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.

My Beauty Diary Earl Grey Tea & Macaron Sheet Mask

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!

April 19, 2014
by L
1 Comment

Review: Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner


Long time no update. As some of you might know, my life is a total shambles right now. I got dumped and am in the process of moving across the country. I decided on Los Angeles. I know, I know, earlier I was trying to decide between Seattle and Portland, but I traveled out there by myself to check out the area and it just didn’t feel right. That, and I didn’t get the job I wanted, so I was feeling pretty indifferent. Anyway, I think LA will be better for jobs, and I have a bunch of friends there. So in about 10 days, I will be starting my life anew. In my ungodly expensive apartment. So… cross your fingers I find a decent-paying job.


Since I haven’t had a legit update in a few months (!), I figure I’ll try to squeeze one in before things get hectic again. A looooong time ago Peach and Lily sent me a few products to try out, and by a long time, I mean before Christmas. So I’m kind of slacking, but I have my reasons, of course. On a good note, in the huge amount of downtime I’ve had, rolling about in my sorrows, I’ve used this product enough that it’s almost empty, so I can confidently say I know it like the back of my hand. Or face, because that’s where it goes.

So, without further ado, I present Mizon’s AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner.


Okay, a little further ado. Just to keep you up to date, Peach and Lily is an e-commerce site focused on introducing hard-to-access Korean and Japanese beauty products to the US. They currently ship to the 48 contiguous states, but if you’re in Alaska, Hawaii, or abroad, there are plans in the works for shipping your way in the future! Also, they have free shipping for orders over $50.

The current brands Peach and Lily are offering include Aromatica, Be The Skin, Caolion, Clio, Cremorlab, May Coop, Mizon, Morihata, Sua Young, Tatcha, and Uka.

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

The facts:

Balances skin’s pH
Keeps skin fresh and radiant
For all skin types (tread carefully with sensitive, though)
150 ml


From Peach and Lily:

A toner and exfoliant all in one. Perfect for a busy schedule – balance your pH level while sloughing off dead skin cells gently each day. Leaves complexion extremely fresh. Ideal for dry and oily skin. Not recommended for very sensitive skin.



Water, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, Glycerin, Carica Papaya Fruit Extract, Butylene Glycol, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Artemisia Absinthium Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Gentiana Lutea Root Extract, Glycolic Acid, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Lactic Acid, Sodium Lactate, Salicylic Acid, Disodium Edta, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Fragrance


I love experimenting with new toners and astringents, but for the past couple years I’ve been really stuck on Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner. What can I say, I’m a sucker for anything rose-scented, and it’s super gentle and moisturizing without making me oily.


If you know me at all, you know I constantly whine about my pores and my out-of-control T-zone. So, when I started reading about this magical toner by Mizon (which I adore), I was sold before even trying the product. My skin has gotten a bit texture-y with an uneven skin tone in my old age (wah). Exfoliating? Don’t mind if I do. My pores are crying for help. Balancing and moisturizing? Yes please. So basically, this sounds like my miracle product. But does it stand up to the hype?


It is definitely moisturizing, which I’ve been looking for lately, despite my rabid T-zone. Stripping my face of oils is only going to produce more oils to compensate for the loss, so it’s important to keep skin moisturized. This toner does just that without getting oily or sticky. It makes my skin feel fresh and hydrated.


The exfoliating part is my FAVORITE factor by far. I was a little hesitant at first, since my skin can be pretty sensitive, but it’s very gentle. If you have REALLY sensitive skin, I would recommend only using it once a day. I don’t really think anyone would have much of an issue with it, though. And afterward? My face feels as smooth as a Korean baby’s bottom.

The pH balancing factor isn’t as dramatic as I was hoping for, but that might be because my skin is really stubborn. I didn’t find it to get any oilier than usual though, so that’s a plus.

Also, no pictures of the toner in its final form, but that’s because it just looks like water, not because I’m lazy. Back off.

For a few final notes, this toner is quickly absorbed and smells citrusy. I also lovelovelove the bottle. It looks so sleek and clean, and the design and typography is beautiful.


Pros: Time-saver, exfoliating yet gentle, hydrating, balancing.
Cons: A little pricy, but in my opinion? Worth it. Plus, it’ll last you a long time. I find that applying it with clean hands will save you a lot of product rather than using absorbing cotton. Although that can get messy, so watch yourself.

Final Verdict: I’m in love with this toner. Don’t tell my old one, please. I’ll definitely be purchasing this in the future again and again and again and again (well, once I come into some money). Interested in trying this mega-toner out? Get it at Peach and Lily for $36 USD.

Check back in a few weeks for another Peach and Lily product review (hint: PORES)!

Also, are any of my blogpals or business friends on LinkedIn? Connect with me!

January 25, 2014
by L

Review: Lime Crime Opaque Lipstick in Coquette


This week I was planning on reviewing another Peach & Lily product, but I’m going to push that back a week just so I totally get the feel of the product (it’s a toner!). So instead you get a lipstick review. Can you believe I’ve never tried anything Lime Crime until now?


My darling blogpal Minsooky has reviewed some Lime Crime products and, well, I was convinced to try out some of their lipstick for myself. Lime Crime is known for having some outrageous neon and uncommon shades, but are also popular for their nude lipsticks, which are constantly sold out. I ended up purchasing mine on eBay, and chose Coquette, a pale, peachy-nude–their lightest color available.


Yes, it’s a lipstick.


How can you not like unicorns? Especially sparkly ones? If you don’t like sparkly unicorns you can kindly exit my blog and go do something dark and depressing. I won’t be offended.

The facts:


From Lime Crime:

Bold. Opaque. Recklessly loaded with pigment. For lips that speak louder than words.



Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Diisostearyl Malate, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Trioctyldodecyl Citrate, Castor Isostearate Succinate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Octyldodecanol, Ozokerite, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Polyethylene, Microcrystalline Wax, Phenoxyethanol, Vanillin, Capryl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Vegetable Oil, BHT. [+/-] Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Yellow 5 Lake (CI19140), Red #7 Lake (CI45410, CI15850), D&C Red #6 (CI15850), Blue #1 Lake (CI42090), Yellow #6 Lake (CI15985).


Not a unicorn, but sparkly nonetheless.




As you can see, this is kind of orange-looking as a swatch. I was pretty surprised, but thought maybe it would look a bit different on my lips. And with different lighting. Lipstick can be so damn temperamental.


No flash.



It definitely looks a LOT better on my lips, and shies away from that dark orange it gave my hand. Thank God. It looks good in both ambient and strobe lighting, but I prefer ambient, as always. It’s still a LITTLE darker than what I was hoping for, but it’s one of the best nudes I’ve found for myself. Really, to get the perfect nude, I just dab a bit of foundation on my lips and top with a clear balm or gloss… but that’s so complex. It can’t be so hard to make a super light nude lipstick, can it? Come on.

Anyway, the formula for this lipstick is super creamy, and it easily glides on. It feels very moisturizing as well, which is good for forever-dry lippers like me. This lipstick is pretty opaque, and even though it’s not drying, I would recommend exfoliating your lips before application–it’ll show dry, flaky patches.

It lasts a decent amount of time, providing you aren’t shoving things in your mouth. I can’t really give you an estimate because I drink water like every two minutes, but I tried to be gentle, I did, and it stayed put! But then I scarfed down a Caesar salad and it went away. So… be sensible. As far as I know, it’s long-lasting.

Pros: Smooth application, creamy, opaque coverage, relatively long-lasting.
Cons: Not as light as I expected. It looks a LOT lighter on the website, right? A bit on the expensive side, but you’re looking at someone who likes to be thrifty with drugstore makeup. Sup, Maybelline.

Final Verdict: In my opinion, it’s not the exact nude shade for me, but I still like it enough that I plan on wearing it a bunch, and I’m definitely going to check out other Lime Crime lipsticks (you know, when I somehow acquire money). Still looking for your perfect nude? Check out Coquette (or its slightly pinker sister Babette) at Lime Crime for $18 USD.

January 19, 2014
by L

Review: PureDerm Botanical Choice Charcoal Nose Pore Strips


On my winter vacation to Minnesota, I of course had to pay a visit to my old stomping grounds of the Mall of America. After a successful hunt for some cheap necklaces at Forever21, I stumbled onto something magical in the checkout line. Charcoal Pore Strips? In America? Is there a Western company that’s finally catching up to Asia?


Could it be true? At $3.80 for a 6-pack, there wasn’t really a reason for me to not buy them.


I didn’t realize it until after I had purchased them, but PureDerm is actually a daughter brand of Adwin Korean Corp. My initial shock at finding an American charcoal pore strip turned into shock at the fact that a Korean (albeit Americanized) skincare product was on sale at Forever21. I feel like progress is being made, and for that I am happy. NOW GET EVERYTHING ELSE OVER HERE.

The facts:

Unclogs pores
Removes blackheads
Six strips per box

From PureDerm:

* Purederm Botanical Choice Nose Pore Strips “Charcoal” are one-step cleansing treatment specifically designed to
unclog pores and lift away unwanted blackheads.

* The strip removes dirt and oil which clog pores, leaving your skin clear and smooth.

* Continued use of Nose Pore Strips works to tighten pores, keeping skin looking and feeling fresh.
* Contain Charcoal & Witch Hazel Extract.

◆ How to Use
1. Thoroughly wash your face, making sure that it is free of any creams, lotions or make-up.
2. Dry hands, then open packet and peel the wtrip off from the plastic liner. Use opened pacjet promptly so strip peels easily from liner.
3. Throughly wet your nose with water. If nose is not wet enough, the strip may not stick and may not be effective.
4. Apply the strip to moistened nose area with the shiny side facing your skin. Press down and smooth out air bubbles, ensuring good contact with skin.
5. Let the strip dry for 10 to 15 minutes. The strip should feel stiff as it dries. Depending on humidity, climate or perspiration, leave on slightly longer or shorter.
6. After the strip is dried, slowly and carefully peel off strips starting at edges, pulling toward center. If there are any residue, rinse off with water.


This is the second charcoal pore strip I’ve tried–the first being the Nesura Charcoal Pore Strip. I was definitely interested to see how similar they would be, as I remember being kind of disappointed with the Nesura product. It might have just been the rank smell, though.


Cute instructions. As a note, it says to leave it on for 10-15 minutes, but mine was dry in five. It might be a climate thing though, it’s dry as shit here in West Texas.


Outside of the pore strip. It’s a bit differently shaped than the Nesura one, and feels like a better fit to my nose though. EXCEPT THE TIP, AS PER USUAL. Why all the nose tip discrimination? Should I just get rid of it? Damn.


Curled ever-so-delicately, so you can see the shiny inside that adheres to your precious nose. Does anyone remember those Chinese Miracle Fish you could get out of quarter machines? Do they still make those? Anyway, this kind of reminded me of that when it curled up. I’ve never had a pore strip do that before. I wonder what it means…………


Feeling kind of nostalgic now.


Okay, so it fits well minus the tip, and dries super quickly. Unlike the Nesura strip, it does NOT smell like a smoking hotel room. But it does smell like bug spray. A brand spanking new can of OFF!® insect repellent, swaddling my nose. Come on, charcoal. Can’t you smell like roses? Just for once in your life?


This pore strip didn’t do all that much. One large extraction and a bunch of follicle bits. My nose looks not-so-terrible though, so maybe my Caolion Pore Minimizing Pack is doing its job. I’m okay with that.


Additionally, PureDerm also sells nose strips in Regular, Aloe, Choco Cacao, Green Tea, and Tea Tree–as well as a plethora of other skincare products.

Pros: Fast-drying, easy to remove, painless, available outside Korea.
Cons: Bug spray-scented, usually leaves behind some residue.

Final Verdict: These work just as well as any charcoal pore strip–it just boils down to scent. Would you rather have a smoking room at a hotel plastered on your face or a can of bug spray? In all seriousness though, these pore strips are fine, and they do what they’re designed to do. If you’re curious, you can find them on Amazon, eBay, or other random stores.

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