Tag Archives: moisturizer

Lancome Blanc Expert Ultimate Whitening Hydrating Cream moisturiser review

If you’ve never been to Asia before, welcome to a whole new world. Not just unbelievable sights and indescribable feelings… but an entire market devoted to whitening products.

Coming from the West where a tan is considered de rigeur, you might find it strange to see the first ten adverts in fashion magazines are invariably for whitening creams, or that cosmetics companies develop entire lines of whitening products specifically for the Asian market. The first time I came back to HK, shop assistants would compliment my ‘lovely skin – so white!’, a far cry from the randomers I would hear dissing me in clubs in the UK as they thought I was wearing white tights (nope, just glow-in-the-dark pale legs).

I’ve since noticed my sunspots coming out to play far more in the hot and humid HK climate so decided to jump aboard the whitening bandwagon with Lancome’s Blanc Expert Ultimate Whitening Hydrating Cream (yep, it’s not just local companies, the big guns are at it too). The shop assistant at Bonjour was all for me buying an $800 special pen specifically designed to obliterate my freckles, but I was adamant I wanted a moisturiser – after all, if special pen failed, that was 800 dollars wasted but with this, at least I’d still be getting a decent moisturiser out of it, right?

Lancome promises that its whitening hydrating cream will provide intense moisturisation, re-plump the skin and fade the appearance of dark spots, giving me softer, smoother, firmer and more radiant skin as a result. It comes in the trademark chunky classy Lancome packaging that looks heavy and luxurious but is actually lightweight and plastic. The smell is also trademark Lancome – a not unpleasant, faintly medicinal aroma that reminds you of the scent of old-fashioned cosmetics cabinets and pampered aunts from your childhood.

It’s indicative of the cream itself, which manages to be rich yet still feel quite light. It has a slight liquidity to it – not to be confused with being greasy, which it definitely isn’t – that makes it feel like a cream that has been (not entirely successfully) mixed with gel, meaning it’s a bit too slippery to work as a good base for make-up.

As a moisturiser, it’s sound enough although I found it made my T-Zone look too shiny and my face too slippery for everyday use. Instead, I used it just as a night moisturiser and for the nine months it’s lasted, my skin has indeed been soft, plump and well hydrated. It glides on easily and has a luxurious feel about it, although it takes a while to absorb as it’s definitely a cream from the richer end of the spectrum, even if it doesn’t have that typically heavy texture.

As a whitener, I’m not entirely sure – with these things, you can never be sure if it’s the placebo effect convincing you that your freckles have faded! Overall, my complexion did seem very clear and bright, but I have pale skin anyway. I believe my lighter sunspots have faded somewhat and I’ve certainly not noticed any new ones appearing but for the larger darker ones, any difference is minimal. For an overall brightening radiant effect at a similar price, I preferred Bliss’ Triple Oxygen Energising Cream, which feels lighter and has a more modern fresh scent.

When I pointed my sunspots out to my auntie alongside my worries they’d look really bad in my old age, she told me by the time I got that old, a few freckles would be the least of my worries! Having given the whitening thing a whirl and not been especially wowed at the effects, I’ve come round to her way of thinking too. Lancome’s Ultimate Whitening Hydrating Cream is a decent enough moisturiser but if you’re expecting to come out it looking like Cate Blanchett, you may well be disappointed!

Lancome Blanc Expert Ultimate Whitening Hydrating Cream, $400 for 50ml, Bonjour; see all Lancome locations in Hong Kong here

G. Field Lavender Hand Cream review

You’ve seen the upside of being minorly obsessed with the smell of lavender – striking upon a product as nice as this. So now here’s the downside – G. Field Lavender Hand Cream.

You might be used to supermarkets cramming the area by the checkouts with sweeties and chocolates, trying to entice you into a quickie impulse buy. This hand cream was the beauty junkie’s equivalent, located temptingly by the tills at Bonjour (HK’s one stop beauty-shop where it’s probably best not to ask how they manage to get their branded cosmetics so cheaply). At just $18, it was a case of buy now, regret it later – literally.

In Hong Kong, it’s pretty common to carry a tube of hand cream around in your handbag. Be it the drying effects of spending too much time under air-cons, finding a use for the Crabtree & Evelyn box sets that are invariably bandied about at Christmas or just pure vanity, who knows but ever since my hands fell apart after a year at kindergarten, I’ve found myself joining the hand cream crowd. These pocket-sized tubes seemed perfect for that very purpose and as soon as I saw the lavender scent, I was sold.

G Field also reckoned it was manufactured in France. I was optimistically crossing my fingers for a budget-style L’Occitane experience but sadly, this was pure bargain-bin, with the emphasis on ‘bin’, stuff.

The consistency of the lotion was watery, took a while to sink in and once it did, felt like it had never been applied in the first place. What’s more, the lavender scent was distinctly unpleasant. Artificial and pungent, I was getting comments about it all day – for the wrong reasons! The ingredients list maintained that real lavender oil was used in the formula, but it smelt like detergent that had seen better days. And my hands felt no less dry than they had to begin with.

Only $18? Alas, it’s only a bargain if you actually use it. My G. Field Lavender Hand Cream is now busy moisturising cockroaches in a landfill somewhere and, what with there being plenty of cheaper, more effective and more pleasantly scented lotions on the market, I’ll definitely be thinking twice before making my next checkout impulse grab. Unless there’s something lavender-scented, of course…

G. Field Lavender Hand Cream, $18 for 38ml, Bonjour

Avalon Organics Lavender Daily Moisturiser review

Having well and truly exhausted my stocks of trusty Aldi moisturiser and finished my fabulous Bliss Triple O one, it was time to try a new product in my daily routine. Step forward Avalon Organics Lavender Daily Moisturiser.

Never mind the supposed organics credentials (it’s without artificial colours, synthetic fragrances or parabens and boasts bucketfuls of lovely natural ingredients), I was most attracted by the lavender smell. If you’re like me and love lavender scent, this is the range for you. It smells beautifully natural, not at all artificial, and turns putting on your daily slather of moisturiser into something you almost look forward to!

Now for the science bit (skip this if you aren’t interested in long words). It contains Organic Turmeric, Arnica and Calendula to soothe redness, Hyaluronic Acid and Organic Sunflower Oil to give ‘weightless hydration with a velvety finish’, Lipo-Filling Complex to enhance luminosity, clarity and tone and Organic Lavender and Grape Seed Polyphenols to reduce redness and defend against free radicals (however much I read on those little beggars, I still don’t totally understand what they do other than they’re bad!). There’s also chamomile, liquorice root, white tea and willow bark chucked in for good measure. Oh well, a little liquorice root never hurts, right?!

But all this bamboozlement with long words mean nothing if it doesn’t equal results… and I have to say, I’m really pleased with this moisturiser. It feels rich but still light, smoothes on and sinks in easily and acts as the perfect base for make-up. My face felt plumped and hydrated for the whole day and I don’t care how much of a hippy this makes me sound, but that heady lavender fragrance really does seem to have a soothing calming effect! It also handles sensitive skin really well, but without feeling oily. The packaging is pleasant (lots of purple, unsurprisingly), looks more expensive than it is and, at the current rate, I’d estimate that one tub will last at least 6 months with everyday use.

As for the organics stuff… I’ll have to confess that I’m not too bothered. Good thing too as Avalon Organics true organics credentials are a little cloudy, since describing something as ‘organic’ in the cosmetics world still seems to be a bit of a grey area. I guess you just have to put your faith in make-up brands and believe that the chemicals they’re making us put on our face are the good guys, and let the results speak for themselves. And in this case, the results are great. My skin feels softer, looks brighter and it really soothes the odd sensitive patches I get.

For a supermarket-bought reasonably-priced moisturiser, chalk me up as pretty impressed.

Avalon Organics Lavender Daily Moisturiser, $99.90, available from larger branches of Park N Shop/Taste/International