2018 | Alexis Adrienne



If there’s one thing I’ve learned about travelling, it’s that a tiny carry-on sized cosmetic bag will go a LONG way to making you feel fresh and new after a flight, or even as an in-flight pick me up. They're my travel skincare essentials. I’ve put together a short list of my picks that I absolutely refuse to travel without, and I hope this is helpful to you too.

The In-Flight Routine

First, there’s no point trying to put moisturiser on over dirty skin. Just thinking about it squicks me out. The best way to clean your face in an airplane bathroom is with a cotton pad and some micellar water. That’s right, put away the baby wipes!

But, the 100ml limit…

My favourite travel bottles to use for bringing all of this on board are some airless pump ones that I scored at Daiso.

They come in 15ml and 30ml sizes, and I’ve never had an issue with something being too thick to come through the pump, plus anything under 30ml won’t be a problem going through airport security.

However, it’s absolutely worth sanitizing them after every use, even if you plan to refill it with the same product - my travel pump of moisturiser recently spoiled because I didn’t clean it between refills!

I usually clean them by filling them with rubbing alcohol, letting it sit for a day or so then pumping all of the alcohol out so it cleans all of the mechanisms of the pump and container, then it’s ready for my next trip!

Freshen Yo’ Face

The best travel-hack I’ve heard for micellar water is popping a few cotton pads in a ziplock bag and adding enough micellar water to saturate them - this is best done with a CLEAN ziplock bag, obvi.

Or depending on the airline you’re taking, your flight attendants might hand out some lush steamed towels just before takeoff. I’ve never asked for another one mid-flight, but if you ask nicely you might get lucky!

Sheet Mask!

A bonus step that I might do on a particularly long-haul flight is whip out a sheet mask to really add a moisture punch to my skin. I recommend doing this after the lights have gone out and when most people will be sleeping to reduce the funny looks that you might get (but if you’re ballsy then by all means, go ahead!)

Then Moisturize…

Because airplanes are such dry environments, it’s important that you add moisture to your skin and make sure to keep it there. I usually take both a hyaluronic acid lotion plus a thicker moisturiser to help lock all that moisture in my skin. If I don’t take these steps, my skin becomes both drier and oilier, and both combined is an absolutely disgusting feeling.

I’ve found that while I’m definitely genetically oily, keeping my skin at an optimum level of hydration dramatically helps with excess oiliness. I don’t bring any actives on the plane because my priority is keeping it clean and hydrated - skipping your regular treatments for one night won’t hurt, IMO.

Nourish Your Lips

I always find my lips become extremely dry, peeling messes on airplanes, so I never travel without a tube of Papaw Ointment. I know it’s basically glorified fruity Vaseline, but I much prefer the texture and smell of Papaw. I also really appreciate the fact that it comes in tubes, I really hate sticking my fingers in tubs! It’s also great for adding a light layer on top of your moisturiser to stop your skin from drying out, and I know some people like to put it in their noses to stop dry noses and nosebleeds from happening.

The Extras

These remaining ones aren’t necessarily skincare, but they will make your travels slightly more comfortable: toothbrush + toothpaste, wet wipes (absolutely not for your face!), and hand sanitizer. Just brushing your teeth goes such a long way to make you feel fresher, and honestly I would hate to be stuck with smelly breath after eating plane food with no way to get rid of it. Skin friendly anti-bacterial wet wipes are great for freshening up yourself and wiping down your tray table and arm rests.

Also… Do I really need to explain the purpose of hand sanitizer?

Another thing I’ll never travel without, but have never had to use it yet is a change of clothes in my carry-on. Let’s say you arrive at your hotel at 9am, but check-in isn’t until 3pm - you’ve got everything you need, right in your carry-on for a quick freshen up before you’re ready to head out and explore your new city. Or maybe you need it even earlier than that - an irritating seat mate accidentally spills her orange juice all over your lap…

In any case, packing a full, mini-sized set of skincare plus these handy extras are guaranteed to come in handy on the road.

Happy travelling, babes!



I know what you’re thinking. “I KNOW how to wash my face! Why are you even writing about this?”

But it’s only because I want to share with you how bloody important washing your face is as the first step in your skincare routine. Having perfectly prepped and cleansed skin, in my opinion, lays down the foundation for everything else in your routine to work - serums, essence, moisturisers, etc. If you’re not washing your face properly (and with the right stuff) then you may as well not have any kind of routine at all. Check through this list of super common (I admittedly still do some of them) face-washing mistakes so you know how to avoid them.


You’re not taking your makeup off first. 

In a certain beauty-based Facebook group, I was confronted for the first time by women who did not remove their makeup before washing their faces. I was shocked (to put it lightly), especially since they were complaining about breaking out due to makeup. One of my first makeup-related memories is my mom pressing makeup remover and a pack of cotton pads into my hands, around the time that she gave me the “okay” to start wearing makeup. I was frankly shocked that this wasn’t the norm for many women. Makeup removal is the first step to a perfectly prepped face.

Luckily, there are literally SO MANY OPTIONS to choose from for makeup removal. My personal fave is a combo of a bi-phase makeup remover (for eye/lip makeup) + micellar water. There’s also cleansing oils, cleansing balms, and makeup wipes - literally every kind of makeup remover for every kind of person. Cleansing oils and balms have the added benefit of being able to melt down into pores and sometimes pull out things called ‘grits’ in the skincare community. They’re totally YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) - some people never get grits and some people get them every time. There are even makeup remover wipes, however, I haven’t found a wipe that I like. The fabric is always too irritating for my skin and the remover not strong enough to actually take off my makeup. However, if these work for you, keep it up - just don’t forget to cleanse or rinse after.


You’re using the wrong cleanser for your skin type. 

The only thing more crucial than removing your makeup is what you actually wash your face WITH. As an oily-skinned gal, I always kind of figured that my skin was working pretty well with foaming face washes marketed specifically to my oily skin. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I didn’t realise how desensitised I had become to how taut my skin felt after cleansing with a foamy cleanser - it was literally SO thirsty for moisture afterwards. Now that I use something really gentle, my skin just feels clean and soft. Lemme share with you what I look for in a cleanser:

  • Not medicated. This means no additional acids, acne treatments, whatever. I only want my cleanser to do one job - clean my face.
  • Not stripping. A lot of the time this is in the same vein as ‘not foaming’ but I know there are some properly formulated cleansers out there that can foam without being stripping. 
  • Actually formulated for the face, meaning they are pH balanced to be neutral or lower in pH. Most body washes and even some cleansers are higher in pH which is very disruptive to the skin’s natural acid mantle. 

My skin is happiest with cleansers that are neutral or just below neutral. I didn’t have very much luck with a low pH cleanser (CosRx Good Morning Cleanser) but my skin is definitely not happy with high pH, alkaline cleansers either. You can usually tell when something is alkaline by its slippery, soapy feel. Your skin may also feel dry and tight after rinsing - a red flag that something isn’t right. I personally really enjoy the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, but there are a lot of gentle and hydrating cleansers out there to choose from.


You’re forgetting your neck.

This is super important, especially if you wear makeup and blend it down your neck. I’m not gonna lie, this is one that I started doing recently and my neck is SIGNIFICANTLY less ‘gunky’ (ew) when I swipe over it with some micellar water on a cotton pad. When your neck is properly cleaned and prepped, it can make the most of all the goodness in your other skincare. Not forgetting your neck also applies to applying serums, treatments, and sunscreen FYI! It’s the best way to avoid having a premature turkey neck. Taking skincare all the way down my neck and sometimes to my décolletage also makes me feel like a ~real adult~ too.


You’re being too rough on your face.

You really don’t need to be vigorously scrubbing your face with handfuls of exfoliating scrub every day, as if doing so would actually scrub away any imperfections and blemishes (Pro tip: it doesn’t). So much abrasive rubbing irritates the crap out of your skin - believe me, I’ve been there before. Put down the apricot scrub and save it for your booty, legs, and feet.

You might also be too rough on your face by overzealously rubbing a dry towel over and over your scrunched up face to make sure you’ve gotten every drop of water off it, BUT this isn't necessary. It’s overly irritating for your face too. I’ve had my face literally sting after drying because I was too keen to dry it off with my towel. What I like to do to stop myself doing this (or anything bad for my skin really ahaha) is to ask myself “How would an esthetician do this?”. All you need to do is gently pat pat pat all over your face with a towel to dry it properly - just like an esthetician would.


You’re using water that’s too hot.

I know gals - I also prefer my showers as hot as the depths of Hell, but the reality is too hot of a shower is messing with the natural oils in your skin. When you take away too much of the natural oil produced by your skin, you’re left with irritated skin which is left vulnerable to acne and dryness. This is why I usually turn down the heat when it’s time to wash my face in the shower, and use room temperature water to wash my face in the morning - my face is a lot happier for it.

Now that we’ve gone through this clearly super exhaustive list about face washing (who knew this would be such an important topic?), go forth and cleanse for happy, glowing skin!

Have you committed any of these skincare sins before? Or do you have even more amazing tips to share? Lemme know!

A xx


MY ACNE STORY: How I Deal With Acne

Hey, babes!

My name is Alexis, I’m 25 years old, and I have adult acne.

Today’s post is going to be a little different. As a beauty and skincare blogger, it’s all well and good for me to post about products that work for my skin while it’s all lovely and smooth and my acne is under control. But today, I really wanna show you how exactly how my skincare journey has gone, and how I manage my acne. To list it out in full, the treatments (script or otherwise) that I’ve tried for my acne are:

  • Lemon juice
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Differin
  • Tretinoin
  • Clindamycin (topical)
  • Doxycycline (oral)
  • AHA (lactic acid)

My acne story starts around when I was 12 and just starting to get pimples, as you do when you hit puberty. The first acne ‘treatment’ (used very loosely here) I ever used was putting calamansi (a type of Asian lemon) on my skin around once a week to help sort out my acne and this is what I did for a few years. I can STILL remember the sting - this was the most torturous treatment ever and I can’t help but wonder how much permanent skin damage I actually caused by doing this.

Fast forward a couple years and I get into a semi-routine of seeing an esthetician to get facials every couple of months (thanks, Mom!). This helps, but it doesn’t actually treat my acne.

After a few years of regularly getting facials to help with my congestion, my mom took me to the derm and I walked away with a handy little script for Clindamycin and Differin. These two were great for managing my acne (although I probably STILL didn’t use enough recommended SPF with Differin oops) and I used them up until I moved to New Zealand for university and was no longer covered by my parents’ health insurance.

The Benzoyl Peroxide Era

February 2014
I ended up switching to the Acne.org method, which was 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide twice a day applied to the whole face. This worked really well for me (as you can tell by the photo) until I fell down the rabbit hole of benzoyl peroxide as a pro-oxidant. I couldn’t find any concrete information about negative effects of the long-term use of BP on one’s entire face, but I wasn’t willing to be a guinea pig either. So I stopped using BP and began to look for something else, and of course, my skin returned to it’s untreated, pimply state.

Before people come in perpetuating the myth of “ur skin gets addicted to BP that's why u broke out gal” let me just ask you something - if you took a medication to manage the symptoms of a disease, then stopped taking it and the symptoms came back, were you 'addicted' to the medication?


I stopped using a product to manage my acne, and therefore it came back. The thing with all topical acne treatments is that you need to keep using them to keep seeing results because of how the skin is constantly renewing itself. What an amazing world we would live in if we could only use BP ONCE and be rid of our acne forever! Sadly, the skin doesn’t really work that way.

The Differin Era

July 2014, August 2014
So I struggled along for a little while, trying various acid toners (which didn’t work as well as I hoped for me) until I realised that under NZ’s national health care scheme, I could get Differin prescribed for acne! I don’t know why I didn’t realise this when I first started uni but whatevs. I marched into my doctor’s office at the end of July 2014 and she was able to prescribe Differin and a month’s course of Doxycycline to help battle the purge. Emboldened by the fact that I was going back to something which really worked for me, I did heaps and heaps of research how I SHOULD be treating my skin while using Differin.

My first time around using it, I still used harsh salicylic acid-based cleansers and scrubs which were completely unnecessary and hurt like hell. Turning to the internet, I heeded various warnings about the peeling, sensitivity, and dryness I would experience and began to fall into the rabbit hole that is Asian Skincare. I learned about things like sheet masks, watery lotions, and uber lightweight sunscreens.

I also downloaded an app called Day One to help me monitor my skin’s progress over the next few weeks. It's actually where I've been able to download all these progress shots from! Doing this really helped keep an eye on my skin and it’s something I still do to this day. It gives you a great idea of what is working and what isn’t working for your skin over time. What I like about Day One is it keeps the photos out of your camera roll and only in the app (which can be protected with a passcode), so it’s for your eyes only.

It was around this time that I started forming my Best Skincare Routine Ever, and there’s a good reason that that’s a proper, capitalised title. Let me show you how I looked six months after starting it:

January 2015
Cleanse with water (yep for real)


Other than Differin and sunscreen, the three products that made the most difference were the C20 Serum, EltaMD, and Hada Labo. C20 & EltaMD (Vitamin C + Niacinamide) were a KILLER combo for my PIH, and the Hada Labo really helped keep my skin properly hydrated and minimised peeling.

However, because my skin was finally GOOD, I got lazy and stopped documenting my skin (this is always a bad idea… Trust me!). I also decided to try too many new things at once. Not my best thinking, I’ll admit. Fast forward from January 2015 to June 2016 and I’m having skin that is just as bad or even worse than 2014. I think it was a combination of a couple of products, specifically CosRx BHA Lotion and a L’Oreal sunscreen that set my skin off. I panicked and went back to my GP, who sent me home with a script for Retin-A.

The Tretinoin Era

June 2016
I cut out C20 (as my skin would go through another period of becoming extremely sensitive) and went through the purge again. At this point in time, I actually had incredibly low self-esteem about my appearance (possibly the lowest I’ve ever had due to a crazy haircut I got plus the state of my skin) so I didn’t document my skin/take any photos of myself from July 2016 until January 2017.

January 2017
At this time, my routine was approximately something like this for these 6 months:

Cleanse with water


July 2017
And this is how my skin looks now (sorry about the lighting discrepancy):
April 2018
My current routine looks something like this:

Cleanse with water
Wishtrend Mandelic Acid (every other day)


There currently is a little bit more swapping out in my current routine, as I've gotta make do with what I can on the road (Watson's is a bloody godsend though!) but it's all working pretty well for me so far. I also sheet mask pretty frequently, but the jury is out on how much these are really making an impact on my skin other than temporary hydration and brightness - I'm hoping they make up for the fact that I don't have a permanent, strong serum like C20 in my routine right now.

So there you have it! I hope you've enjoyed following along with this post and gotten to know me a little bit better, and where my opinions come from when I review skincare. Feel free to ask me ANY questions about my skin, my routine, and the products that I used! I'll be writing about a few of them in-depth in some upcoming blog posts.

A xx

some products mentioned were provided as pr samples / contains affiliate links*



Today, I have a Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion* review for you. If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that I’ve loved Hada Labo’s Lotions for YEARS. As I ran out of my beloved Hada Labo in Taiwan last month, I thought I would try something new and pick up the Hada Labo Premium and compare my experiences. As far as I can tell, this product has been around for a little while but seems to have gained a bit of new momentum in the skincare world. It also comes in 170mL bottles and refill sachets like the other lotions, except that the packaging is gold with “PREMIUM” on the front in a lovely blue ribbon design.

What's in it and what does it do?

The Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium version promises to provide “mask-like hydration” using 5 different types of hyaluronic acid and anew ingredient to me called sacran. Derived from algae, sacran has anti-inflammatory effects and improves skin barrier function, therefore improving hydration of the skin. Compared to the regular Gokujyun Lotion (this is also known as Gokujyun Moist), the Premium Lotion has a far more beefed up ingredients list (with notable ingredients in bold):

Hada Labo Premium Gokujyun Lotion Ingredients:
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, PPG-10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Diglycerin, Triethyl Citrate, PEG-32, Diethoxyethyl Succinate, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Disodium Succinate, Methylparaben, Sodium Hyaluronate, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Polyquaternium-51, Succinic Acid, Aphanothece Sacrum Exopolysaccharides, Ammonium Acrylates Copolymer, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Hydroxyethyl Urea

And compared to Hada Labo Gokujyun Moist Ingredients:
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Disodium Succinate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Methylparaben, PPG-10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Succinic Acid

Hada Labo Shirojyun Ingredients:
Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, Arbutin, Sorbitol, PPG-10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Carbomer Styrene/VP Copolymer, Methylisothiazolinone/Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate

Oddly enough, I can only see three types of named hyaluronic acid in the Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium’s ingredient list. After doing a bit of research and puzzling over this, I’m pretty sure that the two other types Diethoxyethyl Succinate and Disodium Succinate. I’m not completely sure about this because I’m not a cosmetic chemist (if you are, please feel free to jump in!) but apparently it’s possible to do this thing called ‘derivatization’ with succinic acid and hyaluronic acid, and that’s what I think the clever scientists at Hada Labo have done.

So what did I think of Hada Labo Premium?

First off, the texture of Hada Labo Premium* is so different from the HL products I’ve used previously. It’s very thick, and not as runny as the other toners. I would say it has a thicker, essence or serum-like texture. It doesn’t have a scent (at least not to my nose). It doesn’t become sticky or tacky like the normal lotions when patted in, but rather an almost oily texture on my skin. Because of this, I can only use this at night - it’s so heavy and shiny. I actually can’t believe how heavy this is sometimes for something that isn’t a rich cream. Because of the high humidity here in Malaysia, I currently use this as my only routine step after tretinoin because it’s SO hydrating.

It leaves my skin super soft, bouncy and glowy - I love using it before a sheetmask to really amp up the mask. It's amazing how hydrating this is, but it’s unfortunately too much for my oily skin in warm and humid climates. It’s too heavy for me to layer with - it wouldn’t be a bad thing if one layer wasn’t already so much for my skin. I don’t think I could recommend this for other oily-skinned folks unless you’re on Accutane or somewhere where it’s cold and drying af. Even then, I’d reserve this for night time use as it really gives your skin a dewy sheen. Normal to dry folks will probably LOVE this stuff!

For my skin, I rate this a 3/5. It does it’s job, but it does it too well for my skin and just doesn’t fit my needs.

Have you tried hyaluronic acid toners 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 Hada Labo online
Amazon* | YesStyle*

purchased / contains affiliate links*



Hey, babes!

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I absolutely love the new features of Instagram stories that are being rolled out - new fonts, gifs, story highlights… The other features of the app though are a different story 🙄 but we’ll discuss that another time.

I’ve got a quick tutorial today on how to make super cute Instagram Story Covers for FREE using Canva! If you’re a blogger and you don’t already use Canva, you’re missing out. It’s a great free website and app for creating high-quality images, such as Facebook Covers, Pinterest Graphics, and obviously Instagram Story Covers. There ARE paid features, but I’ve been able to use the app so far without needing them. If you're on iOS, you can download Canva from the App Store.

Here's how my profile looks before adding covers - it's not bad, but I'd like my story highlights to look a bit more cohesive.
The first thing you’ll need to do is make an account on Canva, as this makes sure that your design is saved for you to go back to and change if you need to. In the Canva app, “Your Story” is the correct preset for Instagram Stories. With Canva, I like to find templates that I like but modify to suit what I want. I find it hard to start from scratch but you do whatever you want to do. On a computer, Canva doesn’t show the “Your Story” option but you can easily get it by clicking here or creating a new project with the dimensions of 1080px x 1920px.

Now, you can go wild! I like keeping things pretty simple with a pale pink background, diagonal lines and an italicised serif font. Canva has super handy guides for aligning things perfectly centred, so you shouldn’t have any issues centring your title texts. Here's an example of what I decided to go for:
Another way to make covers is the actual Instagram app! It's great because it's practically no fuss - you don't have to learn how to use anything new and it's automatically preset to fit in Instagram stories. I made a really short gif of how to do this. The only drawbacks of using the Instagram app itself is that you don’t get as many creative tools as Canva, such as different fonts and shapes. However, it is a great way to use gorgeous images as your cover background as well - just import the photo, instead of colouring over a photo like I’ve done.

When you’re happy with how your covers look, save them to your phone. Since I designed mine on my computer, I AirDropped them over to my phone - this is the best way to get photos to your phone for Instagram if you use Apple! It’s so easy to edit a bunch of photos at once and send them over without losing quality. If you’ve done this in Canva, you can save them straight to your Camera Roll.

Now comes the kind of annoying bit - these need to be posted to your stories in order for them to be used as covers, so they’ll be in your stories for the next 24 hours with anything else you might post in your stories. I’m personally not too bothered by this but I know some others are. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this. I posted a little warning that I’d be posting covers, it’s up to you if you want to do that or not.

Once you've posted your covers to your stories like you would any other photo, here's how to make them the cover of a highlight:
And there you have it! Two super easy ways to make great Instagram Highlight Covers for free!

I hope you've found this super helpful - I'd love it if you showed me any highlight covers you've made using Canva or IG!

A xx


DON'T BE JELLY: Annie's Way Arbutin and Hyaluronic Acid Brightening Jelly Mask Review

Hey, babes!

I know I know, I’ve been reviewing a LOT of masks lately but there are just SO many masks to review and so little time! Today, instead of a sheet mask I’ve got the O.G. Taiwanese Jelly mask - Annie’s Way Arbutin and Hyaluronic Acid Jelly mask.

These jelly masks are not sleeping packs or masks that eventually absorb into the skin - they’re super thick, hydrating masks that you’re meant to scrape and rinse off after a period of time. It’ll even stick to your hand/spatula if you turn it upside down! Jelly masks are ideal for hydration and delivering fantastic ingredients to the skin, such as arbutin, calendula, and honey to name a few. A good way to think about where these should go in your routine is in the same place as a clay mask - to clean, dry skin, then afterwards you can move on to other steps in your skincare routine. This was a new concept to me as I’m pretty used to masks that go on quite a bit later in your routine, such as sheet masks and sleeping packs.

What I like about these jelly masks is the packaging - let’s be honest, sheet mask packaging is extremely wasteful and I do want to eventually move away from using them. Annie’s Way masks provide a way to still improve the appearance of your skin, without adding more plastic waste into the world. Despite jar packaging generally being my least favourite type of packaging, it suits this product well - it’s far too thick for a squeeze tube, and the inclusion of a spatula that you can sanitize as you prefer is just perfect.

The first thing I noticed about the gel was how wonderfully cooling it was! It definitely wasn’t a menthol cooling sensation, it was literally just the temperature of the gel. I loved it! It was really thick, but easy to manipulate with the spatula. The trick to getting the most out of these gelly masks is to use a really thick layer - a thin layer will dry and become very uncomfortable on your skin, very quickly (I found this out when I applied the layer too thin on my neck and above my cupids bow). The sample packet I used had 40ml of gel in it, and I used the whole lot. There was no scent to this product at all, which I thought was great - I know scented products aren’t for everyone!

Once on your skin, the gel really stays put - it doesn’t drip or move around at all. After the 20 minutes was up, I began to gently scrape the mask off using the straight end of the spatula. ‘Scrape’ is almost too harsh of a word, but it’s the best way to describe it. You’re not scratching up your skin or anything, and it takes off the mask and probably dead skin cells too. It’s best to go over each spot a few times IMO, as the mask really sticks to and hydrates your skin. Afterwards, my skin was beautifully hydrated and bright. It also loosened a few blackheads that I was able to extract.

The ingredients list is satisfyingly short:

Water, Carbomer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Alpha Arbutin, Ascorbic Acid, Tocotrienols, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Pentasodium Pentetate, Phytic Acid, Silver Oxide, Flavor

The four key ingredients in brightening and hydrating skin in this mask are Sodium Hyaluronate (aka hyaluronic acid), Alpha Arbutin, Ascorbic Acid, and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, so it’s great to see them all clustered at the top of the list!

When I went to visit the Annie’s Way office, Sara (my contact at Annie’s Way) showed me some Korean brands that were trying to (unsuccessfully) imitate the jelly mask idea. She explained to me that Annie’s Way would always trump any other imitators as they have the most superior formulation - the other masks just dissolve away into the skin, and aren’t true jellies that deliver targeted ingredients to the skin.

It's possible to purchase the individual use sachets for TWD89-104 on the Annie's Way website, or a full-size 250ml jar for TWD525-825.

I really, really enjoyed using this mask and will definitely have to make some room in my suitcase for the full-sized jar! 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 Annie's Way online


OH, SHEET: L'Herboflore Cherry Blossom Whitening Mask Review

Hey, babes!

I have another of the five L’Herboflore masks that I bought up for review today, and it’s the Cherry Blossom Whitening Mask. Like all L’Herboflore masks, it has gorgeous packaging that was individually designed for this particular flavour. Cherry Blossoms are some of my favourite flowers and it’s actually one of my travel goals to go to Japan to see the Cherry Blossoms in Springtime.

The mask itself is soft and drenched in a thin, clear essence. It has a medium, floral scent - not too sweet or powdery. It’s not strong, but it’s definitely there. There was SO much extra essence in the packet, I definitely could have thrown a DIY mask in there and gotten a second mask out of it. Literally, this essence kept the mask so wet that the mask was barely starting to dry after 30 minutes, and when I took it off the mask was still very damp.

The fit of the mask was ok. I really appreciated the larger eye and mouth holes, but I had issues with the nose part sitting properly on my nose (BUT REALLY WHAT’S NEW, my nose is always too big for sheet masks). The mask fabric was soft and clung really well to my face once put on, with minor wrinkling and folding for adjusting size.

After 30 minutes, I took the mask off and my skin was gorgeously plump and hydrated. It was soothed and my redness was reduced. However, I wouldn’t really say it was lightened or brightened - just ‘evened out’ because redness was gone. The essence was a little bit sticky to pat in, but didn't cause me any issues.

Taking a look at the ingredients list, I was really puzzled trying to figure out which of these ingredients was the whitening one. There’s a lot of solid moisturising ingredients (glycols, glycerin, two types of hyaluronic acid) but I can’t figure out which one is supposed to be whitening. I looked up Cherry Blossom Extract, and it’s a fantastic anti-inflammatory, but again not a skin brightening ingredient.

Aqua (Water), Butylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid, Allantoin, Propylene Glycol, Mannitol, Sodium Citrate, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-15, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Isopropyl Alcohol, Cellulose, Prunus Yedoensis (Cherry Blossom) Flower Extract, Trehalose, Xanthan Gum, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Triethanolamine, Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Sulfite, Methylisothiazolinone, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Sodium Acetate
So, I don’t really know what to make of this - it’s kind of poor form to claim a mask is whitening when there’s literally no ingredient that does that in the mask. I’m gonna give this 2/5 - while it moisturises my skin well, it literally just doesn’t meet the only claim it makes.

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
Beautibi ($5 off) | eBay* | Miirushop (15% off)
where to buy L'Herboflore in-store
store locator

purchased / contains affiliate links*


DON'T BE GEL-OUS: Naruko Job's Tears Night Gelly Review

Today, I have a product that I’m SUPER excited to talk to you about, which is the Naruko Job’s Tears Night Gelly. The Night Gelly was a range that I specifically wanted to try as I heard such great things about the different flavours as sleeping packs/final steps in PM routines.

I was torn between the Naruko Rose one and the Job’s Tears one, but the JT one won in the end. The packaging is simple - a plastic coloured jar that matches the rest of the line, with an inner lid to stop the product from drying out. The only thing that I wish was included with the packaging is a spatula - there’s nothing I hate more than dipping my fingers into a jar product! I just feel like I’m contaminating it and one day I’ll open it to find it’s gone rancid.

This stuff is just JAM PACKED with heaps of good shit for your skin. Just have a look!

Naruko Job's Tears Night Gelly Ingredients:
Purified Water (Aqua), Taiwan Jobs Tears (Coix Lacryma-Jobi) Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Gluconolactone, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/ VP Copolymer, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Sodium Polyacrylate Starch, Dimethicone, Tranexamic Acid, Niacinamide, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Curcuma Kwangsiensis/Curcuma Wenyujin Rhizome, Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Kalanchoe Spathulata Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tremella Fuciformis Sporocarp Extract, Saccharide lsomerate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Arbutin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Creatine, Salicyloyl Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Scutellaria Alpina Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Peucedanum Ostruthium Leaf Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Artemisia Umbelliformis Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum Extract, Epilobium Fleischeri Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Faex Extract, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Aesculus Hippocastanum Extract, Phragmites Karka Extract, Fragrance (Based on Natural Origins), Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Panthenol, Propylene Glycol, Zinc Gluconate, Caffeine, Biotin, Poria Cocos Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Seed Extract, Vibrio Alginolyticus Ferment Filtrate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Enantia Chlorantha Bark Extract,  Polyoxyethylene-sorbitan-monooleate, Retinol Palmitate, lris Florentina Root Extract, Mulberry Bark Extract, Vitis Vinifera Leaf Extract, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glyceryl Caprylate, Lactobacillus/ Pear Juice Ferment Filtrate, O-CYMEN-5-OL, Salix Alba Bark Extract, Rehmannia Chinensis Root Extract, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Glycine Soya Protein, Oleanolic Acid

Naruko Job's Tears Night Gelly Review

Job’s Tears Extract comes from the Job’s Tears plant, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many years. It’s usually consumed as a porridge or tea with so many benefits for the body and skin. There’s a great breakdown of it on the Miiru Shop Blog.

Gluconolactone is a super gentle exfoliator that falls into the category of Polyhydroxy Acids, or PHAs. PHAs are preferable for most people as they are less irritating than AHAs such as Glycolic or Lactic Acid.

Tranexamic acid is an excellent brightener, which can act as effectively as hydroquinone.

At first, I was concerned when I realised that Retinol Palmitate (aka Retinyl Palmitate) appears on the ingredients list, but I knew that I had to do more research before coming to a conclusion about it. Despite falling into the retinoid family, which means that it makes your skin MORE sensitive to the sun leading to further sun damage, evidence has come forward that retinyl palmitate actually can have photo-protective properties. However, these negative or positive benefits are dependent completely on the product being formulated correctly and in the right packaging to deliver any kind of effect to the skin. Despite being an antioxidant, repeatedly exposing the product to light due to the jar packaging may result in retinyl palmitate having little to no effect at all. It’s also super low on the ingredients list, indicating that it might not even be at a high enough percentage to do much in the first place. Either way, I’m not super worried about it, but if you are - definitely wear SPF 50+ on your face every day! It’s something you really should be doing regardless.

There’s also my old favourite niacinamide (HOLLA), and I’m also excited to see two forms of vitamin c. Again, this type of packaging does reduce the efficacy of most vitamin c molecules so I wouldn’t rely on this for a vitamin c treatment - a dedicated, refrigerated is your best bet.

Another ingredient that I found super intriguing as it was so far up the list is the Curcuma Kwangsiensis/Curcuma Wenyujin Rhizome. These two plants are in the same family as common turmeric (Curcuma longa), which is well-known for its purported anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. However, it doesn’t appear that all Curcuma are made the same - this study found that both of these rhizomes had no effect on inflammation and swelling.

There are a lot of plant extracts in here that I definitely question the efficacy of, but then again I’m not a cosmetic chemist. I guess that’s the only thing I don’t like about this - the ingredients list is super long, and I think it’s hard to pinpoint what are the star ingredients in this gelly.

The gel itself is a light, tan milky gel. It’s satisfyingly jiggly in the jar and a little bit sticky at first when applied, but it eventually settles down into the skin.

So despite being described as a ‘night’ gelly, I saw a few suggestions on Reddit and Instagram to use this as a day moisturiser and it’s probably been one of the best decisions I ever made about my skin. It’s the perfect lightweight moisturiser for my oily skin - I’m always trying to find something that is hydrating enough during the day, without leaving me greasy. This gelly perfectly seals in my hydrating layers without adding too much extra moisture to my skin. It also makes my face SO FREAKING SOFT AND SMOOTH. Yes, that deserved all caps because my skin has literally never been this soft and smooth before in my life. I’m pretty sure my makeup is sitting on my face a LOT better because of this too, so ya know. You can’t say that skincare isn’t more important than makeup when it literally lays the base for how your makeup is going to look. My skin has also had the quickest change I think I've ever seen from a topical product - this little moisturiser definitely has a strong brightening and skin-tone evening effect.

My only caveat is that this will pill if you work and rub it too much, so when I get my little dollop out of the jar using a spatula, I try to get it everywhere I need it to go in one swipe so all I have to do is pat it in to absorb. It will also pill if I rub my face after applying sunscreen - it’s probably from the dimethicone in the formula.

I paid TWD 369 for this from Watson's, which is a non-promotional price, but a pricepoint that I'm happy to pay for this product.

In general, I'm EXTREMELY happy with this product - I'm fairly sure that I've found my new holy grail daytime moisturiser. I'm willing to look past literally every drawback (personally) because of how well it works for me and how amazing my skin looks afterwards. 5/5 from me!

Have you ever come across something that worked so amazingly well for you, that you overlooked something that otherwise would really annoy you about it?

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*


OH, SHEET: Annie's Way Peptide and Rose Rejuvenating Sheet Mask Review

Hey, babes!

Today, I have my very first Annie’s Way product to review for you! Annie’s Way is a Taiwanese brand and I was super excited to actually be able to go to the Annie’s Way Office in Kaohsiung and get to know more about them. You might know them from their famous gelly masks! I picked up a few of those too so I’ll have a review on them soon.

In Taiwan, Annie’s Way is currently only available directly from them, however later this year they may enter retail stores again (Watson’s) so they will be easier to buy if you are a tourist visiting Taiwan!

The mask I have today is a from their revamped line. It is the Rose and Peptide mask - I literally can’t resist anything with rose so I HAD to try this one.

The mask material was super thin, and it’s the kind of mask that you are supposed to apply with the liner still on, then peel the liner off when it’s on the face. I had some trouble with this, but maybe it’s because I’m not used to such thin masks. I ended up taking the mask off the liner, then applying it to my face. This mask was easily the thinnest mask I’ve ever tried - it was basically invisible on! The eye and mouth holes were a good size, the only thing I didn't like was the nose flap. I know it's just a sheet mask but this was probably the most unflattering nose flap I've ever had on my face, all it did was enhance how round and bulbous my nose is so I don't think I'll be posting that photo to Instagram 😂  Adherence was great too - once it was on, it wasn’t moving anywhere. Taking a look at the ingredients list, there are other great ingredients other than the prominently featured rose and peptide:

Water, Butylene Glycol, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Carbomer, Squalane, Panthenol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Glycerin, Potassium Hydroxide, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Pentasodium Pentetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Beta-glucan, Opuntia Streptacantha Stem Extract, Fragrance, Morus Alba Root Extract, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Phytic Acid, Silver Oxide, Phosphoric Acid
Squalane and Panthenol are both fantastic fantastic ingredients for hydrating skin and improving skin condition. Beta-glucan and Sodium Hyaluronate (AKA Hyaluronic Acid) are also fantastic for hydrating skin. A new ingredient to me is Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, which is actually technically a peptide - I wouldn't have known this from just the ingredient name, so I’m happy to see a peptide at the top of the ingredients list. It’s also known as Antarcticine and provides benefits such as retaining moisture and boosting collagen production. Another new plant extract is Boerhavia Diffusa root extract, an antioxidant-rich flowering plant. Sources only report on the antioxidant present in the leaves, so I can’t confirm that antioxidants are present in the root extract used here.

An ingredient that I’ve seen in a few products but didn’t realise what it was is Paeonia Albaflora Root Extract, also known as peony root extract. I’ve heard amazing things about peony for soothing irritated, eczematous skin, so I’m glad to see it in this mask formula. The two last botanical extracts, Morus Alba (Mulberry) and Opuntia Streptacantha (Prickly Pear Cactus) also provide great hydration benefits to the skin. All around, there are some really great ingredients in this mask!

This formula doesn’t contain traditional preservatives such as parabens, but opts to use Silver Oxide instead - one of the significant changes the Annie’s Way team made to this product for the relaunch.
I found that because the mask was so thin, it began to dry out pretty quickly. It began to dry and harden on my nose first after 20 minutes, and I removed it then because I was worried about the dry mask actually drying my skin and causing adverse effects - the mask actually dried and hardened on the tip of my nose.

My skin was very smooth and bright after taking the mask off. However, it wasn’t as hydrated as it is from other masks. I would say this is a really great daytime mask, especially in preparation for wearing makeup. The remaining essence was not sticky to pat in at all and absorbed quickly.

I think this is a really good mask  - it gets 4/5 from me. My ONLY issue is that this wasn’t hydrating enough for me for an evening mask (which is when I tend to sheet mask) but I did enjoy the other skin brightening benefits.

Have you heard of this cult favourite Taiwanese beauty brand 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.


JUST SHEET IT: Dr. Jou Face Mask For Smooth Skin Review

Today I have a mask from a brand called Dr. Jou. A small side note, Dr. Jou and Dr. Morita seem to be related brands, as far as I can tell. I’m not sure in what capacity they actually become separate brands though, as there are distinctions between the sheet masks, but my Dr. Morita face wash has Dr. Jou on the back of it. The Dr. Morita Brand is named after Morita Department Store, which opened in Taiwan in 1935. The Dr. Jou brand appears to be named after Dr. Jou, the founder and head skincare developer at Dr. Morita Brand.

The particular mask I’ll be reviewing today is the Dr. Jou Smooth Skin mask. It comes in boxes of five with other variations in this particular line. I can’t seem to find images of them online, but I remember seeing them in store (as I was debating with myself which one I should try!).

The mask is completely soaked in essence - if I wanted to, I probably could have put a dry mask into the remaining essence and done a second sheet masking session with it. It contains a whopping 32mls of essence. It was more than enough for my arms and neck! It had a mild smell that faded quickly. I couldn’t really put my finger on what it smelled like… Just skincare? I don’t think it was an added smell.

It didn’t fit very well around my nose, but what’s new. The mask material was thicker than the Dr Morita sheet mask and slightly larger in size. I didn’t find this fit me as well as the Dr Morita, and you’ll see that in the photo. I also found that the eye holes were a bit small for my face.
The first time I used this mask, the essence pilled around my neck. I didn’t have this experience the second time I used it, so I’m not really sure what to attribute this to. I wore this for about 30 minutes, but I definitely could have worn it for longer if I wanted - it had only slightly dried around my forehead by this time.

Water/Aqua, Polyglycerin-3, Dipropylene Glycol, Diglycerin, Butylene Glycol, Sodium PCA, PPG-28-Buteth-35, Pentylene Glycol, Glycosyl Trehalose, Equisetum Arvense Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris Leaf Extract, Porphyra Umbilicalis Extract, Spirulina Maxima Extract, Himanthalia Elongata Extract, Hedera Helix Extract, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Gigartina Stellata Extract, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract, Niacinamide, Allantoin, Methylparaben, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Xanthan Gum, Panthenol, Sodium Carbonner, Acrylates/Vinyl Isodecanoate Crosspolymer, Squalane, Propylene Glycol, Fragrance, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Arginine, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Aspartic Acid, Pca, Glycine, Alanine, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Serine, Valine, Proline, Threonine, Isoleucine, Cellulose Gum, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Sodium Bicarbonate, Atelocollagen, Disodium Phosphate, Potassium Phosphate, Platinum, Silver

When I run the ingredients list through COSDNA, it’s basically chock-full of moisturisers and a slew of botanical extracts, such as Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail), Porphyra Umbilicalis (Algae/seaweed), Spirulina, and Chamomile to name a few. I like the addition of the algae extract, as this is supposedly one of the key ingredients that make the famous Creme De La Mer so amazing and effective.

My skin looked good, but not amazing right after removing the mask. It definitely soothed redness and hydrated my skin, but didn’t really give me any extraordinary results… At least not yet. I found that this mask had more of a delayed-release effect, if you will. It looked alright immediately after using the mask, but it looked AMAZING the morning after. My skin looked so bright and nourished - I had been suffering from some dry patches due to drying, foaming cleansers and those were completely gone. I know that skin always looks better in the morning, but this was next level!

Overall, I would give this mask a 3.5/5. I took points off for the fit. While this mask did give me really good results, I wouldn’t repurchase. I never feel as if I’m getting the best value when I get less than 8 masks in a box. I think it IS worth trying if you can pick it up for the right price, I feel like this would probably be a great mask to use the day before an important event.

Do you have a ‘special occasion’ product that you like to use in preparation for an event?

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.


THE FIRST FIVE: First Impressions feat. Naturie, Naruko, Senka, Missha, & Dr. Morita

Hey, babes!

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday season. What did you guys get up to? Let me know in the comments :)

I’m going kick off my first post of the year by introducing a mini-series of first impressions and calling it The First Five. My five today are the Naturie Hatumogi Skin Conditioner, Senka Speedy Perfect Whip Cleanser, Naruko Taiwan Magnolia Brightening and Firming Cream Wash Cleanser, Dr. Morita Milk Cleanser, and the Missha Lip Oils.
The Skin Conditioner is something that kept popping up on Instagram and /r/asianbeauty, and when I saw that it was fairly affordable here (TWD 249 for a huge 500ml bottle!) I decided to pick it up from Cosmed. What I really like is that this is a multi-purpose product, and can be used in multiple ways, including cleansing toner, FTE, DIY sheet mask essence, refreshing spritz, hydrating toner… the list is only limited by your imagination! I also love that it has a short, to the point ingredients list. Job’s Tears is an ingredient that I’m seeing a lot now that I’m in Taiwan, and it has so many great benefits that I’m not surprised it’s in so many products. I’m quite happy using this as a toner after cleansing, but I’ll definitely try different ways of using it before I write my full review.
I purchased Senka Speedy Whip Cleanser as a replacement for my Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser - bit of a mistake, that. The foam is thick and luxurious, but ultimately way too drying for my skin. It left my skin feeling tight and dry, and it began to peel a few days after using this. It’s since been demoted to body wash, which it’s great for and I might actually purchase the proper body wash size of this stuff when I finish it.
I picked up this Naruko cleanser as a replacement for the Senka as I thought cream = non-foaming. WROOONG. I was super disappointed when this also began to foam, and therefore also dry and strip my skin. My skin was also left peeling and dry after this, much to my disappointment. It’s also been demoted to body wash (which it’s also good at).

The combined use of these ones after another has left me with the biggest pimple I’ve had for SO LONG. It’s just on my left cheekbone and is really only just now coming down. That’ll teach me for not packing a second bottle of Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser!
It took me forever to decide on what to actually buy instead of Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser (which costs a cool TWD 750 here btw, or NZD 35 on a good Forex day) and I finally picked up this Dr. Morita Milk Cleanser. It’s a pretty basic milk cleanser which doesn’t strip and dry my skin when I use it. It says makeup remover on the bottle so realistically I’m probably not even using it the right way, but it’s not breaking me out and my skin isn’t dry and stripped. The only thing I don’t like is it’s definitely scented and tastes TERRIBLE if you accidentally get it in your mouth… So don’t do that.
Even though I’ve got two colours pictured, I’m counting the lip oils as one product because they’re pretty interchangeable with each other. You may have seen these pop up a few times on my Instagram and that is because I am OBSESSED with these little lip oils/glosses. They are a bit sticky (so don’t wear them on a windy day) but they add the most amazing glossiness to your lips. They’re also super comfortable - if I’m going out without makeup, I love popping on a thin layer of these over some lip balm for some extra lip shininess and hydration. I know that Papaw can basically do that, but I find Papaw doesn’t look as tidy as gloss, as it can melt and slide outside liplines. These oils are thick enough to stay put in a specific spot and look great too.

I hope you liked these quick first impressions! Have you tried any of these?

A xx

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