GIN-SENG & TONIC: I'm From Ginseng Serum Review

Hey, babes!

I was recently contacted by Wishtrend to review the newly released I’m From Ginseng Serum. I was pretty excited to try this as I haven’t tried that many ginseng products before! Ginseng is a potent antioxidant and is amazing for the skin.

This ginseng serum has an incredibly strong ginseng smell due to the serum containing nearly 8% pure ginseng extract. I found this incredibly overwhelming at first but eventually got used to it. The serum itself is opaque and honey coloured, with a with a gel-like consistency. However, it spreads and absorbs very easily.

Taking a look at the ingredients, ginseng features twice in the form of Red Ginseng Extract and Panax Ginseng Seed Oil. There's a wealth of other great plant ingredients, such as Green Tea Extract, Licorice Root Extract, and Peony Extract, to name a few.

Water, Red Ginseng Extract, Butylene Glycol, Betaine, 1,2-Hexanediol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Panax Ginseng Seed Oil, Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Angelica Gigas Root Extract, Rheum Palmatum Root Extract, Angelica Pubescens Root Extract, Schizonepeta Tenuifolia Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Ethoxydiglycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Hyaluronic Acid, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance
From the get go, I noticed that it immediately made my skin softer. And not just after using - I would notice my skin was soft after cleansing and consistently soft throughout the day. Unfortunately, with consistent use, I did not notice any other benefits such as brightening or soothing. Despite increasing skin softness, my skin hydration didn’t seem to increase either. I have persistent dry spots due to tretinoin, and the serum didn’t reduce them at all. So… Softening was the only benefit I got.

My breakthrough with this serum came when I thought to use it before using a Papa Recipe Bombee Mask! While that particular mask DOES generally leave my skin looking amazing, combining it with the ginseng serum gave me results I’ve never had before. It was SO incredibly hydrated, soothed, and brightened.

However, I’m still generally unsure of the overall benefits of this serum, especially at my age. A lot of the info around ginseng is how good it is for older, wrinkled skin - not an issue . Also, considering it took to combining it with another product for best effects, I’m not sure I would pay US $28.80 for it.

I would give this a 2.7/5. This serum just wasn't enough on it's own for me, and I would expect more results considering the price point.

Have you tried any ginseng products before?

Lexie xx

where to buy online
Wishtrend* (International) | Amazon* (US only)

pr sample/ contains affiliate links*

CLAY IT UP: L'Oreal Pure Clay Charcoal Mask Review

Hey, babes!

Today’s review is on a drugstore clay mask which I’ve really been enjoying using lately! L’Oreal recently launched three new clay masks, and I’ve got the charcoal one here to review. I got mine for NZ $25 at Farmers, and they should be available everywhere L’Oreal is sold. There was a lot of hype around the release of these masks in NZ, especially the charcoal one as it drew so many comparisons to the super luxe Glam Glow Supermud mask. Unfortunately, I don’t have that to compare it to, but I’m sure I’ll still be impressed by the L’Oreal mask.

 The first thing I notice on opening is that it’s scented - I don’t know how to describe it, but it reminds me of how spas smell. It’s that sort of floral, clean scent. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a spatula but at least it comes with an inner lid to prevent the product from drying out.
It’s very smooth and easy to apply, but it definitely has a bit of a tingle on the skin. I do use prescription tretinoin which makes my skin more sensitive, so that could be why. I wouldn’t describe it as painful, but there’s a definite tingle on application. What I really love about this mask is that it changes colours as it dries and very strongly oil spots, which is soooooo satisfying to see! It spots strongly around my nose/t-zone and also draws out fluid from recent pimples, helping to dry them out. It does dry into a very stiff mask which easily rinses off with water.

My skin always feels amazing and smooth after, but it also feels very dry - moisture is definitely needed ASAP after using this! Despite that, I really enjoy using this mask once a week to help dry up any excess oil in my pores and lingering pimples - I rate this a 4/5!

Have you tried this? What’s your favourite clay mask?

Lexie xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy L'Oreal online
Amazon* (US)

where to buy L'Oreal in-store
Farmers | KMart | Unichem Pharmacy

purchased / contains affiliate links*

NECTAR FOR YOUR TRESSES: Kérastase Nutritive Nectar Thermique Review

Hey, babes!

I was recently given the Kérastase Nutritive Nectar Thermique when I visited Pead PR the other week, and have found it's quickly become an absolute necessity for keeping my hair soft and shiny. Since going shorter, I find myself blow drying and straightening my hair quite a lot lately. It's at that awkward length where I can't just wash and go anymore, and it needs a proper style and straighten most days. This is definitely starting to take a toll on my hair - despite using oil serums and masks, it's beginning to feel a bit dry and damaged at the ends from frequent heat styling.

A bit of background on my hair - some of it was bleached around a year ago, and I've gone over it twice with box dye to bring it back to a colour similar to my own natural colour. These parts of my hair are especially susceptible to damage until I grow and trim them out of my hair completely.
That's where the Nectar Thermique comes in - it's a heat protectant product that leaves your hair feeling smooth and undamaged while minimising further damage from heat. I've been using this since I got it and it's definitely making a difference to my hair - it tangles less, and just feels so much better to the touch than without using this beforehand. As per instructions, I apply a little bit to towel-dried hair before using my blow dryer.
The other thing I love about it is the deliciously floral scent - it's not too lingering (in case you love the scent of your shampoo/conditioner more haha) but is just so so pleasant to use. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a luxury heat protectant! It is a bit pricey at NZ $48, but it's worth it to me. Also, a 150ml bottle will last a LONG time! This gets a 5/5 from me.

What's your favourite heat protectant? I'd love to know your recommendations!

Lexie xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effect.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.



where to buy Kérastase online (NZ)

where to buy Kérastase online (US)

where to buy Kérastase in-store
If you're in NZ, you can use this tool to find your closest salon that stocks Kérastase.


pr sample / contains affiliate links*

CLAY IT UP: Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask Review

Hey, babes!

I have a review about a mask I had to try a couple of times before I was ready to give my review on it. The Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay mask is unlike any other clay mask I’ve tried, and it really threw me for a loop. This mask is one of the most famous Kbeauty clay masks on the market at the moment, and I couldn’t not try it. It comes in two versions, Jeju Volcanic and Super Volcanic. The one I have here is the Jeju Volcanic, which is considered to be the regular strength version of the two. I do wish I had got the Super Volcanic for reasons that I’ll touch on later in the review.
The mask itself comes in a cardboard box, containing a plastic jar with a seal AND a lid to keep the mask wet and smooth for use. However, it doesn’t come with a spatula so I usually use a couple q-tips to get the product out to use. The clay this mask contains Volcanic Clay from Jeju Island, an island in Korea famous for its volcanic mud healing properties. If you look at the mask closely, you can actually see little black specks of volcanic ash - so cool! The mask itself has a very smooth and easy to spread texture - the first thing that surprised me. I had been so loyal to the Queen Helene Mint Julep mask for so long that I had forgotten that not all masks would have the same lumpy, difficult to spread texture. I also found that this mask was SO comfortable to wear, another thing which confused me - I was so used to masks hardening very stiffly on my face. I realised that I associated this feeling of stiffness = the mask is working, which is why I had such mixed feelings about this mask when I first tried it.


The directions say to leave it on for 15-20 minutes - I found that the mask did dry in this time frame anyway. I found that this mask didn’t oil spot on me either, which I also didn’t like because it made me think it wasn’t working. When I rinsed this off, I realised just how emollient this mask was. You know when you have moisturiser on your hands, but you go to rinse them and it feels kind of slimy and slippery? That’s how this felt when rinsing off. However, the bonus to that is my skin didn’t feel as dry and parched as it normally would after using a clay mask. Looking at the ingredients list, there's definitely a lot of emollients present, explaining why this clay formula felt so rich and moisturising:
I was pretty shocked that this was actually able to reduce nose and cheek pore appearance, considering it didn’t seem to do anything that my other masks did: harden, oil spot, or dry stiffly. The only thing that this mask didn’t do, however, was to affect existing pimples. I do find that most other masks will draw out excess fluid/sebum from new/recently popped pimples, but this left them fairly untouched.


Overall, this is something that I would probably continue to use, but maybe not repurchase. I do prefer stronger masks for my oily, acne-prone skin - so maybe I’ll give the Super Volcanic Clay Mask a go! This gets a 3/5 from me.

Have you tried this? What’s your favourite clay mask?

Lexie xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy Innisfree online

where to buy Innisfree in-store
The Cosmetic Store | Vanessa

purchased / contains affiliate links*

AMERICAN (SHOPPING) DREAM: MyMallBox.com Review

glossier, mymallbox.com, mymallbox review, mymallbox, mymallbox new zealand
Hey, babes!

I was recently contacted by MyMallBox to use and review their mail forwarding service. I jumped at the chance, as I’ve never used one before and was keen to give it a go. I was provided with $25 worth of credit, along with a $5 credit for signing up. They provide two services - packing and reshipping items that you purchase yourself, or a Buy For Me service which incurs an additional $4.50 handling fee and 3% transaction fee. The Buy For Me service is recommended when purchasing from retailers that are known to cancel orders identified as reshipping orders, such as the U.S. Sephora website.

As soon as I was contacted for review, I knew which company I wanted to purchase from immediately - Glossier. If you haven’t seen this brand, you live under a rock. Effortless cool-girl aesthetic with splashes of millennial pink? Yes, please!

The overall process of registering and getting a U.S. address on MyMallBox is super easy. You create an account, enter your mailing address, and then they assign you a U.S. address in the state of Delaware. This bit is important because it means you DON’T pay any additional sales tax on what you’re ordering!

So, I hopped on over to Glossier.com and made my order on the 03/03/17. I grabbed the Skin Tint, Stretch Concealer, and Cloud Paint, all of which I’ll also review shortly. My order shipped fairly quickly and arrived at my re-shipping address on 06/03/17 according to the tracking. I received an email from MyMallBox on 08/03/17 that my parcel has arrived and was ready to be shipped out.

At this point, you can either order more stuff and have all of it consolidated into a parcel for delivery, or prepare it to be sent out to you straight away. I had it sent to me straight away because I COULD NOT WAIT to get my hands on these lil goodies! There were quite a few options I had to choose from for shipping - untracked USPS Airmail at just $6.58, USPS ePacket for $12.73, and a few more options that were +$30 each (USPS Priority or DHL Express). I went with ePacket, mainly because I’ve been sent stuff from the U.S. before with this service and I know it’s actually fairly quick to get to NZ. Things generally arrive within 7-14 days to my address in Auckland, perhaps a couple extra days if you live elsewhere in NZ/a rural area. I also chose it because I love obsessively tracking stuff online after purchasing. I know I’m not the only one! I also had to declare the value of my items so that their USPS shipping label would be accurate, but I noticed it still had the placeholder value of $3/each when my parcel arrived. Not sure what happened there but I’m glad it didn’t cause any issues!

After requesting my parcel to be repacked and sent with my chosen shipping method, I received an email with my tracking number issued by Globegistics! Woooooo! It was here that the only issue (if you would call it that) I experienced occurred. Basically, my parcel was floating around in America for about 10 days before it registered with USPS and actually got on it’s way to me. I kept getting messages that this tracking number hadn’t been scanned yet when I tried to check it on USPS.com since it was also not tracking/registering on the link provided in the email. I feel like this was the slowest part of the entire process. I don’t know if this time frame is the norm because Globegistics is used or if some other issue occurred, but it definitely meant that my parcel was delivered a bit later than I had hoped. It spent more time in America with Globegistics (11 days) than it did in-transit from the USPS office in Jamaica, NY to my doorstep (7 days).

I was curious if the parcel would be placed in a smaller container/envelope in order to save shipping costs, but it doesn’t appear so. Everything was securely and carefully packed inside a bubble wrap bag, which was enclosed in a bubble mailer. I even got a lil note from my re-packer - shout out to Ivan! Thanks, bud! I’m definitely quite happy that everything arrived in perfect condition and was so securely wrapped up.
mymallbox review, mymallbox.com, mymallbox new zealand
Overall, I’m so happy with this service and will definitely be using it to grab some other U.S. only goodies (MAC, anyone?)! I feel like the shipping costs are so reasonable and careful attention is definitely paid to ensure that customers’ items arrive in perfect condition.

If you’re curious about trying MyMallBox, get an easy $10 credit just for signing up AND using my referral link*. You will receive $5 for creating an account and another $5 if you use my link, so you can save on shipping and keep that extra coin for what you'd like to buy! Happy shopping, lovelies!

Have you tried a parcel re-shipping service before? How did it work for you?

Lexie xx

sponsored / contains affiliate links*

SWEET LIPS: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask Review

Hey, babes!

I have a lip mask review for you today! I had seen a lot of hype around the relatively new Laneige Sleeping Lip Mask, so I grabbed it off of eBay when I had a chance. I was really curious to see how this would compare to my current HG nightly lip treatment, Lucas Papaw Ointment. The Laneige mask comes in quite a few flavours now, but I have the original berry flavour. Unfortunately, I disliked this smell more than I thought I would - it’s quite strong and artificial to my nose.
It comes as a solid balm with a small, hygienic spatula to help get the product out of the jar. Even though I could easily apply it straight to my lips, I prefer to apply a bunch on the back of my hand and then using my finger to smear it on my lips.

The balm melts down very quickly to a thin, oily consistency. I found this annoying, as it would kind of get inside my mouth and I could taste the product (and it didn’t taste very good at all). I also found it hard to apply a thick layer (as per the instructions) as it would just melt down again.
I went to bed to let it work its overnight magic, but unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed - my lips were not hydrated at all, and certainly not comparable to the results I would normally get from plain Papaw. I couldn’t figure this out! So, I tried using the lip mask during the day and found the same result - no matter how long I let it sit on my lips, it didn’t really do anything for me.

There's a lot going on in the ingredients, so I'm especially disappointed this didn't work for me.

Diisostearyl Malate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Phytosteryl/Isostearyl/Cetyl/Stearyl/Behenyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), Polybutene, Microcrystalline Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Synthetic Wax, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Sucrose Tetrastearate Triacetate, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-2 Diisostearate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Dimethicone, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Water, Potassium Alginate, Glycerin, Propanediol, Alcohol, Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Lycium Chinense Fruit Extract, Sapindus Mukurossi Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Fragaria Chiloensis (Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Rubus Chamaemorus Seed Extract, Magnesium Sulfate, Calcium Chloride, Sodium Hyaluronate, Beta-Glucan, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Fragrance+/-CI 15850, CI 15850:1, CI 45410:1, CI 45380:2, CI 45380, CI 45410, CI 17200, CI 12085, CI 19140, CI 15985, CI 47005, CI 42090, Titanium Dioxide, CI 77499, CI 77491, Mica

I’m pretty gutted that this didn’t work well for me! I know it has worked well for others, so maybe I got a dud? I don't know. This gets a 2/5 from me.

What's your favourite way to pamper your lips?

Lexie xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy Laneige online
Amazon* | YesStyle*


where to buy Laneige in-store
I've seen Laneige at 'Vanessa' in NZ.

purchased / contains affiliate links*

LASHING OUT: Kiss Me Isehan Heroine Make Volume & Curl Waterproof Mascara Review

Hey, babes!

Today, I’ve got a mascara that immediately shot to high rotation in my routine - Kiss Me by Isehan Heroine Make Super Waterproof Volume & Curl (I'm actually not sure which part of this title is the brand, I think Isehan?) This is probably one of the most well-known Japanese mascaras outside of Japan, and for good reason. This was actually my second choice compared to the Long & Curl from the same line, but I like this one better for lash separation AND lengthening.
I was looking for something new after being let down by Maybelline Lash Sensational, which left me looking super clumpy. I purchased this from The Cosmetic Store for NZ $28.90, which is an okay price considering most drugstore mascaras are NZ $20 - $30. I believe it does come in a non-waterproof formula, but a waterproof formula is essential for my lashes to hold a curl.

The first thing that I noticed (and LOVE) is that the wand isn’t loaded with too much product when you pull it out of the tube, an issue that I was having with Lash Sensational. The bristles are in a traditional conical shape, however they actually shorten on two sides of the brush. I always use the longer side and never have any issues doing so.

What I also love about this mascara is that it’s basically impossible to clump (unless you let a layer fully dry and try to apply on top of that, which I never do). I prefer my lashes to look long, defined, and fluttery which this mascara helps me achieve.

The only drawback is the waterproof formula can be hard to get off, and my favourite eye makeup remover to get it off is the Neutrogena Oil-Free Remover. There is a specific mascara remover* that Isehan sells, but the Neutrogena works fine for me right now.

Now, on to the before and after!

In the after, I've curled my lashes with my favourite Za Cosmetics Curler and then applied Volume & Curl. I ADORE how this makes my lashes look! It also wears very well throughout the day - no panda eyes or flaking. This gets a solid 5/5 from me!

What's your favourite mascara? Have you heard of or tried this brand before?

Lexie xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.


where to buy Isehan Kiss Me Heroine Make online

where to buy Isehan Kiss Me Heroine Make in-store
JapanMart | The Cosmetic Store

purchased / contains affiliate links*
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