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.


Best Skincare Sets at Sephora Now

It’s almost that time of the year when you can start to stock up on your favorite skincare products for the cold, brutal winter season. If you are looking for new products that will make your skin clearer, brighter, softer and smoother, look no further than Sephora as they have some of the best value skincare sets in the market now. Plus you get a different deluxe mini product with your $25 purchase starting yesterday (enter code: PERFECT8; I received a mini Sunday Riley Good Genes tube yesterday. Check out the gift with purchase calendar here on the Sephora website). I wanted to share with you some of my favorite skincare sets below based on my experience (yes I’ve tried most of these products, I’m a skincare addict 🙂 I have combination and acne-prone skin.

If you are looking for clearer & brighter skin, try this set from Dr. Dennis Gross. They do a great job at brightening your skin and the results are almost instant. These are expensive so it’s a good deal to try a few out in a value set.

If you are looking for smoother skin and care about ingredients, try this set from Drunk Elephant. I bought it last year and will restock soon. The night serum might sting your skin slightly on the first use but it hasn’t given me any issue since my 2nd use, and it has helped me with those little bumps and skin unevenness, and calmed my skin when I’m on the verge of a break-out (doesn’t help much when I do have acne though). Drunk Elephant is also known for its great ingredients, they are formulated without those harsh chemicals including parabens, sulfates or phthalates.

If you are looking for softer, more plumped skin and wanted to try out products from multiple brands, consider this Soko to Tokyo set. Japanese & Korean skincare brands can be very effective in treating dullness and dry skin concerns. Most of the brands included in this set are high-end brands (I love Amore Pacific products but am not a fan of the Belif cream although it’s raved by a lot of people), so it would be a good opportunity to try these out without breaking your bank.

These are some of my favorites now and I will share additional ones later this month. What’s on your list and what have you been loving lately? 




October Allure beauty box spoiler – Disappointed

I’ve been waiting for the spoiler of the October Allure beauty box for a while as the latest few Allure boxes have just been ‘meh’ in terms of brands and content they featured, and I’m on the verge of cancelling my subscription.

Well the October box failed again in my opinion as a beauty box ($15 per month) that boasts for careful curation of great beauty products skewing towards skincare. I have a high bar for skincare products and I don’t care for things that are just okay. I only repurchase skincare products that brought noticeable results and I’ve not found these type of delightful surprises from the past few boxes. I kept hoping that maybe the box will become better now it’s approaching the holiday season, but it doesn’t seem to be. I will give the box 2 more tries and then be done with it.

Here is the full spoiler:

  • Limited-Edition Spongellé shower sponge scented with freesia and pear (sounds gimmicky)
  • Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask (it’s a good product but I already have 2 at home)
  • Mally Volumizing Mascara (I have 3 of my favorite mascara and 10+ in total so…)
  • Doucee Eyeshadow in Coppery Brown (interesting)
  • Klorane Dry Shampoo (Variant – subscribers may receive a different hair care item) This is the only item that I know I like and will use constantly but then there is no guarantee I will have it. I don’t want another travel size shampoo or conditioner… I’m not a big fan of variant box versions..
  • Tatcha Deluxe Indigo Body Butter OR Tatcha Deluxe Soothing Hand Cream (Tatcha as a high-end skincare brand places more emphasis on packaging & how their products feel on your face than the ultimate results on your skin. So I’m not blown away by the only high-end skincare brand included in this box).

Maybe I’m too blunt with my thoughts on this box but does any of you feel the same?

Drugstore makeup gem series: Physicians Formula shimmer strip palette 

I wanted to start a series on my blog dedicated to drugstore makeup gems and the first one I wanted to feature is something pretty 🙂 I fell in love with it when I was swatching it and enjoy using it from time to time. It is the Physicians Formula shimmer strip palette. It is a multi-purpose palette that can be used as a highlighter for both the face & eyes. A few pink and golden shades also can used as lid colors.

This palette stands out in 3 aspects:

  • Packaging: Cute! Just look at the little pink bow. I really adore it. Now it’s still paper packaging so don’t compare it to those $40+ high-end packaging, which is not fair. It’s steady enough to last 1-2 years and it’s light weight. The one thing I don’t like about the packaging is that it’s still a bit bulky for the amount of products in it. I don’t need the mirror on the back or the 2 poor quality brushes although they did put thought into fitting everything in a small space. I’d rather have a sleek case instead without the mirror or brushes. And I found this to be the case for a lot of Physicians Formula products. They have a thing for these added-on accessories. Maybe some people use these?


  • Formula: The first time I swatched the powders, I used the brush that came in the palette and was a bit disappointed because it appeared to be powdery. However, when I swatched it again with my fingers, it was day-and-night difference. The shades are soft, creamy, even buttery when you apply with your fingers. So I really don’t recommend using the brushes that came with the palette.
  • Color & Pigmentation: as you can see from the swatches, the shimmery colors really grab the light and they look so beautiful. The colors are also customizable with all these different shade options in similar color families. If you want something a bit different and unique, you can combine two colors to create your own pinky-golden-champagne combination shade. I did that in my swatches too. One thing I did notice is that the texture of the shades is not as fine-milled as my favorite baked highlighter from Laura Mercier. I think they still look very pretty on the cheeks but I probably wouldn’t use them as often for my eye looks.

Overall rating: 8.5/10

I consider this a must-have on my Drugstore Gem list and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for an affordable highlighter. Thanks for stopping by!

My 7 lipsticks and lipglosses – review & swatches

I have never been crazy over lip products. I know it sounds crazy especially for someone who writes about beauty. I have relatively darker lips so a lot of lip colors don’t show up on me unless I use foundation or concealer to cover my natural lips first, which makes them dry and uncomfortable.

I also would rather much draw more attention to my eyes than my lips. I think lip products are so popular because they require almost no technique to apply and can change your look instantly if you go with a bold color.

Anyways, as someone who doesn’t own a lot of lip products, I wanted to show you every one of them that’s been opened. I either bought or received them in beauty boxes in 2016 as I usually get rid of lip products after they are over a year old. As they go on your lips and probably in the drinks and food you touch, I remind myself to pay attention to their expiration dates and formula. I guess that’s another reason I don’t like buying lip products as there is simply no way I can use up even 1/5 of these in a year if I have more than 10 in my collection, and almost half of my current collection are only in deluxe sample sizes.

Here is a snapshot of my 7 lip cuties (I have 2 more Kiko minis in my makeup bag that I will review in a separate post later).

From left to right are:

Sephora love spell -> Buxom Amsterdam -> Laura Mercier Bare Baby -> Tarte lip creme in Adorned -> Tarte lip crayon in Latergram-> Maybelline -> Pixi by petra matte Rose Naturelle


Here are the swatches, in the same order as the picture above.

You can see how I am so boring with lip colors from the swatches above. Two colors are kind of “my lip color but better” types (Buxom Amsterdam & Pixi Rose Naturelle). I also have one each for pink (Sephora love spell), coral (Maybelline) and red (Tarte Adorned lip creme), one deeper maybe nude (Tarte lip crayon in latergram) and one lighter nude gloss that is mostly translucent (Laura Mercier bare baby).

In addition, all of them have a moisturizing formula. I can’t stand putting on something that dries out your lips and excentuates your lip lines. No matter how rich the colors are, dry lips are not flattering.

Now here are my favorite four. The Pixi lipstick is great for fall as it has a rich darker red color but doesn’t look too deep or brownish when applied to my lips. They also feel very comfortable and moisturizing.

Next is the Tarte lip creme in Adorned. This is the only bright red color I own and it is a bit unique as it also has some golden shimmer mixed in the red base. I like to apply a thin layer of this to pair with a natural eye look.

Lastly, these two below are from Laura Mercier and Buxom. Both have good ingredients, look very natural, feminine and soft.

That’s it. Thank for stopping by 🙂 

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