Empties Vol. 16 ft. Dr Barbara Sturm Skincare & Sheet Masks
October 25, 2020
This is my 16th empties post! I can’t believe what started on a whim has turned into a regular feature that lasted more than 3 years! When I look back on all the products that have been featured, there are actually not that many repeats. Which has made these empties post rather difficult to write in a meaningful way. So rather than try and cover everything in an overly length verbiage, I decided to focus my efforts on uncovering a specific brand that is relatively new to me, and a targeted product category.
There is a set of Dr. Barbara Sturm skincare that I had been saving and finally put them to work over this past quarter. Also, I got more diligent in using my sheet masks on a regular basis and instead of throwing the wrappers away, decided to make a mini-review out of them. So if you are ready, sit back and enjoy the read!
Before I delve into today’s focal areas proper, I wanted to draw your attention to the 1 makeup item that I emptied. The Guerlain Parure Gold Cushion is a luxurious base that I started using before COVID-19, and continued to enjoy for the occasional trips out of my home these past months. It is one of the best cushions I have ever tried, and highly recommend you to get it if you can find a shade match. You can check out the full review here.
Now turning to this quarter’s brand focus: Dr. Barbara Sturm Skincare.
I was first introduced to Dr. Barbara Sturm Skincare in 2018, and was really intrigued by her expertise in anti-inflammatory medicine and how she translated it into skincare. Whilst the majority of us will not have the opportunity to get our own jar of MC1 “blood” cream or try her infamous “vampire facial”; at least we can easily access her eponymous skincare line via Net-a-Porter.
Dr Barbara Sturm Skincare focus on hydrating and healing the skin, and features Purslane as a key ingredient, known to soothe and calm irritated skin. There are no acids or other aggressive ingredients as she does not believe they have a place in a skincare routine.
The reason this ended up being part of an empties post that is so much delayed is quite simply that I was not blown away when I dug into the products.
The Hyaluronic Serum hydrates the skin nicely using a combination of low and high weighted molecules to target skin at the surface and deeper layers. It is lightweight and quick to absorb… but these qualities are de rigueur for any HA serum and you can get a good one at a fraction of the price these days.
The Cleanser is my favourite item here. It comes in a self-foaming pump which is so convenient, and feels very gentle and comforting on my skin. It cleanses well, without drying out my skin.
I did not like The Face Cream, in fact it broke me out. It is not the lightest nor silkiest cream that I have tried, and definitely not something I would apply around my eyes (though Dr Barbara Sturm recommends you do). The ingredient list is unexceptional to justify the high price tag.
I wanted very much to like The Face Mask, but it stung my skin, which is so ironic for a line focused on healing. It is supposed to be deeply hydrating, and calm skin that has been exposed to the elements. However, if something stings, I don’t recommend leaving it on.
The Anti-Aging Body Cream is infused with glacier water, white almond and elderberry blossom… all very decadent for body care, but it comes with a hefty price tag. The texture is quite comforting I must say, but at this price point, I prefer La Mer which has a silkier texture and that signature La Mer scent.
Overall, Dr Barbara Sturm’s philosophy resonates within me, but I found the products too basic and unexceptional.
Other skincare empties…
For the sake of completeness, here are the other skincare items that were emptied in the past 3 months:
Sisley Phyto-Blanc Lightening Foaming Cleanser – enjoyed this one thoroughly!
Estetica ést.lab Sunshield – raved about this numerous times on IG
Bioessence Rose Gold Ampoule – is a wonderful drugstore find!
Clarins Extra-Firming Neck Cream – is something that I’ve been working on for a very long time. It actually irritates my skin and so I can’t use it very regularly. Moving forward, I am not going to be so dogmatic about emptying every single item I use, but only work on things that truly spark joy.
Ecooking Moisturizing Serum – is on the heavier side, not a favourite for me
Bring Green Tea Tree Cica Soothing Toner – Cica is a popular kbeauty ingredient, and it really does wonders! This cheap drugstore toner soothes skin, is very gentle and helps clear out maskne.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Perfection Peel Off Mask – is a single use mask that needs to be mixed with water and applied on the skin. It dries within minutes so you have to work fairly quickly. The portion is quite generous, and I barely used half the tub.
This ties in nicely to the next focus of today’s empties post: Sheet Masks!
I think we are all guilty of hoarding our sheet masks, but do you know they expire fairly quickly? Be sure to watch out for the expiration dates on the packaging, so you don’t irritate your skin with products that have gone bad. I used quite a number of sheet masks over the past few months, and here are the representative few that I saved to give you an idea of what is available out there.
The most luxurious, and hands-down my favourite sheet mask here is the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Creamy Mask. I reviewed this here, so head over for a detailed read. 3 years on, I still enjoy it and think it is worth paying the premium for.
There are number of local Singapore brands that are worth checking out –
Estetica’s Est.Lab is a good one that I’ve used several times over the years and enjoyed
Glowfully is a new entrant, and their H2O Jelly Mask adheres really well to the skin. You can even melt the mask in 60degC water for a body-pampering soak!
Sigiskin Tea-Tox is a new release that is prettily packaged and contains a high concentration of probiotics to heal the skin.
These days there are a vast number of sheet masks you can pick up from any drugstore from Korea, Taiwan, Japan, etc. In general, I don’t find any one country or brand superior to others. I’ve enjoyed all those that I tried here – JMSolution, Mediheal, Dr. Jou, Happy Mask and Shangpree. Most of them bear some kind of claim – brightening, calming, etc… I find those claims iffy, but they generally all hydrate my skin nicely.
My skin does not take well to strong acids, so I did not really enjoy the Pixi Glow sheet mask and the StarSkin Peeling Perfection Puff. The latter irritated my skin, so I threw it away even though it is supposedly reusable up to 3x.
For the sake of completeness, here are my hair & body care empties!
The one thing that I really absolutely loved, was La Mer The Hand Treatment! It is the only hand cream that is able to soothe my hands when they are absolutely suffering from constant sanitising and washing baby’s bottles. The tube is generously sized and lasts me a long time. Highly recommend this if you have severely dry and/or eczema prone hands, and can afford a bit of luxury!
Many others here you have seen before – Clarins Body Fit, Molton Brown Shower Gel, Percy & Reed Wonder Overnight Recovery. What’s new are:
Ouai Treatment Mask which was nice for detangling, but light enough it does not weigh down my curls.
Avante Treatment was given to me for maintaining my Anti-Damage Movement Perm. It is a silicon rich product that is good for sealing those hair cuticles post chemical process, but unremarkable otherwise.
Starskin Nourishing Coconut Hot Oil Mask is a little clumsier as it needs to be first heated up then applied and kept on for 30 minutes. I love coconut in my food but not so much on my hair… Didn’t see any improvement either.
So, we are speeding towards the holiday season. Do you have anything on your must-try / must-buy shopping list?
The products featured here were all kindly provided for my consideration. Regardless, all opinions expressed here are my own honest, unbiased views.