Man ‘Blotters’

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Man ‘Blotters’

Facial ‘blotting paper’, carefully packed into decorated folders about the size of a business card, can be found in the handbags of many Japanese women.

They provide a sort of halfway stage of freshening up before you need to actually get out your makeup and make repairs. That is, if you start to feel slightly shiny, a few dabs with one of these will usually do the trick.

What I have not seen before, however, is the male version, and I only really noticed it on the shelf because I was wondering why this particular packet held twice the number of sheets but was cheaper. Not only that, further inspection revealed the blotters are specially embossed, to absorb more and stickier sweat, all without it leaking through the paper onto your hands.

Although it is designed for men, this product is also perfectly suitable for ‘active women of metabolism’, apparently. Which is a nice way of suggesting that you might be sweating more than the delicate ladies version can cope with.

As this was packed into a small square booklet with a gold cover, and was actually called ‘Gold man’, I was a little disappointed that the pages inside were just a slightly shiny caramel colour instead of something more sparkling.

Also, my husband professed himself baffled at the suggestion that he might find them useful – he had never heard of these and saw no reason why he might ever use them.

Oh well… I suppose it’s the thought that counts.


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Miniature Compact

There’s something very appealing about those make-up compacts you find in airport duty free shops – the ones combining everything you might need to paint your face into one handy, slim line container. Never mind the fact that half the colours don’t really suit, or it’s the wrong type of mascara…

I’ve even been known to make my own, cannibalising some existing compact or (for really short trips) pressing together a variety of different colours into one small lidded tray.

This one, though, is the tiniest, most adorable compact I have ever seen. In fact, it is so cute I cannot bring myself to use it, but simply take it out to delight over once in a while.

A cube barely 3 cm a side, it has slide out trays and manages to include 6 eye shadows, 2 lip and cheek gels plus 2 incredibly small brushes with which to apply them. Not to mention the mirror in the lid so you can see what you are doing.

I bought this in Tokyo, at the Daikanyama Minipla, and don’t regret a single yen.

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Kaiten Cosmetics

You know how one of the best marketing tricks is to present you with the temptation of desirable merchandise when you are unable to get away. Think of the sweet racks beside the supermarket tills, as you queue to pay for your shopping, and the expensive treatment ampoules lined up by the mirrors at the hair salon.

Cosmetics store Sephora has taken this one fascinating step further – as you sit at the Make Up For Ever counter for a free mini makeover, presentation boxes of their new lines and best sellers glide slowly past you on a smaller version of those conveyor belts you usually see at sushi bars. (Kaitenzushi means ‘rotation’ sushi)

It’s a splendid way of introducing you to an even greater variety of possible purchases, whilst making you want to pluck them quickly from the belt before they go past and the next person gets them. I managed to resist the temptation, but I’ll bet a great many customers don’t!

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Tightline Mascara

As with most new things, it takes a bit of practise before you really get the hang of this 3 in 1 eyeliner/lash primer/mascara.

The idea is to press the super thin wand along the base of your lash line, leaving enough colour there  to give an eyeliner effect, then wiggle and sweep it through your lashes for application of primer and mascara combined.

I bought this mainly because it is so small (only 2ml and less than 9cm long) and I thought it would be ideal for my travelling makeup bag – any eyeliner effect would be a bonus.

Because the wand is so thin, you need to be able to see very well close up to wield it properly. Contact lens wearers might find it easier to apply before actually putting their lenses in.

Still, I am pretty pleased with this, not least because it comes off so much more easily than the last mini mascara I bought, which coated my lashes with a plasticky film that was really hard to remove at night. I will probably continue to use my regular eyeliner under my lower lashes, but I found this made a big difference to my upper lashes. If it continues to please during my next trip, I may well be buying a spare.

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Contour Trio

I do enjoy a makeup product which sets out to be fun and attractive as well as giving you a full range of (sometimes unexpected) beauty benefits.

Like this ‘InstaReady’ Contour trio BB stick from Physicians Formula, which is not just a roll up make-up stick comprising stripes of 3 different contouring colours, but contains ‘InstaFilter Technology’ for that perfect selfie. The packaging lists 12 ways this helps you ‘contour like a pro’, from defining and perfecting to oil control, blurring and light diffusion. It even has a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30.

Helpful diagrams on the back explain how you should apply this product, sweeping the stick along your cheekbones and down your nose to illuminate and accentuate your features. The highlight adds radiance, the sculpt is for warmth and the contour defines.

Although the colours of the product appear fairly strong on their own, when you apply them to your skin they give a much more subtle look. You can angle the stick if you need just the outer colours in a certain area, and it is best to use a fingertip to blend the colours together. I was very impressed with the way this worked – the stripes were very quick and easy to apply and blend, and the finished effect managed to be subtle and natural whilst also leaving a faint golden shimmer.

I can see there might be a fight over who gets to keep this product. Maybe I should have bought three!

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Photo Hair Liner

This appears to have been designed purely with that perfect selfie in mind – it’s a cushion tipped powder ‘pencil’ which you can use to neaten up and define your hairline for better photos.

In a way, although this is a powder rather than the traditional paint, it reminded me of classic geisha makeup. The heart shaped hairline and all important pointed design at the nape of the neck were drawn over the white face paint to accentuate these key features, and were even more than the eyes or tiny rosebud lips.

This particular product is from Etude House and is such a curiosity, not to mention quite expensive at S$12.90, that I shall be interested to see how long it remains available.

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Lip Tint Eraser

The whole point of lip tint, I am told, is that it sinks in and stays, rather than coming off on your glass (or your boyfriend) like normal lipstick does.

All well and good, until you make a mistake as you apply it – at which point it is a huge problem to remove.

Which is why daughter #2 snapped up this tube of special eraser on sight at Etude House. It’s a clear jelly and goes on rather like a lip salve, even containing shea butter to moisturise and nourish lips which are dry and flaky from overuse of lip tint.

You rub it in gently then wipe away for instant and effective removal, especially useful when the colour has strayed over your lip line. This particular product was declared a monster hit, and I expect to be mailing extra tubes to the UK fairly soon…

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Pre-Makeup Mask

This seemed like a novel idea – a 1 minute mask designed for just before you start applying your makeup. Obviously it is Korean, from cosmetics firm Innisfree, and contains organic green tea water from Jeju Island.

The 3 small patches in the packet are for your forehead and cheeks, and are supposed to optimise and moisturise skin to create an ‘ideal skin condition’ for your makeup. As with all sheet type masks, you cleanse and tone first, relax whilst it is on, then pat any remaining product into your skin after removing the patches.

Daughter #2 tried this out for me before a party, and her main comment was that it added about 20 minutes to her routine without making any noticeable difference. As she is always running late (sorry, sweetie…) this was not a good thing. Maybe we will try again on another day when there is more time to appreciate it.

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Double Colour Mascara

Category : Beauty

There’s something very appealing about RMK cosmetics. Perhaps it is the vibrant colours, the shiny silver packaging, or the unusual presentation of, say, eyeshadows in pods or cubes with sliding lids. This particular product, a mascara which holds 2 colours in a single wand, was something I could not leave behind.

You could use just one shade at a time, depending on what you were wearing, but the combinations are designed so you can use different shades on top and bottom lashes. As the blurb says: ‘high drama results from its sophisticated interplay of colour: shading and volume above, with brightness below’.

The wands are marked 1 and 2 so you know which way to use them, and there are 5 colour combinations including the blue and green here, plus the likes of pink and black or red and brown. They are also waterproof without being too difficult to remove later.

These became Christmas presents for daughters #1 and #2, and went down so well I am considering buying another for myself.

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Travel Lash Tool

I’m a great fan of anything that does several jobs at once. I love the idea that someone has thought of a way to combine two or more tools into one, and I really love anything which will make packing quicker and lighter for my travels.

This little tool ticked all those boxes, although I suppose I have managed to get along without it perfectly well up until now.

Never mind, it cost S$2 and manages to incorporate not just a brush which could be used either to tidy your brows or apply mascara, but also a comb to untangle any clumping of freshly mascara-ed lashes. More importantly, especially when you consider how messy stray mascara can be, the comb folds neatly into the handle and there is a cover for the brush which screws securely into place.

I can see this is going to become an indispensable part of my travelling make-up kit.