Skincare

Updated Skincare Routine

by Reika on November 8, 2013

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Here is my current skincare regime as I am very pleased with the results.

1. Clinique Take the day off Cleansing Milk: A gentle and soothing cleansing milk that is effective to take off light makeup.

2. ALBION EXAGE Moist Crystal Milk: ALBION’s signature pre-toner lotion. When it is used in conjunction with the ALBION Skin Conditioner Treatment Lotion my skin stays moisturized and supple all day long. Absolutely love the combination.

3. ALBION Skin Conditioner: Japan’s best selling treatment lotion that tops the sales record every year (a bottle is sold every 13 seconds!). It is a refreshing yet highly hydrating treatment lotion which is made of high concentration of Japanese barley. It helps to keep the skin oil and water balanced and it purifies, brightens and moisturize at the same time. It is my all time favorite treatment water and I have gone through countless bottles of it.

4. Ipsa Premier Line ME Serum 1: The latest skin firming gel-type serum from Ipsa that claims it will give the same result as having a laser thermage. I almost used the bottle up, and although I have not noticed a significant slimming/lifting and anti-aging effect, it does keep the puffiness at bay.

5. Ipsa Premier Line Lift Up Roller: A special face massaging tool especially designed to be used together with the ME serum . It gives a temporary lifting effect and helps to stimulate the lymph notes and blood circulation along the jaw lines and the neck which helps to eliminate toxins.

6. Perricone MD High Potency Evening Repair: I really like this serum for night time. It is a very potent serum that helps to repair and resurface dull and aged skin, and I can see a great improvement overnight. As a bonus I have noticed it has some firming effect, as I feel the definition of my face appears sharpened and more lifted every time I use this product.

7. Sisley Day & Night Ecological Compound: Another holy grail product for me and I always keep one on my vanity table. Sisley is known for its state of the art botanical ingredients, and this silky moisturizing lotion has a lovely milky texture that is easily absorbed by the skin which is ideal all year round and is suitable for most skin types. It gives the skin a lovely glow, and is also great to be worn under the makeup.

8. Fresh Creme Ancienne: I was intrigued by this cream as it is comparable to cream de La Mer. The texture is even thicker and waxier than the latter, and it is extremely rich so a tiny dab is enough for the whole face even for the very dry skin type. I only reach for this cream on days when my skin is desert dry, and this cream works wonders.

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As with most cult beauty products, there are always two comparable products between high-end and a more accessible drug store brand from the same company. Lancome’s Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate has reached the cult status across the world ever since it was released , and it has now become the world’s best selling serum and most sought after serum in the beauty market. In the wave of its popularity, L’Oreal has released a drug store version of it named Youth Code PreEssence.

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Let’s talk about the original Lancome Genifique first. The product shown in the picture is a travel exclusive of 100ml edition of it, and I always restock them whenever I get a chance. Judging by its jumbo size, it clearly shows how much I love this product! It has been a staple base serum in my skincare routine for years. Apart from its anti aging and rejuvenating benefits, the main function of this serum is that it boosts the benefits of other products that are applied after. So I always combine this with another more powerful serum that targets at specific areas, as it helps the second product penetrate into deeper layers of skin for better absorption, then finish with a moisturizer. These three-steps never fail on me, and the result is almost immediate. I wake up with a noticeably more supple, energized and radiant complexion the next day. Most importantly I have noticed the texture of my complexion appears more refined, even and translucent day by day. I wouldn’t say it helps to shrink the pores (actually nothing does), but as it makes the skin more moisturized and plumped it definitely helps to reduce the appearance of pores.

At the moment, I am combining Genifique with the following serums in rotation depending on my skin condition.

1. Ultraceuticals Ultra Brightening Serum for brightening purpose.

2. Lancome Visionnaire for an overall anti-aging, poreless complexion. Possibly my all-time favorite combination.

3. Ultraceuticals Ultra B Hydrating Serum if my skin feels desert dry, and it helps my makeup to glide on like a dream.

4. Ipsa ME Serum for tightening and lifting purpose. If my face appears puffy, this is an instant overnight fix!

skincare_serumsWith the L’Oreal Youth Code, in terms of texture it is very similar to the Lancome Genifique. Both of them have a very fluid and lightweight texture with a mild floral scent, and they absorb into the skin immediately. It also feels the same when just applied, and the skin appears softer and hydrated immediately after use. The instant absorption allows you to prep the skin with more potent products straight after. I have finished the entire bottle of Youth Code, and combined with exactly the same products I would use with Genifique. The result is relatively great for an affordable drugstore serum as it keeps my skin moisturized and supple, however I have not noticed a great improvement in my skin’s texture and clarity compared to the result of using Genifique.

lancome-genifique-youth-activating-concentrate-vs-loreal-youth-code-pre-essence-1Genifique Ingredient List:

lancome-genifique-ingredient-listBottom Line: Both are great as a base serum. L’Oreal Youth Code is more suitable for younger women with a lesser anti-aging concern. Lancome’s Genifique is a great all-purpose serum on its own for all skin types, and you can achieve an even better result if it’s combined with other products.  I personally cannot live without Genifique so I highly recommend this product to any women over the age of 25.

Lancome Genifique in 5ml, 30ml and 50ml are available here with international shipping.

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Nars Purifying Foam Cleanser Review

by Reika on April 19, 2013

I love the NARS Purifying Foam Cleanser! I started using this one since summer, and it worked brilliantly for my normal to dry skin. What surprised me the most is that my skin is still loving it in this cold weather which is a good indication that it is an all year rounder for even dry and sensitive skin. So I think I need to write up a more detailed review to share my love.

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As the name suggests, it’s a foaming cleanser that helps to clean and purify the skin. The cleanser contains micro beads that feel very gentle on the skin. A tiny dab of it forms a lot of bubble so I have barely used a dent after several months! And this gigantic tube will last me a long time I think. It is part of the Nars’ latest brightening skincare range so it contains “light reflecting technology” which helps to brighten up your complexion. I would say it is a good product to be incorporated into your skincare routine if your main concern is pigmentation or dullness but I won’t solely rely on this product for brightening purposes.

When it comes to foaming cleansers, my preference has always been with Japanese brands as that is what they are known for. The Japanese cleansers pioneer in terms of producing ultra-dense and creamy foam (that has a marshmallow-like texture) and has excellent cleansing power . The downside is that they tend to over clean my dry skin so I always feel my skin a little taut after washing with most brands. Compared to that, what wins me over with Nars is that it does a good cleaning job and makes your skin feel refreshed without stripping any natural oil off. My skin feels clean, balanced and soft (not dry and tight) after washing, It completely removes any makeup residue and makes the skin appear ‘very clean’, and for morning use I like how refreshing it feels and how it instantly wakes my skin up.

Bottom Line: A very good foaming cleanser for any skin type (even sensitive). Highly recommend! I love it so much so I have bought almost the entire range (typical me!), and so far I am very impressed with the luminous mask and the moisturizing gel-cream which are worth checking out. The cleanser can be purchased here.

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My Latest Skincare Routine

by Reika on October 24, 2012

My updated skincare routine as requested by my readers. To recap, my skin is dehydrated inside but can look oily outside. My main skin concern is dehydration and skin congestion around the t-zone area. I am also at a sad old age where my skin metabolism rate has gone downhill – as it takes forever for any scar to heal. I do get occasional breakout so I always incorporate a powerful serum which increases and stimulates the cell turnover rate as it is vital to speed up the skin renewal process so it helps to clear up my scars within a short time.

MORNING:

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I always use a gentle, non-foaming cleanser to cleanse my skin in the morning. At the moment I am using the Lancôme Galateis Douceur Gentle Softening Cleansing Fluid. I bought the jumbo size (400ml) so I can use a generous amount of it everyday with a special massage tool. It’s gentle and makes my skin super soft after washing, and in conjunction with the massage tool it helps to eliminate the water retention of my morning puffy face. Followed by Lancôme HYDRA ZEN Anti-Stress Moisturizing Aqua Gel which is just an average hydrating gel-to-water type toner. It comes out like gel and transforms into water upon touching the skin. The Clarins Shaping Facial Lift Serum is my absolute must-have for the morning – I have gone through tubes and tubes of it. The smell is relaxing and it helps to lift and sharpen the facial contours. Dr Brandt Pore Effect is applied over the t-zone (reviewed here). The last step is to apply a thick layer of my all time favorite moisturizer Dr. CiLabo Aqua Collagen Gel. For those of you who haven’t heard of the brand – Dr CiLabo is a celebrity dermatologist in Japan. The collagen gel is the signature product of his line, and the story behind the product was that he was very frustrated that he could not find a perfect moisturizer for his elite clients so he developed his own! It was so good so he started selling this to the general public. I got hooked on since it was first released which was 10 years ago! It is lightweight, absorbs instantly, plumping up my skin, stimulate collagen and most importantly keeps my skin staying hydrated all day long. Clinique All About Eyes feels quite soothing to the eyes and moisturizes as well.

NIGHT:

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The cleanser and toner used are the same as my morning routine. The Lancôme Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector is my recent favorite anti-aging serum. The patent ingredient is the LR 2414 (aka jasmonic acid) which enhances the skin’s natural self renewal processes. It minimizes skin imperfections, pore sizes and improves skin’s overall texture. I really love it because it works for clearing up my scars. With this serum the new scar forms a scab and then comes off with a faded mark within days. La Mer’s Crème de La Mer Moisturizing Cream is another all time favorite moisturizer. If Dr CiLabo Collagen Gel is the perfect hydrator, then La Mer is one level up for giving me an incredible luminous complexion. The key to using this moisturizer effectively is to activate the ingredient by emulsifying this thick cream. I found that the enclosed instruction never worked for me. Here is a little discovery I made – warm up the cream when there is still some Lancome Visionnaire remnant  left in the palm. Within seconds this moisturizer turns into a fluid elixir-like texture so it absorbs into the skin immediately. The combination works like a dream, and I really love the way my skin looks every morning – clear and luminous :-) For the eyes I use La Prarie’s Cellular Eye Contour Cream.

WEEKLY TREATMENTS:

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SKII Facial Treatment Mask once a week, and SKII Sign’s Eye Mask once every fortnight.

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Current Obsession – Everything Roses

by Reika on October 7, 2012

rose-obsessionClockwise:

By Terry TEINT DE ROSE – the most luxurious primer made of premium rose extract and provides a golden rosey glow to the skin.

Duchess Marden Skincare Line - Everything from this natural brand is made of pure Damascena Roses. The textures, scents and sensations are delightful and sensuous.

Diptyque ROSES Candle – Diptyque makes my favorite candles. I love most of their scents and ROSES makes my house smell like heaven.

Jo Malone Red Roses Room Spray - Another clean and relaxing rosey scent. I like to lightly spray my room every night before I go to bed which guarantees a good nights sleep :-)

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I don’t know how I lived without Dr Brandt’s PORES NO MORE Pore Effect Refining Cream, but I’m pretty sure it will be a staple product for my skincare for a long time. My biggest pet peeve about my skin is that it is prone to congestion since my teenage years. It is getting a lot better compared to how my skin was, but the nose and the chin areas are still subject to blackheads, and to combat that I always have a facial done with extraction at least once a month.

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If you have seen my previous skincare posts (here or here), you would know that products with AHA/BHA/Retinol have always been a core part of my daily skincare routine. The products that were featured in my previous posts have all improved the congestion by a certain extent. But I thought Dr Brand’s Pore Effect Refining Cream makes the biggest improvement! Having said that, it is not a miracle product as it will not totally diminish anything and nor will it give you pore-less skin (if you already have visible pores). But I have been using this product on and off purposely, and I noticed that my skin appears noticeably more clear when I was using it. In summary I really like this product because:

- It has a creamy texture and gives a nice slip when applying it over the face.

- It feels mild on my sensitive skin with no tinge and no irritation, and it doesn’t dry my skin out after long term use.

- It has a lovely floral tea tree oil scent (some other AHA/BHA products have smelt rather disgusting).

- Most importantly, it works! I have done a comparison – I started using this product on my skin which was completely  clear after the extraction. My skin stays clear (and I mean no blackheads at all on my nose for 3 weeks) for a much longer time than with of other products.

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Bottom Line: I never expect any over-the-counter product to provide a poreless complexion and completely unclog pores. I judge this type of product purely based on how much it improves, and how long it keeps my skin clear after I deep cleanse with an extraction. And so far Dr Brandt’s delivers the biggest improvement to my skin!

I bought mine here, and it is also available at Sephora.

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The Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè (24 Hour Miracle Cream) has been a cult product amongst the supermodels and top makeup artists. Every now and then I come across magazines featuring big names (in the beauty/fashion industry) that swear by this moisturizer, so I had a very high expectation for this product. After using it for more than 2 months and having gone through half a tube of it, my personal thought was that it is over-hyped. I think people are just drawn to the fact that it is made-in-France, and as with many other French products, the Embryolisse is almost impossible to get outside of France.Embryolisse-Lait-Crème-Concentrè-24-Hr-Miracle-Cream

I am always attracted to hard-to-get products, so I scouted the internet high and low and finally found it available here (which is the only online resource I can find)! The packaging is of standard French drug store products  – simple, low key with a ‘medicinal’ aesthetic to it. It’s a lotion with a rich and creamy milky consistency, and it is fragrance free. For a lotion, it feels a little on the rich side. If I apply more than a pea size , it can feel a little greasy on my face for a short while. It doesn’t feel moisturizing enough for me if I apply anything less than that. It makes my skin feel nourished and softer immediately, and it did not make my skin break out. It keeps my skin moisturized for about 5-6 hours.

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However, it works and feels pretty much the same as many other basic moisturizers that I have used in the past (far from being a miracle cream!). For a product with such a cult status, I expected more. I prefer a moisturizer that makes my skin feel drenched  in water and plumped up immediately like Shu Uemura’s Depsea Hydrability Moisturizing Cream. Additionally I prefer a moisturizer that makes my skin glow and look “refreshed” and vitalized the next day like Creme de La Mer or Guerlain’s Issima Midnight Secret. I would consider any moisturizer that ticks one of these criteria as a keeper, and unfortunately the Embryolisse 24 Hr Miracle Cream met neither. On a different note, it works brilliantly as a makeup base. It can also be used as an emergency makeup remover.

Embryolisse-Lait-Crème-Concentrè-24-Hr-Miracle-Cream-ingredientOverall It is a very affordable and basic moisturizer that would work ‘safely’ for any skin type at any age group, and versatile enough to be used for other functions. It will be a staple for my traveling kit, but not a moisturizer for my everyday skin care.

 

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I am completely obsessed with 2 things at the moment – natural products and anything made of Rose. So when I spotted the Aesop Damascan Rose Facial Treatment it was like a match made-in-heaven for me. I have tons of skincare products to go through, but it only took me a split second to decide I had to have this one..right now! Especially since the cold weather in Australia is taking a toll on my skin.

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Aesop is a well known natural brand in Australia. I would say it has the same cult status as Jurlique, but with a less commercial branding. I really like the display of their concept store which looks like a science lab to me, and I love their low key but thoughtful packaging. All of their products are housed in a tinted brown glass bottle which helps to preserve the freshness of their plant-based ingredients.

Aesop signature store in Melbourne Australia

aesop_store_fr_rue_saint_honoreAesop signature store at Rue Saint Honore in Paris

The Aesop Damascan Rose Facial Treatment is packed with good oils including Rosa Damascena oil, Neroli oil and Violet leaf oil. These ingredients are infused with vitamin A, E and C, and are excellent for skin that is in need of intense hydration. The selling point for me is the Damascan Rose. Anyone who is into aromatherapy would know that Damascan Roses are the world’s most premium roses, and they are known for their healing properties for skin. The direction of use is as follows:

Massage five drops onto clean skin, twice weekly.

I use it differently:

My home has heaters on 24/7 and it is drying my skin out badly, so I use this treatment oil every night but with only 2 drops per application. The way I use it is that I spray my palm with La Roche-Posay Eau Thermale (any thermal spring water would do). Then I add 2 drops of the oil, and warm it up between my palms. The mist acts like an “activator” so it instantly emulsifies the oil, and turns it into an elixir-like texture which feels much lighter than the original texture. While it is still warm, I pat it onto my face and my neck. The oil is absorbed into my skin immediately without leaving any residue. My skin feels nourished, softer, and soothed because of the lovely rose scent.  I then put on a light moisturizer (or you can skip if the skin is not overly dry) and go to bed. The next morning I wake up with supple, moisturized and ultra radiant skin. I also noticed my makeup goes on beautifully.

If your skin is so dry that a regular moisturizer just doesn’t seem to help, you might want to give this a try! I am a firm believer in that good oils do wonders to the skin regardless of your skin type. I would have never thought about putting oils onto my skin, until I learnt how smart our skin actually is! Our skin responds to any external changes – for oily skin the more oil you try to take away the more oil your skin will produce as a natural defense. On the contrary, if you have very dry skin and you constantly put on layers of ultra rich creams, you are tricking the skin to think that it’s producing too much oil. As a result it will produce less oil. It was probably one of the most useful lessons I have learnt about skin, and over the years I treated my skin with the above in mind, and consequently my skin looks the best when it is in a state of fine balance between oil and water.

I bought the Aesop Damascan Rose Facial Treatment in Australia for $75. It is also available online here in the US, and Aesop has concept stores across the world.

Have you tried Aesop? If you have, please let me know your favorite products from the brand :-)

 

 

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