100 empties challenge part 4 – massive 25+ empties 

So I cheated a little as I started to count body and personal care items in the empties but I still went through a lot in a 2-3 month period. 28 more empties, 50 to go!

Here is an overview of everything I used up that ranges from skincare to makeup to body & personal care. As it’s a ton of products I will just review 2 sets in detail, those I love and will repurchase and those that didn’t work for you.


Below are all the products I like.

  • The first two ordinary skincare products I tried are the 2% retinoid & 10% Niacinamide and I like both, not loving or obsessed but like these enough that I have repurchased both. I only use these at night as I’ve heard the Niacinamide lotion tends to peel under makeup and retinoid is supposed to be only used at night.

The 2% retinoid is very mild and didn’t cause any sting or irritation on my skin but I didn’t notice obvious effects on my fine lines either. It’s an okay anti aging moisturizer for my combination skin and I had no problem layering it over the niacinamide serum.

Niacinamide is an ingredient that exists in many of my favorite serum products. It helps treat skin inflammation from acne and excessive oil, and also helps brighten skin tone. It helps with oilyness around my tzone, and is something I can use even when I have breakouts. I didn’t notice any brightening results.

  • The Olay pro x spot treatment serum is also a niacinamide based serum but has very subtle shimmer built in so I mostly use it in the morning to balance out my matte foundations.
  • Murad line is something I only recently started trying and I like the vitamin c moisturizer as it’s not too heavy but also helps make my skin glow a bit in the morning.
  • The Peter Thomas Roth cucumber mask isn’t anything special but the gel like texture makes it great to use with my nuface equipment.
  • Paula’s choice aha bha liquid is great for swollen acne spots.
  • Caudalie eye cream – only from this collection works well on testing fine lines and dry lines under the eyes.
  • BareMinerals serum is very hydrating yet lightweight and I was surprised that I didn’t hate it as BareMinerals face makeup products  don’t usually work for me.

Next are all the products that I didn’t like.

  • The Nars creamy concealer has good coverage but it’s too dry.
  • The Sunday Riley blue moon cleansing balm has big particles for exfoliation and it irritates my skin. I don’t understand this product as exfoliators are not in the same category as cleansing balm.
  • The Balm cleaning balm is too oily and leaves a film on the face.
  •  The ordinary azelaic acid is supposed to treat acne but it stings so bad on my skin that I had to take it off after applying.
  • The NYX concealer in a jar is a bit dry and doesn’t stay in its place. For some reason, none of NYX products I’ve tried are my favorites although a lot of these seem to work for others. I think I will stop trying NYX products.
  •  I bought the Sephora brush cleanser solid as I heard it’s a dupe for the beauty blender solid and it’s not. It’s not as effective and the mini size was a mistake as I usually use it to clean beauty blenders and it’s too small.
  • Bioderma micellar water is my favorite micellar water but I like the pink cap bottle for sensitive skin and this one with blue cap which is supposed to be the hydrating version turns out to feel too harsh on my skin.

I hope it helps. Thanks for stopping by:)

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100 empties challenge part 3 – all about regret purchases 

If you are like me who like to venture out and try different beauty products, you are bound to run into things that might work great for someone else but simply become an disappointing dud for you. In today’s post I will share 7 recent empties that did not work for me and I can probably only count these as 4 empties given that I didn’t really use up all (yep that tells you how much I dislike some of these) and some ae deluxe samples. 

  • 100 empties challenge update: so far 11 are gone, 88 to go! 

About the challenge: in order to motivate myself to prioritize using up beauty products that I already have instead of purchasing new things to try out, I need to be on a low-buy/(no-buy already failed…) mode until I finish up 100 empties. 

Caveat: travel size products count as either half or 1/3 depending on the size. 

  • Hair 

Schwarzkopf dry shampoo – oh my the smell is so overwhelmingly strong and artificial that I had to simply get rid of it after 2 uses and I’m not even extremely sensitive to smell. Definitely a regret buy.

John Frieda 7 day volume treatment 

This is not a bad product. I just have issues with its too-good-to-be-true claim to give your hair volume 7 days in a row. Please can you not treat us as believe-it-all stupid consumers? Plus I am too lazy to always reach for an additional hair treatment product when showering. I can see some results from using this so for those who doesn’t mind some extra work, I think you can get some use out of it. Simply a regret purchase for myself. 

  • Skin treatment 

Liz Earle brightening treatment mask It’s a UK brand that’s on the affordable size that has great reviews in general. However this mask simply doesn’t agree with my skin type. It irritated my skin and even caused some breakouts yikes and it also smelled so artificial! Please no cheap fragrance smell in skincare products! Definitely a dud for me.


First aid beauty radiance pads

I liked this at first but then maybe because there are travel packs and are not fully sealed, the pads are drier and feel a bit harsh on the skin and I didn’t really see an obvious result from using these. Do not like them. 

  • Cleansers

Second Sunday Riley cleansing type of product I’ve tried and I am disappointed by both (the other being the blue moon cleansing balm).  The texture is a bit odd and yes I did shake it before using as instructed. I started to fall in love with gel cleansers in the summer time and had high hopes for this cleanser. But it’s not a pleasant experience using it and the smell is overwhelming (this time not fragrance just some artificial herbal smell). I also don’t feel this cleansed my face well at night as a second cleanse.

Caudalie micellar water

I think I have less of an issue with the water itself but more with the packaging. Due to the big opening, I used up half of a bottle at one use as I was used to thoughtful packaging opening from my favorite micellar water brand Bioderma. So I only used half of a bottle and it’s just okay anyways. 


Grande primer Eyelash primer 

White eyelash primers are just a hassle for me. I don’t wear too dramatic of a look and a good volumizing and lengthening mascara is usually good enough for me. This also dried out quite fast.  


Hope you enjoyed reading this post and I had helped you dodge a few duds 🙂

100 empties part 2 – travel skincare & makeup empties 

I think I’m probably the last person on earth to know that the 100 ml restriction with travel liquid is applicable to a SINGLE item, not the total volume of all one’s items. For the longest time, I only dared bringing foil packet samples when I travel as I just couldn’t get everything adding up to below 100 ml!….

This is the first international trip I had after I learned about the actual truth with travel liquid and I was beyond excited to bring so many travel size products. I wanted to share with you what I brought on my trip and my reviews on these.

This is also my part 2 of 100 empties post series. I am on low/no buy of beauty products until I hit 100 empties. For travel size products, 3-5 count as 1 depending on size. I’ve used up 3 more items. Total as of 8/19: 8 done, 92 to go!


Serums
:

  • Bareminerals vital power infusion

I was pleasantly surprised by this serum as BareMinerals has only recently launched its skincare line. This serum comes out very watery and lightweight. But somehow it provides intense hydration that you can feel immediately upon application. I used it at night after the Shiseido serum below and I don’t need to use a cream afterwards.

Repurchase? Not in the near future as this is probably better suited in colder weather for my combination skin.

  • Shiseido power infusion concentrate

I’ve heard a lot of good reviews on this concentrate and I was very impressed. This is an extremely lightweight concentrate that is recommended to use prior to other treatment as more of a base serum. It gets instantly absorbed into the skin that I tend to overuse it a lot! It has a pleasant GreenTea like refreshing smell that I miss after using mostly scent free skincare products. It helped keep my sometime problematic skin at bay.

Repurchase? Yes! I will definitely be buying the full size bottle. It’s good to use as the only serum in the morning and layer with other serums at night for my combination skin.

Cleanser:

  • Peter Thomas Roth anti-aging gel cleanser

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Let’s forget about the anti-aging claim. I don’t buy it for a second that any cleanser that stays on your skin for the shortest amount of time can help with your aging concern (beauty brands can we just not try that gimmicky name again?). However, ingredients do matter so you don’t irritate your skin and the cleansing experience matters as well as it’s the first and probably one of the most enjoyable steps in one’s skincare routine. This cleanser has good ingredients, a very pleasant non-overwhelming fruity smell, is of medium weight and turns into liquid nicely upon mixing with water, so it sort of hits all the good points with a cleanser. However, I find it just a tiny bit too thick for my combination skin in summer time. I think those with normal to dry skin will like it a lot.

Repurchase? No. It’s a good product but just not the best for my skin type.

Body:

  • The Body Shop almond milk & honey shower cream

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I bought this during my trip and I don’t like it. If you read my reviews above and think that I just have a low bar for scent as I like both the scent of the Shiseido serum and the PTR cleanser, you’re wrong. This scent seems to be popular judging from people’s reviews. However, this is too sweet and overwhelming for my taste. It almost feels artificial to me. As a shower cream, it’s hydrating enough, but I also don’t feel as if it helps clean my body thoroughly.

Repurchase? No and I don’t think I will buy any Body Shop shower products based on this experience.

Lips:

  • Supergoop lip balm with SPF 35
  • Akar lip tint

I used the Supergoop lip balm during the day as it has SPF (yes your lips need SPF too) and the Akar lip tint at night. I like both. The Supergoop lip balm has a sunscreen like note of scent, which is sort of inevitable if you want the protection. It is a thicker gel, so it provides a decent level of hydration while it wears nicely under a liquid lipstick.

The Akar lip tint has a nice fruity scent and is insanely hydrating that lasts a few hours on your lips. It also adds a subtle healthy tint to your lips.

Repurchase? They are both good products but I don’t think I will buy any new lip products before I use up my current stash of products.

Eyes

  • Olay pro retinol eye treatment

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Based on my recent experience, Olay has quickly become probably the only drugstore skincare brands that doesn’t disappoint. I’ve used so many eye products including those with hefty price tags. While I still love and use these in my collection, I was very happy with adding this Olay eye cream to my morning skincare routine. This is not too heavy and layers nicely with eye makeup, and does help with treating dry, fine lines under the eyes.

Repurchase? Maybe in the future. I still need to go through my other eye creams first.

Makeup

  • Nars creamy concealer in Vanilla

This is the travel size tube and I was surprised how dry this has become as I probably opened this about 5 months ago. I guess that means the shelf life of this concealer is only around 6 months as I used to like it when I first tried it.

Repurchase? No. I have other concealers and if I have to try another one from Nars, it will be the round jar matte one that everyone was raving about.

Sunscreens

  • Shiseido urban environment sun protection cream SPF 40 for face & body

Shiseido is one of my favorites brands and it makes reliable sunscreens. This one is relatively new and is not my favorite sunsccreens from the brand. It has an overwhleming typical sunscreen scent and it will leave a white cast over your face. I use this on my arms and it offers solid sun protection.

Repurchase? No.

  • Coola classic sunscreen white tea moisturizer SPF 50

Unlike the Shiseido sunscreen, this one has a much nicer scent and feels light weight and non-greasy on the face despite its claim of SPF 50. It leaves a quite unnoticeable white cast over the face, and is one of the better sunscreens I’ve tried this year. The coola brand also uses organic ingredients that are mostly extracted from plants, which is another plus.

Repurchase? Not in the near future as I have a lot of suncreens to go through in my collection and I also have found a holy grail sunscreen from Elta MD that I plan to repurchase again and again 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! Let me know what’s your favorite beauty item you usually bring with you when you travel.

100 empties challenge part 1

To combat my never ending desire to purchase and try out new beauty products including skincare, makeup, hair & body etc, I wanted to start participatinb in the 100 empties challenge which means that I’m on low/no buy mode effective immediately unless I use up 100 items. 

Today I wanted to kick off the challenge by posting my first 5 empties (travel size items need to count towards 1/4 or 1/3 depending on the size). Among these empties, I actually will only be repurchasing the beauty blender solid cleanser only after the challenge ends 🙂 None of the rest are irreplaceable. 

5 done, 95 to go!

July beauty empties part 1 with mini reviews – feat. Livingproof, the Ordinary & more

Almost August?! Am I wasting my life on things that I know I will regret later on? It’s really a scary thought and sometimes I wish I could just avoid thinking about it. Well at least I’m keeping my beauty trash so I know where my beauty investment went.

First up are a few hair & body products. I love the Livingproof perfect hair day dry shampoo! I don’t mind its unique scent that exist in almost all livingproof hair products and it doesn’t make my hair stiff while tackling the greasiness with my second-day hair. 

Korres makes some of the best body products. This shower gel will foam up nicely upon using a wet shower sponge and I didn’t care for it until I tried some other similar foaming bath gels, and realized how much better this works and feels. Korres also has a lot of interesting and pleasant scents. I never thought I would start to have preference with body wash but I’m glad I discovered Korres.

Nozzles are a big disappointment when it comes t drugstore hair sprays and this Dove one did not stand out. The nozzle was malfunctioninh when I only used half of the bottle and I will not repurchase this.


Next up are two skincare products. One costs a bit over $5 and the other costs 10 times more yet I’m loving the more affordable products at least 5 times more! I’ve finally used up my first Ordinary skincare product: the niacinamide 10% & zinc 1%. My verdict: it’s well worth the money. I have acne prone skin that’s oily around t zone. This product when layered with the 2% retinol has helped clear my face and keep oil at bay.

I’m really grateful for the different approach the Ordinary brand has taken in educating consumers the targeting skin concerns of main skincare ingredients. Now I feel I’m less likely to be fooled when I got overly excited by all tyese miraculous names of most skincare products such as “instant brightening, firming &  lifting, dark spot correcting” etc. I’ve been using the Niacinamide 10% consistently since summer began. I now need to worry about when I can use up all the other high-end skincare serums I’ve bought. I don’t think I will replace all my skincare products with the Ordinary products but I am going to incorporate some of these into my skincare routine. 

The much more expensive skincare product is from Kate Somerville. I know it’s supposed to be a great brand also based on a lot of research but honestly I’ve not fallen in love with any of its products that I’ve tried and I probably will not be purchasing a new one in the line in the near future. If you have a favorite from this brand, let me know. 


 Lastly, I’m getting rid of a liquid/cream bronzer from Tarte. It’s messy to use and the packaging is cheap as the tube started to crack around the opening and products started to gather around 😦 disappointed by this product from Tarte. 

Oh and I forgot to include a short living mascara from Mally beauty. This mascara only had a month of good use. When I first opened it, it was too wet and would clump my lashes. Then it started getting a lot better, for about a month, then gradually dried up and created clumpy lashes again. So not a fan. Another disappointing makeup product.


3 skincare products that give you a perfect summer GLOW

Who doesn’t like a glow in the summer time? Did you know that you don’t always need a blinding highlighter to get a glow, but instead can achieve a natural with-in-glow from some simple skincare products? Well I didn’t really believe that until a few weeks ago when I started using these 3 skincare products. They are:

Olay Pro X Spot Fading Treatment ($31, 1.3 oz)

Olay Pro X Spot Fading Treatment Review

I bought this a while ago when I was getting a few different pigmentation treatment products to try out, and this was one of the more affordable choices. I started using it about 5-6 weeks ago in the morning. While I didn’t really notice significant improvement to skin as it was supposed to be tackling, my skin was so glowy even after applying layers of matte sunscreen, primer and foundation. For a while I thought it was my skincare regime that was working miraculously and got so excited. Later when I realized it was actually from this serum, I had mixed feelings as you can imagine. For one, I know my skin isn’t really glowing from within. On the other side, I’ve found a great summer morning serum that adds natural sheen (not shimmer, not glitter) all over your face and it doesn’t ball up under make up. I’ve since repurchased another bottle so I have it at hand for the entire summer.

Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum ($45, 1 oz)

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This is still from an affordable brand, but it’s a pricier product within the brand. Vitamin c products come in so many different forms, some are powder (i.e. Clinique), some are dissolved in solution with sillicone so has a slippery texture (i.e. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum), some are of a stickier formula (i.e. Drunk Elephant c-firma). This serum from Mario Badescu is more of a liquid serum, very runny, not sticky at all, but does take 30-40 seconds to get absorbed into the skin. It might feel a bit oily for those with combination skin, but after it is absorbed, it dries down and can be worn day and night (recommended for night use). When I was using it as my first step of skincare routine in the morning, my face gave a pretty glow, and it lasted quite a few hours. When I applied it at night, I can still see the improvement to my skin tone the next morning when I wake up. It’s a decent product and it should work for every skin type except for those with very oily skin.

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask ($58, 1 oz)

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This is the most expensive product out of the three, but since it’a mask and you are only supposed to use it a few times a week at most, a jar can last you a long time, so I still think it’s worth it. I was hooked to it when I was using a sample size jar for the first time. Tata Harper skincare products have a spa smell and feel. It felt like a thick layer of gel with pleasant smell, and I didn’t think it would give me any immediate results and I was so WRONG. After washing it off after 15-20 minutes, I can see some immediate improvement to my nose, t zone area and a glow all over my face, which lasts about 20 hours. The last time a mask was able to achieve a visible result was from Sisley and it was way more expensive than Tata Harper. It’s interesting how both brands that I reacted so well to rely mostly on botanic ingredients and I used to think these ingredients are only pleasant to use but are not powerful enough to treat skin symptoms. I am glad I’m proved wrong and natural ingredients with the right formula can be very effective!

Do you have any skincare products that you love to use in the summer time? Please share in comments as I’d love to learn!

The Ordinary 7% Glycolic acid is back in stock

If you’ve not yet heard of the Ordinary brand (under Deciem), where have you been in the past few months 🙂 If you have, you’re probably aware that one of their best sellers the 7% Glycolic acid toning solution (which is considered a dupe for Pixi Glow Tonic or other more high-end acid toners) has been out of stock for months everywhere. I’ve been wanting to try it out and just placed an order on the official site. You can read more about it and place an order when you are ready before it goest out of stock again here.