• Year-End Beauty Picks: Best of 2011

    2011 is winding down. Can you believe it’s been a year and a half since I wrote my first post?  So far this year, I have written 325 posts here at RatzillaCosme  plus 192 beauty articles for work, and personally tested 180+ beauty products.

    Beauty products are highly subjective. There will always things that suit me but not you — and vice versa. I spend a lot of time considering whether a product I’m testing deserves a review or a recommendation and thinking about the details in each review, and I hope this shows.

    So on this note, I bring you my personal favourites this year from Japan (and throughout the world):


    My makeup remover of choice is cleansing oil and it has been for the past decade. Fancl’s Mild Cleansing Oil and I go way back but I think I have found a new favourite. I have always expected my makeup remover to do what its name implys thoroughly, quickly, and easily without any advere effects, no matter how minor — but nothing more. orp Tokyo Moist Cleansing oil (1,785 JPY) is additive-free and it does its job just as nicely but unlike Fancl, it actually makes my skin less sensitive to weather changes.

    Biore UV AQUA Rich Watery EssenceDISAPPEARING ACT

    Kao’s daily use sunscreen for face, Biore UV AQUA Rich Watery Essence (approx. 750 JPY), is truly amazing. I have previously featured it in my Best Pick review but it deserves a mention again. It disappears into the skin without leaving any telltale signs. While I won’t be reach this for a day in the sun (as it is not meant for this purpose), it’s perfect for normal daily use. Plus, you can’t beat the price!

     Do read my Best Pick review.


    This Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (12,000 Won) is godsend when skin is acting up. It features volcanic ash from Jeju Island to deep clean and unclog pores while refining skin texture. Its the only clay mask I have tried to-date that not only isn’t drying, but also makes skin more supple after use.


    Doe eyes. Cat eyes. And now I bring you, python eyes! When I read about Helena Rubinstein Lash Queen Fatal Blacks WP (4,410 JPY) a few months ago, I thought why would anyone want small beady ‘snake’ eyes (you see, its Japanese name is actually Lash Queen Cobra Black WP). The mascara is inspired by the predatory snake, from the metallic scales design to its ‘cobra head’ brush to its marketing. The mascara is said to give a hypotic, seductive gaze for a ‘predatory look’. (Crazy psychotic killer from a Japanese horror flick, anyone?)

    My lashes are naturally long and curled so I don’t care for lengthening or curl-holding formulations. This new summer release really lifts lashes and maximizes their volume without any clumping, flaking, or smudging. One swipe gives a natural, separated effect or it can be build-up to create a dramatic look. Its tubing formulation makes removal a breeze. All in one beautiful tube!


    I have nothing against water in a can but no matter how nice it feels, it’s just water in a can. It evaporates and your skin is left with nothing but random minerals from the water or fragrance and preservatives. Most facial sprays are packaged in regular spray bottles. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that, per se, but I find they don’t dispense a very fine mist and they aren’t the most hygenic. I like MINON Amino Moist Amino-Full Shower (840 JPY) — no love it — a lot. It’s packed with good for skin ingredients (without any alcohol or fragrance) that really moisture skin. The aerosol can gives a uniform micro-fine mist so it can be anytime, anywhere with no worries of disturbing makeup.


    Neguse sprays are hairstyle refresher that you spray onto the roots on dry hair in the morning to relieve bedhead and revive styled hair. Obviously, there is no point in using these types of products if you wash your hair in the morning. Kao’s latest launch, Liese Base Make Shower (798 JPY), is heat-activated. It works brilliantly to quickly smooth out odd kinks and revive flopped hair . A quick blast with hair dryer sets it for the day without leaving a film-y residue or weighing hair down.