SKINCARE

SK-II is the skincare brand that I religiously re-purchase from as their star ingredient ‘Pitera’ works really great for my skin, and most of the products I have used truly deliver as what they claim. Lately, I have been using the trio of Facial Treatment Essence, RNA Power Radical New Age Essence, and the Genoptics Aura Essence, and I am loving the results, so I thought I’d do a combined review for the three of them.

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The Facial Treatment Essence is my holy grail essence water. Over the years I have used a fair number of high-end essence water and most of them were great, and somehow SKII is the only one that I continuously buy over and over.  I have praised it in many of my previous skincare routine posts, so I won’t go into the details. Overall this is an all-purpose gentle lightweight water lotion that deeply hydrates your skin for all skin conditions, and since one bottle has over 90% Pitera, it helps to exfoliate, clarify and refine the skin for crystal-clear skin. The best way to use this is to saturate the cotton pad with the lotion and leave it on the skin for a few minutes and immediately you will see your skin appear more clear and refined.

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After applying the Treatment Essence, I apply a few pumps of the SK-II RNA Power Radical New Age Essence which is their latest anti-aging breakthrough. It works to combat all signs of aging for a more firming, radiant and poreless complexion. In my opinion, this is a great beginner’s anti-aging serum for people who are in their 20s or early 30s. It has a lightweight non-sticky milky lotion serum consistency and absorbs into the skin immediately. It mildly hydrates the skin, and over a period of use, I have noticed my skin texture appears more refined with more clear pores. The serum alone did not blow me away, but I do like the overall result when it is combined with other SKII results, as I feel it also helps to boost the effect of other products. Price range and target customers are equivalent to the famous Advanced Night Repair by Estee Lauder (not for sensitive skin), or Lancome Genifique. I have used all three of them, and I would say the Estee Lauder improves the skin texture the best, Lancome Genifique is better for reducing pores and fine lines, whereas the SKII has a better repair power that heals and elevates the overall health of your skin.

The Genoptics Aura Essence is officially my Holy Grail brightening essence. I loved the result of their previous Genoptics, and recently SK-II released the Genoptics Aura Face Essence with an improved formula. The new version is more hydrating, and the texture feels so soothing and luxurious on the skin. It deeply hydrates the skin (almost like a hydrating serum), and it has a lovely milky essence lotion consistency that spreads and absorbs into the skin without any tackiness. Immediately I notice a more brightened complexion imparting a soft glow, and overnight I wake up with more plumped and radiant skin that is never dull even with a few hours of sleep. It also does a great job for whitening and keeping the pigmentation at bay. I was quite tanned after my recent Hawaii holiday, and I have now gone back to my normal shade after using this serum for a month, and my freckles have also faded. Overall I love this essence and I am already on my second bottle!

 

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Monthly Favorites!

February 5, 2017

Just a quick post on the weekend rounding up some of my favorite products over the past few months. Some have already been reviewed, and some are recently acquired that I fell in love with.

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1. Dior DreamSkin Perfect Cushion Foundation – Out of all the cushion foundations I have, this one is my top HG as it just enhances the skin to perfection! Not quite a foundation, more of a skin perfector – Reviewed here.

2. Suqqu Dual Ended foundation brush – This is the latest brush released by Suqqu, and you will never go wrong with them!

3. Zovea Nude Eye Shadow Palette – Been reaching out to this affordable palette a lot for an array of beautiful neutral shades in different finishes, and it is especially great for travel. Reviewed here.

4. Chanel Le Rouge Lip Crayon – Best formulas for lip crayons ever! Reviewed here.

5. Cle De Peau Radiant Fluid Foundation – It gives a beautiful natural radiant second-skin finish that lasts the whole day. Review to come soon.

6. Sisley Double Tenseur Moisturizing Gel – My HG daytime skincare lotion as well as a makeup primer that hydrates and lifts the skin instantly. Reviewed here.

7. SK-II Genopitcs Aura Essence – A hydrating and brightening serum that gives the skin a beautiful radiance and glow. It truly works overnight as well as over the long run. Review to come soon.

8. Baby Quasar MD Plus – Can’t live without this tool and even got my mum hooked on to it. It is expensive but it’s the best beauty investment I have ever made for anti-aging treatment at home. It’s easy to use and gives a pro-salon result over a short time. Review to soon.

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You know it is true love and is in the holy grail category when I have a backup of the same product. Case in point – this Sisley Paris ‘Double Tenseur’ Moisturizing Gel. I was at the Sisley counter a few months ago and was mainly interested in their newest foundation. It turned out I did not like the foundation but got blown away by this new product which is a skincare and makeup 2-in-1. In fact I loved it so much that I bought a second one a week later (bought here)!

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Basically, it’s a skincare lotion that can also be used a primer as it delivers a lifting effect both immediately as well as in the long-run . Sisley recommends to apply this product as the last step in your skincare regime, and just before you apply the foundation. It’s a miracle product that gives an instant lifting effect, and makes you look instantly refreshed and awakened. I am not sure what’s the technology behind this little bottle of gem, but according to Sisley, this gel creates a 3D mesh on your skin as a second-skin effect, and as it retracts, it gives a lifting sensation.

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My experience – yes it works amazingly! I can see a noticeable difference before and after. It just instantly makes the jaw lines appear more v-shaped, and best of all the lines around the nose is improved. I have used lots of lifting face products and this one by far delivers the most outstanding results for me. Ever since I have incorporated this gel in my makeup routine, I feel my complexion appears more youthful and refreshed, and I can guarantee I will be using it for another few years!

The Double Tenseur Moisturizing Gel has a silky clear gel texture and it absorbs into the skin immediately. It has a mild herbal scent and mildly hydrates the skin which preps the skin for foundation. As a skincare product, it goes well with the other products I am using – there is no flaking, no stickiness and feels completely weightless. As a makeup primer, it works well with all types of foundations. I have used both liquid and powder foundations and they all sit nicely on the skin.

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Bottom Line: Highly recommend if you are after a lifting product that truly works. Available here in the US, and here in Australia.

 

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Cle De Peau Beaute is one ultra-prestige skincare line that I am always curious about. Unfortunately, Cle De Peau is not available in Australia, and buying them online from overseas is also not an easy job. After hearing lots and lots of raves on one of their star products – the Essential Correcting Refiner (also available here), I finally managed to get my hands on it a while ago, and I love it to bits as a gentle clarifying toner for re-texturizing and pore refining my combo skin.

It is specifically formulated for treating the pores and skin congestion (black and white heads). It can be used on all skin types (except for very dry), and the philosophy is to balance the water and oil level of your skin to keep the pores clean and clear for a refined complexion. I know many of us suffer from combo skin (oily and dry at the same time), and this little purple bottle of water may be your perfect solution to treat two skin issues at the same time.

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The lotion has three key ingredients. The super hyaluronic acid for hydration, and refining and illuminating complex for retexturing the skin for a smooth and radiant complexion, as well as oil absorbing powder for oil controlling all day. It also contains alcohol (as with most famous Japanese essence lotions such as the SKII, Kose Sekkisei Lotion or Albion Skin Conditioner which I also adore), and I personally don’t mind it as my skin is not allergic to it.

I have used products with absorbing powder before, and I wasn’t so impressed as I find them quite drying. With the Cle De Peau, it is hydrating and clarifying at the same time, and most importantly it clarifies and deep cleanses the pores. For the application, give the bottle a good shake, then pat the lotion onto the skin. Immediately your skin feels hydrated, refreshed and incredibly velvety smooth, and the complexion appears more even-looking and refined with a semi-matte finish.  For treating the problematic areas such as the nose and chin, I then wet a cotton pad with the lotion, and wipe the cotton pad in a circular motion, and you will see it dissolve the dirt and oil on the surface. Over time, this product helps to unclog the pores and minimize the white/blackheads.

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It is the time of the year where everybody has lots of social gatherings planned, and we all want to look at our best! I have been good with my diet (trying to eat very clean food so I can fit into my party dresses and look less bloated), and most importantly I picked up some skincare products and tools that will instantly transform the appearance and texture of the skin to a better condition, and preps my skin to be party-ready (radiant and smooth).

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Baby Quasar MD Plus – Salon therapies definitely give you an instant skin transformation, but they are pricey and requires down time. At-home beauty tools are always a cheaper option to try, and they are far more effective than solely relying on the skincare. My latest addition is the Baby Quasar MD Plus. I have had it a few times in salons, and I finally decided to get the home version. It is not cheap, but I like the result it delivers and it is a gentle tool to use. It emits 4 different wavelengths that deeply penetrate,  stimulates collagen reproduction and over a short time your skin appears firmer with an improved density. I will do a full review on the tool soon, but in summary, this tool makes my skin appear  plumped up and more youthful looking with a glow instantly.

Kate Somerville Exfolikate – Still my HG exfoliator. I use it more intensively 2 weeks before the events/parties. It makes my skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom, and prevents congestion from clogging up.

GlamGlow TingleExfoliate Treatment – Another HG skincare item. A deep cleaning and clarifying mask that brightens and detoxifies the skin. Skin looks ultra clear and luminous after use!

Cle De Peau Essential Correcting Refiner – Best of the best pore refining lotion in the market! Full review coming soon

SKII Facial Treatment Essence – Alternating Cle De Peau with SKII, this famous highly concentrated Pitera liquid lotion deeply hydrates, clarifies and brightens for achieving crystal clear skin.

Suqqu Massage & Mask Creme – Face lift in a jar and is equivalent to the result of having a facial. It is a nourishing and moisturizing mask that gets rid of water retention, instantly creates a slimmer and more toned jaws and lifted cheeks and eyes following the enclosed GANKIN massage techniques.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream – Best seller from Charlotte Tilbury that she uses on Celebs and models before events. It cheats the appearance of 8 hours sleep and gives a plumped, glowing, youthful dewy complexion in a flash!

Chanel Le Lift Cream – Reviewed here. My go-to moisturizer for recontouring and refining the complexion.

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It is very clear that my biggest skincare obsession now is fighting against gravity. I am a firm believer in that if we start caring for our skin from an early age for preventative purposes, we can delay the skin from sagging and aging relatively. The Chanel Le Lift range is my current favorite because the products really work. I was given a couple of samples of the Le Lift Cream when it was first launched, and I loved it so much, so I bought a full-size jar, as well as the Le Lift Serum for the best optimum result.

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LE Lift CREAM RICHE (bought here in Australia)– It is housed in a weighty black glass jar, and comes in 3 different textures – fine, normal and riche.

Since I have dry skin, I go for the rich version which works well for my skin in winter. It actually doesn’t feel that rich compared to other well-known heavy duty moisturizers such as La Mer Cream or Fresh Creme Ancienne. It has a lightweight creamy texture and absorbs into the skin without feeling greasy, but it still leaves a nice moist and soft touch to the skin. It makes your skin appear smooth and radiant and works wonderfully as a makeup base for the day. I have been using it every day, and it keeps the skin well moisturized even in the season transition time.

As for firming, it is a mini ‘face-lift’ in a jar for a quick fix for getting rid of morning puffiness, as well as making the face shape appear more toned and lifted. Since it has a nice slip consistency, you can massage the product in an upward motion for 1-2 minutes. If I apply this product liberally, I notice an instant tightening effect around the cheeks and jaws, and the contour appears more defined with a more V-shaped face. The lines around the nose are also less visible. Overall, I am impressed with this moisturizer and will re-purchase!

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LE LIFT SERUM

I would give 9/10 to the moisturizer, and 7/10 to the serum. One pet peeve is that it is packed in a plastic bottle which does not equate to the high price tag.  It has a milky texture, and feels lightweight and absorbs completely into the skin upon application. It adds mild hydration to the skin and makes the skin appear more plumped. There might be some long-term benefits over a period of use (which is hard to measure anyway), but for delivering an instant result, the moisturizer is more superior for lifting. I feel the serum is giving an anti-oxidant and hydration boost to the skin and supplements the moisturizer for achieving the best firming and anti-aging results.

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Bottom Line: I am very pleased with the result they deliver, as I see an improvement in my skin in the texture and firmness from using the Le Lift Range. Overall they are worth looking into if you are after firming skincare products that really work. Once I finish the serum, I will try out the new Chanel V-Flash which is already launched in the US but not yet in Australia.

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Here is a quick rundown on some of my favorite products from my current skincare regime. Overall I am very pleased with the results, as my skin has been looking radiant and clear with a natural glow from within all the time – like I have had 8 hours of sleep every day! The texture is smooth and supple which also makes the makeup look and sit better on my skin.

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1. Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi Refining Cleansing Oil – It’s very easy and quick to remove the most stubborn and waterproof makeup thoroughly with this oil, without feeling rich and greasy on the skin. Reviewed here.

2. SKII Facial Treatment Essence (bought here in Australia) – One of my holy grails as the first step after cleansing. Been using it on and off over the past ten years, and the formula is great for all skin types, as well as all year around.

3. Chanel Le Lift Serum and Cream – Effectively and noticeably firm, and lift the skin. It gives a more lifted contour and reduces morning puffiness. Loving the range and will post a full review soon.

4. La Mer The Concentrate – Miracle in a bottle. It significantly reduces the appearance scarring, and repairs and rejuvenates the skin rapidly!

5. Creme de La Mer Moisturizing Cream –  Holy grail moisturizer that I have been using over a decade! I go for the original cream formula in winter and prefer the new soft formula during the summer time.

6. La Mer Reparative Face Sun Lotion SPF30 – My favorite morning lightweight sunscreen that I use as my morning moisturizer. It has the same luxury smooth texture as a moisturizer that makes the skin super soft and supple without the sunscreen grease.

7. Le Weekend De Chanel – Really like the one-step skincare system from Chanel, particularly from a busy mommy perspective. I use this product in place of all other products every weekend. It is packed with glycolic acid complex so it is great for exfoliating, detoxifying the skin for a more clear and smooth complexion.

8. Philosophy Microdelivery Overnight Peel – Whenever I feel that my skin is starting to feel ‘rough’ and the makeup looks like it’s just sitting on top of the skin, I use the peel and it removes the dead skin cells and reveals new skin with finer texture. Reviewed here.

9.GLAMGLOW YouthMud – Another great deep cleanse mask for unclogging the pores, boosting radiance and smoothing out the skin. This gives you a ‘facial-like’ result that transforms the luminosity of your skin after only one use.

 

 

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I always like to include a peel product in my skincare regime, and lately, I’ve been using the Philosophy The Microdelivery Overnight Peel. I like the results of peels from the salon, with at-home kits, as they are much gentler. I’ve been trialing with different brands, and so far I like the Philosophy the most (the result is nearly on par my favorite the La Prairie Cellular 3 Minute Peel), but based on result vs. value, this is a good option.

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Why Peel?

As mentioned in my previous skincare posts, once you’ve passed the age of 28, your skin metabolism rate goes down by a lot. A normal skin renewal cycle is probably 14 days, but my skin is acting sluggish and hardly does any self-renewal. Peel is for peeling the dead skin cells in a more intensive way than an exfoliator, so it reveals newer skin hence it makes your skin appear smoother and with finer pores. It is also great for fading superficial pigmentations at the top debris layer.

How to Use

The overnight kit includes a liquid peel solution as step 1, and a night gel as step 2, with a small bag of cotton pads. For the application, you saturate the pads with the solution and wipe it on your face in a circular motion then leave it for 2 minutes. Then you apply a thick layer of the night gel which is a hydrating leave-in sleeping mask. The peel solution contains alpha/beta hydroxy acid and feels quite gentle and doesn’t sting nor irritate my skin. The night gel has a jelly-like texture, and it is designed to hydrate, soothe and restore your skin from potential irritation that may occur from the peel overnight. You can also add your preferred moisturizer on top.

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The Result

As with most at-home peels I have used, the only noticeable result is having the skin look more smooth, glowing and luminous the next day. Peel is used for long-term results, as it helps to renew the skin at a quicker pace. I am more than half way through this kit, and overall the texture of my skin appeared more refined, even and clarified, with less congestion and more clean pores.

 

 

 

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