Friday, December 31, 2010

Laneige Strawberry Yogurt Pack Review

This is a review for the Laneige Strawberry Yogurt Pack, which I liked to use after the Laneige Strawberry Yogurt Peel. I don't know if the two products work better together, but it has been suggested by the SA every time I bought this product, and I like to use them together because I like to indulge myself in the lovely strawberry scent. The two product combos were my staple for more than 2 years. Like I mentioned before, I have since stopped using the Strawberry Yogurt Peel, and I have also stopped using the Laneige Strawberry Pack with it. However, I continued using the concept of the Strawberry Yogurt Pack because I loved it, only a cheaper and "healthier" version. Hehe, my Korean derm have helped me develop a homemade recipe for this strawberry yogurt pack, with different variations for different skin types, and I wish to share it with you in my next article. This article will be a review of the Laneige Strawberry Yogurt Pack.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Laneige Strawberry Yogurt Peel Review

I don't know how I could have forgot to review this gem until a reader asked me if I had tried it. The Laneige Strawberry Yogurt Peel is a chemical peeling exfoliator that takes off the top layer of your skin with chemical enzymes, most of which were claimed to be fruit enzymes. Thus it is supposed to exfoliate your skin very gently, much more gently than physical scrubs and chemical peels (which usually gives a burning sensation, which this does not).
However, despite my love for this product, I actually no longer use it, and have replaced my exfoliator with the Cure Aqua Natural Gel. In this article, I will review this product and explain I have switched. :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sofina Perfect UV White Protect Review


About two months ago, I bought this sunscreen in Japan because I was going to the beach for a 7 day vacation. I normally wouldn't have defected from my beloved Laneige sunscreen and sunscreen powder, but then I rationalized that since I was in Japan and Laneige products were hard to come by there, and the Sofina Perfect UV line has such a wonderful rating, why not? In fact, I had been dying to find some excuse to try the Sofina Perfect UV Lucent, but couldn't find any till now :P
Anyway, a little brief about the Sofina Perfect UV lineup. This line has actually existed for about five years, and they changed the name of the line about two to three years ago to Perfect UV. The line has three products, all of which has SPF 50 PA+++:
1. Sofina Perfect UV Lucent--supposedly the most original sunscreen in the line
2. Sofina Perfect UV Nuance Up--the sunscreen is supposed to provide a makeup effect besides providing the sunscreen abilities
3. Sofina Perfect UV White Protect--this sunscreen should provide whitening effects and offer the maximum protection. It was said to fade freckles and be very water proof.
The former two products were discontinued last summer, leaving only the White Protect. I was not sure whether I would have chosen the Lucent or the White Protect if they had both been available, since minimalist and maximum protection both sounded extremely appealing to me.
However, I tried out all three at the counter, and am glad to say that I would have picked the White Protect anyway. :) In this article, I will mainly review the White Protect, and very briefly review the other two sunscreens since all three are very similar, with only slight differences. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas and an update!

Hi, I am so sorry I haven't been updating my blog that much recently...Yes, I'm stuck in Korea for the Holiday season, but luckily my hubby was flown over by my company. I miss my family and friends back home, but it is a nice experience spending Christmas and New Year with a loved one in Korea. There are so many festivities and special events in the beauty industry there!
My old computer, macbook pro was broken while typing up a report (it probably burnt out after I used it for 36 hours non-stop), so I had to wait for hubby to bring my new macbook air (a.k.a. my Christmas present)... :) That was why I couldn't update for weeks. I'm finishing up the report even now as we speak, and hopefully, will get some new product reviews up before the new year. There are so much I want to review:
1. Sofina Perfect UV White Protect
2. Laneige Strawberry Yogurt Peel
3. Laneige Strawberry Yogurt Pack
4. Laniege Water Sleeping Pack
5. Laneige Multiberry Yogurt Peel
6. Laneige Multiberry Yogurt Pack

I also wanted to write an article on antioxidants, what to look for in serums if you do decide to use antioxidants on your face (as opposed to eating it), and how to apply the serums.
Lastly, I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas! I'll wish you Happy New Year in my next product review :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

CURE Natural Aqua Gel

Today I am reviewing an skincare item called Cure natural aqua gel. This is a very popular exfoliator sold in Japan. I think the official record is that a bottle is sold every 20 seconds, which is pretty good (not  as impressive as those classic American products like a certain maybelline mascara, but you have to consider to size of Japan and the fact that this is only officially sold in a few parts of Asia). This is supposed to be a very special product because exfoliators are usually a little harsh (either containing acid meant to burn off the top layer of skin or small particles meant to scrub down the top layer of skin), and this one is very gentle, containing 90% water content. I have to say this is very similar to Laneige's Strawberry Peel, which I will review soon.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Son Bahyu Horse Oil Review

I recently got a comment from a reader that a product I really love doesn't have a good ingredient list and even have some ingredients she termed "poison". I would like to thank her for this comment because it has reminded me to review some of the "all natural" skincare items that I have been using, and surprisingly like.
First off, I should say that I have tried to go all natural in terms of skincare for a long time. I dread the "potentially carcinogens" in ingredient lists, but I rarely stick to any item of natural skincare, since they do not work for me that well. They are usually pretty irritating and make me breakout. However, every now and then, I still cannot resist the temptation of all natural, guilt free skincare. This horse oil is one of those products I found in those endeavors. If there is a lot of interest, I will gradually review the 22 kinds of oil I have tried to use on my skin. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sofina Jenne Milky Cleanser Review

This cleanser is advised to be used in the mornings and at night following Sofina Jenne's cleansing oil/makeup remover. I got this in Japan along with the rest of Sofina Jenne's lineup. To be honest, I wasn't sure I would like the cleanser since my current cleansers function well enough. But I like to use all the products of a lineup to satisfy my perfectionism/compulsion, so I got it anyway. I had to say I'm not sorry.

Sofina Jenne Makeup Remover Review

This is a review for Sofina Jenne's "makeup remover". I found the name bit misleading because the first thing that comes to mind is a makeup remover for lips and eyes. However, this is actually something like a cleansing oil, for your face, though it doesn't act exactly like a cleansing oil.
A cleansing oil is basically oil with a bunch of emulsifiers mixed in so that the oil binds with water when you splash water on your face, which makes it easier when you rinse it off. This is a bit different. This has oil ingredients in it, but when applied on your face, it doesn't have a greasy feeling, and can actually be rinsed off without emulsifying, even though I still always follow with their cleanser. Did I like this better than regular cleansing oils?
Well, I don't like most cleansing oils in general, but I can use this...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sofina Jenne Day Protector SPF 50+++ Review

This is not the "star product" of Sofina Jenne, but I think it should be, not only for its quality, but also for its concept. This is often mistaken as a mere sunscreen of the Sofina lineup (or so the SA told me), but this is actually your day time moisturizer. Sofina realizes that young women are often in a hurry in the morning, so may often neglect to put on their sunscreen, which will lead to photo-aging, so they developed this convenient product that is a sunscreen and moisturizer all in one. I absolutely love the idea because me too is pressed for time in the morning. :)
All right, I admit it, this is not the first moisturizer with SPF in it, but I think this is one of the first moisturizers with SPF that functions very well both as moisturizer and sunscreen.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sofina Jenne Lotion II Review

As I mentioned before, I have almost completely switched over from Laneige's White plus Renew lineup to Sofina Jenne. This is the lotion II, which one is supposed to use as a toner, minus the cotton pad. They have two kinds of lotions. Lotion I is for more oily skin, and contains particles to control oil. Lotion II is not really for dry skin, just for skins that need a little more hydration.
I don't have dry skin, and would have preferred if they had an option for combination skin, but the sales assistant told me that I could try buying both lotions and apply them to different parts of my face. I know many of you would have reactions like "oh, she wish". I interpretated it too as that she just wanted to make another sale, but then my coworker told me that this kind of skincare is pretty common for young lines. They initially have two types, one for more oil control and one for more moisture, and those who absolutely wants to can use the two types together. Then as the line gets more successful, they may release a third for combination skin, or even fourth and fifth for very dry or very oily skin. I'm guessing they'll do that with Sofina Jenne. Did I buy Lotion I as well? hehe, you'll see

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sofina Jenne Jelly Moisturizer Review

This has been cited as Sofina Jenne's most important and most popular item, so I thought I would review this first. :) This item was a really successful product for Sofina, since only 20 days after its launch, it became the 2nd most popular product in the moisturizer category on cosme.net, a huge Japanese website devoted to beauty.
Japanese girls say this cream is good for sensitive skin, moisturizing, and it has generally been very well received. I usually hate those popular popular products because I think most of them are over-hyped. However, I was surprised to say I really like  love this moisturizer.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sofina Jenne Line-up and General Review..more detailed reviews to follow


I teased you several weeks earlier that I had done a lot of shopping in Japan. 5% of that was Sofina Products (which means that I got a lot of stuff in total :)) Some of you who know me well know that I tend to not get a single product of any line, but to get a whole lineup if I am really trying something. Well, that's what I did.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Skin79 Super Plus BB Cream VIP Gold Review

Many people have trouble distinguishing this BB cream from the VIP pink BB cream. They are after all so similar, with almost the same description, the same bottle structure, except for the color. I couldn't find that much difference between the two BB creams either, except for one thing. I discovered that this BB cream just might be the Hot Pink's twin sister for different skin types.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Antioxidants, Retinols, and other active ingredients: a major discourse on the Western and Asian notions of skincare

It never ceased to amaze me the differences of Asian and Western skincare. Being an Asian who was born in the US but travels back to Asia frequently, I grew up under this difference. My grandmother, an Asian from head to toe always told me the Asian way of skincare, and my mother, a scientist in US always told me the American way. Both have gorgeous skin, so I never really knew who to listen to. Now that I've grown up, I have two dermatology doctors, one in the US, and one in Korea (the Korean one cannot really be defined as a dermatology doctor because this occupation is not prevalent in Korea, but he is a very well respected beauty specialist). I've hired them so that I can have beautiful skin, and finally know whether my mother or grandmother is correct, and guess what? I was only introduced to more controversies.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Skin79 Super Plus BB Cream Hot Pink Triple Functions Review

As I mentioned before, since I'm staying in Korea, I might as well try out some other BB creams. This is just another BB cream sample I picked up at the Skin79 counter with my purchase. I actually used this before for two weeks, but I wanted to get a sample to refresh my memory before I do the review (I actually tried a total of 60ish BB creams before :P) I didn't really expect much out of it. Skin79 is a good brand, so I expected it to be safe, but it's targeted to teenagers and people in their 20s, so I didn't really expect anything too great either. I guess I was just curious since I liked skin79's diamond total BB cream, and wanted to try out the entire line-up to see if there is something better out there. Well, I wouldn't say this is my favorite BB cream, but it is much more than I expected

Friday, October 22, 2010

Skin79 Lovely Girl BB Cream Review

Since I'm pretty much stuck in Korea for a while anyway, I decided to try out a few more BB creams, since the Korean counters are pretty generous with samples (when you buy another full sized product). So I went to the skin79 counter to buy another bottle of my beloved Diamond Total BB cream and asked for a few samples of a few other BB creams they carry. The samples are small, but since I only use a little BB cream anyway, each sample should last a week, which should be sufficient to do a review.

First off, this BB cream is designed for young girls between the ages of 17 to 22. I thought I barely fit into the age range, so I tried it. (lol, I'm not telling you my age, sorry). I can see how this BB cream would be targeted to the younger age range, because....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tubing Mascara Review 4: Clinique Lash Power, a.k.a my new HG


When I reviewed the Fiberwig Lx last time, I promised that I wanted to share with you my new HG tubing mascara. A lot of you will be surprised that it is this Clinique Lash Power, which retails at almost half the price of fiberwig, especially in light of the fact that I'm a beauty snob. However, I use this with Clinique's lash primer for a little extra protection for my lashes and a little extra length.

1. Smudging: This is by far the most important aspect of all mascaras to me, because before tubing mascaras, all mascaras smudged on me. Before, it was not a matter of whether it smudges, but whether how much or when it smudges. Compared to regular mascaras, this mascara can said to have no smudging, but if I do rub my eyes (which I never do) after the 9th hour of wearing it, It will give a faint smudge. So an 8.5 in terms of smudging. 
2. How long does it last on my lashes: This mascara lasts for around 10 hours before starting to smudge a little. However, it would still be functioning all right, i.e. usable after 16 hours :) So a 8.5 in terms of how long it lasts. 
3. Flaking:  I eventually learnt that flaking seems to be the biggest foul of tubing mascara. It seems that since they come off it tubes, they can't smudge, but some times the tubes breaks, etc. which makes tubing mascaras flake a lot. This mascara, I'm glad to report, doesn't flake on my as much as even the old fiberwig, but it still does. I'd say a flake every hour or two hours, probably leaning towards two hours. However, to be fair, I'm using this with the clinique lash primer, so it might behave a little better than it would alone. So this gets an 7 in terms of flakes on me.
4. Color and longevity of the tube: Isn't it weird that I put those criteria together since they are not so much related? But I don't know about you, but I don't care that much about either the color or longevity of the mascaras I buy, which is why I thought I'd give each of those 5 points instead of 10. In terms of color, this gets the perfect 5, since it is jet black on me. In terms of longevity, after daily application, a tube can last up to 7 months. Not that I'd really use any mascara for 7 months, but then you get the general idea. I toss mascara every three months. So a 4 in terms of longevity because even though I think 7 months is more than enough, I've heard of mascara that lasts two years... Together, this mascara gets 9 in this section. 
5. Application: This is the best part. The brush is really teeny tiny so that it really gets to all my corner lashes, and I rarely get any mascara up on my lids anymore. Out of all the points, I probably love the brush of the mascara the most. I think it would apply very well on the bottom lashes without smudging too, even though I never do that. I think I look scary with my bottom lashes coated with mascara :P
It probably takes about 1.5 minutes for both eyes together with applying the lash primer, since I really just swipe it up on my lashes twice and call it done. And if I do get anything on my lids, all I need to do is get some warm water on a q-tip and swipe it across. However, I do prefer to use green tea. I don't think it makes a huge difference from water, but somehow I feel that it makes my lids less swollen if they are. 
In terms of application, I'd say a since it's so easy and hassle free. I say a 9 because even though this is best application I've ever got out of mascara, I think there might be better out there.  . 
6. Length: In this aspect, this mascara is really mediocre. It increases the length of my lashes, but I don't think by a huge lot. Probably 50% if I work at it, which is not bad for an everyday look. For special occasions, I still use my old fiberwig, even though I might have to spend 15 minutes at it. So a 6.5 in terms of length, since it's not bad for a mascara, but not enough for me all the time.  
7. Volume: This mascara doesn't give that much volume. It gives me really really natural look eyelashes. So it' kind of like my lashes but better. If I want volume, layering this doesn't work at all. However, the lash primer does help a little bit. Another good thing is that no matter how many coats I apply, no clumping.  So a 2.5 in terms of volume. 
8. Removal: If you compare tubing mascaras with regular mascaras, most of them would get a 10 in terms of removal, but since I'm comparing tubing mascaras, I'll make the bar a little higher. This mascara is the easiest to remove of all the tubing mascaras I've tried. It really does come off in tubes with lots of warm water (even if your hand never touches your lashes) just like the L'Oreal Beauty Tubes. So a 10 within the context of all other tubing mascaras. 
9. Clumping: This mascara doesn't clump no matter how hard I try :P However, if I applied a lot of lash primer before hand, this might be harder to separate.  So a in terms of clumps. 
10. Sensitivity: This one is pretty good in terms of sensitivity. No stinging and not much discomfort should it flake into my eye, which it doesn't happen a lot. However, I am aware that some people wear contacts, so the flaking might be painful for you, even though it's a lot better in terms of flaking than a lot of other mascaras I've tried. I'll give it a 8.5 in terms of clumping.

This mascara gets a total of 77.5. Adding it up make the score seem less than perfect, but it is somewhat similar to my old Fiberwig mascara. I guess it is my current HG not because it really is perfection, but perhaps for the lack of other choices. 

Update for going off Benzoyl Perxoide--a month later

I'm still in Korea, still with little time to post, but I just wanted to share my progress on going off Benzoyl Perxode with you, since a lot of people emailed me about it. You can see the original post here
I would like to stress once again that the fact I get post inflammatory hyperpimentation from benzoyl peroxide may not be a universal experience, but I think a lot of people experience it since 90% of my friends who went on benzoyl peroxde reported the same to me. Secondly, I do put on sunscreen while using benzoyl peroxide, since I use sunscreen religiously anyway. Thirdly, I'm not on any birth control pills or any other things that is prone to cause hyperpigmentation.
Okay, now that that's clear, I would really like to share my progress with you! :)
When I posted last time, I got mostly clear skin, but now my skin is even clearer, kind of similar to when I was using benzoyl peroxide. When I am really stressed out or stay up late for several nights in succession, I would get breakouts (which I also did while on benzoyl peroxide), but the breakouts would be about 1.5 more than when I was on benzoyl peroxide. The happy news, however, my skin is finally able to let all the acne mark traces fade within 5 days. For example, I got a big pimple three days ago, while staying up for another board meeting, and now you can't really detect it. I hope that by tomorrow morning, no traces of it will be left.
I also experienced some other things while going off benzoyl peroxide, but I wasn't sure that it was purely coincidental. However, now after I asked several of my other friends who are also trying to go off benzoyl peroxide, they told me the same thing: hands and necks, which touched benzoyl peroxide before seems to be much more acne prone for a month. I got those tiny tiny white heads on my hand even though I never did before. It wasn't a lot or really gross or anything, just bizarre. :)

Oh, and in my last post, I teased you with the promise that I got of lot of stuff in a neighboring country, that country is Japan! I got a lot of skincare items, sekkiso, horse oil, sofina jenne, curel, etc. :) I'll be reviewing them soon! Japan also has a lot of very very exciting makeup that I want to share with you too.
The upsetting part is that I feel so old when I was in Japan...I don't know why since I'm probably one of the youngest in my firm. I think maybe the mini skirts, cute hairstyles, and kawaii tops got to me...I was wearing this boring business suit while girls around me are so flamboyant, even the few business associates I met with! I have undyed waist long black hair which is un-banged, unlayered. At worst, people say my hairstyle is archaic, and at best, classic...This business associate I met with insisted on introducing me to her stylist, and she had quite fashionable red tinted blond hair with long layers, and cute bangs. I was really tempted to have her go at it, but when she told me I should have shoulder length hair, I found an excuse to say that I have to go, etc And so I dragged this friendly associate with me to the department stores to do a lot of shopping! :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Greetings from Korea and an announcement!

Hi, girls, I'm sorry for not posting for days. One of my most loyal readers, Diana, asked if I'm all right in Korea since I haven't been posting. Thank you, Diana. Yes, I'm all right, just really busy. It's not as bad as several days ago, when I had to stay up nights, but Koreans, at least the Koreans in my company are a very friendly people, so I tend to go out every night to dinners and gatherings held in my honor. When I get home, I'm usually exhausted from trying to speak Korean. A few of the things we do is shopping, eating, drinking (soft drinks), and singing. :) I love love the shopping part, since they introduce me to a lot of well kept Korean beauty secrets while shopping (this and that product that can only be found in a dark corner of a certain store, but almost everyone they know use it, etc.) and the clothes are great. Eating is even better. I get to eat all I want until my stomach is full, and manage to lose weight. Koreans have such a healthy way of eating. It seems that for every bite of meat I eat, I eat 5 times more vegetablels, which makes it very healthy and fullfilling. I love the soft drinks, the smoothies, the bubble teas, and the fresh squeezed juices, even though I learnt Koreans prefer to have real fruits rather than the juices. Singing is the embarrasing part. I know few Korean songs, and it would be tacky to sing American songs. I've since mastered the song "I believe" from My Sassy Girl, and the two songs in the Korean drama "Full House". Those are the only songs I can sing, but I'm getting into Korean music. It sounds more melodic than some of the rock music we Americans have. :) I think I might have to be here for another two weeks, but I don't mind.
I've gotten more cozy with my coworkers now, and I often go for visits to their homes. (Some people who have read this blog for a long time know that the last time I was in Korea, it wasn't really pleasant because I had to dismiss a worker who's badmouting the company and handle all the loose ends his libel did. This made my coworkers wary of me at first, but I found that being friendly really helps.) I found that it seems like Korean women love beauty  products. The average size of their stash should be twice or three times the size of our average stash. However, there is one major difference: the bolt of their stash focuses on skincare. I asked at first if they found their HG skincare products. They didn't understand what I meant. At first, I thought it was a language barrier, but gradually I understood that they are not loyal to their skincare products. They do something called "multi-playing". They keep using the products they love, but they also keep getting new products. Most of my coworkers switch skincare products weekly or prevent their skin from getting too used to certain products, or even becoming dependent on them. They think that skin will gradually develop immunity to products if they don't switch them. I found this quite an interesting theory, and a theory many Americans won't buy. I asked a good friend to ask at makeupalley's makeup board, and everyone said that that in this day and age, skincare would contain ingredients that become less effective over time. There were quite a few LOLs.
I still don't know what to believe, but I think there would be no harm in trying new skincare products, would there? Maybe this is just a well developed excuse for Korean women to keep on getting new products, but they have beautiful skin, so maybe there's some merit to this theory? Anyway, I have been persuaded to start trying more and more skincare products, while still using my trusty Laneige. This way, I can share more skincare reviews with my dear readers, and might also find another HG for myself in the process (though I doubt I can really find something significantly better than my favorite Laneige. :P  I already bought a lot for myself on a trip to (guess where? It's a country really close to Korea famed for their beauty products and the home of a few really famous big name brands even here in the US), and they are awaiting a review from me as soon a I get home. :)

How to go off Benzoyl Peroxide and why I did it?

You must be surprised to see this cleanser on my blog, since I rarely use any American products, and when I do, it's mostly cosmetics, but I actually have used this cleanser for more than 2 years, and have just stopped  using this recently. NOTE: I'm writing this article as a tip for how to go off on benzoyl peroxide cleansers in general, not just this cleanser, but I'm using this as a specific example.
Why I started using this product: Call me stupid or short sighted, but in my teenage years, I was really bothered by the few pimples that I had (which come to think of it, wasn't really a lot, around 3 or 4 weekly). I found this while going grocery shopping with my mother, and then went home to check on the reviews. I told my mother I wanted to add this item to my skincare, and she tried to persuade me against it. She told me that it is true that this product will give me clearer skin but at a cost, that benzoyl peroxide will dry out my skin and age it in the long run. I was young then, and asked her simply "how much would it age me? Would I be getting wrinkles prematurely? By how many years?" My mother said perhaps 2 to 3 years. At that time, I thought why not? I can have truly clear skin for a long time at the cost of getting wrinkles 2 to 3 years earlier.

What this product did to me: Since I'm writing a tutorial on how to stop using similar cleansers, you must think that I hate hate this product and it's horrible. The fact is, I can't really hate it. It did everything it promised to do: cleanse your face and stop acne. But then, it did not say what it might cause: hyperpigmentation. When I first started using this product, I enjoyed perfect skin for 3 months. Then I got a huge pimple on my cheek. I tried to get it to go away quickly, but it wouldn't. It stayed on my cheek for a whole week, and when it finally began to get smaller, I found that it's leaving behind quite a dark purplish red mark. I was horrified. I had pimples before, but when they are gone, they are gone.... A month passed with no incidents, while I tried to fade the mark, and then I one day tried on a base makeup product. I felt my face gone itchy and red that afternoon, and developed pimples the next day. A week later, those pimples left more marks. For a while, I was obsessed with finding a solution to fade hyperpigmentation, and was really tempted to try hydroquine even though I know it would cause more trouble for me in the future. I ended up using natural remedies: yogurt masks, honey masks and sticking to my skincare. Half a year later, the marks faded. For two years, I never suspected this product was the culprit. Last summer, I was bitten by a mosquito, and someone told me that using this wash to wash the affected area will numb me from itching. It did, but I found that the mosquito bites took a month to fade, whereas it usually take three days, and I still have some hyperpigmentation from the spots left on my arms.

How I discovered this was the culprit: I was on a trip and I forgot to bring this cleanser. I went to Yosemite falls the first few days and couldn't find a drugstore for miles, so I just used another cleanser. I wanted to buy another tube of this as soon as I get out of Yosemite falls, but when I only got a few whiteheads that disappeared the next day, I thought I'd wait till I get home. That was still a lot for me, since while using this cleanser, I rarely got pimples at all, maybe monthly. But I managed to persevere. Miraculously, the pimples I got that week didn't leave marks on me at all and got better the next day usually. I thought about it: either it was the California climate, the stress free life, or the wash. I decided it was the wash, and decided to eliminate it from my regimen.

Why? How does this work?: First off, BP is a really effective over the counter acne medication because it kills the P-bacteria that causes acne. Salycic Acid also works, but is less effective and more gentle in my experience, since it is basically a chemical exoliant. Now, why did BP do this to my skin? Apparently, BP generates free radicals which harms skin, and slows down the healing process of the skin. It may reduce collagen production in rare cases, which is why it might cause premature aging. The reason that my pimples last longer and leave hyperpigmentation is simply because this medicine makes them take longer to heal.
Now the main course: How to go off a cleanser with BP:When I got back from the trip, I decided to go back on to the cleanser, and slowly ease off it, in order to get less pimples (I was optimistic and thought that I was getting one or two pimples a day on that trip because I went off BP too suddenly). And I was right. I was using it once a day at night for two years, so I gradually started using it every other day. I got a few whiteheads at first, so I waited and waited till my skin adjusted and is pretty clear before I started lessening the use of the cleanser again. (btw, it took 2 weeks for my skin to really get used to using this every other day, but I continued doing this for 2 months just to be safe). Then I started using this once every three days, which lasted for 2 weeks, and then once every 4 days. I wanted to gradually increase to once a week, and then once a month before completely going off it, but on my trip to Korea this time, I forgot to pack this cleanser, and harsh cleansers like this are really hard to find in Korea. So I thought never mind. I got 2 to 3 whiteheads a day for the first few days, but now I'm mostly clear (I haven't had any new breakouts for 48 hours, and my old breakouts are clear). My face is pretty clear except for those hyperpigmentation I had from this cleanser before.
Oh, and another tip is to exfoliate more often. You technically don't need to exfoliate while using cleansers with BP, because it peels off skin for you anyway, so when trying to go off it, you need to exfoliate more. When I was using it once every two weeks, I exfoliated once a week, and now that I'm completely off it, I exfoliate twice a week or three times every two weeks.
Drinking a lot of great green tea from Korea might have also helped. My coworkers here are very friendly, and one gifted me with a generous case of green tea (the best tea in Korea and China are usually not placed in tea bags). The quality is quite similar to the tea my grandmother send me every year, which should be of the top quality, since she pick only the tips of leaves by hand on our relative's tea farm in Southern China.

Footnote: What I write here is my own experience, benzoyl peroxide might work excellently for you, and if it does, please do not discontinue use because of my article.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How to stay fresh after staying up all night?

Hi, ladies! :) Sorry I haven't updated for days. I'm in Korea, and like I thought, the work got more busy those fast few days. I haven't been sleeping a lot either, so I didn't have time to write my blog :( Yes, it is 4:36 a.m. in the morning, and I still haven't slept yet. I am preparing for my presentation early tomorrow morning, hoping to come up with a few more ideas, and I'm exhausted. Those past days, I have been a little obsessed with how to cover up the evidence that my Korean is not as adequate as I thought and that I had stayed up several nights, and sleeping only 10 hours in 3 days. 
However, through my obsession, I came up with a few ways to not look like this:
For me, it's mostly about yellow and rough looking skin, and dark circles. I will address each issue separately. 
Dehydrated Skin: If I haven't slept all night, the morning usually finds me with sallow looking skin that is not really smooth. I used to wonder why, and now I know it's because my skin is dehydrated. I've found a quite effective method to care for my skin so that it looks as if I got 9 hours (my usual amount). 
1. Drink lots of water: I try to drink 8 glasses of water every day generally, but when stay up, I literally hold a cup of water, drinking from it every two to three minutes. I prefer green tea. It also helps me stay awake because I'm constantly raising my hand to my lips. I generally go through 5 kettles of tea in one night, which is about 2 gallons. Yeah....it's a bit crazy, but at least it works. It also keeps me running around every hour for trips to the bathroom, so it keeps me awake.

2. Skincare: If I know I'm going to stay up, I generally wash my face as early as possible, and put on my beloved Laneige white plus renew skincare. I love to get those tablet masks, and soak it in my Laneige White Plus Renew skin refiner for 1 minute, before putting it on my face. I generally leave it on for 30 minutes.  Any longer, it might start to dehydrate me. Then I put on my Laneige white plus renew essence all over my face. Lastly, I put a thick layer of my Laneige white plus renew night cream (twice more than what I usually use each night). 
Of the three, I find the skin refiner and the essence most effective in keeping my skin hydrated. The night cream is also important, but I basically put it there to seal in the moisture on my face. Any other cream will do for this purpose, although I find the night cream adds a little more moisture. 

Dark Circles: My mother used to tell me to put cucumber slices on my eyes when I feel tired. The cooling effect will help me feel more refreshed. I have been doing it for a long time, and it really helps, but not enough when I sleep less than 5 hours. I found another method that really helps for me:
I apply the Laneige white plus renew essence thickly over and under my eyes (mostly under), then soak two cotton pads with Laneige White Plus Renew skin refiner to put over my eyes. I do this for 10 minutes or so when I feel most tired (I'll do it after I finish writing this article) :)

I'm sorry my methods are not that exciting, mostly involving my skincare products, but I like to utilize them whenever possible, especially when they prove to be so effective in this case. :)

Oh, and in the morning, I just go and apply my Laneige base and foundation (not the BB cream), then head on to work. It gives me glowy skin :) 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Laneige Multi Cleanser Review

This is one of Laneige's most popular products, and one of my personal favorites. I can't say that I've gone through several tubes of this, but I've used this for more than a year since my big switch from Mamonde to Laneige. I use this every single day at night, and yet, I still have around 10% of my tube left. :) Oh, and just so I'm clear, this is the review for the "old" multi-cleanser in the above packaging. Laneige has recently updated its cleansing line with its a new multi cleanser in a blue tube (see here for the new cleanser) that I have bought and haven't tried yet. However, I've been assured that it is exactly the same by my colleague who also loves Laneige, but I will certainly post my thoughts when I get to the new tube, which is will probably be in two months.
Now why do I love this cleanser and why did I choose it in the first place? Well, I'm sorry to admit that my initial decision was a no brainer. I wanted to switch to Laneige, and wanted to try to use everything in its lineup for my skincare if possible, so I got the multi cleanser. And you might be surprised to know that I regretted my decision the first month I bought it. Why? Well, I immediately switched from my BP cleanser to this for my night time regimen, which caused a few breakouts, and I didn't know how to use this cleanser then, so it was really drying. I later found out that I was using way too much every night and also that if one were to go off potent acne curing drugs like BP and SA, one should do it gradually and slowly (which is what I'm doing now).
I thought that before I do my pros and cons list, I should share with you how to use this cleanser. First off, you needn't be nervous, there is no special unique way to use this cleanser. The trick is to use less, much less than you would any regular cleanser. At first, I was using 2cm of this cleanser (I say 2cm because it's very thick and comes out in a cylinder), and as I stand by the sink and rub this around my skin, the cleanser foams up so thickly that my entire face was covered by a white mask. When I rinsed this off, my skin was squeaky clean, and felt dry even as I was rinsing off. I gradually learned to use around 0.5 cm of this at most every day, and it doesn't overdry me now.
Oh, and many people were worried about whether they can use this cleanser everyday because on the laneige website, this cleanser was supposed to exfoliate (and many people believe that we should not exfoliate everyday). I am not going to argue about whether we should exfoliate daily since I'm not a dermatologist, but this cleanser really only does really really mild exfoliation to the point that you would still need to use another exfoliator weekly or biweekly. It contains tiny tiny beads that dissolves within 5 seconds of rubbing it around the skin. I personally find the really gentle exfoliation very welcome, since gentle exfoliation daily can prevent breakouts (essentially what the clarisonic does for people my age).
Sorry for blathering on. I will close my big mouth for now and go on to the reviews. :)


Pros:
1. A little really goes a long way. I would only use 0.5 cm of this, which means that I haven't finished a tube yet in a year.
2. Very gentle daily exfoliation
3. Removes all my makeup (but then I don't wear too much) 
4. pleasant tangerine scent (I was told that the scent is not artificial but because this contains tangerine extracts among other beneficial things)
5. Does not overdry if you don't over use
6. Thick foam that really leaves my face clean

Cons:
1. Stings eyes if you get the cleanser into your eyes (I know this is supposed to be able to remove eye makeup, and it does, but close your eyes tight if you need to use this cleanser to remove eye makeup. I would really recommend using a separate makeup remover for your eyes)
2. You might find the very thick foam weird in a cleanser, so it might take getting used to

Overall: Really nice cleanser to use at night to remove my sunblock/BB cream/makeup base and foundation. I am glad this saves me from using an oil cleanser :)

Oh, and since we are on the topic of cleansing, even though Korea doesn't offer some amenities the US does, it does have something that US people doesn't have easy access to: steam houses. I love going to steam houses after a day of work (and after I've cleansed my face) to steam my whole body. It's so refreshing and feels like I'm detoxing. You can get it for a few dollars to $50 dollars depending on where you go. You can go to a public wash house (which is pretty sanitary) or a spa. I generally go to the one in my hotel, which is a cross between the high end and low end, and really cheap for me since I'm staying there. You can get a massage for a small fee, but my parents always tell me that it's hard to know what the word "massage" means in different countries in Asia, so I'm staying clear of it for now. :) 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tubing Mascara Review 3: d.j.v. beautenizer Fiberwig LX review

I was hard pressed not to put the words "a.k.a the perfect way to ruin my HG" in the title, but I think it would be too biased, so I refrained. This is one of those few products that make me feel so primitive. Why? Well, you'll see...
First off, to avoid confusion, this is the current "upgraded" version of the best-selling fiberwig mascara, and the only version that's officially available. My friend told me that there was something akin to panic in the beauty crowds in Japan one day because Imju announced that they are discontinuing their best-selling mascara. Women rushed out to stock up on this mascara, and the next day, Imju announced that they are immediately releasing an updated version of Imju, and many women felt cheated because the return policy is not as good in Japan as it is in the US. Well, I later found out that this story is way exaggerated, but you get the general idea of what happened. 

What's different in this version? 
I'm sure some people are searching for the answer to this question, so I might as well give it to you. :) Fiberwig said it's now without synthetic fragrances and sulfates, and a few other things that shouldn't be in mascaras anyway. There's also supposed to be a few conditioning ingredients added in. This is supposed to lengthen better than the original fiberwig. The brush is also curled as shown in the picture, which was supposed to help with curling. 
Well, that's the official statement. What do I think? After struggling with it for several weeks waiting for it to work, I've given up. Don't get me wrong, this is still a great mascara, but in my opinion, this is not an upgrade of the old version, but a down grade. This mascara still gives me the longest lashes I could get with mascara, but not as long and as easily as the old one does. With this mascara, it's really random when I can get it working well. I've also tried a couple of other things. Adding layers while dry, adding layers while wet, using a primer, applying when lashes are wet.....you name it, I've probably tried it. 
And this is why I feel primitive with this kind of products. How can I not know how to use an upgraded version of a product when I love the old one? Am I that primitive? well... but it does make me feel better that at least some Japanese girls feel the same way I do. 
Fiberwig is now no longer on the top 50 mascaras list on cosme.net whereas it was always within the top 10s and 20s for the past years.
Although I want to go on whining about how they ruined my mascara, I still owe you the review :)

1. Smudging: This is by far the most important aspect of all mascaras to me, because before tubing mascaras, all mascaras smudged on me. Before, it was not a matter of whether it smudges, but whether how much or when it smudges. Relatively speaking, fiberwig can be said to never smudge (even this new version), except if you rub and rub or wear it into the wee hours of the morning. So an 8.5 in terms of smudging. 
2. How long does it last on my lashes: This mascara lasts for around 10 hours before starting to flake and smudge (undetectable smudging really) more. I thought it would be similar to the old fiberwig, and it's almost similar, but it's not as long lasting.  However, it would still be functioning all right, i.e. usable after 16 hours :) So a in terms of how long it lasts. 
3. Flaking: This mascara flakes on me a lot, especially when I apply multiple coats, but nonetheless, it mercilessly flakes on me, sometimes even within an hour of application. I'm not complaining, since flakes are easier to deal with than smudging, but to be fair, this only gets a in terms of flakes on me. It might be better with a primer though. In this aspect, it's exactly the same as the old fiberwig. 
4. Color and longevity of the tube: Isn't it weird that I put those criteria together since they are not so much related? But I don't know about you, but I don't care that much about either the color or longevity of the mascaras I buy, which is why I thought I'd give each of those 5 points instead of 10. In terms of color, this gets the perfect 5, since it is jet black on me. In terms of longevity, after daily application, a tube always dries up before 3.5 months. I think it's all right since you should toss mascara every three months anyway, but this might matter a lot to some. So a 2.5 in terms of longevity. Together, this mascara gets 7.5 in this section. So it's a little better in terms of longevity compared to the old fiberwig. 
5. Application: This is where the mascara freaks me out. I'm sorry, I rarely use words like that, especially when I'm not in the privacy of my own home, but I can find no other words to express my frustration. Just so I'm clear, the old mascara is not perfect in terms of application. I have to spend a good 5 minutes on it if I want to get perfect lashes, but then if I do spend the 5 minutes, I generally do get them. For this mascara, it is in no ways guaranteed. I think it might have something to do with the awkward curved brush and the fact that I can't really apply from the tip of the wand anymore, like I used to with the old mascara. Or it might be the new formula or it might be me, but I get really random lashes. Some long, some short that are really uneven and almost uncontrollable. 
I'm probably making it sound worse than it is. In a pinch, this could work if I am willing to spend 15 minutes on it to do it, take it off, and redo, but I don't have that much time to spare. Therefore, I might have gorgeous lashes one day (like I always do with the old fiberwig), and really uneven lashes the next day. This brush is smaller than the old one, but I found it gets onto my lids even more easily. However, accidental marks on the lids are easy to clean off. You either wait for it to dry and just swab off with a q tip, or do what I do: get some water on a q tip and just swap off. I like to use green tea, which I drink every morning, but just water works just as well. In terms of application, I'd say a since it takes so long and works so random. Don't get me wrong though, you can apply this in 1 minute if you just want a little length or a darkening of lashes. 
6. Length: This is where this mascara behaves best, and where I care most about each mascara other than smudging. I don't have tiny lashes, but they are not long either, so I really really care about length. This mascara gives the most length I've ever seen a mascara give if I take the time to apply it. I can actually use this to get my lashes to reach my brow. However, this does not work as well as the old one. Yes, if I really work on it, I can get the same length, but it takes much much longer and more trials. So a 9 since this is still the most length I get out of any mascara except the old one. 
7. Volume: Fiberwig always gives people the impression of not giving volume, but I didn't mind because I can make the old fiberwig give me volume by layering. This gives much more volume (after layering), but it borders on clumpiness, so it's volume I'd rather do without. So a 6.5 in terms of volume. 
8. Removal: If you compare tubing mascaras with regular mascaras, most of them would get a 10 in terms of removal, but since I'm comparing tubing mascaras, I'll make the bar a little higher. The mascara that was easiest to remove (that I've tried) is L'Oreal Beauty Tubes. It really does come off in tubes with lots of warm water (even if your hand never touches your lashes). This mascara needs you to gently touch the mascara before it fully slides off. Not bad, so a 8.5 within the context of all other tubing mascaras. 
9. Clumping: This is the second biggest issue I have with this mascara (the first being application). When I try to layer in order to get the perfect lashes in the morning, this might give me give clumpy lashes. So a 6.5 in terms of clumps. 
10. Sensitivity: This one is pretty good in terms of sensitivity. So stinging and not much discomfort should it flake into my eye. However, I am aware that some people wear contacts, so the flaking might be painful for you. I've heard people say that this is actually more sensitive to sensitivity issues than the old mascara. I'll give it a 6.5 in terms of clumping.

This mascara gets a total of 60.5. It doesn't sound that bad, but it makes it seem worse to me because it replaced my HG, and this is far from getting to be my favorite mascara. However, I tried not to let my anger influence my judgement (trust me, I took a month to cool down and trials to share this with you). People like to say that there's a silver lining with every gray cloud. Well, I found my new HG mascara (if you consider it to be a silver lining), and it's quite as good as the old Fiberwig. It doensn't do the exact same thing: it doesn't give the same length, but it does have a few other benefits. Want to know what it is? Well...read on, I'll share it with you in my next or next next review. :) 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tubing Mascara Review 2: L'Oreal Beauty Tubes

I am sorry for the late update to my tubing mascara review series, but there are going to be around 10 reviews about the popular tubing mascaras. The second one I'm reviewing is L'Oreal Beauty Tubes mascara, and the mascara that is responsible for dragging me into my love affair with tubing mascaras. I think that I probably will us tubing mascaras for the rest of my life. I was strolling through a drugstore, and saw this. I had given up wearing mascara although they give me the length that I desperately needed, because I always end up with panda eyes within a few hours. I saw that this promises no smudging and easy water removal, yet is water resistant. Curiosity won out, and I thought why not especially since it's on sale. 
This mascara is pretty great, but it took me some time to figure out how to apply it. You apply the white end which contains the primer first, and then immediately apply the red end with the mascara inside without waiting for the primer to dry. If the primer dries, this will become really clumpy. I find that most of the length comes from the primer, and the primer also makes the application smooth. Also, for those of you hating primers, the mascara adequately covers the white with just one swipe. 

1. Smudging: This is by far the most important aspect of all mascaras to me, because before tubing mascaras, all mascaras smudged on me. Before, it was not a matter of whether it smudges, but whether how much or when it smudges. However, L'Oreal Beauty Tubes never smudges on me! Actually, like fiberwig, there might be a tiny bit of almost unnoticeable smudging if it's a really humid long day. However, I'd say that it's less prone to smudge than fiberwig, so I'll give it an 9 in terms of smudging. 
2. How long does it last on my lashes: This mascara lasts for around 10 hours before starting to flake horribly, and another 2 hours before it starts getting a little smudging. And if you wait for 16 hours or so, some tubes will fall off. But I'm guessing this is not an issue for most people, wanting mascara to last beyond 10 hours :) So a 7.5 in terms of how long it lasts. 
3. Flaking: This mascara flakes on me, but very minimally. I would say around one flake each hour. When the flakes get into my eyes, it doesn't really sting or hurt, so that's good. After around 8 or 10 hours, it starts flaking horribly to the point that I'd rather not wear mascara than have it flake. So a 5.5 in terms of flaking. 
4. Color and longevity of the tube: Isn't it weird that I put those criteria together since they are not so much related? But I don't know about you, but I don't care that much about either the color or longevity of the mascaras I buy, which is why I thought I'd give each of those 5 points instead of 10. In terms of color, this gets the perfect 5, since it is jet black on me despite having to cover up the white primer. Don't worry, it is not gray. In terms of longevity, after daily application, a tube is still usable after 5 months (not that you would want to use a mascara that long, but anyway...). My friend say it still lasts after 9 months, but I'd be horrified to let it go near my eye. Sorry I'm a freak about such things. So a 4.5 in terms of longevity. Together, this mascara gets 9.5 in this section. 
5. Application: The application is pretty fast, taking around 1.5 minutes for both eyes. I just brush on the primer, wiggle it through my lashes, and then hurry to apply the mascara before the primer dries. I don't apply multiple coats with this mascara because it doesn't really help. 
Actually the application is pretty perfect for me, the brush not being gigantic. However, I sometimes have to clean up my lids after application. So a 9
6. Length: This is where this mascara behaves mediocre. It promises 80% length, but after a year of using it, I can't seem to be able to get that length, however many coats I apply. It gives length, but I would say it's more like 30% to 50%. Now, that's not bad for a mascara, but fiberwig does better, and I need need long lashes. It's like my lashes but a bit longer and plumper. So a 7 for me. 
7. Volume: Some people love this mascara because it's the only tubing mascara that gives volume. This is almost true. The volume is nothing to write home about, just lashes that are a little bit plumper, nothing like Dior show or whichever volume mascara you love. If I have to give it to you in numbers, I'd say the diameter of each lash is longer by 20 to 30%.  So a 4 in terms of volume. 
8. Removal: This is the best part. It really slides off neatly in tubes. No rubbing involved. You just step into the shower and off it comes. Or if you wash your face in the sink, 5 splashes will get rid of most of your mascara. It's great, so a 9.5 within the context of all other tubing mascaras. 
9. Clumping: This is not really an issue with this mascara if you know how to apply it. However, if you wait for the primer to dry, or apply a second coat after the first coat dries, hello clumpy lashes! I never get this issue anymore because my brain reacts to this mascara and makes my hands super nimble. So overall, 6.5 in terms of clumps. 
10. Sensitivity: This one is pretty good in terms of sensitivity. No stinging and not much discomfort should it flake into my eye. However, I am aware that some people wear contacts, so the flaking might be painful for you. I'll give it a in terms of clumping.

As I add it up, this mascara gets a total of 73.5 out of 100. It's not bad considering my HG only got 71.5. Of course, if I were to calculate the scores for myself, I'd more than double the points I give for length. This is also why I tried to give points for each sector so that you can add it up for yourself, giving each section as much emphasis as you'd like (depending on what's most important to you). However, keep in mind that this score is in relativity to other tubing mascaras. If you want to compare it to general mascaras, I'd add at least 10 points before comparing it. :)

Laneige White Plus Renew Night Cream Review

First of all, I would like to thank Diana for reminding me to review this night cream. I wasn't going to forget reviewing it, but I almost forgot buying a backup for myself while in Korea. I've probably used up two tubs of this, and my third tub is almost empty (I'm scratching the bottom of the tub), and I almost forgot to buy my new tub! So thank you, Diana, for reminding me. 
Sorry there has been few posts recently. I've become a little bit busier in Korea than my first few days. As usual, my company leaves me to myself for the first day to adjust to the time zone (a.k.a going wild shopping for me). I usually do a half day on the second day, normal on the third and fourth, and I might have to stay up some nights during my last few days in Korea. So, as long as I'm not too busy, I wanted to review this.
I love this night cream as I love the entire white plus renew line, but especially this night cream. People has told me that the skin refiner and this night cream is the most effective in giving them whiter skin. Like I said before, I frankly don't know whether it's true because I've always used them together. However, i do notice that I always wake up with glowing skin (given that I get enough sleep) after putting this on, and it kind of heals some of my pimples, not as effectively as BP does, but very gently. BP always gives me redness after leaving it on a whole night, and gives me hyperpigmentation after a pimple heal.

Pros:
1. A little goes a long way. I really just use a pea size for my whole face.
2. Absorbs in 10 minute
3. Gives me glowing soft skin in the morning
4. heals some blemishes

Cons:
1. Sensitivity: If you are very sensitive to scents, the scent this carries might irritate your skin or your nose
2. If you use it too quickly (i.e. suddenly using it everyday or twice a day), it might be rich enough to give you whiteheads, so be patient when trying to incorporate this (and in my opinion, any skincare product) into your regimen.
3. can be too rich if over applied. 

Overall: Really nice night cream that I will try to use year round. 

P.S. A girl on makeupalley told me that I make almost everything Laneige I review sound magical, and that it sounds a little fishy. Come to think of it, it does, but I really really love Laneige products. The ones I use are my staples, and I think that anything that's less than magical on my skin should not become my staples. However, I would like to take this opportunity to say that not every Laneige item is as magical. i've tried a few, such as its cake liner which dries too quickly, its mascara which smudges, and its cake powder which is really too cakey. I will review them in the future to give you an idea of the Laneige products I didn't love (and provide a sort of alarm bell for you in case you were thinking of buying it). 


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Laneige White Plus Renew Essence Review

I arrived in Korea yesterday, so I'm still adjusting to the time schedule. It is early early morning here, but I'm up and thinking about my blog and the reviews I promised :) (well, no malls are open yet or I'd be happily shopping there instead, since it's bound to get busy tomorrow) Everything went pretty well, especially on the plane. I usually get a few pimples, or at least a few bumps on the plane because the air is so dehydrated and hygiene conditions are less than desirable (I don't have the 15 minutes in AM and PM to primp my skin), but I didn't get them this time! I researched the pimples on the plane issue and came up with a few things to do, and I prayed for no pimples. :) I'll share those techniques with you next time in case you'll be traveling. :) 
Anyway, on to the review. I like this essence, but if you've read my skincare regimen, you know that I don't use this daily yet. Well, I actually used this daily for some time in the winter months, and stopped using them since Spring and summer, so I'm trying to slowly ease back into it. So I know this product reasonably well to review it (and if I'm wrong, I'll apologize and update). So far, I really love the essence as I found it's quite efficient in delivering what it promises: moisturizing and lightening dark spots. It also absorbs really fast, so fast that I can't apply it as I do all my skincare products. I like to put some product onto my finger and dot some on my face, and then rub/pat it in. With this product, after I'm done making the last dot, most of the first dot would have absorbed, so I have to work dot by dot. (sorry for the strange vernacular) I found this a little strange at first, but in no ways annoying. It can also actually be pretty good if you are on the go, and need it to absorb the minute you finished applying it.

Pros:
1. Absorbs really really abnormally fast
2. effective at lightening dark spots I get from past acne and BP use
3. makes my skin soft

Cons:
1. Sensitivity: If you are very sensitive to scents, the scent this carries might irritate your skin or your nose
2. Absorption speed: I personally find it to be a pro, but even I had to adjust my application techniques at first, so it might take some getting used to. 
3. If you use it too quickly (i.e. suddenly using it everyday or twice a day), it might be rich enough to give you whiteheads, so be patient when trying to incorporate this (and in my opinion, any skincare product) into your regimen.

Overall: Really nice serum/essence that I will try to use year round. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Laneige White Plus Renew Hydrator SPF15 Review

As promised, I am reviewing all the items I use in my skincare. I wanted to do the White Plus Renew lineup first before I do the cleansers and weekly treatments, etc. because I thought this sounds a bit more logical to me. So anyway, this is the review of the Laneige White Plus Renew Hydrator, which is my daytime moisturizer. It looks awfully like the skin refiner I reviewed yesterday, doesn't it? Yes, they are identical except for the little labels on the bottle.
This hydrator is thicker in texture than most daytime moisturizers you'll find. I would say its texture is really similar to a cream. I don't know how to explain this except that when you get a drop out of the bottle, it comes out in a cylinder, and will stay like a cylinder on your hand for around a minute if you don't touch it. This is partly due to how thick it is. I was really wary at first because of this texture and I used really little in fear that it might be too much for me. My skin also wasn't willing to absorb more than a pea sized amount for my whole face at first, so I only applied a little, thinking that the bottle will last me a long time. Eventually, I started applying more because my skin seemed to be a little more used to it, absorbs more quickly and you know, you apply moisturizer until your skin feels comfortable, and that's what I did. I think I doubled the amount I initially used by now, and I got no breakouts. And no, you don't have to use more and more everyday. I think I have been using the same amount for 4 or 5 months now.
I love this hydrator. This absorbs really fast despite the texture, especially when I apply this after the skin refiner (which I always do now). This has SPF 15 in it, and I think I use enough to get 15, but I still don't rely on it for sun protection, because I don't think SPF 15 is enough and because it didn't offer a PA (UVA protection) value. Like the refiner, this has a heavy scent, which I personally find to be great.

Pros:
1. Very moisturizing
2. Absorbs in a flash
3. not runny at all
4. SPF
5. makes my skin feel plump after applying
Cons:
1. Sensitivity: If you are very sensitive to scents, the scent this carries might irritate your skin or your nose
2. Heavy texture: You might find it too heavy at first, so I suggest using small amounts until your skin is used to it

Overall: I love this product. No skincare item can be absolutely perfect for one's skin unless you customize it, but if I had to choose an already made product, it is this one

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Laneige White Plus Renew Skin Refiner Review


I promised to review the white plus renew skincare products that I use a little earlier, so I am going to start now from the toner. It's called skin refiner because Koreans usually call toner by different names like skin refiner or skin softener. This is because they have different ideas of what a toner should do, and I think skin refiner sounds better than toner anyway, certainly more fancy.
This is not the usual consistency of most toners, which would be liquid with a fluid consistency like water. This one is more like a gel consistency, which I found quite pleasant once you are used to it. It's hard to describe the sensation when you apply it. It is rather cooling and pretty moisturizing. Think of aloe vera gel. It's quite similar. One of my readers told me that she actually use the skin refiner as a light weight moisturizer and I can totally see how it makes sense. The gel consistency makes one bottle lasts around 7 to 8 months, which is quite long lasting for me. Someone once told me that of the white plus renew line, the whitening power comes from this refiner and night cream. I don't know whether it's true since I've been using them together and don't plan to separate them.

Like most Korean beauty products, this comes with a pretty jasmine scent which I grew to love. There's quite a bit of a debate about how to use Korean and Japanese toners since they come in sizes that is similar to the moisturizers, and whether it should be used on a cotton pad. I think that it is best applied when you shake some out of the bottle onto your palms and then pat into your face (since Korean toners aren't meant as a catchall last step to cleansing). But here's a big confession, I use it on a cotton pad directly after cleansing. Why? Well, I don't like to wipe off the water off my face after cleansing. I like to let it just sink in. It would be better if you pat dry, but i usually don't have the time. I just wipe my moist face with the refiner on the cotton pad. This sort of prevents any wasting of the product since my face is moist and the cotton pad is more likely to absorb the water on my face than the gelish content of the refiner.

A few reader told me that she likes my bullet point kind of review so that they can skip all my blathering if they want to :) So:

Pros:
1. Very moisturizing for a toner
2. Very soothing: I never really learnt what people mean when they say a product is soothing until I used this product
3. Very smooth application
4. Lightening fast absorption
5. I think it makes my moisturizer absorb better/faster
Cons:
1. Sensitivity: If you are very sensitive to scents, the scent this carries might irritate your skin or your nose
2. Gel texture: I think it's a pro, but it can be a con at first when you are not used to this type of toner

Overall: I love this product. No skincare item can be absolutely perfect for one's skin unless you customize it, but if I had to choose an already made product, it is this one
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