skincare

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…)

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ettusais Premium Amino Caviar Cream

ettusais

from official website

Mentioned in my last skincare regime update, I’ve been using this cream for about a month now. This is part of their Premium range, which IIRC is geared towards ladies in the 30s. I have read nice things about this in the past and was naturally curious.

Blurb from the ettusais Singapore website:

Restore your skin to crystal clarity with this precious youth-restoring cream that fits right into your busy schedule! Formulated with ettusais’ exclusive Amino Premium 7 Complex, this fuss-free moisturiser will reverse decades of damage & help you to achieve infant-like skin! Use it as a lotion, emulsion, beauty essence, massage gel, mask, cream and makeup-base! Fresh enough for day use & intensely hydrating enough for night use, this gel-cream formula is definitely your one-step solution to exquisitely ageless skin!

On the back of the jar it says it’s a 7-in-1 product. Which is basically what’s mentioned in the blurb: you can use it as lotion, emulsion etc etc. You can find more information on their Japanese website, including a list of the ingredients (in Japanese) and how to do a massage.

Here’s a side-view:
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It’s called caviar cream because suspended in the light pink cream are tiny spheres that burst as you massage the cream in the skin:

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The texture is light, more like a heavier gel than a cream. It’s very easy to spread and because of the spheres it encourages a massage action, that you spend more time applying instead of just slapping some on. I appreciate that. As mentioned though sometimes a sphere or two can stray and if you miss it they can look funny on the skin/hair. It leaves my skin feeling plump and nicely moisturized afterwards.

I use this primarily as the main moisturizer even if it can serve as seven other things. My skin is prone to dryness, not so much the visible flaky kind; more the hiding a thirst kind. I was in a more humid climate (Hong Kong) when I started this and even though it was November I find this to be more than sufficient in providing enough moisture. Back in France though, and with the temperature dropping to 1C-5C in the mornings lately + heaters on during the day, I feel it would benefit from a boost, maybe a serum under or another moisturizer on top. I was using it alone for two weeks here, but have upped the amount I use every application. For two days now I used one of the many serum samples I have before this and it has worked well. But honestly it has already exceeded my expectations as I never thought a moisturizer this light in texture would cut it at all this time of the year in France.

IMHO then, for those who live in a humid climate, I think this will be good for all skin types and all year round. I don’t think it would be too heavy for summer because of air-conditioning. For those in drier climates you may need an extra layer below or on top. If you have dry skin you will probably like this as a serum-type layer in winter and seal it in with a thicker moisturizer once it’s absorbed.

All in all this is actually a versatile and very decent unscented moisturizer.

2016 Holiday Buys + OT Shoes

Actually not much holiday beauty purchase this year at all! I haven’t been tempted by anything really. I had a 25% discount from Sephora (this was just before Black Friday) and I reasoned Sephora France wouldn’t offer more than 25% on makeup even if they were doing Black Friday sales (I was right!) so I did a quick browse and of course found something.

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I don’t even know if this is part of their holiday release but I picked up the Urban Decay Vice palette. Like many, I picked that up in Blackmail. The palette is certainly a nice way to try some popular UD shades and formula. I also told myself when I bought it that I can easily mix some of the shades up if I feel creative. But let’s be honest I’m not sure how likely/often I’ll do that 😛
I’ve only tried two shades for now and TBH a little disappointed in the texture – they’re more drying than I thought. I tried Blackmail and Ex-Girlfriend. I’ll give them another whirl and see.

To qualify for free shipping for the Vice palette I grabbed a Chanel beauty flash balm. I thought the beauty balm would be great on long haul flights. Plus lately my skin has been feeling pretty dry and I definitely feel like slapping on some moisturizer during the day and this seems like a good product for that. I’ve used it a couple of times now. Not much thought at the moment, I just feel the scent lingers longer than the micro-serum from the same range. It’s a quick-fix.

Lastly I got a couple of Kevyn Aucoin lippies – Black Dahlia and Bloodroses. TBH I got those because of the names and the fact that they were on sale. I’m still waiting for the delivery actually so no photos just yet but I will add them later. [Edit: Dec 09 – They finally arrived and you can find them on this post here] Actually now that I think about it my last order from Beautybay was also slow to arrive. Maybe they’re slammmed, I don’t know. Back to the lipsticks: I’ve never tried Kevyn Aucoin’s lipsticks and am not familiar with their formula. Black Dahlia is totally out of my comfort zone so we’ll see what happens. I did hesitate getting them because I’m pretty sure I can get a dupe of these rather easily, given how everyone seemed to have released 50+ new shades and formulas in one go (off the top of my head: NARS, MUFE, UD, the Boys from Tom Ford etc etc etc).

That’s all the beauty purchases for now. None of the Christmas sets I’ve seen tempted me, no not even Suqqu! So I’m good. Skincare-wise I still got loads of stuff to go through at home in all categories so that’s covered. Otherwise I might get something from Clarins (a cleanser and lotion) and the micro-serum from Chanel warrants a re-purchase especially in this drying weather.

Finally, I never wrote about fashion because I’ve always wanted to keep this strictly beauty only but I’ll make an exception this time because it’s Christmas and I really want to share these.

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1. Office Lucky Charm Boots on asos.fr (NOT affiliated! I don’t use them)
Chloe Susanna dupe. Asos seems to be the only place I can find this combo (red + nubuck). Otherwise they also carry it in black nubuck. For regular leather you have to go to the Office website. I recommend nubuck because from what I can glean from the comments the regular leather is pretty hard you need time to wear it in. I ordered the nubuck and they were comfy right off the bat. The only reason I didn’t keep mine is my wardrobe doesn’t really work with these.
Another good dupe is from the brand Lemare, but they are a lot more expensive. I’m not comfortable paying that much for dupes personally.

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2. Marni x Zalando collection
Zalando is a French online retailer, mostly shoes but they also sell clothes. Anyway they have a capsule collection with Marni that’s worth checking out.
My picks are the VANS SK8-Hi and those Instapump Fury, which also come in khaki and khaki/ivory mix.

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.

August + September Empties

AUGUST

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Shiseido Integrate gel liner in BK999 (0.28g) – Made in Germany
I bought this cos it seemed to be a favourite among Japanese beauty magazine readers. But the size of the nib is too big for my liking and unlike a pencil it can’t be sharpened. Also the performance is inconsistent – sometimes it smudges, sometimes no. Despite no change in the steps leading to or out prior.
Repurchase? Nope.

Kate slim gel pencil in BK-1 (0.12g) – Made in Japan
Now this is a liner I know I can count on. I took this with me on my holidays and with daily use it lasted around one month. This has less than half the product of the Integrate liner though.
Repurchase? Staple.

Here’s a comparison photo with nibs from different liners. The UD acts as your average, typical pencil liner. You can see the Integrate is just slightly slimmer than that. Visée is the thinnest (mentioned a few entries below). KATE and dejavu are the same in diameter. I’ll write about the Dejavu one eventually but lets just say for now that I don’t reach for it often despite it having the best staying power.

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Top-Bottom: Visée, dejavu fiberwig, KATE, Shiseido Integrate, UD24/7

(more…)

banila co Clean It Zero

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This is the original (but oversized) version of the Clean It Zero makeup remover? cleanser? It contains 180ml and is made in Korea. Regular size is 100ml.

I’ve previously used up the Purity version for sensitive skin. The first thing I noticed with the original is the berry fragrance, and a slight pink colour. It seems to transform even faster into a liquid than the Purity version although I’m not 100% sure of this – it could be my hands were particularly warm or something. I’ll report back in the future.

Cleansing power is pretty much the same. Sometimes I feel it’s better to use a separate eye makeup remover, just because my eye makeup (liner and mascara) tend to be super hard-wearing and thus takes more work to get them out with just the balm. But they all come off with the rinsing anyway.

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You get a spatula as usual and a plastic ‘lid’ that also acts as your spatula tray to put over the jar opening. I don’t really like this cos the tray gets greasy eventually and you’ll have to rinse it out from time to time. Nowadays I just keep the spatula separate.

Between this and a cleansing oil I’ll probably stick with a cleansing oil because it’s easier to travel with and more convenient to use with no lids or spatula to fiddle with. It doesn’t perform better than my cleansing oil either so I don’t see the advantage of switching to this in the long run. Not sure why this is so popular. Perhaps the cute packaging?