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…!
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.
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.
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
When you buy a product you always hope that it works for you and your skin. So when it doesn’t, it is a little sad but at least you tried it out and gave it a good go. Some of these products were pretty hyped up so just like anything, I needed to try them out for myself.
If you enjoy any of the products that I’ll be talking about, that is truly awesome but unfortunately these did not work for me for reasons I will get into.
Blithe – Pressed Serum Tundra Chaga
This serum/moisturiser hybrid is full of tundra chaga mushroom extract which is known for hydration and providing nourishment. I’ve never tried skincare with any type of mushroom before so this intrigued me. It has a pudding texture and is brown in colour so it’s not the most pleasant texture to look at but I gave it a go anyway.
I thought this could be a 2 in one product to use in the morning since I’m always in a mad rush so anything to expedite getting ready is a god send. I used about half of this jar for a few months in fact and I just felt like it didn’t do much to my skin. I have combo skin so this didn’t work well enough as a moisturiser and I felt like it just acted like a heavier weight serum. My biggest gripe however is probably the thing that makes it unique. It’s texture is pudding like and you need a spatula to use the product and to effectively get a decent amount. It ended up being not worth the effort for such little reward.
I like the texture of this moisturiser, it’s nice and light. It also has a pretty peach colour to it. It is easily absorbed into the skin and it gives it a dewy effect which I tend to go for in winter.
What I didn’t like about it was the fragrance. It was just way too perfumy for my liking. I don’t mind scents too much especially in makeup but in a moisturiser, something that is really close to my skin, nope no way. I know that fragrance is right down the bottom but it’s so strong that it could’ve been right up the top of the list. The scent is the fresh kind of perfume but not pleasant to me nonetheless. I’d also hate to think about the effects its having on my skin. I gave it to my husband to use and he actually broke out from it.
$41 AUD from lilacandberries.com (don’t think their store exists anymore)
When everyone was gushing about this moisturiser, about how wonderful it was, I knew I had to try this cutely named product. Whipped cream? You would imagine that to be light and airy and fluffy.
But no, it’s texture isn’t that creamy, a little bit stiffer that the average cream moisturiser in fact. Gothamista was the only one who didn’t much care for it, said that the cream felt matte and drying and I would agree with her 100%. I bought this in a mini set, it came with something else at the time. My skin did not feel moisturised after application, which defeats the purpose of using it. I preferred to use my Marula oil from the brand for moisturisation (would highly recommend it!). There is also a slight scent which reminds me of dusty rooms which I don’t favour as well. Dry skinned influencers swore by this, opinions by which I’m now very skeptical about.
This is a mini and came in a set with something else, it was from Mecca. Can’t remember the price.
This was probably the most hyped up skincare at the time when my interest in k-beauty started. It sounded like a miracle product, a morning mask, makeup primer, full of anti ageing antioxidants.
I was always confused as to what order I would apply this. Before or after sunscreen? If it’s a mask then surely it would be before but if its a primer then it would be after then? The ladies at Glow recipe confirmed that it should be applied before sunscreen. I’ve tried it both ways and I dislike both ways.
The application method is seemingly difficult too. You rub it into your face and then tap/pat to absorb. J.One has a video on how she applies it. I mean it doesn’t sound that hard but it takes a bit longer than your usual primer. The finish is incredibly tacky which would grip makeup very well but if your next layer is sunscreen, well, yeah I don’t know. Also if you try it the other way, with sunscreen first, I feel like its just a bit much and sometimes it makes my foundation pill. I don’t agree with it’s hydrating claims either, I feel like it makes my skin feel tight.
Rice bran is well known for brightening as well as licorice root. I’m a sucker for anything containing licorice which was why this appealed to me. It is light in texture, has good packaging but the fragrance was strong and the finish was too dewy for my liking. I felt like it made my t-zone extra oily which is the last thing I needed. Probably a better one for dry skin peeps who aren’t sensitive to fragrance.
$21 AUD from stylestory.com
The Ordinary – Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%
Propanediol, Ascorbic Acid, Alpha-Arbutin
I haven’t had much luck with vitamin C, in particular Ascorbic acid, it just doesn’t tend to agree with my skin. Since I have some pigmentation which I’m always looking to fade, when I saw that this also had Alpha Arbutin, which is naturally derived from hydroquinone, I was interested.
I used this all over as well as targeted spots but it was a bit too oily and I felt like it made my skin uncomfortable. After continued use, I felt like it was causing small bumps to form on my skin. This may be considered purging but whatever is was, I couldn’t stand it.
I found the texture of this to be too matte. It made my foundation or primer pill at times or made my skin look super dry and crusty. My chin is the biggest test (its bipolar oily and dry but mostly dry) and it looked horrid whenever I wore this sunscreen. Granted I didn’t pay for it since I received it as a deluxe sample. I had high hopes for this because Mecca is really accessible for me but instead of being elegant in texture like some of my favourite korean sunscreens, it was a flop.
Received in a mecca beauty loop box but retails between $18 and $40 at Mecca Cosmetica
shu uemura – POREraser CC UV under base mousse
I bought this when I was still very new to beauty. The mousse spray can packaging is gimmicky and the product actually sucks. It’s supposed to fill in pores and be a flawless base for foundation. I thought it would be cool since it seemed to be a primer and sunscreen in one. I bought the beige one, it’s supposed to be good for discolouration and redness. The texture of this is fluffy being a mousse when you first dispense it, but on the skin, it’s hard to spread around. You have to use a fair bit to cover the face and it feels drying to me, as if all aspects of hydration has been sucked up. It does not fill in pores at all, it actually does nothing particularly good for my skin or makeup application.
I think it was around $50 AUD from the shu uemura store.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for hanging in there and I hope you enjoyed my rants! In all seriousness, skincare is all about trial and error, it can’t all work out and finding out is part of the fun.
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products, always happy to answer any questions you may have too.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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)
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 🙂
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.
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.
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 😮
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?!).
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 🙂