Hey guys, if you’re into Asian nail polish here’s a fun post today! I happen to be pretty thrilled by the emerald trend hitting makeup and fashion this year. Coincidentally, a while back I fell in love with Majolica Majorca’s #GR222 “Sudden Impulse” (also seen in my New Year’s post), which is kind of a turquoise mixed with emerald green, and I wore it on my birthday (September 16).
 

Image is a photo of majolica majorca nail polish in shade gr222 sudden impulse worn on nails and also shown in the bottle. It is a bluish green, a turquoise and emerald mix.
 
Majolica Majorca #GR222 “Sudden Impulse”, a smooth translucent jelly polish.

 
 

So you can imagine my excitement when my new Skinfood Nail Vita BR514 came. It looked like the same color as my lovely birthday nails!! I had to try it out as soon as possible. They’re almost a true dupe, so I’ll be sure to talk about any differences I found.
 

First, the BIGGEST: Majolica Majorca GR222 is a JELLY polish. A splendid one, but indeed one coat will barely color you, and I think for this photo I had about 3 coats. Skinfood Nail Vita BR514 is a SUPER thick formula, one coat will do it. SO THICK it’s almost annoying, but for an inexpensive polish it’s not a bad deal. It settles and dries cleanly without any issues, thankfully.
 

Image is a photo of skinfood nail vita in shade bl514 worn on nails and also shown in the bottle. It's almost identical to the Majolica Majorca color, except that it is opaque, unlike translucent Majolica majorca.
 
Skinfood Nail Vita BL514, a thick, opaque normal polish.

 
 

Besides the opacity, these really are THE SAME COLOR, and if you apply enough coats of the MM polish it’s more obvious that they are. For price, the MM is more expensive (I paid $6.99, free shipping), as makeup in Japan can get pricey. Also, Japanese makeup is usually smaller in portion. The Skinfood polish is a better price (I paid about $3 with shipping), and a larger amount, but of the two I certainly prefer the jelly finish of the MM, and it’s my favorite of the two.
 

Image is a photo of the skinfood nail vita bl514 and majolica majorca gr222 polish shown in the bottles. The MM bottle is smaller by about half, and decorated in princess style, while the skinfood bottle is smooth and simple with a brown label. The colors are nearly identical, but for their difference in opacity.
 
You can see how much smaller the Majolica Majorca polish is compared to standard size.
Can you spot the difference?

 
 

Which one would you prefer?
 
Have you tried either polish?
 

Posted by Cake-Pie
Dated: 9th March 2013
Filled Under: Beauty
Comments: 16 Comments
Image is a photo of two cleansers in squeeze tubes. The one on the right has the label: First Cleanse. Missha creamy chocolate latte cleansing foam. It is a white tube with gold lettering. The tube on the right is a white tube with apricot graphic on the bottom. This one is labelled: second cleanse. It is rite aid renewal apricot scrub.
 
Just some of the cleansers I’ve used for double cleansing: They don’t have to be from Asia!
First cleanse: Missha Creamy Chocolate Latte Cleansing Foam
Second cleanse: Rite Aid (drugstore) Renewal Apricot Scrub (with salicylic acid)

 
 

I spend a good amount of time in the Reddit Asian beauty community (I started the group back in January) chatting with folks, and I see the question from time to time asking about double-cleansing. Cleaning your face twice sounds stupid because you’d be stripping your face, right? You’d dry out and turn into a mummy? Nope. Especially if you choose the right products.
 

Asian beauty is in some ways vastly different from western. Most skincare routines are a minimum of 5 steps, some as many as 7 (with optional steps increasing to 10). Further, the additional steps completely change the game!
 

A Comparison:
 

Western skincare has exactly 1 step (be honest, maybe two), but here are some of them:

  • Wash skin
  • Use drying toner, wiping off skin with a cotton ball/pad to remove garbage from your face.
  • Maybe slap on a moisturizer/sunscreen

Asian skincare has 5-10000 steps

  • First cleanse: Makeup slaying
  • Second cleanse: Actual cleaning of the skin itself
  • Toner: not even close to western toners: these are softening and often moisturizing but non-drying and typically stay on the skin.
  • Massage step/Mask step: Either a massage cream to move your lymph and improve circulation, or apply a mask product of some kind (there are MANY KINDS).
  • Treatment step #1: “Essence”, “Moisturizer”, “Lotion”; all of these mean something does something to your skin. It’s good news! Usually you want the important ones first (retinol, vit c, etc).
  • Treatment step #2: Same as before. Some regimens call #1 Emulsion/Essence and #2 Serum but really the use order varies based on the effectiveness of products. Light moisturizing for both steps.
  • Eye Cream
  • Sunscreen: OMG vital. 80-90% of wrinkles are supposed to be due to sun damage. Not only do you GOTTA USE THAT but you must reapply throughout the day (every few hours).

 

In the USA, I hear a lot of folks say “Oh, Asians have the best skin, must be genetic” but this sounds to me like a lazy thing western people say to excuse themselves from having bad skin for being lazy. When I talk about multi-step skincare I’m not describing a fringe of Asian women; these are not weird strange ladies with obsessiveness. The above (or variations on it) is very standard, and has been for decades. It’s no wonder people who put more work in get better results!
 

If you guys are interested I’ll do a full post on the Asian skincare routine with a lot more detail but I just wanted to illustrate the big picture before I explain double cleansing.
 

Assuming you cleanse in the morning and at night, you wash your skin differently (probably). Chances are you wear makeup, so at night, you’re going to want to remove it. But makeup remover is drying, and in some cases irritating! What to do?
 

Morning:
Wash your face with a cleansing foam, cleansing milk, cleansing gel, cleansing lotion, or oil cleansers. Some people really like to take a good 1-2 minutes here. A good idea is to try lymphatic massage a bit (you can still do a massage step but if you don’t effing have time this is a good alternative). Then rinse that crap off. Your skin should be pretty clean, but instead of using a drying, potentially irritating witch hazel or alcohol-based toner (like 99% of western wipe-off toners) skip that crap and use your second wash. I like to use a salicylic acid cleanser, or a scrub, but you guys: I have pretty thick skin that builds up if I don’t ward it off with constant exfoliation, so maybe it’s too harsh for most people (ie causes bleeding). You might consider an acne wash (salicylic acid), a glycolic wash, moisturizing wash, or something that smells good or pleases you generally. Sensitive skin folk, believe it or not, you might have an easier time with double cleanse because instead of ONE POWERFUL wash (that may include stuff irritating to your delicate skin like sulfates) you can use two wussy washes and still end up with clean skin (Rather than one wussy wash that won’t cleanse you). Now you’re done washing up, tone immediately to keep your skin from becoming dry.
 

Evening:
The main difference here is your first wash. You gotta pick something effective against makeup. Asian skincare brands have a HORDE of makeup removing oil cleansers and other products suited for double cleansing, but as long as it takes off makeup it’s a winner. Use that first, get the crap off your face, and then just follow up with a good skincare choice with your second cleanse. Don’t forget to use a moisturizing/softening toner to keep skin fresh and balanced.
 

If you choose products that are good for your skin you may see fewer breakouts, less irritation, and brighter skin. For me, using double cleansing alone is a big help, and if you try it out you can always add more steps later. The products you use don’t have to come from Asia! Western first cleansers should be makeup removers or mild cleansers: avoid SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) and ALS (Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate), but don’t confuse those with less irritating SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) and ALES (Ammonium Laureth Sulfate). “Sulfates” are not universally irritating (read about that here) nor are they more irritating than non-sulfates, despite what might be passed around the internet.
 

I hope you guys enjoy trying out double-cleansing. Tell me about your experience!
 

Have you tried double-cleansing before?
 

What products do you use?
 

Posted by Cake-Pie
Dated: 6th March 2013
Filled Under: Beauty, Solutions
Comments: 17 Comments

I have been feeling a little overstimulated lately, and I think the best way to explain it so it translates for people who are neurotypical (NT) is this: you know how when you hear nails on a chalkboard you stop, paralyzed? It’s a little like that all day long for people who are non-neurotypical when overstimulated (at least for me, can’t speak for everyone). My brain shuts down some areas and I can’t use them as well (especially social skills). This is different from anxiety but produces an end result that looks similar from the outside (but feels unlike anxiety). Another non-NT friend showed me this website where you can select a neurologically distracting noise, this really helps me take the edge off of being overstimulated, and my NT friends say it helps them too, because they can use it to fall asleep. Maybe you’ll enjoy it too! ^_^
 

If you want to learn more about non-neurotypical things you could research Autism Spectrum Disorders, Asperger’s Syndrome, Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/Attention Deficit Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder. In my case, I’m not neurotypical most likely due to having Neurological Lyme Disease (ie: bacterial brain infection). If you haven’t read about Lyme before, here’s an article I wrote for XOjane: It Happened to Me: I Have Lyme Disease. I hope the overstimulation is a result of treatment, because if it is, that means I should be doing better (funny, right?).
 

So this review hails back to my first Beauty Army box back in September (see that here) where I got my first set of samples from the subscription service. I still use Beauty Army, (bought I think 5 boxes so far) and now I’m waiting for them to have more samples because what they have is either the same as what was in my 5 boxes or something I’m not interested in.
 

  • I know we’re not in love or anything but if you try Beauty Army consider using my link to sign up because Beauty Army rewards referrals (here’s that link). Thanks from me if you do!

 

The retail price of this Lipsi Aphrodite Powder is $20, but don’t worry, you can also get it for $14 if you buy from Beauty Army after reviewing 6 products. Behold, friends! I like this one a lot.
 

image is a photo of a small amount of lipsi aphrodite powder. This small amount is in the product cover to show texture. It's a powder, not unlike other mineral powders.
I had a sample size as you recall from my Beauty Army box
and just so you can see the powder again, I put some in the cover.
 


A nice swatch of the product.
Looks shimmery in photos but not in person.

 

image is a photo of the cakepie not wearing any makeup. This picture is scary, and even so, the cakepie is smiling. She is fair-skinned with some blemishes and bleach blonde hair.
This is my bare face, no makeup.
Don’t be alarmed!

 

Image is a photo of the cakepie with only BB cream on. Two coats of holika holika bb cream have improved the look of her fair skin from blemished and angry to smooth and luminous.
Much better, right? Still a little shiny though, and without powder I have greaseface in an hour.
Oily skin >_< This is me with 2 coats of Holika Holika Peach Girl (Shade 01) BB Cream

 

image is a photo of the cakepie with only holika holika bb cream and a dusting of lipsi aphrodite powder. Her skin is no longer dewy but matte, and the color is about the same.
Now this is with the Lipsi Aphrodite Powder

 

image is a photo of the cakepie wearing a lot more makeup. Eyemakeup in a subtle/natural brown and a faint pink lip and cheek color. It's a good look!
My final look. I’m wearing a little bit of Coastal Scents Warm Palette eyeshadows, Canmake blush, and revlon lip butter. I’m not wearing much else in terms of makeup, I wanted to keep the distractions to a minimum.

 

INGREDIENTS
Talc, Zinc Stearate, Kaolin, Zinc Oxide, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Trisodium EDTA, [+/- (May Contain): Mica (77019), Titanium Dioxide (77891), Carmine (75470), Ferric Ferrocyanide (77510), Iron Oxides (77491, 77492, 77499), Ultramarines (77007), Chromium Oxide Greens (77288), Chromium Hydroxide Green (77289), Manganese Violet (77742), Yellow 5 Lake (19140:1), Blue 1 Lake (42090:2)]
 

Seems like a standard mineral makeup to me. Thank GOODNESS it has effective preservatives (ie parabens), I hate when my makeup gives me acne, and based on my research parabens work best to protect you. They keep my products from being infested with germs!
 

Lipsi Aphrodite powder is supposed to be good at keeping shine down, and also wearing for a long time. I think it does both very well. I have oily skin, so some of the BBs I like to wear (Etude House Precious Mineral BB Cream NO02) are too dewy alone, but with this they look super good. This one is a great color match for my skin, so if you wear Missha Perfect Cover BB in #21, or Holika Holika Peach Girl in shade 01 this will match you nicely. It also is mattefying without being CAKEY (the bane of my existence).
 

One problem I have with a lot of powders is they’re light in the package but on my face they start to look dark. The Lipsi Aphrodite powder is not like that, it keeps skin the right color while controlling oil.
 

The Good:

  • Great color match! Looks like my own skin color.
  • Takes care of oil.
  • Lasts a long time (4-8 hours), to be fair it’s winter here so maybe different in the summer.
  • Properly preserved to prevent infections/acne-causing germs from growing.
  • Can be bought cheap using Beauty Army’s review system ($6 off).

The Bad:

  • Very pale color, won’t match everyone, and I don’t see other color options.
  • More expensive than drugstore makeup.
  • ALL mineral makeup is so finely grained it can be aspirated (breathed in) and over time could harm lungs/cause inflammation. Some people hold their breath when applying mineral makeup to reduce the chances of problems.
  • If you like oily skin, this powder is your enemy!

Bottom line:
Of all the powders I’ve tried I like this one the best! Yes, friends, this one is going on my “Best of” list! I have annoyingly pale skin and most powders darken me even if they match in the package. The Lipsi powder has no drawbacks for me that are problematic. I will be repurchasing this for sure, and I recommend it to people who have oily, very fair skin. Is it worth purchasing? YES! ^_^
 

Everything in this post was purchased by ME. NO one sponsored it. Read my disclosure here.
 

Posted by Cake-Pie
Dated: 5th March 2013
Filled Under: Beauty, Reviews
Comments: 4 Comments

I’m starting to get to my backlog of reviews. Good news, right? I’ve had my products from The Body Shop since my epic haul back in November (read about that here), so I’ve had a lot of time to try them and now I’m ready to start sharing with you guys what I learned.
 

image is a photo of the body shop tea tree face mask. It is in a round greenplastic jar with the green product visible through the package. The label is green with green tea tree graphics.
 
$15.50USD, comes in a 100ml (3.38oz) jar.
(I paid about $6 for mine due to epic sale abuse).

 

I bought the Tea Tree face mask because I have acne-prone skin and I thought trying another anti-acne skin product would be a good idea. If it worked well it could help when I get breakouts, or keep me from getting breakouts!
 

image is a photo of the body shop tea tree face mask open jar. The green creamy contents are clearly visible.
 
Check out this sweet texture.

 

When you put it on your skin, it’s very light, fluffy, and the texture is pleasant to work with. The smell will clear your sinuses (this mask also contains menthol), but for a tea tree product it’s not the worst I’ve smelled. I didn’t expect much, as tea tree is really only shown to be effective against acne at concentrations of at least 5%, and this product doesn’t say how much their concentration is (so it’s probably very low).
 

Image is a photo of the cakepie with the tea tree face mask on her face. She is fair skinned with blue grey eyes, she is making a neutral expression. The product is a semi sheer light green and very thin.
 
The mask is thin and semi-sheer on the skin.
Dries lighter in color than what you start with.

 

Normally when my acne is problematic I like sulfur masks (Proactiv’s best product is their sulfur mask imho), or the Queen Helene Mint Julep mask. My skin is oily and also my skin sheds too fast (my two big causes of acne), so I exfoliate and then apply anti-acne masks to improve my skin.
 

When I first applied the Tea Tree mask it felt a bit burn-y, which I think is strange. I can’t be sure what ingredient causes that.
 

INGREDIENTS
Water, Kaolin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Myristyl Myristate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Propanediol, Alcohol Denat., Caprylyl Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Cyclohexasiloxane, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Menthol, Limonene, Leptospermum Petersonii (Lemon Tea Tree) Oil, t-Butyl Alcohol, Denatonium Benzoate, Tocopherol, Chromium Hydroxide Green, Iron Oxides.
 

If we look at the ingredients we’ll notice it has Kaolin clay (drying, ie good for my purposes!), cetearyl alcohol (this is not drying; it’s a fatty alcohol), glycerin (one of my fave moisturizing ingredients), myristyl myristate (emollient/thickener, softening). Exactly 15 ingredients in, you have Tea Tree oil. I’m not really sure it’s a high concentration due to its low placement on the list (ingredients are listed by concentration). I also didn’t see any particularly effective preservatives (the safest and best studied, also the most effective are in the paraben category) so ironically this may lead to the product CAUSING acne if the jar becomes contaminated.
 

image is a photo of a tiny white plastic spoon with a little bit of the tea tree face mask product in it. Below you can see the jar it comes in with product visible.
 
I used my cute Baviphat spoon to prevent contaminating this jar of spoilable product.

 

How did it work, though? It definitely “feels” like it’s doing something (burning?), but is it really helping my skin?
 

First let’s make a note about what the product CLAIMS to do. It says it’s “suitable” for blemished skin, not that it treats it in any way, or that it does anything actually (clever marketing!). It also says it “instantly cools and lifts away impurities”, but I’m not sure how it would do any lifting, because it’s a wash-off mask. As for cooling, a cooling “effect” is probably because of the menthol in the product, and ice will “cool” skin for free so I’m not sure what the benefit there would be.
 

The Good:

  • Unlike most acne masks, it doesn’t dry hard, which means it doesn’t start to hurt if you accidentally leave it on too long. (I do this a lot)
  • Fun to work with, product in the jar has a “whipped” sort of texture.
  • Mild/tolerable smell, unlike some tea tree products.
  • My skin felt noticeably softer and smoother after use, probably thanks to all the emollient ingredients

The Bad:

  • Smells stupid, like all tea tree products. Bearable but not exciting
  • Burns a little. And that’s strange considering how impenetrable my skin is. Sensitive skin people be warned.
  • Weak preservatives mean you should try to use it up before germs grow in it. This can cause acne!
  • Comes in a jar, so please don’t use your hands or you will infest your product with germs.
  • Terpinen in tea tree oil can cause allergic reactions
  • Concentrations of tea tree oil at 5%+ are shown to be effective, but lower concentrations are not. The amount in this mask is unknown, and could be too low to be effective.

 

COST: One of the more reasonably priced masks from The Body Shop at $15.50USD (as of this posting)
 

Bottom line: Without knowing the concentration of tea tree (but having reasons to think the concentration is low) it seems like the marketing story is just to sell a product. It does soften my skin nicely, but My Beauty Diary Bird’s Nest masks do a better job. The Tea Tree mask isn’t bad, but it’s a waste of money if you need an acne product. If you just want a good mask to relax at night, this an option but there are MUCH better options available and for less. I will not be repurchasing this but I’m glad I was able to try it out.
 

Have you used this tea tree mask before?
 
Have you ever tried a tea tree product?
 
This product was purchased by me. Read my Disclosure here.
 

Posted by Cake-Pie
Dated: 27th February 2013
Filled Under: Beauty, Reviews
Comments: 20 Comments

Hey guys, been a while! I couldn’t post because my Lyme Disease was bad again >: (read about my struggle with Lyme Disease here). *Apparently* the meds I was on to help control infections were ineffective, so I felt much worse than I should be feeling. My doc switched me to some new ones and says I should be feeling great soon. Besides that being amazeballs excellent news it also means more blog posts!!
 

Next posts coming up:

  • Lipsi Aphrodite Powder review
  • The Body Shop Tea Tree Mask review
  • Coastal Scents 88 Shimmer Palette Review
  • ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN

 
If I get my way, you’ll see a new post every day ^_^ and if that happens you’ll know I’m feeling GOOD ^_^
 

Beauty Samples Swap!

 

Around the December holidays, my blogger friend Natasha from Confessions of a Skincare Junkie and I talked about our first world problem (having far too many beauty product samples) so we agreed to swap!! I sent her my package late ; _ ; (click here to see what I sent Natasha!), and honestly she gave me WAY better samples! In fact, she sent me 2 packages!! What a total sweetheart!
 

image is a photo of 3 clear packages with beauty samples on the right and sheet masks from asia on the left. The image reads: everything packaged neatly; and on the lower right corner below a bag with a heart shape on it the image reads: cute.
 
All arrived safely! I’m so excited ^_^
 
 
 

image is a photo of 4 packages of sheet masks from asia. They also have post its translating a few Chinese characters. Upper left is a white mask package with a giant orange graphic (no post it); upper right is a red eye mask package with a post it that reads beauty, white, eye; lower left is a white package with aloe plant graphics (post it reads: this came from our local korean grocer, $2), and the lower right is a white package with green and white flower graphics (post it reads: white).
All mask products!

  • Epielle Facial Essence Mask Firming and Lifting with Vitamin C
  • Watson’s Whitening and Moisturizing Eye Mask (post it says: Beauty, White, Eye)
  • Epielle Facial Essence Mask Green Tea and Aloe (post it says: These came from our local Korean grocer, $2 ea)
  • Rolanjona Green Tea Whitening Mask (post it says: white) I reviewed this mask already: “Rolanjona Black Green Tea Whitening Mask AKA Evil Ink Staining Mask of Eyebrow Killing

 
 
 

image is a photo of a large array of korean beauty samples. Products from etude house, skinfood, skin79, and sulwhasoo are marked as such.
All Korean brands.
  • Skinfood: (top to bottom, left to right) Deep Sea Water Multi toner, Platinum Grape Cell Illuminate Essence, Platinum Grape Cell Cream, Platinum Grape Cell Eye Cream, Gold Caviar Collagen Serum.
  • Etude House: BB Cleanser, Fresh Cherry Tint, Aloe Moistfull Soothing Cream, Flower Moistfull Cream.
  • Sulwhasoo: Balancing Emulsion, Balancing Water, Snowise Whitening Fluid, Snowise Balancing Water.
  • Skin79: Super BB VIP Gold, Vital Super+ BB Triple Functions, Hot Pink Super+ BB

 
 
 

Image is a photo of Sulwhasoo skincare samples. They are small, about the length of  3-4 inches, and in tiny bottles. Four are pictured with a human thunb for comparism. The ones on the left are a goldenrod orangish yellow, and the ones on the right are white. Text in the photo reads (top): Tiny Little Friends; (bottom) Sulwhasoo Samples
 
I’ve never used a Sulwhasoo product, so I’m excited to try these.
 
 
 

image is a photo of several beauty samples. Text in the photo reads: Bonus Box. The photo is decorated with heart outlines in black.
The Extra Bonus Box Natasha sent me ^_^

 

  • Loreal Paris Advanced Haircare Total Repair Ceramide (Shampoo, Conditioner, Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm)
  • Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in 21
  • Nature’s Gate Face Block SPF25 Sunscreen Lotion
  • Skinfood Gold Kiwi Gift Set
  • Anastasia Lash Genius (Mascara Waterproofer)

 

 
I was so happy to get all of these samples! I’m looking forward to trying them out and sharing with you guys what I learn ^_^
 

Have you ever done a beauty sample swap? They’re very fun and a good way to weed out samples you have too many of!
 
Let me know in the comments what you’d like to see a review of!
 

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Posted by Cake-Pie
Dated: 26th February 2013
Filled Under: Beauty
Comments: 10 Comments