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 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.

March high-end skincare haul – feat. Drunk Elephant & Natura Bisse

The Drunk Elephant glycolic night serum is a repurchase, you can find my full review of this product when I compared it to the Sunday Riley Good Genes here.

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

This night serum is part of a Drunk Elephant set that’s in a lovely pull-out paper box. Isn’t it cute? I’ve tried the vitamin C serum before (the small bottle in an orange cap) and it’s solid but not irreplaceable. I will share another brightening serum in my empty post that is a dupe for the c firma that I like it a bit better. I’ve not yet tried the B-hydra gel before and will share my thoughts if I end up liking it.

The other high-end item I purchased is an eye cream from Natura Bisse. I bought it after I was blown away by a sample I tried a while ago. It’s probably the most effective anti-aging eye cream I’ve ever used but also the most expensive eye cream. All the dry lines and fine lines under my eyes were gone when I was using a sample of this eye cream so I thought it might just be worth it (or not). I am currently using another high-end eye cream that I love and it’s less expensive than the Natura Bisse one so I might just switch between the two.


My current 4 favorite muted red & nude lippies – Buxom, Smashbox, Kiko, Loreal

I’ve been using these 4 lippies below non-stop lately and I realized why after I swatched them side by side. Although they are different shades, they are definitely in the same color range: a somewhat muted red and nudish color scheme. 

Smashbox liquid lipstick in Driver's seat

From left to right are: 

  • Kiko smart pencil in 703 
  • Smashbox liquid lipstick in Driver’s Seat 
  • Loreal pro matte gloss in 318 Bare Attraction
  • Buxom lip pencil in Amsterdam

Best ingredients: Buxom (it is under the Bare Eccentual umbrella and uses nontoxic ingredients)

Best lasting power: Smashbox (it fades in a good way too)

Most pigmented: Smashbox – One light swipe and you are set! So rich of a color!

Most surprised: the Kiko lip pencil is very smooth and pigmented. It glides on so easily and doesn’t feel dry on the lips. The only downside is that it’s not very long lasting on my lips.

Favorite color: this is totally personal taste but I LOVE how the Loreal 318 color looks on my lips. It is very feminine and goes perfectly with an everyday makeup look. 

Question for all who have gone this far in the post: do you know a color dupe for the Loreal 318 Bare Attraction lip gloss? The gloss is not very long lasting and doesn’t have the best formula so I’ve been hunting for a different lippie with the same color but have not found it. Please let me know in comments if you have something in mind!

My everyday face primer collection – Benefit, Makeup Forever, ClubClio, Embryolisseย 

Today I wanted to share the few primers I’ve been using and my thoughts on them. 

  • My skin type: Combination skin (leaning towards the drier side in winter & oily side in summer)
  • My main purpose for using a primer: blur/smooth pores in my zone (primary) & prolong makeup (secondary)

First up is the grey travel size tube from Makeup Forever. It’s the step 1 smoothing primer. It is has a thicker texture and does a good job smoothing out my pores and skin texture. But it’s a bit too thick and slightly oily for my preference as I mostly use blurring primers like this one around my T-zone and I have combination skin so it’s feels just a tiny bit heavy even in the winter time. I almost ran out purchasing the full size as I like the smoothing effect but I am still on the fence.

  • Repurchase? Maybe not

Next up is the kill cover pore primer from the Korean makeup artist brand Club Clio. It’s not a cheap primer and it felt nice when I tried it out on the back of my hands but it’s not my favorite. It’s a bit more greasy than the makeup forever step 1 primer although it also delivers the smoothing effect, and does help prolong the makeup. I think it probably is a better choice for people with dry skin. The other primer I have from Club Clio is an anti-shine primer and it does dry out your face a bit so I’ve put it away until the summer time.

  • Repurchase? No.

The primer that’s still in the box is the Embryolisse primer that I received in a subscription box. It’s a famous French drugstore primer but I don’t know if I will end up using it or not after trying it out in store. It’s extremely hydrating so I don’t know how it will perform on my combination skin. People with very dry skin might love it.

  • Repurchase? No.

Last but not least is a classic that’s been around for years and my favorite in the batch: Benefit porefessional primer. As its name suggests, it’s also a smoothing primer to cover up your pores. As that’s my main concern for my base makeup, this primer delivers its claims and meets my expectations. It is the least greasy primer and it layers well under my foundation and over my sunscreen.

I know some people don’t like it’s slippery feel. Personally I don’t have an issue with it probably because I only use a tiny amount around my t zone. The other areas on my face are on the drier side in winter and do not necessarily need a primer after a moisturizer and sunscreen.

  • Repurchase? Yes.

The tube on the right is an acne friendly sunscreen from a Japanese drugstore brand. It’s a great everyday sunscreen and I use it before applying my primer.

What is your favorite face primer and least favorite one? Why? Would love to hear your thoughts!