Nature Republic

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.

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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…)

Refilling the Nature Republic CC Cushion

Just a short post with photos showing my old and new cushion (refill), since I “used it up” last month 😛

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old sponge, yuck!

Just in case you missed it the review of the cushion is here. When you buy a cushion it comes with a freebie refill. Don’t go thanking the company just yet, because obvs the price you paid has been calculated to include the refill, plus as I found out they do dry out. I would suggest those who have more expensive cushions to use them regularly before your money evaporates. Sorry, I don’t know how long before they start drying out. Perhaps after 6 months?

As you can see in the photo above, in the foil refill pack there’s also a new sponge. I wish I had known that because I bought extra sponges.

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There’s a seal protecting the cushion.

A closer look comparing old and new:

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I didn’t realise the old casing was looking so yellow and beige. This is obvious but you know it’s dried up/drying up when you no longer get much product on your sponge when you press down. I was pushing in like a maniac in an attempt to squeeze the last drop and displaced the sponge. It didn’t bounce back to position.

The most important thing with cushions is keeping your sponge clean and hygienic. I like how so many brands are releasing cushions now, more choice to the consumer and hopefully it also means a better chance of finding a right colour match. I wouldn’t buy any backups or anything though. There’s always something  new, and look at me, I bought a backup and left the shop with 4 cushions. Having said that, I wonder if the bigger European brands throw in the refill?

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…)

Current Skincare Regime

Some time ago I wrote about my old skincare regime and promised to finish it with reviews on the moisturizers and special care items (this was the post that started this series). But I no longer see the point of that because most of the products have been reviewed separately elsewhere and in empties posts (search for Hydraluron, Toleriane, PTR Glycolic Acid moisturizer, Algenist for example). So I thought I’d share instead the current skincare routine instead. Before going to that though, here’s the old list again –

The Day Routine:
– POD Liquid Detox
– La Roche-Posay Serozinc / Darphin Intral Toner
– Hydraluron / Paula’s Choice Resist Ultra-Light Antioxidant Serum
– LRP eye cream / Shiseido
– LRP Toleriane moisturizer / Algenist
– some sort of acne treatment if needed (Effaclar Duo or topical treatment)

The Night Routine:
– 1st cleansing: Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil
– POD Liquid Detox
– Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10%
– Hydraluron / Paula’s Choice Resist Ultra-Light Antioxidant Serum
– LRP eye cream / Shiseido
– Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid Moisturizer OR Algenist (alternate evenings)
– Adapalene cream

I feel the need to bring that up again because it *is* responsible for kick starting the change in my skin. The most important players in that list are: Adapalene cream (I will write about this), PTR Glycolic Acid (especially the toner) and perhaps the POD cleanser. It’s important to finish with a good moisturizer. Eye creams are mostly the same I’ve found, memorable exception is the one from Astalift, really felt that did something.

Here’s more or less my current skincare:

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Picture taken on vacation, hence decants and rare opportunity to have them all displayed nicely on a glass shelf.

Day:
– (#2) Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Multi Action Cream Cleanser
– (#3) Biologique Recherche P50V
– (#4) Kose Sekkisei Medicated Lotion (decanted)
– (#5) Nature Republic Snail Solution 70 eye cream
– (#7) Nature Republic Snail Solution 80 ampoule
– (#8) belif moisturizing bomb (sample size, see empties post here) (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…)

November & December Empties

Happy New Year everyone! Got some nice skincare empties here in the last months of 2015. I still haven’t gotten round to posting my skincare regime and it’s constantly changing. Must get this to the top of the to-do list in 2016. Anyway first up the empties in November:

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Bouclier Bio Concentré Détox de jour (50ml) – Made in France
This is a random face cream I picked up at Citypharma. I have never heard of this brand before but the ingredients are no-frills and straight forward, just a little more than 10 ingredients. Housed in a glass jar, it’s paraben-free and is targeted for sensitive and/or couperose skin. My skin has become a little on the drier side and I’ve really enjoyed using it. The texture is quite thick (a ‘real’ cream) but it’s really moisturizing and nourishing. Literally saved my skin when it got extremely dry suddenly from the frequent long-haul flights I did in early 2015.

Here are the ingredients:

aqua (water), aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, simmondsia chinensis seed oil (jojoba seed oil)*, glycerin, coco-caprylate/caprate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, glyceryl stearate citrate, cetearyl alcohol, oleic/linoleic/linolenic polyglycerides, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter)*, cera alba (beeswax), tocopherol, xanthan gum, parfum (fragrance), sodium hydroxide, benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid, linalool, citronellol

It’s marketed as a day cream but I also use it at night. Because of its texture I’d say it’s more suitable for drier skin types and a cooler climate. Normal skin will like it in winter. It may look and feel a bit heavy for some but I do think LRP’s Toleriane left me looking more greasy afterwards. My skin just seems to love this stuff. There’s fragrance listed but honestly I didn’t detect any scent. Probably just for masking or neutralizing?
Repurchase? Yes! I bought a pack of 2 (bigger savings) and am using the second one already. Am curious about other creams from this brand now.

Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum (30ml) – Made in France
Here’s the blurb pulled from the US website:

This water-light serum delivers a revolutionary infusion of hydration: 24 hours of continuous moisturizing benefits, leaving skin deeply replenished, smooth and glowing with youth.

THE BREAKTHROUGH
CAMELLIA MICRO-DROPLETS:
Patented micro-droplet technology delivers the purest form of Camellia Oil Extract, exclusive* new Camellia Alba OFA**, to infuse skin with exceptional hydrating and plumping power.

CAMELLIA ALBA PFA***:
This remarkably pure HYDRA BEAUTY ingredient, created by Chanel scientists, stimulates skin’s natural ability to restore and retain moisture for a smooth, radiant appearance.

BLUE GINGER PFA:
To protect the benefits of Camellia Alba PFA, Chanel revealed one of nature’s most powerful anti-oxidants, Blue Ginger PFA. This exceptional ingredient acts as an environmental shield, blocking and neutralizing free radicals to help reinforce the complexion.

*International patent application.
**OFA: Oleofractioned Active.
***PFA: Polyfractioned Active. An ultra-pure, ultra-powerful ingredient created through exclusive patented Chanel technology.

On the French website it’s also suggested that these micro-droplets house the extract and keeps them in a ‘pure’ state until they are released upon application. Anyway this serum doesn’t get a very favourable review on Paula’s Beautipedia (overpriced, contains alcohol, not that special etc). But I really enjoyed using this and my skin felt ‘plumper’ after use. Not sure about the 24 hours/glowing with youth claims but it didn’t irritate my skin at all and my skin seemed to have liked it to the last drop.
The texture is like a gel, definitely not runny. 1.5 pumps is ideal but I struggle to get half a pump so it’s either one or two depending on how generous I feel on that day. It is fragranced so sensitive noses/skin types beware. I love these kind of packaging – see-through airtight bottle with the piston going up as the product is used. The biggest con is the price: at 81 euros it’s something to buy at Dutyfree or when the promo codes are just right.
Repurchase? It’s on the wishlist

The Body Shop Atlas Mountain Rose Body Butter (200ml/192g) – Made in the UK
I’m not a regular user/fan of the body butters from TBS, I think the only one I really liked was the olive one. It seems to me the texture varies with scent, like the fruitier ones are lighter. Don’t quote me on that though. Generally I prefer thicker ones for the body.
I can’t remember why I bought this (and TWO of them to boot) since I’m not a crazy rose lover either. But the texture is nice, thick enough but not balmy and easy to spread. The scent is sometimes quite sharp to my nose but otherwise this is one of the better roses in the mass market out there for sure. Apparently this used to be hard to find – oh that explains why I bought two! – but it’s been repackaged as part of a new line-up of TBS fragrances and looks to be here to stay. Can’t vouch for the EdT but if you are a rose lover looking for a body cream, definitely check this out.

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Repurchase? I still got the backup.

Shiseido Perfect Cleansing Oil (40ml, deluxe sample) – Made in Japan
This is a good cleansing oil, up there with the best Japanese cleansing oils I’ve tried. I like this more than shu uemura (but I had bad experience with them in the past). It’s efficient, emulsifies easily and rinses off completely without leaving a film nor stripping the skin. It’s lightly scented, like the fragrance from The Skincare range. This never gave me any problems, no irritation/breakouts.
I can’t remember where this came from, probably a GWP somewhere, but the nice thing is the pump unscrews and thus I can reuse this and transfer my other cleansing oil inside for when I’m traveling.
Repurchase? Definitely worth considering in the future after I go though my Fancl and softymo. I’ll buy this within a heartbeat if I have nowhere to get the Fancl.

Empties in December: (more…)