June 2017 Skincare empties – high-end & drugstoreย 

If you are interested to see what I think about these skincare items and whether I will repurchase, please keep reading ๐Ÿ™‚

My skin: combination & acne prone with concerns around aging and enlarged pores. 

First up are two facial mists from Mario Badescu and Tarte.

This is the second time I’m trying out the Mario Badescu rose water facial toner. I didn’t like it the first time as I feel it didn’t do much to my skin and the sprayer is not great. I’ve come around to like it better this time. I started spraying it onto cotton pads and then applying all over the face after cleansing and it’s a good toner (esp. for the price) as the final step of my cleansing routine. 

  • Repurchase? Maybe/Likely

I didn’t like Tarte rainforest of the sea mist. It has a very strong citrus scent that’s too much for my taste. The sprayer squirts our large drops of water which makes it an unpleasant experience if you plan to directly spray it onto the face.

  • Repurchase? No 

Next are a few cleansing products including the Bioderma micellar cleansing water, Shuumuera cleansing oil and First Aid Beauty radiance face pads



The pink version of Bioderma micellar water (catered towards sensitive skin) is my favorite micellar water at the moment. It removes face makeup instantly without leaving any film on your skin or overdrying it. I tried the Garnier micellar water in the past which is supposed to be a dupe for this and I don’t think it’s an exact dupe in terms of how your skin feels afterwards although the Garnier one on its own is pretty good as well for the price. 

  • Repurchase? Yes, already did

The cleansing oil from Shuumuera is good but I’m trying out two other cleansing oils so will not be repurchasing in the short term. I don’t like the First Aid Beauty pads as much as I thought I would.  It’s supposed to exfoliate your skin and make it glow. I don’t think the results are convincing enough while they stung my face a little bit. 

  • Repurchase? No

Next up are three face serums including two vitamin C ones. Unfortunately I will not be repurchasing any of these. The Truth Serum from Ole Henriksen used to be a favorite of mine but I didn’t have much experience with vitamin C products back then. Now I start to develop my own taste for vitamin C ingredients and formula and this serum feels too silicone heavy, and is not potent enough.

  • Repurchase? No.

Next up are two trial size products from SKII and Elizabeth Arden


The SkII facial treatment essence continues to be a holy grail product for my skin type as it really helps balance out the PH level and reduces the chance of breakout. 

  • Repurchase? Yes, already did

The Elizabeth Arden prevage line is an expensive anti-aging line under the Brand that’s particularly popular in Asia. While this moisturizer with SPF did help with brightening the skin, it’s a bit too heavy for the summer time, and the strong fragrance is a turn off for me.

  • Repurchase? No

Lastly are two new opens from Shisedo & Missha. You will see them in my next empties post ๐Ÿ™‚

Recent beauty empties (high-end & drugstore) – skincare & makeupย 

How is it possible that it’s already June?! Well I guess the empties sort of help me track time. Here are the products I’ve used up recently with mini reviews.

First up is the Caudalie Premier Cru Eye cream. If I rank all the eye products I’ve tried in the past five years, it is definitely up there in top three with its anti-aging tesults and although it’s by no means a cheap product, it’s still more affordable than my other two holy grail eye creams. You can see my recent blog post here where I shared more detailed thoughts around it.

  • Repurchase? ๐Ÿ‘

Caudalie Premier Cru Eye Cream Review

Next up is another high-end European brand Natura Bisse. I’ve tried a few products from this brand and none disappointed. This tolerance toner is so pleasant to use with its extremely high quality sprayer (best I’ve used in the market) that produces the finest mist all over the face. It smells herbal but not overwhelming. I was blown away when I first tried it but as I got less impressed overtime as I didn’t notice other results beyond the pleasant feeling after applying it and the hefty $50 tag is not particularly inviting.

  • Repurchase? Maybe. I plan to reuse the bottle just for that amazing nozzle but will not repurchase it this year.

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Next up is an eye makeup remover from Loreal that’s not available in the US, and it’s a shame as it’s probably 5 times better than the regular Loreal makeup remover you can get at CVS here. It’s sold in Asia, Australia and a lot of other markets. It’s great but not amazing and given its not sold here, I’m in no rush to repurchase it.

  • Repurchase? Not in the US

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In comparison, the bottle below is the Loreal remover sold in the US and it’s a regret purchase together with the Sephora makeup remover as they are not as effective in removing makeup.

Then here comes the unavoidable batch of meh products from trying out new things and I will not be repurchasing them.

  • Clinique pepstart moisturizer – this is a bit tacky
  • Erno Laszlo eye cream – it’s not bad but it’s not as good as my favorite eye creams
  • Clarins extra firming cream (I used up both the day version and the night version) – the scent is too strong and no skincare product should smell like fragrance to me so it’s a big turn-off for me. The day cream also doesn’t sit well under makeup and balled up on me a few times.
  • Rimmel eyeshadow stick & Revlon lipstick: nothing special
  • Maybelline big lash mascara: it can be clumpy when you apply a second coat and if I was looking for more lengthening result I need more than one coat. Will not repurchase this. There are so many better options out there.

Lastly, here is a candle that I initially liked but end up decluttering as the smell is just too strong and overly sweet for my taste. img_2498

My favorite high-end beauty productsย 

I’m all for more affordable options if I can get the same results but there are some pricier products that I really enjoy and haven’t been able to find exact dupes for. Today I wanted to share a few of them. 

First up is the Caudalie Premier Cru Eye Cream. It’s one of the most nourishing creams I’ve tried that instantly reduces any dry lines under the eyes. Despite being so creamy and rich, it doesn’t feel greasy at all, gets absorbed into the skin instantly and wears beautifully under makeup or on its own.

It costs $90+ in the US but it’s a lot cheaper in Europe. The only thing I don’t like is its pump. It’s a ‘moody’ pump especially after you use up maybe half of the bottle. Sometimes it’s hard to control how much products the pump pushes out. I tried twisting the cap but I can’t really open it up. While I appreciate the more high-end glass pump bottle packaging, I’d rather have a simple tube so it’s less of a hassle to use. The 15 ml bottle lasts me about 3-4 months.


Next up is a luxury product from Japan: the Elegance makeup setting powder . It was by no means an impulse purchase. I thought about it for quite a while before biting the billet. At $100+, this is the most expensive powder product I’ve ever purchased and I was not sure whether it’s worth it. However after using it for a few times I begin to understand why it’s a cult favorite. I like the Laura Mercier translucent setting powder but when comparing the two, the Elegance powder is probably 4 times more finely milled and 3 times more effective at oil control, and the blurring effect is also much more prominent.

The packaging is A+ too. But it’s indeed a luxury splurge so I will have to see how long this compact lasts before deciding whether I will repurchase. 

The last product is the instant long wear makeup remover from Bobbi Brown. I’ve tried the cleansing oil from the same line and I didn’t like it so I didn’t have high expectation for this product. However it definitely beat my expectations. It’s one of the most effective makeup remover for eyes I’ve tried. It can take off heavy eye makeup including waterproof eyeliners and mascaras. And it doesn’t irritate my eyes or leave an any annoying residue after my double cleansing routine. It’s simply a pleasure to use. And I’ve since purchased the full size version. 


That’s all for today. What are some of your favorite beauty products at the moment? Please share in comments ๐Ÿ™‚

Find me on Instagram if you are interested in individual product reviews: 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?