July hits & misses – makeup & skincare 

It is kind of sad to realize that it’s already the end of July, which means we only have a few summer weekends left. 

I made quite a few beauty purchases in July but I haven’t got around to try them out long enough yet to give you my honest opinion. So today I just wanted to share a few products that I’ve been using up and let you know whether I will repurchase or not.

In the pic above, I’m getting rid of:

  • Lancome hypnose drama mascara: it is a solid staple mascara in my collection. It adds both volume and length. The only thing I don’t like about it is its relatively wet formula as sometimes it can get to your undereye area if you don’t curl your lashes. I will not repurchase it as I have a few more to try out.
  • Jack Black lipbalm with SPF 25: I think probably everyone has tried this lipbalm as there are not a lot of basic, moisturizing lipbalms in the market with SPF protection. The brand is designed for men but this lipbalm seems more suitable for women as it will add a layer of shine to your lips. The only issue with it is that it sometimes forms an annoying layer of film on my lips during really hot days. I’ve replaced it with a more affordable lipbalm that offers hydration and SPF protection at a lower price  – the Aquaphor lip protection & repair.
  • Revlon dual end brow fantasy pencil: do NOT buy this if you are considering it. The gel end makes your brows look messy and the pencil end is stiff, does not last more than a few hours on my face and is not very easy to work with as compared to micro brow pencils. I do not recommend it to anyone.
  • Darphin hydration lotion: I’ve been wanting to try Darphin products for a while and I’m very disappointed with this lotion. While it does offer some hydration to my skin, it flakes like crazy and is not wearable under makeup for that reason. I’m glad it’s just a small tube and I don’t think I wanted to try out other Darphin products anytime soon.
  • Mario Badescu special cucumber lotion: a delightful surprise and I will be repurchasing the full size one. Effective on recent acne scars and works well on my combination skin.

  • Dr. Dennis Gross peel pads: there are a lot of good reviews out there about this and I now understand why people would rave about it. It’s a very pricy product but it’s well worth the money if you have acne scars. With these wipes, you will notice a difference to these scars within a few uses. As it has a pretty intensive acid ingredient list, it probably is not suitable for sensitive skin. I will be repurchasing it.
  • Neutrogena makeup remover wipes: I don’t understand why people would love these. They are on the dry side and are not good at taking off makeup considering that I wasn’t succesful in using it to only take off sunscreen on my arms and legs. I definitely will not repurchase these.
  • TonyMoly I’m Real Red wine mask sheet for pore care: these masks are either hits or misses. I like the broccoli one but this red wine mask doesn’t do anything to my skin. It doesn’t help clear out my pores nor does it make my skin look more plump or softer. I will not be repurchasing it.

Thanks for stopping by! Let’s connect on Instagram if you’d like: HealthyGlow_Ing


Recent Ulta beauty haul and first impressions 

First, I just wanted to share some beauty community news. I was watching YouTube and was taken aback by the video war between Jeffery Star and Kat Von D. Apparently I missed out on this high-profile fight in the past few days and honestly I am not that surprised. To me, Jeffery Star doesn’t seem like a kind-hearted, forgiving or tolerant person. He attacks people too often and seems a bit self-absorbed from the way he talks in the videos. I I subscribed from him a long time ago and will never buy any of his products.

Back on track with what I was writing this post for, I wanted to share a quick post of some beauty products I’ve bought recently with some first impressions. I will share with you my thoughts on the next few weeks. Some of them were on my Instagram (ID: HealthyGlow_Ing). I posted my mini reviews on there when I first tried out the products so let’s connect if you’d like!

First off, I am very pleased with these two mini pink cuties from Ulta – from Essence and Buxom. Color payoffs are great and they last a decent time on me.

essence silky blush babydoll
Next, I also got a silver powder to treat blackheads from Mario Badescu and a brow powder from Catrice. I need to use the powder a bit more to decide how effective it is. The color of the brow powder matches my brow color perfect. One delightful surprise from this order is the mini bottle of Mario Badescu cucumber lotion for combination/oily skin. I didn’t really like the star rose water lotion from the brand like other people do so I didn’t have high expectation but this lotion has helped make the breakout on my forehead heal faster. I will buy a full size afterwards.

Next I got the Dermologica cleansing duo set and the Honest hydration travel set was included for free. I have not yet tried the Dermologica cleanser and oil yet and I didn’t like the Honest facial mist. It has a funny smell and it’s not a fine mist with the spray nozzle.

Lastly, this is not from Ulta but I just wanted to throw it in here. I double cleanse almost everyday in summer nights as my skin tends to clog more from sunscreen, makeup and excess oil. So I can’t get enough cleansers. I finally caved to buy the Bioderma makeup remover water although it’s much more expensive here in the US than in Europe. I like the cheaper dupe version of Garnier makeup remover water and I wanted to compare these two.

Summer skincare and beauty empties 

Heatwave is coming to the East coast and I’ve been more diligent with my skincare routine, using more lotion, more facial masks, more after-suncare treatment. I’m proud to say so far, so good! I’m not mad at my skin condition at all despite all the humidity and sun. So I wanted to share some recent skincare and beauty empties with you with mini reviews as usual 🙂 Hope you will find it helpful.

nexcare acne absorbing cover

  • On the right are my latest 2 favorite affordable sheet masks from Japan and Korea. They are particularly comforting after a day outside in the sun as they provide a deeply hydrating experience.
  • On top of the picture is Nexcare acne absorbing cover. I bought it from Amazon and it is very effective to treat those red big bumps on your face. I usually use it at night and those big bumps will shrink by half the next morning. I already purchased another box.
  • The Estée Lauder micro essence and Clarins foaming cleanser are staples for summer travel as they help stabilize your skin.
  • I also took one more photo of the Caudalie eye cream sachet sample as I’m considering buying the full size now. It’s very effective at treating fine/dry lines under the eyes. It’s pretty thick so you will need to take some time to dab it into your eyes.

  • On the left is the OGX coconut oil mist. It is my first bottle and I was very impressed. It helps control breakage and frizz at the hair end yet I’d weightless on your hair despite being an oil mist. It smells very coconutty which I like for summer and I’ve repurchased another OGX mist.
  • The GNC Aloe Vera gel in the middle is helpful for after sun care. I usually apply it all over my legs and arms after being in the sun for a few hours. It immediately cools you down and soothes your skin.
  • I used the Marlowe body butter as a hand cream and it feels smooth and nice.

bareminerals powder
Except for the Sephora brush cleanser wipes, the rest of the products here part of a makeup purge.

  • The two japonesque makeup brushes are so stiff. I never reach for them.
  • The Urban Decay naked skin concealer looks cakey on my face almost every time when I use it under my eyes or in my chin area. Despite all the hype, it’s just not for me.
  • The BareMinerals powder is good but I need to get rid of it as it’s been 18 months and the case is broken.

That’s it. Thanks for reading! Let’s connect on Instagram too: HealthyGlow_Ing

The best affordable soap for brush and beauty blender cleansing 

So I’ve not been updating my blog in the past 7 days. The reason? Like 1/10 of Americans, I’ve been busy catching Pokemons… It’s just such a fun game for casual gamers and it has helped motivate me to get out of the door and exercise after a long day of work. I’m at level 10 now. I honestly hope that this faze will not be over soon as I need something to keep me occupied for a while.

Anyways, today I wanted to share a fabulous affordable soap to clean your beauty blender and brushes. This is the best soap I’ve found to clean them except the beauty blender solid soap but that one costs four times more than this soap. It’s the Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap, 18-in-1 Hemp Lavender, the top left one in the photo below. The scent doesn’t matter and I actually don’t like the scent but the results are so impressive. You will see a stream of brownish water coming out from your beauty blender or brushes after adding a bit of soap to it with running water.

And this soap is certified organic so you are not putting something harmful to the tools that will go on your face later. If you are still using baby shampoo or other soap to clean your brushes, ditch them and go to your nearest Duane Reade or Wholefoods to get a Dr. Bronner’s soap. You will not regret it. Oh and an added bonus? You can also use this soap to clean your glasses or intimates.

Btw, the other two items in the photo also smell amazing! One is the yes to hand soap in the scent of cucumber eucalyptus. The other one is a chance find in a Brooklyn market, an organic lemongrass essential oil mist that smells divine (you can get it online too at brooklyimegreen.com). Both are perfect for the summer!

Thanks for stopping by 🙂 You can find me on Instagram: HealthyGlow_Ing

Quarterly beauty empties & reviews – makeup remover, facial mask, toner, moisturizer, body wash, shampoo, sunscreen 

I’ve been collecting a big basket of empties and it’s finally time to share with you what I’ve used up with mini reviews.

I’d like to start with things I love and would consider repurchasing.

  • I adore the makeup remover oil from Amore Pacific. I got it in a deluxe sample package from Sephora and I didn’t use it until a few months ago and it is AMAZING! This is a high end Korean beauty brand that isn’t getting a lot of buzz in the US. I love it as it’s the best and only makeup remover oil that takes off all my makeup and never breaks me out once which is my biggest complaint for the category. You only need a little bit for your entire face.

Will I repurchase: yes!

  • The Clinique take the day off eye/lip makeup remover is solid but I still like the Lancome one better as that one is more powerful.

Will I repurchase? Maybe.

  • The Origins Dr. Wei mushroom toner is very gentle especially on skin with acne concerns. It soothes your face when you have breakout.

Will I repurchase? Maybe.

  • TonyMoly they’re real sheet masks. I thought these wouldn’t be too good as the packaging was too cute to take them seriously! But they definitely beat my expectations. I like the Aloe mask the best among all for its hydration effect. I didn’t expect more from this line at this price point anyways. They are sold at Sephora and Nordsdrom and are great for summer days.

Will I repurchase? Yes!

Now comes products with mixed feelings.

  • The Philosophy cream body wash is okay. Not worth the price though in my opinion.
  • The Evologie clear cream was a mess to use but it did help with my breakout.
  • I don’t get the concept of the Aveda suncare hair and body wash. Not sure what this is for.

  • Kiko eyeliner pencil: not waterproof, will smudge. Don’t buy it.
  • The body shop ginger shampoo is raved by a lot of people but it sometimes worsens my flake issue and I don’t care for the smell.
  • The Mario Badescu rose water toner spray is another favorite for a lot of people but it doesn’t do much for me. I don’t like its scent either. There are so many better toners out there if you pay a bit more. Not worth it. I end up using it to wet my beauty blender in order to use it up.

  • La mer cream: staple in my skincare routine. But it’s definitely too rich for summer months. I used it up 2 months ago.
  • Algenist facial wash: didn’t like the scent. It’s okay, not worth the money.
  • ROC deep wrinkle serum: liked it at first but it has caused some breakout so I stopped using it.
  • Klorane dry shampoo: solid one! Scent is strong but I can handle it and it fades away. Ingredients are nontoxic.
  • Shisedo sunscreen: physical screen that adds a thick layer of white cast but it is very effective in blocking the uva/uvb rays.You will never get sunburnt or get tanned with this on your face.

That’s it! Let me know what you think of any of these items if you’ve used these too.

You can find me on Instagram: HealthyGlow_Ing

Hard Candy $6 setting spray and $8 strobing kit review 

I’ve never used Hard Candy products as they are only sold at Walmart and I thought it would be crazy to go to Walmart just for the two things I wanted to try but I did… So here are the two things I bought and I’ve been testing these out in the past 2 weeks. I posted the same pictures on Instagram too (HealthyGlow_Ing is my Instagram handle).

So first the setting spray. Hands down the best drugstore setting spray! You need to get it if you haven’t tried it. It has a great spray nozzle which gives out an even mist and doesn’t come out too harsh that you need to hold it an arm away from your face as some others do. It has a gentle cucumber smell that doesn’t stay on your face. And most importantly it definitely creates a difference of how long the make up lasts on my face.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Will I repurchase: a happy yes!

Then the strobing kit. The box and display of products are cute. I bought it mostly for its convenience as it’s really more of a contour blush all-in-one kit with a contour shade, a blush shade, and two highlighter shades, one champagne and one icy shade.

What I like the most from this kit:

  • The peachy warm tone blush shade is great! It is highly pigmented and lasts quite a few hours. It is a shade that works on most skin tone.
  • The brush included in the kit is a good quality one, very soft and picks up an okay amount of products, which doesn’t come often in a kit under $10. But don’t expect it to perform as a high-end brush as that’s just unfair 🙂 It’s good enough for a natural look.

What I found okay:

  • The contour shade is a nice shade between warm and cool tone, maybe more towards cool tone. It shows up on my skin when I use a different brush and apply a few coats. It is probably the least pigmented shade in the kit so it will not work for medium or deeper skin tone. I like the color though for contour, not for bronzing.

What I’m not so in love with:

  • The two highlighter shades definitely will show up on your skin and add a layer of sheen. However, I found that you can’t pack on too much or it will become a bit patchy. It’s probably because because they are too finely milled and have quite some powder fall off. So definitely not the best highlighter powder out there even within the drugstore price range.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Will  repurchase? Prob not.

Overall I’m glad I tried out the Hard Candy products and found a good makeup setting spray. If you wanna try it and don’t have a Walmart near your place, you can try their recently launched 30-day free shipping program or you can always get these on Amazon or eBay from a third party seller maybe at a slightly higher price.

Have you tried any Hard Candy makeup?