mascara

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.

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Update + Holiday Travel Makeup (or What I’m Taking I Took with Me)

I’ll be off in a couple of weeks for my summer holidays, which I haven’t had in years because of work and all. Needless to say I’m super excited. However this also means I won’t be blogging much during that time, so I’m afraid the blog will be even more quiet than usual 😛

I started this post before I left, intending to share what I planned to bring/use but I ended up being super short on time with last minute packing and random little things to organize so I never got around to finish writing and posting it. So to anyone wondering where I’ve been, now you know.
Ever since my return work’s been super hectic and I just didn’t have the energy nor time to do anything proper here. I’m going to have more free time after October though, with some big life changes ahead. So fingers crossed I’ll have more opportunity to update the blog regularly thereafter 😉

I had a three-week holiday and I went on a road-trip in the US. There were lots of driving and intense heat as we rolled through the states of NM, AZ and CA. It was a lot of fun seeing how the landscape changes from state to state. I had three pouches, one for skincare, a small one with the minimal daily makeup I need and the last one was all the other extra good to have makeup options like a nicer foundation (I took the Dior serum), a long-lasting primer, highlighter, bronzer, eye shadow palettes, liners in different colours, lipsticks and another shade of blush etc.

Well I ended up using maybe one or two products from that third good-to-have and also the heaviest pouch. I could have left that at home. With the heat in summer I didn’t feel like applying much foundation and other bells and whistles stuff. There wasn’t much point prettying up when I’m just mostly in the car either. Lesson learned.

Here are what I used on a daily basis:

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Sunscreen
Bioré Watery Essence – this is my daily face sunscreen and kinda doubles as a primer.
Shiseido Expert Sun Protection Lotion – this is for the body and what I took on the beach and outdoor hikes. It was a new bottle and between me and the Man we used half of this bottle up.
Powder
Maquillage Snow Beauty II (LE) – daytime for setting and night time for keeping stickiness at bay. I like using this powder, if you’re interested they release a new version every year and you should start checking online for this year’s version now if you want one. Pre-orders are in September I think?
Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot – this can look chalky if you’re not careful but it seems to perform better on my skin than the Balm’s Sexy Mama in terms of blotting power.
Eye primer
Too Faced Shadow Insurance – really like the small squeeze tube packaging, but sometimes the product separates when you skip a day or two of using it. Maybe it’s just my tube?
Eye shadow base colour
Wet n Wild Brulee – it’s the perfect size for traveling with. However it was a bit light towards the end of my trip when I picked up some colour.
Eye liner
Kate slim gel pencil – long-lasting and doesn’t require sharpening
Mascara
BCL Browlash EX Long Separate Macara (Hello Kitty LE) – Because the Fasio irritated my eyes, I thought I’d take another one just to be safe. I’ve never tried this mascara before and as it turns out its formula is pretty wet and takes a while to dry. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Cute packaging though and I’ve always liked comb mascaras.
Brow
Kate eyebrow pencil – again, no sharpening
Blush
Chanel Sunkiss Ribbbon (LE) – multi-colour for variety. I went with powder instead of cream thinking it might melt in the heat.
Lips
Dior Addict Lip Maximizer – because it has a cooling and tingling effect, I thought it’d be nice in the heat haha. This will be the first time I finish a gloss! Or any lip product that’s not a balm!
Scent
Estée Lauder Azurée Soleil – I dug this up and decided this is the year I’m going to use it to the max. This was released maybe 10 years ago and it was a collaboration between Tom Ford and EL years before TF launched his line. Azurée Soleil is like the version 1.0 of the now familiar Bronze Goddess scent. It’s labeled as a skin scent and it stays close to the skin without leaving a cloud of sillage. It’s a very elegant interpretation of a beach scent, by that I mean the tiare, coconut association. Perhaps Terracotta from Guerlain would be the closest in spirit among the perfumes available in the market now. I bought this when it was released and it was forgotten in the back of the wardrobe for years and so the juice still smells as it should. I don’t know how much people are selling this on evilbay but I don’t think it’s worth whatever exorbitant prices people are asking.

Others
I brought along my Suqqu eye palettes and only used them a handful of times, if that. This started before I left for the holidays but I’ve been applying them with *gasp* my fingers and it might be my preferred way of putting these on. Sacré bleu, I know! I go in with a blending brush afterwards if I need edges taken care of. I find this to be super fast and the colours come out more vibrantly, and I feel I have more control and avoid over blending them.

I had planned on buying beauty stuff, like brands I don’t have access to here/costs more etc but oddly enough I didn’t. Buy anything. At all. Just didn’t see anything exciting enough to make me take my wallet out. I was hoping to check the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea foundation but it seemed this item isn’t sold in every Sephora. I saw it once but didn’t have time that day and then never saw it again. Anyway I’m kind of glad of this, it’s like I’ve finally made peace with new makeup releases and all the frenzy around limited editions. I’m gearing more towards skincare at the moment, but it’s a pendulum that’s swung before so it won’t be long til I get hooked on colour again I’m sure 😉
Luckily so far none of the holiday collections piqued my interest. We’ll see !

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.

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…)

March Empties

As usual I’ll get the finished hair/body samples out of the way first:
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Nothing new to write about here. I’m almost done with all the samples, I think I’ve only got body lotions and cream left afterwards. Oh and soaps but I’ll get to those later.

Here’s the real deal for March:

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John Frieda Full Repair hydrate + rescue Deep Conditioner (250ml) – [unknown]
“With Inca Inchi Oil” it says. This ingredient appears in the middle of the ingredient list. First six ingredients: Aqua, Ceterayl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Esters. Parfum.
You leave this on after shampooing for 2-5 minutes before rinsing off. My hair feels soft and silky after using this but we all know it’s the ‘cone. Smells nice but it doesn’t last on my hair. If you don’t mind ‘cones this is nice once in a while. I was using this almost everyday as a conditioner substitute and that was perhaps too much …
Repurchase? Nah.

Steam Cream (75ml) – Made in UK
I’ve had this for too long; left it at work for use mainly as a hand cream so that’s perhaps 1-2 a day, if that. However this is a multi-purpose cream that you can use for the face, body and even hair (just a tiny knob). I’ve used this once on the face but it was bad timing – I still don’t know what broke me out. Anyway you can read all about the cream on their website where they explain how the cream is made, why it’s steamed and the ingredients and so on.
I finished the rest of my jar using it as a body cream. I didn’t feel it so much when using on my hands but must say that I was impressed how quickly this was absorbed. And I mean I felt the cream has really sunk in, almost like my skin drank it up. It was moist and supple afterwards, and it lasted for a while.
This has lots of essential oils so if you have sensitive skin (or a sensitive nose! smells ) just be aware of that:

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Repurchase? I didn’t think I would but yes, and I have. There was a promotion going on at the moment (2 for 26.95 euros, 1 is usually 17.50 euros each). Interestingly these are cheaper in Japan where they also come in a mini size and have more designs.
… I have since received my new jars and these ones are made in Japan. Also the best before date is very short – I have a few months to use them up, whereas when I bought the old one I had 2 years?! Ingredients are the same.

Yves Rocher Apple Delice Silky Body Cream (150ml) – Made in Ireland
Pretty happy to use this up in such a short time. This was part of my small 2015 holiday haul. This has a nice texture and smells like apple tart. The only reason I rushed to finish this is because of the scent – it’s comforting and more suitable for winter; probably too heavy for summer use. I used the same logic when I decided to save the Bronze Goddess souffle for summer. Anyway this has a nice formula and if Yves Rocher makes this in a different scent (they probably do) I wouldn’t mind buying those.
Repurchase? Yes (more…)

February Empties

Another month another bunch of minis! Let’s get those out of the way.

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L’Occitane Conditioner with 5 essential oils (35ml) – Made in France
This is for dry and damaged hair. Love this and the shampoo in this range. If I buy anything from L’Occitane I’d definitely buy these. Leaves my hair silky and smooth and has a nice inoffensive scent. This one has angelica, ylang ylang, lavender, geranium and sweet orange. ‘Helps nourish and restore capillary fiber’. ‘Cones heavy though! (second and third ingredient).

L’Occitane shower gel with 3 essential oils (35ml) – Made in France
Nice invigorating scent! Mint, pine and rosemary essential oils. It’s supposed to ‘leave a fresh sensation to the skin’ but I can’t remember if it had a particularly cooling effect.

L’Occitane Body Lotion with 3 essential oils (35ml) – Made in France
With lavender, tea tree and geranium oils (I start seeing them in the middle of the ingredients list, whereas they appear much higher on the list for the conditioner and shower gel). Being a lotion this doesn’t really satisfy my drier skin at the moment. I have used it in hotter months and enjoyed it more then. It’s very lightweight and quite thin in consistency. A light lotion. This smells similar to the shampoo/conditioner. First three ingreidents: water, grape seed oil, glycerin.

These samples from L’Occitane has a nice texture and consistency, nothing that comes out in big blobs (for shower and hair stuff) like some other samples I’ve tried.

Elemis ap@home Revitalise-me Hand & Body Lotion (50ml) – Made in the Czech Republic
It has almond oil to hydrate and ‘aromatic oils of thyme, basil and neroli to revitalise and invigorate the senses.’ This lotion is slightly thicker than the one from l’Occitane. Water is the first ingredient for both, but Elemis has Cetearyl alcohol as second ingredient followed by isopropryl palmitate; whereas l’Occitane has grape seed oil and glycerin as second and third.

Elemis ap@home Revitalise-me Conditioner (50ml) – Made in the Czech Republic
With camelia leaf and rosemary extracts. For hair products without SLS, SLES and silicones these ones from Elemis are rather well done.

I forgot to mention last time that the Elemis products (at least this sp@home range) are all paraben, SLS, SLES, DEA, mineral oils, artificial colours and silicones free.

thisworks reviving shower gel (30ml) – Made in China
The natural blend of energizing essential oils in these are bergamot and bitter orange. Nothing really special about these shower gels, very run of the mill. Scent is rather sharp, inoffensive but forgettable. The l’Occitane one smells a lot better.

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Last bunch of the month

Asprey Purple Water Shower Gel (35ml) – Made in China
Despite the prestigious looking packaging this is a very average and boring typical hotel supplied type of product. First three ingredients are water, SLS, cocamidopropyl betaine. Sharp lemony-smell, quite invigorating but perhaps best suited for summer.

thisworks balancing body lotion (30ml) – Made in China
I think with the thisworks stuff you really need to like the scent. First three ingredients are water, sweet almond oil and caprylic/capric triglyceride. Alcohol follows. Anyway. Forgettable.

Elemis sp@home Revitalise-me Shampoo (50ml) – Made in the Czech Republic
Wrote about this in last month’s empties.

Random note:
As it happened I got curious and from google found out that Asprey and Elemis have the same manufacturer – Pacific Direct, a huge company that licenses many brands and produce hotel amenities. It’s a one-stop shop, you can choose the packaging and so on. They have factories all over the world and stuff Asprey happened to be made in China while Elemis’ are made in the Czech Rep. The Elemis brand gets more care as you can see, but I suppose it’s normal because it’s also one of the few brands that really makes their business in skincare. Asprey makes jewelry.

Onto the full sized stuff! Lots to go through this month (this is not everything, there are more pictures below).

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Kose Medicated Sekkisei (360ml) – Made in Japan
A staple in my skincare. I started the bottle in October 2015 so this size lasted me 4.5 months with twice daily use. Not bad!
Repurchase? I have a bit of stock left, which when used in rotation with other lotions should see me until the end of the year. (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…)