Tag Archives: SK-II

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) =.=

Advertisements

Brightening Skincare: SK-II Genoptics Spot Essence

Hey lovely friends, I have a very important review for you today.

I have always wished that there are more genuine reviews of high-end skincare products out there. If we are parting with a significant chunk of our money, we should be armed with better information than we have.

Many brands collaborate with bloggers for product launches or social media advertorials and endorsements, which can present as a conflict of interest. Many of these relationships are not clearly disclosed and we (consumers) may believe these blog posts, tweets, Instas to be independent statements without the necessary information. In many cases, it is abundantly clear that someone received a free sample for review or is paid to write about it (seriously, you know what I mean). But there are also those sneaky ones that eventually lead to court cases for misrepresentation.

Anyhow, I find myself very cynical when I see the same words on blogs that are straight out from the media kits. I gave up on searching for reviews on this batch of SK-II products before I bought them. If I want genuine reviews, I will do it myself. Here it is! 😉

Ingredients List

Water, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (i.e. Pitera), Butylene Glycole, Cyclopentasiloxane, Niacinamide, Triethylhexanoin, Glycerin,Pentylene Glycol, Nylon-12, Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Inositol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Boron Nitride, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Panthenol, PEG-20, Sorbitane Cocoate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimenthicone Crosspolymer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-11 Methyl Ether Dimethicone, Polyacrylamide, Laureth-7, Benzyl Alcohol, Aminomethyl Propanol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Hexyldecanol, Sodium Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Tocopherol, Zea Mays Oil/Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Methicone, CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 75130 (Beta-Carotene).

To assess the ingredients list, I looked at the first 15 ingredients as well as their function. Why the first 15? Well, ingredients are listed in descending order, starting with the largest amount in the product. If I look at more than 15, I’d have lost you, my readers and probably myself too.

Water

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate – The star ingredient in all SK-II skincare. There is some research demonstrating that galactomyces ferment filtrate has a protective effect on the skin barrier, and helps to prevent damage to the integrity of the skin barrier.

Butylene Glycol – Commonly-used ingredient that has multiple functions in cosmetics, including as a texture enhancer. It’s similar to propylene glycol, but has a lighter texture.

Cyclopentasiloxane – Silicone based skin-conditioning agent

Niacinamide – Aka vitamin B3, helps to even skin tone, reduce fine lines and dullness. It is very high up in the list, which I am happy about.

Triethylhexanoin – Skin conditioning

Pentylene Glycol – Solvent and skin-replenishing agent, much like butylene glycol (above) and propylene glycol

Nylon-12 – absorbent, texture enhancer and mattifyer

Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate – Skin conditioning, occlusive

Inositol – A sugar (which are generally humectants)

Polymethylsilsesquioxane – I’ve no idea what this does.

Boron Nitride – Skin conditioning, oil absorbant

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride – Skin-Conditioning Agent, occlusive

Panthenol – Alcohol form of the B vitamin pantothenic acid. Panthenol is used in skincare products as a humectant because of its ability to attract and hold moisture.

PEG-20 – Humectan, solvent

Of the first 15 ingredients, I only find pitera and niacinamide interesting. While I understand that a good formulation is more than just a smattering of actives, if I’m paying $200 for this 50 ml of essence, I want more bang for the buck.

Packaging and Texture

The Spot Essence comes in an elegant bottle. It is so beautiful that I put in more than the normal effort to give it a photoshoot to do it justice. The dropper is initially delightful as it dispenses the right amount for the whole face, but is absolute shit after a while. When I am halfway through the bottle, the dropper refused to pick up anything and I resorted to pouring out from the bottle or allow the Serum to drip down my palms from the sides of the dropper. It gets frustrating!

The serum itself is runny and milky. When applied, it leaves a matt finish (the mattifying effect of nylon-12 in action here). It works well under moisturisers and sunscreens, with no pilling observed for all combination of products.

DIS DROPPER DOESNT WORK

How I Use It

Toner > Fermented Essence > Serum > Oil > Moisturiser

I use it both day and night, as niacinamide, which appears to be the only active ingredient for brightening, is stable in heat and UV. I have not observed intense brightening that I have with the Rohto Melano CC Serum (review), but I did wake up to nicely moisturised and well-rested skin. This is especially on the days where I brought out the big guns and used the Spot Essence in conjunction with HABA Squalane (review), Hanyul Baek Hwa Goh Cream (review) and Sulwhasoo Overnight Revitalising Mask (review).

However, it is not as ground breaking as the first time that I’ve used Estee Lauder ANR (review).

After the initial period of testing, I am now using it solely in the mornings (and saving the Melano CC aka ascorbic acid for night time).

Who It Is For

Not me. One purchase for trying is great, but I don’t have that much money to burn regularly on pitera and niacinamide.

If you have the budget, by all means get it. It is a decent splurge and it looks gorgeous on your vanity. 😉

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.

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