Regimens & Routines, What Makes Skin Care Go ‘Round – Part 3

Welcome back, readers! I know it’s been a hot second since Part 2 of my guest blog series for Chic Dabbler, and I really appreciate your patience as I’m able to now present Part 3. I want to give a big thank you for your continued interest as I get to chime in this time around on treatments! So far I’ve gone over cleansing products and tools and toners and essences. In this piece I’ll go over what I find to be perhaps one of the most crucial and interesting parts of a skin care regimen, so join me!

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Treatments are essentially where the bulk of your skin improvements and results can be derived from. These items can come in many forms such as serums, creams, oils, or fluids that address specific issues. Treatments, by nature, contain a higher percentage and dosage of active ingredients which in turn allows skin to receive a more concentrated application to areas of concern which can range from blemishes and acne, fine lines, wrinkles, the loss of elasticity and volume, hyper-pigmentation, uneven texture and more. While skin care products aren’t required by the FDA to detail out the exact percentages of ingredients, a quick rule of thumb in breaking down a formula is looking at the order of the ingredients. The most potent components will be listed first, but don’t be surprised if you first run into water and then a few binders, emulsifiers, and stabilizers. This doesn’t render the product moot entirely. In fact, many skin care products may require that stable base to properly house those active ingredients to ensure their exposure to skin isn’t too overwhelming right out the gate. Continue reading Regimens & Routines, What Makes Skin Care Go ‘Round – Part 3

Marc Jacobs Up All Night Lip Creme Set. Love

Sephora had an event yesterday for VIB/Rouge to preview and buy holiday sets in advance (you also get x2/x3/x4 points all week if you are BI/VIB/Rouge). I really went to pick up my free birthday present, to stuff myself with free pastries and didn’t really need anything. It’s a nice event since it’s not super crowded, there’s plenty of food and the staff are super friendly. I was going to grab a pack of Shiseido cotton and get out, but then I saw this20160910_143240 I couldn’t keep my eyes off the Marc Jacobs clutch. It’s SHINY! It’s PINK! It’s got a big tassel and it’s Marc Jacob! Oh right, it’s also got mini lipsticks in it, if you are interested.20160910_143316Marc Jacobs is one of my favorite fashion designer. While I love LOVE Highliner, the brushes, the blushes and the nail polishes, I just don’t care for the lip liner or Kiss Pop. However, these lipsticks are pigmented, easy to apply and moisturizing on the lips.  Continue reading Marc Jacobs Up All Night Lip Creme Set. Love

Lasting Moisture! Valentia Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer

I admit, I have a little bit of bias when it comes to beauty brands. If it’s not carried in Sephora or Nordstrom, I usually don’t expect much from it. And usually, they turn out as I expected. Valentia is a brand I discovered on BrandBacker, and I unexpectedly fell in love with the Royal Rose serum, so when they came out with Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer, I had to try it. Disclaimer: Whether a product was provided for free or bought by me have no influence on my opinion of the product.

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The moisturizer is a generous 4oz, so it will last a while even if you apply generously to face, neck and hands every time. The container is a dark glass bottle, which helps to preserve active ingredients so the moisturizer retains its effectiveness longer. It’s also got expiration date printed on the bottle, and the pump ensures a sanitary application. The moisturizer contains my favorite hydrator, hyaluronic acid, as well as shea butter and various oils. It contains ginseng, a great anti-aging ingredient, and kojic acid, a great ingredient to even out the skin for people who are sensitive to vitamin C and peels. Continue reading Lasting Moisture! Valentia Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer

From Day to Night: Easy Makeup Transitions!

Can you believe it’s almost September? However, the weather where I’m at still screams of summer and summer vacations. One of my favorite vacation spot within US is Las Vegas. It’s interesting to see the mini Pyramid, Camelot, Eiffel Tower and Venice styled complex on the strip, but my favorite part is watching the water fountain “dancing” to the music in front of Bellagio, and you MUST go to O by Cirque du Soleil at least once! I actually went there because of a conference and didn’t really plan anything, but if you are going, definitely check on sites such as Vegas.com for best deals so you are not stuck waiting and paying extra for the show that starts in 3 hours. Still worth it tho. Even among circuses, how often do you see a stage opening up to reveal a lake/pool underneath????

One thing that I did not enjoy, however, was my makeup melting off my face, and I was too lazy to carry a bunch of makeup with me while walking. However, I’ve learned a few things since then, such as how easy it is to transition your makeup from day to night with only 2-3 products. It’s proven quite convenient lately when there’s a social event I want to go to right after work and I don’t want to redo my makeup. Continue reading From Day to Night: Easy Makeup Transitions!

Yes to Retinol? Peter Thomas Roth Retinol PM

Donkey’s milk, snail slime, bee venom…whatever it is I have no qualms about trying it. But retinol is one of the few ingredients that I’m tentative on. Retinol is a form of vitamin A, it helps with anti-aging, lightens discoloration and reduces acne/pores. However, it is intensive and can cause irritations or redness. Depending on the concentration and formulation, it doesn’t play well with other active ingredients such as glycolic acid or enzymes. When first using a retinol product, you should start by using every other day at night (along with a good SPF during the day), then build up to nightly use.20160821_140014

Two years ago, I got a travel size of Peter Thomas Roth Retinol PM so I started trying it. However, after a few days of use I noticed tiny red dots on the dropper. I couldn’t figure out what it was so I emailed Peter Thomas Roth customer service. Usually when I get a bad product, the company will mail me a replacement or refund and don’t care what I do with the bad product. PTR not only gave me a giftcard to buy a new bottle of Retinol PM, but they also gave me shipping fee to send the item back so they  can figure out what’s wrong with it. To me, this shows that they not only care about customer satisfaction but they also take the quality of their products seriously.20160821_141954

The new bottle of PTR Retinol PM have no problem, and after putting it on the back burner for a year, I finally started using it again. According the description, Retinol PM is a potent retinol serum that delivers skin-renewing benefits via combination of encapsulated retinol, and vitamins C and E. It encourages the skin’s renewal process with prime efficacy, helps improve skintone and texture, assists in collagen production, and reduces lines and wrinkles to create a vibrantly youthful and healthy complexion. It also contains squalene for a dose of moisture to minimizes redness and irritation, and mitigates the retinol’s drying effects. Continue reading Yes to Retinol? Peter Thomas Roth Retinol PM

Death to Acne/Blemish! Salicylic Acid or Sulfur?

Sometimes I wonder, why can’t I be one of those girls with naturally perfect skin? You know, the girl who only uses a drugstore cleanser, moisturizer and it’s all they need. But then again, if I was that girl I probably won’t be trying hundreds of products and running a skincare blog. It’s been a few months since my dryness problem went away, so now, it’s time for breakouts! Yaaay, aren’t you excited? not. Anyways, eventhough there are tons of products for breakouts, blemish, acne and white/blackheads on the market, they are not all created equal. I have dry combination skin with occasional blemish, so skincare products targeting acne/breakout tend to dry me out and I prefer spot treatment instead.

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In terms of treatment for acne/blemish, there are three major ingredients that most products use: salicylic acid, sulfur and tea tree oil. All of them are antibacterial and helps to reduce shine. Salicylic acid, BHA, is probably the most prominent ingredient in acne skincare, but can feel harsh or irritating depending on what else it is mixed with in the product. Sulfur is a bit gentler on the skin but can be quite drying as well. Tea tree oil is the gentlest and not as drying, but it also has the mildest effect in my experience. The newest kid on the block are acne patches, which are surprisingly effective and convenient. In this post, I’ll be reviewing the acne/whitehead fighting products I like from each category. Continue reading Death to Acne/Blemish! Salicylic Acid or Sulfur?

Sheet Masks/Ingredient Highlight: Cucumbers!

Cucumber slices have long been used as eye masks to calm and hydrate, and with good reasons. Cucumber contains plenty of vitamin K, an antioxidant that fights dark circles under the eyes. It also reduces swelling and water retention, thus are great for reducing puffiness. The vitamin A, B-5 and C helps to fight dark spots and retain moisture while silica helps to fight wrinkles. Not only that, cucumbers also have a high water content and cooling properties, thus making it a great way to soothe skin burns and irritations.20160520_132532

As many DIY cucumber mask recipes as there are online, I’ve only eaten them since I always thought their benefits are only due to it being cool and wet. Now that I know it is definitely beneficial, I’ll definitely have to start playing around with DIYs using it!

Skin type: Sensitive skin, dry skin and early aging skin.

Purpose: Hydrates, soothes, debuffs and anti-wrinkle. Continue reading Sheet Masks/Ingredient Highlight: Cucumbers!

Swatchfest: Summer blushes! Marc Jacob, BeccaxJH or Estee Edit?

Finally went to the mall last weekend! It was my first time in months and there were so many pretty blushes and highlighters. I haven’t been posting or even wearing makeup lately, but these are too beautiful to not share. Marc Jacobs is a hit or miss for me generally. I love my Marc Jacobs lip balm, Highliner and nail polish, but I’m not as enthusiastic about the lip colors. Fortunately, these Air Blush Soft Glow Duo are a hit.

20160729_130350The powders are soft and easy to pick up, but not dusty or fragile. The colors are pigmented but soft and blendable with a natural finish. The top row are the lighter color for the Glow Duo, bottom are the darker color for the Glow Duo and the middle are the two mixed together. There is a color difference between the lighter and darker side, and the palette is big enough that you can easily adjust to go lighter or darker. Despite the name, these Glow Duo are not very shimmery or glowy but more like a gradient blush. However, if you want natural looking blushes that are easy to work with and great for all skintones, then I would definitely recommend these.

20160729_134850The Estee Edit Barest Blush were also on display, so I decided to swatch them as well. There is a very light shimmery blot shape on top of the blushes, but it goes away after a few swatches to reveal the blush underneath. The colors are soft with a natural finish just like Marc Jacobs, but with a more nude undertone and the powder gets slightly more dusty when swatched. The colors melt into the skin and is very natural looking. You will never look like a clown with these whether you are a beginner or is heavy-handed.

On the other hand, if you prefer your blushes/highlighters to take the center stage rather than as a compliment to the rest of your makeup, Becca x Jaclyn Hill Duo is what you want! So shimmery, so pigmented and so great for contouring!20160729_131531The highlighter provides a beautiful multicolored shimmer while the blushes are very pigmented. Champagne pop have more of a peachy gold sheen while Prosecco Pop have more of a nude sheen. The blushes have a natural finish but are very pigmented. You definitely want to use a super soft or fan brush when applying these. These are great if you like a very blushy or highlighted look.

And as I was walking out, I saw the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lightening Powder on display. They are meant to be used for strobing/highlighting, unlike the Ambient Powder that can be used all over the face, so they are a bit more shimmery than the all over powders. They are less shimmery and have a bit more color than the BeccaxJH Duos, great if you like a natural finish. It’s the same texture as the Hourglass Ambient Powder, and it’s difficult to capture the shimmers but these are the color undertones.20160729_135324

If you like shimmer and pigmented blushes, BeccaxJacyln Hill Duo is a great choice for contouring or more pronounced looks. Estee Lauder is great for everyone since it provides soft color with a nude undertone. If you like Hourglass Ambient Powder and want a natural glow highlighter, then the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder will not disappoint. When all things considered, Marc Jacob Duo is more my type since it can be natural or bold and I can do a slight blush contouring with the lighter/darker shade. I’m trying very hard to hold back because I know Sephora will DEFINITELY have a 20% off in the fall. So, did any new makeup catch your eyes lately?

July Skincare Journal: Healthy inside, pretty outside

Ever since I decided to lose weight, I’ve tried to be healthier as well. Unfortunately, I’m a stress eater and lives on sugar. It’s not good for my body or my skin, so I’ve been trying to figure out easy ways to eat healthy. One of the things I’ve been obsessed with this year is bento, Japanese lunch boxes. They are sooo adorable and… kind of small, so they made eating more fun and I don’t get as grumpy about the portion control. Sometimes I make fancy ones and post on Instagram, but it doesn’t have to be time-consuming.13743681_1813389308888847_1053861072_nYou can have a perfectly nice bento even with minimal cooking. There are plenty of vegetables that can be eaten raw, nuts are a great source of protein when you don’t want to cook meat, and berries are a great source of antioxidants. I did a little research on what are the best/healthiest food to eat, but most of them focuses on the body instead of the effect on the skin. However, I found this little handy guide from nuts.com about what are the best food for achieving a summer glow.nuts.com_summer_glow_x2_v04Aside from matcha, which you can drink or make into dessert, everything else can be tucked into a bento or great as snack with minimal clean up required. Aside from bentos, there’s nothing much going on in the beauty department. After much hem and haw, I finally decided to start using retinol so samples with glycolic, salicylic or alcohol have been put on halt. Have you used retinol? How do you like it? Continue reading July Skincare Journal: Healthy inside, pretty outside

Regimens & Routines, What Makes Skin Care Go ‘Round – Part 2

Hello! Lylysa here and if you’re back after reading part one of my guest post where I covered cleansers and cleansing tools, welcome back! If you’re just joining in, this is part 2 of my collaboration with ChicDabbler on her great blog where I’ll be covering what can go into and comprise a skin care regimen, so without any hesitation, let us jump right back into things by delving into the world of toners, facial mists, and essences!routine2

The word “toner” today can seem a bit dated as more and more skin care discoveries are made, traditional toners seem like a step that’s been left in the dust and evokes imagery of formulas that either stung the skin, smelled grossly of alcohol, or were strictly for problematic skin types. Toners were originally used after the cleansing step to restore and bring balance back to the pH of skin (in my cleanser post, I mentioned how the pH of older bar soap formulas weren’t created in tune with the skin’s pH, so toners were supposed to facilitate that adjustment). Today’s cleansers have come leaps and bounds and are much more gentle and tend not be as disruptive on the skin’s pH, so toners gradually took a backseat to the rest of skin care steps. Toners have never been phased out entirely, and in fact, still most certainly exist and definitely have found their niche with specific consumers who find particular formulas do well for their skin and play well with the rest of their skin care products.
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Continue reading Regimens & Routines, What Makes Skin Care Go ‘Round – Part 2