2017 | Alexis Adrienne

27.12.17

OH, SHEET: My Beauty Diary Rose Moisturising Essence Mask Review

My Beauty Diary Rose Moisturising Mask Packaging Review
Hey, babes!

I'm definitely on a bit of a sheet mask review roll these few weeks, but there are just so many amazing sheetmasks to review here in Taiwan! Today, I’ve got a mask from one of the very first Taiwanese brands I’ve tried, My Beauty Diary. I was super excited to see all the different kinds of MBD masks available here, and the best thing is you don’t even have to go to a pharmacy - you can pick them up right at 7/11! How neat is that! I grabbed the Rose and Witch Hazel flavours from Tomod’s in a two for one deal.

The Rose Moisturising Essence Mask comes in a box of 7 masks. This version of the mask is part of the Flower series of masks, and is slightly different to the range that was imported to NZ, which I’m guessing is the normal range of masks.
My Beauty Diary Rose Moisturising Mask Ingredients Review
Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Rosa Gallica Flower Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Centella Asiatica Extract, Sorbitol, Chlorphenesin, Triethanolamine, Polygonum Cuspidatum (Japanese Knotweed) Root Extract, Polysorbate 20, Arnica Montana Flower Extract,  Ginkgo Biloba leaf Extract, Fragrance (Parfum), Sericin, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Sodium Lactate, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Polyglutamic Acid, Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein, Sodium PCA, Codium Tomentosum Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Magnesium Gluconate, Adansonia Digitata Pulp Extract, Algae Extract, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Cichorium Intybus (Chicory) Root Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Citric Acid, Maltose, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Sodium Hydroxide, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Oil, Vetiveria Zizanoides Root Oil, Glycosphingolipids, Tocopheryl Acetate

There’s a lot going on in this ingredients list, and aside from the usual fantastic-for-skin ingredients like Witch Hazel, Licorice Root, and Centella, I’ve seen a few new ones that I wanted to do a bit more research on. I’ve never heard of Japanese Knotweed before, but it’s apparently a potent source of resveratrol, the same antioxidant present in red wine/grape skins. Serecin is a protein that is produced by silkworms when they weave their silken cocoons, and helps with elasticity and anti-aging. Polyglutamic acid is a seriously heavy-hitting ingredient, with benefits such as not only intensely moisturising skin, but increasing skin’s hyaluronic acid levels and natural moisturising factors. It’s also effective at brightening skin. Hopefully, all these ingredients meet their claims!

The mask itself has a sweet, rosy scent that fades fairly quickly. It’s soaked with clear essence - I find there is ALWAYS leftover essence in the packet with MBD masks, and this was no exception. I like to use this extra essence to pat into the mask about 10 minutes into wearing it, I feel like it replenishes and freshens the mask a little bit. I know a lot of people like to rub the extra essence into their neck/decolletage, but I’m almost always dressed by the time I put a facemask on and I don’t want to get essence all over my shirt.
My Beauty Diary Rose Moisturising Mask Fabric Review
The mask itself almost seems too wide when you unfold it out of the packet, but it fits my face pretty well, except for being a bit short on the jawline. I do find the eyeholes a tiny bit small, and the whole mask does slip a tiny bit when you first put it on because it’s just so saturated with essence, so I recommend placing it a bit higher than normal at first so it can slide down to a comfortable spot.
I find that this mask does exactly what it says it will, and does it well. I wore this mask for about 40 minutes (which was when it just began to dry up) and my skin was beautifully moisturised and soothed. It minimised my pores by hydrating my skin so much. The remaining essence was the tiniest bit sticky, but I had no issues patting it in and continuing with the rest of my routine. I’m super impressed with this mask and I recommend it to anyone looking for a solid, hydrating mask.

This gets a 5/5 from me!

A xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy My Beauty Diary online

where to buy My Beauty Diary in-store
Watson's (Asia) | SaSa (Asia) | 7/11 (Taiwan) | Tomod's (Taiwan) | KS Cosmetic (New Zealand)


purchased / contains affiliate links*

18.12.17

OH, SHEET: Dr. Morita 森田藥粧 Hyaluronic Acid & Sake Yeast Essence Moisturizing Facial Mask Review

Hey, babes!

Today, I have my first face mask from Dr. Morita to review. Dr. Morita is another very well known Taiwanese skincare brand with extremely popular products throughout Asia. I picked up a box of the Hyaluronic Acid & Sake Yeast Essence Moisturizing Facial Mask at Watson’s for TWD 299. It comes in boxes of 8. I haven’t seen very many boxes of 10, even My Beauty Diary boxes only contain 8 masks. I wonder if this is a new trend?

I’ve never tried Dr. Morita before and I hadn’t read many reviews, so I tried this without really knowing what to expect (other than hopefully glowing skin afterwards!)
Checking out the ingredients list, there’s a lot of good stuff packed into this mask:

Water/Aqua, Dipropylene Glycol, Sodium PCA, PPG-28-Buleth-35, Niacinamide, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polyglycerin-3, Diglycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Glycosyl Trehalose, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum Panthenol, Sodium Carbomer, Acrylates/Vinyl Isodecanoate Crosspolymer, Squalane, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butylene Glycol, Fragrance, Sodium Hyaluronate, Oryza Sativa(Rice)Lees Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Algae Extract, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.

I actually completely missed that there was squalane in this, so I’m happy to have tried my first squalane product (albeit unwittingly). It actually took me a little while to figure out that the ingredient described as Sativa (Rice) Lees Extract was the Sake Extract. I had to do a bit of research on what “lees” are, and apparently, it is the residual deposits of yeasts left behind after the fermentation of wine. Sake lees are specifically known as “sakekasu/sake-kasu” in Japan, and there’s a lot of info out there on the benefits of sakekasu consumption as well as its use on skin (SK-II Pitera, anyone?). It’s apparently possible to source your own sakekasu (it comes in solid bricks) and make your own masks out of it, but I much prefer the convenience of the Dr. Morita sheetmasks!

I’m glad to see one of my skincare favourites, niacinamide right at the top (if you’ve followed me for a while then you KNOW I’m obsessed with this stuff!). Here is a good rundown of why I think niacinamide is such a star ingredient. This is a very fuss-free, straightforward ingredients list IMO, and I’m excited to see what it can do for my face. My only issue is that methylparaben seems to be pretty high on the list - I prefer my preservatives to be a bit lower on the list, probably about where citric acid is. However, I’m not a cosmetic chemist and I don’t know much about ingredients lists other than that they are listed from greatest percentage to lowest percentage.

The mask had a pleasant, mild smell - not fermented or alcoholic at all. The fit wasn’t the best, but it adhered well to my face for the 30 minutes that I wore it for. The essence was clear, and there was a bit of excess in the packet - just enough to pat on top of the mask to make the most of the essence. I actually don't know how to tell what kind of material this mask is - I think it's just a thin, fibre mask? I had no issues with the mask being too thick, but I had some issues with it around my nose bridge (as usual though).
So the results of the mask? I freaking loved it. My skin was soothed and moisturised, and best of all, the mask had reduced the appearance of the pores beside my nose. Where did they go, and can they stay there?! The pore-minimizing effect lasted about an hour or so after removing the mask, but I’m still so pleased it can actually do something about them. I also found that the essence was not sticky to pat in after using the mask.
Overall, I really really enjoyed this mask and can’t wait to try more from Dr. Morita! This mask gets a 5/5 from me.

I hope this review is helpful to you! Have you heard of Dr. Morita before?

A xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy Dr. Morita online

where to buy Dr. Morita in-store
Watson's (Asia) | SaSa (Asia)

purchased / contains affiliate links*

12.12.17

MANGO MADNESS: L'Herboflore Mango Reviving Hydromask Review

Hey, babes!

Today, I have my first L’Herboflore mask review for you. I got super excited when I saw the standalone L’Herboflore in the mall inside Taipei Main Station! It was such an amazing little store full of SO MANY L’Herboflore goodies. The SAs there were super helpful and we got by with my broken Chinese. There was literally so much to choose from, it was super easy to get overwhelmed. I stuck to just 5 masks this time, frankly though I regret it - there isn’t a L’Herboflore store in the city I’m in!

There were so many varieties of masks with different fabrics and ingredients, and according to their website, each one has artwork commissioned from Taiwan’s best illustrators - how cool is that? Also according to their website, the Mango Reviving Mask is their top 3 best selling mask! We’ll see if it lives up to the hype.

I asked the SA what she would recommend for pimples, and she pointed out this one. I was kind of surprised that a mango mask would be for acne, but I gave it a shot. There was a strong fake mango smell when I opened the sachet, but that faded fairly quickly when I put the mask on. As you can see from the photo, the mask didn’t have the best fit, but I appreciated the larger eye and mouth holes. Too often have I put on a sheet mask that had tiny, tiny eyeholes and a tiny mouth hole. I think the Lovemore masks literally have a slit for the mouth, which I really don’t like.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients list:

Aqua (Water), Butylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid, Mannitol, Sodium Citrate, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-15, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Isopropyl Alcohol, Cellulose, Panthenol, Trehalose, Xanthan Gum, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Triethanolamine, Parfum (Fragrance), Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Sulfite, Methylisothiazolinone, lodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Sodium Acetate
There are some really great ingredients for skin such as Aloe, Hyaluronic Acid, and Panthenol. It’s nice to see the key ingredient, Mango Extract, fairly high up the ingredients list. I had to do a bit of poking around to find an academic source, but according to this PubMed article, mango extract is a powerful antioxidant - I’m looking forward to taking advantage of this for my skin!

I wore the mask for about 30 minutes. When I took it off, my skin was definitely soft and hydrated, but not extraordinarily so. The remaining essence was a little bit sticky to pat in, too. All in all, I found this just an average mask. It was nice to use, but nothing extraordinary. I have higher hopes for the other masks I bought, to be honest!

This mask gets a 3/5 from me.

A xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.


where to buy L'Herboflore online



where to buy L'Herboflore in-store

purchased / contain affiliate links*

10.12.17

IN SYNC: Shiseido Synchro Skin Foundation Review

Hey, babes!

I have one of my current favourite foundations to show you today, the Shiseido Synchro Skin foundation. I didn’t really know about this foundation until fairly recently, and I’m so surprised I didn’t know about it before! Synchro Skin is a medium coverage foundation that sets to matte finish, ideal for normal to oily skin types. It also contains natural extracts such as Thyme and St John’s Wort to improve skin condition. For those on the drier side, there is also Synchro Skin Glow.

It comes in a slender, frosted glass bottle which I love - so luxe! It also comes with a pump. Something special I like about the pump is that it’s designed in such a way to avoid the little crusty bits of foundation that might dry and accumulate at the pump tip, which truly makes use of every drop of foundation IMO.
I was matched to Golden 3, which matches me very well in the winter. I think I need to get Golden 4 soon though, as I’m noticing this looks a bit light on me now. One thing that I do think is a drawback of this foundation is the fairly limited number of shades (just thirteen), especially when compared to other counter brands such as MAC and Estee Lauder. The shade range accounts for golden (warm), neutral, and rose (cool) undertones which I think is great, but the overall shade range could be greatly improved.

Synchro Skin blends out easily (I use a sponge), and sets on its own to a truly matte finish. You can decide whether or not to set further with powder - I personally do, as my skin needs all the oil control help it can get. While it is a true medium coverage foundation, I found I didn’t really need extra concealer for blemishes, only for particularly dark acne scars. The texture is pretty runny, but not so runny it will just run off the back of your hand if you use it as a mixing palette like I do ;). I found two pumps was sufficient to cover my face and blend down my neck a bit.

Here's a photo of me wearing it so you can get an idea of the shade and coverage:
I also normally match MAC NC25. A full list of my foundation matches can be found here.

One of the things I love about this foundation is that it does not oxidize! I struggled with finding a non-oxidising foundation on my skin, and I’m so glad this doesn’t. However, it does contain titanium dioxide which WILL cause flashback so this won’t be the best for events with flash photography. When paired with a good primer, setting powder, and setting spray, this foundation lasts me through an 8 hour work day without fading. Oil does come through around the 4-hour mark, which is normal for my skin. I just blot it off and it looks as good as new. While it is long-wearing, it’s not transfer-proof.

Taking a look at the ingredients list, the 'bad' ingredient that jumps out the most is the high amount of alcohol. As someone with oily and relatively resilient skin, I dealt with it fine. If you're sensitive to alcohol or prone to dryness, steer clear.

Dimethicone, Water, Trifluoropropyldimethyl/Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Alcohol Denat., Magnesium Myristate, Nylon-12, Diphenyl Dimethicone/Vinyl Diphenyl Dimethicone/Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polyquaternium-51,Thymus Serpillum Extract, Aluminum Hydroxide, Aluminum Distearate, Polysilicone-2,Glycerin, Bht, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Hypericum Erectum Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Talc, Dimethicone/Peg-10/15 Crosspolymer, Silica, Alumina, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Diisostearyl Malate, Glyceryl Diisostearate, Dipropylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Mica, Red 27.

I also think this foundation is relatively wallet-friendly in NZ, considering it’s quite a high-end brand - just $69. For comparison, NARS Sheer Glow is $74, Too Faced Born This Way is $62, and Estee Lauder Doublewear is also $69. I’m on the very last dregs of my bottle, and I bought this at the start of June and have basically used it every day since. I’m pretty happy with that tbh!

Overall, Syncro Skin gets a 4.5/5 out of me. I knocked that .5 off for not having the greatest colour range. I just don’t think there is a reason in 2017 not to have a wide range of shades when MAC, Fenty Beauty, MUFE, and Estee Lauder (among other brands) can all easily do so.

What's your favourite foundation? Have you heard of this one?

A xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.

5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy Shiseido online


where to buy Shiseido in-store
Smith & Caughey's (NZ) | Farmer's (NZ) | Sephora (US)


1.12.17

GLOSS OVER IT: Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint & Stretch Concealer Review

Hey, babes!

There isn’t a brand that photographs better for the ‘Gram than Glossier. Minimalist packaging, cool girl vibes, barely-there makeup that took all of a few minutes to do in the morning.

But is the hype real? For someone that lives outside of the US, the sheer fact that a brand doesn’t ship to your country makes it 100x more appealing (and 100x more satisfying when you actually get your hands on it). However, I don’t really get why Glossier doesn’t ship outside of the US & UK in 2017. I do think it’s to create even more desire for Glossier by maintaining a type of exclusivity.
As you saw in my previous review of mymallbox, I grabbed 3 items from the highly coveted brand - the Skin Tint, the Stretch Concealer, and the (then) newly released Cloud Blushes.
Today, I’ll be focusing on the Perfecting Skin Tint & Stretch Concealer. The Perfecting Skin Tint comes in five shades, and my super exteeeensive internet research told me that Medium would work for my skin tone. I also wear MAC Studio Fix in NC25, and Shiseido Synchro Skin in Golden 3 for reference. 

First of all, I do love the packaging - it’s not glass, so nothing that can shatter in a suitcase or on bathroom tiles. I love the ‘G’ on the front and the simplicity of it all. I like that it’s not a typical, cylindrical squeezy tube, and reminiscent of MAC’s Face & Body packaging instead. 
For reference, I have oily, acne-prone skin with a few acne scars and redness. I do prefer foundations with coverage on the medium to full side with a matte finish, for obvious reasons. I have no idea why I bought the Glossier Skin Tint because it literally meets NONE of these requirements - I fell for the hype. It’s very sheer, it literally blends down to nothing on the skin. It also has a very shiny finish (not even gonna sugarcoat it and say it’s dewy) it’s just shiny. I tried to matte this down with a light dusting of Rimmel Stay Matte, which usually doesn’t alter the actual colour of the foundation underneath. Unfortunately, it ended up completely altering the foundation and making me look like I had something way too light and pink… Gross. 

Honestly, I’m so disappointed that I got this when I’m clearly not the right skin type for it. Obviously, that’s no one’s fault but mine, but I can only rate this for how well it performs for me. It’s definitely for someone with dry skin and fewer acne scars than me. I give this a 0/5.
I had a slightly better time with the Stretch Concealer - I also ordered this in medium and found it worked really well to brighten and conceal my under eyes. However, this also didn’t take very well to being set with powder. It creased like no tomorrow, and unfortunately, on my oily skin, I HAVE to set products or else they just melt away. I also found it was unflattering to conceal blemishes on the rest of my face with, it somehow seemed to enhance my pores. This concealer gets a 1/5 from me.

Have you tried any Glossier makeup or skincare?

A x

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

buy Glossier here

purchased 

26.11.17

TIME FOR TEA: Naruko Tea Tree Shine Control & Blemish Serum Review

Hey, babes!

Today I have another Naruko product from the Tea Tree line to show you - the Serum. I actually bought this on one of our first days in Taiwan, and I’ve been using it since. I was first drawn just to the fact that it’s a tea tree product, but I later found out that it also contained niacinamide which is a huge plus!

I picked this up for NTD 499 at Watsons at the same time as I grabbed the masks. Unfortunately, I threw away the packaging so we will have to rely on COSDNA for the ingredients list. Some of the key ingredients for oil control and acne reduction are tea tree, niacinamide, and salicylic acid. I know that last one isn’t on the COSDNA list, but I definitely remember seeing it on the packaging.
The serum comes in a weighty green glass bottle with a pump, which I like. I find that glass makes products seem just that much more luxe, even if they are actually quite affordable. I tend to use 2 pumps on my face in the morning, which I very gently pat on. Despite the serum having a thicker formula, it spreads and sinks in easily. It also has a very nice cooling effect, which I enjoy. The scent is a mix of tea tree and mint - it’s fairly mild, but can linger a little bit. Despite alcohol being fairly high up on the ingredients list, I don’t smell it at all.
Since I’ve started using this, I haven’t had any issues with breakouts (which usually happens when I travel!) and my skin definitely has more brightness and clarity to it. I was also hoping the salicylic acid would help reduce the size of my pores, but sadly that didn’t happen. Oh well! I’ll just have to try the Naruko Job’s Tears Pore Shrinking line ;). My skin is also less oily when I use this, which is great considering it’s routinely 50%+ humidity where I am! The bottle says for all skin types, but I would personally be wary of using this due to the alcohol if I had a dry skin type - so keep that in mind!

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this serum and will continue to use it! 5/5 from me.

What are your favourite serums to use?

A xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy Naruko
Amazon* | eBay*

purchased  / contains affiliate links*

17.11.17

OH, SHEET: Naruko Tea Tree Shine Control & Blemish Clear Mask Review

Hey, babes!

One of the brands that I was most excited to try in Taiwan is Naruko - a cult Taiwanese beauty brand. Founded by Niuer, known in Taiwan as the Beauty King, Naruko was founded in 2008 and immediately became an award-winning beauty brand. From the diverse line-up of Naruko products, today I have the Tea Tree Shine Control & Blemish Clear mask.

My skin is oily and acne-prone, so this is the perfect mask for me. I’ve been wanting to try this for SO long and am so excited to finally have the chance to. I bought this box of 8 masks at Watson’s (local pharmacy chain) for NTD 299, which at today’s rate roughly equals NZD 14.47.

The mask itself isn’t completely drenched in essence, but it isn’t dry either, which makes for a drip-free, not super messy mask experience. The material is thick but pliable, and molded to my face easily. I actually really like the fit of the mask - it holds itself up really well without sliding down my face too. It’s lightly scented, but with not quite an authentic tea tree scent. However, it’s not unpleasant or overpowering. The mask also provides a super pleasant cooling sensation, which is a welcome relief from the tropical heat.
Something that I was surprised to find out was that Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) actually is NOT on the ingredients list! It has a whole heap of other fantastic ingredients such as Witch Hazel Extract, Tranexamic Acid (which is a very exciting new skincare ingredient!), Salicylic Acid, and Sodium Hyalorunate, but Tea Tree is nowhere to be found.

Water, Butylene Glycol, Ethyl Alcohol, Hamamelis Virginiana Extract, Tranexamic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Chlorphesin, 2-Phenoxyethanol, Salicylic Acid, PEG-40 Hydronenated Castor Oil, Serenoa Serrulate Fruit Extract, Lens Esculenta Seed Extract, Enantia Chlorantha Bark Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Piroctone Olamine, Kalanchoe Spathulata Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract, Scutellaria Alpina Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Peucedanum Ostruthium Leaf Extract, Gingko Biloba Extract, Artemisia Umbelliformis Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum Extract, Epilobium Fleischeri Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Fragrance.

I do think it’s odd to market this as a Tea Tree mask if Tea Tree isn’t in the formula - perhaps it’s a small amount under fragrance?

Despite not listing Tea Tree, the effects of this mask are just fantastic. My skin felt hydrated without being tacky, and it reduced the redness on my unwanted lil pimple friends, as well as on my face as a whole. My skin also felt wayyy less oilier, but this isn’t a cure-all for oiliness. I’ve personally accepted that I’m always going to be oily, and I do find that going into reviews with that kind of mindset is more realistic, and leaves me less disappointed in products.

I give this a 5/5 - so far, Naruko has totally been worth the hype.

Have you tried Naruko before?

A x

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy Naruko
Amazon* (box) |  eBay* (individual)

purchased  / contains affiliate links*

14.11.17

NATURAL BEAUTY: Sahasra Beauty Review

Hey babes,

A little while ago I was generously sent 3 products from up and coming brand Sahasra Beauty for my honest review. I received the Glycolic Acid Toner, Multani Mitti Clay Mask, and Natural Jelly. Sahasra Beauty is based out of the United States with a focus on holistic and natural beauty.

I do love the minimalist labelling of the products and the lack of extra packaging, which reduces waste (always a thumbs up in my opinion!). The only thing that I would suggest is instructions for each of the products, suggesting different ways to use it. Some of this information is available on the Sahasra Beauty website, but to be honest I am not going to go online every time I want to figure out how to use a product.

Glycolic Acid Toner
I was excited to try the Glycolic Toner as who doesn’t love Glycolic Acid for giving them clear, glowy and radiant skin? Sahasra Beauty’s toner in particular is made with Sweet Orange Hydrosol, which lends the toner with a very sweet orangey scent. Some people would prefer this to the natural smell of glycolic acid, but I personally found it a little overpowering. I could still smell it on my face after I had progressed to the next steps in my skincare routine, which I got sick of pretty quickly. As I’m on tretinoin, I only used this twice a week to avoid over-exfoliating my skin. I applied this by pouring a small amount into my hands and patting gently all over my face. Using a cotton pad with acids irritates my skin very quickly, so with this method I’m able to benefit from using an acid without over stimulating my skin. I found that my skin was always super smooth the morning after using this, and overall I really enjoyed using it except for the lingering orange smell. 4/5 from me!

Multani Mitti Clay Mask
This is the first kind of mask that I have tried where it comes as a powder, and you choose what liquid to mix it with. Going back to my point before, I wish it came with suggestions on the back of what to mix it with rather than having to google it. I ended up mixing it with a rosewater toner. It was pretty fun to mix up and apply, and oil-spotted as it dried (I love when masks do this, it makes it feel like it’s actually doing something lol). My skin was definitely less oily and very smooth after using this. I didn’t feel any stinging or discomfort while using this, but for about two days after I experienced stinging around my chin mouth area. I can pretty accurately attribute it to this mask, as it was the only new thing I had tried prior to the stinging/irritation. I would not recommend this for those with sensitive skin due to this. 3/5 from me.

Natural Jelly
I really enjoyed using the Natural Jelly as a lip treatment/lip balm! I love that it’s such a generous tub - definitely enough to multipurpose as a cuticle treatment, dry skin treatment, etc. I preferred it as a lip treatment for the tingly, peppermint effect. The only issue I had with it was sometimes it would crystallise a little bit, and I would be left with tiny rough bits to rub into my lips. The tiny bits would melt down fairly quickly, but I would just really like something that is smooth from the get-go. This gets a 4/5 from me!

Overall, I would give these a 3.5/5 due the individual issues I had with these and the lack of instructional packaging.

What new brands have you tried lately?

A xx

17.9.17

ALL NATURAL, BABE: HZP+Co All Day Hydra-Defense Serum Review

Hey, babes!

Today, I’ve got a gorgeous product from up & coming New Zealand brand, HZP+Co. I was generously sent the All Day Hydra-Defense Serum, along with the Calm Me Down Splashwater and Lanolin Hand+Nail Cream (those two will get their review a bit later!).

The All Day Hydra Defense Serum contains patented hydrating ingredients, along with pure NZ spring water and natural extracts. The full ingredients list is actually really short, which I appreciate - read it here:

New Zealand Spring Water, Aquaxyl™, Lecigel™, CityStem™, Horopito Leaf Extract, Kiwifruit Extract, Mamaku Leaf Extract, Kowhai Extract, Natural Parfum (Grasse, France).

I had a wee google of the three patented ingredients, and they’re all basically supercharged hydrators that work to strengthen the skin barrier to keep skin gorgeous and glowy - yes, please!

One of the things that I absolutely adore about this serum is the packaging! The smooth, matte black glass bottle comes inside a fitted sleeve, just adding to the luxury of the experience. The serum comes with a super slick pump (which I love, much less fiddly than droppers!) I did find sometimes the pump would squirt out the serum with a high velocity and kind of splash it everywhere, which I hated because I felt like I was wasting gold!
The serum itself wasn’t runny at all, it had a gel texture which absorbed very easily when patted into the skin. The plant smell wasn’t too strong, but definitely there. It was really familiar as if I had smelled it in another product before?

I find my skin is generally drier at night, so I actually tried to use this in my evening routine. Sadly, I found that it stung my skin after using Tretinoin (not sure why though!) so I stuck to using it in the morning. If I was short on time, I found that mixing in a pump with my morning moisturiser still gave my skin that hydrated glow.

I know I said like three paragraphs before this that I love the luxe, black packaging, but it also comes with a downside: not being able to see how much serum you have left! This is kind of a pet peeve for me, as it’s also hard to tell by the weight due to the glass bottle. I’m the kind of person that has to be able to know how much I’ve got left so I don’t go a day without an essential step in my routine. (Now that I’ve written that out, I feel like I sound crazy but I NEED to know!)

Another thing worth bringing up is the price - $65 is fairly pricey compared to some other hydrating serums on the market. For me, price doesn’t always equal better when it comes to skincare - the mark of a great product for me is actually being able to meet claims and be wallet friendly. This does meet claims, but is it the most wallet-friendly? Not exactly. However, if you have the budget for this you won’t be disappointed. I rate this 4/5.

Have you tried any natural skincare lately?

Lexie xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy HZP+Co.
pr sample

4.9.17

BIG PAPA-YA: Benton Papaya-D Sun Cream Review

Hey, babes!

Benton kindly sent me one of their new sunscreens to review, the Papaya Daily Suncream. I was pretty excited for this new release as I’m a big fan of their Snail Bee High Content Essence and also the sheet mask in the same line.

It’s SPF 38, which sounds low and a bit random, but bear in mind that SPF 30 blocks 97% of the sun’s UV rays, so this is certainly enough protection. It’s also a combination suncream, meaning it contains both physical and chemical sunscreens. However, this does mean a white cast can be present due to the titanium.

I definitely agree with how this product is named a suncream - it’s definitely creamy! I actually found it really similar to a Western sunscreen. It wasn’t as lightweight as I expected at all, and actually felt heavy in comparison to my usual sunscreen (Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence). It definitely had a bit of a white cast that needed some extra rubbing in to make disappear.

I found it wore well under makeup, but was just too dewy and heavy for my already oily skin. It didn’t break down my makeup, but it wasn’t keeping me as matte as I would have liked.

Sadly, this was a bit of a letdown for me. I think it’s better suited to people with normal to dry skin. This gets a 2.5/5 from me!

Lexie xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy Benton
pr sample

14.8.17

June & July 2017 Empties

Hey, babes!

I’m not the kind of person to amass heaps of empties in a month, so I’ve combined 2 months worth of empties here (and it’s, still like 6 products hahaha).
Banila Co Miss Flower & Mr Honey Essence Oil
I remember there was a LOT of hype around this line when it first launched in 2015. There’s actually a full line including toner, essence stick, cream, AND hydrogel mask. I decided to grab the essence oil because I felt like it would fit into my routine best, and also because I really liked what I saw on the ingredients list! I managed to grab it at 30% off from one of RoseRoseShop’s eBay stores.

collagen extract, glycerin, water, methylgluceth-20, polyglycerin-3, niacinamide, ethanol, honey extract, aureobasidium pullulans ferment, theobroma cacao (cocoa) extract, royal jelly extract, propolis extract, chrysanthellum indicum extract, plukenetia volubilis seed oil, argania spinosa kernel oil, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, anthemis nobilis flower extract, oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed extract, calendula officinalis flower extract, pentylene glycol, PEG-8, butylene glycol, glyceryl polyacrylate, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, adenosine, tromethamine, caprylic/capric triglyceride, octyldodecanol, hydrogenated coco-glyceride, sodium starch octenyl succinate, maltodextrin, calcium pantothenate, hydrogenated lecithin, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, tocopheryl acetate, pyridoxine HCI, silica, xanthan gum, carbomer, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, fragrance

I had best results with this when mixed with my evening moisturiser - my skin was plump, hydrated, and bright. It also smelled amazing! The only reason I haven’t repurchased yet is because I’m waiting for another online sale - the line is definitely more on the expensive side and not something I would be able to splash out on regularly. 4.5/5 from me!

I’m From Ginseng Serum
I also finally finished the I’m From Ginseng Serum. You can read my full review here, but basically, I only finished this because it worked pretty well as a pre-mask treatment for super glowy skin. However, that’s not enough for me personally to warrant re-purchasing.

Hada Labo Arbutin Lotion & Hada Labo Arbutin Milk
I also finished my holy grail toner & moisturiser combo, the Hada Labo Arbutin Lotion and matching Milk. I’ve already repurchased the Milk (obviously!) but instead of going for the lighter version of the toner, I purchased the rich/heavier one as I’ve been dealing with so much more flakiness this winter. So far, I do love it and will probably stick with it - it’s definitely more nourishing and hydrating than the light version, I don’t know why I didn’t use it before!
Rimmel Stay Matte Powder
If you’ve followed me for a while, then you would know that this is basically my holy grail drugstore setting powder. I go through so many of these a year and I keep coming back to it because it’s basically amazing. However, I hate that it does eventually just break out of the pan when you’ve reached a certain point of use, and basically becomes unusable. I HAVE repurchased this, but I’ve also bought the Kat Von D Lock It Setting Powder to see if it can knock the Rimmel out of its holy grail status!

Clio Kill Black Waterproof Brush Liner
This is my absolute holy grail liquid eyeliner! It’s so long-wearing, waterproof, a true black, and the end stays sharp and doesn’t gunk up with eyeshadow after like a month. I cannot recommend this enough to anyone still looking for their perfect liquid eyeliner. 5/5!

Giorgio Armani Si EDT
I’ve actually had this sitting around as an empty for a while, but couldn’t bring myself to chuck it out until now. This is such a gorgeous scent - I’ll have to pick up another bottle when I go through Duty-Free next! I’m obsessed with it.

What have you finished recently?

Lexie xx

5.8.17

SCRUB IT GOOD: Seed & Soul Step-Up Scrub Review

Hey, babes!

Today, I'll be writing about the Seed & Soul Step-Up Scrub, which was kindly sent to me for review purposes. Seed & Soul are a New Zealand brand with a focus on sustainability and plant-based well-being.
This particular scrub is honestly amazing for skin and the environment - it doesn't contain any harmful microbeads, comes in a glass jar with no excess packaging, and really, really works. Instead of microbeads, it contains small pieces of loofah to gently exfoliate your skin. It also contains a whole slew of incredibly moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and jojoba seed oil to make sure that your skin isn't left dry after exfoliating.
I also LOVE how this smells! It's citrusy and fresh with a kind of sweet vanilla note at the end, so I always look forward to nights when I use this instead of chemically exfoliating. Since I started using Tretinoin, I'm pretty cautious about over exfoliating but I don't feel like I have to worry about that too much with this because of how gentle the loofah particles are and how nourishing this is. After rinsing it off, I can literally feel the additional moisture on my skin from the shea butter and jojoba oil. My skin is also suuuper soft the morning after.
The only drawback of this product IMO is the packaging - I know, I know, I just said before that the jar was a GOOD idea! However, I dislike jar packaging because it is so easy to contaminate the product, especially a product that you are touching with wet hands and keeping in a place that is frequently wet and warm. That said, the scrub does have a 6-month shelf life, and this is definitely easily usable in 6 months. I guess there is always going to be a trade off for products that cost less to the Earth.

Overall, I do really enjoy using this product and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for effective, environmentally-friendly skincare! It gets a 4/5 from me.

What's your favorite green skincare brand?

Lexie xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy Seed & Soul
pr sample

17.7.17

GEOMETRY: Styling with Michael Hill Jewellery

Hey, babes!

I was recently contacted by Michael Hill to see if I would like to try some of their latest collection. I agreed, just since their pieces are just so gorgeous!

I chose a stunning matching bangle and earring geometric triangle set in silver and cubic zirconia - how gorgeous do they look in these photos? These two are part of their newest releases.
The only thing I did find was that the bangle was really big for my wrist - I would have preferred something a bit smaller. The bangle would sit right on my elbow if I would let it! Here's a bonus photo of me wearing the pieces with a slightly cooler-toned makeup look, to go well with the silver:
I do generally suit both gold and silver, so I'll definitely be rocking these depending on what look I'm going for!

Are you more of a gold or silver person? Do you have a favourite? Let me know in the comments!

Lexie xx

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1.7.17

G'MORNING: SkinFactory Premium Morning Recipe 3-Step Review

Hi, friends!

SkinFactory kindly sent me a curious little product to review called the Morning Recipe 3-Step Mask. It’s an entire morning skin routine in one packet (except for sunscreen), with really cute, descriptive names for each step. 
Step 1 is the Morning Cloud Foam Cleanser, which once squeezed out of the packet, literally looks like a cloud. It foams easily and left my face clean without being stripping. It smelt really strongly of passionfruit which could be a bit off-putting for some.

Step 2 is the Dual Morning Pad, which is a double sided pad loaded with a hydrating essence. One side of the pad has lots of tiny smooth knobs to gently exfoliate at first, and then you switch it to the other side to help pat in the essence. The knobs were so gentle on my face and left it super smooth. The essence wasn’t strongly scented at all and absorbed into my skin very easily. 
Step 3, the final step, was my favourite of all three. The moisturiser has a light, sherbet texture which absorbed into my skin beautifully and left my skin SUPER glowy without being greasy. It also smelled of passionfruit, but this scent disappeared quickly.

Overall, it left my skin soft and hydrated. I was also a bit sick at the time I tried this and it didn’t burn or irritate the raw skin around my nose like other products tend to do. 

I really liked the overall result on my skin, but I’m not really sure I get the concept of having a whole routine in one packet. Sure, it’s great for travel, but what if I only really like one thing in the system? I would TOTALLY buy jars and jars of the moisturiser if it came on its own, but sadly it doesn’t. 

This gets a 2.8/5 from me. 

Have you tried any multi-step products like this?

Lexie xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy SkinFactory
YesStyle* (international)

pr sample / contains affiliate links*

4.6.17

GIN-SENG & TONIC: I'm From Ginseng Serum Review

Hey, babes!

I was recently contacted by Wishtrend to review the newly released I’m From Ginseng Serum. I was pretty excited to try this as I haven’t tried that many ginseng products before! Ginseng is a potent antioxidant and is amazing for the skin.

This ginseng serum has an incredibly strong ginseng smell due to the serum containing nearly 8% pure ginseng extract. I found this incredibly overwhelming at first but eventually got used to it. The serum itself is opaque and honey coloured, with a with a gel-like consistency. However, it spreads and absorbs very easily.

Taking a look at the ingredients, ginseng features twice in the form of Red Ginseng Extract and Panax Ginseng Seed Oil. There's a wealth of other great plant ingredients, such as Green Tea Extract, Licorice Root Extract, and Peony Extract, to name a few.

Water, Red Ginseng Extract, Butylene Glycol, Betaine, 1,2-Hexanediol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Panax Ginseng Seed Oil, Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Angelica Gigas Root Extract, Rheum Palmatum Root Extract, Angelica Pubescens Root Extract, Schizonepeta Tenuifolia Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Ethoxydiglycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Hyaluronic Acid, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance
From the get go, I noticed that it immediately made my skin softer. And not just after using - I would notice my skin was soft after cleansing and consistently soft throughout the day. Unfortunately, with consistent use, I did not notice any other benefits such as brightening or soothing. Despite increasing skin softness, my skin hydration didn’t seem to increase either. I have persistent dry spots due to tretinoin, and the serum didn’t reduce them at all. So… Softening was the only benefit I got.

My breakthrough with this serum came when I thought to use it before using a Papa Recipe Bombee Mask! While that particular mask DOES generally leave my skin looking amazing, combining it with the ginseng serum gave me results I’ve never had before. It was SO incredibly hydrated, soothed, and brightened.

However, I’m still generally unsure of the overall benefits of this serum, especially at my age. A lot of the info around ginseng is how good it is for older, wrinkled skin - not an issue . Also, considering it took to combining it with another product for best effects, I’m not sure I would pay US $28.80 for it.

I would give this a 2.7/5. This serum just wasn't enough on it's own for me, and I would expect more results considering the price point.

Have you tried any ginseng products before?

Lexie xx

where to buy online
Wishtrend* (International) | Amazon* (US only)

pr sample/ contains affiliate links*

7.5.17

CLAY IT UP: L'Oreal Pure Clay Charcoal Mask Review

Hey, babes!

Today’s review is on a drugstore clay mask which I’ve really been enjoying using lately! L’Oreal recently launched three new clay masks, and I’ve got the charcoal one here to review. I got mine for NZ $25 at Farmers, and they should be available everywhere L’Oreal is sold. There was a lot of hype around the release of these masks in NZ, especially the charcoal one as it drew so many comparisons to the super luxe Glam Glow Supermud mask. Unfortunately, I don’t have that to compare it to, but I’m sure I’ll still be impressed by the L’Oreal mask.

 The first thing I notice on opening is that it’s scented - I don’t know how to describe it, but it reminds me of how spas smell. It’s that sort of floral, clean scent. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a spatula but at least it comes with an inner lid to prevent the product from drying out.
It’s very smooth and easy to apply, but it definitely has a bit of a tingle on the skin. I do use prescription tretinoin which makes my skin more sensitive, so that could be why. I wouldn’t describe it as painful, but there’s a definite tingle on application. What I really love about this mask is that it changes colours as it dries and very strongly oil spots, which is soooooo satisfying to see! It spots strongly around my nose/t-zone and also draws out fluid from recent pimples, helping to dry them out. It does dry into a very stiff mask which easily rinses off with water.

My skin always feels amazing and smooth after, but it also feels very dry - moisture is definitely needed ASAP after using this! Despite that, I really enjoy using this mask once a week to help dry up any excess oil in my pores and lingering pimples - I rate this a 4/5!

Have you tried this? What’s your favourite clay mask?

Lexie xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy L'Oreal online
Amazon* (US)

where to buy L'Oreal in-store
Farmers | KMart | Unichem Pharmacy

purchased / contains affiliate links*

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