Kosé

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…)

Skincare Regime Update – December 2016

The last update was April and lots of changed since then. Pretty much everything I’m using is different!

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1. Hadalabo Tamagohada AHA+BHA mild exfoliating face wash foam (160ml)
2. Medicated Sekkisei lotion (360ml) – Made in Japan
3. Hadalabo Gokujyun Medicated Skin Conditioner lotion (170ml) – Made in Japan
4. Melvita Nectar Supreme eye & lip contour cream (0.5fl oz.) [almost 15ml] – Made in France
5. ettusais Premium Amino Caviar Cream (90g) – Made in Japan

1. I left my Muji foam cleanser behind in a hotel but I just want to say that cleanser worked well with my Luna. Bought this as a replacement and I don’t feel anything special towards it. I like that it dispenses ready-made foam so I save some time. I’m only *just* reading now that people have been reporting the cleanser drying their skin … perhaps that’s why my eye area have been itchy the past few days?? I’ve been using it for about two weeks now though only once a day until recently. Tamogohada = more or less the image of your skin will look like as smooth as a peeled hard boiled egg if you use this. I guess.
2. Still loving this and I will continue using this (although I’m tempted to try Albion’s Skin Conditioner). I still have one bottle of P50 left, which I’ll reintroduce when the weather gets warmer.
3. This is my extra hydration step and I’ll probably use a serum when this bottle is done, or one of the many packets and bottles of samples from different brands that I have. This particular formula (green bottle) of the Hadalabo Gokujyun range is supposed to moisturize and prevent pimples from appearing. Hormonal spots are something else so this item doesn’t really help me much there. I’m not sure if it’s sold in Hong Kong? I haven’t seen it anywhere I went (the usual suspects Watson’s/Manning/log-on don’t have it).
4. The formula is nothing special but this is my first experience with these kind of tips. On the days when I have time to slowly tap tap tap gently with the tip I do find a difference to just applying with fingers.
5.I took this with me to Hong Kong, knowing the weather is less dry than Paris. I was almost finished with my It’s Skin Snail Cream anyway and thought it’s a good time to open the next moisturizer in the stash. There are many little beads in the moisturizer (hence ‘caviar’) and you just have to make sure you rub all of them in. Sometimes there are strays and if you miss one they can appear as bizarre looking but perfectly round tiny ball of flesh. I’ve continued using this since I got back and interestingly it still does a decent job of moisturizing my skin in this completely different climate. I honestly didn’t expect it to perform this well. I’ll do a review on this separately.

I no longer have a really different morning/evening routine. Only that I throw in a makeup remover before the regular cleanser at night. That’s usually either of these: (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.

Addiction by Ayako Haul

*ahem* I’ve been away on holidays, hence the silence again but more importantly it’s also how I got my paws on some Addiction shadows!! To compensate this will be a really long post so get ready!

I am so excited about these cos I’ve been wanting to try them since forever and the brand finally opened a counter in Hong Kong where I happened to be 🙂 Too bad I missed out on the opening GWPs, I heard there were some nice things.

Addiction by Ayako is a beauty brand in the Kosé family. Ayako was NARS’ creative director before starting Addiction. I found an interview with Ayako here on Haru’s website, my source for all Japanese beauty news 😉 Addiction has changed the packaging of their eye shadows when they (re)launched their eye shadows – all 99 shades at once. Some shades were retired, but I’m not sure if there’s a difference in the formula. Perhaps someone can comment?

Before I get into the shadows I purchased, I want to mention the LE Christmas Winter White set:

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pic from official website

This set was going for HKD550 (or thereabouts, IIRC) which I feel is a good price. Inside the compact you get 4 shadows and a blush:

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pic from official website

I was there the first day on the launch but after some thoughts, I passed. My reasons? I don’t use nail polish, and am not a fan of lip glosses, even if this one is black and thus more interesting. So there goes two products. The compact is nice but the blush shade is really more of a highlighter as the colour wouldn’t show unless you’re really fair and pale. And I don’t need another highlighter. Once I eliminated the blush shade there’s little reason left for me to get the palette even if the four shades of shadows are beautiful and practical and work really well together. This set is really a good deal and if you’re someone who uses all the products I highly recommend it. I should have asked the ladies if you can pop the highlight out and replace it with a blush instead (especially if you already own a blush from them). That would make this more versatile. Actually the gloss and polish would make kick ass as stocking stuffers even if you don’t use them. Oh well!

I picked up a total of seven eye shadow shades, purchased separately on different occasions. They are HKD 140 each, with 1g of product. You can buy an empty compact separately that could hold 4 shadows or a bigger one to hold 6 shadows. Note that the size of 1 blush = 2 shadows so you can customize whichever way you want. I almost got a compact but didn’t in the end because for me out of sight is out of mind.

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  1. 085 Shanghai Breakfast (P) A mauve with a gold and red gloss
  2. 082 Taxi Driver (P) A smooth grayish mauve
  3. 069 Flash Back (P) A grayish brown with a smooth gloss
  4. 040 Dolly Bird (P) A steel gray with a wet luster and sparkle
  5. 039 Yesterday (P) A light lavender gray radiating pink
  6. 043 Dangerous Liason (P) A deep purple shimmering with red and silver
  7. 109 Red Lily – Gold orange tinged with red, like the lilies of Northern Europe (limited edition)

It’s a bit of a pain to get the English names. They are not printed on the display panels in Hong Kong, nor on the boxes/sticker on the back of the cases. I had to cross reference them on the Japanese website. Having English names would make it so much easier to remember what I’ve got and what I’d like to try.

Swatches: (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…)

April Empties

Been distracted from the blog lately, sorry. Expected more empties this month but a lot of the products held on. More for May then 🙂
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Kanebo suisai Beauty Clear Powder (0.4g x 32) – Made in Japan
The suisai powder is an enzyme-based powder cleanser. Almost all of the powder cleansers I’ve came across seem to be enzyme-based actually. The suisai is one of the first powder cleansers I’ve tried (I used fancl’s powder cleanser together with their entire skin care a lifetime ago, not sure if that’s enzyme-based as well though) and I’ve always enjoyed using it. This time round however, was the first time I’ve used a foaming net with it and what a game changer. I highly recommend getting one (mine is a cheap no-frills one from Muji) if you’re using powder cleansers. Instead of the low-foam paste I was used to seeing in the past, I got big, fluffy cushion-y clouds to wash my face with. It cleanses gently, face was soft and smooth and appeared brightened. The enzyme’s also supposed to help with blackheads, pores etc.
Now the suisai comes in individually packaged capsules. My box came with 32 but I believe you can get one with 14 or something. Each capsule contains 0.4g of product, so you get 12.8g total. This has a RRP of 2000 yen and is at the moment around 16 euros. I used this once a day in the evenings. If you were to use this twice a day you’d have finished the box in like 2 weeks.
Prices aside I also have a love-hate relationship with the capsules. I like that it’s pre-measured doses so you don’t struggle with how much powder to use (as I am now with my current powder cleanser). At the same time it’s a lot of waste.
Repurchase? As much as I love this it gets expensive. Unless you’re using this as a weekly special treat and/or you live in Japan and can bypass sellers and their premium on the net, I sadly think that’s the last I’ll see of suisai.

Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil (230ml) – Made in Japan
Reviewed many times before. Best of budget oil makeup remover for me. Mineral oil based though for those concerned.
Repurchase? I have a backup bottle to go, but perhaps will venture out and try other brands after that just because I’m bored.

KIKO Vibrant Eye Pencil in #603 (1.2g) – Made in Italy (?)
603 is a warm dark brown with gold pearl finish. I really like this pencil: cheap, long-wearing, beautiful shade. KIKO has phased out the Vibrant eye pencils but I suspect it’s the Intense Colour Long-Lasting eyeliner in disguise.
Repurchase? Yes!

Shiseido Future Solution LX eye & lip cream (15ml) – Made in Japan
This has a thick texture and this one time as I was using this I finally understood why people say to pat on eye creams instead of rubbing it on – when you’re older the skin is thinner and not as taut; if you’re using a thicker product instead of a gel for example, it won’t glide on. If you don’t pat, you’re only going to pull your skin and potentially cause more fine lines.
Anyway, the skin under my eyes was particularly dry during a rough period and this cream nourished it and I felt it was sufficient on its own and didn’t need to add anything else. Having said that I didn’t see any results in terms of reducing fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles and the like though. However! It did wonders for me in another way – it healed my lips overnight where all my other intensive, thick lip balms failed. My lips were dry and the skin was flaking around the mouth and I applied this all over as a last attempt (it does says ‘eye and lip cream’) and to my great surprise, it worked.

If you’re using the Future Solution Total Regenerating Cream, you can skip this because in the leaflet included you’ll find under the ‘how to use’ section that they instruct you to apply the regenerating cream around the eye area as well. Which makes this cream redundant.
Repurchase? Much as I enjoyed the whole indulging experience, no. It didn’t do anything other than moisturize and at this price point I think I have a right to expect more. The Regenerating cream on the other hand is another story.

Shiseido Beauty Up Cotton (108pcs) – Made in Japan
I’ve moved on from the supermarket variety to Muji cotton pads last year and realised just how much product I wasted with the cheap supermarket ones – it absorbed the lotion but doesn’t seem to ‘release’ it when I pat it on my face, if you know what I mean. I found I use less lotion with Muji and get more out of the cotton. The Shiseido ones are even better. The pads are sturdy but very soft. Doesn’t leave fibers on the face at all. It’s just a pleasure to use.
Repurchase? Yes

Kiss Me Medicated Hand Cream (75g) – Made in Japan
Bought this because it looks like it means business. This smells like eucalyptus. As far as moisturizing goes, I’m afraid I need something more for my really dry and rough hands. My hands have deteriorated due to too many washing and using alcohol disinfectant and other random products etc at work. They are ruined and I need industrial strength stuff now.
Repurchase? No.

[May 17 2016 – added before-empty photo below]

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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…)