Category Archives: Serums, Spot Treatments

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!


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

Drench your skin with Peter Thomas Roth

Peter Thomas Roth is a brand that I use a lot. They use great ingredients and most products works pretty well with my skin. I especially enjoys the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, which is great for all skin types. If you have oily/blemish prone skin then the Anti-aging Cleansing Gel is great, and if you have dry skin, you must give the Rose Stem-Cell Bio-Repair Cream a try. They recently came out with a new line, the Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum and Cream, so of course I have to grab them.


THE star ingredient of the serum and cream is of course, hyaluronic acid! It is a humectant (attracts moisture to the skin, up to 1000 times its weight!) that is naturally present in the human body so it absorbs easily and is great for even the most acne-prone or sensitive skin. The Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum and Cream uses three types of hyaluronic acid with different molecular sizes so they provide hydration to different layers of the skin. Continue reading Drench your skin with Peter Thomas Roth

Vitamin C Serums, the more the merrier!

Howdy everybody! Don’t forget to enter the skincare/sheet masks giveaway going on right now. =)

Now then, let’s talk about vitamin C serums, again. Vitamin C serums are my favorite serums since they help with skin texture, pores, pigmentation and sun damage. I started with Ole Henriksen Truth Serum and PTR Camu Camu, then ventured into expensive ones like Algenist, Perricone and Philosophy. While they are great, I was hoping to find a slightly more hydrating vitamin C serum for the winter. So this time, I got my eyes on Klair Vitamin Drops, Skin Inc Vitamin C and Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum.


Normally serum and products with lots of active ingredients are best packaged in airtight pumps or dark glass bottles to prevent oxidation. However, the Peter Thomas Roth Camu Camu serum I had oxidized within 6 months while the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum and Klairs Vitamin Drop were totally fine even 1-2 years later. Packaging is something you should consider but a stable formulation is more important, so don’t dismiss a serum immediately just because it’s in a clear bottle. If the serum smells off or is darker in color than what it’s suppose to be, it probably oxidized and you should not use it.  Continue reading Vitamin C Serums, the more the merrier!

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?

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!

In the mood for some vitamin C serum?

My biggest concern in the summer is sun damage and pigmentation. That means it’s time for vitamin C! I did a skincare 101 post about sun damage and antioxidants before and vitamin C serums are my favorite way of combating pigmentation. While the higher percentage of vitamin C the better, there are a few other things you have to watch out for as well when buying vitamin C products. When vitamin C oxidizes, it turns dark and can actually generate free radicals instead of stopping them. Some form of vitamin C can also react negatively with plastic, so dark glass bottles are preferred.


And do you also know that different forms of vitamin C have different level of effectiveness and stability? Pure vitamin C is called Ascorbic Acid. It is the most potent form of vitamin C  but it can also irritate the skin if it’s not formulated well. It is stable up to only 6 months by itself (experiment showing it oxidizing here) so proper storage and effective stabilizing agents are important. Other popular forms of vitamin C are Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate and Magnesium Ascorbyl Palmitate. They are more stable and less irritating than Asorbic Acid, which means they last much longer and are better for sensitive skin. For more details and list of vitamin C you see on ingredients list, check out here. I’ve been using Ole Henriksen Truth Serum for years, and I really like it so I never tried anything else. After some nitpicking, I finally picked up three promising vitamin C serums to try out. Continue reading In the mood for some vitamin C serum?

Summer serum: Lightweight hydration

It’s summer already. It’s pretty easy for skin to be parched under the sun, but the last thing I want to do in this stuffy weather is to smear some thick and greasy stuff on my face. What do you do? Try a lightweight hydrating serum under your moisturizer, mixed with your moisturizer, or as moisturizer depending on your skin type. I did a post about hydrating serum before for the winter, but I want something a bit more lightweight for the summer.


The three serums I’ve got my eyes are Kate Somerville Quench Oil-free, Fresh Rose and Tatcha Overnight. I originally meant to try Kate Somerville Quench (not oil-free version), but it feels like an oil gel and is more for dry skin so I decided to ask for a sample of the oil-free version instead, which feels more like a gel serum. Continue reading Summer serum: Lightweight hydration