March 31, 2010

Review: Majolica Majorca Lash Enamel Glamour Volume On mascara



Talk about a mouthful, now that's a product name!



This is the product I decided to try right away, because my YSL Singulier is on its last leg and it was time for me to open a new mascara. This one being the most intriguing of the 2 I got, I picked it as my first victim.

Packaging: the Japanese like to go full speed in the bling bling direction with their makeup packagings. Think little jems and rhimestones all over your eyeshadow quads. This one is reasonably gold and shiny and has enough black to look elegant. The tube looks smaller than the ones we're used to have here.

Brush: that's what intrigued me with this product. Look:


It's a dual side flat brush with pointy shark teeth replacing the bristles, and they don't have the same size on each side. I had to guess how to make this work, and I think I found it right. The size with the small teeth will catch your lashes at the rooth and make them really covered in product and intense looking. But they won't allow the product to spread till the end of the lashes, for this, you have to use the bigger side of the brush.

Formula: as far as I know, this mascara (and most other Japanese mascaras) exists only in black. The formula doesn't have a scent, is very very intensely black, does leave the lashes a tiny bit less soft than I'd like but isn't flakey at all, so that's fine by me. It won't smudge and it will hold a curl. But you'll need an industrial strength makeup remover to get rid of it, I'm telling you! Yes, this is the mascara that required a dual face remover. But once you have the right remover, it disappears pretty easily. I didn't experience any irritation or problem.

Result: I realize this calls for a picture, and I don't have one I'm happy about to show you now. Let's say that this mascara gives a lot of intensity to the eyes, thanks to the very black color and the fact that it catches the roots of your lashes so well. I seriously never experienced as much intensity with another product.
But as far as volume is concerned, I am not that impressed. I find this is slightly lenghtening and volumizing but nothing exceptional. So I keep using it for the dramatic effect on the roots mostly and it's great for daytime (well, my definition of daytime, which can be a bit dramatic). But I will try to combine it with Faux-Cils and see if we have a winner combo there.

Would I repurchase? : At 19,50$ shipped, this is the price equivalent of a Maybelline or L'Oreal mascara for me. So yes, definitely, price not being an issue and the product being good, I would keep on getting the product and will probably order several back ups at once next time I order from Japan.

Did you try this particular mascara? Did you like it?

March 30, 2010

Japanese Haul


Some time ago, out of the blue, I got bored. Bored with makeup. Not that I didn't like it anymore, but I felt like I had seen it all. Even the upcoming Spring launches and the ever flowing Mac collections weren't exciting anymore because I felt like there was nothing I liked that I couldn't dupe with my collection already. Bummer.

That's about when I was introduced to BB creams by a friend. Finally something new to discover! So I started researching them, and in the process, stumbled across the incredible world of Asian cosmetics, Japanese brands in particular.

Of course, I knew a few Asian brands : Shiseido, Shu Uemura, Kanebo, Annayake... But in my head, they were expensive luxury brands, most of them being hard to find here. And even if I had heard about those brands "owning other brands in Asia", I had never ventured into researching those.
But since the web is that wonderful place where you can find people obsessing about virtually anything - including makeup - I did find blogs that were exclusively talking about Asian beauty products. My favorite as of today is Lotus Palace, written by an Austrian girl who knows as much about Asian brands than yours faithful does know about Mac.

That's where I read about the best places to buy Asian beauty products from, and of course, I had to try! So here's my first Japanese makeup haul:

These are:
- Kate (branch of Kanebo) gel liner
- Majolica Majorca (branch of Shiseido) mascaras and
- Majolica Majorca pencil liquid liner
Those brands are sold in all Japanese drugstores.

Now talk about exotism: there isn't a single word of English on those packagings!


But with a pictogram here and there, and makeup being pretty universal, you still find your way.

Those products were ordered from Ichibankao. The website is very easy to navigate. Prices are in Japanese Yens and do include shipping. Payment are done through PayPal and converted to USD when processing.
I received my order within less than 10 days and it was perfectly packaged - I definitely recommend them and will be using them again.

Now where are these products on the price scale? Well, it depends. Some of those brands, like the ones I ordered are reasonably priced, and some are extremely expensive - way more expensive than Chanel.
When I say "reasonably priced", it also depends on the price level where you live, of course. The mascaras I got cost 1.800 Yens shipped, which is 19.50 USD. That will sound pricey for someone in the US, but for us Europeans, that's the price of a Maybelline mascara!! So for that price, I rather get something manufactured by Shiseido.

I'll be reviewing these items as I get to use them (I don't plan on opening all of them now and letting them dry up!), and there's a mascara review coming very soon.

Have you tried Asian beauty products? Where did you get these from? What did you think?

March 27, 2010

Dual-Phase eye makeup removers; YSL vs. La Roche Posay



Once in a while, I will try a new mascara and find out at night that my well-trusted eye makeup remover (I use La Roche Posay Rosaliac micellar jelly) will fail to move it. I never pick waterproof mascaras, but some are particularly long-wear anyway.

It happened again very recently (I'll talk about that mascara soon) and so I called the makeup forums for help, and was recommended to use a dual-phase makeup remover, as these are supposed to remove everything.

I had one home, actually: a mini bottle of the YSL Instant Eye Makeup Remover that I had gotten as a gift with purchase last time I was buying my beloved Faux-Cils. So I tried that one right away.


Results? zero - it didn't do a thing. I was expecting more from a product calling itself "high performance". Don't get me wrong: it's not irritating, it doesn't have a smell, and it worked fine on removing the rest of my makeup - but not the mascara.

So I started looking for other options, and decided to try the La Roche Posay Respectissime eye makeup remover in its waterproof makeup version. I put it at work on the same day, of course, hoping I wouldn't have to rub my lashes to death again to remove my mascara.



Well, bingo. This is industrial strength remover, ladies. It effortlessy removed my mascara without irritating my eyes, and without leaving behind any residue.
At the price of 11€, this is way cheaper than any high end cosmetics brand and I swear noting could be more efficient.

I can keep using my mascara, I am a happy camper.


March 22, 2010

Mac trend: Pale and Dandy


Twice a year, Mac releases its trends for the season. They're not defined look, more general guidelines on what's in at the moment - this is the kind of material that's used at Fashion week, interpreted by the different makeup artists doing the shows.

Mac called the trend for this Spring 'Pale and Dandy'. It doesn't actually mean you have to be pale, but more that you're going for a flawless, monochromatic and dewy/glowy face. No color on the eyes or lips or even cheek: the light is what is going to give shape to the face. Even the eyelashes stay bare, while the brow can be either strongly defined or bleached (mostly bleached, from what we have seen). It's all about recreating an aristocratic look, in fact.

But is it wearable? Well, I gave it a try! The key is using cream products only to get the dewiness and light we are after. And here's the result.



How did I do that? Mac Face&Body would be the perfect foundation to achieve this but I don't own it, so I used Illamasqua cream foundation on top of Mac Strobe Cream, and concealed with Bobby Brown concealer kit.
The eyebrows aren't bleached but I brushed through them with a liquid foundation and a spoolie to make them lighter. I used Mac Paintpot in Soft Ochre on the eyes, and Cream Color Base in Pearl as a hilighter on the cheeks and under the browbones, as well as on the cupid's bow. For the lips, I don't own erase paste but used Barry M lip paint in 101 with clear gloss on top.

Would I wear this out? Well, to each their own thing, people wouldn't look at me weirdly I believe, but I did not leave the house like this because I don't think it's the most flattering look in bright daylight.
However, remember this is a trend: you don't have to follow it 100%, it's just a source of inspiration!

So... What do we keep from this trend? The luminous face, for sure! And the light brows - not bleached but light.
What do we toss? the erased lips, that aren't flattering to anyone in my opinion. Nude lashes will look better with a tiny bit of brown mascara.

And here's the result (this time, I did go out like this):



I added a bit of mascara and Mac Viva Glam Cindy lipstick on the lips (it's close to my actual lip color) and... on the apples of the cheek as a very subtle blush!

So as you see, it doesn't take much to twist the trend and make it wearable for everyday!
What do you think?

March 21, 2010

EOTD with NARS


Dear Nars,

I need to apologize for having talked crap about your eyeshadows and their poor pigmentation. Your duos are lovely and I'll probably buy more of them.

Love,
Me.

I guess I didn't have any luck with the Nars eyeshadows I tried in the past. I got Ashes to Ashes over a year ago and sold it because I thought it didn't show up much on me. I got the Pleasure of Paris palette last Fall and I am still usure about how to make this work for me (I actually almost sold it, then it didn't happen, which I guess is a sign I must keep it and try harder). I was about to decide that Nars was great for foundation and blushes and that I shouldn't look any further.
But I kept on reading makeup forum posts in praise of the fantastic Nars shadow, and I wanted to understand, so I decided to keep trying and I ordered a few Nars eyeshadow duos.

So far, I have tried 3 of them, and I like them all.

Here's me wearing Habanera:

Excuse the telephone pose, I was actually taking pics in a hurry before leaving the house, and the phone rang.



The picture of the product doesn't do it justice, it's a very pretty silvery cold blue and a dark purple (think Mac Signed & Sealed). It is super pigmented and the texture is very smooth, loading your brush is really easy and you don't get messy fall out everywhere.
On the other hand it's easy to over-blend, like I did with the dark purple. You might need to reapply and layer, but that's ok because the color is gorgeous in real life!

(The mascara I am wearing is one I ordered from Japan, I'll be telling you more about it in the coming days!)


I also got and tried the Kuala Lumpur duo; the picture is quite accurate on this one: it's a gorgeous golden peach and a plum infused with gold specks.
The only picture I have of me wearing it is everything but great, the natural light totally bleached me out BUT you get to see the gorgeous Nars Niagara lipstick from this Spring's collection, which is a pinky coral.



What are your favourite Nars eyeshadows? What do you think I should try next?


March 19, 2010

A trial: Co-washing



Tsst, tsst, guys - cowashing has nothing to do with washing your hair together with a friend!
It means washing your hair using conditioner.
Why on earth would we do that, you'll ask...

Yes, that's my very own hair :-)


Shampoos are loaded with a kind of product called sulfates (the most common being Sodium Lauryl Sulfate); what these do is make the shampoo look milky and foam when you use it. Now the foaming isn't what really cleans your hair: it's the rubbing movement that does remove the dirt from your scalp.
Why that foam is pleasant, the sulfates strip your natural oils, so they are very drying for your skin and scalp, and eventually for your hair. If you have dry hair already, most shampoos will make it worse because of the sulfates.

Now conditioner, on the other had, is more moisturizing. It doesn't foam because it doesn't contain any sulfates, but a lot of the other ingredients in them are similar to what you is contained in shampoos, so conditioners do have some washing properties. This is why cowashing is popoular among people with dry hair, particularly with thick curly hair or afro hair for example.

Being kind of a hair-washing addict (I wash my hair daily, will sometimes skip a day in the week-end but not often), I thought I would give this a try in order to give my hair a break from all those chemicals. I must say that my hair used to be very greasy, which is why I got into the habit of washing it daily like 16 years ago. It now leans towards normal-greasy, with the ends being dry because of me straightening like crazy.

Most people will use a cheap conditioner, because you need more product than when using a shampoo since there's no foaming. Using a cheap product keeps the costs controlled when you use up your bottle quickly. Since I had 2 conditioners at home that I had not really been using, I decided to use those.

How I did it: under the shower, I soaked my hair and massaged my scalp as if I were shampooing, to get rid of the dirt. Then I put on the conditioner, added a tiny bit of water to help it spread, and massaged the hair again as if I was using a regular shampoo. Then I rinsed.

Verdict: the first time, I found my hair a bit heavy and greasy, but I think that's because I used a thick conditioner and didn't rinse it long enough. My hair did get styled easily, though, and kept volume. But at the end of the day (I wash my hair at night, so 24 hours had passed), I really felt the need to wash my hair, as it was getting really to heavy at the roots.

So I washed again with a lighter conditioner and rinsed better. This time I felt my hair was lighter, but I also found it was kind of dull, although the conditioner I used is supposed to protect color. Now I know that what makes your hair shiny is often the silicones in shampoos, which aren't great for your hair on the long term, but I use professional silicone-free products so I 'm sure it's not what usually makes my hair shine. As the day was going on, my scalp became really itchy and felt not clean.

So that night, I gave up and used shampoo again. But I must say that after that shampooing, my hair looked better and softer than it had in a long time, and I think it's because of all the moisture it had gotten from the conditioners.

My conclusion: I don't think co-washing would work for me on a regular basis, and it wouldn't help me reduce the frequency at which I wash my hair. That's probably because my scalp gets greasy easily and this technique works better for dry hair. However, as I found it did nourish my hair quite well, I think I'm going to start co-washing once or twice a week for that purpose. I'm also thinking of co-washing my hair first and then lightly and quickly shampooing and see how that works. I'll keep you updated!

March 16, 2010

EOTD - soft brown smokey eye

I've really been into a neutral kick lately. I think I'm a neutral girl hidden in the body of someone who looks better in bright colors, what a pity.
But well, I'll do what I like nevertheless :-) So this is a very soft smokey that was totally improvised, with lots of colors superposition and blending.

My camera's battery was dead, so these are crappy iSight pics - sorry.





Breakdown:

Face:
Nars Sheer Glow in Gobi
Bobby Brown concealer in Ivory
Bobby Brown lose powder in Pale Yellow (comes in the concealer kit) on t-zone
Illamasqua Rude cream blush

Eyes:
Mac Patina on the lid
Mac Bronze on outer third and crease
Mac Romp blended with the Bronze
Mac Mylar to highlight
YSL Singulier mascara in black
Mac Fling eyebrow pencil


Lips: not shown on picture, Mac Brave New Bronze lipstick. (I was going for Blankety but this little sucker has gone missing).

I hope you like it!

March 15, 2010

Tag: 40 beauty questions

You probably already know this tag, and I thought it would be fun to do.

SKINCARE


How many times do you wash your face daily? Twice, but in the morning I use water only.
What skin type do you have? Combination
What is your current facial wash? the BodyShop Seaweed cleanser
Do you exfoliate? Yes, twice a week
What brand do you use? Estee Lauder
What moisturizer do you use? Currtently I'm using Estee Lauder daywear cream, but Spring is coming and I'll be switching to Louis Widmer Switzerland Emulsion Hydroactive, which is more of a gel texture
Do you have freckles? not even one
Do you use eye cream? yes I do, day and night
Do you or did you have acne prone skin? No, never had real acne. I do have occasional breakouts on the t-zone but it's nothing I can't keep under control
Did you ever have to use Pro-activ? No


MAKE-UP
What foundation do you use? I rotate between a lot of foundations, mostly liquids, sometimes cream. My current favourite is Nars Sheer Glow.
How about concealer?
Finding the right one was hard, now I love Bobby Brown creamy concealer
Do you know your undertone color? Neutral leaning towards warm. I have mediterranean origins, so weirdly, my skin is matte but extremely pal, with yellow undertones. Almost Asian-like, not a hint of pink in it.
What do you think of fake eyelashes? they scare me, but I really want to try them
Did you know that you are suppose to change your mascara every 3 months?Yes
What brand of mascara do you use? YSL
Sephora or MAC? Mac. The stuff I get from Sephora, I can get online. Mac, I can't.
Do you have a MAC Pro-card? No
What makeup tools do you use in make up application? Brushes
Do you use make-up base/primer for the eyes? Yes, either TFSI or UDPP. And I sometimes add a cream eyeshadow as a color base.
For the face? Mostly not but when I do it's Korres silicone free primer
What is your favorite eyeshadow (color or shade)? Bronze or blue
Do you use pencil or liquid eyeliner? Pencil or gel, actually
How often do you poke your eyes with an eyeliner pencil? Hardly ever, but weirdly I'm known to poke my eyes with the eyeliner brush when applying gel liner, and that really hurts!
What do you think of pigment eyeshadows? I like them, I have a lot, but I should press them because I don't use them much, it's too time consuming in the morning
Do you use mineral makeup? No, I tried, but my skin doesn't like it.
What is your favorite lipstick? My current favourite is Mac Charismatic, I also love YSL Rouge Volupté #1
How about lipgloss? Interestingly, it would be a L'Oreal Gloss Shine (or something like that) in a bronze color that looks a lot like Charismatic
What is your favorite blush to use? Illamasqua Lover
Do you buy your makeup on ebay? no, unless it's a cheap palette from China, for the rest there are too many fakes on there
Do you like drugstore makeup? Yes
Do you go to CCO's? (cosmetic company outlets) No we don't have them here, unfortunately
Did you ever consider taking make-up classes? I think I will, at some point, even if I don't think I'll ever work as a makeup artist
Are you clumsy in putting on makeup? No, not really.
Name a makeup crime that you hate? Dark liner and nude lips, and tons of orange bronzer. Oh, badly applied bright blush on nude pale skin, too (yes I'm thinking of someone in particular)
Do you like colorful shades of makeup (lipstick,eyeshadow) or neutral ones? I like both
Which celebrity always has great make up? I like Blake Lively a lot because we have similar eyeshapes, so she's an inspiration. Oh and Lady GaGa of course!
If you could leave the house using just ONE make up item,what would you use? concealer. I'd use BB cream too but that doesn't count as makeup, does it?
Could you ever leave the house without any makeup on? Oh I do sometimes, when it's the week-end and I'm lazy. Actually, makeup has been such a confidence booster for me that I feel confident even without wearing it now.
Do you think you look good even without any makeup on? I certainly don't look bad, but I prefer the way I look with some makeup on, even minimal - even skintone and filled brows make a huge difference already.
In your opinion, what is the BEST makeup line? No idea, I like different brands for different products. If I had to stick to one it would probably be Mac because I like a lot of their product but I would then be without my HG foundation, concealer and mascara, which would be annoying.
What do you think of Makeup? I love it of course. Makeup is available to everybody no matter the gender, the age, the color, the bodyshape... unlike clothes for example. And it's also a great way to express creativity. I can't imagine my life without it now.

Feel free to do this tag and post a link in the comment, I'd like to read your answers!

March 14, 2010

EOTD: you're not gonna reach my Telephone.






Last Friday, Lady GaGa released her newest video, Telephone, featuring Beyonce. Since then, tutorials are blooming all over YouTube.
And well, even if you don't like GaGa, you have to admit she has a way with creative makeup. A way that I actually like whole lot. So I made an attempt to creating an inspired look that still would be wearable. (I went grocery shopping wearing it) But I'm pretty sure it would have been even better with darker brows and dark lips. Oh well, next time...

The inspiration look:


The result - I picked blue as a main color because I thought it would be interesting and less harsh than black.









And if you haven't seen the video yet, go check it out, it's a masterpiece of pop culture.

March 10, 2010

Review: Hourglass Superficial Mascara


Last time I ordered from Zuneta, they put a mascara sample in my parcel. That was the Superficial Mascara by Hourglass.

For those of you who don't know (and I was one of those, too), Hourglass is a high end american brand created in 2004 by Carisa James, who used to work for Urban Decay and other famous brands. She wanted Hourglass to be "an uber-luxurious line from ingredients to performance to packaging". And stars such as Angelina Jolie are reported to use their products.

Well, that was convincing enough for me to try my freebie without furder ado.
Here's what we can expect from the product, according to Hourglass website:

Lash-defining and color-rich, Superficial Lash is a hydrating formula that coats lashes in weightless volume and sheen. Eyes are instantly highlighted as lashes visibly increase in volume, length, and height.
  • Enriched with Vitamin E to help seal in moisture and keep lashes soft and prevent breakage
  • Brush applicator enables clump-free and precision application

The product is available in Carbon (black) or Sepia (brown), and I got the black one.

So, what do I have to say about that?
  • lash-defining: true
  • color-rich: true
  • hydrating, keeps the lashes soft and weightless: true
  • clump -free application: totally true
  • increases volume, length and height ... ah, I wish, but volume is missing a bit for me, especially compared to my beloved YSL Faux-Cils.
Other than that, great product, dark classy packaging, no smell at all. It does a great job and make lashes stand out, but since it separates them so well, you really have to wiggle the brush at the roots to get some intensity there, and it doesn't give crazy volume.

Will I purchase? Well Zuneta sells this mascara for 19£ + shipping, which puts it at the same level of YSL that I can buy at the corner of the street. So, probably not. But if you can get your hands on this at your local Sephora (US only), I'd say it's a good one to try. I'll be using up my sample, that's for sure.

March 8, 2010

Foundation review #15: Bourjois Healthy Mix


I don't remember having reviewed a drugstore foundation already. Ah, who am I fooling, this isn't the reason why I got this one... Actually this foundation has been all over the web for the last few weeks, everybody has raved about it, and after having resisted for a while, I ended up getting it because it was 30% off at my local drugstore. Who can resist a 10€ foundation?

Anyway, enough rambling, onto the review. This foundation claims to boost your complexion with a healthy cocktail of fruit: apricots, melon, apples and ginger. It is supposed to give you a radiant complexion and last 16 hours on the skin - and you know how I like long lasting foundations. The shade selection is supposed to suit everyone, no matter if you're cool or warm. But for some reason, Bourjois isn't distributing the lightest one (#51) in all countries - so I had to take #52, which is a tad bit too dark for me.

The packaging is very well conceived: plastic, hence light and not easily breakable, and it comes with a pump (Nars and Bobby Brown, do you hear this??)
The product smells divinely, kind of a strawberry smell - no, there isn't strawberry in it, but you didn't really think the smell really came from the fruity ingredients, did you?
So far, so good.

The product is easy to apply and dries with a luminous finish. The coverage is very light, and I didn't find it really buildable to medium. Don't expect it to hide your little flaws, a concealer is a must. I then used a little dust of powder on my t-zone so it wouldn't be too dewy there.
I must say I was impatient to see if it would really last all day (maybe not 16 hours, but 8-10 would have been good already).

Unfortunately, we'll never know. My skin quickly started to feel tight and then to burn. That happens, sometimes, because I have an allergy to I don't know what ingredient that comes in skincare products (which is why I never try a new one on a working day, in case I'd have to remove it all).
When my eyes started to sting, I gave up and went to wash my face - after having worn the foundation for 3 hours. I must also say it didn't look that good already: my skin had become very oily around my nose, and my whole face was very shiny.

Conclusion: a big fail for me, and considering the allergic reaction, I won't give the product another chance/trial.
I would say it is a nice everyday foundation if you are looking for a drugstore product and don't need a lot of coverage.


March 4, 2010

Bleached. Nude. Monochromatic.


I've had it up to here with Winter, so I am obsessing about the Spring-Summer trends as if it were going to make the sun come back faster. Can't really wear those looks right now, as it's still freezing and I'm as pale as a ghost in my dark Winter clothes.

But I know the coming trends nevertheless. And they can be summarized in three words. Bleached. Nude. Monochrome.

Close to this, I would say. (This is Chanel, by the way).


Bleached. Don't look for the logics in this: we had huge dark brows all Winter, so now we're going to make them completely disappear. For those of us who aren't runway models, that means keeping them as pale and discrete as possible. I didn't think I'd ever be lucky to have thin sparse brows - to think I had realy gotten into darkening them a lot!

Nude. Pale eyes, pale lips, pale face, pale everything. Nude makeup is more present than ever. But it has a particular characteristic: it needs to be monochromatic (is that even an English word?). Pick one light neutral brown eyeshadow (think Mac Wedge) and use it around the eye in a halo. Add brown mascara and you're done. Use a matching blush and lipstick.

Want some color?
Don't worry, there are other alternatives for you! Twist the one-color look with corals, which are everywhere this Spring and much more flattering on a Summer complexion.
Lagoon blue is also one of this season's favourite color and can make a great bright one-color eye look. Like this:



So, which one of those looks are you going to adopt, if any? I am probably going to give all of them a try at some point!

March 1, 2010

BB Creams: what are they, and a review of Erborian BB Cream


A friend of mine recently introduced me to Erborian BB cream, talking about it as the best invention since sliced bread. She explained that it is a product that is kind of an all-in-one moisturizer, primer, SPF and sheer foundation. That it also improves the skin condition. And that it has a light ashy color that is just perfect for us pale neutral/warm girls.

I was intrigued. Talk about a paradox: I, the girl who owns 1.247 foundations, needed to try the product that would make them all useless! So I ran and bought it - 33€ you guys!



Then, once what I had coveted was in my possession, I started researching the product and brand (which I strongly advise against doing, that leads inevitably to huge amounts of unused stuff).

BB Cream stand for Blemish Balm Cream, and they are not new at all. The first one was apparently created by a German plastic surgeon who wanted a product that would protect, heal and soothe the skin after cosmetics procedures. That's why he put SPF in it, because those skins are fragile and can't be exposed to UV's at all.
Then the Asian cosmetics industry got their hands on the product and made it a big thing: there are dozens of BB Creams available on that market and it looks like every woman is using one. Some don't have SPF anymore, some have whitening ingredients, which lots of Asian consumers appreciate. Some have a darker tint to it but mostly the products don't come in different tones and have an ashy color.

Now the Asian BB creams are available on the web through different e-tailers and range between 19 and 29$. Hum, how come I paid almost the double?

Well, although Erborian claims to be a Korean skincare brand, it was actually created by 2 ladies: one Korean and one French. The products are currently marketed in Europe and are pretty easy to find in France and Belgium at least, or can be ordered from their website.

The products claims to be "a totally new generation of skincare formula to create “perfect skin”, naturally. Transparent foundation + skincare + “peachskin” effect, GINSENG BB CRÈME 3-in-1 unifies your skin tone, energizes and brings moisture, for a perfect “baby skin” all day long." (information coming from the Erborian website) What wasn't very clear for me was the 'transparent foundation' description: is it or is it not a foundation? Apparently, it can be used as such but if you want to add a foundation on top, it makes an excellent primer.
Now, about my experience with the product. It has a little bit of a spicy scent, but this fades away very quickly. The first time I used it, I didn't put a moisturizer underneath, since the product is supposed to be one, and I applied a very thin layer. I found it was drying very quickly during the application, which made it hard to blend, and that my skin felt quite tight through the day. I must say I had put some Mac MSFN powder on top.
My friend advised I used it differently: moisturizer underneath, more product, and no powder on top. She was right: it works much better.
The positive points: this is like Photoshop "blur" tool in a bottle, your pores are less visible, your skintone looks more even. Your skin feels very smooth. It has a pretty slightly dewy finish and doesn't turn into a greasy mess during the day. And it has an SPF of 25.
The negative points: although BB creams claim to be so good that you won't need any concealer, I don't think that's the truth. I had a couple of small blemishes that were still visible and my undereye circles, which are fare from the worst you can encounter, were still there as well. The skintone is a bit more even but don't expect this to cover hyperpigmentation or rosacea or just plain redness. I found I need to use concealer on top of it to hide my little flaws. Also, this wouldn't work on anybody darker than me, this is really a product for fair skin (but there might be darker ones on the market, although I think the options are very limited).
And then there's the ingredients. Although Ginseng is supposed to be the active ingredient, it's among the last ones on the very long list, well behind quite a few different silicones (hence the smooth skin). I checked the ingredients of other BB creams on the web and this is quite common in their formulation. I find it a bit hard to understand how these products are supposed to improve the skin and not clog pores. But since I have good skin, I can't really comment on that, nor on the improvement it's supposed to bring after 2 months.
But well, I'm still glad I came across this product. On days where I am in a hurry or don't care about wearing a lot of makeup because I'm not going any further than the bakery, this is absolutely perfect. It's applied in 30 seconds, and it does look good, especially as I have good skin and don't have much to cover.
I would say it's the perfect product for those who don't want to spend a lot of time on a foundation routine, don't have a lot to conceal and can find a matching color. The price is very accessible if you buy an Asian product on the web (make sure you check out reviews first). I wouldn't use it as a primer because I feel like it would be very heavy on the skin.
Did you already try a BB cream? Which one and did you like it?