Peeling Kit

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Peeling Kit

This was new at Etude House, and I rather liked the suitcase design of the packet, not to mention the fact that a proper peeling is quite an expensive business and these kits were very good value.

The packet pulls apart into 3 handy sachets, and you start at the bottom with the peeling swab. This is like a giant wet cotton bud, which you wipe carefully over your face from centre to the sides, avoiding the mouth and eyes. It felt a little tingly, but not in a painful way.

Next the brightening peeling serum, which is a clear liquid, then finally a slightly gelatinous sheet mask to cool off and soothe the skin.

I enjoyed the 3 part process, but have to say I did not see any noticeable ‘peeling’ even though the ingredients list includes lactic, glycolic and salicylic acids. It is possible that the effect only becomes noticeable after a day or so, but even so, I suspect I will be sticking to the regular sheet masks instead.


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Nose Wax Kit

It’s not that I have a particular problem with nose hairs, just this home care kit I saw in Tokyu Hands looked unusual enough to try.

And in theory this is quite an interesting idea – using wax to remove unwanted hairs in the same way you might groom your legs. The note on the back of the box saying that this was Brazilian wax also made me laugh… obviously.

The kit contains enough pieces to give your nose a Brazilian 3 times over. There’s a plastic beaker in which you put some water, then 3 small paper cups, 3 bags of wax pellets and 3 pairs of plastic wands with which to apply the wax.

You add 1 bag of pellets to the paper cup, sit this on top of the beaker and microwave for 1 minute until the steam melts the wax. Then you dip the wands in, one at a time, to cover the ends in the wax. Run this round the inside of your nose, press firmly so it all sticks, then pull.

This was the point where I remembered how much I hated waxing, and how very painful I found it the only time I ever tried. I hesitated, the wax went cold, then came straight off the wand when I tried to pull it out.

Cue panic, as I realised I had a nostril plugged with solid wax and no clear idea what to do next.

Well, it took tweezers, scissors and fingernails, leaving my eyes watering in pain as the hairs did finally come away. I am ashamed to say I could not bring myself to do the other side, and am still fussing over the sore, hairless and slightly waxy inside of the abused nostril.

You could call this a valuable learning experience. I may donate the remaining bits of kit to one of my daughters, but I will NOT be trying this again!


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Man ‘Blotters’

Facial ‘blotting paper’, carefully packed into decorated folders about the size of a business card, can be found in the handbags of many Japanese women.

They provide a sort of halfway stage of freshening up before you need to actually get out your makeup and make repairs. That is, if you start to feel slightly shiny, a few dabs with one of these will usually do the trick.

What I have not seen before, however, is the male version, and I only really noticed it on the shelf because I was wondering why this particular packet held twice the number of sheets but was cheaper. Not only that, further inspection revealed the blotters are specially embossed, to absorb more and stickier sweat, all without it leaking through the paper onto your hands.

Although it is designed for men, this product is also perfectly suitable for ‘active women of metabolism’, apparently. Which is a nice way of suggesting that you might be sweating more than the delicate ladies version can cope with.

As this was packed into a small square booklet with a gold cover, and was actually called ‘Gold man’, I was a little disappointed that the pages inside were just a slightly shiny caramel colour instead of something more sparkling.

Also, my husband professed himself baffled at the suggestion that he might find them useful – he had never heard of these and saw no reason why he might ever use them.

Oh well… I suppose it’s the thought that counts.

I


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Miniature Compact

There’s something very appealing about those make-up compacts you find in airport duty free shops – the ones combining everything you might need to paint your face into one handy, slim line container. Never mind the fact that half the colours don’t really suit, or it’s the wrong type of mascara…

I’ve even been known to make my own, cannibalising some existing compact or (for really short trips) pressing together a variety of different colours into one small lidded tray.

This one, though, is the tiniest, most adorable compact I have ever seen. In fact, it is so cute I cannot bring myself to use it, but simply take it out to delight over once in a while.

A cube barely 3 cm a side, it has slide out trays and manages to include 6 eye shadows, 2 lip and cheek gels plus 2 incredibly small brushes with which to apply them. Not to mention the mirror in the lid so you can see what you are doing.

I bought this in Tokyo, at the Daikanyama Minipla, and don’t regret a single yen.


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Blackhead Pen

The illustration on the packet misled me slightly, here. I thought I was buying some sort of silicone ended tool which would ease out blackheads by gentle friction.

What this actually involves is a black plastic stick with a hole at each end, the edges of which you run round the offending area. It seems to do more damage than simply squeezing with your fingers, and the picture that confused me turns out to show the inner piece which pushes out to help you clean the tool afterwards.

I won’t be passing this on to either daughter.


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Kids Masks

When it comes to Korean skincare and cosmetics, their excellence is generally a given. It takes great packaging and/or how cute you look when you are using them to make one stand out from the rest.

And, Asian girls being what they are, for every sheet mask that is printed with an elegant design of lace or flowers, there are five or more adorned with animal faces or cartoon super villains.

Imagine, then, that you have children, who are fascinated to see Mum sporting the face of a grinning sheep or shark. Of course they are going to want to try them too. And why not? The earlier you instil a great skincare regime into your offspring, the better their complexions will be.

So here you have child sized versions of those massively popular sheet masks, either the same designs made smaller, or kid-friendly cartoon characters from their favourite movies. I only saw them in Shibuya, but I expect they will be everywhere before long.

I think this is a great idea, and it’s also catching potential new customers really young. If daughters #1 and #2 were still small rather than grown-ups now larger than me, I would have bought a bunch of them on the spot.


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Nail Guard

This could well be a dream product for anyone who struggles to paint their nails without leaving colourful smudges over their fingers, too.

Nail guard, from Korean firm Belinda, is a peel-off latex that you apply from the bottle with a little brush, just like regular nail polish. This one, however, you paint around the edges of your nails, so that it protects your skin from unsightly smears. When the polish is dry, you peel off the latex and admire your perfect manicure.

That’s the theory, anyway.

I found that, rather than getting nail polish on my fingers, I had a hard time keeping the latex off my nails, and had to push it back carefully before I could continue. As it dries very quickly, in a sticky sort of way, this was not especially easy.

When it came to applying the coloured polish, I deliberately splashed it around to see how this product worked. And (patience not being my strong point) I may have peeled it off a little too soon, as some polish came away as well.

On the whole, it was a better job than I managed with the masking tape in the bathroom, which brought away vast zigzags of fresh paint from the skirting board when I attempted to remove it, but clearly I need a lot of practise.

This is a really good trick to master, however, especially for that awkward ‘left’ hand. It’s too much of a liquid to mail anywhere, but I suspect the next daughter to visit may well claim it as her own.


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Opuro Bath Salts

The Hayakawa Valve Production Co. is a fairly unlikely candidate for the manufacture of perfumed bath salts – they usually make water purifiers for safe and palatable drinking water. Opuro salts, apparently, are the result of experiments to produce purified bath water as well.

Many countries use chlorine to sterilise tap water and make it fit for consumption, but some of the chemical always remains in the water and gives it that unpleasant taste and smell, plus the potential to irritate your skin. This bath powder contains ingredients including Vitamin C and amino acids to reduce the amount of residual chlorine in tap water to virtually none, which ought to have a noticeable effect on anyone suffering from dry and sensitive skin.

Collagen and hyaluronic acid are added for a moisturising effect, plus green tea and papain for a refreshing feeling that should last long after you have stepped out of the bath.

This all sounds so scientific and comforting that I would really like to be able to say I noticed a big difference. But in fact, if I hadn’t seen the explanatory leaflet next to these sachets amongst all the other varieties of bath salt in the shop, I would never have known the difference.

Still, my bath (pink water, with the smell of flowers of the southern counties) was very nice, and I loved the idea of this range being ‘cosmetics for bathing’. I’m sure that if sensitive skin is an issue for you, these bath salts would be ideal.


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Tightline Mascara

As with most new things, it takes a bit of practise before you really get the hang of this 3 in 1 eyeliner/lash primer/mascara.

The idea is to press the super thin wand along the base of your lash line, leaving enough colour there  to give an eyeliner effect, then wiggle and sweep it through your lashes for application of primer and mascara combined.

I bought this mainly because it is so small (only 2ml and less than 9cm long) and I thought it would be ideal for my travelling makeup bag – any eyeliner effect would be a bonus.

Because the wand is so thin, you need to be able to see very well close up to wield it properly. Contact lens wearers might find it easier to apply before actually putting their lenses in.

Still, I am pretty pleased with this, not least because it comes off so much more easily than the last mini mascara I bought, which coated my lashes with a plasticky film that was really hard to remove at night. I will probably continue to use my regular eyeliner under my lower lashes, but I found this made a big difference to my upper lashes. If it continues to please during my next trip, I may well be buying a spare.


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Wrinkles Pressing Tape

If ever there was a product which does what it says on the box, this is it…

I found it in Tokyo and was charmed by the blurb which says:  ‘to all ladies who enjoy adding their ages… let’s enjoy creating your beauty of future.’

What it has is 24 shaped and textured strips of adhesive tape, designed to cover and smooth the wrinkles beside your eyes and mouth. I wasn’t entirely sure how long these were supposed to remain in place, although they felt so awkward once on that I did not manage more than a couple of hours. Basically, they feel exactly the way you might imagine a piece of adhesive tape stuck to your face would feel, and they look fairly strange.

They did, however, appear to work, but only temporarily and only on the areas where they were stuck. What this meant was that I had an area of smoother skin in the exact shape of the tape, with a distinct line between that and the natural wrinkles that had not been covered.

I’m not sure how you might get around this problem, except possibly by creating a mask in this material which is designed to cover the whole face…

This is from Magie Lab (a magical laboratory where women can produce their own beauty).


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