I was in a Westfield’s shopping centre today so I thought I might as well pick up my free birthday gifts from Sephora and Mecca. I had received emails/app notifications from both stores about these bonuses. There are two ways to redeem them, in-store or make a purchase online. Since I did not need to buy anything from both stores I went in today and picked them up. I thought I might as well since I’ve spent loads in both these stores, might as well get what I can.
Sephora promised a Fresh skincare trio and Mecca’s was also some skincare items from their house brand. Mecca’s was as promised, was nicely boxed and contained a cute birthday note. Sephora however, did not give me the Fresh kit, instead chucked a small notebook and a mini micellar water in the bag.
Now I’m not saying that I’m not grateful cos both stores don’t even have to give you anything. But as a loyal customer I thought I would say least get what was promised, especially since I’m a Gold member which is the highest level at Sephora AU. Anyway I feel like they would’ve given me what was advertised if I had made a purchase online. Because I picked it up without purchase they probably just changed their minds. I forgot to check as well and only checked once home. Overall it just a bad taste in my mouth.
Keeping empty containers may seem like a silly thing to do but I have good reasons for saving them. I can’t post dedicated reviews on every possible thing I try so I tend to collect them for a bi annual post like this. I enjoy watching people review their empties because it gives me a good indication of whether they would repurchase having used up all the product.
Skincare, especially, is something that you (generally) can’t form an instant opinion on so having some more information after its entire use is more helpful than a first impression (compared to someone just rubbing it on their hand in a haul). As usual, I’m going to be breezing through (well I’ll try my best to) each of them, otherwise this will be very long.
This cleansing oil is a cult classic and one that I had always wanted to try. When I saw that Yesstyle had in this cute Alice in Wonderland packaging in a smaller bottle, I was sold. I can see why it’s a popular product, the consistency is in the middle, not too thick and not too thin. I can massage it easily around my face and it does a great job in melting down my makeup. I always follow with a second cleanser but after I use this oil, my face already feels clean and moisturised with no sticky residue. The main ingredient is organic olive oil.
Would definitely repurchase the larger pump style size in future.
iUNIK is a brand that focusses on natural ingredients so I thought I’d give this a try. Calendula has recently appeared in a number of skincare products across different brands. It’s extract can serve as an antiseptic to soothe and heal wounds and it’s also great for collagen stimulation. This cleanser contains a bunch of oils, the main ones being sunflower and canola oil. This performed fine, melted makeup well enough and didn’t leave a film on my skin but what I struggled with was the scent. This outright smelt like cooking oil with a hint of floral. So if you don’t like strong scents in your cleansing oil I would give this a pass.
Would not repurchase.
NEOGEN – Real fresh foam – Green Tea
Cost: $15.58 USD, from bbcosmetic.com
This is already a repurchase and is my HG cleanser. I love its subtle scent and they way that it foams. The texture is soft but holds it’s shape so it’s easy to dispense and apply. It doesn’t strip my skin even though its ph of 7 is a bit on the higher side. This product is also sold in other “flavours” but I love this green tea version so much I haven’t dared to deviate. This one definitely deserves its own post and I will get to it once I get another. So it’s a definite repurchase for me. Myer (department store in Australia) also now sells Neogen so it’s much more accessible which is awesome.
ORIGINS – Make A Difference Plus Rejuvenating Treatment
This is ultimately a moisturiser despite its fancy long name and I was attracted to it because of its star ingredients which included Rose of Jericho, Lychee and Watermelon. These ingredients appear in all their Make a difference products and are great for hydration. I have combo/dehydrated skin and it was summer at the time so I needed something lightweight and non greasy. This is oil free so it seemed fitting. I actually really liked this moisturiser, it was rich enough to properly moisturise and hydrate but light enough for me not to feel it or mess with my makeup. It has a cream gel consistency so it was perfect for me since I don’t really like just gels in moisturiser form. I need a little bit more even in summer. It has a slight fresh citrus smell which I was ok with. Would repurchase.
I like to support Aussie brands and I had liked everything I had read about this brand. It was founded by Zoe Foster-Blake and I resonated with her beliefs that skincare should be simple and fun. The aesthetics of the packaging and products appealed to me, always a sucker for pastels, so I thought why not give it a go. This sampler pack of their popular products was a cost effective way to try it. This oil was the first thing I tried and was the product that I was most interested in. It has a tonne of oils in it and is easily absorbable into the skin. It’s quite rich but lightweight at the same time. The scent of this oil is particularly strong, it’s derived naturally from the ingredients, but man it’s strong. It isn’t unpleasant but bad enough for me to not look forward to using it though I did finish it. It’s a shame because I did like everything else about it. I definitely favour my Marula Oil from Drunk Elephant over this any day. Will not repurchase.
Drunk Elephant – B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel
Cost: $35 as part of the Rise and Glow set from mecca.com.au
I didn’t like this the first time that I tried it because I tried to use it as a moisturiser. For my skin type, this definitely wouldn’t be enough. When I started to use it as a mixer to my acids, it became magical. Drunk Elephant’s products are designed to be mixed into one another and I chose to mix it with their Framboos Glycolic Night Serum at first. I’ve also mixed it in with my Paula’s Choice Azelaic Acid Booster and it really helps to make the product go further as well as improve spreadability.
Will definitely repurchase the full size once I’m done with my current hyaluronic acid serum.
Sunday Riley – Good Genes
Cost: Came in a The Flash Fix mini pack with their clay cleanser $24 GBP from cultbeauty.com
Sunday Riley has since reformulated Good Genes to use Glycolic Acid instead of Lactic Acid. I finished the old version and haven’t tried the new so I can’t compare the two. There was so much hype around this and the claims were that you would see brighter and more radiant skin, less wrinkles within a very short period of time, 3mins in fact! My skin never felt quite comfortable after application. I found it a bit hard to spread it around and I felt like I needed to use quite a bit to cover my face. The smell was a big turn off actually. I like the smell of lemongrass but this was way too strong and also had a chemical smell mixed in too which I didn’t like at all. Buying the full size of this is a big investment that I for one will not be making. The brand itself is a turn off altogether based on that drama with making their employees post fake reviews on Sephora…no deal. Won’t be repurchasing anything from their line again.
This was first foray into hyaluronic acid (HA) and one of my first products from the brand. HA is pretty popular at the moment, it’s everywhere from skincare to makeup. The consistency is on the thick side and my face felt tacky after application. I usually used it at night so I would normally follow with an oil or moisturiser so I didn’t mind the tackiness so much. But it wasn’t my favourite. I have since used other HA serums/toners which I’ve liked much better which don’t do that so I won’t be repurchasing this.
MUJI – Cleansing milk
Cost: $15 AUD (I think) from MUJI (in store)
I love both foaming and milk cleansers equally and everything about this cleanser was positive. It contains peach and apricot extracts, has a very subtle fruity scent, packaging is basic but easy to use with the pump. The texture isn’t as runny as milk so it’s easy to dispense and massage onto the skin. It rinses off easily and leaves my face feeling fresh and clean, not stripped. This product contains parabens but that doesn’t bother me. As long as the product is effective and works for me, that’s all I care about. Muji sells most of their skincare in different sizes so if you’re curious but not wanting to commit to a full size, there are mini sizes available too. Best of all, their skincare is very affordable, similar to drugstore prices. They also have an amazing cleansing oil which I adore. They don’t seem to sell skincare online though which is a bummer. Worth checking out if you have store near you.
Will definitely be repurchasing this one.
Ok so that’s it for my empties and product roundup. I need to do them more regularly so that these posts don’t get ridiculously long each time!
What products have you finished recently? Do you tend to repurchase the same things or do you like trying new products out? Let me know!
Please note: links in this post marked with an * are affiliate links. They provide me with a small commission, if you should choose to use them for a purchase, without any extra cost to you
When you buy a product you always hope that it works for you and your skin. So when it doesn’t, it is a little sad but at least you tried it out and gave it a good go. Some of these products were pretty hyped up so just like anything, I needed to try them out for myself.
If you enjoy any of the products that I’ll be talking about, that is truly awesome but unfortunately these did not work for me for reasons I will get into.
Blithe – Pressed Serum Tundra Chaga
This serum/moisturiser hybrid is full of tundra chaga mushroom extract which is known for hydration and providing nourishment. I’ve never tried skincare with any type of mushroom before so this intrigued me. It has a pudding texture and is brown in colour so it’s not the most pleasant texture to look at but I gave it a go anyway.
I thought this could be a 2 in one product to use in the morning since I’m always in a mad rush so anything to expedite getting ready is a god send. I used about half of this jar for a few months in fact and I just felt like it didn’t do much to my skin. I have combo skin so this didn’t work well enough as a moisturiser and I felt like it just acted like a heavier weight serum. My biggest gripe however is probably the thing that makes it unique. It’s texture is pudding like and you need a spatula to use the product and to effectively get a decent amount. It ended up being not worth the effort for such little reward.
I like the texture of this moisturiser, it’s nice and light. It also has a pretty peach colour to it. It is easily absorbed into the skin and it gives it a dewy effect which I tend to go for in winter.
What I didn’t like about it was the fragrance. It was just way too perfumy for my liking. I don’t mind scents too much especially in makeup but in a moisturiser, something that is really close to my skin, nope no way. I know that fragrance is right down the bottom but it’s so strong that it could’ve been right up the top of the list. The scent is the fresh kind of perfume but not pleasant to me nonetheless. I’d also hate to think about the effects its having on my skin. I gave it to my husband to use and he actually broke out from it.
$41 AUD from lilacandberries.com (don’t think their store exists anymore)
When everyone was gushing about this moisturiser, about how wonderful it was, I knew I had to try this cutely named product. Whipped cream? You would imagine that to be light and airy and fluffy.
But no, it’s texture isn’t that creamy, a little bit stiffer that the average cream moisturiser in fact. Gothamista was the only one who didn’t much care for it, said that the cream felt matte and drying and I would agree with her 100%. I bought this in a mini set, it came with something else at the time. My skin did not feel moisturised after application, which defeats the purpose of using it. I preferred to use my Marula oil from the brand for moisturisation (would highly recommend it!). There is also a slight scent which reminds me of dusty rooms which I don’t favour as well. Dry skinned influencers swore by this, opinions by which I’m now very skeptical about.
This is a mini and came in a set with something else, it was from Mecca. Can’t remember the price.
This was probably the most hyped up skincare at the time when my interest in k-beauty started. It sounded like a miracle product, a morning mask, makeup primer, full of anti ageing antioxidants.
I was always confused as to what order I would apply this. Before or after sunscreen? If it’s a mask then surely it would be before but if its a primer then it would be after then? The ladies at Glow recipe confirmed that it should be applied before sunscreen. I’ve tried it both ways and I dislike both ways.
The application method is seemingly difficult too. You rub it into your face and then tap/pat to absorb. J.One has a video on how she applies it. I mean it doesn’t sound that hard but it takes a bit longer than your usual primer. The finish is incredibly tacky which would grip makeup very well but if your next layer is sunscreen, well, yeah I don’t know. Also if you try it the other way, with sunscreen first, I feel like its just a bit much and sometimes it makes my foundation pill. I don’t agree with it’s hydrating claims either, I feel like it makes my skin feel tight.
Rice bran is well known for brightening as well as licorice root. I’m a sucker for anything containing licorice which was why this appealed to me. It is light in texture, has good packaging but the fragrance was strong and the finish was too dewy for my liking. I felt like it made my t-zone extra oily which is the last thing I needed. Probably a better one for dry skin peeps who aren’t sensitive to fragrance.
$21 AUD from stylestory.com
The Ordinary – Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%
Propanediol, Ascorbic Acid, Alpha-Arbutin
I haven’t had much luck with vitamin C, in particular Ascorbic acid, it just doesn’t tend to agree with my skin. Since I have some pigmentation which I’m always looking to fade, when I saw that this also had Alpha Arbutin, which is naturally derived from hydroquinone, I was interested.
I used this all over as well as targeted spots but it was a bit too oily and I felt like it made my skin uncomfortable. After continued use, I felt like it was causing small bumps to form on my skin. This may be considered purging but whatever is was, I couldn’t stand it.
I found the texture of this to be too matte. It made my foundation or primer pill at times or made my skin look super dry and crusty. My chin is the biggest test (its bipolar oily and dry but mostly dry) and it looked horrid whenever I wore this sunscreen. Granted I didn’t pay for it since I received it as a deluxe sample. I had high hopes for this because Mecca is really accessible for me but instead of being elegant in texture like some of my favourite korean sunscreens, it was a flop.
Received in a mecca beauty loop box but retails between $18 and $40 at Mecca Cosmetica
shu uemura – POREraser CC UV under base mousse
I bought this when I was still very new to beauty. The mousse spray can packaging is gimmicky and the product actually sucks. It’s supposed to fill in pores and be a flawless base for foundation. I thought it would be cool since it seemed to be a primer and sunscreen in one. I bought the beige one, it’s supposed to be good for discolouration and redness. The texture of this is fluffy being a mousse when you first dispense it, but on the skin, it’s hard to spread around. You have to use a fair bit to cover the face and it feels drying to me, as if all aspects of hydration has been sucked up. It does not fill in pores at all, it actually does nothing particularly good for my skin or makeup application.
I think it was around $50 AUD from the shu uemura store.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for hanging in there and I hope you enjoyed my rants! In all seriousness, skincare is all about trial and error, it can’t all work out and finding out is part of the fun.
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products, always happy to answer any questions you may have too.