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Fancl Zero Preservatives Skincare

I recently contracted a bout of contact dermatitis on my décolleté, an allergic reaction to a product I applied on my skin.

It itched and burned, and was covered in angry and red welts for weeks.

Now that I’ve recovered with antihistamines, I’m left with patchy scars on my chest. I’m just patiently waiting for my skin tone in that area to even out.

It was a painful reminder to always pay attention to the ingredients in my skincare.

Now while I cannot guarantee that Fancl skincare would not cause you to break out in an allergic reaction, as everyone reacts differently to skincare products; it is a “cleaner” option.

This Japanese skincare brand which is well-known for its oral collagen skincare supplements, is also renowned for its preservative-free and fragrance-free formulas.

Its anti-ageing and moisturising range are sold in relatively small 30ml bottles, which are doubly-sealed. The rationale: as it is preservative-free, it needs to be kept fresh and you need to use up the content of the bottle quickly for best results.

The smaller bottles mean they are great to pack for your travels and staycations too.

For this review, I roadtested the Fancl Enrich Lotion I that freshens up my skin like a moisturising toner, followed by the Fancl Moist Refine Emulsion II for a deeper hydration. These were good enough to keep my skin supple for the day, while feeling lightweight on the skin.

For an added boost at night, I layer on two pumps of the Core Effector to help boost the elasticity of my skin. There was some visible firmness after I used this product for a week.

Without fragrance and preservatives in the formulas, I slathered on the skincare with ease.

Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries The Exhibition in Singapore

We checked out brand extraordinaire Louis Vuitton’s 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries The Exhibition at Marina Bay Sands that commemorates the 200th anniversary of Louis Vuitton the man.

Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries Singapore
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries, Singapore

This colourful and intriguing travelling art exhibition is a welcomed respite for luxury retail on the sunny bay, as social distancing restrictions have relaxed.

200 Trunks made its way to Singapore right after France where it was showcased in the Louis Vuitton family home. The exhibition will end up eventually in London and the pieces will be auctioned off (apparently by Sothebys) to benefit creatives.

The pieces were created by artists, musicians and other talents.

My faves: the iconic trunks that were turned into furniture and even a juke box.

Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries, Juke Box
61/200
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries
6/200

Or the satirical interpretations of the human condition.

Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries
11/200
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries, Infectious Waste
LV: Infectious Waste

K-pop sensation BTS got in on the action for this exhibition too.

Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries, BTS
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibit by K-Pop stars BTS, 146/200

Watch this to see more of the exhibition.

200 Trunks, 200 Visionaries is open to the public in Singapore till 27 April.

Louis Vuitton Marina Bay Sands Singapore
Lous Vuitton Marina Bay Sands

The Lipstick to Wear Under A Mask

So are you also one of those freaks who wear a full face of make-up and lipstick under your protective face mask?

Well then, here’s the perfect non-smudgy but super intense lipstick range for you: The YSL Beauty Rouge Pur Couture The Slim Velvet Radical Highly Pigmented Velvet Matte Lipstick.

The colour glides on opaque in one stroke, easy to blend with a fingertip, smells sexy and powdery. The matte finish allows the colour to set quickly on the lips.

Blot gently with a tissue three or four times; and the colour will not budge under your mask.

So that when you whip off the face cover to drink your coffee or eat lunch; your perfect make-up will pleasantly surprise.

2022 Wellness Resolutions

The best thing you can do for yourself?

Self-care.

Here are 22 things that will make you feel better, anytime.

1. Sign up for that gym membership and get into shape.

2. Spend time taking care of your skin. Exfoliate and moisturise.

3. Get a haircut, new colour, and style your locks differently.

4. Indulge in a new hobby.

5. Spend time with, and be kind to yourself.

6. Sleep earlier and rise at a fixed time.

7. Hydrate.

8. Breathe and stretch.

9. Start a journal and write all your thoughts down.

10. Read or watch a movie to gain a different perspective.

11. Take time to reflect on the day and feel gratitude for the little things.

12. Let go of things – physical or emotional – that don’t serve you.

13. Make memories. These last longer with you than any material items.

14. Always take the long-term perspective.

15. But remember to live in the moment.

16. Eat well, cut the sugar, simple carbs and palm oil.

17. Contentment is bliss.

18. Be self aware. Listen to yourself speak.

19. Go for long walks.

20. Make that big purchase if it will make you happy.

21. Remember you always have a choice.

22. Put a loved one, first.

Kiehl’s Ferulic Brew Rejuvenating Facial Essence

An antioxidant-rich brew for your face? Why not.

The new fermented essence by Kiehl’s is made with enzymes from brassica extract and ferulic acid, brewed for 120 hours and fortified further with lactic acid and squalane oil.

The Ferulic Brew Rejuvenating Facial Essence, a bi-phase formula, sweeps away dead surface cells while nourishing the deeper layers of the skin.

Great as a first step in your skincare routine, right after cleansing.

For days when you don’t want to load on the products, just pat the essence onto skin and a light moisturiser to perk up your complexion.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder Light Catcher

Known for its makeup range that offers the perfect #wokeuplikethis look, Laura Mercier has done it again with a new setting powder that offers a candle-lit glow on the skin.

The new Translucent Loose Setting Powder Light Catcher is made to set makeup, and prevent it from shifting.

The perfect product to wear under your protective face mask, when you’ve got foundation, blush and contouring makeup on. (Why? Because sometimes, we need to look great when eating in public.)

This champagne colour -tinted powder – named Celestial Light – provides the finishing touch to your makeup routine.

It is also a secret weapon for when you need to take video calls: it does not leave a white cast or metallic finish on skin while blurring out imperfections.

Castaner Wedge Espadrilles

In Singapore where I live, the tropical weather’s all year round.

So we’re lucky enough to be able to live in pretty summer frocks 24/7.

And trust me when I say a good pair of espadrille wedges just elevates colourful cotton and linen outfits.

Image source: Instagram/ sofrench_bynaty;Main image – Instagram/ anindigoday

The best I’ve come across so far are by the Spanish brand Castaner.

Started in 1927, it continues to manufacture its espadrilles the traditional way.

Industry insiders even claim that the luxury labels rely on Castaner to produce their wedge espadrilles, most notably for YSL a couple of decades back.

Today, many high-end brands pair up with Castaner to produce limited edition collections; from Manolo Blahnik to Missoni and most recently, Paul Smith.

Also, it is no secret that Castaner has fans from the royal family; who are often spotted in the earth-toned shoes in the paparazzi shots taken in summer.

And for good reason: Castaners are so comfortable for wedges, and they elongate your legs with the ribbon ties at the ankles.

Inage source: Instagram/ castaner

They are very well-made for a reasonable price (S$150 onwards), long-lasting, and so versatile as it matches almost every summer outfit.

Image source: Instagram/ cumini

Perfect shoes, if you ask me; and I own more than 20 pairs of the cotton-canvas wedges in every colour. I also have a couple in calf and suede.

Image source: Instagram/ castaner_chile

As for the sizing of the shoes, I’d recommend you go one size down. I’m a usual EU 37 but wear size 36 for Castaners.

Enjoy, when you get your first pair. (And I’m pretty sure that like me, you won’t stop at one).

Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum

While it is an effective anti-aging ingredient, retinol is notoriously difficult to incorporate into the skincare routine.

Because often, it can cause dryness, redness and even peeling of the skin.

Now, Kiehl’s has taken out the guess work in allowing you to effortlessly incorporate retinol into your beauty ritual.

Tapping a “micro-dosing” technology, Kiehl’s new Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily feels comfortable and gentle on the skin as it also contains soothing peptides and ceramides.

This new product can even be layered with other Kiehl’s serums.

Here’s how to layer it on, effectively:

1. Moisturising Toner or Essence

2. Other Kiehl’s serum

3. Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum

4. Face cream (go for a more hydrating one)

5. Sunscreen (skip this for the night routine, clearly)

Valentino Rockstud Caged Pump 65mm Review

“If the shoe fits, buy it in every colour,” someone once said.

They clearly knew what they were talking about.

It took me years and wasted funds to find the most gorgeous heels that allow me to walk around all day elegantly and in style, with no pain. So obviously when I found the one, I bought it in as many shades as I could afford.

And that coveted pair, my friends, is the Valentino Rockstud Caged Pump 65mm.

Perfect with denim

(source: Instagram/fashionaddict.5; main picture source: Instagram/moncheri.moni)

First launched on runways in 2010, the strappy, studded pyramid punk-rock heels look both decadently dangerous and feminine at the same time.

Designed by Valentino’s former creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, the heels have an almost magical leg-lengthening effect and is now one of the most iconic on the luxury footwear scene.

Till today, it is a money-spinner for the label. Valentino continues to produce collections – from clothing, to bags and accessories – that hark back to the sexy Rockstuds.

If the shoe fits, buy it in every colour.

Someone who knew what they were talking about
The best part about shoes: Limited edition colourways

(source: Instagram)

Over the seasons, the Rockstud Caged Pumps have appeared on shelves in a plethora of designs, colours and materials. From flats and sandals to 100mm stilettos, in soft nappa, rugged grained calf, luscious suede, shiny patent leather, metallic calf, smart canvas, full-on sequins, sexy lace, and even rustic raffia.

The shiny and polished platinum studs usually come in gold or silver, and sometimes coated in matte black or powder pastels to match the colourways.

The style that I’ve found to be most comfortable, and on my repeat list whenever I want to complete a killer outfit, is the 65mm Caged Pump.

A stunning style made of grained leather

(source: Instagram/pppundita)

The easy height, open-heel, half-sandal style with a pointed toe is classic yet casual, so it elevates everything from boardroom suits to weekend rompers.

I find the 65mm even more alluring than the 100mm versions as it is simply easier to stomp around in, and has many more blindingly shiny studs. The triple buckle just adds to the appeal for me; even though yes, it takes more time to put on the shoes.

The Rockstud 65mm Caged Pump

(source: Instagram/mrs_thatmountain)
The Rockstud 100mm Caged Pump

(source: Instagram)

I could continue to wax lyrical about my favourite shoe, but the most critical thing you need to know about it is the fit. The 65mm Caged Pump is true-to-size. Important information; especially if you are going to grab a pair online to take advantage of end-of-season-sales and limited edition designs.

My feet are a standard size 7 (for reference: in Ferragamo Vara), generally a UK 5, and EU 37 for European shoe labels. The Rockstud Caged Pump 65mm size 37 fits me like a glove.

Sexy black patent

(source: Instagram/meganhess_official)

Next up, I’ll be reviewing the Rockstud Spike Nappa Leather bags, which are also a must-have. (They may be a bit of an overkill when paired with the Rockstud pumps, but nobody will complain because it’s a stunning combo.)

The classic Valentino nude shade that’s uber flattering: Poudre

(source: Instagram/ritta_im)

Beauty Gazette: More to come – Reports on Beautiful Fashion, Lifestyle, Retail

It has been five years since The Beauty Gazette was launched, and what an incredibly satisfying journey.

After I left my job in the media, TBG has been a great escape from the daily grind of my corporate career It is the perfect outlet for my observations of the wild and wonderful emerging in the beauty industry.

I love makeup, skincare, and all things self-care. Because if you can’t look after and love yourself, then you can’t really expect to have the best life you should be living.

If you can’t love yourself, then you can’t really expect to live the best life.

-TBG

Like many of you, the pandemic has made me re-assess my priorities including TBG. What should I drop, take on and refine?

So I’ve decided that since the lines between beauty, fashion, lifestyle and retail are increasingly blurred, TBG will also cover these other forms of self-indulgence, going forward.

I’ll be sharing more on all things bright, shiny and beautiful.

On top of my posts on beauty trends, I’ll keep you in the know of my favourite tried and tested fashion brands and products, and regular retailers I go to for my shopping fix.

I’ll be reviewing everything from iconic shoes and coats from luxury labels to the most flattering high street denim pieces, and outfits that provide a high ROI.

Because the truly fashionable know that the best outfits are a mix of luxury investment pieces and regular affordable high-street ones (with the occasional vintage treasure thrown in).

So stay tuned to see what I’ve been keeping my eye on and adding to my shopping bag.

And occasionally, I’ll also be sharing my favourite fashionable hangouts where you can watch the beautiful people.

So stay tuned, and thank you for being a loyal reader of TBG.