Dupes: How The Mighty Have Fallen!


I devour YouTube for all things Beauty & Skincare. zoorkitty-001

These ladies are amongst my fav on Youtube and whenever they recommended a High End product I went out and bought it. High End, even if they did mention cheaper options.

I was just not interested in the cheap(er) dupes. Caressing my Louboutin, Chanel, Bobbi Brown and Dior just made me feel better.

Fast forward 8 months to Jan 2017.

I now live in the US and my visa currently doesn’t allow me to work. Which means no income. And I am no fool to delve into my savings for makeup. A dream home, a BMW Mini, yes, but not on some baked eye shadow.

Seriously who does that ? If you do, then stop it, now!

It’s probably this practical attitude to cash that made my transition from Department store to Drugstore so easy. It surprised me that I didn’t struggle, I wasn’t sad. I had moved one.

From Harvey Nichols and Lane Crawford, Hong Kong I moved onto Walgreens, Target, Walmart….. and all things DUPES !

Rimmel, Wet and Wild, Maybelline & Loreal are my new friends.

I scour the internet for reviews on ELF, NYX , Hard Candy and the like. My fav YouTuber for this is EmilyNoel. She is an amazing lady and her recommendations work for me and my skin type!


Skincare….well that is a slightly different matter. While I am still NOT willing to give up on my favourite items from Kate Sommerville (thanks Hirons!) I have started to follow  Angie from  Hot & Flashy.ANGIE.png

She is  great on skincare, matured skin or not, and has some kick-ass suggestions for good quality anti-aging skincare (retinol, peptides, vitamin C  etc) which are  more affordable than Kate Sommerville or Skinceuticals!  She has some great recommendations on CeraVe and Olay Regenerist too!

Bye Bye Nordstrom, I do love you…….but now is the time to spend in Walgreens.





Facial Cleansers & Makeup Removers

Winners and Losers in my bathroom

Losers: SK-II Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser, Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Foam  (ok my fault it DID say FOAM) Cleanser, Clarins Pearl to Cream.

2015-06-23 19.12.32Foaming cleansers are terrible for your skin – dry, oily, dehydrated or combo/normal. That tight-post-wash skin, mistaken for ‘squeaky clean’, is what’s also bad. I don’t need to tell you, google it or read Caroline Hirons.  It really annoys me that HK shelves are full of foaming cleansers, basically laundry detergent, for the face.

Thank God for samples, so you don’t feel too bad when you try them once and then you open your front door and tell them to leave your home and never show their drying-foaming faces to you again !

Estee Lauder
Goodbye and never darken my door again!

Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Foam was horrible, sucking every bit of hydration out of your face. NO! Go Away! I still gave it 2 gos, to be fair and then told it to ‘get (the f-) out’.

The SK-II was neither a Treatment nor Gentle. Load-a-crap. It is drying and has Sodium Lauryl listed the SECOND ingredient.  Might as well sell it in the dishwash section at the local Park n Shop!  (very angry face)

What disappointed me was Clarins. I like grandpa Clarins products.

I love the Clarins Brightening Toner after Sali Hughes (http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/series/sali-hughes-beauty) recommended it and I thought this cleanser would be the perfect partner for a clarifying clean.

But it FOAMS which I am not happy about and lists Sodium Sulphate , albeit low-ish  on the ingredient list.

But the Clarins Pearl to Cream Brightening Cleanser doesn’t have that harsh, soapy feeling and still rather soft as you massage your makeup off, has a lovely fragrance and doesn’t drip all over your face even when it foams up.

Rinsed off it didn’t leave my normal-dry skin with that skin-tightening dry feeling. The Clarins is still on my bathroom shelf.

Winners: Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil, Clinique Take the Day off Balm, Body Shop Nutriganics Softening Cleansing Gel.

2015-06-23 19.13.50Shu Uemura Oil is my star. It’s my first cleanse to remove make-up.

I absolutely love it. I have used the Neutrogena Cleansing Oil (the Blue one. The only one available in HK at that time) and didn’t quite enjoy it. On emulsifying it felt a bit harsh and also left a residue.

As I remove my makeup with the Shu I can give my face a good massage because it such a beautiful oil. It washes off without a residue.

The Clinique is also my first cleanse and does it’s job. And before my I bought my Shu, this one was my lush-full-of-motherly-love face massage cum clean balm. But now my Shu feels more lush.

You dont need both. A balm or an oil is perfect for your first cleanse to take make-up off.

On Caroline Hiron’s recommendation I bought the Body Shop Softening cleansing gel. This is my second cleanse, after removing my make-up.

I try and hit Body Shop whenever I can because of their ethics, but I must say they do have some duds that really PISS ME OFF. Bad performance or bad (Denatured Alcohol) ingredients.

I must say I am a bit confused about this one. If I apply this gel on a dry face it’s a bit difficult to move it around and since I don’t like yanking and rubbing my skin too hard I don’t feel satisfied because I cant do a quick massage.

And if the face is too damp then it emulsifies to a milk too soon and drips down and I feel like I didn’t give my face a good ole clean. Still trying to work out the perfect method.

The Nuxe one is a sample. It’s my second cleanse and for me it was meh!  Will use it but not really bother to re-purchase.

What I will purchase once the Clinique is over is the Body Shop Chamomile cleansing balm.

I think Balms and Oils are DEFINITELY my go to formulas for removing makeup.

Eyes and Lips: I bought this to figure out what the Hoo-Haa about Micellar water was.  The Garnier got good reviews and was way cheaper than the Bioderma, so I bought it.

2015-06-27 10.25.43

Verdict: I am not sure why it got good reviews ? I use it ONLY as my initial eye and lip makeup remover. The step before my First cleanse. Its not that great at removing eye liner or mascara, and I dont wear ANY waterproof eye makeup.

I will definitely not remove ALL my makeup with it. I tried it just because of all the good reviews on Makeup Alley, and it took loads and loads of this product to take my makeup and it still didn’t.

Basically you need atleast 1 min to really massage your foundation and sun block off!

I am just waiting to finish this and then I will buy my old stand by, the Body Shop Chamomile eye make-up remover.



The Internet Made Me Buy This

I spent my rent (or 1 Christian Loubotin)  on all this. Perfect husband squeaked when he heard the amount.


But  you know I dont feel guilty.  I have lived on this earth for more than 35 years (not revealing real age here for reasons of Vanity) without using a Toner. I rarely used a facemask. Heck first 21 years of my life I didnt even use a facewash and I lived in Bombay, Mumbai!.

I grew up with Ma slathering me in milk cream, skimmed off the top of the milk as we boiled it, or glycerin (before my bath) and later through high school and college years, a weekly face mask of garbanzo bean flour (besan) mixed with water and a pinch of tumeric. I am blessed with good skin. No breakouts or skin blemishes. Even toned, normal skin. But that was Youth.

Now its time to keep the sagging and drooping at bay. Listening to various beauty vloggers, especially Sali Hughes (beauty editor The Guardian) and the great Caroline Hirons I decided its time to invest and try to keep some signs of ageing at bay. Or rather de-accelarate it. Drooping eye lids, expanding pores and general loss of elasticity and moisture.

Time to invest in the good stuff.

Mercifully a lot of Caroline’s eye wateringly expensive recommendations are not so easily available in HK so I did a mix of Sali and Caroline’s recommendations.

Sali’s – Clarin’s Brightening Toner. (Caroline recommends an acid toning and none of that rubbish rough beaded traditional scrub) Holy f**k this really works. Literally overnight I was glowing. Yes it has alcohol but minimal enough to even make it to Caroline’s top ten.

Caroline’s – Pericone MD Eye Serum. Look I dont know. I have annoyingly crepey eye lids, where liqiud liner jumps and leaps and wobbles. Lately it seemed to have minimised. Is it working ? Is it a placebo effect ? (Zelens is everyone’s number 1 though)

Caroline’s- I have been using Clinique’s Turnaround Serum for almost 20 odd years, but I kind of felt like my skin needed a boost and I bought the Clinique Smart Serum. So the days I exfoliate/acid tone I will use the Smart Serum and not the Turnaround.

Caroline recommends doing a double cleanse, especially at night. And I didnt know I was double cleansing even before I read Caroline’s more structured approach. This is beacause I detest makeup wipes/ cotton balls because its environmentally horrendous. So I will always cleanse with a cleansing oil or cleansing milk. And because I could feel a residue I always did another cleanse with a soap – Clinique Mild Soap / Body Shop Vit E facial soap.

I love the Take the Day off range and this balm feels like your mother is patting your face saying “I love you, you are so beautiful”. I have a feeling all balms will feel like this.  So I do my first cleanse with this now to take off all makeup and follow it the Body Shop cleansing gel (non- foaming. I hate foaming and so does Caroline, yaay) Caroline actually loves Emma Hardie balm but I haven’t seen it in HK so far.

The Bobbi Brown Extra repair moisturiser is a result of my skin turning up its nose at my cheap drugstore cream. I was using Estee Lauder’s ANR serum, but the moisturiser over it was your everyday, cheap Olay cream. And my skin would turn its nose up at it. I cant explain. It didnt breakout of anything, but I could feel my body turning away from it.

So I needed an excuse to spend on a pampering moisturiser and thankfully Caroline explained why Mineral oil is ineffective for skincare (see the Pixiwood video where she is being interviewed). So now I had a valid reason to spend ! On a non mineral oil, effective moisturier. And because I love Bobbi Brown’s skincare range, on my OWN recommendation, I bought the Extra Repair.

For my skin, its heavy. Plus I live in super humid Hong Kong- so this is a nightime ONLY cream for me. Oh how I love its soft caress. The Illuminating Balm I bought, just because. The rest are just …. Tom Ford is ALL the rage, so I had to have his perfume. I didnt possess an effective Clay Mask ( am still not convinced about Glam Glow or Omorovicza) so bought the Origins one and picked the Aveda stuff for fun. I am enjoying my routine, dont regret my purchase and will post a review after a few months.