Nature Republic Botanical Real Slimcara Review (Dupe for InnisfreeSuper Skinny Microscara)

Monday, March 31, 2014
As you may know by now, my eyelashes are extremely short and sparse. The bottom ones are barely in existence. Sometimes when I try to coat the bottom lashes with mascara, I end up making a mess or poking my eye because the bristles are too big. I've found a solution.

Short Story (you may skip this and jump down to the review is you want ^^)
Many of you may have heard of the Innisfree Super Skinny Microscara but have you heard of the Nature Republic Botanical Real Slimcara? I'm sure the Nature Republic is a dupe for the Innisfree product as the names and wand are just way too similar. Innisfree Super Skinny Microscara was the first mascara I purchased here in Korea. The wand was crazy slim which made it amazingly easy to handle. I never had to worry about poking my eye with the bristles because the wand is only 2.5mm wide. It held my curl and decently and naturally lengthened my eyelashes. After that, I discovered the Majorica Majolica Lash Expander Frame Plus and I never looked back - til now. The MM Lash Expander Frame Plus is no longer sold in Korea and the bristles of the Heroine Make Long and Curl tends to poke my eye when I try to coat my lower lashes, so I need a new mascara with smaller bristles and there is no mascara wand smaller than the Innisfree Microscara. However, as I was browsing through Nature Republic one day, I noticed this mascara with the very similar - 2.5mm - sign. It was on sale for about 4 800 Won (not on sale it would be around 6 900 Won). Innisfree Microscara costs around 9 800 Won. I checked the tester, the wand is the exact same. For the half the price, I gave the Nature Republic Slimcara a try.


Packaging: The Nature Republic Botanical Real Slimcara has a simple white and brown packaging. It doesn't look like a mascara at but rather like a liquid eyeliner.  Wand length is the almost the same as my Heroine Make mascara but the handle (part you can hold) is longer. As advertised, the width of the wand is about 2.5mm, and the bristles are tiny. You can easily reach any sparse eyelash area and not have to worry about poking you skin. On the bristles of the wand, you can see tiny bits of fiber.

Performance: I wasn't expecting much from this product but it really impressed me. As I coated my eyelashes with the mascara, tiny fibers latched onto my eyelashes making them decently and naturally longer (almost as much as the Heroine Make Long and Curl). It also volumized my eyelashes by just a little bit which I was not expecting at all. The mascara is very black and does not weigh down my eyelashes. I would say this is a pretty dry and waxy mascara. It dries within 5 seconds of application. If you apply a second coat after it dries, it gets a bit difficult and clumpy. I guess this drying speed is a bit of a positive and a negative. Positive that you don't have to worry about the mascara making a mess after application and negative that you cannot build on the first layer of mascara. 

It lasts all day with no smudging (really impressive as I have extremely oily eyelids). My eyelashes would look almost exactly the same as when I first applied the mascara. There was no irritation at all throughout the day. 

I can see that this tube of mascara will only last me for around a month because after just two weeks of opening, the product is already noticeably drier than before. It's a good thing that it's in a tiny tube.

Two Coats - Without Mascara Primer - you can see it started to clump because I added more than one coat.

Removal: Here comes, the one main fault of this product... It is extremely difficult to remove - even more difficult than the Majorica Majolica Lash Expander Frame Plus and the Heroine Make Long and Curl. The longer you have it on, the more resistant it is to removal.  I used a cotton pad soaked with makeup remover and held it over my eye for 10 seconds, which usually gets rid of most of the eye makeup, but this time, it only took off part of the mascara. A lot mascara was still stuck to the base of my eyelashes. I had to massage my eyes with cleansing oil thoroughly to get everything off.

The Good:
- gives very natural looking eyelashes
- lengthens decently
- holds curl well
- doesn't smudge
- wand is easy to handle
- bristles can reach sparse and short eyelashes without poking skin
- really dark black color
- cheap
- doesn't clump

The Bad
- really difficult to remove
- hard to apply a second coat
- boring packaging
- doesn't say how much product is in the tube
- overall product dries out fast

I prefer this over the Innisfree Super Skinny Microscara. It's darker in color, lengthens more, definitely volumizes more, stays smudge free longer, and is cheaper. Definitely a win. It's one of the cheapest mascaras I've ever bought but it has definitely outperformed many of the others I've tried. I highly recommend this product to you if you're looking for naturally looking eyelashes with a bit of length and volume or if you have really sparse lashes that are reach.

VDL Expert Color Lip Cube Moisture in 606 Flower Power Review

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hi everyone! During the VDL Beauty Week, I picked up a new lipstick. I've heard a lot about VDL's new range of cube lipsticks from a few Singaporean bloggers and I really wanted to try one out. I kid you not but I went into the store 4 or 5 times, trying to decide which to pick up. In the end, I picked up 606 Flower Power from their new Expert Color Lip Cube Moisture line. Since there isn't much information about this online, I'd like to provide you a quick review and swatch.

If you have never heard of VDL before, they are a new brand launched under LG. VDL stands for Violet Dream Luminous - very unique and cool name.  I think most big beauty brands in Korea are either under AmorePacific or LG. VDL is relatively new to the Korean beauty scene. The first time I can across a store was around Ewha University last year. Since then, they've opened up a few more stores. They're known for their amazing lipsticks and Lip Tint Bar Triple Shots. Their website is also more English reader friendly than most of the other Korean websites.

There are two lines in the Expert Color Lip Cube range. The original line is the Expert Color Lip Cube which has been released in Singapore as well. The lipsticks in this line are super pigmented, matte, and long lasting. I first heard of this line from Singaporean bloggers. There are eight colors in this line. The new line is the Expert Color Lip Cube Moisture line. I think they are not yet released in Singapore as they have just been released in Korea (correct me if I'm wrong). They should be released sometime soon in the future. There are six colors in this line. 


"The architectural depth of color and shape created by the lines and planes of the cube takes the lipstick to a whole new level. Enhanced with silky, moisturizing texture and long - lasting elegent colors defined with cubic edges, VDL Expert Color Cube presents to you inimitable attitude and confidence."

Oh my word, it's absolutely the definition of sleek. Just check out the picture. It's gorgeous.

606 Flower Power
I had a really  hard time choosing which lipstick to pick. They're all so beautiful but in the end I went with 606 Flower Power as it was the most wearable and appealing color to me. I would say it's a coral with pink undertones. It's an extremely natural color alternative to pinks.


Although, I was a bit worried that the square shape of the lipstick would be a bit difficult to use, it's actually really not that hard. The edges are really useful in getting the color to the corners of my lips. 

The color isn't as pigmented as some of the other colors in the original line but it still shows up nicely. It applies on smoothly and doesn't catch onto any dry skin nor bunch up. It feels really light and moisturizing on my lips. 

Without eating and drinking, I would say this lipstick lasts around 3 hours on me. It transfers a bit. After eating, the lipstick pretty much disappears completely, without feathering nor staining. It disappeared in a nice, non-messy, even way. Moisturizing lipsticks tend to fade and slip faster than matte and intense lipsticks. If you really want a highly intensely pigmented, matte lipstick, I would recommend the original expert cube line. 

The Good:
- really beautiful color
- feels absolutely great on the lips
- smooth
- easy to apply
- looks sleek
- has SPF 10

The Bad:
- didn't last as long as I had expected
- not cheap ( 20 000Won regular price)
- transfers

I really love this lipstick and I'm really impressed with VDL. I would say the comfort and the moisture that this lipstick gave was phenomenal - not to mention, the color is just perfect.   I want to pick up another Experct Color Lip Cube before the sale is over but I really can't decide which color to pick up. I'm thinking something from the original line. 

Skinfood Rose Essence Soft Cream Blusher Review in #2

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

If you're a regular to my blog, then for sure you would know by now that I'm nuts over the Skinfood 2014 Spring collection. The blush that I'll be reviewing today is the blush that got my eye at the beginning. Although I had my doubts, in the end I got it.

Skinfood's Rose Essence Soft Cream Blushers come in six colors ranging from baby pinks to nudes to bright fuschia pink. They are a slightly moist cream consistency in the pan and blends out ot a matte finish. 

Disclaimer: this is my first cream blush

Swatches of Other Colors:

They are housed in a small pink plastic compact with gorgeous rose designs. There's also a large mirror on the inside which makes this product extremely easy to apply on the go. I use clean fingers to dab and blend out the product on my cheeks.

Wear Time:
Compared to my other blushers, this definitely isn't the most long lasting but it is one of the most natural ones.  I would say this lasts around three to four hours on my cheeks when I use the Skinfood Rose Essence Moist Makeup Fixer. I notice that if I lightly layered another powder blush on top, the cream blush will lasts longer.

* I added more product to get the color to show up in the blended out picture
As you can see the color, is a very natural neutral pink. It's not as cool as the natural lighting picture would lead you to believe it is.

Although, I was really enchanted by the packaging, I was also really nervous about having a cream product that is so widely exposed to air. With powder products, I can use a brush or disinfect the surface with alcohol from time to time but there's no way of doing that with a cream product. I was also worried that it will melt in the summer as the other Skinfood tin blushers are known to do. 

Clean and hygenic products are reallly important to me so I know that I probably won't be able to keep this product for as long as the other products. At the moment, I'm being very careful and only using this after I wash my hands.

The cream is really moist and soft so you have to touch it with a gentle hand. When I swirl my finger in it, you can definitely see the finger marks. I like to dab the product on my cheeks first and then blend it quickly. When it's blended out, it becomes a powder form. If the color is too sheer, I can easily build up another layer over it without it looking unnatural. It has worked well over my Hera UV MIst Cushion so far. When the color fades off during the day, I can easily touch up in the washroom and the color looks fresh again.

After first swipe

Scent: It has a light real rose scent.
Price: 8000Won

The Good:
- convenient
- pretty color
- decent color payoff
- easy to blend out
- buildable 
- smells nice
- pretty packaging
- natural finish
- soft
- affordable

The Bad
- unhygienic 
- might melt in the heat
- not super pigmented

This product is lovely on the outside and on the inside. It's so easy to use and convenient to bring around. Because it dries matte and has no shimmers, it's also really naturally looking. So far, I'm happy with my purchase.

Skinfood Black Sugar Honey Mask Wash Off Review

Saturday, March 15, 2014
Hi everyone! I was wandering around Skinfood one day and I noticed that they came out with a new face mask - the Black Sugar Honey Mask Wash Off. Black sugar AND honey? Two of my favorite skincare things, a win-win combo. Since I still have a bit of the original Black Sugar Wash Off Mask left, I didn't purchase the product but I did receive two large samples of it with the purchase of another product.

Normally I don't like doing product reviews on samples but I figure I can give you a first impressions kind of thing since there really isn't much information on the web about this product yet.

How the full product looks like.

Claims:  "A skin - softening exfoliating mask that contains mineral - rich Brazilian black sugar and moisturizing honey for soft, glowing skin."

To Use: Massage onto damp, freshly cleansed face, avoiding the eye and mouth areas. Add water or toner if necessary. Leave on for 10 - 15 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Freshly squeezed.

Spreaded out - the little clear bits is sugar.

Texture: It is very syrupy with a bit of sugar granules. There is definitely a lot less sugar than in this than the original black sugar mask. They syrupyness of it makes it easy to spread on the skin without the need to add water.  It's very sticky but definitely less abrasive than the original.

The original black sugar mask is much drier and solid and has a large sugar content in it which you must MUST add water to make it more spreadable.

Whereas the original is primarily made of primarily of sugar - this one definitely has - I would say - half sugar and half honey.

Scent: It has the same smell as the other products in the black sugar line but with a STRONG bit of sweet honey. It's overwhelming. I can still smell it even when it's on my face. It's so sweet that it hurts my throat.. - is that even possible?

First Impression Performance:

Before I apply the mask, I make sure my skin is damp - as advised in the instructions. The mask is very easy to spread onto my skin due to it's syrupy consistency. As I gently spread the mask over my face, I can feel the small bits of sugar. The sugar feels just like the bits in the original mask but still too large for exfoliation, so I was extremely gentle when I massage it onto my skin. After 15 minutes, the mask is still wet. I wet my hands with some lukewarm water before I rinse off the mask.  Removal is a breeze since it doesn't dry like the original mask does. My skin feels smooth but I don't notice much of a brightening effect. With the original black sugar mask, I usually notice the brightening effect immediate after.

Conclusion:  I prefer the Original Black Sugar Mask over this one. The original brightens my skin much more and the scent is not over whelming like this one. 

Collective Korean Skincare and Cosmetics Haul: Dr. Jart, Skinfood, Kiss Me Heroine Make, Innisfree, Missha

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
As you all know, Spring is coming around and so many stores have launched their spring collections. They've done an amazing job as well. Among my favorite collections are Skinfood's Milky Rose Collection and Missha's Lotta and Wanna collection. Everytime I walked into those stores, I can't help but want to pick up something. Here are some of the things I've picked up over the past two weeks. Some products are repurchases. 

Skinfood Rosy Essence Moist Make-up Fixer: When Skinfood's Spring collection first launched, I knew I had to get something. I really love the packaging. I needed a makeup fixer for the humidity of the summer anyways.

Skinfood Rose Essence Soft Cream Blusher in 02: I'm a big fan of this color because it's so natural and beautiful. It's a cream that once applied and spread becomes matte. It's incredibly easy to use and easy to spread out without losing it's color. You can also build up color.

Missha Time Revolution Aqua Youth Cream: I've ran out of my Primera Watery Cream so I thought this might be a good replacement. Boy was I wrong. I tried this twice before I gave up. Both times, my skin stung. I love the classy packaging though.

Innisfree Eco Science Eye Cream: This is the third time I've repurchased this. It's my favorite eye cream so far. I really like how it feels and the convenience of the pump dispenser.

Kiss Me Heroine Make Long and Curl Mascara: This is a repurchase as well. It came with a box of three Smooth Gel Shadow Pencils. The packaging says Made in Korea but I'm pretty sure this is a Japanese brand.

Missha Glossy Lip Rouge in Wanna Coral: I've finally gotten over my fuschia lip phase and entered a pink-coral phase. This is the color chosen for their Wanna Coral Collection and it was the initial lipstick that sucked me into Missha. There are three in the Wanna collection: Wanna Orange, Wanna Pink, and Wanna Coral. This lipstick is really smooth and glossy. It doesn't last long at all though.

Missha Signature Glam Art Gloss in Lotta Coral: While I was browsing around Missha, I found out that they had two main collections: Signature Lotta and Wanna. This is the gloss chosen for the Lotta Coral collection. I debated in getting this or the color above but I ended up getting both. This is a beautiful pink with coral undertones. It's not sticky at all.

Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream: This product has been raved about everywhere. I've seen it on a few Korean beauty shows now and on tons of blogs. After I had that stinging reaction with the Missha cream, I decided to try this out instead. It's made in Korea but I've heard that you can buy this at Sephora as well.

Skinfood Black Sugar First Serum Gold Edition Review

Monday, March 10, 2014
For the 10th Anniversary of Skinfood's black sugar mask, they released a gold edition of both the First Serum and also the Black Sugar Mask. How cool is that? At the time of the released, I thought it was just a change in packaging so I didn't get it. Fast - forward a few months when I've finished my original bottle of First Serum, I purchased the gold edition set because I couldn't find the original version in store. I can't even tell you how surprised I was when I saw a tiny gold speck on the cotten pad. Gold Version = gold flakes - DUH! 

*Gold edition is also limited edition, I'm starting to see stores slowly run out of these and replacing them with the regular and original Black Sugar Perfect First Serum
Here is the box that the set comes in - looking awesome in it's gold and black packaging.

It comes with one box of special cotton pads (60 pieces), one glass bottle of the serum (120ml), and a mini plastic 30ml bottle, perfect for traveling.

The original 120ml glass bottle with the fancy lid.

It has a plastic tab to prevent leaking.

It comes with a box of cotton pads that they recommend you use with the product. The cotton pad is quite thick, which makes me worry that I might be wasting a majority of the product on the cotton pad and not on my face.

According to the box:
"- Wipe and pat skin."
"- using the cleansing side of the pad, gently "wipe" skin to remove dead skin cells and impurities.

- using the absorbent side o the pad, gently "pat" the skin to absorb the serum remaining on the pad. "

Although, I feel that some products are wasted on the cotton pads, I do feel that this cotton pad helps the effectiveness of the product. Try it with the cotton pad and try it without, and you can see and feel the difference.

"Shake well before use to mix the particles with the serum."
"Use immediately after cleansing. Pour onto a cotton pad."

I used the serum according to the directions above and saw immediate results. I could feel that my skin was cleaner and brighter. When I applied my skincare, I was surprised to see how much faster, my moisturizer absorbed. Over the next feel days, I could see that my skintone looked brighter and more even. When I touch my skin, it feels more even and smooth.  I remember I had similar results the first time I used the Original Black Sugar Perfect First Serum, and knew it was due to this product. It really does make a difference in your skin. I highly recommend it. 

The first time I poured this product onto a cotton pad, I was surprised to see a gold flake and then I thought "oh, there is one gold flake." I didn't expect the quantity of gold flakes in the product to be high. There were many times when I didn't even get one flake out. However, as I've finished at least half the bottle now, more gold flakes are coming down - like in the picture below, which made me realize that a lot of gold flakes must be stuck on the bottom. The harder I shake the bottle now, the more flakes come out. The gold flakes dissolve as you wipe the pad across your face and disappear. I don't know if the flakes actually make a difference to the effectiveness of the product because the product seems just like the original version (which didn't have the gold). It still bothers me every time I think about how many gold flakes must be stuck to the bottom of the bottle but we'll never knew either because the glass is opaque.

Scent: It smells just like the original Skinfood Black Sugar Perfect First Serum, which is the light classic Black Sugar scent. 

Texture: It's very thin, almost like water. It's not sticky but you can definitely feel it at first. It aborbs quickly.

Ingredients: On the original version, the ingredients were printed on the side of the box but for the gold version, I couldn't find it.

Here are the ingredients for the original version:

Water, black sugar extract, alcohol, glycerin, butylene glycol, niacinamide, opuntia ficus-indica stem extract, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract, lepidium meyenii root extract, sarcodon aspratus extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, cirus limon (lemon) fruit extract, pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, tamarindus indica seed gum, lactobacillus/aspergillus/prunus mume fruit fermant filtrate peg-60 hydrogenated castor oil, arginine, ethlyhexlglycerine, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, adonosine, disodium edta, cellulose gum, sodium hyaluronate, phenoxyethanol, caramel, parfum.

I've bolded the ingredients that I recognize as potential irritants.  As you can see alcohol is the third ingredient which may be a concern for many people. Witch hazel and salicylic acid is usually used to treat and prevent acne prone skin. Lemon and orange extracts are usually used to brighten skin. I'm not familiar with what apple does. 

The Good:
- removes any remaining traces of makeup or dust
- exfoliates gently
- helps my skincare absorb noticably quicker
- makes my skin look glowly
- helps my skin look brighter
- my skin feels smoother
- less clogged pores
- not sticky
- light scent

The Bad:
- can't see how much product is left
- gold flakes get stucked in the bottle
- long ingredients list with a lot of potential irritants.

Price: I think this was 24 000Won whereas the original was 19 000. Keep in mind, this does come with a box of cotton pad and an extra 30ml mini bottle. 

* I believe the prices have gone up. The original is now 21 000 Won.

Overall: I think this is a great toner/serum. It's highly effective and it has worked lovely on my skin. If you can't find the gold edition, just get the regular. There honestly doesn't seem to be much difference besides the gold flakes. However, do check out the ingredients list before you make a purchase.

Travel: Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae, Seoul

Friday, March 7, 2014
Recently, I went to the Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae. It's located on a hill in a small alley in Hongdae. I've  seen it a few times before but this time it was the first time I went in.

It was super cute, just as I had imagined, and very, very pink.

 Although Hello Kitty originated from Japan, there are many things related to Hello Kitty in Korea. In HomePlus (a Korean store that sells practically everything- grocceries/ clothes/ makeup/ electronics.. etc - like a Walmart Superstore except with 5 or 6 floors) you can find a half a shelf dedicated to Hello Kitty things - from stationary to mugs.

Hongdae is a district in Seoul, known for Hongik University. It's also known for it's trendy fashion, bars, and clubs, Hongdae is very popular to young people. It's also the place where the StyleNanda flagship store is located. To get there, you need to go on subway line 2, Exit 9.

Here is the outside view. As you can see, there are some people posing outside :)

First Floor: Cute kitty head cut outs in the wall and plush sofa seat. It was quite spacious considering how tiny it looked on the outside.

Second Floor: There are more seats than just the ones shown in this picture but I forgot to take pictures of them. Sorry!

Some really cute pictures of the menu on the wall.

They also sell stuff like mugs, t-shirts, and plushies and yes - those are Hello Kitty heads stuffed into jars - cute but kind of freaky at the same time.

And yes, that's Hello Kitty's picture on my latte :) 

I didn't think the drinks would be that great since the main selling point was the decor of the cafe but I was wrong. The drinks were actually quite tasty and better than some of the other cafes that I've been to. They also lean on the sweet side. They weren't that expensive either -  most drinks are around 4 000 Won to 6 000 Won ($4 - $6) which is really kind of low- normal prices for coffee drinks in Korea.

Hello Kitty cups and placemats!

Hello Kitty napkin!

Overall: If you love Hello Kitty, then you should visit this. It's extremely cute, not far from the main shopping district of Hongdae Station, and affordable :) 

There's also a Hello Kitty museum and cafe in Jeju Island. I really want to visit that one too!

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