I believe everyone loves discovering new beauty brands and products, and for most of us in Singapore, we’re always either shopping at Sephora, Sasa, or the beauty section in shopping malls and pharmacies. One place I haven’t really explored for beauty is net-a-porter — and their beauty section is huuuuge. 👌
So I recently received a press release on exclusive beauty brands available at net-a-porter, and decided to pick eight random items whose descriptions were interesting, and give my honest take on them. And when I think about anything sold on net-a-porter, I always imagine that it’s not going to be cheap (it’s true!). So the big question is: are these beauty items worth their price tag? Read on.
Sunday Riley is one of those hip American brands that’s creeping its way onto the shelves of beauty junkies in Singapore. I’ve read many good things about how effective the formulas are, but to be honest, it’s the pretty packaging that has me trying this night oil.
First impression: it’s blue; the liquid is very blue. But it spreads into a clear liquid and absorbs easily into the skin. The oil also has quite a strong smell; it’s the chamomile I’m smelling (and I’m not a fan of chamomile). But I can get past the smell — and I may even like it over time — because this stuff made my skin super smooth almost immediately! There was a difference when I applied my usual night cream over this oil. The best way to describe my skin’s texture after using this, is silky. The next morning, I could actually see a slight change in my skin; the pores on my cheeks appeared smaller, and just overall, I looked more rested than I usually do. Good to note that this oil has retinol (don’t use it if you’re pregnant), and its key ingredient is blue tansy, which has antibacterial, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. I will definitely be continuing this as part of my nighttime skincare regime. I feel like I made a good choice starting off with this item from my net-a-beauty haul.
This one is quite straight forward — it’s a linen spray. It is water that is lightly scented with lavender, eucalyptus and musk. I smell mainly lavender (a classic, natural scent for invoking feelings of relaxation), and so it’s the perfect choice for bedding. But of course if you don’t fancy the smell of lavender, then this isn’t for you. Other ingredients in this water include sodium hydroxide (a cleaning agent), benzisothiazolinone (antimicrobial), and citric acid (for ph balance) — pretty standard stuff. Linen water is honestly quite handy to have in the house; you can use it for ironing, refreshing clothes, and to make the sofa smell better. But $60 water? As a good friend of mine would say… you can make it yourself. But of course if you can afford the convenience of just getting one from a luxury brand, Marie-Stella-Maris is a good option. This Amsterdam-based label is all for the “clean water for everyone” movement; with the purchase of any of their products, they donate an amount towards clean drinking water projects worldwide. Remember to recycle this bottle when you’re done with it!
This skincare is made in Canada, which is pretty different from everything else that I own — most of the beauty products I use are made in Japan, France or the US. Is it a moisturiser? A serum? A mask? If I didn’t know any better, I would think this is a mask because of its balm texture. After all, the name “Hydration Vaccine” is so open to interpretation. The instructions say to use it after serums, but before creams — so it’s a hydrator that’s in-between a serum and a moisturiser 🙄.
This product’s texture reminds me of Benefit’s POREfessional Face Primer; it comes out of the jar as a balm, but smooths over skin like a sheet of satin. It’s incredibly therapeutic applying this skincare — maybe that’s why they call it a “vaccine”. It made the following application of my moisturiser, primer and liquid foundation very smooth, and my skin did feel nice and comfortable throughout the day. But rather than add this on to my existing four-step skincare regime (lotion-booster-serum-moisturiser), I would rather replace the booster or serum step with it, because by mid-afternoon, my foundation started flaking from too much product. This is wonderful to use at night though; who doesn’t love smooth skin just before you sleep!
Okay, I’m a bit biased with this brand. Le Labo anything is nice. Just like how Herbivore anything looks nice, and Aesop anything smells nice. Last year, I walked into the Le Labo store in SoHo, New York, and wanted to smell and buy everything. The store was also a little dark and sparse, so I didn’t spot this lip balm; because I would have bought it if I did.
I’m not a fan of lip balms in tubes, but I’ll make an exception for this one. It’s a colourless, non-sticky, non-glossy, fragrance-free balm that is made with shea butter, olive oil, and jojoba seed oil — all good ingredients — and claims to contain no parabens or phthalates. It sounds nice and works well too! The finish is matte (guys will like it), but not overly matte, and I didn’t need to keep reapplying it throughout the day. I used it a total of three times from morning to evening, which is really not bad considering I work in an air-conditioned office all day (who doesn’t?!). This is worth the US$19, which is even more affordable than Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment that goes for $36.
I picked this item because I’ve never tried a deodorant that came out of a jar, plus I’m familiar with the brand. I previously used an Aurelia hand cream and it had the most wonderful smell, and so I suspected that this product would smell fantastic too, and it does! It’s fragranced with lavender and bergamot, and uses tea tree oils and peppermint as anti-bacterial agents.
It has a cream-to-powder texture that is applied by hand to the underarm area. The product is ridiculously lightweight; I couldn’t feel it at all, which made me wonder if I was actually using any deodorant the first day I tried it. But it kept me dry and feeling fresh the entire day and now this magical jar has replaced my usual deodorants, including the one from Aesop.
I’ve only tried Vitamin C skincare in the form of serums, so this paste is definitely something different for me. It’s actually a rinse-off morning mask, which sounds troublesome; but I applied it while making coffee (time management!).
It smells a bit odd — I can’t quite describe the scent, although the product description says it has jasmine and mandarin — and there’s a slight tingling sensation on the skin while using it. After I rinsed it off, my skin did look pretty fresh (could also be the cold water!) To be honest, I don’t know if this skincare works; I’ll need to use this for at least a week to notice a difference — or not. I’ll update again. The packaging is very pretty, though!
This Australian brand says they are organic, use only natural technologies (not so sure what this is), and no harmful chemicals. I just have to take their word for it. I do like this body wash; while the bergamot notes are most notable, the overall scent is — as the description says — uplifting. I also like that the texture is light and gel-lish. It feels really gentle on the skin; not drying at all. No complaints here.
Charlotte Tilbury’s black liquid eye pencil is one of the best eye pencils I’ve ever used, and so I had really high hopes for this mascara. After all, it promises curl, separation, volume and length. I first tried it on its own, after curling my lashes, but sadly, the wet formula made my lashes droop down and become poker straight again. I gave it a second try the next day using my favourite and trusted mascara base (Majolica Majorca’s Lash Bone Black Fiber) to prime my lashes first. The result wasn’t great. The mascara did not keep my lashes curled, and it wasn’t lengthening at all. I’m almost sad writing this review, but on the plus side, I imagine this product would work well for anyone with naturally long and curly lashes (basically if you’re Caucasian or Indian).