Review: The PHB Ethical Beauty Skin Repair Gel with Aloe & Lavender


PHB Ethical Beauty Skin Repair Gel


It wasn’t only yesterday that I became quite aware of skin-loving products that were made ethically and contained ingredients that weren’t doubtful. In the past 1-2 years, the skin on my calves seemed to have become more sensitive than it had always been, and I started developing eczema patches here and there. Suddenly, I could no longer use shower gels from the many brands I used to love, because they would just make the condition worse.


In the past couple of months, I’ve been on the search for skin-repairing products that would make my eczema go away and return me the healthy skin that I used to have. I was asked if I wanted to give PHB Ethical Beauty a try and one of the products I was recommended was the Skin Repair Gel with Aloe & Lavender.


The gel itself comes in a 120ml glass tub with a metal lid that screws shut.  It is hand made in the UK, like all the other products from the brand, and contains natural and organic ingredients. A quick look at their short ingredient list shows organic aloe vera as the second ingredient on the list after water. Now we’re talking.


Ingredient List:

Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Vera), Vegetable Glycerine, Lavendula Angustifolia Flower Distillate, Sclerotium Gum, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Xanthin Gum, Coco-caprylate, Propandiol & Salix Alba, Lavendula Angustifolia (Lavender) and Benzyl Alcohol. Occurs naturally: Geraniol, Limonene and Linalool.


The gel smells quite strongly of lavender the moment you open it, though it dissipates quite fast once applied. Because it has aloe vera in it, it does have an immediate cooling effect on the skin even when left to store at room temperature. Which makes sense, seeing that this gel is meant for skin that is irritated, inflamed, sun burnt or suffering from eczema. The gel calms the skin down and leaves behind a thin, lightweight, silky smooth feel. When applied on inflamed skin that itches, it immediately stops the itch. I think it would be good to give this a try on mosquito bites. It can be used on the face as well, as aloe vera helps to soothe acne if you suffer from it.


As for the other ingredients in the list, they seem fine to me as well. Glycerine is very commonly used as a base in soaps. All the gums you see are used as emulsifiers and thickeners, but since this gel is quite flowy in nature, I don’t think a high concentration of the gums is used. Coco-caprylate (a natural ingredient) is what helps the gel to spread well and hydrate the skin, and gives the skin its silky effect after applying. I love it!

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Wednesday Musing: A Classic Fragrance in a Cocktail


Chanel Cocktail with Laurent Greco Perrier Masterclass


When Coco Chanel was presented with a lineup of fragrances by perfumer Ernest Beaux, each one numbered after the one before, she picked the fifth one in the line. That’s how the name of the classic Chanel No. 5 came about and is still loved by many of us today.


While I very much prefer a younger, less sophisticated scent – my classic is the Coco Mademoiselle – a recent Perrier masterclass with mixologist Laurent Gréco showed me that even when it comes to the cocktail hour, most women can’t resist a longtime Chanel favourite in their drink. Even if it’s just temporarily encased in a smoky bubble above the glass of rosy liquid, a Chanel fragrance is still, after all, a Chanel fragrance.

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New on the Beauty Counter: The Guerlain Météorites Base in its Pink Perfection


Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Makeup


The long weekend that just passed gave us some time to rearrange our furniture at home, and what better time than this to prop up my art work of La Petite Robe Noire? I know it’s not fantastic on canvas but she has a tutu skirt, and that’s all that matters.


I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but Guerlain recently launched their La Petite Robe Noire Makeup Collection along with their SS 2016 makeup collection. I can’t get enough of the Météorites Base Perfecting Pearls Anti-Dullness (available on Nordstrom here) – the pastel pink and white combination has me weak in the knees. When applied on the skin, it leaves a super smooth finish that’s slightly shimmery and very romantic. Although it is a silicon-based product, it’s pretty lightweight so you don’t feel as though your skin can’t breathe.


Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Makeup


And if that doesn’t inspire you to live life a la Parisienne, you need to check out the 20 new lip colours in their pretty new packaging. 007 Black Perfecto is my favourite of the lot because it looks black in the tube – or at least a deep, burnt indigo – but when applied on the lips, it ends up being just a light purplish or pinkish stain, depending on the shade of your natural lips.


Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Makeup


But perhaps the one thing that’s got me missing Paris the most is this book by Jennifer L. Scott: “Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris.” I just can’t put it down, so pardon me for being slightly late with my recent blog posts while I relive France in my mind, imaginary vintage dressing table and all.


Oh yes but how could I forget. If you’ll like to know the ingredients in the Météorites Base Perfecting Pearls Anti-Dullness, here they are.

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Wednesday Musing: My Top 5 Beauty Priorities


Top 5 Beauty Priorities


Life is all about making priorities. Our priorities change from time to time, depending on what is important to us at any moment in our lives. But there are some priorities that are here to stay, either for the next 10 days or the next 10 years.


Here are my current top 5 beauty priorities.


1. Good Skin

Good skin has always been a great concern of mine. I used to be a sufferer of really bad acne, some of which was cystic, while growing up. Even when I grew into adulthood, they never truly went away. If not for hormone regulating pills, I wouldn’t have the skin that I do today. And for me, that’s OK. Not everyone is born with flawless-skin genetics, so we just have to deal with it in our own ways.

I foresee that sometime in the near future, I’m going to have to slowly wean myself off this medication for specific periods of time, and a part of me is quite worried about what things are going to be like when that happens. I suppose with the invention of beauty cleansing tools (I currently use the Clarisonic Mia and am totally smitten by what it has done for me), good skincare products, a good diet, a regular skincare routine, enough rest and optimism, I can continue to have the skin that I wish for.


2. Brows

Oh dear me, wherever my brows went after I was born is a mystery. Actually, I’m not sure I actually had them proper. My brows are the finest you can get out there, never mind the fact that my hair is typically Asian-dark.

Brows can make or break a look, and I learnt this quite the hard way. Looking back at some of my very first beauty looks, where my brows were completely unfilled, I still cringe today. Nowadays, my daily look includes filling them in with some soft brow powder, so I feel somewhat better that people sitting at the far end of the lecture theatre can tell I have some sort of brows when I give my lectures. In a way, it’s kind of like stage makeup.

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The Relationship Between Lipstick and I


We're closer than you think.

We’re closer than you think.


If you’ve been following me, you might know how sensitive my lips are. They get all weirded out when I put on a lipstick, lip stain, lip gloss or even lip balm that they don’t like, and I’ll end up with lots of tiny bumps that start around the perimeter. That’s why when I find a brand of lip products that don’t cause me to break out and go all cray-cray, you can bet that I’m sticking with that brand for as long as forever.


Just over the past few days, I mentally went through my entire collection of lipsticks and realised to my utter dismay that I currently only wear about 10% of them. The other 90%? All test subjects, either given by companies for review purposes or bought with my own money on a whim. Oh, thank God for the really kind Tom Ford counter sales assistants who very nicely allowed me to give their lippies a go before I decided if I wanted to buy them.


{Disclaimer: Whether a lipstick worked on me or not isn’t revealed in my blog reviews, regardless of whether they are self-bought, because eczema is different for everybody and if it doesn’t work for me, it might still work on you. If it works for me, it might not for you. To each his own. All other aspects of the lip products, such as longevity and pigmentation, are as stated though.}


So, reflecting on my abysmal collection of lipsticks, I ended up buying a Sara Happ limited edition lip set, a Julie Hewett lipstick from the Noir Collection and a L’Oreal Pure Amaranthe lipstick. All within the span of less than 24 hours. Yep, that’s right. I’m so poor now.


I tweeted a couple of times how much I had to stop – and for now I have. But that got me thinking about why I even had the need to get those lippies (no, seriously, it was a need). And then I realised, that I just cannot live without them. And this is why.

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Feature: The New Times Bookstore at Waterway Point, Singapore


Times Waterway Point Singapore


With the rise of electronic books comes the inevitable demise of real, tangible books that allow you to feel the pages as you flip them over. If you’re a book lover like me, your heart must have been chipped away bit by bit with news of bookstores closing down and moving out in the past few years. Libraries are almost a salvation but nothing beats having a hard cover that you can truly call your own. That’s why when stores like Times expand and launch a new branch, it’s pretty much a celebration.


The new Times store is located at Waterway Point and although it’s quite far off for many people, at least those of you living there will have something to look forward to. Not only is this branch large and spacious, it also features exclusive children’s and lifestyle sections.


Kids will love the children’s section because where else will you be welcomed by a princess and a knight – in his shining armour, no less – and find soft, fluffy ladybirds to lean on while you explore the worlds of magic? Activity books and toys will serve not only to entertain the young, but also educate them in a fun way.


My favourite part of the store is the lifestyle section, where you’ll find things like Jamie Oliver’s kitchenware (oh, those gorgeous tins for storing garlic), aromatherapy tools and even cushions for your couch (I mean, with Netflix, it’s something you probably need). The space can also be converted to host workshops, such as cooking demonstrations and arts & craft sessions.


Times Waterway Point Singapore

A little something for your couch.

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Most Wearable Beauty Looks from Paris Fashion Week FW 2016


Paris Fashion Week 2016 Beauty Looks


Phew! The hectic week that is known as Paris Fashion Week is finally over and done with. I haven’t been a part of the shows and runways but I definitely kept up with the news and am so in love with Chanel’s fishnet eyes. That said, this fall has many other interesting looks up its sleeve. Think sleek ponytails, bright eyeliners, the classic smouldering black smokey eye, glossy lids, dark sombre lips and specks of glitter. And if you may ask, yes, there are some which are definitely going to look great on you!


Thanks to Sarah at Popsugar (where all the pictures in this post are from), who made a comprehensive album of all the looks being strutted in style, I’m able to show you some wearable looks from the runway that you can try out.


1. The “Anne Hathaway”

Paris Fashion Week 2016 Beauty Looks


I came up with the name for this one because the moment I saw this look, she was the one who immediately came to mind. This look is all about keeping the face barely-there, creating a bambi-eyed look with rosy lips. Some variations have bolder lip colours but the rest remains the same.


How you can get the look:

Apply concealor and foundation all over your face, and add some light blush on the cheekbones. Keep brows full, soft and natural by using a brow powder. Avoid eyeliner and lipliner but use lip balm to keep lips soft and plump. Finally, apply some rosy lip colour all over your lips. As for your hair, keep it the way it looks naturally. Some curves and waves would make it perfect.


2. The “Au Naturel”

Paris Fashion Week 2016 Beauty Looks


At every Fashion Week, there are bound to be some runways that decide to keep things simple. This one’s no different, and a natural no-makeup, girl-next-door look is always suitable for day-to-day life. In fact, this is my very own everyday look.


How you can get the look:

Concealor and foundation are a must for a look such as this (of course, unless you don’t need it). Just like the previous look, only a small amount of blush is needed – keep to shades that are natural. A blush with slight shimmer or glow is fine. Your brows just need to be filled in slightly and kept neat. No eyeliner, mascara or eyeshadow is necessary, while lip balm is all you need. If you wish for a tinge of colour on your puckers, a tinted lip balm would do the trick. As for your hair, tie it up neatly into a pigtail or ponytail at the back. I absolutely adore Ellery’s take on tying the end with some string (see picture above) but if you attempt this, make sure it doesn’t come off easily.

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Confession: The Struggles of Being a Blogger (Part 2 of 2)


Struggles of Being a Blogger (Part 2)

The struggle is real.


{I recently wrote the first part of this in a previous entry, and you can find it here.}


Being a blogger is no easy task, especially when we do it while holding a full-time job and fulfil other commitments as well. It’s tricky when it comes to balancing everything and only bloggers who really have passion in what we do will outlast the rest. That said, here are some other things that all bloggers struggle with, no matter how long we’ve been blogging and what we blog about. Enjoy!


7. Balancing a full-time job with blogging.

Most bloggers in Singapore aren’t paid when we do sponsored posts. We hold full-time jobs because Mama has to put food on the table and buy that Naked palette. Most of the time, our full-time jobs aren’t exactly aligned with the nature of what we blog about, so it’s pretty common to have a financial banker working 12-hour days and finding time in between all the other commitments to blog. Note that blogging also includes attending events, networking sessions, pitching to PR companies, photoshoots and writing emails. Tons and tons of emails.

This is why you’d believe a beauty blogger with a full-time job when she recommends you a good under-eye concealor.


8. Not being paid for our work.

There is a reason many European and US bloggers can carve out a living from blogging and Singaporean bloggers can’t. It’s simply that companies here, unlike the ones overseas, would rather not pay bloggers to blog about their products or services than to be strategic about their outreach campaigns. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. And I’m also trying to change it (like how a few other bloggers are), but one day at a time. If companies here were willing to change the way they approached the blogging industry, given the calibre of the pool of bloggers we have in Singapore, it wouldn’t be difficult to have our versions – or better ones – of Aimee Song, Chiara Ferragni and Jessica Stein.


9. Being perceived as wannabes.

Not all bloggers want to be popular or be a star. Sometimes, we really just do want to blog, that’s all. Maybe we have outfit shots or vlogs, but for some of us, what really matter are the photography, the videography, the behind-the-scenes actions, the people we meet (who later become friends) while collaborating on blog entries and attending events to stay in the know of latest industry updates. The best kinds of bloggers give you value, amaze you with their work and you always learn something new from them.

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Confession: The Struggles of Being a Blogger (Part 1 of 2)


Struggles of Being a Blogger

If only my desk were this perfect all the time.


OK I’ll admit it. Even before I typed the first word of this blog post, I actually Googled “struggles of being a blogger” to see what other bloggers in the rest of the world are struggling with. And it seems – after reading several articles and one particularly funny post filled with gifs on Buzzfeed – that bloggers do suffer from very similar things regardless of the genre of blogging.


I started blogging in 2010 because I loved writing (and makeup). Yes, I’m a chemist and I love to write. But I also cannot stand the emotive demands in literature (sorry folks), which seem way too tiring for me to catch up with. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good Neil Gaiman every now and then, but asking me what the poetic devices used in a poem imply about language is alien speak to me. So, the only way for me to continue my love affair with words, other than the occasional trips to the bookstore, is to write. And what else to write about than my other passion in life – beauty?


There are many problems that bloggers face in their time as a blogger, and here are some of the biggest ones I faced or are facing as a style and beauty blogger in Singapore.


1. Buying a new product and not using it till photos are taken.

So I just bought a new lipstick in a new never-worn-before shade from Tom Ford. I’m dying to use it this weekend while cafe hopping, or during the next big day at work (to remind me that all that hard work is worth it). The only thing is, I can’t. Because before I even dare to apply one layer of it on my skin, I need to make sure I’ve taken all the best photos I can of it for my blog review and Instagram. Same goes for skincare products and clothes for outfit posts. Yup, no chances taken.


2. Finding a photographer.

We all know the golden hours to take shots outdoors are the one just after sunrise and the one just before sunset. Good luck trying to find someone who’s also available during those times to take that shot for you. Not only that, but that certain someone should preferably like photography as much as you like having a nice photo of you put out there for all to see. Thank God for boyfriends and Instagram husbands now, shall we?


3. How often to post.

I used to post an entry every other day of the week at the very least, even if it was a small Tip of the Day entry. That was back when I’d just graduated from university and had some extra time on my hands. However, with what little amount of time I have now, there is a need to strategise. We know that quality trumps quantity, but we also know that readers get bored easily and won’t come back if we only post once a month or so.

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Tip of the Day: How to Wear Navy (and Look Stylish While at it)

How to Wear Navy


The nautical theme is so last season, babe. That’s why it can be tricky business to wear navy without looking like we didn’t get the memo. But fret not, I’ve got some tips that would help you stay classy and up-to-date. Read on to find out more about how to wear navy in style and rock it solid.


1. Wear it on its own.


Navy alone is a classic shade, just like black or beige. It is something that would never fail. Think about it, wearing an all-navy ensemble to a dinner party, beach wedding, to the movies or Sunday brunch. Chances are, you’ve already got something in mind. So yes, if you aren’t sure what to wear navy with, staying with it on its own would do just fine.


2. Wear it with neutral colours.


Some colours include black, white, nude, and brown. If you’re known for hitting the nail on the head where colour blocking is concerned, these shades can’t go wrong.


3. Wear it with denim.


Denim, where do I even begin? It can be faded denim or something that’s a darker shade of blue. Whatever the case, not everyone likes denim-on-denim. But navy-on-denim could very well be the trend you set next.

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