Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Salvatore Ferragamo Gancini Icona Saffiano Continental Wallet - New Moka Brown

I first saw Salvatore Ferragamo gancini icona continental wallet on some Japanese fashion magazine about 10 years ago. I instantly fell in love with its classic design and always consider it as my dream wallet.
Two months ago Salvatore Ferragamo had a massive sale and I finally got my hand on this wallet.
After 50% off discount, it came down to AU$393 which is still exorbitant for a wallet but on a lower spectrum relative to other luxury brands.

The colour I chose is called 'New Moka' which I describe it as a neutral milk chocolate brown.
The shade is not fancy or eye catching but  it does not get dirty quickly.
However, my wallet has an obvious dent in the front and it is a big flaw! I did not pay attention to check on the leather before I had paid :'(

This wallet comes with 7 card slots. 1 window flap, 1 zip coin compartment, 1 major bill slot and 4 sneaky slots for receipts, bandage or misc. Although 19cm x 10cm is a standard size for long wallets, this Ferragamo wallet is quite a thick wallet. Mine goes up to 3cm when it is filled with cards.

Metal hardware of this wallet is gorgeous and adds a vintage touch without being dated.

These photos with carpet on the back were taken 2 months after use. Til today, none of the hardware is faded, damaged or rusted. Foil embossed logo looks perfect and wear and tear is not pronounced. Overall this wallet still looks mint. I am deeply in love with this wallet and I am using it for the next 5 years if not longer.

I took some photos when I first got it two months ago. They are way too exposed (from natural sunlight haaa) and the colour isn't true. I decided to put them up to the blog anyway so you know this wallet really does hold up well :)

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Is Eve Lom cruelty free? confused!

If you google 'Eve Lom cruelty free', you will find many believe Eve Lom products as cruelty free.
But Eve Lom products have been sold in China since 2015. Is this brand cruelty free then?

In 2015 July, Eve Lom opened beauty counters at Lane Crawford Beijing, ShangHai and Chengdu as well as has been available on Lane Crawford China official website.
Cruelty Free Kitty published a post on 7 August 2015 with responses collected from different brands, including Eve Lom. From the email (without date) cited , Eve Lom representative wrote "We do not have stockists in China so have not been requested, by law, to test on animals" . So... what about the beauty counters at Lane Crawford in China?
News of Eve Lom opening beauty counter in Lane Crawford Shanghai on Vogue China in 2015

Lane Crawford is a Hong Kong-based department store with branches in prestigious locations in HK (e.g. Causeway bay and Central). It carries an extensive range of luxury beauty brands, including Serge Lutens, Christian Louboutin, La Mer, Dolce&Gabbana and many others. Lane Crawford is next to impossible to sell fakes unless it wants a massive fine from HK customs department and its reputation swept away, along with its contracts with luxurious brands void. 

I also found Eve Lom on TMALL Taobao (Chinese equivalent of Ebay) and  a website claimed to be Eve Lom's offical chinese website. As I am unsure about the authenticity of the TMALL store, I leaved a facebook message on Eve Lom facebook page on 22 April 2017 yet have never received a reply.
Facebook message

From Eve Lom official website, it claims to be against animal testing. It also never mentions its Lane Crawford counters in China. The whole thing sounds confusing...?

I feel really puzzled. I cannot comprehend why Eve Lom doesn't list its counters in China? If those counters at Lane Crawford (although almost impossible) or TMALL stores sell fakes, why didn't I get any response from it on Facebook?

On the other hand, I understand selling in China might not necessarily equal having products tested on animals. Nudestix described its products as "vegan friendly, cruelty-free and formulated without parabens, sulfates and phthalates"on it official website. Although Nudestix does sell in China via Sephora, it claims to retain its cruelty free statue by investing in new plants and obtaining approved ingredients for the Chinese market. (Although it is not verified by any trust worthy cruelty free sources).

But beauty products and new ingredients first imported to China between June 2014 and March 2017 did require animal testing unless EU had already had established testing data on safety, toxicity and irritation of every single ingredient used.

So does Eve Lom sell in China? does it sell in China but managed to pass the import without animal testing? Or does it sell in China but also get tested as required by law? Anyone knows???

Saturday, April 22, 2017

40 sheet masks tested by Hong Kong consumer council. Shocking !

Last week, Hong Kong consumer council (HKCC) published their testing results on 40 sheet masks from different countries of origin and brands, with retail price ranging from HK$3 (~ US$0.4) to HK$108 (~US$15) per piece. These face masks claim to having moisturising property and require no rinsing after use (Dating back 10 years ago, instruction on all paper masks would advise user to rinse their face after using paper mask. Things have changed).

So which one performed the best?  which were rubbish?

First test : Chemical analysis and findings

*click to enlarge image*

Hong Kong consumer council tested 40 face masks for their chemical content, including MIT, parabens, other preservatives, heavy metals and CMIT. Microbiological test on E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, P.Aeruginosa etc. was also conducted.  Safety standards from EU, USA, Taiwan and China were referenced.

FIVE products tested were found containing fluorescent materials which might cause skin sensitivity.

  • (FR) Eau Thermale Avène Hydrating Mask
  • (US) Kiehl's Clearly Corrective White Hydrating and Clarifying Treatment Masque
  • (JP) MUJI Sheet Mask
  • (JP) SK-II Facial Treatment Mask
  • (FR) Lancôme Blanc Expert Second Skin Whitening Bio-Cellulose Mask

ONE product also contained migratable fluorescent materials, for instances, optical brighteners and fluorescent whitening agents, meaning it might not only cause skin allergy but also make your skin glowing in dark.

  • (FR) Eau Thermale Avène Hydrating Mask

ONE product used salicylic acid as preservative.

  • (JP) SK-II Facial Treatment Mask 0.42%. Passed the Chinese standard.

TWO products contained lead. Both are below Chinese SDA standard (10ppm)

  • (JP) Hada labo Gokujyun Mask  0.13ppm 
  • (US) Olay Aquaction Intensive Treatment Mask 0.16ppm 

THREE products used methylisothiazolinone (MI) as preservative. Australian therapectic goods administration has a public note on MI summarised it as "skin sensitisation was sufficiently noted across all the studies", "may also cause systemic acute toxicity (by all route of exposure) and local effects (skin corrosion and the possibility of causing serious damage to eyes)"and "expert panel concluded that 'MI is safe for use in rinse-off cosmetic products at concentrations up to 100 ppm". In 2016, EU placed a ban on MI being used in leave-in skincare products as no safe levels of MI in leave-on products.

In this test, HKCC borrowed Chinese SDA standard that no more than 0.01% MI in skincare products across both leave-in and rinse-off products.

  • (FR) Besilke Moisturising & Whitening Mineral Spring Mask 0.013%, exceeded Chinese SDA standard and HKCC already reported this product to HK customs department.
  • (TW) My Scheming Hyaluronan Hydarting Mask
  • (TW) Timeless Truth Bio Cellulose Hydra-Soothing Moisturising Mask

Over HALF of samples tested used parabens as preservatives. Yet, all samples are free from parabens that are banned by EU and Chinese SDA (isopropyl-paraben , isobutyl-paraben , benzyl-paraben phenyl-paraben, pentyl-paraben)

All samples passed microbiological tests. 

*click to enlarge image*

Experiment : Skin test !
Since all samples claimed they could be used without rinsing, HKCC tested each sample on 24 human subjects/ participants in inner arm area followed by skin moisture analysis.
The samples were applied and left on following instruction from packaging. After removing the sample, technicians measured moisture of participants skin after 1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours using the sample and compared it with data collected from bare skin.

Moisturising capability and OVERALL performance
Data collected after 1 hour, 3 hours and 6 hours is weighted 50%, 30% and 20% respectively to calculate the averaged score on moisturising capability.

Overall score considered all factors with different weight - chemical analysis (10%), moisturising capability (60%), participant review (25%) and label & information (5%).

On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being the worst and 5 being the best, there is no product scoring 5.

TOP 7 Moisturizing Face Mask

(JP) Utena Puresa Sheet Mask -Rose Extract and Hyaluronic Acid (~ HK$15 per piece)
Moisturization : 4    Overall : 4 [✓ methylparaben]

(JP) Mandom Barrier Repair Facial Mask - Moist (~ HK$14 per piece)

Moisturization : 4    Overall : 4

(KR) Leaders Aquaringer Skin Clinic Mask (~ HK$19.5 per piece)

Moisturization : 4    Overall : 4

(JP) Ettusais Skin Version Up Super Mask (~ HK$19 per piece)

Moisturization :  4   Overall : 4 [✓ methylparaben]

(JP) YUMéI Water Glow Skin Renewal Facial Mask (~ HK$34.5 per piece)
Moisturization : 4    Overall : 4

(KR) MíOGGí Snail Nutrition Hydro Gel Mask (~ HK$30 per piece)

Moisturization : 4    Overall : 4

(JP) Kracie Hadabisei Moisturising Facial Mask - Extra Rich (~ HK$15 per piece)

Moisturization :  3.5   Overall : 4 [✓ methylparaben]

Other products and their overall performance:

(?) JOSERISTINE hyaluronic acid moisturising mask  (~ HK$14 per piece)

Moisturization :  3.5   Overall : 3.5 [✓ methylparaben]

LANEIGE water bank double gel soothing mask (~ HK$48 per piece)

Moisturization :  3   Overall : 3.5

(JP) FANCL Moisturising Mask  (~ HK$55 per piece)

Moisturization :  3   Overall : 3.5

(?) HELLO CARE intensive aloe vera collagen treatment mask (~ HK$5 per piece)

Moisturization :  3   Overall : 3.5 [✓ methylparaben]

(JP) KOSE COSMEPORT ClearTurn white hyaluronic acid mask  (~ HK$9.2 per piece)

Moisturization :  3   Overall : 3.5 [methylparaben]

(US) KIEHL’S Clearly Corrective White Hydrating & Clarifying Treatment Masque (~ HK$66.7 per piece)
Moisturization :  3.5   Overall : 3.5 [✓ fluorescent materials]

(KR) MEDIHEAL N.M.F. aquaring ampoule mask upgrade EX (~ HK$6.6 per piece)

Moisturization :  3   Overall : 3.5

(JP) Hada labo Gokujyun Mask  (~ HK$9 per piece)

Moisturization :  3.5   Overall : 3.5 [✓ methylparaben] [✓ lead]

(KR) FAITH IN FACE  (~ HK$23.3 per piece)
Moisturization :  2.5   Overall : 3.5

(JP) MUJI Sheet Mask  (~ HK$30 per piece)

Moisturization :  3   Overall : 3.5 [✓ fluorescent materials]

(?) REGENE crystal mineral silk mask  (~ HK$12 per piece)

Moisturization :  3   Overall : 3.5

(KR) A.H.C premium hydra soother cellulose mask  (~ HK$16.5 per piece)

Moisturization :  2.5   Overall : 3.5

(US) GARNIER Aqua Defense - hydrating glow essence 2nd skin mask(~ HK$9 per piece)
Moisturization :  3   Overall : 3.5 [methylparaben]

(TW) DR.MORITA hyaluronic acid facial mask (~ HK$5.2 per piece)
Moisturization :  2.5   Overall : 3.5 [methylparaben]

(TW) MY BEAUTY DIARY hyaluronic acid moisturising mask  (~ HK$7.5 per piece)

Moisturization :  2.5   Overall : 3.5

(?) DR.ALTHEA essential skin conditioner silk mask  (~ HK$15.6 per piece)

Moisturization :  2.5   Overall : 3.5

(KR) TONYMOLY Pureness 100 Hyaluronic Acid Mask Sheet  (~ HK$8 per piece)

Moisturization :  3      Overall : 3

(JP) SHISEIDO White Lucent Power Brightening Maks  (~ HK$100 per piece)

Moisturization :  3   Overall : 3 

(HK) SASATINNIE water glow essence mask  (~ HK$34.6 per piece)

 Moisturization :  3     Overall : 3

(US) Olay Aquaction intensive treatment mask  (~ HK$20 per piece)
 Moisturization :  3     Overall : 3 [✓ propyl-paraben] [✓ lead][✓ ethyl-paraben] 

(FR)BIOTHERM SOURCR THERAPIR Revitalising Tissue Mask (~ HK$70 per piece)

Moisturization :  3   Overall : 3 [✓ methylparaben]

( ? ) DAISO bb face mask with hyaluronic acid (~ HK$6 per piece)

Moisturization :  2.5   Overall : 3 [methylparaben]

(JP) SK-II Facial Treatment Mask  (~ HK$88 per piece)

Moisturization :  2.5    Overall : 3 [✓ methylparaben] [✓ fluorescent materials]

(FR) LANCÔME blanc expert second skin whitening bio-cellulose mask  (~ HK$108 per piece)

Moisturization :  2.5   Overall : 3 [✓ methylparaben] [✓ migratable + normal fluorescent materials]

(HK) WATER360 BY WATSONS mieral spring hydrating mask   (~ HK$20 per piece) 

Moisturization :  2   Overall : 3 [✓ methylparaben]

(US) NETROGENA deep hydrating mask    (~ HK$18 per piece) 

Moisturization :  2   Overall : 3 [✓ methylparaben] [✓ ethyl-paraben]

(FR) EAU THERMALE AVENE Hydrating Mask  (~ HK$54 per piece)

Moisturization :  2.5   Overall : 3 [✓ fluorescent materials]

(KR) Innisfree skin clinic mask – hyaluronic acid ultra thin  (~ HK$18 per piece)

Moisturization :  2.5   Overall : 3

(TW) My Scheming Hyaluronan Hydarting Mask  (~ HK$7.5 per piece)

Moisturization :  2   Overall : 2.5 [✓ methylparaben] [✓ MI]

(FR) BESILK moisturising & whitening mineral spring mask  (~ HK$3.1 per piece)

Moisturization :  2.5   Overall : 2.5 [✓ MI]

(TW) TIMELESS TRUTH bio cellulose hydra-soothing moisturising mask (~ HK$15 per piece)

Moisturization :  2   Overall : 2.5 [✓ MI]


Moisturization :  2   Overall : 2.5

(TW) BEAUTYMATE hydro power collagen mask (~ HK$7 per piece)

Moisturization :  1.5   Overall : 2.5 [methylparaben]


- Read the ingredient list before you buy!! Nobody wanna have fluorescent face or use leave-on skincare with MIT.

- Being expensive doesnt necessarily equal better performance or contain less concerning ingredients.
  Although sheet masks from SK-II and Lancome are exorbitant (over 10 USD a piece), both contain paraben & fluorescent materials and perform less prominent than other affordable brands (e.g. leaders and mandom barrier repair).