Beauty Shopping in Japan!

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The number one item on my wishlist for my trip to Japan was shopping for cosmetics and skin care! I absolutely love cosmetics in the US because of the huge variety and quality available. However, I have heard so many raves for Japanese products and I really wanted to try some for myself and see if they were indeed better. I have been here a week and have bought quite a few things that I wanted to try. I do intend to shop some more on the coming weekend right before I leave.

The biggest problem in shopping for stuff in Japan is the language. There is not a single word of English on their products! I have been buying stuff based on pictures I found on the internet of loved products in reviews and blogs.

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{From left: Kate BB gel cream; Sana Soy milk Isoflavone Milk; Hada Labo Perfect Gel}

The Perfect Whip facial cleanser is a highly praised product and so inexpensive – less than 400 Yen (that’s less than US$4!), so I definitely wanted to try it. Plus how can you not get the DHC cleansing oil from the land of DHC!!

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{Clockwise: Shiseido Perfect Whip Facial cleaner; DHC Deep Cleansing oil; Kanebo Media lipstick in RS-22}

Sheet masks are everywhere so I had to try one!

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{From left: DHC Lip Cream; Lululun sheet mask}

And some more…

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And of course mascara and something from Bioré. Before coming here, I had no idea Bioré was owned by a Japanese corporation! Though I’m happy to finally see something in English!

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{Bioré UV Aqua Rich Sunscreen SPF 50; Heroine Make Volume & Curl Mascara}

I can’t wait to get back home and try some of these products. Reviews soon!

Do you have any Japanese recommended beauty products I need to buy?

Fekkai – A Mini Review

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When I was traveling this time to Japan, I decided to bring along some of the shampoo samples I had lying around. The ease of carrying those during travel is so much as compared to lugging full size shampoo and conditioner bottles and dealing with potential leakages and weight problems! One of the packets I wanted to try and brought along was the Fekkai Shea Butter Moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. I am so amazed and happy with this shampoo that I’m regretting not having tried it before. It has to be my new favorite!

According to Fekkai: “Care for and smooth hair daily with the decadent cleansing experience of Essential Shea Shampoo. An ultra rich shampoo that leaves hair feeling soft and moisturized. Care for and smooth hair daily with the decadent conditioning experience of Essential Shea Conditioner. An ultra crème moisturizing conditioner that quenches hair in rich hydrating indulgence.

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The shampoo is intensely hydrating and makes the hair incredibly soft. After using it, my hair was shiny and much less frizzy. The shea butter in the shampoo really does what it claims and helps moisturize and condition the hair and removes any dryness. It also helps moisturize the scalp and reduces any scalp itchiness occurring due to dryness. I had earlier refrained from using a shea butter shampoo and conditioner because I was afraid it might make my hair too oily since I already have oily hair. But my hair has been surprisingly balanced and much less oily for some reason!

After using this shampoo, I’m definitely loving my hair!! Definitely recommended.

Dry Shampoo Madness

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I went to the drugstore today to pick up a prescription and return some stuff I bought and disliked – read Physician’s Formula Happy Booster blushes. There was just no color in them and nothing to like about them. I don’t know why people rave them – they just did not work for me! Anyway, I digress. So I had a 20% off coupon and a $3 off $15 hair care purchase at the drugstore. And thus I went a little crazy buying dry shampoos!

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My scalp is extremely oily and the hair starts getting flat and greasy the very next day after I wash it. But I also don’t want to wash my hair everyday and damage it. I like the idea of dry shampoos, and really want them to work for me. Let’s hope they do – life would become so easy!

Random Beauty Thoughts

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Happy Hump Day!

It’s been SUCH a busy time! I have to get a million things done since I found out I have to go on a business trip to…..Japan!! Yaay I’m so excited, but also stressed with figuring out visas, passports, paper work, the like.. I have to be in Japan for 2 weeks, then India for a week, back to the US for a week and then back to India for another 4 weeks. We will finally go for a week to Italy before returning back home in June. Phewwww! Exciting times!!

So my friend sent me some drugstore favorites this weekend and I tried the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure. This is the first time I have tried this nail paint, and I must say the first impressions are looking prettyyy good. The nail color has a nice shine to it and looks great even without a top coat. I gave my nails a twist by adding a stripe with a Zoya nail color that I received in my Ipsy bag recently.

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Also just bought the Flower Beauty lip suede matte velvet finishes in Berry-more and Mauve Over that I had been wanting to try for a while now. The moment I returned to my hotel room at about 8 in the night, I put on the one in Berry-more on my lips and have been wearing it for almost 4 hours now! Here’s a random swatch of Mauve over. It looks more peachy nude than mauve on me. It’s looking good so far and feels light and non-drying on the lips, but I’m afraid it might settle into the lines and make lips look drier since I don’t have the smoothest lips. A more detailed review will follow once I have tried these for a bit.

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The Miracle Soap

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One thing that makes me sad is that despite a major drive to move towards all things natural and organic in skincare and makeup, none of the beauty brands from India, which is really the source of all Ayurveda, is known / recognized / popular at an international level! Now I haven’t tested a lot of the new beauty products in the Indian market so I can’t vouch for the efficacy of a majority of them. However, I have tried one soap, and for over 10 years now, that I can certainly vouch for!!

It was during my late teens in the early years of the 2000 decade, and I was fighting with a major acne breakout on my face and body – mainly upper back. I had been able to control my face acne to a reasonable level by using dedicated face washes, but had no clue what to do for my body. Then I saw a commercial for this Ayurvedic soap called Medimix, which was claiming to be a handmade, body-beautifying soap for controlling acne and all kinds of skin ailments. I am glad for the day I decided to try it because that was the day my life changed. It really did!!

Packaging:

The soap comes in a simple white and green cardboard box. Inside, it is packaged in sealed plastic to keep it fresh. I have no complaints about the packaging – after all it’s a soap! :D

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Product:

The soap is dark green colored that comes in a 125 grams size bar. It is quite a “soft” soap and can become gooey if left in the water. It is recommended to drain the water from the soap case, as with all soaps, but more so with this one!

Perfume:

Due to the presence of all the herbs, Medimix smells really fresh and herbal! It does have added fragrance, so I would not recommend using if you’re allergic to fragrances. However, the smell is very pleasant and is great for a fresh bath.

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Performance:

Contrary to its name that makes it sound like a “medicated” soap, Medimix is a 100% natural handmade soap with 18 herbs (read here) and claims to get rid of all skin ailments, make the skin bright and smooth, control body odour, and even remove dandruff (though I have never felt too comfortable using a soap in my hair)! From the time I started using it, my body acne vanished, my acne scars disappeared, and my skin was overall brighter and smoother. I am in love with this soap and always go back to using it after dabbling in fancy body washes for a while. It can be a bit drying for the face so I would not recommend using it all the time on the face – I typically use it on the face about once in 2 days while in the shower.

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I have used the “original” Medimix for a long, long time, though recently they have come out with more varieties including a moisturizing soap with glycerin, another with Sandalwood for skin brightening, and even a liquid face-wash. I am dying to try the one with Sandalwood, which is one of my favorite herbs for the skin! On that note, do give Sandalwood a try if you haven’t already. This is the stuff that Indian princesses used all the time for a natural glow to their skin, and is a wonder herb for the skin.

You can buy Medimix in any “Indian” grocery store (there are many in all major cities across the US now), or even on Amazon. It is so inexpensive and sooo good, I promise it will be the best 3 dollars you ever spend!

Saturday Night Dining – Asian Style Shrimp Stir-Fry Noodles

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The nice thing about Asian cooking is that there is no recipe. Everything that goes in a dish is approximate and can be adjusted according to taste. A recipe merely serves as a starting point and can (and should!) be changed as needed based on personal preference.

I recently bought a huge wok and was dying to try a stir-fry with noodles. And this past Saturday presented the perfect opportunity for it! If you’re trying this recipe, you can change the quantities of the veggies and shrimp based on what you like, or the ingredients themselves. This can also be made with any choice of meat.

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Asian Style Shrimp Stir-Fry Noodles

An Asian inspired noodle dish that is quick and easy, full of nutrition and very tasty!


What you need:

Noodles {wheat or egg, depending on what you like} – 225 gms
Shrimp {washed and de-veined} – 1 cup
Red peppers, sliced – 1 cup
Shallot, sliced – 1
Broccoli – 1 cup
Mushrooms {any type of your choice}, sliced – ½ cup
Matchstick carrots – 1 cup
Water chestnuts – 1 cup
Garlic cloves, crushed – 4
Sesame oil {any oil can be used} – for cooking
Coriander, chopped – for garnishing

For the sauce:
Soy sauce – 3 tbsp
Oyster sauce – 3 tbsp
Rice vinegar – 3 tbsp
Lime juice – 3 tbsp
White pepper – ¼ tbsp
Crushed red pepper – ½ tsp
Brown sugar – 1 tsp


The Method:

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Keep them al-dente since they will be stir-fried later.

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce till the sugar is dissolved. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok and add the crushed garlic and shallots. Sauté for a few minutes till they are transparent and add the carrots. Add about a tablespoon of the sauce to stir-fry the carrots.

When the carrots are a little soft, add the rest of the vegetables with a little more sauce and sauté a few more minutes. The red pepper should be soft and the broccoli should turn dark green but not soggy.

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At this time, add the cooked noodles and the remaining sauce. This is also the time to add the shrimp.

Toss for a 4-5 minutes till the shrimp is cooked (it will turn opaque). Taste the noodles and add some more soy sauce if more flavor is required. Some more sugar can be added to cut the sourness.

Enjoy hot garnished with fresh chopped coriander!


Happy cooking!

Another Sale Alert!

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It’s been on for a while, but just in case anyone out there was not aware – Too Faced cosmetics is having their Spring sale at up to 70% off! There are some awesome deals on limited edition palettes and sets, if you were thinking of them but did not end up buying. It ends on 3/12/14, so hurry hurry and get them!!

P.S. Too Faced did not pay me for spreading this news – it’s only part of my desire to spread information and save some money for everyone!

M.A.C Packaging Disappointment!

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I don’t own a lot of MAC makeup except maybe a couple of lipsticks that I really like in terms of both formula and packaging. The iconic MAC lipstick tubes seem sleek and sturdy at the same time, and I really like those. I wanted to try more stuff from the brand and made a long list of things I wanted to try. So I decided to start with a couple of blushes and ordered them online, that I received fairly quickly.

However, I am so disappointed with their packaging. The one blush I was most looking forward to (Margin) arrived with the top glass fallen out of the black ring in the top!

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I tried fixing it back but every time I open the blush and a slight pressure is applied on top, it comes out again. I love the color and texture of the blush but am so sad about the shoddy packaging. If I’m paying 20+ dollars for a product, I expect it to at least not break each time I touch it!

Has anyone else had this issue?

A Review – Michael Todd Pumpkin Nutrient-Rich Facial Mask

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Hello hello!

Hope everyone is having a good week. You all know that I am such a face mask addict. So much that I renewed my Glossybox subscription after they announced a Sisley Black Rose Mask in their March box! Yes that much!!

Sooo..I wanted to write about my experience with Michael Todd Pumpkin Nutrient-Rich Facial Mask. This was a mask I’d wanted to try for the longest time since I had heard such rave reviews about it, plus it is an organic product free of parabens and harmful ingredients which I am always attracted towards. So I was ecstatic when I received it in one of my beauty box subscriptions (I think it was Glossybox) and super excited to try it.

According to Michael Todd True Organics: “Rejuvenating facial treatment which uses nutrient-rich Pumpkin blended with Glycolic Acid. Contains high concentrations of Proteolytic enzymes, anti-oxidant beta carotene and over 100 other essential vitamins, minerals, phytosterols and fatty acids. Strong exfoliant to remove dead skin, impurities and toxins, moisturizes and firms, improves elasticity and pliability of the skin, unclogs pores allowing skin to breathe and facilitates movement of skin oils. Adds brightness and radiance to the skin and significantly improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”

Size: 3.4 fl oz / 100 ml
Price: USD 34.00

I received a sample size (30 ml / 1 fl oz) tube.

This mask is really an at-home peel with 5% Glycolic acid. An important thing to note is that this is not meant for sensitive skin.

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Packaging:

Both the sample tube and the full size bottle come in Michael Todd’s standard colors of light purple and eggplant. The sample’s body is light purple with an eggplant cap, while the full size packaging has the colors reversed. I think the packaging is pretty enough with pleasing colors. The tube had a flip top cap and I did not experience any problems of the product leaking or otherwise being messy despite all the traveling it was subjected to.

Product:

The mask is a yellow paste that looks like pumpkin puree. I don’t mind the color at all; I actually find plain transparent or white masks very boring. I always prefer colored masks – the stranger the color, the more attractive it is for me!

The cost is very reasonable for a product that is organic and free of chemicals that are bad for the skin. Overall, it is good value for money.

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Perfume:

If you haven’t noticed, I’m using the 4 Ps to review this mask so the section for “Smell” became “Perfume”. Anyway, considering this is a “pumpkin” mask, smelling like pumpkin was inevitable. But I did not expect it to smell only of pumpkin, and not in a pleasant way! It almost smells like a can of pumpkin puree that has been left out for a while, and I hate it. The first time I applied it, I wanted to throw up just because of how it smelt – it is that bad! Maybe if you like the smell of pumpkin, you might enjoy it.

Performance:

And now the final P – Performance. This mask is supposed to be applied for about 5-10 minutes before rinsing off. Also, since it acts like a peel, it is recommended to be used only once every 1-2 weeks. When I used this, I felt a strong tingling sensation in the first couple of minutes on my face. It was kind of uncomfortable but went away pretty quickly.

Here is random picture of the mask on my face.

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As for the results – my face did feel cleaner and pores appeared smaller after using this. Overall, the mask definitely does its job and exfoliates the skin gently. I would have loved to use it more, only if it didn’t smell so bad for me!

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