Benefit High Beam vs Body Shop Radiant Highlighter


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I love finding dupes for great products, and I love telling people about them even more! If you read my post on Benefit’s Benetint/Posietint/Highbeam, you’ll know that I adore Highbeam. It’s a great product that will work on any skin tone and is very easy to use.

I saw The Body Shop’s Radiant Highlighter about 2 months into using Highbeam. I was only in there to repurchase my moisturiser, but somehow I walked out with the Radiant Highlighter and a few other goodies…total shopping fail!

Benefit Highbeam vs The Body Shop Radiant Highlighter

Colour & Consistency: Both products are pearlescent pink-toned liquid formulas. Swatched on my skin (MAC NC43), they are so similar that I can safely say they’re dupes. Radiant Highlighter is thinner than Highbeam.

Longevity: I’ve worn both products for a full day – both are visible at the end of the day, but I’d have to give the edge to Highbeam.

Packaging: I vastly prefer Radiant Highlighter, which comes in a tube, to Highbeam‘s nail polish bottle packaging. It is easier to control the amount of product used, plus Highbeam would be very difficult to use on the go!

Price: Neither is a total steal. Highbeam retails for AUD 55.00 at Myer and David Jones. Radiant Highlighter is available for AUD 25.95 at the Body Shop.

Final Verdict: The only big factor that separates these two products is their price, so I’d say save your money and go for The Body Shop Radiant Highlighter

‘The Marriage Bureau for Rich People’ – Farahad Zama



Happy February! After a rough year of university, I decided to take January off from blogging. Thank you so much to all the readers that came back regularly to check the blog – there are soooo many exciting posts coming up!

I’d like to start off 2012 with a book that is close to my heart for a few reasons. The Marriage Bureau for Rich People is a simply told story about the complex and often baffling world of arranged marriages. I love that it shows so many aspects of marriage in the Indian community. It is set in the southern beachside city of Visakhapatnam (Vizag), which is my father’s hometown and the setting of many of my childhood summers.

Farahad Zama is a Vizag native who returned to India after years in the USA. His first novel is a delightful blend of innate knowledge of the workings of Indian society with dashes of Western cynicism and Indian optimism.


Mr. Ali is a retiree with too much free time on his hands. Blessed with a wealth of sagacity and real life experience, he decides to open a marriage bureau in his verandah. From there he deals in the business of finding suitable spouses and uniting families. Through the ups and downs of the marriage business, he butts heads with his social activist son Rehman about what each believes is the right thing to do.

Mr Ali’s secretary Aruna – a poor high-caste Hindu – finds her hidden talent through the marriage bureau. She can cut through clients’ bluster and find the perfect match in the unlikeliest circumstance. Despite her smiling exterior, Aruna hides a painful secret and despairs of ever finding happiness for herself.


Farahad Zama has the gift of description. While reading The Marriage Bureau, I really enjoyed the detailed description of Vizag’s streets, the taste of green mangos and the sights and sounds of the beach (not the same as Cottesloe Beach, I assure you).

If you’re expecting The Marriage Bureau to be like Midnight’s Children or A Suitable Boy, you will be disappointed. Nor is it a freaky pseudofantasy like The Mistress of Spices. Zama’s book is a sweet narrative based on great characters and the charming idiosyncrasies of modern Indian life. Despite the simplicity of the story, it does address many social issues and does an adequate job of dealing with the ultimate Indian social conflict: respecting tradition vs. following your heart.

Zama has written two sequels to The Marriage Bureau – ‘The Many Conditions of Love’ and ‘The Marriage Wallah’.

Sneak Peek: Photoshoot with Le Fanciulle!!



Here are a few shots from an upcoming feature on Le Fanciulle (an awesome blog run by S & T – my super talented and fashionable friends and fellow med-heads). I won’t give away any details, except that it was a day of fun, fashion, makeup, hair and laughter.

The makeup and hair was done by myself, the photography was done by T and the set was done by S. Both S and T styled the shoot.

The gorgeous Sinead was our model/dress-up doll with some special guest stars. Andrew happily removed his clothes for us, and we had another guest star who’s photographs we’re keeping under our hat for now!

*yawn* Its early!

Fishtail braid! It looks wonderful with Sinead's burnished hair.

S & T hard at work with set design and lighting

Hipster chic

Face painting for grown-ups

Sinead, Andrew and the talented photographer

Enjoy the photos! Please check out Le Fanciulle and our previous collaboration ‘Decade by Decade’.


Makeup Look: New Year’s Resolution


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New Year’s Eve is about celebrating, so I’ve created a look that is perfect for partying the night away and will still look great at the stroke of 12. Since its going to be dark, it’s a perfect opportunity for some glitter and bold colour!

Here are some of my resolutions for 2012:

  • Stop worrying about things out of my control
  • Minimise procrastination in all areas of my life
  • Get myself to a gym on a regular basis
  • Stop eating in bed
  • Always remove my makeup before bed
  • Never get into a makeup rut…no matter how early I have to get up every morning

Now let’s get onto the look for today!

1. Apply an eyeshadow primer. Pat a shimmery lavender onto the eyelid with a flat shader brush.

2. Add a reddish plum colour to the area just above the crease. The area of colour should be greatest at the outer part of the eye and become less as you bring it inwards.

3. Use a black (shimmer or matte works here) on the very tip of a pencil brush. Lightly place this colour into the crease of your eye. An easy way to keep the line precise is to look straight ahead and push the tip of the brush into the eye crease. Bring this line out following the natural shape of your crease, and join it to the outer corner of the eye with another line. Line the outer 1/3 of the bottom lashline with the same black. Once you are satisfied with the shape, go over it again with black to darken.

4. Use a damp flat brush to pick up some pale gold glitter or loose pigment. Press this colour onto the centre of the lid. Take a clean fluffy brush and gently blend to remove any harsh edges.

5. Take the same lavender colour used in Step 1 on a small fluffy brush. Apply this at the edge of the plum colour to soft it. Above this, use a champagne beige colour to highlight the brow bone.

6. Use a shimmery white eyeshadow to highlight the inner eye corner and pull the colour up towards the brow. Line the remaining 2/3 of the lower lashline with the plum colour used in Step 2. Use liquid eyeliner to create a thin line on the eyelid and wing it out following the black eyeshadow previously applied. Join the wing up with the bottom contour of the eye. Apply black eyeliner to waterline, and curl and apply mascara to lashes.

To finish off this look, use a matte bright colour that complements the eyes. I applied a bright blue-pink lipstick with no shimmer. If you feel that this is too bold for you, try a baby pink or some sheer pink gloss.

The black in the crease accentuates and sculpts the eye shape, while the gold shimmer draw light into the eyes. I chose purples because they are easy for everyone to wear but can still be bright and fun. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous on the 31st, try using teal/emerald green or orange/navy blue instead!

Usually glitter fallout is a major grumble, but since the look is for New Years Eve I say ‘the more glitter the better!’.

List of products used:


  • Too Faced Shadow Insurance
  • Urban Decay eyeshadows in Grifter, Last Call, Polyester Bride, Sin, Oil Slick
  • Bella Pierre pigment in Champagne
  • Stila Smudgestick in Stingray
  • Rimmel Glam Eyes Liquid Eyeliner
  • Max Factor False Lash Effect mascara


  • MAC Ricepaper eyeshadow
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Flush
  • Maybelline Colour Sensational Lipstick in Hooked On Pink

I’m out of the country at the moment, but I hope that wherever you are you’ve had a happy Christmas and are looking forward to a wonderful New Year. Thank you so much for supporting I Read Therefore I Am. Happy 2012!


‘Deck the Halls’ Manicure


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It’s almost Christmas! Of all the many wonderful things associated with the holiday season, one of my favourites is the festive decoration. Since I won’t be home for Christmas, I decided to put up some decorations anyway…on my nails!

Apparently the sparkliness of the rhinestones made it impossible for my camera to focus properly – I apologise. I do love this manicure, its like having a Christmas tree on my fingers!!!

1. Thumb: Base colour using OPI Glitzerland, Xmas tree using essie Pretty Edgy and rhinestones from Skin Food. Random star…

2. Index: Base colour using essie Lollipop, poinsettia using OPI Glitzerland, outlining using essie Blanc. Rhinestone from Skin Food.

3. Middle: Base colour using OPI Glitzerland. Christmas baubles using OPI Absolutely Alice and essie Super Bossa Nova.

4. Ring: Base colour using essie Lollipop. Snowflakes created using Etude (Korean brand) silver nail pen.

5. Pinky: Base colour using OPI Glitzerland. Holly created using essie Lollipop, Pretty Edgy and Etude silver nail pen.

Hope you enjoyed this one, dear readers! Merry Christmas to you alll!


Review: Benefit’s Benetint, Posietint & High Beam


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I grabbed this little set at the virtual checkout from Sephora. Yes, even in cyberspace they try to get you at the checkout! Benetint is a cult product and probably Benefit’s most famous, and its hideously expensive ($55 at Myer). I considered paying $15 for a chance to try 3 products from Benefit at once to be quite good value.

Each bottle contains 4mL of product. A full sized bottle of each product is 12mL.

Benetint is a ‘rose-pink’ shade that can be used on the lips and cheeks to give a sheer, fresh flush of colour. My first impression was that it smelled really good – like roses. But I found that on my skin (MAC NC42-3) it barely showed up with a single application. A few layers of product brought up the colour sufficiently to be seen, but it took quite a lot of effort and it appeared patchy in areas.

Overall, I was disappointed and wouldn’t have bought the full size version. I would recommend tints with stronger pigmentation such as Hourglass Sheer Aura or Stila Lip & Cheek Stain (both available at Mecca Cosmetica) for anyone medium or darker skin.

Highbeam is a ‘shimmering pink’ liquid highlighter. It should be used on the high points of the face (cheekbones, nose bridge, cupid’s bow, under the eyebrow arch) to bring in light and create a ‘glow’. My criteria for a good highlighter include easy blendability, sheerness and shimmer over glitteriness. My stalwart of liquid highlighters has been MAC’s Strobe Liquid for many years.

I liked this product very much, although you have to be careful to avoid making your face too shiny. A little goes a long way with Highbeam! Although the cool undertones aren’t as flattering on my skin as other warmer products, I still like the look of it. I still apply a minute amount of powder to negate any excessive shine. I would consider purchasing the full size version of this product for myself and definitely recommend it for people with cool skintones.

Posietint is a ‘poppy pink’ tint with much the same description as Benetint. Unlike Benetint, this comes in an opaque metallic pink bottle. I did not expect that the tint would even show up on my face after Benetint failed to. A total surprise when it actually did show up! I actually really like Posietint – I even tried it on my lips. It showed up a little, but even that impressed me since my lips are quite pigmented. I had to apply this several times as well to get the colour to where I was satisfied, but I still felt it held up better than Benetint.

Overall, I’d buy this if given a choice between Posietint and Benetint. But honestly, I probably wouldn’t get either and choose a more pigmented stain instead.

In terms of the products in general, I thought the packaging was super cute but I hated the nail polish brush. It was teeny tiny so you could only place the product on a small area at a time. It also means that it would be difficult to use them while travelling or in a hurry (always a concern for the busy student). On the plus side, they are quite hardy. I dropped one onto the tiled floor and it survived without a scratch. I also didn’t like that the Posietint bottle was opaque because you can’t see how much product is left.

I hope you enjoyed this review and it helps you make an informed beauty decision. Thanks for reading!


Makeup Look: California Girl


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Inspiration for the look: Katy Perry’s cover for the song California Gurls.

I think of this look as ‘beachy glam’ – not sure how well it would hold up if you actually went for a swim but you sure would turn heads while sunbathing!

I have to apologise for the photography – my camera died before I could get more than a couple of shots of the finished look.

To get the look, keep reading!

1. Use a flat shading brush to apply a peachy-gold pink colour to the eyelids. Take the colour slightly above the crease.

2. Apply a matte taupe colour with a blending brush to the crease to add definition to the eye.

3. Use a clean blending brush and gently brush in small circles around the edge of the colour to remove any harsh lines. Use a frosty pale beige colour to highlight under the browbone and in the inner corner.

4. Use a plum colour to line the bottom lashline.

5. Line the upper lashline using either gel or liquid liner (I used gel liner and a pointed eyeliner brush). Create the outline of the wing before lining the rest of your eye. In order to get the dramatic effect of the look, bring the wing out until the apex is in line with the end of your eyebrow. Fill in the rest of your liner and the eyes are finished!

Check to see that the shape of your eyeliner is symmetrical. This can be difficult as eyes themselves are not symmetrical! If you’re wearing this look for a night out, add some full volume false lashes to amp it up even more.

I finished off this look with a coral pink blush similar to the one used in California Gurls. The blush I used was Stila’s Cozy from the dream in full palette which I reviewed earlier (click here to read!). I was quite disappointed with the pigmentation of the blush. Despite repeated passes with the brush, it was difficult to get any colour payoff. The bright colour on the pan translated into a very sheer hint of colour on my cheeks.

List of products used:


  • Too Faced Shadow Insurance
  • MAC eyeshadows in Expensive Pink, Grain
  • Stila eyeshadows in Dream, Espresso, Surreal
  • Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink
  • Maybelline Volum’Express mascara


  • MAC Bronzing Powder in Matte Bronze
  • Benefit High Beam
  • Stila blush in Cozy


  • Lancome Juicy Tube in Fraise
Its almost time for Christmas! Have you finished your present shopping?

Review: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence


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I never used toners before trying this product. Luckily, my skin is usually pretty good – no acne, no excessive oil (except my eyelids), no dryness or sunburn and fairly even. I have to admit I wanted to try SK-II after hearing all the hype about how miraculous it was.

Since I don’t have the $$$ to buy out the whole range of products, I chose the Facial Treatment Essence, which is meant to be their signature product. According to their website, this is ‘miracle water’. It contains an ingredient called Pitera which was extracted from yeast used to make sake.

I picked this up at Singapore Duty Free for $120. It is available at Myer for $185 (150mL).

The bottle is a heavy frosted glass. I have dinged it a couple of times and it hasn’t got a scratch, but I am hesitant to take it on travels.

The Facial Treatment Essence is a clear, thin liquid with an odd sort of smell. Personally, it doesn’t bug me but if you are very sensitive to that sort of thing then I’d suggest smelling it before purchasing. It can be applied either with a cotton pad or just with your  hands. You only need a tiny amount to go over the whole face.

I apply this using my hands (why waste any on the cotton pad?) and pat it gently onto my face and neck. It can be used on the eye area as well. After waiting about 30 seconds for it to dry, I apply moisturiser. For the past 3 months, I used this twice a day after cleansing and exfoliating.

All in all, I LOVE this product. As I said before, my skin is fairly problem free so I didn’t get any totally miraculous results. But I definitely feel that the Facial Treatment Essence has improved my skin tone and helped lock in moisture. During exams when my skin condition usually deteriorates, the Facial Treatment Essence really helped keep it looking good.

You should be able to get a sample of this from the SK-II counter in department stores. I highly recommend this product for any person of any skin type at any age. It is amazing and makes your skin feel great! I consider the price worth the indulgence, think of it as a long term investment for your skin. I am super impressed with SK-II and I want to try their Cellumination Essence next ($200 for 30mL. OUCH).

Have you found any holy grail skincare products? Let me know in the comments or email me at