But since the last round-up in February (main routine // supplementary), I have actually replaced a few products with new loves, as well as reaffirming my devotion to other staples. So here goes:
During my Asia trip earlier this year, I tried out a few new new lotions (moisturising toners), hoping to find a replacement for the Hada-Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Lotion [ingredients] which has been a daily staple for the last five years. Because with the growing popularity of Japanese beauty brands, it's so often out of stock on adambeauty (most reasonably-priced etailer for me) when I want to repurchase, and also because I'm
The best of a meh-to-bad bunch (from GWP samples from RMK, Lunasol, Fancl etc. to drugstore brands like Naruko and Shiseido Senka):
- Hada-Labo ES Lotion turned out to be far too watery (so difficult to apply with hands) and not moisturising enough, even for the humid Hong Kong summer. ES [Enjoy Skincare] is a new sub-brand from Rohto Hada-Labo, slightly cheaper [170ml retails for ¥1100 while my regular Hada-Labo lotion goes for ¥1260] and aimed at very sensitive skin; its products are free of fragrance, alcohol, mineral oil and parabens and did not irritate my skin at all. None of them impressed me either -- this is a good line to try for those with oily-normal skin and very minimal requirements.
- White Formula Super Moist Toner is, despite the Japanese language packaging, from a Taiwanese brand made in Taiwan [forgot the retail, but definitely under £10 for 290ml]. Like many other Taiwanese toners, its has a viscous gel texture rather than the 'enriched water' of my regular Hada-Labo, which feels sticky going on (not a dealbreaker) and can also ball up under my other skincare/makeup layers (dealbreaker). Despite the stickier feel, it actually seems a bit less effective at hydrating my skin than old reliable; finally, a reminder that unscented =/= scent-free, this has a strong synthetic-metallic smell.
|White Formula Super Moist Toner ingredients|
However, the REN Omega 3 Night Repair Serum (a birthday present I've been using for the last three months) leaves my skin so soft-glowy-happy in the mornings I'm seriously thinking of shelling out the £34 for another bottle of (fishyapricot-stinking) magic when I'm done. Note that this is much 'oilier' in feel than the DHC or most neat oils, and may not be suitable for the breakout-prone; it is marketed as plumping and barrier repair for dry/sensitive skin and surprisingly does exactly that for me.
|REN Omega 3 Night Repair Serum ingredients|
3. EYE CREAM
Finally -- and I mean after four years and a hundred others FINALLY -- I have found a replacement for the heinously expensive Sisley Sisleya Global Eye and Lip Contour Cream (UK retail £105; I usually purchase for £85ish at Duty Free). In fact, I like Korres Materia Herba Eye Cream (comparatively much more reasonable £30 for the same 15ml as Sisley) even better, as it visibly faded my hereditary undereye pigmentation, so that Burberry's light click pen is now all I need to cover the bruise-y sleep-deprivation-type circles, no separate corrector necessary.
As for the rest of my eyecream requirements, Korres is on par with Sisley at: depuffing, keeping my very dry undereyes moisturised all day, being light enough to smooth on without tugging [my issue with some thicker balms], sinking in instantly, sitting beautiful under makeup, excess working well as a lip balm etc.
I've been using this since May (onto my second tube now -- the first lasted about four months) but held off on the review until I could be sure the circle-fading thing wasn't just a quirk, and that it would still be rich enough for my skin in London. It isn't, and it is. LOVE.
ingredients], my first impressions were pretty much confirmed -- this is a waxier matte-finish cream which is harder to spread onto my dry skin than Avene's creamier Cicalfate [ingredients]. Even in East Asian summer humidity, the LRP wasn't sufficiently moisturising for me to wear overnight, and its drier feel didn't layer as easily as Avene would with additional products -- which made it a tricky proposition under makeup [again perhaps because I favour creamier textures there too]. Both products did speed up my skin's healing time, but I felt Avene addressed the flakiness that inevitably accompanies barrier-damage better.
Now let the angelic chorus swell once more, for I have finally found a zinc-based sunscreen that doesn't dry me out OR leave me tin-mannishly shiny to layer over my all-chemical Ducray Melascreen SPF50. High-maintenance, much? Yeah, but this was my bare face in June, right before I started layering; and here it is after five months of layering. Okay, freckles do darken in summer but I promise you many of the smaller ones, which I've had for years, have completely gone and the rest have faded significantly.
I recognise that wearing one sunscreen daily might be too much for some skins, let alone two -- but if you can find formulas to work for you (and whose filters don't interfere with each other) I would wholeheartedly recommend it, especially if, like me, you don't reapply sun protection every two hours throughout the day. The Ducray provides high-UVA chemical protection (from octinoxate, Tinsorbs M and S) while the BurnOut gives sustained physical protection (zinc is the most stable filter) -- neither on its own would be quite ideal, but together: Dream Team.
Burn-Out Ocean Tested SPF30+ ($17.99 for 100ml) contains 18.6% zinc oxide in a no-frills formula [ingredients] which is the most cosmetically elegant all-physical I've tried -- "cosmetically elegant" in sunscreen reviews often seems to mean "MATTE / oil-controlling" but as you all know, I love me some dew and I hate me some itching and flaking skin -- what I mean is that it is a light gel-cream texture that glides effortlessly over the skin, setting to a soft satiny finish with no rubbing in or waiting time required. Cosmetics layered over this do not ball up or 'stick', and I can take the cream right up to my lashline and around my mouth without any irritation, stinging, or interference with my fun: eyeshadow or lipstick.
BurnOut retails replaces Kiss Me Sunkiller Baby Milk SPF38, which has been reformulated and renamed as Kids UV SPF38 [ingredients and info]. The older version was my favourite Japanese milk sunscreen for years, a rare alcohol-free all-physical formula (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) but I found the newer one too matte and too drying -- even without alcohol, and layered over a hefty coat of Ducray, I find physical filters quite drying -- my skin would start itching by lunchtime and flaking after a few days' sustained use. I also prefer the ease of cream/gel formulas to ultra-runny milks.
But some things one can only get in Asia. Sickeningly cute Bioderma Crealine set, anyone? :D