iAm: Louisa Koh

SHILLS Aqua Skin Moisturizing Spray

A 30-something from sunny Singapore who's tried her hand at lots of things, such as selling skin care & make-up, working in a (boring) corporate setting, trying to carve a singing career, giving private tuition, being a fitness instructor, writing/editing etc...

Besides exasperating her parents to no end, she loves experimenting with new make-up looks, uncovering the best make-up & skin care products, modelling for herself before the camera, singing at the top of her lungs (with preferably no one to hear it), and writing whatever, whenever (as you can already tell).


louisa [at] louisakoh [dot] com

Irresistible Great Singapore Sale beauty buys

OMG ladies, the GSS season is coming really soon! What does this mean for those of us who are crazy about beauty, fashion and how people try to improve their looks for this, using plastic surgery, if you’re interested you can navigate here for this.

Okay, first things first… Warning: This is a *photo-heavy* (please click on individual photos to enlarge) beauty post: I’ve always believed that the quickest and cheapest way to make an impression is by wearing LIPSTICK. No ladies, you did not read me wrong here… I mean, wearing lipstick is so therapeutic (for us) and awe-inspiring (for others):

See what I mean? Even if you’re on a budget this GSS, you can still score something that packs a terrific punch like, YES, a LIPSTICK. Or at least, that’s what I have been doing myself, LOL! So yes, as you can tell from my previous post, I have been on a witch-hunt for lipsticks on Carousell, online, etc.

Guess what I got my hands on at ZALORA Singapore this time round? As you might already be able to tell, I’ve been going a bit gaga over the matte lipstick trend. I treated myself to two new matte lippies from the Sephora beauty section at ZALORA: Sephora Color Lip Last in 04 Brown Is Back (which is described as “pinky light brown” in colour on the website), and NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in SMLC08 San Paulo (which was described as “plummy pink” but unfortunately sold out within the first few days).

Review: Sephora Color Lip Last 04 Brown Is Back

I’d touch on my thoughts for Sephora Color Lip Last No. 04 Brown is Back first, since there are still 3 pieces left on ZALORA Singapore (yup, so hurry ladies before they run out!).

Sephora Color Lip Last in No. 04 Brown is Back, a pinky light brown

The packaging states it’s a 10-hour-wear matte lipstick that’s highly pigmented and waterproof. While I didn’t exactly time how long the colour lasted on me, what I found was that applying a lip primer prior to application helped set the lip colour and made it last longer through meals.

The only gripe I had about this colour was the condition of the product I received:

Slight scratches at the side of the lipstick when I first opened it

Other than that, which thankfully didn’t affect the product or its application in any way, the lipstick was lovely and had a distinct bubblegum scent which I found to be very delightful πŸ˜€

A bird’s-eye view of Sephora Color Lip Last 04 Brown is Back

Design-wise, a lipstick tube that’s slimmer than the average lipstick works wonders in preventing messy applications, as the slim shape helps in manoeuvring around the contours of the lips better.

Close-up of Sephora Brown is Back on lips

Colour-wise, Brown Is Back is a predominantly brown lip colour with hints of pink at certain angles, lighting and depending on how many coats you apply. As you apply more coats, the colour tends to be more brown than pink.

Sephora Brown Is Back at a certain lighting/angle

I found that it was relatively comfortable to wear and not as drying as some other matte lipsticks out there (but I will not name names). This is quite a huge deal for me because my lips are tending towards very parched and dry nowadays due to the skin meds I am on. So while I love the look and the long-lasting wear of matte lipsticks, I don’t want them to exacerbate my already-dry lips.

Sephora Brown Is Back in a different lighting

At S$21 a pop, the Sephora Color Lip Last matte lipstick which comes in a variety of other colours at ZALORA Singapore, is really reasonably affordable, I find.

I’ve also found that possibly due to my dry lips, the wear of matte lipsticks has been considerably reduced, unless I put on a lip primer nowadays. Hence the long-wear tests I have put these lippies through have been done with primer, which is something readers should note.

Review: NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in San Paulo

On to the next lippie: NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in SMLC08 San Paulo, a plummy pink. I think it’s great that Sephora and ZALORA x Sephora are now stocking NYX, although they did not carry the entire range of colours, which I found to be a pity because so many of these NYX matte lip cream shades are to die for.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in SMLC08 San Paulo

While searching for swatches online, there seemed to be a slight confusion in the spelling of the shade name: Some websites spelt it as “San Paulo”, some as “Sao Paulo”, but both refer to the same code number SMLC08. Also note the volume of product: 8 ml – which is a lot of product compared to Lime Crime Velvetine’s 2.6 ml!

NYX San Paulo corresponds to a code number of SMLC08

The applicator of this product is a sponge wand, not unlike Lime Crime’s Velvetine, which works well for a more precise application than that of the standard lipstick tube.

Sponge wand applicator of the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream

NYX San Paulo is a very lovely warm medium to deep pink, which earned me compliments on Instagram! Although its description is “plummy pink” which suggests cool tones, I found it to be more warm-toned than cool. It was the rosy berry pink that I had been looking high and low for, ever since I saw Rui En wearing a similar colour on the drama series Life is Beautiful that ended its run fairly recently. It’s the kind of pink that adds a lovely pop of colour to the face without drawing too much attention to it, like red lipstick would. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Close-up of 2 coats of NYX San Paulo on lips

I loved the smell of the product… It was a sweet (not overly cloying), vanilla-like scent. The lip cream went on like butter, and felt a tad powdery/waxy on application, but this settled into a comfortable, non-drying layer on the lips over my lip primer. The product was also comfortable to wear, and lasted decently throughout meal(s) with primer.

How NYX San Paulo looked on me in indoor lighting

For a lip cream with 8 ml of product in the tube and a very affordable price tag of S$12 compared to Lime Crime Velvetine’s 2.6 ml for USD20, no wonder they were all snapped up so quickly!

NYX San Paulo in softer, yellow indoor lighting

All in all, I’m really loving my lipstick choices from ZALORA Singapore x Sephora! πŸ™‚ They’re an extremely affordable way to spruce up your look in a jiffy, compared to togs or shoes in general. So if there is just ONE ITEM that you should choose for the GSS if you’re someone on a budget especially, I would say GO FOR LIPSTICK! πŸ˜›

Remember gals, don’t miss the upcoming Great Singapore Sale online because there’s really something for everyone, what with the promo codes and discounts that ZALORA Singapore always puts out from time to time!

Happy shopping, galfriends! And always wear lipstick to be fabulous!

Review: Lime Crime Velvetines

Ladies in Singapore, are you onto the matte lipstick trend yet? If you are, you probably would have heard about Lime Crime’s Velvetine wet-to-matte liquid lipsticks from USA that stay touch-proof and transfer-proof. If you’ve not jumped on the matte liquid lipstick bandwagon yet, what better way to start than with Lime Crime Velvetines?

Like a Kiss From a Rose

“Yes, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey…” This just about sums up the concept of Lime Crime Velvetines! I remember when the Velvetines were first launched in 2012: Only two shades were available for sale – Red Velvet and Suedeberry.

I was so excited to get my Red Velvet, which was likened to a red, red rose petal. (I was never drawn to Suedeberry because I look like a clown in coral lip colours, don’t even ask why.)

Lime Crime Velvetine in Red Velvet

When I finally tried the product, I was really impressed by how lovely it looked on me, and how true it was to its claim: It lasted through a meal effortlessly.

Full face look with Lime Crime Red Velvet

Velvet Addicted

Lime Crime website does warn that their Velvetines are utterly addictive and they are right. There is always crazy demand for their products, it seems.

With the success of Red Velvet and Suedeberry, Lime Crime began to roll out other colours like Pink Velvet (bright true pink), Wicked (burgundy red), Black Velvet (matte black), Salem (dark brown), Utopia (vibrant orchid), Pansy (purple), and more recently, Cashmere (greige), Riot (muted red) and Rave (electric lavender).

Full face makeup with Lime Crime Pink Velvet

It was only two years later that I acquired my second Velvetine, Pink Velvet through the Carousell mobile app. By this time though, I was on medication for my skin that seriously dried out my lips. So while Pink Velvet was as long-lasting as Red Velvet was, provided I applied two coats prior to eating, it looked kind of a hot mess on me afterwards.

Here’s a closeup of Pink Velvet:

Lime Crime Pink Velvet up close

I was kind of hoping it would be a warmer shade of pink, but after comparing other pink lipstick shades, I concluded Pink Velvet is neither warm, nor cool, and what we call a “true pink” colour. But hell, it sure is bright! πŸ˜›

Matte Love

Here’s what my collection of Lime Crime Velvetine is almost like:

L-R: Lime Crime Wicked, Riot, Pink Velvet and Red Velvet

Next up, I got myself Riot, and paid SGD38 for it on Carousell. Riot and Cashmere are two very hot new shades that everyone seems to want to get their hands and lips on. I wasn’t sure if Cashmere was going to make me look washed out, so I opted for the safer choice of Riot first:

Lime Crime Riot Velvetine close-up

What do you think? I really love the colour: Muted, earthy, marsala red that doesn’t overpower the face or draw attention to the lips, but yet adds a touch of colour to the face. The colour tends to look darker with extra application or coat of Riot, which makes it more versatile.

Here’s a full makeup look with Riot Velvetine:

Full makeup look with Lime Crime Riot Velvetine

The only downside I experienced with Riot was that it tended not to last through a meal as well as its predecessors, Red Velvet and Pink Velvet did. Colour would fade from the middle of the lips first, and while pursing and smacking my lips together after a meal would spread the remaining colour all over my lips, I was a tad disappointed.

This brings me to the final shade: Lime Crime Wicked Velvetine.

Lime Crime Wicked Velvetine

This one was an utter disappointment. Firstly, I had seen swatches and photos of Wicked, and the colour seemed to look different on different people. On some, it looked redder and less burgundy (hence not as dark), while others, like me, it turned out dark burgundy. I was hoping it was going to be a dark sexy red on me but alas πŸ™

That was not all. I put it to the food test and it lost colour from the middle even more than Riot did. Smacking my lips together only made it patchier, and being the dark colour it is, it looked horrendous, trust me.

Needless to say, I sold it off promptly after one swatch and am now waiting for my Cashmere to come in. I am keeping my fingers crossed it doesn’t disappoint!

UPDATE: I got my hands on Lime Crime Cashmere finally! To be honest, when I first saw the product, I was quite apprehensive because there was product separation in the tube, kinda like this:

Image courtesy of @makeupaddict31 on Instagram

The product separation for my tube occurred near the top though, and I asked the Carouseller about it but she said that she had similar feedback from other customers too. She had read online that Lime Crime Velvetine’s formulation had changed more recently, and the separation could also be due to the small volume of product: 2.6 ml, hence causing the tube to look less than full.

Anyhow, I left it as that as I know that the fault is due to Lime Crime and not the Carouseller. Here’s a close-up of my lips wearing Lime Crime Cashmere:

Close-up of 2 coats of Lime Crime Cashmere on my lips

When my Mom first saw me wearing Cashmere, she was all like, “Why are your lips so black?” I don’t think she meant black-black, but just like devoid of colour or blood LOL πŸ˜›

I’m quite into the “death-becomes-her” kind of lip colour, as evidenced by my gravitating towards colours like Lime Crime Chinchilla seen here in a throwback photo:

Lime Crime Chinchilla lipstick, a grey-lilac creme lip colour

I’ve found Lime Crime Cashmere to wear better through a meal than Lime Crime Riot, and this was sans lip primer. With a lip primer, the wear was further improved, so I’ve no complaints! I normally wear two coats, with the second coat focusing more on the middle of my lips.

Lime Crime Cashmere Velvetine in a full make-up look. Eyeshadows and blusher used were from Too Faced Everything Nice and Chocolate Bar palettes

Lime Crime Velvetines can be quite drying on the lips after a while, so it is important to use lip balm and/or Vitamin E under it (I use both). Although it goes on smooth and easy, but unlike some other brands, there is no clumping, although I did experience flaking with Lime Crime Wicked.

Controversial, much?

There seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding the company Lime Crime: The way the owner Doe Deere does her marketing, how she treats distributors, how she isn’t truthful in the way she represents her products etc, etc.

I do not want to perpetuate any rumours so what I would say is that I am mostly apathetic to it. I have never really gone into researching the details of all the controversy surrounding her company and brand, and I am more interested in the product and quality over anything.

I suppose, if the quality of Cashmere turns out to have suffered like Riot, maybe it’s high time I look elsewhere for a product that actually lasts like it says it would. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the Velvetines in my collection for what they’re worth!

Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated to Lime Crime in any way so this is a completely unbiased review, based on my experience with their products.

Chinese New Fleur Couture

It’s appalling how time flies by, isn’t it, without any mercy or regard for those of us who actually dread ageing?! πŸ˜› Chinese New Year came and went, and I realised I didn’t exactly follow my own advice in my previous blog post, which talked about pairing a ZALORA BASICS burgundy handkerchief hem top with black leggings.

But my fashion choices were close enough. In fact, I did wear that ensemble from my previous post for the Lunar New Year reunion dinner. It’s just that, we Chinese tend to believe that we should wear new clothes for the first day of the Lunar New Year, perhaps for auspicious reasons?

Practical & convenient solution

And so, armed with limited time (as I had a boatload of things to do to prepare for my sister, brother-in-law and nephew visiting over the holidays) and budget, I went online (AGAIN) to ZALORA to see if I could score at least a blouse or top that was stylish, affordable and NOT BLACK.

And I found this lovely floral top with butterfly sleeves (yep, my favourite) from the Future State label on ZALORA:

Future State Butterfly Sleeved Top

Last year, for CNY, it was Future State from ZALORA that saved the day too. This was the blouse I had procured from Future State for CNY in 2014:

Butterfly sleeved top with surplice neckline from Future State x ZALORA

That top remains one of my favourites to date, to pair with my black leggings that seem to mark my personal style these days. So how did I look with my CNY choice this year? (Click to enlarge photo below.)

Future State butterfly sleeved top, Mango biker leggings & Nine West heels, all from ZALORA

What I really liked about this Future State top was its fitted waist, the splash of CNY-friendly colours like hot pink, orange and neutrals (without having to go ang pao red), and the conservative neckline, which means I don’t have to wear a tube under it. Hurray! Of course, I have said before that I love, love, love butterfly sleeves! Here’s another look (click to enlarge photo):

Another look at ZALORA’s Future State top, Mango biker leggings & Nine West FARAWELL peeptoe heels

If you shop from ZALORA as much as I do, you’d really appreciate discounts or any form of ZALORA cashback. Recently, I stumbled upon one such site: ShopBack is a coupon and cashback site that collates the best promo codes to help you to save more, giving you cashback on top of that too! So gals, go forth and shop to your hearts’ content πŸ˜‰

Before I go, would just like to share a gratuitous selfie/makeup look that I did for CNY to go with my sartorial ensemble:

CNY makeup look to match my outfit

Happy shopping ladies! Will be back with more regular posts featuring nails soon so do stick around! πŸ˜€

Chinese New Year Fashion Ideas

Hallo lovelies, 2015 is here! Have you gals been busy making New Year’s Resolutions or are they too much of a bother? πŸ˜‰

Seeing as how Chinese New Year will be coming around in no time, here are some sartorial ideas from ZALORA Singapore. While ethnic cheongsams are beautiful and epitomise the spirit of CNY, I am the sort of person who prefers buying separates that I would actually wear all year round. I suspect I am not the only one out there who feels this way, so I “curated” a few pieces from ZALORA Singapore that I could combine in an ensemble suitable for Chinese New Year.

RED for a Red-letter Day

Did you ladies know that Marsala, an earthy wine red colour, is the Pantone colour for 2015?

ZALORA BASICS handkerchief hem tank top & Mango biker leggings

While the ZALORA BASICS handkerchief hem tank top featured above (click photo to enlarge) is in burgundy, at least they are both wine colours LOL! I like the flamboyant touch the hem adds to the piece, as swirling around makes the asymmetrical hem dance around your waist, kinda like a flamenco skirt. The best part is the top retails for less than SGD20, and you can get two or more such tops in different colours for 20% off the usual price too.

ZALORA BASICS handkerchief hem top, Mango biker leggings, Nine West Farawell Peep toe Heels

In this particular ensemble, I’ve paired two different black leggings with the same burgundy top. While some may argue that black is not a suitable colour to don for CNY, I believe that if your entire get-up isn’t black, with a pop of colour like red, gold, orange, etc, that’s ok πŸ™‚ The Mango biker leggings above unfortunately are no longer available on ZALORA, but were going at a steal of SGD39 (I got them for slightly over SGD30 with discount codes). I love the zip detail at the ankles; yup they’re real functional zips!

Same top paired with UNKUT PVC Quilt Detail Leggings

If you can’t already tell: I’m a leggings gal, and have been wearing my Miss Selfridge black leggings to death, so I really needed alternative choices! Like the photo above, here’s another look at a sexy pair of PVC leggings for that rock chick look, from brand UNKUT, Paris. These also feature zips at the pocket area, but they are just for decorative purposes. The knees feature a quilt detail design, hence they’re called Quilt Detail Leggings.

Another full-length look at the UNKUT PVC Quilt Detail Leggings (sorry for the blur quality)

As it happened, I wore a very similar ensemble (just a different pair of leggings from River Island which ZALORA also carries) for my singing performance sometime in November 2014 at the Residents’ Day @ Cactus Park:

And of course, how could we forget about shoes? Nothing screams stylish like a pair of high heeled shoes, and this pair of FARAWELL peep toe heels from Nine West is, can I say, TO DIE FOR? Also, the pair’s now retailing on ZALORA for less than half price, so it was definitely a great find for me πŸ˜›

Nine West Farawell Peep Toe Heels

I hope this post has inspired some fashion ideas for the upcoming Lunar New Year next month. I’ve had a number of misses and had to return some items, but so far have had minimal problems whatsoever with ZALORA’s returns process. What’s most important though is the fun in experimenting, right? Getting my ZALORA parcel always makes me feel like a kid on Boxing Day morning, hardly able to contain my excitement as I unwrap the parcel and put on what I’ve received.

Here’s wishing everyone a Happy New Year 2015! πŸ˜€

Review: Nails Inc. Bling It On London

Hallo lovelies, it’s time for a long-overdue nail feature today! πŸ˜›

Before I get into it though, here’s a little teaser to whet your appetite:

Image courtesy of http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Can you guess what I’ll be featuring today? Yup, I’ll be featuring some nail bling all right, from an English nail polish brand too!

Keep Calm and Bling It On London

Today, I’ll be featuring the brand Nails Inc. that hails from the UK. To be honest, I’ve been curious about Nails Inc. for the longest time since I heard about this brand from my sister, who lives in the UK. Another confession: This is the first time I am trying Nails Inc. too!

Like CiatΓ©, Nails Inc. entered the Singapore market around the same time last year in Sephora. And ZALORA Singapore is now carrying selected Nails Inc. sets at discounted rates πŸ˜€ Prices at Sephora range from SGD40-50 but at ZALORA Singapore, the sets retail for SGD20-36 (excluding delivery charges)! Cool, ain’t it?

Nails Inc. Bling It On London set

As you can see, the set features two mini polishes in cobalt blue and silver foil, as well as four beautiful crown bling embellishments:

What the Nails Inc. Bling It On London set contains

Here are the details of what the set contains:
Nails Inc. Baker Street cobalt blue polish (4 ml)
Nails Inc. South Kensington silver foil effect polish (4 ml)
– 4 x crystal crown embellishments
– Nail glue (3 g)
– Cuticle stick

Frankly speaking, up to date, I don’t have any experience using a nail glue to stick studs or other embellishments on my nails and that’s why I get the best products from this website that really help with this. This set called out to me on ZALORA Singapore’s Nails Inc. page mainly because of the buzz I’ve heard around their Baker Street cobalt blue polish. Yet at the same time, I was also curious about these metallic foil effect polishes that have been quite popular of late, since OPI’s release of Gwen Stefani’s Push and Shove foil effect polish. Click to enlarge the photo below for detailed instructions:

Detailed instructions on how to use Nails Inc. Bling It On London

How to use Bling It On London

I started off by applying the base coat I normally use: CND Stickey Base on the nails I planned to paint the Baker Street cobalt blue polish after. I did a bit of research on the Nails Inc. South Kensington silver foil polish and read that no base coat should be used for that:

Apply base coat before painting

I then proceeded to paint 2-3 coats of the nail polishes. Instead of following the featured picture and painting one colour for each hand, I decided to switch it up a bit by combining the silver and blue on both hands, but with one hand being a reverse mani of the other, like so:

Combining Baker Street and South Kensington on left hand

Combining the polishes in a reverse mani on the right hand

Next up, after having painted and applied top coat (I usually do two coats of top coat) on all nails, I proceeded to work on sticking the crystal crown embellishments to my accent nails: thumb nails and ring fingernails.

Holding the crystal crown with a pair of tweezers after applying nail glue

The nail glue should be applied to the nail, as well as the back of the crown stud. Then, press the crown firmly on the chosen nail for at least 60 seconds or until it sets. The last step is to apply nail glue under the embellishment using the cuticle stick, for the surfaces of the crown that do not lie flat on the nail:

Parts of the crown will not lie flat on the nail surface

Apply nail glue on the flat surface of the cuticle stick to reach under the crown embellishment:

Applying nail glue on the flat end of the cuticle stick


There we go! Here are the final results:

The final results on my right hand

The final results on my left hand

True to what the packaging says, the embellishments eventually fell off one by one over the next couple of days. I was lucky I was able to find them all, but otherwise, the method of removal would be to soak the accent nails with crowns in acetone, to dissolve the nail glue. The crowns can then be re-used again.

Before I go, here’s another look at the final Nails Inc. Bling It On London manicure:

The final Nails Inc. Bling It On London manicure on my left hand

The final Nails Inc. Bling It On London manicure on my right hand

I must say, I really liked the look of the final manicure especially due to the lovely bling crowns, although I did wish they would stay on my nails longer. I also loved the cobalt blue Baker Street, and was pleasantly surprised that I liked the silver foil South Kensington look more than I thought I would have.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this nail feature. Would you try this set or other Nails Inc. sets?