Summer 2015 Sephora Haul

Wow, it’s been awhile since I did a haul post, huh? I’m happy to say that the reason is mainly because I did manage to stick to a beauty no-buy for several months; beyond the essentials like replacement shampoo, deodorant, renewing my PocketDerm script, etc, I’ve been a very good girl and have stuck to just whittling down my massive stash rather than making new purchases.

However, when eBates emailed me with the opportunity to turn my cash back reward into a Sephora gift card, I saw the excuse for a haul and jumped!

This urge was only solidified when I saw that Sephora had brought back a kit that I’d missed and envied horribly last year: their Summer Sun Safety set. Given how the sunscreen category seems to have exploded this year (seriously, browsing through the sun protection category, it seems like almost every brand has recognized what we Asian beauty devotees already realized: people with different skincare needs also have different sunscreen formulation needs, as well – look at all those new products!) it’s actually probably a blessing in disguise that I waited until this year, just for the new variety!

As you can see, I ended up buying a few more things than just the suncare kit… they had a number of kits that really piqued my interest from brands that I’d been lusting after for some time, so I just went a little nuts. This is a full-blown Sephora haul!

Hit the jump to see all the madness~
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Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Sure Gel Review

I’ve raved about this moisturizer in a number of my other posts, so I think it’s finally time to go ahead and give it a proper review.

You can read about my personal skin type & concerns on my current skincare regime page, but in summary: I’m oily, irritation/acne prone, yet also easily dehydrated. In the USA, this skin type is really not catered to at all by most brands – cosmetic companies here seem to believe that people either fall into young, teenage oiliness without any sensitivity, or older, super-dry skin without any acne or clogging tendencies. Sensitive skin, for some reason, seems to be conflated with dry skin by most brands, so you’ll often find ingredients like shea butter – a big no-no for clog-prone or oily skins – in sensitive skin formulations. In a skincare landscape where options seem to only cater to extremes, you can imagine how difficult it is to find a skin cream that provides adequate hydration without turning me into an inflamed greaseball!

I’ve tried so many brands: Korres, The Body Shop, LUSH (PSA: don’t mess with their skincare if you’re even the least bit sensitive or acne-prone, holy shit), Ole Henrikson, Murad, Burt’s Bees, Neutrogena, June Jacobs, Dermalogica, Alba Botanica, Peter Thomas Roth, Christian Dior – just to name a few.

Out of all my exploration, I can name a whopping TWO creams which didn’t have any awful side-effects of clogged pores, breakouts, or not enough moisture: Peter Thomas Roth’s Glycolic Acid 10% Moisturizer, which really isn’t cut out to be a primary moisturizer (using it any more than once per day, at night, is a bit too much for my skin – not to mention that the glycolic acid makes your skin photosensitive, so maybe not the best option for a day cream) and Christian Dior’s old HydrAction Sorbet cream – which has since been discontinued and replaced with the new, not-as-good-IMO Hydra Life version.

So as you can see, I’ve had a bit of frustration when it comes to finding a suitable moisturizer. At least, until this baby came into my life!

Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Water Sure Gel

I first stumbled onto the Dr. Jart+ line when it first showed up at Sephora a couple years back. Admittedly, I was initially attracted by the packaging colors – I love the shade of minty-turquoise that they use for all their Water Fuse products. Once I actually read the product description, my interest was solidified.

Here’s the Sephora description:

What it is:
A refreshing, oil-free gel cream moisturizer infused with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump skin all day.

What it is formulated to do:
This refreshing, oil-free gel cream binds moisture to the skin for long-lasting hydration without stickiness, while olive leaf and cranberry strengthen the skin barrier to boost elasticity.

Dr. Jart’s Water Fuse line is bioferment-based and free of alcohol, mineral oil, colorants, and artificial fragrance for oily and hypersensitive skins.

Sounds pretty good to me! No clogging oils or butters, with promises of all-day hydration, elasticity, and plumping. The mentioning of strengthening the skin barrier was also appealing, since so many products catered to oily skins here in the US seem to do their very best to completely destroy the barrier, not protect or strengthen it!

So, on impulse and with fingers crossed, I ordered the Water Fuse gel-cream. It arrived in a few days, and honestly? It was immediate love.

Hit the read more to find out why!
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Sephora Haul: Happy Birthday to Me Edition!

So, my birthday is at the beginning of August, meaning that about a week or two ago I received my card from Sephora’s VIB program telling me that it was time to redeem my special birthday gift. Since I had already been plotting an order – both to restock some essentials as well as to splurge and get myself a few presents – they didn’t have to tell me twice!

Sephora Haul

Mostly skincare items as per usual, but my two birthday treats were a cosmetics kit and a perfume. I’d been eyeing both for years, but for some reason it’s a lot harder for me to justify makeup and fragrance purchases than skincare, so I’d put them off over and over.

Sephora Samples

Between active codes, my rewards points, and my VIB birthday gift, I was able to net a ton of samples & GWP items as well. The sheet mask wasn’t a freebie, but it wouldn’t fit in the photo with the full-sized items.

Sephora Haul Unboxed

Here’s the main attractions looking all pretty unboxed. I gotta say, I personally love Dr. Jart’s packaging for the Water line. That color is one of my favorites and everything manages to look high-end without actually being in fragile glass bottles or anything!

I’ll go over everything individually for the curious, so hit the read more if you’d like to see the specifics!

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Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid Review

I bought this serum after I ran out of my previous serum (The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth, which was just mediocre IMO). I was/am really happy with Dr. Jart+’s Water Fuse moisturizer (expect an obsessive and glowing review of that stuff eventually), so I decided to give the Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid a try when it I noticed it at Sephora.

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid

First of all, the price is pretty darn good for a serum. Considering that other brands try to charge $40 for 1-2oz, this 5oz bottle for $39 is much more sensible. Also, since it’s not an annoying dropper-style bottle AND the bottle is opaque, there’s much less waste/chance of light degrading the ingredients over the long, long time this bottle will last you. And it will last you ages – I bought this in early November of 2013, have been using it daily, and I’d say I still have about 1/3 left in my bottle at the time of this writing. It seems just as effective now as it was when I first purchased, so you don’t have to worry about product degradation forcing you to toss a half-full bottle.

I use this both in the morning, in between my toner and moisturizer steps, and at night after I’ve allowed my retinol treatment to sink in and absorb. A thumb-sized dollop is enough to thoroughly cover and lightly massage into my face and neck. The smell is really nice, it reminds me of something that I can’t quite place, but it’s a fresh, not perfumey, not floral, not citrusy scent. Maybe slightly herbal, but still somewhat sweet.

Here are the ingredients:
Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), Hydrogenated Polydecene, Cetearyl Alcohol,1,2-Hexanediol, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Vegetable Oil, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Dimethiconol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract, Piper Methysticum Leaf/Root/Stem Extract, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Algae Extract, Artemisia Vulgaris Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Pueraria Thunbergiana Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Paeonia Lactiflora Root Extract, Cnidium Officinale Root Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Soluble Collagen, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, C12-16 Alcohols, Ceramide 3, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate, Copolymer, Squalane, Glyceryl Stearate,Peg-100

(By the way, does it help you guys when I include wiki links to some of these ingredients, or do you find the extra links annoying? Let me know!)

There are a few acne and irritation triggers in this formula, namely Cetearyl Alcohol (CosDNA rates this a 2 for both acne and irritation, and I know that some people definitely have issues with this ingredient), Dimethicone and Squalane (both rated 1 for acne), and Glyceryl Stearate SE (this scores a 3 for acne and 2 for irritation). So, as always, YMMV – take a good look at the ingredients list, because while nothing in this formula seems to bother me, I can think of several people online who have said otherwise about some of these elements.

The serum absorbs within a minute or so and feels really nice as it sinks in, and used in conjunction with my normal moisturizer, keeps my skin feeling very comfortable and hydrated. I will warn my fellow oily girls, however, that if you apply TOO much, this product won’t absorb and will just kind of sit on your skin. I’ve seen a lot of oily/combo people give this a bad review while describing that exact effect, and I always suspect that they’re simply trying to apply too much serum at once. Play with the volume of product that you apply and you’ll likely find a sweet spot, just as I did. Initially, I too tried to use too much of the liquid and thus didn’t like it – but once I started using the right amount, it was amazing!

My skin is easily irritated and can be acne-prone if not tended to just so (seriously, if I miss any part of my skincare/nutrients/water/sleep routine, my skin will let me know quite angrily!), and this product does not cause breakouts nor irritation of any kind for me. Rather, it gives me a great boost of moisture – which I sorely need as I’m using both retinol and glycolic products at the moment – without feeling greasy. I also notice a certain radiance when I use this regularly, probably simply due to my skin being comfortable and well-hydrated.

If you need an extra shot of hydration that won’t break out oily/sensitive skin and will absorb quickly and play nice with your moisturizer while feeling lovely, give this serum a shot! Dr/ Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid is definitely one of my favorite skincare products lately.

I purchased my bottle for $39USD at Sephora.