Hydrate your pout with Fresh
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Hydrate your pout with Fresh’s lip tints! Photography: Fresh via Facebook

Our best beauty buys of 2019: This month we give honest opinions on Drunk Elephant’s new anti-pollution bronzer-serum, The Skin Pharmacy’s whitecast-free sunscreen, Re:erth’s blemish control serum and Glamglow Starpotion’s liquid charcoal face oil.

Last month, we reviewed a coffee mask, a butter balm that melts makeup and an amazing rose toner. Our beauty reviews this July are all about skin protection. Yup, we’re talking blemish control, anti-pollution skincare, a sunscreen that doesn’t give you the dreaded whitecast, a face oil made with liquid charcoal and a super ingredient facial wash crafted from ‘ugly carrots’. Presenting the best beauty buys that are high on our vanity table this month.

Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Ruby

Shout out to yet another lip product from Fresh following my obsession with their caramel lip balm. Tbh, this is my second tube (or is it the third?) and I totally understand why this lip tint has a cult following. I love sporting a rosy, hydrated pout whether I have a full face of makeup on or not, and this gives me just that. I wish this could be a handbag staple, but unfortunately the bullet does tend to melt in the Singapore weather when you’re out and about, so it might be wiser to store it indoors (I leave it on my office desk). If it does start to melt, chuck it into the freezer, stat.
Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Ruby, $36, available online and at Fresh and Sephora stores
– Amelia, Lifestyle Writer

Re:erth Blemish Control

Our top beauty picks for the month
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Have you tried anything from our list? Photography: Re:erth

Blemish control is the keyword here. I’ve been using this product for over a month and pesky bumps on my face (especially around the sides and my forehead) have slowly subsided. I also like the minty fresh gel-like texture that absorbs almost instantly into my skin. Mochi skin, here I come!
Re:erth Blemish Control serum, $75, available online and at Naiise Iconic, Design Orchard and habitat by honestbee
– Nicole Nithiyah, Lifestyle Writer

Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops

Best beauty buys for the month. Drunk Elephant's D-Bronzi Anti-pollution drops
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Drunk Elephant’s new D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops is available from 18 July Photography: Drunk Elephant

I’ll be honest; I was a little hesitant with the bronzer tag – I’m not one to mix skincare with makeup. But when Drunk Elephant comes up with a bronzer-serum hybrid that’s actually meant to be mixed with skincare, I knew I had to try it. Dubbed as sunshine in a bottle, the product has omega-rich virgin marula (one of DE’s favourite ingredients), a chronopeptide that mirrors vitamin D’s antioxidant benefits, black currant seed oils and vitamin F which is rich in fatty acids. It’s the perfect formula that shields against pollution and environmental stressors but with a touch of bronze. I usually add a drop to my C-Firma Day Serum. I liked the glow and hint of shine but my skin did feel oily than usual especially towards the end of the day. I’d recommend using it on ‘too lazy to pile on the makeup’ days.
Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops, $50 available from 18 July
– Nicole Nithiyah, Lifestyle Writer

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water

Let’s face it, removing makeup after a long day can be tiresome sometimes. As much as it’s a #firstworldproblem, many of us face it. Which is why my makeup removing process should be quick and seamless. I got my hands on this baby a couple of months ago and I’m happy to say I’m on my second bottle – it is a cult favourite for a reason. This makeup remover sweeps away heavy-duty makeup – even smudge-proof mascara and eyeliner – along with all the gunk, oil and dirt. I also love the soothing properties of cucumber extract. Big win over here.
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water, $29.30, available at online and Guardian stores
– Nicole Nithiyah, Lifestyle Writer

Milani Conceal and Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation

Milani Cosmetics debuts in Singapore
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Multi-tasking products. Yay or nay? Photography: Milani via Facebook

Yes, this cult makeup brand from L.A. is finally in Singapore and we were one of the firsts to get our hands on it. The ‘Conceal and Perfect 2-in-1 foundation’ is one of their best-sellers so I just knew I had to try it. Let’s get this out of the way: we’re all busy bees so every minute of our makeup routine counts. A multi-tasking concealer and foundation is a great way to save time. The product gives off a dewy finish and is buildable without making you look cakey. At such an attractive price point, this is quite a steal. Easily conceals my dark circles and blemishes but if you like the area around your dark circles to be a lighter shade, you’ll have to get a second bottle. Also, use a good primer and setting spray so that your base stays on all day.
Milani Conceal and Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation, $21.70, available online and at selected Watson’s stores
– Nicole Nithiyah, Lifestyle Writer

The Body Shop Carrot Wash Energizing Face Cleanser

The Body Shop introduces a carrot skincare range | Our best beauty buys in July
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The Body Shop introduces a cool carrot skincare range. Photography: Amelia Ang

We all know that carrots are a super ingredient packed with vitamins A, C and K, carotenoids, potassium and superbly rich in other antioxidants. If it’s so good for our body, imagine what it could do when incorporated with our skincare routine. Case in point: The Body Shop’s new carrot skincare range. Made from organic ‘wonky’ carrots that are too ugly to be sold at supermarkets – their words, not ours – this energising vegan face wash leaves my face feeling fresh and deeply cleansed.
The Body Shop Carrot Wash Energizing Face Cleanser, $21, available at The Body Shop outlets
– Nicole Nithiyah, Lifestyle Writer

Glamglow Starpotion Liquid Charcoal Clarifying Oil

A face oil that’s black. Haven’t seen much of that around. No points for guessing cult beauty brand Glamglow’s star ingredient is liquid charcoal. Two tiny black drops on each cheek and one on the forehead (my most problematic zone) is all I need. Apart from charcoal, it’s stocked with powerful ingredients like vitamin C, salicylic acid, aloe vera, turmeric. It is rather magical – the instant you start blending it into your skin, it turns transparent.

A vegan potion free of nasties like sulfates and parabens, I did see a noticeable improvement in the dry areas of combination skin. Did it clarify? I’ve been using it for two weeks at night, as opposed to twice a day as recommended and so far, it has done a decent job on my forehead acne. I’m not too fond of the ‘natural’ scent but it only lingers for a minute or so.
Glamglow Starpotion Liquid Charcoal Clarifying Oil, $75, available at Sephora stores and online
– Aditi Gaitonde Fernandes, Deputy Editor

The Skin Pharmacy Silky Smooth Sunscreen SPF50

This broad spectrum sunscreen glides on and absorbs smoothly without a whitecast (rare!), giving your skin that invisible shield to bounce off those UVA and UVB rays. Also, you gotta love the lightweight moisture that it provides – this feels like just another face cream! The brand deserves brownie points for making it free of artificial preservatives and colouring too.
The Skin Pharmacy Silky Smooth Sunscreen SPF50, $49.90, available online and at The Skin Pharmacy stores
– Amelia, Lifestyle Writer

OGX Argan Oil of Morocco

This looks like straight-up oil but it’s really more like a gel (if you’re apprehensive about putting oil on your hair, fret not). It smoothes out frizzes like a dream and doubles as a heat protector as well – don’t we all love adding multi-tasking products to our stash? And while it’s meant to be applied on towel-dried hair, I find that it’s also great for adding life and shine to hair that’s dry from being under the air conditioner all day.
OGX Argan Oil of Morocco, $16.90, available at Watsons stores
– Amelia, Lifestyle Writer

What we loved in April

Drunk Elephant’s Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser

Drunk Elephant | Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser | Best beauty buys
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Shake some Bamboo Booster Exfoliant to the cleanser for a skin-refining exfoliation. Photography: Drunk Elephant

When I first heard about Drunk Elephant’s new butter cleanser, I was sceptical. For someone with oily skin, using an ‘oily’ makeup remover is not the first choice. But when Drunk Elephant debuts a multi-tasking makeup-melting butter cleanser that transitions to milk, you gotta try it. Made from a blend of five African oils and antioxidant-rich fruit extracts, the super-rich product is designed to be used on dry skin. Add water and it turns into milk to give you that goddess glow. I used the product for a week and I’m still divided. As predicted, it does take a little getting used to but it does the job – even with a full face of makeup including waterproof mascara. But as a cleanser? I’m not so sure how I feel about the oily sheen it leaves on my skin. Using it as a pm cleanser for now. The magnetic spatula and bright green tub is a nice touch though! Oh, and it also comes with a sample size of Bamboo Booster Exfoliant for exfoliation days.
Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser, $50, available online and at various locations
– Nicole, Lifestyle Writer

The Body Shop’s Nicaraguan Coffee Intense Awakening Mask

Beauty Reviews | Nicaraguan Coffee Intense Awakening Mask | The Body Shop
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Coffee is a rich source of powerful antioxidants, just what you’ll need for tired and dull skin. Photography: The Body Shop

Coffee is a rich source of powerful antioxidants, just what you’ll need for tired and dull skin. Photography: The Body Shop
I don’t know how The Body Shop does it but almost all products smell so good you could almost it eat (but don’t though, that’s gross). The new Nicaraguan Coffee Intense Awakening Mask is no different as it transports you straight to your fave barista. If coffee gives you life, so will this mask. Made with a blend of coffee bean particles from Nicaragua, Community Trade shea butter and cocoa butter from Ghana, and Community Trade organic cane sugar from Paraguay (yes, they’re really serious about sustainably sourced ingredients), this vegan mask gently exfoliates, scrubbing all impurities away. It also feels a little warm upon application. I left it on for about 10 minutes and my skin looks less dull than before. Will definitely use for exfoliation. Tip: use a brush to evenly spread the mask. A spatula just won’t cut it.
Nicaraguan Coffee Intense Awakening Mask, $35, available at all The Body Shop stores and online
– Nicole, Lifestyle Writer

Fresh Sugar Caramel Hydrating Lip Balm

Beauty Reviews | Fresh Sugar Caramel Hydrating Lip Balm | Best beauty buys in 2019
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Coat your lips with a little caramel…Photography: Fresh via Facebook

I’m almost out of my little tub and I would totally re-purchase! Slather it on to salvage chapped lips on-the-go, or better yet, leave on a thick layer overnight as a lip mask. I’ve even used it as an emergency treatment for patches of dry, flaky skin that magically appear when I’m out and about (thanks for nothing, combination skin). It also leaves a subtle sheen that’s pretty on both the lips and eyes, if the glossy eye look is your thing. Scent-wise, it’s slightly sweet and reminiscent of caramel – heads up if you’re not one for fragranced products.
Fresh Sugar Caramel Hydrating Lip Balm, $27, available online and at various locations
– Amelia, Lifestyle Writer

Pixi Rose Tonic Toner

Pixi Rose Tonic Toner | Beauty Reviews
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Have you tried this iconic toner? Photography: Pixi Beauty

*ding ding ding ding* We have a winner. Let’s get real – tones are ultra essential and for me, finding the right one has been easy. Or is it? Until I met the Pixi Rose Tonic, I just thought the sky is blue and all toners dry out my skin. But not this one. It’s gentle yet effective. I usually don’t get caught up in the hype but I totally see why everyone is legit crazy about this. It’s mildly scented, nourishing (far from drying) and looks cute on my shelf.
Pixi Rose Tonic Toner, $22, available online
– Aditi, Deputy Editor

Bjork & Berries White Forest Hand Cream

I don’t really have a timestamp for this phenomenon but sometime in the last year or so, I’ve started obsessing over hand creams (there I said it). Apart from nourishing and hydrating palms capable of sanding timbre, the Bjork & Berries White Forest Hand Cream has the aroma of an enchanted world. One sniff of this Swedish cream and I’m kinda transported to a magical woods with exotic plants, tiny fairies and birdsong. Much to my surprise, it absorbs into the skin really fast. It starts off creamy and just when you start thinking about ‘got my nails done’ dry-up wave, *poof* it’s all absorbed. So if you see me staring and sniff my own hands now and again, blame it on Bjork & Berries.
Bjork & Berries White Forest Hand Cream, $34 for 75ml, available online via Escentials
– Aditi, Deputy Editor

Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum

Korean skincare brand x superfood – that concoction can do no wrong. Innisfree recently launched the new green tea seed serum and it’s all about hydration, hydration, hydration. Think of it as a tall glass of water for your face. It’s light and watery in consistency (if you like your serums think, this might come as a surprise) but don’t you dismiss this green pump bottle of glory. A blend of Jeju green tea extract and green tea seed oil, it disappears into the skin with a few light pats. And a little goes a long way, you need about two quick pumps to cover your whole face.
Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum, $37, available at all Innisfree outlets and online
– Aditi, Deputy Editor

Fancl Facial Washing Powder

Are facial washing powders a thing now? First things first, I’ve never tried a facial washing powder before so don’t judge me for oohing and aahing over this baby. I got my hands on the Fancl x Mika Ninagawa spring edition – she’s done a beautiful job with the cherry blossom photo on the box. Add some water and the powder lathers up into a creamy foam. Even though there were really light traces of makeup after the first cleanse (this is why you shouldn’t skip the second one!), it did leave my skin hydrated and moisturised.
Fancl Facial Washing Powder, $21.90, available at all Fancl stores and online
– Nicole, Lifestyle Writer

What we loved in March

March beauty reviews
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Photography: Nicole Nithiyah

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara

My love affair with Maybelline’s mascaras has gone on for as long as I’ve been using makeup. Pigmented, easy-to-use and affordable, what’s not to like? I’m fond of a good lengthening and separating mascara, and for that, Maybelline’s Lash Sensational has been my holy grail of late. It’s also quite buildable if you want more volume.
Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara in blackest black, $21.90, available online and in stores
– Amelia, Lifestyle Writer

Revlon Colorstay Creme Gel Pencil

Here’s a controversial one: some of the team were disappointed by its smudginess, but I’ve grown to like how gloriously creamy it is. This functions as both liner and shadow so it’s perfect for on-the-go makeup. I’ll use it to darken my lash line, dab a little on my crease and smudge it out with my finger. It takes all of five seconds AND you can do it on a moving train (commute-friendly makeup gets a thumbs up in my books!). Just don’t bother attempting a cat eye with it – this nifty pencil is great for a five-second smoky look, but clean lines it does not make.
Revlon Colorstay Creme Gel Pencil in 803 dark chocolate, $19.90, available online and in stores
– Amelia, Lifestyle Writer

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

March beauty reviews | Laneige sleeping mask
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Photography: Laneige via Facebook

I have perennial chapped lips syndrome and nothing seemed to work until I got my hands on this baby. This gloss-like mask is packed with berry extracts (explains the amazing smell), antioxidants and hyaluronic acid and leaves my lips hydrated all through the night. The next morning, I exfoliate with a soft toothbrush to remove the dry skin. I’ve been using a sample size (3g) for two months and there’s still a lot of product left. Goes to show how long the 20g size could last you. The sticky formula may take some getting used to, but anything for soft and supple lips.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask – Berry, $27, available online and in Sephora stores
– Nicole Nithiyah, Lifestyle Writer

Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer

I’ve heard so many rave reviews about this concealer that it even surpasses my fave Fenty Beauty line (though I’ve not tried the concealer yet, stay tuned!) and my usual Nars creamy concealer. Glad to say that it didn’t fall short of expectations. The creamy formula blends easily with my beauty blender (I spritz it with a little setting spray) and doesn’t crease as much as before. I use it to conceal my dark circles, dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer, $42, available online
– Nicole Nithiyah, Lifestyle Writer

Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil

Made right from the pip of the marula fruit, you get the most concentrated form of this luxury facial oil sans essential oils, drying alcohols, fragrance and dyes. Don’t be put off by the word, ‘oil’. Repeat after me: ‘facial oils are your friend!’ It helps to moisturise, rejuvenate and nourish the skin. Use it religiously and you’ll reduce fine lines, wrinkles and restore your skin’s elasticity. A little goes a long way. I mix a drop of this miracle serum with my Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day serum and I definitely see a difference.
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil, $56, available online and in Sephora stores
– Nicole Nithiyah, Lifestyle Writer

Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder

I walk into the office feeling fresh and matte AF every morning but inevitably by lunchtime, I find my nose and forehead shining like a beacon calling for help. And help is finally here – Crashing the greasy party on my face is the Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder. It’s magic and entirely invisible with SPF 45. Pop it open, twist to roll out the brush, tap downwards and go crazy on your face. And just like that in a matter of 5-7 seconds, my face is matte, oil-free again. I’m not fans of powder in general but this nifty thing will live in my handbag forever.
Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder, available online
– Aditi, Deputy Editor

Sigi Skin Pink Nectar

Review: Local skincare brand Sigi Skin's Pick Nectar eye mask is clean and cruelty free | Sigi Skin eye cream
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Photography: Sigi Skin

We love a good local skincare brand, especially one that’s clean and cruelty-free. Currently, Sigi Skin has manufactured three products, one of which is a daily eye mask named Pick Nectar. Under eye problems are waaay too real thing for me, so I love this daily mask. Despite using it only in my nighttime skincare routine (the instructions recommend day and night), the difference is noticeable. I can see it and feel it. Within a few days, the area around my eye was brighter, calmer and hydrated and I’m positive the peach and propolis extracts, vitamin E and niacinamide worked overtime to make things right. Sigi Skin’s Pick Nectar is incredibly creamy, light and needs just a few light taps to disappear into my skin. But I do recommend storing the product cap-side up. It makes pumping the serum out much easier.
Sigi Skin’s Pink Nectar, $62, available online
– Aditi, Deputy Editor

What we loved in February

Beauty reviews | Our best product picks this February 2019
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Here’s what we thought… Photography: Nicole Nithiyah

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

Mario Badescu | Beauty reviews: our best product picks this February 2019
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Photography: Mario Badescu via Facebook

A godsend for acne-prone skin like mine, Mario Badescu’s drying lotion zaps up all types of zits for me. The paraben-free solution has salicylic acid, camphor, sulfur and calamine to reduce redness, bumps and acne scars. Some may not be used to the smell but I find it quite calming. But let’s be honest – the zits do not vanish overnight. It usually does the job in three to four days for me so just trust the process. I only wish I had known about this miracle bottle during my adolescent days (ahh, puberty). Tip: Get the grab and go travel set which also comes with a rejuvenating rosewater facial mist. Bang for your buck.
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion 29ml, $36; available online
– Nicole, Lifestyle Writer

Solos Cosmetics Lipmattic liquid lipstick

Solos Cosmetics | Beauty reviews: our best product picks this February 2019
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Photography: Solos Cosmetics

I straight up love this new local brand: clean, affordable makeup? We’ve been waiting for this. I’ve been testing the Lipmattic liquid lipstick for a couple of months now, and it’s won me over with its intensely pigmented shades (there are seven, ranging from plum to bright red), and this stuff seriously stays put. When your red lippie survives brunch and coffee you know you’re onto a winner. What do we mean by ‘clean’ makeup? It’s free from mineral oils, parabens, phthalates, SLS/ SLES, formaldehyde, toluene, and animal-derived ingredients. Yep, it’s vegan. And at $12 a tube this is so worth shouting about.
Solos Lipmattic, $12; available online
– Selina, Editor

Antipodes Manuka Honey Skin Brightening Eye Cream

For a night owl like me, a skin brightening eye cream is exactly what I need to keep my panda eyes at bay. Antipodes hails from New Zealand, the land of manuka honey, so count on them to do it right. I’ve been using this eye cream for over two months and even though it’s super moisturising and hydrating, I’m not too sure if I see a vast difference with the dark circles.
Antipodes Manuka Honey Skin Brightening Eye Cream 30ml, $69.90; available online and selected Guardian stores
– Amelia, Lifestyle Writer

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser

Sunday Riley | Beauty reviews: our best product picks this February 2019
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Photography: Sunday Riley via Facebook

We stan a solid face wash that actually removes all the gunk (sunscreen, makeup, oil build-up) on our face and Sunday Riley’s ceramic slip cleanser does a swell job. The plant-based formula of French green clay (known to tighten pores) and rice oil esters is a big draw as it gets rid of impurities and balances hydration. My skin has been thanking me with fewer breakouts and a less oily t-zone. My only quibble is that with such a thin formula, it should have come in a pump bottle instead of a squeeze tube. I store my tube upwards to avoid wastage.
Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser 150ml, $65; available online
– Nicole, Lifestyle Writer

Sen Natural lipsticks

Sen Natural | Beauty reviews: our best product picks this February 2019
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Photography: Sen Natural via Facebook

To be honest, when I tried this Sen Natural’s creamy formula (glides onto your lips like butter btw), I was totally envisioning multiple touch-ups throughout the day. I was wrong. The ultra-moisturising lipstick from the local beauty brand does not bleed or sacrifice on colour payoff. It’s also made natural ingredients like rose oil, shea butter, Vitamin E and beeswax  I think I’ve found my go-to red.
Sen Natural lipsticks, $35; available online
– Aditi, Deputy Editor

Lily Lolo Big Lash Mascara

Lily Lolo | Beauty reviews: our best product picks this February 2019
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Photography: Lily Lolo via Facebook

I’m all for a good coat of mascara but it’s not always a top priority in my makeup routine. Why? ‘Cos removing mascara can be such a b*tch sometimes. So I was surprised at how I got all the product out in a couple of swabs. This clean, cruelty-free mineral mascara intensifies my lashes with more volume and definition – almost looks like I have falsies on! Plus it goes hand in hand with my smudge-proof eyeliner. Double win. The vegan formula is also great for sensitive skin.
Lily Lolo Big Lash Mascara, $39; available online and all Robinsons and Metro outlets
– Nicole, Lifestyle Writer

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