Empties March 2020, skincare used up

Skincare empties (March 2020) – Korean, Japanese and Western skincare

6 months later, another empties post. You know the drill, keep on reading to see whether I loved/liked/hated any of these products.

Dr. Althea – To Be Eyeconic Eye Serum

Cost: $64 AUD, 20ml from yesstyle.com *

What attracted me to this eye serum was the packaging, I liked the idea of having the angled tip so you can dispense, apply and massage the serum directly from the product. A lot of eye creams are in jars for some reason. It claims to help with all that I and probably most people are who are over the age of 30 are searching for, a remedy for fine lines and dry under eyes. For someone with combo skin my under eyes are very dry. It contains green tea to soothe, adenosine to smooth out wrinkles as well as squalene and chamomile extract for moisturization. The product is light, didn’t irritate my eyes and I could use this alone for ample moisture. BUT, my problem with it was the packaging. I couldn’t really use that angled end to rub the serum effectively under my eyes, I still had to use my fingers for that so I found it gimmiky. Also the container is long and slim with no weight to it so it kept falling over when stored with my other skin care products. Damn it just fell over again…!

Would not repurchase.

Mac Fix+ – Watermelon

Cost: AU $25 (I think) from mac cosmetics . Limited edition. 30ml

Mac Fix+ is an oldie but a goodie and a reliable hydrating mist regardless of what scent you buy. They released limited edition scents mid last year and I grabbed the watermelon as well as the pineapple scent. I love both and they work just as well as the original. I’ve also tried the coconut one which I also liked.

Was worth a try but if I were to repurchase it would be the full size which costs $39 for 100ml, making it more bang for your buck.

SK-II Genoptics Aura Essence

Cost: $210 AUD, 30ml, from sephora.com.au

I suffer from sun spots and hyperpigmentation so I’m always looking for products to fade this damn discolouration. This serum offered brightening properties which included SKII’s patented hero ingredient Pitera.

The serum was milky, lightweight and easily absorbable. It has a light scent which was pleasant enough. I expected to see results but did not. I used up the entire bottle since it would be a crime at this price point not to. Liked it enough to use up but wouldn’t repurchase.

First Aid Beauty – Hello FAB Vital Greens Face Mist

Cost: Not sure, this mini size 30ml was in a set which is no longer available, full size is $29 from sephora.com.au

This is a nice spray, nothing unique but nice. It is cooling on skin and contains lots of plant extracts which gives it that lovely green colour. I’m not really loyal to face mists if I’m being honest since I want to try them all. The only ones I have repurchased has been MAC’s Fix +. Nothing to write home about here so will not repurchase.

Drunk Elephant – B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel 

Cost: $35 as part of the Rise and Glow set from mecca.com.au

Another one bites the dust. To hear my thoughts and praises for this product you can find a quick review of it here in my last empties post.

It’s such a good mixing product and if you use enough of it by itself, it’s quite a nice hydrating serum.

I am still contemplating on buying the full size. TBD.

DERMA E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum

Cost:  $34.99, 60ml from priceline.com.au (Australian Pharmacy)

I heard about this brand and product from Renee @ Gothamista. To date I haven’t found a vitamin c product that I’ve actually liked. I hated the Drunk Elephant C-Firma and didn’t like the smell of the Klairs Freshly Juiced drop. I’m pretty sure The Ordinary’s Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% broke me out.

Anyway I really liked this serum, texture was nice and light, easily spreadable, absorbed immediately and I really liked the fresh subtle citrus smell. I used it immediately after cleansing in the morning and as well as my complexion appearing brighter over time, my skin also felt plump and hydrated. During the summer, I would just apply this and sunscreen, skipping moisturiser.

Would definitely repurchase, it’s value for money and it’s actually effective.

Alpine Berry Watery Cream

Price: $ 73.10 from yesstyle.com *

I love this moisturiser, this is the second jar that I’ve finished and I already have repurchased. It is the perfect cream moisturiser which is perfect for my combo skin. It has a slight gel consistency making it easy to apply and spread. You don’t need a lot which is great. It contains an alpine berry complex which consists of blackberries and strawberry sprouts as well as hydrating ingredients such as glycerin and squalene. Never greasy and gives your skin a lovely glow, I will always buy this! Thanks Liah Yoo for sharing your love for this product, I’m hooked! I think this warrants a full review so keep an eye out for that if you’re interested.

Ok that’s all folks! 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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skincare empties (September 2019)

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.

DHC Deep cleansing oil 

DHC Deep cleansing oil

Cost: $20 AUD from yesstyle.com

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 – Calendula complete cleansing oil 

Cost: AU $24.81 from ebay *

IUNIK - Calendula complete cleansing oil

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

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

ORIGINS - Make A Difference Plus Rejuvenating Treatment

Cost: $70 AUD, 50ml, purchased from mecca.com.au

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.

GO-TO Face Hero

GO-TO Face Hero

Cost: This was part of the Tiny Stuff set which was $39 from gotoskincare.com.

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 

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

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.

The Ordinary – Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

Cost:  $12.90 from adorebeauty.com.au

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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skincare declutter – June 2019 – Drunk Elephant, J.One, Blithe, Thankyou Farmer, Sorocci + more!

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.

Ingredients

From sephora.com.au

* Chaga Mushroom Extract minimises the look of fine lines and the appearance of rough skin. * Fermented Olive Oil locks in hydration without heaviness. * Fermented Argan Oil softens and hydrates * Meadowfoam Seed Oil nurtures and energises skin. Inonotus Obliquus (Mushroom) Extract 60%, Water, Glycerin, Diglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Triethylhexanoin, Polyurethane-39, Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Candida Bombicola/Glucose/Methyl Rapeseedate Ferment, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Alteromonas Ferment Extract, Sparassis Crispa Extract, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Lecithin, Butylene Glycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Polyacrylate-13, C12-16 Alcohols, Caramel, Palmitic Acid, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Polyisobutene, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Potassium Hydroxide, Adenosine, Polysorbate 20, Disodium EDTA, Dipropylene Glycol, Methyldihydrojasmonate.

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.

Price

$67 AUD for 50ml from Sephora

Thank You Farmer – True Water Light Gel Cream

Ingredients

From iherb.com

Water, glycerin, cyclopentasiloxane, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp copolymer, niacinamide, betaine, squalane, pentylene glycol, piper methysticum leaf/root/stem extract, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, portulaca oleracea extract, pueraria thunbergiana root extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, paeonia lactiflora root extract, cnidium officinale root extract, ulmus davidiana root extract, amaranthus caudatus seed extract, soluble collagen, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, sodium hyaluronate, hydrogenated lecithin, 1,2-hexanediol, trehalose, panthenol, polyacrylamide, butylene glycol, inositol, c13-14 isoparaffin, ethylhexylglycerin, disodium edta, laureth-7, xanthan gum, fragrance, ci 15985, ci 17200.

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.

Price

$41 AUD from lilacandberries.com (don’t think their store exists anymore)

Drunk Elephant – Lala Retro™ Whipped Cream

Ingredients

From mecca.com

Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Ascorbic Acid, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Seed Oil, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Ferment Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica (Indian Gooseberry) Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Tocopherol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Acetyl Glucosamine, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Glutamylamidoethyl Imidazole, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tetrahydro Curcuminoids, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Glycine, Sucrose, Maltodextrin, Propanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Xanthan gum, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 60.

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.

Price

This is a mini and came in a set with something else, it was from Mecca. Can’t remember the price.

J.One – Jelly Pack

Ingredients

from Sephora.com

Water, Polysorbate 80, PEG-150 Disterate, Niacinamide, 1,2-Hexanediol, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Rosemary Leaf Water, Chamomile Flower Water, Yeast/Fermented black tea extract, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Nuphar Luteum Flower Extract, Sea Daffodil Flower Extract, Glycerin, Adenosine, Hydrolyzed Hylauronic Acid, Dipropylene Glycol, Sucrose Distearate, Cyclopentasilxane, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, PEG-8, Hydroxyethylcelluclose, Potassium Sorbate Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, PVP, Fullerene, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Sodum Benzoate, Citric Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid.

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.

Price

$30 from ebay.com

Soroci – Rice Embryo Moisturising Acqua Cream

Ingredients

From Amazon.com

Purified Water, Betaine, Adenosine, Y-Oryzanol, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Sodium Chloride, Morus Alba Bark Extract, Algae Extract, Apricot Kernel Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Elm Bark Extract, Propolis Extract, Fragrance

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.

Price

$21 AUD from stylestory.com

The Ordinary – Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%

Ingredients

from theordinary.com

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.

Price

9.17 GBP from cultbeauty.com

Mecca Cosmetica – To save face superscreen SPF50

Ingredients

from mecca.com.au

7% W/W OCTOCRYLENE, 3% W/W OXYBENZONE, 2.5% W/W BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE, 2% W/W PHENYLBENZIMIDAZOLE SULFONIC ACID. PRESERVATIVES: PHENOXYETHANOL, BENZYL ALCOHOL.  

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.

Price

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.

Price

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.

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 đŸ™‚

Skincare I’ve used up (September 2018)

I haven’t written an empties post since March…uh yeah this year has really flown! When I noticed that my pile of empties was becoming increasingly more difficult to store, I thought it was about time I posted so I could get rid of them.

I’m going to be breezing through (well I’ll try my best to) each of them, otherwise this will be very long. I’ve reviewed some of it in the past and will add a link to the review where applicable. Most of these products are minis, which I think is an affordable and smart way to try out new skincare, especially if getting samples beforehand isn’t possible.

All products were purchased by me (except for the last one which was in a members rewards box). There are no affiliate links in this post.

Simplistic Skincare – Essence wonder

empties-essence

Reviewed here.

Cost: $49 AUD, purchased from liliacandberries.com 

My thoughts since the review remain unchanged. I didn’t think it did much for my skin, even after using it up, I didn’t miss it or notice any differences in my skin. It is hydrating and absorbs very quickly. Nice packaging but won’t warrant a repurchase.

Goodal – Mild Protect Essence Sun SPF50+/PA+++

Goodal - Mild Protect Essence Sun SPF50+/PA+++
Goodal – Mild Protect Essence Sun SPF50+/PA+++

Cost: $9.81 USD, purchased from ibbi

After hearing the ladies at Glow Recipe rave about this sunscreen, specifically about it’s gel texture, I knew I had to try it. It’s a chemical sunscreen which is what I usually go for because I can’t stand dry and difficult to blend physical sunscreens. I’m sure there are more elegant formulas out there now but I just haven’t found one I’ve liked yet.

The gel consistency makes it easy to rub into the skin which I liked. There were two things that I didn’t like as much with this sun gel and the first thing is that alcohol is the 7th ingredient in the list (cosdna). I noticed this after I bought it, rookie mistake I know! I do know that alcohol is common in sunscreens since it helps make the texture more spreadable but I would still like to avoid it when I can. It wasn’t drying and didn’t smell like alcohol so that was a plus. The second thing was that it left my face dewy…borderline greasy. This could be a great thing for drier skin types but on my combo skin, I did not need the extra grease in my t-zone. Might be a better one for winter. Because of these two reasons, I won’t be repurchasing.

Fresh – Soy Face Cleanser (mini size)

Fresh - Soy Face Cleanser (mini size)
Fresh – Soy Face Cleanser (mini size)

Reviewed here

Cost: $20 AUD, 50ml, purchased from Sephora

As a second cleanser, it was a good one. Like I said in the review, it doesn’t leave my face stripped. It instead, left it feeling bouncy, hydrated and soft. Would repurchase. Keen to try more products from Fresh 🙂

MAC – Prep and Prime Fix +

MAC - Prep and Prime Fix +
MAC – Prep and Prime Fix +

Cost: $36 AUD, 100ml, purchased from Myer

This is a classic product which I will always keep repurchasing. I use it after makeup to set my face and to add a natural looking glow to my skin. It also helps melt powder into the skin, to mesh with the other elements. It doesn’t work like a setting spray (like urban decay’s all nighter) so don’t expect it to prolong the wear of your makeup. I just love the way it makes my skin look which is a good enough reason in my books. The mister on the bottle is glorious too, very fine. Good for use all year around but especially in summer because it also feels refreshing 🙂

Belif – The True Tincture Cleansing Stick (Chamomile)

Belif - The True Tincture Cleansing Stick (Chamomile)
Belif – The True Tincture Cleansing Stick (Chamomile)

Cost: I can’t access the order details but I think it was around $20-30 AUD purchased from eBay.

This was another purchase inspired by Renee (Gothamista). She compared this to the Su:m37 Rose Cleansing stick which I loved but can’t seem to find anymore. Anyway, this stick was nice, it had little bits of chamomile petals in it so it also gently exfoliated the skin while cleansing. I didn’t really feel it to tell you the truth. It did have a subtle natural smell and it was a nice sensory experience to use it. It also didn’t strip my skin but it wasn’t the most hydrating cleanser I’ve ever used either. I felt like if I didn’t apply toner right away, my skin would feel a bit tight. A stick last a really long time, mine expired before I could finish it.  I think I had it for awhile before use and didn’t pay attention to the date.

I probably won’t repurchase this. I prefer the Su:m37 Rose cleansing stick and Neogen Real Fresh Green Tea Cleansing Stick (Green Tea) over this one.

Amore Pacific – The essential creme fluid (mini size)

Amore Pacific - The essential creme fluid (mini size)
Amore Pacific – The essential creme fluid (mini size)

Cost: $25 USD, travel size purchased from eBay.

After hearing Liah Yoo and Jude (Fiddy Snails) rave about this moisturiser, I too also needed it. Especially when I heard that it contained 150 handpicked baby green tea leaves from AP’s own tea garden and that it’s a rich moisturiser disguised as a lightweight creme. Now Amore Pacific is impossible to get here in Australia. Managed to find a travel size on eBay which I probably overpaid for but oh well. I’m actually glad I only got the travel size because the full size is around $100 USD. I liked the texture, it was light and silky. My skin did feel moisturised but not that comfortable. I think it was the scent that bothered me, it smelt quite strongly of flowers I think, not a natural smell. Wish it smelt like green tea instead. For that reason I will not be repurchasing. Overall it didn’t feel unique enough for me to want to get past the scent. The good news is that Mecca, applicable to AU and NZ (I think), will be stocking AP products soon so it will at last be easily attainable!

Drunk Elephant – Beste Jelly Cleanser (mini size)

Drunk Elephant - Beste Jelly Cleanser (mini size)
Drunk Elephant – Beste Jelly Cleanser (mini size)

Cost: Came in a “Hit it off Duo” with the Lala retro whipped cream – $29 from Mecca 

I wasn’t a fan of the Lala Retro but I did enjoy this cleanser. It is hydrating, leaves my skin feeling similar to the Fresh Soy cleanser, which is soft and bouncy. There is no scent and I like how the texture is jelly like, so it doesn’t get messy.

I would repurchase, but lo and behold, my husband overheard about how much I liked it and gifted me with the full sized product for my birthday, yay!

Drunk Elephant – Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil (mini size)

empties-marula

Reviewed here

Cost: Came in a “Night Brights Duo” with the TLC Framboose Glycolic Night Serum, $40 AUD, from Mecca

I’ve already repurchased another Night Brights Duo before I finished it. I almost bought the full size but since I’m between a few oils, I thought I’d just buy it later because it’s quite expensive. I love this oil, it’s lightweight, easily absorbable, feels nourishing as well as moisturising. I like to apply it at night after my actives or retinoid. I don’t feel like to I need to apply moisturiser either. There’s just something about it sensory wise, it feels very comforting.

Acwell – Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner (mini size)

Acwell - Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner (mini size)
Acwell – Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner (mini size)

Cost: $9.50 USD for two mini sizes from eBay

Charlotte from Soko Glam sold me on this when she curated it into their store. It all sounded pretty good, low ph, licorice and peony for brightening and green tea. Honey skin also sounded pretty damn good too and her skin is flawless! I actually really liked this toner, it felt gentle and my skin felt balanced and calm after using it. I don’t know if it alone gave me honey skin, which I still don’t have anyway. I still have another bottle left but it’s something that I liked enough to repurchase.

Too Faced – Hangover 3-in-1 Replenishing Primer & Setting Spray (mini size)

Too Faced - Hangover 3-in-1 Replenishing Primer & Setting Spray (mini size)
Too Faced – Hangover 3-in-1 Replenishing Primer & Setting Spray (mini size)

Cost: Free with my beauty loop box from Mecca (member rewards thing)

I’ve wanted to try this for awhile because I’m obsessed with anything coconut and this has coconut water in it. Too Faced says you can use it three ways, as a primer/setting spray/refresher, but I used it only as a setting spray (because it was so tiny). It’s more of a hydrating setting spray than something that would cement your look to last all day. I feel like it gives the same effect as MAC Fix + and now that they also have a coconut version (which I’m currently using), I haven’t made up my mind as to which I prefer. I can’t remember if this Too Faced one smelt like coconuts but I remember it being pleasant enough. Because of its teeny tiny size, I only got to use it twice or thrice so it’s hard to remember exactly. I’ll most likely purchase the full size once my current setting sprays are used up.

Ok if you’ve made it this far, you’ve done well! Phew that was a looong post, a lot of words. Let me know if you’ve used any of these products mentioned and if you have any questions, please post them below. Until next time 🙂

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My favourite face oils

Face oils are a new discovery for me and I have Renee (Gothamista) to thank for my new found love with them. She loves applying oils in her routine and I can definitely resonate with her.

It’s been pretty cold here in Sydney since it’s winter so my skin has been drinking up basically anything I have been putting on my face.

I’ve decided that applying oils is my favourite step in my routine and it’s due to some fantastic discoveries which I will be sharing today. I normally apply it after my serum step and before a moisturiser, in the PM. If you’re interested in finding out what they are, please keep on reading.

Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil

Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil

This oil is one of Renee’s (Gothamista) favourites and I bought it pretty much because of her.  I’m slowly trying out Drunk Elephant’s range and buying minis makes it more affordable since the line isn’t cheap. The Nightbright Duo (also includes T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum), which is still available, from mecca seemed like a good starting point.

Claims:

from drunkelephant.com

Like rehab for your skin, this wonder-working, luxury facial oil, high in critical antioxidants tocopherol (vitamin E), tochotrienol, phenolic compounds and flavinoids, and rich in omegas 6 and 9, helps to moisturize, rejuvenate and nourish skin while restoring a youthful glow. Straight from the “pip” of the marula fruit, our Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil is untouched by any chemical or fragrance, natural or synthetic and remains in its purest form.

Ingredients:

Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil

Why I love it:

Cold pressed is a technique where the oils are obtained by pressing fruit and seeds, which retains its nutrition and efficacy. I love the fact that it is cold pressed and how lovely and pure this oil is. It feels nourishing, moisturising and comforting, like a warm blanket to my face. It doesn’t literally make it feel warm or anything, it just feels pleasant. It does give me an overall glow and best of all it is the most fast absorbing of all the oils I will be talking about. For some reason I thought it might feel heavy and not absorb on my combo skin since it has “luxury” in its name, but it’s quite the opposite. It still takes a minute to absorb but leaves no residue. Light enough to use during the day for people with drier skin. There is no scent.

Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil – very runny texture

The packaging is in a pump since I have the mini size and I generally use two pumps into my palm, rub my both my palms together and press it into my face. I use this technique with all the oils, only the amount of oil used varies.

I’ve been using retinol and AHA serums (interchangeably) at night so applying this over the top and sometimes with no moisturiser, really agrees with my skin.

Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil – rubbed in, quickly absorbed.

Price:

I purchased this in a Nightbright duo which also has the T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum for $40 AUD from mecca.com.au. Both are 8ml. I recently re-purchased this duo because I love both products so much and adore the practical pump packaging. The full size packaging has the standard pipet applicator.

The oil by itself is available in two sizes:
$58 AUD 15ml and $105 for 30ml from mecca.com.au and from the brand’s website drunkelephant.com.

Urang Whitening Blue Oil Serum

Urang Whitening Blue Oil Serum

I’m going to sound like a broken record but this is yet another oil which Renee recommended. Man this woman’s influence on me is sending me and I’m sure all of her subscribers, broke! As usual, as soon as she had mentioned it the second time, I was trying to find it online. Only ohlolly.com stocked it. Being in Australia, we’re disadvantaged in terms of accessibility of products which are only sold in the US.

Their official and only stockists, ohlolly.com has an absurd shipping fee which I refused to pay and this oil from Urang is already quite expensive. I scoured ebay and found a seller which also sold the mini sized versions so I pounced and here we are.

Claims:

from ohlolly.com

A masterfully blended, all natural face oil serum that brightens, heals and protects skin. Wonderfully lightweight and hydrating, Brightening Blue Oil Serum quickly absorbs into skin to energize and transform dull skin into a radiant complexion.

Ingredients:

Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil, Tocopherol, (-)-alpha-bisabolol, *Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil (*Organic ingredient)

Why I love it:

There are only four ingredients in this product, all of which claim to hydrate, even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and hyper pigmentation. The latter always catches my eye because I have PIH from pimples as well as sun spots, both of which I am forever trying to find magical serums for. I also love anything with green tea and it’s the first ingredient. Tocopherol is a form of vitamin E and alpha-bisabolol is from the bark of the candeia tree in Brazil. I’ve read that bisabolol is also an active derived from the German Chamomile.

Urang Whitening Blue Oil Serum
Urang Whitening Blue Oil Serum – slight tinge of blue and is runny.

I have used quite a bit of this product already and I do feel like it brightens my skin. My whole PM routine is about brightening anyway so it fitted right in. It’s also hard to tell if this has really helped because I use other brightening products too. My skin does feel plump and healthy after use and I simply enjoy using it which are enough reasons for me. It’s a very pretty oil, I love its beautiful blue colour which is naturally from the chamomilla recutita flower. There is a slight scent but it’s very soothing and light. There are no artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances in this oil which I appreciate. Also important to note is that when Korean products are advertised as “whitening” they mean brightening. There is no “tone-up” effect to this product, thankfully since I despise those kind of products. They’ve actually now renamed it to be “brightening” now probably to avoid any confusion.

Urang stands for (Ultimate Radiant + Natural Glow) and the creator Jina Lee is an holistic aromatherapist and wanted to create a brand which would have natural, organic products and for them to safe for the whole family, since she is a mother herself. I haven’t come across any Korean brands with this type of notion and it’s really great that Urang has. The brand is also vegan and cruelty free. Urang sounds like the Korean version of RMS Beauty! I am definitely keen to buy the full size version (the packaging is so beautiful!) and try other products in her line. If only they were more accessible internationally!!

Urang Whitening Blue Oil Serum
Urang Whitening Blue Oil Serum – Rubbed in, is fast absorbing

Price:

I bough the travel size 15ml from ebay *, $28.12 USD.

Available from ohlolly.com:
$35 USD for 15ml and $59 USD for 30ml.

Blossom Jeju 100% Pure Camellia Dry Oil

Blossom Jeju 100% Pure Camellia Dry Oil
Blossom Jeju 100% Pure Camellia Dry Oil

Claims:

from blossomjeju.com

This legendary, 100 percent pure Camellia Oil is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids to deeply hydrate and nourish skin.

Grown organically in Jeju island in Korea, the multitasking formula contains astonishing healing, conditioning, and antiaging properties to create a youthful-looking complexion.

Ingredients:

Camellia Seed Oil

Why I love it:

I first tried the Camellia Soombi Essence Oil from this brand which I really loved. It was another one recommended by Renee. Since that oil is expensive I decided to try this version which is marketed as being a dry oil. I think it’s actually better than the Soombi because there is no fragrance and is also half the price. It is fast absorbing and can be used during the AM. I only use two drops if I layer makeup over the top. Otherwise at night, I can use three drops.

oil-blossom-swatch

Camellia seed oil is known to be light but hydrating and full of antioxidants. All products in the Blossum Jeju line are sourced from Jeju island, which is also known as Korea’s “Hawaii”. It’s common for many k-beauty brands to source ingredients from this island. Definitely an island I would want to visit if I ever visited South Korea.

Blossom Jeju 100% Pure Camellia Dry Oil
Blossom Jeju 100% Pure Camellia Dry Oil – also fast absorbing, I put a bit too much here but it leaves a slight dewy look.

Price:

$36 AUD, 20ml from ebay

Whamisa Organic Flowers Face Oil

Whamisa Organic Flowers Facial Oil
Whamisa Organic Flowers Facial Oil

When I was first discovering k-beauty, I read and watched lots of Glow Recipe articles and videos. Sarah and Christine really know their stuff and one of the major brands that they curate is Whamisa. They are well known for fermenting ingredients in their formulations so of course I had to try for myself. This product has fermented flower filtrates as well as a nice blend of oils. I bought a few products from ebay since Glow Recipe’s shipping is pricey to Australia. This oil is probably my favourite product that I have tried so far from the brand. Whamisa also now has an Aussie website so products are much easier to attain, yay! 🙂

I’ve seen this oil in different packaging too, a frosted clear bottle instead of the brown bottle which I have. Not sure which is newer but I’m fairly certain the products are the same.

Claims

from whamisa.co.uk

Organic argan and camellia seed oil star in this miracle blend of natural and organic oils which also includes olive fruit, jojoba seed, carrot seed, evening primrose and flower ferment filtrates.  Improves skin’s immunity, elasticity and protects from environmental damage. Creates a natural barrier locking in nutrients and hydration.

Ingredients

from whamisa.co.uk

*Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, *Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, *Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, *Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil, *Lactobacillus/Chrysanthemum Sinense Flower Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Nelumbium Speciosum Flower Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Rhizome/Root Ferment Filtrate, ***Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, ***Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, ***Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Anibae Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, d-Limonene, Linalol

Why I love it:

This oil has significantly more ingredients than the other three oils. And because of this, the fragrance is also more apparent. It isn’t offensive or synthetic, it smells natural. It does disappear once you apply it to your skin so it doesn’t bother me. Companies adding artificial fragrances bother me. There’s a great mix of organic oils in the ingredients list, Argan and Camellia Seed both at the top, it’s a good way to get a cocktail of them in the one go.

Whamisa Organic Flowers Facial Oil
Whamisa Organic Flowers Facial Oil – Runny consistency

This is probably the least absorbing of the four, on my skin anyway. I generally use this in the PM and only use one or two drops because it is a heavier formula. For my combo skin, I am at the risk of looking greasy if I use anymore than this. With the right amount, my skin feels moisturised and I don’t even need a moisturiser when I use this.

Whamisa Organic Flowers Facial Oil
Whamisa Organic Flowers Facial Oil – rubbed in. Skin does look a bit shiny and takes a few minutes to absorb.

Price:

$25.99 USD, 30ml from ebay *

Have you tried any of these oils? If so let me know your thoughts 🙂 If you have any recommendations for me, I would love to hear about them 🙂

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 🙂

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[Review] Wishtrend – Pure Vitamin C 21.5 Advanced Serum

I use Vitamin C for two main purposes, to lighten post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation (PIH) and Post Inflammatory Erythema (PIE), in layman’s terms are sunspots/freckles and dark acne scarring. Ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid, in its pure form is generally a great antioxidant for this purpose since its a major skin brightener. 

I used Wishtrend’s Pure Vitamin C 21.5 Advanced Serum for about 4 months and I’m ready to share my thoughts on it.

About Wishtrend

Wishtrend is a online k-beauty store who are under the same Wish Company umbrella as Klairs. They sell products under their own brand as well as curate other well known k-beauty brands such as Mizon, Skinmiso and more.

Cost

$26.35 AUD, purchased from Wishtrend’s eBay Store *

Ingredients (from wishtrend.com)

Hippophae Rhamnoides Water (70%), Ascorbic Acid (21.5%), Sodium Lactate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Cassia Obtusifolia Seed Extract, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Ethyl Hexanediol

Pure Vitamin C 21.5 Advanced Serum
Pure Vitamin C 21.5 Advanced Serum – ingredients list and instructions

The short ingredient list was appealing and is what captured my attention. A past Vitamin C serum I had used also sold by Wishtrend, the TIAM My Signature C-Source, had a much larger ingredient list which freaked out my skin and gave me cystic acne 😮

Claims

The product seems to have undergone a reformulation though I can’t compare it to the original since I never used it.

With an upgraded formula with more of the effects but less the ingredients, 
the Pure Vitamin C 21.5% Advanced Serum has been transformed to have even greater hydration and absorption without the stickiness. It conditions and restores balance to replenish and retain moisture in the skin with the optimal 21.5% of pure vitamin C.

Packaging

The serum is housed in a dark glass bottle with a red label. You get 30 ml of product and a dropper as the applicator. It seems like this type of packaging is common amongst Vitamin C serums. I guess its more cost effective than using (innovative) packaging like Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Day Serum. With this type of packaging, its easy to let air into the product, and since ascorbic acid is naturally unstable and can easily oxidise, you need to make sure you keep this serum in the fridge (instructed on the box) and seal it up as soon as you’re done. 

How to use

Since I keep the serum in my fridge I need to remember to walk over there and grab it. This was a pain and something I never got used to doing. I have a full time job and not a lot of time to get ready in the morning (because I prefer to sleep) so having to go grab it was always a nuisance.

There are some in instructions in English on the back on how to use but this is how I use it. After cleansing and drying my face, I would dispense two or three drops into the palm of my hand. I would then frantically close the bottle to prevent air from entering the bottle. Then using my index finger, I would start to spot treat areas where I have pigmentation spots caused either from the sun or acne.

Once I’ve spot treated the affected areas, I would rub my palms together and pat the leftover product onto the rest of my face. This stuff absorbs fast so you need to work quickly. I would then promptly return the serum and its box to the fridge in fear of oxidation. I would then continue with the rest of my routine. There is an area of debate whether niacinamide and vitamin c would lose efficacy if used in the same routine, so I just tend to not use essence (mine contains niacinamide) in the mornings when I’m using vitamin c, just as a precautionary.

Something to note which is quite important is that ascorbic acid can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Especially in such a large dose as this one. If you are using this during the day, you HAVE to wear sunscreen. Its a non negotiable. This is also the case when using any type of acid which chemically exfoliates the skin. Update: Acids increases sensitivity because you are basically shedding skin. Vitamin C actually boosts the effectiveness of your sunscreen so it’s still important to wear it. 

Consistency

Pure Vitamin C 21.5 Advanced Serum - ingredients list and instructions
Pure Vitamin C 21.5 Advanced Serum – watery consistency

It is runny with no viscosity which I see as good and bad. Good because it’s easily absorbable and bad because it can get tricky with application (the whole trying to screw the cap back with one hand thing). The good outweighs the bad in this case.  True to the claims, it does not leave any sticky residue.

Pure Vitamin C 21.5 Advanced Serum
Pure Vitamin C 21.5 Advanced Serum – patted in, no residue or stickiness, true to the claims.

In its freshest form and by keeping in the fridge, the colour should remain clear. If this changes to anything else, it means the serum has oxidised and is no longer effective. As mentioned, I had mine for 4 months and it still maintained its translucency.

Scent

Smells very slightly of chemicals which dissipates on contact with the skin.

The TIAM My Signature C-Source, smelt like oranges which I didn’t mind either, the product just didn’t work for me.  I’ve also used the Klairs Freshly Juiced, and while the name sounds like something that would smell pleasant, it smelt like iron which was unpleasant. The Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum also smelt like this (why?!).

Final thoughts

Rating: 3/5 (it's ok but will not repurchase)

I was afraid that this serum would break me out like the Tiam one did but luckily it didn’t. It also didn’t cause any irritation.

In terms of effectiveness, I didn’t see any significant changes over the 4 months I used it. I applied it every other morning because it had such a high percentage of ascorbic acid. I liked its elegant consistency because it felt like nothing once applied and also appreciated that it had little to no scent.  Perhaps my overall skin did appear brighter but I needed more than that, especially at 21.5%. With humectants such as sodium hyaluronate and panthenol within the ingredients list I would’ve expected to also feel some hydration but I didn’t.

Not seeing any significant lightening of my spots wasn’t the main issue I had with it, and its probably not all this serum’s fault. As I mentioned, using vitamin c during the day can cause sensitivity to the sun. I ALWAYS wear sunscreen but I felt like with such a high dose of ascorbic acid, one application of sunscreen in the morning just wasn’t enough. I work in an office and only pop out a couple of times before the sun goes down. I know these are lame reasons but I just don’t reapply sunscreen. I felt like I was getting more sensitive to the sun (we are closer to the ozone hole here in oz) and I’m pretty certain that this vitamin c serum is what was causing it. I saw a couple more sun spots appear and my PIE and PIH just weren’t getting any lighter even though I adequately slather sunscreen on my face. Don’t get me wrong, when I do get regular sun exposure I do reapply, but on work days when I have a face full of makeup, I just don’t.

I guess I could still use it at night but I already have serums which like to use and have proven to be more effective (for different purposes). I have also read that using vitamin c serums during the day can also have other benefits like helping fight free radicals and protection against environmental pollutants.

I think that this has been my final experiment with vitamin c serums for awhile. The fact that it’s also so (so!) high maintenance deters me from using it. Keeping it in the fridge and limiting its exposure to air is a pain because I’m simply lazy. They usually have a life span of 3 months (less if you don’t refrigerate) anyway so having to repurchase would also get expensive and annoying. Again if I did see results I could possibly continue to overlook the inconveniences and repurchase but the cons really outweighed the pros.

I’m perfectly ok to use skincare where ascorbic acid (or its derivates) isn’t the main ingredient like in moisturisers and serums/ampoules so I’m not dissing it completely. I’ve just concluded that my skin is too sensitive for it when it’s in its purest form which is sad 😦

Have you tried any vitamin c serums and how did they work out for you? Would love to hear about your experiences in the comments 🙂

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 🙂

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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!

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Skincare I’ve used up (March 2018)

Since starting my exploration into asian beauty I quickly accumulated a lot of stuff over a short period of time. I wanted to try everything so I kept buying and used parts of each product.

I eventually calmed down and started to focus on really understanding how my skin responded to each product and to do that properly, I started to concentrate on using them up. This also helped my (already crammed) beauty area as well as my wallet.

I like watching and reading other blogger’s empties videos and articles. I find that it’s a good way of seeing if they really liked the product or not. I find them to be way more useful than a haul or first impressions. With skincare, first impressions are pretty unreliable unless it causes an obvious reaction to your skin.

The products which I will be talking about were tolerable to my skin and decent enough for me to use up without any irritation or breakouts (no more than usual). I won’t be going into too much detail because this post will be super long. I will elaborate on some of these products in seperate posts.

Shu uemura Skin Purifier nutri:nectar

empties-oil-cleanser

I wrote a full post on this a couple of months ago here.

What is it?

Its a cleansing oil which you use to remove makeup and the first step in a double cleanse. It has a soft floral scent and its texture is unique since its in the form of an emulsion. It effectively removed my makeup without leaving a residue.

Ingredients: copied from my post:

ethylhexyl palmitate, acqua, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, propanediol, peg-20 glyceryl triisostearate, sucrose laurate, sucrose palmitate, sodium methyl stearoyl taurate, salicylic acid, tocopherol, sodium hydroxide, linalool, citronellol, geraniol, ganoderma lucidium extract, isopropyl lauroyl, sarcosinate, isopropyl myristate, dicaprylyl ether, dicaprylyl carbonate, euterpe oleracea fruit extract, butylene glycol, maltodextrin, hydrolyzed opuntia ficus-indica flower extract, citric acid, perilla ocymoides leaf extract, magnolia liliflora flower extract, sodium benzoate, phenoxethanol, potassium sorbate, ethylhexyglycerin, parfum.

Would I repurchase?:

No.

I had received this as a gift from my partner and I would not buy this for myself. It is way too expensive for what it is. The product itself is fine, nothing wrong with it, but other less expensive balms and oils do the same job. It does remove makeup really well and with ease if compared to a cleansing balm but not that much more to warrant its price.

Lee Gee Haam Vita Propolis Ampoule

empties-ljh

What is it?

It’s an ampoule serum which helps even out skin tone and gives your skin a glow amongst other benefits. It has 50% propolis extract as well as other ingredients which I love such as Centella Asiatica and Niacinamide. I usually apply this after my essence and before moisturiser in my skin care routine.

Ingredients: from glowrecipe.com:

Propolis extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract, Panthenol, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Niacinamide, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Ethyl Ascorbyl Ether, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Bark/ Twig Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Carbomer, Arginine, Spirodela Polyrrhiza Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Adenosine, Sodium Hyaluronate. 

Would I repurchase?:

Yes.

A product like this might not seem “necessary” but for me, I liked how my skin felt and looked whenever I used it. Layering it with other skincare was fine and it did not make me breakout. It also gave me a nice subtle glow. My only gripe is that its so small, 15ml. You only need a couple of drops but its still quite tiny for the price. I bought it from ebay and I think it was around $20 AUD.

Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch

empties-pp

What is it?

It’s a clear patch which you apply onto any active pimples. These pimples can either be already open or still closed/almost ready to erupt. I suffer from hormonal breakouts so this has always been my saviour. I put the patch on before I go to bed and in the morning, the pimple is less angry and noticeably flatter. Its a one time use product for each patch and its pretty gross when you peel it away, but cool.

Ingredients: From stylestory.com.au

Cellulose gum, Styrene Isoprene Styrene Block Copolymer, Polysobutylene, Petroleum Resin, Polyurethane Film, Liquid Paraffin, Tetrakis Methane

Would I repurchase?:

Yes.

I have continued to repurchase this over and over, from many different sellers. Its such a great product and for around $6 AUD you get 24 patches in each pack, which I think is totally worth it.

Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick

empties-rose

What is it?

A cleansing stick used as the second step in a double cleanse. It lathers and foams nicely and has a soft rose scent. The stick also contains real rose petals which gently exfoliate your skin. It also has a low ph of 5.5 and leaves my skin feeling moisturised. Even though coconut oil is the third ingredient, it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin. I love its packaging, in the stick form, because its great for travel and easy to use without any mess.

Ingredients: From stylestory.com.au

Glycerin, Water, Coconut Oil, Myristic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Betaine, Lauryl Betaine, Camellia Oil, Rosa Centifolia Flower (0.5%), Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Flower Oil, Rose Flower Oil, Castor Oil, Green Tea Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Olive Oil, Apricot Seed Oil, Ylang Ylang Flower Oil, Lime Oil, Orange Peel Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Basil Oil, Origanum Heracleoticum Flower Oil, Saccharomyces/Rosa Damascena Flower Extract Ferment Filtrate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol

Would I repurchase?

Yes.

I was about to repurchase this recently but found that its sold out everywhere! Then I read some posts which indicated that it may have either been discontinued or reformulated. Which is really annoying! Its such a popular product as well. If and when it does come back, I will be buying it again.

Neogen Real Fresh Cleansing Stick – Green Tea

empties-cleanser

What is it?

This is also a stick cleanser used in the second step in a double cleanse. Green Tea is the hero in this product and I adore anything with green tea in it. It has real green tea leaves scattered in the stick which also provides gentle exfoliation while you cleanse. Sounds really similar to the rose cleansing stick right? The concept anyway. Just like the rose stick, its packaging is the same, handy for travel, messy free etc. With a ph of 5.5-6, its just as gentle as the rose stick. The rose stick felt a hair more moisturising though.

Another similarity is that coconut oil is once again third on the ingredients list and doesn’t irritate my skin.

Ingredients: from sokoglam.com

Glycerin, purified water, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, palmitic acid, stearic acid, lauryl betaine, betaine, camellia sinensis leaf(0.3%), camellia sinensis seed oil(0.1%), camellia japonica seed oil, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower)seed oil, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, oenothera biennis (eveningprimrose) oil, tocopheryl acetate, citrus aurantifolia (lime) oil, ocimum basillicum (basil) oil, cananga odorata flower oil, citrus limon (lemon) peel oil, origanum heracleoticum floweroil, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange)peel oil, fragrance.

Will I repurchase?

Yes.

Even though I liked the extra moisturisation from the rose cleanser, I would definitely buy this again. It is a good alternative to the su:m37 cleanser if that did get discontinued or became impossible to buy. I just really like stick cleansers 🙂

Pyunkang yul Moisture Cream

empties-cream

What is it?

A face moisturiser which is good for both sensitive and combination-oily skin types. It is fragrance free, lightweight and easily absorbable into the skin. I read somewhere that it also cools down your body temperature so its especially great in summer and humid climates. I applied it as my final step in skincare before sunscreen and makeup. I appreciated how moisturising it was without any stickyness or oilyness. Its star ingredient is Coptis Japonica Root Extract which is known for its nourishing and anti inflammatory properties.

Ingredients: from beautyandseoul.co.uk

Coptis Japonica Root Extract, Butylene Glycol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Isohexadecane, 1,2-Hexanediol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polysorbate 80, Glyceryl Caprylate

Will I repurchase?

Yes but not for awhile. There are still loads of moisturisers I want to try out and I don’t like this one enough to repurchase just yet. My biggest gripe is the packaging, I despise jars for creams (yes I know its common for moisturisers). Its also not great for travel because its glass and has some weight to it.

Pyunkang yul mist toner

empties-spray

What is it?

It’s a toner in a mist form which you can use to hydrate your face anytime or as toner after cleansing. I really liked to use this spray for both purposes, especially when I felt too lazy to pat toner onto my face or find a cotton pad. The spray is really fine so it felt pretty relaxing to mist on the face.

Like the moisture cream, the star ingredient is also Coptis Japonica Root Extract.

Ingredients: from beautyandseoul.co.uk

Coptis Japonica Root Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate

Will I repurchase?

Yes.

I have a few products from this brand and I respect its minimal ingredients list. Will definately buy this again once I’m through with my other ones.

Have you tried any of these products? Let me know if you have and whether you would repurchase any of them.

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