Today it’s Korean beauty vs Japanese beauty, and I’m testing out how Korean brand Clio’s Water Me Please BB cream stands up against Japanese brand SANA’s Keana Pate Pore Putty BB Pact (which I also reviewed here).
Please bear in mind I am currently ill having contracted Fresher’s Flu at university this weekend, and my face got severely weather battered by going sailing today as well, and it’s past my bedtime but I’m trying hard to make time for you guys today (I’m scheduling it so you can read at a more friendly time of day); so that’s three good reasons why my eyes are so red and puffy!! That makes this the perfect day to test these two products though, because there’s no point testing out foundations on a good skin day when I look great anyway!
The Clio Water Me Please gave a much more natural look with less coverage than the SANA Pore Putty. I think I would use this one when I wanted something lightweight that didn’t look like I was wearing makeup. My boyfriend couldn’t actually tell I was wearing makeup.
White Cast / Grey Cast:
The Clio Water Me Please BB Cream has been criticized by some beauty bloggers for giving a grey cast, but when I applied it today with a beauty blender (actually, a cheap Chinese dupe; my budget doesn’t currently stretch to an expensive make-up sponge), it did not give a grey cast. In fact, its base tones blended perfectly with my natural face color (NC15-20). The SANA Pore Putty SPF40 PA+++ gave a slight white cast in the mirror but it’s not noticeable in the photos for some reason.
Did they Cause Breakouts?
The Clio Water Me Please BB Cream did not cause any breakouts at all, and never has done, not even the time when I first used it and smeared WAY too much on my face (seriously, dab it on lightly). It’s uber skin friendly.
The SANA Pore Putty has left my skin with very minor breakouts every time I’ve used it, so after using it several times I can honestly say I think it’s the Pore Putty doing it. However, while my skin is usually normal, occasionally it goes on a spree of being sensitive and gets upset at certain products. Just like it occasionally goes dry or oily. Weird, huh? I think it’s down to what I eat throwing my skin out of balance sometimes, but I can’t prove it.
I found that the Clio Water Me Please BB Cream blended exceptionally well on my face (NC15-20) and on the back of my hand (about 2 shades darker). It was practically invisible, which is fabulous for a product with SPF-30 and PA++. The SANA Pore Putty didn’t blend so well, and sort of sits on top of my skin, but it’s only as bad as my L’Oreal True Match, which is to say you can hardly tell.
I don’t have any permanent lines to find out if either product settled in them, so I’m only talking about expression lines here. The SANA Pore Putty made those expression lines more obvious, which made me look older when I smiled or frowned. The SANA Pore Putty BB Pact definitely creased more in the under-eye area, making that area look more dry, but the Clio Water Me Please BB cream left a more uneven surface, especially around the (ever-growing) pores either side of my nose. The SANA Pore Putty BB Pact worked to minimize these pores, even if the make-up itself was more obvious. I will add that a good primer will get rid of more of this issue, regardless of which BB you use.
The SANA Pore Putty was just much better at covering up red areas, though. In the three photos, you can see the line down my forehead where the SANA Pore Putty is covering up all the redness I’ve currently got from being ill, and the Clio Water Me Please BB cream isn’t covering that up. Definitely if you have clear skin the Clio Water Me Please is a much better choice, but if you have things to cover up, SANA Pore Putty is better.
The SANA Pore Putty BB Pact is SPF40 (or possibly 35; they keep changing it), ten whole SPFs more than the Clio Water Me Please BB Cream. More importantly, Pore Putty is PA+++ and Clio Water Me Please is PA++, meaning Pore Putty offers 33% better protection from harmful ageing UVA rays than Clio Water Me Please.
In general, the Clio Water Me Please BB SPF 30 PA++ is a very good BB cream, good value for money at $11 a tube, and I think it’s got a lot more advantages. However, if you are looking to minimize the appearance of pores, or cover up redness, the SANA Pore Putty BB Pact SPF 40 PA+++ really comes into its own and does those jobs very well. It also has the better sun protection, which is a consideration if you don’t use separate sunscreen year-round. Neither of these BB products are very expensive compared to some other products, and that also counts in their favor. If I had to just use one on an average (non-sunny) day, however, I would reach for the Clio Water Me Please BB Cream.
I looked out at the ethereal water droplets bathing the garden and I couldn’t help myself. I had to go out and get soaked taking these pictures. This is my entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge since the theme is Spare and the sky had all this spare water in it (so it rained a lot):
It’s time for my most epic review of this month; which is better, Revitalash Advanced, Rapid Lash or Grande Lash MD??
I used Rapid Lash for the first five months of 2015. I switched to Revitalash Advanced in May 2015 and used it through November 2015 (I stopped in mid November due to severe pregnancy sickness which was nothing to do with the Revitalash but it did throw my beauty regime down the toilet). As a result I wrote an article comparing Rapid Lash and Revitalash.
I did find out that these lash products are not recommended for use during pregnancy due to lack of evidence about the effects. In February, when I was no longer pregnant, I was going to buy more Revitalash Advanced but the price went up a LOT then I saw there’s been an explosion of new lash serums onto the market. Scrutinizing the ingredients pretty cautiously (because this stuff is going on my eyes) I selected Grande Lash MD as my new lash serum because it didn’t look like a bad knock-off (a fake dupe – a dupe that doesn’t actually work but looks a lot like the real thing) of Rapid Lash or Revitalash Advanced (assume I mean Revitalash Advanced where I say “revitalash” in the rest of this article). I have reviewed a couple of the lash serums that don’t have any proper active ingredients, to see how they compared to Rapid Lash, but spoiler alert, their lengthening effects were instant but those effects washed off again.
That’s not to say these are the only three that work, just the only three I’ve tested and found to work.
All the products I talk about in this review really work to grow your lashes, the question I want to answer in this lash serum review is: Which one is better?
This is what Grande Lash MD looks like:
I really liked the packaging for Grande Lash MD – the metallic orangey bronze colour was a refreshing pop against the Revitalash and Rapid Lash packaging, both of which are silvery. I have noticed most of the cheap knock offs of Revitalash and Rapid Lash have silver packaging as well – presumably to get you to think they’re just as good. I actually chose Grande Lash MD out of a long list of lash serums on Amazon.com because it looked a bit different to the others – it stood out. I liked that it dared to be different with packaging. I know it doesn’t affect the quality of the product… but still… I liked it.
Grande Lash MD works the same way as Rapid Lash and Revitalash. It makes your lashes grow using a special ingredient called a “bimatoprost analog” (an analog of prostaglandin, used in glaucoma drugs and Latisse). When the product is applied to the lashes once a day (usually at night, so that your mascara doesn’t interfere with it), after 4-8 weeks the lashes should be longer. I tried Grande Lash MD for 3 months to see how it stood up against Revitalash and Rapid Lash.
It’s in a long tube with a thin brush inside. You use the brush to paint the product over your eyelashes at the base. The product is colourless and transparent, and it dries invisible with no residue or sticking of the lashes.
And here’s a handy table of comparisons:
As you can see from the comparison table, they all have the same active ingredient. There’s a lot of new lash serums on the market that claim to be good but don’t have any useful active ingredients. Call me a sourpuss, but if people put “eyelash serum” or “eyelash conditioner” on the label of a product, I expect them to have at least made an effort to put something into the product, some ingredient or other, that will actually make my lashes grow. That’s why these three are so great.
Grande Lash MD vs Revitalash:
If you’ve got the money for Revitalash, I’d buy Revitalash for 2 reasons – 1. the results were faster. 2. The results were better. So my lashes grew to their longest overall length with the Revitalash and the results started being visible from week 3. After 6 weeks of using the Revitalash, my lashes were phenomenal lengths. If it was easier to photograph eyelashes on my phone I’d definitely have comparison pictures. When I can afford a Macro Lens I will add some better pictures of my eyelashes.
If you haven’t got the money for Revitalash, your only options for actual lash growth are Grande Lash MD or Rapid Lash. I’ve already written a comparison review of Revitalash vs Rapid Lash. Let’s see how Grande Lash MD and Rapid Lash compare to each other:
Grande Lash MD vs Rapid Lash.
Grande Lash MD is already winning because it’s cheapest of the two, and if money is your main concern you will actually get better value for money from the Grande Lash MD. The results I got were not as good as with the Rapid Lash, BUT there was no irritation (for me personally) with the Grande Lash MD. If you remember my article comparing Rapid Lash and Revitalash, I complained that the Rapid Lash left a dark line above my lashes and it also irritated my eyes. I have had absolutely no bad reaction to the Grande Lash MD – even when I used it twice a day for a week to see what would happen (which I tried with the other two as well). The effects I experienced with Rapid Lash won’t happen to everyone who uses it, so it’s likely that you will not have this problem with Rapid Lash, but for me, Grande Lash MD is the better option because it didn’t harm my eye area.
Where can I buy them?
I get these from Amazon because they are genuine products and a LOT cheaper than paying recommended retail price. Revitalash is also available from beauticians (their website has a search option) and Rapid Lash is available from some drugstores (Boots in the UK sells it), but Amazon is the cheapest place to get them. Here’s the affiliated links (US):
Obviously you can’t use them on different days at the same time to test them because the results take a while to show. I started with Rapid Lash, using it once a day (at night) coating the roots of my lashes with it for a few months. I also tried using it twice a day for a week.
This did accelerate results quite well but also made the irritation a LOT worse leading to me using it less. I moved onto the Revitalash and used that once a day (at night, as instructed by the packet), covering the base of my lashes, as shown on the video, which is slightly different to the application method described on the tube.
The tube says “at the base of the lashes, like eyeliner” but the video that Revitalash made shows that’s not how you use it. I found the method shown on the video to produce good results. I tried using Revitalash twice a day and my lashes did get longer but I also noticed that my eyes were looking more sunken.
One huge downside to Revitalash is that it reduces the amount of fat around the eye (I can’t find the scientific study that showed this but Latisse has the same effect) – so if you use too much of it, it can make you look aged while you are using it for the initial 4-6 weeks. Once your lashes have reached their best length, you can scale back to using Revitalash one or twice a week, I found twice a week was best to maintain beautiful long lashes. At this point, your eyes will go back to normal if you were affected by fat loss.
What about Latisse?
I really *really* want to try Latisse for a fair comparison. I usually buy all my products with my own money, but Latisse is the only one I would make an exception for: If the manufacturers would like to send me a sample, I would be only too happy to try it out and write about it. There are mountains of evidence from clinical trials that show that Latisse works, but it would be fantastic to see how much better (or worse) it works than these other serums.
Sadly, it’s not available in the UK because we have an NHS and so there’s no market for doctor-prescribed lash growth serums, it’s seen as an un-necessary expense. If it becomes more normal in the UK for people on a middle income to choose a private doctor’s consultation, perhaps in the future Latisse will be available in the UK. In the meantime, since 90% of my readers are American, perhaps you could add any experiences you have had with Latisse to the comments to help other readers?
And a warning:
One disturbing trend I’ve noticed on the internet is people are buying Bimatoprost from online pharmacies in America at generic drug prices, to try and get cheap Latisse. Young teenagers are making videos telling people to do this.
This is highly dangerous because the concentration in generic Bimatoprost is very high (it’s specifically formulated for people with glaucoma; its actual mechanism is designed to reduce eye pressure) and it will cause the pressure in your eye to drop too low, causing a medical condition known as hypotony which can lead to loss of vision. As with many pharmaceuticals, this will not happen instantly, the effect will get worse over time but once you have damaged your vision it’s not reversible.
Please, please don’t be stupid, long lashes are NOT worth blinding yourself for!! That is why, if you cannot afford Latisse or it isn’t available in your country, it’s better to get Revitalash, Grande Lash MD or Rapid Lash, these products are made to go on lashes and if anything goes wrong, these companies are accountable. If you buy actual glaucoma drugs on the sly to make longer lashes and you go blind, it is your own fault. As an analogy, using pharmacy-grade Bimatoprost to grow your lashes is like using thick house bleach to dye your hair. Would you dye your hair with the bleach you clean your toilet with??? Of course not, the concentration is far too high! Save yourself the horror and buy a real lash serum.
UPDATE 2020: I’ve updated the article above as some of the info has changed, and I also wanted to comment on a worrying trend that’s sweeping Amazon. Dubious quality products (some very expensive) calling themselves “lash growth serums” have flooded the market from brands that aren’t real, aren’t established, and when you dig deeper into them, they aren’t FDA regulated or EU regulated companies. Please keep safe online and only buy these sort of products from reputable companies. I intend to write a full article exposing these fake companies and their fake review practices once I have the time (the joys of being a full-time working mother).
I will remind readers that I use Amazon Associates because Amazon offers the best value. This does not affect the price you pay.
This is a set of 4 exercises to help avoid eye wrinkles.
I found these exercises in a book from 1972 called “Secrets of Natural Beauty” by Virginia Castleton Thomas. I think it’s a classic amongst my parents’ generation (my parents would have been 11 when this was published, so maybe a classic amongst people a bit older), because when I cleared their houses after their deaths last year, both my mother and my father had a copy of this book on their bookshelf. I have, however, re-written the description of these exercises so that this post is more readable as the phrasing was a bit old-fashioned.
1. To remove eye tension and strengthen the eye muscles: Sit upright and extend your right arm directly in front of you. Point forward with your index finger and focus on it with your eyes, then move the finger very slowly to the right, until your arm has moved so far that you can hardly focus on it any more, then bring the arm back to centre, slowly, still focusing on the finger. Repeat the exercise using your left arm, but this time, move the arm to the left instead of the right.
2. Keeping your head still, raise your arm upwards to the limit of your vision. Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly drop your arm until it’s at the lower end of your vision range. Start by doing this once per day, but after you have done them for a few days, start building repetitions until you are doing a few reps each time.
3. Open your eyes wide and visualize a large-faced clock with the numbers painted just at the edge of your vision. Start at twelve o’clock and very slowly, without moving your head, move your eyes to one o’clock and on around in a clockwise direction, pausing briefly at each (visualized) number before moving onto the next one. After returning to twelve o’clock, repeat the exercise anticlockwise, moving the eyes from twelve to eleven, and so on.
4. Rolling the head without moving the shoulders is a good exercise for improved vision. This movement relaxes the eyes and reduces deepening wrinkles due to eye strain. Learning to do a loose head roll not only improves the vision by increasing circulation to the optic nerves, but can also relax the entire upper body. Personally I find the head roll very comforting and relaxing – it reminds me of yoga and gymnastics lessons at primary school. Do be aware that it’s best to avoid rolling your head backwards as this has been said to be dangerous (I’m not sure if this is a myth but I avoid it just in case, as I was told it during warm-ups by instructors of five or six different physical activities).
I tried these exercises out last night, and I don’t think I look any younger but the head roll was, as I predicted, very relaxing. The eye exercises made both my eyes ache slightly when I moved my eyes from 1 to 2 and from 11 to 10, so I think that might be an area of muscle weakness that I need to work on.
Virginia also writes:
“In addition to exercises for toning eye muscles, there are additional helps to control the marring of skin tissue by wrinkles, dark circles and frown lines. Learn to express your thought without grimacing. Many people are inclined to punctuate, describe or apologize for the contents of their speech by clown-like expressions.
The face should not be used to explain verbal expression. Well-chosen words will convey your meaning and be more appreciated without distracting facial expressions. Frowns, narrowing of the eyes and other manifestations of uncertainty do not present either a pretty or helpful picture. Use adequate speech and save your face.
That is not to say one should not have any expression at all. But these expressions should be relaxed, and show the more pleasant aspects of one’s personality. Laugh lines seldom seem to distress their owners as much as frown lines or wrinkles caused by squinting or habitually downturned lips. Laugh lines add animation to the face. However, the quick to laugh personality often pays for charm with crinkle lines around the lips.” (Secrets of Natural Beauty, 1972, page 133)
It sort of reads like she’s a slightly bossy teacher at a finishing-school trying to impress upon her charges the importance of understated expressions. I’m not sure I agree with the way she’s written it but the fact still remains that OTT expressions will age your face too soon, and apparently this has been known since at least the early 1970s. One thing I will point out is the women who were in their twenties in the 1960s and 1970s seem to have all stopped ageing around their late forties and early fifties, so they probably know what they’re talking about when it comes to beauty. While I couldn’t find any information on the internet about Virginia Castleton Thomas (and the book sadly appears to be out of print), it does say on the back cover that she was a beauty editor, and the introductory chapter shows that she has done a lot of research to find the beauty formulas she presents in this book, so I think she knows what she’s talking about. I will be writing more about this book, and the recipes for home-made cosmetics, as I try them out.
What do you think of these facial exercises? Would you do them? Let me know in the comments!
I struggled to write an introductory paragraph for this post on choosing wedding rings, buying them, etc, but I hope this post is helpful for anyone struggling with decisions such as: “Is it okay to buy a second hand vintage wedding ring?” Or: “Is tungsten carbide a good material for a wedding ring?” The answer is yes to both, by the way.
My ring was £249.99 from a Vintage/2nd hand shop in Bradford. It is platinum and 1/2 carat diamond (round cut) solitaire in size J, because I have tiny fingers. It took ages to find because a) A lot of jewellers don’t stock my size b) I was very indecisive.
I looked at a lot of things and I fell in love with an antique 1920s ruby ring that was sadly sold before we could afford to buy it (I’m glad, though, now) and later, I nearly bought an opal and 9 carat yellow gold dress ring (5 opals in a row). The reason I didn’t (I was literally on the payment screen) was because I realized I have to wear this ring every day. Every single day. So I needed it to be fit for purpose. Opals have a big drawback – their beautiful colours are caused by water trapped under the surface of the stone. If you get them wet over a period of time, that water comes out and you are left with something that looks like a white plastic bead (I should know, I have a lot of opals in my crystal and mineral collection). This means I would need to take my ring off like, all the time (I wash my hands a LOT and I do all the cleaning in my house). That wasn’t what I wanted to have to do with my wedding ring. Additionally, I wanted something that looked equally at home if I was wearing my ripped denim jacket or my beautiful wedding dress. I needed something neutral, that looked good all the time. So I chose a diamond, and I chose a silver metal for travel reasons – if I’m travelling, chances are, people will disregard it as a silver/cubic zirconia ring and not worth stealing. An advantage of it being second hand is that its recommended retail price is £1700, so someone else absorbed that depreciation, and another advantage is that there’s less pressure on me, as it’s not perfect or pristine, just like me (not that you can tell from glancing at it). Taking the pressure off the bride was the only way I was going to walk down that aisle, so YAY. Before this, I had an engagement ring made of white gold, diamond and tanzanite, I got it for about £39.99 from Argos on offer, it went up to over £79.99 and stayed there for years, and I don’t know if they’re still selling it. We got engaged in 2011.
My future husband chose a tungsten carbide alloy ring with the “One Ring” inscription from Lord Of The Rings. It’s durable, it was cheap (like, under £10), and he assures me that it is comfortable to wear. He doesn’t generally wear it; he seems to struggle with rings, and I think a lighter ring would have been easier for him to keep on his finger, but he wanted this one, so most of the time it lives on the mantelpiece in our living room. His engagement ring was £19.99 from Argos; it was stainless steel with a Greek key pattern on it.
Would you buy a second hand or vintage wedding ring? Let me know in the comments.
So I got Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer recently. I have been using Avon’s Anew Primer before, because it was the best primer I’d ever found, and before that I was using Clarins’s primer, which I received as a gift for Christmas 2013 and mistakenly thought it was an eye cream until I read the packaging in more detail. I thought I’d do a review of them all because I thought they were all so very different.
In order, then:
Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch:
What it looks like in the packet: It comes in a screw top jar that’s really tiny. It’s unusual for a primer, because it’s solid. I found it a bit like putting butter on my face, but it did melt in nicely and provided a reasonable base for my foundation.
What it looks like on my face: I used L’Oreal True Match and Benefit WOW Oxygen foundations with the Clarins primer. I did find that they sat on top of it rather than settling in, which I thought was normal for primers at the time because I’d never used one before, but now I know better I don’t think I’m as happy about this. A finishing powder is a must with this primer. Also it didn’t fill in the potholes. You know, the pores you get in summer. It kinda made them worse because it sat on the higher bits so exaggerated the pores making me look old and haggard. At 26 that wasn’t really what I wanted from a primer.
What it looks like when you wash it off: It made no difference to how the make-up wore or came off, it didn’t prolong the wear of the foundation.
Overall rating: It was my first, and my least favourite primer. At the time, I didn’t really think it was useful as an addition to my make-up routine since I hadn’t tried any other at that point.
Avon Anew Skin Transforming Primer
What it looks like in the packet: It came in a pump action cylinder. It’s a thick white creamy substance that has the consistency of frozen soft serve ice cream. It’s not this one, it’s a different range, and it’s NOT an eyeshadow primer either!
What it looks like on your face: It fills in the surface and smooths out the summer pores nicely, I also found it covered up fine lines quite well and provided a good base for both foundation and eyeshadow. The foundation sank in slightly but not enough to dry out or form a crust (if you have even slightly dry skin and have ever been fooled into using powder foundation on bare skin, you know what I’m talking about).
What it looks like when you wash it off: I find this primer makes it easier to wash off any make up I wear, leaving far less residue than any other primer, or foundation with no primer. I also find it isn’t remotely moisturising, so it’s important to use a proper day cream underneath, especially if you’re trying to preserve your youthful vigour for as long as possible before any of the obvious signs set in. I would certainly say that while it has no “anti-ageing” properties in the scientific mumbo-jumbo kind of way, it certainly creates a good visual and makes you look more flawless.
Overall rating: I only bought this for my wedding, because I was an Avon rep at the time, but I’m still using it (long after I quit being a rep) and really love it. At £9 I thought it was a bit expensive, but I got it at £4.50 and when I think about how much the other two primers cost, I think I got one heck of a bargain. Avon’s usually VERY hit or miss but this primer is a big hit.
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer:
What it looks like in the packet: It’s a squeezy tube. When I first opened it, there was this very greasy fluid (like, the exact opposite of viscous, it was about as fluid as acetone) that went straight down my hand and reached my elbow before I could wipe it off. After that first time, it’s always been a see-through colourless gel like silicon, almost like the lubricant we used to use on the milkshake machine at McDonalds.
What it looks like on your face: It goes on like silicon as well, so I would guess that it’s probably made of mostly silicon. It provides a phenomenal base for foundation and when I used it for a music video this week it made the foundation look totally flawless and that foundation stayed put all day on both days of filming. It also gave a good finish with the pigmented finishing powder I used (foundation alone tends to make one look pasty when you’re filming with bright lights) and this was the result:
What it looks like when you wash it off: It really lets itself down here. Maybe I’ve been spoilt by the Avon primer, but this one did something to make the foundation into a highly pigmented emulsion and it took over 10 minutes to wash it off with warm water and a sponge. Cold water just beaded off it. I guess that this is the flipside of using silicon. I didn’t use soap because soap is designed to get rid of oil-based things (such as most dirt) rather than silicon.
Overall rating: I really loved the perfection this one created, it really did a good job at making skin look great on camera, and I would not hesistate to recommend the Smashbox Primer for anyone working in film and photography because underneath foundation and finishing powder it’s the best primer I’ve used for this purpose. I wish I’d had it for my wedding.
I don’t think there is any situation where the Clarins one would win. It just doesn’t do anything very well. I guess if you want something that’s 100% plant-based, you might want to give it a look, but I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel for a positive because I’m not convinced on the provenance of the ingredients. See my article “what’s all natural and what are chemicals” for more explanation on this. I would ALWAYS use the Smashbox primer for moving pictures, and any time I want to make a Youtube video from now on I will use the Smashbox Primer because it is really phenomenal at what it does. However, for a day-to-day primer if I was to get a job where I needed to wear makeup every day, I would not choose this one. Instead, I would pick the Avon Anew Primer. Why? Because it washes off easily, and when I’m working in a job where I have to wear make-up (professional ice skater, entertainment host, make-up sales rep, receptionist; all on my CV, and all GENERALLY jobs where you will get frowned upon if you don’t wear make-up) , my biggest pet hate is spending up to fifteen minutes trying to get the day’s foundation and mascara off, when I could be in bed getting more sleep. I’d rather look a bit less HD ready for day to day life and save the Smashbox stuff for filming.