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Saturday, 10 February 2018

REVIEW: Vella Ultra Hydro Sun Essence

Saturday, 10 February 2018
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As someone who has sensitive skin, it is difficult for me to find a skincare that is gentle yet effective. Plus with the laziness of applying layers of product after product, I tend to skip out wearing sun protection sometimes because I spend most of my days indoors. It is still not ideal because I do come in contact with the sun indirectly even when I'm indoors.

So for someone like me who tends to forget about sun protection, it is essential to find a sun protection that is enjoyable to use, so that I will keep coming back for it.

I find my problems with most sun protections are:
- undesirable white cast
- weird scent
- thick consistency, making it too long to dry
- unsuitable ingredient(s), leading to breakouts
- messy reapplication

So when I saw Vella Ultra Hydro Sun Essence, it attracted me to try it because it is a water-based sun protection with UV protection, whitening and anti-aging benefits all-in-one bottle.
Also the packaging is quite compact and sleek, fitting easily into the palm of my hand.

It has a watery liquid consistency, which is made up of 61% Hawaii Kona deep ocean water, 30 kinds if ocean plants extracts and 45 kinds of plants extracts.

According to the info, this sun essence is safe and clinically proven, which makes it suitable for all skin types. What I also like about this product is that it is free of 7 nasties:
❌  Paraben
❌  Artificial pigment
❌  Mineral oil
❌  Benzophenone
❌  Talc
❌  Benzyl Alcohol
❌  Sulfate

When I first pour the sun essence onto my palm, it has a faint yellow glittery colour with a slight citrus scent. But as I apply and massage it onto my face, it becomes transparent and leaves no unsightly residue !(•̀ᴗ•́)و ̑̑

Left side (with nose stud): with Vella sun essence. Right side: without Vella sun essence.

As you can observe from the pic above, it does leave my skin with a slight healthy glow instead of oily look. I like that it absorbs very quickly into my skin and I can proceed to start with my makeup almost immediately after that.

This has a sun protection of 50+ SPF PA+++ thus it is sufficient for daily use in our Malaysian climate.

Personally, I might repurchase if it is around RM40 ish. Perhaps RM58 is still a little too pricey for me because of the total content (30ml). 

Vella Ultra Hydro Sun Essence can be purchased on Althea Korea website at RM58.

A:Concept Make Your Concept Box - Black Set

Remember awhile back I mentioned that Korean beauties focus only two things in their makeup purse - BB Cushion & Lipsticks?
Well, guess what?

I have found a
that you can bring around easily without taking up much bag space!

Presenting you,

This is definitely a dream to carry around because of how compact it is!
Also, this product is refillable - which means you can switch your lipstick and/or cushion whenever you fancy!

Basically, the BB Cushion connector is where you (sneakily) keep your lipstick!

This set comes with -
1 x BB Cushion cover
2 x BB Cushion (I got shade 23)
2 x lipsticks

The lipsticks comes in two shades: Coral & Red Orange.
The Coral shade has a high shine finish while the Red Orange has a matte velvet finish.

According to The Butterfly Project,
"Girl's Generation's Taeyeon shares that her No.1 Makeup Secret is using A:Concept's all-in-one brightening cushion compact (whitening, anti-wrinkle, UV protection) and lipstick. Even Girl's Generation's makeup artist, Seo Ok choose A:Concept's brightening cushion."


This cushion claims to have whitening, anti-wrinkle and UV protection thus it really is "all-in-one".
I used the shade in 23 as that is closer to my skintone.

As you can see in the pics above, I only used the product one side of my face (the side with nose piercing) to demonstrate the Before and After.

The coverage is medium and it diminishes the appearance of enlarged pores (as you can see on my nose). It does give a slight brightening effect too.

After a while, if you do not pat your face with finishing powder, the coverage somewhat disappears. Sad but true.
Thus I encourage you to use this with powder to ensure it lasts all day.


This RED lipstick is a bright warm undertone and is perfect for a bold look.
I personally like the finishing and it does last longer than the other lip colour because of its matte velvet finishing. It is comfortable to apply and wear it on a daily basis.


This crayon texture lip/cheek duo has a glossy finish and it is safe to apply on cheeks and lips! This is a great alternative for days you just wanna keep it simple.


As you can see from the pics, I think I look pretty good with the Red lipstick! I love wearing that lipstick on days when I just need a splash of colour for an instant perk-me-up!

If you are looking for a BB cushion that doubles up as a lip/cheek product, PLEASE CONSIDER THIS SET! This is great even as a gift 🎁 for a girlfriend, sister or mother - especially one who is always on the go!

This set is originally sold on Althea Korea's website however now it is no longer available on the site.
Nevertheless, you can still search for it on A:Concept's official website and it retails for USD 46.27.

Do register for Althea Korea's newsletters so that you get first dips on their latest promos from time to time! Trust me, the mailers contain promo codes - so you definitely don't want to miss those out 😉

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Intensive Moisture Bi-phase Serum

Sunday, 4 February 2018

If you read my blog often enough, you would know that CLARINS is one of my fave skincare brands. In December, I was presented with the new hydration serum HYDRA-ESSENTIEL range and of course, as I have dry sensitive skin - I was looking forward to use and see its results!

Before going into the review, if you must know - when choosing a skincare brand, I always stick to one that has a long history of innovation. There are so many beauty brands on the market right now out there and a new ones pop up every month. Being a consumer, it is easy to get confused sometimes - trust me, I've been there. If I am going to invest in my skin, I might as well go for one that is reputable and creates effective products.

Clarins has a history of 49 years in creating hydration products and improves its formula with time.
What I like about Clarins is that they always listen to nature and use science to create new product formulation based on their observation of what plants can do.

So when Clarins created this new range, its star ingredient is the "Leaf of Life" (scientific name kalanchoe pinnata). This plant, in particular, caught the attention of Clarins ethnobotanist, Jean-Pierre Nicolas during one of his trips to Madagascar. The leaf of life (which name was given by Madagascans) is able to remain full of water despite many changes in temperature.

The new intense blue for bi-phase serum is reminiscent of crystal waters and purity. The signature scent of the Hydra-Essentiel range is a green, fruity fragrance combining notes of jasmine and rose with nuances of wood, vanilla and musk. It smells absolutely refreshing once I spritz some onto my palm.


One thing I dislike about this product though is the pump. As the product is rather liquidy, the product could be spritz clumsily if I were to press the pump a little too hard or too fast. It is quite difficult to adjust my pressure because the pump isn't as smooth to press down. The trick is to push is slowly and gently, but that would mean it takes a longer time to get the product out of the bottle and it is a hassle especially when you are pressed for time to get ready.

Other than that, once you get used to the dispensing process, the product does give a boost of hydration to the skin. It absorbs into the skin very quickly despite being oil-based and leaves the skin feeling velvety smooth.

I didn't experience any overnight success with this - it has to be used regularly to see results. I would have preferred to see results after a few days but it takes a few weeks minimum for me. I have experienced hydrated skin instantly when I used other hydration serums in the past hence I had high hopes for this. Let me tell you that there this isn't a miracle overnight quick fix; if that's what you're looking for.


I'd say you can skip this if you're currently happy with your hydration serum. But if you are looking to include a hydration serum into your routine, you can give this a go because it isn't too bad itself - it's just that it needs time and diligence to see results.

The bi-phase serum retails for RM248 for a 30ml bottle and is available 15 Jan 2018 onwards at all Clarins counters nationwide.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

REVIEW: THEFACESHOP *NEW* Anti-Darkening Cushion & Flat Lipsticks

Tuesday, 16 January 2018
Hi beauties~

First things first, if you haven't followed me on Instagram yet - you can check me out at @gracemyu cos that's where I usually update regularly on new beauty launches and my day out!

To kickstart this post, let me tell you a little background about THEFACESHOP.
It's a Korean beauty brand that has been in Malaysia for more than 10 years (even before the K-wave in the recent years)! The first outlet was opened in Mid Valley Megamall in June 2006, and now in 2018, there are close to 50 THEFACESHOP outlets nationwide.

As a Korean beauty lover, there are two things that are MUST HAVES in your makeup purse - BB Cushion & Lipstick.

Coincidently, THEFACESHOP released new versions of BB Cushion & Lipsticks for the New Year 2018 - and I will be reviewing and giving my honest opinion on them today!

TBH I have sometimes a love-hate relationships with BB cushions because it is really easy to apply BUT I sometimes don't like the fact that they do not last long until the end of the day OR they do not offer enough coverage OR they tend to give a weird whitish cast upon application and you will not really know what colour you'll be getting. But since the latest release from the THEFACESHOP claims to be "ANTI-DARKENING" - I can't help but say I'm very intrigued!

As for lipsticks, they are the first makeup item introduced to me by my own mother and I used to always ask her to apply it on me when I was a kid so that I can look as glamorous as her. Well, since then I have so many lipsticks that I have lost count of but I always go back to those that give me a hydrating and creamy finish. So you can say I'm a classic bullet lipstick lover - and I hoard lipsticks - so I know lipsticks well enough to give a thorough review.

Let's start with the BB cushions first --

Anti Darkening Cushion (Miracle Finish)

  • Reduces appearance of wrinkles, Brightens skin tone, Filters and screens harmful UVA/B rays
  • Keeps makeup looking as fresh as when you first applied it
  • The HD powder uses technology that helps spread pigment evenly to prevent colour from becoming dark
  • or dull
  • The Lemon Balm & Chamomile extracts to provide comfortable wear
  • The Persimmon leaf & Citrus unshiu peel extract to maintain your skin tone without making it dark and dull

As a BB Cushion collector, this packaging reminds of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - pastel pink version! Its cover is made of pastel pink stripes with matte gold finishing and a classy gold stamping in the middle which says "Natural Story. Miracle Finish. Anti-Darkening".

Upon opening, you will be greeted with a mirror and a puff applicator which is easy to use. Underneath the puff, there is a white separator with a clasp to prevent the product from coming in contact with air. 


There are 3 shades in this product range - N201 (yellow base), N203 (yellow base) and V203 (pink base). As for me, my shade is closest to N203 Natura Beige but when I wear N201 or V203, it somehow blends into my skin seamlessly too!

Unfortunately, these limited shades are skewed towards people with light/medium skin tones and I do hope TheFaceShop would bring in more shades selections for our tan-skinned friends.


Skin sans base makeup.

Left side - one layer of N201 Apricot Beige. Right side - bare skin.
It looks lighter than my natural skin colour but it will blend seamlessly (without ozidizing) into my skin when I add to the right side of my face!

Closer look.
Notice that the appearance of my pores is diminished?!
Also, it does a good job covering my dark circles without the help of concealer!

I tried N203 Natural Beige on my right side and somehow they look the same(?)!!
I'm not sure why though!

Anyway, I only used the Anti-Darkening cushion on my face as a base, without any concealer / blusher / highlight / contour / etc. so that you could see how this MIRACLE cushion works!
As for coverage, I would say it is medium, even with one layer of application only! I didn't build up because I wanted to avoid any potential caking.

However, I do need to set it with a powder in order for it to not move around on the face because I did notice that it would smudge whenever strands of hair touch my face.

Overall, I'm very happy with its performance because it does give my face a hassle-free smooth finish! I only needed like two minutes to cover my whole face - which is such a time saver when it comes to doing my base makeup!

I would rate this 4 out of 5
as it does provide me with almost everything I need for base makeup!

Anti Darkening Cushion is priced at RM104.83, inclusive of GST online and in-stores.

Flat Lipsticks

  • Provides delicate, defining finish with flat shaped stick which prevents colours from feathering or bleeding
  • Captivating colour expression & high-impact finish, only with a single touch
  • Highly pigmented formula delivers brilliant look of colour

These flat lipsticks come in 2 FINISHES: VELVET & GLOSSY
VELVET: Silky Texture System
  • ‘Silicon cross polymer’ that feels weightless & non-sticky, makes the texture glide over by filling up the fine lines of the lips.
  • ‘Oil gel’ creates silky smooth, wrinkle-free lips.
  • Enabling matt, powdery finish

GLOSSY: High Glossy Polymer Network
  • A ‘Polymer network’ is built when the formula is applied to the skin. It helps pigments to fit onto the lips and coats the surface evenly. Eventually, this results in an ultra-glossy shine and intense colour expression.
  • Enabling moisturizing finish, excellent gloss without stickiness.

Moisturization: Argan Oil, Rosehip Oil, 
Trouble relief: Calendula Oil, Jojoba Oil, Olive Oil


At first sight, they look exactly like marker pens to me!
Especially when paired with a notepad, it does bring back my school days nostalgia.

Upon opening the cap, the top of the lipstick is ACTUALLY FLAT (hence the name flat lipsticks, duh~). With a flat top, it does add to the ease of application because it can double as a lip liner as well for precise application.

This is how you actually use the lipsticks.
Draw an X on your top lips to emphasize your cupid's bow and colour in accordingly!

Highlighter pen, maybe?




CR01 Gemstone Coral

OR01 Punch Orange

PK01 Lily Pink

PK02 Rococo Pink

RD01 New York Red

RD02 Berry Up Red


BE01 Solar Beige

PK01 Rose Pink

PK02 Be My Pink

RD01 London Red

RD02 Darjeeling Red

RD03 Cassis Red




I apologize if the velvet finish turned out glossy instead because I tried using with a lip balm underneath to rehydrate my lips! Proves that if you prefer glossier finishes, you can put on a hydrating lip balm underneath for a touch of shine!

The lipstick lasts a really long time even without touchups! I like that the lipsticks colours are bright and vivid (my style). I usually prefer pigmented instead of muted colours because that's the point of wearing lipstick, yes? I sometimes don only base makeup, some mascara and blusher with a touch of lip colour then I'm set to go out (or just to snap some photos lol).

My personal favourite of all the shades is 💗 Lily Rose 💗 (glossy finish) because it somehow gives me a young innocent look

I would rate this 4 out of 5
for easy application, its longevity and great colour selections!

Flat Lipsticks are priced at RM45.00 each, inclusive of GST.




The Face Shop has close to 50 outlets in Malaysia and you can also shop for them online at

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Grace Myu: Malaysia Beauty, Fashion, Lifestyle Blogger © 2014