black eyeliners

October & November Empties

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OCTOBER
Steam Cream (75ml) – Made in Japan
Reviewed here and here. 2016 is the year of the monkey. This one has an expiry date of November 29. Anyhow you can actually go through a tin of these rather quickly, especially if you multitask them (I use it mainly on hands and body). I still haven’t really tested it on the face, even though it says it is suitable for all skin types including sensitive. The essential oils and strong fragrance make me a little wary of doing so. To recap, the steam creams have a really glossy and light consistency. It will visibly slide (slowly) if you tip it on its side but it shouldn’t be runny. It’s more like a lotion than a cream. The selling point is that it’s vegan and all natural. But propylparaben is the last ingredient.
This is my third jar. I don’t actually love it that much, I just took advantage of a special offer. Their prices do seem to climb every year though.
Repurchase? No. But I have one last tin to go. Maybe I’ll make a gift out of it.

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (150ml) – Made in France
I’ve tried Baptiste and one from Timotei and Klorane remains my favourite because your hair doesn’t ‘crunch’ up if you overdo it (Timotei) and it doesn’t leave your hair looking grey (Baptiste). The scent is pleasant enough, a bit powdery but not overwhelming or in-your-face (Baptiste). I do like the scent of the Timotei best though but that’s just personal preference.
Repurchase? Yes

Bath & Body Works Ultra Shea Body Cream in Sparkling Limoncello (226g) – Made in ??? [Surprisingly not printed on the tube]
I picked this up during my holidays in the US in summer. It feels like a body butter, kinda reminded me of bliss’. I like these kind of formulas best for the body, and used this without problem right after purchase as it isn’t overly heavy. While it doesn’t deliver the “24 hour moisture” as it claims it’s still very a very decent product especially when you consider the price of these (usually with deals/savings). I really find it comparable to higher end body creams. The only challenge is finding a scent that you like. I’ve noticed the selection is generally on the sweet side, sometimes very fake and often quite ‘loud’. Luckily there are no sparkles in this lemon scented cream. I think the sparkling is there to imply how fresh this smells. Those with a critical nose might complain it smells like Pledge but it really isn’t that bad.
Repurchase? I got 2 more creams in other scents to go.

Lancome Bi-Facil Instant Cleanser Sensitive Eyes (15ml Sample) – Made in France
The classic two-layer eye makeup remover. No irritations with this, quite gentle and didn’t leave my eyes too greasy or dry. Worked pretty well all in all. Smells a little of roses.
Repurchase? This was a GWP but who knows, if I need a dedicated eye makeup remover one day I might turn to this.

NOVEMBER
IOPE Enzyme Treatment Powder Wash (50g) – Made in Korea
Reviewed here.
Repurchase? Probably not. I like that it’s gentle but there are so many cleansers out there to try.

It’s Skin Prestige Crème d’Escargot (60ml) – Made in Korea
This is supposed to be one of the popular cult products with people reporting rapid fading of scars and whitening effect while using it. First things first I don’t like how clunky the jar is. Same story with the Nature Republic cream (scroll down). It’s ridiculous how much plastic is used for the jar:

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It’s as wide and almost as tall as the XL Clean it Zero and wayyy heavier

They made it really hefty as well. This empty jar weighs 275g!! Ridiculous. It’s frustrating for people who just want to haul the stuff back home from Korea. Takes up too much room and weight.
For those with sensitive noses, this is perfumed. It’s quite strong but fades quickly. I can’t compare the perfume side to side but this reminds me of the shampoo Finesse, back in the day.

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Was surprised to see that the jar is sort of bell shaped, hiding more product. I guess my experience with the belif moisture bomb sample scarred me. But don’t be fooled, the beveled plastic makes the container look bigger than it actually is.

Within the first two months of use I noticed:
– whitening effect: I was slightly tanned during my holidays but that faded in an alarming speed.
– complexion is more uniform

As for fading scars, I’m sure it helped but I didn’t get crazy fast results like others did. Maybe it’s a question of age??
I like this cream despite of the scent. I thought this would be really heavy and more suited for winter use but surprisingly it’s well adapted for warmer months and even more humid climate without feeling heavy on my skin, which is on the drier side now that I’m older. It didn’t break me out at all and I’ve had no negative reaction from using this.
Repurchase? Yes. And I actually have the Ginseng version of this at home.

Not pictured above but I also have two pencils:
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Dejavu Fiberwig Lasting-fine eyeliner in Black
I mentioned this here (where you can see a comparison photo of various black liner nibs too). The reason I didn’t reach for this despite having the best staying power ever is because it gunked and clumped my lashes whenever I use it. So much so that it drastically impedes my application of mascara afterwards. My lashes would be all bunched up in crazy ways and it was just impossible to put mascara on properly. I’d have to comb the lashes out first if I even manage to undo the mess, and then try to apply mascara. But no matter how much you comb you can’t get all the gel liner out so each time I use this liner my lashes end up looking funky/clumpy/less lashes than I have. It got so frustrating that I just stopped using it, so sick was I of having to babysit this thing each and every time. And time consuming this was. It’s really a shame cos this thing didn’t budge at all and wore like steel.
Repurchase? No no no.

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Koji Dollywink eyebrow pencil (with Tsubasa Msauwaka)
This is ancient and was probably in the first lineup of the range. The packaging has changed – they’ve printed some designs on the body of the pencil but otherwise everything else looks the same. I’m hoping the formula is too because this pencil is not too soft and not too hard, it has just the right amount of wax to draw the brows properly. Lasting power is normal. Nothing lasts all day on my brows, but powder tends to go first and then pencils. Oh! I almost forgot. The longest lasting one has to be the little tube of Make Up Forever brow gel thing. But you need to pay more attention and time when using that.
Repurchase? It’s cheap and thus definitely warrants a repurchase.

August + September Empties

AUGUST

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Shiseido Integrate gel liner in BK999 (0.28g) – Made in Germany
I bought this cos it seemed to be a favourite among Japanese beauty magazine readers. But the size of the nib is too big for my liking and unlike a pencil it can’t be sharpened. Also the performance is inconsistent – sometimes it smudges, sometimes no. Despite no change in the steps leading to or out prior.
Repurchase? Nope.

Kate slim gel pencil in BK-1 (0.12g) – Made in Japan
Now this is a liner I know I can count on. I took this with me on my holidays and with daily use it lasted around one month. This has less than half the product of the Integrate liner though.
Repurchase? Staple.

Here’s a comparison photo with nibs from different liners. The UD acts as your average, typical pencil liner. You can see the Integrate is just slightly slimmer than that. Visée is the thinnest (mentioned a few entries below). KATE and dejavu are the same in diameter. I’ll write about the Dejavu one eventually but lets just say for now that I don’t reach for it often despite it having the best staying power.

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Top-Bottom: Visée, dejavu fiberwig, KATE, Shiseido Integrate, UD24/7

(more…)

May Empties

I’ve got 10 empties in May 🙂

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Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Multi Action Cream Cleanser (150ml) – Made in Belgium (? I forgot to check)
I originally prepared a separate post to review the Estee Lauder cleanser but I guess I’ll do this here now. First, it smells like fabric softener, like those ‘clean laundry’ or ‘soft cotton’ smell. So sensitive noses beware.
This is a very gentle cleanser, not designed to do any heavy duty cleaning. My eyeliners are hard wearing and it didn’t even budge. Same with my mascara, it kind of just smeared around. I mention this because it blurbed about removing makeup on the back of the tube.
I’m using this mainly in the mornings, as you’re supposed to use it on dry skin and I tend to wash my face in the shower in the evenings. On that front it is gentle and non-stripping and my skin feels supple afterwards and never feels tight, even if I wait a bit before putting the rest of the skincare on. That’s something.
You can also use this as a moisturizing mask, I admit I’ve only done this once or twice and well, it was alright. I see it like this: when used as a cleanser it kind of leaves a film behind and won’t give you that squeaky clean feeling; so if you were to leave it on longer as a mask the clingy film layer that you feel will still be there, but perhaps will be interpreted as a moisturizing, protective layer instead… if you know what I mean…?
I suggest using a face cloth or konjac sponge ff you’re after a less clingy feeling.

All in all I think this is a nice option for those wanting to try cream cleansers or those with very dry skin. It’s not stripping at all.
Repurchase? Unfortunately it’s not really for me.

Kanebo Sekkisei Lotion Excellent (200ml) – Made in Japan
I wrote about this here, check that post if you want to find out what the difference is in terms of ingredients between the Lotion Excellent and the regular Sekkisei. Compared to the regular version, I do feel this one is slightly less watery, and the alcohol is less present and thus more moisturizing. In terms of whitening I’m afraid I can’t gauge if it’s more efficient. All I can say is since using the Sekkisei lotions, my skin tone lost a lot of the dark, sallowness that made me look tired and sort of wilted 😛 Now it’s definitely more uniform. There are still some areas that are ‘darker’ and I still have red scars I want to fade from recent breakouts but other than that I do feel in general it has improved. Sekkisei also claims to curb spots and stuff but my breakouts are hormonal (I know I’m a broken record on this) and those benefits are lost on me.
Repurchase? Personally the regular version is enough for me so I won’t be getting the Lotion Excellent. You could potentially start on this version and then go to the regular for ‘upkeep’. (more…)

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.

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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. (more…)

Recent Haul

Japanese stuff first:

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1. Kosé Medicated Sekkisei Lotion Excellent – this one contains 2 more premium ingredients. I hear this has some anti-aging properties?
2. Kosé Medicated Sekkisei – this is the regular, classic version.
The Man was on a business trip to Korea, he was very busy. So I bought #1 on my own and surprise surprise he managed to get me #2. That’s why this is looks a little Sekkisei overkill. I’m using a new bottle of #2 (not photographed) so I’m good for a long time.
3. Kosé softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil – tried and loved. My budget choice.
4. Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ – “a lightweight, water-based, high protection sunscreen with hyaluronic acid + royal jelly essence + citrus mix to help moisturize the skin. Can be used with primer, under makeup. Doesn’t leave a white cast.” This was voted as one of the best in the Japanese @cosme awards. Japanese sunscreens tend to be very light yet efficient and I’ve always preferred them.
5. Hada Labo Skin Conditioner Medicated Gokujyun – in addition to the moisturizing goodness of the classic skin conditioners, this one soothes irritated skin and prevents spots (hence medicated).
6. Hada Labo Shiroshizuku – this is a brightening serum/moisturizer
7. suisai Beauty Clear Powder – an enzyme based powder cleanser with moisturizing properties that cleanses pores, helps remove blackheads. I’ve used up boxes of this before and really like how smooth it leaves the skin feeling. Convenient for travel too of course.
8. Utena Matomage Hair Styling Stick – this is a small, handy hair styling product. The green one here is for strong hold. I think they have a pink one.
9. Rohto Lycée eye drops – for contact lens wearer. Lightly cooling.
10. Lunasol Full Glamour Lips in #36 – already featured in the Nude lipstick post. This is a really, really moisturizing formula. I’m going to pick up more of these lipsticks when I can. So impressed! #36 is a new colour.
11. Lunasol Coloring Creamy Cheeks in EX01 Chocolat Beige – cream to powder blush. Doesn’t smell like chocolate (I hear the eyeshadows and lipstick/glosses do). Beautiful colour that mimics perfectly your own flush. Very natural. It’s on the sheer side layers wonderfully.
12. Maybelline Lashionista mascara in black – this mascara adds fibres to your lashes, making them look longer/more volume.
13. Shiseido Integrate gel liner in black – bought to try having read good things about it.
14. Kosé Fasio Smart Curl Mascara V – volume
15. Kosé Fasio Powerful Curl Mascara Long
16. Visée Super Slim Gel Liner – curious to compare this with others
17. Kate eyebrow pencil in BR-5
18. Kate slim gel pencil in black  – staple
19. Shiseido Maquillage Dramatic Melting Rouge in RD425
Hidden between #15 & 16:
20. Kosé Fasio Quick Dry Gel Liner in black – again want to compare with liners

I can’t remember when I started reincorporating Japanese skincare products into my regime, but for the last (almost) 8 years I’ve relied on European brands (specifically French drugstore) which my skin seemed to have preferred. Perhaps it’s the drier/cooler climate here, who knows. Nonetheless I’ve been getting deluxe skincare samples steadily (cleansers and toners mostly, then moisturizers) and with my recent experience of Sekkisei, I’m once again ready to embrace Asian skincare products.

Iope skincare:

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Haven’t tried these yet. Will report in time …

European stuff:

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The small tube is Sephora Brow Thickener.

A close-up of the Bobbi Brown:

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Intense Pigment Liner in Midnight.

Reviews to come!

Empties Galore

Welp, been gone for six months. I’m sort of struggling with the blog and my relationship with makeup. I’m sure fellow readers of beauty blogs have come across similar posts elsewhere. I’m not quite at the point of shutting everything down quite yet. Despite the irregular posts and long absences I actually thing about blogging this and that a lot – I just don’t get round to doing it. In terms of my priorities at the moment, blogging isn’t really that high up. Beauty bloggers will know that blogging takes up a chunk of time and while I do enjoy it I don’t want to neglect my family either. Luckily my goal for the blog has never been for money/freebies and the like, honestly just want to share my opinions in hope that it might help someone out there 🙂 So I guess I just want to say that I will continue but do pardon for the lack of posts.

I’ll kick things off with an empties post. I’ve got loads of them, it’s been yonks since I’ve done a post after all. I must admit I’ve chucked a few things away without documenting them. Or rather I should say the photos and notes are gone when my phone got stolen earlier this year. Anyway here’s what I got:

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Starting from left to right:

SANA Super Quick Melty Gel Liner EX in 01 Black Chocolate – Made in Japan
Reviewed before, also used up another in the brown chocolate colour. This is the ‘Melty’ version, and I do find that it is more prone to smudging than the older version, their regular formula.
Repurchase? No, not the ‘melty’ ones.

KATE slim gel pencil in BK-1 (0.12g) – Made in Japan
I think this and SANA’s gel pencils share the same manufacturer. SANA is slightly cheaper than KATE IIRC. This is the regular SANA formula, and I bought this from KATE simply because I couldn’t find the SANA one.
Repurchase? Yesh.

Lancome Hypnose mascara in black (6.5ml) – Made in France
My first Lancome mascara and now I know why they are so popular. I remember liking the brush and formula, and that the results were good. However I wished the handle (also the lid) is shaped better – longer and without that odd ‘pinched’ end. I find it hard to hold and grip. In the same photo, the NARS tube is nicely designed (longer and grippy), more user friendly.
Repurchase? Of all higher-end mascaras Lancome’s are probably the most affordable. If there’s a nice set like they do often here (mascara with free eyeliner pencil + mini eye makeup remover) then I might be tempted. Otherwise I’m in no hurry to replace this. I’m repeating myself again here but only Japanese mascaras hold the curl on my straight droopy lashes. (more…)

December Empties

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These are the last things I used up in 2014. Again, apologies for the terrible lighting.

Chanel No. 5 Velvet Body Cream (150ml) – Made in USA
I don’t own the perfume (I might one day cos I do like it, but I tend to go to Uncle Serge and Frederic Malle) but I fell in love with the texture from a sample I got from Sephora. Hemmed and hawed for a year or two and finally splurged when I had a 20% discount. Really beautiful texture and the scent lingers and is very long-lasting for a body cream. This is all about indulgence, your sheets, nightie will smell like No. 5.

The jar is made of frosted hefty glass. This is made to be displayed and shown-off. Not practical for travel obviously.
Having a look on the website it seems they have changed the name and it’s now known simply as La Creme Corps, or The Body Cream. Can’t comment on whether the formula is the same or updated. You can also get this in other scents like Coco, Coco Mademoiselle, Chance etc.
Repurchase? I would love to, but I will try to find a dupe for the texture.

Klorane Conditioner with Oat Milk (150ml) – Made in France
Blurb from the website:

Cultivated in France, our extra gentle oat milk softens, protects, and moisturizes all hair types. The soothing and protective properties of the oat respect the natural balance of the scalp and hair, making it ideal for daily use and suitable for the entire family.

Promises to:
– Detangles, repairs and nourishes hair
– Adds radiance, lightness and volume
– Eliminates static electricity

Paraben, silicone, sulfate, sodium chloride free.

So that’s the info I found on the US website. On the back of my tube, it states

‘With its high content in oat milk, this conditioner without parabens, respects the natural state of the scalp but is also suitable for all hair types. Its velvety and fluid texture restores the natural balance of hair to restore its beauty and softness.’

It reads like something that’s put through Google translate. Anyway.
Klorane is a company under Pierre Fabre (same as Avene). I thought this conditioner was just ok. I was (still am) using the Cedrat shampoo and I think that formula is superior but I guess I shouldn’t compare shampoo with conditioner. I bought this because it says it’s ‘ultra-gentle’ and ‘for frequent use/all hair types’. To sum up I wasn’t really impressed with this.
Repurchase? No.

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Yeux (15ml) – Made in France
Claims to be a ‘rehyrating concentrate anti-eye bags, anti-fatique’ eye gel. Well it did nothing of that sort for me. This is a really ‘meh’ product that I find struggles to hydrate properly at times, let alone giving ‘intense’ hydration as implied in the name.
Repurchase? Heck no.

Kate slim gel pencil (0.12g) in BK-1 Black – Made in Japan
Hey another one of these. This is the last of my stash and as mentioned here it’s now my go-to and I’ll ditch the SANA unless I find the original non ‘melty’ version.
Repurchase? Yes.

Hydraluron (30ml) – Made in Canada
Learnt about this by way of Caroline Hirons’ site. Lovely product to use and I do feel it’s helped a lot in terms of hydration. Much appreciated ever since I’ve been using Adapalene.
It’s a clear gel that you apply before your moisturizer. The size surprised me – the tube is much smaller than the box lets on. It lasted around 2 months for me with twice daily use. Kinda pricey as well and not available in France AFAIK. It sort of reminds me of the Jelly Acquarysta from Fuji film (since pulled out of France).
Repurchase? Yes, I bought a backup when I was last across the pond and have been using that. Might need an alternative after.