Category Archives: Eye Creams

PM Skincare Routines (Part I): All Out Spa Night

The last time I wrote about my skincare routine was back in 2014!!! D: Going back to read it makes to rotfl because I used Cetaphil!!! Sorry, I’ve let this blog rot for far too long, an update is due.

Thing is, I don’t have a single routine. I have an entire range of products and I mix and match everyday. The routine can range from 10 products to 3 products, all depending on how much time I have and how vain I feel. So here’s a selection of some of the night time routines:

  1. The all out spa night routine (below)
  2. The lazy night routine (I’ll write later!)
  3. The zombie night routine (I’ll write later!)
  4. The sensitive emergency routine (I’ll write later!)

I’m only sticking to night time routines here, because they are more exciting. More time and do weird things to your face, and you can get away with layering more products. I might get around to write my morning routine eventually.

(Take note that the steps matter more than the featured products, because the products can easily change).

1. The All Out Spa Night Routine

Spa Routine Part 1

Steps: Oil Cleanser > Foaming Cleanser

  • Oil Cleanser: Can I confess that I have never tried cleansing balms before? I have nothing against them but I find that oil cleansers work well enough for me, and they come with pumps so I find them extra convenient. I’ve been sticking to the Senka Perfect Watery Oil because I have a few refills, but there are many other Japanese oil cleansers that work well. An oil cleanser is a must because I wear sunscreen daily
  • Foaming Cleanser: I still haven’t found a cleanser that I truly love. I am currently using up the Kose Softymo Washing Foam but I’m looking for other alternatives.

Steps: Exfoliating Toner > Fermented Essence > Eye Cream > Serum > Face Mask > Moisturiser > Sleeping Pack / Facial Oil > Lip Balm

Spa Routine Part 2

  • Exfoliating Toner: This step used to be an AHA mask or AHA treatment, but ever since Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner came along it has become AHA/BHA toner. I am currently feeling infinite affection for Mizon because the toner has treated me sooo well, and I have this urge to try more products from this brand. (But then again, I remember the mediocrity that was Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream…) I might try for an AHA/BHA treatment in this step in the future, but the toner is working splendidly right now.
  • Fermented Essence: Estée Lauder Micro Essence, a Western variation of SK-II FTE. Many cheaper alternatives are also available from many Korean brands, including Secret Key FTE (review), IOPE Bio Essence (review). I am unlikely to repurchase both the ME and FTE unless they are heavily discounted because I really want to try a hand at the numerous cheaper alternatives from Korean brands.
  • Eye Cream: SK-II RNA Power Eye Cream. I am still not very convinced on the formulation of eye creams. While we know that the skin around the eyes are thinner and that there are no sebum glands in the under-eyes, there is no consensus on how eye creams should be formulated to accommodate for the differences.
    For the past 3 years, I have not been using eye creams. My last one was actually Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye (review) back in 2014. Subsequently I have used my regular face cream on my under-eyes as well. A recent addition is Elizabeth Arden Eye Capsules (featured here), which is essentially too light to be a serum. I have been using SK-II for 2 weeks, and currently withhold my opinion.

Spa Routine Part 3

  • Serum: Varies, I have a number of serums in rotation and I’ll choose based on my concerns. Right now, I’m working on my second tube of Melano CC Serum (review).
  • Face Mask: Varies with what I have on hand. Been loving the Kracie Hadabisei 3D Face Mask (featured here), which fits GREAT.

  • Moisturiser: I am currently finishing up the Kose Moisture Repair Cream YAY! I do like the moisturiser but I’m really looking forward to trying other alternatives.
  • Sleeping Pack: COSRX Rice Mask is the lightest of the sleeping packs that I own, so it fits best in a routine as long as this.
  • Lip Balm: A tub of Vaseline Lip Therapy Aloe. You can tell I’m not excited about lip balms.

That is all!

One last thing, if you wear eye make up, you should stick a separate eye makeup remover to the very beginning of the routine before oil cleanser. I haven’t been wearing eye make up for ages so I totally forgot about that step.

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SK-II Haul!

This is the sister post to the Korean beauty haul posted earlier. I have split the gigantic haul into 2 posts because they are so different. For the Korean beauty haul, sometimes it is difficult to find any information, product introduction, brand philosophy as well as ingredients list. This is especially for the Hanyul brand which somehow doesn’t have enough presence in the Western markets and blogsphere.

For the SK-II brand, there are literally mega-tonnes of information, blogs, forums, e-zines to filter through. It is obvious that many bloggers were offered free samples or full-sized products, not having spent a single cent of their money. Sometimes the resulting “review” is just a repeat of the official marketing materials. “… After x years of research”, “amazing ingredients xxx and xxx is shown to do xxx”. I have no qualms about brands gifting products for review (give me some please (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و), and I do like SK-II, especially the defunct Stempower Cream, but it gets tiring trying to find a genuine review.

So for the haul below, some are bought with blind faith that they will work with zero research done on my part.

sk-ii-haul

Obviously, I’m terrible at flatlays hurhur

SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion 160ml

This is an AHA/BHA toner with added pitera, which I will be comparing with the Mizon AHA&BHA Daily Clean Toner. Based on the ingredients list alone, FTCL looks like a winner, as it doesn’t contain alcohol. But then again, my skin is mostly hardy and I can tolerate alcohol in my skincare.

SK-II Genoptics Aura Essence & SK-II Genoptics Spot Essence

I bought SK-II’s skin brightening line after the results of the Magic Ring test showed that I ain’t doing well in that department. I since then, I have stocked up on a number of skin brightening serums. This Genoptics pair is the most expensive of the lot and I will be very disappointed if they don’t work.

I’m currently still on the Melano CC and I am scheduled to use these in mid-April if everything goes well.

SK-II RNA Power Cream & Eye Cream

Another attempt at my HG hunt. I have lofty expectations of the RNA line because the Stempower line has treated me wonderfully. I have started using the eye cream, but will not be starting on the face cream until I’m done with the Kose Moisture Skin Repair Cream.

That’s all, bye! You won’t be seeing another haul for the next half year because my wallet is seriously dented. (シ;゚Д゚)シ

In Rotation: Serums and Treatments

I made it a New Year’s resolution to update this blog regularly and my friends are holding me accountable, so here we go.

The beginning of the year is always crazy busy for me, but even then we all need to treat ourselves like the queens that we are 😉 Here’s what I’m using to pamper my skin.

in-rotation-serums

Estée Lauder Micro Essence (125ml) – I will not talk about Estée Lauder ANR anymore, you guys know it is HG. ME is relatively new in my skincare repertoire, this one being my second bottle. I want to talk about this in detail together with SK II and about treatment essences in general, but overall I can do without it in my rotation.

Chifure Beauty Essence (30ml) and UNITEC Advanced Hydrating Essence (30ml) – These beauties are excellent hydrating serums and are very similar. I last wrote about them in 2015 (here), I think I have gone through close to 10 refills of both combined. They are excellent as morning serums as they stay put and never cake under layers of sunblocks and make ups. Chifure has a slight edge as it is S$6 per refill, but it is hard to get hold of outside of Japan. UNITEC comes in a pump tube so the content is not oxidized before using, but it is S$20 a tube and there is no refill option.

Kanebo Kracie Hadabisei 3D Super Moist Mask – My favorite new find from Japanese drugstores! They have been around for quite some time but I haven’t gotten around to using it. They come in only 4 pieces per box and you can use them up pretty fast. The great thing is that the masks don’t dry out easily and contours to every crevice of your face. Seriously, it has the best fit to my face compared to most other masks I’ve tried (and I’ve tried SK II lol).

elizabeth-arden-ceramide-capsules

Elizabeth Arden Capsules for Face & Eye – The official names are Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum and Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Eye Serum which is a mouthful, so lets just call them capsules shall we. A set contains 30 eye capsules which are smaller and transparent, and 30 face capsules which are larger and opaque. Each capsule contains far more serum than needed for one time use, unless you use in on your neck and décolleté as well.

I cannot recommend this item enough for normal to dry skin types. It goes on with the texture of a thin face oil, but absorbs quickly without a hint of greasiness. Within minutes you see an improvement in dehydration lines and rough patches.

The capsule packaging is great to prevent oxidation of the serum which can happen in a traditional dropper packaging, but since I break a capsule in the morning and finish it with a second use at night, that benefit is mostly lost on me.

So here it is, cheers and hope everyone sticks with their resolutions!

The Essential Vitamin

La Roche-Posay Redermic C & Redermic C Eye

I do have a fondness for French pharmacie brands, possibly because I’ve been watching too much Lisa Eldridge, maybe also the fact that they have a reputation to be highly effective. La Roche-Posay is one French brand that I am more familiar with.

The products claim to visibly plumps the skin and visibly reduce wrinkles. Both contain “fragmented hyaluronic acid”, traditionally found in injectable fillers. It is supposed to hold up to 1000x its weight in water, creating a plumping effect. It also contains “5% pure vitamin C” an antioxidant.

I don’t feel any distinction between the two products, despite one being an overall facial moisturizer and the other being an eye cream. You can easily switch them up, and so the Redermic C works out to be a better deal overall for dollar-per-ml.

I left both products in the fridge after I realized how easily the tube contents were oxidized. The very first day after opening the product, I observed orangish residue gathering around the tube lid. Better be safe than sorry, into the fridge it goes. I enjoy using these two products, but mostly as a weekly treatment like retinol than a daily moisturizer. On days when my skin looks particularly dull from the lack of rest, I’ll slather both of these on. 

Unlike some of the other moisturizers, that I have used, it is excellent at hydration and I don’t need to apply an additional layer of sleep mask.

The texture in particular is a lot more enjoyable than other vitamin C products that I’ve tried before, particularly Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate. the La Roche-Posay has a lot less silicones and film-formers. But I doubt I’d purchase these again, the price tag is pretty hefty.

The Hanyul Review Series I: Eungyeol Light Eye Cream


Hanyul Eungyeol Light Eye Cream 01

Hanyul Eungyeol Light Eye Cream 02

This is part 1 of my attempt to rush finish reviewing all the Hanyul products before they are no longer available on all online shops. Are you tired me talking about Hanyul? Sorry, but the brand has never disappointed thus far.  This particular eye cream is housed in one of my favorite packaging designs of late. The blue and red color combination is just beautiful, and it’s made of glass! Appearances aside, though, it’s the content that matters. Sadly, I have say this product is not all that impressive.

The cream contains schizophyllum commune extract, which is type of mushroom that can support liver, immune health, blood pressure and cardiovascular health when taken orally. As for its purported skincare benefits, I can only lift from a Sulwhasoo website (here). It claims that the mushroom extract creates “a thin moisture layer on the skin’s surface to ensure long lasting hydration effect”. From the rest of the ingredients list, I can only identify the Asian medicine angelica sinensis. If you are well versed in Korean, help yourselves with the ingredients list below!

Hanyul Eungyeol Light Eye Cream 04

Hanyul Eungyeol Light Eye Cream 03

The texture is indeed light, easily spread and absorbed. It is not a gel–more like somewhere between gelatin and cream texture, which is quite interesting.

Despite its lofty claims, I have observed no difference in my under-eye area after using it for two months. More than ever it seems to reinforce the claim that you don’t need a separate eye moisturizer. Any of the other creams under the brand would have worked great as a moisturizer for the eye area.

So the verdict is favorite packaging, least favorite content from the Hanyul brand.

Skincare Routine

Routine

I’m blessed with normal skin for most parts of the year, with occasional periods when I am affected by dehydration or severe dullness. Other concerns are listed in my beauty profile (read here), but for the most part I can try out products for both dry, oily, combination or sensitive skin without my face kicking a fuss.

Skincare routine entry will have to be updated every year, I guess. I’m still on constant search for cost-effective products so I don’t always re-purchase even the favorites. Hope this skincare routine can help you out!

Morning

Routine 01

CLEANSER—I’m not particular about cleansers and unwilling to splurge on them. Cetaphil Gentle Daily Skin Cleanser is a product that is frequently on discounts where I am and it works well enough.

Routine 03

(Optional) TONER—I don’t use toners anymore, because I felt it isn’t doing so much for my skin as compared to serums and moisturizers. If I have to choose, though, the answer would have to be IOPE Bio Essence (read review). It is basically one of the many Korean dupes for SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. An inexpensive alternative is  the Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner (read review) which is moisturizing, but lacks the revitalizing properties of the IOPE Bio Essence.

Routine 02

SERUM—A water-based serum that should help to improve overall appearance of the skin, or address any specific concern you might have. This is the one area I am most particular about, as this is supposed to supply the most restorative ingredients for the skin. I am still left with two weeks’ supply of Hanyul Optimizing Serum (read review), which works okay. If you have the budget, go for Estee Lauder ANR (read quick review), hands down the best serum that I’ve tried.

Routine 04

BB CREAMTechnically a makeup product, but sun protection is an important part of skincare too, I’m squeezing this in. I’ve been using Hanyul Rich Effect Revitalizing BB Cream for two months, and so far it has been great. It is almost sweat-proof, stays on throughout the day and has high UVA/UVB protection. On the downside, only two shades are available and the color has a heavy yellowish undertone. I will do a longer review after using this for another three months at least.

Evening

Routine 05

MAKEUP REMOVER—Bioderma Sensibio. This is fantastic, and nothing can compare to Bioderma when it comes to removing makeup and sunscreen. Everything just melts right off. When I’m out of this, I will just using plain Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is also acceptable (and dirt cheap and yummy). Beware of using oils if you have oily skin though. There are conflicting opinions on using the oil cleansing method for oily skin types, but just to be safe, I’d say micellar solution is one where you cannot go wrong.

CLEANSER & SERUM—Same as morning.

Routine 06

MOISTURIZER—I prefer emollient creams rather than gels moisturizers. Hanyul Rich Effect Revitalizing Cream (read review) has worked the best for me and I’ve already finished one tub. The Hanyul Rich Effect Cream I have just started using but skin’s been loving it so far. Both help to improve the appearance of dull skin and minimize faint dehydration lines. If they are difficult to get hold of, the La Roche-Posay Redermic C is great too (see below).

Routine 07

(Optional) EYE MOISTURIZER—I honestly don’t think it is necessary to have a separate eye moisturizer. I haven’t used one that is so spectacular that I want to purchase over and over again. The closest would have to be the La Roche-Posay Redermic C Eye (€29 for 15ml), but the full sized La Roche-Posay Redermic C has similar formulation, and is so much cheaper (€34 for 40ml).

Routine 08

(Optional) SLEEP MASK or GEL MOISTURIZER—This is purely for “bad-skin-days” when a single emollient moisturizer is not sufficient, and I experience a tautness in my face. Most sleep masks, plus gel moisturizers are formulated to supply moisture and do little else, i.e. no anti-oxidants or minimal skin-repair ingredients. The Laneige Water Sleeping Pack_EX is great. Many premium brands have hydration ranges, such as Guerlain Super Aqua, Biotherm Aquasource and Vichy Aqualia Thermal, but they work similarly for thrice the price, so there is no need to splurge on this category.

Weekly / Occasional Treatment

CLAY MASK—To reduce any shine in T-zone. The masks not really that different except for their prices and scent, any of these that I’ve reviewed (read reviews). A cheap clay powder like the Now Foods European Clay Powder work just as well.

SHEET MASK—L’Herboflore masks (read review) are Taiwanese treasures that are also total nightmares to get hold of. The Aritaum Fresh Essence masks, which you can find on Gmarket are also great.

If you have your own “skin saviors”, let me know! I love to experiment!

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate & Eye

I have a complicated relationship with Kiehl’s. I love their wonderful service—all sales attendants manage to be friendly and helpful. They are so great that at times I feel guilty for walking away empty-handed. However, I don’t share the same sentiment towards most of their products. I tried much raved products like Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate and the Ultra Facial Creme, but they don’t agree with me. For a long time, though, I loved the MR line.

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate (30ml)

The MRC contains squalane (a “botanical lipid” that helps restore skin’s natural moisture balance), evening primrose oil (repairs skin barrier), lavender essential oil (soothe inflamed or irritated skin). It is essentially a mixture of essential oil and carrier oil, but I really enjoyed using it at one point. Okay, for three whole years. The fragrance of lavender is great as a pre-bedtime treat. I followed the instructions dutifully at first:

  1. Apply 2-3 drops of treatment on cleansed skin
  2. Gently press fingertips to cheeks, forehead, and chin to evenly distribute the application before gently massaging it into the skin
  3. Can wear alone or under moisturizer

I did experience the glowing effect that reviewers on MUA claimed, on the first few weeks of using the MRC. My skin looked healthier in the morning, in ways I cannot describe. It did not help with suppleness, the brightness or the fine lines on my forehead and around my mouth, but just looked better. The MRC is not enough on its own, or on top of a serum. Additional moisture is definitely needed or you will feel your skin uncomfortably taut. I ended up having to apply sleep mask or gel moisturizer over the MRC and serum on most nights. The lovely Mom tried it, liked it too and later bought a bottle for herself, which is why I still have a supply to steal from after three years.

However, the glowing effect is slowly lost as I continued a quarter through the first bottle, I stopped noticing differences. I reduced the number of time I use this to twice a week, but even then nothing happened. I still like the scent, I just don’t think it is worth it anymore.

Towards the end of my bottle, I chanced upon this research article, regarding the cytotoxicity of lavender oil to human cells. Apparently, at 0.25%, lavender oil is toxic to all types of human cells the team has tested. I went to Paula out of laziness to do independent research, and the results are frankly quite alarming. In other studies, a concentration of less than 0.25% can also be problematic. There is no indication of the concentration of lavender oil in MRC, but  I don’t dare to use it on its own now. I dilute it with Apricot Kernel Oil before letting it touch my face. 

I thank the MRC for introducing me to oils, but I will not be repurchasing this.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye (15ml)

The MR Eye claims to diminishes the appearance of fine lines, educes puffiness and reduces dark under-eye circles. I have used two tubes of this, and I’m not impressed at all. It lived up to none of its claims.

What was I thinking, though? Re-purchasing when it clearly doesn’t work? I finished a tube, found it to be meh, and since I didn’t have better candidates to take over, I just bought another tube, since it came in a set with the second MRC my Mom bought.

And now I’m at the point where nothing in the Kiehl’s catalogue interests me any longer. When I flip through fashion magazine and see a Kiehl’s product in those editor’s recommendation sections, I can only sigh. I love their generosity, I love their branding, just not their products. Give me a few years and maybe I’ll go back to Kiehl’s again.