slim gel pencil

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

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Spring 2016 Purchases – Part 2

As promised the second part to my Spring hauls. This is mainly Japanese drugstore skincare and random stuff. I don’t think I ever wrote about where I get my stuff. I bought most of these from alpha beauty (not affiliated), it’s actually my first time buying from them and everything went smoothly. I find their prices reasonable but best of all shipping is free. Adam beauty was my go-to before but shipping isn’t free (it used to be in waaaay back when) and I realised that unless you live in HK you don’t get much of the savings advertised. Prices are similar to Alpha beauty, perhaps a few dollars more expensive depending on the product. They have a different selection though and Adam beauty appears to have a bigger range of the latest popular/hyped/cult stuff. A third website I know of is Good dealer. They tend to stock department store brands and usually have the latest releases. I’ve had good experiences purchasing from all of them.

Onto the stuff!

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December Empties

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These are the last things I used up in 2014. Again, apologies for the terrible lighting.

Chanel No. 5 Velvet Body Cream (150ml) – Made in USA
I don’t own the perfume (I might one day cos I do like it, but I tend to go to Uncle Serge and Frederic Malle) but I fell in love with the texture from a sample I got from Sephora. Hemmed and hawed for a year or two and finally splurged when I had a 20% discount. Really beautiful texture and the scent lingers and is very long-lasting for a body cream. This is all about indulgence, your sheets, nightie will smell like No. 5.

The jar is made of frosted hefty glass. This is made to be displayed and shown-off. Not practical for travel obviously.
Having a look on the website it seems they have changed the name and it’s now known simply as La Creme Corps, or The Body Cream. Can’t comment on whether the formula is the same or updated. You can also get this in other scents like Coco, Coco Mademoiselle, Chance etc.
Repurchase? I would love to, but I will try to find a dupe for the texture.

Klorane Conditioner with Oat Milk (150ml) – Made in France
Blurb from the website:

Cultivated in France, our extra gentle oat milk softens, protects, and moisturizes all hair types. The soothing and protective properties of the oat respect the natural balance of the scalp and hair, making it ideal for daily use and suitable for the entire family.

Promises to:
– Detangles, repairs and nourishes hair
– Adds radiance, lightness and volume
– Eliminates static electricity

Paraben, silicone, sulfate, sodium chloride free.

So that’s the info I found on the US website. On the back of my tube, it states

‘With its high content in oat milk, this conditioner without parabens, respects the natural state of the scalp but is also suitable for all hair types. Its velvety and fluid texture restores the natural balance of hair to restore its beauty and softness.’

It reads like something that’s put through Google translate. Anyway.
Klorane is a company under Pierre Fabre (same as Avene). I thought this conditioner was just ok. I was (still am) using the Cedrat shampoo and I think that formula is superior but I guess I shouldn’t compare shampoo with conditioner. I bought this because it says it’s ‘ultra-gentle’ and ‘for frequent use/all hair types’. To sum up I wasn’t really impressed with this.
Repurchase? No.

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Yeux (15ml) – Made in France
Claims to be a ‘rehyrating concentrate anti-eye bags, anti-fatique’ eye gel. Well it did nothing of that sort for me. This is a really ‘meh’ product that I find struggles to hydrate properly at times, let alone giving ‘intense’ hydration as implied in the name.
Repurchase? Heck no.

Kate slim gel pencil (0.12g) in BK-1 Black – Made in Japan
Hey another one of these. This is the last of my stash and as mentioned here it’s now my go-to and I’ll ditch the SANA unless I find the original non ‘melty’ version.
Repurchase? Yes.

Hydraluron (30ml) – Made in Canada
Learnt about this by way of Caroline Hirons’ site. Lovely product to use and I do feel it’s helped a lot in terms of hydration. Much appreciated ever since I’ve been using Adapalene.
It’s a clear gel that you apply before your moisturizer. The size surprised me – the tube is much smaller than the box lets on. It lasted around 2 months for me with twice daily use. Kinda pricey as well and not available in France AFAIK. It sort of reminds me of the Jelly Acquarysta from Fuji film (since pulled out of France).
Repurchase? Yes, I bought a backup when I was last across the pond and have been using that. Might need an alternative after.

October Empties

There were no empties in September hence no post. October (and November) are the big months!

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Nuxe lip balm (15g) – Made in France
This pot lasted me a year even with nightly use, so it’s a bargain. Comes in a heavy glass pot so not that great for travel. Texture-wise, some reported granular (and consequently doubles as an exfoliator) but my pot was never gritty, the balm was always smooth to the eyes and to the touch. I read on a French community review site that it becomes gritty with time – the honey hardens and the grittiness goes away with the heat generated as you apply. So nothing to worry about really. But if you’re concerned, go to a place where there’s high volume turnover (like Citypharma haha). Or get this year’s limited edition ones to be sure.
This is a cult product everyone raves about but honestly I didn’t have any miracle ‘it happened overnight’ episode when using it. It really wasn’t as magical as everyone claims it to be. Maybe my expectations were too high after all the raves but I can’t deny that it’s a nice, solid lip balm.
Before Nuxe I was using Kiehl’s, which was decent and not half bad. I then tried Jack Black towards the end of the Nuxe pot and thought that was quite wonderful. (My ranking of these would be Jack Black, Nuxe and Kiehl’s). I wasn’t going to repurchase Nuxe with so many other balms at home BUT:
– they came out with new packaging, limited edition colours …
– since not using it I find myself missing it at times
– the matte finish is actually quite nice
I guess the bottom line is I am quite fond of it. I use this pretty much exclusively before bed and I always work whatever amount I apply into the lips. If you don’t it just sits on top and stays there til you remove it. Which some people like I guess?

Oh and this exists in stick format but in my experience, whenever there’s an option, the pot ones always perform better. Same thing for the Dr. Hauschka lip balm, which is a similar product and also gives a matte-ish finish as far as I remember.
Repurchase? Yes, even if it’s a bit over hyped.

LIERAC Sensory Exfoliant with 3 White Flowers (175ml) – Made in France
Reviewed here.
Might be a bit heavy for summer but it’s amazing during the winter months. Some particles trail behind in the shower during use, I kinda wish it would all dissolve completely.
Repurchase? Not in the near future. I still got 2 other scrubs to go through. Plus it’s quite spendy.

Origins Zero Oil (150ml) – Made in USA
Full name is Zero Oil Pore purifying toner with Saw Palmetto and Mint. It has a variety of essential oils contains denatured alcohol (third ingredient), which together with the mint gives you that slightly astringent feeling. This is actually my second bottle (you can read my thoughts on the first empty here) – my friend bought me two when I only wanted to try one. It claims to ‘reduce shine and remove excess oil’. I used this mainly in the summer, when I felt spots coming. Can’t say if it’s effective, I feel a bit meh about this even if my skin didn’t react badly to it. There are a lot of better toners out there so unless you like that tightening feeling, perhaps you should look elsewhere. Spelling it out: sensitive skin stay away.
Repurchase? Nah.

SANA Super Quick Melty Gel Liner EX in 01 Black – Made in Japan
The ‘melty’ is a newer version of the quick gel liner and I prefer the older one actually. I no longer have the original to compare the ingredient lists but the melty contains shea butter and I do feel that it is softer than the older one. Unfortunately this change in texture also means that it smudges easier on my hooded lids.
Repurchase? I bought a few at the same time so I will go through those but I’ll go back to the ‘original’ or switch to KATE if I couldn’t get my hands on those.

Heroine Volume & Curl Mascara in 01 Black (6g) – Made in Japan
You read this often here: Only Japanese mascara keeps the curl of my straight lashes.
Some western brands hold the curl, but never as well as a Japanese mascara. My lashes continue to look like they’ve just been curled even at the end of a long day. They are also harder to get off comparatively.
As for the Heroine mascara, curl-holding aside (10/10) it’s actually a rather average mascara. It doesn’t give dramatic volume and was kind of clumpy. I didn’t like the shape of the brush.
Repurchase? No.

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner (125ml) – Made in France
This is a mild toner with AHA and has a slight floral scent. I’ve never used an AHA toner before and it pricked the skin slightly in the beginning but before long I didn’t feel anything with continued use. I used this only in the evenings.
Not sure about this one. I thought I saw a difference in the beginning but then my skin condition changed when I started Adapalene so it’s really hard to say how effective this was. I can only say that it didn’t do anything bad to my skin. IMO it’s worth looking at for someone with sensitive skin, and it will make a nice introduction to the world of AHA toners for others who want to try one without jumping straight to something like Alpha H.
Repurchase? Maybe.

Bifesta Cleansing Express Eye Makeup Remover (145ml) – Made in Japan
Bifesta is a range by Mandom Corp that focuses on cleansing and makeup removal. This eye makeup remover was voted best in the cleansing category by the Japanese cosme website in 2012.
I really enjoyed using this. It’s gentle, scentless and effortlessly takes everything off. Never stung my eyes nor gave me a bad reaction. At 6 euros a bottle this is amazing. Makes me feel stupid paying top dollar for other eye makeup removers where this one does just as good a job for a fraction of the price.
Repurchase? A big yes.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane cleanser (200ml) – Made in France
Another recurring product. This is the last bottle for a while until I finish up my POD cleansers.
Repurchase? Next year perhaps.