As much as we like to enable each other with haul posts, raves, rants, and reviews, I like to pause every now and then to re-orient and ask myself: What have I used up this year? Have they gotten me further along my journey to improve my skincare, lifestyle satisfaction, and overall wellness? Well, I like to think that even if something didn’t work for me, at least I eliminated one among a million options and got closer to my ideal routine. Because it’s true! It’s good to know which particular ingredients, habits, or products are holding you back, and which ones will launch you into that merry happy skin time.
Speaking of which: Wishing you the best as we dawn on a new year!
(Alsooo did you notice? As a gift to myself and the internets, I finally got a custom domain: ariverlily.com! Anyway…)
The Empties, Pans, and Retirees
Mizon All-in-One Snail Repair Cream
Yeah, that’s right—my skin already drank it all! (Alright, alright, I’ll stahp.) If you haven’t already read my review, let me tell you: This essence/light moisturizer is what allowed me to discover that my skin absolutely loves snail mucin. It sped up healing for my picking scars and even semi-active acne. It hydrated my skin beyond belief. I didn’t know my skin could look and feel this bouncy and soft. Unfortunately for other products, it also raised my expectations for all other similar moisturizers.
The 75 ml jar lasted me about seven months with almost twice daily use. Goodnight, sweet prince. 😦
Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream
On Mizon’s other hand, I had such a roller coaster with this one. Ultimately, I decided it just wasn’t good for me. It’s light enough for my humid climate while being occlusive, but it gives me closed comedones like no other. I really, really wanted to love this. It was insanity. And yet I kept testing it, and testing it, like a crazy person—as they say, it’s a mark of insanity when you do the same thing expecting different results. Sigh. Well, since it didn’t work for me, I decanted most of it for my /r/AsianBeauty (Reddit) secret snail exchange giftee who had been eyeing this. Yeah, it’s empty/retired because I gave it all away. Hah. While it’s a “holy grail” product for many folks, it’s just not for me.
Eos Smooth Sphere Lip Balm in Sweet Mint
You know how a lot of people have a bajillion lip balms and lose them every now and then? Well, that’s definitely not me. I hold on to things for so long, almost to a fault. Yeah, I’ve had this for like a year or so… This long-lasting, refreshing lip balm has just the right amount of moisturizing power, and I love mint flavor. Plus, using this doesn’t make my lips more dependent on lip balms. I suppose the only negative is that the container isn’t tubular
duuuude and makes an awkward bulk in my bag pocket at times. I’m really not a huge “lippie” person, but I feel like now is a good time to retire this one and try new things. Luckily, my own Reddit secret snail sent me a Too Cool for School lip tint balm! Have you tried this before?
Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream #27
My “holy grail” BB cream for, like, the past four years. Man, I really emptied the heck out of this. It’s smooth, non-drying, and can be applied as lightly or heavily as you wish. A little quarter-pump of this tube goes a really long way. It can even be used to create your own BB cushion! When I first discovered BB creams, Missha was the only brand I could find that had a shade dark enough for my NC40ish self; even then, #27 runs a bit light. Now, I mix up #27 with #31 to get the, uh, Perfect Cover for me.
Please don’t hurt me.
NYX Love in Rio Eyeshadow Palette
It has hit the pan! This adorable little palette has been my daily go-to for so long. I love how its champagney neutral tones can brighten up any regular day, or add a classy shine to a fancy event. The pigment is soft and buildable. I hardly use the dark/crease shade, though; my eyes are pretty crease-y already, and lately, I’ve actually preferred to downplay the creases by applying just primer, base color, and that middle-to-corner shimmer. But hey, maybe I should try new eyeshadow looks, too. What do you think?
bareMinerals Mineral Veil
This counts as a “pan,” right? My sister gave me a ton of bareMinerals things because she ain’t got no time for dat. Or is at least no longer interested in making time for dat. This teeny, tiny travel-sized Mineral Veil powder lasted approximately a year (I didn’t use it daily). I still have a full-sized Mineral Veil in my stash, and I’m afraid that one will last me until menopause. This is just a sliver away from “holy grail” status for me. I use this to simply set my makeup with that airbrushed finish. My other favorite thing to do with this on a humid day is do the Wayne Goss foundation method. If you don’t already do this, I urge you. No, I beg you to try it out. It completely changed my cynical view on powders in general!
No matter what joys and hurdles this past year has offered, I hope you emerged as an even better version of yourself that you will continue to love in the coming years. Be kind to yourself, and be true. Pouring one out for you—here’s to the journey toward skincare/makeup fun, wellness, and becoming more comfortable in your own skin.