Monthly Archives: November 2017

Estée Lauder Micro Essence

Something that you must learn about me, I suffer from a case of brand loyalty–if I like just one product from a particular brand, I want to try EVERY SINGLE THING on their catalog because I have the niggling suspicion and everything from the brand is just as great. It is highly irrational, and I have to catch myself at the checkout sign all the time.

Sometimes, things slip through the cracks. That is how I ended up with not one, but two bottles of the Estée Lauder Micro Essence. Of course it started from all the years of straying and going back to ANR (reviewed here).

How to use it

Use it right after cleansing, before all your other skincare steps. The texture is slightly tacky so you can either apply it with a cotton pad, or pat onto your skin using your palms. Of course I did the latter because I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth and I don’t poop gold.

I normally follow up with another active like AHA / BHA, or my regular serum, some of which mentioned here.

My thoughts

The most immediate thought is that it is very very hydrating, more so than any other fermented essences (IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning (review) and Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence (review)), and my dehydrated skin is very appreciative of it.

The follow up thought is unsexy: there is definitely more of the standard moisturising ingredients like glycols (pentylene glycol, butylene glycol, or propylene glycols) or the hyaluronates (hyaluronic acid or sodium hyalunate). Do not for one second believe there is anything special about the formulation, one thing CosDNA has taught me is that even the most luxurious formulas have humble backgrounds, and it is almost always those few standard ingredients.

What makes the essences “special” is only the single ingredient, in this case bifida ferment lysate. More studies are still needed on the effectiveness of bfl on skin, but let me just quote Paula’s Ingredients Dictionary here “Limited research has shown that yeast ferment filtrate (a compound different from bifida ferment lysate) offsets oxidative skin damage in the presence of UV light, but this research also showed that many other antioxidants have a similar effect.” (Source)

(So, yep, it seems like the bfl is not totally a fad)

The problem is, I had too high of an expectation for anything from Estée Lauder, following the wonders that is ANR and CPR (here), which made significant improvements to my skin. ME sounds really good on paper, but aside from the initial boost of hydration, I have not noticed any changes to my skin.

Estée Lauder says that ME is best paired with ANR, which is what I would normally do anyway. Whether it is the truth or it is a ploy to get you to spend more money on the brand by getting the whole set, you decide. (:

All in all, nope. It is not bad, but for its price, I’d rather splurge on another brown bottle.

Ingredients

Water/Aqua/Eau, Bifida Ferment Lysate, PEG-75, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, Betaine, Pentylene Glycol, Betaine, Pentylene Glycol, Lactobacillus Ferment, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Acetyl Glucosamine, Trehalose, Caffeine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Citrate, Triomethmine, Disodium EDTA, Phexoxyethanol

(See, it is a very standard list)

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UPDATE: Japan 2017 Haul

I am back home from Japan! (*≧▽≦)ノシ)) It is the first ever solo trip for me and surprisingly I am quite well adjusted to being alone with my thoughts. The only time where I hated being alone was at Aoikigahara, where I was hiking in deafening silence for 2 hours. (O∆O)

First up, some shocks:

  • I didn’t manage to get any Chifure products ‧º·(˚ ˃̣̣̥⌓˂̣̣̥ )‧º·˚ I had far less time than I thought for shopping, and Chifure isn’t popular enough to be found in every drugstore
  • Outside of the cities, drugstores aren’t so commonplace after all. At least, it is not easy to get to it with walking and public transport
  • Best part of the trip was getting in touch with my nose again, and trying out the the slightly more niche perfumes at Isetan Shinjuku as well as Ginza
  • Fell in love with the Comme des Garçons Incense series (Kyoto, in particular, is a masterpiece to my nose)
  • I stuck closely to my shopping list; I am proud of myself!!  Have a look below:

Old Faves

My original shopping list!

I bought all of them except the Chifures.

Japanese Toners

  • Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion – Found it in a limited edition bottle so I couldn’t resist getting one.
  • Hada Labo Premium Lotion – The supposed more hydrating and plumping version of the original SHA Lotion, I got it on the very last day when it is clear that I don’t have time to look around for my favourite version of hyaluronic acid – Chifure Essence (Review).
  • Kanebo Dew Lotion – The Dew Lotion was recommended by a Japanese colleague who has beautiful skin.
  • Kikumasamune Moist Lotion

Cleansers & Sunscreens

No surprises in this department at all, I have tried and loved all of them:

  • Refill for Kose Softymo Light Cleansing Oil
  • Refill for Perfect Watery Oil
  • Biore UV Nobi Nobi SPF50/PA+++
  • Biore Perfect Milk SPF50/PA+++

Serge Lutens

I was very intent on getting Sa Majesté la Rose or Chergui when I walked into the Shinjuku store, but I ended up falling in love with La fille de Berlin (“The Girl from Berlin”) upon the very first sniff. Amber, rose, musk and woods reminded me of Amouage Lyric, which is one of my ultimate favorite perfume, ever (I wrote about how much I loved it three years ago here). While Lyric is a lady, LFdB is half a wild beast and half a Shakespearean tragedy.

(On the other hand, the first hour of Féminité du Bois is a massive turnoff. It is in the same scrubber league as the first 30 minutes of A La Nuit. Both are mostly universally loved but I cannot stand them O.o)

Brightening Skincare: Shiseido Haku Melanofocus 3D

Ladies and gents, I’ve realised that 2017 is the year of brightening skincare for me. I’m seriously going hard at all the sun spots. Today I’m going to review another product that I have given almost a year to test. (I popped it into the fridge immediately after getting it, and I forgot about it for a while フフフ)

Shiseido Haku Melanofocus 3D came to prominence around 10 years ago, and has gone through a number of reformulations. It claims to prevent the formation of melanin, improve uneven skin tone, fade freckles, acne marks and minimizes dark spots caused by sun exposure. It also claims to restore skin damage caused by UV, pollution or other environmental factors.

What is contains:

HAKU contains 2 active ingredients: 4MSK (potassium 4-methoxysalicylate) which is also used in other SHISEIDO brands. This includes SHISEIDO White Lucent range, Revital Whitening range and AUPRES range. It claims to work by diminishing the activity of enzyme tyrosinase to reduce melanin production. Another include Tranexamic acid is a well researched and effective skin brightening agent. (See the full ingredients list on CosDNA).

How I use it

I apply this day and night after cleansing and toning. It is a scentless, light cream gel which is thicker than most serums, but absorbs quickly into the skin. At night, I apply a second layer on my cheekbones where I have some sunspots and freckles.

It is a totally different breed from HABA White Lady (review) and SK-II GeneOptics Spot Essence (review), having different active ingredients, textures and all. But one thing is similar–you can barely notice any tingling or citrus smells commonly associated with brightening products. Also, the effect is barely noticeable in the short run, and most of the time they seem to do nothing at all. It is only with consistent use that one day, you wake up and notice glowing skin.

The one drawback that I notice is that it can get oily when used during the day, as the texture is thicker than most traditional serums. It has been relegated to only night time use.

Verdict

All in all, I am very pleased with the HAKU for overall brightening and to get glowing skin. But for spot fading, it has not done much at all (so far, nothing did. HAHA). At the hefty price tag of ~¥7,000 (US$70), I am not going to repurchase this anytime soon.