disappointments

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.

BCL Browlash EX Long Separate Mascara – Hello Kitty Limited Edition

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I admit I bought this because of Hello Kitty. I’m not someone who seeks out HK merchandise but I guess I thought the HK makes a nice change from regular boring mascara packaging. Plus it seemed to be a best-seller in Japan.

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I’m not sure why it’s got the word ‘browlash’ in it but make no mistake this is a regular eyelash mascara.

This appeared to have everything I like in a mascara:
– comb, a special design with rows of 4, 3, 4, 3 etc going down.
– waterproof, sweat proof
– easy to remove with warm water (film type)
– separates the lashes
– length

Here’s a close up of the comb:

Ok I usually go for volume but that’s ok. I find the length and separation to be true, lashes are long and defined. It never clumped and I didn’t have problem with it smudging once it’s dry either. My lashes do look a bit sparse at times … the extra length somehow highlights what’s lacking. I suppose I’d prefer the teeth to be longer in the middle – sometimes I feel like I’m brushing the lashes with nothing. But apparently this sloped design helps fix the curl at the roots. I didn’t get a super strong curl though.

What fails this mascara for me is that the formula is super wet and it takes a long while to dry. It’s probably the wettest mascara I’ve ever used. I inevitably smudge the under eye area every time I used this simply from blinking normally. It became super annoying and I dreaded using this everyday. I grabbed this mascara with me on holidays untested, since the Fasio one irritated my eyes I thought any mascara would be an improvement. I tried it again upon my return but just gave up a few days ago out of frustration. I really don’t have time dealing with smudges in the morning rush.

I won’t throw it out just yet, I’m willing to give it another chance on my weekends or something. Maybe I’ll let it dry out a bit on its own and see what happens. If you can handle the formula, this is actually a great lengthening mascara.

Made in Japan, 7g.

Maybelline Lashionista Mascara

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LE packaging in Japan at the moment. Also with ‘care+’ ingredient for lashes. Mine is just pink and without the new ingredient

I decided to review this because it appears to be quite popular, and I’ve seen this in Japanese beauty mags where it gets good reviews from readers. I’m inclined to say this mascara is available in Asia only but don’t quote me on that.

I do like the eye-catching, neon-pink packaging, it’s such a nice change from the usual black.

The handle and wand is easy to hold and maneuver, the brush is very slightly curved. It’s decent but nothing exceptional.

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Lashionista is a lengthening mascara that adds fibres to your lashes. If you want volume you’ll have to look elsewhere, or perhaps combine this with another mascara for that purpose. The formula is a little on the wet side but not the worst I’ve encountered. You’ll get pretty natural looking lashes, nothing that screams drama.

When I first used it I could see why this is popular: it does a its job of lengthening the lashes and holds the curl reasonably well. It’s really easy to take off, doesn’t smudge once it sets and is overall a good budget mascara. With continued use however, I’ve got two problems with it.

First one is fibre distribution – sometimes there’s this big cluster in one area that look so out of place I have to mascara comb it. (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.

May Empties

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*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:

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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…)

10 Empties

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These are empties I collected the last few months actually. Prepare for a long post!

1. La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Légère (50ml) – Made in France
I switched from Toleriane to this because I was bored but didn’t want to stray too far. The thing I noticed straight away is that Hydraphase is scented with one of those aquatic smell that hopes to conjure up the ocean. As the name suggests the texture is very light, but perhaps not quite ‘intense’ as I wished it to be. It wasn’t quite enough for the colder months but I think it would make a very lovely summer moisturiser.

The packaging is interesting – the product itself is in a bag that’s contained within the plastic tube. You can see how far you’re going but there’s nothing you can do to squeeze or pump the last bit out unless you’re determined to cut the tube open somehow.
Repurchase? Probably not.

2. Bioderma Hydrabio Serum / Moisturising Concentrate (40ml) – Made in France
For ‘very dehydrated, sensitive skin … generating intense hydration’. You can use this alone or before your moisturiser. I expected a serum like texture: almost runny, clear, half gel half liquid you know. But the texture is more a creamy gel, thickish. It also has a marine type of scent.
I didn’t really like this one and found it lacking in moisturising properties.
Repurchase? No. You’re better off getting the Hydrabio moisturiser, which I suspect has the same formula only less thickener or whatever. The moisturiser is cheaper and I think a superior product. This is not what I expect for a ‘serum’.

3. L’Oreal Eclat Sublime (150ml)
L’Oreal’s cleansing oil, I can’t remember when this one came out but I bought it pretty much as soon as I saw it at my local Monoprix. I use 3 pumps of this to get my makeup off. It has some kind of perfume that I’m not a fan of. It’s quite runny and feels ‘oilier’ than the other cleansing oils I’ve tried. I know that just sounds crazy but I don’t know how else to describe it. I don’t think that orange bottle helped. Performance-wise it cleanses very well, even long and hard wearing eyeliners and mascara. However it does sting your eyes if you get too close.

Ingredients: (more…)

L’Oreal Nude Magique Eau de Teint

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So I’ve been testing this foundation on and off for about 3 weeks now (I think) … I haunted a few bigger Monoprix’s and picked it up the second it came out and shelled out between 13 to 14 euros for it, I can’t remember how much exactly. The main reason for my interest is of course due to rumours that it’s a dupe for Giorgio Armani’s Maestro foundation. I don’t have Maestro but I remember the launch when it happened and thought it to be a nice concept and I remember wanting to try it. I didn’t buy it in the end because I had (still do) a few bottles of foundation in place and then I read the mixed reviews. All this plus the fact that this isn’t the cheapest foundation at 63.50 euros.

So. Did I like L’Oreal’s Eau de Teint?

Nope.

But before I get to that I’ll just briefly describe the packaging. You get a small 20ml glass bottle of foundation. The shades are quite limited but I got 120 in Ivoire/Pure Ivory that fits me the most, quite nicely actually. It was more neutral, less pink than the other Ivory shade (sorry I can’t remember the exact name). There is no pump, just an open bottle. You’re supposed to shake it gently (there’s no agitator like in Chanel’s Vitalumiere), open it and then place your finger at the opening and flip the bottle over and again to get 1 drop of the product. I don’t know if 1 drop is the recommended ‘dosage’ but I tend to repeat and rinse this process until I get the maximum coverage I could out of it – you’ll read about this in #3 below [spoiler: it’s next to zero]. Now onto the liquid!

I will probably be repeating what many others have observe, but from my experience in trying to get it to work, my thoughts are that:
1. You need pretty good skin for this foundation. By that I mean you don’t really need much coverage (no acne scars, heavy pigmentation or random spots) if at all.
2. You should ideally have normal/combination skin. This foundation will magnify dry patches.
3. In my experience you can layer once or twice or 50 times to try to squeeze more coverage out of it. But the most you will get is a tinted moisturiser level of ‘coverage’.

Those are all quite negative aren’t they? For what it’s worth though, the finish is really the most skin-like, natural looking finish I’ve ever seen and felt. But since I do have some light scarring and redness in my skin, Eau de Teint doesn’t help me with that at all.

To be fair they said it right on the bottle that it’s a nude skin finish, giving a [loose translation here] ‘transparent natural veil’ to the skin … with ‘undetectable coverage’ (see, they did warn us). I wanted the impossible, to have enough coverage and yet for it to be imperceptible. It was unreasonable to ask this much of a foundation … perhaps?

Anyway, if you have what it takes to make this work, and are looking for a daily foundation that’s super easy to apply that gives a teensy lift to your complexion that looks as if you’re wearing nothing, or if you’ve always been interested in trying Maestro (even though I don’t have that one but in theory they sound similar), then do give this a go. This is almost 3 times cheaper if you go by price per litre.

… Then again, if you have what it takes to make this work, I would skip foundation and just use a nice finishing powder or something like that 🙂