_Can’t Live Without

Garnier Hand Repair Intensive Restoring Hand Cream 2012 2013 1


Garnier‘s Hand Repair Intensive Restoring Hand Cream, launched in 2008 (to replace Hand Cocoon), has been my daily hand cream for years. For a couple of times in the last few years, it was out of stock in all the retail points in my neighborhood for quite some time and I was suspecting that it was discontinued. It happened again a few months ago but it did come back in stock, and I bought a few right away.

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Shiseido ZA Skin Beauty True White Plus Two-Way Foundation 1


After posting about the two new powder foundations from Shiseido ZA, I decided to try both in order to decide which one of them would be the successor to my ZA Two-Way Foundation. Now, after trying both, I present another Foundation Face-Off. (This time, it is sibling rivalry!)

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(This is an update of a previous post, after which I launched the “Can’t Live Without” series.)

Some of you might have read about the heavy snowfall in the UK this week. (It is the heaviest in the last two decades.) With the low temperatures and the drying indoor heating (and all the contact with water from washing my hands), my nail cuticles can be very dry and sometimes even a little sore.

Two years ago I got a 5ml sample of Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream at the counter. I tried it on my cuticles and it worked very well (even better than the L’Occitane Nail & Cuticle Cream I had been using). Later on, a friend of mine was traveling to the US and asked me if I would like her to pick up something. Knowing that it was much cheaper in the US (16 USD in the US and 19 GBP here at the time), I asked her to buy it for me. Even though I do use other items occasionally, I always come back to this when I need some serious moisture.

As most of you know, it is a dense semi-transparent orange-colored gel-cream. (I have tried using it as a lip balm. It works fine, but the smell is a little overpowering.) It contains moisturizing agents like petrolatum, mineral oil, castor seed oil, and corn oil. (I like the fact that it does not contain fragrant plant oils, such as lemon oil or orange peel oil, as they can irritate the skin.)

I am suspecting that one of the reasons that it works well to soothe sore cuticles is that it contains salicylic acid, which is an anti-irritant. (Apart from salicylic acid, petrolatum is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties.)

Because of the dense texture, I only use it before bedtime, on top of my Garnier hand cream. (I don’t feel that I need to use it more often than this.) Out of all the products I have used on my cuticles, I think this one works the best to keep them moisturized and protected.

The Eight Hour Cream can work as a multi-purposed product, but, I think, even if I just use it as a cuticle cream, it is worth the purchase (well…if I can get it from the US…). Plus, a 50ml tube will last a very long time…

Related posts:

My Beauty Weakness: Cute Cuticle Oils

Can’t Live Without: Dove Body Silk

Can’t Live Without: Starbucks Napkins


Earlier this year, I talked about the two replacements (above) of Garnier’s Hand Cocoon, which is one of my favorite hand creams. The red one on the right is very similar to Hand Cocoon in terms of both the ingredients and the texture, and it is what I have been using. It is also far better than the white one on the left.

However, it’s happened again. Recently I have only been seeing the white one in Boots and Superdrug, and I am suspecting that the red one might have been discontinued.

Just to make things more confusing, I have been seeing sporadic stock of Hand Cocoon in Superdrug (in slimmer tubes like the ones above). I bought two today just to get myself through this winter…

Update: The red one (HandRepair Intensive Restorative Hand Cream) is not discontinued and is back in stock.


(Face savers…)

“Why is PJ showing a photo of paper napkins?” you may ask…

These napkins are a hugely indispensable part of my daily beauty-maintenance routine, because they are the best oil-blotting paper I have ever used and only Starbucks has the kind that I like.

It all happened more than 10 years ago when I forgot to carry oil-blotting paper and I had to make do with one of these napkins to matte out the shine. But, to my surprise, it was so absorbent and worked so efficiently that my remaining stock of blotting paper was then left untouched for years.

Made with 100% recycled paper in a bleach-free process, these napkins work very well as blotting paper and normal tissue paper simply can’t compare. One sheet is more than enough for a whole day running around outdoors during summer.

If you have oily skin and need several sheets of blotting paper at a single “blotting session”, do try one of these next time. But do be gentle, since these napkins are obviously not designed for the face and the texture is coarser than the usual blotting paper. (But, interestingly, I have noticed that the Starbucks napkins are getting thinner and softer over the years…)

Other things I can’t live without:

ZA Two-Way Foundation

RMK Cleansing Oil N

Garnier Hand Cream

Dove Body Silk


(Garnier Hand Sensitive Soothing Restorative Hand Cream
& Hand Repair Intensive Restoring Hand Cream)

Last November, I posted about Garnier’s Hand Cocoon hand cream in my “Can’t Live Without” series. But, earlier this year, I discovered that Garnier had discontinued Hand Cocoon and replaced it with two new products, which you see above.
I checked the ingredient lists of these two items in the shop, and it appeared to me that the Hand Repair Intensive Restoring Hand Cream had a much more similar list of ingredients (to that of Hand Cocoon) than the other. But I decided to buy the two anyway and see how they would work for me.

As I expected, the Hand Repair Intensive Restoring Hand Cream works much better for me. (The Hand Sensitive Soothing Restorative Hand Cream feels a little greasy and doesn’t absorb as well.)

(my chosen one)
Essentially, my comments on Garnier Hand Cocoon apply to this hand cream. The texture is very similar, and all the great attributes remain. The only slight difference is the scent.
I am relieved that the formula is basically kept, and I enjoy using this as much as Hand Cocoon. I am happy to say that the affordable Garnier still produces the hand cream that I can’t live without!

Related Body/Hand Care Posts:

Dove Body Silk

E45 Endless Moisture Range

Neutrogena Body & Hand Care


(Shiseido ZA Two-Way Foundation)
This favorite foundation of mine got a very brief mention in my post on my foundation routine almost precisely a year ago (the one in the cherry-pink case). After I did a couple of Foundation Face-Offs (SUQQU vs. Chanel and Lunasol vs. Coffret D’Or), I thought I should highlight my favorite foundation for the past few years.

Launched in 1997, ZA is a drugstore brand from Shiseido that is targeted at those in the mid-20’s. What is interesting about ZA is that it is a Shiseido line that is not sold in Japan. According to ZA’s website, it is available in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Indonesia, and Hawaii.

(ZA Two-Way Foundation)
(I wear #22.)
(image from www.za-ny.com)

Even though Sofina’s Raycious is also one of my favorite foundation lines, its annual powder foundation releases over the past few years seem to be getting paler and a lot more luminous. (I prefer a satiny matte finish.) Despite their very good sebum-control efficacy, the overly luminous finish doesn’t really suit me. This is where ZA comes in (while I use Raycious foundations mainly for highlighting and precision concealing).

For me, a good foundation should even out my skin-tone (particularly the mild redness), offer a medium coverage, create a matte finish, control shine, and minimize the look of pores. ZA’s Two-Way Foundation does all of these relatively well.


SPF 20, PA ++, 8 shades (see above)


The finish is predominantly matte with a very subtle and natural luminosity.


The texture is more on the dry side (which is good for sebum control). Among major Japanese cosmetics lines that release different powder foundations for spring/summer and fall/winter, this foundation’s texture is more like that of a spring/summer release.


The coverage is around medium, and it covers mild redness and minor imperfections quite well. (I wear #22, a light-to-medium shade with a subtle yellow undertone. It evens out my mild redness effectively and gives a very natural look.)

Pore Coverage

It offers relatively good and pleasantly long-lasting pore coverage.

Shine Control

The shine-control ability is fairly good. The slightly drier texture makes the powder absorb sebum well, and the absence of shimmery particles means that the shine does not look more pronounced than it already does. (But it is worth mentioning that Coffret D’Or’s new Beauty Lasting Pack UV has an even better shine control ability.)

Lasting Power

It has a very good lasting power, which manifests in two ways. Firstly, what happens with some powder foundations I have tried is that, after I blot out the shine for several times during the day, the foundation starts to look patchy and cakey. But I have rarely experienced this with ZA. Also, the shade of the foundation darkens very minimally and only after a very long day. Sometimes I have to have my makeup on for more than 12 hours and this foundation still looks pretty good right before I take my makeup off.

Overall, this foundation really suits me. Even though there are a few other powder foundations I’ve tried that perform better in one or two categories above, this is by far one of the most well-rounded foundations that I have used so far in terms of my personal foundation-wearing preferences.

Unfortunately, for those of you that might be interested in ZA but don’t live in the regions mentioned above, I have not yet come across a website that carries ZA and delivers internationally. But I will keep you updated if I have more information.

Updated on April 2nd, 2008:

– Two readers have told me that ZA is no longer available in Hawaii.

– A reader has noticed that some ZA items are sold on-line. Please refer to the comment section for the link.

Thank you all for the alerts!

Related Posts:

Paul & Joe Foundation Primer N

Raycious Pressed Powder

Lavshcua Loose Powder

(For me, all of these work well with ZA Two-Way Foundation.)

Other items in my “Can’t Live Without” series:

Dove Body Silk

RMK Cleansing Oil N


(RMK Cleansing Oil N)
(image from www.rmkrmk.com/global/)

RMK Cleansing Oil N is the cleansing oil of my choice before and after I was using the cheaper Boots Botanics Essential Oil Wash Off Cleanser, and this is one of my favorite makeup removing products.

To be specific, Cleansing Oil N, out a couple of years ago, is the new version of Cleansing Oil. But I don’t feel that there is any substantial difference between the two versions. Both are equally great.

Like most other cleansing oils, this one cleanses very effectively and melts all water-proof makeup. But three aspects of this cleansing oil stands out for me:

1. It emulsifies very well upon rinsing. There are several cleansing oils I have tried that don’t emulsify very well and leave a greasy film. Even after using a face wash, sometimes my face still feels somewhat greasy. This one leaves the skin very cleansed and fresh. Very occasionally I even forget to wash my face with a face wash immediately afterwards.

2. It is very gentle for my eyes. A couple of cleansing oils that I actually really like can leave my eyes dry if they get into the eyes while dissolving eye makeup. This one is very gentle for the eye area and never feels irritating.

3. With mainly olive, avocado, and grape seed oil, the texture is very light and it spreads wonderfully easily. I find that I don’t need as much per appplication, compared with other cleansing oils.

I am very glad that RMK became available in the UK several years ago, so there was no doubt which cleansing oil I was going to switch (back) to after the Boots Bonatics Oil Cleanser was discontinued.

(Note: Currently, UK is the only place outside Asia where RMK products are available.)

Updated on January 27, 2008:

In the comment section, Jami from Bionic Beauty asked about the ingredient list of this cleansing oil. So here is the full ingredient list of RMK’s Cleansing Oil N that I happen to have saved for future reference. (Please click on the photo for a much larger version.)

(the full ingredient list of RMK Cleansing Oil N,
on the back of the outer packaging)

Related Posts:

I also can’t live without:

Garnier Hand Cocoon

Dove Body Silk


(Dove Body Silk Beauty Body Cream)

Today I am bringing you another product that I can’t live without!

I first bought Dove Body Silk simply because I decided I was not going to buy a body moisturizer that came in a bottle. With or without a pump, it could be quite a pain at the end with all the scraping to get the last bit.

I remember trying Boots Botanics Nourishing Body Butter, which came in a jar. It was very moisturizing but slightly too greasy. I then bought a Garnier one (which has been discontinued) but I later thought the per-ml price was a bit too high for a budget line.

Then I bought Dove Body Silk and this turned out to be one of my favorite body moisturizers ever.

It smells pretty good. (It is hard to really love a body moisturizer if I don’t like the smell.) I wouldn’t say it smells absolutely heavenly, but it has a faint soft comforting smell that I like very much. Apart from body products from a fragrance range, I don’t usually like those with a strong smell. So this one is absolutely fine with me.

It has a light cream texture and spreads so easily and evenly. It takes less time to apply than many other body moisturizers I have tried. The skin is left very effectively and delicately moisturized with no greasiness or heaviness.

But I think what I love the most about this body cream is how the skin feels after each application. I still remember how surprised I was after I put it on for the first time. I was just making sure that everything was absorbed, and I felt that the skin was so delightfully silky smooth. My skin never felt like this before, I have to say.

The product is named Body Silk, which, for me, is quite spot-on. I think I will definitely continue to enjoy it (and all the silkiness) as long as it is available.

Related Posts:

I also can’t live without: Garnier Hand Cocoon
(top-notch hand cream)

Haircare Review: Dove Cool Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner
(a great match)


(My favorite hand cream:
Garnier Hand Cocoon)

Today I launch another series, Can’t Live Without, where I share with you my own makeup and skincare must-haves.

I am starting with my favorite hand cream, Garnier Hand Cocoon.

My hands can get dry in whatever weather/climate I am in, so I have to have a hand cream next to me wherever I am. Unlike my facial skin, which is the very fussy oily-dry skin and requires many trials and errors in terms of finding the right moisturizers, my hands are relatively easy to care for. Basically, for me, a hand cream can never be too emollient.

The only thing is, many poorly formulated hand creams simply coat the hands with a layer of grease. They are not absorbed into the hands to really moisturize them.

Among all the hand creams I like, Garnier Hand Cocoon is the cheapest and the most moisturizing.

The texture is quite dense, but it sinks in very well and does not leave hands excessively greasy or slippery. (I can’t say it is completely grease-free, but it is far less greasy than most other (much less moisturizing) hand creams I have tried.) Overall I enjoy the texture and the moisturizing properties extremely well.

Apart from using it constantly throughout the day, I put a thicker layer on and massage it into the hands (followed by a cuticle moisturizer) just before bedtime. It really conditions the hands and gets me ready for the next day.

I have been using this for the last three years and this has been an indispensable item for my hands. I have been recommending this to some of my friends who need a heavy-duty hand cream, and the feedback is good!

Two great alternatives if Garnier Hand Cocoon is not available where you are:

-L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream
-Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream

More of my cosmetics must-haves to come later!

Related Posts:

Two of my favorite daytime moisturizers:

Olay Multi-Radiance Daily Illuminating UV Fluid SPF 15
Estee Lauder DayWear Plus SPF 15
(Both have ingredients protecting against the aging UVA.)

The exfoliator I have been enjoying using:

Boots No. 7 Gentle Renewing No Grains Exfoliator
(Indeed, it is gentle.)