Friday, March 30, 2018

Going foundation-free

I started wearing foundation full-time when I was in university. Tinted moisturisers, B.B. creams, foundations... I have tried them all. B.B. creams were prolly the most fun to use because they came with a gazillion other skincare benefits and also, they give you the much-envied, flawlessly dewy Korean skin. Unfortunately, for me, they gave me a bunch of blackheads too. My facial therapist explained that because they are so good at being resistant to sebum and perspiration, it becomes really difficult to clean them off completely. Hence, the clogged pores.

So, in my later years (Lol.), I stuck to Bourjois' Healthy Mix Serum, VMV Hypoallergenics' Illuminants Brilliance Finish 25 Powder Foundation (Which I still love very much and have a spare each in my stash.). However, two Septembers ago, my skin got really sensitive. It was dry, irritated and peeling everywhere. The more I tried to cover it with foundation, the worse it looked. And that was when I decided to go foundation-free.

The first day was pretty 'scary'. I mean, of all the times to decide to go barefaced, I did it when my skin was at its crappiest?? Lol. But it was okay. Just like pimples, no one really bothered. And I felt like my skin could breathe! With the help of some Chinese meds, my skin eventually healed and I didn't go back to foundation. Of course I use a concealer every now and then to hide pesky spots but, I quite enjoy the feeling of not having a layer covering my skin. Also, I find my skin a lot healthier now. :D

Here are my top 5 tips on going foundation-free.

  1. Exercise and drink lots of water.
    Skin is a reflection of what's going on in our body so do take care of it! I think it's virtually impossible to have sufficient rest (Hahaha.), so I try to accomplish other things instead like exercising at least once a week and drinking about 2 litres of water every day.
  2. Invest in good skincare.
    Knowing what goes into the skincare products we apply on our face is important. I research and read online reviews before buying new products and I always do a patch test.
  3. Apply sunscreen.
    I cannot stress the importance of sunscreen enough. As I get older, I find myself getting more freckles and moles. And after long hours under the sun, my skin just looks battered. I carry an umbrella everywhere I go.
  4. Don't pick your skin. That pimple will go away.
    Again, as I age, my skin takes longer to heal. But it will heal. So don't delay recovery by tampering with pimples because breaking the skin might just cause more infection.
  5. Pamper your skin.
    Every week, I give my skin a good scrub and a nice mask-ing session at least 2-3 times. Scrubs remove dead skin so that skincare can sink in better and masks contain an intense concentration of ingredients to treat and repair our skin.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Minimalism Project I: Beauty Expenses

This year, I am going to try very hard to be a minimalist in all aspects of my life. And this includes my skincare because this is really where all my pay check goes to. Heh. •͈ᴗ•͈ This entry is a record of all my sins, along with their 'justifications', throughout the entire year as mentioned here.

March Diaries
March failed terribly, in terms of this Minimalism Project. ಥ_ಥ Firstly, Naruko is pulling out of Singapore (Side note: I'm extremely upset about this. *mourns*) and I went a tad insane stocking up on my favourite masks, as well as getting new products to try (It was like 2 for the price of 1!). So expect tons of reviews on Naruko in the months to come! *excites* But... Yeah, I spent a whole lot. ): SGD552, in fact. )): I want to say that I'm not going to spend anymore but we all know that actions speak louder than words, so 頑張ります!*inserts flexed bicep emoji*

Anyway, on to the photos above. I visited my facial therapist at the start of the month for some pampering after a crazy February and got my favourite Skin Origin Cleansing Milk (SGD75 before discount) and Naturelle Bio Dermatique Glyco-Bio III (SGD88 before discount). The latter contains 12% Glycolic Acid and I got it mainly to get rid of scars and clogged pores on my back. It has been fading old scars really quickly and my clogged pores are a whole lot fewer. But it's pretty pricey, so now that my back's better, I'm going to alternate it with Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic, which has 5% Glycolic Acid.

Right above aforementioned items are Dejavu mascaras, which I got from Sasa with a 20% discount (SGD20 after discount). My current one takes a lot of rubbing to remove and well, I'm aging and really do not need to risk having more lines under my eyes. Though these don't give you falsies-like lashes, they are comfortable and wash off incredibly easy with warm water. I think I'm just going to stick with them for life now. These and the ones from Innisfree. ♥

The second photo shows my stash of Aura Cacia essential oils from iHerb. I have a couple of colleagues who are very into essential oils for their kids and in my quest to have the control to be zen whenever I want to, I kinda joined the club. Essential oils that can be bought in Singapore come mainly from 2 companies, Doterra and Young Living. I know Doterra oils can be ingested but both brands are crazy expensive. I wasn't really interested in taken them orally so I decided to get mine from iHerb. FYI, Aura Cacia's oils cannot be ingested. I put many drops of Lavender on Gran's pillow cases, blankets and cardigan at night to keep mosquitoes away and it has been so effective. Gran doesn't complain about them anymore. For me, I mix Chamomile or Lavender in my body lotion, and Peppermint is used when I get stomach upsets.

Not pictured are tubes of La Roche-Posay Circaplast Pro-Recovery Skincare (SGD18.34 after discount), which I have known since forever. I had my skin tags burned off during the March holidays and was spamming this magical gel on the wounds. Healed beautifully. Please, please, La Roche-Posay, please don't every discontinue this.

Cost of sins: ~SG840


February Diaries
Okay, so I didn't think I would be updating this entry so soon (And at the start of the month some more. ಠ_ಠ) but January kinda ended on a really stressful note. It's actually going to be a stressful February too. Anyway, in between work on February 1st, I found some time to log onto BeautyFresh and got my NARS blushers in Deep Throat and Orgasm (SGD36.19 each, after a V-day discount of 23%). I have been going foundation-free for a year now but I wanted to add some happiness to my face. Lol. I have owned them both before, though I never actually hit pan on one. 😕 Side note, BeautyFresh's amazing. This is my 2nd order with them and it has been a wonderful shopping experience. Think: Smooth transactions, timely updates and quick deliveries.

Right after work ended and my afternoon appointment got cancelled, I headed down to the mall for more serious retail therapy. Sasa was having a private member sale and I got theBalm's DownBoy and CabanaBoy (SGD35 each but there was a 30% discount), Dejavu's Lasting-fine Brush Liquid Eyeliner (Espresso) (SGD5 during the sale) and Pink Lady's Double Eyelid Tape (S) (SGD4.50 each but it was a buy-1-free-1 deal.). I have been using my Benefit blush palette, Dandelion in particular but I couldn't stop thinking about DownBoy. The latter is just so much prettier to me. CabanaBoy is a winter-bitten kind of blush. It is very pigmented and very pretty!

Last night, I received my Laniege Two Tone Matte Lip Bar in No. 10 Soft Knit (SGD24.40, with shipping) parcel from Breezy Qoo10. I tried it earlier and it was pretty drying so I'm glad it came with complimentary trial sizes of the Lip Sleeping Mask and Lip & Eye Remover.

Okay, confession time. The Innisfree nail polishes (SGD4 each), Jovisa Eyelash Tonic (USD16.99) and Silk18 Natural Hair Conditioner (USD15.83, with shipping) were bought last month. Heh. Innisfree nail polishes are the absolute best. They go on smooth, dry fast and they dominate my nail polish collection. Amazon (ILU. ♡) has been my go-to scrolling page when I have some leisure time. I found the Jovisa eyelash serum at a much cheaper price and decided to get a Buzzfeed-featured conditioner to try.

Cost of sins: ~SGD215


January Diaries
This is my backup of ICM Pharma's Acne Clear Pimple Treatment Cream (SGD6.20). It is my current pimple destroyer and it is so effective! Apply some on potential and existing pimples and they should be eliminated within a couple of days. I got the Acne Clear Lotion (SGD7.60) too for clogged pores on my back (Which my Sinseh said is the manifestation of 虛火, or otherwise known as Deficient Fire in TCM terminology.). It has the same active ingredients as the cream, but in slightly different proportions and sans Zinc Oxide. Though it's a lot easier to apply this on my back, it unfortunately doesn't work as fast. ٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶

The Centellase Ointment (SGD17+) was spotted on Guardian shelves during one of my window shopping trips. I love Centella Asiatica because of Cosrx and this has 10mg of it. Haven't tried this yet because I'm trying to finish up my Hiruscar but will report back as soon as I can. :D

Cost of sins: ~SGD31


Monday, February 26, 2018

Maple Holistics Silk18 Natural Hair Conditioner

I love BuzzFeed. I take their quizzes regularly, watch their Tasty Instagram videos when I'm bored, get my current affairs knowledge from their News section and of course, read every beauty article they published. In last month's beauty news, they featured 28 Things That'll Help You Get The Best Hair Of Your Life. And on the list was Maple Holistics Silk18 Natural Hair Conditioner (USD15.83, with shipping, from beloved Amazon.).

Steeped in a base of water and Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, this conditioner is jam-packed with 18 different silk amino acids, Phytokeratin, oils like Jojoba and Argan and an organic blend of Pomegranate, Hibiscus, Green Tea and Sea Buckthorn to help calm and hydrate frizzy tresses. Made in USA, it is cruelty-free and does not contain any artificial fragrances (Natural Vanilla is used!), colouring and sulfates.

I have been using this for about a month now and I have completely abandoned my L'Occitane conditioner in favour of it. In the mornings, I slather this on, let it soak in, wash it off, apply my L'Occitane oil on the ends and I get the most obedient hair ever. My hair doesn't get as messy and frizzy as it usually does as the day goes on, and it keeps its shape. And despite the conditioner's oil contents, my hair doesn't get weighed down. Also, the vanilla scent makes it smell so homely and so very safe. ◡̈ Definitely a keeper!


Friday, February 9, 2018

Dressing My Nails in Innisfree

I came to appreciate nail polishes when I was in university. Classes were dreary and I decided to paint my nails a different colour every week, just to cheer myself up. So even though it was such a pain to wait for the polishes to dry completely, it became my relaxing/ telly time. 6 years on and it's still therapeutic for me.

Technology has come a long way and after experimenting with various brands like O.P.I, Essie, Orly, The Face Shop etc., I have found my favourite a.k.a Innisfree. The nail polishes go on smoothly, dry quickly and are really long-lasting. Also, they are incredibly affordable at SGD4 per bottle.

Innisfree's Nail Base Coat (SGD6) and Nail Top Coat (SGD6) are staples. And I also really like their Nail Gel Top Coat a lot too. It made my previous set of nails so shiny and colourful for 1.5 weeks before chipping. I wanted to feature that in this post actually but I took the wrong one. Also, I'm not sure if it's still available because the last Innisfree store I visited didn't have it. Let me check and I'll do up another post then. ◡̈ Spotted it at Takashimaya's Innisfree outlet!

Anyway, back to this post. Here are my nails, freshly coated in Innisfree. Unfortunately, I can't remember the numbers for these polishes because they are printed on the sticky tape that you have to remove. They are in the usual range though. And they are actually more purplish than they appear here. The purple base is #63 and the glitter is #80.

I'll be penning down my journey with this set of nails so that you can see how great Innisfree nail polishes are and be convinced to buy truckloads of them. This way, Innisfree will be encouraged to come up with more nail colours and I can be happy for the rest of my life. Hahaha. Kidding. Maybe not. But I do really want to share their greatness. Not going to buy other brands unless they have got more interesting/ prettier colours.

Day 0
Each nail has 2 coats of the base colour and every alternate nail has an additional coat of glitter. It took about 1 1/2 episode of The Vampire Diaries (An hour. Also, rewatching TVD. Soundtrack is great and Ian Somerhalder is gorgeous. His eyes are so pretty. ♥_♥) to dry completely, through the layers. Went about the rest of my day as usual and not a single nail was mucked up, which you have to understand, was quite a feat because I'm not exactly dainty.

Day 1
Had a final fancy meal with family and Z at Lei Garden Restaurant in CHIJMES before the sis jets back to the U.K.. I really like the spring pancakes that you wrap the Peking Duck in but Dad doesn't. Anyhow, the service is great and prompt, and it's a nice place to dine with loved ones. Went to work after that and worked out a little while watching the beginnings of Klaroline (Hehe. ♡). And here I am, with my Innisfree nails report. Not a chip in sight (Well, it's only day 1.) and the glitters are firmly sealed in. :D

Day 3
It was back to work for me today after completely losing my voice last Wednesday. It was absolutely terrible not being able to talk and/ or having your own body cut you off mid-sentence. The sister thought I sounded a lot like Chewie from Star Wars and decided to play soundtracks of him growling every time I tried to say something. ಠ_ಠ Anyway, while washing my hair today, I felt a strand get caught underneath the nail polish. Turned out to be my middle finger. Still, it looks alright. Glitters are still intact. ◡̈

Day 6
And yay, it's Chinese New Year break!!! Teehee. Can't wait to wolf down all the Bak Kwa, even though I still think that Ba Kwa produced during this festive period is just not as good as the non-festive period ones. 😕 Back to the nails... The middle one kinda took a beating over the past couple of days. And a glitter bit on my index finger came off. But it still looks alright overall. Hoping that it will last through the festive bingeing!

Day 8
CNY was great! Dipped my hands way too many times into the Bak Kwa and Pineapple tart jars that more of my nail polish came off. Hahaha. Oh gee, I hope I didn't swallow any of the flakes accidentally. 😕 Anyway, other than the index and middle fingers, the rest actually still look pretty good but my nails do grow pretty fast, huh?

Day 12
Today's the end of this set of nails because I have a work event on Friday and also, I'm dying to paint my nails black again (After Friday.). Heh. My ring finger's nail polish has started to chip but after 12 days, my nails still look decently presentable. :D It's almost two weeks! For the curious cats, my right hand, which is the dominant one, fared just a tad worse. Most of the chipping happened on the index and middle fingers.

So, there you have it, my 12 days of pretty nails with Innisfree! I hope this entry has been a good review of Innisfree's nail polish formula. ◡̈


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Babyliss Diamond Big Hair Dual

My hair is really the bane of my existence. It's dry, coarse and very messy. I get it straightened twice a year which I know is really bad. But if I don't do that, it becomes, in Dad's words, a lion's mane. Lol. Anyway, in between my rebonding sessions when the effect is wearing off, I'm always looking out for tools to style unkempt, growing-out rebonded hair.

I have tried straighteners and curlers but they are quite troublesome. I wash my hair before I style it so that means spending ten minutes on blow-drying, then another ten on styling and I just haven't got that kind of patience. Also, I'm usually running late. Heh. Plus Singapore is really hot so by the time I'm done making my hair pretty, I'm a mess everywhere else. :\\\

Several years back, I discovered the magic of hot air stylers and I still use a Babyliss one every now and then. But you know how you're supposed to blow-dry your hair downwards to close the hair cuticles. Yeah, that is not easy with a hot air styler so my hair gets frizzy really fast. :\

(This story is becoming really long. Promise that it's about to end.)

A couple of weeks back, my mentor went to work with really nice salon-styled hair and told me about Babybliss Big Hair. I read about it when it first came out but it didn't appeal to me then. Anyway, I started googling again, read reviews, watched YouTube tutorials and got really tempted. Lol. The only problem is that it costs SGD129 at Watsons. So I decided to wait for sales but... ASOS has the Babyliss Diamond Big Hair Dual, which comes with 2 interchangeable heads (42mm and 50mm) at SGD129.30! Still, I decided to wait and then, BAM! 20% discount.

I bought it. *insert moon emoji*

So tadahhh! Here's my Babyliss Diamond Big Hair Dual in all of its shining glory. :DDD It is basically a hot air styler, except that the brush heads rotate! This really helps with the frizz because the air is being blown downwards when it rotates. I think. Hahaha. Or maybe it's because the barrels are made of diamond-infused ceramic? Or there's a new technology in place? Lol. Whatever it is, I experience a lot less frizz with this as compared with my hot air non-rotating styler. Yay! :DDD

After washing and towel-drying my hair, I blow-dry till it's about 80% damp and comb through with a small Kent brush to get rid of any tangles. Then I go all happy with my Diamond Big Hair Dual. It's slightly bulkier than my hot air styler but I have been using the latter for years so I can maneuver it pretty easily. Newbies might need some time to figure their way around it though, but don't give up! Promise that the results are worth it. Haha. :D

I still haven't got the complete hang of styling my hair with it. Sometimes, my hair gets a little stuck (Just need to rotate the brush in the opposite direction!). But it is getting easier with each attempt. It gives my hair a lot of volume and bounce and I love how quickly and easily it makes my hair ends curl in. I guess the only real downside about this thing is that your hair is receiving a lot of heat in close proximity. So I use a lot of L'Occitane oil, especially on my hair ends. (:

I hope this post has been useful! If you have any questions, just leave a comment or drop me an email. (:


Monday, February 5, 2018

Edge Fractional CO2 Laser FAQ

Even though it has been about a year since I did my Edge Fractional CO2 Laser at The Clifford Clinic, I'm still getting emails about it. And I kinda missed out on replying to some because I was busy (I'm very sorry!), so I decided to do a FAQ entry on the common questions asked. Hope it helps! ◡̈

  • How much did you pay for it?
    I paid SGD200 for the trial and bought a tube of Foban Cream at SGD8 and the Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Gel at SGD129. I can't remember if those prices included GST though.

  • Is it okay if I go for just one session?
    This really depends on your skin's condition. For me, I only went for one and I had baby-smooth, though very sensitive, skin after that. The receptionist told me she went for one every year and her skin was really good. Do consult the doctor regarding this though!

  • Did the laser cure your acne?
    I didn't go for the laser to get rid of acne. I was actually looking to get rid of my skin tags but decided to do the Edge Fractional CO2 Laser too because it promised smoother skin texture and smaller pores.

  • Was your face really red after the laser?
    Yes, yes it was. If you google for online reviews, some people only had slight redness but mine was full-on red. It was like I had a really bad sunburnt. It took slightly more than a week for the redness to reduce to a friendlier pink.

  • Was your skin sensitive after the laser?
    Yes, it was very sensitive. I mean, I have sensitive skin to begin with so this just made it even more sensitive and I ran into a bit of an eczema trouble when I went to Korea (Dry air.) a month later.

  • Did you get any breakout?
    Nope, I didn't get zits.

  • When is it allowed to apply makeup after the laser to conceal the redness?
    I'm not sure when it is allowed actually. Haha. But I wore light makeup on Day 3 and it was okay. The only thing is that you need to be extremely careful when removing the makeup. The scabs that formed are supposed to fall off naturally like how normal wounds heal. But I didn't think the water jet from the shower head would be strong enough to wash them off, so I wasn't very gentle. Lots of scabs fell off unnaturally and my face got a little raw. ಥ_ಥ

  • Other than the antiseptic cream and the thermal water spray, what else did you apply to reduce the redness?
    I did a post here!

  • How is the effect so far? Does it really help to get rid of acne scars and enlarged pores?
    Hmm... I feel that I didn't recover as well because of the whole Korea-dry-air-developed-eczema business. My skin actually looks like how it was before the laser. But I only went for one session and it was a year ago, so I can't really be a good judge on that.

  • Will you go for it again?
    No. Heh. I mean, I really love and enjoyed having baby-smooth skin for a month but my skin's just way too sensitive for invasive lasers. I don't mind going for the less invasive ones though, but they are really expensive.

My Laser Diary
May 21st, 2014: Spectra Carbon Laser Peel with Trinity Medical Centre (Marine Parade)
January 31st, 2015: Nd:YAG Laser Rejuvenation with Trinity Medical Centre (Marine Parade)
August 10th, 2016: PPP Laser Clinic's 360 Skin Solution
September 16th, 2016: The Clifford Clinic's Edge Fractional CO2 Laser
December 22nd, 2016: 5 Months After Laser
September 20th, 2016: Post-laser Skincare Routine

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The In-between Skincare Routine: HA Edition

Okay, I'm not sure about you but I have this thing called the in-between skincare routine. It's what I do when it's not quite time for my actual skincare routine yet. My actual routine is done in the mornings when I get up and shower for work and at nights, right before bedtime. So when I get home during the weekdays or when I don't shower so early during the weekends, I have this simple routine which I do. Basically, a midday routine. Right, that's probably a better name. Haha. But I like 'in-between'. Very Stranger Things-like. Hahaha. Heh.

The products I use in my in-between routine change quite often because it's also a time for me to test out products. I'm awake so I can monitor how my skin is receiving them and if there's any negative reaction, I can do immediate 'first aid'. Anyway, I have been really liking my current in-between routine and here's what it is made up of.

  • Derma E Hydrating Mist with Hyaluronic Acid
    This mist is a bottle of Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C, Provitamin B5, Witch Hazel, Green Tea and Aloe Vera. After cleansing and if it had been a particularly greasy day or if I wanted something light, I would just spray this on and pat it in. It smells a little like detergent but the scent goes away quickly and it hydrates very nicely in our hot and humid weather. Also, it's free from parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, petrolatum, mineral oil, artificial colours and GMOs.

  • Skinceuticals Hydrating B5
    While I felt that the Phyto Corrective Gel didn't do much for my skin, the Hydrating B5 did and it's a huge difference. My face has been feeling really plump with moisture because of Naruko Face Renewal Miracle Essence and I really didn't think there would be any other product that could do the same but oh boy! All I needed was one night with Hydrating B5 and I'm completely hooked. It actually makes my face feels plumper (No, I'm very certain it's not from eating. Haha.), more hydrated and just very healthy overall. This bottle is actually in both my in-between and night routines, though I try to save it more for the latter because it's really expensive.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Skincare Goals 2018

I have been obsessed with skincare ever since I got my first zit and it's one of the topics that I talk very enthusiastically about. If we were to have a meal together, it is very likely that I begin with "So, what has your skincare routine been like?". Kind of like a walking, lol. (ؑ‷ᵕؑ̇‷)◞✧

Anyways, after years of informal interviews with people, I, finally at the grand old age of __(insert age)__, have finally realised and accepted the fact that good skin is really all about having a healthy lifestyle. Sure, pile on your beauty products because they promise so much and make you feel so good. But ultimately, the skin, being the largest organ of the body, is really a reflection of what goes on inside.

Hence, here are 4 habits which I would like to adopt this year. (๑˃̵ᴗ˂̵)و ゙

  1. Exercise at least 3 times a week.
    Exercise works wonders for my body. If I don't exercise, I fall sick real easily. Unfortunately, life gets pretty tiring and well, there's this thing called laziness... Heh. So here's the plan. Exercise at least 3 times a week. This includes running (Which I have stopped ever since my London trip. 😕), my 'lazy' routine* and Muay Thai sessions (Once the gym is done with renovations.). On the other days, it will be 50 crunches and 50 push-ups right before I sleep or I'm thinking of 12 Sun Salutations or 50 burpees (LOL. Who am I kidding.) in the morning. Hmm...

    *My 'lazy' routine: Jump rope x1000, crunches x100, push-ups x100 and some other random exercises. If it sounds frightening, it really isn't!

  2. Drink plenty of water.
    I usually only drink water and tea. Nothing else. And it's always one cup of water that starts my mornings.

  3. Sleep early c'monyoucandoit.
    Ugh, gawd. I know this is super important for my skin. When I sleep late, I get more blackheads and clogged pores but ughhh, there's just so much I want to do. Well, not really. Aimlessly scrolling the Internet or Instagram is not doing anything at all. Trying very hard to cut those down. Discipline, Char. Discipline.

  4. Shower in cold water.
    London's cold air, along with its high humidity, was sooo good for my skin. And gosh, really. Most Londoners have good, poreless skin. While there's no legit Science to this and it's very possibly due to genetics, I like to believe that it is really the cold air working its magic. Hence, I've been turning the temperature dial down whenever I shower. There are just some days when I really miss covering myself in a blanket of warm water though (Like whut right? In Singapore. Go figure.)...
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