Throwback Thursday: Favorites from January

This month, I revisited my annual favorites from 2011 and 2010.

My favorites products from 2011 were:

St Ives Green Tea cleanser (link goes to my review)

This is still my favorite cleanser. It foams up when I use a face washing net, it is lightly exfoliating, and I love the scent. However, it is a little hard for me to find when I go to the US recently.



I used to use Mezaik to change the shape of my double eyelids. This may sound strange to you, but it is a huge obsession for many Japanese and Asian girls. I haven’t used Mezaik recently as I realized it makes me look sleepy in pictures. The packaging of Mezaik has changed recently, so watch out for that if you are looking for it.
I never repurchased this mascara since there are so many on the market. I remember I liked it because it did not smudge under my eye and gave me good volume.
Gosh Lipstick in Darling
This is a super affordable version of MAC’s Myth. Unfortunately both make me look dead. However, I like to layer this on top of other lipsticks which are too bright on my face.
Sonia Kashuk blush brush
I have a love hate relationship with most blush brushes, but I like this one because it is soft and the hairs do not irritate my skin.  It is also super affordable!
After owning a Clarisonic for several years, it seems that mine will no longer hold a charge.  I may have to repurchase it soon.

My favorites products from 2010 were:

Soap & Glory The Fab Pore Facial Peel (link goes to my review)

Since Soap & Glory is not widely available in Japan, I never got a chance to repurchase this product. This is a great mask for getting gunk out of your pores.  Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty has a similar effect.

Lush Honey I Washed the Kids Soap (link goes to my review)

I never repurchased this product since Lush has so many soaps that I can’t keep up!  This product and Lush’s It’s Raining Men shower gel have the same scent, so you can choose whether you prefer soaps or shower gels.

Lush Coal Face Cleanser (link goes to my review)

As much as I loved this product, I never repurchased it! I may decide to pick this up again in the summer.

VOV Watershot Foundation  (review here and here)
This was my favorite foundation while I lived in China.  It is a very natural looking foundation which feels very light on the skin. These days, I prefer my Estee Lauder Double Wear.
Barry M Dazzle Dusts in Mushroom (mentioned several times in my blog, look here)
This is still one of my favorite Barry M Dazzle Dusts. Each pot contains so much product that I am still working through them, 4 years later!
(swatch second from left)
Sonia Kashuk Flat Top Brush (mentioned several times in my blog, look here)
This used to be my favorite way of applying foundation. These days, I prefer round top brushes, such as the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush.
MAC 217
I still use this every day and it is one the essential brushes in my collection.  Since they are hand cut, each one is slightly different.  I definitely like one of my 217s better than the other!
Hope you enjoyed this look back to my old favorites!
xoxo, K
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Favorites of 2013

Happy New Year everyone! 今年もよろしくお願いします!

2013 was really a tough year for me. I moved internationally twice, had some struggles at work, had some personal issues, and really had the toughest year that I can remember.  A huge thanks to all of my blogger friends who listened to me rant online, for the bloggers and other people in my twitter/facebook/pinterest feed who kept me distracted from the troubles in my life, and for everyone who reads my blog for the support that you have given me over the last year.

Here are my favorites from 2013! Unlike past years, I have included items that I tried in previous years. If you are interested in seeing my past favorites, I have done an annual roundup for 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009.   Wow, I can’t believe that this is the 5th time I have done this kind of post!

As usual, all links go to previous reviews.

Skin Care

Best makeup remover

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes
You can tell that this is an extremely old picture from when this blog was called by another name. The link goes to a review that I wrote in 2010!!!!   When I was in Hawaii this past December, a fellow beauty blogger kindly gave me some of these wipes, and reminded me of how much I love them. I love that these are big enough to cleanse my entire face, and remove my (non-waterproof) mascara. The watchout is that they cannot remove my eyeliner well because I smudge it into my eyelashes.

Best shower gel

Bath and Body Works shower gels tend to all be the same for me in terms of how they perform. This one stands out because I really, really love the scent.

Best cleanser

I upgraded my review of this product from “Maybe” to “Yes”. This product improved my skin’s turnover, improving the texture and appearance. 

Best eye cream

This is the first eye cream that I have tried which I actually liked. It is a serum-like product which was absorbed quickly into my skin without leaving any residue. It is light enough to use in the summer (like in Indonesia or during my trip to Hawaii), yet moisturizing enough for me in the winter.

Best face mask

I reviewed this product 3 years ago, and when I look back at all the exfoliating face masks that I have tried, this is still the best one!

Best body lotion

The Body Shop Body Butter in Ginger Sparkle
This is a product I picked up while in Hawaii, and promptly fell in love once I got back to Japan. It is the most moisturizing body lotion I have used in recent years! It is a limited edition product, and considering The Body Shop Body Butters come in a range of different moisturizing levels, I am very interested to find a non-LE product which works for me.  A review is coming up soon!


Best foundation

Surprised? You shouldn’t be.  This product made it into my favorites list 3 months consecutively since I started using it. It is the first foundation that I wasn’t sick of using before I ran out of it. I use the shade Sand Beige. 

Best BB cream

This BB cream is a local Indonesian product that I picked up after reading recommendations on Indonesian beauty blogs.  I am not even sure why I keep going back to this BB cream over the others that I own, but somehow this product makes my imperfections less noticeable without looking caked on. Oh, and it was super cheap in Indonesia – less than $10.

Best false lashes

Don Quijote Value Pack Cross Short
I know, I know, I haven’t written a post about Don Quijote (known as Donki, a 24 hour shopping chain in Japan), and I definitely haven’t written a review on these false lashes. It’s funny how writing these roundup posts remind me of reviews I need to finish! These lashes are cheap (around 1000 yen or $10 for the pack) and look natural on my eyes. They also come in different styles!
(picture from Donki’s website)

Best eyeshadow

I love how pigmented they are. I love how they last all day on my eyes, even in the sweltering heat, and don’t fade.  I love the colors. And I love all of my blogger friends who have helped me enlarge my collection!

Best lipstick shade

MAC Viva Glam V

Yet another product which I haven’t reviewed… but it is so well loved that I hesitate to write a blog post on it since it will only repeat information which is on other blogs.

Other favorite products

Favorite brush

I love to use this with any full coverage foundation. I love that it is super soft, only $10, and cruelty free.  I don’t love that it has been discontinued, but I bought and tried the Ecotools Domed Bronzer Brush, and I am extremely happy to say that it works just as well for me.

Best nail product

I really love these, and I stocked up on some while I was in Hawaii. I also started putting a gel topcoat on top and curing it with an LED light, which really helps it to last.
(picture from my instagram)

The blog

Most reviewed brand on Cosmeddicted
No surprise! This is the 3rd straight year that I reviewed more products from Lush than from any other brand.  However, this year I did only 8 reviews of Lush products, which is as many as I did in my first 9 months of blogging.
Actually, I did not blog a lot in 2013.  I did only a total of 39 product reviews – less than one per week. In comparison, I did 46 in 2012.  This has a lot to do with my moving twice, especially as I moved to Indonesia with most of my stash in storage.

Second most reviewed brand on Cosmeddicted

Bath and Body Works is my second most reviewed brand in 2013, but I did only 3 reviews. The second most reviewed brand in 2012 was L’Oreal.

My favorite blog post of 2013

When I lived abroad, I stocked up on “essential” skin care supplies on my trips back to Japan. Apparently I bought much more than I needed, because now I have bags and bags of cotton and lotion for lotion masks. I am slowly going through my stash of these and other things which I have hoarded over the past 3 years! 

Most viewed blog post of 2013

This continues to be my number one viewed blog post, perhaps because there are only a few reviews of this product in English.
What I want to improve in my blog
1. More beauty tips: I used to do these quite frequently, but I did only one last year!
2. Get back on Pinterest: I browse Pinterest frequently but I want to also post more frequently this year.
3. Change my layout: I’ve started to look for a new, simpler layout. I hope I can find one soon.
Thank you again to everyone’s love and support to my blog throughout 2013. Best wishes to you all for 2014!
xoxo, K
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Products I would repurchase – Skin Care

This is Part 2 of my series on products I would repurchase or have repurchased.  This time, it’s all about skin care products! I have reviewed all of these products on my blog before, so please click the product name to go to the review.

Skin Care
Keana Nadeshiko Baking Soda Scrub Powder Facial Wash
I mentioned in the review that I would probably not repurchase this again, because I could make this by mixing baking soda with my normal facial cleanser.  However, this is a great product if you are too lazy (like me) to mix it by hand.

Lush Angels on Bare Skin
I actually do not have a review post on this product, even though I have repurchased it multiple times. I have two comparison posts for it (one for the US/UK vs Japan versions, and one to compare it with the Lush Buche de Noel cleanser), as well as a post on how to keep it creamy.
I really need to do a thorough review on it!  This is a great gentle exfoliant, although I would not use it as a cleanser.

Lush Brazen Honey Fresh Face Mask
As I mentioned in the review, this is my favorite Lush Fresh Face Mask and I repurchase it every time I go to the US or to the UK (Fresh Face Masks are simply too expensive in Japan, see the cost comparison in the review post). It is a great exfoliator and I love how it smells.

(stock photo)

Lush Coal Face Cleanser
This is a great cleanser for normal to oily skin. Although I received it as a sample, I’m excited to repurchase it!You can read my review here.

 (stock photo)

Lush Mask of Magnaminty
As I wrote in my review, this is a really minty exfoliator. Steer clear of this if you have sensitive skin as both the strong mint smell and the adzuki beans may irritate your skin.  If you can handle it, it’s a great product!  The Lush Love Lettuce Fresh Face Mask is very similar, so check out that post if you would like to see a comparison between the two.

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes
This is the very best brand of makeup wipes I have used.  They get my makeup off completely but they are not harsh, and the cloth is also very soft.  However, if I use my Clarisonic after using a wipe, I’ll always see a bit of makeup on the Clarisonic.  This doesn’t happen if I use an oil-based cleanser.  I guess wipes don’t remove all of my makeup.  However, if you like wipes, these are the ones I recommend.

Rohto Hadalabo Gokujun hyaluronic acid Eki (toner)
I can’t tell you how many bottles of this I have repurchased. I use up one bottle every 2 weeks, and I rotate through the various Hadalabo toners depending on the season and how my skin feels.


 (stock photo)

Soap & Glory The Fab Pore Facial Peel
Yet another great exfoliator!  However, this uses salicylic acid to exfoliate.  Like the Lush Mask of Magnaminty, this has kaolin and menthol to keep the oils under control.

St. Ives Naturally Clear Green Tea scrub 
This is a great exfoliator which is gentle enough to use every day. It is also great as a daily cleanser, and I love the smell.  I cannot wait to get my hands on another tube!

VOV Daily Fresh Mini Pack Apple AHA Peeling Gel
This is a very affordable exfoliant which is also very easy to use.  If you can get to Korea, I strongly recommend you pick up some packets of this mask!

As you can see, I love my exfoliators. I guess it’s because I can immediately feel the difference they have on my skin!

Coming up – body washes and tools I would repurchase!

xoxo, K

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Skin Care – Splurge vs Save

A sweet reader kindly requested a post to share my thoughts on what skin care products you should spend money on, and which ones you should save on.

The more I thought of it, the more I realized that it really depends on what your values are.  There are so many good, affordable products on the market, many which contain very effective ingredients.

In the end, it depends on which type of product you will use correctly.  If the product is too expensive, I will be more likely to skimp on it.  For example, I could buy a $200 serum, but if I don’t use the correct amount, it will not work.

Having said that, I do have a personal guideline: If the product costs more than $50, I need to see results before I use up the product.  I find it hard to be convinced to repurchase a product if I can’t see the results.

Here are my favorite low end and high end skin care products.

(in Asia, toners are used to hydrate the skin.  Most of them do not contain alcohol.  They are also referred to as lotions)

I go through a bottle of toner every 2 weeks, because I use it as a face mask every morning and night.  Buy what you can afford to use, and use generously!

Low end:  Rohto Hada Labo series (the retail price is around 1000 yen, but I regularly find them at my local drugstore for around 700 yen. Imomoko sells them for $17.50)
This is my favorite toner because it’s cheap and it hydrates well!

High end: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence ($100 for 75ml/2.5 oz, buy here)
Yes, this a super expensive toner.  I love how it makes my skin feel after I’ve used it for 2-3 days, but it is too expensive for me to use regularly.

Facial Moisturizer
Fair & Lovely Skin Clarity Anti-Marks Fairness Cream (Amazon sells them for $10, some Indian online shops sell them for less)

This was in my favorites for (gasp) 2009! I still love it.  It is light but leaves my skin moisturized, and contains whitening ingredients.

I don’t have a high end favorite, unfortunately!

RoC Multi Correxion Skin Renewing Serum (Walmart says they are $25, Amazon has them for $9)

This totally depends on what you want your serum to do.  I want either to get rid of fine lines, or to get rid of discoloration.  I haven’t found anything that really works for discoloration, though.

Again, no high end favorite.  This is typically the most expensive in any line of products.

Sheet Masks
Low End: Silk Whitia ($16.60/5 pieces on Sasa)
I feel that Silk Whitia has the best products for the price.  My Beauty Diary masks are $12.70/10 pieces, so Silk Whitia is twice the price. Still, I find that they are much more hydrating and they leave my skin smooth.  I need to stock up next time I go to Hong Kong!

High End: SK-II Whitening Source Derm Revival Mask ($160/10 pieces online)
This did AMAZING things for my skin.  I can buy a single piece for around $20 in Hong Kong, but it’s still too expensive for me!

Low End: Soap & Glory The Fab Pore Facial Peel and Lush Mask of Magnaminty

Soap & Glory The Fab Pore Facial Peel (7.15 GBP at Boots)

I’ve written a blog post about this product, and I really did love it.  It left my skin very smooth, thanks to the salicylic acid.


Lush Mask of Magnaminty ($11.95/4.4oz on
This mask contains adzuki beans to exofoliate your skin, unlike the Soap & Glory mask which chemically exfoliates.  I’ve written a blog post about this product as well.
High end: Cellnique Advanced Bio Renewal Masque ($51 on

I’ve reviewed this product before as well. This product also chemically exfoliates.  It leaves my skin feeling very soft and smooth.

Low end:Biore Sarasara UV daily care gel (750 yen in Japan, $15.50 on Amazon)
This is the VERY FIRST review I ever wrote, in March of 2009! I still love this product.  It gives me the sun protection I need and is very light on my skin.

High end: Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen SPF 50+ (3150 yen in Japan, around $50 online)
Anessa is a brand of sun protection from Shiseido.  This is the best sunscreen in Japan, hands down.  I do not get any kind of tanning with this sunscreen.  It stays on even when I go diving.  However, it is expensive, and I have to keep reminding myself to use the correct amount.  Did you know that you need to use an entire shot glass worth (1 oz, 30 ml, or 2 tablespoons worth) for the amount of skin that is normally exposed? 
Anessa has several products, so I always remember this as “the gold one”.

I hope you enjoyed my picks!  Remember, skin care does not work if you do not use it correctly!!

xoxo, K

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Favorite Products 2010

Here are my favorite products of 2010! 

Can it be 2011 already? Happy New Year everyone!  I hope 2011 is a fantastic year for you. 

I had a hard time writing this post since there weren’t that many products that I LOVED well enough to mention here.  I also have a lot of things in my stash that I haven’t been able to try due to my move.  I still decided to do this post since I love reading other people’s favorites.

Best Skin Care items

Soap & Glory The Fab Pore Facial Peel
I continue to love face masks that gently exfoliate my skin.  This was the winner this year.  This is probably the only product that I loved that I bought on a whim!  I usually research products very thoroughly before buying them, but I bought this product after Yinnie enabled me!
Lush Honey I Washed the Kids Soap
I typically don’t like sweet scents, but I really like the scent of this soap! It makes a great lather and does not strip my skin.
Lush Coal Face Cleanser
(picture from
This is another unexpected love.  I love the scent and I love how it works on my skin during the hot summer months. 

Best Makeup items

VOV Watershot Foundation
(review here and here)

I love that this foundation does not make my face feel oily, even during the hot summer months.  It looks very natural and there is enough coverage for me.
Barry M Dazzle Dusts in Mushroom
(mentioned several times in my blog, look here)
I knew that pigments were going to have to be on my list considering the number of times they’ve appeared on my Ups and Downs.  I had a really hard time deciding on the color I loved the most this year!  Mushroom is a purple shade which is very wearable if you like shimmer.
(swatch second from left)

Best Tools

Sonia Kashuk Flat Top Brush
(mentioned several times in my blog, look here)
This is absolutely LOVE. I love it for applying and buffing in my liquid foundations.  It is also amazingly affordable.

MAC 217
This was in my favorites of 2009.  I stopped using it some time this year and rediscovered it later.  I think it is fantastic for applying and blending eyeshadow in the outer corner of my eye.

Miscellaneous favorites

Most reviewed brand on Cosmeddicted in 2010: 

I did reviews of 8 Lush products in 2010, and I have 4 more which I am currently working on.  I hope I can finish my reviews of the holiday items before they disappear from the stores!

I also enjoyed shopping at Lush stores very much.  Unlike some other brands (*cough* MAC *cough*), the people working at Lush have been very kind and helpful, and seem to really like the products that they sell. 

Favorite Bath & Body Works scents

Twilight Woods
Velvet Tuberose 
Moonlight Path
No surprises here.  The only change versus last year is that I tried and fell in love with Velvet Tuberose.

Favorite blog post (my personal opinion)
Beauty Blender vs Sonia Kashuk Blending Sponge comparison

I had a great time figuring out how to show the difference in density of the two sponges!
Catherine of Strawberry Mochi kindly liked to it on a MUA forum. Thank you for the shout out!

Most viewed post on this blog
Canmake Melty Nude Lip Swatches

Since posting this in August, it has remained my top viewed post.  I did this post on a whim and I’m glad that I did, since it seems to have helped a lot of people!

Best blogging experience:
By far, meeting other bloggers.  I’ve been very blessed this year.  Thank you so much to the following bloggers who have taken time out of their busy days to spend time with me!

– East Coast girls: Mona, Tammy, Diana, Jenn, Jenn
– UK and Europe girls: Yinnie, Jamilla, Eve, Jess, Rowena
– Hawaii girls: Wuzzy, Mai & Kat
– HK girls: Jennifer

That’s it for my favorites!  If I didn’t list a certain category, it’s probably because of one of the following reasons:
(1) I didn’t try enough products from that category to have a favorite.
For example, I used 3-4 blushes this whole year. I did not fall in love with any of them, hence none of them are listed.

(2) My favorite product did not change from last year.
I still use only the Eyelashes Fixer EX for my falsies glue (this product is VERY popular in Japan!) and I still use up a bottle of Gokujyun toner every two weeks.

What were your favorites for 2010?  I hope some amazing products come out in 2011!  Oh wait, maybe my wallet doesn’t want that…

xoxo, K

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