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interview master perfumer francis kurkdjian

A few weeks ago I had one of the biggest “highlights” of my blogging career; sitting down and interviewing master perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, who I am willing to bet you or a loved one has one of his perfumes and colognes. He has created many best selling classics, and out of 500 perfumers in the world who created thousands of perfumes on the market right now, he is easily in the Top 3. Such an honor. We sat down at Escentials at Paragon, my favorite place for niche perfume and skincare/makeup brands to chat about perfume (obviously!), Singapore, celebrity fragrances and blogging. Read on!

Hi Francis, Thank you very much for speaking with me! I’m a big fan!

Thank you!

I guess my first question is what started your love for perfume?

Hmm! My love for perfume? I think it’s… to me perfume as it remains even now mysterious. There is a mystery with perfume, because it’s something that gives you so much emotion. You can be so emotional about the scent. And yet you don’t really see it. It’s more emotional to me than music, than visual, art, listening to something and yet you don’t see it, you can’t touch it. It’s in the air, you can’t “trap” to, it dies very soon because you cannot keep it for a long time. So it’s… perfume is just very interesting.


I agree with that! So when you create perfume, how does it start? What inspires? A feeling…?

It’s very diverse. If I tell you the inspiration for the line, one of the best seller of the line, Aqua Universalis. Acqua was inspired by the feeling of freshness. Not the smell of fresh, but the feeling of when you get into bed, in a hotel, or at home. It’s like the first time you get into the clean sheets, the first time you put on a fresh white shirt, fresh iron, it’s all about that crispness and that feeling of being fresh.

Amyris last year was inspired by the idea of “effortless elegance”. As a woman or as a man, when you put your first wardrobe and you have to pick out something that you know are peace with; and you know it fits you very well, you know you can rely on that look; your comfortable shoes, you can be elegant, this is very “you”. What does that mean in terms of perfume? Amyris is all about that.

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beauty brands companies that do not test on animals list 2013, cruelty free beauty

Whew, we are around that time of the year again. I like to do these list mid-year just in case any of the info changes. But anyway, I’ve been doing a “beauty companies/brands that do not test on animals” list since 2010; for those of you who might be new. I am an animal lover and since I have a blog, a big part of what I want to do with it is to spread messages and hopefully use this platform for good.

Animals (such as bunnies, mice, primates, dogs and cats) should not have to suffer for the absolutely unnecessary vanity of human beings. They do NOT deserve to be locked up in cramped cages and have chemicals rubbed into their eyes or forced down their throats so we can have “safe” cosmetics. It is completely disgusting and unacceptable to me. Animals are innocent, kind, wonderful creatures that deserve to be treated with respect.

Here is the updated 2013 cruelty-free list:

beauty brands that dont test on animals list 2013

PLEASE SHARE IT! I urge you to please spread the word! Please share this on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and email (the sharing options are underneath the title of this post, and right at the end. The list above is an image, so please Pin it!). If you’ve not gone cruelty-free yet, I urge you to start today.

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Whether you’re Skyping with friends or family overseas, having “deep and meaningfuls” with LonelyBoy15, or having important business conference calls… there is no escaping the webcam! And while the quality of webcams have definitely gotten better over the years, there is no denying that they can still make us look like total crap – no thanks to their unflattering angles and really bad lightning, especially at night.

Case in point, my photo above: what I look like at 2am, not following any of the tips I’m about to write. My makeup, I thought, looked fine in person. But online? Eh. Here are some makeup tips to look somewhat presentable on screen with those unforgiving webcams:


Skip the skin illumintors and highlighters for now!

1. Go matte. Shimmery shadows, dewy foundations, highlighters – this will all amplify online and make you look tres oily. Just wear your usual foundation and concealers but don’t forget a dust of loose powder on top to keep all the oiliness at bay.

2. Skip the blush. Bronzers will warm up the skin and, like in real life, make you look a bit more warm and healthy. Peach blush works fine too, but try to skip on the pink and coral blushes that can make you appear really red and blotchy onscreen. Also, make sure to pick the right bronzer as a lot of them can make you turn orange. Some great ones I love is Benefit’s Hoola, Bobbi Browns and any bronzer from MAC.

3. Add Some Color. That being said, if you’re not a fan of bronzer, just make sure to add some color on your cheeks so you don’t look completely washed out like I do above. Also make sure to have some kind of color on your lips – even if it’s a swipe of tinted lip balm – so your lips don’t disappears and look like it melted into your face. My favorite tinted lipbalm are the cult favorites Chubby Sticks by Clinique.

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john frieda luxurious volume hair review

Hair. Oh, hair. Where do I even begin? We ladies obsess with our hair over and over, and as you can probably tell from reading my blog, there is only one thing I want for my hair: volume. Lots of it. My hair is flat, fine and there’s not a lot of it, so I crave volume like no other.

Enter John Frieda. I know what you’re thinking, We don’t have John Frieda in Singapore! Well, now you do! Yep, John Frieda, the #1 hair brand in UK, is launching in Singapore, the first in Asia! I’ve personally known this brand and have used some of his products while visiting London some years back – and the John Frieda brand really is the #1 hair brand in the UK, I saw his stuff everywhere (and with good reason).

To celebrate it’s launch here in Singapore, I was asked to try a collection of my choice. As you can imagine, I quickly chose the Luxurious Volume range, made for fine, flat hair like mine. I was most excited because there is some pretty great testimonials behind it: from tests, 86% of users agreed that the range gave them more volume than standard products, and 81% would recommend the range to others. And, I’d have to put myself in those percentages! I really love this line (especially the shampoo and conditioner, more on that later). But before I babble on, they say pictures speak a thousands words and so…

john frieda luxurious volume hair review before after

As you can see, my hair before is just straight and fine and flat and there’s not much to it. This is how I look when I don’t do anything to my hair (or face, while we’re at it!) and it’s just… blah. It’s just alright, I guess. And the “After” is my hair with the Shampoo, Conditioner and Mousse applied to it and naturally air dried. Good, eh? I like it. My hair looks like I actually have some hair (ha!), it’s smoother yet voluminious, less messy and looks softer and healthier too. I’ve been testing the range the last couple of weeks, and I think with time my hair will look even better. It definitely has a smooth, fuller look to it. For the hairspray, I’ve been using it on my updos (or messy buns as I like to call it), and so far I am also happy with it – it doesn’t weigh my hair down and gives a slightly glossy, fuller look at well.

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Hi Renee! I’m new to the makeup scene and it’s kind of embarrassing to how much I don’t know! I was wondering if you had any tips on makeup for eyes (eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara) and concealer? And possibly which products are good and how to apply them? I know it’s a lot but I’ve been looking for some advice and you seem to be a really good person to go to! Thanks for your time :) – Anonymous via Tumblr

Don’t be embarrassed! It’s my pleasure. When I started wearing makeup, half the fun would always be buying a new mascara to test out every few months! I tried everything from Maybelline (they make great ones) to Revlon (yuck!) to MAC (no good) to Bourjois (yuck!) to Lancome (amazing). For an inexpensive one, I like the ones by The Body Shop and Maybelline, and for department store ones, I like Clinique and Lancome; although I do not use Lancome or Maybelline anymore as they test on animals. So if that’s a cause you support as well then just go for the other two.


For eyeshadow, your best bet is to get an eyeshadow palette which will allow you to experiment a little more. I LOVE Revlon’s eyeshadow quads, they last super long, has a great range of color choices, and it even has instructions on what to do on the back of it! Other brands that do great eyeshadows are MAC and Bobbi Brown.

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benefit cosmetics professional review and event

As mentioned 2 weekends ago, the Benefit POREfessional event was a total blast! Benefit Cosmetics had a special event for their Facebook fans in conjunction with their POREfessional product release. There were 8 Benefit Singapore Facebook fans chosen to receive complimentary makeovers from beauty bloggers in Singapore, goodies and much more! Here is a little photo diary of the event, as well as a review on the POREfessional. Also, read on for a very special treat for Beauty Fool readers. ;)

benefit cosmetics professional review and event

The bloggers were put into 4 teams (with 2 fans each), me with the beautiful Andrea Chong (who you might recognise as the co-host of That F Word) and I was really excited as we both wanted to be paired up together! We even co-ordinated our outfits for the day (black and white), only to find out we got to wear the fun Benefit trench coats. Love! After meeting our two winners, Aminah and Cheryn, we went outside at the Benefit pop up store for a special treat.

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are bb creams bad for your skin, do they make you break out

Ah, the great BB cream debate! My last post, Are BB Creams Worth the Hype conjured up tons of opinions; and I’ve been asked time and time again about BB creams and your skin: Are BB Creams bad for your skin? Do BB Creams make you break out? Are BB creams bad for acne-prone skin?. So many of you mentioned that you heard it was “very bad” for your skin, and honestly…  I think it must be the foundation companies who started that rumour, ha!

Here’s the thing: BB creams, as much as I love them, in my opinion are just glorified foundations with a little bit of extra skin benefits. I really didn’t think they needed a new name for this product (and don’t get me started on CC creams and now DD creams!). So if you’re wondering if BB creams will be bad for your acne prone skin, the answer is yes and no. If your skin tends to break out from foundation, then yes, your skin would probably not like BB creams – but I think it’s more your skin type that is the problem (or a certain ingredient) rather than BB creams as a whole. If your skin is prone to blemishes and your pores get clogged up easily (and therefore form pimples), then any type of makeup product that is “heavy” on your pores will make you break out. If that’s the case, look for ones that are oil-free and made for acne prone skin.

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clinique dramatically different moisturizing lotion + plus review

So one of the best selling, iconic, biggest beauty product of all time – the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion by Clinique – just got a makeover. When the dreaded “reformulation” news first broke, loyal fans all around the world lost it – the response was dramatic, to say the least. (I believe my reaction was “!@#$%^&*(*^%!!!”)

Luckily, Clinique knows what they are doing – the reformulation took 3 dermatologists, 53 researchers, 100 formula trials tested on 1600 people across 5 countries (if just one person got any sort of allergic reaction, they would can it and start again). That’s dedication!

But first, why the change? Clinique explains, “The world has changed since 1968 when DDML launched. In recent years, the Orentreichs [the dermatologists that developed Clinique] have been talking about a shift in their patient’s skin profile. Patients were coming in with more and more manifestation they described as redness, itching, burning, breakouts, dryness, dullness… in other words; unhealthy skin. The dermatologists attribute these symptoms to one thing: a weakened barrier. Among the influences that can account for such a shift are environmental aggressors, climate change, traveling more, sleeping less, eating processed food and juggling the complexities of our daily lives.”

clinique dramatically different moisturizing lotion + plus review

Or as Janet Pardo, Clinique’s Senior VP of Global Product Development puts it perfectly: “The world has changed. Skincare technology has changed. And so we changed.”

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