Month: June 2014

June Empties

juneempt

Kate slim gel pencil (0.12g) in BK1 black – Made in Japan
So Kate is a brand under Kanebo I believe. I bought this to compare with the SANA superquick gel pencil liners that I used and love. I didn’t find any difference, from packaging to the product. Same twist mechanism that can only go up and not down, for example. SANA is a hair cheaper so I’ll probably go with that from now on, except: 1. I am tempted by the new gold colour Kate offers and 2. It seems that my source for SANA no longer stocks this?? Probably because SANA has released a new version (called ‘melty’) and you can find it on their website here (Japanese). I want to try that.
* I didn’t look at how much product the SANA has but I gather it’s the same or very close.

ettusais Cream eyeliner WP (0.1g) in KH khaki brown – Made in Japan
I love these kind of slim gel eyeliners as you can see, so I bought ettusais to try and picked up the limited colour khaki for a change. The packaging is different, this is slightly thicker than SANA/Kate, and the most obvious difference is with this one you can twist the nib down, which I do like. It wasn’t often but I did find on a few occasions that this didn’t wear as well as the other two brands. Just less resistant. Again it was just a couple of times here and there. Maybe it’s this particular colour, maybe it’s the formula.
This was the more expensive of the two, at HKD115, or 10 euros. SANA is around HKD75? and Kate HKD95? NARS Larger than Life (0.5g) is 25 euros. So NARS is cheaper! Except I hated it.

It’s hard to say how long these kind of pencils last with daily use. Maybe 2 months? I rotated between these two and another Kate in brown colour. They are probably the easiest pencils I’ve ever used, I know for sure they are the fastest to work with as well. The thickness is perfect and there’s no sharpening.
Repurchase? Yes for both.

Glysomed Hand Cream (50ml) – Made in Germany
This is the fragrance-free version. The perfumed ones have a deep green packaging. It’s cheaper than Yes! Nurse and I’m just as happy with the results I get with Glysomed. This is richer and more emollient but still doesn’t leave your hands greasy or anything. This is the type of texture I usually look for and prefer in a hand cream. It’s fully opaque and is a cream. Yes! Nurse is perhaps more a lotion type of consistency. I’ve used up countless tubs and tubes of this, both scented and unscented. Only thing is I don’t have ready access to Glysomed here. I’m using dermophil as a replacement.
Glysomed contains parabens. dermophil and Yes! Nurse is paraben-free.
Repurchase? Yes

Yes! Nurse Hand Cream (50ml) – Made in the UK
I bought this on beautybay when they had a 20% off sale. Since I use a lot of hand creams I’m always on the look out for new ones to try. The story behind its development (and name) is that the co-founder, a pediatric nurse, had severely dry and damaged hands from frequent washing. Not finding what she needed/anything that worked, she made this. It came in this very cute box that encourages you to mail it off to someone and share the experience.
The hand cream has ‘Active Manuka Honey +15 and Omega 3, 6 & 9’ and it does smell like a mild honey when you apply. It’s light and thin in texture (but not runny), semi-opaque. Gets absorbed quickly while at the same time seem to deliver adequate moisturizing properties. My hands didn’t feel dry afterwards. It looks like they really put a lot of thought into this product, keeping it natural. I’m surprised by how much I like this. You can check the website here. If you dig around onto the blog side you’ll find the back story I mentioned.
Repurchase? Yes

La Roche-Posay Toleriane cleanser (200ml) Made in France
A staple. Boring, yes. But like a rock. Especially now that I’m experimenting more with skincare if anything goes wrong I come back to this and it seems to make things better.
Repurchase? Yes

La Roche-Posay Serozinc (150ml)Made in France
Zinc is supposed to be an skin-calming, anti-irritant/inflammatory. It soothes the skin but at the same time is a mild astringent. Zinc sulfate is thought to help help acne and regulate oil gland activity.
Serozinc says it’s good for razor burns, diaper rash and for use as a toner.
I know this is a cult favourite and that everyone loves this to bits – which was what incited me to try – but I’m not sure if this is really effective on me. I’m not seeing the almost instant improvements and magic that every review out there mentions.
I use this as my regular toner, so twice daily I mist my face with this after cleansing and pat it in gently until it’s absorbed. Afterwards, I either go straight to moisturizer, or if I see/feel a spot coming I’ll use a topical spot treatment. Sometimes I use a second toner with mild salicylic acid during those hormonal fluctuation, which is mainly when/why I get my spots.
My old routine before Serozinc was the same, except I was using a rose water before moisturizing. I haven’t noticed much of a difference with Serozinc. Now that I’ve finished this, I think I’ll go back to the previous routine and see if I miss this. I guess my expectations were too high from all the hype, and for some reason I was hoping the zinc would really help with controlling my hormonal spots (the bottle mentioned nothing of the sort). This would be a nice no-frills toner to include in your skin routine if you have oily skin, or for a teenager.
Repurchase? Yes, I only paid 4.8 euros for the bottle (shocked to read bloggers paying 11 pounds for this, not including shipping!) so I will probably give this a second chance somewhere down the line.

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Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil

This is probably the last entry for the time being on cleansing oils. Previous post and comparisons of different ones can be found here.

fancl

This is the latest generation of the famous Fancl cleansing oil. The bottle is milky, pearly white, you see a tinge of yellow because of the oil inside. They mention some kind of nano-techology (which was really popular back in those days) that helps with cleansing. … I found the box so here is the actual blurb:

Its advanced nano technology helps to quickly and effectively remove sunscreen, all kinds of make-up, dirt and sebum.
Skin looks clear, clean and healthy.
Suitable for all types of skin.

What can I say, it’s the most expensive among the cleansing oils I’ve tried recently (containing less product as well) but it’s without a doubt the best. For reference I paid HK$208, which is around 19 euros. You get 125ml – so far all the cleansing oils I’ve tried contains 150ml.

It’s a scentless, super thorough cleansing power, never stung my eyes, good emulsifying action and doesn’t leave my skin feel dry. The texture is on the runny side but not watery. I’d say it’s between DHC and L’Oreal. You eyes do go blurry if you get it too close but it’s only briefly. Nothing like what I had to go through with L’Oreal. I need two pumps to adequately clean my face (they recommend 2-3 pumps), but it really takes e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g off with ease. Even stubborn Japanese eyeliners and mascaras.

It doesn’t contain parabens, preservatives, sterilizers, fragrance, mineral oil and petroleum surfactants. It does have three different kind of oils that are beneficial to the skin – I don’t know how to translate them to English unfortunately.

This is considered the first step your cleansing. Ideally you should follow with your regular cleanser afterwards. I must say though this oil rinses off so cleanly that there were two occasions that I didn’t follow with the second cleanser. Having said that I usually double cleanse, especially when I’m wearing makeup. I’ve read somewhere that you should also make sure you take your sunscreen off properly, since they are designed to adhere to the skin and can be rather resilient. Double cleansing or not, just make sure you clean your skin properly.

Once opened, it is recommended that you use it within 120 days. If unopened you can keep it up to a year from the date of manufacture. The date is printed on the side of the box.

You can find more information here on the official Japanese Fancl website. It has won a lot of awards and I can see why.

My favourite is without a doubt the Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil, followed by DHC.

Beauty Products – what to buy in Paris

I’m far from an authority on shopping, I usually leave home with a list of things to check out, or just stick with my standbys and try to do the whole shopping thing efficiently. However I thought a post with some friendly pointers while people are visiting and beauty shopping in Paris may help someone out there. Now I try to be accurate about the information, but don’t hate me if I’m wrong 😦

Some random tidbits:
1. Taxes in France is high. But the price you see has tax included, so there won’t be any surprises at the till.
2. You need to spend a minimum of 175 euros (on one receipt) to qualify for tax refund. See more details on this here.
3. I rarely see exciting GWP/goodie bags. The nice and big GWP bags chocked full of stuff I saw at Clinique/Estee Lauder in the US are sadly absent here.
4. I haven’t seen nor been offered samples scooped/pumped from testers where tester packets aren’t available. However I’ve never asked for one either so I can’t say if this is practiced here. Samples usually come in small packets like those you find in magazines.
5. Good news – you’ll find testers for foundations and lipsticks etc in the supermarket and pharmaicies!

bonjourcheese
The only thing I recommend you to do, and this applies everywhere, is to say ‘Bonjour’ (or bonsoir). Even (especially?) if you have no intention to buy anything. Greetings are very important here, otherwise you risk coming across as rude and giving a bad first impression, which may or may not influence the service you get afterwards. I understand that perhaps you’re shy/don’t speak French but trust me, saying hello will only work in your favour.

Anyway, because of the tax, and particularly if you are visiting from the US, sometimes it’s just not worth it. You can skip all of our imported brands, and even the French ones like Chanel and Dior. The only exception to this AFAIK is by Terry, which can be cheaper here especially with a tax refund. I base this on the prices I find across various brands on US department store websites/Sephora US and compared it with Sephora FR for example. You *may* find Clarins prices more interesting here, depending on which State you’re from. The brands I looked at are ones that interest me, mostly based in US. I didn’t look at Sisley, for example. Or Valmont.

Unless it’s an LE product/Europe exclusive, or a just-released something that you need to have before it launches at home, I’ll skip it and try to buy at the airport duty-free before your flight home. Or on the flight. Keep in mind though terminals vary at CDG as it does elsewhere in the world and if you’re heading elsewhere in Europe after or not on a direct flight back home you may end up in a terminal that sells nothing.

So, what to buy? (more…)

Eye Shadow Sticks: KIKO vs Laura Mercier vs by Terry

essticks

oops sorry it’s blurry

I’ve only just recently [ha-ha … this post was created in NOVEMBER 2013 so lets just say a few months ago and leave it as that] jumped onto the eyeshadow stick bandwagon. Those creamy little twist-up sticks that come in so many colours, are easy to use and last all-day. I didn’t know where to start at first but I knew I should have one from Laura Mercier based on the frequency people write about them. Now I have eyeshadow sticks from three different brands. This post will not be comparing the colours since I didn’t buy any shades that are similar to each other. Rather it’ll be about my experience of using them, or how one particular shade performs for me from that particular brand.

Now that I look at it I have one from each price point, drugstore, mid-range and luxe. They share in common:  made in Italy, same weight at 1.64g, and they have the same type of twist mechanism packaging, same size/length. Both the KIKO and LM pencils weigh 11g, by Terry slightly heavier at 15g. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

First up, KIKO’s Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow: (more…)

Yaby palette + Depotting

depot

I don’t have a lot of eye shadows but I have enough. I’ve lost a lot of good ones during my moves (lots of shu, including ME 945), that still makes me shed a tear or two. I’ve toyed with the idea of depotting because:

1. I don’t have a makeup vanity = no drawers = not very accessible. I can’t see everything that I have without moving something or other.
2. Too many little pots and cases to go through just to find what I want
3. Half the time I forget I have a particular shade because again, I don’t see them. This means I end up buying similar shades or simply not using them because I didn’t know I have it.

My goal wasn’t to make a DIY palette for travelling or to organise my shadows by colour/tone/looks. I just wanted to declutter and be able to see easily most of what I have in one place. For this purpose, the Unii is too small for me (also found it too dainty for my liking); the pricing of the z-palette outside of the US made me balked a little. Still I was about to grudgingly pay for a pro z-palette when I came across Yaby. It looks clean and tidy, about the right size for my purpose plus it isn’t made of cardboard.

So the Yaby palette has a magnetized sheet at the bottom. The ‘mirror’ side is designed for mixing your pigments/foundation/lipsticks whatnot. It’s quite slim but should fit all eye shadows except baked/domed ones obviously. I guesstimate it will fit 20-21 MAC eye shadow pans. Maybe someone has a picture somewhere with one filled with ’em.

yaby

Bic pen for size reference

So. Random pictures I took during the process:

depot-coll

I didn’t bother taking a picture of my frying pan. (more…)

May Empties

mayempt

*sigh* Bit late as usual. I hesitated including the stuff from this month (June) into the post and decided to do a separate one, just to see if I’ll manage to add anything with two more weeks to go. Lots of duds in May.

Kose softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil Foam (200ml) – Made in Japan
Previously reviewed here. I wanted to get this one actually:

softymo

Read a lot of good reviews on that but didn’t find it in any shops so I bought the foam one to try.
This lasted around 3-4 months, I felt like I’ve used this one up faster than the others even though it has the same amount of product in the bottle.
I didn’t really enjoy using this one because of how it stings the eyes. And just to be clear I didn’t apply it on the eye area when it’s a foam, but waited til it’s turned to an oil before doing so. I had to use a separate eye makeup remover with this product and this defeats the purpose of using an oil cleanser for me.
Repurchase? No.

Lierac Anti-Blemish Mattifying Fluid (50ml) – Made in France
On the label, my notes taken from the leaflet in brackets:
[8.5%] patent-pending SKRL3 (this re-balance, protect and moisturize)
acnacidol BG+systenol A + HA (sebum regulating and limit release of key inflammation mediators)
grafted azelaic acid + zinc (clarifying and limit release of key inflammation mediators)
with marine spring water, for blemish-prone skin, adults.
It’s hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. Instructions are to apply morning and/or night. Promises to ‘rapidly diminish appearance of blemishes and help reduce sebum. Skin is lastingly mattified and ideally moisturized’. (more…)