Skincare Tip – Daily Skin Care Essentials (Part I)

Hello lovelies, I am going to share with you my personal list of skincare essentials that I must have these days. I will break the post into a few parts so that its not too long to read. The weather in Singapore has been hot and humid, as well as rather unpredictable these couple of weeks with heavy rain in one moment, and scorching heat the next. Methinks the temperature can go as high at 34 or 35 degrees celsius? Anyway, not the best time to bathe in the sun these days.

My Essentials – Cleansing

Everyone who wants to have good skin knows that cleansing our facial skin is very important step of our daily skincare regime.  If I am wearing makeup, I will first use a mild makeup remover to remove the cosmetics (ie Sephora’s Triple Action Cleansing Water or Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water). The makeup remover will take away the facial oils that has surfaced as well as the compounds of our foundation etc that is left after a long day.  Once that is done, I will wash my face with my favourite amino acid based cleanser, Shiseido’s Senka Perfect Whip Foam which foams up into such fine bubbles that could clean the pores more effectively, together with my trusty Clarisonic. Rinse off after 1 min on Clarisonic, and you’ll have that smooth skin that feels so clean!

About Amino Acid

Those who have been following my blog for a while will know that I have problem skin. I have chosen amino acid based cleansers because they work best with problem skin and causes less irritation. From Love to Know,”Amino acids, at their essence, are peptides. These are proteins, which can have a positive effect upon cells. They can help improve skin that has been scarred or has stretch marks. When used correctly, amino acids seem to be more powerful than an alpha-hydroxy system of skin care in terms of filling lines, smoothing skin and improving tone and color. Even better, they can achieve this with less irritation and photosensitivity.”  From Ping of Health, “Amino acids are today recognized by the skin-care fraternity as the cleansing agent that boasts a pH value that is closest to that of the human skin. Amino acids behave very much like our skin cells; they get a “fever” if temperature exceeds 37 degree Celsius and they will “shrink” if the temperature drops. The enzymes in our epidermis or outer skin thrives best in a mildly acidic environment, as this enables normal metabolism of the horny layer. Such an environment causes only minimal agitation to the keratin protein in the skin, hence will not trigger any concern of skin allergy. It also discourages the production of acne.

Some may find such cleansers to be drying but for combination skin (normal to oily), it worked wonderfully and I have been using it for the last 3 years!

What about your cleansing routine? Did it help you address your skincare concerns?

Skincare Tip – Daily Skincare Essentials (Part II)

Cleansing is important, so is exfoliation to remove older or dead skin cells on the surface of our skin. Both the process of removing and the removal of the dead skin cells are beneficial to our skin and health because the former helps to improve circulation (its like massaging your skin and relevant acupuncture points along with it); while the latter improves the absorption of skincare products and enables the skin to breathe more easily.

My Essentials – Exfoliation

Exfoliation is important. It supports the renewal cycle of our skin as the renewal process becomes sluggish as we age. Removing the old skin helps to maintain that renewal process, brightens our skin and enables the skin to perform at its best. You can find out more about exfoliation here.  Most skincare experts and aestheticians will tell you that exfoliations should not be carried out too frequently. Depending on what you use, ranging from acids, to scrubs to dermabrasions, exfoliations can be as infrequent as once every month or twice a week. Exfoliation may be more frequent if very diluted compound is included in your facial wash – hence its important that you read the labels and monitor your skin condition closely before and after each exfoliation.

I know I’ve blogged about Abidis Peeling A recently. It has helped to smoothen my skin and allows me to use it in the day time like a normal cleanser.  However, considering the price, I still prefer to use Dr. Wu Special Treatment Intensive Skin Renewal Serum with Mandelic Acid or Cure from Japan. These two products are mild and they only remove the dead skin cells. I will post a review of Cure soon, but this has been a trusted product that I use when I find my skin to be rough or dry. I do not need to worry about it over exfoliating my skin because the product (which is water based) only reacts when it comes into contact with dead skin cells. I can use this product twice in a day without causing irritation to my already sensitive problem skin.

There are many reasons for my skin outbreak, and I did notice that my skin renewal is not as efficient after I turn 30 and many times the acne will come out red and painful. I counteracted the problem with Clarisonic which provides some form of exfoliation whenever I use it. I also make it a point not to use Clarisonic when I have used or plan to use Cure to help remove the dead skin cells – to ensure I am not over exfoliating due to Clarisonic’s more abrasive tendencies depending on the amount of pressure exerted on the equipment. I will, however, use Dr Wu’s Treatment Intensive Skin Renewal Serum if I find that my skin is still rough after using Clarisonic, to enhance the exfoliation.

As for frequency of exfoliation, I only do it when my skin feels rough despite the use of Clarisonic. However, I will not use the products every day or every alternate day because I do not believe in regular exfoliation even when the skin is in good condition. A bit of an overkill, don’t you think?

In any case, I do not use Mandelic Acid products in the day, but more at night. The next day, my skin will look brighter than before and smoother too. Nope, I do not have pieces of skin falling off like some AHA or BHA peels. :p

About Mandelic Acid (杏仁酸)

In an article published by Mark B. Taylor M.D in 1999 issue of Cosmetic Dermatology, mandelic acid is “an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) named after the German mandel (almond) and derived from the hydrolysis of an extract of bitter almonds has been studied extensively for its possible uses in treating common skin problems such as photoaging, irregular pigmentation, and acne.”  In an open trial investigation, it was “shown that mandelic acid is useful in suppressing pigmentation, treating inflammatory noncystic acne, and rejuvenating photoaged skin. Moreover it has proven useful in preparing the skin for laser peeling and in helping the skin heal after laser surgery.”  I would recommend that you read this article for more information on Mandelic Acid before you go grab a bottle to try.

What about your exfoliation routine? Did it help you address your skincare concerns?

Label Young – Shocking Mist (Skin & Essence; Lotion & Cream) 2in1 Multi Skin Care

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As you know I have been posting my reviews for Label Young products and indeed I have received high hit rates from my review on their Shocking series (check out my archives!). Most of the searches are made from Vietnam, Thailand and I am grateful for readers from south east asia! Thank you!!

Alright, back to this post on Label Young Shocking Mist 1 and 2.

I have been trying out this product in the day and night for about 2 weeks now,so I think it should be a reasonable point to share what I think of this product.

About the Product
Will update this section when I manage to find out what it contains.

Using the Product
The suggested method is to spray Step 1 on the face (ie the Toner), pat in the product before spraying on Step 2 (ie the “Cream”). What I did was to spray Step 1 onto the palm of my hand before patting the product on my face for absorption. Then I will spray Step 2 onto my hand, spread it between two palms to lightly “warm” the product before i pat the product onto my skin.

The Toner looks gel-ish in the bottle but it liquidfies when it was sprayed and it was liquid once in contact with my hand. The Cream looks like a cream gel in the bottle but when it is sprayed onto my hand, its texture feels like a watery mousse. Now here’s what I find rather interesting: as you know Singapore climate has high humidity and its tropical weather all year round. I notice that unlike some of the products that I have tried previously, my perspiration seem to emerge ON TOP of the skin. Perspiration did not seem to melt the cream or push it off my face. Its as if the cream is water proof! 😁

When I apply my bareminerals foundation over my skin, the cream seems to behave like a primer and held my foundation better (of course it cannot compare with my favourite Laura Mercier primer). Even after moving around for an hour out in the hot tropical weather in Singapore, about 70% of my foundation remained in place. This is completely different from if I had used some other products where my foundation would have ran and left patches on my face.

Will I buy this again? Well the product didn’t break me out and it did seem to have the right texture for my skin. I feel rather refreshed using this product and it also seem to give decent level of hydration for my skin especially when I work in air conditioned environment most of the time. So YES! I will include this product on my repurchase list.

Where to Buy the Product
Koreadepart (EN) is my go-to place. Qoo10 is another online spot that I will grab this product. Else, check out Label Young official website!

Neal’s Yard Remedies – Rehydrating Rose Facial Oil

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I have been using NYR’s Rehydrating Rose for a few weeks now and I am very please with the product.

About the Product
Neal’s Yard Remedies or NYR was first set up in UK as Neal’s Yard Apothecary in 1981 by Romy Fraser. They launched their classic product, Frankincense & Myrrh Skin Cream (later Frankincense Nourishing Cream), which is still a favourite product today. From its website, NYR make their products with “the maximum organic, natural and wild ingredients, and carefully select other functional ingredients (detergents, emulsifiers, surfactants etc) with a view to safety, efficacy and biodegradability.” Their “entire range makes use of high quality organic plant-based ingredients, and we fully disclose our ingredient information with [their] customers, both online and, where space allows, on [their] packaging.” NYR products do not contain the following:

  • No silicones – they coat skin, and impede its natural function
  • No mineral oils – derived from petroleum, and have a tendency to block the skin
  • No parabens – these are linked to hormonal imbalances
  • No GM ingredients – not enough is known about possible long-term implications
  • No phthalates – it’s reported they have toxic impact on humans and animal life
  • No propylene glycol – derived from petroleum
  • No animal testing – unnecessary and cruel
  • No DEA – associated with known carcinogens
  • No EDTA – (powerful metal chelator), and doesn’t biodegrade readily
  • No acrylates – derived from petroleum
  • No nano – not enough is known about its long term implications
  • No BHT – linked to breathing and lung impairment

On the ingredients in Rehydrating Rose Facial Oil (marked as vegan product):

Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Corylus Avellana (Hazelnut) Seed Oil*+, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil*, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Wax, Pogostemon Cablin Leaf Oil*, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil*, Citral, Citronellol, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

Using the Product

After toning your face, place 2 to 3 drops in the palms of your hands to spread before applying on your face. This helps to warm the oil to increase absorption by your skin. Spread the warmed oil on your face, always starting from the center and gently spread outwards. I usually will start from the tip of the nose and then the cheeks towards the ears. For the forehead and chin, i will place one of my warm hands with oil on either sides and apply the product before massaging in: horizontally left and right for forehead, upward motion to either side of the cheeks from the chin. As i work in air conditioned room everyday, i may take one more drop than my usual dose so that I can use the product like a mask to hydrate my skin further. If you do just like me, remember to use a tissue to dab off the excess oil on your skin before applying a light moisturizer over your face to seal in the moisture.

If you use the oil at night like me, you should find that your face brighter and more dewy in the morning. I just love this product!

Where to Buy the Product
All NYR outlets! There is only one NYR outlet in Singapore at Millenia Walk Level 1. Its a small outlet with limited products compared to the outlets in UK. Alternatively if you are into online shopping or daigou you can check out Taobao, Amazon or Qoo10 to see if anyone carries the product into your country.

Please let me know if you are currently using any of the NYR products and what you think of it! 🙂

Abidis – Peeling A

Abidis Peeling A.jpgAbidis Cosmetica is one of the brands under Laboratorios Ximart, which is located in ArrigorriagaI, in the province of Bizkaia, in the north of Spain. Laboratorios Ximart has been doing business for six decades, producing and distributing cosmetics, and hairdressing and personal hygiene products which are sold in twenty five countries in several continents.

My beautician / aesthetician from Face Essensuals recommended me to Abidis Peeling A to improve the clarity of my skin which clogs easily. The product ingredients can be found from the image that I’ve included in this post on the left.

Using the Product

This product is for cleansing and peeling, and it can only be used on dry skin. The product is white and dense, and the texture feels like the Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Masque but more moist.  Apply the product thinly on dry skin and leave it to dry. I leave it on for 3-5 mins usually to benefit from some mild peeling effect to help exfoliate my skin. Given my combination skin condition, my aesthetician recommended that I use this product in the morning, before I prepare for work. I can then wash off the product like a cleanser before I moisturize and put make up on my skin. One can leave the product on till it dries. After I washed off the product, I find my skin hydrated and smooth! After the 3 steps, I find my foundation adhere better on my skin! I also do not experience any over sensitive skin or redness on my skin. Another point to take note is that this product can only be used 2-3 times a week but not every day.

Where to Buy the Product

You can purchase this mild peeling product from Face Essensuals in Singapore, or from online shop Ayurin.

Will I restock this product – probably because this product is pricey! Its about S$125 a tube though a tube can last for a long time.

Skincare Tip – Caring for Dry Patches

Hi all, recently I had a little problem with dry patches. As you know, it was a difficult period for my family when my mom was hospitalised. I’m so glad she is discharged and could be treated at home. Now I can find some time to take care of my skin, which strangely, has gone quite dry of late despite the unusually rainy season in sunny Singapore. The dry patches are on the lower sections of my cheeks and I was quite terrified because I thought dry patches should be almost unheard of in a country where humidity is very high. So what did I do?

Cleansing

No excuses for not cleaning your face after a long day at work or outside. Grime will accumulate and we should learn to clean them off our skin with appropriate cleansers. During the period where I had dry patches (no itch), I continued to clean my skin with my foam cleansers and clarisonic. Please don’t be alarmed, I was very gentle with my clarisonic because the other sections of my face is still normal to oily. The dry patches are only cleansed with my foam cleansers. If you are experiencing itch as well, please switch to milder cleansers and stay away from clarisonic for that day and use Foreo instead. I will recommend the use of Bioderma Sensibio to clean your face or mild cleansing lotion that can be wiped away with soft cotton.

Toning

Some of the Japanese products such as Albion and Shiseido adopts different skincare philosophy and would recommend to reverse the wash-tone-moisturize process. If you are following the usual wash-tone-moisturize procedure for skin care, please use non-alcoholic toners to sooth the already sensitive dry patch.

Moisturize

Regardless of whether you are following the 3 step process or you are adopting Albion or Shiseido skincare steps, I suggest you whip out a hydrating mask like the My Beauty Diary Aloe Vera Mask and put on your face for 15 mins. Massage in the lotion from the mask and use a tissue to dab away excess before applying the following:

– For 3 Step > Apply Facial Oil (e.g. Neal’s Yard Remedies Rehydrating Rose) and/or Facial Cream that works for your skin

– For those using Albion > Apply Albion Herbal Oil Gold before applying Exage Moist Crystal Milk II and Skin Conditioner respectively

Your skin should feel a lot more hydrated the next day. I use facial oils for the next two days and it helped to keep my dry patches hydrated. In fact, I noticed that some of the dry skin flaked off when I gently massage the facial oil onto my skin. I also choose to use foundations that will increase my skin hydration (e.g. bareMinerals Ready Foundation).My skin is now smoother and more hydrated. Of course, drinking lots of water will complement your efforts to keep your skin hydrated.

Hope the above tip will help address your dry patches esp if you live in humid country like me! 🙂