April 2017 favorites & emptiesย 

Today I wanted to share some of my recent empties and favorites including some of my all-time favorites.

First up is the NUXE lip balm in a jar. This is the most nourishing lip balm I’ve ever used. I started using it when multiple lip balms did not work on my traumatized severely chapped lips from wearing a raved up NYX lingerie liquid lipstick (that’s a horrible liquid lipstick for my lips and I probably will stay away from NYX for a while). It’s significantly better than the hyped up Glossier dotcom lipbalm (another regret) as it provides hours of hydration and wears well under liquid lipsticks or lip pencils.

  • Repurchase? ๐Ÿ‘


Next up is a hyped up dry shampoo that actually lives up to my expectation. It’s the Livingproof perfect day dry shampoo. This is the best dry shampoo I’ve used (I’ve tried at least 9-10 dry shampoos). The scent is not overwhelming. It makes my roots feeling clean for at least 8 hours. The white cast disappears quite quickly as you comb through your hair after you spray it. It’s just such a pleasure to use! When I’m feeling extra fancy, I will pair it with the R+Co volume spray and Caudalie hair oil. I love it so much that I’ve started exploring other Livingproof hair products. I now understand why it’s most popular hair brand in the East Coast now.

Repurchase? ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ



Next up is the Burt’s Bee body lotion. I don’t like it. It takes a lot of effort to sink into the skin and with its moderate hydration results, it’s not worth the effort or time. The scent is also nothing impressive, more artificial than natural despite its claim on using mostly natural ingredients.

Repurchase? No


A $2 brow pencil from ELF and it is great! I don’t even remember when and where I picked it up but I’m so glad I did. It’s extremely easy to work with as it’s pigmented, soft and smooth. The packaging is not great as it tends to fall apart gradually but it’s okay as the pencil doesn’t last more than 3 months for me. The only downside you need to be aware of is that the color might not be as long lasting so I usually pair it with a clear brow gel and then I have great natural looking brows for an entire day!

Repurchase? ๐Ÿ‘


Lastly, here are a few empties that I’ve used up more than once, which are among my staples. I usually rotate them through my routine instead of using these consistently so I can still find room to try new products. If you are interested to see reviews of individual products, follow me on Instagram where I post reviews on a regular basis: skincarejunkie_03


3 makeup regret purchases – NYX, Colourpop, Real Technique ย 

First up is the Real Technique sponge. I have been using it for about 5 months so far. I have 5 sponges in rotation on a daily basis. I place the used ones in a case so I can wash them every 5 days all at once.

So technically I’ve only used this one maybe 20+ times. I can’t believe my eyes when I saw what was happening with this one – yes there’s mold… So disgusting. This was not my favorite sponge anyways and I probably will never repurchase any after I use up the ones I have. Definitely a regret!

Next up is a ColourPop blush in the shade prenup. I still like the color, a natural pink with a satin finish. I’ve used up quite a bit but I’ve stopped using it completely after I realized how it accentuates my skin texture and pores. My other blushers with shimmering finishes don’t do this on my skin. You might be able to see it from a heavy handed swatch below as well.

The 3rd regret is the NYX HD concealer. It has a thicker consistency and I thought it will be on the drier side which I’m okay with as I don’t use it under my eyes. What I didn’t foresee is how easily it will crease on my face regardless of what powders I use to set it. There will be wierd looking patches sitting on my skin in a few hours after applying, which is embarrassing.

For concealers, I haven’t really found a drugstore one that can perform as good as the Nars creamy concealer (I don’t like the Maybelline Fit Me or Age Rewind Eraser concealers which are said to be dupes) or the Tarte Shape Tape concelaers.

Bonus regret: I’ve tried enough that I’ve come to a conclusion: most of first aid beauty skincare products do not work for people with combination to oily skin. They don’t get absorbed fast enough, are too thick and rich that they tend to clog pores. 

Weekly Instagram Wrap-up: 5 product reviewsย 

I’ve decided to post more often on Instagram. I will mostly share detailed product reviews and also some beauty hauls. My Instagram user name is Skincarejunkie_03 

The past week I’ve posted reviews of 5 products and I will only share here whether I like it or not in emoticons (really easy to see how I feel about them ๐Ÿค“) so I’m not repeating myself. Feel free to check out my Instagram feed for detailed reviews of any of these if you are interested.

Products reviewed: 

  • Clarins uv protection sunscreen๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Oscar Blandi dry shampoo ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคฅ
  • Makeup Forever Excessive Lash mascara ๐Ÿ’ฏโ—๏ธโ—๏ธ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜
  • Bioderma micellar cleanser water ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜„
  • Tula neck cream ๐Ÿ™‚

New in:

  • The Original skincare: still testing these out, so far ๐Ÿ˜Ž





March 2017 new empties – skincare, hair, food, misc

I am constantly testing new skincare products and sometimes I forget how I felt about certain things in the past. That’s when empties posts come in handy. I hope they might be helpful to you too! 

P.S. I try to post mini product reviews on Instagram and here is my Instagram ID: skincarejunkie_03 

First up are two high-end skincare products from Kate Somerville & Sulwhasoo. I have used up probably 85% of these and I’m getting rid of them as they’ve passed the 12-month expiration date since they were opened last year. I’m not in love with any of these two products. I bought the Kate Somerville d-scar scar diminishing serum to treat my acne scars (I have a soft spot for all acne treatment products as I’m suffering from adult acne from time to time). 

The main ingredient is a trademarked peptide that’s beneficial for the skin cell renewal process. However, the squeeze tube and its metal ball applicator make it hard to use on a daily basis. If you don’t remember to wipe away the cream residue on the metal ball, the next time you use it, you will see a lot of disgusting yellowish dried cream balling along the rim of the applicator.

At the $48 price tag for a 0.66 oz tube, I’d expect more thoughts into the packaging. For that reason, it did not make it into my daily skincare routine and it did not work on my acne scars when I was using it occasionally. 

A lot of people swear by the high-end Korean skincare brand Sulwhasoo. The prices in the US almost double those in Asia, which is why I only got the overnight mask that’s on the affordable side of this line to try it out. If I like it, I will buy more in Asia. For its price ($52 for a 4-oz tube), it’s not a bad product but I’ve realized that this line does not fit my skin type and I will not be purchasing any more products in the same line. 

Unlike the Kate Somerville serum, I was testing out this mask consistently. I initially used it as an overnight mask as it suggests but it made my face so greasy and shiny in the morning which I don’t like. I then used it as a regular wash-off mask and take it off after wearing it for 30-40 minutes, and it’s better. It is a very hydrating mask so it did help when my skin was experiencing dryness in a few areas occasionally in winter time. If you have dry skin, I think you will love it. But for my combination skin, this is simply too rich and I think it might have contributed to some breakouts due to the thickness of the cream. 


Next up are a few travel size skincare products and a Japanese baking soda toothpaste that I paid over $25 (hmm not sure what I was thinking on that one…).


From left to right are:

  • Clarins uv protection sunscreen – it’s a running fluid texture, and is not greasy once it skins into the skin and it wears well under makeup
  • Elizabeth Arden prevage anti-aging serum – I’ve not formed my opinion around this yet. It is supposed to be very effective to brighten your skin and even your skin tone but I feel it’s a bit too oily for my taste. I actually have the full size serum too so I will share my thoughts once I open up that one. 
  • Shisedo white Lucent serum – feels great, very lightweight, and gets absorbed by the skin quickly. 
  • Bumble & Bumble hair thickening spray – my first hair thickening spray. This actually works and the results last all day unlike the R+Co one I’m currently using. But it’s still a hair spray so you will feel it in your hair. It does its job. I might repurchase this later.
  • Japanese baking soda toothpaste – hmm it gives your mouth a slightly salty taste rather than a minty taste most of the toothpastes do, which I don’t hate. It does clean your teeth pretty well but I don’t think it’s worth the $25+ price tag. It probably is a lot cheaper to buy it in Asia though. 

Next up are some samples and the Shisedo cotton pad empty bag. Let me start with the Shisedo cotton pads – they are amazing! They are thicker and softer than any cotton pads I’ve used. Whenevet I use them, I feel I’m giving my skin the gentlest care and best treatment it deserves. While this will not be the only cotton pads I keep at home as they cost $10 per bag which I used up within 30 days, this is now a staple in my stash as I’ve not yet found a better alternative. 

I was surprisingly disappointed in the Loccitane almond body concentrate as I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. But I don’t care for its scent or feel and I will not be purchasing the full size product. 


Above are two foaming cleansers that I feel are almost identical in texture and results when I apply them over the face. I like both and I’ve purchased the full size one of the Origins checks and balances foaming cleanser since. 

Next up are some staples including my favorite snacks. A quick note on the organic shampoo I bought at Whole Foods: it’s okay. I will not be repurchasing it.


That’s it for this post. Thank you for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

Walmart $5 2017 spring beauty box content reveal

Walmart beauty box is a quarterly subscription box that costs $5 per quarter ($20 per year). It usually has some box variations, depending on your age, location, or pure randomness. 

While the products are all drugstore products sold at Walmart, and staples are usually hair & body travel size bottles, I’ve had some pleasant discoveries from past boxes such as the Dove body wash that I like a lot and would not have tried it out if not for this box. Here is the latest 2017 Spring Walmart beauty box. While I don’t think this is a favorite as compared with past ones, it’s not a bad box for the $5 price tag. 

Weirdly enough, I’m most excited to try the new toothpaste from Colgate. The Neutrogena lipgloss might be interesting too. What do you think?

March 2017 beauty empties & new opens – skincare, hair, body, makeup

All these empties seem to offer some sort of solid indicators that March did exist as I simply can’t believe it’s almost April.

P.S. I try to post mini product reviews on Instagram and here is my Instagram ID: skincarejunkie_03 

First up are some hair & body products that I’ve used up and opened.


The three hair products on the right are good, but not amazing. The 3-minute miracle hair mask is my favorite conditioner in the Aussie series though. The other hair masks in the same line are not moisturizing enough for drier hair ends.

I’ve used up the water activated body gel lotion from Curel. It’s an interesting concept as you are supposed to apply it on damp/wet skin, and it did help with dry skin but it’s just a bit too messy for my taste. The Clarins oil on the other hand, feels wonderful on the skin. It gets absorbed instantly, is not greasy at oil and smells divine! I probably will repurchase it.


I wasn’t impressed with the AHA/BHA toner from Corsx that I bought per some Korean beauty blogger’s recommendations. It did not produce any results on my skin. I would rather buy something that’s a bit more expensive but bring visible improvement to my skin.

This natural green powder sample from Pereicone MD tastes awesome! I guess I just had really low expectation for such a green healthy drink mix. It reminds of the flavor of Naked green smoothie.



  • The Goldfaden MD brightening exlir felt like a dupe for the Drunk Elephant c-firma day serum and it got me interested in this brand that I’ve not heard of in the past.
  • The Bobbi Brown radiance boost mask feels like an average exfoliator and was kind of meh.
  • I heard good things about the Clarins hydrating serum and I’m glad I tried the sample first as I was so turned off by its strong scent (floral scent), and I will never purchase the full size product. Clarins products are not so consistent for my taste, hits & misses here and there.
  • The ItCosmetics eye cream is nice, very thick and creamy. But I’ve not been convinced yet buy its skincare line.

I’ve also used up or getting rid of a few eyelash products and mascaras below (you are supposed to replace your mascaras every 3 months for hygiene purposes).

Rapidlash does work but you need to continue to use it to maintain the results. The Kiss Me mascara & mascara remover tubes on the left are among the best drugstore-type Japanese mascara products. The mascara holds up curls so well and is 125% water proof so it’s better to be used with its own mascara remover.

How to prevent foundation from getting blotchy?

My skin type: Combination, acne-prone skin. Oily around the T zone and dry/normal everywhere else.

P.S. I try to post mini product reviews on Instagram and here is my Instagram ID: skincarejunkie_03 

Iโ€™ve been trying out a few new non-matte foundations in the past few weeks including the recently hyped up Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation (you can read my review on the Wet n Wild foundation here). My primary goal with my base makeup has been creating a long-lasting, low-maintenance look so I donโ€™t need to reapply throughout the day. Thatโ€™s why I mostly opted for all matte foundation. However, during winter time, I want a satin finish makeup base from time to time. The main challenge for me is that non-matte foundations (high-end or drugstore) usually will look blotchy around my T Zone after 5-6 hours. Iโ€™ve tried different powders, setting sprays and blotting papers, but none really worked that well.

What I found from all the wear tests Iโ€™ve done lately is that it might not have anything to do with the foundation, the primer, or powder! Instead, take a look at your skincare routine and consider trying a different moisturizer. This could completely change how the foundation looks and lasts on your skin. I was previously using Clarins extra firming day cream. It was very hydrating (I didn’t really see any firming results though) as a moisturizer but it turns out that it was the main reason why any satin/glowy foundations do not wear well on my face. 

How did I find out? After I used up the Clarins day cream, I switched to a deluxe travel size jar of Kale + Spinach + Hyaluronic Acid Age Prevention Cream from Youth To The People (I think I got it in a beauty box). Iโ€™d never heard of this brand or used its products before so I didn’t have any expectations. However, I was pleasantly surprised as this is probably the most lightweight moisturizer Iโ€™ve ever tried in the cream texture. It almost feels like a gel but does not peel or flake under sunscreen like most gels do on my face. Ever since I started using this cream, I found that I can pull off those hydrating foundations a lot better. They last longer on me (2-3 hours more at least) and my pores are not accentuated around my T Zone at the end of the day.

youthtothepeople_kale cream.jpg

I donโ€™t think you need to go out and by this cream in particular. But if you are having trouble with your foundation, I do think it’s worth taking another look at the moisturizer you are using prior to applying makeup as that could be the ultimate differentiator in your whole makeup look that you might have overlooked.

Thanks for stopping by and hope this helps!