Review: IOPE Air Cushion XP Comparison

Everyone’s heard about the IOPE Air Cushion. It’s often lauded as one of the best, high-coverage, long-wearing cushions that’s out there on the market – it’s easily accessible, priced pretty decently, and is just one of the top picks that you’ll always hear about!

Well – when I first started exploring cushions a couple of years ago, I blindly followed the trends and I got myself the original IOPE AIR CUSHION® XP NATURAL SPF50+/PA+++, pictured below.

IOPE AIR CUSHION Natural, N21

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So shiny, so sturdy! This cushion was boasted as “Cushion foundation that provides powerful protection against UV rays and delivers complete coverage for natural, luminous complexion.” I think I missed out this post, but I previously purchased this cushion, as well as the Laneige BB Cushion (somehow in the Anti-Ageing formulation?!), from TesterKorea back before I really knew much.

I’ve already finished using one refill of this cushion, and while I haven’t touched it in months, I’ll just be sharing my opinion of it when I was using it. This IOPE Cushion was alright, and was something that I reached out for on a regular basis, maybe 1-2 times a week. I’d usually reach out for it on days when I needed higher coverage, maybe because of all the hype surrounding it.

But really, as I kept using it, I realised I didn’t quite like it – it didn’t feel special on my face at all, and wasn’t quite able to cover all my light blemishes. My nose would be oily by noon (urghhhhh), and it’d start to break up around dry areas by midday (~3pm). Wasn’t something I was looking for…

So since this cushion isn’t quite available in the market anymore, I won’t be giving this a proper review – my final verdict would be YMMV, probably not suitable for my skin type and environment – dry combo skin, in humid weather, and for long hours. For me, what convinces me that a cushion is good is that I /actually/ take out the refill (that comes with the package) to use – I didn’t open that refill up. That one’s gone to Carousell. WNR

IOPE AIR CUSHION Moisture Lasting, N21

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So around came 2016, and I was in Seoul! The ~new~ IOPE Air Cushion was reformulated and released again! But this time, in four variants: Natural Glow, Matte Longwear, Intense Cover, and Moisture Lasting. And in more shades than ever: C13, N21, W21, N23, W23! That’s much more than the previously widely available N21 and N23.

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Well I saw this in a ton of Duty-Free shops, and Lotte, and Aritaum shops… Eventually, I was tempted enough to pick up one from the Duty-Free shop in Jeju Airport (I can’t remember which Dept. store ran it!!). There was an ongoing 20% off sale, so I snagged it at a pretty great ~SGD$30 🙂 I chose to stick with the neutral tones, and since I still prefer a brighter skin tone, I chose N21 again, in the Moisture Lasting variant.

I will first note the key reasons that drew me in to purchase yet another IOPE cushion (although I hadn’t liked the original):

  • It looks GORGEOUS. This new cushion is considerably thinner than the original “standard” cushion, clocking in at 2.8cm tall
  • Its curved edges and shiny blue rim just drew. me. in. It looks so sleek and classy, and something that I’d carry around out to school/work. I was fairly tempted to purchase the pink cushion case variant in another IOPE store in Myeongdong, but I held myself back
  • Isn’t the new puff pretty? It’s slightly smaller than the original size, but there’s this gorgeous leather emboss on top
  • The hype. Let’s face it, the hype surrounding this cushion has pretty much never died down. When this new version was released, I was like oh my god I HAVE to try this new flashy cushion

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Each cushion set (cushion case + 15g x 2 refills) runs for (supposedly) KRW42,000 on Amore Pacific’s website, but I think you’ll be able to get it much cheaper on Gmarket Korea.

Price: ★★★★☆
Aesthetics: ★★★★☆
Coverage: ★★★☆☆
Glow: ★★★★☆
Moisture: ★★★★☆
Long-wear: ★★★★☆
Overall: ★★★★☆

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It’s an alright cushion, and I really /don’t mind/ using it. One thing that really irks me is that the cushion sponge can’t be flipped around. I’m only “a few weeks” into using this cushion, and I already feel that it’s running out – but I know that there’s a lot of liquid at the bottom! And it’s not coming out! I don’t feel like I’m getting my money’s worth by using this product. 😦

Overall, it’s just not a cushion that blew me away, and isn’t something that I’ll be using with my current skin condition (some small visible acne scars). So once again, the refill test – the refill is still sitting in the box, untouched… Sadly, once again, I think this one’s going to Carousell as well (the pretty case I’ll keep).

Would I buy this again? Maybe, if it somehow turns out that my skin becomes ~perfect~ and this just gives me the perfect minimalistic coverage. In the meantime, I think I’ll stick with my other HGs.

Comparison: Old vs New Cushions

New on the left, old on the right. Huge font size for the cushion color, differences in shape and curvature, gorgeous new ring along the side rather than a fat shiny strip

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Much shorter and compact! Button is also of a different shape, more sleek

IMG_6188.JPGOpened up, the new mirror is slightly more “accessible” than the old one (I lost my IOPE puff, so a Lirikos puff is about the same!!)

IMG_6191.JPGI like that the new puff has this embossed leather look, it is however slightly smaller than the old puff

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Pretty new design

The new foundation-soaked sponge has a special ridged pattern on the top. Note that this is only on the top, which means that you cannot flip the sponge. 

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The new formula in the moisture-lasting variant is a little runnier, I feel, and runs a little more yellow

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My inner wrist is definitely paler than my face, so both of them blend quite well but you can tell that the shades aren’t an absolutely perfect match

IOPE Air Cushion, as lovely as you might seem, I don’t think we’re a match.

I’ll probably do an update soon on my favourite base makeup products! Hint: Hera, Verite, and Lirikos are my baes now ❤

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J:Dew

Happy summer again! I’ve previously mentioned how I received J:Dew products from q-depot (www.q-depot.com), and they’ve been a great addition to my routine this holiday. Today, I’ll be reviewing two products: the toner, and the serum.

J:DEW Green Moist Toner

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What it is:

  • An amazing Korean skin care product which will cool and moisturizes your skin in almost no time leaving behind smooth texture to your skin without any sticky feelings.
  • It contains pure and organic aloe vera and green tea from the clean soil of Jeju Island, which effectively smooth irritated and troubled skin while proving enough moisture to the deeper layers of your skin. Not only this, it also magically reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Best of all, all the products from J:DEW are free from following 6 harmful additives: parabens, mineral oils, animal derivatives, artificial aromas, artificial colorings, and benzophenone making them very friendly to the sensitive skin as well.

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Ingredients:

  • Water, Glycerine, Propanediol , 1,2-Hexanediol, Diglycerine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Ethanol, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli Extract), Green Tea Extract, PEG-6+E80 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Arginine, Carbomer, Adenosine, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil , Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans

Of the series, I’ve really enjoyed using this toner! It’s refreshing and has a light consistency, which I’d liken to a little runnier than the Hada Labo lotion. On days when my skin feels like it needs nourishing (more so than a light toner mist anyway), I spread this out onto my skin after cleansing and my skin feels supple and moist again.

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This toner is also like aromatherapy to me; it smells like aromatherapic oils and lavender, which really make me feel relaxed at night. The scent is truly soothing, and makes me feel at ease while I prep myself for the rest of my routine. How cute – prepping my face, and my mind!

I will however need to put across that this stuff does not leave your face hydrated for hours on end – it absorbs into my skin fairly quickly (within 15-30m), and that’s when I know that it’s time for me to apply my serum/essence.

J:DEW Green Moist Essence

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What it is:

  • Must-have Korean skin care product, which provides immediate moisture and energy to your skin cells while the effect remains for long hours.
  • Formulated with green tea and aloe vera from the clean soils of Jeju Island. Both of these ingredients are known for the provision of moisture to the skin for ages.
  • The moisture effect goes to the deeper layers of your skin while leaving your irritated skin calm, smooth and moisturized.
  • Also contains Shea Butter, which nourishes and moisturize your skin and turns pigmented and rough skin into rejuvenated and radiant skin.
  • Antioxidants from broccoli extract protect your skin from any further damage and help to bring back your healthy tone and radiant skin.
  • Free from 6 harmful additive: parabens, mineral oils, animal derivatives, artificial aromas, artificial colorings, and benzophenone, thus making it friendly to the sensitive skin as well.

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Ingredients:

  • Water, Glycerine, Propanediol, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Brassica OleraceaItalica (Broccoli Extract), Cyclohexasiloxane, Betaine, Cetearylolivate, Sheabutter, SorbitanOlivate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Green Tea Extract, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Adenosine, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Butylene Glycol

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This serum has a very smooth formula, fairly similar to the standard serum you’d have. It does feel heavy on my skin (!), but in the way you’d expect a highly nourishing product to be. It smells fairly similar to the toner, and when I massage it into my skin, the dryness/flakiness I’m susceptible to just disappears. Even though I sleep in an air-conditioned room, after applying this serum, I don’t wake up with tight and dry skin!

I say this bearing in mind that my skin type is combination (dry cheeks/forehead/chin, oily t-zone) – and in my humid weather in Singapore, this will only be suitable at night. If I wore this under my makeup in the day, my cushion would probably melt off by noon!

OIL-BLOTTER TEST

So I spread the four products out on a sheet of oil-blotting paper, and let them sit for a while to see how their oil content is.

IMG_5988Immediately after

IMG_600710 minutes later

IMG_6009 2An hour later

So as a preview to the lotion and cream, I’ve dispensed little drops of each product onto an oil blotting paper. While the products do look similar at first glance, they’re clearly formulated very differently – with high oil content in the serum!

These cruelty-free products have genuinely surprised me with how soothing they’ve made me feel. I’ve previously gone for “HG!!! this stuff’s the best” products, but considering how my skin has been flaring up in recent months, I’ve been looking for something with less gimmicks.

Look forward to my reviews of the lotion and cream coming soon then – I’m sure you’ll need products to lock in all that moisture! I’ll also be doing an overall review of the range then 🙂

Preview: J:DEW Green Moist Skincare

Summer’s been a blast! I travelled to Seoul in April/May, and I’ve yet to post my trip experience – that’s definitely long overdue. I’m actually undertaking a summer internship now, so time’s tight and posts are… in the queue. They’re in the queue, I’m prepping them, but they’re just… not…. really ready yet……..

Today’s post is a preview on my soon-to-come review on a new brand I’ve encountered, J:DEW. Ivy from Q-depot recently reached out to me, and has kindly sent me some products to try. Q-depot is an online Korean Beauty cosmetics store that specializes in cruelty-free and eco-friendly Korean skincare products, and they offer a ton of products which I’ll be checking out.

For today, I’m sharing some snapshots of J:DEW (“Green Beauty & Green Life, Clean & Pure Energy of NATURE”) (so cute!! hahaha), a brand containing ingredients from  Jeju Island. I may have glanced across this brand while I was Jeju, so maybe we’re fated to be together for now! (?) !

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The box arrived at my doorstep one morning….

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…and as I unboxed it…

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…it revealed a treasure trove of skincare!

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J:DEW Green Moist Toner

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J:DEW Green Moist Emulsion

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J:DEW Green Moist Essence

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J:DEW Green Moist Cream

Gorgeous products! I’ve really been falling behind in my skincare routine recently, and here’s to hoping this’ll save my skin. First thoughts of the products would be that they really smell great – after a long day in the office, coming home to products that smell like soothing essential oils really helps me rest. I’m still in the process of patch testing and reviewing the products, so I’ll catch up with my thoughts and comments soon! 🙂

Battle of the CC Creams: Banila Co. it Radiant CC Cream and CC Cushion

Those who’ve spoken to me about my beauty stash know that I have a love affair with CC Creams / Colour Correcting Creams. Yes, I said it – I don’t particularly like BB creams, no – I don’t see any magical glowy effects after using them, and they sometimes leave a cakey effect on my skin/dry it out/produce an oily t-zone. But with my not-so-recent discovery of CC Creams, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole.

After starting off the journey of light-coverage base-makeup, i.e. CC creams, my complexion has been more radiant than ever. There’s this sheer glow I seem to find in the moisturizing properties of CC Creams; I don’t really need the medium-coverage properties of typical BB Creams, so CC Creams are perfect for me because they’re typically sheer coverage, and are marketed to help with sallowness/redness etc. Quick warning: this is not for someone who’s looking to cover multiple blemishes!

I’ll be posting a series of long-overdue reviews of the various CC creams in my stash – while I have made previous judgements on some of them, these will be my honest, latest, long-term-use reviews of these products.


Banila Co. it Radiant CC Cream

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Let’s start off with the very first CC cream I tried – the whitening, moisturizing, color control base produced by Banila Co. What made me get this? I remember catching a glimpse of this CC cream from an unfamiliar brand, Banila Co., on Get It Beauty. As I was shopping around in Bonjour Hong Kong, I caught it at 98HKD as I posted previously. Check out the clip here:

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Song Ji Hyo is the brand ambassador of Banila Co., and this product has won awards from Get It Beauty, Allure Korea, Sure, and Cosmo Korea. Sounds pretty convincing to me!


What I previously posted:

1. This handy pump dispenser provides for more hygienic access to the CC cream

IMG_47722. What the CC cream looks like, unblended

IMG_47763. What the CC cream looks like half blended

IMG_47774. Left side has no CC cream, right side has blended CC cream.
Do note that my hand is slightly tanner than my face!

First impression: ★★★★★ +++ HG LEVEL!!!!!

It’s no wonder that the Banila Co CC Cream came out as one of the top contenders on Get It Beauty – it certainly is moisturizing, provides basic sun protection, and brightens your face. Definitely dedicating a review post to this (and other CC creams) soon!


HOWEVER,
What I can say now is that it’s really got this amazing, smooth and blendable texture that just melts into your face, and I thought it was love at first sight for me. At that point in time, I’d say that my skin was a notch lighter than it is right now – maybe that was why this CC cream seemed to merely brighten my appearance due to its lightness and pink undertones, cancelling out the olive-ness of my skin. I remember yelling at my mum to ‘come look!! I don’t even need undereye concealer with this!!’, but sadly, those days ended mid 2015.

As I got slightly tanner throughout 2015, I started noticing that I looked as pale as a sheet under fluorescent lights whenever I was wearing this CC cream – it simply didn’t suit me anymore, and I started having to mix in darker concealer/base makeup product to make this CC cream work for me. As you can see in the fourth picture above, while the right side of my hand looks brighter, if I was any tanner at all, the shade of the cream just washes me out.

Today, while I still agree that it’s great for brightening my skin tone and as a quick makeup base, I just don’t find myself reaching for it as often. It’s become more of a makeup blender for me.

Pros
– Smells lovely, quite flowery
– Smooth consistency makes it easy to blend
– Feels moisturizing on the skin
– Sufficiently brightening effect

Cons
– May only suit pale skin tones
– May not have sufficient coverage

Overall
– Shade/Tone: Pink undertones, suitable only for those < NC20.
– Consistency: Smooth, blendable
– Application: Easy to apply with fingers
– Coverage: Sheer-light
– Packaging: Pretty good, the standing pump tube is easy to dispense
– Fragrance: Lightly flowery and powdery, not overwhelming

Rating: ★★★★☆
Would I recommend this? Yes!

Details: 30ml, SPF 30 PA++, RRP 25,000KRW / ~SGD$35
Comes in variants including cc+sun, for men, as well as a similarly packaged line of bb creams


Bonus review: Banila Co it Radiant CC Cushion

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Just as an add-on to this review, I purchased the BE10 shade of the CC cushion from Carousell in April last year. With my expectations of the CC cream at that point in time, I had high hopes this product would be equally great – however, I was wholly disappointed with this cushion. What’s there to like about it? Uhhhh, not much here to check out. I’m gonna write about this in the order of how I opened it:

Taking a glance at the cushion case, it looked basic, nothing special nor different from any other cushion – clean-cut and sturdy on the outside. Popping open the case, I immediately noticed that the quality of Banila Co.’s rubycell puff is miles below the golden AmorePacific standard – it’s just like any other sponge to be honest. The worst part is, the rubycell puff literally disintegrated after a few months – yeah, no. That’s just gross.

You know how most cushions have a comfortable ‘click’ lock on their inner-cushion lids? This one had a slipshod click notch on the right-hand side of the lid, which meant that it was SO inconvenient for me to pop open each time – with others, I could easily tip it open with one hand. The liquid in the sponge… I don’t even know what it’s supposed to be. It’s so, freaking, watery, it literally drips out of the case if you store it vertically – which completely negates the point of the inner lid anyway!?

I admit that the shade BE10 is definitely too light for me, but even the way it sits on my face made me feel uncomfortable – it was so sheer, it might as well have not have been on my face – no color correcting or complexion-covering properties in this one. Can you see how the right side of my hand is orangey? The effect was more pronounced in reality – it’s this peachy shade that I simply don’t think suits Asian skin tones.

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Look at everything leaking out. Just a big no from me, sorry Banila Co. While your brand makes some pretty great stuff, you’ve successfully convinced me not to buy any of your cushion products again.

Pros
– Smells lovely, quite flowery – similar to the CC cream
– Glowy effect noticeable on my skin due to pink tones

Cons
– Oily consistency that feels like a film on your face
– Too watery, loose formula
– Shade doesn’t make sense – very orange on my skin, although it’s formulated for yellow undertones
– Terrible rubycell puff that disintegrates
– Poor packaging design, lacks ease of use
– Formula leaks out of the cushion

Overall
– Shade/Tone: ?? undertones, suitable for orange people ~NC20
– Consistency: Oily and watery
– Application: Unusable once the cushion puff disintegrates, which is really soon
– Coverage: None-sheer
– Packaging: Sturdy case, but poor design makes it annoying to use and formula leaks out
– Fragrance: Lightly flowery and powdery, not overwhelming

Rating: ★★☆
Would I recommend this? No!

Details: 15ml*2, SPF 35 PA++, RRP 35,000KRW / ~SGD$40
Comes in 3 shades: BE10, BP15, and BE20


I’ll be reviewing more CC creams, specifically some from AmorePacific soon. Update again… sometime!

 

Sample Store Singapore

Disclaimer: I was NOT sponsored for this post!

Early last year, when I was still really new to all my beauty products, I was desperately hunting for places where I could get samples to try – I mean, skincare ain’t cheap! I didn’t even have a proper toner, sunscreen, or whatnot…

I came across the Sample Store, where they’ll send you samples to try in Singapore! They’re actually partnered with Singpost. Here’s how it works: you either pick free samples to checkout, or you pick up to 4 samples as part of a $5.99 order (or what they call a ‘handling fee’).

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Pictured above:

  1. Biore UV AQUA Rich Watery Gel (15ml)
  2. Bioré’s Makeup Remover Cleansing Gel (20ml)
  3. Sunplay Superblock SPF130 PA+++ (6ml)
  4. White Formula Super Moist Toner (35ml)
  5. White Formula Super Moist Light Toner (35ml)
  6. My Beauty Diary Vanilla Moisturizing Aroma Mask x2 (23ml)

For instance, I’ve pictured 2 separate orders above: the two Bioré products on the left are free! While I do own the Bioré Watery Essence, and the old formula of Bioré’s Makeup Remover Cleansing Gel, I’ve never tried these new versions before – so this is a great way for me to try before I buy! 🙂 (plus, these sample sizes, 15ml and 20ml, are absolutely perfect for me to travel with!!!)

I picked Sunplay because I own the spray version, but I’ve never tried the ‘original’ – wanted to see how it compared to Bioré’s! The packaging for this sample is SO. CUTE.!!!!!! It’s basically a tiny version of the actual product, and it even includes a little ball bearing inside for you to shake it up :> I’ve yet to try this because I’ve got too many sunscreens open right now, so… yes!

I picked the White Formula Toners as I’ve heard lots of good things about them. I saw them all over the place when I was in Taiwan last year, and they’re supposedly the bestselling toners at their price range in Taiwan? If they’re somehow live up to my HG Hada Labo toners (they seem very similar!!), I’m all up for trying this!!

As for the MBD masks…. These aren’t the actual masks I received in my order 😀 Yes, I did order MBD Vanilla Masks, butttttt that was last year when I hadn’t started my foray into sheet masking yet. After using these MBD mask samples, I was like w h o a this shit is good – and then I went to buy lots more when I was in Taiwan :p

I suspect that Bioré’s samples are free because Bioré holds their own promos to send out free samples as well, so they’re naturally free. Ok but I should warn you guys that you should probably google some of the ‘paid’ samples before you order them? I noticed that Acnes samples are available FOC on the SG website, but they’re ‘paid’ on SampleStore!

As for the $5.99 order, I might be a bit auntie in this sense but I usually only pick items that are ‘worth it’. Like some of the samples are a bit ‘ehhh’… like they only include a 1x1ml foil sachet for what’s basically $1.50!?! Yes I’ve actually come across samples like this on the site before. Okay like honestly if they only want to send me 1ml I might as well go to Watsons (where most of the products available for sampling are on sale) and just squeeze >1ml onto my hand and try it on the spot for free right?? If you really want me to buy your product, I feel like you should at least provide me with enough product to sample it on my whole face…

Word of warning though: their samples (be it free or paid) run out REALLY fast!!! For you to get the samples that you’re interested in, you have to be pretty diligent in ~stalking~ their site… or waiting for their EDMs heh.

Do any of you source your samples from other sampling websites? Share them with me in the comments!

June 2015: Mask Empties

Thank you everyoneeee for being so patient with me for the past 3-4 months! I’ve finally got more time on my hands now that I’m preparing to start university, so I’ll be able to post more often now 🙂 A few weeks ago, I passed the 100 followers, AND the 10,000 total views milestones – so once again thank you guys for supporting my blog!

I’ll be doing a quick post today, since it’s my usual posting Sunday – I have quite a few more posts lined up for the next few weeks! I admittedly didn’t use (m)any new masks this month, so I’ve only included pictures of the ones that I haven’t previously tried before. Round 2 of mask empties, let’s go!

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FaceQ Sake Brightening Mask:
Hydration: 4.25/5
Benefits: 4.5/5
Fragrance: 4/5
Fit: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.25/5

SexyLook Red Wine + Platinum Mask:
Hydration: 4/5
Benefits: 4.5/5 (this has a chin lifting strip!!!)
Fragrance: 3.75/5 (funky smell, but bearable)
Fit: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Lovemore Snow Lotus Mask:
Hydration: 4.5/5
Benefits: 3.75/5 (nothing too special tbh)
Fragrance: 4/5
Fit: 5/5 (Perfect fit?)
Overall: 4.25/5

Etude House Green Tea Mask:
Hydration: 4.5/5
Benefits: 4.5/5
Fragrance: 4/5
Fit: 4/5
Overall: 4.25/5

Somehow, it seem as though every single Etude House Mask I’ve tried has been all I want in a mask – fits well, smells fine, is long-lasting (up to an hour++), feels good, hydrates my skin immediately, and lets me wake up with glowing skin!! No gimmicks, nothing – I’m very pleased to have gotten 40 of em during the EH sale last November 🙂

3W Clinic Fresh Snail Mask:
Hydration: ?/5
Benefits: ?/5
Fragrance: 1/5
Fit: 3/5
Overall: FAIL/5

Yeah seriously 3W Clinic. I first tried your Fresh Milk Mask Sheet a few months ago, but the smell was so overpowering I couldn’t stand to ever use it again. Now I’ve tried your Snail Mask Sheet – and it was just TERRIBLE to my skin!?!?!?!?!? As you guys know I have really hardy skin, and I’ve never reacted to anything…. until this. When I applied the mask to my face, my face began to sting like nobody’s business – I thought that it might be the initial application, but holy crap my face STUNG like mad even after a couple of minutes. My mum was like TEAR IT OFF HELLO so I thoroughly cleansed my face with Micellar Water and Hada Labo Foaming Wash, and even then my skin turned a little red 😦 It’s possible that it simply isn’t suitable for my skin, but damn that was bad.

 

The Sushi Bar: New Outlet at Ngee Ann City

If you haven’t tried The Sushi Bar, you’ve totally missed out on some pretty damn good Japanese Food. (also you must be a suaku because this has been super popular over the past couple of years)

No really – after travelling to Japan almost yearly from 2006-2010, I must admit that I got a little picky with my Japanese food. In Singapore, no sashimi was just as fresh, and just as creamy as the ones I’d tried in Tsukiji fish market, and I had to settle for NTUC sashimi!

But a few years ago, my parents discovered this gem in Far East Plaza, nested on the third floor of the hidden mall that marks the start of Orchard Road. (unless you headed there every week for lunch after school, *ahem*).

Pardon the poor photos, these are pretty old phone photos – thank goodness my dad took pictures during our first visit anyway! Their very first unit in FEP was really small, and all my mum remembers was that the green tea tasted funny :p They did move to a larger location on the 4th floor of Far East Plaza (#04-28) in 2013 (if I’m not wrong!).

I can’t count the number of times I’ve eaten at The Sushi Bar now – it’s truly the only place in Singapore that I’d head to if I want some fresh and reasonably-priced sashimi/sushi. Too bad that you’ve got to queue/make reservations in advance – if you’re craving for some sashimi on Saturday noon, you’re out of luck! I’ve had to queue for one full hour before we were let into the restaurant before – bearing in mind that a queue snaking around the corridors of FEP typically already forms up to half an hour before the restaurant is open at 12.30pm.

I think I’ve brought practically all my groups of friends and family here to eat heh – and most of us agree that this is (arguably) the best Aburi Salmon Roll you can get in Singapore 🙂 In case you’re not sure what aburi isaburi is flamed and seared – the top of the fish is lightly seared with a blowtorch, enhancing the flavourful fish oil. For me, this light aburi completely changes the way the sashimi tastes – it’s this rich, umami flavour that leaves a lightly charred (but pleasant) aftertaste. It may however be a little jelak for some, so you might not be able to down that 10th slice of sashimi you thought you could finish.

Over Chinese New Year, my family brought my cousins’ family (who live in Shanghai) to eat there, and the only gripe my cousin had was that there was too much 料 and too little rice (he was absolutely dying by the time he got to the last 8 slices). C’mon – is that even an issue?!?! Their slices are thick and creamy, and served at the perfect temperature – I really hate it when sashimi is served freezing cold, or warm and droopy at room temp! (I did however find that their tuna was slightly dull; in general, I find tuna one of the most tasteless kinds of fish you’ll find in Singapore, so it wasn’t that big of a surprise/deal to me.)

Yesterday, we visited their new outlet on the 5th floor of Ngee Ann City (#05-34/35). It’s nestled in a corner, along the stretch of restaurants (near Best Denki!). This outlet is a ton more spacious than the FEP one, and the chairs/booths are a ton more comfortable than the stools at FEP to be honest! I was itching to visit the new branch as I’d heard that there were new dishes available – my favourite aburi don :’) :’) and a wagyu don. They were golden, by the way – I’d definitely recommend that you try them out.

Lynette, one of the 老板s, was truly warm and pleasant and shared with my dad (who’s super, super talkative) the Sushi Bar’s beginnings. My mum really likes their selling ethic – “This is the way you do business! You sell delicious food at reasonable prices, and people will keep coming on their own. If you keep overpricing and cutting the quality of your food (like that restaurant next door *ahem*), you’ll close down in no time”. I certainly hope that this place sticks around for good – if you’re ever in Singapore and craving for some Japanese food, you should definitely head down to The Sushi Bar!