Tag Archives: holy grail

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

Holy Grail Moisturizer with SPF: AmorePacific!

A good moisturizer with SPF is perhaps one of the hardest holy grail product to find. While there are plenty of great moisturizers in lotion, gel, cream or oil form and plenty of great sunscreen in various SPF, a good combination of the two is much more difficult to find. I have no intention of putting on two products in the morning if one works just as well. For me, I just have two criteria:

  • It should be SPF30 or more, which eliminates 70% of moisturizer with SPF. And it should be broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) of course.
  • It should feel and moisturize just as well as a normal moisturizer, which eliminates 80% of sunscreens. This means it should absorb well with no thick greasy feeling, no sunscreen smell, and no white cast left on the skin.

So I searched low and high, here and there. Some have SPF 30+ but are not moisturizing enough or too greasy. Some provides basic moisture with SPF but I wanted more omph, like some vitamin C or hyaluronic acid in it or something. Finally, after years of searching, I narrowed down my favorite to AmorePacific Natural Protector with SPF30. However, it contains paraben so I was hesitant in making it my Holy Grail. Fortunately they reformulated it recently to be even better, and withOUT paraben!

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The one in white cap is the old version. Not only is the new one SPF35 instead of SPF30, it feels different and most ingredients are different as well.

Natural Protector SPF30 (Original version)

It is a lightweight cream with a floral scent. There is a little bit of white cast, typical of sunscreen during application but it disappears as I rub it in. It absorbs well and keeps me hydrated throughout the day due to ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, bamboo juice etc. It also contains antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients such as carrot extract and ginseng extract. By itself it leaves a slightly dewy/luminous finish. It works well under makeup and makes the skin feel smooth. It does not feel stuffy or greasy or look different even if I apply generously or reapply, but you can feel the silicone in this if you apply a lot.

Ingredients: Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (7.0%), titanium dioxide (19.9%), zinc oxide (0.025%), Water, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearyl Dimethicone, C12- 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Caprylyl Carbonate, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, Polysorbate 60, Cetearyl Alcohol, Silica, Sodium Hyaluronate, Beta-Glucan, Tricholoma Matsutake Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Nymphaea Alba Flower Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Phyllostachis Bambusoides Juice, Hydrolyzed Ginseng Saponins, PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-40 Stearate, Stearic Acid, Aluminum Stearate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Glycerin, Polyacrylate-13, Alumina, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Dimethicone, Myristic Acid, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Propylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, PEG-5 Rapeseed Sterol, Ethyl Hexanediol, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, BHT, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, CI77491, CI77492, Fragrance.

Natural Protector SPF35 (New)

The biggest reason why I did not put this on my list of holy grail despite it being my favorite is due to the parabens in the ingredients list. I’m always tentative when products get reformulated, but fortunately this time it’s for the better. The sunscreen (active ingredients) used are different but still broad spectrum to protect against UVA and UVB. While the old product is water-based with lesser amount of skin beneficial ingredients added, the new one replaced water with bamboo juice. Bamboo sap is rich in minerals and amino acids and acts as a humectant to draw moisture into the deeper layers of skin and help maintain hydration. It strengthen and smooth skin while aiding skin cell regeneration. Bamboo extract is a natural anti-oxidant that fights the pollutants, toxins and free radicals we encounter every day, making it a great ingredient for daytime skincare.20170104_115920

The new SPF35 is also a light cream but feels softer than the old SPF30. Old SPF30 has a bit of white cast before you rub it in and gives a slightly dewy finish. The new SPF35 applies and absorbs wonderfully just like a good traditional moisturizer. Even when I apply generously, I don’t see white cast or feel the silicone. Not only is it more hydrating while being as lightweight as before, it makes the skin feel even more velvety soft.

Instead of ginseng and carrot extract from the old formula, the new formula contains plum and camellia extract. While the new formula does not contain paraben, it still contain alcohol and fragrance, which I know may be a deal breaker for some. Since it feels comfortable and hydrating on my skin even when it’s irritated and sensitive, I have no problem with that. 20170104_142418

My second favorite moisturizer with SPF is Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense Lotion SPF30. It contains vitamin A, C and E but does not contain fragrance or alcohol. However, it does contain parabens. As I’ve said, the perfect moisturizer with high SPF is difficult to find, but these two are as close as you can get. If you are looking for a good moisturizer with SPF for combination skin, or have dry skin and is looking for a sunscreen with good skincare benefits, I highly recommend giving one of these two a try. What are your favorite moisturizer with SPF?

Holy Grail: Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion or PoreDermabrasion?

Ever since I got into skincare 3-4 years ago, I’ve tried more than 300 skincare products. There were a lot of good ones, some really great ones, but very few that becomes my Holy Grail. There were a few products that are my stables, but if they are gone there are one or two similar products that can replace them. But Holy Grail is THE One that I can’t go without, that I will rave about/recommend to anyone and everything, with nothing else comparable and that I would truly be devastated if it was discontinued. After trying 300+ skincare, the only ones that made it to Holy Grail status were KGD Cleansing Water, Dior Gentle Toning Lotion with Peony and now— Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion.

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At $79 for 2oz, it’s my most expensive Holy Grail. I’ve spent years trying to find a good substitute that is cheaper or similar. Dr. Brandt recently came out with PoreDermabrasion, so I immediately got a sample hoping that it would be a cheaper alternative.

ps. I got a Facebook page! Another way to keep updated on the blog posts, likes would be appreciated. Thanks! Continue reading Holy Grail: Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion or PoreDermabrasion?