Category Archives: skincare

Holy Grail Peel: Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

Today I’m reviewing the last Drunk Elephant product in my skincare stash. I’ve always been curious about Drunk Elephant due to the name. The C-Firma serum didn’t really impress me, but I did like all the other serums and moisturizers. While they also have nice cleansers, my favorite of the line, aside from B-Hydra, has to be the T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial. 

When it comes to chemical exfoliation, a blend of acids will give better and more comprehensive results than high concentration of a specific acid since different acid/enzymes target different problems. Babyfacial contains 25%  AHA (glycolic acid, tartaric acid, lactic acid and citric acids) to smooth skin texture, reduce pigmentation and fine lines as well as 2% BHA (salicylic acid) to combat breakouts and keep your pores clean. Oh, it also contains pumpkin ferment extract for some enzyme exfoliation. In short, it’s got all the chemical exfoliation ingredients you would ever want. While acids can do wonders for your skin, they can be irritating if not carefully balanced with other ingredients. Babyfacial contains aloe vera and green tea to condition and soothe the skin as well as hyaluronic acid and oils to replenish moisture and nourish skin. Basically, it’s packed to the brim with good ingredients. I can go on and on about each of them, but the most important thing is result!

Continue reading Holy Grail Peel: Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

Cleanse with Drunk Elephant: Juju, Pekee or Beste?

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 Serum, Oil and Moisturizers!

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!

DIY Hydrating Mask: Honey, Yogurt and Oats

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 useContinue reading DIY Hydrating Mask: Honey, Yogurt and Oats

Fresh Soy Cleanser for Sensitive Skin: Gel or Milk?

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?

Ole Henriksen Power Bright: Newer and better?

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?

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?

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

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