Author: Sithru

AJ’s Cyber Security Tips|How to securely work from home

The New Zealand government encourage companies to consider working from home options of their employees to prevent exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, it is important to get to know how to work safely and securely from home.

Most common risks for employees working from home are the following:

  • Exposing the corporate netowrk to home computer vulnerabilities
  • Unable to control or ensure the security of the home network
  • More susceptible to phishing and cyber attacks
  • Inability to ensure the physical security of the workspace

Let’s closely look at those risks and what can we do to mitigate them.

Laptop or Desktop security

At your office, you may have given a laptop or a desktop to do your daily jobs. If you have a company-provided laptop it much easier to work from home. Otherwise, your employer may have already advised you to take your desktop with you. Either way allows you to resume your work from where you were at the office since they are already loaded with all necessary applications and tools.

In case if you have to use your home laptop or the desktop to work from home, here are few things that you must do to ensure the security of your personal information and the company information.

  1. Apply Operating Systems and application security patches

Time to time Operating System (OS) vendors like Microsoft releases security patches for their OSs. These patches may vary from low to critical depending on the severity (the harm that cybercriminals can do) and exploitability (how easy to exploit the issue). Therefore, it is very important to apply these security patches as soon as they come.

  1. Use strong passwords

Password is the first level of protection to your computer and information systems. Therefore, set a strong and unique password on your devices and systems that you store your important information.

It is a good practice to have different sets of passwords for work and personal accounts.

Check this guide on how to set a strong password

  1. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication will give you added protection to your password. Therefore, enable 2FA if your corporate applications support it. Talk to your IT team to know what applications support 2FA and how to enable it for your account.

  1. Never disable the antivirus application

Make sure your antivirus application is running all the time when you access any system over the Internet.

Network security

When you were at your office premises you were protected by the corporate network firewall which blocks most of the common attacks to your device. Now you must rely on your home Wi-Fi router to provide a similar level of protection. Unfortunately, home wireless routers by default do not have security features enabled to simplify the initial set up process.

Therefore, the first thing is to make sure you have undertaken below steps to ensure there are no weaknesses in your home network. If you have multiple devices such as a separate modem, a router and a Wi-Fi access point in your home network, do below on all of them.

  1. Change default admin password

Routers do have a web Graphical User Interface (GUI) to configure Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN) and other settings. You may have never used this or may have used once when you initially set up the network, but there is malware that is designed to identify devices running with the factory default passwords.

Generally, the admin password and the login procedure can be found under the Wi-Fi router or in the router manual. Also, you can use online websites like this to check the default password.

You may see there are number of routers that do not have a default password or have a very weak one like “password’ or “1234”, so I cannot stress enough the importance of changing the default password.

  1. Remove unknown devices connected to the home network

While you are in the router configuration, check what else is connected to your Wi-Fi network. If you are not sure about a device that is connected, kick it off from the network. The worst thing that could happen is you have to enter the Wi-Fi password to reconnect it to the network.

  1. Set a strong Wi-Fi password

Setting a strong password for your Wi-Fi network will avoid unauthorised access to your home network. Also, make sure inserting the password is mandatory if anyone wants to connect to the network. A passphrase is a good way to remember the password as long as it is unique and does not contain any personal information.

Also, it is a good idea to have a separate Wi-Fi network for guests if your router supports creating multiple local networks.

  1. Use WPA2 for wireless security

WPA2 stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access 2, the industry recommended encryption protocol for setting up the security of your Wi-Fi network. Generally, this can be found under the security or the advance configuration section of the router configuration.

  1. Keep your router up-to-date.

Check whether there are pending updates to be installed for your router if so install them before you connect to the corporate network. Again, this can be found once you logged into the router administration web page.

  1. Enable the firewall and disable unwanted services

Not all but most modern routers have a feature to mitigate the risk of some cyber attacks by configuring the in-built firewall capability. This will prevent exposing unwanted services or ports like SMB, RDP and NetBIOS to the Internet which are widely targeted vulnerabilities by cybercriminals.

  1. Use Corporate VPN when accessing important systems

Virtual Private Network (VPN) software provides an added layer of security by using encryption between your laptop and the corporate IT network.

Using a VPN is highly recommended whenever you access corporate systems as it will protect the information from any insecurities in your home network. Talk to your IT team to help you set up VPN software on your device.

Check below guides if you want to know more about securing the home router

https://www.cert.govt.nz/individuals/guides/stepping-up-your-cyber-security/secure-your-home-network/

https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/home-wireless-network-security/

Physical security

Physical security of the place that you work is equally important as network security. Here are a few checks you can do to improve physical security aspects.

  1. Find a secure place to work

The garden bench could be the most comfortable place to work while at home but make sure you do not expose to any threat actors like opportunistic thieves. Also, once you are done for the day, keep all your office stuff in one place specially printouts and files that you have with you.

  1. Lock your laptop if you step away

It is a good practice to lock the computer stepping away from it, even for a minute. This will prevent children from mucking around with your computer or exposing confidential information to your flatmates if you are sharing the house with others.

  1. Don’t’ write down passwords

Do not write any corporate passwords. Use corporate password management system to store all passwords if you have one.

Phishing and other cyber threats

While the world is dealing with the pandemic crisis, cybercriminals are leveraging peoples fear of the virus to launch cyber-attacks. In the last few weeks, security researchers found several phishing email campaigns and malware-laced mobile apps.

Here are a few tips to protect you from phishing scams.

  1. Do not trust the display name of the sender or the “from” address

There are many ways to manipulate the displayed name and the from address to fool the recipient. Therefore, never trust the email just from those attributes.

  1. Never give your passwords

One of the main objectives of cybercriminals of phishing emails is to capture your passwords. Therefore, never give your corporate login password to anyone.

  1. Try to avoid opening unsolicited emails, even you open it do not download any attachments or click any links

Try not to open those unsolicited emails. If you found it in your spam folder, probably it has spam-like attributes for the email to be flagged as spam. If it is a genuine email, talk to your IT team and whitelist that sender. Even you open the email do not download any attachments or click any links as they are the most popular way to hide malware.

Cheers,

AJ


AJ is a cyber security specialist with more than 10 years of experience working in variety of firms in multiple countries. AJ will give cyber security tips here from time to time!

Cartoon Credit: Times of India, 18 Jan 2018

Are you buying your first home? | Part 2

Do you need a Mortgage Adviser?

2 Now that you have an idea about what you can afford to pay as mortgage repayments, the next step is to decide how much your actual buying power is – how much are you realistically able to borrow from the banks to buy the house. It is way easier to get the services of a mortgage adviser during this phase to do the hard work.  

If you are doing it yourself, here’s how it is done.

Things you need: your income, expenditure, assets and liabilities.

In simple terms, how much money comes in (e.g. salary, rental income, profits), how much of it do you spend (e.g. bill payments, groceries), what items of value do you possess (e.g. savings, gold, vehicles) and how much do you owe (e.g. loans, credit cards, hire purchases). You also need an amount of cash (Savings) that is readily available as your deposit. This will be the down payment for the property.

Once these are figured out, you need to go to lending institutes to find out how much you are eligible to borrow. Institutes can be banks (highly recommended) or other financial entities that are legally allowed to lend. They evaluate the values you put down plus some other numbers such as your credit rating and decide whether you can borrow money at all, and if so, how much. 

Why doing it yourself is hard:

  • Having to face rejections (multiple times)
  • Hefty amount of communications and long waiting periods to get results
  • Time consuming
  • Emotionally draining

You may not get approved for finance right away (you are lucky if you do!). Even if you are successful in your first attempt, you may need to fish around to get a good deal. This process is not only time consuming but also emotionally draining at times especially if you get rejected by multiple banks. You also have to fill multiple applications that have different formats from one another. That is just the beginning! You also need to carry out regular communications with each party and wait a long period of time to hear back. With a day job and other personal responsibilities at hand, having to going through this repeatedly is not fun (trust me on this!). You will end up exhausted at this stage even before the good part begins.

Finding a competent mortgage adviser makes your life so much easier at this stage. The first good thing about a mortgage adviser is, their services are free to you. They get paid by the banks once a mortgage is finalised.

Secondly, they would be experienced enough to tell you how much your buying power is and what you could do to improve if needed, even before going to the bank.

Thirdly, with their experience, they know which banks have reserves to lend money at present. Which cuts down the urge to go to every bank possible.

Finally, they will do the leg work for you. They already have established relationships with banks which allow them to communicate much easier and quicker. They will be able to get you pre-approved for a mortgage which would be a plus point when making offers. With a mortgage adviser, you’ll get results much easier, especially when your offer is accepted and are ready to apply for the mortgage. At this stage, they can offer you advice on loan types and loan terms to consider.  

Having said that, there are times when you feel it is better to have first-hand control of the process because you become reliant on a third party (adviser) for communications with the banks. Especially, when the mortgage applications are processing, banks take at least 5 working days to process. Then they communicate the results to the adviser, and you hear it from them. If there is anything to be negotiated, you need to go through the mortgage adviser to the bank which seems like an eternity to get results. Such waiting periods in between can agitate you if you are someone that is used to take control and steer things.

My recommendation is, do use a mortgage adviser, even if this is the case.

However, find one that is extremely competent, that does not need to be told what to do and one that is proactive. Talk to previous clients of mortgage advisers if possible to find out how they performed during the application process. Written reviews online might say they achieved the final goal – a mortgage, but the process of getting there may not have been smooth sailing. At the outset, explain to them you need regular communications during the process, even if the only update they have is ‘no updates from banks’. However, set a reasonable frequency for such communications that is agreeable to both parties. 

Stay tuned for more tips on property searching!

Cheers,

Sithru

Are you buying your first home? Have you considered these?

Part 1 | General Tips for the process

Based on our experience there are certain things that we recommend you do before even starting to look for your dream home – finding out the mortgage payment you can afford, Getting the services of a mortgage adviser, a buyer’s agent, and finding your lawyer are just some of it. The services of a mortgage adviser and the buyer’s agent are not mandatory but are highly recommended to ease the pain of doing the work yourselves.  

First you need to understand that buying house is not always the best option. For some people renting is much more cost effective and helpful in the long run. Owning a house means, you not only are paying higher rent as the mortgage, but there are added expenses such as rates payments, maintenance costs, and sometimes the need to make adjustments. Having said that, I must also say, having your own house means owning an enormous asset; that is never a bad investment. However, the discussion around the decision to buy or not to buy is for another post maybe. For now, I assume you are here because you already made the decision to buy.

1 Our first tip is to find out how much you could comfortably pay weekly, fortnightly or monthly as the mortgage payment. This is only to get an idea about how much you can afford as your mortgage payment.

You can use mortgage calculators given on any bank’s web page to do the calculation (this one is easier to use). The values you need for the calculation are:

  • The general interest rate that is currently used (I recommend using the floating interest rate),
  • The deposit amount you have, and
  • The potential loan value

Different calculators ask for either the cost of the house or the loan value. Cost of the house is how much a house will be sold for. The loan value is cost of the house minus the deposit value. This is the actual amount you will be borrowing from the bank.

E.g.: If the cost of the house is $550,000, and you can afford to have a deposit of $50,000, then your loan value is $500,000.

At this point in the process you may not have a clear idea about any of the actual values for house cost, loan amount or the deposit. Nevertheless, play around with estimates.

A general rule for your deposit is that it should sit somewhere between 10-20% of the house value. So it pays to know exactly how much you can put forward as the deposit before starting this process. There are multiple ways to accumulate a deposit. One is to save rigorously; Secondly, you can turn to parents or close relatives for a donation/gift (this cannot be a loan); or you can explore the grants available through KiwiSaver (or equivalents in your country) for first home buyers (sometimes available for second homes too). In reality, your deposit may have to be a combination of savings and either one or both of the other options.

We recommend doing the above mortgage calculation to figure out if you can afford to pay a mortgage at all, and if so within which range. Feel free to play around to find a number or a range, that you are comfortable with. At the end of the day, once you pay off all your bills, other mandatory expenses, and mortgage, you still need to have a comfortable amount left from your salary for emergencies and unexpected expenses.

This information is relevant to the New Zealand context. but you can apply the fundamental idea in any context.

Tell us in the comments below how the process goes in your country. Would love to hear more.

Stay tuned for the next tip in the series – Should you use a Mortgage adviser?

Cheers,

Sithru

Photo credit: http://www.interest.co.nz

Are you buying a house? Then you need to know these!

With the record lowest mortgage rates in the country, the property market is soaring since recently. We too decided to take advantage of this and buy our first home in New Zealand. Our journey to finding our future home was not of course smooth sailing but we used certain tactics on the way to minimise the stress. Since our process helped us immensely throughout the journey, we* decided to share our experience as a series under Sithru Life.

In part one of this series that follows (stay tuned!), I will share some general tips that might of use before you start the entire process. You could expect to hear some information about mortgage advisers, buyer’s agents, a cool tool we used to assess the house we viewed, and many more in the coming series. so stay tuned!

The aim is to post two to three tips a week. However, please hit ‘follow’ on the top right hand sidebar to get notified when a new post goes up!

Disclaimer: This series is only intended as a way to share our experience. This should not be taken as legal advice. Please visit settled.co.nz (or an equivalent source in your country) for legal information about the house purchasing process. 

(*I say ‘we’ because my partner is a silent collaborator in this series)

Photo credit: https://homesellingzinewebsite.puzl.com/

How to | Applying foundation

Are you doing your foundation right?

Foundation is part of the base of makeup. Some choose to use it, some don’t – which is okay too. The main aim of this post is to talk about some trends that I’ve seen ‘beauty gurus’ use on YT when applying foundation/CC/BB creams/putty/stick/, etc. [not necessarily about powder foundation though], This not about whether which method is right, but rather about how you should approach the different aspects of applying foundation.

Before beginning, I want you to focus a little bit on the title – it says ‘your foundation’; not mine, not ours but yours. so regardless of what I have written here, if you have a routine that works, please do continue to use it.

let’s begin from the beginning.

  1. Prime or Not? – Preparing your skin for makeup application is of utmost importance. The first step should always be a moisturiser or hydrating lotion suitable for your skin type. It helps a smooth application as well as keep your skin looking good and healthy all day. Using a primer, in my opinion, is optional and should be a decision based on the type of foundation you use. In my experience, I use an oil based primer when wearing matte foundations especially focused on the dry patches on my skin. I use a mattifying primer on oily areas if I am wearing a dewy or satiny foundation. Sometimes I don’t wear a primer at all, especially with stick foundations [not an informed decision, but one based on experience]. – in summary: Moisturiser is a must but primer is optional. [Suncare can be added to this step]
  2. Straight to face or on to hand? – I’ve seen many people dispense foundation straight from the container on to the face. I think this is shouldn’t be a practice to follow for two reasons. One, you cannot control the amount of product you put on. I think warming the product on your hand [outer palm as many uses] is a good way to go or use a small makeup tray [glass, stainless steel] to dispense and mix oils, primers or other foundations if required before applying it to face. Two, you run the risk of drying the product on the face before being able to blend it properly. The best way, in my opinion, is to apply the foundation in thin layers and build the layers for coverage as necessary. This way, you can even minimise the wastage of product. – In summary, definitely not straight on to face 🙂
  3. Brush or sponge [or hand]? – Now, this is purely a preference-based decision as per popular convention. BUT, I would say, it should also be an informed decision. different foundation types prefer different application media to deliver a good base. for example, water-based foundations [e.g. Makeup forever water blend] demand hand or a brush application. if applied with a sponge, it will soak in most of the product before you can apply it onto the face. Other types, usually can be applied with a brush, sponge or hands. however, I recommend test application with all tools and see which gives you the best coverage. if you are an influencer, I humbly request you to demonstrate the application of foundations with different tools if reviewing. – In summary, it depends!
  4. Where to begin application? – If I remember correctly, Wayne Goss has a tutorial applying foundation. The foundation should be focused on the middle of the face and should be blended outwards. go section by section taking time to buff and blend the foundation into the skin as you go. Depending on the foundation, it may be too late to blend after applying the foundation to the entire face because sometimes they tend to dry and set fast. – In summary, start from the middle and blend out.

Those are my tips thoughts and tips on applying foundation. but as I said, if your routine is different from the above and works for you, please continue to use it.

Hope these were helpful. Please let me know below how you apply your foundation, or if you apply foundation at all, and why.

Cheers

PANTENE | Dry shampoo – a mini review

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If you follow me on Instagram (@sithrunz)  you may have seen this gem of a product I found at The Warehouse (I see that countdowns in some areas stock this too but not in my local one). The first impressions were given in the Insta post. To recap, it had no white residue, no harsh smells and did what a dry shampoo is supposed to do – make your hair oil-free and ‘feel-clean’ until you wash it. Now that I used it a several times, I decided to write a mini review here so that I can let you know what I really feel.

But before that let me tell you a little bit about the product. The active ingredient in Pantene pro-v nature fusion dry shampoo is tapioca starch which is an excellent DIY substitute for dry shampoo anyway. It appears fourth in the ingredients list after isobutane, alcohol denat., and propane. Kinda scary first few ingredients but they are essential to distribute the products into hair evenly – hence called propellants. Every dry shampoo has these for the same purpose. Having alcohol means it will dry out the scalp, but that is to be expected from any dry shampoo.

I used the dry shampoo on my third-day hair. I have naturally oily hair (Read this to learn how to find your hair type), which gets really oily by the third day. I usually use a dry shampoo on the third day if I need to extend the no-wash period :D. The instruction says the usual – Shake the can, spray on to the roots and rub well. Brush the hair to finish off.

My review

I used this on the third day as usual. I am pleased to report that I did not have to wash my hair until the fifth day after the first application. Oil on my scalp was pretty well absorbed by the shampoo without leaving it dry (surprisingly!). My scalp did not get flaky either. I also liked the fresh clean-feel it gave my hair, which I have not experienced with my other dry shampoos.

It was just NZD $3. SO what’s not to like?!

So overall, I give this 10/10.

This dry shampoo comes in volume boost form as well. Let me know if you have tried this or have any recommendations for other dry shampoos.

Until my next,

Cheers

Sithru

 

THE ORDINARY| Foundations review

I just had the opportunity to finally get my hands on The Ordinary Foundations – The coverage foundation and the serum foundation.

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I know one of them was around for a while and the other is quite new. However, they both go out of stock pretty fast and therefore, I know many of you have not had the chance of trying them out.

I bought mine via Beautylish. It’s US$ 6.90 (~ NZ$ 10.35). When you buy via Beautylish, all orders over US$35 are shipped free and takes only about 10-14 days to arrive. *Not Sponsored!

Commonalities 

Both the foundations come with a pump and carry 30ml. They both should have a semi-matte finish. Both are oil-free, cruelty-free (as is the product line) and has a light-weight formula.

IMG_20171205_125747.jpgThe foundations come in 21 shades. So you, quite easily, can find a close match for your skin shade (No foundation will be able to carry shades that match all the skin colours in the world). Here Wayne Goss has a list that matches The Ordinary shade based on your MAC foundation shade. I bought 3.0Y in both foundations (which is the shade match for MAC NC44).

In the picture to the right, the top swatch represents the coverage foundation and the lower, the Serum foundation.

The Serum foundation

The serum foundation has a watery consistency and has a light coverage buildable to a medium. I used The Ordinary high spreadability fluid primer underneath and used a brush on one half of the face and the LA Girl beauty sponge on the other half to apply the foundation. The application was indifferent on both sides.

The foundation does have a semi-matte finish as it claims. it went on smooth.  I did not notice any of it clinging to the smile-lines after the first application. The foundation is tacky to the touch so it needs to be set with a light powder. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture soon after the application.

The picture below is after about 3 hours of wear. 

IMG_20171205_173117.jpgAt this point, the foundation starts to break apart. It got cakey around my mouth and settled into the smile-lines despite what it claims.  I always get oily no matter what foundation I wear, so the oiliness you see is not specifically because of this foundation.  The foundation gave me a white cast which was visible to the naked eye.

So naturally, my first impression was a BIG NO!

 

BUT, 

I decided to try it once more, with a colour corrector underneath and skipped the primer this time. Oh My God! … the result was b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l. The white cast disappeared with the colour corrector and skipping the primer.

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The picture to the right is an untouched (no filters, not edited) photo taken from my phone. The foundation looked absolutely amazing. It lasted quite long this time – about 6 hours,  without breaking apart (on a 33 degrees Celcius day too).

Final verdict: The foundation is definitely not long wearing but can be extended with a good setting spray (I recommend the UD all nighter).  The foundation gave a smooth finish and looks gorgeous in the pictures. but I did notice tiny bumps on my face after wearing this for a prolonged time. So, if you have sensitive skin, be aware!

I would give this an 8/10.

Coverage Foundation 

The coverage foundation has a creamy consistency and gives a medium coverage buildable to a full. Like the serum, this too has a semi-matte finish. the picture below is taken soon after it was applied before setting it with powder. I used the same technique of applying the foundation with a brush and the beauty sponge with the same primer underneath. No colour corrector.

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Picture 1

It applies light at the beginning but gets darker. However, the final shade is the shade you are buying (at least in my case).

Even though the foundation was full coverage it was not ‘full’ enough to cover the dark spots around my mouth and cheeks. It looks cakey in some places.

This too gave me the same white-casty look that did not look good in real life.

 

 

Picture 2 and 3 were taken at the 3-hour mark.

It shows how the foundation has started to break around my mouth just like the serum foundation did in my first attempt.

Unfortunately, I could not try this with the colour corrector yet. But I assume it would perform the same way as the serum foundation did since the result at the end of the first attempt at wearing them were pretty much the same except the coverage.

Final verdict: For the price point, I think this foundation did an okay job. I’m sure colour correcting before the application would rectify the white-cast problem too. However, the setting spray did not extend its wearability.

overall, I’d give this a 7/10.

Even though I would not say these are two of the best foundations in the market, they are pretty good for $10. I recommend the serum foundation a little bit more than the other only because I like its coverage and the amazing natural finish.

Let me know if you have tried these and what you think of them.

Until the next,

Cheers

Sithru

MORPHE|Jaclyn Hill Palette

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I am so stoked to finally get my hands on the Morphe x Jaclyn Hill collaboration. this palette a few weeks ago. It was a little hard to get hold of it on the Morphe website because, you know, they sell out really quick. The first release was gone within hours (I actually woke up at 3 am NZT to buy this but when I finally made it to the payment page, it was sold out). So when it went live again, I just gave up and thought well, I don’t want to wake up at 3am again just to be disappointed, so I don’t want it. But Once I woke up around 10 am, the inner makeup junkie in me said ‘why not see if it is still there’ and it WAS!!! So I finally bought it.

On the Morphe website (not sold anywhere else yet), the price was USD38 (≈NZD 56) and shipping was another USD30 (≈NZD 45) (I KNOW!!!).

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 Swatches 

The palette has a mix of vibrant colours, neutrals as well as dark shades. It is also a mix of mattes, shimmers and duochromes. Since I suck at swatches, I am using the amazing swatches from ANALESE REDMAN of @annybeeutee. 

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First and second rows (Image by ANALESE REDMAN @annybeeutee)

aHR0cCUzQSUyRiUyRmkuaW1ndXIuY29tJTJGR1JOUElTYy5qcGc=
third and fourth rows (Image by ANALESE REDMAN @annybeeutee)

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Fifth row (Image by ANALESE REDMAN @annybeeutee)

Shade names

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Image from Morphe brushes

 

 What do I think

If you are familiar Morphe eyeshadows, they are pigmented and feels creamy. In my personal opinion, this palette is a tad bit better than the other Morphe palettes formula-wise. These shades feel like butter, hence so soft to touch. They go on really well (I did not have to use any fixed+ to apply these) and blends even better. The matte shades do not swatch as nicely as the shimmers but then again, not many matte formulas do. But they apply on the eye perfectly and performs the same way as the shimmers. According to Jaclyn, using a natural fibre brush gives you the best application. I used natural fibre for mattes and synthetic fibre for shimmers.

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My eyelids get pretty oily throughout the day. So the chances of any eyeshadow surviving beyond 2-3 hours are pretty unlikely always and I do not use any special primer on my eyelids apart from applying a little concealer to neutralise the pigmentation.

But to my utmost surprise, these shadows lasted for about five hours on my eyes. The picture above was taken after the five to six hours wear time (I have used a filter just to smoothen my skin out otherwise the picture is unedited). As you can see the eyelids are shiny but the shadows still peak through and visible (I promise to be more organised next time and click a pic as soon I apply makeup too).

If you have normal eyelids or use an eyeshadow base or an eye primer on the eyelids, these would last even longer. So, I am IMPRESSED! I always try to keep my reviews balanced, but this palette has nothing wrong to say apart from the white casing which gets dirty really quick.

Some of my favourite shades

 

This palette is currently out of stock but is scheduled to return both via Morphe site (P.S. Note: 19th September 8am PST ≈ 20th September at 3am NZ time) as well as retailers (as far as I know and we’ll know which ones later). So if you can afford it, do grab it. It is a wonderful collection of shades for every occasion, time and place. You can find enough coupon codes on youtube, to get some money off your purchase if buying via Morphe site.

If you are a beginner, this may be the only palette you need in your collection at the beginning. For hoarders like me, well, you know you need this.

Let me know what you think of this palette if you have it already.

Until my next,

Cheers…

Sithru

Disclaimer: This article has no affiliate links in it. This post is not sponsored.  

WET ‘N WILD| Treasures from the drug store

The day I heard that Wet ‘ n Wild (WNW) is coming to Farmers, New Zealand (it was available before via online retailers like La Femme Beauty, but Farmers has a full display and affordable prices), I had to check them out at my nearest Farmers store.

For the makeup lovers, WNW needs no introduction. It is one of the most affordable beauty brands in the world, yet has not compromised in quality products.

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While I apologise for not taking pictures before I use them (For some reason I am very impatient with new makeup :D; have to dig in as soon as possible), I actually found some treasures in the WNW line and one dud so far. I bought these from Farmers, Love My Makeup as well as from Beautyjoint.com.

Eye shadow palettes

These eye shadow palettes are at the top of my favourites. They feel buttery and go on like a dream. The shadows are so pigmented that you need to use a really light hand to apply them. The colour selection is amazing too. I know that I have chosen quite similar colours, but the Bare and Beautiful palette is a collection of mattes and shimmers while the Comfort Zone is a collection of shimmers. The packaging is quite flimsy and fragile, but I am not really concerned about. They are lightweight and great to travel with because of the size. These two palettes have everything you need to transform yourself from a daytime look to a wearable smokey or a shimmery night-out look. I will post some swatches in the Instagram, so keep an eye on it.

WNW Photofocus Foundation and Concealer

IMG_20170827_151235Hands down one of the best foundations ever! It stands true to what it claims – a truly photo-ready look.

It sinks right into the skin to give you that airbrushed look which looks amazing in photos.

Unfortunately, it does not last very long. The maximum wear time I had with this foundation is around the 4-hour mark. After that, it just starts to break apart and look really oily and shiny (Having an oily T-zone does not help!). I could extend it a little bit with the Urban Decay All nighter spray, but the maximum is about 5 hours.

Powdering and touch ups do not really help after the foundation starts to get oily and breakup. But I have to say, I’ve worn this for 8-9 hours some days (just because I was working), and even though it starts to break after 5 hours, you don’t look entirely unpresentable at 8 hours.

The concealer is pretty much similar in performance. The consistency in on the thicker side and it dries down quite fast. I recommend working in sections and blending out before moving to the next application to get the maximum out of this product (e.g. one eye at a time, or one spot at a time).

Lipsticks

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I bought three Megalast lipsticks and one Mega Lip colour SPF15.

The Mega-last range is matte and is truly long lasting. They are pigmented too. About 3 minutes after the initial application you won’t even feel it on your lips. I’ve worn it on my lips for about 8 hours without touching up, and it stayed on quite well. Some fading was visible towards the inside the lips, but in their defence, I had some oily noodle stir fry just before.

The Mega lip colour has SPF 15 for sun-protection and goes on sheer. So, the colour payoff is not as rich as the Megalast line, but very comfortable and moisturising on the lips. Even though they do not last long, reapplying does not cake up the lipstick.

Again, keep an eye on my Instagram for swatches 🙂

Megaliner eyeliner – Fail! 

The megaliner liquid eyeliner claims to dry fast, stay-put, long-lasting, smudge-proof.

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I will agree with ‘dry-fast’ but none of the rest! It is not long-lasting at all and smudged quite easily than some of my other non-waterproof liners.

On the plus side though, it does come with an easy-to-use brush applicator. This is a wonderful applicator for the eyeliner-amateurs like me to get a nice and controlled wing.

The formula is thick and highly pigmented too.

I loved applying it, but it was streaking down my face (embarrassing!!!) in the first instance my eye started watering. I don’t understand how my upper lid liner gets washed off with tears – never happened before with any liner.

The brow mascara was nothing phenomenal. It was an okay product. I always prefer a clear gel to set my brows, so this was a nice option.

That is the round up of my thoughts on the WNW products I tried so far. If I am to pick my top 3 from the brand, I would highly recommend the Photofocus foundation, Eye shadow palettes and the Megalast lipsticks.

Let me know if you tried any of these and what you thought about them…

Cheers,

Sithru

 

THE ORDINARY | affordable skincare – Part 1

Hello everyone, I am back after a while 🙂 … Sorry for going AWOL but I had to do quite a bit of travelling during last few months. Anyway, now that I am back, let’s talk about some affordable skincare…

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I recently bought a few skin care items from The Ordinary line. I have been using them for a little over three weeks now and think I have formed my opinion about them :).

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First a little about this abnormal brand:

The brand ‘The Ordinary’ is a part of DECEIM – the abnormal beauty company, a team that is versed in materials chemistry and biochemistry. While the group hosts high-end (I mean high priced and specifically formulated) skincare brands such as Hylamid and NIOD, The Ordinary was formed to present high-quality skincare at an affordable price. the philosophy of the company is to ‘disallow commodity being disguised as ingenuity’. Founders of The Ordinary claim that in the beauty sphere, commonplace technologies and formulations are presented as innovative and advance; the price markups, hence, are insensible. The objective of The Ordinary line is to present high quality, clinical grade skincare formulations with integrity.

Unlike other skincare lines, The Ordinary gives you the liberty to make up your own skincare regime. the products are meant to be used as ‘ingredients’ that you put together to create your preferred concoction, based on your skin type, problems and preference.

You can find the review of Vitamin C suspension in Part 2

Here’s what I got;

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 

This is a vegan hydrator that can attract water up to 1000 times its weight. According to DECEIM, even though many skincare products offer Hyaluronic acid (HA), they cannot penetrate the skin in naturally. Instead, they sit on the skin and attract from the skin and give an illusion of plumpness. So when you wash off the product, the skin screams for more to keep hydrated. In this version, there are multiple forms of HA used to ensure skin hydration in different layers, not just the surface. Vitamin B5 aids the surface hydration. Probably, for this reason, the first time I used HA I did not see a visible plumpness as I saw when using the Loreal Hydraboost gel. But with continuous use for over a week, I started noticing that my skin looks more hydrated. Because of my travelling schedules, I could not use HA every day over the last three weeks, but that did not take away the hydration it had already delivered to my skin.  I use HA 2% + B5, both in the AM and PM.

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) in this product is meant to reduce the appearance of blemishes and congestion. I have oily/combination skin and this has helped to reduce the oiliness to a healthy level (does not make my face look completely matte) without making my dry spots dry. The brand claims, and I agree, that this does not help acne. However, it has reduced the dullness of my face noticeably. This is included only in my morning routine.

Note: The company warns against using Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% in conjunction with Vitamin C suspensions. Please visit The Ordinary website for more details.

Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

This is meant to reduce the dark circles and puffiness under eyes. The EGCG (I won’t even try pronouncing the longer name of this…) is a derivative from green tea leaves. both the ingredients are highly effective in reducing puffiness around the undereye region. This solution again (among many other eye creams) has failed me in reducing my undereye dark circles. However, as the company claims, this may be due to the born and fat structure of my eyes (I’ve been told that this is genetic, by a doctor in my family too) which cannot be treated with skincare solutions. But the solution definitely reduces puffiness around the eye. I use this in the morning and night.

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Glycolic acid is an exfoliant that offers mild but direct exfoliation to the skin. This product demands careful usage not only because it is an acid (a mild one) but also has an AHA that increases the sun-sensitivity of the skin (no joke!). I use this only at night as instructed and completely forgot about the sun protection warning. I always wear sun protection (a daily SPF of 15) but with this product, it is not sufficient. Even though my skin did not get sunburnt badly, I definitely sensed the increased sensitivity while in the direct sun. so, if you use this, always wear higher SPF and use an umbrella or a hat to keep the direct sun away from your skin, even up to a week after you stopped using this product.

However, this product is wonderful and I love using it every night. My skin feels so much softer and cleaner since I started using this.

These are the products I tried from The Ordinary line. I fell in love with this brand so much that I ordered some more items which are yet to arrive in the mail. Will do another review once I use them too. Look for the next part of this review either on Picon’s hoard or here.

Most importantly, please hang on for more posts in the future. I will try and get to back to normal blog routine once I settle down a bit with the travelling.. Until then.. have a lovely day!

Cheers,

Sithru