It’s another month, and another set of beauty products that have found its way to the ELLE desks. This time, it’s was a group effort, as members of Team ELLE slathered on the latest potions and lotions, and road tested the newest shampoos and lipsticks to bring you our honest reviews.
Reviews are always subjective and what works for one person, may not work for another, which is why we hope that by targetting each product to the right person — who has the skin or hair type that it’s best suited to — we can give you the most accurate possible reviews. This month, we try out drugstore herbal shampoos, interesting lip textures, a super luxurious anti-ageing cream and coloured mascaras. Read on for our verdict.
1.RYO Hair Loss Care Shampoo — for normal/dry scalp, S$19.90, and Hair Loss Care Treatment, S$12.90.
What it is: A Korean haircare brand that focusses on scalp health. This particular range uses a ginseng root extract to combat the first signs of hair loss that includes limp locks and a widening hair part.
What we say: This anti-hair loss shampoo has a gel-like texture that foams easily once in contact with water. The herbal scent can be slightly overwhelming (we have very long hair and needed a few pumps of product) but thankfully, the smell subsides quite a lot after rinsing, though there are still traces of it. This left our scalp feeling very clean and has a refreshing, cooling effect. We noticed a reduction in hair loss and although it didn’t leave our hair with that silky effect, it did make our tresses quite soft. The conditioner smoothes the hair but does not give it that slippery feeling you might get from silicone-based products. Still we liked using both products as a pair, in order to get the desired effect.
2. Dior Addict Stellar Shine, S$52.
What it is: A lipstick that promises extraordinary shine and colour with long-lasting wear. It also boasts a comfortable, balm-like texture.
What we say: We tried the shade Charm. This glossy lipstick was super vibrant and pigmented. With just one application the colour spread evenly on our lips. And it did have a long-lasting effect — the base colour stayed on without the need for retouching for several hours. Upon blotting, the colour it left a beautiful, coral pink stain that was also pretty in itself. We also loved the intensively moisturising effect. Our lips feel soft and hydrated after use. Definitely a good all-in-one lip product for those looking for the complete package.
3. Sisley Phyto Blush Twist in Passion Blush and Contour, S$80 each.
What it is: Jumbo pencils for the cheeks and skin that can illuminate, define and brighten the face.
What we say: The cream to powder formula gave the impression of being very buttery at first glance. The application was easy, as the cream glided on our face smoothly and was very blendable. The soft, creamy blusher (Passion) dried down quickly into a powder leaving a light, sheer glow that was still long-lasting on our skin. We loved the dewy and slightly transparent effect as it was not too sparkly. We also liked that the this product was quite hydrating — thanks to camellia oil and shea oil — and that the blush shade was convenient to apply without a brush or a beauty blender. For the Contour shade, however we did need a beauty blender to accurately contour the face, although it still had that sheer, shine-free texture that we loved.
4. Laura Mercier Velour Lip Powder Collection, S$42 each.
What it is: A trio of lightweight lip powders that give lips a matte finish with an intense, metallic sheen. The accompanying base balm can be used to prep and hydrate the lips and help the powder adhere more smoothly.
What we say: We love the idea of lip powders and the fact that they can be worn separately or together to attain an ombré effect. If you have dry lips like us, start with the balm and then press the pigment onto the lips. Using a lip brush gives a more polished and defined look, but personally we liked using our fingers for a soft and diffused effect. This is exactly the kind of product you need for that blurry lip look that is often seen on the catwalk and in high fashion shoots. We also especially loved the colours in the New York palette that ranged from a wearable brick to a metallic bordeaux. Très chic!
5. Shiseido Controlled Chaos Mascara Ink, S$50 each.
What it is: A range of mascaras in basic black and more interesting shades like blue and violet. The applicator wand has scallop shaped bristles for full, fanned-out lashes.
What we say: This mascara was a pleasant surprise. At first glance, the bristles might look heavy and clumpy but after application, it proved to be anything but. On our first application, the mascara lifted our lashes (we do not have a natural curl) and added volume to it. On the second application, it achieved our desired lash volume with zero clumping. The mascara was also soft on the lashes, smudge-proof and easy to remove. We were also sold on the bright hues offered by Shiseido that were vibrant without being intimidating. Love that the lashes could be fully coated with the coloured mascara ink (covering your original black lashes in its entirety) without looking clumpy or thick, for a subtle yet cool, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it effect.
6. Lancer Legacy Youth Treatment, S$1,600.
What it is: An ultra-luxurious treatment that combines advanced factors such as epidermal growth factors and insulin-like growth factors with peptides to enhance the skin’s rejuvenation process and innate youthfulness.
What we say: This was certainly a wowing product, from the packaging — each cream comes in a box with a spatula and an individual authenticity card — to the formula that utilises advanced factors and a firming mesh complex (among other ingredients). Coupled with the fact that the brand’s creator Dr Harold Lancer described it as the culmination of his life’s work, and this certainly raised our expectations. The instructions say that you should use a generous amount of cream, so we did, applying it in an upwards motion on the face and neck (you can also apply it on the décolleté). The price of $1600 might be prohibitive to some, but if you are so inclined we daresay this is worth the splurge. After just a few days of use, we saw visible improvements to our appearance. It was hard to pin down what exactly had changed but when we sent a selfie to friends, several of them commented that we looked younger — our skin was brighter and more even toned, wrinkles were less visible, and our complexion had a youthful glow about it.
7. Supergoop! SuperScreen Daily Moisturizer SPF40/PA+++, S$55.
What it is: A 2-in-1 creamy moisturiser and chemical-based sunscreen with SPF 40 protection against UV rays, blue light, and environmental pollution.
What we say: It’s a moisturiser version of Supergoop!‘s hero product, the yellow tube of the chemical-based Everyday Sunscreen. The key sun protection mechanism here is chemical-based, meaning that the ingredients are absorbed into your skin and works from there on (this is different from mineral or physical sunscreens). This multi-tasker is a great product to have — especially for the minimalist user or lazy person, who find it difficult to commit to a daily sunscreen routine. It’s a pretty dense cream so it does leave a layer on your skin — making it a very moisturising formula for dry skin types. While the formula is impeccable, the packaging is quite tricky. It comes in an inverted plastic jar, making it a little messy to work with. And if you’re someone who brings your sunscreen out with you — be it to the gym for reapplication after showers or to the beach, the jar rolls around and sometimes out of your bag. It’s a great product to have at your vanity for daily application though.
8. Shiseido White Lucent Overnight Cream and Mask, S$120.
What we say: This is a winning night product, especially for those with younger skin (aged 18 to their early 30s). While some of Shiseido‘s products may prove to be too rich for “young” skin, this new formula is especially light — it first left a lightly-scented, breathable coating over the skin. Within an hour or two, most of the cream was absorbed. Its impressive after effect however, was unveiled the next morning. Our skin was left glowing, radiant, and dewy. For the first time in a long time, we were able to step out of the house in our bare skin.
9, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity Eau de Parfums in Silver and Gold, S$270 each.
We say: Maison Francis Kurkdjian always produces polite, well-balanced fragrances that are elegant and refined. Silver, an aromatic woody scent, and Gold, a musky Oriental, are no exceptions. From the minute we picked up the bottles, it was apparent this was a product of luxury with a nice, weighty glass bottle and metal cap. Silver was reminiscent of a classic men’s cologne (although it can be worn by both genders) with top notes of juniper berries and amber that start out on the slightly sharper side. The scent only improves with time, drying down into a well-rounded blend of vanilla, musk and woodier notes that lasted on our skin well after the six hour mark.
Gold, a musky Oriental option, is a beautiful scent, but it is definitely a bold choice. This is not a fragrance that goes unnoticed. We loved the addictive and warm notes — the vanilla in particular is very apparent — although the drydown can be a bit sweet for some. Overall, this duo was an intoxicating olfactory experience that can even be shared among couples.
Photographs by Tung Pham and Gregory Woo