Tag Archives: IOPE

A State of Emergency

For the past three weeks, my skin’s been wrecking havoc, as a result of my irregular hormonal cycle. I’m not always affected by skin problems during PMS, but the severe lack of sleep and stress must be getting to me. I was affected by these pesky problems:

  • Tiny blemishes on cheekbones and forehead
  • Dry and peeling skin on cheeks
  • Peeling fingertips
  • Severe dehydration lines on forehead

It is impossible to use my regular skincare products in this state. Laneige Water Sleeping Pack_EX, for example, sting really badly.  I went on to experiment with all of the products that I own, to identify those can be tolerated, and those that must be avoided. Below are my emergency skincare products:

Skincare emergency

  1. Cure Natural Aqua Gel—to get rid of the patches of peeling skin, I didn’t dare to apply a chemical exfoliant in case the blemishes are further aggregated. I opted for the Aqua Gel which is a physical exfoliant. Dead skin is removed through the gentle rubbing motion.
  2. IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning (read review)—it quite a surprise that there is no stinging or tingling when applied to skin. I did not really love this product when used on normal days. However, I’ve read how SK II helped people with acne prone skin so I’m giving it a shot, since it is a dupe of the SK II. It’s been working out great.
  3. L’Herboflore Masks (read review)—for added moisture to the peeling skin. All masks are essentially humectanta, so it doesn’t matter what “flavor” you choose. Even though these masks contain fragrance, they feel really comfortable, non-irritating and hydrating to the skin.
  4. Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask—used as a moisturizer rather than a mask. Even without fragrance, there is a mild tingling sensation when applied, but much better than any other moisturizer.

I did not touch most of my other products, because anti-aging or whitening is not my priority, and fragrance and fragile skin doesn’t mix. I feel safer just sticking to the most basic items with simple ingredients. I have only used the four products above in the past three weeks, and my skin is on its way to recovery. I will not declare them miracle products, since I’m sure much of it is my body’s natural healing process, but they’ve worked out fine. I do wish I have La Roche-Posay Cicaplast on hand though, it sounds wonderful for damaged skin.

Aside from skincare products, there are also some natural remedies, both applied topically and taken orally:

  1. Manuka Honey—Apply a small dollop on a white head and covered the spot with a piece of cotton pad (or a band-aid), it will go down the following morning. Preferably higher UMF.
  2. Honey & Cinnamon Mask—Mix cinnamon powder with raw honey and apply to trouble spots, leave for 20 minutes. Both honey and cinnamon are anti-bacterial. Use a cheaper honey (manuka honey with lower UMF, raw honey, regular honey) for this as the mask t is going to be washed away soon.
  3. Evening Primrose Oil—Taken orally to help reduce PMS symptoms, promote and maintain hormonal balance.
  4. Flaxseed Oil—Caroline Hiron recommended taking fish oil or flaxseed oil for people with problem skin in her article here.
  5. Vitamins—I don’t think severe vitamin deficiency is the cause of peeling skin in my case, I’m not malnourished. But still, a little vitamin boost won’t hurt, especially since I’ve stopped taking them regularly in the past few months.

Of course, the best course of action is to eat well, sleep well and be stress-free. If you cannot do any of those (like me), then think of teddy bears and flowers, let thoughts of happier memories push you through the tough times! 🙂

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IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning

IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning

I don’t like to use toners all that much, but here’s one I’d be happy to soak up if I have a bottomless purse. The IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning costs 65,000KRW (US$65), and lasts about two to three months from my experience. I first came across this product here, a Korea shopping guide on CNN Travel. With a bit more research I realized this sounds a lot like SK II Facial Treatment Essence (so darn expensive) and its many Korean dupes, like the Missha First Treatment Essence. The Bio Essence claims to:

  • Maintain skin health through its Bio-redox 93.7%
  • Restore transparent, clear and smooth skin
  • Boosts the vitality of the skin, encouraging skin renewal and aiding in cell cycle

The product comes in a sleek frosted glass bottle. The texture and smells is just like water, and I wasn’t sure what it is doing to my skin. I followed instructions dutifully—soak the Bio Essence on cotton pad and gently swipe in circular motions. After three weeks of usage, there was an overall improvement to my skin in terms of texture and tone.

My problem with the product is how wasteful it is. The cotton pad soaks up most of the essence, so with every application half of the product actually lands in your bin. It’s the sort of guilty feeling when you don’t finish your meal and you think of others who can’t actually afford to have any food. Moreover, I was at a point where I wanted to streamline my skincare to reduce the number of products I put on my face. I decided I’d rather spend more on moisturizers and serums instead. I benched it after the first month.

It is only in the past two weeks that I have started to appreciate what it can do for me. I am currently undergoing a skin crisis (zits, peeling skin and all), and the Bio Essence is one of the few products that does not sting my face. I think I’d write about the other products that I’m using to calm my skin at a later date.

I will not re-purchase this despite my new found appreciation. The Bio Essence, though cheaper than SK II, is still far too expensive to order five times a year for a constant supply.

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!