Current Skincare Routine

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It has been a few months since I’ve shared my skincare routine. I thought it was time to update you on some new products I have been trying. There are a few items that continue to be my standbys, like the Shiseido Eye and Lip Contour Regenerating Cream, which I feel like if I am stop using all my crow’s feet will start appearing. However, for the most part, I have been trying out some new products, including some Korean cult favourites, like the Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence.

FIRST CLEANSE

In the morning, I usually just wash my face with water. I find that my cheeks are quite sensitive and can’t really tolerate an AM and PM cleansing routine. At night time, I have been using the Aritaum Poyan Makeup Remover to remove my eye makeup. This is another solid and economical (under $10 USD) Korean dual-phase eye makeup remover. It does a great job of removing all my eye makeup and doesn’t leave a greasy residue. It removes even hardcore waterproof eyeliner and mascara. My only gripe is that I don’t really enjoy the smell, which has the aroma of baby powder to me.

After bidding a sad goodbye to my Heimish All Clean Balm, I started using the Make P:rem Black Cleansing Water. I alternated it with the Garnier All-in- 1 Micellar Water in the Waterproof Version  just in case I got a bad reaction from it. For me, the Garnier one has been a great alternative to Bioderma, and so economical too. The waterproof version is a bit oiler for me, but it does such a good job of removing all my face makeup without drying it out. As for the Make P:rem Black Cleansing Water, I find it to be a solid micellar water so far. It does a good job of removing my face makeup. Compared to the Garnier one though, it leaves my skin kind of tacky afterwards, which I hope is the peat moss working its magic and keeping my skin moisturized. It hasn’t dried out my skin so far, so I am happy.

SECOND CLEANSE

For the second cleanse, I have been using the Boscia Charcoal Jelly Ball Cleanser. It is such a fun product to unbox and use. After you pierce the outer coating that covers the jelly ball, you can wet the product and just massage it into your damp skin or foam it up in your hands before applying it to your face. I am sorry this whole post will consist of me talking about how I dislike scent in skincare, but I really don’t enjoy the scent of charcoal in this product. Now on to what I enjoy about this cleanser. First and foremost, I love the experience of using it and massaging it on my face. It doesn’t really foam that much when applied directly on the face compared to lathering it in the hands. Initially, I thought it would be drying, but instead, it has left my skin cleansed and balanced. It hasn’t left my dry cheeks red or sensitive at all.

ESSENCE

I couldn’t resist getting this product since many reviews point to the Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Intensive Moist as a cheaper dupe for the infamous SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. This is supposed to be the updated version, which contains 90% of the fermented yeast extract (Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate) derived from purple barley. SK-II also uses fermented yeast as their star ingredient, Pitera (Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate), but it is derived from sake. I am not sure if this slight differences alters the effectiveness of the product. Missha claims their essence will moisturize, smooth skin texture, and reinforce the condition of your skin. It also contains more ingredients than SK-II, like Niacinamide. Overall, I think I prefer the scent of the Missha one more, as it is pretty much scentless. However, after about three weeks of use, I haven’t notice much of a difference yet in my skin. I think I will have to report back after a few weeks again.

SERUM

I have been scared of using any actives, like AHAs, for a long time because I was so terrified of getting a bad reaction. However, since joining Instagram, and following many skincare fanatics, I learned that many of them used them daily in their routines. So I decided to finally jump on the bandwagon and give them a shot. Coincidently, my sister had a bottle of Vitamin C serum that didn’t work for her, so I decided to give it a try. Not wanting to be totally reckless, I did a patch test on my neck for a week, and it was totally fine. Since then, I have been using this one fromWishtrend Pure Vitamin C 21.5% Advanced Serum nightly.

You can read about the benefits of Vitamin C all over the internet. Basically, it is an excellent anti-aging ingredient that firms, brightens, and evens out your skin tone. It does quickly oxidize when exposed to air, so Wishtrend recommends you keep this in the fridge. It is a bit of annoyance to go to walk to fridge every night, but it is totally worth it. I have been using this for a couple of months and it has totally softened the lines on my forehead, and made my complexion brighter. My only problem with Vitamin C is that it made me break out on my cheeks, which never happens to me. Therefore, I think if you have sensitive areas on your face, it is important to do a patch test or use a lower dosage instead.

TONER

I know using toner in this part of my routine is kind of late. However, this toner is so viscous that I like to use it at this point in my routine. Lately, I have been using the Dermastic Essential Toner from ID.AZ. I loved their foaming face wash, so I decided to try their toner. ID.AZ is line produced from a famous Korean skincare clinic. This toner is full of botanical ingredients that leave your skin hydrated and soothed for the next step. I really have been enjoying this toner as it leaves my skin plump and glowy. It is a bit sticky after I use it probably due to the botanical ingredients. It almost has the same feel as many of the other toners from Korean brands like Whamisa and VANT, which I all enjoy.

CREAM

I am so on the fence about this cream from VANT. It smells great (fruity), lightweight, and sinks in quickly. Perhaps because it is so lightweight, I don’t think it will be moisturizing enough for me over the winter. I have already noticed dry patches around my forehead and nose. I mean, it has great ingredients like squalene and shea butter which help maintain moisture. Plus, once again, like many Korean beauty products, it contains many botanical ingredients. Bottom line is that it is a solid moisturizer, but might not be enough for super dry and dehydrated skin.

EYE CREAM

I have been loving the Belif Moisturizing and Firming Eye Cream! It is quite a thick consistency, but it leaves my undereye area so moisturized and plump for concealer. At nighttime, I am still devoted to my Shiseido Future Solution LX Eye and Lip Contour Regenerating Cream, which is expensive, but has kept on my fine lines at bay all these years, so I can’t give it up.

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Review: Grown Alchemist Intensive Body Cream

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The last decade has been so exciting with the amount of natural and organic brands that have arisen. In fact, there are so many that I can’t keep up with all of them anymore. I have tried many of the more well-known ones, like RMS Beauty and Tata Harper, so I decided to try a brand that I haven’t heard of it. It was only later on that I found out this brand is actually quite well-established.

Brand Background

The brand I am talking about is Grown Alchemist. I really wanted to get something from the Nordstrom Natural Beauty Pop-Up shop a few months ago, and picked up this Intensive Body Cream from the brand. I think I was mainly attracted to the “Aesop” feel of the packaging. Grown Alchemist originates from Australia and focuses on using organic ingredients. Using modern technology, they create products that work naturally with our bodies. Here is a link to their philosophy page if you are interested.

Packaging

Grown Alchemist’s packaging is made with high quality ingredients that help preserve the freshness of their formulations. This body cream is housed in a non-leeching aluminum tube that helps it from being contaminated from air, sunlight, or chemicals. Of course, aluminum is also highly recyclable, which is good for the environment.

The packaging is very minimal with a san-serif typeface on a solid background. It is very reminiscent of the Aesop brand packaging. All the ingredients and background information about the product are printed directly printed on the tube, which is great especially since I often lose the outer cardboard packaging.

So do I like the packaging? To be honest, I am on the fence about it. For a body cream, I like that you can easily dispense the product on your body by just squishing the tube. You don’t have to deal with contaminating the product as with other body creams in a tub. However, the formulation of this body cream is quite fluid and often too much comes out. As with all aluminum tubes, it is also hard to get the last bit out and the tube can get pretty deformed if you do not roll it up from the bottom (a.k.a., that would be me).

Ingredients

The main ingredients in the body cream are rosa damascena, açaí, and pomegranate. All these ingredients contain antioxidants that help to moisturize, firm, and smooth the skin’s appearance. They also help to repair the appearance of damaged skin.

Formula

For a body cream, the formula is quite lightweight, almost like a lotion. The scent is lovely. I am not sure how açaí smells like, but it has a rich berry scent mixed with the pomegranate. I don’t feel it has much of a rose scent though. I wouldn’t say the scent is too strong, and it really doesn’t linger too much.

Application

I really enjoy applying this body cream. It blends in almost instantly and doesn’t leave your skin greasy at all. I was quite surprised because intensive body creams usually take a while to sink in. However, perhaps because it absorbs so quickly, it doesn’t give the usual feeling of this protective layer on top of the skin from a really moisturizing body cream. Instead, after you apply it onto a particular dry area of skin, it still feels quite textured and dry. Whereas, with some other body creams, the area feels smoother and more hydrated.

Results

I like this body cream, but I wouldn’t consider it as an intensive body cream. It is one of those body creams you want to reach for and apply because it smells great and it is not sticky or greasy. Over the summer, I used it regularly and it left my skin moisturized. However, the patches around my ankles and elbows still were quite dry despite using this daily. For those areas, I had to resort to using other heavier body creams.

VERDICT: There is a lot to love about this body cream. It smells lovely, does not feel greasy, contains organic ingredients, and the packaging is made of an easily recyclable material. However, if you are looking for something that intensively hydrates those stubborn dry patches, this isn’t it.

The Evolution of Friendship

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I see the term “BFF” tossed around a lot with teenagers. I wish I still had that blind faith that relationships will always last forever. Of course, if you are lucky, some friends will stick around for the rest of your lives. However, more likely than not, the friends you have will evolve like all relationships do. For example, the group of friends you had when you were a kid will be likely different than the ones you meet when you start working. People evolve and so do our friendships. It makes me sad sometimes when friendships end, but now I realize some people come into our lives temporarily to teach us something, and help us grow.

Friendships Evolve as You Evolve

Friends you made when you were in kindergarten might be completely different than those you have now. When you made your first friend, it might just be because you both liked to play dress-up. As you got older, having common interests might be the catalyst for more friendships. However, loyalty and morals might become more important than just similar interests. I think it is absolutely normal for friendships to evolve as you become more sure of who you are as a person. It is through these breakups that we begin to find out what we genuinely want in a friend.

No One is to Blame When a Friendship Ends

As with a breakup of a romantic relationship, it is much easier to place the blame on the other person. Even if one party did something completely to undermine the relationship, it always takes two to tango. I find that for most friendships that didn’t work out, it was simply because our personalities were just too different. There is often no right or wrong in these situations, just whether it worked out or not. Moreover, everyone is shaped by everything that has happened to them in their life. Often, when we step into their shoes, it is easier to understand their perspective. Even though we might not share their viewpoint, it doesn’t mean it is not valid, it is just different.

Wishing Them Well

Friendships often don’t work out and it is awkward when you bump into them randomly.  However, even though a person may not be in my life, I choose to wish them well from afar. For sure, there is often bitterness and loathing towards certain past friends. Yet, over time, I would rather choose to relinquish the good memories that we had together then continue to think badly of them. Like I said previously, there isn’t a right or wrong when it comes to relationships. It just didn’t work out, and that is it. Of course, this takes time, but hopefully, one day, you can see that it just wasn’t meant to be.

Friend-Zoned: Beauty Products I “Like”

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I am not a big fan of “friendzoning” anybody, but I thought the term suited the beauty products I am going to talk about in this blogpost. For the most part, I bought the products below because of the hype. They are “good” products, but I just didn’t reach for them all the time. In other words, I just didn’t fall in love with them. However, they weren’t so bad that I couldn’t use them at all.

Burberry Complete Eye Palette in Nude Blush No. 12

“Pale Barley” is the shade I always hear about over and over again when people talk about Burberry’s eyeshadows. However, I wanted to try more shades so I got one of their palettes instead.  So what do I like? First off, the packaging is absolutely beautiful with the Burberry checked pattern on the lid. It also comes in a velvet pouch with some tiny brushes. The four shades are very wearable (both matte and shimmer), which is typical of Burberry’s aesthetic. In fact, the plum and rose-gold shades in this palette can almost act like neutrals. The eyeshadows themselves are also silky smooth and very blendable.

So now for the reasons why I don’t love this palette. First of all, the shadows are pretty powdery and there is quite a bit of fall-out if you are not careful. You can literally see how powdery it can get from looking at how dirty the edges of the inside of the palette become. Secondly, the way that some of the colours look in the pan do not translate once applied on the lid.  For example, the lightest shade, which is supposed to be used as a highlight, doesn’t show up one my skin at all (might be better for pale skin tones). The darkest plum shade also doesn’t show up dark enough on my lid to be considered a good liner shade.

Overall, the package is luxurious, and the textures of the shadow are good, but the colour payoff is not there for all the shades. I’m thinking the single shadows might be better. Has anyone had experience with those?

Milani Powder Blush in 05 Coral Cove

This is a blush that many love, so I’m not sure if is just this particular shade that I don’t love. I’ve heard that Milani makes some of the best drugstore blushes, so I decided to pick up one when I was in the States. The packaging of this blush is beautiful with a rose embossed right into the powder. It also contains 6 g of product, which is a lot for a blush. Not to mention, that it is under $10 USD! Super pigmented blush seem to be quite popular lately, and this is definitely one of them. You literally need to dab your brush into the powder and it is enough for one cheek. The colours are also lovely and this particular coral shade looks great on my yellow-toned skin. Lastly, I find it has pretty good longevity as it is still visible at the end of a work day.

Now, onto why I don’t love this blush. First of all, it doesn’t have the most pleasant smell, almost like plastic. Secondly, sometimes, I feel it is too pigmented. You can easily go overboard if you pick up a little too much on your brush. Thirdly, I just don’t find it blends out that well. It often looks a little patchy on my skin and doesn’t really do much to minimize pores. It is nothing major, but it just doesn’t compare to some other blushes I own.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Champagne Pop

I know a lot of people love this shade, but it is just not my favourite. I think this mostly comes down to preference. Some people like their highlights to be bright enough to beam into the sky, and others like them just be glowy and natural. I seem to fall into the second category because I find Champagne Pop too metallic. It also takes a bit of work to apply it in the morning. It is not a highlighter you can apply without a mirror because it can look like a streak of colour if you don’t blend it out properly. Plus, it doesn’t look great over textured skin or pores. However, when you do want your highlight to really pop that day, it is a great choice. It has the most beautiful golden metallic sheen. The powder is also finely milled and the packaging is gorgeous as well.

Do you have any beauty products that you have “friend-zoned”?