LIP BALM | Glossier Balm Dot Com

Wild Fig – very natural color

Before I tried more liquid lip balms, I thought all of them are just as good. I thought the Glossier would be great since it’s petrolatum based… but somehow it leaves my lips dry the next day. I generally apply lip balm overnight and don’t reapply during the day unless I reaaally need to. So this doesn’t pass the overnight test. On top of everything, this “wild fig” scent doesn’t smell like anything, just faintly sweet, very underwhelming. My favorite lip balm is still the Estee Lauder Lip Repair, but I did try the Aquaphor lip repair which is pretty good. The other tube lip balms are just ok, at the same level as Glossier (Kiehl’s, Ettusais). If you constantly apply lip balm throughout the day, you’ll probably be fine with any lip balm. I prefer something that will last a longer time

My general thoughts about Glossier is it’s… underwhelming. I got their shower oil, body lotion, sheer matte lipstick, hand cream, and this lip balm. Their marketing is great but I probably wont purchase anymore from them… although, the solution (chemical exfoliant) might be ok?

Price: $12 for 0.5 oz / 15 ml

CLEANSING OIL | Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery

Decent at removing waterproof mascara and liquid lip. Seems like liquid liner is harder to remove

Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Zea Mays Germ Oil/Corn Germ Oil, Isopropyl Myristate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-10 Dioleate, Polyglyceryl-6 Dicaprate, Oenothera Biennis Oil/Evening Primrose Oil, Polyglyceryl-2 Oleate, Squalane, Coriandrum Sativum Seed Oil/Coriander Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil/Lavender Oil, Isopropyl Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil/Rosemary Leaf Oil, Linalool, Tocopherol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Glycine Soja Oil/Soybean Oil, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate.

There are a lot of potential irritants in this, but as a cleansing oil it shouldn’t be too irritating since you wash it off. I personally didn’t like this cleansing oil bc it doesn’t emulsify very well and I felt like it left a slight residue on my skin. If you don’t have oily skin or blackheads it probably doesn’t matter, but my main “judgment” for cleansers is how my blackheads remain after. If you like essential oil scents you will probably like this, I would not purchase again

Price: $32 for 5.9 oz / 175 ml – I got this in a giftbox from Nordstrom Rack a while ago

P.S. If you feel like I’ve been reviewing too many cleansing oil/balms… It’s bc I use these everyday to remove my sunscreen now that we wfh. I haven’t had much inspiration to review other products lately haha

GLOSSIER | Generation G in Zip

There is some weight to the lipstick which is nice, but as a whole the packaging is mediocre
1 swipe vs multiple swipes

Zip – pinkish red

1 swipe vs multiple – this is potentially hard to apply evenly. The formula is not creamy so it doesn’t glide easily across your skin unless you have lip balm underneath (I usually dont apply lip balm right before. I know people do in makeup tutorials but my overnight lip balm is usually sufficient)

I saw reviews of this before actually purchasing, but I mainly got it to get free shipping with the Balmdotcom (lol). This “lipstick” is pretty much what I expected, sheer, matte, gets in my lip lines, not esp moisturizing. The rose fragrance isn’t strong after I apply, which is good

Glossier as a brand is for very natural makeup, which I do like but I already have products that can achieve similar effects.

Price: $18 for 0.1 oz / 3 g – kind of overpriced but it’s ok. Personally wouldn’t recommend unless you don’t like other lipsticks, but the sheer effect of Zip is flattering

LIPSTICK | NARS VIP Audacious in Rita

Compared to Audacious lipstick in Juliette (no longer sold at Sephora)

I never bought another NARS lipstick bc 1. I usually buy 1 color from the same packaging and 2. The formula for Juliette is kind of dry and doesn’t look good, as much as I love corals I rarely use this color so I thought the whole line is like this

I think Russian Red is the closest color, the rest are either too pink or too purple
Sephora describes it as Scarlet

Pleasantly surprised by how creamy this is, it’s a much better formula than the color Juliette which I purchased 3 years ago. Rita is a nice red but not as striking as the Armani 400 to me. I imagine I’ll get good use out of this once we are seen in public more often. The jury is out for which red I’ll wear for Lunar New Year this year

Price: $34 for 0.14 oz / 4 g – I got it on sale per ush. I would’ve never noticed this color (Rita, permanent in the Audacious line) if they didn’t have it on sale in this gold packaging

CLEANSER | EltaMD Foaming Facial

This pump sucks
If you get the right water-cleanser ratio it becomes this creamy foam which is kind of nice

I purchased this when Dermstore had a 20% sale. Apparently amino acid cleansers are all the rage in Asia and this one is known for the “self foaming”. This cleanser feels nice on the skin but it’s one of those that takes at least 2 rinses to wash off clean (maybe due to the foam?). My skin doesn’t feel dry after so I like that. I dont think it breaks down makeup or mineral SPF much, but I have bottles of cleansing oils to go thru anyway. This is mostly a morning cleanser for me, great 2nd cleanse too

Price: $27.50 for 7 oz – usually cleansers are 5 oz, this is a generous size but I feel like the cloggy pump wastes some product.

MOISTURIZER | Manuka Honey Night Creme

I bought this at the Auckland, New Zealand airport right before we boarded. It was definitely an impulse purchase, I thought it might be unique to NZ but it’s actually sold on Amazon for like $3 more. Manuka honey itself (with different concentrations) is a popular item in NZ and Australia, it’s one of those items Chinese people bring back as souvenirs or as gifts bc it allegedly has health benefits. I was intrigued by the “combination skin” marketing and the “natural” claims. I used it on my face for a week, first off, it has a VERY strong honey fragrance – too strong for me. Second, it has a thick texture that doesn’t really blend in that much, which is not what I expect for combination skin. I will say it is pretty moisturizing but doesn’t help control my oils, which is fine. If you can’t stand strong fragrance, I would skip this

Price: $18+ for 3.52 oz / 100 g – travel friendly, this is quite a large container – I have been using it for my neck, will probably use it for my body when my body lotion runs out to get rid of it more quickly.

FOUNDATION | MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15

MAC Studio Fix Fluid has 63 shades, I think this is one of the largest collections I’ve seen

NC10, NC15, NC20

For a long time I thought NC20 was my color (having never looked at the counter) but it is SO dark. Recently I got a MAC foundation on sale and she gave me NC12

Mix of NC10 and NC15

Pretty good coverage and looks good over my large pores

Ingredients: Water\Aqua\Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Dimethicone, Magnesium Sulfate, Titanium Dioxide, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Algae Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Lecithin, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Methoxy Amodimethicone/Silsesquioxane Copolymer, Laureth-7, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone/Peg-10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Peg-10 Crosspolymer, Peg/Ppg-18/18 Dimethicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Silica, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Propylene Carbonate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Sorbic Acid, Chloroxylenol, Phenoxyethanol, [+/- Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Iron Oxides (Ci 77492), Iron Oxides (Ci 77499), Chromium Oxide Greens (Ci 77288)]

For anyone who’s followed makeup products for a long time, Studio Fix Fluid has been around since before I was in high school, before all the brands came out and beauty products became a huge lucrative business. I never bought this bc I’ve heard it makes people break out, but after trying this sample I can see why it’s been around for so long. I think they’ve reformulated the formula over the years, it’s definitely a staple foundation that’s natural looking with good coverage.

I am impressed by the staying power of this foundation. I didn’t set with powder and it looks pretty good after 8 hours

Price: $33 for 1 oz / 30ml – on Black Friday it was 30% off at the MAC store


1 pump – I’d say the pump can dispense a lot of product so 1-2 pumps should be good for your whole face
Removes makeup pretty well

I’ve seen this on a lot of people’s list of top cleansing oils. I actually bought it in Singapore without knowing that. I bought it bc Hadalabo is a known brand in Asia and it was like $10. The texture of the oil is on the thicker side and doesn’t get super milky with emulsifying. I don’t particularly like this cleansing oil bc it doesn’t feel like it washes off as clean as some other oils I have (nor does it help with blackheads), but it removes makeup well, it’s pretty affordable and it’s fragrance free. I can tell it’s somewhat moisturizing from the hyaluronic acid in the ingredient list

I think if you don’t have issues with blackheads you will enjoy this cleansing oil

Price: $15-20 for 6.7 oz / 200 ml

MASCARA BASE | Ettusais (Japanese Beauty)

Happy New Year! I rang in the new year with some friends and sparkly eyeshadow. Also tried out this mascara base for the first time

Ingredients: isododecane, cyclopentasiloxane, trimethylsiloxykei synthetic wax, beeswax, dextrin talcbarmitate, paraserine, polynyloryl / octyldodecyl), hyaluronic acid N, tocopherol. Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Stevia / extract, phenoxyethanol. Oxidized morning. Carbon plaque container: PET, rubber plastic cap :, PA film paper)

Brush wand – you can see the fibers on there
Not quite the same effect as mascara but you can tell it brushes out the lashes and lengthens a bit

If you have straight lashes, you might have trouble getting mascaras to hold a curl. I personally find waterproof mascaras to do better, but even then a lot of American waterproof mascaras don’t hold a curl that well. For NYE I layered this with Lancome Hypnose and I am a fan!

The main selling point of the Ettusais mascara base is it holds a curl better than a lot of mascara and lengthens with some fibers. Admittedly I do find this makes my lashes look more curled than other mascaras (maybe even Etude House Curl Fix, my go to). Since I have some mediocre mascaras, this base can rescue them and make them usable

Ettusais is apparently a Japanese brand that’s popular in Taiwan and possibly Japan, but I didn’t notice it the few times I was in Taipei. There is a gel mousse cleanser I asked my cousin to purchase in China via Taobao, for me it’s $38 on eBay and she got it for $15. This brand isn’t as available as some kbeauty or Japanese brands are in the US, so it’s a bit pricy to get my hands on it without a transport company. Luckily for me, there seems to be an Asian beauty store nearby that sells the mascara base for $16

I will say this layered with a waterproof mascara is harder/more steps to remove. With my mascara remover not all the mascara was gone

Price: 1200 yen (~$11 USD). I got it for $18 ish shipped from Taiwan. Next time I am in Japan/Taiwan I am definitely stocking up on this. I heard about it from popular Chinese/Taiwanese YouTubers. It is an extra step, but if you care about lashes you’d love this product – this is price is “high” to me to pay for a mascara (meanwhile *buys $200 skincare*) since they technically expire in 3-6 months, but I would repurchase

FOUNDATION | Cle de Peau Radiant Fluid Matte

Happy almost New Years Eve! Not sure what everyone is doing, but in San Francisco Bay Area we are in shelter in place still. However, I have friends doing a small gathering after confirming everyone has tested negative (I got tested 2 days ago, whoohoo). To “prepare” for photos, I finally opened this CdP foundation I bought on Black Friday. When I buy expensive stuff I tend to sit on it for weeks until I can’t return it then open it bc… I am not sure maybe I will return it? It’s a bad habit

I thought the cap would be heavy but it’s pretty light. Overall the bottle looks nice
There is a ball in the pump, kind of interesting but it doesn’t prevent the messiness of foundation THAT much

Again, if you’re counting on makeup for sunscreen. PLEASE DON’T. 1) Titanium Dioxide doesn’t provide enough UVA protection and 2) you have to use a generous amount to even get the SPF 20


Looks liquidy but once you apply it seems to stick more? I think it’s bc it’s dimethicone based
Color OC10. Pretty decent coverage. I used the MAC 170

Their shade range has numbers with B or O. B stands for beige and is more pink toned, O stands for ochre and is more yellow. To be honest, right out of the bottle, O10 looks kind of dark but this is their lightest shade. The lady said it will blend out so I trusted her. If you’re more fair skinned their foundations might run a tad dark. There is a mild fragrance that dissipates quickly upon application

I didn’t pay attention to Cle de Peau for a long time bc it’s only sold at Neiman/Saks/Nordstrom, plus their pricing is quite high for their makeup (for products like blush and highlight, do we really need to pay $60-80??). Their skincare pricing is ok to me but I haven’t heard much about it, so I have my doubts about their efficacy. However, a few months ago my favorite Taiwanese YouTuber said CdP foundations make your skin look flawless, especially if you have flawed skin. If your skin is already good you might think it’s just ok. My current go to foundation is the Giorgio Armani luminous silk (post here), usually mixed with Koh Gen Do (post here) bc the colors I have in a few high end foundations are either too dark or too light for my actual skin tone. I have quite large pores, and I do agree this foundation looks great on top, even without primer. Honestly, a lot of foundations silicones in their ingredients these days, I rarely use primer unless I am being extra. The YT I follow said it’s better to use a brush than a sponge which will absorb more foundation, also it’s good to blend 1 side first instead of applying to both sides of your face, otherwise it will dry quickly.

One of the main selling points of this foundation is it isn’t too matte or dewy, and it is long lasting – I concur with these claims. I do think I need to set it in order to stay on well

Price: $130 for 1.1 oz / 35 ml – this is about the same price as the La Mer foundation but I’ve heard La Mer isn’t super impressive. If you’re looking to splurge on a foundation, I say Cle de Peau is worth your money (hopefully you’re not like me where you own like 10 foundations that are 20% used). Cle de Peau seems to only have a 20% off sale during Black Friday (I paid attention this whole year), but Nordstrom might have a 15% off that other dept stores might be willing to match