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California, United States
Hi! Thanks for visiting ^_^ My social media platforms: Instagram: meowmier Youtube: http://goo.gl/U5SnNM (formerly under the username francesvlogs but I don't have access to that anymore). I don't really do videos anymore simply because I think blog posts are more informative. Hope you enjoyed your time here! :)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

February 2014 hits and misses! Dior, REN, Caudalie, Chloe, SkinMD, Benefit, etc.

Hi guys!

I'm back! As promised, trying to blog at least weekly XD
Yesterday marked the start of my spring break :P Since I will be out of town, I'm working on a number of posts now so I will have something to post next week ^_^ Since I took all the photos today, you guys will be seeing me with the same makeup/hair/outfit for the next few posts XD

So today I'm gonna share my belated February hits and misses!
I've always liked the idea of "hits and misses" as opposed to "favorites"... always good to know what products to try out, and what to avoid yeah? :P

Okay not all of the products I purchased in February. They're more like the products I've tried over the last few months and just haven't had a chance to talk about on my blog. So now it's a great time to share!

1. Dior Creme De Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm


The packaging is super nice

It comes with a plastic lid.

So this lip balm was pretty much all the craze on YouTube for the last few months. I mainly wanted to try it because Hollyannaeree and Clair Marshall raved about this stuff. Holly mentioned that you have to kind of break through the top waxy layer to get to the "good" products, that's why my lip balm looks all mushed up XD because I definitely can see what she meant when I touched the lip balm.

Anyway, this lip balm is a huge miss for me. What a disappointment. I can see why ppl rave about this-- it does feel incredibly velvety and luxurious when you apply this to your lips. I love the texture of this lip balm. Sadly, it does not hydrate my lips. It just doesn't. I really wanted to love this (and was in denial XD) so I kept using this for about 3 weeks. Eventually my lips "broke out" because they were so deprived of hydration. So I stopped using it. It took me weeks before my lips feel completely normal again (I used Carmex to heal my lips. Carmex all the way!!) What a waste of money :( I used a Christmas gift card I received from a friend to buy this, I wish I used that money on something else.

2. Nivea Milk & Honey Soothing Lip Care
Wanted to try this because of TiffanyD. Unfortunately this is another miss for me. It does smell incredible, and I also really adore the texture, but the same problem with Dior lip balm-- it doesn't really hydrate. However between Dior and Nivea, I'd say at least Nivea hydrates just a bit better.

2. REN Bio Retinoid Anti-Aging Concentrate
So I tried out REN's BB cream and really liked it (just tried a sample-- not ready to commit to a full-size BB cream yet). So I got curious about REN's products. At that time I saw on Sephora there was this discovery set from REN, and it was on sale!

So I decided to give it a try.

Oh. My. Lord.

If you guys have sensitive/thin skin, PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS. On Sephora, it's described:

"This formula is for all skin types, including sensitive skin and especially prematurely aging skin. For optimal results, follow with your favorite moisturizer."

I don't know why I was stupid enough to believe it when it says it's suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin. Sensitive skin my ass =_= I should've known retinoid would be too strong for my skin. Since it's not a medication/prescription product, I didn't think it would be that strong. Gosh. Anyway, my skin was BURNED.

I had angry red patches on my skin the day after (didn't feel anything when I applied it). I applied the most on my nose (where I have a lot of blackheads cuz where I thought would benefit the most of retinoid) and spread the remaining on the rest of my face. My skin was extremely dried out, red, and flaky. Took weeks for my skin to heal. Even after my skin had healed for the majority, there was this patch of skin around my nose that just would NOT heal-- it remained as a rough patch (thankfully not red or swollen or flaky) for a really long time, to the point I almost thought it'd never heal. Luckily I used the SK-II facial treatment essence (which I will talk about later) and that rough patch was saved.

Will never use this again. Giving it to my roommate who has acne-prone skin.

3. REN No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm

Comes with a muslin cloth
By the way, for the price you pay for this product, I'm absolutely SHOCKED that it doesn't come with a spatula.


Been using it for about 3 months now and still have a lot left. A little really does go a long way.


Wanted to try this because of Claire Marshall. I did try this out on my hand at the store and thought it would work great. LOL man trust it to not work the same on my face.

So you pretty much take just a little bit (for me, nickle-size), massage it over your face to work the makeup off. Then you add water to your face for it to emulsify. At this point, if you just rinse it off with water, it does leave a film on your face. If you take the muslin cloth (wet with warm water) and wipe your face, then that film will be removed, and it does leave your skin feeling baby-like. Pretty cool. However I always follow-up with a cleanser anyway-- don't trust myself washing off all that cleansing balm with just water/muslin cloth, even though my skin feels pretty soft "with" the balm (after I follow up with a cleanser, the baby soft feeling disappears XD)

I do really like how this cleansing balm takes off my makeup-- my face does feel super clean! Here's the deal breaker though: this thing really stings my eyes =_= I like to work my cleansing oil/balm especially on the roots of my lashes to make sure I get all traces of mascara off. Usually when a cleansing oil gets into my eyes, it just makes my vision foggy. With this, it freaking burns. I cannot open my eyes when I use this cleansing balm to remove my eye makeup. So I basically have been feeling my way blindly to the shower every night when I use this to remove my makeup XD It sucks because I can't open my eyes to check if I have removed my eye makeup completely. I just have to be super thorough when I use this. So this product isn't a complete miss, but I know I will not be repurchasing.

4. Caudalie Vinosource Quenching Sorbet-Creme

So following my skincare disaster with the REN retinoid concentrate, I went to Sephora in desperation to find something to hydrate my skin (I'm not sure if it was because I was using Physiogel every day-- but it wasn't enough anymore). I stopped by the Caudalie section and was kind of just looking at these products. The sales lady at Sephora was so kind to give me huge samples of this, as well as the Vinosource Intense Moisture Rescue Cream, because she saw I was in such a debate not knowing which one to get XD

The Sorbet-creme is more like a gel-cream formula. It feels super light-- and surprisingly, very hydrating. Really enjoyed this because it did really help my parched skin. The healing process was slow but this made it bearable. The Moisture Rescue Cream is definitely more heavy duty, however, I prefer the Sorbet Creme because it feels lighter on my skin, while amazingly, still hydrates. I didn't buy the full-size product since my skin had healed while I was using this, but will be looking forward to purchase it next time with Sephora sale ^_^  definitely an unexpected find. I've only tried one other Caudalie product before-- the instant foaming cleanser and I did not like that at all (too gentle to cleanse my face, and my face broke out as a result. Quite ironic). Caudalie has redeemed itself in my books XD

5. SkinMD Natural Shielding Lotion and Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion
Since I consider them drugstore products, I figured why not do a comparison?


Left to right: Physiogel, SkinMD and Cetaphil.

Physiogel is more of milky lotion (feels more emollient), SkinMD is gel, and Cetaphil is a light cream.

Top to bottom: Cetaphil, SkinMD, Physiogel

Physiogel-- although the texture is light, it actually does feel a little heavy on the skin (it feels like an emollient-- like it contains oils??) and it leaves a sheen. It's good for winter and I used to love this because it really helped hydrated my skin. Unfortunately it just didn't help this time around.

SkinMD-- it's a gel moisturizer. It has a slippy, not exactly silicone-y, but very smooth texture and is super light and watery. Honestly, I don't find this moisturizer that hydrating-- my skin would feel hydrated immediately after application, but a few minutes later, my skin would be tight/need more hydration. However, I think this will be the perfect moisturizer for the summer ^_^ also a great medium when I want to dilute out more heavy face creams/moisturizers.

Cetaphil-- it feels like a whipped, light cream???? Like cream but with a more airy texture?? Does that even make sense?? Haha. I really like this moisturizer, perfect for Spring now, not too heavy, not too light. Sometimes I would mix this with SkinMD on warmer days ^_^

6. BeautyBlender
For some reason I decided to start using BeautyBlender again XD Like there is any reason to why I do what I do at all LOL. Anyway I decided it was time for my old BeautyBlender to retire. It looks so sad XD it still works though.

I heard some ppl comment on how the "new" BeautyBlenders are not as good as the old ones because they feels like there's less material to them. I agree on the less material part-- the old BB definitely feels denser and firmer, while the new ones there's this "hollow" feeling to the sponge?? However, this doesn't affect the performance of the new BBs. They still work fantastic and I've fallen back in love with them XD I think the reason why I stopped using BBs was because I wanted to get into brushes and washing the BBs is just such a hassle lol. But anyway, BB mode in full swing at the moment :D

7. Chloe Perfumed Body Lotion
So I got a Chloe mini body lotion sample on Sephora-- honestly, I really didn't think I was gonna like it, but I fell in love O_o I mainly like to use the lotion on my wrists/behind my ears before I go to bed LOL I know such a waste XD but that's just how I like it. Something about the scent it really puts me at ease ^_^ puts me in a really good mood before I fall asleep hehehe.

I went ahead and ordered the delux perfume/lotion set on Nordstrom because I like the lotion so much. The perfume notes description is:

Pink Peony, Freesia, Lychee, Magnolia Flower, Lily of the Valley, Rose, Cedarwood, Amber, Honey.

Definitely picked up the lychee scent :D The perfume really doesn't last at all... kind of disappointed in that, especially Chloe perfume is a whole different level of expensive compared to Marc Jocobs. The perfume is nice, but I think the lotion smells better O_o not sure if it's the alcohol component or what in the perfume, but I just prefer the smell of the lotion over the perfume. I mean I still really like the perfume, but I think I rather just buy the lotion from now on (I have issues with being committed to scents though XD Gonna try to just buy rollers from now on). This has been a huge hit and still loving it ^_^

8. Maybelline the Falsies Volume Express
Finally got to try the super famous the Falsies. It's good I guess... but something about Maybelline mascaras, they all tend to have those round little clumps in their mascaras? I find that pretty annoying. I always prefer L'oreal mascaras over Maybelline. Plus this mascara does smudge on my lower eyelid at the end of the day. Almost done with this tube. By the way this mascara has no curl hold on my lashes. It makes my curled lashes go stick straight.

Wearing Majolica Majorca mascara primer underneath to help hold the curls.

See some of the small, round, little clumps? I combed out most of it but there are still some.


9. Etude House Oh My Eyeliner
I bought this because when I swatched it, the finish/texture reminded me of MAC Liquidlast. Nope it's nothing like it lol. First of all, this eyeliner is hard to work with-- when I use my own eyeliner brush, the eyeliner just keeps getting wiped off as I layer it. When I tried it with its own applicator, it's better, but then the line looks harsh. Furthermore, it smudges within a couple of hours. BOO. Miss!

10. Benefit Posietint, Cha Cha tint and Sun Beam
I bought this in a trio for like $18??? Don't think the trio is available anymore (I actually snagged the last one in store LOL).

Here are the swatches for Posietint and Cha Cha tint

Seriously I think Cha Cha tint probably fooled a lot of ppl if they just look at the color in the bottle-- it looks like a baby, light orange, when in reality it dries to more of a coral, tangerine color.


Sun beam on the left.

Really pretty. But I only used it once-- the application is beautiful but the color is just not for me. I think it will look really really lovely on ppl who are more tan. Like MAC NC 25 and up.

Posietint. I had a piece of lint in my hair, please excuse that XD

It's a nice baby pink color. I really like this color





By the way I have tried using this as a blush tint. I must say the effect is really nice-- really looks like you're blushing from within. HOWEVER, it applies unevenly because it sets so fast -.- (I used my fingers). Maybe I'll try using my beautyblender?

Cha Cha tint



Hahaha see how dark it looks compared to the product in the bottle?!



My thoughts?

I think both colors are lovely, and I like how the intensity can be layered. However, they're quite drying
Here's a pic of what my lips look like after a while. See how bad my lip lines look? Those Benefit tints are so drying =(  Make sure you top off with a nice lip balm when you wear these. The colors are lovely and I'm glad I got to try them out in minis, but will not be purchasing the full sizes. Haha my lips were stained so many different colors that day for applying so many different lip products.

11. Whitening Lightning Dial-A-Smile Kit
I first heard about Whitening Lightning from Sophie Chang (Fashionista804), but I never wanted to try it until I saw that Weylie also got really good results with them. So I went ahead and used the holiday coupon code provided by Sophie. 

It comes with 2 pens, and 2 glosses. A syringe with whitening gel, an application brush, a blue/LED light thing, and vitamin E swabs


There's actually in-built lighting in the gloss! Pretty cool
Also comes with a side mirror.

The pink one is called "Fiji", and the orange one is "Salmon". They're unremarkable. Kind of thick. Fiji is really not my color... makes me look like Nicki Manaj.

Long story short, I did not like this kit at all. I think it's really hard to use. The whitening gel in the syringe is extremely thick and hard to apply with that crap brush they provided. It's impossible to apply an even coat on the teeth. And since you basically have to bare your teeth while you wait for the product to work, you drool. A LOT. Not the easiest/most comfortable experience. And because I couldn't get the gel to apply evenly, it moved around it got to my gums. And it burned.  Worse-- I saw no difference after the agonizing 20 minutes. The pens are easier to use and I did see some results, but nothing as incredible as Sophie and Weylie's.

This is a huge miss and a huge waste of money. I wish I could return it =_= So mad that I spent so much money on this crap. By the way, I feel like the blue light thing is completely gimmick.

12. Hakuhodo B516BkSLConcealer Brush #10

So the reason why I'm mentioning this concealer brush as a favorite is because it makes a great eyeliner brush XD It's pointy, firm enough, and it's so soft :) Not saying you guys should run out and buy a concealer brush for your eyeliner, but if you have a concealer brush like this, you can consider multi-tasking with it :P (I don't really use concealer and when I do I usually use my fingers)

The reason why I discovered this brush as an eyeliner brush was because my old trusty eyeliner brush finally retired XD it literally had bald spots and I couldn't use it anymore (after 5 years). The one shown in the pic is a new one. While I was waiting for it to ship to me I was desperate and was like "you there! you look pointy enough! I shall use you" and what do you know, it totally works XD

12. Dove Nourishing Oil Care shampoo and conditioner 
So I actually bought the wrong ones XD I wanted to try the dry oil one that Holly mentioned in her video because she said it gave her extra volume. Anyway, it's nice, nothing too outstanding. I like the scent though! In general I do like Dove products.

13. SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
So I kind of hate myself for mentioning this product, because it's hella expensive. But anyway, I've had this for quite a while. I bought it because of the story behind the discovery of Pitera-- something along the line that a chemist went to a Sake (rice wine) production site and noticed all the workers there, although elderly, all have beautiful, youthful-looking hands. Thus he discovered the enzyme that ferments rice to be very beneficial to the skin. I was like ooohhh I wouldn't mind start taking care of my skin so it will look good when I get older! I bought 2 small sample sizes from Sasa and also a ginormous one from eBay (which smells and feels exactly like the one from Sasa so I know it's authentic lol).

So I used up the 1 oz bottle. And about another 1 oz from the big bottle. Felt absolutely no difference. I actually put it up on my blog sale because I thought I definitely gave it enough trial time and saw no difference. Fortunately for me, no one bought it XD And one day I was randomly reading some reviews (I forgot where), and this reviewer mentions how she pats a lot of it into her face and it gives her a lot of hydration. At that time my skin was suffering from the REN retinoid disaster as mentioned earlier, so I decided to give it another try. This is what I used to do: squirt some in my hands, pat it in to my skin. Move on to other skincare. This time, I squirt some into my hands, pat it in, and repeat this process for 3-5 times until my skin feels hydrated. I'm actually quite amazed at how hydrated my skin feels just by using only this. And like I mentioned earlier, this healed that rough patch I had for weeks. I was THRILLED. Been using it everyday. My skin looks pretty luminous every time I use this, hehehe. However I have a little bit of dry patches on my chin (not sure from what) but it didn't take care of that. So I guess its powers are limited lol. Nonetheless I am thrilled with how it healed my skin. The downside is I only feel like it does something with my skin when I use a lot of it, and with this method you blow through the product like ridiculously quickly T___T

That's all for my February hits & misses! Hope you guys enjoyed it. Now I must go shower, clean and pack. Gosh I have so much to do. And more posts to write!!! Ahhhh!!!

Are you guys are spring break? Hope you have a really great one ^_^ If not, enjoy your weekend :D

<3 Frances


  1. Wow Frances! Boy am I glad that all of a sudden blogger dashboard page decided to display reading list of blogs I follow via GFC. You noticed that they removed the reading list for quite a long time right? They just come and go and for just now when I refreshed and saw your post, I was so surprised that you're still blogging!

    Work and after work activities have been gnawing my time away that I tend to only return visits to bloggers/ blog friends who leave me comments. And ever since Blogger removed the reading list, I wasn't able to catch up on blogs which I usually do from the reading list.

    This is such a long long post of hits and misses! The Dior lip balm sounds like a charm and I'm sorry they didn't work well on you at all. I have a thing about lipstick and lip balms too. I find that many dry my lips out more.

    Sorry to hear about the make up remover that stung your eyes. I love my make up remover to be all in one too and I cannot imagine any that stings my eyes since I'm so much of an eye make up person.

    SKII shen qi shui did nothing for me too. Nothing miraculous about this too. But wow, I'm glad it solved your rough patch problem.

    BTW, I'm holding my 2nd blog giveaway and I'm inviting you, my lovely blog friend to participate. There are Kimmidoll, L'Occitane, Crabtree n Evelyn and Fleurfaerie stuff to be won. Feel free to check it out and participate if keen. Have a lovely Sunday!

    1. Hiiiii Jo!! omg good to see you here! it's quite alright! I totally understand ^_^ I don't even come to my own blog that often... XD
      You know what... I haven't checked my Google reader AT ALL ever since I converted to bloglovin' O_o I did stop by your blog a couple of times but never left a comment b/c I was too busy to read through your long posts ;) but thanks so much for taking the time to come here/read and say hi ^_^ and thanks for letting me know about the giveaway :) will definitely check it out!


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