All posts by ChicDabbler

Moisturizer Speed Review: Switch It Up for Spring?

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?

Favorite Concealers

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. 20160730_131203

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

Speed Review: Masks

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

Skincare Journal: Coconut Oil Helped my teeth?

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?

Skincare 101: Filler Ingredients?

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?

Dupe or Not? Mario Badescu Drying Lotion or EradiKate?

I used and reviewed Kate Somerville EradiKate before and it worked great for me, but it looks exactly the same as Mario Badescu Drying Lotion so I decided to go for the cheaper option this time. I previously tried Mario Badescu Drying Cream and it worked great in reducing red, bumpy under the skin acne. However, it was in a jar and I don’t need that much. If you get breakout very often then I’d definitely recommend it. 20161116_152920

The KS EradiKate and MB Drying Lotion both contain a clear liquid on top with pink clay sediments on the bottom. The pink part is the actual acne medication. To apply, you need to dip a cotton swab in until the tip reaches the pink clay sediments and apply the pink solution onto your acne.  Continue reading Dupe or Not? Mario Badescu Drying Lotion or EradiKate?

Super skincare! DDG Clinical Concentrate Boosters

“Clinical concentrate” sounds kind of scary doesn’t it? like something potent that doctors do that we probably shouldn’t touch. Well, these Clinical Concentrate Boosters are from Dr. Dennis Gross, but they seem pretty foolproof. Having combination skin means my skin gets very oily sometimes and very dry at other times, so this set of clinical concentrate boosters is perfect for me. The blue is a hydration booster for dry or dehydrated skin, the orange is a radiance booster for dull skin or dark spots, and the green is a purifying booster for large pores and blemish prone skin!DDGboosters1 DDGboosters3Aside from the colorful dropper bottles, what caught my attention is the “water-free” claim. Now, why would you want something to be water-free? There isn’t a lot of conclusive scientific evidence, but basically a lot of active ingredients are water soluble so they may be less effective or unstable in water-based solutions. Water-free skincare may also penetrate the skin better than water-based skincare (maybe due to the fact water is a cleansing agent?). And lastly, water is often the first or second ingredient in a lot of skincare product so 50% of that fancy skincare product you buy is the same as what came out of your faucet. With that said, quality and combination of ingredients are more important than whether it contains water or not, so let’s not put the cart before the horse. Continue reading Super skincare! DDG Clinical Concentrate Boosters

February Skincare Journal: Aloe Vera Gel for Hair!

Pretty much every other skincare product contains aloe vera. It’s everywhere and for good reasons. It’s hydrating, smoothing and contains antioxidants. I’ve done reviews on aloe vera sheet masks before, but I was feeling fancy at Whole Foods so I picked up this 99% aloe vera gel last year. It is a jelly gel, feels watery going on the skin and a little sticky as it dries. It does moisturizes and soothes but leaves a sticky residue that flakes off when it dries. Ok, so if you are looking for aloe vera gel to moisturize the skin, look elsewhere. BUT! While I was trying to use it up, I applied it on my scalp for a pre-shampoo treatment and it was AMAZING! Basically I squeeze the gel into my hand then rubbed it onto my scalp.20160914_095123

I usually wait 5-10 minutes for it to dry before stepping into shower. It turns slippery and rinses off easily, allowing the shampoo I applied after to clean and foams much better. After my hair dries, I can feel that my scalp feels more refreshed and cleaner than before. It is great for hydrating, purifying and soothing sensitive or oily scalp. If you want soft, shiny hair and clean scalp but find creamy masks and oils make your hair greasy and heavy even after shampooing, then I recommend this. Although any pure aloe vera gel will probably work just as well. Highly recommend! Continue reading February Skincare Journal: Aloe Vera Gel for Hair!

Speed Review: Scrubs and Peels

In theory, all your skin need is cleanse and moisturize. But to keep your skin in top condition, you need at least a good sunscreen and a good exfoliator as well. Human skin constantly renews itself and replaces itself completely every 27 days. If you don’t exfoliate, dead skin accumulates and your complexion may start to look dull, feel flaky and your skincare may not absorb as well. What exfoliator should you use? Check out this fantastic breakdown of exfoliators by my skincare buddy lylysa! The post talks about different types of physical and chemical exfoliators as well as the pros and cons of each and everything else you’ve ever wanted to know.20170118_144957

I usually prefer an exfoliant with granules to scrub off the dead skin and some form of acid to clear out the pores, but without making my skin dry or sensitive. My holy grail exfoliators are Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion and Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder. Both are a little expensive but absolutely worth it. Besides, Dr. Brandt do 40-50% off every fall if you subscribe to their email list and Tatcha often has vouchers on Gilt City or Ruelala that brings the price down 30-40% every year so I never had to buy them at full price. Even though those two are my holy grail, there are plenty of nice exfoliators out there that I haven’t tried yet, so this is a round-up of some promising exfoliators that I’ve gathered.

Continue reading Speed Review: Scrubs and Peels

Want Some Honey? Guerlain, Fresh and Farmacy Mask Review

Honey is a great skincare ingredient. It is moisturizing since it is a humectant, anti-aging due to the antioxidants, clarifying/purifying due to enzyme and it have anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. I previously did a review of honey sheet masks before, but I then fell in love with Fresh Crème Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask, which is pretty expensive at $150 a jar. My friends love the much cheaper option, the Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask so I have to give it a try. And last time I was at a Guerlain counter, the sales rep was telling me how amazing Guerlain Abeille Royale Repairing Honey Gel Mask was so I decided it’s time to try and review them all.20170128_145410

Of course, if you don’t want to spend $50 to $150 for a honey mask, you can also try pure honey instead. I’ve used normal honey, manuka honey and raw honey as masks before. While they do exfoliate and hydrate, they are sticky, messy to use and the skin doesn’t feel as smooth as from these masks since there’s other skin nourishing ingredients added. Continue reading Want Some Honey? Guerlain, Fresh and Farmacy Mask Review