Toner Stocktake June 2017

Half a year since my last Toner Stocktake post! Where does the time go? :O

My current collection:

  1. Hada Labo Gokujun Bottle 170ml: Opened this up after returning from Japan with my skin all dehydrated. Re-using this product has re-confirmed this brand’s staple status for my skin.
  2. Kiku Masamune Sake Brewing Skin Care Lotion High Moist 500ml: Less than half now. Very economical, but has a very splashy pump. Both of these aspects do make it attractive for body use. Due to this, I have actually used about half the bottle already. It has had a mild brightening effect and sinks in almost instantly, but has a scent that ranges from sake, ripe fruit to rubbish… It provides only average hydration, so it doesn’t beat Hada Labo for me. Worth noting that from time to time, my skin can get a little irritated with this product, especially when first using it. It could be the fermented ingredient(s)?
  3. Sukin Hydrating Mist Toner 125ml: I’ve opened this for a test spray. It has a pleasant smell and feels slightly hydrating. Not a proper review.
  4. ModelCo Replenishing Rose Mist Facial Mist 125ml: This just sits there now with occasional use for moisturising my back, haha! I feel this is actually a bit drying, so I’m not sure I’ll end up finishing this…
  5. CosRX Galactomyces Alcohol-Free Toner 150ml: Just sitting there, but I will probably use this after I finish the Kiku.
  6. Hada Labo Shirojun Premium 170ml: New purchase from Japan in March 2017. Won’t be using this until I finished the first Hada Labo.
  7. Cinderella White Booster Serum-in Whitening Lotion 120ml: Another new Japan March 2017 purchase.
  8. Cinderella Time Medicated Booster Serum-in Lotion 200ml: Also from Japan March 2017. The “medicated” refers to active ingredients which helps pimples and also clearing general blemishes. I’m very tempted to open this as I’m experiencing more breakouts than usual 😥

I finally gave away the Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion to a friend who rates it highly. Mum actually liked the Naturie Hatomugi Skin Conditioner so much she will be buying another bottle when she goes over to Tokyo! I will recommend that she buys the quite well-rated Naturie Skin Conditioning Gel too; 972 yen for 180ml of moisturiser is excellent value.

Once again, my toner stock seems to be always around over 1L. With a plan for no further trips to Japan for probably another three years, I expect that my stockpile will decrease. Due to the re-affirmation of staple status for Hada Labo, I am very tempted to also to get my mum or brother to buy another bottle of it, but I think I will hold out!

As usual, this doesn’t include samples.


Review: Garnier Hydra Bomb Ultra Hydrating Rejuvenating Tissue Mask

I am doing this review as I received one free packet to trial for a beauty website.


This is a sheet mask from Garnier. Sheet masks are extremely popular in Asia and have been huge for more than a decade now. The main benefit of sheet masks are usually their hydration and brightening properties. I’m not sure why it’s taken so long for Garnier to release one of their own, since they appear to be one of the Western brands who actually cotton [pun intended?] on to Asian beauty trends. For example, they were one of the first mass-market Western brands to release out BB creams. Even their Miracle Sleeping Cream, which is currently part of my routine, is inspired by Asian sleeping packs.

This sheet mask appears to be so new to Australia, that I can’t even find the Australian website for it! Here’s the UK site for the product, with a slightly different name. There are three variants of this sheet mask: Rejuvenating, Rebalancing and Soothing. I received Rejuvenating as I was suffering from bad dehydration at the time of answering the trial survey. My dehydration issue has improved a lot, but I always welcome a top-up. The Rejuvenating variant includes hyaluronic acid (yay!) and pomegranate extract to hydrate skin and “boost radiance”.

This works like any usual sheet mask (pretty much…). Tear the foil packet and inside you have a folded cloth mask swimming in serum. The weird thing is that this one comes with a blue “protective film”. I’m unsure of the purpose of this besides maybe ensuring you put the correct side of the mask on your facial skin. Pop the (cold!) mask on your skin and wait 15 minutes so your face can absorb all the hydration goodies. You may get weird looks when this is on your face, but it’s all for a good cause. When the protective film was still on, my initial impressions was that it didn’t fit my face. Once I removed that film, I was able to gently smooth out the material so it covered most of my face. While you wait, pour out all the serum in the packet and moisturise your body with it, so your body can get the treatment too. After 15 minutes, remove the mask, massage the remaining serum on your face into your skin and put a humectant moisturising layer on – I used the Garnier Miracle Sleeping Cream. Squeeze out all the serum left in the cloth mask and continue moisturising your body.

Immediately after the one application, my skin was hydrated and looked more brighter as my redness was reduced. These effects are temporary.

The packet states “1 Mask = 24H of Lasting Hydration”, which is a pretty weak claim. Your everyday moisturiser should be able to provide 24 hours of hydration! I noticed reading online reviews of overseas versions, some versions had claims that the mask provided one week’s worth of hydration! That was probably exaggerating, so maybe that’s why they have toned it down on the Australian packaging.

I couldn’t test the product’s “proven effectiveness” in 1 week of

  • “Fine lines are visible reduced
  • Skin looks plumper
  • Skin’s radiance is boosted”

with a footnote that 3 applications required to achieved. Unfortunately, I only received one packet of this. I’m always grateful for free product, but with only one to try, I can’t provide a better review. So I was a little disappointed that there was one packet in my mail parcel from the beauty site. This one application hasn’t made me want to buy more either to test the claims on my own expense. I understand the RRP is $4.95 a mask, but is currently on sale at My Chemist/Chemist Warehouse for $2.69 each.

Like all Garnier products, this is fragranced. And like many sheet masks, it does contain a fair whack of alcohol, which may cause issues for some people and can counter the hydration claims and could even make your skin itchy and I think it made my skin really more oily a few days afterwards 😐

Honestly, if you’re in the market for sheet masks, I would recommend trying out some Asian brands instead. Brands to look out for include Lululun, Kose Clear Turn, Utena Puresa, Innisfree, My Beauty Diary, etc. These are all affordable brands and per mask are cheaper than the Garnier in their country of origin. However, if you’re looking for a sheet mask that’s easy to buy at your local Priceline or Chemist Warehouse, the Garnier Hydra Bomb Tissue Masks is an accessible option.

Japan again!

Okay, not me 😛

My mum will be visiting my brother in Japan soon. My brother is actually in the US at the moment, but will be in Japan over their summer.

As with any overseas trip, I’m all about the hauls.

I’m slightly tempted to provide a small wishlist to my brother and mum for my mum to bring back home. Even though I only just came back from Japan 😳 I could even request US products, haha!

I’ve got a month to create my wishlist 😛

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On the highway to hydration

As mentioned recently, my dehydration required much repair.

It’s now been just over three weeks since returning back to Melbourne, Australia now and I would say my hydration levels have improved significantly. Makeup also applies a lot more smoothly.

This has been my repair skin routine


  1. Washing with warm water only – what is this craziness?! Ever since I started a skincare routine I have never ever done this! My face is still oily when I wake up, but I have found just warm water seems to be sufficient at the moment. Removing a surfactant surely helps with preventing further drying out. Now it’s going to take even longer to use up my cleansers! :O
  2. Hada Labo Shirojun Moist – Hyaluronic acid is one of those ingredients my skin laps up. That said, I’m not sure if it’s my own skin or the constant reformulations of Asian products, I didn’t feel this was as extremely hydrating as previously bottles. Hada Labo are probably trying to push customers to the newer and slightly more expensive (by about Y200) Premium line
  3. Kikumasumune Lotion High Moist – This provides only OK hydration. As this was the current watery lotion I was trying, I continued to use this on return to Australia, but I don’t think Kiku will be a staple in my routine. The cheap price (around Y600) for 500ml and quick to use pump are really good points of this product though. There might be a very subtle brightening effect too? However, the pump is really splashy and the scent changes from sake, rubbish on a hot day (yes…) to strawberries and bananas, That said, don’t be surprised if I buy this again in the future.
  4. DHC Amenity Olive Gold Series Gel Lotion – This is more viscous than steps 2 and 3, so I feel this acts like a humectant, as well as having great hydration properties. No web link for this one, as, uh, this is a hotel only line from DHC… And of course, no way to replace this one once I run out. 😳
  5. Garnier Miracle Sleeping Cream – I received this as a competition win and it’s definitely a humectant moisturiser high in silicones. This is something I would usually never buy, although the site says it’s apparently influenced by Asian skincare trends. The most interesting thing about this product is its bouncy texture. Once you take an amount out, after a few hours the remaining product flattens and smooths out again and looks like a new untouched jar! However, this is strongly fragranced (don’t use near eyes or broken skin) and the alcohols in the ingredient listing concern me, even though they are considered “fatty alcohols”.
  6. Sunscreen (currently Cancer Council Peppa Pig SPF50+ Spray – a competition win :P)  and makeup

My PM routine is the same, except I do use a cleanser and I don’t use sunscreen and makeup. My current night cleanser is Neutrogena Deep Clean or ModelCo Cleansing Gel. Both of them are OK cleansers, but they are nothing to write home about and I’m just waiting to use them up before I can move on to others in my stash. With really stubborn dry patches I used Avene Cicalfate Restorative Skin Cream as my step 6 at night, but only used this a few times.

So, that sums up the products I used to hydrate my skin. Now, I wouldn’t say I’ve achieved full hydration (e.g. pores are still very visible) nor should you run out and buy all of these products now. I would attribute a lot of my progress to mainly being back in Melbourne (climate) and the Hada Labo. The rest of the products just happened to be the ones I am currently trying out and have cooperated with my skin.

Parched! A tale of dehydrated skin


My trip to Japan caused my already dehydrated skin to be even further dehydrated. I would put this down to a combination of cold wintery air due to the season and extremely drying hotel rooms. I’m not sure why, but there’s someone about Japan’s hotel which seem to suck the moisture out of your body. I don’t believe I experience this in other countries’ hotels. Thankfully, in the majority of the hotels we stayed had in-room all-in-one humidifier and air purifier machines.

Except, our final one.

This post is not supposed to be a review about the final hotel we stayed during our most recent Japan trip, but I have to make mention of it. The Centurion Hotel Ikebukuro was an odd one. It had some great amenities (mostly typical of Japanese hotels), but it also lacked some quite vital Japanese amenities. And the main item it lacked was the humidifier. Most Japanese hotels provide in-room humidifiers or they can be borrowed from the front desk for free during your stay. The Centurion had none. Sure, there was free skin lotion and moisturiser in the bathroom, but they were watery as and did pretty much nothing. I continued using my own body and face moisturiser samples I brought from Australia. However, my skin just couldn’t hack it. Even my heels started cracking and that has never happened to me before!

It’s now been almost a fortnight since returning back to Australia and I’m still in repair mode. I would say about 90% of the dry patches of my body have been fixed, but a few stubborn areas still remain. With both my face and my body, I am layering so many moisture products and I can’t tell which ones are actually helping. Even some of my “power tools” like the Uriage Aquaprecis Express Mask aren’t even up to the task. I’m yet to sheet mask though… I’m really keen to restore my moisture barrier, so I can resume using actives again. If I achieve success soon, I will list out the products I have used, but I suspect that most of the repair will be due to being in a less drying environment and access to more products than I would usually have while travelling.

Japan beauty haul March 2017

And I’m back from Japan! Admittedly, I’m feeling pretty tired and groggy, as the plane landed this morning and I only got about 3 hours sleep. I tried to stay awake during the day, but I just couldn’t…

Once again, I spent more than I had expected. Originally, I only wanted to only really buy a few items, but I was further influenced by social media… Quite a few of these items aren’t easily available at your standard Japanese drugstore chains like Matsumoto Kiyoshi, so I had to venture to the pricier Ainz & Tulpe to find them.

Beauty Purchases

Photo 3-04-2017, 12 05 38I would say it does look slightly smaller than my December 2015 haul, but that was a pretty big one and I’m still yet to open quite a lot of the purchases from that haul! Once again, this photo does not include snacks, miscellaneous items and gifts for others.

Cleanser CrazyPhoto 3-04-2017, 12 07 58Left to right (purchase price in yen, purchase location)

Lotions PotionsPhoto 3-04-2017, 12 08 40Left to right (purchase price in yen, purchase location)

Terrific(?) TreatmentsPhoto 3-04-2017, 12 09 11Left to right (purchase price in yen, purchase location)

Colourful CosmeticsPhoto 3-04-2017, 12 10 05Left to right (purchase price in yen, purchase location)

  • Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++ 50g (Y630,* Don Quijote) New release, but I haven’t even tried the revered old verison yet!
  • Missha M Magic Cushion (Moisture) #21 SPF50+ PA+++ (Original Loft Design) (Y1026*, Loft) For that price and the cute packaging, it was hard to resist despite my “eurgh” reaction to the concept of cushion foundations.
  • Can Do Ice Blue Eyeliner (Y108*, Can Do) Saw a blog post on these eyeliners and for 108 yen, I thought, why not? Edit: Man, this is awesome. Highly pigmented, easy to apply. I’m not really an eyeliner girl so maybe I have only used bad/mediocre ones, so I may just be easily pleased in this aspect. The linked blog said it was hard to apply, but it just glided smoothly on my lids. Not sure about its stay on power though, as I only tried it for fun before my shower. I’d recommend getting the full colour set! 😝
  • Shiseido SpotsCover Foundation S100, 20g (Y880 , Yodobashi Camera) Read a few blog posts about how great this is as a concealer. Hard to find this one though. Might need to find a corresponding concealer brush though…
  • Cezanne Lasting Lip Color N 402 (Y480, Ainz & Tulpe)


Here’s some cute Pokemon merchandise I also bought 🙂Photo 3-04-2017, 21 51 07

Price disclaimer: All prices stated are tax-free and after discounts, unless asterisked. I purchased most products tax-free. All products purchased from Yodobashi Camera Akihabara also include a 5% VISA credit card discount. This trip, I still found the Yodobashi Camera Akihabara the best place to go in terms of cheapest pricing and a wide range. However, it didn’t have the new Hada Labo Shirojun Premium and it does make me question the freshness of maybe the less popular items?

This likely going to be my last Japanese haul in a while. After almost annual trips to Japan for the past few years, we have decided we are likely to take a break from Japan until maybe after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Besides, there are so many other countries in the world to explore!