How to get the most out of your toners

 

To get the most of your toners I added 2 to my skincare routine. The point is ONE TONER is used for exfoliating dead skin cells (used with cotton pad to fasten cell renew process & also allow the rest of your skincare absorb better) and ANOTHER TONER is used for intensive treatment (it is also used with a cotton pad as a mask to lock in moisture & nourish skin so that it’s in the best possible status). The key is to do it as an addition on top of your normal routine & also to do it as regular as possible.

Naris Up Cosmetics – Nature Conc Medicated Clear Lotion 200ml

This is a watery toner that is great for cleansing & exfoliating your skin,  the toner does not smell alcohol at all, it’s got this really refreshing floral scent, so it is fantastically gentle even on sensitive skin.  Toner is a reinforcing step to cleanse the residue left on face after makeup removal and face wash.

How I use this toner is soak cotton pad with generous amount, don’t need to overly drench it.  Gently wipe your whole face after cleansing,  then use the back side of the same piece of cotton pad, using circular motion slowly and gently work through the whole face again, from inner to outer.  Concentrate on T-zone area, especially around the nose area.

I was very surprised to see how much extra DIRT I have, can’t believe I used to sleep with those…

 

HADA LABO – Goku-jyun Hyaluronic Clear Lotion 170ml

This is the toner I use to treatment and nourish my skin, the texture is liquid gel like.

I soak a cotton pad with water, then squeeze it as dry as I could then pour very generous amount of toner on cotton pad,  you’ll need to drench your cotton pad, make sure there’s enough toner to reach every corner. Once done peel your wet cotton pad into layers you can place them over the 5 most important parts of your face, forehead, nose, chin, two cheeks.  Leave them on for 3-5 minutes, you’ll be surprised how much difference this step make.

Not only the rest of your skincare gets absorbed better/deeper into your skin, the moisture level in your skin makes make up set extremely well.

This is a very in-expensive way to pamper your skin, you could do this every day or for special occasions.  I have used two types of toner here but it is perfectly fine to use just one.  I also find this step extremely convenient for traveling, as bringing extra masks might be heavy and troublesome, by using this toner treatment step not only I could save my luggage space, my toner became multi purpose, because it’s a toner and also a mask. I ordered these toners from. sakuracosme.ca

Japanese Drugstore 2000JPY & Below: BB Cream

How was your weekend, my loves? I just had the most amazing time in Miyagi and will write up on that in a separate post. I’m hubbing through Singapore for 1.5 days before heading off to Frankfurt and Cologne in Germany. I’m back on the yellow brick road, guys…

So today I’m rounding up my Japanese Drugstore Hunt 2000JPY & Below series with BB cream. I thought it would be easy to do this post but there are so many on offer at the drugstore, and very cheaply too, that I struggled to come up with a cohesive theme.

I realized that Japanese BB creams are in a class of their own and different from other ones in the market. For one, they are always almost more yellow based (yay for peeps like me but not so for more pink-toned folks) and there are always at least two or three shades, if you are lucky four, in any range. This makes them clearly different from Korean BB creams, with a few exceptions of course. And the consistency of Japanese BB creams is thinner and you won’t find that scary grey tinge either. Coverage ranges from non-existent (primers) to light to medium. The Japanese drugstore is a veritable smorgasbord of BB creams for yellow-toned women.

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From left to right:
Hada Labo Whitening BB Cream Natural Ochre, Maybelline BB Base, Ettusias BB Mineral Cream in 30Nanoce BB Sorbet in Healthy Ochre, Maybelline BB UV.

I picked out the ones in my collection that are below 2000JPY and I actually prefer them to my more expensive ones like the Evangelist BB Cream and Coffret D’Or’s Fast Beauty Foundation UV BB.

I like all of them for different reasons. My #1 BB cream from the Japanese drugstore is by far Hada Labo Whitening BB Cream. My skin just looks its best with the very natural finish and I cannot wait to fade so I can use this again. Unfortunately, they do not have darker shades…boo…

I use the Maybelline BB Base in Light for mixing with foundations that are too dark or yellow for me and this BB cream has a slight pink tint to it. Believe me when I say that it is difficult to find very fair shades of BB cream at the drugstore. So for ladies who are at the extreme ends of the spectrum, you won’t be able to find a suitable BB cream.

Ettusais BB Mineral Cream has the best oil control, while Nanoce BB Sorbetis just a treat in hot weather. I usually spray some on my fingers or a brush and then work it into my skin. It has light coverage but can be quite buildable.

I love using the Maybelline BB UV in winter because it is quite emollient and the opposite of the Ettusias one. I like to slap this one on and then swish some setting powder for a quick everyday look.

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Now my current go-to BB Cream is the Kate BB Gel Cream in OC-D . It has a dark shade which suits me but I also think it is an excellent BB cream that is oil-free and natural looking.

 

Collagen Bath Salts & Mask

There are many odd products that are sold in Japan and they just have a novelty factor to them (and probably a very short shelf-life) so I’ve never felt inclined to really try them out.

But I was shopping around the beauty section at Tokyu Hands in Shinjuku while my family was visiting back in October and spotted this…

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It says, “W Collagen — as rich as silk; snoring and condensation” (this is a very rough translation) and the words above the brand say, “Moisturizing and beautifying spa bath” (I can’t make out the first few characters as my dictionary doesn’t seem to have those words). I’m probably interpreting this wrong but I think the gist of it is that this is a moisturizing treatment to be used in a bath.

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The instructions say you can use this as is in the bath or you can chill it for two hours in the fridge and then use it in the bath. I read and re-read the instructions and I gather that you are supposed to spread it all over your body and then soak in a hot bath. It also describes this product as パック, which means mask in Japanese. You can often see these characters on sheet mask boxes. By the way, this mask smelled just like caramel which was quite decadent…I thought it was hilarious that the container says, “Don’t eat!”

So I chose the first option and I must say this product completely baffled me as I think the hot bath washed away all the collagen cream/mask from my skin.

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I soaked in a hot bath filled with the same brand of collagen bath salts. The scent was quite lovely — a bit of floral mixed with a hint of soap — and it turned the water a pretty light blue…

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After soaking in this bath for 20 minutes, my skin certainly felt quite smooth but I don’t know if it was due to these products as my skin always tends to feel pretty smooth after a long hot soak. I think it has something to do with the dead skin cells being removed…

But you know, it was fun and as an expat in Japan, I think the only way to get to know Japanese products is to just use them!

Review: Japanese Drugstore Suncreens Shiseido, Biore, Curel, Hada Labo

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I thought I would end the week with a much-requested post that was in the making for over a month now — Japanese sunscreens! This is by no means an exhaustive list because there are so many in the market and I could very well do a sequel to this when I get back to Tokyo to try another round of sunscreens.

I tested each sunscreen for a week at least and after I did that, I used the ones that I preferred so in all, I would say I probably tested some a bit longer than others. I think you can tell if you like a sunscreen or not within a short period of time in any given season. This is also my first time venturing into sunscreens that have alcohol in them and as a preface I would not use sunscreens with alcohol in non-summer months because they would be too drying.

With that long preamble outta the way, here goes from left to right…

Biore UV Bright Face Milk SPF50PA+++ is a physical sunscreen that also acts as a brightening primer before you put on your base makeup. This has excellent oil control and great for very humid days. However, it may have a slight white cast when worn on its own and might pool on your face especially during sports. Though I must add that this Biore sunscreen is not meant for vigorous activity and they have one variety, Perfect Milk, specially catered to that need. I love the way this one looks with makeup over as it has a smooth matte finish (due to the high alcohol content) and it feels invisible. The only downside is the strong alcohol scent it exudes when you first put it on though it does fade very quickly.

Shiseido Senka Mineral Water UV Gel SPF50PA+++ is a chemical sunscreen with high alcohol content which is probably not the best choice for sensitive skin types. This one performed well with makeup and on its own — it just stays put all day and doesn’t make me look shiny. However, I felt a wee bit itchy towards the end of a long day. I didn’t have that problem on shorter days, but when I wore this beyond 10-12 hours, I felt an almost imperceptible layer on my skin and it felt a little irritating. I really could be splitting hairs and I must add that this is popular with Asian skincare fans and I can see why but I personally prefer physical sunscreens because of my sensitive skin.

Shiseido Anessa Babycare Sunscreen N SPF34PA+++ seemed promising with its non-chemical, non-additive claims (no fragrance, parabens, and colouring). This one didn’t irritate my skin but the formula somehow made it very oily in no time, with or without makeup. I can’t understand why because alcohol is one of the top ingredients on its list but there isn’t a mattifying effect at all. I would not recommend this for those with oily skin. Even if you don’t have this skin type and are attracted to the other points in this sunscreen, I think you could find better formulas sans alcohol that are more nourishing for the skin.

Hada Labo UV Whitening Emulsion SPF50PA+++ is both a physical and chemical sunscreen without additives like fragrance, alcohol and parabens. This is a great sunscreen in colder months but may not have the oil control that many folks would like during the summer.

I could wear this under makeup but prefer not to use this on its own as it does make my skin look shiny. However, the appeal lies in the fact that it doesn’t irritate my skin and has added Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid which are nourishing ingredients. This acts as an all-in-one type of sunscreen as you could also skip moisturizer altogether which is something I do during very hot months — I just go straight to sunscreen and then base makeup which works very well for me.

Curel UV Protection Face Milk UV SPF25PA++ feels a lot like the Hada Labo UV Whitening Emulsion sunscreen in terms of texture and reads almost the same on the non-additive front. It is a physical sunscreen but surprisingly doesn’t have the white cast that can be seen in the Biore Bright Face Milk sunscreen. This sits well under makeup, like the Hada Labo one, but I find that this one causes clog pores on my forehead if I wear this for very long hours, e.g. eight hours or more. If I just wear this for a run which lasts about an hour or so and then I wash it off, I don’t face this problem.

The other downsides are the lower SPF factor and 20% more expensive too — but bear in mind that the sunscreens I have chosen are all drugstore ones which are below 1500JPY so the price point doesn’t really matter to me at the end of the day, except that if it is too cheap, I would be wary (e.g. Sun Bear sunscreens go for 300JPY which is a bit of a turn-off).

Hada Labo UV Creamy Gel SPF50PA+++  is an interesting sunscreen where its makers have made this a hybrid physical and chemical sunscreen where the UV filters are not absorbed by the skin, but yet has an incredibly silky product that sinks right into the skin. It has no fragrance and parabens but has alcohol. However, the superior formula doesn’t make the skin feel tight which can be felt with sunscreens that have alcohol. Perhaps the only disadvantage this product has is that it is quite big compared to the other slimmer containers that Japanese sunscreens are so well known for. If not for the fact that it comes in a big tube, I would’ve definitely brought it along on my trip.

Clarisonic MIA 101 – Use With Moderation

I have recently posted on my Facebook page that I got a Clarisonic Mia from ry.com.au, just like everyone else I am extremely excited about it and tried it out straight away.

After this whole week of usage both day and night, I want to give it my honest review. I know there’re tones of Clarisonic reviews online but there isn’t much about how this machine should be used, especially on sensitive or acne pron skin.

Facts:

The instruction said I could use this twice a day, it came with a Clarisonic gentle cleanser, also a sensitve brush head.  It is very easy to use, just one speed, one button to turn on and off.  The machine is perfectly safe to use in shower,  it is also very light weight and compact so you could bring it to traveling.

There’s also an instruction telling you how long to spend at each area of your face, 20s on forehead, 10s on nose, 10s on chin, 10 on 1 cheek and 10 on the other cheek. The machine turns itself off after 60 seconds.

I also bought the delicate cleansing brush just to try it out.

I’m going to start with the bad stuff first

When I first posted about wanting to buy a Clarisonic on my facebook page a Facebook fan said she would recommend me not to get the deep pore cleansing brush, she likes the sensitive brush as it’s much gentel on skin.  And I am so so so glad that I have listened to her!!.

I have tried out the Clarisonic machine by using it day and night for a week now, it does a fantastic job with cleaning/exfoliating but I find even with the sensitive brush it is still too strong for my skin.

I have combination skin, the skin on my cheek area is thiner and more sensitive comparing to my T-zone, I find it goes really red and you can see tinny little blood vessels (capillaries) after cleansing, so I’ve been avoiding that area now.

I also love this machine to bits but you really need to study your own skin and adjust and build Clarisonic into your own routines.

I think this machine is great for all skin types, especially Oily and Dry as it really does scrubb off all dry dead skin, oil, impurities and makeup residues, so it’s a really strong cleanser.

I also think it would also be great for people who has old acne scar, as the brush’s scrubbing motion will stimulate your scared skin make it ‘alive’ again, then when this happens you can start concerntrating on applying acne fading skincare products.

It also helps with product assorbtion after as the brush shredds all your dead skin cell, leaves your new skin layer exposed so if you do the right thing by applying good daily skincare routines I think it’ll eventurally improve your skin textures.

My Recommendations:

I have now figured out how to use this machine my way to get the most benefit out of it at the same time not harming my skin.

1) I would only use it 3-4 times a week or once at night only (on the days of wearing make up)

2) I would also reduce the cleansing time spent at each area, maybe 10s for the forehead, 10 for nose, 10 for chin but 2s for each of the cheeks and maybe spend the rest of the time on my neck.

3) I would concerntrate a little bit on my old acne scars and pigmentations, as I belive over time it’ll improve it’s texture and colour, so this is when people say your skin will get worst first then get better late.

4) As I still find the sensitive brush too strong for me, I’m going to switch to the delicate brush in the future.

5) I would also only use the Clarisonic only with a gentle/sensitive skin cleanser, as the action of this machine is already very strong, I think by using it in conjuction with products with Salicylic acid, which a lot of those acne cleansers does, it might aggrevate your skin and make it worse, in other words “OVER CLEANED”

Clarisonic and Acne

I know a lot of people got this machine to try to improve their acne condition or old acne scars, I personally think this machine would really help but there’re few warning signs so I’ll just list them below:

1) DO NOT OVER CLEAN – If you still currently have acne don’t over cleanse your skin, as the more you scrubb the more it’s going to aggrevate your skin, all those cleaning might trick your skin into thinking it needs extra protection and start to produce more oil to protect it. Or because there’re broken areas and makes your skin more inflamed.

2) HYDRATION – This is really really important for those who have acne skin, as the Clarisonic gets rid of your dead skin really well and cleanses into your pores, leaving your skin especially your pores expose to air.  Straight after cleaning you’ll need to restore water back in, if you’re using a toner don’t use those with Alcohol or with Salicylic Acid, as you don’t need to strip anymore natural oil or dead skin cells off, try to use a gentle hydrating toner then apply moisturiser.

3) SUN PROTECTION – This is also very important as when our new skin layer is exposed it’s extremely easy to get new pigmentations and sun damage.

Hope this has helped you making a decision with buying the Clarisonic, I think it is a fantastic tool but seriously don’t over clean your skin & use it wisely!