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SK II review: Facial Treatment Essence & Facial Treatment Lotion

When I first used these two products, it pretty much felt like water to me, so I refrained from reviewing them until I had a better gauge of their effects. Now that they’re each about half gone, I think it’s easier for me to review them both. Overall I’d say that my satisfaction with these products is relatively high – I haven’t had any breakouts, my skin does feel firmer and well hydrated. It’s normally quite difficult for me to find facial treatments that prevent acne as well as keep my skin hydrated, as most acne prevention products tend to dry out the skin.

SK II however, seems to focus on increasing the growth rate and renewal of one’s skin whilst keeping it healthy. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I feel like my skin is glowing like its ambassadors Cate Blanchett, Haruka Ayase and Gong Li. lol. the false expectations advertisements bring…

The Facial Treatment Clear Lotion is a liquid lotion, not at all creamy like western lotions tend to be. It’s supposed to be step 2 of the regime, following the Facial Treatment Cleanser.

A blend of AHA, soothing moisturisers and Pitera, this lotion gently but effectively wipes dirt and dead skin cells off your facial zones.

I was skeptical at first about the cleansing power of this lotion, but was pleasantly surprised that it was indeed effective at removing oil and dirt. I’m not sure about dead skin cells since I don’t think they’re at all visible to the naked eye, but my skin definitely felt clean and hydrated after using the lotion.

Scent wise, this product doesn’t have an unpleasant or pungent scent, plus I didn’t detect any alcoholic content in it, which is the norm in most toners and lotions. I’m no nose expert so I can’t describe the scent, but it isn’t floral, it isn’t strong and it isn’t overly artificial either. (process of elimination!) Oh and despite the Pitera content, it doesn’t smell like rice to me, haha.

The Facial Treatment Essence is a step that follows after step 3 (the Mask) and is meant to be used daily, like the Facial Treatment Lotion. Texture and substance wise, it feels and looks exactly like the Facial Treatment Lotion but smells slightly different. Again, it’s not a scent I can put my finger on, so I’ll refrain from attempting to describe it.

Containing more than 90% Pitera, this facial essence helps the skin maintain its natural 28 day renewal cycle, leaving it smooth, radiant and crystal clear.

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to see my skin become “radiant and crystal clear”, but it’s definitely smooth and supple, a feeling I definitely enjoy. And if you’re finding this familiar, well perhaps you’ll remember the Sammi Cheng Advert that showed on our local screens in the past (though I can’t find the Mandarin version..)

I distinctly remember there being a part where she would pat her face and go “pong pong pong” and that’s the exact feeling I get from my face at the moment. My skin is definitely “bouncier” and firmer, whilst being well hydrated. Hopefully, with regular use I’d be able to get the gorgeous skin that the SK II ambassadors have, because price-wise, I’m still unsure if it’s a skincare regime I’d invest in.

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5 Things A Girl Shouldn’t Live Without

It may be a great excuse to start using one of those cute pouches you’ve had around the house (or purchase a new one!), but having a little bag of necessities is an absolute must for me, and so convenient as I just transfer it to whichever bag I plan to bring out for the day. You can check out my post here on the other things that I keep in my necessities clutch, but these are my basic essentials that add a whole lot of convenience to my daily life. Messy lunch? No problem, I’ve tissues to spare. Dirty/dusty desk/keyboard? I’ve got wet wipes! Early/late period or a colleague who had an unpleasant surprise? I’m prepared. Dry/irritated eyes? Eyedrops will ease the pain :)

It also really helps that clutches and little purses these days look so attractive. Plus, for a day to night transition, just dump you big work bag into the car and leave with your cute little clutch!

Generally, as I’m the type who loves bringing everything around, I do look out for clutches that are roomier – not only does this allow me to put more things inside, but it also saves me the horror of having to pick something to leave out, only to regret it when I need it later. So the most important thing for me when buying clutches or bags is to look at its base. A triangular side profile would be best as it means the bag can accommodate more things than a similar item with a flat, rectangular profile. Moreover, I prefer zip/magnet flap bags as they’re the easiest to open in a hurry :)

A Complete Set of Skincare ranks as #2 on my list- because skin care products are specifically formulated to work in a set, rather than on its own. i.e. though you might see some effects on its own, it’s far more effective when used together with other items from the same skincare range. I used to think that pairing a deep cleansing scrub+ pore minimising toner + deep hydrating moisturizer was a good idea, but when I began using skincare sets instead of a host of different brands on my face, I noticed a great difference in their effectiveness! So for those who have combination skin – target one problem at a time instead of tackling them all :)

Besides the need to camwhore, a compact camera is absolutely essential – not just for OOTDs either, but also to have a visible gauge of what your new face maks/ skin care regime/ lifestyle changes are doing for you. Not only is it a great motivator, it’s also an objective take on the new products you’re trying out. Depending on other people’s reviews is not always 100% reliable – some might be paid/sponsored, whilst others rush out reviews without trying them for an extended period of time and most importantly, no one has the exact same skin chemistry as you do. So taking a before & after shot (about 1 month apart) is extremely important in order to find out what suits your skin the best :)

If you’re like me and wear makeup to work on a daily basis, it’s great to have an extra set of brushes on standby whilst you wash one set and wait for it to dry. Allowing your brushes to dry fully is imperative in lengthening its lifespan, so instead of using the hairdryer and blowing directly at it (thus overheating the hair bristles and causing damage), it’s a good idea to have an extra set on standby instead. your alternative brush set doesn’t have to be the expensive type – just get a cheap set from the drugstore! Plus it’ll work perfectly great as a travel set too :)

Last but not least, Face Masks!! I do this at least once a week, usually when I’m doing my hair treatment :) It’s a chance for my skin to rejuvenate itself and I usually pick my masks depending on what skincare regime I’m using at the moment. E.g. , if I’m trying out a whitening range of skincare, I will pick a calming mask to let my face “rest” from the chemical changes that lighten my skin. If i’m using a pore-minimizing skincare range, I’ll pick a deep moisturizing mask to re-hydrate my skin from all the pore minimizing products.

Have a great week ahead! :)

Healthy Skin: Eating Right

While it’s great purchasing slightly more high-end skin products to take good care of your skin, at the end of the day it’s also about how well your body is balanced internally with the right amount of vitamins and nutrients to sustain the healthiness of your skin. Here are some food items that promise to keep your skin healthy and beautiful! If you dislike these food items, no problem! You could still look for these items in skincare products (e.g. facial masks, cleansers ) and use them on a weekly basis.

  1. Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes and Cantaloupes/Rock Melon – have similar anti-oxidants and provide similar skin boosting effects. The Yes to Carrots range of skincare products also has a series that uses tomatoes!
  2. Green Tea – contains anti-oxidants. Avoid adding sugar or milk in order to get the full benefits. Adding either messes with the chemical composition of green tea (means bubble tea is not counted!) If you don’t like drinking it, try adding it to your clay masks instead of water – it’s great for your skin. For those who often suffer from “panda eyes”, try a cold (and wet) green tea sachet on your eyes (that are closed, of course) instead of cucumber. This works perfectly well even after using the sachet for a drink. Reuse and recycle!
  3. Strawberries, Blueberries, any type of berry! They contain many anti-oxidants as well
  4. Broccoli, Carrots and Low Fat Dairy – important sources of Vitamin A!
  5. Omega3 – known as “good” fat, mostly found in fishes such as tuna, shellfish, sardines and salmon. It wards off inflammation and is hence good for the skin
  6. Hazelnuts & Walnuts – Vitamin E!
  7. Oranges, Lemons, Lime, etc – your basic sources of Vitamin C
  8. Eggs/Lean Meat – provide an essential source of iron for those with dark circles or very pale skin. However, do away with the egg yolk if you’re conscious of your cholesterol intake.

Beautiful Skin: Those nasty, nasty Irritants

I’ll freely admit that there have been trying times with my skin – where I seem to have been doing everything right, i.e. cutting down on heaty food, sticking strictly to my skin regime… but somehow acne just keeps popping up. So I hit the books and the world-wide internet for some answers, only to find out that perhaps it wasn’t me that was the problem, it was the products. So if you’re wondering about that stubborn recurring acne that you just can’t figure out, take a look at the products you use on a daily basis.

  1. Shampoo – Do you frequently experience acne or breakouts only at the sides of your face/forehead? Research has shown that in the same way some people are allergic to other hair products e.g. hair dye, hair treatment etc. Many are similarly sensitive to some hair products, in particular, shampoo and conditioner. At the moment, researchers have only studied one particular brand of hair products, Pantene.. but already have conclusive evidence to prove that different women have different tolerance levels for the substances found in shampoos. So take a week off your regular shampoo and conditioner to see if the problem alleviates. If it does, it just might be how you wash your hair that’s the culprit.
  2. Facial Scrubs – Facial scrubs should be used, at most three times a week. The recommended use is 1-2 times a week. Using scrubs too often will be too abrasive on your skin, and might create more opportunities for evil bacteria to have a party. *yucks* The size of the beads of your facial scrub should always be smaller than your pores. This is to ensure that they can efficiently clean your pores, instead of potentially widening them.
  3. Facial masks and treatments – A lot of women believe that if you put on a face mask and feel something, that means it’s working. This is actually both true and false. The feeling of sensation can go both ways – it either means that the product is penetrating well into your skin, or it means that your skin is reacting adversely to the treatment on your face. Tell-tale signs of skin irritation to products would be intense tingling, lasting redness after application and skin being hot/warm to the touch post-application.
  4. Soft toys, Pillows and Bedsheets – Because our skin is programmed to regenerate itself most quickly at night whilst we’re asleep, paying attention to what could be on your face during this period is extremely important. A night cream to protect your skin isn’t enough, because at most it lasts for 2-3 hours til it’s fully absorbed. Ensure that your nightly companions are well washed and not stinky or have surfaces that may be irritable to your skin.

Though I’d like to recommend my favourite products, I’m bearing in mind that each woman’s skin is sensitive to different things, so I can’t possibly stand by these products and vouch for their awesomeness for everyone’s skin. Instead, try out samples! or remember to make swatches of products with their testers whilst at the store. The skin on the back of your palm is the best testing ground because it’s the closest “clone” of your face’s skin on your body :) Love your skin!

Product Review: Moisturizers

Following my post on Hydration, here are 3 Moisturizers I’ve used recently

Granted, unlike skincare products where you can see the visible effects (i.e. fewer pimples/blemishes) etc, moisturizers aren’t similarly visible. Hence, I usually judge such products by three main categories: Hydrating Power, Mattifying Factor, Absorbent Quality.

L’oreal HydraFresh Anti-Shine All Day Hydrating & Mattifying Icy Gel
Hydrating Power: High. Skin feels hydrated throughout the day. I wouldn’t say it has 24 hour’s worth of hydration though. Maybe 8-12 Hours worth.
Mattifying Factor: Satisfactory, 4 -5 Hours
Absorbent Quality: High, Absorbs into Skin quickly, with a refreshing feeling. Not as “Icy” as the bottle suggests.
Texture: Smooth Cream-gel (not as thick or viscous as a gel, somewhat in between). Applies easily.
Scent: No scent

Maybelline Hydra Boost

Hydrating Power: High. Skin definitely feels the effects of hydration
Mattifying Factor: slightly less than L’oreal’s. 3-5 Hours, depending on the weather
Absorbent Quality: Low. Absorbs into skin very slowly, takes about 10-15 mins for product to be fully absorbed, even when applied thinly to the face
Texture: Thick, extremely gel like. However, it is easy to even it out on the face.
Scent: slight scent but not unpleasant, not fragrant either though.

Bodyshop’s Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream
Hydrating Power: Medium. My skin does not feel as refreshed as when using the other two moisturizers
Mattifying Factor: Highest of the lot. Skin definitely stays mattified 5 hours and up, depending on the weather. On a day I spent entirely in an air-conditioned environment, my skin stayed mattified the entire day (which is usually not the case for me, it gets oily within 3-4 hours)
Absorbent Quality: Medium, takes about 5 minutes to fully penetrate the skin, otherwise it leaves abit of a sticky residue.
Texture: Relatively thick, but easily applied to face.
Scent: Exact same scent as Maybelline’s Hydra Boost, which isn’t surprising. Both use the same Seaweed Extract.

Healthy Skin: Hydration

Having and maintaining beautiful skin is not as easy as it seems – certainly there are those who’re genetically blessed with near-perfect skin and call the emergence of one sole pimple a breakout. However, for those who aren’t similarly blessed, it sometimes seems like a steep, impossible slope to climb towards reaching that pinnacle of perfection.

As one who’s been genetically cursed with quite bad skin, I’ve been struggling with acne problems ever since I hit age 12. Those who knew me then would know that I had insanely horrible skin. Pimples were the norm and intense acne breakouts were regular. At first I thought that fate had dealt me a heavy hand, and as my mom used to say, it’s just adolescence, “you’ll grow out of it” <– which is an evil lie. 4 years later, I began my foray into researching and looking up better skincare tips and today I’m proud to say that whilst my skin still bears old pimple scars and has relatively large pores, pimples are no longer a regular occurrence, and I hardly ever experience breakouts. So in our Healthy Skin Series, I’ll be sharing some of my tried & tested skincare tips!

Today I’ve chosen to talk about Hydration. If you’ve been following this blog, you’d know that I’m quite a fan of Hydration products.

Hydration = Healthy Skin

Healthy skin meaning the kind of skin you see on SKII adverts. Hydration ensures that your skin is plump, firm and will age less quickly. Scientific studies have proven that well-hydrated skin ages at a slower rate than dehydrated skin.

Drinking tonnes of water does not mean your skin is well Hydrated

Drinking 8 glasses of water a day is VERY important. It helps to keep your body well hydrated and healthy. However, it does not mean that your skin is as well hydrated. Your body moisturizes and hydrates your skin by secreting oils, otherwise known as sebum. This combination of oils keeps your skin moisturized but also traps dirt and clogs pores. So using a good moisturizer that directly moisturizes the surface of your face will be greatly beneficial.

Moisturizers are for ALL Skin Types

Those with Dry/Flaky skin should use moisturizers with calming oils to soothe the face, whilst those with oily/combination skin should try out oil-free moisturizers. It is essential to note that cleansers and toners that target acne problems for oily/combination complexions are extremely drying to the skin – so using a moisturizer as part of the skin-care regime is essential, otherwise the skin will excrete even more sebum, exacerbating the problem.

So what should you look out for in a moisturizer? Given that there are so many options out there in the market, it’s sometimes difficult to decide – it also depends on your budget as well. However, here are some key ingredients you should look for:

grape seed oil, passion fruit extract, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and wakame kelp (seaweed) extracts 

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