Category Archives: Skincare

All about skincare products and devices

Finding an Aesthetician or Beautician

I am not sure how common it is in your home country to visit an aesthetician (aka “beauticians”) to help you deal with your skin problems or even deeply cleanse your skin on monthly basis. Aestheticians are not dermatologists but they are trained to understand the basics of skincare, various skin conditions as well as the products they carry in their shops. In Singapore, there are many aestheticians who also branched into providing spa treatments and massages to their patrons. I visit my aesthetician once every month to deeply cleanse my skin and to unclog my pores (esp those that are deeply seated due to my oily t-zone). It is a lot cheaper than to have to go through painful lasers, IPLs, and pixel treatments.

So how do you choose a good aesthetician for yourself?

1) Know what are your key skin concerns

It is important for you to know you key skin concerns before shopping for an aestheticians. Expensive aestheticians may not mean that they are most able to address your skin concerns. Typically, if you trust word of mouth recommendations, it would be because the person who’d shared with you had certain skin concerns and it has been addressed effectively.

2) Do you have any specific expectations of your chosen aesthetician?

For me, I will turn away from aestheticians whom try to peddle their products after my consultation. I have been to several aestheticians before and they tend to want to sell me their house products or try to have me purchase the products they carry. Personally, I am aware that I am sensitive to certain products, so I am selective about the products that I use. Some parlours went to the extent of insisting you buy from them, or that you take up session packages (e.g. S$x for y number of sessions). I am the type of customer who do not want to be tied down to one aesthetician so packages are out for me.

3) Research for aestheticians who are known to be able to address your skin concerns

Talk to people and ask them about their aestheticians! I still find word of mouth the best form of feedback because you will be able to speak with people who have first hand experience receiving treatment from the aestheticians. Find out what are your friends’ key concerns and whether they think their aestheticians have addressed their skin concerns. Of course, its also important to find out if the price fits into the size of your pocket. If all else seems to be palatable, you can try to arrange for 1 session with the aesthetician to find out if her skills and knowledge are suitable for you. You may end up trying a few aestheticians, but do make sure you give each aestheticians a fair assessment so that you can carry out a fair comparison after your trials. Sometimes, you may find that the aestheticians are more approachable, or the aesthetician likes to impose her views on you. A good aesthetician is one who will listen to your problems and work with you to resolve them.

As the customer / client, it is of course, important that you have the right mindset before you walk into a parlour. This is to ensure you are fair to yourself as well as the service provider.

1) Have the right mindset
As patrons, we need to have the right mindset when we are finding a good aesthetician to provide regular skincare treatment to our skin. Aestheticians can only provide one-off treatments when we visit them, so we are still responsible for taking good care of our skin on daily basis by eating well, sleeping well, and following the regime that is provided to us by our aesthetician. We should view aestheticians as providing that extra skincare step to and not attribute all problems to them without first reviewing if we have contributed to the skincare problem.

2) Aestheticians are not clinically certified doctors
Please be forewarned that your aesthetician should not be prescribing you controlled drugs such as antibiotics or roaccutane (if you are in Singapore). Some aestheticians may think that just because they manage to bring in the drugs, they can dispense to you. This is illegal and dangerous. Walk out that salon door if you are prescribed such drugs and report to the authorities in your country, such as Ministry of Health or Food and Drugs Administration.

I have stayed with my current aesthetician, Face Essensuals, for the last 8 years. Do share with me how it has been with yours!

Origins – Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil

Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing.jpg I bought the first Origins product when I was leaving Singapore for Bali couple of weeks ago. I bought it because I wanted to find an easy to use product (without cotton pads) that will help remove sunscreen on my face. I was hoping to grab something more natural and it is when I came upon Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil.
About the Product

From Origins website, “This lightweight, high-tech, hybrid formula with non-comedogenic, Olive, Sunflower, Sesame and Safflower Oils removes dirt, makeup and pollutants with high efficiency. Kukui Nut and Macadamia help protect precious natural moisture resources. Vitamin E helps reduce effects of environmental hazards such as irritation that can threaten the comfort of skin. Skin breathes freely. And the energizing aroma of Grapefruit, Orange and Lemon renew your spirits.” Most importantly, it is best for all skin types!  Reviews on internet has given this product a thumbs up because of its ability to help improve their skin condition after long term use, as well as unclog their blackheads etc. Some claim that they ditched their original cleansing regime for this affordable cleansing oil!  The only down side is that the product may be a little messy when it comes to dispensing. I read that this product does come with a larger size (not in Singapore) and has a pump. That would definitely improves user experience! 😀

Ingredients (From the Bottle) : Olive Fruit Oil, Safflower Seed Oil, Sesame Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Grape Seed Oil, peg-25 glyceryl trioleate, Macademia integrifolia Seed, Kukui Seed Oil, Orange Peel Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Bergamot Fruit Oil, Grapefruit Peel Oil, cedrus atlantica bark oil, Patchouli Oil, Clary Sage Oil, Rosemary Leaf Oil, Geranium Flower Oil, Australian Sandalwood Oil, Sandalwood Bark Oil, Linalool, Limonean, Sorbital Trioleate, Tocopheyl Acetate

Using the Product

During my 1 week stay in Bali, I had applied sunscreen every morning, and removed it using this cleansing oil at night. I will massage the oil onto my skin for about 1-2 minutes with dry fingers and hands, making sure I massage more in areas where I have larger pores to help unclog it. Then I will wet my hands and gently massage my skin again so that I help to emulsify the oil. This is followed by a rinse of my face.  I find the scent rather soothing and refreshing (scents are quite personal so do try it at the Origins counter before you buy it), and it did clear up my skin  quite well. At least, it stopped further outbreaks on my chin (okay, maybe the restful sleep at the resort did help too) and honestly, my pores do feel cleaner after using it. My skin feels hydrated after rinsing and not taut. No oily feel! It is a bottle that I believe I will restock once my Senka Cleansing Oil is used up. 🙂

Where to Buy the Product

I bought mine at Duty Free Shop at the Singapore Changi Airport and it retails for about SGD35. You can purchase this item from the Origins counter in your home country of course.  Origins USA website retails it for USD29, but I found it slightly cheaper on Beauty.Com selling for USD26.

Have you tried this Cleansing Oil before? What do you think of it?

VDL – GuyLian Expert Colour Lip Cube SPF10

wpid-collage_20150706115428296_20150706115741667.jpgAnother VDL purchase from Koreadepart! Okay, I’m crazy about lipsticks. Especially if they deliver high pigmentation. This lipstick is a must buy because its a developed by VDL in collaboration with GuyLian, the famous chocolate house. I’m talking about the Expert Colour Lip Cube by VDL on the left. You will see the signature Lip Cube in such beautify pink shade that just makes your heart melt. Fair skinned girls out there, you gotta grab this if you still can!

About the Product and Using the Product

A little bit about Lip Cube – its different from conventional lipsticks because its in a cube shaped. Like a long cube or coloured chalk (those of you who like to paint using chalk will know). The sharp corners (as show inset) makes applying lipstick on the lips a breeze and enables more precised application. Expert Colour Lip Cubes come in many colours, but the collaboration with GuyLian gave birth to 3 shades (GuyLian, Seashell & Seahorse) – and the one I’ve got is Seahorse. Beautiful pink shade, isn’t it? They are made to last and by wearing it a couple of hours, I can attest that the texture is more lasting than other lipsticks in VDL range. However, I have yet to test it for longer hours that requires me to eat and drink. I didn’t, however, think that this product is highly hydrating (maybe thats why it lasts longer) but the shade is one to reckon with. It still glides on well but its definitely easier to apply than Illamasqua matt lipstick (tho I do love Illamasqua lipstick!)

Where to Buy the Product

I just checked Koreadepart website again, and they still carry this product. Else grab them from VDL outlets in Singapore or in Korea!

Have you tried any VDL Cosmetics products yet?

First Aid Beauty – Ultra Repair Liquid Recovery

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I bought this product when i was looking for products that can help relieve dry patches.

About the Product
First Aid Beauty aims to create luxurious yet highly effective product for those with problem skin. I bought the product because the ingredients did not contain anything that I know I will be sensitive to or will lead to outbreak on my face. In my recent trip to Bali, i brought this little bottle along to test the effectiveness of the product. Before I go on, here is the ingredient list:

INGREDIENTS
-Avena Sativa Oat Kernel Extract: Relieves itching and soothes dehydrated skin.
-Sodium Hyaluronate: Draws moisture into the skin, plumping the skin and supporting natural collagen levels.
-Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract: Relieves redness and aids in skin recovery.
-Propolis Extract: Repairs UV and other environmental damage, enhancing the skin’s own natural collagen production.

Water, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Propolis Extract, Chrysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) Extract, Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Citrate, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Bisulfite.

Using the Product
I will wash my face and apply a teaspoon of this product on my face before applying anything else. I had used this together with my Albion Herbal Oil Gold and Albion Skin Conditioner. When the watery liquid is dispensed, i will distribute it on both my palms and spread it quickly all over my face. My skin did feel plumped up and somewhat hydrated forbthat few minutes. The redness on my face did seem to calm down slightly but I maintain that SKII Facial Treatment Essence (which I had used for about 2 to 3 years before switching to cheaper pharmacy brands) is much more effective in that department.

I observed that the hydration did not last very long and after using it for a week, I didn’t think it is worth the price. The watery texture does tend to make me feel that I may be wasting the product especially when it drips down my hand.

My verdict? Unlikely to repurchase coz its pricy and did not seem to be as effective as I hope it would be in truly improving the moisture level in my skin.

Where to Buy the Product
Well, I bought it at Sephora in Singapore. Due to my disappointment I didn’t bother to check if its sold online – i believe it would be elsewhere or on its official website.

Have you used any FAB products and worked?

Illamasqua – Lipstick, Blusher, Eye Colouring Pencil and a Small Trial

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I found Illamasqua outlet at Singapore’s Ngee Ann City along the famous shopping paradise, Orchard Road. It was a small outlet with black furnishings filled with mystique. I spoke with the salesperson, who shared with me that their star products are the primers, lipsticks and blushers. She was also kind enough to let me try on the products – the Illamasque Powder Foundation, Hydra Veil, Powder Blusher and Lipstick.

After cleaning my face with a wet tissue,Hydra Veil (one of its star products) was applied on my face. It was gel like that feels very light. Trust me, a small spatula goes a long way! Immediately after, the Powder Foundation was applied on my face using a foundation brush. The foundation went on well on my face and lasted. It helped to even out the redness of my skin so I suppose I can conclude that the coverage is medium. Then on went the blusher (Tremble) and Lipstick (matt, Obey). Really nice natural colour! I can tell that the pigmentation is indeed rich, but I have been warned by the saleperson, that the matt lipstick is really drying for some, so its recommended to put on the lip balm before or after applying the lipstick for increased hydration. Definitely a brand for make up artists and those who like to play with colours!

About the Product

Illamasque is an edgy, British cruelty free brand that brings high performance professional makeup to high street so that it can be widely available.  After trying out the products, I know I’ll kick myself if I don’t buy anything from the outlet. So I bought Illamasqua Lipstick (Obey), the Powder Blusher (Tremble), and the Illamasqua Colouring Pencil for the eyes (Elate).

The Illamasque has two main Lipstick ranges. Lipstick (which is usually matt, and Glamour Lipstick which is glossier and more hydrating. Both carries a wide range of colours. From what I have learnt from Illamasqua salesperson, Illamasqua offers a wide range of matt lipstick – more than other existing brands.  The ingredient list for Obey: Octyldodecanol, Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil),  Oleyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Candelilla Cera (Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax), Cera Carnauba (Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax), Cera Alba (Beeswax), Oxidized Polyethylene,Cera Microcristallina (Microcrystalline Wax), Cetyl Alcohol, Polyethylene, Tocopherol Parfum (Fragrance) And May Contain:  [+/-  Titanium Dioxide Ci 77891, Iron Oxides Ci  77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499, Red 7 Ci 15850, Red 40 Lake Ci 16035, Blue 1 Lake Ci 42090, Red 21 Lake Ci 45380, Carmine Ci 75470, Red 36 Ci 12085, Manganese Violet Ci 77742, Copper/ Bronze Powder Ci 77400, Yellow 5 Lake Ci 19140, Yellow 6 Lake Ci 15985, Red 27 Lake Ci 45410,Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Silica, Tin Oxide, Mica] (Eu Exclusive Shades May CONTAIN: CI 77007, CI 77000). May Contain Carmine As A Color Additive.

I fell in love with the colours in Illamasque Powder Blusher range. The colours are so pretty! (Oh forget about Talc – I know I don’t like products with Talc but how can I resist such highly pigmented product?) The ingredient list for Tremble: Talc, Dimethylimi- Dazolidinone Rice Starch, Mica, Aqua (Water), Magnesium Myristate, Propylene Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Isopropyl Myristate, Glyceryl Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Peg-150, Silica, Ricinus Communis Oil (Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil), Cetearyl Alcohol, Quaternium-26, Methylparaben, Glyceryl Ricinoleate, Ethylparaben,Cera Carnauba (Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax), Candelilla Cera(Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax), Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Stearic Acid, Propylparaben, Cera Microcristallina (Microcrystalline Wax), Tetrahydroxypropyl Ethylenediamine, Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil), Cetyl Alcohol,Cera Alba(Beeswax), Parfum (Fragrance) And May Contain: [+/- Titanium Dioxide Ci 77891, Iron Oxides Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499, Carmine Ci 75470, Ultramarines Ci 77007, Red 36 Ci 12085,  Yellow 5 Lake Ci 19140, Red 7 Ci 15850, Red 21 Lake Ci 45380, Bismuth Oxychloride Ci 77163, Yellow 6 Lake Ci 15985, Manganese Violet Ci 77742, Ferric Ferrocyanide Ci 77510, Red 40 Lake Ci 16035, Red 27 Lake Ci 45410] May Contain Carmine As A Colour Additive. Stop Use If Irritation Occurs.

I had bought Elate because I am in the market for white eyeliners. (Okay, not that I can’t get one from Sephora! I just want to try this so please indulge me…) The texture is smooth and glides on beautifully! The ingredient list for Elate: Cera Alba (Beeswax, Cire DÉabeille), Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, C10-18 Triglycerides, Ceresin, Cera Carnauba (Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Cire De Carnauba), Isopropyl Myristate, Diethylhexylcyclohexane, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Butylparaben, Bht [+/- May Contain / Peut Contenir: Iron Oxdes (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Ultramarines (CI 77007), Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide (CI 77510), Black 2 (CI 77266), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090)].

Where to Buy the Product

Well, at Ngee Ann City Singapore of course! Or you can purchase by ordering online from Illamasqua website, or from BeautyBay.com .

Let me know what you think of Illamasqua products that you’ve used!

Cure – Natural Aqua Gel

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Those of you who’d read my earlier post on exfoliation would have learnt about Cure, a product that I’d recommended for removal of dead skin cell by softening it and not through abrasion (as with scrubs). This, I find, is a safe product to use once to twice a week – though some reviews claim that you can use this more than once on the same day if you feel that your dead skin has not been completely removed (ie your skin still feel rough).

About the Product

Cure is made in Japan by Toyo Net Japan, and it is the company’s star product. You will see from the ingredient list below, that Water is the main ingredient for this peeling gel. There are, in the market, many peeling gels. In Asia, a popular peeling gel by Ginvera is one of the earliest form of peeling gel having dominated the asian market for more than 10 years. However, Cure remains different because it does not react just on any surface; and only turns into milky water when it comes into contact with dead skin. This is the point where one will gently rub to remove the softened dead skin.

Here’s the ingredient list for Cure (taken off Toyo Net website):

WATER-90.66%

Activated hydrogen water from purified water is used.

GLYCERIN-5%

Widely used moisturizing ingredient that contains high hygroscopic nature and has been used for long time.

CROSSPOLYMER (ACRYLARES/C-10-30 ALKY ACRYLATE)

The same liquid as used by ophthalmologists for eye surgery.
We use it for thickener.

DICOCODIMONIUM CHLORIDE・STEARTRIMONIUM BROMIDE

It is to respond to old deadskin. Commonly used for conditioner.

ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF EXTRACT-<1%

An expected ingredient that moisturizes and protects rough and dry skin.

GINKGO BILOBA EXTRACT-<1%

Extract from ginkgo, expected to moisturize, to prevent skin mottle and freckles.

ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS (ROSEMARY) LEAF EXTRACT-<1%

It has anti-inflammation and antibacterial effects and is expected to solve skin problems solutions.

BUTYLENE GLYCOL-<1%

Color-free and scent-free moisturizing liquid

ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL-<0.33%

An ingredient contained in fruits, vegetables, and alcoholic drinks.
We use it to blend stearyltrimonium bromide

Using the Product

Some of my friends had used Cure on their unwashed faces (ie. after removing makeup or if they don’t wear makeup, to use use it before washing their face). However, I realised that it is most effective when I use it after I have washed my face, without Clarisonic (note: Clarisonic have some abrasive effects – hence mild exfoliation). An important step thereafter is to dab dry my face (no water!) before I spread 2-3 pumps of Cure onto my face. I’ll leave it to ’emulsify’ (or turn ‘milky’) before I gently and softly run my fingers over my face to lift the softened dead skin. I will find lots of bits coming off my face. I will do this for about 1 minute before I rinse with cool or room temperature water to remove the bits.  Once done, I will apply my usual toner and moisturizer to protect the new skin that was revealed.

Another use for this product, is to remove long standing grim in hard to reach areas or under the necks, back of the knees, elbows, etc. It has been used on children below 12 years of age to remove grime that they did not wash off during shower – effective!

Where to Buy the Product

Cure is widely available in Watsons in Singapore. This Japanese product is also available in Japan drugstores (I read this somewhere). In Singapore, it retail for about S$42 a bottle but one bottle can last you a few months. Users have to remember that once you open the bottle, you should finish it within a year (the effectiveness will weaken since it does not have the usual preservatives as the website claims).

This is a staple in my bathroom. I hope it will become yours too! 🙂

Hourglass Cosmetics – Ambient Lighting Powder and Ambient Lighting Palette

Hourglass Ambient Series.jpgI have read about Hourglass Cosmetics’ Ambient Lighting Powders and Ambient Lighting Palette. I could not find Hourglass products in Singapore, so I ordered it off its USA website and had it shipped to Singapore. As you can see from the picture on the left, I bought an Ambient Lighting Power (Diffused Light) and Ambient Lighting Palette. I have been using the Diffused Light for a while and I can’t wait to share with you how it felt and what feedback I have been receiving since I started using it. Before I go on, I must thank Dorkchops for sharing with me information on Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder some months back, which helped me figure out which powder to purchase without testing it first.

About the Product

I shall not be talking to much about the ingredients used in the Ambient Lighting Powders and Ambient Lighting Palette. You can look at them through the image that I’ve provided in this post. However I would like to describe to you what I think about the product.  The product is made of finely milled ingredients compressed into cake, which explains why it is fragile and needs to be handled carefully lest it breaks and shatters. If you were to rub your fingers onto the cake, it will pick up a thin film of powder on your finger that gives out such subtle glow when it comes into contact with light. With Diffused Light, the light reflected is subtle yet refined. It is not shiny and really, I can’t see any difference when I dust it on my face with my contoured brush. That’s not important – I mean the whole point about wearing makeup is for others to see, right?

Using the Product

Usually, I wear my bareMinerals foundation and Tarte blusher to work (no lipsticks coz I don’t want lipsticks on my mug – as much as I love my collection of lipsticks). On the first day I tried on Diffused Light, I put it all over my face.  When I got into the office, I was stopped by a female colleague working in the same office, asking me why there is this bright glow on my face. On another day where I decide to change and only applied Diffused Light on my forehead, nose bridge and over my cheek after I’d applied blusher, another colleague whom I’d known for several years sat across me (about 2m away), and commented that my skin seemed to have improved so much (I had problem skin) that there is a glow from within. I laughed and told her its “make up magic”. Honestly, when I got home, I did realise that the Ambient Lighting Powder did seem to blur out my long lasting Tarte blusher and delivered a soft and subtle pink from the blusher. Maybe that’s where the healthy glow from within came from! Boy, I am so going to stock up on Diffused Light when I finish mine!

Purchasing the Product

Hourglass Cosmetics is not available in Singapore – so those in Singapore will have to order the Ambient Lighting product online via its USA website (without going through any shopping agent). If you are using comGateway or 65daigou to help you purchase items from overseas, you can also order Hourglass Cosmetics products from Sephora USA website.

Have you used Hourglass Ambient Lighting? Do you think it has worked for you?

Skincare Tip – Daily Skincare Essentials (Part III)

Hi all, I’m back after a long hiatus. Been really busy at work so here I am sharing with you the 3rd instalment of my daily skincare essentials. This time, its on Moisturizing.

Whether you are living in tropical country like Singapore, or in a temperate country with four seasons, Moisturizing remains an important part of our basic 3-step skincare regime. Each day, our skin, being the largest organ, is exposed to many different contaminants and impurities. Our health constitution from lifestyle and daily stresses adds on to the our skincare condition. So how do we choose our moisturizer?

From my personal experience, selection of moisturizer depends on:

1) Your skin condition – is it normal, combination, oily or dry. Normal skin usually would not have problems with over or under production of natural facial oils in tropical and humid country like in Singapore. However, light moisturizer that helps to retain good skin health remains essential. Oily skin is sometimes what I experience when my hormones are running amok or when I am under severe stress. It felt like an oil field that has no tap on it. 😀 Dry skin folks will know that good moisturizers go a long way. Takes away the dry and painful flakes, and prevents further infections on the skin.

2) The environment that you live and work in – the environment introduces external stresses to our skin, so its important that we use products that work on our skin yet at the same time protects our skin from external stresses. Warm weather increase perspiration, opens our pores but also creates adhesive for dirt and grime to stick on our face and clog our pores. Cold weather dries up the surface of our skin, and forcing more oil to the surface to maintain skin health.

So what do I use to protect my facial skin?

I have combination normal-oily skin, and my skin’s inner layers tend to be oily while the surface is dry. Hence I tend to choose moisturizers that are hydrating yet seals in moisture. The Label Young’s Shocking Mist is a decent product that I’ve been using in the day where I need to put on make up before going to work. The texture of the product seals in moisture for about 4 hours yet at the same time allow the skin to breathe and the perspiration to surface. It holds my bareMinerals Ready Foundation rather well (pseudo primer) and does not clog my pores. Another product that I use is the Albion’s Exage Moist Crystal Milk II and Herbal Oil Gold together with the Albion’s Skin Conditioner to hydrate my skin, depending on my skin condition that day.

As I work in air-conditioned office, my skin will be dry by the time I reach afternoon. This will call for additional step after I cleanse my face at night. Typically I will either apply sheet mask once a week (I use My Beauty Diary series) for more intense hydration, or to apply Neal’s Yard Remedies’ Rehydrating Rose Facial Oil and seal with NYR’s Comfrey and Yarrow Moisturizer at night.

I have subscribed to a website that gave tips on how to treat acne skin recently to learn more from those who had experienced horrible acne outbreaks. Those of you with acne problem may also want to check this site out: The Love Vitamin. Here, she’s recommended to use jojoba oil as moisturizer because it has similar texture as our facial oil, and would help to “tell” our skin not to produce anymore oil. Of course, she has many other tips to share so do check it out and learn from her amazing journey!

Let me know what has been working for you!

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?