Thursday, August 28, 2014

REVIEW: GEO HC-246 Grang Grang Choco

Its been FOREVERRR since I last made a review on circle lenses!! As some of you may know, I used to sell GEO and EOS lenses and accessories on my web-store named Cakdel's Giftbox. Since I had access and the opportunity to try so many lenses (the entire GEO and EOS line at that time!), I made tons of video and written review on them. But when I closed my web-store four years ago, plus being bombarded with work, that opportunity kinda diminished. But don't get me wrong, I have still been buying (from other sites) and wearing them! Today I am proud to announce my frist review in four, FOUR, years! I am reviewing GEO's HC-246 Grang Grang Choco!

Basic Information:
The Grang Grang Series was released in 2012 by GEO Medical aka GEOLICA (rebranded). It comes in two shades: Brown and Choco, and each shade comes in two sizes: 14.2mm and 15.0mm. These lenses, like many of GEO's other lenses, are one year disposable and have a base curve of 8.6mm (14.2mm) or 8.7mm (15.0mm). The power range if these lenses goes from PLANO to -6.00 in -.25 steps and -6.00 to -8.00 in -.50 steps.

I'm in the phase where I am transitioning into a business casual environment. Most of the contact lenses I own are either green, blue, or grey so its about time for me to get something more natural and subtle. Choco is the darker and more natural of the two shades and obviously 14.2mm is the more natural of the two sizes.

Design Naturalness: 5/5; Design Dolly: 3.5/5
The Grang Grang series features a two-tone brown radial pattern design lined with a dark outer rim. The radial pattern gives the eyes more dimension and the darker outer rim creates a slight enlarging effect while still looking natural. In addition, the design of the lenses gives off a reflective look.

For the purpose I am purchasing these lenses (naturalness), I would rank the design (for naturalness) to be 5/5. However, I know that some, if not most, of you purchase lenses for how DOLLY it looks on the eyes. These lenses do not create the "dolly" look like the Angel Series (which is quite unnatural looking). You can even tell by the image above that this series is more... mature looking. Its not really your "cutsie" sort of circle lenses.

a. without contacts inside

b. with contacts inside

c. with contacts outside

Color: 4/5
The two colors that make up Grang Grang Choco are very natural shades of dark and medium brown. My natural eye color is slightly lighter than the dark-brown tone and slightly darker than the medium brown tone. This is good since it allows the lenses to nicely blend into my eyes and at the same time highlight (lighter tone) and define (darker tone) them. The reason I am only giving color a 4/5 is because it is a bit too dark for me. Unless I am out in the sun, the lenses looks pretty solid. If the two tones of brown are just a taaaad bit lighter, or even if just the lighter brown shade is tad  bit lighter, I think I would like it better.

Comfort: 5/5
I can pretty much wear these lenses for 8hrs+ without any irritation.

Enlargement: 5/5
Honestly, these are 14.2mm lenses, and they look pretty dayum big on my eyes. I swear I am wearing the 14.2mm lenses in the reference pictures above. But holy cow they look bigger than the official Grang Grang reference picture for the 15.0mm lenses (posted underneath Basic Information). Not meaning to brag but my iris without contacts actually looks bigger than the reference eye picture for the 15.0mm lenses... Like whaat? Maybe my eyes are smaller than average?

Overal rating: 4.5/5

Hope that helps!

- Cakdel

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

REVIEW: Make Up Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara


What it is: (via Sephora)A precision mascara that adds volume, length, and curl. 

What it does: (via Sephora)
This clump-free mascara delivers long-lasting wear in one stroke. Using 4D technology, an exclusive microdefining wax complex envelopes the lash surface in ultrablack pigments for far-away impact and up-close precision. The dual-purpose, cone-shaped brush has a precision tip that separates lashes as the rounded base creates extravagant volume from any distance.

Price: $24 at Sephora

The Review:

This is my favorite mascara right now (I've been using it for three months)! I usually get about two mascara per season, thats roughly eight per year and I do not remember the last time I liked a mascara so much. Before I head into the review, I want to express what I look for in a mascara. First, I like my formula jet black. Like the blackest possible black. Second, I need the mascara to provide good volume and lift without an eyelash curler (I'm not a fan of using those things). Third, and probably the most important, I need the formula to be smudge and flake proof. Last, I need a brush that can easily and effectively coat my lashes. That said, lets dive into the review. 

Th Smoky Extravagant Mascara has a cone shape brush that is made of 580 bristles.

The design of the brush is ingenious. Its cone shape makes it so easy for me to coat my inner lashes and coat it accident free (Goodbye Q-tip!)! Not only that, it does WONDERS in producing evenly defined and clump-free lashes. Better yet, I find that from one pump, the brush picks up enough product to layer both of my top and bottom lashes once. Let me just say, BEST BRUSH I EVER TRIED!!

Natural lashes. As you can see, they are pretty light

Lashes with Smoky Extravagant Mascara. No eyelash curlers. 

Not sure why, but my eyelids sometimes get oily-- which is a big issue for eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara. The formula for the Smoky Extravagant Mascara is amazing in that it is long lasting, smudge proof, non-drying/lightweight and believe it or not, easy to wash off. What what did you say? Easy to wash off? YES! Most long-staying mascaras I tried tend to be hard to take off. I have to either use eye makeup remover or lather my lashes up with a cleanser (I like Purity by Philosophy). Other mascaras I have tried also sometimes make my lashes feel brittle and therefore makes it prone to breaking. This formula doesn't make my lashes feel dry at all! It also does a wonderful job in making my lashes look longer, fuller and giving it a natural curl. 

Pros: Pretty much everything!
Cons: The only con that I can possibly pick out is that the mascara only adds a moderate, not a significant, amount of volume. Oh that and the price ($24).

Overall Rating: 5/5

EDIT: 10/22/14

Hi guys. So I am going to revise my review for the Make Up Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara. 

First of all, when I was using the mascara, I was living in San Francisco Bay area near Santa Clara. The summer weather there was very dry (very very low humidity)--- it didn't rain one drop for the three months that I was there. The weather ranges from mid 60s at night to high 90s. 

When I moved back to the east coast (New York) where the summer to fall weather ranges from mid 50s to high 80s, I notice a drastic difference in the performance of the mascara. Specifically, the longevity. I started seeing a lot more smudging near the lower lash lines and within a shorter time frame. If I were to estimate, the mascara will stay smudge proof for approximately 4 hours. Now, the humidity here is much higher-- majority of the days have a humidity of over 50%. This definitely factors in to the overall performance of this product. 

So here is the revised pros and cons and rating score. 

Pros: brush design (can easily apply to the lashes in the inner and outer corner), color (jet black), natural volume & lift
Cons: price ($24), smudges/not very long lasting in moderately humid areas

Final Rating: 3.5/5 (-1 points for smudging, -.5 points for price)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

REVIEW: Cure Natural Aqua Gel


Cure Natural Aqua Gel is the #1 best selling exfoliator in Japan, selling 1 bottle every 12 seconds. Cure's unique and gentle formula allows for it to be used on people with even the most sensitive skin. Cure's status as a cult hit and Japanese beauty product legend stems from the simple fact that Cure does what it promises: exfoliates gently and effectively, without any harsh chemicals or alcohol.

Price: You can buy it from Amazon for about $37

How To Use:

Clean and thoroughly dry your face and hands. Dispense about 1 pump of product and massage it over your face for about 1 minute. White clumps should form. Continue to rub for another minute. Rinse and pat dry.

When dispensed, the gel looks exactly like water-- it is clear, have water-like consistency, and is fragrance free.

When you start rubbing the liquid against your skin, small white particles starts to form. The more you rub, the thicker and drier the particles will become.

My Review: 

The transformation of something so similar to water into a scrub is very impressive, but it is not something that blew me away. I have used several products in that past that makes this transformation, though usually the product that is initially dispensed is not watery. Two examples of such gel-to-scrub products are: Laneige Strawberry Yogurt Peeling Gel and Tsururi Pore Peeling Scrub. But the thing that I do love about the Cure Natural Aqua Gel is how gentle it is. It is by far the most gentle Scrub Peeling product I have used and therefore is ideal for sensitive skin.

There are some misconceptions about the effects of the product that I would like to clear up. Many people believe that the white particles that forms on your skin after rubbing the product on is dead skin. That is only partially true. How peeling scrubs work is that they dissolve the protein of dead skin using a crosspolymer. What is a cross polymer? The one most commonly used in the cosmetics industry is dimethicone. It is silicone derivative and is used, in this case, as a thickening agent. When you rub the gel on your skin, it reacts with protein turns white. The gel then coagulates around this protein source and the result is the particles you see. This in turn becomes a gentle exfoliant.

The after effects of using this product is a softer, smoother skin. It is a noticeable change but is not as dramatic of a change as using a more potent exfoliator like Philosophy's Microdelivery Peel. The difference is how your skin feels after using that is INSANE. But since this is a gentler scrub, the difference is less dramatic, as I expect it to be. Usually gradual changes are the best anyways ;).

The last thing I want to mention, since I always do, is the packaging. Honestly, I have no complaints here. It is simple, hygienic, and effective.

Pros: A nice, gentle, and natural exfoliator
Cons: It is a little pricey if you don't live it Japan, gradual improvements
Last Words: I would recommend trying it, I like it, but its not a must have product for me.

Overall Rating: 4/5


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

REVIEW: L'Oreal Voluminous False Lashes Mascara in Blackest Black

Fiber mascaras are awesome in that they are like temporary lash extensions. I am a fan of L'Oreal products so when I came across this baby, I had to try it out. 

The promise:
Voluminous False Fiber Lashes™ Mascara with a sculpting fiber formula that adheres to lashes for a volumized, sculpted lash effect. Lashes appear fuller, longer, sculpted and curled at every angle. Clump-free. Flake-free. Smudge-free. Frangance-free. Ophthalmologist-tested and allergy-tested. Suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers.

The Review:
One of the most important feature of a mascara is the brush. The brush is maybe more important than the formula itself. It decides how the formula is going to apply to your lashes and if it is going to clump into "spider legs" or not. In fact, most mascaras have similar ingredients. It's similar in a way to if you buy aspirin from a big name company or a generic brand. Essentially they do the same thing and pretty much have the same ingredients. The thing that sets one mascara apart from another is, most of the time, the brush (and of course, the packaging). 

The brush on L'Oreal Voluminous False Lashes masrcara is very thin and is tapered (tip is smaller than the bottom) and slightly angled. The smallness of the brush makes it great for precision application and the slight bent in the brush makes it easier to apply product to the outer and inner lashes at the same time. I find the bristles on the brush nicely clustered to pick up enough product and fibers and have it combed through my lashes for a nice thorough application. 

From my experience using this mascara, I confirm that the formula is volumizing, lengthening, and long lasting. My only complaint about this formula is that it dries too fast and therefore does not handle more than one coat very well. By the time I finish one coat my lashes will start to become hard. Sometimes if I work fast enough, I can apply two layers-- but if I don't, the mascara will start clumping. 

Above is the results after applying one layer. 
Please excused my eyebrows-- they haven't seen a tweezer in weeks :p

Although I like how the fibers attaches to my natural lashes, making them look fuller and longer, I don't think this mascara, or any mascara can really duplicate the effects of false lashes. But that is okay, for everyday wear, I'm not into the too-much-makeup look.

Overall, I really like this mascara. It is smudge proof (literally stays put all day!), relatively inexpensive, volumizing,  lengthening, and the formula is very gentle. One the down side, it dries a few seconds too fast for me, clumps, and makes my lashes a bit prickly. 

Overall Rating: 4/5

*note: I have also tried the Voluminous False Lashes Mascara in Black Lacquer but did not like it at all (it smudges). The formula for Blackest Black is definitely more superior!

- Cakdel

Friday, August 1, 2014

REVIEW: Missha Signature Complexion Coordinating BB Cream SPF43/PA++ in #2 and Honey Beige

As of June 2013, The Signature Complex Coordinating BB Cream, which I will shorten to CC BB Cream,  is Missha's newest skin care + makeup product. 

As advertised: (Source: MisshaUS)
Complexion Coordinating BB Cream SPF43/PA+++ gives you a clean, even more natural look! No.2 Flawless Complexion is a flaw correcting beige cream for clear and smooth skin.
CC BB Cream features the Inner and Outer Complexion Coordinating Systems to provide skin care benefits for smooth, flawless skin.

Inner Complexion Coordinating System:
1. Brightening - Giga White, Pomegranate Extract, Arbutin
2. Firming - Peptide, Adenosine
3. Moisturizing - Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Water
4. Soothing - Phytoncide, Cactus Extract

Outer Complexion Coordinating System:
1. Improve skin tone – Tripled Layered Color Capsules
2. Correct flaws – Skin Wrapping Powder
3. Even skin texture – Light Scattering Powder

The product is advertised to color correct as well as provide full coverage. To be honest, the only difference I can tell between a CC and a BB Cream is the coverage... where CC creams are usually sheer and CC creams are usually full. BB Creams since its inception have always promised color corrective properties. Therefore CC Creams in my opinion is just another marketing tactic to make the general public spend. A little history-- BB Cream was introduced in the asian makeup industry in 1985. Since then, the asian cosmetic market has been saturated with different kinds of BB Creams. It is not till 2010 did the first CC Cream make an appearance and started becoming popular in western markets. After all the phrase "color correcting" is very attractive.  

The Review:

Today I am reviewing the 50ml Missha Signature CC BB Cream #2 (comparable to M Perfect Cover #21 Light Beige - #23 Natural Beige) and 20ml Honey Beige (comparable to M Perfect Cover #27 Honey Beige - 31 Golden Beige). 

50ml Packaging:

The 50ml package is very unique, pretty and luxurious looking. To dispense the makeup twist the nude part of the container clockwise. The product gets pushed upwards. For me, about one 'click' dispenses just enough product for me to apply a light layer to my entire face. 

Personally, I think the 50ml packaging is awful. The twist top doesn't give me full control on how much product to allot and I find it very messy and not very sanitary to use. After the top is twisted, the product gets dispensed into the circular well and you have to somehow, using a sponge or your finger, try to cleanly remove the product from the well and apply it to your face. Worse yet, when you press down on the well to remove the dispensed product, more product gets pushed up! This also happens when you are putting the cap back on, talk about waste of product! When I apply BB Cream or Foundation, I like dispensing it onto the back of my cleanse hands and using a sponge, apply it to my face. I don't like the idea of dipping a sponge into the product while it is still on the packaging and onto my face and back into the dispensed product on the packaging. If I did this like 100 times, without a doubt there will be bacteria on the container. I'm just a little bit OCD when it comes to skin care and facial makeup and therefore, the way product is designed to dispense is not cutting it for me. My last complaint about the 50ml packaging is that it is impossible to tell how much product is remaining unless you keep track of the weight. 

20ml Packaging:

The 20ml packaging for the CC BB Cream is simple and effective. It has a narrow nozzle tip that gives you full control on how my product to allot and the size of squeeze tube makes it perfect to travel with. 

The Product:


To the left is the CC BB Cream in #2 (the one that I purchased in 50ml) and it transitions from a light beige to a natural beige, which is comparable to M Perfect Cover #21 Light Beige - #23 Natural Beige, to fit your skin tone. To the right is the CC BB Cream in Honey Beige (the one that I purchased in 20ml) and it transitions from a honey beige to a golden beige, which is comparable to M Perfect Cover #27 Honey Beige - #31 Golden Beige, to fit your skin tone. 

As you can see from the swatches below, I am darker than the No. 2 and lighter than the No. 3. When I mix 75% No. 2 to 25% No. 3, I get the shade that best matches my summer skin tone. If you can get your hands on #3 (it is rarely in instock), I would strongly recommend purchasing it! Not only can you use it to customize your shade, it doubles up as an awesome bronzer! 

Here are some swatches:


Guess what??? NO GREY UNDERTONES! *ahem* I never liked waiting for those two or so minutes for my M Perfect Cover to oxidize out of its grey-ness. If any of you had issues with the grey undertone of some BB Creams, do give the Signature Complexion Coordination BB Cream a try. It has the nicest light beige color I have seen in Asian BB Creams thus far! Not to mention its texture is oh so lovely!

The texture of Missha's Signature CC BB Cream is pretty light and moisturizing. Its somewhere between a lotion and a cream. I'll say the texture is very comparable to the Diorskin Nude BB Creme. It blends like a dream, feels very moisturizing, and has a medium coverage that is build-able. The finish, I would say, is semi-matte/light dewey, which gives it a very natural look. The fragrance of the product is very similar to its sister BB Cream, the M Perfect Cover.

As far as longevity goes, it lasts roughly an hour shorter than the M Perfect and can withstand both humid and dry weather. If you haven't read my review on the M Perfect Cover, you can read it here.  I have worn the CC BB cream up to 7 hours (8am - 3pm) without it slipping. This was in dry weather with the temperature at the highest being 89ºF and lowest being 61ºF. On the downside, the product does transfer pretty easily, if you do not set it. If you take a napkin and pat it against your face, you will see the color transfer onto the napkin. 

If you have oily skin, this product works pretty well in controlling the oil production on your face. I have an oily T-Zone and usually have to blot my face when wearing regular foundation. When I am wearing this CC BB Cream, I need to blot a lot less! In the past month of wearing this CC BB Cream everyday, I have only blot my face five times! But again, please note that I am in a dry, warm area.

If you have dry patchy skin, this product may work for you. Sometimes when I apply medication on my acne, it dries out my skin. For me, the CC BB Cream does not accentuate any dry patches. However, if I have peeling skin that I do not remove, after a few hours of wearing the CC BB Cream, I start seeing the outlines of the peeling skin layer. If you are someone with looking for something more moisturizing, I would recommend mixing the CC BB Cream with the M Perfect Cover or carrying a facial spray with you and spritz your face to rehydrate every 3 or so hours. This usually fixes it for me. 

Because this CC BB Cream is relatively lightweight, it works wonderful as a primer/base. For a nice full coverage look, I like topping this BB Cream with a light liquid foundation. Majority of the time, I wear the CC BB Cream alone on top of my usual skincare routine-- moisturizer and sometimes sunscreen. 

Overall, I like this product and its CC and BB cream components. It is great substitute to thicker BB Creams during the summer and its great for the natural "no-makeup" makeup look. 

Pros: Oil control, natural looking, blend-able, SPF, lightweight, 
Cons: 50ml packaging is bulky and not efficient, product transfers easily, the darker shade is rarely available

Overall Rating: 4/5

- Cakdel