In case you can’t tell, I’m on a Drunk Elephant binge this month. I covered all the serums and moisturizers in the last post, so now let’s talk about cleansers! They recently came out with Beste Jelly Cleanser, so I decided to give all the cleansers a try. One of the highlight about Drunk Elephant cleansers is that they are pH balanced for your skin. The pH scale is 1-14 with 7 being neutral, 1 being most acidic and 14 the most alkaline (basic). Why should you care even though you are not a chemist? Because it has to do with your acid mantle.
The acid mantle is a layer of amino/lactic acids and oils protecting skin from environmental factors (bacteria, pollutants) that contribute to premature aging and irritation. Usually it has a pH of 5.5, which is the optimal pH for healthy skin. However, some soap can be very basic with pH of 9 or 10, which dries out the skin and causes it to be more susceptible to wrinkles and premature aging. If you overdose on acidic products with very low pH like peels or DIYs with lemon juice (which has a pH of 2! yikes), then your skin will appear red, irritated and may be more prone to breakouts. That’s why many cleansers and toners often mention being “pH balanced”. Even if they don’t, your skin will let you know if the products you use are too basic/acidic. For reference, pure water has a pH of 7, which is neutral. Drunk Elephant Beste has a pH of 6.1, Pekee has a pH of 6.51, and Juju has a pH of 6.34. That’s that for the science part, let’s try them out! Continue reading Cleanse with Drunk Elephant: Juju, Pekee or Beste?
Drunk Elephant first got my attention because of the fun name, then it got my attention because of its philosophy: “It is safe, minimal, effective, and non-toxic…. the key ingredients were added at the highest percentages possible for maximum efficacy.” One of my pet peeves is how some products boast of how amazing it is because of ingredient A, then when you look at the list it’s like the 39th ingredient so there’s barely a drop of it in the bottle. Drunk Elephant focuses on getting the best quality ingredients that are proven to work instead of the fanciest/rarest ingredients that you’ve never heard of. If there’s any doubt about the safety of an ingredient, it’s out. Here’s a list of what they don’t use.
The first product I tried and reviewed was Drunk Elephant C-Firma serum, which was ok, but then I fell in love with the next serum I tried. Before I realized it, I’ve tried all their serums and moisturizers (cleansers coming up in the next post, look forward to it!). Without further ado, here are the reviews for all the serums and moisturizers I tried. Continue reading Drunk Elephant Serum, Oil and Moisturizers!
It’s my favorite mask for summer because it deals with dehydration, irritation, shiny skin and pretty much everything. The DIY is super easy and super simple because everybody probably already have those three ingredients. If not, you should because they are all super healthy as well. Did I mention it also doubles as a wonderful breakfast? but, let’s stick to skincare right now. Here’s why they are great applied topically:
- Yogurt – it is moisturizing, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and contains lactic acid, an AHA that dissolves dead skin cells for gentle exfoliation. It helps to soothe sunburns, prevents breakout, diminish appearances of fine lines and reduce discoloration.
- Oats – it contains saponins, a natural cleanser that removes dirt and oil from pores without causing irritation. It is packed with antioxidants, essential minerals and vitamins, like vitamin E, beta glucan, avenanthramides etc. All of which help to heal and moisturize the skin, reduce inflammation, irritation and itchiness.
- Honey – it was talked about in great details in a previous post. Basically it is moisturizing, anti-aging since it contain antioxidants, clarifying/purifying due to enzyme and it have anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.
Any one of those ingredients is already wonderful when applied by itself and they are all edible so it’s ok if you freestyle the ratio a bit or decide to microwave the leftover to eat. But if you do plan to use it as a mask multiple times, as always with all DIY, make sure to sanitize all containers/utensils, use purest ingredients possible or clean then thoroughly, and keep the final product sealed/refrigerated when not in use. Continue reading DIY Hydrating Mask: Honey, Yogurt and Oats
Soy is not the first ingredient I think of when people mention antioxidants or anti-aging. However, do you know that soy is one of the few “complete protein” that is plant-based? Your body needs ~20 different types of amino acids to function properly and 9 of them must be obtained from food. A “complete protein” must contain all nine of these essential amino acids in sufficient amount. The amino acids in soy are critical to build collagen and maintain the elasticity of the skin. Soy also protects the skin against inflammation and moisturizes due to the high level of vitamin E it contains. Also, it is a natural potent antioxidant. Research has shown that it can correct pigmentation and visible signs of aging due to environmental exposure.
However, some people who are allergic to soy in food are also allergic to soy in skincare, so get a sample to try first if you can’t consume soy. Fresh Soy Cleanser has been a long time favorite for many people with dry or sensitive skin. They came out with Fresh Soy Cleansing Milk last fall, and I finally decided to try them out this month. Aside from the soy oil/protein/extract, both of them also contain other moisturizing and calming ingredients such as rosewater and cucumber extract. Continue reading Fresh Soy Cleanser for Sensitive Skin: Gel or Milk?
Hello dear readers! It’s been a while since I posted, hasn’t it? After all, nothing makes life more interesting than having sudden projects and super serious presentation to VPs sprang up on you. While I did make time to cleanse and moisturize daily, I didn’t even remember when was the last time I exfoliated. Was it 2 weeks ago? 3 weeks ago? My skin kindly reminded me of it last week with extra flaky/rough skin and bumps that threaten to erupt into breakouts if I don’t get my act together. So, instead of the usual one step exfoliation I went with a super serious and fancy 3 step peels instead.
I’ve blogged about Ole Henriksen Power Peel Transforming Facial System before, read about it here. It starts with physical exfoliation to scrub off the top layer of dead skin, then a chemical exfoliation that contains a blend of acid to brighten the skin and clarifies the pores. Lastly, you end with a calming chamomile mask to soothe the skin after all that heavy-duty exfoliation. My skin was slightly red for a few minutes but there were no irritations, it feels soft and smooth but slightly dry. The whole process took 15 – 20 minutes and cost $50 for 6 treatment. But! For $5 more, you can get the Ole Henriksen Power Bright 3-Step Professional Brightening System! What’s the difference? Let’s find out. Continue reading Ole Henriksen Power Bright: Newer and better?
With the weather being warm and sunny, your clothe is not the only thing that needs to be switched. If you are using a rich cream or thick oil as moisturizer for winter, now is a good time to switch it for a lighter option since Sephora is having its Spring Sale. It is 10% off everything for Beauty Insider (everyone) and 15% off if you are VIB or Rouge. Some brands like Algenist, Glamglow or Philosophy may have up to 40% sales on the brand website if you subscribe to their mailing list. However, now is a good time to stock up on brands that almost never go on sale like Tatcha or Dior.
There’s so many exciting new moisturizers that came out recently that I’ve been asking for samples at Sephora and Nordstrom whenever I can. It’s good to reexamine your moisturizer occasionally to see if they still work for you. Some moisturizers are too thick and end up sitting on your skin instead of being absorbed and provide hydration deep into your skin, so your skin end up feeling greasy and dehydrated. Even if you have oily skin, oil and water are different, so you still need hydration from a good moisturizer (albeit a lightweight one). Moisturizers protect the skin against free-radical damage/environmental stress and seals the hydration/active ingredients in. Without moisture, your skin isn’t able to properly repair itself so you end up with irritation on top of dry flaky or oily skin. Here is a speed review of some nice or new moisturizers I’ve been playing with. Continue reading Moisturizer Speed Review: Switch It Up for Spring?
I’m too lazy for primer, foundation and a full face of makeup most of the time, so concealers are perhaps the most often used items in my stash. Traditionally, concealers are used to cover blemishes and give you a flawless look along with foundation. Nowadays, there’s also the highlighting concealer that you dot on the nose and under the eye area to brighten up the face. I want something that can do both. It needs to be smooth and blendable enough that I can use it to brighten my face without needing fancy brushes. It should also be able to build to full coverage to cover those pesky red pimples but give a natural finish even without foundation.
Make Up For Ever Full Cover concealer was my favorite for a long time, but my mind start wavering after getting a sample of Kat von D Lock It concealer. And to make sure I’m not missing out, I tried the cult favorite Cle de Peau concealer as well. They each have their pros and cons depending on your preferences. Continue reading Favorite Concealers
Masks are a great way to relax and treat your skin, if you are using the right ones that is. For hydration, look for a rich creamy one if you have dry skin or a lightweight gel type if you have dehydrated oily/combination skin. While most mud/charcoal masks for purifying/clarifying the skin tend to be drying, there are some with honey and other moisturizing ingredients that are wonderful for dry skin type as well. Trying to find the right mask is always an adventure. When it doesn’t work, at best it does nothing, and at worst it leaves your skin red and irritated
with two gigantic pimples that hurts but won’t surface and makes me feel like roaring to the sky “WHAT’S WRONG WITH MY FAAAACE!!!”
The gist of it is, don’t go rush out to buy a new mask just because everybody raves about it or the description sounds amazing. Always make sure it’s appropriate for your skin type first, check the ingredients list or go to a Sephora/Nordstrom and ask for a sample if you are not sure. All complaints aside, most of the ones I tried this time are actually pretty nice. Continue reading Speed Review: Masks
Here’s the thing, I don’t know anything about teeth. I know you should brush twice a day, floss occasionally and something about importance of remineralizing teeth and mouthwash that I don’t remember. At beginning of the month, I discovered a light brown colored hole about size of a millet grain on the surface of my teeth that feels painful/sensitive when I scratch it with my finger or brush it with toothbrush. Due to stupid reasons I can’t get health insurance until mid-April, so I browsed online for “how to cure cavity” without much expectation. Well, turns out “reversing cavity” is possible as long as the decay only affects the surface enamel, which is dead tissue and can be repaired in some cases. If the cavity/decay reaches dentine, the living tissue underneath, the decay is said to be irreparable and the only fix is to get it filled at the doctor’s office.
So what did people do to reverse cavity? There were a few scientific studies and it seems to be a combination of diet and upkeep:
- Eat a grain-free diet of vegetable and fruit with no added sugar.
- Eat grass-fed dairy such as cheese and butter, or unprocessed cod-liver oil.
- Brush twice daily and floss regularly, use remineralizing toothpaste.
- Get enough minerals (calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, zinc, iron, phosphorous, vitamin D). Especially vitamin D3, which has been shown to prevent tooth decay.
- Oil pulling, especially with coconut oil which is anti-bacterial, helps against gingivitis, plaque, and microorganisms that cause bad breath by pulling bacteria out of the teeth. It also helps with overall health.
I don’t want to change my diet and already brush/floss appropriately. Since I already have Here Comes The Sun from HUM Nutrition and coconut oil on hand, I decided to take vitamin D and do oil pulling everyday to see how it works.
Vitamin D – Since I had good experience previously with HUM supplements (for cleansing and hair growth), I decided to try Here Comes The Sun. It’s recommended to take vitamin D along with the biggest meal of the day. It actually gave me more energy/keeps me awake so when I took it during dinner it was more difficult for me to go to sleep. Now I take it with breakfast or lunch and it’s fine. However, it didn’t do anything for my skin. I’m sure other brands work as well, but I like HUM. You get $20 off with promo FBBFE and HUM10, and they have 25% off if you buy three.
Oil Pulling – It’s recommended to take 1 tablespoon of coconut oil on empty stomach and pull for 20 minutes. The first time I tried it I gagged since the volume increases as it mix with your saliva and my jaw hurts. Now I use a little less than 1 tablespoon, chomp at it until it melts, then gently swish for 7-10 minutes before spitting it out in the trash (the solid oil will clog the sink). I then followed up with a salt water rinse and brush my teeth per usual. I haven’t seen any whitening yet, but it does make my teeth feel cleaner and I’m only pulling for half of the recommended time.
I do oil pulling the first thing in the morning for 5-6 days of the week, then take vitamin D with my breakfast. After 2 weeks, my cavity teeth feels less sensitive/painful when I’m brushing it. It is now the 4th week and there is only a very faint brown outline of where the cavity hole was! It still feel a little sensitive when I scrape the area with my finger but not when I brush my teeth. I’m not sure if my teeth being remineralized is due to the vitamin D or oil pulling or both of them together, but I will continue both until this cavity completely disappears. If you have bad oral health, is cavity-prone, or have those difficult to brush areas in the back but hate mouthwash like me, I would recommend giving oil pulling a try! Continue reading Skincare Journal: Coconut Oil Helped my teeth?
When you buy a skincare product, what do you expect to find in it? If it’s a moisturizer, probably some sort of oil. If it’s a vitamin C serum, then obviously vitamin C somewhere. However, the ingredients list often contains chemicals you may not recognize such as emulsifiers, preservatives or stabilizers. Or even if you do recognize them, you might be thinking “why does my ____ have ___ in it?” When I say filler ingredients, I don’t mean the ingredients of your Botox/wrinkle fillers, but ingredients that seems to serve no real purpose in your skincare.
Sometimes you may discover that a high-end product is more effective than its drugstore counterpart even though both have similar ingredients list. However, ingredients list do not tell you the concentration and the higher end product might have a higher concentration of beneficial ingredients while the lower end product might have more cheaper “filler” ingredients. Some of the ingredients that almost every skincare has are water, alcohol and silicone. But do they have any purpose? Continue reading Skincare 101: Filler Ingredients?