January Empties

Argh am so late with this but work’s been busy and I haven’t had time to take the necessary photos 😦

I’m trying to empty my drawers so you’ll start seeing a lot of sample-sized products. Little bottles I saved and intended to use on short trips and holidays, but I finally admit that I just don’t travel often enough to use them all up in a reasonable amount of time.


this works revitalizing shampoo & conditioner (30ml)Made in China
General observation: product in little bottles appears to be a lot thicker than in regular packaging (for all beauty brands).

“Infused with essential oils to restore silky texture and shine”
This shampoo cleans very well, every time I rinse it off, I hear my hair squeak. The conditioner doesn’t add a lot of moisture/nourishment considering how well the shampoo works. Thus I conclude that this is a shampoo more suitable for oilier hair. I wash my hair daily and this shampoo can sometimes feel a little stripping when used over a longer period of time. It has a herbal smell. Stings the eyes terribly if the product does get into them (both me and the Man can attest to this). Like really sharp pain.
Repurchase? Nah this is not for me.

shower gels

L’Occitane Verbena Shower Gel (30ml) – Made in France
This shower gel didn’t feel any special. The smell is very fresh, I mean it’s verbena. Otherwise not much to write home about. It’s not thickened up though comes out of the bottle easily.
Repurchase? I don’t know how much this is but I don’t think it’s worth splurging for. The scent bored me quickly.

~H2O+ spa Sea Salt Body Wash (37ml) – Made in USA
A friend gave me this on a trip, she got this from the Disneyland Resort in Hong Kong. This was super thick, but once I got past that I quite enjoyed using this. I like the scent, not on the Molten Brown level though of course. But I do prefer this over the L’Occitane.
Repurchase? Unlikely as the brand isn’t widely available here and not impressed enough to consider a full bottle.

Molten Brown Heavenly Gingerlily Moisture Bath & Shower (30ml)Made in England
Love this! Ok firstly the texture didn’t feel especially thick compared to everything else. I also feel that it’s quite moisturizing but am most impressed above all with its scent. It really lingers on the skin afterwards as well, which is no mean feat as usually scents do not cling onto me. I checked the ingredients list and perfume is the fourth ingredient. So now you know! Anyway, two thumbs up from my household.
I also tried another scent in the past, can’t remember the name but it was violet and was nice too.
Repurchase? Seriously I think I will buy it one day. It’s cheaper than Aesop.

elemis shamp

Elemis sp@home revitalise-me shampoo (50ml) – Made in the Czech Republic
At 50ml, this is the most generous sample/travel size shampoo for now.
“Infused with the uplifting aromatics of thyme, basil and neroli, this gentle shampoo leaves hair deeply cleansed with a healthy, glossy shine.”
I quite enjoyed this shampoo and do agree with its claim – cleanses well without stripping your hair (I’m looking at you, “this works”). I have the conditioner that goes with it and feel that they work well together. This smells expensive in a very classic way. Almost like a cologne.
Repurchase? I don’t love it enough just yet but never say never.


Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm in Black Tea and Blackberry, SPF 25 (7g)Made in USA
For me this is one of the nicer lip balms there. It’s not readily available in France and I find the price a bit expensive for what it is, but there’s no denying that it lasts the longest on my lips and they never feel dry whenever I’m using it. One thing to note is that it is heavily fragranced and the scent never really go away as long as the balm is there. I’ve smelled and tasted this balm on the rim of a water bottle I drank from the day before. So be careful when you choose your scent, or just go with the unscented one.
Repurchase? I have the lemon one and another black tea.

L’Occitane x Pierre Herme Pamplemousse Rhubarbe Hand Cream (30ml) – Made in France
See review here.
Repurchase? I wish they have other products/formula in this winning scent

belif the true cream – moisturizing bomb (10ml) – [unknown]
belif is a Korean brand but they are affiliated with the Scottish apothecary Napier. My understanding is they incorporate a few of Napier’s herbal formula in their products. One of their star product is this moisturizer.
This has a fresh smell that reminds me of ginger or verbena. It says on the jar “Clinically proven to retain moisture for 26 hrs”. It’s a very comfortable cream, the texture is not heavy at all, somewhere between a gel and a cream. My current night cream (Bouclier Bio Concentré Détox de jour is marked as a ‘gel’ ) feels heavier and greasier after application. My skin never felt dry with the moisturizing bomb, and I used this cream on my ski trip.

For details behind this cream, check here (links to official website). You can find the ingredients on the US Sephora website. Curiously I couldn’t find any info on where it’s made.

One word on this sample jar though. The container is actually like this:


Meaning the jar doesn’t get wider but is straight up and bottom. I was expecting more product and was surprised.
Repurchase? I liked this a lot and yes, I think I will buy this in the future. But this is not available in France.


Nature Republic Snail Solution 80 Ampoule (30ml) – Made in Korea?
Ok I think this is 30ml but I’ve lost the packaging so I’m not 100% sure.
This is to be used after cleansing and your lotions but before moisturizer. I treat this as an essence type of product.
I have and tried every product in the Snail Solution range (eye, the skin booster, emulsion, ampoule and cream) and I think the moisturizer is the star product of this range and if you only buy one item buy that. The lotions are not bad either (review to come, hopefully). The ampoule though you can safely skip – it’s nothing special, I just don’t think it adds anything to your skincare regime. It’s better-than-nothing but I’m sure there are better essence/serums out there that really make a difference. If you have all the products in the range and you apply them all in your routine, by the time you come to the ampoule you’ll feel it’s redundant because your skin would feel really moisturized after the two lotions. The moisturizer seals everything up as a final step. Also I’m still not sure if this made me break out or if it’s just a string of bad luck that I always pick this up again just before my hormones fluctuate. I guess I’ll never find out.
Repurchase? Nope.


photo taken before pencil was finished to show what it looked like


Kate lasting eyebrow W in BR-3 (0.5g) – Made in Japan
This is a double-ended brow pencil, one side to define and the sponge tip applies powder to set or fill in any gaps. I used mainly the pencil side, occasionally touching up with the ‘chip’ end. This would have lasted longer had I not dropped it, and on another occasion either had too much product out or used too much force that I broke it again upon application.
This is a product that’s really easy to use and I guess aimed at beginners? If I were to improve one thing it would be to extend the wear. Maybe having a little more wax in the formula would help. I’m nitpicking anyway. The shape of the pencil does make drawing your brows faster.
Repurchase? There’s just sooo many brow products out there to try. And I think I prefer having a spoolie instead of the powder, to be honest.


Top: UD 24/7 Demolition + Zero, Bottom: Armani

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Smooth Silk Waterproof Eye Pencil in 02 (brown) – Made in Germany
This formula used to be LE only before GA decided to make the pencil permanent. The permanent ones have a smudger at the end and basically resembles the old lineup. The only difference is they are waterproof (AFAIK).
These are the smoothest and most buttery eye pencils I’ve tried. They are crazy soft, softer than UD (see review below). This means that you’re very likely to go through them a lot quicker than your average pencil liners. I sharpened mine pretty much every other use and by then they would be super blunt and impossible to draw with. In other words I drew a maximum of 4 eyes (not 4 times) with one sharpening, and even that I felt was pushing it. You’ll have some time to work and smudge them into the lash line after drawing if that’s what you want. After that it will start to set.

Like a lot of eye pencils (waterproof, gel or otherwise), these smudged on me and ran to the under eye area. My lids can get quite greasy and even with a primer underneath eyeliners just do this to me. I’ve stopped blaming products and stopped expecting iron-wear. Also my daily routine now includes going over my lines with a translucent powder to set them every time, no matter what kind of pencils I use. This simple step has saved me a lot of wiping and checking in mirrors and embarrassments. Some pencils are more prone to smudging than others even with this extra step. In general it’s not anything I can’t deal with as the smudging remains subtle, luckily. Anyway back to the GA pencil –

This didn’t budge after my little step above. The best thing about this pencil though is the colour. This is a deep, dark brown with discreet shimmer in it – it doesn’t look flat and dull as the shimmers reflect light. But it’s very subtle so you don’t really see them unless you look for it. Here’s a blurry pic to show the shimmers:



Top GA, bottom UD

The brown is probably the darkest brown I’ve seen in a liner. It’s almost black:

Repurchase? If I’m in the mood to splurge I will as it is a very good pencil. Sometimes I do wonder if it’s not too soft though. At the end of the day I have to admit there are other really good pencils out there too. Perhaps if you want the deepest, darkest of browns?

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On pencil in Demolition (0.5g? 0.01oz?) – Made in Germany
This is the double-ended version that came in 2014’s Holiday Black Magic set, which is still available on the UD French site. Named ‘Black Magic’ because there’s a black on every pencil. I bought this to try the formula and a few colours at the same time. They are nice for travel or for sampling. You don’t get much product though, a regular pencil is 1.2g. I’m not sure if it’s 0.5g per end or total. There’s 0.01oz printed on it too but if true they should print 0.28g instead of 0.5 so I have no idea what’s up. Anyway.
This is my first experience with the 24/7 formula and I must say I’m quite impressed with the shades I’ve tried so far (Demolition and its neighbour Zero). The nib is soft but not overly so like Armani’s and the shades are pigmented. They are also one of the more smudge-resistant pencils that work on me.
Demolition is a dark matte brown. One of those staple colours. But as you saw in the swatch above, it’s nowhere near as dark as the Armani.

More swatch comparison:


1 stroke


multiple strokes

  1. UD Zero
  2. GA 02
  3. UD Demolition

As you can see the Armani brown is almost as black as Zero. It looks like a warm black. Demolition gets significantly darker when you go over it a few times.

Repurchase? If all the shades perform as well as these, why not?

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