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. 


New favorites from Sephora

Sephora VIB members (you know who you are) would have known that they had a Rouge and Insider sale not long ago. Like the last haul (read here and here) naturally, I spent quite a bit by stocking up on products and also splurge on items that I have had in my wishlist for a while.

Here are some mini reviews of each product:


The most expensive product is the classic Hourglass Ambient Lighting palette. I have used up Dim Light and I decide to get the palette as an all over finishing powder. I mix all three shades and just go over my face with a fluffy face brush. The palette is magic, blurs pores and brighten overall complexion. Worth the price.

The second item that I am most excited about is the Pat McGrath Bronze Ambition eyeshadow palette. I don't need another eyeshadow palette (says no one ever) but I am a sucker for bronzey colours and I want a variety of them. The texture is buttery and soft. For more swatches, read this post on The Beauty Lookbook

I am also enjoying the Dr Jart Water Drop Moisturiser. I have been using the Glossier Priming Moisturiser for a long time but for some reason, the formula isn't the same anymore (my 3rd tube) and I am a little disappointed. The wind can be very cold and strong in San Francisco and the Dr Jart moisturiser keeps my skin hydrated and never tight.

Other addition to my makeup collection from this haul is NARS Soft Matte concealer in Custard, (amazing coverage but a little too dark for me at the moment), Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Sonata (the perfect pinky beige shade, the formula is perfection, not drying nor patchy) and IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout concealer (it is not as full coverage as I expected, but handy to conceal breakouts).

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Rena's review: Cuyana Classic Structured Leather Tote

As I get older, I realized at times I just need functional fuss-free pieces. I am looking for a functional tote as my Everlane twill tote bag is very much used (and to my disappointment, the bag was only used less than a year).

I have read and heard so much about Cuyana, a brand based here in San Francisco. Their flagship store is chic, pared down and I just love their refined selection of products. I read great reviews on one of their bestsellers, the Classic Tote bag. However I prefer a structured version so I got the Classic Structured Leather Tote instead in black and blush.



The bag is simple and chic. I love how roomy it is. The handles are very well made and reinforced meaning I can put a lot of things in the bag but the bag does not feel weighed down (which is an issue for a lot of other tote bags. The bags also have leather ties that can change the look of the bag while retaining the structure.

 Photos via Cuyana

Photos via Cuyana


I highly recommend this bag if you are hunting for the perfect leather tote. I am also eyeing the Tote Organization Insert which is perfect for someone like me who is constantly unable to locate the things in my bag. 

This bag is perfect for work, school, travel and I can see this being a good nappy bag.  


Innisfree and Laneige Haul

I was in Kuala Lumpur recently and of course I went shopping. I wasn't successful with any fashion finds, so beauty shopping is the way to go.

For some reason, I get excited with stand alone stores from Asian brands. I think I am no longer get excited with western brands like Chanel or Dior because I can easily buy them from Sephora or online in the States.

Innisfree is so darn affordable and Laneige is such a dream to shop in. Here are my haul and my thoughts on them.


My skin felt so gross and clogged while I was in Kuala Lumpur so I had to get these Innisfree Skin Reset Peeling sheets masks and the popular Jeju Volcanic Color Clay Mask. I love the sheet masks, but not sure about the clay mask due to the weird sticky feeling even after drying down. I much prefer the Origins Clear Improvement Mask.

While I was there, I got also these blotting powders, the Jeju Volcanic Oil Control Paper. They are okay, I prefer the Beauty Blender Blotterazzi.

At Laneige, I wanted to try the Two Tone Lipsticks but unfortunately my lips are dry and the lipstick does not look cute on me.

I didn't want to leave empty handed and I was so attracted to the BB Cushion Anti Aging foundation, I mean look at the gradient rose gold goodness on the compact! I am never interested in cushion foundation because they are always too dewy for my liking, but this version has higher coverage and not too dewy. It was really easy to use, however the shade 21 is a little paler than my skintone at the moment but I can imagine using this when traveling.

I am a big fan of the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask therefore I got the Lip Balm as well.


Overall, I am happy with my purchase and having YesStyle on my fingertips, I can easily restock the Innisfree Skin Reset Peeling sheets masks and a refill for the Laneige BB Cushion Anti Aging foundation.

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Spring scents

As someone who adores heavy floral scented fragrances for winter, I like to tone down my scents for spring.


Newest additions are from Atelier Lumira and Madison Louis Marie. I adore the *Atelier Lumira La Primavera candle, channeling “San Remo in springtime with the notes of  jasmine, rose leaf, lily and patchouli supported by a powdery cashmere musk”. 

The perfumes that I’m going to be wearing a a lot is the *Atelier Lumira Paradisium. I’ve never been into dig scented perfumes but this one has a sweeter fruitier scent with notes of “bergamot, grapefruit and lemon, developing into a luscious heart of fig nectar and guava before settling with vetiver, sea moss and cedarwood”.

Madison Louis Antidris Cassis perfume oil is perfect for traveling. I’m so done with carrying a full bottle of perfume with me. I can’t get enough of this combination of cassis, bergamot, black pepper with mid note of white rose and base note of oakmoss, musk and tonka (a bean that smells like vanilla and cinnamon).

And of course my all time favourite fragrance brand, Diptyque does the best home fragrance. Baies is possibly my dessert island choice, and I love the Tuberose candle.

*PR Samples