Happy Chinese New Year! 新年快乐! 恭喜发财! 万事如意! 狗年吉祥! I hope the Year of the Dog brings you happiness and prosperity.
I have been very off my resolutions as a result of those health issues I had been dealing with earlier this month, so the Lunar New Year is another shot at a fresh slate to get my life back on track. Valentine’s Day was also Lent, but I don’t know what bad habit I really need to completely abstain from this year. I may try to add something instead of eliminating something, maybe meditation, but we shall see! I’ll be mostly focusing on my resolutions from earlier in the year. For example, I still haven’t purchased stamps for all that snail mail I said I would start sending. BUT I have started collecting mailing addresses and sending eCards in the meantime?
Anyhow, this is very delayed but here’s a 1SecondEveryday compilation from when I celebrated the new year most recently in Hong Kong 🇭🇰
I had so much fun in Hong Kong and it feels so familiar even though I only visited once before, 15 years ago. It’s a city like no other and one of my favorites, despite the frustrations of seeing Chinese and English everywhere but being unable to communicate with Cantonese-speaking-only folks. The city is super vibrant and has an incredible energy that I absolutely love. The food scene is so good that I only remembered to get an eating video right before we left, as the rest of the time I was too busy cramming the food in my mouth.
I hope you are having a great 2018 so far, for those observing, I hope Lent is going well, and I hope the Year of the Dog brings nothing but good things to you!
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! I have been away from the blog for a long while because of some health issues, but I wanted to come back and really re-focus on self-care and self-improvement. So, here’s a post that is related to one of my favorite ways to take care of myself for me: taking care of my skin!
In 2017, I tackled some new-to-me Skincare Products to Try thanks to a thoughtful gift from Christine and, my personal weakness, value gift sets.
Before I launch into the embarrassing number of mini skincare products I now own thanks to these value gift sets, I never reviewed the products I tried last year. Quick reviews on each set of products (check the original blog post for the specific brands and products included):
The Tatcha Beauty Essentials Discovery set was really good for someone like me, who uses nicer skincare more sparingly than I ought to. The products felt great on my skin, although I don’t think I used them consistently/frequently enough to notice a difference attributable to them specifically. I used these products most when incorporated into the Fifty Shades of Snail pore minimizing routine, which requires a cleansing oil. (Definitely try this if you want to deep clean your face!) The powder cleanser is interesting (and, I believe, TSA-compliant, because it’s not a liquid) but more of a novelty to me. Still, this is a great introductory kit to the brand and really good if you like trying new products but not committing to them for the duration of however-long a full-length product lasts you.
The 2016 Sephora Favorites: Scouted by Sephora set was really exciting to me but not only did I only end up liking products that I have substitutes for (the overnight water pack, the physical exfoliant) but I found some products just overwhelmingly mediocre? (Looking at the lip balm that sat there and didn’t do anything, the vitamin C serum that smells weird, and sorry but I never liked the smell of rosewater so that mist was doomed from the start). Also, I don’t know how to use the eyelash enhancer but if I’m using it right it’s not doing anything I think…
My 2016 Sephora birthday gift was okay… but I don’t understand the hype around these fresh products. The soy cleanser is a holy grail around the internet but it dried my skin but didn’t seem to really clean it very well, while the mask just sat goopy on my face until I washed it off to no real positive effect?
My darling Christine sent over some great Korean beauty items that I am still working through because, again, I am notoriously slow with using up my skincare items. But I do like the Skinfood mask/scrub as a replacement to my ol’ Freeman black sugar mask/scrub and have started incorporating that Missha essence in a modified 3-to-7 skin method to combat winter dryness. I’m not sure how well that’s working out… BUT the ampoule feels so lovely on my face and, while I never use it without the essence, I think that’s really kicking up my skincare efficacy.
Hmmm… maybe I should’ve made the reviews of last year’s skincare products its own post? If you want more in-depth reviews of the stuff I mentioned above, I can do that later, but let me introduce the products that I need to start using before I let myself try anything new.
So, I do have a bad habit of buying little gift sets of skincare for myself because they are a great value for a person like me, who uses products sparingly, infrequently, and inconsistently. (I have a bottle of face wash that I have been using for literally 6-7 years? It foams up a lot so I don’t need a lot per wash… that being said I definitely use it way less than daily.) As a result, I am not allowing myself to buy anything else until I have tried everything I introduce in this post and use up at least… 1/3? 1/2 of the products? (That I like. Of course, if I hate most of the products, I hope I won’t force myself to use them up.)
Shout-out to the Pike & Rose Sephora for the sweet, sweet friends & family event they held where I walked away with not one, not two, but four different skincare gift sets.
I’ve always gravitated towards the curated Sephora Favorites sets. Even the sets that I am not as interested in, like the makeup and fragrance ones, seem like great values and a good variety of products to try. In fact, one of my first purchases at Sephora was their Sephora Favorites Superstars gift set, which comprises their bestsellers from every year. (I haven’t repurchased this in the years since because a lot of products reappear from year to year and I use my products so sloooowly.) However, this year, not only did I walk around holding these 3 Sephora Favorites boxes, I also impulsively grabbed an Origins set, maybe because I had spent a lot of time at a local Origins store event right before this shopping one. (Sorry for not buying from the Origins store, kindly Origins staff. In my defense, you were not carrying this specific gift set.)
Anyway, let’s meet each set!!
This Origins set includes:
Modern Friction dermabrasion exfoliant
Ginzing scrub cleanser
Ginzing eye cream
Ginzing gel moisturizer
High-Potency Night-a-Mins renewal cream
Clear Improvement charcoal mask – single use pack x2
Drink Up Intensive overnight mask – single use pack x2
I’m excited for this because I had a good experience trying out the Modern Friction in the store and have heard great things about Night-a-Mins. I had a not-so-great experience with the Ginzing eye cream several years ago but 2018 is about me giving brands new chances so… here we are.
This past year’s Sephora Favorites: Scouted by Sephora set is curated every year to feature popular indie brands (like the internet favorite, Drunk Elephant) and includes:
Biossance squalane + vitamin C rose oil
Herbivore Blue Tansy resurfacing clarity mask
Cane + Austin Miracle Pad+ (back again from last year!)
Farmacy Honey Potion mask
Lancer The Method: Nourish moisturizer
Youth to the People kale + green tea spinach vitamins cleanser
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial peel
Drunk Elephant virgin marula facial oil
Tata Harper repairative moisturizer
Sol Janeiro Brazilian bum bum cream
Rich Kid coconut oil gel
Skin Laundry foaming face wash
There was an earlier iteration of the Sephora Favorites: Soko to Tokyo gift set, because I remember considering it heavily before Sephora started distributing Laneige. (I was wondering why Target stopped carrying them…) Anyway here’s what the box contains:
belif Aqua Bomb moisturizer
boscia sake cleansing water
Laneige water sleeping mask
Shiseido Benefiance eye cream
AmorePacific Moisture Bound essence
Laneige Water Bank moisturizer
Tatcha Polished cleansing powder (as seen in my Tatcha Essentials kit from last time!)
Too Cool for School egg cream mask
Cicapair tiger grass cream
I love me my Asian beauty so I’m really excited to dig into this kit, even though I have used several of the products already. (That SK-II essence doe!)
And last but not least…
The Sephora Favorites: Skin Wonderland is a set of best sellers for those treat-yo-skin days and consists of:
I’m super excited to start making my way through these little bottles and tubs of products! In the meantime, don’t anyone let me buy anything new, okay?
Also, Christine got me more great KBeauty products to try out this year!
Christine sent me a thoughtful package from Soko Glam, the curated Korean beauty marketplace, and I am super excited to try out:
Missha The First Treatment essence mist (the mist version of the essence she gifted me last year!)
Neogen Bio-Peel+ gauze peel in wine
Missha Safe Block SPF 50+ facial sunscreen
I have been hoarding all of these brand-new products for a long time, so I’m working hard to make sure I do my routine a lot more regularly (versus once a week, on a good week), so that I can clear out my old products and start trying these new ones!
What were some of your favorite skincare products that you’d recommend?
Do you have any thoughts on any of the products I listed that I’m going to try? Love it? Hate it? Super meh on it?