Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum

Vitamin C. In my skincare routine I will not, rather can not, ignore vitamin C. My skin needs it and dare I say  it, we all need it.

And the most effective vitamin C for topical skincare is pure vitamin C, the notoriously unstable L-ascorbic acid.

To get an in-depth look at the various vitamin Cs in skincare and its various derivatives; L-ascorbic acid, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP) please check out Stephanie Nicole on Youtube. Start with her video on The Ordinary skincare line.

Anyone seriously into Vitamin C (and cash to spare) knows about Skinceutical’s CE Ferrulic and if you are living in America, you also have access to the Drunk Elephant line. (Please see my note end of post about the The Ordinary, Timeless and Kate Sommerville’s serums.)

While the CE Ferrulic is potent the Vitamin C destabilises so damned quick that I fear it is not effective after a while. It’s the dropper system that is the problem exposing it to air and light.

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 11.35.23 AM

Drunk Elephant on the other hand have aced it with their packaging. The best in the market. You twist the orange cap anti-clockwise and up pops a pump. You pump the product and twist it back shut. It is as ‘air tight’ as you can get with skincare.

However 30ml at $80 dollars plus tax hurts. I was, grudgingly, resigned to my expensive fate until around 2 weeks back when I was nosing around the Ulta website.  I spied the Derma-E Vit C Concentrated Serum, Hyaluronic Acid. 20180220_142459Now I ignore most vitamin c serums and creams because if it aint L-Ascorbic Acid then talk to the hand mate!  Moreover I was looking for a serum to deliver an additional dose of hydration for my skin and the Hyaluronic Acid on the label caught my attention.

But when I read up about the second ingredient in the serum, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (, and )  I thought to myself ‘ok this product sounds promising’. The study is not definitive but at $20 a pop I decided to give it a whirl anyway.

This serum is in no way mean’t to be the Vitamin C serum in my routine. I plan to alternate this one with the Drunk Elephant one. That way doubling the life of my Drunk Elephant and also getting , fingers crossed, an effective alternate dose of vitamin C and hydration.

The texture is a clear/milky gel and doesn’t leave a tacky feel on the skin. The pale orange on the right is Drunk Elephant.Untitled.001

Product Claims;

A) We use a stable form of Vitamic C that wont evaporate or degrade before absorbing into your skin.

B) Intensely moisturizing Hyaluronic Acid plus non-oxidizing Vitamin C work together to protect skin from environmental stresses, helping to minimize the appearance of Aging, Soothing Aloe and Vitamin E deeply moisturize for a more rejuvenated you.


  • No Parabens
  • No Artificial colors
  • No GMO
  • No Gluten
  • No Sulfates
  • No Petrolatum
  • No Mineral Oil
  • No Lanolin
  • No Phthalates
  • 100% Vegan
  • Cruelty Free

In terms of my primary source of Vitamin C it  will be the Drunk Elephant C Firma for now but I understand it is expensive.

To get a different perspective please watch Ms. Kimberly Clark’s Anti-Haul videos here ( part of her anti consumerism series) She says she wont buy the Drunk Elephant. By the way she is HILARIOUS !Screen Shot 2018-02-23 at 11.21.03 AM

Note: I have not tried any of the serums from The Ordinary line as items are always out of stock (grrr) . For the Vitamin C from the Timeless series, well I never have enough to justify free shipping :).

Kate Sommerville’s Vitamin C serum is in a promising non-dropper system but it didn’t do it for me. I love almost everything from her line except this one. So gave it a pass.



Wet n Wild

My frugal makeup life is a journey in discovery. Wet n Wild mainly 🙂

When depressed or lonely, I like gawking at the make-up aisles in my local Walgreens. And sometimes all that gawking can crack a girl. But if I want to waste money on makeup I don’t need, best to do so cheaply.

And this girl is smart enough to cap her crack-budget at $5 and less. 🙂 That’s how Wet n Wild entered my life.

Wet n Wild Ultimatebrow Mascara ‘GO AHEAD TRY IT.’

I don’t currently own a brow product. Don’t really need one, except maybe thick gel or hairspray to keep them in place. But I wanted to try one. The only other brow product I have used previously is the Maybelline Brow Drama. Yes that brow product with the mace at the endKT2065A

If you have used it you know how unwieldy it is. So at less than $5 I bought the WnW brow mascara in the shade Nothing But Brunette. A dark brown.IMGP3518

I don’t know what’s with everyone. I do not want thick bushy eyebrows so why are these wands so big? I have a small face, my eyebrows have always been ‘slim’, perfect size for my face.

Make small spoolies people (like the Benefit one)IMG_2986

The shade is great for my Indian hair, it gives the brows good texture and holds the brows well but the spoolie is a bit too big for my brows  so I am not able to ‘fill it in’ where it needs, example near the arch, it gets outside the brows and deposits a bit too much pigment.

However if you are someone with thicker brows and on a budget I would say give this a shot.

Wet n Wild Megaglo Makeup Stick : SKIP IT 

I don’t own cream based contour or highlight (yeah I know, in this day and age ???)  and thought I would invest in the NYX wonder stick but then I spied the WnW Megaglo for 2.99, $5 for 2 !

Now highlight and contour colours can go notoriously wrong for me. Too warm/orange or too ashy/pink. But for $5 I was willing to take a chance. IMGP3512

So I bought WHERE’S WALNUT (darkest of the contour shades) and YOU’RE NATURAL (mid-shade conceal). I like the formula even though it’s a cream. It sets well and is not tacky.

The twist up chubby stick format works well for the light shade. The shade is also great for my NC45 skin-tone.  I don’t use it under my eyes as a concealer, though it does say ‘Conceal’. It’s a NIGHTMARE under the eye. It skips, it creases, it balls up and wont blend.

However on the cheek bones, nose and forehead it works well as a highlighter shade. Natural highlight not Instagram highlight!

However it takes a while to blend. Fingers, brush and a wet makeup sponge. Yes all three! I have a x5 magnification mirror and I can see the streaks and where it clings to my peach fuzz.  But once on it’s there. Not tacky or anything. It’s a pain but I like using it.

Maybe their new formulation in the double ended pencil is better.

Now the WHERE’S WALNUT (darkest of the contour shades) is ok but the twist chubby stick is not the best for precise contouring. However large your face I just don’t think the chubby stick is precise enough.

IMGP3509I kinda feel the next time I need to swipe the brush ON the stick and then use that to contour….God knows how long that will take ?

It doesn’t seem to cling and streak but it takes while to blend. With a damp sponge and a Real Techniques contour brush!

And once done, it’s not dramatic enough. It’s probably not cool enough. Meh!

Since I can’t recommend the Maybelline twist up stick because I think the two-tone design is flawed, I am afraid it will have to be the expensive NYX Wonder Stick if you want a ‘drugstore’ cream contour set.

Wet n Wild Photo Focus Concealer: GO ON TRY IT!

I know people rave about the Maybelline Age Rewind and Fit Me concealers. I have used both and more than the finish etc. etc., the MEDIUM colours were just too ashy for my Indian NC40 skintone. I didn’t enjoy it.

My Mac under eye concealer was over and I was about to call in on Sephora to pick up something. Probably Benefit’s Erase Paste since EmilyNoel raves about it ..and you know the power of Emily Noel. Just check this tag out Emilynoel83 Youtube Made Me Buy It

And then I saw this, THIS !!! .49 CENTS !!!!  In the bargain basket at Walgreens.IMGP3505

Not only did the concealer match me (NC40) perfectly it is great !!!IMGP3507

It blends beautifully and doesn’t crease on me (with or without setting powder).  Enough said.

49 cents and works great!

Wet n Wild Megalast Nail Colour

This one in the bargain basket was $1. A dollar. So I bought it. It’s not mega last, but nothing on my nails is mega last..unless it’s a LED light set Gel polish. IMGP3517

But one dollar in the basket, why bother with OPI Essie etc ? They all look and last about the same, 1-2 days without chipping, on my nails. So WnW bargain basket is the way to go for me.

Also I am not a major nail polish person really.  I bought it as a base for my glitter nail polish. Glitter nails, now thats my thang!



Walgreens: Rimmel Eye Pencils 2

I bought 2 Rimmel eye pencils from Walgreens  and had promised to update after additional testing.

In terms of lasting a workout or a yoga class the Exaggerate lasts longer because it is a dryer formula. In general it lasts longer, but I dont like it.imgp3483

The Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl is a nicer softer formula. The pencil is not self sharpening but does so easily. But also because it’s soft it gets blunt quickly.

I like the glittery grey-black liner. Adds a nice touch. You will have a tiny bit of glitter migration, but not terribly so.

It stays well but will smudge, maybe because I have notoriously oily lids.

With an eye primer but without anything creamy like an under-eye concealer the smudging is not so pronounced.exaggerate

However below pic is with the under-eye concealer.  I did not set the under-eye concealer with powder. The smudging was messier and I didn’t like it. exaggerate-conc

Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof. I didn’t like this one. Obviously the dry formula makes it long lasting and less smudgy ( new word 🙂 )

But it skips, it’s patchy and bunches your lashes together. imgp3497In-fact I have owned 2 Rimmel Exaggerate pencils previously and they too did that gooping thing.

Its a twist up pencil but not self sharpening so you wont get a sharp point but its workable.

The smudger at the end is useless, a synthetic brush is better.  The line does not want to smudge without removing the pigment! Also work fast if you want to attempt some degree of a smudge, one eye at a time!

If you are not watching your pennies there are other drugstore options (Loreal) which are better, but since I bought them I going to use them ….up.

Neutrogena Anti Wrinkle. WTF Just Happened ??

Seriously WTF just happened ? The story I am about is a strange one 🙂 and if ANYONE knows the answer to this please write to me in the comments.

Once a upon a time there was a beautiful Vitamin who everyone loved.  A Vitamin with long thick hair, smooth skin and luscious lips. This Vitamin was referred to as Retinol by her subjects.  All of whom loved and adored her and wanted her in their lives forever..…♥♥

So I jumped onto the Retinol bandwagon as anyone, …..everyone …over the age of 25 should.

However being a Retinol newbie I am going slow. Before I leap onto Paula’s Choice and their ilk, I wanted to start gentle.

Neutrogena’s Retinol skincare has all beauty editors raving, infact even Beautypedia has positive reviews about their line, so off I went to get me some OTC Retinol- with-training-wheels.

This is what I did. I was ordering a non-skid yoga towel (OMG I LOVE IT !!!!) , a Cuisinart hand (cake) mixer off and decided to add the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle Night cream onto that order. And its cheaper than Walgreens !

The product arrives and I check the ingredients list. And this is where things get a bit iffy. Guess what ? On the product received Retinol appears LAST, yes LAST on the ingredient list.

I am like eh ???? What is the % of Retinol in this thang, does it even work? Is it even worth it ? Even the fabulous Green Tea extract floats around somewhere at the bottom


However this same product on and has this ingredient list. Check out where Green Tea Extract and Retinol appears.

Ingredients: C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Octyl Hydroxystearate, Dimethicone, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Retinol, Panthenol, Disodium EDTA, Tocopherol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polysorbate 20, Triethanolamine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylene Glycol, Diazolidnyl Urea, BHT, Carbomer.

I have written to walmart who I am sure will say “ok… return the product” shrug shrug. The product received is not the product ordered however I am SURE even Walmart will impressed with my excellent detection work.

I have written on the Neutrogena website too.

I just want to know what the hell is this ?

New formulation ? old formulation ? God knows.

Would you know ?








WARNING: Post contains crepey eye lids and unfilled eye brows. Proceed at your own peril since you can never un-see these things! 

This post follows from a previous post where I wrote about how I am being frugal and now shop mainly at a drugstore rather than Sephora.  (read previous post here)

I have oily lids and all eye pencils stray on me. So I avoid pencils opting for liquid liners instead, but alas sometimes one just needs an eye pencil!

They are quick, you can hide the crooked lines with some nifty smudging and great for the lower lash line.

Also we now live in the world of kickass smudge-proof eye pencils from Urban Decay and Marc Jacobs so the ‘superior eye pencil’ technology must have trickled down to the drugstore level.

So off I went to my Walgreens to try some eye pencils.

Here I got even more frugal. I passed on the $8-$10 L’oreal Infallible and Maybelline pencils and spied the $4 something dollars Rimmel ones instead. And everyone raves about Rimmel right ? So it’s all good.

I bought two pencils. I bought a Prune/Plum Rimmel Exaggerate and a sparkly Black Scandaleyes kohl pencil. Both claim to be waterproof. imgp3483imgp3487

The Scandaleyes pencil is nice and soft and I love the sparkles. There is a bit of fall out. The packaging however is….well.  I had stored the pencil upside down and when I picked it up the entire gel liner thing had slid out of the pencil. I gently tapped it back in.

Also I am not sure how well it will sharpen. You can see the tip is already flattened..

The purple Rimmel Exaggerate feels a bit dry and  applies patchy. I am not sure if this is a formula thing or a colour thing. Purple is a hard colour!

The pencil is a plastic twist up and not self sharpening and again, the tip is already flat!

The pencil comes with a smudger which I used. Work quickly though as it dries quickly. I do one eye at a time. Same applies if you are trying to re-apply over your patchy bits. Once it dries it will start to crumble as you try and re-apply.

So anyway the test!

I have oily  hooded eyes so I get upper lid transfer AND racoon eyes under. A double whammy. And I need to find that pencil that doesn’t do either!

I wanted to give these pencils the best chance ever.

I allowed my eye cream and moisturiser to really get absorbed before I started.

I wore an old ELF eye primer I had kicking around, set it with the Bobbi Brown finishing powder and then applied the pencils.imgp3482imgp3497imgp3501

I do not have foundation (who haz time fer dat) or any under eye concealer. Under eye concealer, well  that my friend, leads to a whole new level of under-eye smudging.

That’s a battle no eye pencil has won as yet…or will it ?

Anyway it’s been around 4 hours now, so far so good. A slight darkening under eye but I can live with it, even IRL. I reapplied the black on the lower lashline and it applied smooth with no crumbles nothing. So me concludes tis good for touch ups.

I didn’t touch the purple. I am not wowed by the formula anyway.

Also I had worn the purple Exaggerate last night without a primer, on dry lids. And inspite of that I had transfer !! But today I can’t see a transfer with the primer.

After 6 hours: Purple was still good, no transfer to the crease however the black had smudged for both eyes. So carry makeup wipes for a quick fix.img_2913

Also my Bioderma Sensibio water wasn’t able to remove the black properly. Guess we need an oil.

I will do two more tests and report in another post

  1. wear at the gym or at a particularly sweaty yoga practice
  2. wear with under eye concealer.

Later gators









SPF: Dilemma Continues

I have written posts on SPF before (here & here) and here I am writing one more!

So the changes in my current environment have made me reconsider my SPF game.

In Hong Kong I basically fled from the sun. It’s hot, humid and sweaty and an air-conditioned interior was my habitat of choice.

As and when (and IF) I ventured outside into the humid soup an SPF, used over my moisturiser, was what worked.  Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF50+ PA+++ was my go to as it light weight & mattifying.imgp3436

But here in the Pacific Northwest when the sun is out, it’s gorgeous …and it’s dry. I love being outdoors. Also as I am not planning to invest in a car just as yet I spend a lot of time walking around running errands  (2.5 miles to my nearest supermarket)

So investing in two separate moisturisers, one with SPF and one without SPF is not as wasteful as it would be in Hong Kong.

What I want is good hydration (along with anti-aging if possible) and an SPF of 50(PA ++++ would be an added bonus)

Unfortunately the shelves are not exactly falling over with the weight of good SPF 50 moisturisers.

My shortlist below seem to be good for dry skin and wont deliver a white cast on my NC40 skin tone.(each item listed below is linked to it’s respective review by Beautypedia).

SPF 50. 1 fl.oz. $50:Estee Lauder Crescent White Full Cycle Brightening UV Protector. The most expensive of the lot. The write up is great and Estee Lauder always kill in the skincare category given the sheer amount of cash they have to spend on research.

Will this be a birthday present ? Oysters and Champagne in Capitol Hill versus this ? Ooo it’s hard.

You know what till I am not working I must be sensible. 😦 Especially when a perfectly acceptable Clinique is available!

SPF 50. 1.7 fl.oz. $21.5Clinique Sun Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Face Cream. A no brainer given the cost! It contains a wide range of antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients what’s more to discuss ?

SPF 40. 2 fl. oz. $30.: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Pure Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer Broad SpectrumFAB has some good solid products and I like investing in them just because they do such a good job. It’s a great price point and the SPF 50-40, no biggie.

Hmm now I want both Clinique and FAB. But that would be just wasteful especially as a good non SPF, anti aging moisturiser would also be gracing my vanity.

How many bottles do I need cluttering up my vanity? It’s already one too many.

SPF 47. 2 fl. oz. $32.: Josie Maran Cosmetics Argan Daily Moisturizer w/ Sunboost ATB. I have never tried a Josie Maran product though people rave about her line. The write up is good but it doesn’t attract me, so pass.

Next time I am in Redmond I will dive into the Macys there and pick myself the Clinique. Done! Decision made.

Now below are some I found promising for those with Normal to Oily and Combination skin.

50+PA+++.  1.7 fl.oz

$48, Kate Somerville Daily Deflector Waterlight Broad Spectrum . I have used this and I really loved it. The white cast didn’t seem to bother me that much and it felt moisturising enough for the humid Hong Kong summers.

$42, Exuviance Sheer Daily Protector Sunscreen Broad Spectrum. This has a really good write-up but where do you buy it from?

SPF 50. 1.7 fl.oz

$26, Olay Regenerist Regenerating Lotion with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum. Great review and affordable ! yaaay.

$34, SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense. This one I would pass on, especially when you have the Olay. What bothers me about this one is the ‘con’ stated in the review. It states it lacks ‘antioxidants to boost skin’s environmental defenses’. Why bother ?

NB: this in no way replaces my Holy Grail Shiseido Wet Force when exercising. There is no other technology like this one in the market I believe!

I hope this is the end of SPF obsession…no more posts.

Dupes: How The Mighty Have Fallen!


I devour YouTube for all things Beauty & Skincare. zoorkitty-001

These ladies are amongst my fav on Youtube and whenever they recommended a High End product I went out and bought it. High End, even if they did mention cheaper options.

I was just not interested in the cheap(er) dupes. Caressing my Louboutin, Chanel, Bobbi Brown and Dior just made me feel better.

Fast forward 8 months to Jan 2017.

I now live in the US and my visa currently doesn’t allow me to work. Which means no income. And I am no fool to delve into my savings for makeup. A dream home, a BMW Mini, yes, but not on some baked eye shadow.

Seriously who does that ? If you do, then stop it, now!

It’s probably this practical attitude to cash that made my transition from Department store to Drugstore so easy. It surprised me that I didn’t struggle, I wasn’t sad. I had moved one.

From Harvey Nichols and Lane Crawford, Hong Kong I moved onto Walgreens, Target, Walmart….. and all things DUPES !

Rimmel, Wet and Wild, Maybelline & Loreal are my new friends.

I scour the internet for reviews on ELF, NYX , Hard Candy and the like. My fav YouTuber for this is EmilyNoel. She is an amazing lady and her recommendations work for me and my skin type!


Skincare….well that is a slightly different matter. While I am still NOT willing to give up on my favourite items from Kate Sommerville (thanks Hirons!) I have started to follow  Angie from  Hot & Flashy.ANGIE.png

She is  great on skincare, matured skin or not, and has some kick-ass suggestions for good quality anti-aging skincare (retinol, peptides, vitamin C  etc) which are  more affordable than Kate Sommerville or Skinceuticals!  She has some great recommendations on CeraVe and Olay Regenerist too!

Bye Bye Nordstrom, I do love you…….but now is the time to spend in Walgreens.




Being Frugal;Hit Pan!

I love being frugal. Or at-least the idea of ‘frugal’. I envision a minimalist life with a home that’s free of ‘things’. (Um..  don’t open the fridge please. I succumbed to the demon that COSTCO is and now have food and groceries to last me for a year. Bah!)

Anyway with makeup I am determined to be disciplined. Less wasteful. I absolutely do NOT need 4 red lipsticks, 3 black mascaras and 5 shades of a pink blush. You might, I don’t!

So I decided to hit the Refresh button as I was packing up Hong Kong to move to the US.

I purged a lot of my makeup then but even now I think I have too much. Too much for someone who is too lazy to wear makeup. A moisturised, SPFed face is what’s on when I get out the door. So the makeup just sits and sits, and then gets thrown away because it gets too old. What a waste!imgp3391

ENOUGH! I watched these brilliant ‘Pan the Palette‘ videos on YouTube and decided I am going to do just that. ‘Hit pan’ or finish that makeup before I buy anymore. And more importantly for me, before it goes off.

So I am starting with this.imgp3393-1

1. Bobbi Brown Eye Brightener in Peach. I love it. It brightens beautifully and at a pinch doubles up as an under eye concealer.

2. Z Palette with 3 Benefit blushes and the Hoola Bronzer. I sometimes use the blushes as eye shadow. The Coralista blush looks really nice. Subtle and nice.

3. Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes and Colour Chameleon in Amber Haze. These two are amongst some of my most FAV makeup items. The tragedy is they are both drying out so I might have to chuck them before finishing it.

4.Estee Lauder lipstick palette (the bright pink also doubles up as a cream blush)

5. Ugh I need to use this one because I spent good money on this, but I think it’s rubbish. The Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture balm (read review here).  While it’s really hydrating, in-order to cut out the unnatural crazy golden sheen I use it with….

6. Stila One Step Correct serumI love it by itself but definitely over the Bobbi Brown Illuminating balm.

7. MAC conceal and contour palette in Medium. The concealer is perfect for my NC40 skintone but unfortunately the contour colours are too warm, orangey-red undertones, but I can make it work with Hoola over it.

(5,6 & 7 are only on more special occasions like an evening out or sumtin’.)

Wish me luck !







My SPF Is Driving Me Crazy

My AM skincare has a few steps (toner, essence, serum, eye serum, eye cream, moisturiser) and often I forget a step in the routine. No biggie.

However throw sunscreen in the mix and I start to panic. I don’t believe the SPF in makeup to be as effective and prefer my sunscreen to be separate to my moisturiser, so that adds one more step. Again no big deal.

What gets me with sunscreen are the rules.

Everywhere you turn someone is harping on about facial sunscreen. Especially amongst the beauty community because wrinkles and anti-ageing is our number one (first world) problem. And for that you follow the RULES.

SPF:The Rules of Engagement

1. the right order – I belong to the after moisturiser sunscreen camp. And in an ideal world I would be able to wait a good 10-15 mins before the SPF goes on.

2.the right amount1/4th tsp for just face. Do you KNOW how much that is ??? I need to apply 3 layers of ‘apply-wait-absorb’ to finish the 1/4tsp. It’s a LOT.

3. the right time to wait after application- 30 mins before you step outside. Beautypedia scared the sh*t out me saying that sun damage starts to happen in the first 1 min in the sun. FIRST 1 MIN. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

and the nearly impossible to follow

4. the re-application – don’t even get me started, especially if I am wearing makeup. All that glow of the blush and carefully placed contour and highlight, gone, as soon as you apply the sunscreen (usually in powder form when over makeup)

Seriously Sun-Damage you are a kill joy.

I often do not have 30 mins to hang around before stepping out and nearly always don’t bother (forget) with the re-application. What’s the point ?

No point. This then leads me down the depressing path of ignoring the world around me to solely focus on the sun turning my face into crocodile skin.

More often than not this stress is not even worth it because  I am more indoors than out. Maybe a total of 30-40 mins in the sun.

But to get those mins right I have to go through the rules. Remember sun damage starts in the 1st min of unprotected skin Bah!

And have I told you all this malarky of waiting around for the ‘sunscreen to absorb’,  I end up running late, which means NO time to put on makeup ?

Makeup. Time that I actually enjoy applying, layering & blending.

I really cant be bothered.  Just dress like a Ninja and be done with.