Mentholatum Rohto Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Paper Mask (2012) review

Rohto group is affiliated with Mentholatum group I believe- and the Hada Labo line is one of their signature drugstore lines in recent years, features Hyaluronic Acid as the key active ingredient in its "Gokujyun" line, which means "super moist". 

The whole line is targeted at providing ultra moisturisation for dry and normal skin. (For combo and oily skin, I think probably around half the product line is suitable). 

I'm reviewing the facial masks today, which are sheet masks, there are 4 sachets in a box, and a box retails for about 9-12USD in Japan, depending on where  you get it.

Back of the box etc: 
I'm not sure as to the rather lack of English labels on the whole Gokujyun line- in fact most of the products probably don't really have a full English label name on it.

Individual satchets look like this:

Each sachet contains 1 sheet mask, before you unfold it, it looks like below:

You can also see the liquid inside is rather abundant, there's enough left in the sachet to be massaged over body as a moisturiser, which is what I normally do.

Unfolded and apply to face in pic below:

The paper mask material is pretty standard, not too thin and not too thick. There are various 'cuts' on the mask to ensure it adheres to face well. Personally I found it to be average, it stayed put, not fully wrapping every inch of the skin area, but but did the job.

I'm not a huge believer of before and after pictures when it comes to face masks, because there's no real skincare that should make a 'wow' difference immediately, and if you put enough moisture in the skin, usually it does look plumpier and nicer (which happens after showers anyway). 

The instruction says leave on for 10-15min , then remove, then pat in any residual amount until absorbed. You do not need to rinse it off or apply other skincare afterwards.

I have combination sensitive skin- very prone to congestions if using any products my skin don't like, but don't get that much acne anymore. A tad oily and larger pores in t-zone, but drier cheeks.

I've used the box up, first time I tried a solid 25 minutes, on a hot summer day. This is probably a bit too moitsturising for summer, as I found it slightly sticky both during and after application.  I think my skin also didn't like it, as the next day I can feel a few bumps coming up right away- either from irritation or congestion. But the rest of the skin did feel plump and moisturised.

Subsequently I used it on cooler days, and before sleep. I applied for about 15-20min then removed. This worked far better- no irritations, no congestion, next day my makeup went on like a dream, no flakies and skin looked like it was perfectly moisturised. Throughout the day though I did get a little bit oily a bit quicker especially in t-zone, but easily fixed with a blotting paper.

Overall rating is 4/5. I'd easily use these again, they are basic masks that delivers what it promises- moisturisation. Definitely do not recommend for those who feel they have oily skin. This also feels more like a spring/autumn or winter skincare rather than summer. 


Orbis Nail Color Series #8751 Passion Berry review/ swatch

I was giving my nails a bit of a rest with polishes, but here I go again. Today I'm wearing the Orbis nail color series in shade #8751, English color name is 'Passion Berry', which is described as a red berry with gold pearls.

Everytime I try one of my Orbis nail colors (still have many untried ones), I always get a pleasant surprise with the quality- they are on par with OPI polishes, smooth, longwearing, solid colors, no streaks and good wear. I find the brush heads to be easy to handle for precision application as well (i.e. I can watch TV while applying this rather quickly).

In the bottle it looks like a pinked-red berry with subtle gold pearls. I call them pearls as they are really fine and can't really be called shimmers. Yet the gold pearling is there, so there's a gold base rather than just an iridescence. 

As with most Orbis products they come in minimalistic packaging:

Here it is below, with two coats, I didn't really purposely apply a thinner or thicker coat, just two standard coats. Base coat is Paul & Joe and top coat is Coffret D'or topcoat (which isn't as fast drying as seche vite, but has a nice gloss , easy spreadbility and is still rather dry in 20 minutes).

I think this pic below is a bit too much flash so paler than in real life

When the shade is indoors under white light it's a bit more red than pink, like the picture below. I would call it more like a creme-pink-berry rose with gold pearls. The color is full, and bright without being too bold, it's such a pretty shade for spring and summer. The gold pearling does wonders- it's similar finish to OPI Love Me Tender polish (in terms of the gold pearl), the base color is definitely differently though 

Overall rating 4/5, it applies so nicely, only mark deducted is really for my own color preference, I prefer the look in my first few photos (more a softer pink rose), than in real life where the base color can look a bit more like a bolder pink-rose.


Clairol Nice'n Easy Colour Blend Hair Dye #114 Natural Light Ash Brown review

For the first time, this is NOT a review of any bubble hair dye or foam hair dye, this is a standard hair dye that's just creme in consistency.

Again, I have natural Asian black hair, it's not a stark black but more like blackened brown naturally. I have a bit of grey (less than 1%) so using drugstore branded hairdyes is just my way of avoiding spending too much money at hairdressers every 6 weeks. I usually use two or three at home hair dyes (each time at least 4-8 weeks apart), then usually followed by a professional hair dye and cut at the hairdressers.

I picked shade 114 natural light ash brown, it still looks sort of medium dark on the pack


Basically you get globes, conditioner, and the other two bottles are the dyes. 

You mix the die together and apply with the bottle on the very left in picture above.


Here's my hair color before, it's already faded, and was taking on a more reddy/ mid brown tinge, which in sunlight makes my hair look dull and lacklustre.

I had a bit of difficulty with applying the clairol one. There's no applicator per se, they just tell you to separate hair into small strands, and apply from the bottle nozzle and massage in with fingers. Personally I have way too much hair to do it all myself. So I got an old plastic comb, squeezed some on the hair and some on the comb then brushed through main areas of concern (e.g. regrow and greys). I don't have too many greys, at most 1% of my hair, but I'd like to cover them as much as possible.

The whole application process took a good 20 minutes, and personally 1 box wasn't quite enough for my long hair, the end of my hair didn't really get much product on it.

I left the dye on for a good 35 minutes (excludes the 20 minute it took to apply), then rinsed my hair thoroughly. Then used the enclosed conditioner (which was ok, nothing spectacular), and rinsed again thoroughly.

AFTER pictures are all below:

You can see it did come out well, like the box color, especially in picture below, it wasn't as 'ash' as I expected, but I liked how it wasn't warm toned and neutralised the previous brassiness.

Below pictures are AFTER 4 weeks- I took these right before I was doing another different hair dye again (separate review to follow later).

After 4 weeks I had some issues with the regrowth area, I don't think I got thorough grey coverage , so the regrowth looked quite obvious, and even for normal black hair area the regrowth was still very obvious because in the areas where I applied the hair dye thoroughly , it took on color, and also faded in the same localised area, making the regrowth patch glaringly obvious.

Indoors it was still ok

Outdoor pictures below, you can see pictures below there's a lot more red based brown appearing, which I quite dislike, because it makes the regrowth section very obvious and in real life it makes my hair texture look worse.

Again, here you can see it's now became a warm brown.

Ovreall I thought for a boxed creme dye for like $15AUD retail, it delivered what it promised. However as with all creme hair dye the real trick is probably getting an even application and make sure you have more than enough dye for your hair. I thought the brushing through I did with a comb helped with color distribution, but I think a lot of work was still needed with your fingers to rub in the color to ensure all strands are coated, especially if you have long and a lot of hair like me. 

It had a typical ammonia sort of hair dye smell, was not too bad.

Personally I don't think I will go back to normal hair dye other than bubble foam types anymore, it's just too troublesome for at home application to achieve an even result, and the instructions always say "avoid scalp application", which is a bit silly if you are trying to get as much grey coverage as possible. I didn't really follow that instruction and still rubbed it well into the roots, it did sting the scalp a little bit but didn't leave any other resulting irritations once rinsed clear.

Rating is 4/5. It's a nice color, works well if you have short hair (probably anything above shoulder length). It came out a bit darker than on the box but stayed like the box color for a good 2-3 weeks. However the fading was pretty marked after about 4 weeks and I thought the regrowth was far more obvious than bubble foam type of hair dye.


Zara - the changeroom review ( tweed blazer, nude front dress, bermuda shorts)

I'm sort of on a self imposed shopping ban- after quite a few years of work, retail therapy has been great, and I also have an enormous closet collection now....

I took a lunchtime stroll to Zara Sydney store trying to see whether there's any new items I like. I find with Zara clothing, I really have to try them on to decide whether I like them or not.

Problem today is that I love everything!

p.s. all pricing below are in AUD, which is very similar to USD right now, Zara Australia is probably slightly more expensive by anything between 5USD-25USD depending on what sort of clothing.

For reference, I'm 166cm (5"5) and typically US size 0 top or 2 sometimes for bottom, and Australian size 6 or 8 (more rarely). I wear about size 26 in most jeans.

1. Pleated blouse (sorry don't know the actual product name as per websites, since they never list it in Australia)- I think the bottom feels like chiffon while the top is a semi see-thru cotton. $59.95. The pleating is both back and front. There was only a size M (medium) left in store so I tried it anyway:

2. Sequin nude Skirt in size S (small). it retails for a whopping $159, which I thought is a bit overpriced. It is very nice though, the sequins and beadings are well made. The waistline is elastic. With some Zara skirts there doesn't appear to be any other sizing apart from S, M and L, so I assume this is the case with this skirt too.

3. White tweed frill hem blazer with gold buttons and pocket. $99AUD. Size XS here.
It's a shorter jacket, but not exactly 'cropped' quite yet.

The shade is a snow white , not off white, ivory or anything, a true sparkling white.

Ok here's a quick outfit, I didn't really intend to wear it together but I didn't pick another top that was more suitable to be tucked in.  I'm also wearing my own white singlet inside, otherwise the pleated sleeveless top is a bit sheer.

The size XS blazer for Zara is usually such a good fit for me, I get good arm length, good shoulder length and bust area always fits well too. (I'm just average sized bust, not really big).

The sequin skirt is really lovely, because of the elastic waist you can probably pull it down a bit more depending on what length you want it dropped. I'd say it's not exactly a super mini, but definitely shorter than normal length Zara work style skirts.

The hem at the edge of the skirt is slightly mesh-like. The skirt is lined and is generally sufficient and I probably dont' need another slip underneath.

Here's the top without the blazer. Because I only found a size M, it's a bit too big for me, a size S or XS is probably going to be better. I'm not sure how I feel about the really sheer top section, it's really see through and having any other straps peeking through isn't a good look.

4. Open lace caridgan/ bolero size S.

Now the next item, it reminded me of the open lace cardigan on Zara US website right now, but it has a different lace print and fabric. This one is $79.95AUD, it's just a lace shell, unlined. 

Close up:

I thought it would look nice in a very casual/ romantic look, but once I put it on I really thought the cut was unflattering. Maybe I needed a more fitted top to really appreciate this cardigan, but definitely my least favorite top for the day. Especially at the whopping $79 price tag.  There was also a hole on the shoulder already which means this is probably those tops that gets teared or caught on things easily.

I really look like I'm swimming inside this top...

5. Open front nude dress in size S, $69.95.

I REALLY wanted this dress, since the outter shell is the most pretty fabric color and finish, it feels like a nude-peachy-pink silk. However the inner layer is a sort of cheap slip material, a bit polyester feel. It felt too much like a slip you wear inside something else, than exposed outside.

I couldn't bear the look of wearing it as a skirt, it's also so sheer (on the bottom especially) that there was no way to wear it without at least 2 other slips underneath.  So I tucked in the inner layer inside the sequin dress (hence the slight bulge at the front).

I wish they made this as a fish tailed top! It's so pretty:

There's a slight gather in the back which makes it not too loose.

Ok that ends my Zara adventure for the day. I commend myself for not purchasing anything, since I thought I'd look at the pictures and have a think about whether I really NEED any of it. I actually ordered some sequin skirts off the Zara US website already so I couldn't justify getting another one again. (Though this one is such a classic). And at $159, it was a pass for me.

The pleated top was too big so that was a pass.

The blazer is nice, but I already have a huge collection of white jackets, so it was a nay. I didn't quite like the golden hardware button either, as the gold is a slightly cheap looking shiny gold. Would've been better if they made it a matte gold or an old gold.

The nude dress- I really really want it, but I know I'd never wear it as a dress since it's just too sheer. As a top it's nice but unless I spend $30 to get it altered and cut out the front, there's just too much fabric to be tucked in.

Hope you all enjoyed this reading that's a slight departure from my usual beauty stuffs.

p.s. The US shopping crowd is ridiculous, I was camped in front of my computer looking at Zara USA black friday sale, I put a few things in my shopping basket within the first 5 minute of the website working, by the time I was ready to check out, just about every item was sold out in my shopping bag!

I wanted these ones: