To my readers in Bhutan - I will be in your country in mid August. Feel free to drop me a line. My email address is in the contact page. See you soon!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Majolica Majorca Cream de Cheek

Majolica Majorca is not a brand that I would normally reach for.
If anything, the opposite is true. Usually, I tend to avoid it.

With its cutesy packagings and vibrant colors it almost looks like it could be Etude House's poor Japanese cousin.

Majolica Majorca is a low end Shiseido brand that can be found at any drugstore (and most supermarkets) in Japan. It's a makeup staple beloved by high school girls and starving university students countrywide.

And yet here I am, way past my high school days, writing about Majolica Majorca Cream de Cheek blushers.



And no, these are not press samples, or things I got for free. I channeled my inner school girl and bought these products myself. Yes, I am OK, thank you for your concern.

So how did it happen?

While I am not a high school girl, my friend's daughter is.
And, according to her, it's a hard life being a high school girl in Japan.



There are uniform checks to make sure your skirt is the proper length and not rolled up at the waist to make it look shorter.
There are hair color checks to make sure that your hair is the color it should be. I'm purposely writing "should be", because while 99% of Japanese high school girls have black hair, there is this unlucky 1% with naturally brown hair. Unlucky, because, well... if your hair should be black but it's dark brown, then according to your school handbook it clearly means you colored it. My friend's daughter finally gave up trying to convince her school's hair color commando that she is indeed a natural brunette and dyed it. Black. Problem solved.
There are also nail polish checks and makeup checks. And that hurts the most. Because, c'mon, which high school girl doesn't love makeup?

And that brings us to today's contestants - Majolica Majorca Cream de Cheek.



If you thought these were nail polish bottles, don't worry, you're not the only one.
They had me fooled too when I first saw them.

But my friend's daughter (who clearly enjoyed educating this ahem, ahem... older lady) very helpfully explained the basic facts of Majolica Majorca Cream de Cheek:


  • - No! It's not nail polish. 
  • - It's creamy blush!
  • - Look! So cute!
  • - This bottle is so small! You can take it with you anywhere!
  • - Much more convenient than a pressed blush compact, or a cushion.
  • - You can apply it with nearly surgical precision, because it has a tiny brush.
  • - Look! All you need is a tiny dot.
  • - Now, just blend it with your fingers.
  • - See? You don't even need a mirror - any reflective surface will do!
  • - And, and, and... it looks so natural! Just like my own cheeks, only sexier (but don't tell my mom, please)
  • - Some girls use it on their lips as well! 
  • - And it's so cheap!
  • - So of course, as soon as we leave the school grounds, we put on our makeup and then we go downtown. 
  • - And it stays on the whole afternoon! And all day on weekends!
  • - And this blush is so easy to use!
  • - And it looks so natural! So even if we run into any of our teachers, they can't tell we are wearing makeup (Nope, dear girl, we can tell you are wearing makeup, we just pretend we can't and everyone's happy).


image source: Majolica Majorca Hong Kong


After such a heartfelt endorsement, I had no choice.
I went to Trial (which is like a ghetto version of Walmart, with cracked walls and missing flooring, but it's open 24 hours 7 days a week) and bought me some Majolica Majorca Cream de Cheek. And because I was overcome with decision fatigue, I bought them all. All four of them.


The available Majolica Majorca Cream de Cheek colors are:
  • - RD 310 Coral Cream
  • - PK 312 Shell Pink Cream
  • - OR 313 Custard Cream
  • - RD 411 Kiichigo (Raspberry) Cream

The bottles definitely look like nail polish:

 RD310 Coral Cream

And because they're made of that extremely annoying milky glass, they are also very hard to photograph.

RD310 Coral Cream


Look, they even have little brushes, just like nail polish.

 PK312 Shell Pink Cream

And here it is again in a different light:

PK312 Shell Pink Cream

PK 312 Shell Pink Cream and RD 310 Coral Cream are my favorite colors.

The girl didn't lie. They are indeed very natural looking, and totally dumb-proof.
Impossible to find a blusher that is easier to apply than this thing.

These two colors below I gave away and made two high school girls very happy in the process.

OR313 Custard Cream

It wasn't my color.


OR313 Custard Cream

And neither was this bright red:

RD411 Kiichigo (Raspberry) Cream

Just about the brightest, in your face, red you can think of:

 RD411 Kiichigo (Raspberry) Cream


Here are the colors as presented by Shiseido Japan:






And here are the swatches according to me:






I never thought I'd live to see the day when I can say that I honestly love a Majolica Majorca product.

There is literally nothing I can complain about here.
This is a great, affordable blush that is ridiculously easy to use.

Not sure who would be interested in ingredients, but I plugged them into cosDNA anyway. Because I'm awesome like that.

Majolica Majorca Cream de Cheek PK 312 ingredients are here.
Majolica Majorca Cream de Cheek RD 411 ingredients are here.

So, to sum it up - it's a good buy.


And I'm glad there are only 4 colors available. Because if there were more, I'd buy them too.
Price? I think it was 850 yen plus tax.







Saturday, February 6, 2016

AMOREPACIFIC Treatment Color Control Cushion SPF50+/PA+++ in 100C

Yes, we will talk about the flagship Amore Pacific Treatment Color Control Cushion today. It's about time.

Dzis w koncu bedzie o podkladzie w poduszce marki Amore Pacific - Amore Pacific Treatment Color Control Cushion. 



I'm a huge fan of Caroline Hirons and I tend to hang out on her blog and YouTube channel quite a bit. Why do I like her? Because, unlike most beauty blogebrities these days, she's not 25 years old and she's not perfect.
And judging by the numbers of followers, many people feel about her in exactly the same way I do.

So yeah, a couple of months ago I was reading the comments on her blog and realized that there was one question that her fans keep asking her over and over, and which she very conveniently ignores.

And the question being:
Why don't you write something about Asian skincare products? Do you use Asian skincare? Please tell us more about Asian skincare!

Actually, that's two questions and one random comment, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

And whenever I see such questions directed at Caroline Hirons, I laugh so hard that Coke Zero squirts out of my nose. Why?
Because Ms Hirons, bless her heart, is a business. And any idiot who thinks that her posts are unbiased and non-sponsored, is indeed that - an idiot.

So the reason why Ms Hirons doesn't write about Asian products is very simple. No Asian companies have reached out to her PR people yet (and no, Tatcha is not an Asian brand).
Plus, she really likes those overpriced western "niche" brands, you know, those with "cutting edge" and "revolutionary" ingredients that are virtually identical to Hada Labo, but which cost 70 pounds per bottle.

UPDATE: 
Caroline Hirons actually responded on her blog that she doesn't specifically seek out Asian products, but if she comes across something, she will review it.  
I like her answer. It sounds honest. And it shows that Ms Hirons recognizes that Asian beauty is not something she is familiar with.


Przyznaje sie, ze jestem fanka Caroline Hirons (link do jej strony powyzej w wersji angielskiej). Czytam jej bloga i zagladam na jej kanal na YouTube. Dlaczego ja lubie? Ano dlatego, poniewaz w przeciwienstwie do innych blogebrytek, Caroline Hirons ma juz swoje lata, wyglada na swoje lata i nie udaje perfekcyjnie wypacykowanej lalki. I po komentarzach na jej blogu, widze, ze wiele jej fanek ma podobne odczucia.

Fanki owe pytaja sie jej o rozne marki pielegnacyjne i coraz czesciej widze tez pytania o to co pani Hirons sadzi o azjatyckich kosmetykach. I zawsze kiedy widze to pytanie, to az krztusze sie na mojej Coke Zero ze smiechu.
Dlaczego? Bo pani Hirons jest biznesem. Azjatyckie marki nie wpadly jeszcze na pomysl, aby sie do niej podlizac. A szkoda, bo jesli Caroline Hirons mowi, ze produkt jest dobry, to rzesze fanek poslusznie, jak dobrze wytrenowane lemmingi, od razu leca i kupuja. Nawet jesli ow produkt, oczywiscie marki niszowej i drogiej, bo w takich lubuje sie pani Hirons, pelen "rewolucyjnych" skladnikow i innych cudow na patyku, ma sklad niemal identyczny jak drogeryjne Hada Labo. A kosztuje 70 funtow za butelke.


I'm not sure whether Amore Pacific ever got in touch with Ms Hirons PR folks, but seriously, they should. She does endorse big name luxury brands, providing they are sufficiently expensive.
And Amore Pacific, with its flagship namesake brand, fancy ingredients, and equally fancy price tags fits nicely into that category.

Imagine what she could do for Amore Pacific Treatment Color Control Cushion, if she mentioned it on her blog! Literally thousands of good, little lemmings would run out to buy one.

Amore Pacific zamiast tracic czas na obijanie sie na instagramie, powinien skontaktowac sie z PRowcami pani Hirons. Bo Amore Pacific wpasowuje sie idealnie w jej upodobania. Marka jest droga, ekskluzywna, pelna fikusnych skladnikow, w ladnych opakowaniach. I na dodatek, zazwyczaj robi to co obiecuje.

Mozna sobie tylko wyobrazic jakie cuda marketingowe pani Hirons moglaby zadzialac dla Amore Pacific Treatment Color Control Cushion, jesli opisalaby ja na swoim blogu. Tysiace grzecznych lemmingow natychmiast wyciagnelo by karty kredytowe.


And unlike those natural niche nonsense brands that Ms Hirons is so fond of, but which copy their ingredients wholesale from Asian products and think that an average woman is too dumb to notice, Amore Pacific is actually worth buying.


Why is it worth buying?
Because it's good. It might be overpriced, yeah, I agree with that, it might spout inflated claims here and there, but overall, it's a solid higher end brand with solid higher end products.

And this cushion - Amore Pacific Treatment Color Control Cushion SPF50+/PA+++ is no exception. It's not a coincidence that it gets rave reviews in the US (where you can buy it at Sephora). Because it's good. It's really good. And if you've read more than two posts on this blog of mine, then you know this is not something that I say lightly.

I w przeciwienstwie do tych srutututu niszowych marek, ktore pani Hirons tak bardzo kocha, a ktore kopiuja swoje formuly od azjatyckich produktow i mysla, ze przecietna konsumentka nie zauwazy, Amore Pacific jest calkowicie wart polecenia. I kupienia.

Dlaczego?
Bo jest dobry. Tak. Jest drogi. Za bardzo drogi. Ale poza nielicznymi wpadkami, jest to solidna marka wysokopolkowa z solidnymi wysokopolkowymi produktami.

Dzisiejsza poduszka - Amore Pacific Treatment Color Control Cushion SPF50+/PA+++ potwierdza ta regule. To nie przypadek, ze ta poduszka zbiera wspaniale recenzje w USA. Jest naprawde dobra. I stali czytelnicy tego bloga wiedza, ze ja nie rzucam takich slow przypadkowo.

~~~

So, yes, let's get this party started.

Even though in the US there is only one Amore Pacific cushion available (correction - it seems that Neiman Marcus started to carry the anti-aging version with SPF25 as well), there are two in Hong Kong, and three in Korea.

Wiec, do dziela!

W USA dostepne sa dwie wersje poduszki Amore Pacific: Treatment Color Control z SPF 50+, oraz Anti-Aging z SPF 25.
W Hong Kongu dostepne sa dwie wersje - na obrazku ponizej.
A w Korei - trzy: jedna Treatment Color Control i dwie wersje Anti-Aging, ktore roznia sie SPF.


image source: AmorePacific Hong Kong


As far as I could see, in the US you only get the Treatment Color Control Cushion (and exclusively at Neiman Marcus the anti-aging version with SPF 25). Hong Kong gets both types - Anti-Aging Color Control Cushion and Treatment Color Control Cushion. And Korea gets 2 types of Anti-Aging, where the main difference seems to be the level of SPF protection.

As it is normally the case in such situations, different shades are available in different countries.
Here's a handy compilation that I put together just for you:

I jak to zazwyczaj w takich sytuacjach bywa, rozne kraje oferuja rozne odcienie:




My Amore Pacific Treatment Color Control Cushion is labeled as 100C. I got it on G-Market (a Korean e-commerce site similar to Amazon). And even by G-Market standards, it was pretty expensive (comparable to the prices in the US).

Moja Amore Pacific Treatment Color Control Cushion jest oznaczona jako 100C. Kupilam ja na G-Markecie (koreanska strona cos pomiedzy e-bayem a Amazonem). Cena mojej poduszki byla porownywalna do cen w USA.


So what is this Amore Pacific, I hear you say?

It's the largest beauty company in South Korea. In 2014 its total revenue equaled 2.877 billion euro (by comparison, L'Oreal had total revenues of 22.532 billion euro).

Other differences - L'Oreal was founded in 1909, Amore Pacific in 1945; L'Oreal employs around 78 thousand people, Amore Pacific less than 12 thousand; L'Oreal and its many brands are very well known worldwide (including South Korea) while Amore Pacific is strongest on its home turf. When you consider the revenue of 2.877 billion euro in that context, then suddenly it turns out that Amore Pacific packs quite a punch.

And while we are at it, I am never sure how to spell "Amore Pacific" properly. Is it AMOREPACIFIC? Or AmorePacific? Or Amore Pacific?
Because I am lazy by nature, and to please the search engine gods, I am going to use all three spellings interchangeably.

Amore Pacific to najwiekszy koncern kosmetyczny w Korei Poludniowej. Powyzej zrobilam male porownanie pomiedzy L'Oreal a Amore Pacific (po angielsku).



Anyway, back to the cushion at hand.

If this is the first time you are seeing a cushion foundation compact, please click on the Cushion Foundation tab in the top menu and work your way backwards.

So, basically, a cushion foundation is a chunk of sponge that is saturated with foundation and housed in a special compact. You dab on the sponge with an applicator puff and then pat pat with the applicator on your face. Can't get any easier. No need for makeup brushes, beauty blenders, or getting your fingers dirty.

Amore Pacific is famous for its cushions. Iope, Laneige, Hera, Sulwhasoo are all Amore Pacific brands famous for their cushions. And yes, I think I have nearly all of them. (Nope, I don't have a problem, I simply like my cushions).

Confusingly, Amore Pacific is also the name of the flagship brand of AmorePacific corporation. And that Amore Pacific brand also has its own cushion, or two.

As you could see in the photos above, the box is simple and stylish.
The compact is also simple and stylish. (See Lancome, this is how it's done!)

Ale wracamy do tematu poduszek.
Czym jest podklad w poduszce?
To kawalek gabki nasaczony podkladem i umieszczony w specjalnym kompakcie. Naciskamy aplikatorem na ta gabke, aplikator nabiera dokladnie tyle podkladu ile potrzeba i packamy sie na twarzy. Nie smarujemy, nie myziamy, ale wlasnie lekko przyciskamy aplikator do skory. Nie sa potrzebne pedzle, blendery, a paluchy pozostaja czyste.

Amore Pacific slynie z poduszek. Iope, Laneige, Hera, Sulwhasoo - to marki ze stajni Amore Pacific, ktore slyna ze swoich poduszek. 
Zeby narobic zamieszania, Amore Pacific to rowniez marka ze stajni Amore Pacific. I ktora rowniez ma swoja poduszke, lub dwie, lub trzy.

Jak widac ze zdjecia, pudelko jest proste i ladne. Kompakt jest rowniez prosty i ladny (Lancome moglby sie kilku rzeczy nauczyc od Amore Pacific).



Cushion refills from other higher end Amore Pacific should fit into it as well, so if you want, you can get away with filling it up with Iope or Laneige if you need a replacement refill.
Dior Blooming Cushion refill also fits into the Amore Pacific compact.

Wkladki wymienne od innych wyzszo-polkowych marek ze stajni Amore Pacific powinny sie w ten kompakt rowniez zmiescic. Jak i wklad do poduszki Dior!





That's the underside. As you can see, this refill was manufactured in September of 2014. Don't worry, I'm already done with it.

It's really easy to replace the refill, just pop it out of the compact. The trilingual leaflet in the box provides handy instructions in Korean, Chinese and English:

Ulotka w trzech jezykach (angielski, koreanski i chinski) pokazuje nam jak wymienic wklad:



The leaflet also mentions that the puff is anti-microbial (RubyCell technology), which means it inhibits the growth of bacteria, which means you don't have to wash it after every single use.

Ulotka rowniez wyjasnia, ze aplikator ma wlasciwosci antybakteryjne (technologia RubyCell), wiec nie trzeba panikowac jesli nie mamy szans go wyprac po jednym, czy dwoch, czy trzech uzyciach.



Do not bend or fold the puff in two when you are applying makeup. You will break it. The idea is to tap gently to achieve that flawless, photoshopped finish.

What else was in the box? Apart from the compact (already preloaded with a refill) and a leaflet, a replacement refill is also provided for your convenience. So, while the whole box may seem very pricey, you are actually getting 30 grams of foundation in all.

Nie zginaj tego puffa w pol kiedy nakladasz podklad. Zniszczy sie. 

Co jeszcze jest w pudelku? Kompakt juz z zaladowanym wkladem, oraz dodatkowy wklad wymienny. Wiec w sumie dostajemy 30 gramow produktu.


Despite the much touted SPF 50+/PA+++, you'd be pretty stupid to rely on this cushion (or any other cushion for that matter) as your sole sunscreen. It's simply physically impossible to apply enough product to be adequately protected from the sun. Please be smart and always use a separate sunblock. Unless, of course, sunspots and skin cancer are your thing.

Inside the compact, it's pretty much all standard stuff:

Choc poduszka ta jest oznaczona jako SPF 50+/PA+++, tylko totalne bezmozdze uzywaloby jej jako jedynej formy ochrony przeciwslonecznej. Dlaczego? Po prostu jest to fizycznie niemozliwe, aby nalozyc tyle podkladu aby uzyskac ochrone SPF 50. To znaczy sie, z pewnoscia mozna na upartego tyle tego podkladu nalozyc, ale wtedy ludzie naokolo nas zaczna sie dziwnie na nas patrzyc.
Wiec warto zainwestowac w osobny filtr. No chyba ze ktos marzy o wczesnym starzeniu, plamach poslonecznych i raku skory, wtedy jak najbardziej, sama poduszka w zupelnosci wystarczy.

W kompakcie, wszystko jak byc powinno:



As always, the cushion surface is protected by a sticker. Some people actually replace this sticker after each and every use, for as long as the sticky part will hold. I don't bother and chuck it in the garbage.

Gabka z podkladem zabezpieczona jest naklejka. Wiem, ze niektorzy uzywaja tej naklejki wielokrotnie, aby dodatkowo zabezpieczyc poduszke przed przedwczesnym wysychaniem. Ja nie. Naklejka laduje w koszu.



This is what the cushion surface should look like. The pores should be quite fine to help dispense the proper amount every time you press it with the applicator puff. Finer pores also keep the sponge from drying out too quickly.

Tak powinna wygladac powierzchnia poduszki. Male pory w gabce sprawiaja, ze aplikator nabiera tyle podkladu ile potrzeba. Male pory pomagaja rowniez chronic gabke przed przedwczesnym wysychaniem.



My Amore Pacific Treatment Color Control Cushion is labeled as 100C, which is, as you can see, quite light beige.

Here's the swatch bonanza taken using different light sources.
AmorePacific Treatment Color Control Cushion SPF50+/PA+++ in shade 100C:

Swatche AmorePacific Treatment Color Control Cushion SPF50+/PA+++ w odcieniu 100C:


It's quite yellow on my hand, and it looks just as yellow on my face. And despite being labeled as 100C, it's still too dark.

So, can I get away with using it at all? You betcha!
I loved the gorgeous finish it gives me so much that I've been working around the less than perfect color match.
Because, let me tell you, everything else about this cushion is perfect. For once the advertising blurbs were not lying.

Jak widac, odcien 100C to jasny bezowy zoltek. Za ciemny dla mnie, ale i tak go uzywam. 
Dlaczego? Bo efekt koncowy wynagradza fakt, ze musze nosic golfik, kiedy mam ochote na ta poduszke.
Bo, chyba po raz pierwszy mi sie zdarzylo, ze marketingowe obietnice producenta zostaly spelnione.



The finish is light, airy, healthy, it glows without being wet and dewy.  There is no rolling, no pilling, no emphasizing of large pores or wrinkles.
It moisturizes just enough during warmer months (not enough for winter with the heaters going on full blast), it doesn't cause any breakouts (and I break out from thinking about chocolate and looking at BB creams), it leaves the skin looking somehow better at the end of the day when you remove your makeup.
And oh yeah, it stays in place during our horrid, humid summers.

Seriously, everything that's on that leaflet, I've confirmed through my diligent field testing.

Wykonczenie jest lekkie, przejrzyste, dajace efekt zdrowej wypoczetej cery, bez mokrego efektu "dewy". Nic sie nie roluje i nie walkuje. Nie podkresla porow i zmarszczek.
Nawilza wystarczajaco na lato, ale nie wystarczajaca na zime. Nie powoduje wysypu nieprzyjaciol. Po usunieciu makijazu cera jakims cudem wyglada lepiej niz rano. 
A, i jeszcze jedno - trzyma sie na twarzy podczas wysokiej wilgotnosci powietrza i upalow.
Dokladnie wszystko to, co obiecuje ulotka. 



Bamboo sap instead of water doesn't excite me one bit, but it's there and I suppose it provides some skincare benefits.
Though honestly, I don't really care. I'm not an ingredient nazi.

Sok roslinny z bambusa zamiast wody w skladzie nie podnieca mnie. Ale podejrzewam, ze ma jakies wlasciwosci pielegnacyjne.



And speaking of ingredients, here they are:

AMOREPACIFIC Treatment Color Control Cushion SPF50+/PA+++ ingredients (shade 100C):
Sklad poduszki AMOREPACIFIC Treatment Color Control Cushion SPF50+/PA+++ odcieniu 100C:

Phyllostachys Bambusoides Juice, Zinc Oxide, Cyclopentasiloxane, Titanium Dioxide, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Ethanol, Arbutin, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Acrylates/Ethylhexyl Acrylate/Dimethicone Methacrylate Copolymer, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Lecithin, Isostearic Acid, Isopropyl Palmitate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Acrylates/Stearyl Acrylate/Dimethicone Methacrylate Copolymer, Dimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Water, Silica, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, Fragrance


In short, would I recommend buying AmorePacific Treatment Color Control Cushion SPF50+/PA+++?
If you can afford it, absolutely, go for it! You won't regret it.

This is the Porsche of the cushion world. It's priced accordingly, but just like a luxury car, it makes good on its price tag.

Wiec, czy moge polecic AmorePacific Treatment Color Control Cushion SPF50+/PA+++?
Absolutnie. Jesli ktos moze sobie na nia pozwolic, to jestem pewna, ze nie pozaluje.

To jest odpowiednik Porsche w swiecie podkladow poduszkowych. Drogi, ale wart swojej ceny.



Incidentally, a few months back, a certain Polish beauty blogger living in Singapore expressed her displeasure at the mediocre performance of several cushions that she had tried. As it turned out, they were all rock bottom Amore Pacific brands, the cheapest of the cheap heap.

Based on that she proceeded to tell her thousands of followers that cushions are all hype and no substance. When it was suggested to her to try a quality cushion foundation from one of the higher end Amore Pacific brands, she responded that she didn't see why she should. After all, her cheap cushions were also "Amore Pacific" and, according to her, there couldn't be that much difference between different Amore Pacific brands.



While I normally don't endorse the "price equals quality" mentality, her reasoning made my scratch my head in disbelief so hard my coworkers thought I had lice.

That blogger was like someone who only ever test drove a Škoda, and thought it was a disappointing experience. Yet at the same time didn't want to try driving a Porsche, an Audi, or a Bentley, a Bugatti and a Lamborghini, because all of those cars are made by the same company - Volkswagen Group.



So yeah, don't make the same mistake. Fortunately this AmorePacific Treatment Color Control Cushion is a lot cheaper than a Porsche.
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