Sunday, February 14, 2016

My favourite mascara + top Daiso beauty picks

Asian girls are obsessed with lashes, we can't help it. Many of us have sparse short lashes that stick straight down and combined with small hooded lids, applying mascara becomes a logistical challenge that requires rudimentary engineering skills and in extreme cases, mathematics. Isehan Heroine Make Kiss Me Volume & Curl Mascara is my favourite mascara of the moment. Made in Japan, it finds and coats my wee Asian lashes without disturbing the curl, and wears steadfastly all day and night. While difficult to find, if you see it, give it a try. I bought mine at the Aberdeen Centre in Richmond, BC at a small specialty beauty store called MG Cosmetics for about $20, so it costs a bit more than most drugstore mascaras but still much less than luxury brands.

And then it was on to the Daiso. If you're still unfamiliar with this Japanese 100¥ store (the equivalent of our dollar stores), you're missing out. The quality and variety of exceptional products for a buck or two is astounding. I visit the massive 2-floor location at the Aberdeen Centre, but they have stores worldwide with the same products at all locations.

This cute bottle of Makeup Brush Cleaner is a stellar deal, I buy it in multiples so I can share. Utterly effective at removing product and debris from brushes and makeup tools, I use it by pouring a few tablespoons' worth into a tiny dish, quickly dip each water-dampened brush directly into the solution, lather with a textured silicone cleansing pad and then thoroughly rinse and hang upside-down to dry. The formula is great at dissolving even tough products like long-wearing foundation, concealer and indelible lipstick and rinses away much quicker than shampoos and liquid body soaps. I find that my brushes are noticeably free of residue which allows them to perform to their maximum potential, while maintaining the best aseptic environment for my cosmeceutical pursuits.

I've mentioned these face mask paper sheets previously, made of the same water-resistant material that you find in the pre-moistened single sheet masks packages everyone is crazy about. The bonus with these is that you create your own DIY beauty treatment but with fresh ingredients and zero preservatives or chemical additives. You will find endless recipes online for homemade face masks geared to address your particular skin concerns, so just mix one up, apply to your face and then top it off with a moistened sheet mask and relax for about half an hour. You will be amazed at how deeply hydrated your skin will be, since the moisture will have longer to sink in instead of evaporating and possibly taking some of your skin's own moisture along with it (think how licking chapped lips makes them worse). One package of a dozen costs less than a single sheet mask, and nothing beats complete control of what goes onto your face.

This tiny unassuming sifter jar contains the best highlight powder around, for only TWO BUCKS! The tiniest dot of product swirled into the lid is enough for my whole face, so I think there's a lifetime supply in the container. I picked the Pearl White shade and although it's called a 'Nose Highlight Powder', it's perfect on cheekbones, cupid's bows and on eyes. It's sparkly but without big flakes of glitter so it works both as a sheer highlighter when well-diffused with a fluffy brush and gives an intense mirror-like sheen if applied directly with your fingertip. I'll pick up the Pearl Pink shade the next time I'm there, hopefully there will be some in-store.

Daiso carries a healthy selection of false lashes to suit every taste and many eye shapes, from very natural to extra-dramatic, with varying bands and lash lengths so at two dollars per package, it's no big risk to pick a few to try out. I grabbed these subtle everyday lashes to add to my stash, but was much more excited to find this black eyelash glue, also for only $2 CAD.

On my way out, I spotted this face mask that I couldn't resist by the Korean beauty brand Banila Co. Even though I have the DIY sheets above, I still enjoy trying out pre-moistened sheet masks like this one, particularly in the evening when I'm not in a hurry. I liked the sound of Tea Party Moisturizing Earl Grey, and this company is knows for its excellent skincare so I'm looking forward to giving this a try.

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