Theme Layout


Boxed or Wide or Framed


Theme Translation

Display Featured Slider


Featured Slider Styles

[Fullwidth] [caption2]

Display Grid Slider


Grid Slider Styles


Display Trending Posts


Display Author Bio


Display Instagram Footer

[Yes] Powered by Blogger.

2011 First Half Wrap Up

Since we're already half way through 2011, I wanted to dedicate a post to the products I used mainly in 2011. I admit I haven't been posting a lot on this blog, but on offline, I have actually been using a lot of old and new products.

Before I get started . . .

I want to clarify certain things since everyone has different opinions and reactions on products. These short reviews are based on my experience with the products. Opinions are very subjective, so please read my reviews with a grain of salt. Some products are company sent products, but most are my personally purchased products. As most of you might know I had a horrible skin year so far. My breakouts were rather random, which means most of my attention was geared towards skin care products rather than makeup products.

About my skin

Acne prone, dehydrated oily skin.

the face is covered with old and new acne scars.

Skin tone is pretty complicated - I have patches of strong yellows (especially around the eyes and the neck area) along with disconnected micro-vascular veins that give me a blue tint + red scarring that covers most of the skin surface.

large pores

sensitivity = 6 out of 10ish.

dry around the mouth area.

pale with freckles

NC20 (other foundation shades)

L-R: Missha Lip & Eye Remover, DHC Mild Touch Cleansing Oil, Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash , HERA Gel to Oil Cleanser, Lancome Absolue Premium βx Advanced Replenishing Cream Cleanser, Caroline Chu Gentle Facial Cleanser, KOSE softymo White Medicated Cleansing Cream

Missha the style lip & eye remover (100ml)

Cheap Hate the strong scent mixture of oil + liquid Not the strongest remover of the bunch

Although I have been a fan of Missha's smaller products, I really don't like their skin line products.
The remover is like a dupe of Lancome's famous Bi-facil eye makeup remover.
The plastic bottle is half filled with blue and transparent liquid.
It's okay to use to remove heavy and obvious makeup, but it's not as thorough as the more expensive alternatives.
I have to use more than what I usually use to get a decent result with Lancome's remover, so it makes me wonder if it is truly more economical to use such a cheap makeup remover. Cheap + use more (2x-3x) v. Expensive + use less?
I'm not sure what is economically savvier.

DHC Mild Touch Cleansing Oil (5 fl. oz)

Affordable price Hate the strong scent Oil cleanser Works wet & dry

DHC's cleansing oil (the yellow one) is the more famous sister product, but I grabbed this one from a Japanese market in New York.
It is of a clear oil form with a strong floral scent (Asian products in general love to over-perfume their products).
The price is about 17 dollars for 5 fl.oz, so I think it's pretty affordable.
Similar to the missha remover, this cleanser removes heavy makeup pretty well, but isn't the best at catching small leftovers (mascara on the roots of the lashes or gel liner in between lashes).
Texture is nice and smooth and once I rinse it out with water, I don't have that left over feeling.
Overall, if missha is 5.5/10, DHC is 7/10.

Neutorgena Oil-Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing Facial Cleanser (6 fl. oz)

Affordable price Effective A bit drying Great on my acne

I don't know how many bottles I've went through, but Neutorgena's oil-free acne wash series is by far my favorite facial cleanser.
It's not a medicine, so I don't expect it to cure my acne problems, but it does a great job in minimizing and preventing potential outbreaks.
When I first started using this cleanser, I was blown away at how it reduced my breakouts.
My skin has grown immune to the cleanser, so I don't get that drastic change anymore, but it is still the best of all the cleansers I have tried.
It could be a bit drying for those that have dry skin (it's even drying on my oily skin if I don't properly moisturize asap), but it leaves that squeaky clean finish when you're done cleansing. It isn't intended to be used as a makeup remover.
Also, I can't tell the difference between the original oil-free wash and this green bottle. I couldn't notice any redness soothing after going through an entire bottle.

HERA Gel to Oil Cleanser (150 ml)

Gel to oil hard to use Drip free hard to find outside of Korea

ugh.. I don't know how much frustration I went through every time I tried to make good use of this cleanser.
It makes me feel stupid because there is no 'ease of use' with this product.
The cleanser is squeezed out in a clear gel form (which is drip free), and changes to oil when rubbed on dry skin. If contacted with water, the oily part changes into a milky solution, which you have to thoroughly wash off.
The annoying part is, it is rather hard to use and the filmy after feel is horrible. I feel so confused because this cleanser always leaves me wondering if I took everything off my face thoroughly. Also, the gel sometimes doesn't spread out evenly and gets lumpy on the face and it's really tedious to locate the lumps and spread them out.
I love HERA products, but this cleanser is an absolute bastard child.

Absolue Premium βx Advanced Replenishing Cream Cleanser (6.7 fl. oz)

Mild and gentle effective expensive cream type

I've always been a fan of Lancome's cleansing products and this one delivers what it promises.
The cleanser is of a cream form and all you have to do is rub it on top of your heavy makeup and dirty oils.
It doesn't leave behind any makeup up (props for that!), and the after feel is amazing.
Of course the steep price is one of the biggest cons of this product.
Since the cleanser is a cream type in a bottle, rather than a liquid type with a pump, it is hard to ration the product. I tended to overuse more than what I needed and went through a bottle really quickly.

Caroline Chu Gentle Facial Cleanser (5.8 fl. oz)

Mild scent nice finish expensive

I recently did a review on CC products (watch here), and the cleanser was one of them.
The cleanser has a mild and fresh scent to it.
It's only for facial cleansing and not makeup removal.
The finishing feel is nice, not too tight and not too filmy.
I was sent free products and didn't know how expensive it is, but the price is pretty high.

KOSE softymo White Medicated Cleansing Cream (7.41 fl. oz)

no scent very effective cheap cream type drying

I bought this along with the DHC cleanser at a Japanese market in New York.
The price for this huge bottle is under 10 bucks, so it's awfully cheap :)
I wasn't sure if I should include this in the list because I couldn't use it for the face.
It literally strips off so much facial oil it leaves a super tight feeling, even with ample moisturizing.
I used a whole tube to wash my brushes, and it strips off makeup like magic - I really recommend this for brush cleansing! (10 stars out of 5!)

L-R: R7 system line, Cetaphil lotion, Caroline Chu line

R7 System line

Too expensive amazing results no scent nice packaging too exclusive

The R7 system skin care line is a line developed in Korea, specializing in Salmon Ovary Placenta (hence, SOP is in every product name) as the main ingredient [patented]. Other than the salmon ovary, the toner has real gold powder in the formula.
The price tag for a package of four products (toner, serum, lotion and eye cream) is about 520 USD.
It can only e purchased at limited venues, so it's too exclusive - even in Korea.
Other than the cons of the price tag and availability, the skin care line delivers amazing results.
I instantly felt my skin getting better and healthier.
The only down fall is that the products are too rich, I can't use the for day time moisturizing. It's the best for night time use.
This is by far the best skin care line I've ever used. I don't think anything can easily top this line.

Hydra SOP Moisture Skin Toner

This is the first item I apply on a clean face.
The toner itself is very rich and moisturizing. It's pretty thick for a skin toner, but it's not sticky or gross.
I love how it makes my face feel moisturized and not oily.

Energizing SOP Lift V Serum

You only need to use one drop of this serum.
I don't use it everyday since it's really rich.
I usually use it when I feel like my skin is dry or dehydrated.
I'm not sure about the lifting part, but it definitely makes my

Brightening Repair SOP Cream

This is the lotion part of the skin care line.
Very light weight, but extremely moisturizing.
I only need to use one dab, and it covers my entire face.

Bottom line is, if you get an opportunity to get your hands on these products, get it! I really recommend it.

Cetaphil moisturizing lotion

cheap a bit heavy no scent gentle on skin

I've been using this lotion for a very long time. It doesn't irritate nor improve my skin condition. It's thick, but I like to use this when I have dry spots.
Despite the fact that it's so thick, it doesn't make me break out.

Caroline Chu Skin Care Line

a bit expensive light weight drying nice packaging

I already did a video review on this, so I won't reiterate too many things.
All of the line products are pretty light. I don't think it will be good for dry skin people.
The moisturizing lotion is the worst, but the day and night cream is okay.
The skin toner stands right in the middle.

L-R: Caroline Chu Eye Cream, R7System Advanced SOP Eye Contour Cream, AVEDA green science firming eye cream

Caroline Chu Eye Cream

light weight creamy stings eye

Lightest of all three.
I think I've already said this before, but it's hard to evaluate eye creams for me since I don't really have eye wrinkles or permanent dark circles.
Out of the three products I have, the texture is the most fluffiest and after patting in the product, I can barely tell any difference around my eye area.
One con is (and this is for all of CC products), the product stings my eye if it gets in.

R7System Advanced SOP Eye Contour Cream

rich not sticky moisturizing expensive hard to get

This has the richest texture out of all three. It's very creamy, yet not sticky at all. I can feel my eye area instantly becoming hydrated.
The downfall is the small amount and the expensive price tag.
I don't use it everyday, but I definitely like how my eye area feels the day after I use it.

Aveda Green Science Firming Eye Cream

thick not sticky firming a bit stingy

I can feel the cream gripping on my eye area when applied. It gives a tingly feeling to the area.
The formula is thick but not sticky. Out of the three, I think this cream is the most noticeable (to the skin) when applied.
Like I said about the other creams, I'm not quite sure if it is effective on my wrinkles.

L-R: Chanel Double Perfection Compact, Mac Studio Sculpt Foundation, HERA HD Foundation Base

Chanel Double Perfection Compact

matte light weight medium coverage finally in the states!

I usually leave this in my purse and rarely use it, but I leaped with joy when I first saw this in the department store. It's exactly like the white compact foundation I had bought in Asia (finally the same foundation formula is available in the states, except with a black case instead of white!).
Like the white compact, the foundation is matte, extremely light weight and buildable.
Coverage is medium and great for everyday use (it's not like makeup that is intended to be used on stage or theatrical settings).
It has that 'mommy' smell, like most chanel products do.
The price isn't that expensive compared to other mid-high end foundations.
You can use it as a foundation or blot powder (depends on your preference).

MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation

thick heavy a bit oily hard to blend
patchy application
full overage

I should just stop entertaining the thought of venturing with MAC's face products.
I have always had bad experiences with MAC's face line, and the sculpt foundation wasn't an exception.
MAC products make my face look extremely oily and caky (even if I apply a fraction of what I normally use with other products).
The Sculpt foundation was hard to blend, leaving the application quite patchy.
I hate how the foundation is oily too. I feel like a thick film is sitting on my face through out the day.
I have this sitting around, but it doesn't fit me like Estee Lauder's Double wear foundation.

HERA HD Foundation

dewy medium coverage a bit yellow not available in the states

'nough said about this foundation. I love it to death! It has been my HG foundation all through 2010 and even up to this day.
The application is extremely dewy (yet not oily) and gives your skin a nice shine.
However, the brand is targeted towards Korea's domestic market so the formula could be a bit too yellow for different ethnic groups.
Biggest downfall is it's availability. HERA is a line from Amore Pacific, which is actively increasing US market share, but for several reasons HERA is one of the only lines that hasn't come into the US market.
Shade are limited to #13 (fair), #21 (light) and #23 (natural).

Hera Shiny Scent Blusher

HERA Shiny Scent Blusher

pretty packaging comes with brush not very pigmented

Packaging and the product is pretty to look at, but the pigmentation is a pretty big disappointment.
It's suppose to be a blush (pink part) + highlighter (beige part), but both parts don't show up well.
The brush that is included in the lower compartment is sturdy and soft. At least the brush is well made with no factory smell, which adds an expensive touch to the blush.
I think it's a summer 2011 limited edition item (not sure).

L-R: MAC Blanc Type & Style Snob, MISSHA Signature Velvet Art Shadows

MAC Blanc Type

matte finish velvety texture not very pigmented

I left this in New York while moving out, and the next tenant threw all my makeup away :'(
But, for the one month I used this shadow, I had a more positive impression than negative.
It's a matte shadow, yet, not as pigmented as some mac shadows.
The color is a creamy vanilla color, so the color doesn't pop as much as white shadows.
I think it's great for formal makeup or subtle, professional settings (like highlighting the brow bone).

MAC Style Snob

starflash formula great for everyday look warm taupe
limited edition

One of my go-to colors.
It's a sister color of the famous Satin Taupe, but it is lighter with less plum.
Good to use all over the lid.
Texture is extremely velvety and the pigmentation is great when used with a base or eye primer. Even the finish is great! (starflash finishing)
The color clumps a bit by the end of the day if you have oily lids like me.

MISSHA Signature Velvet Art Shadows

I already did a thorough review here.
Just to add a bit more to the post is..

1. The shadows are extremely crumby
2. The shadows are all shimmery (nothing is matte or subtle)
3. It is scented.

L-R: HERA Sweet Bling Gloss, Missha the style creamy matte rouge, Missha M Signature Luminous Lipstick, Missha Signature Glam-Art gloss, Missha Lip & Cheek Dual Cream Pot, MAC Ladybug, Balmshell lipglosses

HERA Sweet Bling Gloss

Three colors in one gloss Not sticky nice brush tip
limited edition

Limited edition sweet bling gloss is a three color combination marble gloss.
I like how the formula isn't sticky or messy.
The brush is nice and sturdy, which gives me more control with the application.
Once again, like any other HERA products, this gloss is hard to find outside of Korea.

MISSHA Lipsticks

They already have reviews here

MISSHA Signature Glam Art Gloss

Much better quality than the cheaper Missha lipglosses.

The case looks pretty nice, but it's actually plastic.

The tip is a bit flimsy.

Biggest downfall is that the gloss fades easily and doesn't last long.

Texture is good enough.

MISSHA Lip & Cheek Dual Cream Pot

A dupe of Bobbi Brown's famous cream pot.

Compared to BB's cream pot, this is definitely a cheaper version. It doesn't have BB's nice and creamy texture. It is rather solid and hard to use at first.

What I like to do is, slightly melt the formula by putting it on my laptop before using.

Color lasts for a while, but isn't that impressive.

Quality is comparable to NYC's stick blushes.

MAC Ladybug Lipstick

I had this for the longest time.

It's a bright red color with silver specs in it (hardly noticeable).

Texture is shear and the color is an easy red.

I love it, and currently this is the only lipstick I'm using for an everyday lippie.

If only if it wasn't discontinued..

Balmshell Glosses

I was sent a couple of these from the company. (read review here)

The colors are nice in the bottle, but pigmentation isn't all that great.

Also, they get poppy really easily.

I only had a couple of uses, and the formula was already spoiled.

The gimmicks are fun, but the lipgloss quality isn't the greatest of the bunch.

Alright, I think that's enough for the first half of 2011 :)

thanks for reading!

It took me a whole day to write this post :p

I'll see you guys in my next entry~


Share :


  1. I remember when I had really, really horrible skin. Like, I would watch the Pro-Activ commercials and secretly wish I even had the "before" skin in the pictures. I had acne bumps ON TOP OF other acne bumps because two pores next to each other were inflamed. Also, because I had been using benzoyl peroxide for five years, it wasn't effective and actually starting giving me adverse effects: my acne scars wouldn't go away; they would remain red or slightly purple. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures to show you because I went out of my way to not be in them.

    I went to a dermatologist who helped me a lot. I compleeeetely understand the pain and frustration you're going through and really want to give you some advice on what helped me since my skin is now completely clear.

    My dermatologist had me on a pill, Solodyn. It's a three-month treatment but I only took it daily for one month and every other day the second month. The third month wasn't needed because my skin had improved so much. I was also given two creams to use, one in the morning, one at night. Morning cream was Klaron and night cream was Ziana gel. I still use these creams to this day--it has been three years since my experience-- and I don't have any breakouts.

    Other things I do:
    1. Wash my pillow case often.
    2. Only sleep with my face facing the ceiling or at least making sure that my face never touches my skin or pillow case.
    3. Never touching my face with my fingerpads. Though usually I avoid putting my hands on my face unless I'm putting on medicine.
    4. Wash with Cetaphil since it is incredibly gentle. Since you use the lotion, have you tried the cleanser? I would recommend the one for all skin types since the one for normal to oily skin can make your face really dry unless you have really oily skin.
    5. (Attempt) to drink more water. I used to make a mark every time I drank a cup of water to keep count which was a way to remind myself to drink water.
    6. Eat more healthily, which I know you are from reading your blog.

  2. 7 (forgot this but I think this is key). I always use paper towels or toilet paper or tissues to dry my face after washing it.

  3. So nice to hear from you damn I feel sad when you mention the next tenet threw away for makeup!! I have so much problem with my skin too! In some ways similar to some problems you experience. I so understand when you say your skin is oily yet dry and your hair is also that way. My eyelid are fat and oily HAHAHA =.= and I get that problem with eyeliner smudging under my eye bag as well so I have to carry cue tips around. I was wondering if u can suggest a best smudge free eyeliner for eyelids like this. The different thing I experience with my skin is I don't get pimple or break out instead i get black blue circles around my eye and mouth. I believe it could be from my iron deficiency but perhaps not but It make my skin look so uneven I have to always try to cover up with makeup. I find your review always helpful or when you mention your skin type and hair type I'm like wow yay I can get some tips.. I've been trying to look for where I can buy the Hera HD foundation but. I can't seem to find where I could get it. :(

    Hope you have time to make some videos for us soon :)

  4. hey Catalina thanks for the great post!
    I was wondering though, what's the colour difference between 013 an 021 for the hera foundation? I'm also around an NC15-20 and a lot of times for bb creams, 21 is still a bit too dark or yellow for me so I was wondering if 13 would be the better colour to get or if I should stick with 21. Thanks!

  5. Catalina, please don't be offended, but out of curiosity, have you ever had plastic surgery? I've read your post about your chin.

  6. Hey Catalina...You buy foundations online?? If so how do you choose the right shade?? I'm in desperate need !! Please help :)



Follow @CL2425

    limit: 6, sortBy: 'random', template: '
  • ', resolution: 'standard_resolution' });;