Okay, here we go, a review of something Mom brought home. I chose to talk about this for now because there’s not too much global hype or flamboyance attached to this, it’s one of those emo-less, no-frill products that just works and supplies helpful hydration with hyaluronic acid, the now famous acid known for holding 10,000 times its weight in water. Hydrating my face keeps my allergies away, even in a humid country that does the job for me. You can tell just by looking at this that you have to try it to know what it’s about. It’s the sort of brand you perceive might have been around for ages, but Japanese brand Hada Labo (check out the SG website here which I feel is the best one)was only launched in 2004 and since then has become one of Japan’s drugstore skincare market leaders with effective, fragrance-free products that fly off the shelves every few seconds. Hada Labo began as a joint venture between US research company Mentholatum and Rohto, the brand may be relatively young but both those companies have been around for over 100 years. Mom brought their Hyaluronic Gokujyun Lotion (LIGHT version) home for me a few days ago from the Japan drugstore giant Matsumoto Kiyoshi. I asked for the LIGHT version because of my sensitive skin and it being the less heavy, less tacky/dewy take on the original formula. I’ve also embedded the TV commercial of the MOIST original formula below, some of the digital effects are quite exaggerated (the TVC made me giggle because I used to work in digital effects for TVCs) but it gets the message across in a playful way and the product does work. The mood of the brand speaks of simple, minimal, affordable yet effective ph-balanced skincare.
“While it looks clear like a toner or makeup remover, it’s actually a moisturizer that helps prepare your skin for better absorption of other HADA LABO products. The HADA LABO Goku-jyun Lotion Light can also be used as a standalone moisturizer with a lighter texture than HADA LABO Goku-jyun Lotion. You can choose HADA LABO Goku-jyun Lotion or Light Lotion, depending on your preference. (5.7 fl oz/170 mL)”- HADA LABO USA
JAPANESE SRP: ¥1,260 (reference online but from 2009) /under Php600- Php700 for 170ml bottle
The reason why I requested this in particular is because my online “skin twin” (same skin type and same skin tone), as I’d like to say it, is London-based Japanese blogger Yasumi aka “Fushigi Lady/Worship Blues” and she likes and trusts this Hada Labo Gokujyun hydration lotion (she uses MOIST, not LIGHT) over any other, even Hydraluron which she’s tried. Yasumi, the blogger behind Worshipblues.com, blogs about simple but pretty lifestyle delights from homecooked meals, noodle soup finds, the whispers of run-down buildings, and even stuff from fashion to random beauty raves. It was she who recommended the Pai Rosehip Facial Oil that works for me. That is the only facial oil I use 2x a week to calm down my skin overnight, the effect on me by that was exactly how she described the effect on her to be, so I trust her. Read more to read my thoughts on this and see the instructional video.
I fell into being pigheaded about applying eye cream again…as usual, it’s how a lot of us feel for example about flossing. I was using this non-greasy wonder by Shiseido Ibuki, but not everyday only because I’m bad with eye creams like that. In my thoughts about how to get around this bad habit I made an awesome discovery…and it may not apply to all eye creams on the face of the earth but in my case this one does the job! Provided you have an oil-free, non-greasy, hydrating eye cream, have you ever wrapped your head around the idea of using it as an eyeshadow primer? Hear that? DING!
“A cooling eye cream that addresses dark circles, puffiness, and fine lines. Eyes become instantly more vibrant. Helps the appearance of eye area achieve resistance to stress factors resulting from the lack of sleep.” PRICE: Php1800.00
I’m actually not 100% sure if this eye cream is oil-free, but whatever…IT WORKS! What gave me this “eureka” was when I was applying NARS Pro Prime eye primer over a friend’s eyelids, and mine…and that gave the similar sort of feel over the lid to this eye cream…a quickly absorbed, slightly tacky, but not too sticky finish. I thought “Hey, this texture reminds me a lot of…my eye cream…” and I thought let’s give this baby a test using an Urban Decay Single Eyeshadow I have called “Loaded” which is a vibrant metallic peacock turquoise. Although Urban Decay’s LOADED is a great shade it is still quite dusty even if it is a reformulated eyeshadow of Urban Decay. I’ve also always felt that LOADED could have more “bang” to it when applied over the lid and it would only work with a primed eye. Check out this comparison. Can you imagine how much more OFTEN you’d be applying eye cream without being too conscious about it if it worked this way for any eyeshadow…even dusty ones?
I have a bare face (no foundation or concealer) and I applied the same amount of eyeshadow on both lids, but one lid is lightly primed with the Shiseido Ibuki eye cream (given a minute or 2 to absorb) and the other a bare lid. I even tried to add more eyeshadow over the bare lid to match the payoff on the primed eye and it still, of course, couldn’t match up. Please note that not all eye creams may work this way…especially if they aren’t oil free. The eyeshadow didn’t ball up and so far after about an hour and a half it’s not creasing on me. If you have extremely oily eyelids this eye cream as primer workaround may not have the same effect on you and you may need to use a specific eye primer or tone your lids beforehand. However for normal to dry eyelids I believe the Shiseido Ibuki eye cream is a winner not just because it’s an excellent, non-irritating type but because I discovered its second purpose for me, and now I’ll be using this way more often because of what it can do.
Years ago I didn’t like the original formula of this now updated moisturizer when I first tried it…it was kinda okay, but it felt heavy and even slightly greasy on my skin before…and BEFORE, it gave me a mild allergic reaction. The big news that has circled the globe is that Clinique bravely took their well-loved Dramatically Different Moisturizer and gave it a + symbol…indicative of a well-researched reformulation. Big, brave move.
For the DD moisturizer devotees Clinique have kindly kept the consistency and appearance on application the same but have now introduced a swig of advanced botanicals + (Hello!) hyaluronic acid. After practically a decade since my first encounter with this moisturizer Clinique PH sent me an exclusive lab sample last week. Guess what…I didn’t expect it to be what it now is, which is dramatically incredible, my skin can breathe. I only need short of a peasize dot for the whole face and thanks to the hyaluronic acid I instantly felt the non-greasy boost of hydration FROM MORNING TO NIGHT TO THE NEXT MORNING, I did cleanse mind you but I felt the hydration hanging on like crazy just from just 1 application…the finish also feels like a great primer for makeup. The new DD Moisturizer + dries matte to the touch after 15-20mins but you still feel supple hydration across the skin surface the whole day. Both mom and I road tested it and agreed. It offers light, long wearing hydration and it’s fragrance free. I absolutely positively like this. It’s a no brainer choice if you prefer a high end moisturizer and if you’re one of those like me who’d rather not fiddle with a hyaluronic step before moisturizer on certain days this kills 2 birds with 1 stone. Good job, Clinique! Um, I’ll edit in the price later today.
I’ve decided to not include sunscreen and makeup remover in this post and decided to focus on the following steps that I have chosen to generally follow for the past few months : Cleanse, Exfoliate (1x-2x a week), Tone, Nourish (3x-5x a week), and Moisturize. Plus I know what you’re thinking, you’re like “but those are 7 items in the photo!”. For moisturizer and cleanser you’ll notice they’re double-decked in the shot meaning you can substitute the product on top for the product below and vice-versa (also because I wanted to give local options). Thus, that makes the real working arsenal a total of 5 essential items.
L to R: NIVEA Baby Smoothy Cream, ORIGINS Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask ( just an overnight cream), CLARINS Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner (w/ Tamarind), Le Couvent Des Minime – Gentle Rose Cleansing Milk (Mineral Oil-Free), Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa (Malunggay) Cleansing Balm, Moringa O2 Malunggay Herbal Facial Toner, PAI London Rosehip BioRegenerate Facial Oil (Bazaar Beauty Awards 2011) Pls. bear in mind I don’t use all these every day. I generally do Cleanse, Tone, Moisturize 3 steps/3items on a daily basis…then the Exfoliate and Nourish steps only 1-2x a week.
I’ve concisely written my thoughts on each item below but I’ve also linked any individual reviews I’ve already done to the product names in case you want to know more and see close up photos of the products. I’ve also provided a sort of scheduled skincare cheat sheet at the end of the blog post to show you what my week in skincare kinda looks like, I really tried to think honestly at the end about how I’ve rounded up the use of my skincare picks. Read more to get to the product breakdown and how I get around to using each of them.
Meet the cleansing balm that sent UK bloggers swarming into Space NK (England’s version of Sephora) shortly after advanced facialist and brand consultant C. Hirons of the blog Beautymouth repeatedly blogged over a year and a half ago that this is her personal cleansing choice, especially for evening. Recently, Caroline outright put Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm up first on her featured products via Pixiwoo’s BodyTalk interview with her on YouTube. I’d like a moment to segue into some emulsifying cleanser insight.
1 x Natural Lift & Moringa Cleansing Balm (100ml) – enriched with an uplifting blend of moringa seeds, wild sea fennel, vitamin E, orange, neroli and mandarin, jasmine and rose.
1 x dual-sided cleansing cloth (100% cotton on muslin side; 80% polyester, 20% polyamide on microfibre side)
How to use:
Mix a few drops of warm water with a little Moringa Cleansing Balm in the palm of your hand to create a milk Apply to the face, neck and eye area using circular motions and massage thoroughly to melt away make-up, excess oils and grime
To remove, soak your cleansing cloth in warm water, squeeze out the excess and gently wipe over the whole face and neck, taking extra care around the delicate eye area
Use the gently abrasive muslin side of the cloth to exfoliate dry, lined, thickened and congested areas and the smoother microfibre side for more delicate and sensitive areas
People are familiar with the globally popular Shu Uemura cleansing oil and some of us were dashed to pieces to find that it wasn’t at all recommended by C. Hirons, in fact she shot it down. I actually realized on my own, without knowing who Ms.Hirons was yet, that the Shu cleansing oil wasn’t good for me because for the very first time last year I looked at the ingredients list…practically at the top of the list was Paraffinum Liquidum aka Mineral Oil. The world’s most popular cleansing oil turned out to be souped up mineral oil made to emulsify with water, I could hardly believe it and I was irritated to say the least because I did like how Shu’s oil performed but I did wonder why my skin felt like it felt smothered when I’d lay it on. You can’t blame them because they were among the first generation of emulsifying cleansing oils and they participated in beauty innovation…even top UK brand Eve Lom’s most popular cleansing cream contains mineral oil as a huge part of the base so these were the pioneer products. Research has found that mineral oil isn’t particularly ideal at bringing down the nourishment into the skin so I think it’s time for long-time faves to up the ante and update their formulations.
Well, the first thing our currently fave online facialist says about this Emma Hardie gem here is that it’s a non-mineral oil cleansing balm. It’s a more solid balm but it melts and emulsifies in the same milky way the Shu cleansing oil does when water hits it. However, this does the same job with a bang on formula that’s ultimately better for your skin. Moringa for your mug shot anyone? Emma Hardie is an English brand that’s being doing wonderful things with formulations using moringa (malunggay). Being the determined diva I am I sourced my own pot and paid only Php50 customs pickup tax for it. The new rule at the Makati Post Office is that parcels above $50 USD in value will be taxed heavily so make sure whatever you’re buying online is under $50 USD. That explains why I only got the 50ml pot (which will last me 3 mos. anyway), it cost £15.99 with £6 shipping, totaling about ($35) Php1450. Read more to get to the full post.