Skincare favourites of 2018

There were plenty of great skincare finds in 2018 making it hard to be selective. I don’t use all of these products everyday but they were (and still are) my absolute go-to products in the last year.

Cleanser – Muji Oil Cleanser

Muji Oil Cleanser

I’ve only tried two products from their skin care line and would definitely want to try more. I love the simple aesthetics and the effectiveness of their products. One stand out was their Oil Cleanser. There are two types, sensitive and normal. I have the normal one. It’s texture isn’t too runny and because I keep buying the travel size, it comes in a flip cap bottle and is relatively mess free to use. It is rich but emollient enough to easily rub on my face and rinses off completely clean. It even removes mascara and eyeliner really well. I always follow with a second cleanse anyway. It’s pretty affordable and the full size comes in a pump so will definitely buy that when I’ve run out.

Purchased from Muji.

Exfoliant – Neogen Dermalogy Bio Peel Gauze Peeling

Neogen Dermalogy Bio Peel Gauze Peeling – Green Tea

I’m currently on my second jar as I can’t get enough of it. I have the green tea version and have also tried the lemon which is a better option for brightening. I like both but prefer the lemon because of it’s fresh scent.

This is a great option for a lazy person like me. Each gauze pad is already soaked in a cocktail of ingredients such as green tea, glycerin, glycolic and lactic acid. It’s a chemical and physical exfoliant in the one little pad. All you need to do to use it is, rub the more textured side all over the face and then repeat with the smoother quilted side to fully sloth of all remnants of dead skin. Then you rinse it all off with warm water and you’re left with smooth, clear skin. Each pad is single use only so remember to toss it out after each use.

I use this around 1-2 times a week.

Purchased from ebay*

Toner – Hanskin Real Complexion Hyaluron Skin Essence

Hanskin – Real Complexion Hyaluron Skin Essence

This toner is filled with sodium hyaluronate and is hydrating without leaving any residue. The absorption rate is phenomenal which is great for a person like me who doesn’t like to wait between layers.

The texture is viscose without being too thick. It’s a good one for layering because it has a little body to it. After cleansing I pour a few drops into my palm and press it onto my skin. I have dehydrated skin so it’s like I’m giving my skin a big drink of water each time. It is marketed as an essence but you can use it in whatever step feels right for you. I rarely use essence every morning so if it’s a two in one, then it’s a nice bonus 🙂

Purchased from yesstyle.com*

Serum – The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%

The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%

This was the first product I tried from the brand, based on recommendations from Renee (Gothamista) on Youtube. Being a total novice, I wanted to start slow and this turned out to be perfect. I apply it in the evening after toner or essence. It has a milky viscosity and I only use 3-4 drops each time. It absorbs really quickly and best of all, it never irritated my skin. I don’t have obvious signs of ageing so I can’t tell you if it helped with wrinkles. It did, however, smooth out my skin’s texture and helped normalize my cheek area because I tend to get unevenness there. It’s also supposed to help with acne and pigmentation but I didn’t really see much of a difference in the 6 months I used it for.

It’s now been re-labelled as Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion with the same ingredients. I haven’t tried this yet but hopefully it is exactly the same because I will be definitely buying this again. I’m using their Retinol 0.2% in Squalene at the moment and I find that it’s too oily in texture so not enjoying it.

Purchased from Adore Beauty.

Face oil – Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate and Glow Oil

Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate and Glow Oil

I’ve used up a travel size of this oil, bought it from eBay before my local Sephora ended up stocking it (finally!). It feels lightweight, has a nice subtle scent and hydrates the skin with just enough dew. It’s moisturising too so most days during the warmer months, I will skip moisturiser. It doesn’t leave an oily residue which I love and sits well under makeup. Gives the skin a nice subtle hydrated glow. It has surpassed my love for Drunk Elephant’s Marula Oil (reviewed here), something I thought couldn’t possibly happen.

Purchased travel size from eBay * and full size from Sephora.

Eye cream – Belif Peat Miracle Revital Eye Cream

Belif Peat Miracle Revital Eye Cream

This eye cream has the characteristics of being perfection. It is easily absorbable, rich yet lightweight, doesn’t leave a residue and doesn’t give me milia. I don’t have obvious lines around my eyes but the skin in that area definitely isn’t as taut as they used to be. This cream hydrated and moisturises without causing any sensitivity to my eyes. The small jar is only 25ml but has lasted me a year and still going strong.

I didn’t know what Peat was and I’m always skeptical when “miracle” is used in a product’s name. It’s a big reason why I don’t try La Mer because their “miracle broth” sounds like a load of crock. Peat is basically dead, decomposed plant residue (sounds gross) but because it originates from moors, bogs and old glaciers, it is rich in minerals and antioxidants, hence it is considered a powerhouse ingredient for anti ageing. Whatever it is, it’s effective and I like it.

Purchased from yesstyle.com*

Sunscreen – Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF50+/PA++++ 

Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF50+/PA++++

This sunscreen is fairly new to me but I have used it long enough to fall deeply in love with it. It’s a chemical sunscreen loaded with hydrating, moisturising and brightening ingredients such as Niacinamide, Adenosine, Panthenol , Beta-Glucan and Sea Buckthorn Oil.

It has zero white cast and has the texture of a light moisturiser, hence it’s name “soft and airy”. I have combo skin so I substitute my morning moisturiser with this and it is enough for my skin. It sits well under makeup too which is a plus.

Purchased from eBay *

Other – COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch

COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch
COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch

This super popular product needs no introduction. I wrote a full review here. They are hydrocolloid patches and when applied to active breakouts, either dramatically flatten the pimple or bring it to a head so it can heal quicker. I used so many of these little bad boys last year especially during the bout of acne I suddenly got around my jawline. The worst thing to do is touch active pimples so with these patches on them, it prevented me from contaminating them with my fingers. I think they make a huge difference so will probably keep buying them for as long as I keep getting acne.

Purchased from yesstyle.com*

Well that’s it! You may have noticed that I didn’t include a moisturiser, essence or masks in my favourites. I’ve used some decent products but nothing that has really stood out.

What skincare product(s) could you not live without in 2018? Do let me know as I’m always looking for recommendations.

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 🙂

What’s that smell?! Skincare and makeup which smell bad (to me)

During my journey of trying new products, I have come to know what I like and what I don’t like in products. One of the things I despise is if a product has an overpowering and unpleasant scent, whether it be by added fragrance or naturally derived. I wouldn’t say that I’m super sensitive to scents but if something smells bad, I’m not going to keep using it, regardless of how effective it is.

The following products I have ceased to use because of this. Just because I don’t like the smell of these things, doesn’t mean that the product is awful. If you like any of the products I am listing, please don’t take it personally as in the end it’s all just skincare and makeup! I also won’t be going into too much detail about the product since I don’t like them. Ok let’s go!

I’m Pro Ampoule Pad – Wish Formula

smell01

What is it?

It’s a cotton pad soaked in ampoule containing ascorbic acid as well as other antioxidants which help with brightening. The texture of the pad is supposed to provide a gentle exfoliation as well.

Ingredients(cosdna analysis)

It smells like…

Soy sauce. I mean I love eating soy sauce but I don’t want it in my pores. I don’t know if I got a bad batch or what. After some quick googling, it looks like some people have experienced a funky smell as well but they haven’t described it to be specifically like soy sauce. I don’t understand the expiry since it’s in Korean and both dates have passed already. If it is indeed expired, I am thoroughly annoyed since this is from an actual k-beauty store. I really didn’t pay any attention to how it performed since I couldn’t get past the smell. My husband has also used it and the smell lingered even after he had applied moisturiser.

Price: $4.90 AUD each from boniik.com

Pop Blush – The Face Shop

smell06

What is it?

A powder blush which I bought in the shade Neutral Pop.

It smells like…

Chemicals. Straight up chemicals which doesn’t dissipate after application. It isn’t very pigmented and feels dusty when I apply it to my cheeks. A big dud on performance and smell. Cute packaging though, the flower imprint and packaging is similar to Clinique’s Cheek Pop blushes.

Price: $8.99 AUD from eBay *

Ultra Moisturising Sun Cream – Kicho

smell05.jpg

What is it?

A chemical and physical sunscreen which contains lots of plant extracts in a moisturising formula.

Ingredients – (cosdna analysis)

smell04.jpg

It smells like…

Apples and something else in a brand I will be be speaking about next. The scent has been described as “delicate” and “fresh” but I don’t find it to be either. Fragrance is the third last ingredient but it might have been in the top three because I found it to be strong. The sunscreen itself applied nicely. It was moisturising and sunk in quite well. But you could still smell it after application. I also didn’t like this sunscreen because it made my face itch a bit whenever I sweated. It gets pretty humid in Sydney so it’s normal for me to sweat and I didn’t enjoy feeling further discomfort ,and I knew it was from this because I tested it a few times just to be sure.

Price: $42 AUD from lilacandberries.com

Huxley essence and oil trio – Secret of the Sahara Light and More, Essence like oil and Essence grab water

smell03

What is it?

Serums, each with their own characteristics. The Light and More is an oil, Essence like oil is a thick essence and the Essence Grab water is a hydrating serum.

Ingredients: cosdna analysis below

Light and More
Essence like oil
Essence Grab Water

It smells like…

The scent of Huxley products has been described as a “fresh rose bush” but I have never smelt a rose bush quite like this one. The star ingredient in their products is the prickly pear which is a cactus. I have no idea what this smells like. The scent is very strong and perfumed, gives me a headache. The products I have in the trial sizes were duds in performance. The dropper is useless, doesn’t dispense the serums properly. My skin doesn’t feel any different after application. But my opinion around this is probably masked by the smell. I actually didn’t even bother using the oil. I also just noticed that alcohol is pretty high on the list for all three products. Alcohol in an oil is a bit odd.

Huxley is atheistically pleasing, there is no denying that but that’s where it ends for me.  Pretty glad that I bought these mini sizes as a taster, I would’ve been pretty annoyed if I was stuck with a full sized bottle of any of these.

Price: $35 AUD from nudieglow.com (they have updated the pack since with a fourth serum)

Black Soybean Milk Pudding Sleeping Pack – Botanic Farm

img_20180610_193501.jpg

What is it?

A sleeping pack which contains fermented black soybeans as well as milk protein and cacao extract. This pack is supposed to help brighten, hydrate and help with signs of ageing.

Ingredients – from sokoglam.com

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Betaine, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hydrolyzed collagen, Lactobacillus/ soybean Ferment Extract, Theobroma Cacao Extract, Gardenia Florida Fruit Extract, Glycine Soja Seed Extract, Monascus Extract, Milk Protein, Carthamus Tinctorius Flower Extract, Glycerin, Urea, PEG-240/ HDI Copolymer Bis-Decyltetradeceth-20 Ether, Polysorbate 20, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/ Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Dimethiconol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Adenosine, Aminomethyl propanol, Sodium Polyacrylate, PVM/ma copolymer, Maltodextrin, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol

IMG_20180610_193525

It smells like…

It has been described as smelling like chocolates, delicious enough to eat…well I beg to differ. It smells like a biscuit or something, but not in a good way. It’s hard to describe it, all I know is that I don’t like it. It’s not as unpleasant as some of the other things I’ve spoken about but still not great. The product itself actually stings my face upon application and makes my face feel like it’s suffocating. The stinging does subside but by this time, I’m already stressed and my face is left smelling like a weird biscuit. Stressing out before bed is not something I enjoy doing. I have used and currently use acids in my routine and none of these have compared to the stinging and distress I experienced with this sleeping pack.

Price: $30 AUD from eBay *

Amazonian butter lipstick – Tarte

smell02.jpg

What is it?

A hydrating lipstick in a creamy formula. It contains amazonian butters.

It smells like…

Mint. Very minty and I hate minty lip products. It contains heaps of ingredients, one of which is peppermint oil. I bought the shade Park Ave Princess and it’s way too light for my lips. The packaging is pretty and I like the idea of it but the smell is a big no no. I can’t even tell you how it performs since I’ve only tried it twice and have removed it momentarily each time. I’ve tried other lipsticks from Tarte including their Color splash hydrating type and I really love that one!

Price: $24 AUD from tartecosmetics.com

Hi fi shine ultra cushion lipgloss – Urban Decay

smell051.jpg

What is it?

A comfortable lipgloss which is supposed to plump and hydrate the lips.

It smells like…

Mint. Here we go again. Peppermint oil strikes again. I received this mini size in a Mecca Beauty Loop box and while I like the colour, I hate the smell. It makes my lips tingle, I guess that’s when the plumping effect is happening. But I can’t stand the minty smell. Can’t get past it and don’t particularly want bigger lips anyway. I’m all about comfort and this does not feel comfortable at all. It’s probably a big reason why I haven’t found a favourite lip gloss yet.

Price: Free – Part of beauty box (Mecca member benefits)

Final thoughts

As mentioned at the start, if you enjoy any of these products and don’t mind their scents, then that’s awesome. I enjoy other stuff from the brands I mentioned (except for the Face Shop and Botanic Farm since it’s the first product I’ve tried from the brand), so I’m not dismissing the brand at all, just these particular products 😦  They didn’t work for me and I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.

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 🙂

signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mecca Beauty Loop Box – Level 3 – April 2018

If you live outside of Australia or New Zealand, you may not know about Mecca. Mecca is a beauty store based in various locations around Australia and New Zealand. I would best describe them to be equivalent to Sephora. As well as selling their own house brands, Mecca Max and Mecca Cosmetica, the range of brands (both makeup and skincare) housed within Mecca is HUGE. High end brands like Urban Decay, Hourglass, Too Faced, Tatcha, Nars, Smashbox, just to name a few. There are more Mecca stores around Sydney compared to Sephora. It’s always easy to get good service at Mecca too which is a key differentiator, not only compared to Sephora, but to other brand counters in department stores like Myer and David Jones. Sometimes you are really hard pressed to get any service at all which is a bit of a letdown 😦

Anyway, Mecca has a loyalty program called the Beauty Loop and depending on how much you spend a year, you are placed in a particular level. It’s free to join and points are earned with every purchase. Along with a great host of other member benefits (free makeovers, sneak peak with brand new releases etc), the main treat I look forward to the most, is the release of Mecca Beauty Loop boxes each quarter.

This box is complimentary and is available for a short window. I picked mine up yesterday (Friday) after getting the email on Thursday.  Since I’m a Level 3 member, this quarters box contains four items and the curation theme is “a luminous complexion”. Very excited to share the contents of this box with you. Something to note is that all the items in this box are in travel sizes.

This isn’t going to be a review on each product since I just got them. I will just be showing you what is in the L3 beauty loop box in this quarter. Also, this post is not sponsored whatsoever.

Products in the box

  1. Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment (7.5ml)

    Description: (from mecca.com.au)

    Clarify and polish skin to reveal a glowing, fresh-from-the-Clinic complexion. Microbeads and Fruit Enzymes are intended to clean pores, while salicylic acid is formulated to balance hydration, without over-drying.

    Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment
    Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment
  2. Bare Minerals Skinlongevity Vital Power Fusion – (7.5 ml)

    Description: (from mecca.com.au)

    The first of its kind, SkinLongevity combines the weightlessness and absorption of an essence with the efficacy and potency of a serum for the ultimate hybrid formulation. Fine lines and wrinkles are softened, moisture is restored and skin is adorned with a youthful radiance.

    Bare Minerals Skinlongevity Vital Power Fusion
    Bare Minerals Skinlongevity Vital Power Fusion
  3. Hourglass Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick – Champagne Flash (1.4g)

    Description: (from mecca.com.au)

    Create an instant flash of glow with these cream highlighter sticks in a smooth, weightless texture designed to give you an instant seamless highlight.

    Hourglass Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick - Champagne Flash
    Hourglass Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick – Champagne Flash
  4. Urban Decay HI-FI Shine Ultra Cushion Lipgloss – Naked (1.0ml)

    Description: (from mecca.com.au)

    Prepare your pout for high shine without the sticky finish. These ultra-shiny plumping glosses glide over the lips with precise ease, delivering long-lasting, bold shine.

    Urban Decay HI-FI Shine Ultra Cushion Lipgloss - Naked
    Urban Decay HI-FI Shine Ultra Cushion Lipgloss – Naked

If you are eligible for a beauty box this quarter, I would encourage you to get to your nearest Mecca asap before they run out!!! These boxes are such a great way to try different beauty products without breaking the bank 🙂 Well technically I have already broken the bank in order to be eligible but meh, details :/

I’ll be reviewing the products once I’ve used them for awhile so stay tuned!

signature