The Triple Threat Facial

I pounced on the opportunity I had this weekend to experiment with the idea of the “Triple Threat Facial”, something I read about on Vivianna’s lovely blog at Vivianna Does Makeup. Credit goes to Caroline Hirons, a popular British beauty extraordinaire.

The idea behind this Triple Thread Facial – aptly named by Vivianna is the successive layering of three face masks:

Face Mask #1: Clarifying mask that draws out the grime and dirt from the pores.

Face Mask #2: Exfoliating mask that smooths away dead skin cells aka the radiance booster. This mask usually contains fruit acids such as glycolic or lactic acid.

Face Mask #3: Hydrating mask.

Here were my 3 masks/weapons (!) of choice:

Triple Threat Facial

Triple Threat Facial

Facial Mask #1: Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask - This deep cleansing clay mask draws out impurities from my pores. I slather on the mask and leave it on for 20 minutes before wiping off with a warm muslin cloth.

Ingredients: Aqua (Hungarian Thermal Water), Kaolin, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Silt (Hungarian Mud), Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Olivate, Zinc Oxide, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbitan Olivate, Mannitol, Malpighia Punicifolia (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Saccharomyces (Hungarian Thermal Water) Ferment Extract, Tocopherol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum (Fragrance), Yeast Extract, Phospholipids, Linalool, Limonene, Citronellol, Geraniol.

Facial Mask #2: Omorovicza Copper Peel - This 2 step lactic acid peel leaves my skin smooth as a baby’s bottom and brighter. I gently massage the light blue paste over my skin to exfoliate followed by the clear gel. They both combine into a milky white mixture. I set the timer for 2 minutes and wipe it off with a warm cloth.

Ingredients: 

ACTIVATOR; Aqua (Hungarian Thermal Water), Lactic Acid, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Glycerin, Saccharomyces (Hungarian Thermal Water) Ferment Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Chlorella Vulgaris/Lupinus Albus Protein Ferment, Pectin. 

PASTE; Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Stearyl Heptanoate, Squalane, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Cetearyl Alcohol, Copper Gluconate, Camphor, Salvia Officinale (Sage) Oil, Tocopherol, Mannitol, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Citronellol, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium), Flower Oil, Linalool, Limonene, Geraniol, Yeast Extract.

Facial Mask #3: Active Manuka Honey - I first read about the use of manuka honey as a cleanser or facial mask from Victoria, the co founder of La Bella Figura. I apply a tablespoon over my face and resist the urge to lick. Seriously. It smells great and it soothes my skin. Manuka honey contains an extra dose of antibacterial properties measured by the UMF or Unique Manuka Factor. I’ll write more of this in a separate post.

Anyway, while I’m doing all this masking… I make sure I have a good book in hand and the hours fly by.

The end result – bright, smooth, happy hydrated skin.

Happy masking everyone!

P.S: A word of caution, if you haven’t tried the Omorovicza masks before on their own, please do so first. There will be tingling and sensitivity so try them out separately on their own before combining them. I have super sensitive skin and had no issues with either mask.

Adding a BHA to my skincare routine – Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid

This is my first time trying anything from Paula’s Choice. I do read her Beautypedia Reviews from time to time, but always take it with a pinch of salt.

I was hesitant to review this purchase at first because I spent the first few months in 2014 educating myself about clean skincare and transitioning away from skincare with unnecessary and harmful chemicals.

However, here I am in March of 2014 reviewing the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid although it contains some questionable chemicals.

Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid

Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid

I’ve been battling clogged pores and breakouts recently and read about the effectiveness of salicylic or BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acids) on acne prone skin. Upon some research, I discovered PC.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid contains 2% salicylic acid which is anti inflammatory and antibacterial.

Here are the claims:

  • Creates radiant, even-toned skin
  • Reduces redness & builds collagen
  • Unclogs and diminishes enlarged pores

Ingredients: Water, Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol, Salicylic Acid, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA.

The questionable ingredients are in bold. These ingredients act as solvents, humectants, and penetration enhancers.

Now I WISH a clean skincare company can come out with a clean version of a Beta Hydroxy Product, but until I find such a product, I’ll stick with PC for now.

Application: I’ve been using this for the last 2 weeks approximately 3x a week and I only apply it only on my problem areas namely my T-zone, chin and any pesky spots. This is a clear liquid and I’ve found it easy enough to pour a small amount on my fingertips and apply it on the desired areas.

Results: My typically sensitive skin has reacted surprisingly well to this product. I started experiencing a little bit of flaking when I applied it day and night and I backed off on the use. I believe that persistent use has resulted in the reduction of blackheads, clearer pores on my nose and cheeks and most importantly, reduces my breakout severity and post breakout hyperpigmentation.

Price: I bought it on sale (20% off all exfoliants on paulaschoice.com) for $18 for a 4 fl oz bottle which will likely last me more than 6 months.

Score: I’d give this a 4/5 for effectiveness and a 2/5 for ingredients. I will continue to use this until I find a cleaner alternative.

Skincare Tips – Airplane Travel

I flew approximately 120k miles last year and while that’s far from the type of mileage road warriors chalk up, it’s enough to get me really acquainted with my skincare needs to tide me through a long haul flight.

My top 8 products for airplane travel

My top 8 products for airplane travel

Here are my pet peeves with flying and dry cabin air:

  • Flaking skin
  • Dry hands
  • Chapped lips
  • Sore feet

Flaking Skin

I almost never wear foundation on the plane especially not on overnight flights. I make sure I board the plane with freshly cleansed skin, toner, followed by a layering of face oil and moisturizer on top.

Here’s what I’ve used on my last long haul flight:

Cleanse (1. Pai Camellia and Rose Cleanser) -> Toner (2. Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist)-> Face Oil (3. Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil) -> Moisturizer (4. Tammy Fender Antioxidant Creme) -> Physical Sunscreen (5. Burnout SPF 30+ Kids Physical Sunscreen)

I skip the physical sunscreen if it is a night flight. I also mist periodically with the Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist when no one’s looking at the risk of looking like a diva (!)

Dry Hands

In two words, Moo Goo. I slather my hands and feet in Moo Goo moisturizer, strangely named “6. Skin Milk Udder Cream“. I swear it’s not what you think it is. It’s creamy, and provides long lasting moisture. The unfortunate thing is that it doesn’t come in a travel sized container and I’m too lazy to transfer it to a smaller container so I end up slathering it before the flight and relying on any good old hand cream I can find. More on this brand soon. The brand has slowly won me over with its natural ingredients as well as the fact that it just plain works!

Lips

For chapped lips, I’ve found that good old lip balm is insufficient. What I do before every flight is to make sure I exfoliate my lips well before applying lip care products. No sense in applying lip balm to flaky lips. I’ve recently discovered 7. Yuli Cellular Lip Conditioner. It’s a clear botanical serum housed in a pinky sized roller ball. I apply this over my lips and let it absorb for minutes before applying my lip balm on top of it. I’ve tried it on its own and I’ve found that while the lip conditioner moisturizes my lips, the lip balm is essential in forming a layer of protection between my lips and the absurdly dry cabin air. I’m currently using 8. Stewart and Claire lipbalm in Mint that I picked up at Follain.

Sore Feet

This might be unique to me alone, but hours of pounding the pavement while travelling always leaves me with aching soles. If I’m flying on an Asian airline, they almost always hand out slippers to wear on the plane. Otherwise, I have to pad about in my socks and nothing is scarier to me than using the bathroom with just the socks to protect my bare feet. When I’m flying, I always bring with me a pair of clean fluffy socks to change into.

Although I still don’t love flying, I’ve found that the above items make flying a more pleasant experience and I’ve been able to get off a 6 hour flight from the East Coast to the West Coast and head straight to work without scaring small children and animals with my bedraggled self.

Happy travels everyone!

 

Tammy Fender Antioxidant Creme Neroli & Orange gets a thumbs-up!

What’s in my beauty cabinet?

Christmas has come and gone, but I still feel like a child with all the excitement involved with the unwrapping of my skincare goodies. I overindulged this year, bad for the wallet, but hopefully good for the skin. There is a huge backlog of reviews and only so much face I can test it out on.

Here’s a peek into what I’ve been using consistently in the 2 months:

Tammy Fender Antioxidant Creme Neroli & Orange

Tammy Fender Antioxidant Creme Neroli & Orange

This was my first foray into the world of Tammy Fender skincare products. Despite my initial hesitation with the purchase due to the somewhat hefty price tag and the fact that the product came in a jar and I’m against icky fingers and re-dipping, I took the plunge because of the enthusiastic recommendation from Tara from Follain.

I have dry skin which tends to flake if I don’t apply moisturizer day and night. I can even layer an oil under a moisturizer and still not look like a disco ball. My skin is a sponge. Unfortunately, my skin is also very sensitive. My skin is highly prone to hyperpigmentation both from the sun and also post inflammatory pigmentation (PIH). When it is irritated, my skin reacts with peeling, redness, rawness and breakouts.

Here are my thoughts after 2 months of testing:

Ingredients:

Aqueous Extracts Of Lavender (Lavendula Angustifloria),*Hibiscus Sabdariffa, FoTi (Polygonum Multiflorum), Algae (Laminaria Digitata), Grape (Vitis Vinefira) Seed Extract, *Avocado (Persea gratissima) Oil, *Rose (Rosa Canina) Hip Seed Oil, Ben Alkpoly Glucoside (and) Polyglyceryl (Plant Souce), *Grape (Vitis Vinifera) Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, *Calendula Officinalis Flower Oil, Shea Butter, *Orange Peel Wax Complex, *Sunflower Seed Seed Oil, Carrot Sativa Seed Extract, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Essential Oils of Neroli Bigarde, Sweet Orange, Dehydroacetic Acid and Benzyl Alcohol (Natural Preservative System), Oleoresin (Rosemary)
*Certified Organic

Texture and color

The moisturizer is a tan cream type moisturizer with a light consistency. A little goes a long way with this moisturizer. Despite the presence of oils, I did not find this moisturizer to be pore clogging.

Tammy Fender Antioxidant Creme texture and color

Scent

This one is a tough one.  Subtle it is not. Pleasant? I like it, but I also think it’s a little strong and for that reason, may offend those who prefer unscented products. The Tammy Fender Antioxidant Crème Neroli & Orange is aptly named. The Neroli and Sweet Orange essential oil in this product takes some getting used to especially for those new to essential oils in their skin care products. I have gotten used to the scent and in fact, love applying it before bedtime.

Price

A 1.9 oz jar cost $95 and lasted me approximately 2 months.

Moisturizing *power* (for lack of a better word)

This is where the TF moisturizer does a fantastic job.  It’s not too heavy that my skin can’t breathe and it doesn’t clog my pores. It’s not too skimpy that I end up with dry flaking skin. In fact, I think it’s just right and depending on how much is applied, I think everyone can find a happy medium with this product. I tend to be more generous at night because I wake up with plump moisturized skin. I think it would do well on long distance flights as well. I’ve used it by itself, combined right after the light misting of a toner, and also layered on top of a face oil and they all work well together.

Does it play nice with makeup?

I am seriously torn here. I’ve read reviews of others saying it plays nicely with makeup, but unfortunately for me, it didn’t work well with the two products I used it with.

I prefer to use this moisturizer at night for two reasons – scent and interaction with my makeup. I have to use it sparingly in the day due to the scent.  The other factor is that this moisturizer has unpredictable effects when layered with foundation and tinted moisturizer. When I tried it with my SUQQU Frame fix cream foundation (Japanese brand), I found that the two products HATE one another. Words cannot describe the disaster that ensued. The foundation went on cakey and clumpy when applied on top of the Tammy Fender moisturizer. The combination of the two enhanced every single pore that I had and I looked like a hot mess. *This is not an exaggeration. When I’ve used this foundation with other moisturizers, I have not had that problem. I believe the oils in the TF moisturizer created a barrier on my skin that the foundation just could not penetrate. When I used it with my other go to, the Jan Marini Physical Protectant – aka a tinted sunscreen, the two got along better. However, there is a slight tendency for the product, and I’m not sure if it’s the Jan Marini Physical Protectant of the Tammy Fender Moisturizer, to lightly ball up upon application with my fingers. TMI I know.

To cut a long story short, I prefer to either use a very light hand with this moisturizer in the day or slather it on at night and wake up with plump moisturized skin.

Packaging

It comes in a 1.9 oz 100% recyclable amber glass jar. Yes, it does look apothecary cool and there are many benefits to glass packaging, but I am not a fan of the need to dip my fingers in my moisturizer. Tammy Fender products are meant to be used within 8 – 12 weeks of opening.

To bypass my own weird preference, I swiped a small plastic spatula that came with the Laneige Water Sleeping Pack Mask I bought a while ago.

See below. Problem solved.

Jar and Spatula

Jar and Spatula

 

I do wish the TF product came with its own spatula.

Rating

I would rate it a solid 4 and a half stars out of 5. This is a great overall moisturizer and the results speak for themselves. My skin is left well-moisturized without being greasy and the texture of my skin has improved. For me, the hunt continues since I am a skincare junkie, but I would gladly repurchase this moisturizer. Tammy Fender’s Spontaneous Recovery Creme and Intensive Repair Balm are on my wishlist!

 

Rediscovering Natural Skin Care at Follain in Boston

I felt like a kid in a candy store during my trip to Follain.

Follain is an absolutely adorable store located in South End, Boston that sells natural and organic skincare. I was blown away by how thoughtful this space was. Instead of rows upon rows of products, the products sold at Follain are curated by the owner of the store, skincare enthusiast and entrepreneur, Tara Foley. I had the pleasure of meeting her and asking her more about the store and its goodies:

Camera-happy-me coercing the ladies into a photo:

Tara Foley @ Follain

Tara Foley (on the right) and her lovely assistant @ Follain

Did I mention they both have amazing skin? Dies.

I digress.

Follain is divided into 3 separate sections. Face care, body care, and natural makeup.

Face section at Follain

Face section at Follain

As I wandered around the store ooh-ing, aah-ing and sampling, I discovered some new brands I’d never heard about (hides in shame): Tammy Fender, Dr. Alkaitis, and Shamanuti (a holler to locally sourced skin care).

Body care section at Follain

The yummy soaps and lotions @ Follain

The store also carries a decent range of natural makeup by Jane Iredale, RMS Beauty and Ilia Beauty.

Aside from being introduced to new skin care brands and getting product recommendations from her, she also changed my mind about toner.

Tara is a huge proponent of using toner. Unfortunately, when I think of toner, my teenage skin nightmares come to mind – alcohol-based stuff that left my skin red and stinging.

And then I tried Shamanuti seaweed toner which is not seaweed-y smelling despite the name. In fact, it smells nice and fresh. Tara recommended a couple of spritzes to my face right after washing quickly followed by moisturizer over the still dewy skin. I tried that at home that night. Man… I am sold. For life.

Shamanuti Seaweed Toner

Shamanuti Seaweed Toner

We’ve had a cold spell hit Boston and last night my apartment was as dry as a desert with the heater cranked up. Me? I was happy as a clam. Love the Shamanuti seaweed toner and I can’t wait to try out my other new purchase, the Tammy Fender Antioxidant Creme Neroli and Orange:

 

Tammy Fender Moisturizer

Tammy Fender Antioxidant – Neroli & Orange

2014 new year’s resolution. Revamp skincare routine. Can you hear my pocket sighing?

 

IPL photofacial review: Before and After Pictures

I took the plunge! I’d spent the last year researching how to tackle hyper pigmentation. During this journey of trial and error, I discovered one of my holy grail products which I continue to repurchase, Skinceuticals Phyto+. My skin was brighter and more even toned, but I still had stubborn dark spots that wouldn’t go away.

I was looking seriously into IPL/photo rejuvenation treatments, but I kept coming across mixed reviews. There are many sad stories online about people getting burned by inexperienced technicians at unlicensed medical spas and most importantly, IPL being too aggressive for ethnic skin.

Therefore, I researched carefully for a provider who was not only experienced in IPL, but also in Asian skin.

As they say, the rest is history. The type of laser that was used on me was a Fotofacial RF which combines intense pulsed light and radio frequency to target dark spots, reduce redness and broken capillaries, and improve skin texture.

Here is my experience:

Two weeks prior to the procedure

I avoided the sun religiously at least a month before getting IPL. Sunscreen was also my best friend. IPL should never be performed on skin that has gotten a lot of sun exposure recently because the lightwaves that target the melanin (dark spots) could end up burning your skin. The damage will most likely be painful and possibly permanent.

Please also do not use any retinol and acidic (glycolic etc) products before and after IPL because these increase skin sensitivity.

Immediately before the procedure

I was asked a lot of questions about any medication I was taking, recent sun exposure, and skin care roducts which reassured me that I was in safe hands.

A topical numbing cream was applied to my entire face 20 minutes before the procedure and washed off right before we started. I’ve read that some places don’t provide numbing cream and I was very thankful that my provider did. If you have a high pain tolerance, the zaps from the IPL may not bother you, but I’m pretty wimpy and definitely appreciated the numbing cream.

During the procedure

We started out with a few test zaps for comfort. I could feel a little buzz and zap each time the IPL laser was activated, but the pain was manageable thanks to the numbing cream. My provider methodically went over my entire face and she said that this was necessary to create an even texture. Some med spas only zap your spots, but this does not provide the best results. I don’t recall how long she took to go over my entire face, but I was probably in and out in under an hour.

After the procedure

Scary picture coming up! Some offices like to claim that the IPL is a lunch time procedure. I was advised that I would look spotty for up to a week since the spots wouldn’t darken first before crusting up and actually falling off the skin. They call this the coffee crumb scabs and are a tell tale sign of a successful IPL procedure.

I’m glad I decided to err on the side of caution and have my first IPL session done after work on a Friday so I had the weekend to recuperate.

Here’s my post IPL face in all its spotty glory:

Day 1 Post IPL

Day 1 Post IPL

No amount of concealer was going to hide the dark spots sufficiently, but I survived the weekend in hermit mode.

On days 4 – 7, I started noticing the dark spots crust up and fall off as I was washing my face. Do not attempt to peel these off forcefully or you will likely leave a mark.

By the end of the week, my skin was visibly clearer though not perfect, and I was quite happy with the results of my photofacial treatments:

Here’s a pre photofacial shot:

Pre IPL

Pre IPL

Results after my first session:

Post 1st IPL session

Post 1st IPL session

I followed up with a 2nd session four months later:

Post 2nd IPL

Post 2nd IPL

I didn’t see any significant changes after my 3rd IPL session and I was also a little spotty after a breakout:

Post 3rd IPL

Post 3rd IPL

Anyway, here are a few links I found helpful during my research:

About the Fotofacial RF

A helpful guide on photofacials in general

Feel free to message me if you have any questions!

I am continuing to use Skinceutical Phyto+ and sunscreen to keep my skin clear.

Caveat: I am not recommending this as the best option out there for hyper pigmentation. There are risks to all procedures, and you need to feel comfortable with the provider you are choosing.  I felt comfortable that my provider would be able to provide safe and effective treatment.

Cheers!

Tokyo Harajuku Lolita Dressing Experience

As they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. And when in Tokyo….

 

Alice in Wonderland - What should I have for tea today?

Alice in Wonderland – What should I have for tea today?

 

This is the result!

My first Harajuku Lolita experience.

I made my second trip to Japan last month. Unlike my previous trip which was only a day long, I planned this 4 day trip to be filled with what me the “gai-jin” or foreigner thought to be suitable Japanese-themed activities.

I’d read all about Harajuku and drooled over cutesy Lolita outfits, but trust me, I don’t dress like that in real life.

I researched online and found Maison De Julietta, a unique photo studio located on Level B1.5F of the famous LaForet shopping centre in Harajuku – home to all things kawaii and lolita.

The studio provides a package which includes a photography session in an Alice in Wonderland themed back drop complete with outfits to chose from, accessories, wigs, bunny rabbits galore and also a makeup artist to suitably pile on the magic – this includes lots of blush and eyelashes that will turn a normal person off the street into a doll.

Now, I’m still not convinced I totally look the part, but I had a ton of fun in the process!

Maison de Julietta at LaForet Harajuku Pictures

 

 

  

 

 

If you’d like to swing by next time you’re in Tokyo for this unforgettable experience, here are some tips which I hope you’ll find helpful:

How much does it cost: 

I paid ¥11,555 which is approximately $118 USD. This included rental of a wig and 3 free image downloads.

Do I need an appointment?

Yes, you do. I sent them a message on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/maison.julietta with question and made an appointment over the phone: TEL: +81-3-6434-5464

How long does it take?

I was there for approximately 1 1/2 hours which included time to pick and change into my outfit, makeup application, and photo shoot.

Do they speak any English?

When I was there, there was a gentleman who spoke some English and he was very helpful. However, the makeup artists or photographer do not speak English. Regardless, communication was not a problem! The photographer was a very animated guy who would gamely strike the poses that he wanted me to make.

Where do I find Maison De Julietta?

On Level B1.5F of the famous LaForet shopping centre in Harajuku. It has a small store front tucked away in the basement so please don’t miss it like I did!

How do I get my images?

They will give you written instructions after the shoot which will include links to a photo hosting site where you can create an account, view all images, and select which you’d like to download. My pictures were mostly 1MB in size and they cost ¥1000 ($10 USD a piece). I got 3 free downloads.

I had a great time, and I hope you will too!

xxx

 

 

 

 

Updated Skincare Day Routine – Fighting Winter Dryness and Hyperpigmentation

Hi all, since my last skincare haul here, I’ve added some new products to my day skincare routine which I’ve been very happy with.

My main concerns are treating and preventing further sun damage to my skin, as well as keeping it moisturized during the winter time.

I love trying new products and evaluating their efficacy, but I think this new routine will keep my skin happy until I run out of it within the next 2 months:

Day Routine (March 2013) (listed in order of application)

1) Face wash – Shiseido Perfect Milk – this is a foaming type cleanser which has a very pleasant scent and leaves my skin smooth and clean, but not tight. I either use either by itself or with my Clarisonic Mia face brush. I bought this at a local Japanese supermarket, but it can also be found on Ebay or Amazon. It’s fairly affordable at $12 – $16/ 150 ml which I predict will last at least 3 months.

Shiseido Perfect Milk

Shiseido Perfect Milk

2) Skinceuticals CE Ferrulic – An antioxidant combo containing 15% L-ascorbic acid, 1% alpha tocopherol, and 0.5% ferulic acid, which happens to smell like sausages. Yes, Skinceutical’s CE Ferrulic does smell like sausages. I’m sure I didn’t get a bad batch either because I bought it from an authorized vendor, the color is a very pale yellow, which means that the Vitamin C has not oxidized, and I’ve read other reviews that mention the strange scent. The smell doesn’t really bother me because it dissipates after a while. Although my skin is sensitive, I haven’t experienced skin irritation and it has brightened my complexion. Research has also found that it increases protection from the sun and stimulates collagen production. All pluses in my book! I use three drops in the mornings only.

Skinceuticals CE Ferrulic

Skinceuticals CE Ferrulic

3) Skinceuticals Phyto+ – As reviewed here, this is my current holy grail brightener. I use three drops for my face. (Yes, I neglect my neck. I will probably regret this in 20 years!)

4) Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 gel – This came in a combination pack together with the CE Ferrulic and it is a clear gel formula which is scent-free. I apply three drops post layering CE Ferrulic and Phyto+. It absorbs well into my skin and leaves it plump. It is running out much faster than the CE Ferrulic or Phyto+ due to the viscosity of the formula. I apply 3 drops, but the drops seem… larger. I’m almost halfway through my bottle and it’s only month 1. Will probably not repurchase.

Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 gel

Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 gel

5) Atopalm MLE Intensive Moisturizing Cream – Final step prior to applying sunscreen. This is a light-as-air moisturizer contrary to the name (Intensive Moisturizing Cream) which sounds…intense. It absorbs quickly despite the 3 products that went onto my skin before it and I think this is always a sign of a quality formulation. One of my pet peeves is a heavy moisturizer which sits on my skin and makes my face look greasy. This does the moisturizing trick without the heft and I’m happy with the price tag as well. ($24/100 ml tub)

Atopalm Intensive Moisturizing Cream

Atopalm Intensive Moisturizing Cream

6) Jan Marini Physical Protectant SPF 45 – This came recommended to me by my esthetician. My skin is sensitive and some chemical sunscreens irritate it. This sunscreen comes with 6% Titanium Dioxide 6% and 8% Zinc Oxide and protects my skin sufficiently. It is tinted so a note of caution to those who aren’t used to wearing tinted sunscreens. I’ve actually come to like the tint because I find that it evens out the redness and blotchiness in my skin tone and I actually don’t wear any foundation/powder on top of it. I believe it has some oil control properties because I’ve found that my T-zone requires less blotting around the afternoon in comparison to when I don’t use it.

It also contains two antioxidants, green tea extract and ubiquinone as well as bisabolol, a chamomile extract which conditions skin and protects against flaking.

Jan Marini Physical Protectant SPF 45

Jan Marini Physical Protectant SPF 45

7) 302 lip balm – MUST HAVE. This is another product recommended by my esthetician. She slipped a tube to me at Christmas time and I’m hooked. I love the clean ingredient list (includes avocado, jojoba and beeswax), the smooth creaminess, and the fact that my usual flaky lips are no longer to be seen!

302 lip balm

302 lip balm

Phew… Does that sounds like a lot to slap on my face in the morning?

It actually doesn’t take too long in the morning because all these products absorb fairly quickly and I layer them on top of one another within minutes.

These 7 products together with my trusty Clarisonic Mia are my arsenal against winter flaky skin + the sun!

 

Tokyo Trip: Sushi Dai at Tsukiji Market

On my first visit to Japan last month, I had 4 things in mind, Laduree (macarons + makeup), Suqqu (makeup brushes), Tsukiji market (food and sights), and Addiction (more makeup). It was a short layover, a 20 hour sprint, that left me wanting for more!

I had made no plans to visit Tsukiji at the ungodly hours mentioned by other bloggers upon research (4.30AM?!), but as I lay tossing and turning in my hotel room at 2 AM, an idea came to mind. I had already missed out on visiting Laduree and SUQQU since the Ginza Mitsukoshi department store closed at 8PM and my flight got in late. (*wails)

I decided to do the next best thing, eat my sorrows away!

I arrived at Tsukiji by cab at 4.45 AM since trains don’t start running till 5AM and was greeted by a flurry of activity! I sighted a few  tourists sprinting out of the way of the workers zooming around in their motor carts and I was almost mowed over myself in my indecision at a cross walk. Hint, there is NO cross walk.

Tsukiji market especially in the early hours of the morning is a busy place. I wouldn’t recommend coming here with any luggage or dainty shoes. Being able to sprint out of the way of traffic is also highly recommended.

The guards at the Tsukiji gates are helpful and provided me a map of the market and directions to get to Sushi Dai.

Sushi Dai is located in Building 6 in the third alley, and it’s the third restaurant with no English sign. Here’s what it looks like in Japanese.

Sushi Dai sign

Sushi Dai sign

Sushi Dai Alley peaceful at predawn

Sushi Dai Alley peaceful at predawn

 

I got to the restaurant at 5AM sharp and got in line. They open their doors at 5AM and admit the first 10 – 12 people. I did not enter with the first batch so I waited in line with some other early birds including a middle aged Tokyo native who had never been to Sushi Dai before (?!). There weren’t too many tourists in the early batch of people. However, by the time I got in at 5.45 AM, the line had snaked around the block. Yes, please do go early if you don’t want to wait for over 2 hours like some reviewers have.

The restaurant itself is tiny and I was marvelling at the economy of space. I chose to go with the chef’s special “Omakase” which costs 3900 yen and includes green tea, miso soup, 10 chef choice pieces + 1 personal choice (10 +1). I was greeted by 3 cheery chefs who promptly served up a round of fatty tuna (o toro)

Fatty Tuna

Fatty Tuna

Umm, that was seriously yummy! It set the bar really high. We were also served regular tuna, golden snapper, snapper, sea urchin, tamago (egg roll), spanish mackerel, still alive red clam, eel, baby shrimp, fish eggs, and tuna rolls. For my final choice (it was a 10 + 1 omakase combo), I decided to go with the eel again because it tasted so fresh and unlike any other eel I’d had in the US.

I was pretty stuffed by round 6 and shared my early morning breakfast with my neighbor.

Some more foodie pics!

Sea Urchin

Sea Urchin

Red Clam and Tuna

Red Clam and Tuna

Here are the friendly chefs! They will advise you on the necessity for soy sauce with certain types of fish.

Sushi Dai Interior

Sushi Dai Interior

I’m very glad I made it to Sushi Dai without a long wait and had the best sushi breakfast! I hope to visit Japan again this year and plan a longer trip…

- Till next time

 

 

 

Skincare Haul!

Hi all,

I’ve just returned from a overseas trip and while I was there, I gave away my HG (Holy Grail) products to family for them to try it out.

When I got back, I replenished my stash…

Here’s my latest skincare/haircare/lip care haul that I’m really excited about! I repurchased one tried and true favorite and couldn’t resist some new toys… Umm, I mean skin stuff. (I have way too much fun with experimenting with myself!)

All these products are targeted for anyone concerned with skin dryness especially in the winter time as well as hyperpigmentation and aging skin.

Skincare Haul #1

Skincare/Haircare/Lipcare goodies from WEI, Skinceuticals, Atopalm, Jurlique, and Alterna!

  1. WEI Gingko Leaf repairing face treatment pad   (first time)
  2. Skinceuticals Phyto+  My tried and true favorite for hyperpigmentation. See review here.
  3. Skinceuticals Retinol 1.0 New to this, my skin doesn’t actually react well to retinol. Will experiment on SO
  4. Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 gel. I’ve tried B5 gel before (not the Skinceuticals brand) and I thought it didn’t work so well on it’s own, but it worked great when layered with a moisturizer after. My skin is still dry from the East Coast winters so hopefully this will do the trick.
  5. Skinceuticals CE Ferrulic. Antioxidant powerhouse serum meant for boosting sunscreen protection, boosting collage levels, improving wrinkles. Hope I like this one! (first time)
  6. Alterna Bamboo Smooth Pure Kendi Oil. Strengthening and smoothing hair oil containing organic bamboo extract and organic kendi oil + other goodies. (first time)
  7. Atopalm MLE Intensive Moisturizing cream. For dry and sensitive skin. This is right up my alley! (first time)
  8. Jurlique Rose Love Balm. To treat winter lip blues. (first time)

Will report back on my findings soon!

- Peace and awesome skin ;)