Products That Make Me Happy – Summer 2017 Roundup

I like skincare that works as much as the next person, but sometimes I become unreasonably fond of a product not because of what it does but because of how it feels, looks, smells, or tastes. I wanted to do a quick roundup of a few such items because finding one is such a treat!

Disclaimer: All products featured in this post were purchased by me. All opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing an item through an affiliate link does not add any cost to the customer but does help support this site’s upkeep.

Rafra Balm Orange Green Tea

This is a limited edition version of Rafra’s very popular Balm Orange cleanser (I’ve already raved about it here). I’ve tried the regular balm orange before and although it works well, I found the intense orange juice scent off putting. This version smells like like green tea dessert spread. It smells so good I actually had to taste it and it doesn’t taste bad either!

Other things I like about this balm are that unlike your average Korean cleansing balm, this has a gel texture and is polyethylene / microplastic free. Upon contact with skin, the cleanser warms up. At first, the warming sensation annoyed me and felt gimmicky, but now I find it quite therapeutic! I wish I could use this every day but since it’s limited edition (I bought 3 jars to prolong the inevitable) and on the expensive side, I reserve it for nights I want a long, pampering skincare routine and give it time to sit on my skin so I can breathe in the green tea fumes for an extended amount of time before washing it off.

The green tea version of balm orange is sadly sold out. The regular balm orange is available on Amazon JP

Function of Beauty Shampoo & Conditioner

FoB makes customized hair stuff. I ordered a set after Beauty and the Cat featured it as one of their 2016 favorites. My hair profile is straight + coarse + normal, my goals are anti-aging + hydrate + deep condition + replenish hair + shine, and for color and fragrance I went with pepto-bismol pink and grapefruit hibiscus at medium intensity.

I’m obsessed with the color and scent. The grapefruit hibiscus smells more like bubblegum to me so it kind of feels like I’m washing my hair with Hubba Bubba bubblegum! I’ve been quite happy with the cleansing and conditioning abilities – the shampoo does a great job cleaning my thick mop of hair without irritating my sensitive-ish scalp and the conditioner provides hydration without adding weight or creating buildup. Anti-aging affects are TBD and I haven’t noticed much increased shine, but the products deliver on my other 3 goals quite well!

Available on Function of Beauty. Use my referral linke for $5 off your first order (disclosure: I also receive a $5 credit).

Kuramoto Bijin Hand Creams

My favorite smelling beauty product of all time is hands down Kuramoto Bijin’s strawberry hand cream. It smells like the most delicious, perfectly ripe strawberry you’ve ever tasted. I actually keep this at home because every time I use it, I instinctively start huffing the scent from my hands in a NSFW way. Instead, I keep the sake version in my bag and it also smells (really) great, but like sake instead of strawberries.

In terms of function, I’m no hand cream expert but I feel like these creams work better than your average hand product. Honestly though, they could be terrible creams that make my hands dryer and I would still use them!

I don’t think the strawberry hand cream is available anywhere that ships directly to the US. If you are open to using a forwarding service (I use Blackship and highly recommend them) the strawberry hand cream is on Amazon JP and Kuramoto Bijin’s site.
Sake hand cream available on Amazon JP (with AmazonGlobal) or Ebay.

IsNtree Green Tea Fresh Toner

Most green tea skin products smell like terrible cheap perfume and nothing like tea. If someone replaced the liquid inside this bottle with actual sweet tea, I would not be able to tell the difference based on scent. This toner smells like fresh sweet tea and nothing else. As a toner, it’s fine and hydrates but is nothing special, but the scent is so refreshing and always puts me in a better mood. This has been on heavy rotation in my routine this summer and I has quickly become my favorite mist to use. 

Available on MelodyCosme or Ebay.

Dessert Scented Lip Balms

The best lip product ive ever used probably Nuxe Reve de Miel in a jar (tube version is different and not as good). If I apply to chapped lips at night, they will be soft and completely revitalized in the morning. However, I never use it. Whenever I need lip balm, I dig through my stash, ignoring the products I probably should be using and instead pick one that smells nice, which for me usually means it smells like dessert. Here are a few lip products currently on heavy rotation:

  • Glossier Birthday Cake Balm Dot Com
    This is fancy vaseline that smells like birthday cake and has glitter. I like it because I love cake.
    Available on Glossier. I’m a big fan of the coconut flavor too. Use my referral link to get 10% off your first Glossier order (disclosure: I also receive a $5 credit).
  • Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi Balm in Strawberry
    I know lanolin is supposed to be amazing for lips but I don’t really like how it feels and honestly haven’t been too impressed with its effects either. However, this smells like strawberry shortcake, which is enough for me to keep using.
    Available at Ulta.
  • Sidmool Jojoba Lip Essence
    This is actually a legitimately great lip balm – probably one of the best I own. I can’t use Aquaphor because it breaks me out around my mouth but this feels similar and is great at smoothing / softening my lips. It also smells faintly like lemon curd. Winner all around!
    I purchased this from Sidmool via a forwarding service. It is also available on Ebay but with quite a hefty markup. 
  • Manda paste
    This is actually a facial sunscreen not a lip product, but as a sunscreen it’s horrendous. It leaves a terrible powdery white / yellow cast (intentionally) and I am highly suspicious of the SPF 50 claim. However, it smells and tastes kind of amazing, like mexican hot chocolate, and isn’t so bad if I just use on my lips. The white / yellow cast works decently well as a lipstick base and I get to enjoy the chocolates scent all day!
    Available on Manda Naturals.

5 thoughts on “Products That Make Me Happy – Summer 2017 Roundup

  1. BeautyandtheCat | Angela & Renee says:

    How did I not know about the green tea Rafra and dessert spread?!? 😭 My life feels incomplete now.

    I’m glad Function of Beauty has worked for you. A couple of friends we’ve recommended it to are obsessed now. And I am always thisclose to ordering more, but then I remember I have like 4 sets of (ordinary) haircare to use up first 😒 -Angela

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elizabeth Tweed says:

    OMG, plastic-free cleansing balm?! Man, I wish the green tea were still available…

    I also keep seeing FoB haircare being raved about by people I trust, but I also have stuff to use up. And I think my next hair experiment will involve Uka.

    Liked by 1 person

    • V. Rex says:

      They have limited edition versions once a year and (IMO) it’s always a better flavor than orange! Last year was yuzu, which is only my favorite scent ever, and of course I missed it. This year I was prepared!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nailderella says:

    The Rafra balm is so tempting. I can understand why you got 3 tubes. I would still love to try the regular version as the texture seems interesting and different than regular cleansing balms.

    Also, I like this kind of posts, too. It’s different and fun 😉


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