A round-up of 8 of my most-used beauty products of the year.
There’s an important distinction between “most-used” and “favourite”. Things that I’ve used again and again aren’t necessarily my favourites. Favourites could include a gorgeous powder compact that’s limited edition or a fantastic serum with an eye-watering price tag. Products that might not be used regularly (or ever be repurchased), but would certainly press all the of the right buttons. Basically the gist of what I’m trying to get across is that these are the things that I have been using or repurchasing the most this year.
On that note, let’s get on with my short list — it’s a good mix of skin, makeup, and hair.
MINON Amino Moist Amino-Full Shower
MINON Amino Moist Amino-Full Shower is practical — some might say boring — in formula and packaging, but infinitely useful. Great for pepping up tired makeup, but I also use it as part of my morning skincare routine, right after cleansing. In fact, it’s also great for reviving a dry and tired scalp! It’s packed with scientifically proven ingredients (without any alcohol, botanical extracts, or fragrance) that really hydrate and soothe. The aerosol can gives a uniform microfine mist so it can be anytime, anywhere without disturbing the makeup beneath it.
SKIN AQUA Tone Up UV Essence
Regular readers will be no stranger to Rohto’s SKIN AQUA Tone Up UV Essence; lightweight, fresh, and super inexpensive. While the sunscreen itself is perfect for everyday casual wear and its lavender tint gives light skintone a very nice brightening effect, I’m sure it’s the pink-and-blue “unicorn” packaging that wins people over first and foremost. It’s by far the sunscreen that I’ve repurchased the most this year, but not for the reason you might think. I can’t never seem to keep a tube around for long without somebody “borrowing” it.
Arimino Peace Hard Wax (Chocolate)
Every since I cut off my long locks into a pixie cut back in June, hair wax has quickly made its way in becoming one of my essential everyday beauty products. I find it is an essential tool for styling a short cut. Depending on the type, formula, and finish you choose, it provides texture, hold, and definition. Amongst the literally dozens of hair waxes I have (all Japanese brands), Arimino’s Peace Pro Design Hard Wax (Chocolate) is the one I’ve been reaching for the most. It provides strong yet pliable hold and it’s perfect for that tousled volume with deep side part look that I usually wear. For those who’ve seen my pictures on Instagram Stories and have messaged me about what styling product I’ve used, it was most likely this.
Aivil Airy Mist Spray
If you read the post on my short hair essentials over on my not-so-secret blog, you will already have seen this. There’s nothing particularly exciting about a spritzer bottle per se, but I use this particular one every morning to fix bedhead — unavoidable with my pixie cut. Aivil’s Airy Mist Spray is a Japanese professional hairdressing continuous sprayer. Gently squeeze the trigger and it disperses a light burst of aerosol-like microfine mist. Hold it down and you get a continuous mist. There’s a lot of copycats out there but Aivil’s is the original and it has been around for well over a decade! It’s Japan-made and virtually indestructible! I just fill it with water but you can also use it with your favourite lightweight watery lotion to turn it into an aerosol-like face mist.
Dior Addict Lip Maximizer
Dior Addict Lip Maximizer Plumping Gloss is my most-used and all-time favourite lip product. It smoothes out every line and crease and blurs over those flakiness that we all get, especially during the winter months. It’s like real-life retouching for the mouth. The plumping effect of this is subtle but most definitely there. Its incredibly hydrating formula and sophisticated finish also help aid the illusion of fuller lips. It’s as non-sticky as you’d reasonably expect from a high-end offering — still very slightly tacky to the touch, but nowhere near the glue level of stickiness. The translucent effect lends itself particular well to be being layered over any lipstick (or tint).
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
Long-time readers might remember the Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré. I wrote a “Best Pick” review on it back in January 2012 and I’ve also briefly mentioned it in some of my older reviews. Out of all the moisturisers I have, this is the one that I’ve been reaching for most often. Some sing praises on how well nourishing it is (true!) or how beautifully it works as a makeup primer (also true!), but it’s the versatility of this cream that makes it one of my most-used beauty products. I use it as a face cream if skin is unusually dry, as a targeted treatment for drier areas (e.g. under-eye), or small dab diluted with my watery lotion as a light moisturiser.
FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil
This stuff is the absolute business — it’s my most-repurchased cleansing item to date. I can’t think of any other skincare product I still religiously keep “in stock” over the years even after multiple reformulations. FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil completely gets off longwearing foundation and waterproof mascara but it never irritates the sensitive skin around my eyes or the eyes themselves. It’s also lightweight, easy to apply, and easy to rinse clean. No oily, film-y, or waxy residue but none of the stripped, tight feeling that some cleansing oils can leave you with.
Silcot Sponge Touch Moisturising Cotton
I have just realised what my ‘most-used and repurchased’ beauty item is and it’s this: cotton wool pads. To be more specific, Silcot Sponge Touch Moisturising Cotton (Uruuru Cotton) by Unicharm, available in any drugstores in Japan for less than ¥200. I apologise in advance if you don’t live in Japan — these are pretty marked otherwise. These are totally silky smooth and they’re sponge-like in texture. No fluffy layers inside, which means it’s impossible to get lint and fluff on your face. But what makes the Silcot pads special is that they are not extremely absorbent. A small amount of liquid — in fact, the same I would use if I were to pat it on with my hands — is enough to saturate the whole pad! The edges of the pads are also curved to fit the eye contour area, so they’re perfect as a quick under-eye mask. If you use your cotton wool pads as a disposable cleansing aid though, the Silcot Silky Touch Wiping Cotton (in the fushia-purple box) is better suited.