Margaret Dabbs London Footcare (Nourishing Nail & Cuticle Serum) review/ swatch

Margaret Dabbs London Footcare range is in my books, a premium brand of nail & manicure/ pedicure care range because of the inflated prices. 

This is basically a nail & cuticle serum from the range (not limited to foot but it's really for hands more than foot I think).

It is 15ml and retails for 10 pounds, which is quite pricey considering you can get a lot of reputable brand cuticle oil for like under 8USD.

It comes in a rather high end looking dark purple paper box, and the serum itself is in a tube with a pump dispenser and cap.

Ingredient list below:
Key ingredient is probably the emu oil.

Instructions for use is just to massage a small amount into nails and cuticles and area around the nails. (It's not really intended to be a hand cream replacement)

Very small dispenser opening which I like, it's hygenic and gives an accurate amount depending on how hard you pump it.

I was a bit surprised to see the texture- when you name your product a serum, it usually indicates it's a clear liquid or gel consistency, but this is really just like any other hand cream sort of light creamy texture. It has a very faint, generic essential oil scent (maybe due to the tea tree oil inside).

However after massaging in it absorbs rather quickly and doesn't leave a high shine. Leaves a rather healthy appearance to my nails.

For the price tag I expected a very rapid result (like perfect cuticles after two or three days consistent use), however I think it performs just about the same as e.g. OPI or CND cuticle oils. While it doesn't leave my hands as oily as cuticle oils, which is a plus, but I'm sure there are other cuticle creams out there which is similar.

Again, a reminder that you should forget about applying cuticle cream or oil on nails before painting your nails, as the oil often will affect the quality of subsequent nail application.

Rating is 3/5, it's nice enough, but there are many other comparable products with about half the price.


Laura Mercier Lip Kisses Pink Seashell Swatch/ review

Laura Mercier Lip Kisses are a cross between a lipstick/ gloss and lipbalm. 
It comes in a long slender silvery tube, it's quite small, smaller than most standard MAC lipsticks for sure.

They contain SPF15 as well.

In the tube Pink seashell looks like a medium rose pink.

However once applied it's a lot sheerer than it looks in the tube. On the lips I find it slightly drying and uneven, not to mention there's a very strong lipstick/ sunscreen smell and taste.

This is probably one of the few lipsticks I really couldn't finish because of the smell and scent (well overall performance was mediocre as well). The glossiness it leaves on the lips disappear quite quickly but it simply isn't moisturising enough.

score of 2/5. Would recommend skipping the lip kisses altogether.


Kanebo Coffret D'or Beauty Sharp Designer Face Color 02 Pure Pink (blush) review/ swatch

As usual I'm seriously lagging behind on using any new purchases lol. I was looking to bring some items to my holiday (which is a good time to experiment with new things while I have time on some nights to do a more full makeup). 

I was looking for maybe 2 blushes to bring with me on holiday that's versatile. Looking at this palette I thought, of course, it has blush, highlighter, contour plus a dual end brush, what could be more convenient!

You can get a palette to fit these blushes in that will have a mirror, but I consider it rather unnecessary as the item on its own comes in a plastic pull-out container which works just fine.

You pull it out like photo below:

Instructions, suggested use etc:

Now for the actual item, 02 Pure Pink contains a patterned blush (I think the color variations goes all the way down to the base of the blush powder), and on the bottom 3 shades for highlight and contour.

Overall the whole thing is surprisingly very unpigmented- I swatched it below in the same order as how it is arranged in the palette. Pink on top, and 3 different shades on bottom row from left to right.

As you can see the pink is a pale pastel and rather sheer. However it's probably the most pigmented color in the palette and can be built up to a more pastel pink blush. The bottom shades of highlighter to contour have quite little pigmentation.

All shades have slight shimmer but not really pore emphasizing so I consider it very subtle.

Overall I know a lot of reviews complained about the sheerness, but I find it still shows up on my skin and looks even nicer when layered with other things. e.g. the highlighter shade goes well as a really subtle highlight under eye and on brow bone etc, while the pink adds a nice luminosity to other more pigmented blushes. The contour is fool proof (though even slightly too subtle for me- it will never look like a bronzer) and very easy to use for beginners.

Rating 3.5/5


L'Occitane Gel Douche Shower Gel Sweet Cherry (Cerise Gourmande) review

I took a few smaller L'occitane travel sized items with my on holidays lately, here's a belated post with review of the Sweet Cherry Shower gel.

While it has 'sweet cherry' as the scent name, it is entirely different to the Cherry Blossom line and the scents are different too.

I got a 75ml travel sized shower gel from last Christmas so the packaging is a bit different to full szied ones. 


It says the shower gel is enriched with Luberon, cheery extract etc.

One thing I really don't like about L'occitane travel products is the bottle design. It has an extremely small bottle opening in a flip top design, which is really hard to snap open with either wet or dry hands in the shower and I've broke some nails whilst attempting to open it.

The shower gel is clearish yellow. It produces a soft foam after adding water and lathered up, but it's not like bubble bath sort of quality and the foams are mostly sparse.

In terms of its ability as a shower gel, it performs fine. Removes traces of my sunscreen on the body fine (but not super tough ones like Kanebo Allie waterproof sunscreens or the Shiseido Annesa waterproof ones (though these are truly crazily difficult to remove).

It doesn't really leave my skin moisturised, felt like as if I used a normal soap - skin feels softer but definitely still need a moisturiser to follow, if you have dry skin on the body.

The scent is a sweet fruity scent, I can't quite pinpoint a 'cherry' scent inside, it's quite a mild scent (as a shower gel anyway) and the scent doesn't really linger on after you rinsed off. Again, cherry blossom scent is different and a bit more feminine and lightly floral, personally I like the cherry blossom scents a lot more.

Rating is 3/5. Nice to try, not nice enough to repurchase.


Opal One Minute Treatment (hair masque/ conditioner) pink tube review/ hair swatch

This was a massive hit on a lot of Asian blogs maybe in last 18 months or so. Out of curiosity I also ordered a tube, it retails for like 5-8 USD sort of price for a large 225ml tube. Most of the reviews were saying how amazing this was- comparable to the super expensive Kerastase masques etc, which made me really wanted to try this masque.

Ingredient list as follows- you can see it looks really basic and pretty cheap.  It says apply some to damp hair after shampooing and massage in, leave for 1 minute then rinse off.

It looks like this- like any other hair conditioner, a bit thinner and less emollient than Kerastase hair masques. It has a generic floral scent, like a typical drugstore conditioner scent and texture.

Here are a few before and afters. I used Kiehls Amino Acid shampoo before using this, as I find it's very mild and basic shampoo. I shampooed and left this on for 3 minutes. (personally I don't think there's a dramatic difference between leaving it on for 3 minutes vs like 20 minutes. 1 minute for me is a bit short and less smoothing).

My hair was really "dry" to the touch and tangly before, as the night before I purposely only used Kiehls amino acid shampoo as I was trying to do a deep cleansing. 

Honestly I do not think it makes a visible 'difference' in hair appearance, other than slightly more shine. The general manageability of hair is better, because hair feels softer to touch and more 'smoothed' down, but doesn't translate to photos or in real life, it's more a texture thing when you touch your hair.

Another before and after focusing on end of hair, which is where i get a bit more messy looking bits.
I don't think it leaves much residue but I haven't been religiously using this as I have many other masques to go through, and I also use a scalp cleansing treatment like Loccitane's one on a weekly basis. Immediately after rinsing off the Opal one minute treatment it certainly doesn't feel like it weighs down my hair.

Overall, yes I agree it is better than most generic hair conditioners in the price range (under 8USD), however I think the effect is temporary and doesn't really affect condition of hair in the long run. (I mean of course I'm comparing it to using a drugstore conditioner on a daily basis vs using this).

However I do not think it replaces Kerastase hair masques which have a lot more treatment properties and seems to improve condition of my hair over time. (although Kerastase would cost 3 times as much as this).

p.s. the current hair color is from a hairdresser, faded after about 4-6 weeks. I should do another bubble foam dye shortly and post some reviews.

Overall I don't think I would repurchase this- yes it's nice, but I had such a pain with the tube as my flip top cap opening cracked after I dropped it in the shower just once. Then it wouldn't stop oozing out and mess up my whole shower stand.

Rating 4.5/5 for a drugstore priced conditioner, but disregarding the price I think it's a 3.5 to a 4.


OPI Isn't That Precious? NL H36 Pink Collection 2010 review/ swatch

OPI Isn't That Precious? is from 2010 Pink Collection, released along with other pastel/ nude/ french sort of shades.

In the bottle it looks like a standard OPI sheer pink shade- I can't think of any real special words to describe it- it's sort of a very generic looking shade in the bottle- soft pink, nude pink creme etc. There's no shimmer / iridescence or glimmer to it.

Below are swatches with 2 coats, with seche vite top coat. I was still rather pale when I took these photos (just spent 3 full weeks under the sun so you can see I'm a lot more tanned in the Orbis nail swatch photos in the last post!) 

Unfortunately this is those OPI shades that needs a bit more love and care on application to ensure smooth finish. You can see the visible streaky or uneveness on some tips. I think to get a really nice finish, you need about 3 coats.

Overall on the tips it makes a lovely nude pink shade, it looks really 'clean' against my pale skin.  It applies paler than it looks in the bottle, since it is a jellyish creme finish. It doesn't build to full opacity but has this nice glossiness to it which makes it not as flat looking as many other french nude pink shades.

Rating is 4/5. It's a lovely basic pink shade, if you love nude pinks you'd like this too. Just requires a bit more care and careful application.


Orbis Nail Color Series #8756 (Peach Orange) polish swatch / review

Orbis has introduced new nail colors for 2012 summer.

The following are the main colors, first 4 digits are color codes, followed by Chinese name and English name and the finishes.

8750 香甜黑醋栗 Cassis Fizz(大粒珠光)[large pearl finish]
8751 熱情苺果 Passion Berry(珠光) [pearl finish]
8752 草莓幕斯 Strawberry Mousse(珠光) [pearl finish]
8753 粉紅冰山 Pink Float(珠光/半透明)[pearl/ semi transparent finish]
8754 優雅粉膚 Lady Beige(大粒珠光) [large pearl finish]
8755 蜂蜜冰茶 Honey Squash(大粒珠光)   [large pearl finish] 
8756 蜜桃馬卡龍 Peach Orange
8757 銀月之浴  Silver Shower(亮片/透明)  [glitter/ translucent finish]

I'm swatching #8756 "peach orange" first, which seems to be the only shade in the series with no finish indicator- because it's basically a creme finish. There's no pearling or glitters or shimmers or iridescence.

Orbis polishes (and most products) come in a plastic package with a single sheet of paper with descriptions etc. It's because Orbis is a bit like Fancl- a mail order originated brand in Japan so the packaging's a bit minimalistic.

Here's official website's image:


It gives lovely opacity with two coats. I'm not wearing any base coat or top coat here as I was in a hurry last night. My pinky finger is 1 thicker coat, you can see how the color's sheerer than other fingers.

#8756 is exactly as described, a peach orange, under some lights it gives more a salmon pink look, but reminds me a bit of Essie Cantaloupe. There's a certain brightness to it even though it's a pastel creme color. Maybe not as bright as Essie cantaloupe and less orange.

Ingredients etc

It's still gentle enough to be an office friendly color.

Indoor lights it looks more pastel corally pink peach. Under flash light it looks a tad paler. 

Below is as pale as it looks in certain lights.

Under fluorescent lights it can look a lot more creamiscle orange color and brighter and not as soft, I can't quite capture any photo with that so please keep in mind it can look brighter and more corally than my picture appears in certain lighting..

Overall 4/5, I quite like this pastel look and it applied smoothly without base coat. Two coats gives even coverage. Without top coat it still has a reasonable gloss and shine to it, and dried to touch in about 10 minutes realistically (and fully dried through in about 30 minutes).

Orbis polishes do have a standard nail polish smell. They retail for 79HKD in Hong Kong for 7ml.