Cosmetics sample inferno

I think the above is a familiar image to anyone who's a big fan of buying Korean cosmetics online (or shopping at Sephora's webstore). Korean companies seem to be very generous when it comes to doling out samples, and I think I've received some with every purchase I've made. I always hold on to the ones I find interesting and squirrel them away to try them out later... but then I never do. I have a little drawer that, until recently, was filled to the brim with all kind of little sachets.

Alternative uses to unwanted skin care samples: Floor collages? A match up game?
I decided to finally do something about it, starting with actually looking at what I have stored up. I'm pretty sure I could have done several variations of a full 10-step Korean skin care routine with everything I had piled up. 

Unfortunately for me, a lot of the sample packages didn't have the ingredients printed on them. I had to suck it up, sit down and check each product on CosDNA. I eliminated everything that contains alcohol, which turned out to be quite a lot. It's kind of weird to see how many products contain it. I also decided to chuck everything that I thought might not work for dry skin, regardless of their ingredients.

I'm not sure if my curation efforts were entirely successful. But it's a start! Now I'll just have to talk myself into actually using them. Don't be surprised if you start seeing some of these guys making appearances on this blog.

Do you end up stock-piling your cosmetics samples, or do you just use them or throw them out? 

Empties from August and September

My last empties post also covered two months. I kind of like the idea of making this a bimonthly thing! Anyway, here's my most recent report of all the stuff I've managed to use up.

Lumene's Waterproof Eye-Makeup Remover makes yet another appearance. They changed the packaging earlier this year. Here you can see the old and the new bottle side by side. I like the new version a lot. I think it looks a lot sleeker and more current than the old, slightly tapered one. The old packaging on the right appears a bit bigger, but they actually hold the same amount of product.

These three make up my usual cleansing routine! I've talked about The Saem's Healing Tea Garden Green Tea Cleansing Water in my previous empties post. It's one of my favorite skin care discoveries this year. I usually get Nivea's Moisturizing Cleansing Milk for removing whatever makeup and grime remain after using micellar water, but last time I picked up the Gentle Cleansing Milk in stead. I don't notice much of a difference between them. This one is maybe slightly creamier, if that's possible? My last cleansing step is Nivea's Soothing Toner, as always. 

When I die, I want my body to be preserved in a 90 percent snail mucin filtrate. In the mean time I slather my face with Mizon''s Snail Recovery Gel Cream. It's another one of my staples! I wrote more about it here.

I regret purchasing Missha's Super Aqua Ice Tear Essence. I got it last winter when my skin was really drying up from the cold air. It seemed like a nice light moisturizing essence based on its description. Unfortunately, it contains alcohol, and I didn't notice it when I was reading the INCI. In the end, I used it up as a foot cream, haha. At least the experience taught me to always Ctrl+F for ingredients I want to avoid.

Benton's Snail Bee High Content Masks are my favorite sheet masks. I feel like I can actually see the difference before and after using one. My skin looks so plump and refreshed afterwards! I like to get the 10 mask pack.

Pore strips are kind of a controversial beauty product. Some people swear by them, others worry they might cause skin damage and permanently widen pores. I tend to use Nivea's Refining Clear-up Strips once a month or so, because I find it helps to keep me from otherwise attacking the sebaceous filaments on my nose. It's not something I'd recommend, though.

I got a few strips of A'Pieus NonCo Tea Tree Spot Patches some time ago, but they didn't really work for me. In fact, I think the tea tree oil in them just irritated my skin further. This was my packet of them, and I won't be purchasing them again. I'll just stick to CosRX's Pimple Master Patches, because I've had much better luck with them.

You can tell it was the end of the summer from these next items. I don't usually purchase Calypso's SPF 30 Sun Lotion or LV's SPF 30 Sun Screen for sensitive skin. My current preferred product is the Satin Protection Sun Lotion SPF 50+ by Hawaiian Tropic, but I didn't have access to it or it was out of stock when I got these two. They were fine, I guess. Both felt kind of sticky and a bit heavy, so they're not something I'd jump to buy again. Plus I prefer a higher SPF.

You know when you dislike a product so much you make it your mission to use it up completely to show it who's boss? I hated The Saem's Eco Earth Power Tone Up Sun Cream by the time I was done with the tube. I ended up just applying it on my hands and the tops of my feet, because it just was not right for my face. I made sure to squeeze up every drop of the sun cream, just out of spite. A'Pieu's Pure Block Natural Sun Cream is much nicer to my skin and so far my favorite sun care item. I have a full review of them both here.

I also went through another batch of Erioil's Aisti moiturizing emulsion and Batiste dry shampoo, but I forgot to take a photo of them. They're such staples that I almost take them for granted, haha. And on that note, it's time to wrap up this post. 

Fruity favorite

Do you have a make up product you reach for almost every day? I've had Skinfood's Fresh Fruit Lip & Cheek cream trio in heavy use ever since I got it at the beginning of this year. I know a lot of people prefer powder products, but I personally love the convenience of a nice cream blush. Plus it's a multi-function item! 

The trio is packaged in a tiny cute tin container with a sliding cover. I was really surprised at how small it really was when I first got it. It fits on the palm of my hand! Since it's a cream product, there's no risk of it exploding in your make up pouch, even if you drop it. It's tiny, sturdy and perfect for traveling. I bring it with me whenever I hit the road.

I'm not sure how well it comes across in this picture, but I've done quite a bit of damage, haha. There's definitely a good dent in each shade. I got the trio in the shade 5 Fruits Mix, which comes with three lovely pinks. The first color is a light peach, the second a cool hot pink and the third a warm apricot-ish color. I really can't decide which one is my favorite! I think I use the peachy pink the most, because of how natural it looks. The blush trio has a sweet, fruity scent to it. I don't think it's overpowering or cloying, and I it disappears pretty soon after application.

Here's a quick finger swatch of each shade. It's a sheer formula with a little bit of creamy sheen to it. It feels very light and moisturizing. I like to apply it with just the tips of my fingers and blend it out with a soft tapping motion. It's really easy to create that color-from-within kind of look with it! They work ok as lip colors too, but I do prefer them as a blush.

Here are the swatches blended out. You can definitely blend them into nothing, but I always think it's better to err on the side of caution when it comes to blush. It's harder to mess up with a sheer, bright-colored formula. All in all, it's a cute little blush trio that won't take up a lot of space in a travel pouch. It's one of my desert island products!

Tending to troubled skin

Hey, that's me!
I've been having some minor, but annoying, skin issues lately. It's just some breakouts, that I've attributed to seasonal change and probably a slight product overload. I've simplified my skincare routine a bit, in the sense that I'm now rotating my products throughout the week rather than just layering all of them on at once, haha. But I've also added a new item - which I know is really counter-intuitive if the goal is to make things less complicated. I think the addition of Innisfree's Bija cica balm has actually helped to improve my current issues, though.

Innisfree's Bija-line is aimed at treating, nourishing and protecting troubled skin. I first learned about this product through a review by Ammarah. I was really intrigued by the ingredient list. It contains Panthenol and Centella Asiatica (Pennywort), which has antioxidant and soothing properties. It's used in a lot of skin care and also in traditional medicine. The "star" ingredient, however, is bija or Torreya Nucifera seed oil. According to my Wikipedia-research, Bija (also known as kaya or Japanese nutmeg yew) is a corniferous tree native to Japan and South Korea's Jeju Island. Apparently they use to wood to make shogi and go boards, and the leaves and the seeds have ritual uses in Japanese esoteric Buddhism. Quite Interesting. Innisfree claims on their site that bija seed oil can help gently smooth skin and reinforce its natural defence system. Sounds good to me!

The balm has a smooth texture and it glides over the skin effortlessly when applied. I don't think it feels too heavy on the skin, but it's definitely very rich. Thankfully, the skinny nozzle on the tube makes it easy to squeeze out the right amount. I don't think it does much for redness, but I can feel the soothing effect almost immediately. I can see myself reaching for this a lot next winter! I do notice that my current foundation doesn't always apply that well over it. The moisturizing and nourishing effects are no joke, though, so I'm willing to put up with it. Plus I do notice that my blemishes disappear a bit faster since I've started using it. It's a bit on the pricier side, but I like it enough to purchase it again. 

So nice, I bought it twice

I ended up being a lot busier than I expected in August, so I didn't have much time to post. I started back at my internship after a break in July and also spent a lot of time making final corrections and adjustments on my thesis. I was finally able to turn it in on Friday! I kind of feel bad for spending so much time on it, since at the end I felt like it wasn't as big of a deal as I made it out to be in my head. But I'm glad I'm all done now. Though I have to admit, planning my next step after graduation is a bit daunting. But enough about me. Summer is already officially over where I am, but I thought I would come back with a final look at a couple of items in Etude House's spring/summer collection. Like I mentioned before, I picked up another shade of the Wonder Fun Park Dear Darling Tint, and I also got one of the Dear My Blooming Lips Talk lipsticks in a chiffon finish.

I got the lip tint in the shade PK002 Chewing Bubble Soda, which is a cool toned hot pink. The formula is the same as the one I got before: A lovely sheer gloss that can be built up to a bit more more opaque look. It also stains your lips, so your lips will stay tinted even after the product itself has worn off. 

Despite being such an electric shade of pink, I actually think it's a very wearable color. My lips are naturally pretty pigmented, so the sheer payoff creates a nice mauve-ish look on me. I like it! Even though it's part of the summer collection, I think the shade will work nicely in the fall too.

Can you tell which photos I took when it was cloudy?
I love the lipstick's packaging. It's super eye-catching and adorable! The scalloped detail and the little metallic stars on the case are cute as heck. Unfortunately I'm not too hot on the lipstick itself. 

I wasn't expecting the formula to be as sheer as it is, since it's a matte/chiffon lipstick. Though maybe I should have, considering the lip tints. If I want to completely cover my lips, I have to apply at least three layers of it. And even then, there will be patches where my natural lip color peeks through. The product feels really dry, so it's kind of impossible to put it on evenly. I have to make sure my lips are perfectly exfoliated and moisturized if I want to wear it, because it catches onto dry bits. I can kind of make it work for a gradient look if I dab it on, but I don't really think the color is right for me. It's a cute peachy pink on it's own, but it's too light for me. It just washes me out. Oh, well. I guess not all products are winners. If I had a proper vanity, I'd definitely put it on display though, haha.

Cosmetics sample inferno

I think the above is a familiar image to anyone who's a big fan of buying Korean cosmetics online (or shopping at Sephora's webs...