Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Korea Haul: Nature Republic

Firstly, I must confess that I forgot to include one of my favourite items in this post - the famous Soothing & Moisture Aloe Gel! I somehow forgot to take a photo of the huge green tub! A brief review however; a great, lightweight and refreshing gel that applies easily and soothes my skin without breaking me out. Dry patches require exfoliation and extra moisturiser, but this is a cheap and relaxing way to soften and rejuvenate tired or dull parts of the body.

Anyway, moving on. Having never tried any of Nature Republic's foundations, I chose the Botanical Vanilla foundation having noticed BeauTeen Pouch use it constantly on YouTube.

I had a dilemma picking the right shade in store - it didn't help that the store assistant continuously followed me around the store and provided no help at all... After swatching for a while with her watching me like a hawk, I decided to employ her skills and asked her which shade would suit my skin tone. She responded with: 'just go with the darker shade - they are both very similar and if you don't just pick one, you will stand here all day swatching. It won't make a difference.' The service was certainly the most terrible I had received in the shopping district - all the other stores and their assistants were exceedingly helpful and not at all rude or obtrusive!

I ended up going with shade 21 Vanilla Nude, as the majority of Korean BB and CC creams that I own are in this shade. Plus, as this was the paler shade out of the two, I concluded that it would be easier to warm up a lighter foundation with bronzer, than having to mix a darker foundation with a paler one.

For some reason, the blogosphere seems to imply that this product is being phased out soon, but I saw no signs of this in Korea - stock seemed abundant, and there didn't seem to be a push to get rid of it. I have yet to try this, so I am hoping that if this gains Holy Grail status, it will still be around for me to repurchase whenever I manage to finish it (read: most likely after several years).

Next, I purchased the Nature Republic Angel Lip Balm in 01 Peach Tint Balm. I had read several reviews online before my trip, all highly rating this product and comparing it to the Dior Lip Glow. It was no surprise that this shade was sold out in every Nature Republic store that I stepped foot in. I visited all the stores in Myeongdeong to no avail, before keeping an eye out at stores that we passed on our travels. Eventually, I found it in a Nature Republic store housed in a subway underground mall, owned by an extremely friendly and helpful male shop owner! Also: I may have bought the second last one!! :D

The product itself comes in a lipstick form, with a transparent light pink bullet which changes colour on application, leading to a wide variety of different shades depending on your natural lip colour. For me, the product provides a lively, bright-ish pink colour that doesn't scream for attention, but gives a little more colour to my overall complexion. I love how light and moisturing this is - it isn't sticky, and feels exactly like the Nivea Hydro Care Lip Balm which is my absolute staple. I continuously reach for this product, and it is no surprise that I am gutted that I didn't leave the store with that very last lip balm.

What do I say about this concealer? I was not planning to purchase this product, but when I saw the advert claiming 'Good Bye!' to under eye darkness, I thought it would be worth a try - anything promising the cover up of dark circles and flawless skin tends to get me like that.

Again, I purchased shade 21, this time called Light Beige.

The product itself comes in a squeeze tube, which is new for me. All the concealers that I own either come in a mini pump bottle, a 'twist and click' dispensible pen, a stick, or a pot. The packaging is a lot more hygienic than the majority of my concealer collection, and it is something that I am grateful for. It also makes it easier to dispense the right amount of product, and is easier to clean.

Indoor swatch of Nature Republic Botanical Concealer in Shade 21, Light Beige

Outdoor swatch of Nature Republic Botanical Concealer in Shade 21, Light Beige
Unfortunately, it was getting a little dark at this point ><

On swatching, I actually found the product to be a little drying. It sets quite quickly, which can make it difficult to work with. Alternatively, warming the product up may help with application, but may be time consuming and waste a lot of product. I have not yet tried this on my face, so cannot vouch for its longevity, or how it sits alongside other make up.

Of my Nature Republic purchases, I would highly recommend the Aloe Gel and the Angel Lip Balm - that's two out of two products that I have tried! I will report back on the other two products, but in the meantime, get looking for that Lip Balm!!

Have you tried these products before? 
What are your Nature Republic must haves?

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Korea Haul: Etude House

Having always been a fan of Etude House products, with their cute packaging and wide variety of products and shades, it was only fitting for it to be the first brand that I researched when compiling my 'list of things to buy' before my trip to Korea.

I had heard so much about BB and CC cushions, it was the first item to make it onto the list. On entering the store, I made a bee line for the Etude House Any Cushion.

I originally had my eye on the Minnie Mouse case that I'd spotted online, but when my eyes landed on the Cinderella case in store, I knew it had to come home with me. To save a bit of money, I bought the Cinderella case and a refill of the Etude House Any Cushion in W13 to put into the case.

I wore it over the next few days in the hot, humid weather before coming to the conclusion that I needed a refill for when I ran out back home!

During the course of my time in Asia, this was the item that I kept reaching for over and over again. To review it briefly; great coverage and lasting power, but the application might take some getting used to. It took a while for me to train myself to tap-tap-tap consistently all over the face.

I had never heard of the Nymph Aura Volumer prior to my research, but quickly noticed that this product was quite highly rated among the blogging community. It has been compared to Benefit's High Beam, acting as a highlighter that gives a natural, lit-from-within glow. With three shades to choose from, I went for #3 Transparent Nymph Aura. From what I saw online, #1 is more orange-based, whilst #2 is more pink-toned, with both containing shimmers.

As directed on the bottle, the product can be used on its own as a highlighter, or mixed in at a 1:3 ratio with BB cream or foundation. The resulting look is meant to reflect those worn by Korean actresses; beautifully lit-from-within, but not sweaty or greasy looking.

One of the things that I love about this is the packaging - a pump that comes without a stalk, using only pressure to release the product from the bottle!

I have yet to use this, but if the hype around this product is justified, then I know I'll be reaching for this as much as I reach for my High Beam!

Nymph Aura Volumer in #3 Transparent Nymph Aura

Around the time of my trip, Etude House had just released the Play 101 Pencils, which includes 50 different creamy pencils in a wide variety of shades and finishes. They are suitable for use on the eyes, cheeks, and lips. As I adore Korean eye liners for their long-wearing and budge-proof abilities, I purchased two shades: #6 and #50.

The pencils twist up for easy application, and the coloured end pulls out into a convenient plastic sharpener!

These pencils are extremely creamy and glide a hundred times better than the famous Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil. No tugging or dragging; just pure creamy eye liner that's relatively quick to set and does not budge AT ALL. Before trying Etude House's Color Pop Drawing Show Creamy Pencil set a year ago, I never thought I would find anything better than the Urban Decay, which served me well but had a couple of what I regarded as downfalls.

Left: #50 - matte, deep brown.
Right: #6 - peachy/pinky metallic silver.

These pencils lived up to my expectations and continue to work really well for my monolids, as do the Etude House Drawing Show Creamy Pencils, with these perhaps being even slightly more creamy - if that is even possible.

The Face It Primer was actually something that I purchased on a whim. Prior to this, I only owned the GOSH Velvet Touch Foundation Primer in Clear, which I don't really think does much for me despite its good reviews.

With the choice of the Velvet Skin Primer or Moisture Fitting Primer, I went for the one I felt would be more useful in the impending, drier weather.

The packaging is similar to the Nymph Aura Volumer - a stalkless pump, with the product housed in a creamy, metallic, plastic bottle.

The product itself is thick and a very pale pink. On swatching, I noticed that it leaves a slight greasy feeling to the skin, but I'm not sure if this is due to swatching such a large amount of product on such a small surface area.

The consistency reminds me of a thick moisturising lotion, which is also a little off-putting. I have yet to test this out properly under make up, but am putting this off because I'm worried it might feel too greasy and heavy!

Finally, the last product that I purchased from Etude House was the Surprise Stick Concealer. I initially planned to purchase #01, but swatches in store and a discussion with the sales assistant lead me to purchase #02.

The product comes in a twist up tube, with the concealer itself feeling a little drying and more difficult to blend than others. I have yet to use this properly aside from swatching in store, so unfortunately I cannot say whether or not this is worth purchasing!

The packaging for this concealer seems cheap, and another downside is the lack of shades available. With shade #01, the concealer is super cool toned and appeared more of a pale peachy-pink on my hand, whilst the #02 shade appears more warm toned, but has definite shades of orange. As I have yet to use this on my face, I cannot confirm what shade #02 would be suitable for in terms of shading for other brands.

Hopefully I will find time to review these products in the future!

Are there any products that you would like to see a review on?
Are any of these your personal favourites?

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