Monday, January 30, 2012

My Skincare Routine - Jan. 2012

This is my first skincare routine post of the year. I usually change up my products when I finish them, with a select few that I love and swear by. I also try a lot of samples from different companies so as I experiment with those, I will do some reviews and tell ya'll if I will buy the actual size of the product.


So lets start with my facial cleanser. When I went to New York earlier this month, I did a The Face Shop haul. (I will do a review on once I begin using all the products) I bought their Green Tea Phyto Powder Foam Cleanser. I noticed that their American website packaging is different from their Korean packaging, which is the version I got. I was told this cleanser is good for oily/combination skin. Definitely correct and I love this!!! It is gentle enough not to dry my skin, yet it cleans well enough for my skin to feel oil free. I've also noticed that my pores have gotten smaller and my skin is softening. I adore the light and fresh scent. The texture is creamy and a little bit goes a long way. I use my Shiseido Cleansing Massage Brush with it daily and might be switching back to my Clarsonic Mia when my skin isn't as dry from winter.

After I cleanse, I use a toner to remove the leftover dirt and makeup. For this, I use Shiseido Hydro-Balancing Softener. This is something my mom told me to use and I have seen a significant difference in my skin texture since I began using it. On days I use heavy makeup, I use a cotton pad with this to bring off more residue. On days where I just use a base and some pressed powder, I just squirt some softener into my hands, rub them together, then gently pat into my face in an upward motion. This way more product is absorbed into my skin versus the cotton pad. This is a very lightweight toner and absorbs super fast. It has a floral scent but not noticeable at all. I use the balancing one because it removes excess oil but still retains moisture to hydrate.

During the day, I have been using the Shiseido Day Moisture Protection. This lotion contains SPF 15, which is just enough for me during the winter. I don't go out much during this season because I hate the cold! This lotion is a bit on the heavy side so for my oily acne-prone skin, I don't use it every day. It has a thick cream texture and takes a bit to massage into my face. Once absorbed, it initially feels oily but goes away when its fully absorbed. What I didn't like about this product is that mid-day, I found my face glowing with oil and having to blot or powder my face. I would definitely not use this in the summer.

So I switch off between that and my Miracle Skin Transformer. I use this when I want to have matte skin throughout the day. I love this little tube of wonderfulness! It is like my version of BB Cream. It works about the same: moisturizing, toning, has color and SPF. I have it in transparent and medium color. I use the medium shade on days where I don't want to wear any base makeup and it covers very well. It is sheer enough to feel lightweight and doesn't clog pores, yet it has enough color to even out my scar discoloration and bring my face to a healthy glowing complexion. The transparent color can be used as a primer and works just as well as any Urban Decay or Make Up For Ever primer.

For the night time, I've been using the Garnier Moisture Rescue Gel Cream. You can find this at any drugstore or Ulta. I originally got this as a sample, but it worked very nicely on my skin so I bought the full size version. I like that it has a gel texture which absorbs a lot faster than a cream. I use it to top of my brightening serum to hold the moisture in from both products better. I love that it smells like aloe, too! It doesn't leave too much oil on my face in the morning but still hydrates enough for my skin to have a dewy glow. It is not specifically stated that this product is a night-time moisturizer, I just like using it at night to restore my dull skin. It works nicely, however, I am not wowed by it so I will be changing up my night routine soon :P


About once or twice a week, I like to give my face a treat! I will use an exfoliating scrub and a mask to restore it back to its prime. The scrub I have been using lately is the St. Ives Apricot Scrub Timeless Skin. It is a drugstore face wash and a good alternative for people who aren't looking for fancy microdermabrasion products. I wouldn't suggest using this scrub more than once a week because it is a bit harsh and the grains are not as fine as it should be. It does the job to clean off the dead skin cells that build up over the week, but I haven't seen the firming or anti-aging aspects yet.

After I scrub my face nice and smooth, I apply a mask for about 30 mins. I have been using for a few months now is My Beauty Diary sheet masks. I have tried several different ones including the Natto, Apple Polyphenol, Strawberry Yogurt, and Berries Extract. The Natto is my least favorite. I didn't see any difference after using this one. The Apple Polyphenol is very effective in oil control and tightening my pores. The Strawberry Yogurt and Berries Extact ones I use when my face starts to dry out and lean more towards combination skin. These 2 work excellent in restoring lost moisture. They all smell about the same to me, VERY fruity! I've noticed the masks don't fit to my face so I usually end up folding the top down a bit. It is also very wet when you first take it out of the packaging and drips a bit when you first apply it to your face so I lay down then apply. After 30 mins, I remove the sheet and pat in the excess serum into my face/neck and go to sleep! The next morning my face is rejuvenated!

Here are swatches of my routine:

I hope ya'll enjoyed my skincare routine! Sorry it was a bit long to read! Till next time :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Truly Kissable Lips

I use to have a bad habit of biting on my lips when they're dry. To break the habit of having anything to bite at all, I started caking my lips in ChapStick before I sleep. This makes my lips heal overnight, but to preserve the softness all day, I tried different tinted lip balms I heard good reviews on. So here is my two cents on each of these lovely new lipsticks! (I added the swatches on the bottom of this post)

The first one I tried was Maybelline Baby Lips. You can find this at CVS or Target. I bought the color Peach Kiss cause I wanted something neutral that will go with darker eye makeup. This color is very sheer, there's a pale orange tint to it. It is lighter than my natural lip color. There's also a bit of glitter in the color, but you can't feel it. It really does make your lips "baby" soft. It has a fruity scent so for those who don't like lip balms that smell too much like candy, this might not be a good choice. I wouldn't use this as a lipstick because the color doesn't really stay on, but the buttery, non-sticking balm factor works for casual wear. And there's SPF which is always a plus!

I got this as a present from a sister. I loved the color of this lip balm on her! I actually thought it was lip gloss but after I put it on, it wasn't sticky or thick like most lip glosses. It is very pigmented but still carries the lip balm buttery feel. It also stays on pretty long and its all natural ingredients. I have two different version of this balm, the Lip Butter Glaze in Raspberry and Lip Butter in Pomegranate. They both contain shea butter and natural oils to moisturize your lips. They don't really smell like anything. I like the tube better because it's more sanitary and easier to apply. The texture of the glaze is a bit glossier. The butter is more sheer in color. They both last about the same amount of time.

I actually got this Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus as a sample. You can buy this at Target or Ulta. I love, love, love how this feels on my lips. I think this is my favorite one as far as color pigmentation too. It works as a lipstick and the color stays on even after I blot onto a tissue. The moisture is very high from shea butter and it's supposedly anti-aging as well. Though I haven't see the anti-again aspect, it is softening and I like the shine it has. It has a light scent but not too overbearing. It glides on very easily and isn't sticky at all.

From left to right: Baby Lips, Pomegranate Lip Butter, Quince Lip Butter, Burts Bees Tinted Hibiscus 

I took one with flash to show the shimmer. They actually come out a bit darker in person than in pictures.
Till next time!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dry hands? No problem!

So winter has been upon us for a while and even though I live in sunny Florida, Orlando does get a bit chilly at night and in the mornings. I also work in an office and to stay healthy and germ-free, I wash my hands several times a day. This does start wearing down my hands after a while, especially cause I like using warm to hot water during this season. So I decided to invest in some hand creams to preserve the youth of my hands.

The hand cream I got was the L'Occitane Hand Indulgences limited edition set. I have always heard people rave about this hand cream. When I tried a sample of the original 20% shea butter hand cream, I didn't really like the smell that much. It smelled like very strong baby powder. However, I loved the texture and the moisture of the cream. So I decided to get it in other scents. The scents that come with this set are Desert Rose, Hibiscus and Cocoa Flower. They are paraben-free and non-oily. I absolutely adore the packaging and the design was inspired by vibrant bogolan fabrics from African villages. 

It is the same formula as the original, which one is sold every 5 seconds around the world!! Now that's what I call an amazing record! I do agree with all those buyers, it works miracles on my hands! The scent is not overbearing. My favorite is the Desert Rose. It's like a like jasmine scent. What I also like about this hand cream is that the softness and moisture stays on your hands even after you wash your hands!

It comes in a metal sheet tube but its actually very light. I am a little anal about tubes so I like to fold the used portion as I go, just like with toothpaste tubes. These are mini sizes as well so they can fit in a purse or even a clutch.

 It is not too creamy or too oily. It seeps into my skin rather quickly and doesn't feel sticky after. The cream is made from honey and almond extract then blended with jasmine and ylang-ylang essences. It also has vitamin E to help anti-oxidize and nourish dehydrated skin, or in my case over-worked and over-washed hands.

Overall, I'd give this product 10 out of 10! Use this cream in the winter to keep away that awful dry, flaky skin because a woman's hands are very important. When you shake hands with someone, you want them to be holding a soft delicate lady's hand, not a rough electrician's hands!
 Till next time :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hello Followers :)

So I am actually a bit nervous about doing this. I've always wanted to share my thoughts on products or events, but to share with an unknown audience is a bit intimidating! Nevertheless, this is one of my New Year's Resolutions so I am obtaining my goal!

My first review I wanted to start off with something small and simple. I just did my nails today so that is what I'll be reviewing. I used the Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Nail Color in 02 Crushed. You can find it at Target or any drugstore. This is a very inexpensive nail polish compared to OPI or Zoya but it works just as well to me. I think the consistency is easy to work with and the color is very pigmented.

I only applied two layers and it doesn't show my nail at all. (Sorry for the bad polish job! I was doing this during my break between classes -.-) I took one photo with flash and one without to show the natural shimmer.
There's a slight orange shimmer to it but no glitter particles in the actual polish.
I also topped of my nails with the top coat from Sally Hansen. I love this top coat! It goes on very smooth and I only need one layer and the polish lasts me over a week without chipping. I work in an office so I go through folders, binders and filing cabinets so over a week is very good for me! I am running a 5k on Saturday so I wanted to do a bright, happy color to cheer myself on so this caught my eye, contrary to the 'Crushed' name....So overall, I am very satisfied with this product.