SKINCARE

I often get asked about my updated skincare routine from my readers, and it seems a very big job for me to consolidate everything I use into one post. I am currently in the process of shortlisting a handful of products that I absolutely love. In the meantime, I like to share with you a selection of products that I am bringing along with for my upcoming 2 weeks vacation in Hawaii! These are the trial and tested products that I pulled from my current skincare selections (not just random samples), and they are mainly for keeping my skin clear, congestion free, hydrated and lifted (so more photogenic) on a hot destination.

best-skincare-routine-tutorial-normal-oily-skin-reviewCLEANSE:

TATCHA One Step Camilia Cleansing Oil: My holy grail cleansing oil for removing makeup. One pump is all you need for removing the makeup completely, and it emulsifies well and most importantly it doesn’t make my vision blur for days if it gets into my eyes accidentally.

SUQQU Eye Makeup Remover: It removes the eye makeup including waterproof mascara easily, and is super gentle for my sensitive eyes.

TATCHA Polished Rice Enzyme Powder:  Love this gentle powder exfoliator that also helps to brighten. It totally deserves a separate review post for it.

MASKS:

GLAMGLOW PowerMud DualCleanse Treatment: It is currently my favorite deep cleansing mask. I love it so much so I bought a mini size just for this trip. It is gentle (doesn’t sting), but very effective for lifting all the impurities and clearing out the pores.

SK-II Facial Treatment Mask: My go-to paper mask for ultimate hydration and glowy skin. I plan to use one a day so it helps to reverse the damage from the sun, and keep my skin hydrated and brightened.

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DAY & NIGHT:

La Mer The Reparative Face Sun Lotion SPF 30: If you want to simplify your skincare routine, this is possibly the only product you need in the morning. It is La Mer Moisturing lotion + SPF30 sun protection. This milky lotion is less richer than their famous cream, so it is light enough to use in the morning with the same repairing benefits as in all La Mer products.

La Mer The Mist: A very refreshing and hydrating mist that is great to use during the day to replenish the moisture and keep the skin cool.

Dr Ci LaboVitamin C Special100 Series: Pure vitamin c oil that moisturizes and also helps to improve pigmentation and brighten up the skin. It’s great for mixing in with other products.

For Beloved One Mandelic Acid Renewal Serum 20% . It is the newest ingredient that surpasses the effect of BHA+AHA which is trending everywhere in Asia now. It gives a deep exfoliation (like a mild peel effect) to the skin, and it is the most effective I have ever used for clearing up pores, and preventing pore congestion. If you notice your skin is not as smooth, or has white heads, and congested pores but difficult to remove, then this serum brings all the dirt and impurities to the skin surface and help to dissolve them after 2-3 uses. Continuous use will help the pores to stay clear longer. I use it twice a week, and always mix it with the vitamin c oil to make it more diluted and apply it over the areas prone to congestion.

Beauty Bar 24K Gold:  My favorite portable beauty tool for de-puffing and a temporary more lifted look (reviewed here).

Methode Jeannue Piaubert Visagist Facial Slimming Roll-On: This brand makes the best slimming and contouring body products. I was excited to find out that they also have a slimming skincare product for the face. I bought this in Europe earlier this year, and unfortunately I can’t find any stockist online.

HAIR & BODY:

Jurlique Hand Cream: Holy grail hand cream that I have repurchased over and over.

Original Mineral Frizzy Logic Shine Serum: A weightless serum that repairs the hair and control the frizzes. Similar to Argan oil but I prefer this one.

 

 

 

 

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Today’s review is for the supremely luxurious Chanel SUBLIMAGE Regenerating Mask. I don’t use skincare products from Chanel as much as with their makeup, as I always prefer brands that are specialized in skincare rather than generic beauty brands that do everything. However after trying out several samples from the SUBLIMAGE series, I was totally blown away by the performance.

One of the products that wowed me the most was the Sublimage Lotion (it just made my skin look so good!), but I didn’t buy the full size version as I had way too many serum lotions to get through. I was convinced to buy the Regenerating Mask as I was in need of a wash-off type mask and the SA claimed this was more intensive than the lotion, and it could also be used as a sleeping mask.

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As with most high end masks, it comes with the most luxurious packaging that makes you feel very pampered every time you apply this over the face. It has a set of standard tools such as a mask brush, a scoop, and a small pamphlet with massaging techniques included to make a prestige skincare product.

It has a thick and heavy cream texture that moisturizes even the driest skin, and smooths out the dry lines within few minutes. Different to the gel mask, this is much more nourishing and anti-aging. Since it’s so expensive I always use it a as sleeping mask so I can get optimum results. The formula is very rich, so I only need a very small amount to cover the whole face and I leave it on my face for at least 30 minutes before I go to the bed. It has quite a strong signature Chanel floral rosey scent that makes it smell enchanting.  My skin feels extremely supple and smooth with a radiant glow the next day similar to having an intensive moisturizing facial. It takes away all the dry patches and makes my complexion look fresh and rejuvenated. No brightening, lifting and repairing effect observed.

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Overall I recommend this product for those of you who are short on sleep, and are wanting your skin to look at its best the next day; or if  you don’t have the time for a long skincare routine and  just want to use one product at night that gives you the similar result as with 10 products. For people with oily skin, this mask may be too rich for you.

I bought the mask here in Australia. It is available on Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus Online in the US.

 

 

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The Clé de Peau Beauté cleansing foam is one of the best foaming cleansers I have ever used which deserves a proper review post.  This is the cleanser that would testify ‘good skin begins with good cleansing’. I have been using this on and off for the past 10 years, and every time I go back to it , I always feel my skin’s condition is improved.

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I would call this a deep cleansing cleanser for every day use as it does the most thorough cleaning job – it takes off every single trace of impurities and makeup, and it purifies to the bottom of the pores so it makes the them look very clean. Your complexion appears exceptionally clear, brightened and full of radiance after washing with this compared to the other cleansers. It comes in 2 variations – Gentle Cleansing foam that is designed for normal to dry skin, and the Refreshing Cleansing Foam for normal to oily skin. I am using the gentle version which works really well for my dry and sensitive skin. It makes the skin feel squeaky clean and refreshed without stripping off the moisture. It has a clean and delicate flora soapy scent, and has a creamy white paste texture that lathers up to the creamiest and most dense and emollient foam.  The resilient lather feels uber luxurious and velvety against the skin. It is on the expensive side, but a little product goes a long way and this tube will last you a very long time.

The ingredient list

Bottom Line: If you are still on the look out for a perfect foaming cleanser, give this one a try! The Clé de Peau Beauté cleanser is available at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and SAKS in the US.

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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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A quick skincare post for the transition season from Fall to Winter. As always moisturizing is the core of my routine. I opted for some richer face products to cater for my very dry and sensitive skin in this weather. This post only covers the basic moisturizing products that I use daily, and I combine these products with a lot of other skincare products accordingly that target at specific skin conditions such as pigmentation, brightening, anti aging etc.

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La Mer The Radiant Infusion – is the most hydrating serum-like lotion I have ever used. It instantly re-hydrates and plumps up the skin upon application without the tackiness, and helps to improve the luminosity of the skin overnight.  And on a lazy day, I can get away with only using this lotion as it keeps my skin supple and hydrated for many hours. Not happy that this product is being discontinued, so next on my radar is the La Mer The Treatment Lotion!

Decleor Aromessence Angelique Nourishing Serum – I am a big fan of face oil, and after trialing tons of new oils I decided to go back to the old but good Decleor. Love the pure essential oil smell, as it helps to sooth and wind down the day for me. It does a great job for moisturizing and nourishing my dry skin for the whole day with only a drop, and I wake up with a glow. If you like the foundation to appear more dewy and radiant on the skin, this oil also serves as a good base.

Trilogy Organic Rosehip Oil – Every model raves about rosehip oil – often found in affordable organic beauty brands. The Trilogy oil was completely sold out in UK after The Duchess of Cambridge credited her ultra radiant complexion to this oil upon receiving a bottle during her tour to New Zealand. I am quite neutral about it, as it does help to moisturize the skin but the oil is not as finely milled as the expensive ones so it tends to sit on top of the skin. Otherwise it is a lovely and affordable oil  to use for both the face and the body, and I like rubbing a thick layer on the scar areas with the use of derma roller and I have seen a great improvement.

FRESH Creme Ancienne Anti Aging Treatment – I have had the FRESH cream for over a year now and I am finally using it up! It is ultra thick, rich and heavy. It has a wax-like texture and you only need less than a pea size of this cream for the whole face. It feels a little heavy on the face, and forms an invisible barrier on the skin that traps the moisture for the whole day, and protects your skin from external hazards. This would be the perfect cream for very dry skin types, or if you live in an extreme cold weather condition. Otherwise it would be way too rich and may clog your pores. A lot of people compare this cream to the Creme de la Mer, but I personally prefer the latter for everyday use.

Jo Malone Vitamin E Gel (reviewed here) – This is my second tub – a multi-purpose luxurious vitamin E balm that can be mixed with other moisturizers that deeply nourishes and helps to repair the skin.  It can also be used as a lip balm and mixed with other products for a makeup base. This gel is more heavy duty than the face oil, and I normally go for this one at night if I want a boost of moisture and radiance the next day.

 

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I have been using face masks religiously (at least once every two days) for the past few years so I have had my fair share of them. I find that I am opting for wash-off  type more frequently since I became a mum as I get really lazy at the end of the day, and sometimes I just fall asleep whilst wearing a face/sleeping mask! Here is the edition of some really affordable drugstore hydrating face masks that I would repurchase over and over.

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1.    Neutrogena Hydro Boost Night Concentrate (Asia exclusive)- This is the most refreshing, lightweight gel mask that is packed with hyaluronic acid. It is marketed as a sleeping mask, which means you can leave it on till tomorrow morning. I personally like to wash it off before I go to bed, since I find that the result is not significantly better than if I had left it on overnight.  Overall the mask provides immediate hydration to the skin for up to a day, and my complexion feels more supple and plumped. I would recommend this mask to  anyone who has oily, combo and normal skin but dehydrated. The texture is light enough to not cause any congestion or breakout.

2.  Elizavecca Collagen Jella Pack – My absolute favorite mask.  Each jar contains 50,000 mg of collagen peptide from pork rinds (not for vegans!) so it claims to provide hydration and collagen to the complexion. It has a firm jelly like texture which makes it fun to apply. It feels refreshing and non greasy, and it is more moisturizing than a typical gel/cream mask. Even during this change of season, it is nourishing enough to keep my dry skin at the bay for one to two days. Highly recommend this to all skin types. This product is parabens, mineral oil free.

MORITAYA Tofu Mask – This mask is extremely popular in Japan as it was constantly rated the best drugstore mask in the beauty magazines. It contains a mixture of soy based yoghurt to hydrate and brighten up the skin. The texture is like a delicious creamy yoghurt with a heavenly soy milk scent that I am obsessed with. It leaves my skin very moisturized but not greasy, soft and appears more evenly toned after each use. This is another really good value for money product that I highly recommend to anyone with all skin types.

4. NUXE Creme Fraiche 24hr Soothing and Rehydrating Fresh Mask – This is my last resort if my skin becomes very dry and irritated. It has a milky texture with a really lovely vanilla scent that feels very calming to the skin. Like most rich European masks, this one tends to leave an oily film on the skin that acts like a protective barrier. It guarantees to replenish moisture and repair my desert dry skin, but I only use this one in colder weather otherwise it would be too rich and might cause a break out.

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All About Sunscreens

March 14, 2015

I have been road testing a lot of sunscreens in recent years, and in this post it covers some of my absolute favorites. As we all know, there are two different types of UVS – the UVA and UVB . What you probably aren’t aware is that UVB rays can burn the skin, whereas what we women really have to watch out for on a daily basis is the UVA rays that causes aging and pigmentation. SPF is only for blocking UVB. In most western brands, if the sunscreen also protects you from UVA it is indicated by the word “Broad Spectrum”, however how much coverage it provides is unknown. I personally prefer the Asian standard of labeling for UVA protection as it is denoted by the PA+. The more plus signs there are, the better job it does for blocking UVA which is valuable information for those who are sensitive to the sun.

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1. Estee Lauder CyberWhite HD Advanced Brightening UV Protector SPF 50 PA+++: My top favorite and I would repurchase it over and over. It has all the protection I need, and the texture is like a lightweight gel cream that feels invisible and hydrating on the skin. It is neither greasy nor drying. And unlike other gel sunscreens, this one does not flake up and sits well under makeup. Highly recommend! (Asia version here)

2. DIOR DIORSNOW White Reveal UV Protection SPF 50 PA+++: It’s a sunscreen with moisturizing and brightening ingredients, so it doubles up as a makeup primer as it helps to brighten up and even out the skin tone. The texture feels very rich upon application – almost like a heavy moisturizer for dry skin but it absorbs into the skin after a few minutes without the oily residue, leaving your skin supple and slightly dewy. A lot of my friends who have dry skin really love this sunscreen because of the dewy finish. (Asia version here)

3. Lunasol Control Essence UV SPF34 PA+++ : It feels just as good as the Estee Lauder -very lightweight, and has a luxurious serum-like lotion texture that feels refreshing and hydrating on the skin without changing the skin color. I would rate this one as my second favorite because it has a lower SPF.

4. BECCA Mineral SPF30 Face and Body Sunscreen: This is a mineral sunscreen so it is better for sensitive as well as acne prone skin types, and more importantly, they become effective immediately upon application as opposed to the classic sunscreens that should be applied at least 20 minutes before exposure to the sun. The texture of this is lovely – it is creamy but non greasy, feels refreshing on the face but it might leave a white cast if your skin tone is darker than NC30.

5. ORBIS UV Cut Sunscreen FACE SPF34 PA+++ – A Japanese drugstore brand and their UV CUT line that is highly raved about and just blows the western drugstore sunscreens out of the water. This is a mineral sunscreen with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. It has a watery milky lotion texture with more than 80% moisturizing ingredients that just melts into your skin and prevents oxidization. It sets immediately to a semi-matte finish without feeling drying nor powdery. I love using this one on days I don’t wear makeup, as it is tinted with a pale beige color that makes the complexion look really fresh and clean. My top pick for an affordable sunscreen!

6. ORBIS UV Cut Sunscreen SUPER SPF50 PA++++:  Offers maximum protection, and the texture is very similar to the face product without the beige tint, so it can be used for both the face and the body without leaving a white cast as it goes on invisible. Since it has the highest PA protection, it is great for prevention from being tanned.

7. Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral: Another mineral sunscreen but in powder form! I thought this is a brilliant idea as I like to re-apply sun protection every few hours without having it messing up my makeup! It applies pretty much like transparent loose powder, but the brush feels coarse and it doesn’t fit into the cap so it can get messy for carrying it around.

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Swatches from left to right: Estee Lauder; Dior; Lunasol; Becca; Orbis Face; Orbis Super

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