Saturday, April 19, 2014

REVIEW: Vichy's Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Serum and Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Light Cream

Last month, Vanity Trove and L'Oreal Paris collaborated to come up with an exclusive Vichy trove to mark the launch of the brand's latest product, the Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Serum. Accompanying it in the trove was the Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Light Cream. I tried both products for close to a month and here are my two cents' worth!

To begin, here's a little update on my current skin condition. I have combination skin that's sensitive, so... It's the usual; oily T-zone, dry cheeks and light redness all around. The redness usually intensifies when I use new products. This is especially so during this period, when I'm not sleeping very much and my skin's a lot more sensitive than usual.

Vichy's Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Serum is described as the first hydrating power serum that contains 3 energizing sugars and Vichy Thermal Spa Water that can capture and retain moisture.

  • Carrageenans: This unique active ingredient is derived from the marine red algae and aids in repairing our skin's barrier function. At the same time, it softens and smoothens it.
  • Aquabioryl: This patented L'Oreal ingredient ensures a continuous supply of moisture to all our facial zones via dynamic water diffusion.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: This efficient hydrating ingredient re-plumps our skin's surface by enhancing its capacity to retain water.
  • Vichy Thermal Spa Water: This water is 100% pure and naturally rich with 15 different types of rare minerals. It is clinically proven to regenerate, soothe and protect our skin.

The serum ensures a uniform hydration distribution, maintaining a good moisture balance in all our facial zones.

The serum comes out gel-like but spreads out like water. It sinks into my skin easily, leaving no uncomfortable greasy residue. The parched areas on my face are immediately quenched, while the usual oily ones remain adequately hydrated with no oily feeling. As it contains dimethicone (A type of silicone.), it creates the perfect smooth canvas for makeup; foundation glides across the surface of my skin easily and sits comfortably all day.

Vichy's Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Light Cream hydrates skin millimeter by millimeter. Vichy Thermal Spa Water opens up our skin's intercells gateways so that active ingredients can circulate in each facial zone. Hyaluronic Acid and Aquabioryl bring much needed water to our skin, while λ-Carracghennans reconstruct our skin's barrier function so as to maintain a long-lasting hydration. Our skin is left radiant, bouncy and smooth.

The cream appears thick and rich but just like the serum, it has a watery-like texture when applied. My skin plumps up immediately and my skin looks youthful and healthy in the morning. I apply it only at night though, because I feel that it's a tad too much for the day, especially so in Singapore's sweltering heat.

The Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration duo is most suitable for anyone looking for a simple hydration regimen. Even those with oily skin will find the serum quite enjoyable. However, I do think that both products are heavily laden with silicones so, those who are allergic may want to take caution.

Vichy's Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Serum and Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Light Cream are both available at selected Guardian, Unity, Watsons, hospital pharmacies and Derma Centre.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

REVIEW: Sulwhasoo's First Care Activating Serum and Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream

Two years back, I received Sulwhasoo's First Care Activating Serum and Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream at Amorepacific Corporation's Gala Dinner. Yes, it has been quite a while now and I should really throw them out. But before I do, I thought I write a review on my 2 most luxurious and loved products (I mean, c'mon! It SMELLS sooo good! Ginseng, ahhh...).

For the uninitiated, Sulwhasoo hails from Korea and was founded by Sunghwan Suh, the founder of Amorepacific. He came from Gaeseong, a city which was known for quality ginseng. After launching the first Ginseng cream in 1966, he decided to develop Sulwhasoo. Since then, Sulwhasoo has been creating products with Ginseng and other Korean medicinal herbs as its key ingredients.

Currently, Sulwhasoo has 4 different ranges; Essential Line, Snowise Line, Timetreasure Line, Men's Line and standing by itself, the Concentrated Ginseng Cream. Each line is subjected to a different treatment, where ingredients are baked, steamed, fermented, or vinegared so that they are detoxified, enriched, or preserved for a longer period of time. This is known as The Poje Method and you can read more about it here.

Now, onto the products that I have been using frequently for the past half year or so. :D

The First Care Activating Serum (160ml) is jam-packed with Korean medicinal herbs to boost your skincare regimen and ensure optimal skin care results. It helps to promote balance and replenish essential moisture and nutrients so that your skin is soft, smooth, supple and all ready to receive the next step of your skincare regimen.

I use this after cleansing and applying toner. 2 pumps are enough for my face, though sometimes I use a wee bit more. Just because it smells sooo good! If you love Chinese herbs like I do, you're in a for a treat! This smells like, premium Chinese herbs. It spreads out like water and is absorbed quickly and easily. My skin is left feeling pretty matte and velvety soft.

The Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream (60ml) is a revitalizing cream that delivers nutrients from the root and fruit of the Korean Ginseng to the deepest layers of your skin. It awakens damaged and depleted skin, strengthening your skin's defense against signs of aging and restoring clear, radiant skin.

Though this looks pretty thick, it is actually quite light and sinks into my skin very easily. It smells like Ginseng heaven and I swear I eat it if I could. Haha. But anyway, there is a slightly greasy feeling left behind but it's really slight and not uncomfortable at all. I use this only at night and I wake up to skin that's plump with moisture.

Together, these 2 products give me a really radiant and clear complexion and it's great joy 'decorating' (Yes, this is the word Dad uses when I go about applying my skincare regimen.) your face with them. And I really wish I could just switch entirely to Sulwhasoo. Like, seriously. I would LOVE to use the Snowise Line. Unfortunately, and as always, everything has its downside; Sulwhasoo comes with a rather hefty price tag. :\ And I will only repurchase them, as a reward to myself or something. Meh. :\

Sulwhasoo is available at TANGS Orchard, TANGS VivoCity, Takashimaya Departmental Store and Robinsons Orchard.

RAMBLINGS: Departures and a grey Saturday.

Today means that I am down to the remaining month of my (extended) education. God knows how bleeding long I have waited for this. (Okay. Just to interject, my front door just swung open, by itself. It's the wind right? RIGHT?!?) This journey has been so much more than I bargained for, not just in terms of school but also, in my own personal life. (Okay, the door just swung shut. And now, it's slowly swinging open.) I'm getting fiercely protective of my own independence now and I wonder if I will die alone.(The leaves outside are swaying. It's definitely the wind.)

But anyway, this morning I woke up with thoughts of departure and no, it isn't the first time that I realized. But each time the fog of those thoughts starts taking shape, I buried it with life. So I guess, this is quite possibly the first time that I'm properly thinking about it before it actually happens? Departures are going to be 'my thing' now. It started out with 3 months last year, graduating to 10 weeks (Or a year? Let it be a year please.) this year and eventually, it's going to be a 2-year cycle (Or one and a half.).

I love what I'm doing (I still have so much to work on though. :\ So incredibly thankful to have such a splendid mentor!) but I wonder if it's going to be too emotionally draining. I don't want to be numbed to departures because I refuse to accept them as a way of life. But fact is, they are a way of life. In whichever profession you are in, in whatever that you are doing in your life. Just that mine's going to be a regular cycle.

Sigh pie. I still remember my previous class so vividly and sometimes it gets a little 'difficult' sitting in the classroom that we used to be in and knowing that the little moments won't happen again (I know, I'm very melodramatic.). And I really want to be able to help them when the big As come. Even now, actually. And when I think about my 2 current classes, I kinda just want to bawl my eyes out really badly. Like now. I'm SUCH a girl, damnit. *buries head*

It makes me wonder how thick a line I should draw between this being just a job or something that is so, so much more. And if this is going to be so, so much more, what is going to happen to my own life? Another story for another morose day. This, can never be just a job. Okay, the grey Saturday is doing my head in. Seriously. May 9th, whether I like it or not, will come eventually and I will deal with it... Eventually. For now, I'll just rack my brains for ways to make Math easy.

And really, I can choose to look at the whole situation from a completely different angle. They are growing up, are moving on to the next chapter of JC life and becoming more independent, thinking, mature and responsible along the way. They are going to be MORE than awesome. *beams* #myclassesareTHEbest #nooneelse

Am currently feeling like such a Mother Hen. Or a Sister Hen. Mmhmm.

Also, am feeling very glad and relieved that I didn't go into nursing... Or dentistry (Epic failure. Still feeling thoroughly embarrassed. Most bimbo-tic moment of my life. In front of 3 friggin' professionals. Thinking about it makes me cringe. Ground, swallow me up. NOW.).

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

ATM: Current obsession - Nike

Back when I was a JC kid who spent evenings kicking balls on a muddy field (Now, it’s all synthetic grass. Bleagh!), I was completely obsessed with sports brands, one of which was Nike. Especially Nike. Their slogan 'Just Do It' can be interpreted in a gazillion ways but for the meek 17-year-old me, it meant grabbing every opportunity that came my way… No matter how tired I was, how lazy I felt and how many doubts my insides were casting upon me. My JC life was far from being smooth but it was a time when I started venturing out of my comfort zone, pushing my boundaries and just doing the things that I really wanted to.

So gawd knows how over the moon I was when Dad got me my very first soccer boots from said brand. They were red and loud and extremely proud to have 2 big white ticks emblazoned across their lengths. And then, both of my school and shoe bags were Nike, my socks were Nike, my water bottle was Nike... You get the picture. Heh.

Even though I have hung up my boots a long time ago and am no longer that brand-conscious, I swear my heart skipped a beat when I stepped into their Raffles City outlet recently to look for yoga gear. And... And the tiniest hint of the vines of obsession taking root. Heh.

Anyway, here are my top 5 picks from Nike at the moment:

View Nike at Zalora Singapore here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

EVENT: Erabelle's Beauty & the Browlogy Bloggers' Event.

My February concluded with a cozy little party held by Erabelle at the Bugis outlet. I have always been intrigued by the brand because the Erabelle ladies look incredibly elegant in their pink kimonos. But brows are really everything. Depending on their lengths and shapes, brows can make or break your look. Hence, I stick to my brow therapist like lovers stick together. BUT quite frankly, I was a teeny weeny bit bored of the way my brows looked and I really did want more of an arch. BUT BUT... I'm way ahead of myself. First, an introduction to Erabelle.

Erabelle understands that today's women are bogged down by many commitments. And so, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to keep up with our personal care. Hence, Erabelle's philosopy - Beauty in an Instant. Erabelle prides itself in coming up with solutions to simply beauty routines so that we can put our best face forward anytime and anyway with minimal time and effort. And without paying less attention to our commitments.

One such solution is Erabrowlogy, which is Erabelle's latest brow treatment. A holistic eyebrow embroidery, it utilizes the specialized Eurpoean Softstroke technique with a European micro-pen to apply colours just below the epidermis of your skin. The result is a set of beautiful, natural-looking and perfectly-drawn brows for 2 to 3 years, with the full course of treatment and proper care. Bid pale and naturally sparse brows goodbye!

Psst! Just to assure you that you are in safe hands, Erabelle has been a Brow Expert with more than 9 years of experience! And it has received the most awards for their brow services.

Erabelle currently has 4 outlets in Singapore. The Bugis one is actually Erabelle's first but it has just been newly renovated with a fairy tale concept. Erabelle hopes to create a warm and familiar ambience, like that of fairy tales, which is complementary with their warm and sincere service. And just like all fairytales, things end with a 'happily ever after'. There are 3 private rooms and each comes dressed in a different tale; Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood.

And gosh, were the rooms beautifully done! I love the Cinderella one the most! And aren't those pillows the most luxurious ones you have ever seen? There's even an iPad in-built in the walls, so that you can pick your songs as you get your treatments done!

Erabrowlogy consists of just 5 quick steps to achieve gorgeous, semi-permanent brows to frame your face!

Step 1: Brow Preparation - A brow mask will be applied onto your brow area to remove dead skin cells and excess sebum, whilst hydrating your skin. This is especially beneficial for those with oily or dry skin, as unhealthy skin condition is a factor that contributes to weak colour retention.

Step 2: Erabrow Design - The customization design process includes a face shape and eyebrow analysis, designing, trimming and tweezing. Creation of the perfect arch will then be done with Erabelle's Long-Lasting Brow Pencil, which shade is chosen accordingly to suit your skin tone and hair colour.

The Artist will first identify your face shape and recommend the suitable eyebrows. There are 6 common Asian Face shapes:

  • Diamond: Narrow square forehead + wide cheek bones + narrow jawline + pointy chin
  • Long: Round narrow forehead + slim long jawline + long chin
  • Oval: Narrow round forehead + slim long jawline + round chin
  • Square: Wide square forehead + angular jawline + pointy chin
  • Round: Wide round forehead + round jawline + round chin
  • Heart: Round forehead + narrow jawline + pointy chin

For the design of your brows, which includes trimming and tweezing, there are 5 factors of consideration:

  • Length of eyebrows
  • Thickness of eyebrows: Distance between the brows and eyes + size of eyes + size of face + body frame
  • Shape and tip of the eyebrow arch
  • Starting point of the eyebrows: Light + natural looking
  • Ending point of the eyebrows: Precise + complete

Next, comes the penciling in the brows to simulate look of full brows and you can compare the before and after Erabrow Design. If you're happy with the brow shape, you'll proceed to step 3 of the Erabrowlogy!

Step 3: Patch Test - The patch test is done before the procedure to test for any allergy to the certified colour pigment used.

Step 4: Preparation of Equipment - New Micropen tips and colour caps are used for every customer to ensure that strict hygiene standards are observed.

Step 5: Application of Colour - The Softstroke technique is used, coupled with topical numbing cream and micro-pen so as to induce an experience of minimal discomfort.

After each Erabrowlogy session, you'll also be given an Erabrowlogy Care Kit which consists of:

  • Aftercare cream (5g)
    To be applied every morning and night for at least 5 days of the colour-settling process.
  • Hydra Cleansing Water (15ml)
    For ease of cleansing, the cleansing water can be used with cotton pads to cleanse the face, avoiding the brow area.
  • Skin Calming Mask (5g)
    To counter discomfort and redness after the procedure, it is recommended to use this mask for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th nights after the procedure for a soothing effect.

Here's Louisa and her new brows after about an hour! I love how defined and natural they look!

Then, it was my turn to try out Erabelle's Erabrow Design (Just the first part of the Erabrowlogy.)! My therapist was Winnie Yeo and I was jumping inside when she told me that it was actually alright for me to have a higher arch (Nope, no Korean pencil-straight brows for me.). After analyzing my face (Which is long and oval.) and working her magic hands on me...

... TADAHHH! Look at the drastic difference! Seriously, guys. Brows. Are. Everything. My eyes had a less droopy appearance and I looked more awake and alert. Man, how nice it would be if I could make this permanent! It's pretty pricey though but can you imagine the convenience!

Thanks so much, Winnie! :D She was really patient in answering all my questions and explaining the reasons why she did my eyebrows like so.

The complete Erabrowlogy takes about 60 minutes per session and is priced at $1,314. This consists of 4 colour services, with pre-treatments and Browlogy Care kits. For ladies who have done embroidery or tattoo on their brows and would like to correct them, you have Erabrowlogy Redesign & Change. This is priced at $1,690.60 for 5 colour services, with pre-treatments and Browlogy Care kits. (Do note that there is an additional surcharge of $214 if you request for the Master Artist.).

And just for you, a 20% Erabrowlogy/ Erabrowlogy Redesign & Change discount voucher will be given to 5 lucky readers! All you need to do is to email me at why you are interested in doing eyebrow embroidery, with your name, email address and the last 5 characters of your I/C number. Winners will be selected on March 26th.

For more information, please visit Erabelle's Facebook page here or the following:

Bugis Junction #02-05, Tel.: 6883 1151
Bedok Point #03-27, Tel.: 6753 2322

Erabelle Prestige
Orchard VisionCrest #01-06 to 11, Tel.: 6836 8388
Vivocity #02-01/02, Tel.: 6376 8336
Kuala Lumpur The Gardens Mall FF-227, 4th Floor (Opening in May 2014)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

REVIEW: HABA's 3-Step Skincare System and the White Lady

It is always my rule that if I'm tackling my face with some 'harsh' treatment, then I should balance it up with a skincare routine that's simple and gentle. As aforementioned in my last entry, my hormones haven't exactly been very kind to me. So while I'm brandishing my top 3 zit zappers at the sight of anything red, I started on HABA's 3-Step Skincare System, along with the famous White Lady.

For the uninitiated, HABA stands for the brand's principle 'Health Aid Beauty Aid'. The brand believes that beauty comes from the inside and that with the right skincare and healthcare, a better life will be led.

Hence, the brand gives top priority to safety with its non-additive philosophy. All HABA products are free of

  • parabens
  • fragrances
  • mineral oils
  • artificial colourants
  • petrochemical surfactants

Instead, HABA uses safe and healthy ingredients. One such ingredient is the Sasa Kurilensis Water, which is Bamboo Extract. It acts as a preservative, contains antibacterial properties and helps keep skin moisturized.

HABA's basic skincare system consists of just 3 steps:

  1. Cleansing
  2. Moisturizing
  3. Protecting

(Each step has 3 to 4 options for you to choose from, depending on your skin type and preference.)

These 3 steps are built upon Squalane, which is HABA's key ingredient. Made up of 10% sebum, it is a lubricant found in the sebaceous gland that forms a protective layer on our skin, keeping it supple. However as we age, our body produces less Squalane and this results in dehydration and fine lines.

HABA's Squalane is extracted from the liver oil of deep-sea sharks and purified to the maximum level of 99.9%. This pure and lightweight natural oil sinks into our skin quickly and easily and is safe for everyone, including babies.

Squa Powder Wash (80g for $37 and refill for $33)
Step 1: Protecting moisture levels without drying the skin.
The is a superior face-washing powder that melts into a rich and fine lather upon contact with water. It removes makeup and dirt gently and is weakly acidic to prevent the stripping of your skin's natural oils. It can also be made into a paste to treat zits overnight.

I like that the Squa Powder Wash is very gentle and soap-free (Yay to opening eyes when washing your face!). After cleansing, my skin feels smooth and isn't the least bit tight. It is also pretty calming and doesn't aggravate my zits.

White Lady (10ml for $29, 30ml for $78 and 53ml for $120)
This serum is an additional step to HABA's 3-Step Skincare System. Developed from a doctor's formula, it contains Sasa Kurilensis Water and a water-soluble Vitamic C derivative that is both stable and penetrating. Within a week of usage, your skin becomes fairer, firmer and more hydrated with tighter pores.

Though 4-5 pumps of this serum is recommended, I find that I only need 3. It sinks into my skin pretty easily and I find that my skin feels more supple and the tone is more even. This also works great in lightening fresh acne scars. However, my pores looks pretty much the same. I'm guessing that a longer usage is needed for some proper declogging to happen.

G-Lotion (180ml for $58)
Step 2: Replenishing moisture levels.
This smoothing, anti-bacterial lotion whisks away flakes and refines pores to reveal a clearer complexion and supple skin. Its refreshing formula contains Hyaluronic Acids, Chondroitin and minerals from deep seawater and a low-striped bamboo which can only be found in Hokkaido's native forest.

This is perhaps the most fun, though a tad tedious, step. Haha. As recommended, I apply this lotion in 5 layers; pour a coin-sized amount, pat it in and repeat. It feels very refreshing and provides adequate hydration. When I first started out this skincare routine, my cheeks were dry and patchy from late nights. But now, they are well-hydrated with just a slight tinge of redness. Makeup application has also become a lot smoother.

Squalane (15ml for $29, 30ml for $49, 60ml for $90 and 120ml for $165)
Step 4: Protecting skin's moisture.
This 99.9% lightweight and odourless beauty oil mimics the Squalane found in our body's own lipid barrier. It sinks into the skin easily without leaving any greasy residue. Hence, allowing our skin to breathe. It can be used as a daily moisturizer or treatment for your skin, hair and nails.

The final step of this skincare routine, it really helps to boost and seal in the moisture in my skin. I use this more often at night, waking up to skin that's supple and clear. I tried skipping this step and I find that with the Squalane, my skin stays hydrated for a longer period in the day, even when I'm stuck in my Arctic-cold office.

And that's my two cents worth on HABA's 3-Step Skincare System and the White Lady. This skincare routine is simple, gentle and fuss-free. Perfect for the very busy us! I really appreciate the fact that it's free from additives. After all, we are what we apply. Haha. Anyway, HABA has been very kind to provide you, my readers, with some perks:

  • Quote 'Charlene Judith' at HABA shops to enjoy a 15% discount! This is valid till the end of April 2014.
  • Giveaway: Like HABA's Facebook page here and email me at your name, Facebook username and why you would like to try out HABA's 3-Step Skincare System and the White Lady by March 31st, 10pm. The winner will win 1 makeup remover, 1 White Lady, 1 toner and 1 Squalane oil (To be picked up from the Suntec City outlet, after a skin analysis.).

Also, HABA opens its latest outlet at OG Orchard this week and there are some exclusive promotions going on, from March 17th to 23rd. (:

Alrighty, I'm off for my run. I hope this entry has been detailed enough and as always, if there are any questions, just drop me an email! Have a terrific Tuesday, ladies! :D

Sunday, March 16, 2014

ATM: Top 3 Zit Zappers!

Work's turning out to be more stressful than I expected and when stress decides to make me its best friend, it wrecks havoc on just about everything. Sigh pie. Anyway, so my skin is back to being a breeding ground for blackheads and zits and I thought I share my top 3 zit zappers. They are the most potent and most efficient zappers and I will never ever let myself slip into a situation whereby I do not have at least 2 of them. *nods solemnly*

(clockwise from the top.)

Galderma's Eryacne
JH introduced this gel-like topical antibiotic to me back in 2008 and I have never been without it since. This kills crazy big-ass acne very quickly, with minimal scarring. However, this doesn't sit quite well under power foundation (It's very obvious that you applied something.) and can't be bought over the counters in Singapore. I get mine from Bangkok's pharmacies for about 18 bucks.

VMV Hypoallergenics' Red Better Spot Corrector
A reader recommended me this whitish gel-like paste and the above's my 2nd tube. This works as efficiently as Eryacne but it seems a lot gentler and sits better under makeup. However, this is the most expensive and the smallest. This can be bought from VMV Hypoallergenics outlets in Singapore for about 35 bucks plus.

Galderm's Epiduo
A makeup artist advised me to get this 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide gel after noticing the blackheads on my forehead (BIG SIGH. I have NEVER got any on my forehead in 23 years of my life. Very, very upset.). This causes a little drying and flaking and takes a bit longer to kill acne than the aforementioned 2. However, this works best when it comes to eradicating blackheads. I got the above from Trinity Medical Centre (Marine Parade).

Happy zit zapping! :D