Goodbye Dullness, Hello Baby Skin! Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel Review

Exfoliating is an important step in skincare regimen. However, up until not so long ago, my weekly exfoliation was very basic. I chose something with fine grain, gently massaged it over my face for about a minute, rinsed it off, felt some kind of improvement in the texture of my skin, and then I called it a day. Then along came Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel, and I have never looked back!

Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel is an at-home version of medical microdermabrasion. It is supposed to smooth and resurface rough texture, help minimize the look of fine lines, and help brighten and even skin tone.

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Skincare Review: Do Changing Seasons Upset Your Skin? Caudalie Vinosource to the Rescue!

Hey everyone!

About two weeks ago I went to the Caudalie Vinosource press event and received some samples to try out. I have been using them over the past two weeks, and I have come to my verdict. I started using this line when my skin was acting a little crazy with the changing seasons. It was dry, tired-looking, and not as plump. With the help from this line however, my skin very quickly went back to normal! I have been a fan of this brand for 8 years now, and I have not tried anything that is a dud. With that said, let’s take a better look at the S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum, Moisturizing Matifying Fluid, Moisturizing Sorbet, and Moisture Recovery Cream!

The S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum has a feathery light texture. Sticky and heavy are not the words you would associate with this serum. It is easy breezy to smooth it out on the skin, and it is then absorbed with lightening speed. This is not a serum that comes with fancy claims like brightening, anti-aging, and whatnot. However, if you want your skin to have a hydration boost, this serum is a good bet!

The Moisturizing Matifying Fluid is a must-try for everybody with combination skin. Having combination skin myself, I am very partial to products claim to moisturize my cheeks while matifies my T-zone. However, nothing I have tried worked for me. They usually keep my cheeks hydrated, but my T-zone still gets shiny really fast. This one, however, keeps its promise. I love to use this as day cream on my “I’m just working at home” days, but it works just as well under my foundation. My cheeks are soft and hydrated, and my T-zone doesn’t shine like a disco ball in a matter of hours. People with combination skin, rejoice! Here’s something that will streamline your morning routine! It has a very light texture and is absorbed fast, like everything else in this range (or dare I make a grander generalization about all Caudalie products?).

The Moisturizing Sorbet is a relaunched product. It used to be housed in a pump bottle, but the new formula is found in a tube. I had the old formula and loved it, but it was a while ago so I can’t really compare the two! What I can say is, they’re both super light, yet they moisturize well. It doesn’t claim to be matifying, but I find my T-zone very happy with this sorbet. So happy in fact, it doesn’t feel the need to produce sebum too fast! Actually, if you have “oily skin,” it is a good idea to check if your skin is hydrated enough. The problem with those with oily skin is that they could get too aggressive with cleaning and they don’t put enough hydration back. As a result, their skin feels the need to produce even MORE sebum to replace the lack of hydration. Don’t. Use a light, yet effectively hydrating product like this one. It really won’t make you shiny faster! This product targets those with sensitive skin, so it is super gentle (though all Caudalie products I have tried are gentle and effective). It has an interesting yogurt-like texture, as you can see in the picture below.

Last but not least, we have the Moisture Recovery Cream. This is for dry skin, but I use it as my night cream. It is slightly heavier than the rest of them, but still it doesn’t leave my face feeling greasy. Besides a good dose of hydration, it also offers more moisture, which I welcome at nighttime! Those with dry skin can definitely use this as their day cream.

All of these can be used day and/or night. Like other Caudalie products, they smell insanely good. I can’t quite put my fingers around it. It’s not the type of “essential oil” smell, but nor is it artificial-smelling AT ALL. It’s just all kinds of amazing. If you haven’t smelled any Caudalie products, I strongly advise you do that as soon as possible. It is never the smartest strategy to buy skincare products just because they smell good, but it’s a great place to start!

Bottom line: Gentle, effective, and hydrating, the Vinosource line has something for everybody. If your skin is taking a hit because the seasons are changing, try to lay your hands on one (or more) of them that suits your skin type!

Have you tried anything from Caudalie before? How do you pacify your skin when the seasons are changing? What are your favorite hydrating products?

Sunny, your beauty culture translator xx

Disclosure: The products mentioned in this review are sent by the PR for my consideration. All opinions are honest and my own. I am in no way compensated for this review. I have always been, and will always be committed ONLY to my readers.

Skincare Review: KenzoKi Belle de Jour White Lotus Mask Brings Back Memories of Careless Summer Days

You know, it’s one of those days on which you didn’t go to bed late, but you were so obsessed with the book you’re reading that by the time you went to sleep, it was already way into the wee hours. One of those days that by 6:30, your cats deemed you had had enough sleep, and they started meowing out of hunger/boredom. One of those days that you wake up, look at yourself in the mirror, and think you suddenly look 5 years older.

Now what do you do? I know what I will do. I will reach out for my pot of KenzoKi Belle de Jour White Lotus Mask.

Growing up in Taiwan, some of my best summer memories involve lotus. The botanical garden in Taipei has a big lotus pond, and it is an amazing sight when the flower is in bloom.

Not only is lotus beautiful, it is also extremely useful. The roots and seeds are edible (I love the roots because they’re crunchy), and the leaves can be used for many different purposes. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the KenzoKi Belle de Jour line (literally means beauty of the day), as it is inspired by white lotus.

Now, according to Kenzo, white lotus is not your average lotus (which, now come to think of it, I have almost never seen in person). Kenzo cultivates white lotus in the southern Chinese province of Zhejiang (it is a bit further south than Shanghai). The mask is supposed to have three effects, including the pleasure effect (according to Kenzo, pleasure is a source of beauty), the bubble effect (it protects the skin from the harm of stress and tension), and the wake up call effect (it stimulates cellular regeneration and illuminates the face). A wake up call? Sure sounds good to me!

The Belle de Jour White Lotus Mask comes with a brush, which I think is a genius idea. It is not only more hygienic, it also prevents the mask from being heated up with fingertips. It is always a pleasant experience slathering it on my face (though slathering it on is more of a figure of speech. A thin layer will do, as the little instruction booklet says).

This is how the mask looks straight out of the pot and smoothed out on the back of my hand:

When Kenzo says there is a pleasure effect, they mean it! The smell of this mask is flowery, calming, and beautiful. The texture is not very oily or heavy either. I actually think it’s as bouncy as a mousse! After I put it on, I have 10 minutes to stumble around the house, put my mocha pot on the stove and so on. It is supposed to be removed with a moist cotton pad. I personally like to soak a cotton pad in my toner for the job. After I wipe it off, I can see my skin is plump, smooth, and radiant. It doesn’t claim to have an anti-aging effect, but it certainly takes the 5 years sleep deprivation adds to my skin away!

The only drawback of this product is the price. A 50ml pot retails for 115.70 euros here. *gulps* I understand this is not the price range that most people can impulsively splurge on. However, just as I cannot recommend something sub-par just because it is cheap, I cannot NOT recommend something good because the price tag is big. I can tell you that jar will likely last you a long time if you use it a couple of times a week, and I will leave the purchase decision to you!

Have you tried anything from Kenzoki? Have you heard about it at all? What’s your favorite hydrating mask?

Sunny, your beauty culture translator xx

PS: 50ml of KenzoKi Belle de Jour White Lotus Mask retails for 115.70 euros exclusively at ICI PARIS XL. Here is the ingredient list if you would like to see it:

EDIT: The price on the ICI PARIS XL shop is actually 84.29 euros, which is significantly lower than what is listed on the PR info I received. Now let’s rejoice!

Disclosure: The product mentioned in this review is sent by the PR for my consideration. All opinions are honest and my own. I am in no way compensated for this review. I have always been, and will always be committed ONLY to my readers.

Come Shopping with Me! Edition Brussels. Focus Store: Senteurs d’Ailleurs Part 1: Haute Cosmétique

Hey everyone!

Happy Easter Sunday! Did you do anything to celebrate? I invited my family over for lunch. The cleaning and cooking was a lot of work (let’s safely assume I won’t roast another lamb shoulder till next Easter), but it was so nice to spend some time with them! I also received some chocolate eggs and a chocolate bunny, so hopefully the supply will last me for a while!

Earlier this week I went to Senteurs d’Ailleurs (the literal translation would be scents elsewhere) in Brussels. The store is divided into two parts, the Haute Cosmétique and Haute Parfumerie. In part 1, I will give you a virtual tour of the Haute Cosmétique part. In a couple of days’ time, you will get to visit the Haute Parfumerie. Sounds good? Let’s go!

Kiehl’s is one of the fastest-rising skincare brand in Belgium! I just started testing out their Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution to see if it could get rid of my pigmentation spots (I haven’t started regretting being too slack about sun protection, though I’m sure at some point I will). Of course I have taken a before picture, so that I can follow up and show you the after ones (fingers crossed it’ll work for me)!

Aesop is no stranger to me, but for the Belgians this Australian brand is a new kid on the block. I think I have mentioned that I use their animal cleanser for my brushes very often. I caved in and purchased their Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm that day, and within hours it grew on me! I will give you guys a detailed report soon, but it’s safe to say it has serious HG potential.

I really wanted to try Bumble and Bumble when I was at the Sephora last year, but I was a little afraid my luggage would be overweight. Fear not, however, as the brand is actually available here! Does anyone have any recommendations? I wonder if the Deep Treatment would work well for my long and chemically-treated hair.

Laura Mercier! The makeup artist gave me a little touch-up and recommended some products that will work for my skin tone/type. I will have to look into them soon!

For the life of me I can’t remember why I didn’t try on some Tom Ford lipsticks! I must have been SO distracted with everything that was going on around me! I will have to go back and do that soon!

Some La Mer, anyone? I really liked the tropical aquarium, though I didn’t manage to get one single picture in which the fish isn’t moving so fast that it’s blurry!

Dermalogica is another brand that I have heard so much about but never tried. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Molton Brown has an amazing line-up of bath products, lotions, and so on. I was urged to try some hand wash and lotion, and it was IMPOSSIBLE to pick one out!

Finally, I just had to take a photo of this bar of soap because it’s my cat’s namesake!

Are you familiar with any of these brands? Do you have any recommendations? Have you been to a shop like this? Back in Taiwan I might be able to find these brands in a department store, but the display wouldn’t be half as nice, and it certainly wouldn’t be so spacious!

Sunny, your beauty culture translator xx

PS: Senteurs d’Ailleurs is located at Place Stéphanie 1A, 1050 Brussels. Their website is under construction at the moment, but if you’re interested in finding out what other brands they carry, you can always take a look here.

Special thanks go to Stijn, Tom, and everybody who was so kind and helpful! ♥

Skincare Review: L’Occitane Shea Butter One Minute Hand Scrub (and a Cheap Kitchen Alternative)

Hey everybody, happy weekend! How’s it going so far? We had guests over for dinner. The couple’s 9-month baby boy has eyes that take up half of his face and eyelashes that are longer and curlier than what I would have with false eyelashes. Oh well, life isn’t (always) fair!

Since you might have some time to spare for skincare on weekends, I’m going to share the L’Occitane Shea Butter One Minute Hand Scrub review with you today. In case you can’t lay your hands on it anytime soon however, I’m also sharing a recipe for a cheap kitchen alternative at the end!

Quite a while ago, I walked into a L’Occitane store and saw the lady working on her own hands by the sink. Being the curious creature I am, I walked over to see what she was doing. She might have been a little embarrassed, so she offered to do the same to my hands. That’s how I got to know L’Occitane Shea Butter One Minute Hand Scrub. Since my hands are always rough and dry I grabbed a pot and took it home.

L’occitane Shea Butter One Minute Hand Scrub is a bi-phase hand scrub. According to the L’Occitane US webiste, it contains “an exfoliating organic sugar to gently scrub and eliminate dead skin cells. – oils (shea, sweet almond and grapeseed oils) to help soften and nourish hands.” It also comes with a spatula with which you mix the two together before each use. It smells exactly like the Shea Butter Hand Cream, which I am pretty neutral about. You are supposed to use it when your hands are dry (because otherwise the sugar melts too fast). Again, you only need a tiny little each time. I basically stir the mixture with the spatula and put whatever is on the spatula on my hands. I have enough for a scrubbing session that way! That’s why even after weekly-use for quite a while (sorry but I don’t remember when I got it. I would say about a year and a half ago though), I still have half a jar left!

The grains are pretty rough (I had problems believing sugar grains are so big, but they are), so if you get overenthusiastic like I did the first couple of times I used it, you might end up with scratches on your hands. That was ouch, so I learnt to be gentle and take my time. I concentrate on the rougher parts of my hands, namely the hardened skin around my nails. Afterwards, I rinse it off with warm water. It does leave an oily film behind, but it is not greasy and since I have dry hands, once I pat them dry this doesn’t bother me anymore.

All in all this is a pretty decent hand scrub. I like how L’Occitane shea butter is a fair trade product, how there is no harmful chemical in what they make, and of course animal testing is out-of-bounds. It is a company with principles that I respect, and one of my all-time favorites!

With that said however, I have found a way to make a knock-off version of this scrub in the kitchen, and it is amazingly easy to do.

It’s just one tablespoon of sugar and around two teaspoons of olive oil, can you believe that?

Basically, if you mix these two together, you get a scrub. There is more oil in the L’Occitane version, and the homemade one is drier, but this almost free homemade concoction works just as well. You can add more olive oil if you want to, but if you add too much the mixture could leave your hands very greasy afterwards. I would say that olive oil leaves a slightly greasier film behind, but with the dry skin I have in winter, once I pat my hands dry I am not too bothered. If you are, you can always use a bit of soap after you scrub. If you just use a little bit, your hands wouldn’t be so greasy but there will still be some kind of protective film on your hands.

Here is a side-by-side photo so you can see how the L’Occitane hand scrub looks too:

I have enough for my hands, feet, and a bit extra for my calves with this amount. If you have some time this weekend, why not whip up some of this scrub and treat yourself to a home spa session? If you have essential oil, you can even add a few drops to the scrub to make it smell nice! Like all homemade treatments, it could be a little messy to prepare. It you are always pressed for time, you might prefer something that comes in a jar.

How about you? Do you scrub your hands or feet? Do you think you’ll give your paws some winter scrubbing love with this recipe?

Sunny xx