Beauty Review: Nature Republic’s Tomato Real Nature Mask Sheet

Beauty Review: Nature Republic’s Tomato Real Nature Mask Sheet

What is it?

Created by a Korean beauty company (don’t we all love Korean skincare?), this Nature Republic mask sheet claims to do the following for your skin:

  • Provide hydration whilst brightening your complexion

So does it do the job? Read on to find out.

What is it like?

My first thought when I first opened this package was that it smelled nice. The serum the mask was soaked in emitted a pleasant, refreshing if artificial scent that I’m not at all opposed to. It was just nice, plainly put. Nothing significant about it.

Now that that is covered, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty.

The mask itself fit my face pretty well, and there was plenty of serum left in the packet even after I removed the mask from it. I was able to smooth some over my neck, because you know, waste not want not.

As for how the serum itself performed, well. It left a sticky, grimy sensation on my skin, and to be perfectly honest, its absorption rate was disappointing. It was bad enough that the uncomfortable film stayed on my face minutes after I took off the mask and rubbed the formula in, the film lasted well into the next day.

Certainly not something I liked waking up to.

Packaging

As far as packaging goes, Nature Republic’s eye-catching design for the Tomato Real Nature Mask Sheet is both refreshing and youthful. With its clever use of bright colours, lighting and seemingly dewy appearance, it gives one the impression that hidden within this packet is the secret to vitality.

Vibrant aesthetic aside, the packet comes in the standard  slim, plastic, rectangular design that mask sheets are commonly found in.

End result

Being cursed blessed with oily skin means that while it’s a damned pain that my face often ends up looking like an oil slick if not taken care of properly, it also means that I am spoiled for choice when it comes to the type of products I can use. Mask sheets? Awesome. Clay masks? Awesome. Liquid foundation? Heck yeah. Solid foundation? Yes. Powder foundation? Damned straight.

You get the picture.

I am often able to use products that other skin types can’t (namely dry and or sensitive skin), and usually receive either positive or no results. Rare it is for me to encounter anything that could make me react too badly to it, yet this is the case with this particular mask.

While it did do what it promises to do, which is to hydrate and lighten my skin, it also did something else.

It triggered an allergic reaction. Something that has never happened to me before. Thankfully enough, while the red rashes and the tiny raised bumps it created were hideous, they weren’t so bad that I wasn’t able to hide them with some BB cream. So while it did manage to make a noticeable difference in lightening the dark marks on my face, I’m not going to repurchase this. Ever.

Here it a quick list of the pros and cons of this product for easy reference:

Pros

  • Mask fits face well
  • Actually does what it promises: hydrate and lighten

Cons

  • Doesn’t absorb completely, even after being left on for hours
  • Leaves behind a thick, sticky, uncomfortable film
  • Caused a minor breakout
  • Caused an allergic reaction

The last point is more of an extremely personal con so it can be disregarded. After all, not everyone is allergic to the same thing.

Where can I find it?

Nature Republic.

Verdict

  • Product rating: 2/5
  • Packaging rating: 5/5

As mentioned before, despite it succeeding in doing what it promised, I will not repurchase. Adding on, people with dry skin will probably benefit from this mask sheet even more so than other skin types.

Ingredients

Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, Niacinamide, Alcohol, PEG-75, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.

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Movie Review: IT

Movie Review: IT

Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer

Genre: Horror

Rating: 9/10

Warning: This post is NOT spoiler-free

Despite my general indifference towards the Horror genre, the moment I heard that a new adaptation of Stephen King’s famed “IT” was on the way, I couldn’t help but to sit up. As a fan of his literary works, how could I not? Till this day I look upon “Misery” as one of my favourite books of all time, psychopathy, gore and all.

So anticipation naturally mounted as months passed me by, with posters, dramatic clown sightings and a movie trailer only serving to increase it. When “IT” finally hit cinemas, I was quick to buy tickets the first chance I got.

And mind you, I was not disappointed. While my friend of 19 years squirmed in her seat even though it was already her second viewing of the film, my eyes were shining with anticipation. I had not managed to finish reading the novel like I originally planned -work reasons, of course- but I had read enough to have a good feeling about the general storyline. To think I got to watch the new adaptation so soon after picking up the book!

For those who are unaware of the plotline of the film, here is the gist of it: the small, inconspicuous town of Derry has something about it that slips under the radar for most. Something big. This thing being the chilling fact that it has the highest number of missing people cases in comparison to other towns- and by a startling mile. Even the inhabitants of Derry seem to approach this with a worrying lack of empathy, with the majority of its residents soon forgetting about such disappearances despite their mounting frequency. –And within that mass of bland, grey passivity is a young boy by the name of Ben.

A loner and a bookworm, this library-bound lad seems to be the only one who has noticed this trend at all. It is through his dusty readings that he notes these disappearances occur every 27 years, like clockwork. Such events tend to be isolated incidents as well, which serves as one of the primary reasons why no one living is around to provide any clues as to what had happened.

To delve further into the plot, the story starts with Georgie, the little brother of the protagonist. Whilst chasing the newly waxed paper boat that his older brother, Bill, had made for him, his brand new toy, carried by the flow of water from the heavy rain, falls into the drain. It is here that the unfortunate lad meets It, the being grinning from where it stands inside the drain. Calling itself Pennywise, It is disguised as a clown, for the sheer purpose of luring in its preferred prey- a tool that It utilizes to its very fullest, until it at last succeeds in coaxing poor George to draw closer.

A wash of crimson decorates the quiet Derry street, the colour soon disappearing as it slips into the drain.

Interestingly enough, if one were to step into the cinema without any IT novel knowledge whatsoever, they would find the story incredibly similar to Supernatural’s episode 2 of season 1, “Wendigo”.

The episode bears the following themes: a being that reawakens every set period of years to feast on unknowing victims before slipping into hibernation, few living to tell the tale, the creature’s habit of hoarding extra “sacks of meat” in its abode and its ability to imitate humans (at least in terms of speech).

The similarities are enough to cause one to wonder if wendigo lore had inspired King.

Or if IT had inspired Supernatural, much to Sam’s dismay.

So is it worth the watch?

Despite not being as scary as certain other horror films, “IT” is definitely one to put on your To Watch List. Masterfully created, this film is one that will have you gripping the edges of your seat while watching it- especially with it being one of those rare monster movies with a LOT of monster in it. Pennywise appears rather frequently, yet the terror it strikes into the hearts of viewers doesn’t waver an inch. As a matter of fact, the more often It appears, the more the situation escalates, to the point where you fear for the lives of the entire cast.

Who will die? Who will be the next to disappear?

Pennywise grins as you ponder this, eagerly waiting for more children to follow its psychological lure.

This heightened anxiety is propelled further by the structure of the movie, which is coloured by a thrilling story that explores the human psyche, and a stunning performance by the entire cast- most notably by the actor of the very being that everyone is afraid of.

Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise the Clown will undoubtedly go down as one of the most memorable clowns in film history- and yes, this is the very same list with the late Heath Ledger’s Joker on it.

At the same time, however, despite “IT” being scary while watching it, it fails to maintain that feeling even after the reel ends. This might just be me, though. Some people avoid drains and whenever they can, the bathroom, a long while after watching the film.

All in all? A movie that largely stays faithful to King’s literary giant (with a few changes, of course) whilst maintaining the ability to act as a stand alone. Simply brilliant, despite the shoddy censorship.

Something I’m sure other Malaysian moviegoers were as puzzled about as I was.

I mean, how could one swear word uttered by a child be censored while for pretty much the rest of the movie, the children swore freely? Then there were the kisses… One was cut out while the other wasn’t. The poor censoring work astounds me, as do the scenes that had been cut out. So a swear word is censored, but a mad clown feasting on a severed arm and waving it around happily isn’t?

Well, then. To each their own, I suppose.

Anyway, watch “IT”.

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Beauty Review: Estelle & Thild’s Biodefense Multi-Action Youth Serum

Hello, everyone! As you may have noticed, I bleeped out of existence for a while there- real life reasons, most of which had to do with work and to an extent, studying. Hopefully, I’ll be able to stick to my thus far unsuccessful one-post-a-week schedule this time around. Go me?

I’m going to have to make up for lost time by posting a bit more, but anyway…

On to today’s post! I’ll be reviewing an anti-aging serum by Estelle & Thild called Biodefense Multi-Action Youth Serum (RM243). It’s something that I can’t help but to have mixed feelings about, because while I’m ecstatic that I can now try a wider range of skincare products, it’s also depressing to know I’m actually old enough to use anti-aging stuff.

Clearly, passing the 25 year old mark is one of the more depressing milestones in life. For now.

But I digress.

What is it?

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Back to the subject. In an effort to promote a more youthful appearance, Estelle & Thild pairs science and nature together to concoct the perfect anti-aging serum. The result? Biodefense Multi-Action Youth Serum is born.

Neatly squeezed into a slim bottle with the brand name printed in a charming, girly font on the exterior, this formula is essentially an organic potion that is packed to the punch with Superberries and White Tea. This formula is supposed to both reduce as well as prevent the first signs of aging while bringing in the added benefit of boosting radiance and hydration.

All in all, a pretty good deal. Especially for those who have dry skin.

What is it like?

The serum itself is a watery, gel-like light brown substance that is easily absorbed into the skin. Surprisingly enough, it carries an herbal, almost woody scent that is a bit on the strong side. Now, scented products aren’t exactly something I’m a fan of, but because of how easy it is to slab this on, I’m not going to complain. In any case, the smell fades pretty quickly, which in turn gives me less reason to grouse about it.

To further add on to its positive qualities, the serum doesn’t leave behind a sticky residue, nor does it turn my skin into an oil slick. The latter is always a plus in my books! This makes applying makeup on top of it A-OK.

Packaging

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There are few complaints to be had regarding the packaging this serum comes in. Easy to use, its pump does well in distributing product evenly- a great trait to avoid wastage. We all know how expensive serums can be.

And how quickly they run out too.

As for the bottle itself, its slim, rounded design makes it comfortable to hold while its frosted glass makes it easy to monitor just how much product you have left. Needless to say, I’m quite happy on the packaging front. 🙂

End result

After using this serum for a few days, I saw an improvement in the texture of my skin. It was smoother and more youthful-looking- undoubtedly definite pluses all around, however.

Now, this is a big however, because the side effect of using this manifested the concern that’s present every time I try something new.

I was plagued with breakouts. Not those small pimples with whiteheads that will eventually pop on their own, no. The ones I was lambasted with were those dreaded deep, angry, painful pustules without whiteheads. Cry.

At first, I thought maybe it wasn’t the serum, so to be extra sure before I start pointing fingers, I phased it out of my skincare routine for a few weeks. Alas, when the time to give it a try rolled by, I received the same result.

And to be extra, extra, extra sure, I repeated the process. Same thing. 🙁 Sighs. I guess it’s just not meant to be.

Where can I find it?

Sephora.

Verdict

  • Product rating: 2.5/5
  • Packaging rating: 4/5

Despite the improved texture of my skin, I’m going to forgo buying this in the future. I already have acne-prone skin; I don’t need help with moving things along, thank you very much.

Don’t let this discourage you from giving this a try, though. Some products just don’t work on certain people, be it because of skin type or other genetic factors. Something to bear in mind before making a new purchase.

As implied earlier, this might work better for those who have dry skin.

Ingredients

Aqua, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Glycerin, Saccaride Isomerate, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Gluconolactone, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glyceryl Caprylate, Ficus Carica Fruit Extract, Palmitic Acid, Tocopherol, Cetearyl Olivate,sclerotium Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Citrate, Maltodextrin, Sorbitan Olivate, Parfum, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool, Sodium Gluconate, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Sorbic Acid. Ingredient From Organic Farming. Made Using Organic Ingredients.

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TV Series Review: Skip Beat!

Starring: Ivy Chen, Choi Siwon, Lee Donghae

Genre: Romance/Humour

Rating: 8/10

There are very few romance-oriented films and tv series that I can say that I’m very fond of, and even less so for -pardon this unintentionally snobbish tone- Asian ones. This is mostly due to the fact that I was brought up watching, reading and listening to English materials. That, coupled with my distaste for the romance genre, and you have a woman who lacks familiarity with Asian live-action entertainment.

There is just something off-putting about films that depict two people who declare that they’ve found The One after five minutes of knowing each other, and follow it up with a declaration of undying love barely a week later. And for what? The amount of time they spent together can hardly justify one partner giving up their (for example) life and career for a person they’ve spent a few fleeting conversations and smiles with. Is there something especially extraordinary about this person? I’d really like to know.

It’s just incredibly unrealistic to me.

So here we have Skip Beat!, the Taiwanese live-action adaptation of one of my two favourite shoujo mangas of all time. Needless to say when I saw the DVD in stores, I was torn. I wasn’t familiar with the quality of Asian dramas and I certainly didn’t want to shell out $$$ for something I might not like.

But then it was Skip Beat!.

And then there was Choi Siwon and not to mention, Lee Donghae, members of the legendary kpop group, Super Junior.

The fact that they, especially Siwon, were in it sealed the deal for me.

Memories of my highschool years flooding my mind, I snatched the DVD right up and I have absolutely no regrets about it ever since.

What’s it like?

Given that this is the Taiwanese version of Yoshiki Nakamura’s beloved Skip Beat!, there are several differences to be expected. For example, because the entire storyline is Taiwan-centric, the language spoken is Taiwanese, the Japanese names of the characters are changed to Taiwanese versions and the country this takes place in is Taiwan. You get my drift.

While this might be a deal-breaker for some -and I certainly hope not!- it isn’t for me, because the plot of Skip Beat! is something that can be recreated into many different versions and it’d still be watchable. Amazing, even. I’d happily watch an American version of Skip Beat! if they ever make one. Indian, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, British- of course, Japanese. I’m a Skip Beat! junkie.

That, and the strong, stellar plot is just that flexible.

So onto the review.

Skip Beat! centers around the life of Gong Xi (Original: Mogami Kyoko), a 16 year old girl who soon discovers that her childhood friend and love interest, Bu Po Shang/Shang Jieyong (Original: Fuwa Sho/Fuwa Shotaro), has been using her as his maid and source of income while trying to make a name for himself as a singer in Taiwan. Furious and heartbroken, she vows to exact revenge by one day beating him in show business. That oughta do it!

But just how will she achieve this?

Turns out that this drab, plain girl has what it takes to make it in this unforgiving world, thanks to her staunch determination and unexpected talent in acting. Not that Shang’s rival, Dun He Lian (Original: Tsuruga Ren), is going to make this easy for her. What the heck is his problem?

What’s there to like? And not to?

For those who are worried, the live-action version stays extremely faithful to the original plot, save for a few very minor creative liberties. However, once you get over these liberties and aforementioned differences, you’ll find yourself enjoying the series.

For instance, I was a bit surprised that they did not change Siwon’s look to match that of Ren’s in the manga, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel he is made for the role. From his appearance, to the way he “speaks” (you’ll find out the reason for this in a bit, haha), to his behaviour, Choi Siwon is basically the living, breathing version of Tsuruga Ren Dun He Lian. His delivery as the gentlemanly Mr Lian has just the right amount of strict dignity and gentility that the character is known for.

So much that I wouldn’t trade him for any other actor to play Lian.

The same can be said about Gong Xi and Bu Po Shang (though his appearance is pretty spot on, in my opinion). In fact, Skip Beat!‘s crowning glory has to be its main actress and actors. Their chemistry and acting skills effectively brought the characters to life, and that is saying something because finding someone to act as Gong Xi can’t be easy.

Energetic and full of hatred, the cheerful, normally kind-hearted Gong Xi might be a tall order to ask of someone to portray, especially in an entirely lovable sense. Yet Ivy Chen manages this seamlessly, and certainly not without hilarity thrown into the mix! Her performance makes her more than worthy of this hefty role, and her interactions with her co-stars a delight. Her bond with Shang is tense and heartbreaking, and her ties with Lian full of humorous, and at times exasperating ups and downs.

But is there anything to dislike about the series? There are, though none of the faults are so terrible that they render it unwatchable.

The dubbing issue with Siwon, for one. When I realised that his entire dialogue was dubbed, I laughed. Goodness, there were parts where the dub did not match when he spoke. Why insist on hiring him when he can’t speak the language? Honestly, I was more amused than anything else because despite this flaw, he more than makes up for this with his acting. He remained the ever enigmatic Lian in my eyes.

Then there is the matter of the special effects. This aspect of the series is mediocre at best, and terrible at its very worst. Thankfully, Skip Beat! doesn’t take itself too seriously and therefore doesn’t fall flat on its face whenever these effects pop up.

See, these mistakes are forgivable- it’s the last one that really hurts.

This is because the series ends with a cliffhanger, with no season two in sight. That’s right.

The live-action drama remains without a conclusion, yet for all the frustration this causes when I think of it, I’m glad to have watched it all the same. This is coming many years late, but Skip Beat! deserves a watch and a second season.

Thank you, guys, for bringing my favourite glacial slow shoujo manga to life.

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Beauty Review: The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Skin Clearing Clay Mask

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I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately with my skin, and after all of the disappointing results that came from trying out new masks, I decided to go back to good ol’ The Body Shop. I remembered how well my complexion reacted to its seaweed mask, and thought I should give its mask range another try.

Of course, when I saw that it carries a new mask that I’ve never seen before, one that is perfectly tailored for my skin type at that, I had to try it.

Here we go, my fellow blemished ladies. My take on The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Skin Clearing Clay Mask (RM69.00, 100ml).

What is it?

As anyone with acne prone skin should know, tea tree is often regarded as one of the holy grails when it comes to clearing up those spotty nasties. This is because it contains strong antibacterial and antifungal properties that help reduce inflammation that can cause swelling of the skin. Just how often have we dabbed that tea tree-infused potion on that offending zit in hopes of making it disappear? Far too often!

But here is the thing about most tea tree products- they do not have enough tea tree oil in it to prove effective. Yet on the other end of the spectrum, it is not advisable to use tea tree oil in its purest form as it can cause adverse effects. Skin irritation, for example.

So where does The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Skin Clearing Clay Mask stand, exactly? Somewhere in the middle.

This makes this mask more ideal than most for addressing your acne-related concerns. So if you have blemished skin, this mask is for you.

Tip: To check the potency of certain ingredients, check the label on the product. Ingredients are listed in descending order, from the most potent to the least. Tea tree oil is also known as Melaleuca oil.

What is it like?

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The consistency of this mask is something that I’m quite taken to. If I have to compare it to anything, I’d liken it to softened butter. Velvety smooth, applying this is a pleasure.

Of course, as expected, it bears that familiar scent of tea tree. Thankfully not overwhelmingly so, even if I’ve grown somewhat used to the smell of the plant. Courtesy of having to resort to such products due to my frustrating skin type.

That aside, I’d like to talk about another characteristic that caught my eye. Unlike most clay masks, this one proves to be somewhat unique in the sense that it remains comfortable to wear even once it dries. There is no overly drying sensation, nor is there that feeling that it is forcibly sucking up the moisture from my skin. In fact, it is so comfy to wear, I would sometimes forget I have it on.

And yes, you can even speak with this on without fear of it cracking.

Packaging

The mask comes in a pretty standard round plastic container. Accessing the product isn’t a problem and there is definitely no worry about getting every last bit of it out (as opposed to when masks are stuffed in tubes), but there is a concern for cleanliness.

So make sure to wash your hands before picking any of this up and putting it on your face.

End result

Much to my delight, the result of this mask can pretty much be seen overnight.

Any pimples I have are smaller, my skin less red and my pores less visible as well. Continued use has given me clearer, brighter skin. Love!

Needless to say, this has become my instant go-to mask whenever I’m experiencing any skin problems, or after I’ve taken off my make up.  I’m not taking any chances on the latter case; I’m especially sensitive to make up and near immediate flare ups aren’t uncommon.

Which is why I’m glad to announce that this method has worked so far. The mask managed to keep pimples that would’ve popped up at bay after a night of wearing powder and foundation.

Where can I find it?

The Body Shop. Where else?

Verdict

  • Product rating: 4.5/5
  • Packaging rating: 4/5

I’ll most likely repurchase this in the future, but not without looking around in case there are better alternatives on the market. 😉

Ingredients

Aqua (Solvent/Diluent), Kaolin (Absorbent), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Glycerin (Humectant), Myristyl Myristate (Emollient), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), PEG-100 Stearate (Surfactant), Ethylhexyl Palmitate (Skin Conditioning Agent), Propanediol (Viscosity Modifier), Alcohol Denat. (Solvent/Diluent), Caprylyl Glycol (Skin Conditioning Agent), Cyclopentasiloxane (Skin-Conditioning Agent/Emollient), Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil (Skin Conditioning Agent), Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil (Natural Additive), Cyclohexasiloxane (Chelating Agent), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Disodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Menthol (Cooling Agent), Limonene (Natural Additive), Leptospermum Petersonii Oil (Natural Additive), t-Butyl Alcohol (Denaturant), Denatonium Benzoate (Denaturant), Tocopherol (Antioxidant), CI 77289 (Colour), CI 77492 (Colour).

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