A beauty junkie? Moi? Absolutely. But since most of my pay cheque almost always go towards rent, bills, and kitty stuff, I don’t spend a lot on myself except for hanging out with friends. Every now and then, I’ll splurge. So here are some of the things from my last few splurges I feel are worth mentioning. Because there’s usually a couple of months in between each splurge, I’ve had some time to work with each of these products, and I feel I have a good enough grasp to give an honest opinion.
Let’s start off with the good stuff!
Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser
I like using this in the morning, because it’s gentle and has a fresh scent that’s a mild pick-me-up. (I say “mild” because it takes ages for me to fully wake up…) As a general rule, I never use a heavy duty cleanser in the morning, I save that for the night when I want to make sure all my makeup is off. (I do use a cream makeup remover, but I’m sure even though it’s a really good one, it doesn’t quite take everything off.) In the a.m. I just want a cleanser that’s very gentle, to remove the oil that builds up during the night, and prep my skin for my daytime skincare and makeup regime, and this one is lovely and leaves my skin feeling beautifully clean and soft, and never at all dry. I have been using this at night in the shower with my Clarisonic, and it’s still good and effectively removes any residue makeup, but I still prefer it for the morning. (I’ll explain the switch from morning to night in my “regrets” section.)
Apivita Express Beauty Deep Cleansing Mask
I find Apivita products to be very hit-or-miss for me, but this I love. I bought it in a box of 12 8ml packets when my skin was particularly oily and problematic, and I can be very economical about it and use one packet twice. I never need as much as 8ml in one application, so I just roll up the top and clip it so it doesn’t dry out. I do this masque twice a week, about once every three to four days. I spread on an even layer everywhere except around my eyes, and I chill for about 20mins before rinsing it off, and go with my regular nighttime skincare regime. It leaves my skin feeling really, really clean, extremely soft, and pores visibly reduced. I’ve been on my twice-a-week routine for about six weeks now, and my skin is generally improved with fewer breakouts. I always do a moisturising masque, or an overnight moisture pack the night after though. Anyways, good stuff.
Size: 12 x 8ml
Rating: 9/10 (I kinda wish this came in a tube.)
Apivita Express Beauty Mask for Young Oily Skin
I got this at the same time I got the Deep Cleansing Mask, and wanted something to replenish moisture and radiance without upsetting my skin balance, and throwing it into another angry acne-prone phase. I’ve tried to use each packet twice, like how I do with the other one, and it still works. However, I find with this one, it’s when I use the entire packet in one application, and leave it on for 20-30mins, and rinse it off that it leaves my skin feeling extremely supple and soft. It really felt like I was touch warm silk! I use this product every ten days or so. One tip though: before you open this packet, squish the product around inside for a little bit. The masque has an ingredient that’s a little watery, and this will mix it up so you don’t waste anything.
Size: 12 x 8ml
Rating: 9/10 (Ditto with the tube thing.)
Urban Decay Naked Palette
Okay, I know this is nothing new to a lot of people, but I only found a store in Hong Kong that carried Urban Decay in the last year or so. This palette is great, and it comes with a good quality brush, and a sample tube of Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion (which I looooooove). Really pretty, and usable colours that are very pigmented that goes on smooth as silk, and blends beautifully. Most colours are subtly shimmery, but nothing really sparkly. Just a soft glowy effect that makes your eyes look brighter and more dimensional. There’s only one matte shade, which I don’t use too much, but it’s perfect as a base colour for a really subtle look with minimal shimmer. I think one of the best things about the Naked palette is that the colours are so versatile, and it would work on any skin tone of any ethnicity, for looks ranging from really clean to very dramatic. I don’t see this being used up any time soon, because a little goes a long way, but if I ever hit the pan, I’d definitely repurchase.
Size: Twelve shades
Organix Light Penetrating Moroccan Argan Oil Light for Fine and Brittle Hair
I got this at Mannings because my hair was getting really dry and frizzy, and I haven’t been able to get myself to my hairstylist for a while. I use a small dollop every night after I’ve towel-dried my hair, and let it air-dry a little bit (to minimise the damage I do from blow-drying it) and rub it into my ends and finger comb what’s left through my strands from mid-length to tip. I never take this product any closer to my roots than the middle of my strands. I think your scalp has enough natural oils to moisturise your roots. I also never apply this product to dry hair, and always work it through while my strands are damp. I find it really weighs you down when you apply it when your hair is already dry. It’s really helped keep my ends and strands look healthier, shinier, and feel smoother. I’ve noticed that since I’ve started using this product, my hair falls into its natural curls a lot prettier.
Garnier Aqua Defense Sensitive Moisturizing Cleansing Milk
To be fair, this isn’t a bad product, it’s just I prefer a cleanser that foams for my very oily/combination skin. I originally got this because I needed to replace my Clean & Clear® cleanser I was using with my Clarisonic after it was used up, and decided to try something new. Being a none-foaming cleanser, this really didn’t work with my Clarisonic, so I moved this product into my morning routine, and used my Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser in its place in my nighttime regime. To its credit, it’s actually a great product for the morning when there isn’t much to clean off of your skin, but I’m really not a fan of cream cleansers. And since my Neutrogena does just as good and gentle a job and is the consistency I like, I’ll probably just go back to that. If you have dry or sensitive skin, or don’t wear a lot of makeup, this might be a product that’s really good for you as a daily cleanser. If you have oily/combination skin, or do wear a lot of makeup, it might be good to do what I do and limit it to your morning regime. I really don’t see this as an effective product to cleanse you skin of cosmetics residue or natural oils if you’re quite oily.
Rating: 8/10 (objectively, with none of my personal preferences involved)
Apivita Natural Serum – Radiance
I really wanted to like this product. I read so many positive reviews online and only a few people had a gripe with its scent, and I’ve never minded a mildly scented product. I was expecting to either love it, or feel content but not greatly moved. I wasn’t expecting to really dislike it, and be so disappointed. I think this must work with some people, whose skin responds well to mostly-natural products. I’ve found my skin really responds better to slightly chemically-enhanced products, and this not only didn’t replenish and add radiance to my skin as well as it promised to, it actually broke me out. The scent is lovely, I did enjoy that, but it really didn’t feel like it did much and it used up so quickly. For only 15ml, for me it totally wasn’t worth its price tag. I only feel slightly better about the money I spent because I bought it with my birthday discount. Will never repurchase.
Rating: 1/10 (I liked the scent and pretty bottle)
Apivita Natural Serum – Hydration
Same as the Radiance serum. This broke me out within days of using it, and not just tiny blemishes that fade quickly, but the annoying, painful type of acne that lurks under the skin with no visible pore that’s red, tender to the touch and took for-freakin’-ever to fade. Eventually, just because I didn’t want to waste the product, and didn’t want to give away something I really can’t recommend, I limited the use of this to my neck, and it still gave me a few breakouts there. The scent of this is different to the Radiance serum, which was vaguely citrusy. This was clean, but a tad too strong and reminded me of household cleaning products. Ugh. So disappointed.
Rating: 0.5/10 (only liked the bottle)
I was recently working with a slim budget, and needed something quick as my MAC Select Moisturecover liquid concealer was running out. I was open to a cheaper alternative that might work just as well, and thought I’d give this a try because so many online reviews praised its potential as an under-eye concealer. To be fair, I think the formula of this concealer isn’t actually bad and it blends well, even under my eyes. The only problem was, and this is just a major problem for me in Hong Kong, the shade was far too light. Beige was already the darker shade available, but it was still way too light. I think if Hong Kong stores carried this same product in a darker shade that actually matches my skin tone, it might actually be great. As it is, I had to give it away. Oh well.
Rating: 8/10 (objectively, see.)