Thursday, 31 October 2013

Review: La Roche-Posay Redermic 'R' Intensive Dermatological Anti-Aging Corrective Concentrate

I got the chance to get a free sample of La Roche-Posay's Redermic 'R' Intensive Dermatological Anti-Aging Corrective Concentrate (phew!) from What's In My Handbag and used it in place of my regular face cream for just under two weeks. I've finished it now so it's time to review! 

Brand: La Roche-Posay
Name: Redermic 'R' Intensive Dermatological Anti-Aging Corrective Concentrate
Where to buy: £35 from, $40 from

Taken from the La Roche Posay website, this intensive concentrate smooths out accentuated wrinkles, transforms your skin surface (into what?), reduced the appearance of age spots and smooths out the complexion.

When I clicked on the 'Ingredients' tab for this product, nothing came up haha - suspicious? This is a fairly potent cream that you're supposed to wear SPF 15 with, avoid the eye contours when applying (whoops - something I didn't do, more on that later) and try to limit sun exposure whilst using - when are you supposed to use this exactly and for how long? I take it you can't use it as every day use because of the precautions you have to put in place whilst it 'works its magic' but how long do you have to apply it to see the benefits of the product?
La Roche Posay Redermic 'R' Intensive Dermatological Anti-Aging Corrective Concentrate
La Roche-Posay is a 'prestige' or luxury cosmetic brand so I was excited to try their products for the first time ever. As a result, their price tag is relatively mid-market to high and their packaging has that cosme-ceutical (cosmetic + pharmaceutical) look to it that similar brands like Clinique, SK-II and luxury Korean brands use. It's not cute, pretty boring but it appeals to the right market for an anti-aging product.
La Roche Posay Redermic 'R' Intensive Dermatological Anti-Aging Corrective Concentrate Swatch

The cream is of a standard consistency and is easy to spread. It's a very light yellow in colour and has a weird smell - it's not unpleasant but it doesn't really tickle me either.

I've been using this cream for perhaps 7-12 days now, day and night so it has lasted a pretty good time considering the size. I've been using it with my Be The Skin toner but no serum as I've ran out. At first I noticed it wasn't particularly hydrating but left my skin with a powdery soft feel so I thought it was okay. However, the past couple of days my skin has suddenly had a weird meltdown consisting of small whitehead spots on my forehead, cheeks and chin and dry patches on my cheeks and the outer corners of my eyes. My skin hasn't been like this for a good year or more so it's horrible having to deal with it now. My skin feels really sore, tender and doesn't look great to boot. I've got a couple more samples of face cream to use up but I might just slather my face in my Secret Key snail cream for a bit to let it repair. After reading that you're supposed to avoid the eye contours whilst applying this product, that may have contributed to the sore outer corners of my eyes. If you're supposed to avoid the eye area and it's supposed to be an anti-aging product, where does it target? As most people want anti-aging benefits near their eyes...

As for the anti-aging benefits, I obviously can't comment as I don't have to worry about that just yet. I have a few small lines underneath my eyes though and I'd have to guess that it may have improved them the tiniest bit ever? However, that doesn't make up for the lack of hydration in this product - if I was making an anti-aging product, hydration would be one of the main features of my product after the anti-aging bit, of course - more mature skin loses elasticity, gets dry and needs to feel hydrated, plump and nourished to feel good and possibly reduce the appearance (not reduce or fix entirely) of wrinkles.
I don't like this cream unforunately - my skin is crying out for a break now and this cream is only good for more mature skin that is oily/combination and can only be applied for a short period of time - that is a very specific target audience. I should have wondered whether this cream would be good for me after reading 'anti-aging', 'intensive' and 'concentrate' but I wanted to try it and it didn't work. In the world of beauty reviews, you win some and you lose some! Unless you fit into the very specific market for this product, I don't feel the price is worthy of the product so I will only give this product one star out of five.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Why TheHeianPrincess?

Today I had the idea to write about why I sometimes choose the username 'TheHeianPrincess' for things like Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. and 'HeianGirl' if my username is over the character limit for some websites haha. I've been asked a few time what it means or why I chose it so I wanna go on a little history lesson! I normally despise history but this time it's fun and pretty, I assure you!

So, the Heian period was a period in Japanese history from around 794AD to 1185AD. The emperor at the time, Emperor Kammu, moved the Japanese capital city to Heian-kyou (now known as Kyoto) and the period was named after that. It is considered one of the highest points in Japanese history/culture and is widely admired and remembered fondly as the height of cultural arts, the rise of the samurai and the peak of the imperial court. 'Heian' means 'peace and tranquility' in Japanese. Pretty!

I'll skip all the super history stuff like the imperial family, Fujiwara Clan etc. as, whilst interesting, it's nothing you can't learn without a quick Google and I'd only be regurgitating from the Wiki article anyway.

If you're particularly book orientated, you might have heard of the Heian period from Lady Murasaki Shikibu or Sei Shonagon. Both were female writers in the Heian period and Lady Murasaki is cited as being the first female novelist and actually writing what was considered the first novel ever, The Tale of Genji. Sei Shonagon wrote The Pillow Book, which is a diary-like book all about luxurious court life. Murasaki and Shonagon were considered rivals at the time. Both women wrote books that are probably the best depictions of the Heian period we will ever get and it provides useful insights to traditional Japanese court life, gossip and trends in the Heian period.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Geiko (geisha) Kimina of Miyagawa-cho dressed as Lady Murasaki Shikibu and geiko Kikuno as Sei Shonagon.

Once the imperial court was at its highest in the 11th century, courtiers had very little to do and were encouraged to take up artistic endeavors. These included the standard painting, poetry, music and calligraphy but expanded to more in depth, trend based arts of mixing fragrances and incense and layering their clothes in particular colours and patterns depending on the mood, season and occasion. Women had rigid fashion rules which included floor length hair, whitened skin, eyebrows that were completely plucked off and redrawn higher up as little black smudges, blackened teeth and intricate layers of kimono (coordinated by the aforementioned colours and patterns that were in trend at the time). Up to twelve different layers of kimono were worn depending on the occasion/event, who was going and how high ranking you were! Junihitoe was the fanciest form of dress for the most high ranking ladies and included the twelve layers of kimono! Ladies who would have worn this include the empress, princesses, wives of court officers and high ranking servants. They would only wear junihitoe for very important events, occasions and when meeting people equally or more high ranking than them.

So basically I love the idea of the Heian period - as if you couldn't tell! It sounded like a romanticised time where, if you ranked high up, you lounged around, played games and gossiped with friends, applied make-up, brushed your floor length hair, coordinated different coloured and pattern kimono layers, mixed perfumes, wrote poetry and played musical instruments for however long you pleased.

To some it might sound lazy but it fits with the stereotypical ideals of princess life which is why I chose the username TheHeianPrincess as being a princess in the Heian period sounds heavenly!

It is one of my ambitions to go to one of those dressing up studios in Japan and be dressed as a geisha. There is also one that dresses you in traditional Heian period clothing including the junihitoe which I would love to do as well. I would love to try Heian style make-up and dress - the make-up wouldn't be so hard but there is, unfortunately, no occasion that calls for twelve layers of kimono! Plus I would either have to make or buy them myself which would be very costly for a simple one time hobby.

I have read 'The Tale of Murasaki' by Liza Dalby, which is a telling (although it's probably very filled in and exaggerated a little) of Lady Murasaki's life and I relate to Lady Murasaki a lot. She was considered a bit weird growing up as she was very intelligent, fluent in Chinese (which was the language of the court and normally excluded to women) and adept at poetry, calligraphy and music. She didn't really relate to many people as she was thought to be a bit pretentious (probably nothing to do with her personality, just because she was smart), awkward, difficult to approach and scornful so she found it hard to make friends. She didn't really want to get married and only got married in her mid to late twenties, or perhaps her early thirties which was very unheard of. I have found it hard to relate to people and was considered strange and not worthy of being friends with when I was growing up but I'm getting better at being able to talk to people and maintain a normal level of human interaction haha. I also consider the opposite sex to be weird, single minded and unsettling and was prepared to spend my entire life alone if it meant I was happy and comfortable until I had a chance meeting with my current, first and only partner almost four years ago.

...Okay, I will stop rambling now as you have probably left and gone to reblog gifs of kittens on Tumblr or something! But I just wanted a little insight into my current username and a bit of history for a change haha! However, I am swaying towards 'Meian-hime' as a username a little! 'Meian' commonly means 'light and dark' in Japanese but I chose it because it means 'gloom' too so it can be seen to translate as 'Princess Gloom' or 'Light & Darkness Princess' which is pretty cool! It also translates to 'good idea' which is the dealbreaker haha! However, I don't feel it is a good choice for something like a blog or where I will be giving my username out a lot so I will probably keep it to solitary accounts and forums.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Review: Nature Republic Orchid Secret Powder Pact SPF35 PA ++

This is another review that I apparently hadn't finished and left in my drafts so I shall complete it now even though the product is discontinued. It is easy to find leftover stock on eBay, however.
Brand: Nature Republic
Name: Orchid Secret Powder Pact
Shade: #21
Where to buy: eBay, $21.99

Nature Republic Orchid Secret Powder Pact contains 100 PPT of orchid extract as well as mineral extracts. Using a cosmetic ingredients dictionary, it seems orchid does nothing for skin; its only property is as a fragrance and it can be an irritant to some people. I'm quite liking using this dictionary to find out what ingredients do but in another way, it has been quite disappointing to learn ingredients are only put in as a selling point and don't actually have any benefits. Oh well, the more you learn!
I've never had a sample of face powder before - I like it! The sample packaging is a folded cardboard flap.
Inside top
The product on the inside of the packaging. It's covered by protective film and was enough product for two uses.

The sample packaging is quite pretty in a mature, feminine way but the full sized pack is soooooo gorgeous!
It has the same aesthetic as the sample packaging but I love the pretty orchid shaped pot and gold tones on the box. I would love this on my shelf or in my make-up bag and think it compliments all ages. I'm half tempted to buy this now just because of the packaging...

BB cream only on the left, one layer of the powder on the right.

I didn't really expect any extra coverage; it sets your foundation/BB cream of choice and gives a matte, soft feel. When these photos were taken, my skin was a bit dry and I think you can tell the powder accentuates dry skin in the right photo. If you look to the top left, it makes my 'chicken skin' undereye skin a bit more noticeable. I don't know what it would look like if I tried this powder now my skin is more moisturised but I would hope better.
I would say on my relatively dry skin, this powder stayed on around 4-5 hours before I'd need a touch up. I can't say for oily/combination skin and it doesn't seem to have any sebum controlling benefits either. It works well for my skin but I can't comment on others.
This is a nice powder that does the basics - it sets face products and gives a matte, silky finish. I think the price is a little high for the features this product has, especially when there is no real benefits to your skin whilst using this product but that could be because it is discontinued. The packaging is gorgeous and the product works well but because of the price and no skin benefits, I'll give this 4 our of 5 stars.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Review: Skin79 The Oriental Gold BB Cream Plus

I found this review buried in my drafts and I don't know why I never finished it! I must have used this sample last year but hey ho, here's a review of it!
Brand: Skin79
Name: The Oriental Gold BB Cream Plus
Shade: Only comes in one shade!
Where to buy: Koreadepart (on sale 50% off, $19.91 for tube type, $23.42 for pump type), ($19,98), (£7.50-ish for tube type, £9-ish for pump type).

The pricing of this item is certainly a strange one - it markets and prices itself as a premium product at around $40 yet is constantly on sale and sold at lower prices, even at genuine stores like the eBay shop linked above.

This BB cream has whitening and wrinkle care, SPF 30 and contains gold extracts (hence the name), adenosine (supports healthy cellular activity and an anti-inflammatory), Oriental sue formula (whatever that is), arbutin extracts (used in whitening), Oriental tea newflex and Oriental tea blending.


The packaging is gold and dark brown, obviously playing up to the fact the product contains gold extract. I wasn't even sure what benefits gold has and a quick Google to a cosmetic ingredients dictionary shows that there is no benefit to skin when applied topically and is even a cause of dermatitis if you have sensitive skin or allergies to metal. I have an allergy to cheap metals like nickel and alloy but not gold so thankfully I was fine using this product.

So back to the packaging - it certainly has a premium look about it; obviously the sample packaging isn't quite as impressive but it's only to be used once or twice. I don't know what the full sized packaging feels like but I wouldn't mind displaying this pretty luxurious looking packaging on my shelf.

For me, the colour is a pretty good match. I think it's close to a standard shade #21 and gives my skin a warmer, more natural glow than when I use other shades of products. Sometimes I like a pale glow and sometimes I like a more natural look so it has its uses.
I applied two layers of this product for more full coverage. Nowadays I would probably only apply one layer as I'm a bit happier with my skin now.

No make-up

One later on the left, two layers on the right

This product has pretty good coverage; I wouldn't expect any less from what I hear about Skin79. With two layers it does start to look a bit cakey and fake so it's best kept to one layer and to be honest, it doesn't really need any more. It has a dewy finish that looks nice and young but I prefer a matte finish so I dust a bit of finished powder over it afterwards.
The BB cream stays on pretty much all day with minimal wear, fading or general deterioration. It doesn't become grey or orange over time, I think they hit the shade spot on. When wearing one layer of this BB cream it doesn't come off on your hand or clothes when wearing a layer of finishing powder over the top.
This is a nice BB cream I would consider purchasing if I had a little more money to spend and it was kept at the £8-£15 mark. It has good coverage, the shade is suitable for a lot of skin tones even though there is no other shades available and it stays on well. The only thing I don't like is that the fact it has gold in is clearly only for a selling point and so they can market it as a premium product even though gold has no beneficial properties to skin and can even be detrimental to some skin types. I shall give this product 4 out of 5 stars!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Reviewette: Mizon Returning Starfish Cream

This is a free sample I got given from my Peach & Lily prize. I used it the other week so I'll review it now!
Brand: Mizon
Name: Returning Starfish Cream
Price: $15.23-$35
Where to buy: Peach & Lily ($28)

This cream boasts a rather impressive ingredients list, including 70% starfish extract, vitamin B5, beta-glucan, hyaluronic acid, olive oil, evening primrose oil, camellia oil, sweet almond seed oil, absinthe and much more! Does your skin really take in all those ingredients and reap the benefits or does it get over-saturated at some point?

Koreadepart says it has a 'pudding like texture'...whatever that means. XD It is a potent water retainer, refines the complexion for firmer, smoother and younger looking skin and the moisturising oils in the cream keeps skin smooth, soft and supple. It claims to have no artificial colours or parabens in it.

The packaging is bright and colourful, a little out of sorts for Mizon. This is obviously a product to appeal to the younger generation, perhaps 16-25 year olds, and part of that is due to the novelty factor.

The full sized packaging looks like this:
It has a similarly bright aesthetic, with a graphic similar in style to Nature Republic's Steam Cream packaging. It's not my type of packaging personally but it wouldn't stop me buying the product if it was good and it's certainly not boring or ugly.
Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo whilst using this product until my night time application and the photos wasn't very good so I deleted it out of principle - sorry! Because of the warm light, there was lots of colour noise and the photo wasn't very good quality.

The cream has a unique, solid jelly like texture that 'returns' if you poke it, scratch it, scoop a bit out, etc. Rather like memory foam, it just moulds back into a flat, unmarked surface, similar to the way that starfish can grow back limbs. This is what is meant by a 'pudding like texture' - when I think of pudding, I think of Angel Delight or something similar but it has a similar texture to creme caramel, pannacotta and other similar 'puddings;. It's a very novel and fun feature of the product and I can imagine this is the main selling point of the product. Because I didn't take a photo of the product, check out Green Tea Love's blog post (text is in Polish) for great photos of the exact texture and consistency!

Despite its claims to retain water/moisture in your face, it doesn't hydrate any more than my regular face creams. Perhaps if I only used this cream regularly, it wouldn't moisturise my face as much as I need it to; I get that impression with the feel of the product on my face. Once you get past the thick consistency, it's relatively easy to apply and absorbs quickly with no sticky or greasy residue. A little too quickly for my liking and dry skin.
Whilst this is a fun looking product with an interesting feature, I feel that Mizon knows this isn't a great product and decided to use the texture as its only selling point. I don't think this would be a bad cream for oily or combination skin but I need a more hydrating cream for my skin. Two stars out of five for me!