Last entry of 2013 empties, and I'll be wrapping it up with a round-up. These are mostly full sizes as the previous post was entirely on small samples. My previous rating system is too over-whelming for me today, for unknown reason. Therefore I will opt for something simpler, Very Good, Good, Okay, Bad.
MONACO Argan Oil
I like it enough I will continue using however many that have come (or, will come) to me through Glamabox. For the retail price I will be happy to venture into alternatives, although this is not expensive. This is good as something to use before blow-drying to prevent being fried, but this didn't blow me away either.
INTELLIGENT NUTRIENTS Volumizing Spray - Okay
It has good ingredients. The smell is pleasant and effect it delivers seems fine at first. After I'm half bottle down, the dispenser got stuck with the product and make funny squirts. If too much of this goes in one spot of the hair, that part will just crunch up (just like attacked by hair spray), and also start falling flaky bits.
ESTHAAR Hair Root Care Shampoo - Good
I forgot how many bottles I've bought in Korea, but this is finally the last. It cares for the scalp, quite invigoratingly, and makes hair grow healthier. I like it a lot to clarify my thin limp hair, and not stripping too much that my scalp or strands.
NANOGEN Thickening Growth Factor Shampoo - His
Mr. A used and uses this, full review was previously posted. This is the old packaging, and we still have one more bottle of this in use. Mr. A has nothing bad to say about it except for the opening design. The new tube packaging seems to have fix this issue(?).
ACURE Moisturizing Root Repair - Okay
This isn't as deep conditioning as it says. It is a nice mask for the hair, smooth and no residue left behind. I find it quite light and minty so I also put it on my scalp, quite refreshing. Not crazy about this.
THE BODY SHOP Banana Shampoo & Conditioner - Very Good
First of all, these smell divine and delicious. Next, and more important than the first, my hair loves these. After washing and conditioning (and I always use these together, never one without the other), my hair is soft and shiny and superb. Lastly, Mr. A is a huge fan of bananas, he can literally live on that fruit, so he likes my hair after using these. Bonus. Problem, these are so marked up locally, and not always stocked.
DR. BRONNER'S Magic Soap Liquid Castille Soap "Tea Tree" - Good
I use this in a foam bottle, or a loofah, to make a thick lather when I wash my back. My back is prone to acnes, and rarely is it clear of spots. This Dr. B is one of the several that seem to work okay on me. I bought this from ASOS I believe, but iHerb is cheaper with the US price (they have since discontinue selling Dr. B :( ). Just by a quick google search, I found this FingerShopping online shop which sells Dr. Bronner's for HK shoppers, has anyone tried this site before?
GATSBY Facial Wash Anti-Tightness - Bad/His
Technically I bought this for Mr. A because his skin is combination/oily year round and often breaks out around the chin. This didn't make it into his routine therefore collected dust for quite a while. Finally I used this up on my back, nothing good to write about it. It is a fresh cooling cleanser with beads to exfoliate.
YVES ROCHER Jardins du Monde Brazilian Coffee Beans Shower Cream - Very Good
This is the best smelling shower product I have ever had in my life! Sweet, intense aroma of coffee infused in a shower cream that is moisturising and luxurious. Also, if you can get hold of this it should be pretty affordable. The local shops don't sell this though. D-it!
BOOTS EXTRACTS Body Scrub #Bergamot * - Okay
One of the many souvenirs my sister brought back from Thailand long time ago. This is the only scrub out of the three that I've finished. The Mango leaves behind oily residue no matter how well I rinse, and annoys me no matter how dry the climate is. The Cocoa Butter I have given away. This Bergamot is a yoghurt-like light cream with sandy particles in it. The particles are too few and the cream too light for my taste. Can't find this on the UK website anymore.
THE BODY SHOP Shea Body Butter - Good
It is one of the thicker butters amongst the many. I like this much, but if I am to repurchase I may find something even heavier or newer. But, I shall not re-buy for awhile otherwise everything I own or buy will become repackaged or expired before they get used. Note: mine is old packaging.
IT'S SKIN Mini Bebe Creamy Foam "Banana" * - Okay
It smells lovely, and considering its strong foaming properties it is not at all drying. I enjoyed it while I have it, not something I need though.
AVEENO Smart Essentials Daily Detoxifying Scrub * - Bad
When I'm finally on the last usage, I found the perfect description of this stuff. This jelly-base face wash with gentle exfoliating beads is like jam-that-refuses-to-be-spread-on-a-loaf. The formula doesn't do harm to my skin but it is weird and not very user-friendly.
NARUKO Rose & Snow Fungus Aqua Cubic Moisturizer - Good
Naruko's rose line is by far my favourite from what they offer. This is a milk to be applied with a cotton to washed and toned skin. I like it and it kept my skin soft and beautiful. I miss it, and will probably go back to it some time in the future. This is the old packaging (or formula) which I've done a full review years ago.
Product Link! (OLD)
Product Link! (NEW)
THE SAEM Gem Miracle Black Pearl O2 Bubble Mask - Bad
The stuff inside is in fact, decent. I like the brightening result it gives and find the tickling sensation pretty fun for the first few times. However after several times I grow bored and irritated of the bubbles (my bad), and the culprit of this is in the packaging. The pump is a big mess.
FIRST AID BEAUTY Facial Radiance Pads - Okay
I love chemical peels, and my skin is pretty tolerant towards that. As I grow older, my skin is getting less and less accommodative to physical beads and granules in ordinary scrub. SKII made its Treatment Essence into the international hall of fame because they marketed chemical exfoliant in an extraordinary way. (My favourite from them, so far, is the Clear Lotion though.) Anyway, I wanted to give the FAB pads a try so I got it in a kit. While it worked, it didn't WOWed me in anyway. Too much a hazzle to repurchase so I won't.
HELENERE Maitrise du Temps Intensive Treatment * - Very Good
Just before sadness hits when I was using up the last bottle of this, five more little bottles of this precious liquid arrived at my doorsteps. This is one of the best serums I've tried and it is expensive. I talked more on this in another post. Golden drops?
TRILOGY Certified Organic Rosehip Oil * - Okay
Got this in an Australian swap when it was not available over here. Now I believe Trilogy is stocked in various Mannings all over HK. I do enjoy this as a night time moisturiser or an extra to add to my eye/face moisturiser when I fancy some DIY mixing and experimentation. However, the rubber part of the dropper was ruined, melted, by the oil (I laid it flat in my drawer for a period of time), and this is a turn-off to me. How can a high end oil commit such crime of poor design?
ISEHAN HEROINE MAKE Volume & Curl Mascara - Very Good
One of my holy grails. This is the latest packaging/formula/brush. The most important thing I look for in a mascara is that it holds my curl. My Asian lashes are thin and straight. Usually Japanese waterproof formulae work best on my lashes. I also like mascaras to be stubbornly waterproof so that they don't travel to my lids and under-eye. My eyes are small and the skin around likes to touch my lashes a lot... I have stocked up on this (and the Long version) when they have a promo set going on with the make up remover. Now I'm contemplating on the brown version...
SHISEIDO INTEGRATE Separate Mascara - Very Good
As good as the Heroine Make, if not better. It adds immense volume and length to my lashes on top of the curl-holding, waterproof and separation it gives. Regret: this can only be obtained in Taiwan or Japan...
IKEA Lugnt candles - Very Good
I adore the grey (pine cone) ones, but the brown ones (chocolate cake) are even better. I need to get me some more! Maybe try out the orange ones or white/red packs, too~
NEAL'S YARD REMEDIES Aromatherapy Organic Candle "Calming" - Okay
Doesn't smell particularly good, or long, or clean either.
SELECT Cosmetic Round Pads - Very Good
Soft and sturdy at the same time, very well made. I'll repurchase this for use in facial toner or make up removal.
(no brand) Wet Wipes - Okay
A cheap pack for $5 from Bonjour. I used these to clean table top and hands only. They don't even take away swatches on the back of my hand...
NEUTROGENA Body Oil * - Good
I did pour about a quarter of this down the sink. My bad, perhaps? It is very runny, so while it spreads very easily and absorbs rather quickly, it can be tricky to pour out and apply. Chances are, it can get everywhere.
CHAMPNEYS Mediterranean Bliss Body Hydrator *- Okay
I love the scent at first, but probably that's because it wasn't yet locally available. Since Boots is introduced into Mannings, I kind of dive into the other scents by Champneys, and the "Skin Comforting" is by far my favourite from them (I emptied a tub of the body butter in weeks). This is alright, just not my fave.
FRESHEL Moisture Lotion * - Very Good
I thought this will be not enough for me because this is the lighter in moisture (the heavier one has EX in its name). However, it surprises me by really plumping up my skin with hydration and feels very comfortable on. Very highly recommend this to normal or normally dry skin!
SULWHASOO First Care Activiating Serum - Okay
I paid about $78 (US$10!) for two mini bottles of this because I want to see if it is worth the splurge on a big one. My mum and two sisters went to Korea for holiday earlier in January and I made a humongous shopping list (now officially 'haul'), which didn't include this. The concept of this stuff is to be the first thing you apply after washing, even before toning. In short it is a pre-essence. I love the basic Sulwhasoo line for their divine ginseng aroma (Honor may totally disagree), but this First Care doesn't even smell interesting, and if this is so expensive, it better pleases also my nose not my skin. :P
Many other brands make similar things, such as Dior Capture Totale One Essential, Lancome Advanced Genefique, L'Oreal Youth Code Pre-Essence, or the long-discontinued Naruko Fundamental Serum.
CLARINS Shaping Facial Lift - Okay
I don't notice results when I use or skip this. I do have a large rather round face, prone to puffiness but I'd rather live with it and work with the texture than trying to fight (or lift) it.
Smaller Samples - nothing stood out to me except for the Clinque
BIOTHERM Aquasource Toning Lotion *
GUERLAIN Success Future Serum *
INNISFREE The Green Tea Seed Serum *
GIORGIO ARMANI Regenessence 3R Youth Regenerator *
SOFINA Whitening Essence *
CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator * - Very creamy, moisturising, hydrating, thick but not suffocating. Any dryness in skin is immediately tamed and overnight significantly softer and more beautiful. On any day I will prefer this over the more popular 'extended thirst relief' because I like my face cream strong!
Looking through all the empties above, a few of them top my to-be-repurchased list: TBS banana shampoo and conditioner, Yves Rocher coffee shower (not available here though), Freshel moisture lotion, and the Clinique skin fortifying hydrator. Some I'm already happily enjoying my back-ups and will forever repurchase: Helenere treatment, Heroine Make and Integrate mascaras.
Full Size - 89 + 19 = 108//
Deluxe Sample - 130 + 6 = 136//
Small Sample - 110 + 6 = 116//
Sheet Masks - 52//
Random - 84 + 6 = 90//
Tossed - 99//
His - 16 + 1 = 17//
I must say, I'm impressed by my effort. Buying way too much is always a problem to me, but in 2013 I do seem to have use up quite a bit. Very hopeful I am, to have a more empties-full 2014 than ever. Regret though, that I have not use up as many face masks as I'd like to, and my stash is ever growing. My focus shall be on sheet masks, amongst the rest!