If there was ever a time to focus on our own well-being and allow ourselves to be pampered bodily, 2020 was it. We are well into 2021, and I think the pampering needs to continue. As you have already seen from recent empties, I have been focusing on my high end facial products. And as the year pulled to a close, I renewed my efforts on body and haircare, and would like to introduce some of my personal favourites today.
I doubled down on my favourite haircare brands this last quarter of 2020, many of them you have seen before – Goldwell Kerasilk, Briogeo, Ouai. But I also tried out some Olaplex which many people raved about as well as Oribe. Bema is an organic product targeting hair loss so I was keen to try. Here are my quick thoughts on each of them in decreasing order of likability.
Oribe Signature Shampoo & Conditioner*was every bit as luxurious as they say. From packaging, to scent, to amount of lather and texture, everything is immaculately executed. Best of all, it leaves my hair soft, tangle-free, and smooth. It is truly remarkable to catapult straight to the top of the list when there are so many of my recurring favourites here.
Goldwell Kerasilk Reconstruct Hair Mask* is a recurring favourite, I’ve emptied several jars of this hair mask over the years, and will continue to keep this on hand for as long as I can foresee.
Briogeo Color Me Brilliant Color Protect Conditioner was something I picked up on a whim to try. It is more affordable than some of the others shown here, and so far I’ve not tried anything from Briogeo I didn’t like. The reviews on Sephora were not all positive, so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. It detangled my hair easily, and was truly a joy to use on a daily basis. The only thing I didn’t like was the pump bottle which is always difficult with products like conditioners that have a thicker consistency.
Olaplex No. 5 is less popular than No. 3 and I think I know why (though I’ve not tried No.3 yet). I chose this over No.3 because I thought it would be lighter in texture, hence more suitable for permed hair. However, I found the texture to be really heavy, and I had a lot of difficulties getting it out of the bottle. Despite the heaviness, I did not find it smoothens nor softens my hair.
Ouai Rose Hair & BodyOil* smells amazing, a very modern rose that does not feel old-lady-ish nor is it overwhelming on the nose. The texture is surprisingly light, which makes it suitable for the body. On the hair, however, it practically disappears which is great for not messing up the sheets, but if you need a more treatment type of leave-in product, you have to look elsewhere.
Goldwell DualSenses Rich Repair* was given to me after my Sugar Laminate Hair Treatment at Chez Vous. I didn’t use it immediately after my treatment, so on a standalone basis, I did not enjoy this quite as much as the Kerasilk hair mask. This is heavy on silicones, but does not score high on repair.
Bema Bio Shampoo* is highly rated on most retail sites, and was offered to me by a local distributor of organic products. It’s anti-hair loss function seemed like a good idea for postpartum use. However, I personally find the formulation to be quite dated, organic products have improved tremendously in recent years. This Bema shampoo does not lather well, leaves my hair tangled and limp, and frankly did not reduce hair fallout.
I have been doing some cleaning lately and unearthed quite some travel minis. Since I will be moving house soon, and travel remains elusive, I decided to put some of these minis to use. My top pick is still Chanel Shower Gel* from the Les Eaux collection, this one bears the scent of Paris Venise, one of my favourites. As I had noted a year ago [here], everything about Chanel Gel Douche is luxurious, from packaging to texture and scent. I also put to work mini shower gels from Molton Brown* and Sabon*. The fact these are not ranked 1 after the other gives you a hint they fall into different leagues. The one surprising find here was Diptyque’s Body Lotion* which was really quite luxurious and enjoyable. It has a lovely fragrance that is not too overpowering, and the texture of the body lotion really hit the spot for me. The only reason I couldn’t rate it higher was that the Clarins Body Fit really works for my flabby bits. I would have rated it a 3 but it was so small I couldn’t really be sure.
I continue to work diligently on emptying some high end products, but it seems like the bumper crop may only be presented in the next empties post. The last quarter of 2020 saw the end of some staple products, and I also decided to bin a few expired items. Ranked from favourites to not-so-great, here is my verdict:
Kat Burki KB5 Calming Gel Cleanser* was a very surprising find for me. This was a travel mini that I was saving and finally decided to put to work along with some other Kat Burki products. In case you have never heard of Kat Burki, this is a clean beauty brand that applies nutritional science to skincare. This Gel Cleanser emulsifies surprisingly well, cleanses my skin thoroughly without stripping it. At the time I put it to work, my skin had some redness and sensitivity, and it actually did calm my skin down as marketed!
The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil is a staple, and I’ve been going through them month after month as maskne is so real.
Chanel Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream* is a lovely moisturiser, though not my favourite product from the Hydra Beauty range (that honour still goes to the Micro Serum). The texture is somewhat heavier, similar to La Solution 10, though not as comforting on the skin.
Decorte Liposome Treatment Liquid* is a wonderful lotion that perfectly balances all the hydrating and nutritive benefits my matured skin needs without becoming too heavy.
Kose Sekkisei White UV Milk* offers a high SPF50+ protection whilst retaining a lovely lightweight fluid texture. The bottle is generously sized as well, and lasts me a good 6 months with daily use.
Clarins UV Plus Day Screen Multiprotection* also offers high SPF50/PA+++ protection. However, I found it leaves a slight white cast and is just a tad harder to blend than the Kose.
Clarins Toning Lotion with Iris is designed for combination / oily skin. On my combination dehydrated skin, does not irritate but is not the most comforting. Clarins offers a great range of lotions at affordable prices, and for my skin type, there are better options.
Su:m37 Secret Essence Mist* is a rich facial mist with an accompanying heavier texture. Truth be told, I don’t use facial mists regularly, most of my mists are used to dampen makeup sponges but rich mists like this are not ideal for that purpose. On my face, I found it melts and moves my makeup.
Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Micellar Cleanser* was on my shelf for a very long time, I use it only to remove the makeup around my eyes when I have lash extensions on. The Origins Mega-Mushroom range is one of my least favourite skincare ranges as they generally sting my sensitive skin despite being marketed to help sensitive skin. This Micellar Cleanser also fails in that it really does a poor job removing makeup, even the lightest eyebrow pencil requires several swipes to remove thoroughly.
Tatcha Violet C Radiance Mask is a rare product from Tatcha that I didn’t like. Generally speaking, my skin is sensitive to acids, but I have built up some resistance over the years, and these days acids are formulated much gentler than years ago. However, this mask stung my skin from day 1, and even though I tried again and again hoping over time my skin will get used to it, it sadly never did. Instead of fresh and dewy, my skin would get sensitised and irritated for a good period after using. So if you have low tolerance for acid products, steer clear.
Special mention: Handmade Heroes Free the Nips Nursing Balm* I missed this out from the body care section earlier, but this is a made-in-Singapore brand and I was super glad to have gotten to know them when I just had baby Leyton. I’ve tried several brands of nursing balms/creams, even pure lanolin before… but they are all uncomfortable or smells funny. This Handmade Heroes balm is 100% scentless, the texture is comfortable and it actually sorts out of my nips overnight! I didn’t need to use it much throughout the 6 months that I was breastfeeding, which is actually a testament to how effective this is.
Finally, just 2 makeup empties to share, both are from Chanel’s Les Beiges range. The Sheer Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturiser is still easily 1 of my favourite products from the Les Beiges range, ideal for life cooped up indoors. You can read my initial review here, but suffice to say I like it even better today than when it was first launched. The Healthy Glow Gel Touch Foundation is just as lovely, this is actually the 2nd one that I have emptied (which says a lot because I have never refilled a cushion before given how many I have!). You can read my review on that here.
2020 has been a year that I slowed down and really prioritised myself. With life out there as stressful as it is, I found it important to take a few minutes each day for a ritual that sparks joy. I rediscovered my love for many skincare products, and at the same time I found that haircare has progressed by leaps and bounds for those of us looking for silicon-free alternatives. A good bottle of shower gel has the potential to fill our private space up with wonderful aroma and is probably the next best thing to an hour at the spa. As we go forward into 2021, I encourage you to pamper yourself in your own way, and find the 1 thing that soothes & reinvigorates your soul. I’d love to hear how you’ve been getting on through this pandemic, drop me a note below, via email, whenever.
This post featured some products that were provided for my consideration. These have been clearly marked with *. Regardless, all opinions expressed here are my own honest, unbiased views. If you have any questions, let me know.
I miss Singapore. I go every year in early December to shop, eat good food and get my aesthetic dermatology stuff done, visit the Gardens by the Bay, etc. I get depressed a lot and your post made me feel much better. I hope you’re doing fine. I’ve been reading your blog for years. Your sons look healthy. I wish you the best this year.