Monday, February 3, 2014

A Whole Lotta O' Empties

Hello, internet! I know I've been MIA but I have quite a few "empties" reviews I'd like to share. I don't have a picture to accompany this post because I ended up throwing away or recycling the containers since they were piling up.

Here goes:

Ariel's Secret Garden - Goat Milk Lotion in Island Goddess Cupcake, 4 oz.

A really nice moisturizing body cream, lighter than the Luxury Body Frosting (see below). This had a sort of whipped texture and was not greasy. The container says it is best kept refrigerated and I kept it in the fridge until I was ready to use it. I looooooved the scent but I am a big fan of tropical scents. This smelled like a sweet pina colada or tropical drink with just a hint of bakery. It's perfect for the summer or hotter months.

Repurchase? Yes.

Ariel's Secret Garden - Luxury Body Frosting with Goat Milk in Mardi Gras, 8 oz

This is a great body cream. Moisturizing and rich but not greasy. This also needed to be refrigerated. Mardi Gras is a nice fruity floral scent, kind of like Herbal Essence shampoo or scents in that vein. Because the lotion is supposed to be refrigerated, I kept getting paranoid that it was going bad. I didn't use the last few ounces because I was convinced it was starting to smell wonky.

Repurchase? Yes.

The Bathing Garden - Creamy Sugar Scrub in Guava Berry Gelato, 4 oz.

Went through another TBG sugar scrub! As I've said before, I love the consistency of this scrub because I can use it year-round. It provides good (medium) exfoliation and it's not greasy at all. The formula isn't as oily as other scrubs but it emulsifies into a nice cream. The scent is heavenly! Perfect for summer. A fresh creamy berry with a hint of tropical guava. Sweet with a little kick.

Repurchase? Yes!

The Bathing Garden - Creamy Sugar Scrub in Merlia the Mermaid, 8 oz.

As usual, I very much loved the consistency of the scrub. The presentation was also lovely. This was a split scrub and one half was pinkish and the other half was light blue if I remember correctly. There were rainbow pieces of candy or some sort of sprinkles on the top. The scent was not my favorite though. It reminded me of gumballs. It wasn't terrible but definitely not my fave.

Repurchase? No, not in this scent.

Haus of Gloi - Reverie Whipped Soap in Hot Cocoa, 4 oz.

Love the light, fluffy whipped consistency of this soap. Lathers well too. I use it for shaving. The scent was amazing. It really did smell like hot chocolate with a few marshmallows. It was very strange for the shower though. It felt a little odd to have something so foody in the bathroom. For that reason, I would not repurchase.

Repurchase? No, not in this scent.

Haus of Gloi - Whipped Soap in Milkmaid, 8 oz.

Again, great texture. The scent was perfect for the Spring. Light and feminine, a creamy sweet floral (sweet pea). This is the kind of scent I have decided I like in the shower. It smells clean and lovely. Fr those of you that hate milky scents, don't let the name of this one discourage you.

Repurchase? Yes!

Haus of Gloi - Whipped Soap in Ruth, 8 oz.

Love the texture and lather as usual! I am on the fence about the scent. A fresh strawberry and patchouli mix. Very unique and pleasant, a grown up earthy strawberry. I very much enjoyed it although I am not sure it's very "me." It's fresh and not too sweet.

Repurchase? Probably.

Mad City Sue - Shower Parfait Cream Soap in Olive Branch Type, 4 oz.

I thought the texture of this soap would be more fluffy, like the whipped soap from Haus of Gloi. This is more like a creamed bar of soap. I liked it, it lathered well.  But I think I prefer the fluffy versions just because I like that texture. This smelled great, like the Olive Branch from Lush. Kind of a unisex herbal scent. Just lovely.

Repurchase? Probably, just for the scent.

Moon's Harvest - Sugar Whipped Body Scrub in Island Girl, 6 oz.

This scrub was a little too liquid-y for me. I don't know if the heat caused it to melt a little but I prefer my scrubs to be less viscous. It provided good exfoliation and it wasn't greasy. As for the scent, I loooooved it. This was right up my alley. Scent description: "begins with fruity notes of mango, fresh strawberries, elderberries, and ripe papaya. This scent is completed with rich vanilla and toasted coconut with just a hint of soft musk." It reminded me of a delicious tropical drink. Really good.

Repurchase? Not the scrub but I want to try other things in this scent.

Solstice Scents - Creamy Whipped Soap in Blueberry Muffin Batter

I've written about the texture of this soap before. Similar to Haus of Gloi's Whipped Soap. This scent was very true to the name. It smelled like blueberry muffin batter in my shower. Tart but almost syrupy blueberries mixed with sweet and cakey batter. Which again, weirded me out because realistic foody scents in the bathroom seem out of place. Strongly scented.

Repurchase? No, not in this scent. I might like this more in body cream form though.

Soap slivers I finished:
  • A Life Deliberate: Honey I Washed the Kids - a creamy goat milk soap. A dupe of the Lush classic. Lighter scented and lathered well.
  • Ariel's Secret Garden: Chance by Chanel - strongly scented! I can't remember what Chance smells like but this was really good. Perfume-y. A goat milk soap that lathered well.
  • Ariel's Secret Garden: Oatmeal & Honey (unscented version) - I am on the fence about this soap. It was moisturizing but the oatmeal bits were huge. I guess they provided exfoliation though.
  • Lush: Scentenary - scented in the Rose Jam fragrance. This was a nice, creamy soap. I had to use it because it kept "sweating" and the oils were seeping into my other soaps in storage. Although I enjoyed this, I probably wouldn't buy it again.
  • Valhalla Soaps: Gardenia & Coconut Milk - this is lovely. Like creamy fragrant gardenias and a little bit of coconut milk. This is not a sugar sweet coconut milk, it's subtle. Lathers well. I would repurchase this and I am glad I bought two bars.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Haul - Japanese Cosmetics

The Loot

My mom went to Japan last month and I asked her to bring me back some Japanese cosmetics. A few of these items are raved about by beauty gurus and I wanted to try them. Other products I've tried before and wanted backups since Japanese beauty products are much more expensive (and harder to find) in the U.S. My poor mom though. She doesn't speak Japanese so she had a little difficulty finding the exact items I requested. But she came through! Yay mom!

Here's what I got:

  • Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50 - I really wanted to try this. I've watched and read some rave reviews like this one
  • Dolly Wink liquid eyeliners in black and brown - the best liquid eyeliner I've tried. The tip is sooooo fine and precise. They are less expensive in Japan although I am totally willing to pay the $18 to $20 they retail for in the U.S. on some websites and in beauty supply stores. This is a drugstore brand in Japan.
  • Dolly Wink eyeliner in black - I don't remember asking for this but my mom just threw it into the mix. 
  • Cure Natural Aqua Gel - lots of rave reviews. It's an exfoliating gel. I haven't tried it but I am looking forward to seeing if it works. Something like it causes your dead skin to clump up in balls and come off. It sounds scary and yet I'm intrigued.
  • Shiseido Benefiance Extra Creamy Cleansing Cream - I actually wanted a cheap drugstore Shisiedo face wash called "Perfect Whip Foam" (Shiseido has several lines in Japan) but my mom couldn't figure out which one it was so she bought this instead. It's available in the U.S. and it's a lot more expensive than the one I requested. 
  • Fairy Drops Mascara in black (non-waterproof) - a really popular mascara in Japan. I've tried it before and I like it so I wanted a spare. It's not my favorite mascara but it's good.
  • Fairy Drops Mascara Base - wanted to try this. I love a good mascara base.
  • Shu Uemura Drawing Pencils Eyeliner in 02 M Brown - my favorite pencil eyeliner, wanted extras. Nice dark line and doesn't smudge. 
I also requested some Shu Uemura foundations since they are very hard to find in the U.S and some versions are not even available on-line. I had to google what was popular and which shade would work for me since I really had no idea. For reference, I have normal/combination skin and I'm a MAC NC30.
  • Glowing Fit Powder Foundation in 764 - I am using this right now and I looove it. Such a nice natural finish and it isn't heavy. Years ago I wore MAC StudioFix and this is so much better. It doesn't provide as much coverage though so it works best on people who have relatively clear skin. The color also matches me exactly. More yellow than American foundations.
  • Face Architect Smooth Fit Fluid Foundation in 764 Medium Light Beige - lots of rave reviews for this foundation. I hope I like it as much as everyone else! 

You can find some of these items on-line at Sasa and iMomoko.

Disclaimer:  I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned or linked.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fun in the Sun - My Sun Care Routine

Sun Care 

The direction of this blog has changed a little because I haven't been buying as much handmade body products lately. I have a ton and I need to use some of that stuff up before I buy more. I will continue to review handmade products but I've also decided to include posts about beauty and makeup.

This post is dedicated to my sun care routine. I was a teen in the 90s and there were not nearly as many "wear sunscreen" warnings as there are now. I spent a lot of time in the sun and really didn't pay much attention to sun care. I also went to college by the beach and after college, a lot of my summers were spent lounging around on my then boyfriend's boat at the lake. I look back and I wish I had worn more freakin' sunscreen.

Aside from the typical sun spots that come with aging, last year I developed a suspicious looking mole on my finger. My dermatologist said I have to watch it carefully. Something like if it spreads to my cuticle, I need to make a follow-up appointment right away. My mom tried to warn me about sun damage when I was younger but I ignored her because I have light olive skin that tans easily. I was like, "naaaah, I'm not gonna burn!" And I'd slap on some tanning oil with zero SPF. Dumb.

Now that I am in my 30's, I am diligent about applying sunscreen. But I admit it, I like being tanned. So I've started using self-tanning lotions.  I would have never used this stuff in high school and college but sun damage is never worth a tan! Ever...

These items are my current sun care faves:
These are my self-tanning faves:

Hanging out by the pool a couple weeks ago. Bikini by J. Crew.

I also wear a hat and sunglasses at all times.  I usually wear an old baseball cap and right now, my current sunglasses are Ray-Ban Cockpit Aviators.

What about you? What are your favorite sun care items?

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned or linked.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Perfume Collection



This blog entry was inspired by a post from Dana's Little Wax Blog. I also like perfumes and fragrances and I have a variety from which to choose. I tend to shy away from super mainstream scents although I purchase them every once in a while.

Some of my perfumes are pretty old, like 5 years+. The packaging may look different now. I debate whether I should throw them out. If any of you are perfume aficionados, let me know how long perfumes can be stored. I read anywhere between 5 years to indefinitely but I don't know...

Here's my current collection in two parts.

See picture above for Part I.  Part I from left to right:
What are some of your favorite perfumes and fragrances?

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned or linked.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Morning Face Routine & Makeup

Morning Face Routine

I'm following up my night routine post with one about my morning routine. I keep it relatively simple in the morning because I always oversleep. If I had to choose between looking polished or more sleep, I will pretty much always choose sleep. 

So in morning I usually wash my face with Cetaphil or CeraVe. After that, I use the following:
  • Mario Badescu: Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater - light and refreshing. Smells nice too. I use about two spritzes.
  • CeraVe: A.M. Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 - this is a good daily moisturizer but I do not recommend it for people with oily skin. I have normal/combination skin and it is almost too rich for me. Almost. 
  • Shiseido: Sun Protection Eye Cream SPF 32 - a good eye cream with high SPF! Exactly what I was trying to find.
I have a makeup table in the corner of my bedroom and this is what it normally looks like:

Table: IKEA, lamp: Target, acrylic makeup storage: Muji, mirror: Otte, acrylic brush holder: amazon.com,
makeup bag: MAC , makeup brush roll (lying flat): MAC and lipstick holder: Bobbi Brown.

I wish I could say I keep it neat and clean but that would be a lie. Half the time I can't find what I'm looking for.

Despite having all that makeup, I normally wear the same stuff to work everyday:


  • Lioele: Water Drop BB Cream (comes in one shade for light to light/medium skin tones) - I am on the fence about this product, another YouTube beauty guru discovery. It's great for the summer because it's cooling (the water drops) and sheer but the color is not an exact match. It's not obvious since it's sheer but it would be nice if this product came in more shades. I am normally a MAC NC 25 - 30. 
  • Anastasia: Brow Powder in Medium Ash - I don't feel "done" unless my eyebrows are groomed.
  • Benefit: Speed Brow - a really good brow gel. I have tried many kinds but I like this one. It's tinted and keeps my brows in place. The only thing is that the tube is small compared to other brands. You don't get much product.
  • MAC eyeshadows - I normally just sweep my entire lid in Rice Paper (the lighter color) but if I have extra time, I'll apply some Woodwinked too. These are stored in my Z Palette.
  • Hard Candy: So Baked Bronzer in Hula Hula - I love a good bronzer! I have a ton but I've been using this one a lot lately. It's a little shimmery but not all out glittery.
  • Maybelline: Dream Touche Highlighting Concealer in Nude - I use this to highlight as well as to counteract dark circles. It's sheer so it will not cover zits. If I get a zit, I use Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage in Shade 3.
  • Lancome: Cils Booster XL - I love long almost fake looking lashes so I wear mascara base everyday. 
  • Prestige: My Blackest Lashes - a really good mascara. Makes my lashes thick and long and doesn't clump or flake.
  • Inglot: Lip Duo: #15 - pinky-brown nude lipglosses are my favorite. This is my go to shade right now. And the pot is so cute!
My entire morning face routine takes about 10 minutes max, including washing my face. As for my hair, I usually throw it in a ponytail. What about you? What's your morning routine?

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sugar Scrub and Lotion Storage

Handmade Lotions and Sugar Scrubs

I went on a sugar scrub and lotion buying spree a few months ago and now I have...a lot. Since it's warm and handmade products tend to have a shorter shelf life, I decided to store my scrubs and lotions in my refrigerator:



The crisper drawer (bottom left side), which I think is actually for fruits and vegetables, is where I store the bath and body products. This has confused a few guests. They dive in there thinking each container is a dessert or treat. Then I have to break the news that none of that stuff is edible. 

Also, I realize that when you look into my fridge, it appears as though I live on a diet of prepackaged salads, chocolate and assorted beverages. I'm afraid this is mostly true.

Do you store any beauty products in the fridge? I've read that some people keep perfume or eye cream in their refrigerator. 

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned or shown above.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Nighttime Face Routine

Nighttime Face Routine

Several of you enjoyed the "What's in My Shower?" post so I've decided to share my nighttime face routine. I like watching these type of videos on YouTube too. In fact, some of the products I currently use were discovered via YouTube beauty guru videos!

For reference, I have normal/combination skin, I'm in my 30s and I occasionally suffer from mild break outs, especially when I'm PMSing. I do have to be careful what I put on my face because some products have caused me to break out in pimples or rashes.

Note: although the focus of this blog is handmade products, none of the products listed below are handmade.

So here what I use at night:
  • Bioderma: Sensibio H20 - a fabulous and gentle makeup remover. It feels like water but gets all the makeup off effectively. The funny thing about this stuff is that I noticed it was available in all the pharmacies in Europe when I visited last summer. I had no idea what it was. And then a few months later, I discovered it via YouTube. I had to hunt this down this bottle here in the U.S. and it is more expensive. I found it at a beauty supply store.
  • Cetaphil: Gentle Cleanser (original formula) - this doesn't really lather and I used to dislike that but I found this cleanser is gentle and effective. Never makes me break out. I have repurchased this many times. One time I accidentally bought the oily skin version of this soap and for some reason, that version caused me to break out.
  • Hadanomy: Collagen Mist - so this is another product I discovered via YouTube. It's not easy to find. I think I bought this on-line or at an Asian beauty supply store. It's way thicker than any toner I've ever used but it's also more moisturizing. Smells refreshing too. I am not sure if I'd buy this again but I'll use what's left.
  • Olay: Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream - a few years ago I read some Consumer Reports article that stated this was the most effective anti-aging face cream. They all scored mediocre at best but this outperformed even the most expensive ones. I have no idea if this is still the case but I have repurchased this cream time and time again. During the winter, sometimes I like to use La Mer but at $150 a jar, I use it sparingly.
  • Nivea: Q10 Eye Cream - this is the European version. I remember reading that Nivea is formulated differently in Europe and it has been said the formulations are better. Less parabens I think. Anyway, I did some hoarding last summer and bought a variety of Nivea products when I was there. This is a nice non-sticky eye cream, moisturizes well. Get's the job done.

Products I occasionally incorporate into my routine.

Products I use occasionally:
  • Mario Badescu: Drying Lotion - for zits. I find it is very effective at drying out my pimples when I have break outs. I have repurchsed this several times.
  • Caudalie: Pulpee Vitaminee Anti-Wrinkle Serum - since I'm in my 30s, I am all about anti-wrinkle products. This one is nice and gentle but I think I prefer SkinCeutical's CE Ferulic.
  • ROC: Deep Wrinkle Night Cream (with retinol) - when I was in my early/mid 20s, I am pretty sure I wasn't using retinol face products. But now many of the 20-something beauty gurus are using some form of retinol or Vitamin A cream to prevent wrinkles and smooth out the complexion. My dermatologist has also suggested I get on board. For now I use this but I am considering Retin-A  Micro or some other prescription version.
To be honest, half the time I am waaaay to lazy (and tired) to go through this whole routine at night. Most of the time I wash my face with the Cetaphil, spray on the Hadanomy toner and slap on some Olay cream then call it a day. 

How about you? What are some of your favorite nighttime routine products?

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned.