CLEANSER

I have used tons of brightening products (some were really expensive!) in the hope of improving the appearance of the pigmentation problem on my complexion, but I hardly reviewed any on the blog because they never worked for me. You may have heard me saying some brightening products did improve the skin luminosity, but I would have never said that my freckles were faded after using them. So today I’d like to introduce you to an amazing and phenomenal product that really worked – the SkinMedica LYTERA  brightening complex, which is probably the only product I have ever used that made a big difference in reducing pigmentation!

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The SkinMedica Lytera was recommend by my dermatologist after I received several IPL sessions (see this post). Had he not introduced this brand to me, I would have never heard of it. I started using this product 6 months into having the IPL done when I noticed that my freckles had started re-emerging! I was very keen on seeing the result because I read so many great reviews about it on the internet and some have even described the result of using Lytera to be on par with the effect of having IPL. At first I was disappointed with the result as I didn’t see much of an improvement after a few weeks. So just like many other skincare products, I kept on using it without holding my hope high..and it was around the 2 month mark where the ‘transformation’ happened – my freckles were noticeably faded. The result was not as dramatic as if having a laser, but I do remember there was one morning I looked into the mirror and I could not believe how clear my complexion looked again. I even re-wiped my mirror just to double check!

The Lytera has a very lightweight gel texture that is absorbed into the skin immediately. It is slightly hydrating but if you have dry to very dry skin, you will need a better serum for hydration purposes. It doesn’t sting and nor does it make the skin red. One thing to note is that if you are using this product during the day, be sure to apply lots of sunscreen as it does make the complexion slightly more sensitive.

I have just finished my first bottle of Lytera which lasted about 4 months (one pump per application), and I am up to my second bottle. I didn’t see any further improvement after 2 months, so this is more for up-keeping.

SkinMedica-LYTERA-Skin-Brightening-Complex-aha-bha-exfoliating-cleanser-review-2Ingredient list

 

Also a brief review on the SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser which I also can’t stop gushing about. It’s a clear gel cleanser with micro-beads in it and I use it every night with my Clarisonic (reviewed here).  It makes my skin very clean without stripping off the moisture, keeps the pores clear and makes the skin texture incredibly smooth. If your skin texture is looking uneven and feeling a little rough, or if you think your makeup is just sitting on top your skin (doesn’t sink in) then that is most likely because your skin is in need of a better exfoliation product. If it is still a mild case I highly recommend incorporating at least one product that contains BHA/AHA such as this cleanser into your routine. Using it in conjunction with the Clarisonic, they help to improve my skin texture dramatically and make a big difference in how good  my makeup holds.

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Morning cleansers play a very important role in my daily skincare routine. Not only do they have to gently cleanse the skin and provide skincare benefits, I also like them to be soothing and uplifting to make me feel better as I am just not a morning person.  This is a review for some of my all time favorite cleansers for morning use, and they are all lotion/cream type as they are gentle enough for all skin types without stripping the moisture off.

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Elemis Rehydrating Rose Petal Cleanser -  I am a big fan of this luxury spa brand, and this is my favorite product from this line (my 5th bottle!). If you love rose scent, you would absolutely fall in love with this cleanser. It smells like the most delicate fresh roses just cut from your garden, and makes you feel so relaxed and pampered when you use this cleanser in the morning. It has a very lightweight milky texture, and feels very gentle on the skin and makes your skin feel silky and supple after use. It is not a heavy duty cleanser (not for removing full makeup), but good enough for taking away the oil and dirt build-up from overnight.

THREE Balancing Cleansing Milk – Another heavenly scented cleanser that I am obsessed with. THREE is a luxury organic Japanese beauty brand, and this cleanser is made with a blend of premium skin nourishing essential oils and purified bamboo and rose flower water. It has a creamy milky texture, does a great cleaning job (can also be used as a makeup remover) that melts away all the dirt and makeup and replenishes the skin’s moisture at the same time. It is gentle but also has some purifying properties that help to balance the oil and moisture of the skin. My skin feels supple and hydrated after use. More information can be found on THREE website.

IPSA Premier Line Cleansing Creamy Paste – I love exploring premium Japanese skincare lines, and this is another luxurious cleanser that I splurged on. It is a lather free cleanser in an interesting creamy paste texture. Though this premier line targets at anti aging and face lifting, I find this cleanser to be very refreshing and hydrating. It feels creamy but light weight on the skin, and it has a slight minty sensation which helps to make me feel uplifted in the morning. It contains enzymes so it helps to dissolve dirt and provides a very mild exfoliation to the skin.

Antipodes Organic Hallelujah Lime & Patchouli Cleanser -  Last but not least, I wanted an affordable and readily available cleanser that is just as good as the expensive ones as mentioned above.  After testing a whole bunch of them, my favorite is the Antipodes. It has this expensive invigorating aromatic scent, and it cleans and cares for the skin at the same time which makes it a great morning cleanser. This product is best to be used within 3-4 months, as with most organic products that have a heavy base of oil, the scent changes slightly over a period of time after it opens. This is normal (just like cooking oil) and is probably a good indication that this product is all natural and contains no preservatives! Currently 40% off in Australia here.

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My other recommendations that are not shown in the picture include the Decleor Aroma Cleanse Essential Cleansing Milk and the Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser. They all work very similar to the other ones – gentle, soothing, and rinse off without residue which is what I look out for in a good cleanser!

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It seems soaps have become the “IT” facial cleanser at the moment. There has been a few brands of soap that have taken the beauty world by storm with raving reviews, so naturally I have to try one! I had a choice between the COR Silver Soap, the Penelopi Moon Faicla Cleansing Soap Junoa which has been voted the best facial cleanser by the Japanese @ Cosme Best Cosmetic Award 2011(the most trusted yearly beauty award in Japan), and the Gamila Secret Soap that has every Asian blogger talking. In the end I went for the COR Silver Soap as it has some anti blemish properties and so far I haven’t read a single bad review about it.

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It retails for USD$125, very pricey for just a bar of soap isn’t it?! But the ingredient list might give you a good indication that it is not just an ordinary soap! The star ingredient of this soap is that it contains the patented formula of nano-silver with silica and they are derived from natural sources.

Silver: is one of the best antibacterial agents. It blocks the bactera’s ability to transfer oxygen through its cell walls. Silver also has healing properties and has been used by doctors to speed cell repair.

Silica: prepares the skin to accept the ingredients of Cor. The sponge-like nature of Silica draws the Silver and other active ingredients into its particles so that it can richly nourish the skin.

Other ingredients include:

Glycerin: derived from natural palm oil which is a renewable source of glycerin most often used in high end soaps.

Marine Collagen from Japan: Collagen starts to disappear at the rate of 1.5% per year in adulthood! Cor’s collagen can add a more youthful apperance to one’s face.

Sericin: is a natural, soluble protein made from silk. Highly moisture-binding and film-forming.

Chitosan: is a natural fibre that acts to even out skin tone, and helps to balance out the skin’s oil levels.

Pomegranate Extract: helps to reduce the effect of aging and fight free radicals.

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How I use the soap: This soap develops into very dense, creamy and rich lather (very silimiar to the high end Japanese foam wash).  The instruction recommends to leave the foam on your face from 30 seconds to 5 minutes depending on your skin type, and below is the recommended steps to follow:

First week: If you have normal to dry skin, massage the foam onto your face for 30 seconds then leave the foam resting on your face for a further 1 – 2 minutes. For oily, troubled, acne prone skin, leave the foam on for 5 minutes.

Second week: start to reduce the length of time the foam is left on your skin

After second week: use daily as a normal facial soap.

My experience with the COR Silver Soap:

Prior to using this soap, I had always been using a very gentle, moisturizing cleansing lotion. The COR soap is on the other end of the spectrum, it deep cleans the skin and provides a squeaky feel to the skin. I tried to leave the foam on my face for 5 minutes during the first week of use, and it felt like a deep cleansing mask for me. Though my skin appeared noticeably more clear with refined pores, it also felt very dry and tight. Since then I reduced the length of time to 2 minutes as I didn’t have troubled skin, and my skin has been looking very good lately. It just looks brighter and much more clear, and best of all I only had one minor hormonal break out during the two month of use. My skin still feels a little taut after washing, but nothing can’t be fixed by my beloved moisturizer – creme de la mer which seems to work so well with this soap (and that’s going to be another review)

I have also used the COR Silver Soap on the back of my neck and shoulder (they have been suffering from little white or red bumps for years as I always wear my hair down), I left the foam on for 5 minutes and magically after three days it has totally cleared up the bumpy skin! Even my husband cannot believe for once my shoulder is as smooth as..his..haha! However as soon as I stop using this soap, the congestion problems seem to come back.

Bottom Line: Ever since I had the “break-out” attack a while ago, I always try to incorporate at least one anti-blemish product in my skincare routine. And I much prefer the COR Silver soap than the conventional AHA or BHA based products, as it is a lot less harsh to my skin. Even though it is still a little drying for my skin,  it doesn’t make my skin irritated, red or peel like some other products do. Highly recommend for people who have acne-prone, oily skin. Dry skin ladies can skip this.

I bought the COR silver SOAP on skinstore.com with a 20% off discount code.

 

 

 

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After I posted my basic skincare routine, I had a few people asking me what products I use to remove my makeup which I forgot to include. I wear makeup almost everyday, so finding the right makeup remover that is effective, removes makeup thoroughly yet gentle to my skin can be a little tricky. I go through tons of different brands and these are the products that I love the most.

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If my makeup of the day is not too heavy I like to use my Bioderma Crealine H2O Cleanser - it smells and feels so fresh, extremely gentle to the skin and removes face makeup effectively. It is designed for sensitive skin as the entire product is water based without any alcohol and perfumes, so girls with sensitive skin can totally rely on this product. It is also excellent for removing eye makeup, but can take a while to remove waterproof mascara completely. It is also great as a last step cleanser. I know a lot of girls like to use a toner/astringent to remove the last traces of makeup, but this product does the same job without stripping moisture off the skin. My skin actually feels quite hydrated and fresh after using it.

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On a full face makeup day, I opt for the Eve Lom Cleanser (Vogue call it “world’s best cleanser) to remove my makeup thoroughly. I know I have said it many time that this is my HG cleanser :P It has been doing a wonderful job to my skin so I just like to share my love of this product around! The concept of this cleanser is that it improves the blood circulation, opens pores, cleanses, exfoliates and tones the skin to achieve a perfectly clear and well balanced skin.

This product is made of different blends of aromatic oils with cleansing, decongesting and soothing properties. It has a lovely soothing herbal scent and a balmy consistency that is designed for massaging. By following the massaging steps provided in the enclosed pamphlet, it helps the lymphatic nodes to drain the congested areas and eliminate toxins. Then use the muslin cloth to remove the product in hot water to open the pores and cold water to close the pores. The result is instant – not only is the makeup completely removed, my complexion has a “just-had-a-facial” radiance and looks more lifted and toned. Over time I have also noticed a significant improvement in the clarity of my skin.

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As you can tell from the size of the bottle, the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil is also my favorite. I am not using it now but I like to keep a back up of it. This product has received numerous awards over the last decade. Needless to say it is a superior product. I like to use a makeup remover that cleanses and treats my skin at the same. The entire cleansing oil line by Shu comes in many formulations for different skin needs and I have pretty much tried them all. My favorites are the brightening oil from the premium line and the balancing oil as pictured below. My least favorite is the enriched formula which feels quite heavy on my skin. There are a lot of cheaper cleansing oils in the market but I always go back to this one as I like the consistency of this oil and its wide range of options.

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For my stubborn eye makeup, I like to use the Neutrogena Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover. It is a winner for me as I really don’t notice a difference between the expensive ones and the cheap ones. The Neutrogena removes the most stubborn waterproof mascara with one swipe, and it is not irritating to my eyes. Just like many other bi-phased removers, it leaves a slight residual film on the skin.

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June Favorites

July 2, 2011

June is a happy month. I never realised until my colleague pointed out to me the other day – June is the only month we receive 3 pay days because there are 5 Wednesdays in June! How cool is that?! So of course the money has to be well utilized..:-P I did quite a few huge hauls lately and hopefully they will be reviewed in this blog soon. Before I open a set of new makeup and skin care products, these are the products I have been actively reaching for throughout June.

MAKEUP ORGANIZER:

I really like this makeup holder, it is big enough to hold all the makeup I use for a month. It also looks nice on my dresser as it is made of crystal like acrylic.

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FACE MAKEUP:

Guerlian L’OR Radiance Concentrate with Pure Gold Makeup Base:  You all have heard me complaining my skin has been dehydrated lately and I came to appreciate how hydrating this primer is compared to the others. It really makes a difference to the way my foundation sits on my skin.

Les Tissages De Chanel in Tweed Pink: My On-the-Go blush as mentioned in my previous review.

By Terry Highlighting Powder: One of my favorite highlighting powders as it gives an airbrushed glow.

Clinique Blush Powder in 108 Cupid: Just a nice and easy to wear fall shade.

Becca Loose Powder: Very finely filled and looks natural on the skin.

BRUSHES:

Nars Yachiyo Brush: If I could only use 1 brush for the face it would be this one! It has multi functional design that is perfect for blending, applying blush as well as highlighting.

Calvin Klein Face Brush: What can I say..this brush is softer than my Mac, Chanel and Nars brushes and it’s only $15!

EYE MAKEUP:

Been layering these shadows to create different neutral looks

Nars Dogon Eyeshadow Duo

Nars All about Eve Eyeshadow Duo

Giorgio Armani Intense Eyes To Kill Eyeshadow in 08 Nola  

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LIPS:

MAC Cremesheen in JAZZED

Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Lipstick in 105: perfect nude for me.

Chanel Levres Scintillantes Glossimer in Volage

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LIP TREAMENTS:

Lush Lip Scrub: Love the pink sugar and the bubblegum scent!

Chanel Hydramax Active Nutrition Lip Care: I like to use a lip treatment rather than lip balm before I go to bed. Chanel Hydramax Lip care gives me baby soft lips the next day.

Sportsgirl Lip Balm: My new discovery. It has a pleasant rockmelon scent and the texture reminded me of the By Terry Baume de Rose. It also leaves a hint of baby pink color on the lips.

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HAIRCARE:

Frederic Fekkai Technician Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner: Frederic Fekkai and KERASTASE are my two favorite hair care lines. Their products always meet my expectations. This color technician range preserve the hair color while moisturizing and having a pleasant peachy scent.

Aveda Brilliant Damage Control: It is a heat protective spray – I like to use it on my 2nd day hair for heat protection; detangling and refreshing my hair. It has a unique soothing herbal scent that lingers on my hair for the whole day.

SKINCARE:

Jurlique Balancing Cleansing Lotion: I always prefer to use a gentle cleanser with a natural aroma scent in the morning to start my day off. This one leaves my skin soft and supple.

Jurlique Moisture Replenishing Mask: It used to be called Deep Penetrating Cream Mask. I think the former name is a much better description of the product. It is more of a refining mask that tightens up the pores, brightens up the complexion and clearing up the breakout pigmentation. It is not just for moisturizing.

Shiseido Benefiance Firming Massage Mask: I went through tons of this mask. One of the best nourishing, moisturizing and firming masks I have used!

 

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