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December Empties

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Kosé Medicated Sekkisei Lotion (360ml) – Made in Japan
I’ve stopped keeping track of the number of bottles I’ve gone through since rediscovering it a few years ago. This bottle lasted me four months.
Repurchase? Always.

Hadalabo Gokujyun Medicated Skin Conditioner lotion (170ml) – Made in Japan
Mentioned in my last skin regime update here. This was my first product from the Hadalabo Gokyjyun range. This medicated version has a alcohol/medicinal smell. It’s nothing offensive though and I was never bothered by it. I’m not sure this did anything for my skin, I reckon it would be more suitable for younger acne-prone skin type who aren’t necessarily breaking out from monthly hormones fluctuation. Usually blemish control products tend to be drying but I never felt that with this. The Gokyjyun range are formulated with hyaluronic acid and the world ‘gokyjyun’ pretty much means ‘extreme moisture’. This medicated range is a relatively new member and I think is an interesting range to try if you have problem skin. The only challenge is perhaps locating it, I got mine online from alphabeauty (not affiliated).
Repurchase? I will try the Premium Rich one next. (more…)

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.

July Empties

Please bear with me – I’m playing catch-up with my empties post. Since there aren’t many from August those empties will be in the September post 🙂

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Banila Co Clean It Zero Purity for Sensitive skin (100ml) – Made in Korea ?
Lasted around three months, this is a cleansing balm for makeup removal. Like the Body Shop’s Camomile cleansing balm in idea, but with a better texture that instantly melts when you start rubbing so there’s no tugging or harsh rubbing involved. Very efficient at makeup removal, took everything off with no problem. My skin was never irritated nor felt dry afterwards either. A pleasure to use.
Repurchase? Yes, I have the regular version in maxi format to go.

IOPE Ultimate Hydro Cream (50ml) – Made in Korea
Cool upon application so it’s refreshing especially with a light, gel texture. Mildly scented with an aquatic type fragrance. Most importantly it does its job at moisturizing and my skin never felt dry. I really enjoyed this even if it’s not a one-of-a-kind product. IOPE isn’t readily available where I am so off the top of my head I would take a look at Laneige’s (obviously) water bank range, Biotherm, and even drugstore brands like No.7, L’oreal. I feel like I’ve seen similar products from these brands in the past before.
Repurchase? Yes if I come across it again.

Shiseido Medicated hand cream (100g) – Made in Japan
Bought this at the same time as the Kiss Me medicated (reviewed here), which now that I think about it is probably their attempt to make something like the Yu-Be cream. I found the Shiseido more effective. Texture-wise it’s not heavy but provides decent moisturizing. It’s got some kind of moisturizing beads in it. This is a medium strength hand cream I feel, and is not half bad at all. Good for those needing more oommph than a lotion but not anything heavy like the Yu-be. Yu-be is where I like my hand creams to be. The best thing I like about this though is the packaging – it comes in a jar but has a flip-lid opening/closing system so you won’t struggle screwing the cap back on with slippery moisturized hands afterwards. I might decant other creams into this jar …
Repurchase? Nah.

Steam Cream (75ml) – Made in Japan
Used and reviewed in the past. I’m using this as a hand and body moisturizer. It’s more hydrating than the L’Occitane lotions. You really have to like lavender to use this range.
Repurchase? I’ve still got two more jars of these.

Nature Republic Snail Solution 70 Eye Cream (20ml) – Made in Korea
This little tube took me forever to use up, more than six months I’m sure. It’s just a regular eye cream, run-of-the-mill, not better or worse than the average offerings. I felt I could use more hydration TBH but most eye creams like these I’ve tried deliver similar results (ie. not much) and I’ve found in my experience that you need to go to those in jars, and pay a little bit more to get more. Best eye cream (tube or jar) I’ve used those is the one from Astalift. Too bad it seems they’ve pulled out of everywhere outside of Asia.
Repurchase? No.

Kosé Fasio Powerful Curl Mascara Long (7g) – Made in Japan
I wasn’t particularly wowed by this mascara. And I’m starting to think there’s something about Fasio’s mascaras that doesn’t agree with me because my eyes get irritated when I use this. Same thing happened with the last Fasio mascara I used. It must be the fibers or something. I think I will stick with other brands.
Repurchase? No.

IOPE Enzyme Powder Treatment Wash

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When I finished my suisai powder I started using this one from IOPE. Here’s a link to the official product page on their website. Lots of details there to read, including a how-to. I’ll just copy what’s included on the product leaflet:

Bio-enzyme™, the main component of IOPE Enzyme Powder Treatment Wash, acts directly on dull and rough skin. It gently and effectively dissolves dead skin cells and excess sebum through “enzyme activities” without skin irritation.
Bio-enzyme™ helps revitalize skin, improves skin firmness and smoothens skin for rich absorption of effective components in subsequent skincare products.
* Bio-enzyme™ (15mg): enzyme compounds that contain three main skin power-enhancing enzymes including i.e., papain, lipase, and keratinase.

A bit on the packaging first. Suisai comes in individual little measured doses of powder so you open one capsule each time you wash your face. Not very environmentally friendly but I can’t deny the convenience. IOPE comes in a bottle with a specially designed spout inside that’s supposed to dispense the recommended amount each time you pour. (more…)

Skincare Regime Update – April 2016

The last post on my regime was posted in mid-February but to be honest I was using those products for a while before I finally managed to make the post. Since I’ve finished up a bunch of stuff last month I thought I’d do a quick update to reflect what’s in current rotation.

My skin’s been doing great lately, if I do say so myself. It appears a bit smoother and feels softer than before. I still have my problem areas (old scarring) and those aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. But other than that I’m generally happy about state it is in.

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Morning:
1. Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean
2. Biologique Recherche P50
3. Kose Sekkisei Lotion Excellent
4. Hadalabo Shiroshizuku Whitening Serum
5. La Roche-Posay Redermic [C]
6. Nature Republic Snail eye cream
7. IOPE Ultimate Hydro Cream (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!