Friday, October 30, 2009

iQQU Advance Sunscreen review

I realize I have never done a proper review of this. So I figure now is a good time :P I emailed Michelle and she is nice enough to send me a new tube since I ordered mine in an early batch that was 3o ml full, but not completely full due to the product settling~

Sleek, simple packaging

But it's so small! Not to fear, read on for more . . .

Price: $33 + shipping (mine came about $4o) from

What they say: No words can describe how smooth, light and amazing this sunscreen is. You can apply this sunscreen over makeup! You just have to try it out for yourself. It's non greasy, non oily, feels like nothing when you apply it on and provides maximum protection. Non-Comedogenic. No Fragrance. Paraben Free

This product is for you if...
  • You want an advanced sun protection for your skin.
  • You want a non-greasy, non-sticky, smooth velvety sunscreen.
  • You want to have a silky complexion.
  • You want to fade your brown spots.
  • You want a sunscreen that is makeup friendly.
  • You want a sunscreen that does not run easily.
  • You want SPF 35 UVA/UVB protection without clogging the pores.
  • You want your skin to retain moisture.

Key Ingredients:

  • Saccharide Isomerate- is a carbohydrate that acts as a highly effective moisture regulator resulting in long-lasting water retention in the skin.
  • Lycopene- is an antioxidant derived from tomatoes that helps improve the skin's texture and provides natural SPF.

Active Ingredients: Isononyl Isonanonate, Glyceryl Stearate, Cyclopentasiloxane (and)Dimethicone, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Cyclopentasiloxane (and) C30-45 Alkyl Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Talcum,Titanium Dioxide, Saccharide Isomerate, Octyl Methoxycinnamate, Lycopene extract

The good stuff:

  • Mattifies skin
  • Controls shine
  • SPF 35 UVA and UVB protection
  • Silky smooth mousse texture
  • Easy to apply and blend, absorbs instantly
  • Need LESS than a pea size amount to cover entire face
  • Improves look of tone & complexion
  • Makes skin look smooth -- like you're wearing foundation but natural

The low-down:

  • Expensive
  • Available only online
  • I cannot speak for the "fades brown spots" claim
  • Texture may change?
  • Comes from Thailand -- should I be wary of this?
  • The size may worry people

My take: I love love this product! I have been a fan of Michelle Phan of ricebunny for years now and when she came out with her own skincare line, it was exciting! The only downside, the products are a bit on the pricey side. When I received it, I was shocked by how tiny it was. It also was only about half full. I just assumed that's how it was supposed to be . . but I was reading the reviews on iQQU lately and apparently those who ordered in the beginning batches had 30 ml worth of product, but the tubes weren't filled up. Michelle's response:

"We're fixing this issue. Because the sunscreen is a mousse like texture, we realized we should have overfilled the tubes. It's exactly 30mL, weight I mean, but it doesnt fill it all the way because the texture is not so dense. We've already fixed it on the new sunscreens. "

So I am hoping to get my new tube soon =) Anyways, I have never used this product consistently (like for months at a time) but I have used it for a few weeks out of a month. Which is why I don't know if it would fade brown spots . . also because I don't really have any :P I have freckles . . but I don't think that counts. However, from my experience, it quickly improved the look of my complexion and skin tone once applied. It really made my skin look as if I was wearing foundation, but it was BETTER than foundation, yet still very natural looking. My skin looked super smooth and matte and stayed that way pretty much all day.

The texture is a light, whipped mousse consistency that is as claimed; not sticky or greasy. It is very easy to smooth on and blend. You have to blend it really well though since it's white. I use my fingers. Also, I only need MUCH LESS than a pea sized amount to cover my whole face. Which is why the tube is so little. Even though my tube was only half full, it is still only half full. It's been about 3 months! But also, the texture of this first tube changed after time. It is now a more liquidy texture. I have not exposed it to excessive heat or sunlight, so I'm not sure why that happened . . maybe another fluke with the first batch? That's another reason why I am excitedly awaiting my second tube. Overall, I consider this one of my HG beauty products; one of the few things I would spend upwards of $40 on because it works really well for me.

Would I repurchase: Yes. If the price doesn't deter you, this is an extremely worthy buy.

These are old pictures I used in a FOTD awhile ago (you can tell by the hair haha, I miss it ;_;) but this is ONLY using iQQU Advance Sunscreen. No foundation! (Sorry for the bad quality, taken on my cellphone.. you can click to view larger)

Here's a more recent one

Thursday, October 29, 2009

LaRocca skincare review

Sidenote - @ Anonymous commenter: I'm sorry you find my music incredibly disruptive, but it's a personal preference and I happen to like it like that. There is a pause button located on my music player and I'm sure there is a mute button on your computer if it bothers you that much (:

So anyways, this a way overdue review, but I got this in the mail a long time ago.

LaRocca sent me their 24K Gold Moisture, Eye cream, and Exfoliating cleanser. I tested out the eye cream and cleanser for about 2 weeks. I did not use the moisture since my skin is oily enough already. Maybe I'll test it in the near future though.

The only thing I really liked was the cleanser, so I'll review that first.

24K Gold Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser

Price: $50 for 120 ml

What they say: A silky cream cleanser that harnesses the power of 24K gold to gently exfoliate skin while moisturizing and stimulating collagen growth leaving skin smooth and firmer.

Benefits and ingredients:

  • Cellular Gold Complex an exclusive formula made with 24K Colloidal Gold which is known to promote electron transfer with the metal ions found in the skin to stimulate anti-aging cell turnover.
  • Diatomaceous Earth gently and quickly exfoliates to smooth and soften skin texture.
  • Orange Peel Oil gently moisturizes and energizes the skin.
  • Green Tea Extract, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, defends against free radicals, leaving your skin hydrated, smooth and radiant.
  • Fulvic Acid, a natural source of approximately 60 bio-available minerals and nutrients, restores electrical balance to damaged cells and neutralizes toxins, resulting in optimum skin health.
  • Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-6 stimulates collagen growth, improving firmness and elasticity.
  • Aloe contains 8 of the 13 recognized vitamins, including important antioxidants A, C and F and provides 20 of the 22 necessary amino acids required by the human body.
  • Chamomile Extract conditions the skin and helps retain moisture. It contains phenolic derivatives, which have antiseptic and healing qualities, azulene, which helps in reducing puffiness and cleans the clogged pores of the skin.

What to do: dampen skin with warm water, massaging 2-3 pumps of product over face and neck for two minutes and rinse with warm water. Gentle enough to use everyday.

The good stuff:

  • Gentle but effective at scrubbing skin
  • Smooth texture, not too abrasive
  • Leaves skin feeling smooth and looking glowy
  • Natural ingredients

The low-down:

  • Extremely expensive
  • Can get the same results with much cheaper cleansers

My take: Soo, while rubbing 24K gold all over my face did feel a bit luxurious, that was basically it. While it is a nice cleanser and despite all the good-for-you ingredients, I didn't really notice anything special about my skin that couldn't be achieved by using any other scrub or cleanser that I had. I do like the texture better than most exfoliants since theres no huge exfoliating particles in it and the feel of it was nice, but it's just too pricey.

Would I repurchase: Not likely.

And next came the biggest disappointment =(

24K Gold Eye Cream

Price: $135 for 30 ml

What they say: A premium multi-tasking eye treatment formulated with 24K gold, that energizes the cells to help lift, tighten, brighten and reduce puffiness around the eye area, while hydrating and strengthening dermal tissue. In an 8-week study, 63% of users noticed a decrease in dark circles under eyes and 70% of users noticed a reduction of puffiness under eyes.

Benefits and ingredients:

  • Cellular Gold Complex an exclusive formula made with 24K Colloidal Gold which is known to promote electron transfer with the metal ions found in the skin to stimulate anti-aging cell turnover.
  • Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 Is a smoothing and regenerating peptide that significantly increases skin elasticity, firmness and helps decrease puffiness around the eye area.
  • Palmitoyl Oligopeptide is a natural plant based peptide and is a tripeptide. It is responsible for stimulating collagen production and elasticin and helps nourish the skin.
  • Fulvic Acid, a natural source of approximately 60 bio-available minerals and nutrients, restores electrical balance to damaged cells and neutralizes toxins, resulting in optimum skin health.
  • Dipeptide-2 Helps improve lymphatic circulation and detoxifies the skin. It improves drainage of under-eye bags.
  • Green Tea Extract and Vitamins C & E are potent antioxidants they defend against free radicals, leaving your skin hydrated, smooth and radiant.
  • Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-6 stimulates collagen growth, improving firmness and elasticity. Reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Indian Gooseberry Fruit Extract naturally lightens skin and helps brighten the under eye area.
  • Witch Hazel helps counteract inflammation.
  • Chamomile Extract conditions the skin and helps retain moisture. It contains phenolic derivatives, which have antiseptic and healing qualities, azulene, which helps in reducing puffiness and cleans the clogged pores of the skin.
  • Sodium Hyaluronate improves skin's moisture retention and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Squalane, derived from olives, is similar to the skin's own natural oil, and helps to form a protective barrier while improving respiration of the skin.

What to do: Gently apply one pump to eye area patting gently morning and night. Use your third finger to apply along the occipital bone and right below brow bone.

The good stuff:

  • Well, it's pretty looking . . .

The low-down:

  • Burns/stings after applied
  • No improvement in dark circles or puffiness
  • Infact, seemed to make it worse!!!
  • Extremely expensive

My take: I had high, high hopes for this eye cream =( Turns out, it was a no-go for me. The first time I applied it, my under eye area was burning. I thought it could have been from the cleanser I had used or maybe I scrubbed too hard? So the next day I made sure to wash my face really well so it was clean. Then I tried using it again. The same burning/stinging sensation happened. It happened every day for the 2 weeks I could tolerate using it.

In regards to my horrible dark circles and puffiness, I actually felt like while I was using this cream, they got worse!! In the morning when I'd wash it off, my dark circles looked even darker and the puffiness was horrible as ever. It didn't help that when I wash my face in the morning, this cream dried sticky and I had to rub it around to get it off, which made everything worse. Maybe I am allergic to gold?

Would I repurchase: NO.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Your thoughts on...

The new ELF Studio line items? Here's some of the most recent items added to their Studio line. I am sooo, soo tempted to try the lippies, but of course, I NEVER have good experiences with ELF lippies :(

What do you think of the new items? Anything you want to try? Have tried?

ELF: 4.5 out of 5
MUA: 3 out of 5

From the reviews:

As usual, the swatches suck.
Some say sticky, some say not.
Some say stain, some say lipstick consistency
I would read the MUA review, since it seems the most helpful and honest.

ELF: 4 out of 5

From the reviews:

Again, swatches suck.
Sheer, sheer, sheer.
Minty, toothpaste taste
Good or bad?

No reviews yet. It claims to drench the lips in moisture plus sun protection. Hrrrm, here are the ingredients: Hydrogenated Polyisobutene Polyethylene Wax Ceresine Wax Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Microcrystalline Wax, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Methyparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben.

Not only is it loaded with parabens, click here to read about phenoxyethanol, the "sunscreen." Apparently, its use in cosmetics is prohibited in Japan.

ELF rating system is WHACK. If you hover over the stars, it says "Perfect, doesn't get any better." Yet it shows 4.5 stars :/
MUA: 4.3 out of 5

From the reviews:
The powder is white but blends on any skintone
Mattifies skin / absorbs oil
Smooth silky feel
Possible knockoff MUFE HD powder
I would read the MUA reviews, since one talks about it being extremly drying.

ELF: 5 out of 5 (one review)

From the review:
Compact, weighted nicely
High quality
Easy to open
Black and sleek
Dual magnification

It's cute, but personally, I wouldn't buy it.

ELF: 4 out of 5 (2 reviews)

From the reviews:
Flocked, velvety feel
Holds numerous brushes
Easy to clean,
But unnecessary

I reeeally want a brush holder, but don't think I'd buy this.

No reviews.

I'm assuming its just bigger. Kinda cool, but still wouldn't buy for $15

No reviews. I would want to read some first. It does contain methylparaben though.

No reviews. Here are the ingredients: Water(Aqua), Alcohol Denat,Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Methylparaben. It's basically water and alcohol with a cocamide to make it spread better AND it contains methylparaben. I would rather try this than the shampoo since it is more convenient, but I'd still like to read reviews first.

While I do think that quite a few of the Studio products are well worth it and even considered some of my HG's, I think the Studio line still has its flaws. For example, the ingredients used, or lack thereof. The concealer pencil claims to contain tea tree oil. I love love this pencil but when I received it, tea tree oil was not listed in the ingredients.. hrmm, false advertising? Also, lots of the products contain parabens and other ingredients to be wary of.

So far, the products from their studio line that I've had the most success with are:
  • Concealer pencil and brush - works great, just doesn't last very long.
  • Eyeliner and shadow stick - works great, but it smudges quickly.
  • Mini makeup collection - the eyeshadows and blush/bronzer are well worth it!
  • Complexion perfection powder - works good enough.
  • Eyebrow Treat and tame - Works works works. For me at least.
  • Concealer brush - LOVE LOVE LOVE. HG concealer brush right here ♥
  • Kabuki brush - Decent. I liked that it's firm and compact, but it was a liiiitle scratchy.

Stuff I wouldn't reccommend:

  • 2 in 1 conditioning gloss - basically a clear gloss. VERY STICKY.
  • Corrective concealer - Sheer sheer sheer. Yet you can feel it sitting on your face.
  • Makeup remover cleansing cloths - Alcohol smell, stings eyes, crap at removing makeup

What's your loves & hates from the Studio line?

Frosty Purple NOTD + purple tag!

The beautiful Miss Julie from Pop Champagne tagged me to do this fun color tag! She chose the color purple. So I had to find 7 purple things around my house!

And here's where the NOTD comes in!

1. It was an awesome coincidence that right before I found out she tagged me, I had painted my nails purple! Hehe. I used LA Girls Flare Bright Delights nail polish from F21. I posted awhile ago that I liked the same brand nailpolish in a turquoise color. However, I totally did not like this purple! :( It was really thin and even layering on coats still dried to a dull, dull finish. To spice it up, I tipped my nails with Wet N Wild glitter polish. It was still ugly. So like I did with a previous ugly polish, I topcoated with my Rimmel nailpolish, which seems to make any ugly color nice and shimmery. In RL, it still is pretty ugly and dark, nothing like in the bottle color. Bleh, but I'll live with it XP

2. My Japanese textbook. Which I should read more often, but I don't :P

3. Paintbrushes! Since I'm doing a lot of painting projects (which I hate). I had to buy new ones since this lady I sat next to had similar brushes and I think she took mines on accident =(

4. My Coach coinpurse. It's all dirty and banged up, but I never leave the house without it (:

5. Almay eye makeup remover wipes. I think I've mentioned this before, but these are the shit! Will review soon.

6. Muffin's flea comb. Not that she allows me to use it on her. Or that she allows me to touch her at all for that matter -____-;;

7. Puppy shampoo for Happy. I was a little wary about it since it was Hartz brand and if you've read my post about flea collars, theirs was soo so toxic! But it was the only one I could find. Seems to work well enough though

Thanks for the tag Julie!! I tag . . .

Dana (
Eki (
Kym (
Maisee (
Amy (
Mai (
Kalmo (
Wuzzy (

And I choose the color.... YELLOW!

Speaking of Happy, here is a recent pic of the sleepyhead. She has her beloved toy "Squeaky" but he looks like a total Celtics dawg! See the headband? *Gasp!* Luckily Happy beats the shit outta Squeaky.

Lakers got their rings today (:
FOUR chocolate chip cookies, LeBron!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mail love, random tag & stuff

I got a few questions in my last post about what camera I use. Believe it or not, it's a plain old p&s, nothing fancy -- a Sony Cybershot DSC-S730. It has a macro setting, and I have no idea why it's so great but it is :P I am hoping to get my hands on a Nikon D90 soon though.

Also, I got an awesome surprise in the mail yesterday, did not expect it to come so quick! I was an additional winner in Stacy's ( giveaway. I got to pick a handmade bracelet from her little bracelet shop ♥ I chose the Soft Sunset bracelet and I love it! :D Thanks so much Stacy! If you haven't already, definitely check out her blog!

And I'm bored, so here's a music tag that The Toothfairy, Kym, and Marie have done. Sorry I "stoled" it. Hehe.

Top 40s at the moment:

Fave album of all time (so far) Infinity On High. Although I cannot love FOB the same way I did several years ago (why why why did Pete & Ashlee have to shack up AND have a kid?!?!), this will definitely be a fav that got me through tough times.

3 songs that represent your feeling at the moment:Because I am a queen - India Arie
Slideshow - TI ft. John Legend
Fashion - Lady Gaga (I wanna go shopping!!)

Song(s) that gives u spirits when you are down:Anything by Lady Gaga~

the second part you should be spontaneous,scroll slowly and make sure u read each entry one by one before continuing to the next question *Spontaneous
Amazed - Lonestar
I don't wanna miss a thing - Aerosmith
This I swear - Nick Lachey (I am corny haha)

SEXY !!!:So Excited - Janet Jackson

My Black Dahlia - Hollywood Undead

R&B Nite:George Nozuka, Stevie Hoang, & Jay Sean ♥

Diamond:Diamonds are Forever – Kanye West (that's all I could think of too XD)

Eccentric:The Dresden Dolls

Adorable:Never B Replaced - 1st Lady

Anyone else bored? Go for it!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kona pics

I'm back again from Kona, I think I'll be going there every weekend for the next 2 months lol XD The coffee on my grandparent's farm is super ripe and ready for picking =)

And here's some other photos I took while I was there.

Here's the other two kitties! They're so cute but they don't like people XP

The Kona sunset is always beautiful. I couldn't get a good picture though :(

And I was eating these Spongebob gummies while I was there.
Since when does Squidward play the accordion??

Also, check out HAPPY MOMENTS! A blog that Mai started to share some, well, happy moments! Things to make you smile & laugh ^__^ You can even become a contributor! Click the link below for some happies =)