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.


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

Speed Review, Serums Edition!

It’s been SO long since the last speed review, partly because I was busy and my skin was fickle, and partly because this time I’m testing serums. With cleansers, exfoliators and masks, you can get a pretty good idea of the performance after 3-4 uses. Serums and moisturizers are a little different. Serums are treatment that target a specific problem, brightening, hydration, anti-aging or acne. While some moisturizers also treat those concerns, their main job is to moisturize and form a protective barrier over the skin. Serums usually exclude the heavier moisturizing ingredients, leaving more room for the active ingredients and are able to penetrate deeper into the skin.20160520_164028

Because of the potent active ingredients, you can see effects from hydrating or mattifying/acne-control serums faster and better than moisturizers with the same purpose. However, because the skin takes time to regenerate, brightening and anti-aging serums need 2-4 weeks of regular use before the effect becomes noticeable. I’m not old enough to attest to the anti-aging properties, and the amount in the sample packets didn’t last long enough for me to see results for some. However, I can give you an idea of the consistency and if it’s right for your skin type at least, so let’s get to it! Continue reading Speed Review, Serums Edition!

DIY Rosewater!

I made rosewater! Rose’s reputation in skincare is well-earned, and I blogged about its benefit as well as some rose sheet masks in the post here. I first made rosewater and posted on BeautyTalk 3 years ago. I’ve tried many rose products, and most of them were lovely, but there’s just something so wonderful about pure, freshly made rosewater that most skincare are unable to replicate. The most time-consuming part of the DIY is to thoroughly wash all the rose petals, so make sure to set aside a few hours for this.original

First of all, as with all DIY, use the cleanest/safest ingredients and sanitize everything! Since you are putting it on your face, make sure to use roses without pesticides/chemicals. Wash all the pots, bottles, and tools you plan to use thoroughly. If you take care to be sanitary while making it and store it in the fridge, it lasted over a month before the color started to change a bit. It worked wonderfully as a toner, facial spray or even impromptu sheet masks!  Continue reading DIY Rosewater!

Regimens & Routines, What Makes Skin Care Go ‘Round – Part 1

Today’s blog post is a special one from the awesome Lylysa!!! Before I had a blog, I pretty much lived on BeautyTalk, and my  favorite person for makeup and skincare discussion is Lylysa. She’s got so much great information that I’ve always thought it’s a shame that she didn’t have a blog. Hundreds of email chats later, I finally asked if she would like to be my guest blogger and share her skincare knowledge with us. So without further ado, I’ll hand it off to the first guest blogger of ChicDabbling, Lylysa!

Hello there, WordPress world! I want to thank my dear friend ChicDabbler for allowing me to write as a guest blogger on her page. As she mentioned, her and I first met through the wonderful outlet of Sephora’s forum known as BeautyTalk and right away, her affinity for skin care and beauty struck a chord with me. I’m perhaps most known in Beauty Talk for my elaborate posts and break-downs regarding all things beauty and I’m very grateful for being allowed the opportunity to share my knowledge on a new platform!

This will be part 1 of of a 5 post series dedicated to breaking-down skin care regimens! My focus will be to cover what may typically go into constructing a skin care regimen (or routine) by detailing out formulas and product types per each step, and by doing so, hopefully give some insight as to aid anyone reading who may be questioning what they may actually need or want to incorporate.1cleansing

Cleansers will generally be the first step in a regimen because they will aid in creating a “blank slate” so that the products used after aren’t hindered by traces of oil, bacteria, pollutants, and any grime that skin may have at its surface. While cleansers today come packed with beneficial ingredients to treat and nourish skin, it’s still a product that gets washed down the drain, so try not to bank on them solely to obtain dramatic results in skin care. Cleansing use to be based on a “twice a day” concept (morning and night); however, many folks don’t require a morning cleansing. Unless you wake and skin is slicked with oil and heavy with shine, forego the cleansing step in the day time and move to a refreshing mist or even treatment then your SPF/moisturizer. Even though oil production doesn’t stop as you sleep, waking up a bit dewy isn’t cause for alarm or to break out a heavy-duty cleanser, even if you’re using a gentle cleanser, over-cleansing isn’t going to do your skin any favors. In fact, doing so can cause skin to either dry out or overcompensate for the rapid loss in oil by over-producing oil as the day continues and then you’ll have a new issue on your hands. If the idea of not washing your skin in the morning is just repelling and you may not have any want or need for a facial mist, feel free to just rinse with cool or lukewarm water or wipe down with a damp wash cloth. Continue reading Regimens & Routines, What Makes Skin Care Go ‘Round – Part 1

Ingredient/Sheet Masks Highlight: Tea Tree

Tea tree…. if you have acne-prone skin, you probably have heard a lot about it already, but it’s great even if you don’t have acne. It is a plant native to Australia and commonly sold in forms of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and used topically for acne, cuts, burns, insect bites, toothache, infections etc. Tea tree oil can help relieve any type of skin inflammation, including being used as a natural eczema treatment and for reducing psoriasis. Not only has it been used for over a hundred years in Australia, there has been over three hundred scientific studies about its antimicrobial prowess alone. In fact, studies has shown that applying a 5% tea tree oil gel appears to be as effective as 5% benzoyl peroxide for treating acne. Tea tree oil might work more slowly than benzoyl peroxide, but it is also less irritating to the skin.

20160607_151450In addition to the two sheet masks, I also have a tiny bottle of pure tea tree oil for home use. I put a few drops of tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil into a spray bottle with water, then shake before use. It’s a skin friendly bug repellent, great for wipe down things and also great as a room freshener.

Skin Type: Acne-prone, irritation/inflammation-prone skin.

Purpose: Soothes inflammation and is a natural antiseptic. Continue reading Ingredient/Sheet Masks Highlight: Tea Tree