Here’s the best in beauty this week:
IGK EXPENSIVE AMLA OIL HI-SHINE TOPCOAT
$43, get waitlisted on Sephora.sg
When I first read the name of this product, I assumed it was a “topcoat” — the final step in hair styling. You know, like when you put a topcoat on your nails for a super glossy finish — I thought this was that. But for hair. And so without reading the instructions, that’s what I did. I left it on my hair for the day and didn’t see or feel a difference. “What is this nonsense?”, I thought… “How can it call itself a ‘topcoat’?” Then I found out it’s supposed to be a twice a week replacement to your conditioner. The joke was on me. Because when I used it the way I should have, my hair became super soft, shiny and instantly more manageable. I’ve never in my whole life seen my hair look remotely healthy… until I met my new best friend… this “Expensive Topcoat”! And as its name implies, it is expensive. It is going to be expensive maintaining this as a staple in my bathroom. Though I have to say, this product was a great introduction to IGK for me — it made me interested to discover more products from the brand, and the ones I would also recommend include the Low Key Cooling Walnut Scrub and Call Time Styling Primer. Again… expensive.
DIOR BACKSTAGE FACE & BODY FOUNDATION
$65, available in 21 shades from 5 July
I suspected this product would be good just based on the hype surrounding the “Backstage” line, and the professional, no nonsense packaging. This week, I finally got my hands on a bottle in my shade, and again… I’ve found another liquid foundation that I have to find space in my overflowing Muji makeup box for. The texture and finish is similar to Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Makeup (which is a 10 upon 10 in my books!), but this Dior one is slightly creamier. What amazed me most about this foundation, is that they mean it when they say the formula is buildable. I mean, EVERY liquid foundation claims to have a buildable formula, but this Face & Body Foundation actually IS buildable — I slathered on five layers just to test it out, and there was no caking, pilling, or creasing anywhere! My skin still looked like skin — and not a mask! — just smoother and “blurrer” with each layer. I managed to even conceal a light mole by the third layer; very impressive! I like that the bottle is compact and completely matte (Dior beauty packaging tends to be very shiny and prone to fingerprint marks, which I’m not a fan of); and it’s priced rather competitively. At $65, this sits in the price range of liquid foundations from Urban Decay ($62), Estée Lauder ($68), Becca ($68), and Lancome ($66-$68). For Dior, it’s a good price; it’s even less than NARS ($76), shu uemura ($75) and anything from YSL ($98). Also, globally, this liquid foundation comes in 40 shades — which is insane. Right now in Singapore, only Fenty Beauty has that many shades of foundation. However, note that Dior will only retail 21 shades in Singapore at Dior boutiques and Sephora — and you’ll likely fall within one of these 21 shades.
SISLEY ECOLOGICAL COMPOUND
(LIMITED EDITION 2018)
$275, available mid June
Just like my liquid foundations, I’m pretty loyal to moisturisers; and when I find a new one I like, I must really like it. This is the first time I’m trying anything from Sisley, and what better way to start than with their cult “Ecological Compound”. I think that’s their fancy way of saying herbal moisturiser. The plants used in the formula include Centella Asiatica (that “tiger grass” herb that’s also in the iconic Dr. Jart+ cream), Ginseng, Rosemary, Hops and Horsetail. It sounds like a blend that belif would also have; which isn’t a bad thing. At least I’m familiar with these ingredients and I know they are good for the skin. Anyway, the first time I tried this, it smelled like something my grandmother would use (it’s probably the hint of ginseng in it), but over the days, I grew to really love the scent, and after a week, my skin actually became softer and smoother.
It has to be this cream because I didn’t change anything else in my routine. I’d definitely recommend this product, but use it sparingly — at $275 for 125ml, that’s $2 a pump. For existing fans of this product, this is the limited edition 2018 bottle designed by artist Elzbieta Radziwill.
SULWHASOO FIRST CARE ACTIVATING
$52 (50ml) / $92 (110ml)
When I received the email press release on this product, I was really looking forward to trying it. I’ve been using the brand’s First Care Activating Serum EX every day for the past two years, and if this is the same thing but in a mist format, it will be good. The original serum can be used in so many ways — as a skincare booster, a repairing mask, a moisturiser and more. And as expected, this mist is exactly what I imagined it to be — the serum, in a fine mist. It has a slightly different scent from the original serum, but it’s pleasant and I like it. This bottle has now been sitting on my desk since it came into office, and I give my face a spritz whenever I start to feel tired; it could be psychological but I do feel refreshed.
URBAN DECAY BORN TO RUN
$76, available at Sephora
When Urban Decay released its Backtalk palette a few months ago, it sold out very quickly at Sephora. I can understand why; it’s both an eye and face palette, has a detachable mirror, and has very pretty millennial pink packaging. But I didn’t like it. The colours made my eyes look like I hadn’t slept in days; or I was punched in the eye. As popular as the palette was, the shades just didn’t suit me. But this Born To Run palette is amazing; it has every colour I would ever want… nudes, browns, blacks, golds, greys… and in different finishes. For the past two weeks, I’ve been creating very pleasant looks on the eyes; looks that make my eyes appear brighter and more awake. And Urban Decay really has the BEST eyeshadow formulas. The textures feel smooth and silky on the eye, they don’t crease, they aren’t “fluffy” (i.e. the powder doesn’t break apart in the pan or come out loose and powdery on the brush), and the colour payoff is magnificent. The only colour that looks different from the palette when worn, is “Double Life” — it’s a warm brown with a metallic sheen, and looks different from different angles (almost holographic but not quite). I also think that this palette is incredible value; here’s some perspective: for $76, you get 21 versatile shades, while the Naked palette costs $83 for 12 shades. Hurry up and buy before it gets sold out like Backtalk.