August 31, 2014
by L

Review: Innisfree It’s Real Manuka Honey Mask

Innisfree It's Real Manuka Honey Mask

Innisfree time! This has been one of those weeks where I have been changing up my skincare routine every night. Boredom? Maybe. Or maybe I just have a lot of products that I haven’t tried and I need to get around to that. In any case, after a pleasant session of microneedling, I thought a nice, soothing mask would be a great follow-up. Manuka Honey? Let’s go.

Innisfree It's Real Manuka Honey Mask

As with most Innisfree products, the packaging is lovely and simple. The It’s Real line of masks tends to not have any descriptive English floating around to tell you the purpose, so it’s your job to do some research beforehand. In the case of Manuka Honey, it’s moisturizing, as honey products usually are. It’s ideal for those with dry skin. Which I don’t have… but I figured it’d be super soothing and nicely absorbed after the havoc wreaked by my Dermaroller.

Innisfree It's Real Manuka Honey Mask

The facts:

Natural ingredients
For all skin types, especially dry skin

From Momomango:

From Innisfree comes the It’s Real Mask with Manuka Honey extracts. Excellent for those looking for a general skin conditioning and moisturization mask. Innisfree products are always known to focus on natural ingredients and this sheet mask is no exception. For a rejuvenation experience to achieve smoother and healthier looking skin add this mask sheet to your skin care routine.


Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Water, Lilium Candidum Flower Water, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Water, Alcohol, Betaine, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Honey Extract, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Potassium Hydroxide, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Opuntia Coccinellifera Fruit Extract, Camellia Japonica Leaf Extract, Orchid Extract, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.

Innisfree It's Real Manuka Honey Mask

Innisfree masks are usually sopping with essence, and this one is no exception. What surprised me is the scent–I was expecting a sweet honey aroma, but was gifted with something almost toxic. But after some contemplation I realized it was just a really intense herbal scent. I mean, come on. It’s Innisfree. No toxins here. But a sweeter scent would have been more pleasing.

Innisfree It's Real Manuka Honey Mask

This mask is SUPER fragile. That’s a trend I’ve seemed to notice with Innisfree, so be careful when you’re unfolding. I managed to create some cute little tears in mine… nothing major, but annoying all the same. Please ignore my dying manicure.

Innisfree It's Real Manuka Honey Mask

Follow the simple rules and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. I usually leave mine on for 45-60, or until it dries up. Because I can.

Like most masks, it’s not a perfect fit, especially around the nose area. For me, the nose and under-eye areas are the most important part to cover, so it’s frustrating when that doesn’t happen. This one just fit all sorts of weird around my nose and eyes. But maybe I just have an oddly-shaped face. I need to find a mutant line of sheet masks, I guess.

This mask really was moisturizing, not that I had any doubts. It soothed my skin and cleared up the puffy redness caused by microneedling. Did I notice any huge differences besides that? No, but I wasn’t expecting any. I think if you have dry skin this would be incredibly effective, though.

Other masks in the It’s Real collection include Green Tea, Oatmeal, Avocado, Shea Butter, Soya Milk, Pomegranate, Tomato, Olive, Cucumber, Bamboo, Red Cabbage, Gold Kiwi, Houttuynia Cordata, Tea Tree, Adlay, Lemon Lime, and Rice.

Pros: Moisturizing and soothing.
Cons: No cons, just not a lot else going on. Kind of a weird scent.

Final Verdict: I probably wouldn’t indulge on this particular mask again, but I do love the It’s Real line, so I’m definitely interested in trying others. You can find them on Amazon, eBay, and a ton of online Korean cosmetic retailers for around $1.50 USD a pop.

August 16, 2014
by L

Review: Be The Skin Botanical Pore Serum

Be The Skin Botanical Pore Serum

I HATE PORES. Anyone who’s followed my blog for any amount of time is probably well aware of this. I used to have these perfect, invisible, non-oily pores. Then something happened. I’m guessing it’s probably aging, and you should try to avoid this at all costs. Anyway, Peach and Lily was kind enough to send me a new product to try out: Be The Skin Botanical Pore Serum.

Peach and Lily

Peach and Lily is an eCommerce site focused on introducing hard-to-access Korean and Japanese beauty products to the US. They currently ship to all 50 states, and ship to Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom for a slightly higher fee. Also, they have free shipping for orders over $50 (not applicable to orders outside the US).

The current brands Peach and Lily are offering include Aromatica, Be The Skin, Caolion, Clio, Cremorlab, Dr. Myer’s, May Coop, Mizon, Morihata, Sua Young, Tatcha, and Uka. They are also now selling sheet masks a la carte from a variety of brands!

If you’re interested, check my other reviews for Peach and Lily products:

Clio Eye Guard Waterproof Liner
Clio Friday Glow Liquid Shadow
Clio Gelpresso Waterproof Pencil Gel Liner
Mizon Hyaluronic Acid 100
Sua Young Young Secret BB Complete
Caolion Pore Minimizing Pack
Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner

Be The Skin Botanical Pore Serum

Nice, clean, simple packaging.

Be The Skin Botanical Pore Serum

Stuff in Hangeul. I still can’t make any sense of the Korean language, but I managed to teach myself the characters so I can sound things out. I now know that the top literally says ‘Be The Skin Botanical Pore Serum’, in a Korean-y way of course. I’m proud. Are you impressed? No? Don’t care.

Be The Skin Botanical Pore Serum

One of the awesome things about Peach and Lily is that they always try to help bridge the language gaps.

Be The Skin Botanical Pore Serum

What wonders await?


A nice, solid, semi-opaque glass bottle in blue.

Be The Skin Botanical Pore Serum

The facts:

Minimizes pores
Controls oil production
Best for combo/oily skin
50 mL

From Peach and Lily:

A serum packed with natural ingredients formulated to soothe the skin and dramatically minimize pores. Botanical herbs, Alaskan glacier water and sea plants hydrate while controlling oil production. Ideal for normal to oily skin.


Water, cyclopentasiloxane, butylene glycol, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, dimethicone, polysilicone-11, decyl glucoside, sodium acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, isohexadecane, polysorbate 80, ecklonia cava extract, hizikia fusiforme extract, codium tomentosum extract, gelidium cartilagineum extract, laurus nobilis leaf extract, caprylyl glycol, caprylhydroxamic acid, glycerin, magnesium chloride, potassium chloride, aluminum chloride, zinc chloride, copper sulfate, manganese chloride, sodium chloride, lysine, poterium officinale root extract, cinnamomum cassia bark extract, zingiber officinale (ginger) root extract, buddleja davidii extract, thymus vulgaris (thyme) extract, artemisia umbelliformis extract, piper methysticum leaf/root/stem extract, salvia officinalis (sage) leaf extract, fragrance


Peach and Lily Be The Skin

Peach and Lily Be The Skin

Fancy infographics courtesy of Peach and Lily, of course.

Be The Skin Botanical Pore Serum

This product is a soft, semi-opaque serum that smells absolutely divine. Herbal, fresh, and amazing. I love it. It’s also very lightweight and quickly absorbed into the skin when patted. As Peach and Lily states, patting a product into the skin is much more effective than rubbing. Once absorbed, it definitely helps control oil yet keep skin moisturized. My skin always feels radiant when using this. And as we all know, my T-zone is out of control, so this is almost magic for me. I say almost, because I haven’t found a miracle yet, but this does help curb it for a bit.

I have to note that a little goes a long way with this product! As I’m only applying it to my nose, I only need like half the size of a pea for one application. I apply at both morning and night for maximum impact. I’ve been using it for weeks, and it never seems to run out. Amazing. An everlasting serum.

As for the pore minimizing aspect (the main reason I coveted this), I definitely saw a difference–but after a few weeks. Nothing happens overnight, so you need to keep that in mind when using products such as this. I also stopped messing with my pores (extracting, pore strips, etc), so that may also have played a part. Anyway, instead of being the gaping deathtraps they usually are, my nose looks a lot smoother. Pores are still there and active, of course, but truly not as bad as they once were. I can’t wait to see what changes come in another few weeks. I’ll make another update accordingly.

The Botanical line also includes a Pore Toner and a Moisturizing Soothing Cream.

Pros: Quickly absorbed, hydrating, decent oil control, great scent, actually appears to minimize pores over regular use.
Cons: Nothing that I can see after weeks of testing! Perhaps a little pricey at $35, but a little goes a long way.

Final Verdict: I’ve tried a ton of pore serums, and this one is by far my favorite. I’d love to try the rest of the Botanical line too. My pores will pay. You can check it out for yourself at Peach and Lily for $35 USD. (It JUST came back in stock, so act quickly because it goes fast!)

Have you tried any Be The Skin products? What’s your go-to pore serum?

August 8, 2014
by L

Review: Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon in Napa Vineyard and Hawaiian Smolder

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon

Once in awhile you hear about a product that you have to immediately run out the door to purchase. Such is the case with the Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon… I have heard nothing but good things about this line, specifically the Napa Vineyard shade. I’m not normally one to try and pull off a bright red lip, but something about this color was pulling me in. Off to Target I went. My willpower sucks though, so of course I left with not only Napa Vineyard, but Hawaiian Smolder, a warm pink tinted with coral.

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon

The lip crayons come in typical Burt’s Bees packaging. I am diggin’ the honeycomb pattern on the caps, though.

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon Hawaiian Smolder

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon Napa Vineyard

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon

The facts:

Long lasting
Hydrating and moisturizing
100% natural
Available in six shades

From Burt’s Bees:

Introducing six creamy, full-coverage shades of matte lip color in a modern crayon for truly beautiful lip color. Lightweight moisture for a comfortable, everyday wear formula infused with Shea Butter, Kendi Oil, and Jojoba Oil. It’s color that truly cares for your lips!

• Creamy matte color and moisture-rich wear
• For everyday wear either alone or layered under a Lip Gloss or Lip Shine
• Precise application in a playful form without the hassle and mess of sharpening
• No added flavor or fragrance
• Hydrates and moisturizes lips, leaving them feeling soft and smooth


Shea Butter — Shea Butter helps to hydrate and moisturize dry lips leaving them feeling soft and smooch-worthy smooth.

Enriched with conditioning Jojoba Oil and Kendi Oil, which are chock full of Omega 3 to hydrate and moisturize lips. And don’t forget the Shea Butter for an extra dose of moisture.

Ingredients / Ingrédients: ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, candelilla cera (euphorbia cerifera wax, cire de candelilla), cera alba (beeswax, cire d’abeille), cera carnauba (copernicia cerifera wax, cire de carnauba), butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, hydrogenated vegetable oil, aleurites moluccana seed oil*, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, tocopherol, lecithin, silica, glycine soja (soybean) oil. +/- (May contain / Peut contenir): CI 77891 (titanium dioxide), CI 77019 (mica), CI 75470 (carmine), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (iron oxides) *kendi oil

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon

Both shades have great pigmentation, but Hawaiian Smolder is a bit less opaque, and takes a few swipes to build up the color. Napa Vineyard, on the other hand, is in-your-face red in one swipe. But it might take more than one swipe to cover your lips, unless they are two-dimensional.

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon

Bare lips.

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon Hawaiian Smolder

Hawaiian Smolder. I like the color, but I’m a bit disappointed in the matteness of it. Upon application it’s shimmery as per the photo, but once it’s on for a bit and you go about your day, the shimmer wears off and it mattifies a bit. Still not a true matte though. On the plus side, it’s very moisturizing and a good color for everyday wear. Like I mentioned on the swatch, this will take a few swipes to build up to a more opaque hue. And if you’re applying on dry lips, forget it. This will accentuate every flaw you have, typical for a matte. Or a ‘matte’, as it were.

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon Napa Vineyard

Napa Vineyard. (I keep typing that as Veinyard. Napa Veinyard sounds like a wine-fueled horror movie. I do not recommend Napa Veinyard for lip usage. Keep away from children.) I can definitely understand the praise this one has been receiving. A true scarlet red, this one is highly pigmented and will go on perfect with one swipe. However, as many dark colors do, this one can bleed a bit. Nothing a little lipliner can’t fix. If you’re a lipliner person. Me? Nope. This shade is also a lot more matte than Hawaiian Smolder, and I respect that. Also, being a dark color, it tends to hide flaws rather than bring them out. And the main selling point that caused me to lose my shit over this? LONG-LASTING. This crayon is effectively a stain–in Napa Vineyard, anyway. Hawaiian Smolder is long-lasting too, but not like this. Maybe because this one is so much more vibrant.

These lip crayons are both unscented and flavorless, which is a refreshing break from all of those ‘lipstick’ scents out there. You know exactly what I mean.

Also, these may be long-lasting, but they are certainly not smudge-proof, and will gladly mark your territory, wherever your lips may venture.

Pros: Long lasting, moisturizing, great pigmentation, mostly matte.
Cons: Accentuates dry lips, dark colors can bleed, smudgy.

Final Verdict: Color me a fan. I’d definitely like to try the other colors in this line, especially the nude shade. Obviously.

Have you tried any of Burt’s Bees Lip Crayons? I’d love to hear your opinion!

July 30, 2014
by L

Review: Snowgirl Japan Glutathione & Strawberry BB Serum

Snowgirl Japan Glutathione & Strawberry BB Serum

Where do I begin… I found a new BB cream, pardon, BB serum, on one of my hourly eBay scavenges. I was at first attracted to the packaging. Cute, yeah? And then you add the words strawberry and serum and my little heart exploded with glee. You can also throw the word glutathione in there, but shit might start to get crazy.

Snowgirl Japan Glutathione & Strawberry BB Serum

Snowgirl Japan is one of those sort of weird, obscure brands to me. Not obscure in the sense of QBic, where nothing exists aside from some samples outside of eBay and wholesale sites, but obscure in the sense that I have yet to see a full-size product, and Snowgirl Japan isn’t really Japanese. I did some digging, and Snowgirl Japan is a brand under Siam Natural Products Company, which is actually a Thai company. So that explains the Thai language focus on the packaging. Who are these guys trying to fool? Fair enough, they threw some Japanese on there too, but come on. What’s wrong with “Snowgirl Thailand”? I think it’s got a nice ring to it.

Snowgirl Japan Glutathione & Strawberry BB Serum

This product seems to ONLY exist in these packets. No tubes or bottles here, which is pretty disappointing. Unless you put your opened packet into an air-tight container, it’s going to get gross and kind of dried up, which makes for some not-so-fun and slightly unsanitary application.

Snowgirl Japan Glutathione & Strawberry BB Serum

Snowgirl Japan Glutathione & Strawberry BB Serum

I’m always a bit leery about a company that has a free webmail account for an official email. Am I the only one…? To be fair, they have a website. But Gmail? Well, whatever. At least it’s not Hotmail or Yahoo. Then we’d have a problem.

The facts:

UV Protection: SPF 60 PA+++
Sunscreen + Lotion + Foundation
Matte finish
Light coverage
One shade

From Bangkok Retail International:

If you are looking for a make-up (primer) that will not melt under the sun, check out this new BB Serum.

This skin care product is developed by Snowgirl Japan and is multi-purpose. It is a facial sunscreen, lotion and foundation at the same time. (Before there were only BB creams, but this is a serum and it has a different texture).

It has all the essentials for maintaining the beauty of your skin. It contains SPF 60 (Sun Protection Factor) to block UVB rays. And because of the fact that UVA rays are more harmful, this serum has a PA (Protection Grade of UVA rays) ranking of +++.

Why the Glutathione and Strawberry extract? Not only because these natural ingredients sound nice, they have real benefits like brightening the skin and help fade dark spots.
So, make your daily life much easier and productive (time is gold) by using this new affordable facial cosmetic. No worries about the texture of this cream, you can apply it easily without stickiness.


Ingredients: Water, Titanium Dioxide, Octyl Methoxycinnamate, Isopropyl Myristate, Niacinamide, Polysorbate 60, Butyl Methocydibenzoylmethane, Dimethicone Copolyol, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEB-100 Stearate, Fragrance, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium EDTA, Carbomer, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, L-Glutathione, Fragaria Vesca (Strawberry) Fruit Extract. Sodium Polyacrylate, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butyparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben.

Snowgirl Japan Glutathione & Strawberry BB Serum Swatch

This BB Serum is fairly light, and fairly yellow-toned. I am fairly pink-toned as an individual, so already I’m a bit apprehensive about how this will work with my skin. It turns out that it blends and oxidizes well, so no problem there. My issue is where the brand states that this won’t melt under the sun. Because holy melt.

Snowgirl Japan Glutathione & Strawberry BB Serum

Yeah, this is one of those BB creams that won’t allow you to wear moisturizer or primer underneath without getting all weird and blotchy. If you live in a humid climate or sweat a lot, it’s also going to shift all over your face. Definitely apply on fresh, dry skin and use a setting powder if you try this one out, or your cheek will look like mine in the above photo.

The strange shifting could also be because of the lightweight texture of this BB serum. It’s not very ‘serum-y’ per se, but definitely has a light, mousse-y feel to it. It also obviously smells like strawberries, which is nice, but can get old very quickly.

Snowgirl Japan Glutathione & Strawberry BB Serum

I’m going to go ahead and say this product has light coverage. It’ll even up skin tone and slightly mask light freckles, but you won’t be hiding any major acne spots with this alone. This also likes to sink into pores like crazy… and since using a primer only makes it worse for me, this probably won’t be on my repurchase list.

Snowgirl Japan Glutathione & Strawberry BB Serum

With the rest of my shit on. This BB serum, Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation, Forever 21 (Tony Moly knockoff) Sheer Highlighter, Rimmel London Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer, Lancôme Paris L’Extrême Lengthening Mascara, Ardell Brow Defining Palette in Dark, and some knockoff MAC Russian Red lipstick I got in Santee Alley.

Pros: Packets are large and affordable (~$6 USD for 3), lightweight, cute packaging.
Cons: Doesn’t stay fresh for long in the packet. Maybe try storing in a ziploc bag? No access to full-size product that I can find. MELTY and SHIFTY and PORE-SINKING.

Final Verdict: You can probably tell I’m not a huge fan of this one! I am interested in the rest of Snowgirl Japan’s product line though, so I might check those out in the future. If you want to test this for yourself, you can find it at Bangkok Retail International).


Stella Floral Makeup Brush Set

So a LONG time ago my friend Tania got the world’s cutest makeup brush at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s, I don’t remember which. I fell in love with it but could NEVER find it when I was out shopping, nor could I find it online. True sorrow. I had sadly given into fate and thought it just wasn’t meant to be.

Stella Floral Makeup Brush Set

And then Tania surprised me last week with a whole set of them! SO CUTE. Yeah, they’re a knockoff brand from TJM so the quality is far from high, but they are adorable and I am happy. One thing I did notice that is different on this set than on her older brush is the ‘Stella’ branding. On hers, it is much smaller and at first glance looks to be Stila. Wonder what caused the change…? Possible lawsuit? The world will never know.

July 13, 2014
by L

Review: L’Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Color

L'Oreal Extraordinaire Colour Riche Lip Color

Beep beep beep beep beep. New favorite lip product alert. I got a chance to test out three shades of the Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Color for L’Oreal, and although excited, I wasn’t expecting to fall in love.

I fell hard.

L’Oreal sent me three summery shades of this innovative liquid lipstick: 103 Blushing Harmony, 202 Coral Encore, and 304 Ruby Opera. Obviously I was prepared to love the coral, because I’m a coral fiend, but the other two definitely surprised me.

L’Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Color

Needless to say, I adore the packaging. So sleek and luxe. What can I say, I like shiny things. And gold.

L’Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Color

The packaging also shows the color on the side and bottom… so no need to swatch it in the stores, you nasties.

L’Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Color

The facts:

Liquid lipstick
16 shades

From L’Oreal:

Transform lips from ordinary to extraordinary. Color is richer, lip surface is smoother and shine is magnified. Formulated with precious micro-oils and rich color pigments, Extraordinaire provides the ideal balance of color and care for perfect lips. The unique soft-touch applicator allows for a silky-smooth, gliding application.



L’Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Color

The doe foot applicator is flat, fluffy, and probably the best one I’ve ever used.

L’Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Color

As a liquid lip color, these are obviously glossy. If you’re a matte kind of gal (or dude, own it), you might want to shy away from these.


These will leave your lips with a rich, opaque hue in just one swipe. They’re a bit shimmery, which seems to be an unpopular trait with a lot of my fellow beauty bloggers. Fortunately, I find the shimmer to be quite subtle, and since it’s a high gloss product anyway, it’s not an issue.

L'Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Color

The color is removed fairly easily, but I find the longer the product is on, the more it stains. This can be good or bad, depending on the color… and the condition of your lips. Ruby Opera and Coral Encore tend to stain unevenly, and if your lips are dry, it’ll definitely show. With less vibrant tones, like Blushing Harmony, it works a little better.

L'Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Color

Blushing Harmony. This is my new go-to product. I wear it EVERYWHERE. It’s a cross between a soft berry and a nude… basically a My Lips But Better gloss for me. For a better photo of it in action, check out the photo in my previous review for DHC BB Mineral Powder.


Coral Encore. A little more intense than I thought it would be (especially in different lighting, as you can see from the swatch), but I like it.

L'Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Color

Ruby Opera. I love this color but I’m always too timid to wear it outside! Someday…

These are super moisturizing for glossy products, and surprisingly not sticky in the slightest. Thank God. Sticky lips has to be one of the worst-feeling things ever. No thanks. And thanks, L’Oreal. You really understand me.

The color is long-lasting… if you’re not doing anything with your mouth. Once you start eating, drinking, or engaging in other mouth activities, you’re going to need to reapply.

Of course, I have to praise the scent of these: it’s a sweet, citrus-y smell, kind of in between a peach and a nectarine. And since I love peaches and nectarines (perhaps too much), I love this scent. If you also like such fruits, keep in mind that this lip product is not made for consumption. Even if it does taste like a peach. (It does.)

Pros: High pigmentation, glossy, moisturizing, affordable.
Cons: It seems a lot of people don’t like shimmer, so that might turn you off a bit. I don’t find it too noticeable.

Final Verdict: I looooove this product. New favorite by far. I’m not even a gloss or shimmer person (at ALL) but these just… work. I can’t wait to get my hands on some other colors (Nude Ballet!). Interested? You can find them at most drugstores and mass market retailers. Check them out at Target for $8-9 USD a pop.

Have you tried any of the Extraordinaire Lip Colors? I’d love to hear your input!

June 29, 2014
by L

Review: DHC BB Mineral Powder

DHC BB Mineral Powder

Yes, I love BB cream. But as much as I adore a good BB cream, my makeup routine is nothing without a powder. I’ve been using pressed powder since I discovered makeup, and back then that was the ONLY thing I used. Sometimes it still is. And let me tell you from experience–not all powders are created equal. My go-to powder for years has been Mineral Sheers by Neutrogena. I don’t stray often, but when I saw the DHC BB Mineral Powder on their website, it felt like it was meant to be. And so it arrived at my apartment, packaged with some other goodies, courtesy of DHC. Here begins my review.

DHC BB Mineral Powder

The product comes in three separate pieces: compact case, powder refill and puff. I am madly in love with the packaging, as you’ll notice from the million photos I took. Gooooooooollllllldddddd. So luxe.

DHC BB Mineral Powder

First we have the packaging for the compact case itself.

DHC BB Mineral Powder

DHC BB Mineral Powder

DHC BB Mineral Powder

And we have English assembly instructions, for the Japanese-impaired. (Me.)

DHC BB Mineral Powder

How cute is this pact, though? Even if I absolutely hated this powder, the pact alone would keep me loving it. And look. It’s BEDAZZLED.

This pact is also surprisingly lightweight! I thought it was going to be heavy metal. GET IT? HAHAHAHA. But seriously. It’s plastic and light as a feather, perfect for traveling.

DHC BB Mineral Powder

Teeny tiny hole for poking out the refill when it’s finished. Kind of reminiscent of the reset button on your old Tamagotchi. Don’t even pretend you didn’t have one.

DHC BB Mineral Powder

Inside the pact, pre-powder-placement.

DHC BB Mineral Powder

Here we have the packaging for the powder refill–much like the compact packaging, but slightly mattified and textured.

DHC BB Mineral Powder

DHC BB Mineral Powder

More English. Bless you, DHC.

DHC BB Mineral Powder

Japanese instructions are also included of course, in a slightly fancier way.

DHC BB Mineral Powder

DHC BB Mineral Powder

DHC BB Mineral Powder

DHC BB Mineral Powder

Simply peel off the sticker on the bottom of the powder, revealing the glue dollops. Press it gently into the compact case and you’re good to go.

DHC BB Mineral Powder

My little masterpiece. And I did it all by myself.

DHC BB Mineral Powder

And now. The puff.

DHC BB Mineral Powder


This is, no lie, the SOFTEST damn thing I’ve ever touched. And I have touched many a soft thing, like kittens, talcum powder, rose petals and melty ice cream. This trumps all. It is like a fine, fine velvet dancing across your skin. It’s so fine, in fact, that you can hardly even see a texture on it.


And so, what exactly does this powder claim to do?

The facts:

Minimizes dullness
Minimizes shine
Extends life of makeup
Medium coverage

From DHC:

Mineral must-have. Super micro-fine pressed DHC BB Mineral Powder minimizes dullness and shine, helps makeup last longer, covers flaws, brightens and fights visible signs of aging. It finishes your look with the perfect amount of radiance and can be worn alone or as a perfect complement to DHC BB Cream. Features revitalizing germanium and fine line–fighting botanicals. Includes soft powder puff and gorgeous gold compact. Powder refill available.


talc, nylon-12, dimethicone, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, zinc oxide, cetyl ethylhexanoate, glyceryl isostearate, magnesium stearate, diisostearyl malate, silica, hydrogen dimethicone, water/aqua/eau, tocopherol, alumina, cholesteryl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, hydrolyzed collagen, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, repagermanium, sodium acetylated hyaluronate, diproplyene glycol, butylene glycol, avena sativa (oat) kernel extract, hydrolyzed elastin, sodium bicarbonate, quercus suber bark extract, xanthan gum crosspolymer, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, hydroxyethylcellulose, disodium phosphate, ethyhexylglycerin, potassium phosphate, mic/Cl 77019, titanium dioxide/CI 77891, iron oxides/CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499


Here’s the powder, applied over a low-coverage BB cream. It definitely makes some areas of my face smoother, but on some parts the texture is brought out. Nothing a little primer couldn’t fix. It’s incredibly matte, which I’m a fan of, but not so matte that it looks like you’re dead. Unless you think I look dead in that picture. Then you can piss off.

It only comes in one shade, which was a bit light on my new California tan (I can’t decide whether this is good or bad). It did blend in superbly, nicely matching my skin in the end. And the coverage was good, balancing my skin tone and masking slight blemishes.

It does minimize dullness, it does minimize shine. It made my skin look healthy–radiant, even.


Yes, there’s always a but for me.

If you’re a longtime reader of my blog, you know my skin type is oily and that I complain about it constantly. This powder doesn’t really do much in the way of oil control, so that’s the only flaw for me, yet it’s a major flaw. I can’t be upset though, since it’s not advertised as such. But yes, my face starts to get shiny within the hour, so I have to reapply many times throughout the day. If you have normal or dry skin, this would be more up your alley.

Pros: Smooth application, good coverage, amazingly soft puff, cute compact.
Cons: A little on the expensive side, not great oil control.

Final Verdict: I would probably buy this if it were to go on sale. I think it’s a great powder, but for someone with oily skin like myself, the price is a little steep. If you want to check it out, you can find it at DHC for $40 USD, with refills for $25.

Don’t forget to check out my review on DHC BB Cream!

June 22, 2014
by L

Review: My Beauty Diary Earl Grey Tea & Macaron Sheet Mask

My Beauty Diary Earl Grey Tea & Macaron Sheet Mask

Do you like tea? Do you have an eternal craving for French bakery items? Do you perhaps enjoy beautifying your skin? If so, you are in the right place. Today I present to you the Earl Grey Tea & Macaron Sheet Mask, by Taiwanese brand My Beauty Diary. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve reviewed a sheet mask. Awhile back I went on an eBay splurge to get a bunch of random cheapies, and this one looked so cute I couldn’t pass it up.

I’m not sure I get the whole macaron craze, though. Who decided they were the new ‘it’ food? Yes, they are cute and pastel and I’m sure they taste good, although I’ve never actually tried one. And as for tea, well, I’ve never been a tea person. The closest I’ll get to tea is an Arnold Palmer, heavy on the Palmer. I DO like trying out new skincare items though, so into my virtual shopping cart this went.

My Beauty Diary Earl Grey Tea & Macaron Sheet Mask

The ingredients are considerately marked in English, just for me. It turns out this baby is from a limited edition collection from My Beauty Diary, so you might have trouble locating it now outside of eBay.

My Beauty Diary Earl Grey Tea & Macaron Sheet Mask

And apparently I’m a little slow to hop on the Earl Grey Tea & Macaron express train. This collection was released in 2011, thus the production date on the back. Luckily for me, it doesn’t expire until later this year, so we’re golden. Onto my face it goes.

The facts:

Softening and smoothing
Reduces inflammation
Best for normal and dull skin

From (who no longer carries this product):

My Beauty Diary Earl Grey Tea & Macaron Sheet Mask illuminates and clarifies the face in 20 minutes. The combination of black tea ferment and bergamot essential oil gives a miraculously brightening effect. It brightens dull and yellowish skin tone, leaving skin briskly clear, fair and flawless. Sweet almond protein and sugar cane extract are mixed to leave skin glittering and translucent, smooth and delicate. The fruit extracts of rosa canina, blueberry and acerola leave skin fair and perfectly clear, enhancing the skin’s translucency and ability to defend. It’s suitable for normal skin and is recommended for dull skin without lustre.

My Beauty Diary Earl Grey Tea & Macaron Sheet Mask

This mask comes all neatly folded up and completely essence-saturated. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with the scent. I’m not a huge fan of the smell of tea (which is reminiscent of catnip) and I haven’t the slightest idea what a macaron would smell like. Someone send me a damn macaron. Anyway. I was pleasantly surprised by a soft, almost citrus-y scent. Not really tea-like, and I don’t imagine macarons are bleeding Citron. No complaints though, it was nice and not overbearing, the way a lot of sheet masks are.

My Beauty Diary Earl Grey Tea & Macaron Sheet Mask

Unfolded, it’s your typical Asian sheet mask. Something about the look of sheet masks really creeps me out. It’s like some stormtroopers fell into the uncanny valley. Anyway, this mask has a plastic sheet on one side. Pull it off, pat the mask onto your face and you’re ready to go.

This mask is supposed to do its job in 20 minutes. As per usual, I leave mine on from 45-60 minutes, or whenever it feels thoroughly absorbed. Once it’s done, it’ll be more opaque and, well, dry. This particular mask is supposed to be hydrating (what mask isn’t?), illuminating and clarifying. I am just now recovering from the world’s worst sunburn, so I honestly didn’t care what the purpose of the mask was, I just wanted something cooling and soothing on my face ASAP. So, I grabbed this one out of my legendary box-o-masks. I’m not sure why I haven’t thought of this before. This made my facial sunburn SO much more bearable. It brought the redness down and kept my face hydrated, an absolute must when treating a sunburn. As for illuminating and clarifying? My face felt fresh and brighter afterward. I haven’t had any acne or pore issues lately, so I can’t really attest to clarifying. But hey, it could happen.


My only real gripe with this mask is how it fits on my face. No mask is perfect, obviously, but just once, I’d like to have a mask that will cover my nose and not waste half the mask on my upper lip area. I feel like I look like a dinosaur from The Land Before Time. You know, they have that little pointy overbite thing going on? You have no idea what I’m talking about? Well, okay, see ya.

Pros: Hydrating and soothing, brightening. Affordable (I got this for ~$1 USD on eBay).
Cons: Just the fit.

Final Verdict: I don’t know if I’d recommend this particular mask, unless you’re really into macarons and tea. It wasn’t bad or anything, just nothing different than what I’ve tried before. But I DEFINITELY recommend trying out a mask, any mask, if you have a nasty sunburn. If you’re interested in trying this one out, you can find it on eBay.

Interested in other products from My Beauty Diary? Check out one of my first reviews EVER on the Black Pearl Mask.

June 8, 2014
by L

Review: DHC BB Cream Foundation

DHC BB Cream

If you know me at all, you know I love discovering a new BB cream. You also probably know I love DHC, a Japanese company specializing in beauty, skincare and, interestingly enough, fine foods. I’ve long been a fan of DHC’s cleansing oils, but their BB cream has been screaming my name.

DHC BB Cream Box

Angela from DHC was kind enough to send me a few super-awesome products to try out, including my coveted BB cream. Besides the BB cream, she also sent me DHC BB Mineral Powder, Eyelash Tonic, and Retino A Essence. I am so beyond excited to get to use all of these, so stay tuned for reviews!

DHC BB Cream Box

I’m still on a gold kick lately, so obviously I’m entranced by this packaging.

I love Gold | Goldmember

This is the only part of that movie I remember, to be honest. Anyway, shiny box aside, let’s take a peek at the product itself. Oh, wait, more gold.

DHC BB Cream

The facts:

UV Protection: SPF 20
Medium coverage
Available in three shades: Ocher 01, Ocher 02, and Ocher 03

From DHC:

Element of style. DHC BB Cream is an all-in-one makeup wonder. It hydrates, primes, covers, protects with broad-spectrum SPF 20 and fights fine lines. Beauty balms are the skin-perfecting rage, serving as a cream foundation, tinted just enough to naturally conceal, prime and enliven. What sets DHC BB Cream apart is our use of natural element germanium to revitalize skin and fight visible signs of aging. Plus, it has superior blendability. A small amount goes a long way to create a dewy, flawless complexion.


Active ingredients: titanium dioxide, 2.5%; zinc oxide, 4.75%
Inactive ingredients: water, cyclopentasiloxane, isotridecyl isononanoate, phenyl trimethicone, butylene glycol, PEG-10 dimethicone, diglycerin, talc, disteardimonium hectorite, pentylene glycol, polyglyceryl-2 triisostearate, zinc stearate, PEG-9 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone, silica, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum distearate, dimethicone/vinyel dimethicone crosspolymer, magnesium sulfate, phenoxyethanol, hydrogen dimethicone, xanthan gum, dimethicone/methicone copolymer, methicone, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, repagermanium, tocopherol, sodium hydroxide, phytostearyl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, sodium acetylated hyaluronate, hydrolyzed elastin, dipropylene glycol, perfluorooctyl triethoxysilane, avena sativa (oat) kernel extract, sodium bicarbonate, quercus suber bark extract, xanthan gum crosspolymer, aluminum chloride, hydroxyethylcellulose, soluble collagen, ethylhexylglycerin, titanium dioxide, iron oxides, mica

DHC BB Cream Swatch

My fear with new BB creams is that they’ll be too yellow for my skin. I admit, when I first swatched this, I was a little worried. However, it blends in really nicely with my skin and doesn’t make me look jaundiced. Thank goodness.


I asked for Natural Ocher 01, the lightest of three available shades. I’m pale as hell and it works out just fine. This BB cream is almost completely scentless, save for a hint of eau de SPF. I definitely recommend it for people who dislike heavily-scented BB creams, which seem to be most of them.

DHC BB Cream Before and After

First things first, the coverage is sublime. The California sun has really done a number on the tone of my skin, which is currently blotchy, textured and sad. It’s hard for me to find a BB cream with decent coverage that doesn’t feel suffocating, but this comes close! I can feel it on my skin, but it doesn’t feel heavy. It oxidizes nicely, and although it’s a thicker BB cream, it easily blends into my skin. Let me rave about the coverage again. It took away all of my redness and made my skin look so much smoother. I used the DHC BB Mineral Powder after this (not pictured since it’ll have its own review) and it was heavenly. Without a powder, the DHC BB Cream is fairly matte, which I like. No ‘dewy’ look for me, thank you very much.


Does it last?

The BB Cream itself will pretty much stay put all day. However, the oil control leaves something to be desired. I can’t complain too much though, because my skin is totally insane. On a normal person there probably wouldn’t be any issues. For me, I got oily about an hour afterward, but nothing a quick powder dusting couldn’t fix. I blame the California weather. It’s hard to adjust to different climates, and usually my skin suffers before bucking up and dealing with it. Cross your fingers this happens soon.

Anyway, aside from my face melting off every day, I am really digging this BB cream. I do wish it had more oil control, but the coverage is awesome without feeling gross. And at the end of the day, sometimes that’s just what I’m looking for.

Pros: Great coverage, evens skin tone, matte finish (for awhile!).
Cons: Mediocre oil control, a little on the expensive side at $45 USD.

Final Verdict: I really like this BB cream! I feel like I don’t say that a lot. My skin is really picky. But this one just… works with me. And I like it. If you’re interested in trying it out, you can get yours at DHC.

May 27, 2014
by L

Review: Forever 21 Sheer Highlighter (TONYMOLY Plagiarism)


Hey gang. Normally I don’t review Forever 21 cosmetics (aside from the PureDerm pore strips I tried awhile back), but during a cheap accessories run, I noticed this cute little thing hanging out in the checkout line. You know, the part that sucks you in at the last minute.

I wasn’t drawn to it because it’s cute, although we can all agree it is. I was drawn to it because of its ridiculous similarity to a product by TONYMOLY, the Cats Wink Clear Pact.


F21 has been under fire in the past for plagiarizing clothing designs from other companies, so it didn’t really shock me to run into this. To be fair, this similarity is only superficial–F21 is pushing a completely different product, a sheer highlighter. Of course, I was disappointed it wasn’t actually the TONYMOLY pact I’ve been eyeing for awhile, but whatever. It was $3.80 USD, and it was cute.

It might just be me, but it’s sort of alarming to see that the only difference in the packaging is that F21 removed the poor thing’s eyes. Maybe that’s enough to make it ‘unique’, but what kind of person thinks ‘let’s market this with a blind cat, that’s a great idea’? I’d like to meet that person someday.


Love & Beauty & Copyright Infringement, by Forever 21.


Made in China. Pretty sure Chinese cats still have eyes though… what a mystery.


Eyes aren’t in the ingredient list either, so it’s not a mistake.


I rarely use highlighters and illuminators, but when I do, I usually turn to my favorite Watt’s Up Highlighter, by Benefit Cosmetics. The chances of me actually using this product besides as a cute compact borders on rare, but it might come in handy someday.


This doesn’t come with a puff, pad, or brush to apply, so you’ll have to provide your own.


Or finger it. Whatever.


My skin looks diseased!!! But it’s not, it’s just really translucent and sunburnt. Take your judgment elsewhere. In any case, the highlighter is decent. Shimmery and neutral-toned.

It looks like Forever 21 has also taken a liking to several other TONYMOLY products, releasing some veeeery similar lip glosses and mascaras. I may have spotted some products very similar to those of Etude House as well. As fun as it is to have easier access to cute products, plagiarism of any sort is shitty and it shouldn’t happen.

Pros: Cute. Cheap. Highlights.
Cons: It makes me sad that this is ripping off TONYMOLY, a favorite brand of mine. I love me some F21, but come on. And taking away a creature’s eyes doesn’t make it different, it’s just cruel.

Final Verdict: Would I buy this again? Probably not, because I mostly use it as vanity decor. But if you’re looking for a super cheap highlighter residing in the rosy face of a blind cat, this might be right up your alley. Check it out at Forever 21, or look for the original TONYMOLY powder at Amazon, for ~$9 USD.

What do you think about this kind of controversy? Have you tried any of the F21 knockoffs? Seen others that I’m unaware of? Please let me know your thoughts on this, I am genuinely curious to hear what everyone thinks.

May 16, 2014
by L

Review: Leonie Bamboo Charcoal Konjac Sponge


You know that feeling you get when you try a new product and you’re automatically head-over-heels in love with it? Yeah, that’s the one. You want to use it all the time, you never want it to disappear, you tell all your friends about it. It’s rare that I get ‘that feeling’ with a product these days, but I was completely blown away by this awesome sponge, courtesy of Leonie Skincare. I received two different sponges from them: Bamboo Charcoal, best for oily skin, and Green Tea, best for UV-damaged skin. This review will focus on the prior, as I’m still too in love with it to move on to the Green Tea. Sorry Green Tea. Your day will come.


First things first, this review is so delayed! My apologies to Leonie. They sent me these sponges like decades (months) ago, but then I had to take my little hiatus while I worked on some life stuff, like moving across the country.

But! Now that I’m all settled in here in sunny (and unbearably hot right now) LA, I’m planning to get back into the swing of things. Besides the other Leonie konjac sponge, I have another Peach and Lily product to review, and a bunch of DHC products on the way! It’s going to be an exciting couple of months for me, I’ll tell you that.


The facts:

Stimulates blood flow
Promotes cell growth
Best for oily skin, but is fine for all skin types (including sensitive)
100% natural
Vegan friendly
Animal-cruelty free
100% biodegradable
Lifespan of 3 months


Konjac glucomannan, water.

Specialty sponges have either green tea, turmeric or bamboo active charcoal added.


From Leonie:

The Leonie Konjac Sponge will gently exfoliate your skin and provide a deep cleanse that you can immediately feel and see without any harsh chemical.

Perfect for oily and skin prone spots, acne and blemishes.The bamboo charcoal infused konjac sponge absorbs excess oil, toxins and other harmful substances from your skin, leaving you with stronger, healthier skin. Bamboo charcoal also acts as an antibacterial and anti microbial agent to thoroughly clean your skin.

You don’t need to use soap or any cleansing solution with our sponge to bring out your skin’s natural shine. Just wet the sponge and massage your face to exfoliate dead skin cells and encourage skin renewal. Should you want to use with your everyday cleanser, just use a tiny amount as the Leonie Konjac Sponge texture will help produce more foam.

Made from top-quality, moisture-rich Konjac fibres that have been used by Chinese and Japanese women for over 1500 years for cooking and beauty purposes, the Leonie Bio-Sponge is 100% vegan-friendly and animal-cruelty free.


This sponge comes packaged all nice and moist in plastic. Once you get it, rinse it out and begin!


So simple and quick to use. Make sure it’s wet but not soppingly wet, and massage it all over your face. I could seriously do this for hours… and I have. No. I haven’t. But someday I might.


So fresh and so clean, clean. Before actually touching this, I was afraid it was going to be harsh on my skin. I’m a sucker for some good exfoliation, but I do have a tendency to overdo it, which makes my skin very sad. Luckily, this thing is so so so soft and feels AMAZING being massaged onto your face. The Leonie website even says it’s okay to use on babies! But honestly, will babies really appreciate this product like I do? No. Back off, babies.

No cleanser or anything is necessary when using the sponge, as it does its own thing. You won’t see any foaming going on, but you can definitely tell something magical is happening. It also has a very specific scent. Does anyone else have smell memories? When you smell something and it takes you back to an exact time and place, or vice-versa? I get that SO bad when I use this product. And I still can’t pinpoint what it is… the closest I’ve gotten is one of my old elementary-school classrooms. Is that weird? Or maybe my ceramics class in high school. Usually charcoal products smell like smoking hotel rooms to me, but not this one. I just can’t figure it out…

But I digress. Does this product get the job done? I can honestly say I’ve never used something that has made my skin feel SO clean before without even rinsing it. My skin feels moisturized afterwards, not tight at all, yet it’s not oily. I can’t say it’s affected the long-term oiliness of my skin yet, but we’ll see what happens in the next three months!


Hang it up and let it dry until next time.


One of my absolute favorite things about this product is that when it’s time to be retired, you can simply pop it into some dirt and it’ll help keep your plants moist. So cool! Since moving to California, I have a ton of plants on my balcony, and the sun dries them out SO fast. I might just stock up on konjac sponges to help moisturize my plants. Yep, that’ll be the only reason…


Have a different skin concern? There are three other options to pick from: Naturally Bare, for normal and sensitive skin; Turmeric, for aging skin; and Green Tea, for UV-damaged skin.

Pros: EVERYTHING. But seriously, everything. Easy to use, soft, exfoliating, moisturizing… you just feel clean afterwards.
Cons: Not a thing. My only fear would be that I’ll wear this out, but it hasn’t happened yet!

Final Verdict: It’s pretty obvious this is one of my favorite things ever, so if you haven’t tried a konjac sponge yet, what are you waiting for? Get yours today at Leonie Skincare (direct from Amazon) for $12 USD!

Have you tried a konjac sponge? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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