SKINCARE

It doesn’t matter how many new and innovative makeup removal products I try, at the end of the day I always go back to the most trusted makeup remover – the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil. This year Shu has released a new reformulated cleansing oil – the Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Cleansing Oil (bought here in Australia) and as I was in the need for restocking, I decided to give this new formula a try.

A quick rundown on my experience with the Shu Uemura cleansing oils. They have lots of different oils for different skin types, and I have pretty much used most of them. Prior to this, my favorite was the Blanc Chroma (the purple oil) as it felt refreshing and I liked the slight brightening effect after washing. As far as I know, their best seller last year was the Ultime8 which I found to be too rich for my skin so I did not repurchase (but it is really great for dry skin).

shu-uemura-anti-oxi-skin-refining-cleansing-oil-review

I have been using the new formula for about a month now, and it is now my favorite cleansing oil. It is formulated with green tea extracts along with other anti oxidant ingredients for a more clear and radiant complexion.  The main differences in this new formula

  • no mineral oil
  • can be used with wet hands
  • suitable for removing lash extensions! (which doesn’t really apply to me)
  • more powerful removability

This oil lives up to my expectations.  I am not the biggest fan of using cleansing water for removing makeup on a daily basis as it can be a little too scrubby with the use of cotton pads, and I feel it is pulling my skin too much. With cleansing oil it is lubricating enough to not cause any friction to the skin. The consistency of this oil is lightweight and doesn’t feel greasy, and it emulsifies (turns into milky lotion) really well as soon as you add water to it. Takes less than a minute to completely dissolve the most stubborn makeup including liquid eyeliner, waterproof mascara, long lasting foundation and liquid lipstick. It makes the skin feel supple, smooth and refreshing, and leaves no oily film and residue to the skin. Of course second wash is recommended! It doesn’t clog the pores nor cause breakouts for me.

The new formula also promises to give you an extraordinary cleansing experience with a blend of essential oils that invigorates your senses while washing. To me it mostly smells like strong green tea (more like Matcha) with a hint of lavender and wood. It is quite an interesting stimulating scent, but not blowing me away.

shu-uemura-anti-oxi-skin-refining-cleansing-oil-review-ingredient-list

Overall I highly recommend this oil. It comes in 3 sizes – 450ml (as pictured), 150ml and 100ml (good for travel). A bottle of 450ml normally lasts more than 6 months with daily use.

 

 

 

{ 3 comments }

I always include an eye cream in my skincare regime, particularly for the morning when I like to use a light eye gel/lotion for hydration as well as for anti-puffiness. One of my favorites is the La Prairie Cellular Revitalizing Eye Gel which really does its job as it claims, and the price tag is not as jaw-dropping as the other products from the line! This is my third bottle and as you can see it’s nearly half way through.

la-prairie-cellular-revitalizing-eye-gel-review

The eye gel has a refreshingly aqua blue gel texture that feels non-sticky and is absorbed into the skin immediately. It mildly hydrates and smooths out the delicate skin around the eye areas, and it doesn’t leave a film or make the skin too slippery so it makes a good base for under the eye makeup. What I love about this eye gel the most is that it gives an interesting sensation upon application. It feels very cooling on the eyes, which is expected from most eye gels for anti-puffiness. However this eye gel also gives a warm tightening feel at the same time, and it makes you feel that it is doing its job by eliminating the excessive fluid from the applied areas. After 2-3 minutes the sensation disappears, and my morning ‘tired looking’ eyes look visibly more ‘awake’ and less puffy with the skin appearing slightly tightened. Best of all, it doesn’t cause milia (the stubborn white heads around the eye areas if the eye cream is too rich). If you suffer from puffy eyes in the morning then I highly recommend to give this eye gel a try!

la-prairie-cellular-revitalizing-eye-gel-review-2

 

 

{ 4 comments }

I had a wonderful vacation at Phuket for 10 days which I am currently organizing some pictures to post soon. It never feels long enough but that’s what makes our vacations so special in our lives (well unless you are a celeb or a global jet setter blogger!) As for me, I am happy with our holidays every 6 months, and I thoroughly enjoy the entire planning process including what to pack! This post is for sharing the skincare products that I brought with me on holiday. Since the destination is a hot tropical island, I brought lots of lightweight hydrating and brightening serums/lotions, and because I love taking pictures I like to have products that keep my face looking firm and lifted so more photogenic… Last but not least, lots and lots of sunscreens are a must.

My favorite beach bag is bought here

acation-holiday-beauty-skincare-products-2

vacation-holiday-beauty-skincare-products

CLEANSERS

Using the Bioderma Micelle Water (travel size) for makeup removal. I love the Ren Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel so much so I bought a full size of this. It’s a rose-infused gentle gel cleanser with a fresh rose smell that feels extremely soothing and refreshing which makes it a perfect morning cleanser. It doesn’t strip any moisture off, and keeps the skin supple and fresh. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant is one of  my HG cleansers for night time use, so I have to bring a travel size along with me. It’s a cleanser and an exfoliator in one that purifies the skin and deep cleans the pores without feeling harsh and drying on the skin. The Clinique Clarifying Lotion 1 is a refreshing toner for sweeping away any dead skin cells, and completely removes last traces of dirt and oil collected in your pores. In such a hot weathered place, I prefer to use multiple cleansing products just to keep my skin very clear and clog free.

SERUMS and MOISTURIZERS

I prep my skin with the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum – it’s a highly potent treatment lotion that immediately hydrates the skin and boost the benefits of other skincare products, (detailed review here). Followed by the luxurious Chantecaille Bio Lifting Serum (reviewed here). It’s hydrating, soothing, anti-aging and provides a lifting effect to the face. During the day, I also apply the Tracie Martyn Face Resculpting Cream which is their signature product from the line. This is the travel friendly size which was made exclusive for Net-A-Porter. It can be used on the face as well as on the body for an immediate sculpting and firming effect. I have quite mixed feelings about it, as it works much better on the body than on the face for me. If you are after a face firming lotion for less than $100, nothing beats the famous Clarins Shaping Facial Lifting Total V Contouring Serum.

MASKS

I have dozens of paper masks with me (a mix of high and low end) on holiday, as the plan is to use at least one per day. As ironic as it sounds for spending most of the day at the beach and the pool during vacay, I don’t want to be tanned because my skin is prone to pigmentation! So every 2 nights I use the Sulwhasoo Snowise Ex Brightening Mask (reviewed here), It’s the best brightening mask I’ve ever used, as it definitely prevents my face from being tanned under long time sun exposure, and it helps to brighten up by one to one and a half shades after long term use. For hydrating and instant radiance boost, I like to use the SK II Facial Treatment Mask. A budget friendly brand is the Korean SNP Masks. I have used lots of theirs animal masks and liked them all. My favorite has to be the rabbit – it’s a multi purpose product that serves as a brightening beauty mask as well as keeping my 3 year old entertained by having a rabbit-faced mommy!

SUN PROTECTION

Using the french drugstore brand LA ROCHE-POSAY as they are rated very highly in a Japanese beauty magazine. Overall they are pretty good. The UVIDEA XL Melt In Cream SPF50 PA++++ is for the face that has a milky lotion texture and is non-greasy and feels light weight on the skin without feeling like having sunscreen on. The Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF50 (best seller) is for the face and the body. It is slightly richer, so I use it on my body as well as for my son as the formula is made for sensitive skin and feels light on the skin so it doesn’t clog the pores and leave a white film on the skin.

BABY

Highly recommend the LA ROCHE-POSAY Baume B5 Soothing Repairing Balm for babies/toddlers. It helps to heal sensitive skin, rashes and insect bites.

 

 

 

{ 4 comments }

The Chantecaille Bio Lifting Serum is an oldie but goodie. It’s such a classic prestige skincare product from Chantecaille that has been around for many years, and has never been reformulated as it just works, and people always go back to it. This is my second bottle, and it will always be a staple in my skincare regime to fight against gravity!

chantecaille-bio-lifting-serum-review-1

The Bio Lifting Serum is a powerful anti aging serum for skin regeneration, collagen rebuilding and promotes skin density and firmness visibly. It definitely sounds like a magic potion to those of you who are seeing the loss of volume and collagen in your face as you age. This is probably my biggest fear for aging – I can live with fine lines and pigmentation, whereas as soon as your cheeks drop and lose the plumpness, this is the first sign that gives away your ‘real age’.

On average, women start to lose collagen from the age of 28, and I always think this is a good age point where you need to start investing in some serious skincare products for prevention as well as correction purposes. Most prestige skincare products target at the age group of 40+, but why wait until then when you can resort to some powerful products now to slow down the breakdown of collagen, that help to maintain the skin firmness and contour at its optimum state?

I have personally used a lot of luxury skin lifting products, and the reason I like the Chantecaille the most is because it delivers an instant result for lifting. For  such an expensive product, it’s always good to see a visible immediate result.  With this serum, it gives a slight taut feeling to the skin upon application. Instantly my complexion appears more lifted and the contour appears more defined, and the skin also feel more firm.  Best of all, the serum is lightweight enough to be applied around the eye areas, which also gives a lifting effect that makes your eyes appear less tired.

As with all Chantecaille products, this serum is hand made in France, mainly based on botanical ingredients and is paraben free. It has a patented active complex of peptides, rose stem cells, hyaluronic acid for a powerful anti-aging product. Apart from the outstanding lifting effect, this serum also delivers long lasting hydration. In an air conditioned environment, for my dry skin this serum keeps my skin hydrated and supple for the whole day. The consistency is light, but concentrated and 2 drops are sufficient for the entire face and neck. It spreads smoothly, smells like fresh roses, and completely absorbs into the skin, and also helps the makeup to glide on beautifully.

chantecaille-bio-lifting-serum-review-2

The Chantecaille Bio Lifting Serum is available at Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus in the US, and NAP worldwide.

 

{ 1 comment }

Sharing some of my favorite skincare products of late. I go through lots of products at the same time, and once in a while, I like to do a round-up post on some of the products that I enjoy using.

NARs Multi Action Hydrating Toner – A lovely hydrating and refreshing toner in watery gel consistency, with some brightening properties that help to combat the formation of pigmentation. I bought the toner because I really like its sleek and minimum packaging, and its’ reasonably priced for such a large bottle. I enjoy using it in hot weather when my skin is not so dry, and it feels refreshing, lightweight and it mildly hydrates the skin. It also helps to clarify and deep clean the pores – If I apply this toner with a cotton pad even after washing my face with cleansers, sometimes there is still dirt and makeup residues left on the pad. It reminds me of the famous Clinique Clarifying Toner, but this is an alcohol free, and a much gentler and hydrating version of it.

Jan Marini Age Intervention Retinol Plus: I was a little skeptical about introducing retinol into my regime. My dermatologist highly recommended me to incorporate this 0.5% retinol serum nightly to start with, after I complained that I noticed some pores on my face becoming raindrop shaped which is clearly a sign of aging. I finally started using it about a month ago, and all I can say is what have I been missing out on all these years!! It has made a huge difference to my skin texture, as it truly visibly refines the pores over a period of one week. My complexion is looking more even, refined and the pores are more cleared, which in a way has improved the appearance of the pores. Retinol is also great for anti-aging, so if you start to see fine lines this is also a great product to consider. Not much firming and lifting effect from using it. Next on my to-try list will be the Chantecaillie Retinol Intense +.

Sulwhasoo Activating Serum:  Reviewed here! Love this super hydrating and soothing serum which also helps to boost the benefits of other skincare products. The high concentration of ginseng also helps with blood circulation for a more youthful and radiant complexion.

Chanel Sublimage Regenerating Mask: As the mercury is dropping drastically in Australia, I am starting to appreciate this ultra nourishing mask more and more. You can see my full review here. In short, it’s a lovely luxury ultra moisturizing mask with anti-aging and regeneration benefits. It’s particularly great for those who are seeking the convenience of just using one product overnight (as a sleeping mask), and it gives you radiant, fully re-charged skin the next day.

Chantecaille Fruit and Acids Mask: This is an oldie but goodie which I really like to use once a week for exfoliating, clarifying the skin for a clearer complexion. It contains grapefruit and flower acids which help to take off the dead skin cells and re-texturises. It’s very gentle, and the result is instant to a brighter, more even-toned, radiant complexion after one use.

Fresh Youth Preserve Serum: Last but not least, I can’t believe this lovely serum from Fresh is discontinued. It’s hydrating, lightweight and is absorbed into the skin immediately. Just a really lovely serum to use in the morning, and helps the makeup go on nicely. And the best thing about it is that it smells exactly like the Fresh Soy Cleanser – like heaven! I’m addicted to the smell of all Fresh skincare products!

{ 3 comments }

Here is a quick review of the APOT.CARE OPTILASH Lash Enhancing Serum this weekend! I have never reviewed any eyelash growth products on this blog, but I have actually used many different brands in the past. So before I dive into the review for this brand, I thought I’d give a quick rundown on what I have used in the past and how effective they were. Most of the eyelash growth products I’ve used give improved results to some extent, but the most important factor to consider is how “safe” it is to your eyes as there were some effective products pulled from the market due to controversial ingredients.

apotcare-lash-enhancing-serum-review-1

In terms of results, I was the most impressed with RevitaLash Eyelash Conditioner (available here in Australia). It is very effective and truly makes your lashes much thicker and longer after 2 weeks. This is the product that gives me the best results, as it probably increases the volume and length by 50%. However it always starts to agitate my sensitive eyes (they become more dry, gritty and itchy) after 2-3 weeks. I have to stop using it for a week for my eyes to ‘heal’, and then instead of applying it everyday I can only use it for few days a week to maintain the result. At this pace one tube can last me almost 6 months.

RapidLash Enhancing Serum – Not a bad product for half the price of RevitaLash! I can see my lashes grow longer and thicker after 2-3 weeks, but the result is not astonishing – I would say this product gives 30% of improvement. It also irritates my eyes the same way as with RevitaLash.

Latisse – The most famous eye lash growth serum. I have tried very hard to get hold of this product in Australia. The result was as good as with RevitalLash, however the irritation to my eyes was so bad to a point that I had to visit an eye doctor for prescription eyedrops! It’s not a product that I will touch again.

The reason I wanted to give a full review for the OPTILASH is because this is the only effective serum that I have used with absolutely no irritation to my eyes! The formula has been ophthalmologist and dermatologist tested, and I am glad that it truly worked for me without any side effects! It works the same as any other lash serums – just apply along the upper lash lash once a day, and don’t worry about the lower lash line as the product will get to it when you blink your eyes. I started to see my lashes became thicker after about a week into using it, and the optimum result is seen after 3 weeks as my lashes are about 40% thicker, fuller and longer than. As the brand promised, this is a very gentle yet effective formula. It doesn’t sting if it gets into my eyes, and I have been using it for more than a month now with no discomfort experienced. The other bonus is that the price tag is much more friendly.

apotcare-optilash-lash-enhancing-serum-review

Other information about Optilash

– Made in France

– Optilash is prostaglandin-free, prostaglandin derivative-free, hormone derivative free.

– Optilash enhancing serum formula is suitable for sensitive eyes, and can be used even with contact lenses.

– Optilash can be used by pregnant women

With all the products above, I did not experience darkening of the skin around my eyes.

{ 2 comments }

If you are not the most enthuastic korean beauty fan, you will probably be confused of what brand and products to get as they all look and sound the same, and some can be a little gimmicky (at least to me!). One brand that guarantees premium quality and a luxury user experience would be the top rated Sulwhasoo. I haven’t tried that many products from the brand, but so far everything I have used has blown me away, including the Perfecting Cushion Foundation (reviewed here – the best cushion foundation in the market!), the ultra nourishing Gingseng Renewing Cream for the driest skin (packed with high concentration of ginseng), and my latest additions were the  First Care Activating Serum and the Snowise EX Brightening Mask reviewed in this post.

Long time readers would know that my all time favorite masks has always been the SKII , and it has now been officially replaced by the Sulwhasoo Brightening Mask (currently on backorder at Nordstrom!). I ran out of paper masks when I was holidaying in Hawaii, so I shopped around and decided to give the Sulwhasoo a try.  The next day I went back to the same counter and purchased two more boxes as they were so good!

sulwhasoo-first-activating-serum-snowise-ex-brightening-mask-review-skincare

The mask is for hydrating and brightening use, and it does both jobs exceptionally well. The main ingredient is the fermented ginseng essence, which gives a “treatment equivalent” result. For brightening, it claims that it will leave your skin luminous and more translucent than ever after just a single use. Most paper masks always make your skin appear brighter after use, but the difference with this mask is that the immediate brightening effect is better, and leaves your skin appearing visibly  more translucent, youthful and even-toned after use. The brightening effect is also prolonged for a few days. If you have the budget of using the mask 3 times a week, they will dramatically improve the tone and luminosity of your skin from deep within more so than makeup products. I was literally sun-baking everyday for 2 weeks when I was in Hawaii, I used the mask every 2 days and my complexion became even brighter (existing freckles did not darken) after my holiday so I was very pleased! It also helps to hydrate and plump up your skin. If you have normal to dry skin, this mask is sufficient for keeping your skin hydrated with some anti-aging benefits. If you have very dry skin, I think the SK-II is still a better option.

The sheet mask has the ‘skin-like’ paper-gel texture, and it is extremely thin and completely adheres to the face regardless of your face shape (no bubbles!). The mask is fully soaked with milky essence, and it stays moist for up to 30 minutes. I normally leave the mask on for 20-30 minutes for the optimum result.

sulwhasoo-snowise-ex-brightening-mask-review-skincare

The Sulwhasoo SA also successfully convinced me to purchase their best seller the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum. We all know the Koreans have the most complex skincare system, and this product is designed to be used as the first product of the entire skincare regime. It is a serum which helps to deeply hydrate, plump the skin immediately, as well as for boosting other skincare products for ultimate results. The purpose of this product is very similar to the famous Lancome Genifique. It has a honey colored consistency with a soothing herbal smell, feels lightweight and non sticky and is absorbed in to the skin immediately. It is very hydrating, especially if you feel your skin is becoming accustomed to the products you are using for a while, this boosting serum helps to give them a kick and offers extra moisturizing effect. Even on its own without using any other serums, it’s a lovely gentle serum that helps to replenish essential moisture and nutrients for all skin types and suitable for all age groups.

sulwhasoo-first-activating-serum--review-skincare

 

{ 7 comments }

Kate Somerville makes some interesting and unique skincare products that always catch my attention. I haven’t used many of her products, but I truly like the ones I have used thus far. This post is the review for the products I am using at the moment – The Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment has been my holy grail for years, and the Dermal Quench Liquid Lift is my new discovery which I am quite pleased with.

kate-somerville-skincare-exfolikate-intensive-exfoliate-treatment-derma-quench-liquid-lift-review

As with most beauty products in the market these days, shopping for an exfoliator can be a little confusing as they are all promoted with a fancy name! Generally speaking, there are only 2 types of exfoliators. The most basic ones are the physical scrubs that contain micro grains that works to scrub the dead skin off. It is suitable for younger and oily skin. I like it on the days when my skin feels a little rough. If you have sensitive, thin or acne prone skin, you might find them to be too scrubby. The second type is the chemical exfoliator which contains a main ingredient that helps to dissolve dead skin cells and help the skin to renew at a quicker pace. I find them to be more effective as I age, as they give my skin an instant boost of radiance and clarity. The common ingredients in the chemical exfoliator include different types of hydroxy acids or enzymes. I have used them all, and I find enzyme works the best for my skin, hence I love Kate Somerville the most as enzyme is the key ingredient in her signature product. Other similar products that include enzymes that I also adore are the Tracie Martyn and the Pevonia.

The Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment has a dark green rough mud-like texture (which also feels slightly grainy) with quite a therapeutic minty herbal smell. I like the original version as it is quite intensive, and it gives a little tingling sensation upon application but no redness for me. There is also a gentle version available. It is dubbed as a ‘2 minute facial at home ‘ as you apply a thin layer of this product on the skin for 2 minutes (preferably in a steamy environment), and rinse it off. Instantly you feel your skin becomes much smoother with clogged pores slightly more cleared up, and more radiant and glowing with the result comparable to as if you just had a mini facial. I have gone through tubes and tubes of it, and I am still very impressed with the result after each use!

kate-somerville-skincare-exfolikate-intensive-exfoliating-treatment-review

I was after a lifting and firming lotion, so I thought I’d give the Liquid Lift a try.  It is an anti-aging product that claims to have breakthrough technology with a blend of hyaluronic acid and other powerful complexes, that helps to increase skin moisture level by 100%, and dramatically improve the appearance of lines and sagging skin. It comes in an aerosol bottle, and you need to give it a shake before use. For application, you spray the face and apply 3 strips to each side, and followed by massage immediately. It has a mousse (foam) like texture, and becomes watery-gel when you start massaging the face. It feels quite lubricant and lightweight but not sticky, with a cooling sensation so it helps to de-puff which makes a good product for a quick massage for the face. Takes about 1-2 minutes for the product to be completely absorbed into the skin, and the complexion feels very hydrated and supple afterwards that feels equivalent to a hydrating serum. As for lifting effect, there is no taut feeling to the skin after use, but I do notice my complexion appears slightly lifted. However I am not sure if that was due to the product, or the massage! Nevertheless as long as the product combines with the method delivers the result, I am happy!

kate-somerville-skincare-derma-quench-liquid-lift-review-ingredient-list

 

{ 0 comments }