Happy 2017 everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve been active on anything besides reddit; finals, a biopsy, and several family matters took precedence over the holidays but I’m excited to be able to geek out over skincare again. There were so many sales over the holiday season, though I ended up passing up a lot due to the fact I’m moving in four months and have been limiting purchases to make the packing process easier. I couldn’t resist some items, however, so I figured I’d share them today!


I’ve been trying to use up more of my samples recently, because as counter intuitive as it sounds, I’ve become bored of products that seem to work well across the board and it seemed like a fun way to try new stuff.

Dr. Jart Dermaclear Microwater

This is Dr. Jart+’s fancy water, Cosdna listed here, that’s similar to some classic micellar waters but has a much longer ingredients list. This is mainly due to a lot of extracts and popular ingredients–such as pearl powder, Galactomyces ferment filtrate, and royal jelly extract–being featured at the tail end. As with all Dr. Jart+ products, there are no parabens or sulfates. A 250 mL bottle comes out to 32USD on Sephora, or 0.13USD per mL.

I tried this sample out as a cleansing water in the morning, as I usually only use a cleanser at night and will wipe my face with a damp washcloth in the morning. The sample soaked two cotton pads and did the job, while leaving my skin still feeling plump and smooth. I’m satisfied with it as a cleansing water, but am not really looking to ad 32USD to my routine when the water and washcloth is serving the same purpose. One reason I haven’t really tried out micellar waters is that I don’t really see a need for them in my routine.

  • First cleanse: A lot of people use micellar waters as a first cleansers if they don’t like oil, and then follow up with a foaming cleanser. I single cleanse at night usually, and if I did double cleanse the added extracts in the Microwater seem like they would be wasted with a second cleanse.
  • Toner: As someone with dry skin, I would personally prefer a more moisturising toner. This could be a good toner for people who don’t need a hydrating toner but don’t necessarily want an astringent toner.
Botanic Farm Mineral Pop Sparkling Cleansing Water

This cleanser smelled like a citrus flavoured Skittle candy–bright, and with a sharp sweetness. Or a citrus flavoured soda pop candy. It dispensed a thick white cream that foamed up well when I squished it around with my konjac sponge, and I was comfortable using it alone to take off my sunscreen. It’s made with carbonated water as the first ingredient, and the product description claims that “bubbles support moisture retention, giving the appearance of firmness and elasticity while botanical extracts balance the skin” (Botanic Farm Official Website). However, I found that the cleanser left my skin very dry and squeaky clean. There were actually two samples, and after both I didn’t leave my actives on the full 20 minute wait time and instead waited 5-10 before applying my essences/serums/a sheet mask. A 120 mL bottle will cost 16USD, or 13USD per mL.

Innisfree Green Tea Serum (Not Pictured)

The KonMari method is strong in me, as I continually end up tossing products I mean to photograph and review later–this is one of them. I have no photo unfortunately, but the sample sachets look like 2D printouts of the actual bottle, which you can see on the Innisfree website here. The serum is pretty popular internationally and on reddit, but I found it to be barely hydrating and very strongly scented. I have the Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Skin, and it’s even more strongly fragranced than that. The first one I used on my face, and the second I used in lieu of a perfume. The full sized bottle is 80mL and runs around 20USD on Amazon, or 0.25USD a mL.

The Face Shop Blanclouding White Moisture Cream

This cream was fascinating to me mostly because of the name–Blanclouding. I have no idea what that means or implies, but I imagine a bland cloud, Squidward-esque, and exasperated with all the annoying clouds around her. This cream surprised me, as my skin is dry to the point where I often layer occlusives (e.g. CeraVe PM, then a facial oil, then Joseon Beauty Cream, then the COSRX Honey Overnight Mask). This cream was pretty thick on its own and comfortable on its own after a sheet mask. It was terrible for daytime wear though–some combination of this cream, Nivea Water Gel, and my undereye concealer created horrible pilling that resulted in me wiping under my eyes with toner on a cotton pad to redo the layering process on that area. It’s very soft and creamy, not necessarily light like the website describes, but not heavy at all.

23.98USD will get you 50 mL of product on Amazon, or 0.48 per mL.

Lioele Dollish Veil Vita BB

This BB Cream comes with SPF25, PA++, and in one shade–grey. As soon as I squeezed the product out it was a coolish off-white shade, but I had assumed it was my lighting making a brightening lavendar look grey. Sorry lighting–wasn’t your fault. It was too light for me, but only a shade or two too light, so I trekked on. I’ve never used MAC products and don’t have a foundation shade to compare it to, but on guess it’d be NC1? In Pantone it’s 11-0601 TCX: Bright White. My guess is that my skin is around a NW10-13, and if you’re fairer than that this may work for you if you’re cool toned. This would look a bit too dull on pink or yellow undertones. Trying to find a price, the product seems a bit more difficult to find and may be discontinued.

Beyond my gripes with the single shade, the actual product is a light product that’s buildable to near-medium coverage. It doesn’t dry down well; after I applied a layer with a damp sponge and waited for ten minutes I put my glasses on and went to cook breakfast. When I took my glasses off, there was a thick layer of bb cream on my glasses and two slits devoid of all product on my nose. I don’t usually powder much since I have dry skin, and no foundation has been so transfer-prone in my experience. I’ve been through one sample and I will probably end up tossing the other one. The one thing I did enjoy about the product was the scent; it’s a light floral/jasmine-esque scent.

COSRX AHA Power Liquid

I have both the sample and full sized product in the photo, and actually received the sample when I purchased the full sized product so I figured I’d tear it open and use it up. This product is  marginally more viscous than water, unscented to me, and leaves my skin dry but soft. There are multiple more thorough reviews on the product, so I’ll leave this here.

Skinfood Black Sugar First Treatment Essence

This shit is magical.

I had been eyeing this product for a while, after reading this review on it’s magical powers of skincare sorcery, but wasn’t tempted until I saw that 30mL minis were 1USD each during Beauty Beyond Border’s Black Friday Flash Sale. I bought four, which puts me at the same amount as the full sized bottle, and use four drops morning and evening as my first treatment essence. It’s as runny as water, so I’m careful while patting it into my face. It’s 19.98USD for 120 mL on Amazon, or 0.17USD per mL.

Long story short I’m fairly certain this product is responsible for getting rid of the CC’s on my forehead. No idea how–I doubt the salicylic acid is that effective. I have so much niacinamide in my routine, along with alpha arbutin and ferments, that I can’t really attest to it’s brightening abilities but even without brightening abilities this is some magical potion level shit.

Lancome Genifique Youth Activating Serum

I received this sample when I went to pick up Lancome’s lash primer. I haven’t cracked it open yet, but I’ve got maybe two weeks of Benton’s Snail Bee High Content Essence left so I figured I would replace it with this. On Sephora’s website, it’s described as “a powerful youth-activating serum that reveals youthful radiance and smoother skin in as little as seven days.” It’s 105USD for 50 mL, or 2.10USD per mL.

Full Sized Products

I don’t have much to say about most of these yet, so I’ll list them out briefly.

  • COSRX AHA Power Liquid
  • COSRX 96 Snail Mucin
  • Goodal Nature’s Solution Bamboo Charcoal Pore Pack: I originally purchased this a) because I thought I lost my Innisfree Super Volcano and b) based off a comment saying it was a gentle clay mask. I have since found my Super Volcano in my spice cabinet and this has been set aside, but I have a maximum of six uses left of that so I’ll be opening it within a month.
  • RA&GOWOORI Whitening UV Sun Cream: I bought this because it was 1.60USD during Beauty Beyond Border’s Black Friday sale, and because they have 5USD flat rate shipping and I was already buying the Skinfood Black Sugar First Treatment Serum minis so I figured I may as well get more bang for my shipping buck. I accidentally added two to my cart without noticing, and my mom isn’t interested in it so I’m pretty set on sunscreen for a while.
  • La Roche Posay Cicaplast Balme: This is a repurchase; I enjoy this now that winter’s here because I’m prone to colds and the sides of my nose are prone to overexfoliation. It’s a nice sleeping pack too if your skin is irritated. My least favourite aspect of this balme is the texture–it’s like a creamier version of Neutrogena dry touch. Oily, with white cast, and stickiness galore.
  • Stridex Maximum Strength Pads: I’m not done with my current box of Stridex yet, but I found it for 4.50USD for a pack of 90 soft touch pads at a local grocery store and thought it was a great deal. The next day I went to Walmart and found a pack of 110 pads for 2.50USD. Long story short, I will never be able to justify buying any other BHA.
  • Laneige Good Night Trial Size Kit: I’ve tried the trial size of the Multiberry Repair before, and figured I’d pick up two of the kits because I liked the Multiberry and I go through my creams faster in the winter.
  • Skinfood Aloe Watery Sun Waterproof: I don’t remember buying this, if I’m completely honest, but it’s not worth returning.

Sheet Masks (Not Pictured)

I’m putting myself on a sheet mask no-buy during 2017 so I can empty my current stash, but the masksheets deals were stellar so I went a bit overboard.

  • Leaders AC Clear (30): These are maybe my new favourite masks. I’m convinced they help clear up my skin and heal acne scars, but they don’t sting at all and they’re super hydrating.
  • Leaders Amino AC Free (10)
  • Leaders Vita Brightening (10)