Best of 2018 Makeup

I enjoy rounding up my favorite products of the year. Here are my favorite makeup products, some of they could be new additions, or long time loves that I still use and enjoy.



My HG is still the J.One Jelly Pack Primer. My new favorite pore filling primer is the Tarte Timeless Smoothing primer

Base and powder

Hourglass products are still on my daily rotation: the Veil Primer, Vanish Seamless Stick Foundation, Veil Translucent Face Powder and the magical Ambient Lighting Palette. The only other foundation I use is the NARS Sheer Glow, it is better for me in the winter time, I also enjoy their NARS Soft Matte concealer in Custard. Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Powder is the best touch up powder I’ve tried.

Contour, bronzer and highlight

For contour, still using my last year’s favorites, the Fenty Beauty Match Stix in Amber. My new favorite bronzer is Chanel Soleil Tan Bronzing Makeup Base. The Dior Nude Luminizer Shimmery Powder is totally worth it, I love the tasteful expensive sheen.


My most used blushes this year would be Glossier Cloud Paint and Style Nanda 3CE blushes.


I realized I haven’t spoke about these, the DHC Double Protection mascara and Flowfushi Moteliner liquid liner, I don’t know if I want to try a anything else after discovering these. I also love the Marc Jacobs Highliner eye pencil for lower lash line. I still my Kat Von D eyeshadow palette (I call this the palette that won’t die) but recently am obsessed with Pat McGrath Bronze Ambition eyeshadow palette and Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad in Honeymoon.


I rotate between NARS Audacious lipsticks in Brigette and Catherine. Tom Ford in Spanish Pink and Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Sonata 


I can’t live without M.A.C Prep + Prime Fix Plus to set makeup. I also love the Truffle Jet Set Clarity makeup bag, so chic and a perfect size.

Sephora makeup haul

I have a confession to make. I live for Sephora’s sale. Two months ago, there was a VIB Appreciation event (see my haul here) and now there is a on going event VIB holiday sale for the entire month depending on the Beauty Insider tier.


I stocked up on a few skincare favourites but I want to dedicate a post to new makeup products that are totally unnecessary but just so irresistible.

I have so many eyeshadows but have never owned a Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad so I got the Honeymoon palette. Two bronzes gold shades, a reddish bronze shade and the most gorgeous burgundy plum shade (which is missing from my collection).

I also got a satin shimmery warm taupe called Zebeline from Suratt Beauty which I find very easy to wear for everyday. Suratt is a very gorgeous  underrated brand and I also got the Expressioniste Brow Pomade which I think is the best eyebrow gel I have ever tried. My brow hairs are long and unruly and nothing holds them like the Suratt.

I find my NARS Audacious lipstick in Catherine (featured in this post) is too bright for everyday and this new Shiseido VisionAiry gel lipstick in shade Bullet Train caught my eye. The formula is so lightweight and comfortable, and I love the muted but peachy shade. The only con is the lipstick gets drying over time but easily to be reapplied.

I am always on the look out for a good pore filling primer and the Tarte Timeless Smoothing primer is a winner. This basically erased some enlarged pores I have on my cheeks.

I think the prettiest product I have ever seen is the Dior Nude Luminizer Shimmery Powder in Nude Glow. The finish is shimmery (but non-glittery) and gives you the most subtle expensive sheen.

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New anti-aging skincare favourites

Since my last skincare post in June, I have tried a few new things. I was craving a luxurious serum and a night oil. I am also more concerned with repairing any damages caused by the sun and some early signs of fine lines around my mouth and between my brows.


I still use all of the products in my last post with these new additions:

Drunk Elephant is a highly popular skincare brand (like The ordinary but with much higher pricepoint). Their branding, ethos and packaging appeal to millennial who are serious about skincare. Not only that, I find their products pleasant to be used and highly effective. I am back on the DE C-Firma, on my third bottle now and I pat this every morning after exfoliating with my Biologique Recheche P50.

I have finished the sample of their new Protini Polypeptide moisturiser and I enjoyed it. Hopefully this will helps protect and prevent further fine lines and helps with firming.

I tried a few exfoliating treatments but nothing beats Sukari Babyfacial. It can be very intense so I am glad it doesn’t burn my skin. My skin feels baby soft and my pores feel cleaner after I use this.

I was also looking for a face oil that feels luxurious after using a boring rose hip oil for a long time. I came across Urang on Ohlolly. After emailing their customer service to get more information on the brand, the co-founder Sue responded with a long email to talk about my skin concerns, a suggested routine and product recommendations. I am so impressed with the level of personalized customer service so I decided to purchase the Brightening Blue Oil and True Rose Repair Essence.

I felt like my skin has plateaued with The Ordinary’s Advanced Retinol 2% therefore was looking for a new one. I read about LA’s celebrity facialist Shani Darden and her famed Resurface Retinol serum. I decided to buy this and so far so good, not irritating but I think I need to use this much longer to see any visible results. However my tip is to alternate this every other night and not use this after an exfoliating treatment like Sukari Babyfacial (your skin will burn trust me).

Lastly, I was just browsing Reddit for a good starter serum to target loss of elasticity so I came across I’m From Ginseng serum. It smells nice and doesn’t break me out. I use this at night after Urang True Repair Rose Essence and before the Brightening Blue Oil, but under Protini at night on my neck.

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New beauty favourites

My recent trip to Hawaii (so beautiful!) has inspired me to pick up a few new things. I got the best tan in my life and my usual colour range does work for me for now.


Shiseido Wetforce SPF 50 Sunscreen for Face and Body is a pleasure to apply, sinks in nicely, not greasy and smells amazing. The technology behind this range is when you are exposed to water or when you are perspiring, the sunscreen becomes stronger.

Because I protect my face from the sun religiously, my face is a little fairer compared to my body. To warm up my face, I use the Chanel Soleil Tan Bronzing Makeup Base. The texture is whipped and cream, easy to apply and the colour is a subtle warm bronze. I apply this on cheeks, jawline and some on my chin.

I find my regular blushes don’t seem to show up much anymore so I picked up popular Style Nanda 3CE blushes because they are affordable and pigmented. I got two of their most popular shades, Mono Pink (neutral light pink) and Rose Beige (a very subtle coral shade).

Along with that, I also needed some new lip colours. Like a mad person, I tried every possible lipstick in a nearby Sephora store and finally settled on these, the NARS Audacious lipsticks in Brigette and Catherine.

These have been in my makeup routine, but I didn’t seem to mention them on my blog.

DHC Double Protection is hands down the best tubing mascara I have tried, I am on my 3rd tube and I don’t think I will ever use any other mascara. My lashes are long and naturally curled so this mascara enhances my lashes. This mascara have tricked others to believe that I may have lash extensions on. If I want my lashes to be more dramatic, I will use the L’oreal Lash Paradise.

Hourglass Arch Brow Shaping Gel holds my brow hair slightly better than Glossier Boy Brow so this is a going to be a staple for a while.

I have also decided to purchase a chic makeup bag like the Truffle Clarity Makeup bag, it’a good sized and can (almost) fit all my makeup.


Rena's review: Hourglass base products

There are so many luxury beauty brands out there with sleek packaging, beautiful marketing campaigns but not many perform as well and as consistent as Hourglass.

Hourglass produces a high quality collection of capsule makeup with a range of muted and tasteful colours.

I am a big fan of their base products, I have the Veil Primer and the Vanish Seamless Stick Foundation. for a good 2-3 or so years. There are a few new additions to my collection and here are some mini reviews of each product:


Veil Primer glides on smoothly and has a thin consistency, does not feel thick or silicone-y. This has a little pore blurring quality and creates a matte finish.

Vanish Seamless Stick Foundation is one of my favourite foundation of all time. it is lightweight, has really good coverage and can double as a concealer. This stays put very well (when used with Veil Primer). I swear by this foundation when the weather is hot and I need my foundation to last. My tip is to dab a few dots around your face, a little more on desired areas and blend with a damp Beauty Blender. 

Veil Translucent Face Powder is the latest addition to my Hourglass family. The texture is fine and soft, doesn't emphasize dryness. I dust a little under my eyes, t-zone and wherever I have some concealer on to set. I struggle with a lot of loose powder being too drying or powdery and this is my new favourite even though this is the most expensive loose powder I have ever spent on. 

Ambient Lighting Palette is a magical life changing product. This blurs the appearance of pores and gives your skin an expensive creamy glow without being too shimmery. I dust this all over as a last step. The bronzey shade is also perfect as a subtle bronzer for my cheeks. The lightest shade works as a highlighter too. I don't think I can finish my makeup without this product or travel without this.

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Skincare update: What worked, what didn't and new favourites

My skincare routine has changed, some products didn't work for me anymore. It has been a windy past few months in SF and my skin was in dire need of more hydration. I have also found a few new things that work with healing some breakouts caused by reaction to products, the extreme change of weather when I travelled across the globe a few months ago... twice (and the long haul flights certainly didn't help)

I want to write a quick update on the  skincare products unfortunately that didn't work for me, the ones that I still use and some exciting new favourites products.


Let me start with things that didn't work and I won't repurchase (you can read detailed review from my last post):

Missha Clear TonerMissha First Treatment Essence and SkinFood Royal Honey Propolis Essence: Ferments are beneficial to the skin (contain amino acids, organic acids and antioxidants to help hydrate and nourish the skin) but unfortunately broke me out. However I highly recommend The Skinfood Royal Propolis Honey for anyone who can tolerate ferments because this product gives that serious glow to your skin.

Products that I still keep in my routine and will continue using:

PyunkangYul Essence Toner is ever so soothing, I use this after exfoliating.

COSRX Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is a soothing and hydrating serum I usually use this at night due to the tacky texture.

Old favourites that I have tried and and now back in my routine:

Biologique Recheche P50 is the best exfoliating toner to decongest my skin. This is a pricey toner but worth the investment.

Dr Jart Liquid Ceramidin is a holy grail for me when it comes to repairing my moisture barrier. I layer this after my toner to boost hydration in my skin. I recommend this for someone with dry/sensitive skin.

New favourites that are working really well for me:

Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb is super hydrating non-greasy eye cream. Sinks in well and my concealer sits well on top.

Drunk Elephant Sukari Baby Facial lives up to the hype, my skin feels baby smooth and brighter after using this. This product really delivers the results.

Melano CC Essence is a Japanse cult product. I finished up my Drunk Elephant C-Firma and on the market for something cheaper. I did see fast results with Melano CC, my dark spots and PIE seem to lighten and heal much faster compared to C-Firma. And the best thing is, this product is very affordable.

GlamGlow Supermud mask is expensive but is an excellent clarifying mask or spot treatment. I like how easy it is the mask washes off even after 20-30mins.

Dr Jart Water Drop Moisturiser Dr. Jart is such an excellent skincare line and I am glad that this has permanently become my new day moisturiser. Very lightweight with long lasting hydration.