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.

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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.

June 2017 Skincare empties – high-end & drugstore 

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

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 🙂

April 2017 favorites & empties 

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? 👍


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? 👍🏼



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? 👍


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


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 🙂

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.