Saturday, 24 December 2011

December Empties including Laura Mercier Silk Creme comparison

Another month, another set of finished products and reviewlets. As before, I am only linking to ingredient lists which are harder to track down and to only one of many possible retailers; I have no affiliation to any of these sites nor will I receive any kickbacks if you click through.

I finished a foundation! And not a mixer this time, either.
Laura Mercier Silk Creme in Soft Ivory £33 for 40g at SpaceNK.
As you can see, I've already repurchased this siliconey cream, which is one of the best formulas on the market for my dry skin and provides a close-ish shade match (although I do still have to mix in some white in the depths of winter). It offers very full coverage so doubles up excellently as a concealer; as a foundation, I usually use a rice grain's worth sheered out with a damp Beautyblender sponge. This sets to a satiny skin-like finish on me (matte to the touch) which I don't like or need to mess up with powder -- in fact, several professional makeup artists have refused to believe that I was wearing anything on my face with this stuff on.

A small detail but I really appreciate the "Shake Well" sticker on the lid, large and prominent enough to penetrate even my morning fug.

As it's taken me about three and a half years to finish this tube (including making a few samples and decants for friends), I thought it would be helpful to swatch the last dregs of the old against the first squirt of the new.

Both heavily swatched, pictures taken in natural light.
To my eye, the very slight difference between the two (the old looks more yellow) seems more attributable to batch variation than oxidisation. Once blended out on my face, I can't tell a difference at all. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on foundations -- do you religiously throw them out a year after opening? Have you ever experienced oxidisation of shades in the bottle?

Skincare Empties
Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil $26 for 120ml at Fancl USA. Ingredients.
I've tried dozens of cleansing oils over the years, and this has remained both my favourite and Japan's, topping consumer polls and bestseller lists annually. It's the only one that doesn't irritate or dry my skin out with prolonged use. Bear in mind that Fancl do not use preservatives in their skincare, so this has a short shelf life: bottles are imprinted with the date of manufacture and will remain fresh for one year from that date, or 120 days after opening.

Bioderma Crealine £14.59 for two 500ml bottles at Leguidesante.
Another staple, it is of course excellent for strategic makeup removal/clean-up but I mainly use it as a waterless cleanser when travelling or on flights.

Avene Skin Recovery Cream £12.50 for 40ml at Boots.
Known as Cream for Intolerant Skin in the US, a basic, soothing moisturiser composed of a combination of mineral oil, squalane and glycerin. I rely on Tolérance Extrême or Cicalfate for real skin emergencies, and turn to this (or the "rich" version in winter) for the convalescent/maintenance phase.

AMPM Skin Ecological Indoor Defence Cream £12 for 30g at Beautyeshop. Ingredients.
AMPM Overtime Skin Intensive Gel Cream £12 for 30g at Beautyeshop. Ingredients.
Both of these Naruko products are packed with potentially irritating botanicals and essential oils, yet they worked beautifully on me. The night cream turned out to be too light for my dry skin once I had adjusted to Hong Kong's humid climate (I resorted to layering Avene over it), but the day cream (a more moisturising but equally cosmetically elegant version of cult favourite Embryolisse) grew on me so much that I've already repurchased.

Ducray Melascreen SPF50+ Cream €11 for 40ml from Vitalya. Ingredients.
It's winter, so I switched from the Emulsion to the slightly richer, more emollient Cream. In either form, it remains my favourite avobenzone-free, high PPD sunscreen; I go through a tube every month or so.

Sun Bears Super S SPF50+ PA+++ HK$38 for 30ml at Sasa. Ingredients. 
Sunplay Super Block SPF50+ PA+++ HK$68 for 30g at Adambeauty. Ingredients.
I've gone through several bottles of these two excellent Japanese drugstore milk sunscreens, both fragrance- and alcohol-free and containing a stable trio of zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and octinoxate UV filters. No white cast or stickiness from either, and there's not much to separate them (even the cute white and red packaging is similar); Sunplay is perhaps slightly lighter in texture. I'm not thrilled with buying body sunscreens in such small amounts, but they are admittedly cheap, and the bottles are handy for chucking into a bag for top-ups after handwashing etc.

Sisley Sisleya Global Eye and Lip Contour Cream Cheapest I've found is around £80 for 15ml at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Duty Free but the official UK retail price is £105.
Inexplicably effective, horrifically expensive Holy Grail. In a future post, I will list all the other eye creams I've tried in an attempt to wean myself off this stuff. A jar lasts me around 5 months of twice-daily use on eyes and lips.

Juju Aquamoist Hyaluronic Acid Essence HK$145 for 30ml.
Uh, what I said last month. (Had forgotten that I already had a backup bottle when I wrote that...)

Naruko Narcissus Total Defence Fundamental Serum £11.33 for 30ml from Beautyeshop. Ingredients.
Naruko's version of the moisturising antioxididant serum popularised by Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair. Equally soothing and immediately brightening/evening, this is (like ANR) a product for maintaining good skin, and will probably disappoint those who expect dramatic results from serums. No preservatives, so shelf-life is 6 months from opening -- not a problem as I blew through this bottle in six weeks, using two pumps morning and night.


  1. Thanks for this post! ANR kinda makes my wallet cry so I will try the Naruko out!

  2. Hey peachy, thanks for stopping by :) Something to bear in mind: I seem to go through this much more quickly than ANR for some reason so it may be a false economy. Or maybe I skimp on the ANR because it makes my wallet cry, too! lol