Monthly Archives: January 2014

Cuteness overload: L’Herboflore Sheet Masks

L'Herboflore Sheet Masks 01

Sorry, before everything else, I have to share these lovelies. These are my favorite sheet masks ever! I was reluctant to blog about them because it was impossible to purchase internationally, only in brick and mortar stores in Taiwan. Well, there’s no point dangling a carrot when nobody can get their hands on it, right? Not any more! The Womany Store now carries the (incomplete) line and do ship to a number of countries internationally!

I have not tried purchasing from the Womany Store yet. I still have a stash purchased from Taipei. When the masks run out, I will definitely buy again, despite the mark up on the e-store. The masks are fantastic fantastic stuff.

“L’Herboflore’s mission is to offer consumers high quality skincare at affordable prices.  Every detail of our products, including packaging, mask material, ingredients and fragrance, are designed meticulously to beof the highest quality.” Be surprised, it is not just marketing talk, it really does deliver every single promise that it makes.

  • They are affordable. The least expensive option start from NT$50 per piece, around USD$1.66. Not comparable to some of the Korean options, but these are a lot better.
  • The masks fit excellent. There are no pockets of air when you wear them, they’re like moulds to your skin.
  • The masks are lightly scented, but the fragrance does not sting. They can be used even on sun damaged or post glycolic peel skin.
  • They are excellent at providing moisture.
  • Each mask contains 30ml of essence. Comapred to Innisfree It’s Real (20ml), Aritaum Fresh Essence (20ml) and Missha Pure Source (21ml), they dry out a lot slower, and there’s plenty of essence to use further on your neck, décolletage or anywhere else.
  • Most importantly (to me at least), the packaging is designed by well-known illustrators in Taiwan, and they are darn cute.

L'Herboflore Sheet Masks 02

I have the Aegean SeaGarden of Venus and Party Sweetheart Collections. My favorites of those are (from TR) Rose Water Refining HydromaskDeep Sea Balancing MaskGrape Anti-Aging Hydromask and Sweety Black Tea Balancing Mask. If you have time, go have a look at their official website, browse the pretty packaging, I dare you to say you’re not enticed.

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Guerlain Perfect White Melanin Diet Treatment Intense Whitening

Guerlain Perfect White Melanin Diet Treatment Intense Whitening 01

Most of my photos as a teenager appear to be over-exposed—mostly you can only see my eyes and two holes for a nose. Yes, I was that pale! It started getting better after I started exercising and involving myself in outdoor activities. Recently though, I’m thinking maybe I have overdone myself a bit. When I saw Guerlain Perfect White Melanin Diet Treatment Intense Whitening on sale last year, I snapped it up.

Little did I know, this bloody thing has nearly driven me mad! It is close to impossible to find information about the product on the web. This is not even a dinosaur-age product, but information is so elusive its as if some hacker had taken down all related sites in a personal vendetta. Here’s what little I managed to find:

Guerlain Perfect White Melanin Diet Treatment Intense Whitening with pearl lily complex advanced that triggers whitening action and so prevents the appearance of dark spots. Under the effect of melanin treatment, it can reveal a translucent complexion in just 2 weeks.

The treatment consists of two weeks supply of 2.5ml vials. Week 1 and 2 treatments are of different formulations, and are supposed to achieve different purposes.

Guerlain Perfect White Melanin Diet Treatment Intense Whitening 02

Week 1: Destock Diet

“To eliminate the deep nested melanin in all the layers of the epidermis.”

The first week ampoules are watery, I use them as serums day and night before my day BB cream and my night moisturizer. It is actually impossible to finish a vial a day, so the one week supply eventually lasted me a good 10 days. I did not notice any visible lightening or brightening, but they work fine as serums.

Guerlain Perfect White Melanin Diet Treatment Intense Whitening 03

Week 2: Shock Diet

“To reduce the appearance of new melanin and prevent its migration and accumulation on the surface of the skin.”

The second week ampoules are of a slightly thicker consistency and has the same characteristic fragrance as the first week set. getting the last drop of treatment out is a problem because it is so thick, and I ended up spraying my facial mist into the vial to make it easier to pour out. I don’t like wastage.

My skin did not react very well to this, though, I ended up with tiny pimples and whiteheads along my cheekbones, chin and forehead. When they healed in a week, they healed with discoloration of the skin so it looks like sun spots or freckles. Sigh.

The Verdict

I am not sure if it is because of the AHA exfoliation or the treatment, but yes, I do observe brightening of the skin. It might be due to placebo effect, I’m not sure. Skin coloration is one area where it’s hard to stay objective. This is one of those try and move on products for me.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate & Eye

I have a complicated relationship with Kiehl’s. I love their wonderful service—all sales attendants manage to be friendly and helpful. They are so great that at times I feel guilty for walking away empty-handed. However, I don’t share the same sentiment towards most of their products. I tried much raved products like Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate and the Ultra Facial Creme, but they don’t agree with me. For a long time, though, I loved the MR line.

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate (30ml)

The MRC contains squalane (a “botanical lipid” that helps restore skin’s natural moisture balance), evening primrose oil (repairs skin barrier), lavender essential oil (soothe inflamed or irritated skin). It is essentially a mixture of essential oil and carrier oil, but I really enjoyed using it at one point. Okay, for three whole years. The fragrance of lavender is great as a pre-bedtime treat. I followed the instructions dutifully at first:

  1. Apply 2-3 drops of treatment on cleansed skin
  2. Gently press fingertips to cheeks, forehead, and chin to evenly distribute the application before gently massaging it into the skin
  3. Can wear alone or under moisturizer

I did experience the glowing effect that reviewers on MUA claimed, on the first few weeks of using the MRC. My skin looked healthier in the morning, in ways I cannot describe. It did not help with suppleness, the brightness or the fine lines on my forehead and around my mouth, but just looked better. The MRC is not enough on its own, or on top of a serum. Additional moisture is definitely needed or you will feel your skin uncomfortably taut. I ended up having to apply sleep mask or gel moisturizer over the MRC and serum on most nights. The lovely Mom tried it, liked it too and later bought a bottle for herself, which is why I still have a supply to steal from after three years.

However, the glowing effect is slowly lost as I continued a quarter through the first bottle, I stopped noticing differences. I reduced the number of time I use this to twice a week, but even then nothing happened. I still like the scent, I just don’t think it is worth it anymore.

Towards the end of my bottle, I chanced upon this research article, regarding the cytotoxicity of lavender oil to human cells. Apparently, at 0.25%, lavender oil is toxic to all types of human cells the team has tested. I went to Paula out of laziness to do independent research, and the results are frankly quite alarming. In other studies, a concentration of less than 0.25% can also be problematic. There is no indication of the concentration of lavender oil in MRC, but  I don’t dare to use it on its own now. I dilute it with Apricot Kernel Oil before letting it touch my face. 

I thank the MRC for introducing me to oils, but I will not be repurchasing this.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye (15ml)

The MR Eye claims to diminishes the appearance of fine lines, educes puffiness and reduces dark under-eye circles. I have used two tubes of this, and I’m not impressed at all. It lived up to none of its claims.

What was I thinking, though? Re-purchasing when it clearly doesn’t work? I finished a tube, found it to be meh, and since I didn’t have better candidates to take over, I just bought another tube, since it came in a set with the second MRC my Mom bought.

And now I’m at the point where nothing in the Kiehl’s catalogue interests me any longer. When I flip through fashion magazine and see a Kiehl’s product in those editor’s recommendation sections, I can only sigh. I love their generosity, I love their branding, just not their products. Give me a few years and maybe I’ll go back to Kiehl’s again.

Soap & Glory Slimwear & the Firminator

Soap & Glory 01

I love S&G. Their vintage packaging is lovely, the products smell great and they’re affordable too. It is a wonderful brand for body products, because there are gazillion different exfoliators, body wash, body sprays etc. I love their firming and anti-cellulite products in particular.

As I’ve said in the Clarins High Definition Body Lift review (read), I don’t expect much from firming body products, but I won’t stop trying them either. I will re-purchase as long as it works as a moisturizer and smells decent. The S&G Slimwear is one that I’ve tried before, and this time, I picked up the Firminator too.

S&G previously discontinued the Firminator but re-launched a re-formulation early this year. I purchased both products in September 2013 from Sephora, so the Firminator is of the “new” formulation. “New”. Really?

Soap & Glory 02

The new Firminator sure looks different from the old The Firminator All-Over Intensive Body Contouring Gel, which is a thick light blue gel. I have not tried the discontinued version, but a quick search on Google should be enough to find you old reviews. The new Firminator claims to be “proven to help visibly firm, tone and reduce the appearance of orange-peel skin”, with the aid of “peppermint and litsea cubeba citrus toning oils”. Looks great, but the texture and scent seem suspiciously like the Slimwear!

A quick comparison show similar ingredients list, with the noted exception of Peppermint Oil and Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil, which is included in Firminator but not Slimwear. These two are far far down on the ingredients list, meaning they are contained in low concentrations. Really, does minor change warrant the ten bucks increase in price of the Firminator? Slimwear is no longer featured on the official website, so it is likely that S&G has decided to discontinue it and release the tweaked version as Firminator.

I enjoy using the Slimwear and Firminator, I really do. They smell refreshing and yummy, cooling on the body in the morning and even better after a post-workout shower. I don’t see, smell or feel difference between these two, and gosh, I should have stocked up on those cheap Slimwear. Of course you can argue that ingredients list is not equal to actual formulation, but really, I can buy three Slimwears for the price of two Firminators, why would I be concerned about those low-concentration ingredients?

Will I re-purchase either? If Slimwear is still around, definitely. The Firminator maybe.

Slimwear Ingredients List: Aqua (Water/Eau), Ethylhexyl Stearate, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cyclohexasiloxane, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum (Fragrance), Methylparaben, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Limonene, Menthyl Lactate, Ethylparaben, Dipropylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Propylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, Dimethicone, Steareth-20, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Simethicone, Morus Alba Leaf Extract, Citral, Linalool, Propylparaben, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Dipeptide-2, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Tocopherol, CI 19140 (Yellow 5), CI 42090 (Blue 1)

Firminator Ingredients List: Alcohol, Butylene glycol, Cetearyl glucoside, Cyclohexasiloxane, Sodium polyacrylate, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum (Fragrance), Sodium stearoyl lactylate, Sodium ascorbyl phosphate, Methylparaben, Limonene, Menthyl lactate, Ethylparaben, Dipropylene glycol, Tocopheryl acetate, Propylene glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Glyceryl acrylate/acrylic acid copolymer, Hesperidin methyl chalcone, Dimethicone, Steareth-20, Panax ginseng root extract, Morus alba leaf extract, Silica, Citral, Chlorhexidine digluconate, Potassium sorbate, Dipeptide-2, Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, CI 19140 (Yellow 5), CI 42090 (Blue 1)