Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cle de Peau Beaute Gentle Protective Emulsion SPF20

When I was using the Cle de Peau Beaute Gentle Protective Emulsion SPF25 PA++, I noticed, and subsequently noted in my review, that Cle de Peau Beaute also has a crazy expensive, though super nice sunscreen (or so I've read), but that the US version has entirely different ingredients than the Japanese/Asian version. Since I was using the Japanese version of the Protective Emulsion, and it had some, albeit wimpy, sun protection, I wondered if that meant there is a different US version for it also.

Well, guess what, there is - this Gentle Protective Emulsion SPF20 - the note the weaker SPF and the absence of the PA rating. I actually grabbed this 5mL/0.16fl oz. tube in a sample set off of E(vil)bay because I wasn't about to drop $130 just for kicks, but a few bucks to satisfy my curiosity is okay ^.^ E(vil)bay being what it is, and I can't be sure how old these samples are. That said, since their inner packaging look exactly like the fresh Japanese counterparts from 2012, I think these probably can't be any older than 2011. I'm saying that because I also bought an older set of samples, probably from around, or even before, 2010 and those have different inner and outer packaging altogether!

The sample set includes, from left to right, Cleansing Cream 9mL/0.29oz., Gentle Cleansing Foam 6mL/0.23oz., this Gentle Protective Emulsion SPF20 5mL/0.16fl oz., and Gentle Balancing Lotion 12mL/0.40fl oz.

The US version (top row) has English on the back (duh?), versus the Japanese version (bottom row).

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Aqualabel White Clear Foam

On one hand, I feel like short trips are perfect for trying out travel sized items. On the other, I know trying some brand new on my dry and sometimes fickle skin when I'm away from home is really kind of, umm, crazy. Or should I say stupid? Or both? Didn't stop me this time with Aqualabel White Clear Foam though (or any other time in the past, either...) xD

From the Meizhuang (美妝, Beauty) issue of FashionGuide Magazine TW, Fall 2012 Vol. 25, I got some nice freebies with a localized 50mL/1.7fl oz. bottle of Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Body CreamToms Whitening Renewal Mask which went to my mum, and a set of localized (as in made in Taiwan) Aqualabel White samples, which has 2 packets each of this White Clear Foam 2g, White Up Lotion S (Refreshing) 2mL, and White Up Emulsion S (Refreshing) 2mL. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

KenetMD Body Lotion

This KenetMD Body Lotion was part of the Hair and Body Care Travel Set I was using during a recent week-long stay at a hotel.

KenetMD Hair and Body Care Travel Set, which includes Shampoo, Conditioner, and this Body Lotion, 1fl oz./30mL each. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

KenetMD Shampoo and Conditioner

Being in town I was called in to help out at a big conference my company hosted two weeks ago. Due to the early mornings and late nights, I ended up staying at the conference site because the commute to and from home would be too much of a pain. When I got to my hotel room, I was pleasantly surprised to find a trio of hair and body care products from a brand I've never heard of before - KenetMD. I don't know many skincare and cosmetic brands out there, but in my experience it's usually something more recognizable like L'Occitane, The Body Shop, etc. So despite having brought my own toiletries, I spent my whole stay using these up anyway. Can you tell the tubes pictured are all empty? ^.^

These are convenient TSA-friendly travel size of 1fl oz./30mL each of KenetMD Shampoo, Conditioner, and Body Lotion (will be reviewed in a separate post).

KenetMD Hair and Body Care Travel Set, and Shampoo (left) and Conditioner (right).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum

Been using this full size 0.1fl oz/3mL tube of RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum off and on for the past 2 months. It came from the Dermstore Fall 2012 Super Luxe Grab Bag #4 (mistakenly identified as Bag #1 due to packing list mix up), and good thing it did, because I would never pay $50 for it!

Before we go on with the review, I want to make a couple of things clear. First off, I don't have much lashes. My lashes are short and sparse. My eye brows too, for that matter. Unlike some gals out there, I was not blessed with long lush lashes or thick dark brows. So my philosophy when it comes to my lashes and brows have always been - why bother?!? Seriously, why bother spending so much time and effort (and money) on something I don't have when I can direct all that resources and focus my energy on what I do have? So over the years, mascaras have been the very first samples/freebies I pass on to my family and friends. I have tried a few (Lancome Definicils, Hypnose, Clinique, blah...), but each time I hated how they all weigh down my whole eyes in addition to giving me spider-leg lashes. Ick. Oh yeah, and they run and smear. I just don't get mascaras, period. 

When it comes to eyebrows, it was only after hanging out with my sister in Japan that I picked up her habit of shading the brows. She just uses any dark, matte eye shadow, while I took a shot with Anastasia of Beverly Hills Highlighting Brow Kit and was thankful it worked out. But I was still only shading and did not learn to shape until my recent trip to Taipei. Let's just say hubby, me, and my sister tried our tourist luck with the glamour photography industry there, and I pretty much let the makeup artist did whatever she wanted with my brows. It was an eye opening experience in all senses of the word! My brows, while still thin and light, are now in their best shape ever!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

U-Bike Taipei

Very last post on Taipei! 

I walked by this U-Bike Station everyday on Heping East Road and was always curious how it works. It's located right in the intersection of Heping East Road and Shida Road, making it super convenient for tourists and college students alike with the Shida Night Market right down the street as well as the university next door. We also found another rental station at the corner of Zhongxiao East Road and Guangfu South Road (光復南路), I suppose so people can ride their bikes down to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and the Xinyi shopping district where Taipei 101 is.

Hubby and I had imagined a whole day of biking around town on these, but between school and visitors, the next thing we knew Thanksgiving was already around the corner. And then the rain came. God, it rained, and rained, and rained. And it wasn't until right before we left Taipei did the sun came out for, like, a day. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

British Science Formulations Hair Strengthener

Been using this 6fl oz./177mL bottle of British Science Formulations Hair Strengthener for almost 2 months now. I got 2 bottles from the Dermstore Fall 2012 Super Luxe Grab Bag #2 and 4 (Bag #4 was mistakenly identified as Bag #1 due to packing list mix up), but gave one to my mum and only kept one to use.

Dermstore Fall 2012 Super Luxe Grab Bag #2

Dermstore Fall 2012 Super Luxe Grab Bag #4

Funny enough, I had to go over to Blissworld (Bliss's online store) to read about something I got from Dermstore, but according to Bliss, this Hair Strengthener is the 2nd of a 4-step treatment for thinning hair. My hair is not thinning, but who says you have to have thinning hair to use a strengthening treatment? ^.^

Thursday, February 21, 2013

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil

Got this 0.08oz/2.5g mini Nars Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil from the Sephora 2012 Holiday It Kit #2 - Best in Classic, which was one of the nicer GWP during the holiday season. 

I'm very much impressed with this formula. It's not as glossy as my beloved Stila Lip Glaze Sticks, but it's still much glossier than the vast majority of lip pencils I've tried in addition to being more pigmented than Stila. It goes on with a texture identical to my favorite Clinique Butter Shine Lipstick, super smooth and moist, if not a tad thicker and even more buttery, which is quite incredible given the fact that it's a freakin' pencil! 

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Coffret D'Or Eye Appeal Shadow Part II

Bought the remaining 2 palettes of Coffret D'Or Eye Appeal Shadows in Taipei also and was using them on and off while visiting my folks, whenever I got bored with Kate Wide Edge Eyes ^.^ 

02 Fairy Pink and 05 Mint Purple. All pictures taken in natural light without flash. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tsururi Pore Cleansing Brush

Stumbled onto this Tsururi Pore Cleansing Brush while browsing my local Japanese drugstore back then. It was on sale for around 600yen, down from the 1,000yen retail. Plus I remembered reading about a Daiso duplicate of it so I picked one up out of curiosity (I also tried the Daiso Puff & Sponge Detergent Yumeko recommended, will review next). Yup, that just sums up why hubby was always wary of my drugstore browsing trips, because I always came home with some useless impulse buys. Good thing this wasn't too big a damage ^.^

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Selecty Glitter Aburatorigami Oil Blotting Paper

Got a tiny travel size packet of Selecty Glitter Aburatorigami Oil Blotting Paper as part of Don Quixote's Visee Eye Color and Liquid Eye Liner Sets I got during the holiday season 2011.  

This particular set came with  each containing a deluxe 30mL travel size jar of Fasio Oil Cleansing EX, a small 2.5mL sample tube of Fasio Mascara Easy Remover (which I probably will never use...), a mini 70-sheet booklet of this Selecty Glitter Aburatorigami Oil Blotting Paper (retails 420yen), a Visee Glam Glow Eyes BR-3 (the other option was PK-1, each palette retails 1,680yen), and a full size Visee Liquid Eye Liner in BK001 (retails 1,050yen, haven't gotten to this either). 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Steam Cream

So I've been reading about these Steam Creams for a few years now but have refrained for the longest time! Why? Because, well, just look at them! Of course I want all the adorable tins (have you seen the new Fabric of Japan designs? OMG - want!!!), but seriously, how many giant tins of the same darn cream do I need? One. Actually, a fifth of one, may be even less, because I scooped mine out into a much smaller 0.5fl oz. glass jar (from Avon Hydrofirming Eye Cream) in order to seal up the tin and keep the rest of it fresh. Even then, I've been using this glass jar for the past two months and still haven't gotten through half of it! Should I just start slapping this stuff all over or what?!? 

Clockwise from top left: Gris-Gris (black cat on yellow), Fragaria (strawberries on sky blue), Daisy (girl on royal gingham), and Yume (sakura on metallic pink). 

Friday, February 15, 2013

DDF Amplifying Elixir

Got this 15mL deluxe sample of DDF Amplifying Elixir from the Ulta Spring 2012 GWP and been using it for the past month. This is a serum and is supposed to go on after toner but before moisturizers. It's supposed to help the skin absorb whatever goes on next, maximizing its benefits.

Spring 2012 GWP

***Screenshot via

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kate Wide Edge Eyes

Happy hearts day!

Picked up these Kate Wide Edge Eyes at Watsons while I was still in Taipei. I started out having no lemmings for them whatsoever, but after visiting the store so often and walking by their display every single time, I just threw my hands up one day and bought them. Yup, that's how they get you. At least that was how they got me ^.^' Of course it made it all the more tempting when there was always some sort of promotion going on, and that was in addition to the majority of Japanese makeup items going for about 15-20% cheaper than Japanese retail. I ended up coming home with quite a haul, and that was after exercising enormous restraint. Ha... 

From left to right: Kate Wide Edge Eyes in BR-2, BR-3, and PU-1. All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hadanomy Collagen Concentrated Lotion

This Hadanomy Collagen Concentrated Lotion is the last of the 4 products I started using from this line. This lotion (toner) is a much thicker and much more moisturizing version of the Collagen Lotion. It is supposedly the second to last step before the cream, which raises my eyebrows, because it's very moisturizing already just by itself!

Suggested routine for nights (purple section): 
1. Collagen Cleansing (for makeup removal, pink tube, haven't tried this yet; if you wear a water resistant Japanese sunscreen, you will need an oil cleanser to remove that first), OR
2. Collagen Wash (follow up cleanser, pink pump bottle, I skipped this and didn't bother with it)
6. Twice a week treatment: Collagen Mask (skipped this too) 
7. This Concentrated Lotion
8. Collagen Cream (haven't tried this yet)

Suggested routine for days (yellow section):
1. Collagen Wash
4. Collagen MilkOR
5. Collagen Cream

***Hadanomy product guide from Hadanomy JP.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hadanomy Collagen Milk

I apply this Hadanomy Collagen Milk after the Concentrated Mist (and sometimes Lotion), just as recommended in the product guide below. This is a moisturizer milk that, despite looking thick, opaque, and scary in the bottle, is in fact quite a pleasure to use, much so hubby has started mooching it from me ^.^

Suggested routine for nights (purple section): 
1. Collagen Cleansing (for makeup removal, pink tube, haven't tried this yet; if you wear a water resistant Japanese sunscreen, you will need an oil cleanser to remove that first), OR
2. Collagen Wash (follow up cleanser, pink pump bottle, I skipped this and didn't bother with it)
5. This Collagen Milk
6. Twice a week treatment: Collagen Mask (skipped this too) 
7. Concentrated Lotion (left this at home, but will review next)
8. Collagen Cream (haven't tried this yet)

Suggested routine for days (yellow section):
1. Collagen Wash
4. This Collagen Milk, OR
5. Collagen Cream
***Hadanomy product guide from Hadanomy JP.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hadanomy Collagen Lotion

Next up is the Hadanomy Collagen Lotion, which I was using daily while visiting with my parents but have since reduced usage to only occasionally when I feel my skin needs extra help. This is a lotion (toner) that is viscous, making it more of a water-like gel. It is thicker than the Collagen Concentrated Mist. While it does melt upon contact and becomes more watery in my palm, it's still not quite as runny as the mist. 

Suggested routine for nights (purple section): 
1. Collagen Cleansing (for makeup removal, pink tube, haven't tried this yet; if you wear a water resistant Japanese sunscreen, you will need an oil cleanser to remove that first), OR
2. Collagen Wash (follow up cleanser, pink pump bottle, I skipped this and didn't bother with it)
4. This Collagen Lotion
5. Collagen Milk (using right now, will review next)
6. Twice a week treatment: Collagen Mask (skipped this too) 
7. Concentrated Lotion (left this at home, but will review too)
8. Collagen Cream (haven't tried this yet)

Suggested routine for days (yellow section):
1. Collagen Wash
3. This Collagen Lotion
4. Collagen MilkOR
5. Collagen Cream
***Hadanomy product guide from Hadanomy JP.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hadanomy Collagen Concentrated Mist

This Hadanomy Collagen line was my "goodbye Japan" gift to myself ^.^ Of course I was being silly, because both the Hadanomy Collagen as well as AquaPlacenta lines are easily available via the internet as well as here in SF, and I have already spotted them all over Japan Town. Then again, I got these in Japan for a discounted price and no markups or international shipping :P

Anyway, I am reviewing this Collagen Concentrated Mist first. It is not the first layer of my daily skincare routine (that would be SK-II Facial Clear Lotion then Facial Treatment Essence at night, and currently The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner then Facial Treatment Essence again in the morning), but it is the first step after cleansing (makeup removal) and washing (follow up cleansing) according to the product guide. I started using it almost two months ago after hubby and I left Taipei.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Body Shop Moroccan Rose Body Milk

Bought this Body Shop Moroccan Rose Body Milk on clearance last year because it'd been discontinued. I read that it's super light weight, so I didn't think much of it. Plus it being in a spray bottle and is probably a thin runny liquid, I didn't expect much moisturizing power either.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Herbacin Wuta Kamille Hand and Nail Balm

Love this Herbacin Wuta Kamille Hand and Nail Balm, even though I broke its dispenser tip (twisting the cap too hard) and had to leave it behind :( Picked these three 20mL travel sized hand creams  up at Taoyuan International Airport as I departed Taipei, knowing they're probably available here in the US (they are). Let's see, I wanted something to remember Taipei with (Herbacin is German...), had some leftover Taiwanese dollars to get rid of on impulse buys (while sweet hubby spent his last bucks buying me a jade charm, ha...), and I was bored out of my mind waiting for my flight and had to get lost inside an airport drugstore.

From left to right: Wuta Kamille and Glycerin Hand Creme (using now, will review soon), Wuta Kamille Soft Mild Hand Cream, and this Wuta Kamille (White Line) Hand and Nail Balm, 20mL each.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Shida Night Market Eats, Taipei, Part II (師大路夜市, Picture heavy!)

Really struggling to put up these last Taipei food posts here...

Lantern Soy Sauce Braised (燈籠滷味) is one of the more well known and popular stands at Shida Night Market.  We actually stumbled onto it prior to reading the CNN 40 Taiwanese Food article and went in head first, not knowing what to expect. There was always a giant crowd gathering around the stand, and given there were several similar food stands at Shida Night Market that were often deserted, our curiosity couldn't resist the consistent stream of business this particular stand got and so we got in line ourselves ^.^

Basically, this is a Taiwanese version of the Japanese oden. Mind you, this is not to say "who came first". I honestly don't know and I don't give a rat's ass. I just know I love oden, and when I saw this I must have it, because I miss oden very much T.T Of course it's not identical to oden, but it's very similar in terms of ingredients: eggs (quail, versus chicken in oden), a wide variety of fish cakes, konnyaku, tofu,  mochi, a variety of vegetables (daikon, shiitake, enoki, green leafy greens, etc.), with added extras of noodles (cellophane noodles 冬粉, ramen, etc.), even meats, seafood, and intestines (a Taiwanese favorite!). 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cle de Peau Beaute Gentle Protective Emulsion SPF25 PA++

I am a bit confused whether this Cle de Peau Beaute Gentle Protective Emulsion SPF25 PA++ is a moisturizing emulsion with dubious sun protection, or a wimpy sunscreen with an added benefit of a moisturizer. Either way, for the past week I've been stuck at home working, so I put aside my disdain for skincare with added SPF (I think they're useless...) and started using this 5mL tube that came with Cle de Peau Beaute Glow Fall 2012 Mook as an "indoor" sun protection ^.^ Please note despite this use, I still do not consider it a proper sunscreen (it's really not!) and therefore labeled it with "moisturizers" instead of "sun protection."

By the way, according to both the US as well as the Japanese official websites, you're supposed to apply this emulsion with a cotton pad like you would a toner O.o Yeah, my reaction exactly, especially when neither websites care to explain why. Nordstrom is just a tad better, saying using a cotton pad would provide "ideal application and absorption," but still no explanation as to what is it about this emulsion that requires cotton pad application. At least with a toner, a cotton pad provides the extra physical exfoliation in addition to making it much easier to apply a runny/watery liquid (unless you prefer to splash it directly onto your skin like I do with SK-II Facial Treatment Essence). Even if they say it's for the physical exfoliation, what to make of the two Balancing Lotions in the step before then, both of which also require cotton pad application? Double exfoliation, every single day? Is this luxury really to pamper or torture my skin?

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