vichy before, after a few times of using this sample sized product, I’m convinced enough to wanna buy the full sized version once my sample runs out!!! 
I expected the whitening lotion to be of a creamy white texture, but I opened the bottle to find that it’s just a clear thick liquid. You can barely see it on my hand because there’s no coloring or specific consistency to it at all. 
What I like about it: It makes my face GLOW!!! I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures to show you guys, I tried taking a before and after shot and it doesn’t really come up so well on camera, but it is a difference you will definitely be able to notice in real life! Although it’s meant to be a whitening lotion, I find it extremely hydrating and refreshing, and I can actually skip moisturizer after applying this. It smells so good, kind of like Rachel K’s cleaning gel.
The texture is light, like water, and only takes 3 minutes to absorb completely. When I apply this on my face (I pour a little on my hands, then tap it in), my skin feels crazily supple & smooth and it looks damn dewy, like a juicy apple. LOL for real. My face is just instantly brighter. I have used many different products that claim to have an instant dramatic effect on your skin as soon as you apply it, but THIS is the only one that has truly wowed me. I’ve used this for more than a week straight now and I am loving the results. Vichy, I don’t know who you are, but I love you. I almost feel like not sharing this secret and keep it allll to myself… but because I love you guys, I am recommending it. And hopefully, after trying this, you will love me in return! 
Where I got it from: September Bellabox. Thanks Bellabox for sending beauty goodies to my doorstep every month!!! ♥ According to Bellabox’s website, it costs $49. Apparently it can be found in Watsons, Unity, Guardian pharmacies.
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That’s all I have for today. If I discover more miracle stuff, I’ll be sure to let you know in the future. :P Woah man.. I had intended for this to be a relatively short post, but I’m so long winded… I just have to elaborate on every single point hahaha. I hope these products work as well for y’all, as it does for me.
Hey, you know what’s another way to really look beautiful? …Fall in love. Girls in love radiate so much happiness and goodness, it shows through their skin and smiles. :)
xoxo,
Jess
xoxo,
Jess

Begin Again

There is a big surprise at the end of this lengthy post!!! If you are impatient you can skip it, but it would be nice if you read what I have to say first :)

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So…. sorry for the lack of updates recently, I’ve been working on something pretty exciting.

I’m quite emotional while writing this because I can’t believe it is actually happening. I really can’t believe I actually managed to get it done. Not without the help of some incredibly talented people who were generous enough to lend their awesomeness to me, of course. I don’t know where to start or how to tell you guys what I’m doing or what is on my mind. Let me try to phrase this into proper sentences.

Here goes.

I’ve always liked singing since I was a kid. My mum would tell funny stories to people during dinner time of how when I was 3 years old, I would walk up to strangers and start singing Michael Learns To Rock unabashedly. Obviously I’ve lost that flair along the way, because I am actually quite reserved in real life as an adult now. But the point is, I’ve loved music ever since I could remember. Growing up, whenever I felt neglected, alone, rejected, angry, sad, disappointed, confused… I would turn to music to console myself. Humans have never been there every step of the way with me, but music has. Soothing tunes would fill my ears and soul and I’d instantly feel my mood lift and the world seemed to make sense once again. When I got bullied in school, I dreaded waking up and having to go to school every single day. Then I joined the choir, and realized that whenever I sang my heart out, life was better. There wasn’t a bad day that a good song couldn’t fix. My relationship with music hasn’t faltered since.. and till today it is a huge part of my every day life.

So now you know how it all started. The second part of my story is to tell you guys why I decided to record a Youtube video of myself singing. This next part is going to be a little shameless. So bear with me. When I was in the school choir, my choir teacher called me the Reigning Queen of all the kids she has taught. Hahahahah I kid you not. To be fair, I was only 11 years old and I think she just liked me extra because I was the teacher’s pet and was happy to sing for her whenever she asked. M primary school friends didn’t understand what the word Reigning meant, and always made fun of me for being Raining Queen instead…. -_- Anyways, that was the first time in my life anybody told me I could sing. Since then, my choir teacher gave me the confidence to embrace singing as a hobby. I went karaoke-ing with my mother every other weekend, singing The Beatles, Carpenters, Eagles, and I loved every second of it. I thought to myself, “how nice would it be if I could do what I love for a living, and sing as my job? I want to grow up to be a singer.”

That’s my childhood ambition. To be a singer. To sing on a stage and hear people applauding me and singing along with me and all that jazz….. I feel a little bit embarrassed typing this because, whose childhood ambition was NOT to be a superstar?! Everyone wanted to be rich and famous. Everyone wants to be a superstar. I grew up wanting to be the next Avril Lavigne. She was my hero. (my new hero is Taylor Swift but that’s for another post) Much to my own disappointment, after leaving the school choir, I somehow never bothered pursuing my music hobby / ambition any further. I just left it as it is. The older I got, the less I believed in myself and it just seemed like a silly dream. When I grew older and reality sank in… I understood that being good at singing just isn’t good enough. Being just decent at karaoke will not make you a superstar. I realize that now. I pursued cake making instead which I realize a lot lesser people have the talent for (yay) so I felt a bit more special. I know a lot of people who can sing who never really got anywhere even though they tried, so I was worried I’d end up like them. I told myself, “Aiya, don’t embarrass yourself please. You think you really superstar meh? Your singing just okay only lor. Don’t be naive. Grow up, get a real job, live life like everybody else.”

But no matter what I did, the thought of singing never left my head. I would always be searching for Youtube covers online and admire people who had the courage to post their singing online. It seemed like so much fun. When you love music as much as I do, you would want to share it with other people, and have them share it with you. Even some videos that got less than a hundred views, I would still enjoy watching them sing and knew I liked watching them for their individuality and unique cover, not because they were the best singer in the world. I knew I would die with regrets if I didn’t get off my ass and record my own cover some day. To do what I’ve wanted to do, when I dared to dream. When dreams weren’t considered ridiculous and out of reach. What would life be worth if you never tried to achieve the impossible? It’s okay if I don’t become a superstar (LOL). It’s okay if my videos don’t get a lot of views, if people don’t think I’m that special, or if I never got that singing career I’ve wanted so bad. I can always have a normal working job, but sing as my hobby, sing because it makes me happy. I will do the things I like doing BECAUSE I LIKE doing them, I shouldn’t expect anything else to come out of it. I started my cakes at Shiberty’s Sweets (http://shibertys.blogspot.com) the exact same way. It exploded and snowballed into something bigger than I’ve ever expected, but I never intended to turn out that way. It just did, and I’m happy it did. If it didn’t, that’s fine with me as well. You guys have been so kind to me all this while, supporting my cakes since the very beginning, and some of you have been reading my blog for years, I know. I appreciate your encouragement and being here with me, watching me grow. I hope you like this new side of me (I’m actually moving and on video now!! Strange huh?) and that you welcome it with open arms because I’m going to be doing  many more covers after this, I reckon. You’re going to have to get used to it :P

I don’t know how people will react to my video, or if they will even give a damn at all. But I’ll tell you what. I am darn happy I actually managed to get it done, and watching it makes me SO excited for myself. Definitely made the right move here!!!! My friends and loved ones have been so supportive, it makes me want to cry. My best friend was literally bursting with excitement and it was so heartwarming to see how proud he was of me. My mother just kept smiling while she was listening, and insisted that I downloaded the song into her phone immediately. I didn’t think they would be even more excited than me. Thank you to everyone who has ever asked me to pursue singing and for making me believe it’s important to do what you love. Life is too short to live being practical every single day.

Some day you just gotta let all your reservations go, and sing.
Enjoy the music.

This is my cover of Begin Again, by Taylor Swift, with Sky Ong. A track on her new album Red which will be releasing 22nd October 2012.

I would LOVE YOU TO THE MOON AND BACK if you posted it on Twitter / Facebook / anywhere you want to, or shared it with your friends!! If you don’t like it, I promise I will try harder the next video, and even harder the next. And diet a bit more so my arms don’t look so flabby lol… The camera being lower than my face is not a good angle… We finished recording the main voice audio and filming the video in less than 5 hours! Not bad huh? How long Sky took to record the instrumental and mix everything else is a different story altogether, of course…

If any musicians, music producers or videographers would like to work with me for future Youtube videos, please email me at Shiberty@hotmail.com because I’m going to need all the help I can get! :) For those who are doing this professionally and are for hire, feel free to email me your rates as well.

Big big big shout out to Sky Ong who you also saw in the video!!!!!!! ♥ He came up with the kick ass instrumental track, and is the genius / master mind behind this whole video. He plays the drums, guitar, sings a bit, and does everything else in between omg. We did the filming at East Coast Park, and mixed the song in his home studio!! How crazy TALENTED is he?! You don’t know how much this all means to me Sky. Love you big time! He’s also in a local band called Black Forest, do check their music out here!

Special thanks to super sweet Xin Ang as well, who provided the lovely backing vocals and the harmonizing bits, which helped me in the parts I struggled in. You sound like an angel girl! She also played the bass in the instrumental track and was a huge help for filming. All these people, so multi talented! Love!!! And thank you to Huiwen for hooking me up with Sky in the first place! You guys are srsly da best.

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You’d make my day if you hit the play button… and let the music Begin Again! :)

xoxo,
Jess

xoxo,
Jess

HP TopShot LaserJet Pro 2

Thank you guys so much for the fantastic response for my TopShot Bloggers Sale!!!!

The HP TopShot Blogger Sale cupcakes unsurprisingly sold like hot cakes (actually why do people always use this term? they should change it to “cupcakes” instead I reckon), and although it kept me really busy some days, I’m so glad it was a success! I hope everyone who ordered the cupcakes during this special promotion loved how it looked and tasted, and I hope this very special price shows my appreciation for all the support I’ve received from you guys thus far :)

If you didn’t already know, I was selling my cupcakes at 6 pieces for $20 instead of the usual $25!!! A joint promotion by the people who brought you the HP TopShot LaserJet Pro, and Shiberty’s Sweets.

Thanks to having my very own HP TopShot LaserJet Pro around the place, printing and scanning has been effortless and breezy! I can scan 3d objects and have it wirelessly uploaded to my computer in a matter of seconds, send documents such as PDF files to my HP TopShot email so that it automatically starts printing high quality prints out even if I’m not home, but they’re sitting there ready for me the moment I get back. I’ve never known any other printer / scanner to be this savvy, and fuss free. It is my own studio in a box at home.

It’s so innovative, you HAVE to experience it yourself to believe what I’m talking about!

I’m extending a very special invitation to all you lovely people reading this for a hands on session with the HP TopShot – the event will be a cozy tea session hosted by bloggers (Velda, Yina & Me!) and you get to test the HP TopShot out and give your own verdict while hanging out with us!

If you are:
• An aspiring blogshop / small business owner
• An existing blogshop / small business owner
• Interested in finding out more about how awesome the HP TopShot really is in person
• An avid blog reader of the lovely bloggers: Velda (Belluspuera), Yina Goh or myself..

Then you need to start registering for this cozy tea session with us 3 bloggers right now!!! We will be elaborating more on how the HP TopShot can help make your flow of work so much easier (get a different point of view from the perspective of owners of super popular blogshops – Love Bonito and TheVelvetDolls!!!)

Tea Party Details:

VenueTea Lounge @ Arteastiq
Mandarin Gallery, #04-14/15
333 Orchard Road
Singapore 238867
Date20th October 2012, Saturday
Time 1pm – 3pm

So this is a little bit random but can I just say I’m in LOVE with the venue for the tea party?! Arteastiq is super lovely and quaint and has yummilicous iced lychee tea to offer – my favorite! You girls (and guys) will love this hide out. In this private tea session, we will all be giving some words of advice on how to start up your own small business based on our personal experiences and how we got through the tough journey of being an entrepreneur. This tea session is exclusively limited to the first 15 to register, and all you have to do is sign up via this page! A great way to get tips if you’re thinking of going down the rocky road of entrepreneurship, and of course, to hang out with the bloggers!

Oh yes, please remember to bring props for the TopShot usage along. For example, you’re an aspiring online jewelry store owner, bring some pieces of your accessories so that you may try for yourself how the HP Topshot manages to capture and scan your own items effortlessly. This way, you’ll know the results the best :)

See you awesome people there!!!!

xoxo,
Jess

xoxo,
Jess
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