I was in a Westfield’s shopping centre today so I thought I might as well pick up my free birthday gifts from Sephora and Mecca. I had received emails/app notifications from both stores about these bonuses. There are two ways to redeem them, in-store or make a purchase online. Since I did not need to buy anything from both stores I went in today and picked them up. I thought I might as well since I’ve spent loads in both these stores, might as well get what I can.
Sephora promised a Fresh skincare trio and Mecca’s was also some skincare items from their house brand. Mecca’s was as promised, was nicely boxed and contained a cute birthday note. Sephora however, did not give me the Fresh kit, instead chucked a small notebook and a mini micellar water in the bag.
Now I’m not saying that I’m not grateful cos both stores don’t even have to give you anything. But as a loyal customer I thought I would say least get what was promised, especially since I’m a Gold member which is the highest level at Sephora AU. Anyway I feel like they would’ve given me what was advertised if I had made a purchase online. Because I picked it up without purchase they probably just changed their minds. I forgot to check as well and only checked once home. Overall it just a bad taste in my mouth.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!