Tag Archives: Chifure

Japan 2017: Shopping List

I’m due to head to the land of sushi and amazing drugstores in a few hours! This is my fourth time in the country but I am still so excited 😀

I am intending to stay really focused on what I am buying this time, so no more of the massive haul like the last time in 2015. We’ll see if I stick to the plan in a few weeks.

Without further ado, this is what I am intending to haul this time:

Old Faves

  1. Melano CC Medicated Intensive Spot Correcting Serum (Review)
  2. Refills for Chifure Essence (Review), Essence W, Essence VC (Reviews)
  3. Shiseido Fino Hair Mask (Review)
  4. Makeup products:
    • Yuagari Suppin Powder
    • Canmake Cream Cheek in Various Shades
    • Heroine Make Super Liner
    • Kate Lasting Eyebrows W BR-3 and Kanebo Media Brow DB, because I can’t leave the house without my brows done

New Tries

  1. Japanese lotions / toners: One of my favorite things to buy in Japan are their lotions, a slightly thicker toner that truly helps with my dehydration lines or lotions that perform specific function. Going for:
    • Labo Labo Super Keana Lotion
    • Chifure Skin Lotion – I’ve enjoyed almost everything that Chifure had to offer so far, so I’m happy to dig a little deeper and try other things that the brand has to offer
    • Chifure Deep Moisture Lotion
    • Hada Labo Gokujyun Oil-in-Lotion – The new variety of the Hada Labo lotions which contains squalene oil

Sunscreens and cleansing oils – These are truly products that I use every single day, even if at home. I live in a tropical climate where the sun is brutal for most of the year. If I’m gonna have my window shades open for the day, I will need sunscreens. Cleansing oils go hand in hand with sunscreens as they are the best way to remove the overall gunk from my face. Going for:

  • Kose Softymo Light Cleansing Oil, a light, scentless version that does the job well.
  • Perfect Watery Oil also another one that I have bought re-fills for, it is scented but for a change I do like the scent.

A Serge Lutens perfume – Ever since Serge Lutens has been completed by Shiseido, I guess it is much easier to access these perfumes in Asia. I have visited the Shiseido Serge Lutens store previously and found a good selection of their perfumes, but it was short of Féminité du Bois, so I bought nothing.

  • Going for: Chergui, Majestic Rose or Fleurs d’Oranger, but Féminité du Bois is so elusive that I’ve yet to scent it, and I want to try it so bad before settling on one

 

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A Week of Repairing Skincare

When I just returned from my trip to Switzerland, MY HEART WAS FULL (´ ▽`).。o♡ but MY SKIN WAS TERRIBLE (⌣_⌣”).

Despite taking a small army of skincare items, plus protective gear like hats and sunglasses with me, I still suffered from redness (a combination of the cold, sunburns and windburns) and the feeling of skin dryness and tightening is almost constant. So when I returned, it was an uphill battle to get my skin back to the pink of health.

Here are a few things I did to get my skin to calm the F down.

The ceramidin mask is pretty awesom. It is also the most expensive mask that I have ever repurchased. 😦

1. Masking, masking, masking

A huge problem I had was the inability to retain moisture. As soon as I stepped out of the shower, there was an uncomfortable tautness in the skin. The answer to that, I found, was using a mask every single day. Be it regular glycerin-propylene glycol-hyaluronic acid type of mask or the high end ones that claims to do everything under the sun, it is the consistency that counts the most.

I have been enjoying the JAYJUN Baby Pure Shining MaskDr Morita Hyaluronic Acid Essence Face Mask, and my absolute fave by far DR. JART+ Ceramidin Mask (review), a mask full of watery and oily goodness.

As for the mornings, I have no time or patience for masks, but I was sure to use Chifure Essence (review) or any other hydrating essences.

Repairing Skincare 02

Some high end stuff in the mix!

2. Mositurise

Following the mask, I moisturise immediately. Without a layer of emollients as well as occlusives to keep the water in, I find that my skin returns to the previous state of uncomfortable tautness. In mere minutes I can feel my skin shriveling up like an old man, seriously.

I have been enjoying: HABA Squalane (review), which isn’t occlusive enough to replace a face cream, Hanyul Baek Hwa Goh Intensive Care Cream (review) absolute fave, Hanyul Seo Ri Tae Skin Refining Cream (review) for the day time under sunscreen, and SK-II RNA Power Cream.

On the first few days, I’ve also worn the Sulwhasoo Overnight Revitalizing Mask (review) on top of the cream as yet another layer of occlusive.

I had to take a photo with these alliums (basically flowering onions, I think?) I love having fun with the styling of the photos on this blog XP

3. Careful with the AHAs

I packed a BHA along with me for the trip, because AHAs can lead to sun sensitivity and I don’t want it to be a problem, even though I touch up on skin screen almost religiously. But as I have normal to dry skin, AHAs always made a lot more difference to my skin than BHAs ever did, so I was happy to be back home and reunited with the Cosrx AHA Whitehead Power Liquid.

The thing is, AHAs have kinda stung for my entire life. Even after 5 years of regularly using AHAs, it hasn’t gotten any better and it is something that I’ve come to accept and anticipate with any AHA usage. With my skin in a highly sensitised state, I only applied the AHA once in the week, and left it at that. Gradually, it went back to 3 times a week, which is how I normally use it.

Really short routine, but this is exactly what I used for the first 2 nights when my skin was at my worst.

4. Bring out all the anti-oxidants

I think everybody has a favourite serum for, you know, general anti-aging. If not, I wish you loads of luck and you can click through my Serums and Skin Treatment reviews for ideas. For me, my one true love has to be Estée Lauder ANR, which is my oldest cosmetic love. I don’t exactly know what is working for me, maybe it is the Vitamin A, but I always have a 100ml on hand, even though most of the time I’m trying out other serums. But during this period, I have turned to those that have consistently worked well for me.

Serums that I’m using now: Estée Lauder ANR and Melano CC Medicated Intensive Spot Correcting Serum (review). If you have dabbled in skincare for a while now you’d have your own faves too, just make sure you stick real close to those tried and tested formulas, rather than popping yet another serum that you’ve never tried open.

What I Used To Do

I’ve actually had loads of experience with dryness and sensitivity, and I’ve mostly stuck to the routine.

Back in 2014, I’ve tried a hell lot more, as seen in my post, A State of Emergency. Some things include:

  • Manuka honey mask – which I most commonly use when I have both sensitive skin and pimples, I cannot vouch for its efficacy, but it is a delicious mask 😉
  • Manuka honey + cinnamon mask – Again, delicious mask, does it do anything at all? ><
  • EPO, flaxseed oil, vitamin supplements – Nope, haven’t done any supplements in a while now, but I’m a lot healthier than I was back in 2014 (exercise & eating well. I’m still not getting enough sleep).

You can go to my old post and have a laugh (but seriously its not TOO bad) =.=

More Chifure! Their Fantastic Ingredients Lists & Essence W

Fantastic discovery made today! I have had trouble finding the ingredients list for my new Chifure Essence W and Chifure Essence VC, lugged from Japan courtesy of friend on work trip.

As I explored the Chifure Official website, I realised even the official website does not have the full ingredients list in the traditional sense, with ingredients arranged in order of concentration. The folks arranged the ingredients in a neat table by function (e.g. active ingredient > humectant > pH adjusting > solvent etc), and they listed the exact percentage for most ingredients! That’s even better than a regularly arranged ingredients list!

Ingredients list for Chifure Essence W, I ran it through Google Translate quite well Source: http://www.chifure.co.jp/products/essence/2478.html

Chifure Essence VC (JPY 800 30g)

Active ingredients: Ascorbyl Glucoside (2%)

Hydrating ingredients: Glycerin (8%), Butylene glycol (2.72%), Trehalose solution (0.03%), Sodium hyaluronate (0.05%)

The first star ingredient is ascorbyl glucoside, an ester of ascorbic acid. This the the first time I’ve come across this ingredient since I’ve started properly researching ingredients. It is definitely one of those derivatives that are less well researched than the standard ascorbic acid, and I cannot find a resource which looks at the effective concentration as well as its penetrative ability relative to other vitamin C derivatives.

I have not yet started using this, because I was drawn by its more expensive sister below.

Chifure Essence W (JPY 1,100 30g)

The Science Part

Active ingredients: Arbutin (3%), Ascorbyl glucoside (2%)

Hydrating ingredients: Glycerin (8%), Butylene glycol (2.02%), Sodium hyaluronate (0.05%), Trehalose solution (0.03%)

Chifure Essence W is the most expensive of all Chifure Essence formulations, and the major differences arises from the addition of 3% arbutin, an effective and less toxic derivative of hydroquinone (Source). Arbutin is definitely more familiar to me and it is found in many Taiwanese and Japanese skincare products. Think the entire Naruko Apple Seed & Tranexamic Acid Black Spots Line, which is built around alpha arbutin, tranexamic acid, niacinimide and vitamin C derivatives.

The Chifure website did not state the type of arbutin (alpha / beta), but it does seem to be formulated with the effective concentration. In fact, “SCCS decided in 2016 that this ingredient is not safe to use in finished products at a use rate greater than 3%.” (Source) The 3.0% concentration above is spot on.

I haven’t found studies about the penetration of arbutin, but if it is a cousin of hydroquinone, it should have wayy better penetration ability than vitamin C derivatives, which is known to fare poorly in terms of penetration.

How it Fared

Did the Chifure Essence W do anything for my skin? Kick the sunspots in the butt? Nah… In the month that I’ve been using this, didn’t make my skin look great, but its not significantly worse than than the time when I was using Melano CC (read review), which I do consider my gold standard.

I can’t be certain because I did not take a scientific approach to my use of products. No objective, no control and hurhur squinting at my sun spots in the mirror daily is a poor way of determining if the product is working.

Another factor in my lack of proper conclusion or thoughts for this product, is that I got through the bottle shockingly quickly. I don’t even think 30ml lasts me 1.5 months. Its just a blink of the eye and I’m down to the last 1/3 of the bottle.

I can say though, that in terms of texture, it is slightly tackier than the original Chifure Essence. For the nighttime, there is absolutely no problem with layering. For day time I’d have to be more careful. There were one day i piled on a little too much in the morning, and my sunscreen (Biore UV Perfect Milk) pilled, though granted it happened for many other products, like the COSRX Snaily Serum (read review) as well.

Another complaint is how difficult it is to get hold of Chifure products in the international market / online. All of the Chifure items I own, I bought (or my lovely friends / colleagues did) at the physical MatsuKiyo stores in Japan. Amazon Jp does carry it but it is not on Prime or eligible for international shipping. When I realised how quickly I’m using the serum up, I tried really hard to find viable shopping / shipping options, but there’re none. Darn you Japanese drugstores!!

All in all, this product is worth a try. Or two or three tries. I have another friend heading to Japan for vacation in September this year, so I think I’ll be able to get a few more refills to do a proper review.

 

Holy Grail Skincare

EDIT (24/09/17)

I plan for this page to be constantly updated with a compilation of skincare products that I consider to be holy grails. I have to confess that I do have high standards !(*´∀`*)尸” and there are very few products that I consider to be HG worthy.

So ladies, let me present the super short list of my skincare HGs! ゝ(▽`*ゝ)

I. The Already HGs

i.e. True loves, not actively searching for anything in the same category

Chifure Essence (review)

  • Added: June 2015
  • My go-to hydration serum for daily use, even when I’m battling bouts of dryness, sensitivity or the rare acne
  • Very very affordable boost of instant hydration

Rohto Melano CC Medicated Intensive Spot Correcting Serum (review)

  • Added: December 2016
  • Current on tube number 2, best AA serum used thusfar (Edited September 2017, I moved it from Potential HG to HG status after finishing 3 tubes and moving on to tube number 4)
  • Stable formula, excellent packaging, can be layered under other skincare products
  • Crazy affordable for a vitamin C serum

II. The Potential HGs

i.e. Love them, but the love needs to withstand the test of time

Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner

  • Added: February 2017
  • Beautiful beautiful exfoliating slash pH adjusting toner

Hanyul Baek Hwa Goh Intensive Care Cream

  • Added: February 2017
  • Rich, emollient, luxurious texture
  • I wake up to well-rested and glowing skin

III. The ex-HGs

i.e. Loved them madly, but they’ve passed on

Hanyul Rich Effect Cream (review)

  • Added: March 2014
  • Killed as part of Hanyul revamp here. Note: The Hanyul Seo Ri Tae Anti Ageing Cream is NOT the Rich Effect Cream! The texture is completely different!

Holy G: Chifure Essence!

Chifure Essence 01.jpg

The Chifure Essence is my favorite hydrating serum, but I can’t seem to find a review or product information in English, so I’m here to rectify that (*´∇`)ノ

The Essence was first purchased blind in Japan back in 2015. After just one nights use, I proceeded to buy 3 more refills at the Matsu Kiyo near my hotel. After countless more refills and brief flings with other products, I think I’m ready to declare this as my HG.

The Essence is a very simple hydrating serum. Do not expect it to do anything else, aside from giving your skin a shot of hydration, plumpness and help your skin absorb other products.

Ingredients

The Essence has a short ingredient list. Head to the CosDNA site for the full list. Standard cosmetic ingredients are marked with *. The first 7 ingredients by weight are as follows:

  • Butylene glycol *
  • Glycerin *
  • Sodium hyaluronate *
  • Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate *
  • Hyaluronic acid *
  • Saccharomyces Cerevisiae is new to me. It comes from baker’s yeast, but I’m not sure what it is supposed to do here.
  • Morus Bombycis Root aka white mulberry root extract, a whitening ingredient which is also present many other beauty products, such as Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream.

How I incorporate it in my routine

PM Steps: Exfoliating Toner > Fermented Essene > Serum > Hydrating Serum OR Sheet Mask> Moisturiser OR Sleeping Pack

I understand that for some, a plain hyaluronic acid serum is superfluous, because why not use products which provide whitening and anti-aging benefits on top of hydration? Well, to each her own, I suppose.

Products tend to be touted as all-in-one or multi-functional, like those ridiculous 5-in-1 gel creams from Japan that claim that one product is all you need. It’s a bit like McDonalds servings sizes are bigger than 50 years ago, and how our homes are bigger than ever. We want more, bigger and better every single time, which is not a bad thing. But I do still find value in products simple products like Chifure Essence and the HABA Squalane (review). They do only one thing but do it really really well. For the antioxidants as well as whitening ingredients, I trust that my serums will do their jobs.

In any case, if you want your skincare steps to pack extra punch, Chifure does have other essences:

  • Chifure Whitening Essence VC: with ascorbic acid
  • Chifure Whitening Essence W: with arbutin and ascorbic acid.

I haven’t tried those. I may, in the future, but they aren’t that high up in my test list.

Other Hydrating Serums

There are loads of other hydrating serums out there, such as Indeed Labs Hydraluron, Hada Labo Moist Essence (not the Hada Labo SHA Lotion). The COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence (review coming) is also another good hydrating serums which is very affordable, plus it comes in a 100ml pump bottle.

.

There you have it! What is your favorite hydrating serum? Or maybe you like more of the multi-functional skincare, I’d love to hear your thoughts 😉

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 Materialistic Life: Japan 2015 Haul

(ヾノ•᷅ ༬•᷄ ) The following, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason why I will be on a spending ban for the good half of 2016.

Japan Haul (m)

 Skincare

  • Shiseido Revital Moisturizer EX 100ml
  • Kose Medicated Sekkisei Whitening Lotion 200ml
  • HABA G-Lotion 180ml
  • HABA White Lady 30ml
  • HABA Squalane 30ml
  • Chifure Essence 45ml (x4)
  • Shiseido Elixir Superior Facial Effect Massage Cream 93g
  • Shiseido Elixir Massage Estherist Cream 100g
  • Mose Moisture Skin Repair Cream 40g

Japan Oils (m)

Japan Cleansers (m)

Cleansers

  • Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil 230ml (+ 200ml refill)
  • Biore Cleansing Oil 150ml
  • Shiseido Tiss Deep Off Oil 230ml – link
  • Shiseido Perfect Watery Oil 230ml – link
  • ROSETTE Cleansing Paste 120g – link
  • Bifesta Eye Makeup Remover 145ml (x2)

Makeup

  • Creer Beaute La Rose de Versailles Oscar Impact – link
  • Heroine Make Impact Liquid Eyeliner Black
  • Heroine Make Impact Liquid Eyeliner Super Waterproof Black – link
  • Kate Lasting Eyebrow W BR-3
  • BROWLASH EX Eyebrow Pencil And Liquid
  • Kanebo Media Brow DB (x2)
  • Cezanne Burashitsuki Eyebrow Deep Brown
  • Seria Eyebrow Pencil
  • Integrate Eyebrow
  • Kanebo Media Brow Powder
  • Esprique Foundation Brush
  • Canmake Cream Cheek

I don’t have the bad habit of hoarding my products, but Japan did get the better of me. EVERYTHING AT HALF THE USUAL PRICE HERE! SO MANY PRODUCTS I’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE! GOTTA TRY THIS! AND THAT! AND THAT AS WELL!

Now I will work hard to finish them! (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و

(But oh, I’ve already finished some of them… since… the Japan trip was 5 months ago already =.=ll God I’m so tardy. Got to change that)