EMPTIES | December 2017

My second empties post! It’s been two months since my previous empties post, but I don’t really use up products frequently enough to merit monthly empties posts. Besides the usual beauty products, this month’s empties also includes a candle!

Continue reading “EMPTIES | December 2017”

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ANTI-HAUL | Winter 2017

With all the temptation and spending that comes with the holiday season, I thought it’d be nice to balance my Sephora haul (and other upcoming hauls…) with an anti-haul.

Although I’ve gotten a lot better about making more informed, thought-out purchases in the last couple of years, this anti-haul will also be a good reminder to myself that money not spent is better than money spent on a product I wouldn’t otherwise use or want to try.

Before I begin with the anti-haul, I have to admit that I went ahead and purchased the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial (1.69 oz, $80). I was partially motivated by maintaining my Rouge status, but mainly, it seems like a universally loved product, and is unique enough that I probably wouldn’t find a dupe easily, if at all. I’m excited to try it and share my thoughts on it with you 🙂

Although most of the products are carried at Sephora, this list will also include products from other brands (mainly Glossier). I’ll be honest here – my reasons for not purchasing items are all pretty similar… so feel free to skip through my descriptions for each product/brand.

  1. FENTY BEAUTY: I am a huge Rihanna fan, and I love the message behind the brand, but my makeup inventory is just way too full for more makeup products. I was tempted to get both the Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer (0.3 oz, $18) and the Starlit Hyper-Glitz Lipstick in Supermoon (0.45 oz, $19), which I swatched in store and was super pretty, but in the end I decided not to because I’m not a lip gloss user, and there are other lip products that I would rather purchase to try. The highlighters look beautiful, so I may purchase them in the future when I actually need a new highlighter.
  2. FRESH Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner (8.4 fl oz, $44): As soon as this was released earlier this year, I had added it to my VIB sale purchase list. It’s gotten rave reviews, and just looks so pretty with the real rose petals in the bottle. However, I passed on this in the end, because I already have much more affordable toners that are already extremely effective.
  3. SON & PARK Beauty Water (11.49 fl oz, $30): Same reason as for the Fresh toner 🙂
  4. MILK MAKEUP: Every time Milk comes out with a new product, I am so tempted to purchase it. I really like the idea of their makeup – easy, for the on-the-go girl – but I find their items on the pricier side for what they are, and with the state of my current makeup inventory, I really don’t find it necessary to own anymore makeup items. That being said, I do own two items from them, one of which I would possibly repurchase.
  5. Pat McGrath Labs: Everything from the brand looks beautiful, but I don’t wear makeup often enough to want to spend that much on any of the products they offer.
  6. NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment (0.18 oz, $26): I’ll be honest – I was tempted. I haven’t really ever been disappointed with NARS products, and this has gotten rave reviews everywhere. But I’m not a fan of matte lip products, and am extremely picky about liquid formulations. That being said, I am planning on purchasing a Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Liquified Lipstick (0.25 oz, $24) at some point.
  7. Glossier Face Serums Set ($65 for 3 serums): I was planning to get this when I hauled some Glossier, but then I realized that each serum – Super Bounce, Super Pure, and Super Glow – had a dupe or similar product that could be found in The Ordinary line for a fraction of the price. I really enjoy some of Glossier’s products and the brand as a whole, but I personally just did not find that this $65 would be money well spent.

I could go on and on about what I am not buying and why, but I’ll stop here 🙂 What are some things you decided not to purchase or will not be purchasing in these holiday months?

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HAUL | Nordstrom Anniverary Sale 2017

I hadn’t been planning on getting anything during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale this year, but a few deals caught my eye that were so good I couldn’t resist. Here’s what I purchased:

  1. Fresh Sugar Lip Romance Set ($26, $38 value): This set includes a full-size (0.15 oz, $26) Sugar Lip Treatment Advanced Therapy and a half-size (0.07 oz, $12) Sugar Rosé Tinted Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15. Fresh has one of my favorite lip balm formulations ever (with SPF included!), and I’ve always wanted to try the Sugar Lip Treatment Advanced Therapy, so this one was a no-brainer.
  2. Living Proof Perfect hair Day Collection ($75, $130 value – SOLD OUT 😦 ): This set includes 24 fl oz bottles with pumps of both the shampoo and conditioner ($59 each) and a travel size (1.8 oz, $12) dry shampoo. My friend had gifted me a trial set of these products last year for Christmas, and I loved all of the products. The dry shampoo is probably the best I’ve ever used, and the shampoo and conditioner left my hair feeling clean and moisturized. I hadn’t ever planned on purchasing full-size bottles of the shampoo and conditioner because I don’t like spending a lot on shampoo/conditioner, but with this deal I decided to splurge. Plus, at $75, this set is almost 50% off what you would pay for the three items if you purchased them separately.
  3. beautyblender® air.port.pro Makeup Sponge Applicator & Large Cosmetics Bag Set ($35, $66 value – SOLD OUT 😦 ): Two beauty blenders, a solid sponge cleanser, and a large cosmetics bag, all for $35? This was another no-brainer, and a lot of people definitely shared my thoughts, as this is now sold out. Beauty blenders retail for $20 each and the sponge cleanser retails for $16.
  4. Band of Gypsies Faux Wrap Maxi Dress in Wine/Teal/Rust ($35.90, $55 after sale ends): I’ve been really wanting a wrap style maxi dress in a cute print, and this did not disappoint. It’s so flowy and romantic, and the different print at the very bottom of the dress was a nice touch. It also has a high-low skirt which I always think is extra flattering. I’m already thinking of occasions when I can bust out this dress to wear!

The sale ends Sunday, August 6, so get on it before it’s over! What did you all buy during the sale? 🙂

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SKINCARE ROUTINE | 2017

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve come to fully embrace the lazy girl attitude that was always in me, and my updated skincare routine reflects that. Looking back at my routine from last year was a bit shocking – I’d forgotten how extensive the routine I followed was. My skin has become less oily and less acne prone, so that helps with simplification of my routine as well. I’ve been following iterations of my current one for a while now, and it’s definitely more pared down than before. For one thing, my AM and PM routines are almost the same.

Daily Steps:

  1. Wash face: Fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser (1.7 fl oz, $15) in the AM, and Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Gel Cleanser (8.4 fl oz, $21), which is still a holy grail face wash to me, in the PM. The Fresh face wash is great – it’s very gentle but still makes my face feel clean. I wouldn’t repurchase it, however, since it’s too pricey in my eyes.
  2. Tone: Pixi’s Glow Tonic (3.4 fl oz, $15) in the AM, and Paula’s Choice 2% Salicylic Acid BHA Liquid Exfoliant (4 fl oz, $28) in the PM. I quite like the Glow Tonic and will probably repurchase it, but will probably not be repurchasing the Paula’s Choice because I think my skin doesn’t really need it anymore. It’s done me much good, but it’s time to part ways.
  3. Apply serum/facial oil: I alternate between Caudalie’s Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum (1 fl oz, $49) and Julep’s Reparative Rosehip Seed Facial Oil (0.85 fl oz, $36), and for both morning and night. The Caudalie is very light and absorbs into the skin quickly. The Julep has changed my mind about facial oils. I never liked them because they always felt too oily, but this one doesn’t, and absorbs well into the skin. Both give a good boost of moisture. I love both of them, though I’m not sure I would repurchase either of them because they’re so pricey. I purchased the Caudalie when it was on sale, and I received the Julep as part of a complimentary Influenster VoxBox (look out for a review on that).
  4. Apply lotion: Currently using Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel (4.2 fl oz, $27), and used Tatcha’s Enriching Renewal Cream (1.86 fl oz, $185) in the drier winter months. The Clinique isn’t bad, but I don’t love it, so I probably won’t repurchase. It definitely has a good value for its price though, especially if you get the size with the pump (which I did). The Tatcha cream is amazing, but I can’t see myself purchasing this at full price (I had gotten it as part of the Byrdie Holiday Box, $80 for a $330 value and now sold out).
  5. Apply eye cream: Dermalogica’s Stress Positive Eye Lift (0.85 fl oz, $65) in the AM, Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye (0.5 fl oz, $37) in the PM. Both of these are awesome. I received the Dermalogica as part of the Influenster VoxBox, but I definitely think it’s worth the price, and will probably repurchase it if I don’t find another eye cream to try before I run out. It has a metal applicator that is so cooling on the skin, which is great for depuffing the eye area. The product claims to help with eye circles and eye fatigue, and while visibly I can’t see any changes after using it for two weeks, it does feel great every time I apply it. The Kiehl’s is great as well, and probably one of my top favorite eye creams. It is tremendously moisturizing, but doesn’t just sit on top of the skin at all.
  6. Apply sunscreen (in the AM): Honestly, I don’t apply this every day like I should… But when I do remember, I use Lancome’s UV Expert XL-Shield Fresh UV Aqua Gel (50 ml, $88 SGD or ~$63.99), which has SPF 50 PA++++. I’ve been using this a long time, and I do enjoy its extreme sun protection, lack of grease, and lack of a strong sunscreen scent, but it’s ridiculously expensive and hard to get. It’s only sold in Asia, and I’ve only been using it for so long because a family friend used to get it at the duty free stores in Asia. Occasionally I’ll bust out Peter Thomas Roth’s Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense Lotion (1.7 fl oz, $42), which is SPF 30. This one is oil-free, very light, and fast absorbing. The two cons for me are the sunscreen smell and the lower SPF.

Makeup Removal:

This is a separate section now because now I put on makeup maybe once a week. I actually went a whole month in June without any makeup too. The me of last year would be horrified…

  • Eyes: I put Garnier’s SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Waterproof Makeup Remover (13.5 fl oz, $8.99). I soak a cotton pad in this, place it on one eye, let it sit, and wipe off my makeup. I use the other side of the cotton pad for the other eye. This is an amazing eye makeup remover that really does what it says, isn’t too greasy, and, and best of all, it’s affordable. Please don’t get this at full price – there are always sales at the drugstore and Ulta.
  • Face: If I have on light makeup, I just use the Garnier on another cotton pad. If I have on a heavier face of makeup, I go in with Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser (6 fl oz, $18), massage it all over my face, into my eyelids too to remove any remaining excess eye makeup, and rinse. The Milky Jelly Cleanser does a great job of removing makeup while still being gentle and even moisturizing. I had started off ambivalent about this product, but as I used it more I’ve grown to really like it. I’ll definitely be including this in my makeup remover rotation.
  • Makeup remover wipes: I use these when I’m traveling or staying overnight somewhere. I have two that I alternate between – Burt’s Bee’s in Pink Grapefruit (30 count, $5.19) and Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes (25 count, $3.99), and I’m pretty happy with both. Like I mentioned with the Garnier, it’s really easy to get these for even cheaper with the frequent deals and sales at the drugstore.

Extras:

These are steps I do once or twice a week. Sometimes I’ll only do one of these during the week, sometimes I’ll end up doing all of them. It depends 🙂

  • Exfoliate: I’ve been using Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment (0.5 fl oz, $24). As the title says, it’s pretty intensive, but my skin always feels smooth after I use it. I had received this as a sample with purchase, but I don’t think I like it enough to shell out that much money myself.
  • Apply a sheet mask: I tend to go for the cheaper ones, since I don’t feel like more expensive sheet masks do much better. My go-to’s are the TONYMOLY I’m Real Mask Sheets ($3 per sheet on Amazon), which you can always find for cheaper (I’ve found them at Marshall’s for $1.50 before) or on sale.
  • Apply a wash off mask: I’ve still been using Origins’ Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay (3.4 fl oz, $27), and my friends also gifted me Josie Maran’s Whipped Mud Mask Collection (5 x 0.5 fl oz, $48) for my birthday last year, which I’ve been slowly going through and love. Honestly, I don’t really feel the difference between each mask, but they all have pleasant scents and make my skin feel amazing.

 

So, that’s my updated skincare routine, with some extras thrown in. If you’re interested in the drastic differences between my current routine and last year’s, I’ll provide a link here (x)

SKINCARE ROUTINE | 2016 (Part 2)

DSC01275

Without further ado, my nighttime skincare routine. I know, it looks like a lot. But I promise, it isn’t as crazy as it looks!

PM Routine:

DSC01275-2

  1. Remove Makeup: For my eyes, I’ve only used The Body Shop’s Camomile Gentle Eye Make-up Remover (8.4 fl oz, the price is no longer on the site, but I remember it being under $20, and you can often get it on sale). I have sensitive eyes, and this doesn’t irritate them but still does a good job taking off my eye makeup. Usually, I saturate a cotton pad with the makeup remover, lay it on my eyelid for a bit, wipe off the makeup, and do the same thing to the other eyelid with the other side of the cotton pad. For the rest of my face, I’ve been using the Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil (6 fl oz, $32), which I’ve been loving. It takes off all of my makeup while keeping my skin feeling nourished. I plan on trying the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser (6 fl oz, $18) and the Tatcha Pure One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil (5.1 fl oz, $48) next, so keep an eye out for those reviews 😉
  2. Clean the Face: The Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Gel Cleanser (8.4 fl oz, $21) is not only a holy grail item, but also a game-changing item for me. Out of everything that I’ve used in skincare, nothing has changed my skin for the better as much as this has. It contains 1.5% salicylic acid, which goes far in helping to fight breakouts. This is the biggest reason why I went from acne prone to breaking out only once in a blue moon. It actually leaves my face feeling clean and refreshed after a long day of makeup wear.
  3. Exfoliate: I love exfoliators, and I use them sometimes up to 5 times a week. The one I currently use the most is Origins Modern Friction Nature’s Gentle Dermabrasion (4.2 fl oz, $39.50). It’s effective, but gentle enough for frequent use.
  4. Tone: For nighttime, I’ve been using the L’Occitane Angelica Face Toner (6.7 fl oz, $24). The L’Occitane one is alcohol-free, has a pleasant, expensive smell, and does a good job of moisturizing and prepping my skin for the rest of my skincare. I’m running out though, so I need to either replace this one or find another good one ASAP 😦
  5. Exfoliate Again: After toner, I use the Paula’s Choice 2% Salicylic Acid BHA Liquid Exfoliant (4 fl oz, $28). It’s a leave-on exfoliant and claims to unclog pores, diminish wrinkles, and improve skin tone. After over 6 months of use, I have to say that it’s done all of that for me. It’s not a product that gives you immediate results, so if you want to give this a try, you have to be patient.
  6. Use a Mask (2-4 times a week): Once a week, I’ll use a clarifying mask. I used to really enjoy Origins’ Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask To Clear Pores (3.4 fl oz, $26), which was really effective in clearing pores, but it’s become too intensive and drying for my current skin. Now, I use the Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay (3.4 fl oz, $26), which is similar but less intense. The other 1-3 times a week, I’ll use a moisture mask. Usually, I just throw on a cheap sheet mask that I picked up from the nearby Korean beauty store, and I find that it does the job. Occasionally, I’ll use the Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask (5 fl oz, $52) instead and leave it on overnight.
  7. Apply Serums: On nights that I don’t use a moisture mask, I use a moisturizing serum. I enjoy the Murad Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence (1 fl oz, $78), which I first discovered as a Sephora point perk. I plan to purchase a full size after I use up my current Origins Make A Difference Plus+ Rejuvenating Serum (1 fl oz, $43), which does the job, but isn’t as good as the Murad. Almost every night, I’ll use the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster (1 fl oz, $48). It does what it says it will – my skin has felt more firm and radiant since I started using it. Since I have it, some nights I’ll use the Invigorating Night Treatment (1.7 fl oz, $58) instead, though I don’t like it as much.
  8. Moisturize: I’m not that picky with my moisturizers, but I go for the lightweight ones that still give a good dose of hydration. My current one is the Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation (1.7 fl oz, $40), and some other ones I’ve used and liked are the Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream With Super 7 Complex (1.7 fl oz, $45), the Origins Make A Difference Plus + Rejuvenating Moisturizer (1.7 fl oz, $43), and belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb (1.68 fl oz, $38).
  9. Apply Eye Cream: I’m currently using the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex II (0.5 fl oz, $58). It’s a really rich, moisturizing eye cream, but honestly, I feel like there are other eye creams out there that do the same but for less. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye (0.5 fl oz, $37) is one such eye cream. I plan on trying Ole Henriksen’s Ultimate Lift Eye Gel (1 fl oz, $42), after I finish the Estée Lauder one, so let me know your thoughts if you’ve tried it before!

 

And that concludes my current skincare routine. It’s a little high maintenance, but I feel like it’s worth it. You only have one face your whole lifetime, so you might as well take good care of it. 🙂