After taking nearly a month's break from blogging, let us just jump right in with a 3 months worth of empties, shall we?
Let's keep the rating, ranking system simple for now. Holy-grail enters my favourites, Must-try is recommended, Not-bad did the job, and Can-skip means fail. Is that clear? Clear to me, at least.
JANE CARTER Scalp Renew
Not-bad. I used this as a pre-shampoo scalp and hair treatment. It is an oil that smells pretty essential-oily. I forgot why I wanted to try this because I do not, did not have dandruffs. Perhaps I want my hair to grow thicker and longer? This didn't work miracles but it was pleasant to use.
AVALON ORGANICS Biotin B-Complex Therapy Thickening Shampoo
Must-try. Although the texture is clear, thin and runny, prone to pouring out too much, I like it. It clarifies without making hair dry. Not super thickening but I feel my hair is healthier.
NANOGEN Hair Thickening Growth Factor Treatment Mask
Not-bad. Mr. A refused to use this, despite I order him to replace conditioner with this every once in a week. I am guessing it is the packaging. It doesn't come in a convenient jar, which is small in quantity for the price, by the way. I did enjoy using it though, from scalp to tip it smoothed my hair. While I used it regularly (just a handful uses for my longer than normal man hair), I did find less hair loss (or perhaps more hair growth?).
KAO ESSENTIAL DAMAGE CARE Ultra Honey & Shea Butter Nuance Airy Treatment
Can-skip. It did practically nothing on freshly shampooed, towel-dried damp hair. I barely used this up as a heavy pre-shampoo, in bath treatment. Don't spend your money on this.
NANOGEN Hair Thickening Growth Factor Shampoo
NANOGEN Hair Thickening Growth Factor Conditioner
NANOGEN Hair Thickening Growth Factor Treatment Serum
Mr. A's. Lengthier review. Good new! We're finally out of the old horrible packaging and moving on to the new tubes. Secret, I find FeelUnique selling them cheaper so I'm ordering from them now...
THE BODY SHOP Spiced Vanilla Bath & Shower Gel
Mr. A helped me use it up. He smelt nice after this so I guess this is a Not-bad.
L'OCCITANE Amande Shower Oil with Almond Oil
For a reason that requires another blog post to explain - wink wink - I cannot stand the scent of this product at all. Mr. A used this all up during the coldest and driest months. He enjoyed it, at least way better than the SebaMed alternative, so I guess this is a Not-bad also.
KNEIPP Warming Massage Oil with Arnica + Ginger
NIP+FAB Body Wash *
Must-try. Came in a free gift set when I ordered from a UK online retailer. This has a pistachio-ish fragrance which is very delicious. The shower gel texture is mediocre but the scent is to die for. Too bad we can't get hold of it here.
ALVERA Aloe & Almonds Roll-On Deodorant
Mr. A used this up. He didn't say he liked it so I guess it's a Can-skip. He preferred roll-on less creamy and moisturising (this Alvera one is not the lightest in consistency).
FA Whitening Mild Care Antiperspirant Deo Roll-on
Not-bad. I generally enjoy Fa roll-ons, but I'm not entirely loyal. This is mild and does the job but no whitening observed. Right now I'm using a more 'natural' glue stick type from Alba Botanica.
THE BODY SHOP Macadamia Body Butter Duo
Must-try. This was a special (or limited) edition a year or two ago. Surprisingly, I liked the lighter cream side more than the thicker butter side. Good smell, good hydration.
Skin (and nails)
BOTANICS Soothing Eye Make Up Remover
Not-bad. It is way easier to shake up than the previous version (the two layers in the old formula refuse to be mixed), and it removes make up decently. I prefer my eye make up remover to be very oily and effective because my lashes only like stubborn waterproof mascara formulae. This is not oily enough for my mascaras.
LIZ EARLE Cleanse & Polish *
Must-try. Got it from a UK swap (ages ago). The reason I didn't finish this earlier is because yours truly is too lazy to get the cloths washed, and there is always no towel/ wash cloth/ muslin cloth to use along with this cream. It is a beautiful product, scent-wise, texture-wise, effectiveness-wise and gentleness-wise. I suspect this is suitable for most, if not all, skin types, probably except the extremes. No wonder it has so many fans world-wide.
SIBU BEAUTY Sea Buckthorn Hydrating Serum
Holy-grail. I will repurchase this probably when drier months come again by the end of this year. It smells of oranges (or citrus), very fast absorbing, super hydrating and makes my skin happy. Highly recommend you try this out!
Not-bad. Just a random bottle picked up at pharmacy when I haven't moved all my junk to the new home. It did remove nail polish.
HEYNATURE Oxygen Super Hydro Deep Cleansing PH Balanced Brightening Mask Cleanser Cleansing and Bubble Massage (What a long name!?) *
Not-bad. Heynature is a Korean brand, and this bottle is a gift from a girl friend. Squeezed out from the bottle, it is a gel; in contact with the air, it foams up like the bubble masks (e.g. Bliss, The Saem, Skin79, many brands make those). I use this as cleanser plus make up remover when I was practically not wearing any make up. Washed off after leaving it on for a couple of minutes, my skin is clean and bright. It is a fun concept but I don't find myself missing it after using it up. Moreover, the pump of this kind of self-foaming bubble masks tends to congest a bit after certain period of time.
SANCTUARY Body Butter *
Holy-grail. I recall the ingredient list is not perfect (ain't no brilliant enough to remember that). But I am a huge fan of its soft and comfortable aroma. Also very rich and smooth.
SOAP & GLORY Flake Away *
Can-skip. The fragrance is to die for. Peachy, sweet, very well-engineered happy smell. I will be more than willing to buy a shower gel or soap in this scent. But the balmy base of this scrub is quite heavy and hard to completely rinse off. Not very pleasant even for someone like me who doesn't mind piling on thick creams and oils in Winter.
LACTACYD Feminine Daily Wash - White Intimate
LACTACYD Feminine Daily Wash - Cleansing Daily Protection
Must-try. They work, and they are helpful. There is a little difference in thickness and foamability (new word) between the two but I don't remember significant difference in my liking.
CRABTREE & EVELYN La Source Hand Recovery
Not-bad. Mine was ancient, so it turned odour-less, or rather bad-smelling when I used it. La Source typically smells quite pleasant. I don't use hand scrubs regularly (or, at all) so it stayed with me for such a long time. Finally I used this on my legs during a long boring bath.
D'ORIENT ACQUA Full Effect Meticulous Cleansing Gel
Not-bad. Has a light rosewater scent (not sure) and washes off nicely. Nothing special to talk about really.
NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
Not-bad. I guess this is one of the better ones. However I do not know the right amount to apply and seemed to always have over-done it, hence a little cakey. Other products can replace this for my use, e.g. MAC paint pots or Kiko long lasting sticks.
PALMOLIVE Ayurituel Energy Shower Gel *
Another little gift from Sam (other things I got in that parcel). Nice smelling shower gel.
NATURE REPUBLIC Bath & Nature Apple Mango Body Cream
Holy-grail. I have no clue (too lazy to find out) about its ingredients, but the smell and feel and effect of it is marvellous. Will bring home a tub if I ever re-visit Korea.
SABAI-AROM Wonder Banana 'Tender Touch' Hand & Nail Cream
Must-try (if you're a fan of banana). Not-bad (otherwise). Not too greasy in terms of a hand cream.
PANTENE CLINICARE Colour/Perm Damage Repair Conditioner
Not-bad/Can-skip. Just wanted to use these up.
CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Overnight Mask
Holy-grail. Got this not too long ago from a counter and figure I should use this up for the sake of getting rid of it - I really have too many sachets to clear out. This saved my dehydration during one of those cold and dry gloomy days (should be nights). I do have a full size tube in my stash, how great!
CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief
Must-try. This is the 'normal' gel-cream for most skin types. I like it, but I prefer the richer and more luxe version (named "Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator", see here). This 'normal' one is great for all seasons and does hydrate decently.
BIOTHERM Aquasource Instant Hydration Toning Lotion
Not-bad. Stole this from my sister when my skin needed a refreshment, while I was at my parents' place. Nothing spectacular. I always think Biotherm skin care has fragrance that I do not favour, they need a better nose.
JANUE Hydrating Cucumber Cream
Not-bad. I think I like this, but I may change my mind after I try/use the second sachet I got.
PRANAROM NATURE Bois de Rose Huile de Bain (Rosewood Bath Oil - my translation) *
Must-try. Very nice and I'm glad I picked up three bottles of this as magazine subscription gifts. I was really into taking baths around February time, when it began to be less inhumanely cold but still very fluctuating-ly chilly.
AARON INDUSTRIES Epsom Salt
Holy-grail. How I wish I can obtain epsom salt (or magnesium sulphate) more easily or afford-ably locally! This box barely lasted me two baths. Soaking in epsom salt really relaxes my muscle and stress. My bones feel like born-anew when I step out of the bath! Iherb is only selling them in one size (small, and not cheap) and I always have to pay for shipping; but I promised myself in my next order I will order a good several boxes to treat myself.
IKEA Candle (one out of the pack of threes, grey colour)
Must-try. I like this scent a lot. But I'm too lazy to clear/recycle the glass jars... Is that a waste? (HG if this scent comes in a larger size or other products)
DAISO Happy Duck Bath Ball
Holy-grail. The bath bomb itself is just above-averagely well. However, it is genuinely uplifting to find a little plastic duckling in the centre of the bath bomb. Childish me.
BISON Bakkantou Hot Bath Salt 爆汗湯 蜂蜜牛奶
Holy-grail. It is rather expensive for a packet of bath salt but it smells good, warms up the body, gives little crackling sound and moisturises. I don't know for sure if this is limited edition or not because I got it long time ago. I highly recommend trying Bakkantou bath salts!
BOMB COSMETICS Bath Brulee *
Not-bad. Something like a Lu^h bath melt. I added something else to the bath when I used this cupcake, so I can't tell how it performs on itself.
PRIMERA Hydro Gel Mask Emblica Lifting
Forgot how well I liked this, but I enjoy it.
BANILA CO. Hydrogel Mask The Blacks - Nourishing Black Rice *
Can-skip. Didn't like it because it doesn't do much. Usually the gel-sheet masks are more fresh and toning than normal sheet masks (with serum dripping wet and more moisturising). This also leaves skin quite fresh and I didn't feel any nourishment.
KAO Steam Eye Mask - Citrus
Must-try. First time trying out this grapefruit (Yuzi) scent. Not my favourite from the whole line but definitely give this a try if you like fruity fragrance, this is their first!
NATURE REPUBLIC Aqua Collagen Solution Marine Hydro Gel Eye Patch *
Not-bad. I don't use eye masks, or patches, often enough to say any difference. I probably should start using more as my dark circles are getting ever so bad. This did hydrate my under-eye area a bit, but it also broke a little when I took them out from the container (my careless perhaps).
THE BODY SHOP Organic Cotton Rounds
Not-bad. Pretty pricey but it's organic... The rounds are firm and slightly rough on the surface so it provides gentle manual physical exfoliation. If this comes cheaper, I won't hesitate restocking on this; but for the price, unless I need to make up to certain amount (for gift with purchase or cash rebate), like I did last time, I won't get more of these.
MANNINGS Cotton Facial Rounds
Must-try. The surface of each round is smooth and doesn't have any 'texture'. It is soft on the skin and doesn't break down easily. No debris is left on skin whatsoever. I like it a lot and if I see discount next time I need new cotton rounds, this will be repurchased.
Have bought these supplements from Tokyo for beauty and healthy purposes (more beauty than health). I figure I need to consume them to make room for other things in my kitchen so I tried to take them regularly. Now that I'm typing this, I'm pausing these again (for concern for health over beauty). Nothing wrong with these at all, just my current condition.
DR. HAUSCHKA Quince Day Cream *
LUSH Rudolph Fresh Face Mask
Dislike it. Expired. Purchased it plainly because it was half-priced. It has been a long while since I last tried a Lush fresh mask and now I recall why. Rudolph is had to apply and very stubborn to be removed. I don't mind it looking funky and not smelling delicious, but the effect it gives the skin is unnoticeable.
BOTANICS Face Soothing Cleansing Balm
Expired. I managed through one jar of these, but now this second jar is probably too old. Same reason of not using up the Liz Earle sooner (see above), I am too lazy to wash my cloths. I like the richness of cleansing balms, I just wish I have more stamina to wash and dry my face cloths.
BOOTS EXTRACTS Mango Sugar Scrub *
Same issue with the Soap & Glory (see above), but this is way worse. The waxy cream base refused to be scrubbed off and stick to the skin forever.
MORI GARDEN 玉蘭隔離防曬霜 (my translation: Magnolia Sunscreen) *
Free samples from a Glamashop order. They didn't include any info along with the product so I had to google. Found the Morisoap company on Taobao, which is like an indie handmade natural aromatherapy brand (my wild guess). This sunscreen smells funky and according to the manufacturing date and best before number of months, they are expired. I have tried it on my hand and the texture was alright. That's my two scents.
CHOI FUNG HONG - KI Sensitive Moisturizing Paper Mask
I have accumulated way too many sheet masks some just had to be tossed. This is a good one for soothing and hydration. Now in new packaging. I just need to stop buying and hurrying up using...
Full Size: Body 9, Hair 4, Skin 4, Makeup 0, Fragrance 0, Nail 1
Sheet Mask: Face 2, Eye/Lip 2, Body 0
Deluxe Sample: Body 6, Hair 0, Skin 1, Makeup 1, Fragrance 0
Small Sample: Body 3, Hair 2, Skin 4, Makeup 0, Fragrance 0
Accessories: Disposables 4, Candles 1
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Thanks for reading till this line. I reward you a virtual bubble tea (equivalent any beverage you crave but aren't allowed to consume right now)!!!
Doing empties monthly was preferred if I can find time and light (excuses) to take pictures and sit down and type. A quarterly post (like this one) is a head-ache because I cannot take pictures as decent as this. Oh, and the April/Q2 empties box is already filling up...
Lazy silly Jacq :")