What I'm into right now

Last week was a hectic one, I'm sorry I couldn't post as much. It was my birthday week and I had some extra plans accompanied by some additional work and my studies. While I'm working on more comprehensive posts, I thought I'd casually share what I've been into lately. I love watching and reading monthly favorites posts and videos, but don't feel like I accumulate enough new items to do those updates myself. This could be my laid-back version of those, with some life updates.

Vitamin C serum

Not a new addition to my routine, but I've been very regular about using a Vitamin C product in my skincare. For more info why you should be using one too, please read my Vitamin C in Skincare 101 post here. This NIOD ELAN is a strong 30% L-Ascorbic Acid*, which I've been using about 3 months. I've used 1/2 this bottle so I presume it'll last me another good 2-3 months. My pigmentation has nicely lightened and my complexion looks even and bright. Proper review will come soon!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder + Chikuhodo Sakura

When I first started using this powder I found it difficult to detect any difference in my skin. I expected more divided reviews online, but could be the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder won over the hearts of beauty addicts like it did mine. I use shade Diffused Light as a setting/finishing powder with my Chikuhodo x Beautylish Sakura Collection 2015 Powder Brush for a subtle glow. I find my other powder products blend better when there's a light dusting of powder on the top of my foundation. The Sakura powder brush has a nice angled shape and gets easily in every part of the face.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Tinted Luxe Balms

I've been keeping the Pinch of Nude* shade on my table and applied liberally in the mornings while doing my make up or in the evening before going to sleep. I love the instant hydration and plumpness it gives to my lips with a shiny finish. Full review and swatches here.

Luxe botanics Marula Hydrating serum

During the colder windy Winter months the dryness (and ageing, sigh) accentuates my fine lines, which I'm trying to treat and plump with retinols and added hydration. I was gifted the Luxe Botanics Discovery Kit* some time ago and decided to give the Marula Serum a try. This serum-oil instantly treats and nourishes the skin, leaving it plump and supple. I have high hopes of this line and looking forward to purchase the full size.

pH Meter

Ever since I battled with acne I've been very into skin health and I'm now working on a blog post about the acid mantle. As a nerdy person I felt the need to test the pH of my cleansers. Stay tuned for more!

Ouai hair oil

This hair oil is both nourishing and gives my hair a nice glow, doubling as a heat protectant. The floral scent is quite intense (love it or hate it) and liberal use of this oil can make my hair look greasy. So far I'm enjoying Ouai products, but haven't totally made up my mind yet.

SUQQU Dual-ended eye liner

I haven't been wearing a catliner for a while, but I like to "stamp" my upper lash line with a sharp liquid liner. This thin line of brown or black makes my eyes look framed and lashes fuller without looking too harsh or intense. The SUQQU liner wears beautifully and you have the option to use either color!

Get Giddy solid hand bar

If you follow me on Instagram, you may know I'm hooked in my climbing hobby. Protective calluses haven't properly formed yet and my hands have been extra sore, rough and even bloody after bouldering sessions. I wanted a climbing salve to treat the hands while keeping them rough. I rub Giddy's har hand bar in evenings and wake up with healthier hands.

I did a little bit of damage to my wallet for my birthday and on Black Friday: some bits and bobs from Cult Beauty, Deciem and Rouge Bunny Rouge. I wasn't planing to purchase much but the latter two had massive savings on selected items. I'll be showing and reviewing those items for you as the parcels roll in. What're you into right now?

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This post contains *product(s) that were generously provided for consideration. Regardless, my opinions are my own honest and unbiased views. The links are for your convenience and do not contain ads.

My brush journey

Before telling you all about my recent trip to the brush town Kumano, Japan, I thought I'd share how I got into Japanese hand crafted brushes. My earliest make up brush memory from years ago when my Mom brought me a couple of Sephora brushes as a souvenir from her New York trip. I had never seen a kabuki before, those brushes were my treasures. I've always loved art supplies: pens, paper, stationary and brushes. As my passion for make up began in my twenties, using and loving brushes for my face was a natural continuation. 

My fude (=brush) journey became about 3 years ago when I grabbed a Eihodo brush set from Odakyu dept. store New Year's sale. It was a poke-y black goat hair powder brush and a soft but floppy squirrel hair brush. I fell in love. I started to binge read beauty blogs for more information, mainly Sonia's blog and SMUT forums.

Later in the Spring I travelled to Hiroshima where a small, hidden calligraphy brush store sold Chikuhodo G-series and a couple of other make up brush lines. I spent hours at the Kumanofude Select Shop by Hiroshima station, browsing their brushes I knew little about. One thing was for sure, there was no going back to Sephora or Sigma brushes.

At the time I was an exchange student and living in Tokyo, where I started to grow my brush collection little by little. Hakuhodo's giant Omotesando store was near an area I visited often, I ordered a couple of Koyudos from online sales and checked if there was any events nearby. Hakuhodo and Koyudo have a limited collection of their brushes sold in department stores, but Chikuhodo is mainly sold in events or pop-up stores. I remember marking one of their events in my calendar weeks in advance, and on the opening day I cycled to Isetan to pet the brushes before school.

I wouldn't call myself a brush collector, I shy away from very expensive rarities my student wallet can't handle. However, I am fascinated by different brands, hairs, handle woods or finishes, and sometimes I'm helpless when it comes to fluffies. I try to choose my brushes according to 'my needs' over 'my wants' and rarely purchase whole sets. I keep no untouchables, I put every fluffy in a good use - no matter how pretty or precious.

How did you first encounter Japanese brushes? I'm curious to know!