Summer 2017 Empties

Disclaimer: All Swanicoco items mentioned except the Snail Fermentation Snail Emulsion were provided to me at no cost as press samples. 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.

My least favorite thing about summer ending is being cold when I wake up. My second least favorite thing is no longer being able to get by with half-assed, abridged skincare routines I’ve been doing more often than not the past couple of months. It is time to seriously overall my routine and gear up for Autumn.

Luckily, I’ve managed to polish off a lot of things I was using this summer, which should make transitioning more seamless. Here are my most recent 3 (or 4?) months worth of empties:



From L to R:

  • Mochitto Mochi Mochi Awadate-Irazu Face Wash – Full Review – this is my long-time favorite morning cleanser / second cleanser. It is gentle and not at all drying, mildly acidic (pH 5) as to not disrupt the skin’s acid mantle, only contains gentle surfactants, fragrance-free, and has adorable packaging. Will definitely repurchase.
    Available on Ebay, Yesstyle, and Rakuten
  • Muji Cleansing Oil – I bought this giant 400ML bottle thinking it was the Muji sensitive skin cleansing oil, which I love, but because Muji US has terrible labelling practices ended up with what I believe is the mild cleansing oil. It’s still very decent and if you prefer a thinner, runnier oil, this is a great value. I was happy to use this up but definitely prefer the thicker, more unctuous sensitive skin version. Will not repurchase.
    Available at Muji stores and on Ebay
  • Misao Xiva Fermentation Cleansing Serum – I bought way too many bottles of this off some store on Rakuten that was having a crazy sale. It has great ingredients and works fine for the most part, but it irritates my eyes and Bioderma Sensibio H2O, which is cheaper, does not. Will use up the 2-3 remaining bottles I have but will not repurchase.
    Available on Rakuten and Ippin
  • Heroine Long Shampoo and Treatment – These were a GWP from Image Beauty Store’s grand opening. They are very decent products with just enough cleansing function to power through my dense, thick hair but gentle enough not to irritate my scalp, something 70% of the shampoos I have tried fail to do. Not my favorite shampoo but definitely good. Will not repurchase.
    Available on Imomoko (Shampoo, Treatment)
  • Simple Cleansing Wipes Radiance – For such an unexciting, functional product, it’s hard for me to find cleansing wipes I like. Some contain ingredients that break me out or use material that is too thin or too scratchy. A lot contain fragrance and conceptually the idea of having lingering fragrance residue on my skin from a cleansing tissue bothers me. A lot simply don’t clean well. These are my favorite my a long shot. 99% of the time I use these for removing sunscreen from my neck when I don’t have time to shower but they also work extremely well cleansing makeup, sunscreen, or other unwanted things from my face.
    Available on Amazon.



From L to R:

  • Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture GelSee full review – my go-to incidental-exposure body sunscreen for summer. I like it because it’s completely white-cast free, dries reasonably fast, and sebum-resistant. I rarely use it on my face because it contains hydrolyzed collagen which gives me mild skin congestion. Will repurchase.
    Available on Rakuten, Amazon, and Ebay
  • Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery EssenceSee full review – Glad to be done with this. I like this better than the 2017 watery gel, but it’s thicker and overall less pleasant to use than the 2015 version that it replaced. Will not repurchase.
    Available on Amazon US, Ebay, or Rakuten
  • Nivea Sun Protect Plus Skin UV Cream – This was a recent discovery and has quickly become my favorite budget-sunscreen for face. It’s white cast free and unlike 90% of Japanese sunscreens I’ve tried, it doesn’t make my face super shiny! Unfortunately, it seems to be discontinued.
    Available on Adam Beauty
  • Nivea Sun Protect UV Milky Essence – I’ve gone through more tubes of this sunscreen this year than any other sunscreen. It’s awesome – creamy texture, dries quickly, no white cast on my NC25-30 skin, resistant to sweat and sebum, and is frequently available on Amazon US without much markup. It has a “dewier” finish than the Nivea UV Cream (which I consider a negative) but it’s a reasonable amount of dewy.
    Available on Amazon US, Rakuten, Ebay

FTEs, Lotions, and Emulsions


From L to R:

  • Swanicoco Fermentation Care Toner and EmulsionSee Full Review – I really like these, particularly the toner. They’re full of fermented ingredients and have great brightening and hydrating effects on my skin. I just wish they didn’t have such a floral scent. Of the two I prefer the toner. Maybe repurchase.
    Available on Yesstyle (toner, emulsion) and KoreaDepart (toner, emulsion)
  • 2Sol Galactomyces Power Ampoule – This has been my go-to travel FTE (it’s labelled an ampoule but I use it as a first essence) for some time. It’s conveniently packaged and decently hydrating, but I don’t love it. The texture is a little more viscous than I like with first essences.
    Available on Ebay and Testerkorea
  • Matsuyama Light Moisture InfusionSee Full Review – One of my favorite hydrating products ever. It makes my skin more resilient and leaves it so soft. Will repurchase.
    Available on Amazon US and Amazon Japan
  • Swanicoco Extra Hydrating Waterfull EmulsionSee Full Review – The thickest of all the Swanicoco emulsions I’ve tried. It has a lush musky scent with hints of lavender and peppermint. It does not layer super well but during the summer, it’s rich enough to work as a final step moisturizer. Will not repurchase.
    Available on Koreadepart and W2Beauty
  • From Nature Age Treatment EssenceSee Full Review – This is my third bottle and certainly not the last. It’s cheap ($10 – $20, depending on where you buy it), deeply hydrating, and noticeably brightening. It’s such a great value product. Will repurchase.
    Available on Ebay and Koreadepart
  • Swanicoco Fermentation Snail Care EmulsionSee Full Review – This is the very first Swanicoco product I ever tried and still one of my favorites! It’s rose-scented, has a gorgeous silky texture, and is a joy to use. Will repurchase.
    Available on Koreadepart and W2Beauty
  • Illi Total Aging Care Body Lotion – This is a body lotion. I like the semi-sweet, herbal scent and easily spreadable texture, but it’s no match for the dryness of my skin, unfortunately. Will not repurchase.
    Available on Amazon



From L to R:

  • Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum – I’ve gone through 3 bottles of this. It’s the worst smelling vitamin C serum I’ve used, but for a long time, it was my go-to Vitamin C serum because it doesn’t leave my skin parched as I wait for it to sink in. However, it was recently reformulated and the new formula is less dry-skin friendly. I still have one more bottle to go through but will not repurchase after that.
    Available on Drunk Elephant and Sephora. Also, you can get 20% off your first Drunk Elephant order here.
  • Swanicoco EGF and FGF AmpoulesSee Full Reviews – These two ampoules work really well together to smooth and revitalize dull skin. The EGF in particular seems to have rather impressive healing powers. I would love to continue using these but they are so tiny and so expensive. Will not repurchase.
    Available on W2Beauty (EGF, FGF) and Koreadepart (EGF, FGF)
  • Andalou Naturals Turmeric + C Enlighten Serum – Turmeric is such an amazing anti-aging ingredient. Taking orally, it induces the synthesis of glutathione (major brain antioxidant) and is massively anti-inflammatory. I was curious to see what this would do for skin especially since I’ve had really good luck with the Vicco Turmeric Cream. Unfortunately, I didn’t really notice any effect, good or bad.
    Available on Amazon
  • Acure Marula OilSee Full Review – Marula oil is known for being lightweight and thin, which are usually good properties in a face oil, but I didn’t love this. Used by itself, I don’t feel like it sank into my skin particularly well.
    Available at Whole Foods and on Amazon

And here are ALL the empties in one pile, waiting to be (finally) tossed!


5 thoughts on “Summer 2017 Empties

  1. kpaint says:

    Hi – I subscribe to your blog but I don’t think I’ve ever commented. We have similar skin (mine’s not dry per se, but is “mature” and needs a lot of hydration) and there’s a lot of overlap in what we like, so I’m always up for reading about what works for you. (I’ve bought a handful of Swanicoco products based on your reviews, liked them all and love more than a few. The Fermented Snail Emulsion, in particular, is dreamy and I also love its lingering wet rose scent.)

    Reading about your struggle with shampoo, I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried the cleansing conditioner route. I suffered from an itchy, flaky, inflamed scalp for 20+ years. I tried baby shampoos, just about every dandruff shampoo on the market, shampoos with tea tree, shampoos with soothing herbs like rosemary, and a bajillionty kinds of scalp-soothing oils, sera, sprays, etc. Finally I realized I’m sensitive to SLS, and stopped using products with SLS (which also irritate my face and skin, turns out.) That helped but didn’t entirely solve the problem. Finally, I stopped using shampoo altogether and it did. It also solved the problem for my husband who’d seen a dermatologist over the years for the same condition with no improvement.

    There’s all kinds of info out there on the CC method so I won’t go into any detail except to say that you can use just about any conditioner as a shampoo replacement. I use both standard conditioners and those marketed as cleansing conditioners. I will add that one has to stop using hair products with most silicones when going this route. As part of that process, I also discovered that my scalp is massively irritated by dimethicone, so that was serendipitous.

    Anyway, thanks for the blog and your informative posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • V. Rex says:

      Ive been doing some research into this! Thanks for the suggestion! My hair is super prone to build up so now I’m wondering if dimethicone is the culprit for some of my scalp issues too 🤔


  2. thomasina says:

    Okay, your blog is giving me life. Like, not only do I have a similar skintype to you (dry; prone to flaking at the worst of times, etc) but I really dig that you aren’t a sponsored blog and cop to buying most of the products yourself. And how satisfying is that photo of all those empties???
    So, serious question: how can you tell a Japanese sunscreen’s expiry date? I know many brands change packaging year by year, but that’s my only clue as to when it’s made and then I extrapolate when it probably expires – there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent of the expiration date printed on US/European sunscreens, or Korean products with their printed manufacture date. What am I missing, O Beauty Oracle?


    • V. Rex says:

      YAY SKIN TWINS! I’m so glad you find this helpful!

      Japanese sunscreen expiration dates are definitely a mystery! There are some bottles I can’t figure out. The ones I have been able to figure out seem to use Julian dating to indicate when the batch was produced. For example, with my Anessa sunscreen, there’s a number on the bottom that says “7180HD.” My understanding is that this is the production date. The first digit corresponds to year (7 = 2017) and the next three digits correspond to the day of the year. In this case, the 180th day of 2017 is June 29, 2017. From there, I add two years (which is pretty typical with skincare products unless indicated otherwise) and assume an expiration date of June 29, 2019. I can’t say for sure this is accurate, but that’s the best way I’ve figured out to try to determine expiration.


      • thomasina says:

        Eeek, super belated response! But I’m super grateful for your reply!!
        That’s like…the best explanation I’ve come across. I loooove how Japanese sunscreens get all the effective (& gentlest imo) chemical UVA/UVB ray-cancelling, PA top-rated ingredients that the FDA hasn’t allowed in the US*, but I’m eternally baffled by the expiration date thing (& the roulette wheel of ordering online). Weirdly, my current HG Japanese SS doesn’t have Julian dating or any sort of recognizable code/number combo! (It’s Sunkiller Perfect Strong Moisture SPF 50 PA ++++ : I dig it, but I suspect you’d personally find it overly on the shiny side. It’s alcohol-free & my skincare kryptonite happens to be alcohol in sunscreen – it’s why I’m not simpatico with most of the Japanese ones everyone lurves, sadface.) Anyways I scoured the packaging like a WWII codebreaker: it’s definitely the 2016 boxing according to Rakuten’s photos, but the only clue is ‘B61′ printed at the bottom of the bottle which is, like, WTF. I can only hope that I find another HG SS that has some kind of decipherable date!!

        *…. (and that are rare/possibly regulated or not commonly available in Korean sunscreens? I’m half Korean, and my mom regularly sends her sister this one US anti-aging+retinol 100% chemical ROC sunscreen which is (the sister’s) HG because although the PA rating isn’t tops, it doesn’t leave a white cast like most Korean sunscreens do, plus has retinol, which Korean products have a weird relationship with in general imho.)
        I haven’t been back to the EU for a while so I haven’t picked up any nice chemists’ Mexoryl SX/XL etc (I am so eternally mad at the FDA for not allowing Mexoryl SX in anything over SPF15 form in the US arrrgh). So for myself it’s back to EltaMD UV Facial, & their UV Lotion for the ol’ bod (if you’ve not tried them In Case of Emergency Skin Trauma they’re designed for post-laser/chemical peel skin – but I think you’d prob definitely find UV Facial a bit greasy for your preferences; I’m on the verge myself).

        BTW you have me wanting that From Nature Age Treatment Essence so bad!! Mostly cos the ingredient list is so simple (fewer random botanicals than the norm: awesome for some, but again, les jeux son fait whenever I try ’em), & the hydrating properties. It’s funny, the difference b/w brands which kick off in Korea/Seoul (man is there a HUGE diff between what’s hype between my Seoulcite relatives and my Jeolla ones) vs the ones which are big in the West or hyped on Western social media. I tried the IOPE Bioessence that I think kickstarted the Korean SK-II knock-off trend (my mom sent me some) but I found it rather drying, so this sounds like a dream. I’m putting it on my list for when I’ve accumulated enough of a satisfying pile of empties to justify new purchases!


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