Hello! I cannot believe we are mid-way through May, and fast approaching the middle of 2020. So much has transpired in the past few months that to think back on the first quarter of the year feels like looking back on a different lifetime. I started my home confinement early in February under doctor’s advisement and then my baby arrived shortly after. In the weeks leading up to that, life was still fairly normal. But once I started spending most of my time at home, I started paring down my routine, and started putting some travel-sized samples to work. I also cleared out tonnes of expired products, a few I have included here because they were more memorable to me than the rests. Here is a look back on Jan-March 2020, as memorialized in these empties!
Let’s start with body care today, as the biggest change was clearly going from the final trimester of my pregnancy to having to shrink that post-pregnancy tum. I finished 3 bottles of Clarins Body Treatment Oil^ throughout my pregnancy, 2 of them shown here today. Thanks to this, I did not experience any itching or discomfort at all! The Body Shop Ethiopian Green Coffee Firming Body Cream was something I started using before my pregnancy, but had to put on hold for awhile, and finally emptied it afterwards. It was pleasant to use in every imaginable way – non sticky, smells lovely, and does not stain clothing. However, I did not see any improvements in my cellulites. On the other hand, I really enjoyed going through Body Shop Shower Gels in a variety of scents, all 3 shown here were from their Christmas collection. Le Couvent Gardener’s Hand Balm is a rich cream that had a citrusy scent, It was not too heavy and yet still manages to protect my very dry hands.
When I was still going to the office and attending events, I would curl my hair every night and did my best to preserve my waves with products specially designed for curly hair. The Aveda Be Curly Shampoo^ was something I had used before and was happy to revisit. It cleansed well without being too stripping. Damage Remedy^ is amazing, and I highly recommend anyone who uses heat on their hair to apply this before styling! I have finished 2 of these tubes and looking to restock. I uncovered another jar of Chez Vous Bespoke Booster [reviewed here] in my stash and put it to good use. The Briogeo Curl Charisma Gel^ was a surprise to me, I had ordered the Curl Cream [raved about it here] but Sephora sent me this instead. This gel leaves my hair a bit crunchy but keeps the curls better than the cream. So choose wisely depending on your need.
After baby arrived, I stopped styling my hair but as my hair grew out, I had to deal with crazy flyaway natural waves. So I started to spritz Ouai Leave In Conditioner on my hair, which was nice and helped keep my hair feeling soft. I also started working on some products that have been in my stash for a long time but were too meh for me to dedicate myself to. L’oreal EverPure 6-in-1 Cleansing Balm is a strange balm that both cleanses and conditions, but I just never got over the texture. L’Oreal Botanicals Coriander Conditioner was really thick but did nothing to detangle my hair. I also emptied out a number of travel sizes, seeing as how travel is out of the picture for the foreseeable future. The Goldwell Kerasilk duo are repeats, I’ve used up several of their full sizes before and loved every drop of these minis. Johansford London Deep Color Care is new to me, and I was am sufficiently pleased by these shampoo and conditioner that I will consider investing in their full sizes. DrGL Haircare is also new, I must say that I did not care for these angular pump bottles…. very hard to manage when the hands are wet!
Let’s start with the products that I did not much care for. I binned 2 different bubble masks from Su:m37 – the Bright Award Bubble-de Mask Pack and Bright Award Bubble-de Mask Black were 2 different oxygenating rinse-off masks that irritated my skin. I have been trying them sporadically over an extended period and every time my skin turned red patchy. This had happened with other brands’ bubble masks in the past though, so it could be an ingredient used for the bubbling technology just does not suit my skin. The Rose Cleansing Stick was highly raved and apparently sold-out in Korea, but I found it was rather meh. The grainy texture provided some exfoliating properties, but was so large and unevenly distributed I did not think it did that well. Kose Infinity Advanced White Serum XX was heavily fragranced, and smelled like cheap drugstore soap bars. I tried using this several times, but the fragrance is so off-putting I eventually decided I could not live with it. A-Derma Phys-AC Perfect is an anti-blemish treatment that I found very gentle, but not very effective. I have been using this for a very long time because I only applied it on targeted areas, but you are supposed to apply it all over the face.
The products that really stood out for me was Bybi Crystal Clear Gel Cleanser [reviewed here]. This was really effective at controlling breakouts, whilst still being very gentle on sensitive skin. I emptied this within months of receiving it. Kylaz is a local startup, and their Spot Treatment was surprisingly effective! Would recommend looking into this if you can.
The remaining products here I enjoyed using, and was not a struggle to get through at all. I would just like to highlight a few – Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Diamond Revitalizing Mask Noir [reviewed here] was such a luxury to use, and soooo good I treasured every last drop of this. If you can afford to splurge, this is the one to go for. Albion Exage is a range that I have used and reviewed several times [here]. It is a very good entry level range for all skin types… go try it out!
Finally, we turn to makeup. As you all know, this is a category that I don’t go through as much of… ironically this is what I collect the most. I was especially gratified to empty a bottle of foundation, something that takes me 9-12 months to accomplish despite sticking to 1 throughout. Which tells you how much I loved this Guerlain L’Essentiel Foundation… out of the 20-odd bottles of foundations I own, this is the one I committed to every single day for the last year! Read more about it here. I also loved the Shiseido Future Solution Total Radiance Regenerating Cushion E [reviewed here]… this gave me a glow that was bound to elicit praises every time I wore it. This was one of my more recent cushions, and I used up 1 side of it… then I decided to flip the cushion over… and found it was mouldy underneath! Yikes!! Now this is something I’ve done with every cushion I’ve used, because half the product is often still remaining after you’ve dried up the top of the cushion, but this is certainly the first time I’ve found it mouldy so I’m really shocked.
A couple of mascaras here… both the By Terry Lash Expert [reviewed here] and Chanel Dimensions Ultimes [reviewed here] were huge hits for me. The By Terry gave nice definition and lengthening effects; whilst the Chanel added stunning volume to my lashes.
Not quite makeup but related… Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover^ was gentle but not as effective as Chanel. And for those who use makeup sponges… I highly recommend you pick up this Daiso sponge cleaner^! It costs only $2, and removes all the makeup easily. Simply squeeze some onto your dirty sponges, soak in water overnight, give it a couple of squeezes the next morning, rinse clean and voila!
Phew! I’m glad I managed to get through this post! Been procrastinating on writing this for the longest time, because I just can’t seem to settle my mind properly to focus on detailed work these days. But as you can see, I decided to tackle this slightly differently this time. Let me know in the comments below if you prefer this narrative approach or a more detailed list with explanations that I have done in the past!
Many of the products discussed here today were provided by generous sponsors. Others that were purchased by me are marked with ^. Regardless, all opinions expressed here are my own honest, unbiased views.