My Makeup Forever Experience

For those of you who don’t know, the globally recognized brand also owns a successful academy where they impart knowledge and techniques to the makeup moguls of the next generation.

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These students, however, need a canvas to dabble on and so, through some lucky and unlikely connections, I was introduced to the receptionist of the Makeup Forever Academy.

As someone who has lent her face to numerous makeup artists and hair stylists in the past, you could say I am used to being prodded and poked around with sponges, brushes, curling irons and the like. In those days, I did it for money and was absolutely blessed to have had the opportunity to work with some of the best in Taipei. Now as a retired veteran, I decided to take this “job” purely for fun and out of curiosity.

The student who had picked me was a lovely Bangladeshi who lives in Thailand and was here, in Paris, for the five day course. This particular class was called “the Asian bride”; a natural glam look where the skin was supposed to be luminous and minimum coverage. That’s where many struggled because in the West, we tend to opt for a more full coverage foundation as opposed to the natural, glowy skin you get often in Korean makeup.

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I sat there, my skin stinging from the hydrating primer while this lady reapplied the foundation a second time because the first time, it came out patchy. Luckily, the rest of the makeup went on smoothly with the eye look being my favourite. She finished it off with a dusting of glitter and voilà! We were done.

The teacher came round to do a final assessment and I was on my way back to the reception desk to pick out a makeup kit comprised of two products worth 50 euros in total. You pick from a list of five kits and as I needed brow products, I went for the brow gel with the brown liquid lip in 107!

 

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Current Skincare Products

My skin has never really been troublesome and has never wreaked havoc but it has taken me a couple years to discover amazing skincare products that truly work for me! Of course, there are many other products I would love to try but here is my current skincare routine:

Cleanser – Avène Cleanance Gel Cleanser ♥
Before we apply any products to our face, we clean. Obviously. This soap-less, thermal water based cleanser removes all dirt and is perfect for sensitive skin. Although the label says it is for “oily, blemish prone skin”, it doesn’t leave your skin feeling dry and flaky at all.

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Toner – Caudalie Eau de Beauté ♥
I feel like this one needs no introduction but just in case you’re not familiar with it, imagine a product that’s refreshing, tightens pores and smooths fine lines. You can even set your makeup with it! The only downside is that if you’re sensitive to strong scents, the eau de beauté can be quite overpowering but don’t worry! All ingredients are 100% natural.

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Moisturizer – Avène Ysthéal Anti-Wrinkle Emulsion
Let’s be real. I don’t really have any visible fine lines let alone deep wrinkles but expert dermatologists have said that it’s never too early to start the anti-ageing process. This emulsion is perfect for younger skin and reduces early signs of ageing.
One ingredient in this product that truly caught my eye was retinaldehyde. We hear a lot about retinal, retin-A and retinoic acid but they all tend to be harsh on the skin. Retinaldehyde is gentler and perfect for sensitive skin but equally as effective! It is meant to improve skin texture and brighten the skin.
I have been using this product for about a week so far and my skin definitely feels smoother. Sadly, I feel like it isn’t hydrating enough – I took the emulsion for oily/combination skin – so I’ll probably be purchasing for dry skin next time but will also grab a hydrating moisturiser for the time being.

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Sunscreen – Nuxe 50 SPF Sunblock
Before I continue, I must touch on one thing that I cannot stress enough. To effectively protect your skin from premature lines and wrinkles, PLEASE USE SUNSCREEN. Even on cloudy days when the sun doesn’t make an appearance, those UV rays are out there ready to strike. Sunscreen is your best friend and is your most effective anti-ageing product.
This one is hydrating but a tad too oily and am looking for something a bit more lightweight and suitable for application to the face.

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Body Oil – Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse ♥
This numerous award-winning oil has my heart. I usually apply it before bed and my skin drinks it up. I’ve even used it to remove eye make up and it does the trick each time. This French pharmacy staple is meant to be multi-purpose so apply generously.

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Must Have Holy Grail – The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil ♥
For the occasional pimple, the tea tree oil does wonders. Its really no surprise that this is one of their best selling skin care lines. Just buy it.

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Masks
The Body Shop Tea Tree Clay Mask
The clay mask balances the skin and prevents possible breakouts but I feel like it really does nothing for my blackheads. I once tried the Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing mask and was expecting similar results. How silly I was to have the same expectations. Then again, the tea tree clay mask does exactly what it’s meant to do and has said nothing about cleansing out dirty pores but still…
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Dr. Morita Face Masks ♥
The Dr. Morita Face Masks on the other hand have been a firm favourite of mine since I was living in Taipei and are a STAPLE. I usually buy their hydrating masks as hydrated skin can then be treated. If you are trying to brighten/smooth/even out the skin tone of dry skin, forget it.

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Et voilà, voilà! If you are looking to try new products, hopefully this has helped a little. Quick note: products marked with a ♥ are staples. This means that I have repurchased these products and they have a special place in my drawer.

 

Afternoon Retreat – Caudalie Spa

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It is hard to imagine that less than an hour outside of Paris, you could find such peace and quiet.

Situated between this magical French capital and Versailles, is the Caudalie Spa that I should’ve written about many weeks ago but as a professional procrastinator…I have put it off until now.

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What is there more to say though? This gorgeous little retreat is tucked away neatly inside a 4 star hotel with a Michelin-starred restaurant next to a pond where many take their afternoon walks.

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The service is friendly and professional, as you would expect from Caudalie and you get a bag of goodies along with your bathrobe and slippers. It contains:

  • a 15ml Moisturizing Sorbet
  • 5ml Clear Skin Purifying Toner
  • 2ml Skin Perfecting Mattifying Fluid
  • 1ml Energizing and Smoothing Eye Cream
  • 7ml Nourishing Body Lotion

Strangely, I have a feeling that these are the products that sell the least and as a “two birds one stone” strategy, they’ve given testers out to clients who visit the spa. None of the products that I really want to purchase (and that sell well) have made it into this goodie bag. Right now, I have my keen eye on the VinActiv line, mainly the serum and detox oil.

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Regardless, we spent a good amount of time in the jacuzzi and hammam, alternating between the two and taking a wine break in their gardens which were bathed in warm, golden sunlight – the kind you get only in Autumn…

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For more information, visit their website!

 

 

 

The Sephora Gold Party

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25% off on ALL your purchases, on EVERY brand!

Sounds crazy?

It was.

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Sephora is usually crowded but never had I seen it THAT crowded. Benefit had their girls in vintage outfits, Killian whipped out a gambling table and Makeup Forever had a moving sushi conveyor belt!
Instead of sushi, of course, they had different makeup looks and products in each plate! The sales associates were busy chattering away and throwing out pearls of wisdom here and there while customers were milling around, their baskets full of goodies.

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Those who had received an invitation got a gold badge at the entrance. This gives them the right to a 25% reduction on their purchases, free champagne and free hors d’oeuvres! In addition to the red carpet that they rolled out and the long queues at the registers, I’d say it was a pretty successful event!

I’m not a huge hauler so I only stocked up on some essentials I was low in stock on:

  1. The Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear concealer in camouflage lin
  2. A mini Becca highlighter in moonstone
  3. The Andrea clear adhesive lash glue

The concealer has become a new holy grail with its formula that’s hydrating yet full coverage and the highlighter is now a firm favourite as I don’t have one that this natural!

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Parisian Fashion & Beauty Trends

One of my favourite pastimes is people-watching and as a professional people-watcher, you notice things. Paris has made this sport even more convenient and easily accessible with its thousands of outdoor terraces. In fact, they are so dedicated to the idea of sitting outside that the cold can’t even stop them! The solution? Heaters, heaters, and more heaters. So I hereby present you with five Parisian fashion and beauty trends! (Please do not hesitate to correct me if I’m wrong.)

  1. Green Stan Smiths
    I don’t understand this trend but everyone else seems to. Let’s move on.
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  2. Red lipstick
    The red lip has become an emblem of Paris. I remember wearing red lipstick in London…stuck out like a sore thumb and made me feel VERY self-conscious it did but in Paris, you just blend in.
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  3. Less makeup is more makeup
    As mentioned above, the red lip may be symbolic for Parisian women but did I mention that its an EITHER OR situation? Either a smoky eye and a nude lip or a bold lip and bare eyes. You can’t have both because it’s all about looking NATURAL and EFFORTLESS.
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    (Christen Dominique Youtube)
  4. I-just-woke-up hair
    Again. It’s all about looking effortless. Great example is Caroline de Maigret.
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  5. Tights and trainers
    A common look I see is the green Stan Smiths, black tights with shorts, skirts or dresses. Not sure if this is exclusive to Paris but it’s present.
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  6. Multi-coloured trousers
    Something I’ve always admired about French men is their ability to pull off trousers of any colour.
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  7. The basic colour palette: white, black, grey, navy blue, beige
    But…the rule of thumb is to just stick with the basic colour palette! Simple, chic and stylish. I don’t see a lot of patterns and motifs so best to stay with plain colours as well!

 

 

 

$1 Make-Up from SHOP MISS A

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Prior to spending money on the website, I did A LOT of research by reading and watching various reviews. I learnt to avoid any “skin products” such as foundation, concealer and also tailored my order to my needs so I ended up getting all this:

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  • Metallic Cosmetic Pouch – Gold
  • AOA Perfect Setting Powder – Soft Light
  • AOA Diamond Lipgloss – Glitz
  • AOA Diamond Lipgloss – Posh
  • Pumice Stone – White
  • Princessa Tru Fusion Blush – 3 Hot Pink
  • Kleancolour Retractable Waterproof Lipliner – Hot Red
  • AOA Studio Lashes – Luella
  • AOA Studio Lashes – Rose

Each item was $1 and the shipping was roughly $1 as well, but the shipping ended up being more expensive than the item. In total, I paid about $18/16,37 euros which is still INCREDIBLY affordable. The items arrived in about 7-10 business days, as promised and was nicely bubble wrapped and packaged!

The cosmetic pouch and pumice stone were just some things I needed and are both excellent quality basics. The lashes look promising as does the lipliner but we’ll be trying those next time. Today, my main focus was the setting powder, the blush and the lipglosses. So let’s get into detail!

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AOA Perfect Setting Powder – Soft Light

I’ll be completely frank, I’ve never used many loose setting powders in my lifetime but I know how a good powder leaves your skin feeling (and looking!) so my opinion is that the AOA Setting Powder is BOMB! The finish is so smooth, the powder is fine and my only concern is that touching up when out will be a bit difficult, as with all loose powders.

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Princessa Tru Fusion Blush – 3 Hot Pink

Immediately with this matte blush, you notice that the packaging is $1. It is the cheapest, flimsiest packaging I’ve ever laid eyes on and it really is such a pity because the actual product itself is fantastic! It was EXACTLY the shade I wanted and was very pigmented. I’ve been wanting a coral blush recently and decided to add this one to the basket as all the other ones I had in my wishlist were sold out. Speaking of which, is it common to have products constantly sold out on Shop Miss A? They don’t restock that quickly either…

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AOA Diamond Lipgloss – Glitz & Posh

What can I say…Where do I start? These lipglosses are an AOA HOLY GRAIL! They’re comfortable, not sticky yet SO GLITTERY and they just look divine on the lips! I personally would pay more than a dollar for these glosses and definitely will be getting more from the Diamond Lipgloss collection. There isn’t a significant difference between Glitz and Posh but I prefer Posh on it’s own as it is a more pigmented pinky coral colour as opposed to wearing just Glitz on my bare lips. Glitz would be more of a lipstick topper lipgloss for me…for example, if you wanted to brighten up a red lip.

 


 

All in all, I am EXTREMELY satisfied with the quality of these $1 products! I’m sure I’ll enjoy the lashes just as much and am hoping the lipliner will stop my red Son&Park lip crayon and lip cube from bleeding.
One thing I did notice is that AOA products seem to be of much higher and more reliable quality in terms of packaging, the product itself etc. than those of other brands. Frankly, the packaging on the Princessa blush is so cringeworthy, I wonder if I’d ever be able to take it out in public…The only solution is to repot the blush! So, if possible, I will probably be buying more from AOA than from the other brands on Shop Miss A.
I will also be letting you know if I get an allergic reaction from any of these products but so far so good! Also, a good thing to know is that AOA Beauty Inc. and other brands on Shop Miss A have been certified by PETA as cruelty free!

Shop Miss A: https://www.shopmissa.com/

 

Korean Cosmetics: SON & PARK Part II

A little while ago, I wrote about their Skin Fit Foundation, their Gel Bonding Eyebrow (brow gel) and their lip crayons which were all just FANTASTIC products and generally worked beautifully. A little update, however, regarding the lip crayons: the darker shades, notably Flash Red and Wicked Burgundy tend to bleed so using a lip pencil is strongly advised.

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The same goes for the Son & Park lip cubes. The darker shades are absolutely gorgeous, especially Rubian Red which is an attention-screaming, heart-stopping fire engine red. Berry Rose is a lovely shade that compliments the Wicked Burgundy lip crayon. Unfortunately, Love Sick was a indeed sickly shade of pastel pink and looked terrible in real life while Nude Veil was just the perfect, every day gloss but gave me a horrific allergic reaction. Very strange as I have never gotten an allergic reaction to … anything. All in all, my experience with the lip cubes were 3/5 and I will be giving the two lighter shades away.

As for the Air Chou Foundation in shade 23, the colour match is perfect but as it is an Asian make up brand, you don’t get a wide range of shades. The texture is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, however, a little goes a long way so be sure to take heed of their advice! I didn’t on the second day and the foundation definitely needed a little setting at the end of the afternoon as it had gotten cakey.

Otherwise, I am so in love with it! Definitely more full coverage than their Skin Fit Foundation which is more of a light, healthy summer foundation that gives off more of a glow whereas the Air Chou Foundation has a matte finish and even managed to cover the redness of some spots.

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In conclusion, I’d say: Forget about the lip cubes, get the lip crayons as well as the brow gel! Don’t sleep on the foundations either because after all, the Koreans are best known for their amazing skin products!