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Is that how my face look like 0_0

Can't believe I actually filmed my first makeup tutorial in 2.5 years.

I've been away THAT long, always wanted to come back and make more makeup/beauty videos, but just never know when I can do it. I thought it would be a lot more smashing and exciting, but it was just like any other day in reality.

I have not reached that state where I dreamed of reaching - silky smooth, hydrated and problem free skin - I now question if perfection is actually achievable. Nonetheless, I am at a state where I'm happy with what I currently have, and have accepted it to be part of me (still working on it, but I'm doing so well now!). It's so strange to see myself in makeup again after so long. I've grown to really like my own face without makeup, and with some makeup on, it adorns my face so beautifully. It makes me feel great to be able to put makeup on once again!

So with the blemish and flaws that are still present on my skin, I present to you this makeup look which is one of the looks I've been wearing to work the past 2 months.
It's understated, natural, no perceivable eyeliner that set off alarms in most people's eyes.
I love how easy it is, I can put this look together within 15 minutes in the morning rush hour :'D If I don't mess up my brows that is. And I normally don't, so I don't know why I messed it up during recording!



This is the complete eye look, just really minimal. It looks even less obvious in video because the camera washes out some of the colour. In real life, it gives myself beautiful and natural looking depth. Indiscernible to the untrained eyes.

THE PRODUCTS



  1. E.L.F. Perfect Finish HD Powder
  2. KATE Mineral Powder Foundation (OC-C) 
  3. AVENE Very High Protection Cream SPF50+
  4. CANMAKE Mat Fleur Cheeks (04)
  5. KATE Brown Shade Eyes (BR-6)
  6. REVLON Matte Balm (225 Sultry) (Review and swatches here)
  7. MAYBELLINE Volum' Express The Magnum Waterproof
  8. KATE Lash Maximizer White
  9. INNISFREE Auto Eyebrow Pencil (03 Grey)
Compared to my old looks, this look has a lot less products, right? That's mostly because I just started getting back into wearing makeup recently, and I am really cautious this time. I don't want to put on too much just in case it might irritate my skin. So I start with very little products, and slowly add more to it if I want to. Who knows, maybe a few months down the road, the number of products I use will increase exponentially, trying to squeeze every single product from the new releases onto my face all at the same time? Hahaha!




The brushes I used are all from REAL TECHNIQUES (not TRUE TECHNIQUES hahaha). The purple brushes are from their Eye Makeup Starter Kit. Looks like the recently revamped it, kept the brushes the same and changed the case that comes with it (now grey instead of black!).



I've actually been looking at getting a new lash curler, but my old KOJI No.73 is still working fine.. Just need to change the rubber lining every so often because it does break apart, which affects the curl that I can get. Speaking of which, it's time I change to a new rubber lining.

As for the makeup brush cleaning sponge, I bought the sponge from a store that sells household products, cut it to fit the cute tin case my aunt gave me and it's done. Really handy for cleaning the brushes in between different colours, especially when going from dark to light shades. The excess powder collects at the bottom which I then clean out once in a while. Time to wash the sponge soon, it's getting brown!

All in all, I am really glad I can do this again. Even though this gratitude is an afterthought, I still want to note it down. It really helps to reflect upon all that have happened in my life and to count my blessings. Even though things aren't exactly at where I want them to be, I'm still rejoicing at how far I've come, and how much improvements I've experienced. I will continue to keep my body, mind, and skin healthy, and hope to bring more videos with you all.

And now, the video tutorial.

Natural Brown Makeup for Work (Tutorial) - YouTube

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My encounter with Niacinamide happened by chance. My cousin was telling me about wanting to try a Vitamin B3 serum, I got curious and read the research and journals to see what's good about it.

Turns out it seems to be really suitable for me as it calms inflammation, redness, and promotes skin barrier function - pretty much what I think I need as I notice my skin being thinner and more sensitive over the years. It turns red very easily from temperature fluctuation, get tiny little bumps that itch if it is irritated, and what I dislike the most - gets blotchy and rashy.

The serum my cousin got is extremely expensive in my books, about USD35 for 10ml (at 13% concentration). I did some searching on iHerb not having much hopes, but I found something within my price range!!



The InstaNatural Niacinamide Serum goes for USD14.03 for 60ml. It has a concentration of 5%, which is the recommended level for therapeutic effects to take place without causing too much irritation to the skin. Considering my skin is already more vulnerable, I thought a lower concentration works well for me, as 13% is an overkill, and might even cause more harm than good on my skin.



They do have a warning on the side of the bottle that if it causes any irritation, you should stop using it. But did that stop me? Hell no! In fact, the first few days I used it, it stung my face a little bit. That is when I realize it's still too strong for my face - or my face is too fragile for it. Solution? I mixed in 1-2 drops into my facial cream, mix well and applied onto my face. No more issues after that.



There's also suggested directions on the bottle. The gist is to apply it onto clean skin so maximum absorption. The serum actually absorbs pretty damn quickly so you don't have to wait forever before applying your moisturizer. Or you could do it like me, mix it with the moisturizer! Genius! BUT doing that will definitely lower the concentration of the Vitamin B3, so probably don't do it if you can tolerate the 5% concentration, and want results fast.



The serum itself is whitish in colour. Spreads and absorbs quickly. Yada yada. Nothing special about it's texture, however I'd like to highlight it has a soft lavender scent which I really enjoy. It's very soft and nothing offensive or long lasting.

Apologies as I do not have before and after photos. I can only tell you over the 2-3 months I've been using it, I noticed a slow but slight improvement in my face. It's less blotchy, less rashy, and less red in general. The good days are longer and bad days relatively shorter. I still have a long way to go though!

I can't be sure if it's just because of this B3 serum alone, or the combined effects of using the Avene Skin Recovery Cream, but I like it enough to repurchase it because I believe in it. USD14 for 60ml is a very reasonable price and I'd like to keep it in my routine until I find something better.
Definitely gonna be a repurchase item.
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The natural alternative to petroleum jelly, but better.

Where shall I begin to sing praises about Shea butter? I love it, and can't live without it now. Of course, it has its short coming, but I've since learnt how to overcome that.

I've read so much about the benefits of Shea butter on dry skin in the past (pretty much a nutritious skin moisturizer that can help repair skin), and finally got to try it recently as I found an affordable option on iHerb. They have an 207ml version so that's what I bought to try. I don't know if I'll like it so it's safer to go with the smaller option.

On the sides of the bottle are description and instructions of the product.



On the bottle, it reads
Condition: Dry or rough skin in need of moisture, especially on tougher areas such as the elbows, knees and feet.

Suggested Use: Gently apply as desired, paying close attention to dry or rough areas, reapply as needed.

If you ever used Shea butter before, you'd realize "gently apply" is not really possible. The Shea butter is pretty much multi purpose - it can moisturizing your skin, scalp, and even hair if you want to.

The whole set of description is also available on its iHerb page.



Shea butter is a solid at room temperature (30 degrees C in Singapore), but will soften around body temperature. The label also mentions the formation of fat crystals that may change the colour or texture of the product, but it doesn't affect its function. In particularly cold country, it might be useful to warm it slightly till soft to facilitate application of the Shea butter.

They suggest placing in a pan of warm water, or microwaving to soften the Shea butter. But who has the time for that all day!? I have clever solutions for you later!



Here's an embarrassing photo of my almost finished tub of Shea butter. But this is only proof that I've been using and loving it! On the right is a tiny plastic spatula I use to scrape some products every time I use it. The Shea butter has an off white colour, and no scent at all. I suspect they have removed any odour during the refinement process. On the iHerb page, it claims to be hexane free.


Keep staring and you'll notice it changes!

On my hand, it starts out as a soft butter. Rubbing it and spreading it on my palms feels luxurious - it nourishes my dry skin without any heaviness. You can even observe a slight sheen on my palms, not the overly greasy kind!

I don't know if it makes any sense to talk about the fatty acid profile of Shea butter. If you're interested in the technical details, I'm sure google can guide you to appropriate websites that can enlighten you. Forgoing all the potential benefits of individual fatty acids, I can vouch for its ability to keep my skin soft all night long. It really locks it in damn well.

Some people prefer raw Shea butter, but I read that refined Shea butter has a longer shelf life and is less prone to oxidation, which is something I've observed as well. Compared to body oils I've used in the past, I notice my clothes doesn't really have that rancid oil smell.Also, since I'm using this mainly to lock in serious moisture, I have no issue using a refined Shea butter.

Comparing it to Vaseline petroleum jelly, I prefer the Shea butter a lot more because it has equal emollient capabilities, but feels less heavy? I don't feel like it's cloaking my skin. Sometimes my skin feels warm after applying some Vaseline. Also, the Shea butter has more slip to it, allowing it to spread out more thinly.

Only draw back? It's rock solid consistency especially when the room temperature drops below 20 degrees Celcius. Using a spatula helps for sure, and that is one of the ways I've used to circumvent this problem.



Introducing the Shea sticks!



The other solution I've found is to put them into old lip balm tubes. This is the best application method I can currently think of. Instead of scraping the product, all I have to do is to glide the Shea stick onto my skin. Or, I can also choose to swipe it across my finger or palms, smooth it out evenly before gently patting it on my face. The warmth of my palms really helps to soften it further, feeling luxuriously rich.

Making it is extremely easy, it's just a matter of melting, pouring, and freezing. If you like, you can even add in a few drops of your favourite essential oil!

As you can see I'm already about to finish this tube of Shea butter. About to clean and refill them (I have more than one sticks so I don't have prepare another batch too frequently). They've become a staple in my skincare routine, and I never leave house without it. I feel safe knowing it's in my bag because I can use it to hide any dry patches that aren't ready to shed just yet. I'm still rather self conscious about my dry skin, so if a small item like this could help, why not?
Have you tried Shea butter before? What are you thoughts?
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So thoroughly used I hardly have any left!

This is not my first encounter with Argan oil. After venturing into Rosehip seed oil years ago, I've decided to give Argan oil a try because I read that it's lighter than Rosehip seed oil. This is actually my second bottle of Acure Argan oil!



Acure has 4 variations - original, rose, citrus, and coconut. This one is rose scented, but do not be fooled - it contains a blend of fragrances such as Orange, Rose Geranium, Lemongrass, and Rose flower oil. In fact, I find the rose scent to be so subtle as it's overpowered by the Orange scent. It still smells nice, it's just NOT the rosy scent I expected. Be warned!



On the back of the bottle are some instructions:
Apply small amont to palm, rub hands together, then apply to desired area. If using in hair, work it through to the ends.

I think it needs just one more step: to inhale deeply after rubbing hands together to enjoy the scent!



I really like the glass bottle, as it has a frosted finish. Makes it feel more luxurious? Having tried dropper bottles, I realize i prefer pump bottles more because it reduces the tendency for the oils to oxidize as there is limited contact between the left over oil and air. An older bottle of Rosehip seed oil actually oxidized over time because I don't always close the bottle tightly. My bad I know! It's just less convenient. I've since washed and reused my first bottle of Argan oil (with dish soap) to house some vegetable glycerin now! Complete with a handwritten label :)

I noticed they have changed the packaging a while ago, so it's no longer a frosted glass bottle :( Perhaps they are worried that this packaging doesn't prevent again UV degradation?



Also, I like that it has a locking mechanism that prevents accidental pumping action, particularly useful when you're travelling with it. Just twist in the direction as indicated on the top of the pump and you can switch from open to lock easily.



Even though I really like this packaging, I do have a small complaint about the pump itself - for some reason, there will be oils collecting in the crevices. I've added a small arrow pointing to a thin layer of oil. It's not supposed to be there, I think? I have to remove the top part of the pump and clean it on several occasions. I suspect it malfunctions when I do not do a full pump. Sometimes I only want a small drop of oil so I'd only press the pump half way down.



The oil has a pale golden tint in the bottle, but appears colourless when it's on my palm. It's very runny, spreads easily between my palms and applies easily. I find that lightly pressing my palms against my face is a pretty good way to apply the oil, instead of rubbing it around. I'd concentrate it around my eyelids, cheeks, and lip area, places that get dry easily. Whatever is left is then pressed onto my forehead, jaw, and neck. I find one pump sufficient for my entire face and neck.

Typically, I apply this as a last step after my creams and serum. If I were to apply this on its own onto my dry skin, it wouldn't help much. The Acure Argan oil is a wonderful oil, but it is by no means a miracle oil. It has all the moisture sealing properties of other oils, with the exception of its lightness. I do find that it is slightly more lightweight than the Rosehip seed oil.

In a nutshell, the Acure Argan Oil in Rose scent is a wonderfully lightweight oil to use on pre-moisturized skin. The scent is more citrus than rose, but it doesn't take away from the fact that its has a relaxing scent that can enhance the overall experience. At USD9.34 each (it's price actually dropped over the years!), it's an extremely good buy.
Repurchase? HELL YES.
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My thoughts after finishing it (it only took a month).

I've just finished up this 400ml bottle of lotion, so it's a good time to do a review on it because I really want to cut it up to reach the bits that are still stuck onto the inside walls before I declare it empty so I can throw it away. So frugal.

The LRP Lipikar Fluide belongs to their Lipikar line, which is formulated for dry skin. I am interested in this line because it contains Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide), which I have recently found to be really awesome for chronically dry skin. Research has shown that it soothes the skin while stimulating the production of ceramides within the skin to strengthen its skin barrier function! Looks like something that will benefit me, right? My skin is so dry and damaged, it feels good scratching almost any part of my body.

Guardian happened to be running a sale a while back, so instead of S$29.90, I only paid S$24 (for 400ml) after their 20% discount. It's more affordable than the Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Moisturizer (S$49.90 for 300ml). Granted, the latter contains ceramides that Lipikar Fluide doesn't. I'll write about that in another entry because I actually DO like the Cetaphil Restoraderm Moisturizer.


They have another product in the same line, the Lipikar Baume AP+, which seems like an even better option for my eczema, but I could not commit to the price of S$56.90 for 400ml. At that price point, I feel like I need a tester to try out extensively before deciding if I want to drop that much dough on it.



On the bottle, it reads:

Indications: Skin sensitivity and dryness in babies, children and adults.
Innovation: A moisturizing formula concentrated in Niacinamide to instantly soothe and protect skin from external aggressors. Within an ultra-light texture to facilitate and speed up daily application. Tested on atopy skin.
Use: Apply 1-2 times a day in light massaging strokes to face and/or body skin pre-cleansed with a gentle soap-free product.

The ingredients are:
AQUA / WATER,
GLYCERIN
NIACINAMIDE
DIMETHICONE
PARAFFINUM LIQUIDUM / MINERAL OIL
CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE
BRASSICA CAMPESTRIS OLEIFERA OIL / RAPESEED SEED OIL
DIMETHICONOL
SODIUM HYDROXIDE
AMMONIUM POLYACRYLDIMETHYLTAURAMIDE / AMMONIUM POLYACRYLOYLDIMETHYL TAURATE
DISODIUM EDTA
CAPRYLYL GLYCOL
XANTHAN GUM
ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER
BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII BUTTER / SHEA BUTTER
PHENOXYETHANOL

As you can see, Niacinamide is the 3rd ingredient in the list. I can't find a definitive amount of Niacinamide it contains, but their Lipikar Gel-Fluide contains 4%, so I guess that's a good ball park figure to work with.

Let's move on to the texture and feeling of this product.

Viscosity: It is very spreadable, so one pump could easily cover both of my arms without much effort. I like that a lot because it reduces the chances of me rubbing it in too hard just to spread it around. The product has quite some slip to it, and I believe it can be attributed to the dimethicone.



Texture: The product has an almost gel like structure in a sense that it kind of holds a shape after I pumped into onto my palms. However, once you rub it into your palms, it feels watery. It kind of reminds me of the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, but a little stiffer.

Colour: In the photo, it looks opaque white, but it's more like a translucent white colour. It also has no fragrance, but it does have a soft scent. I guess it's just the smell of the ingredients? it is not off putting at all.

After feeling: As the moisturizer is rather light weight, it absorbs very quickly and doesn't leave me sticky. The downside to that is it is not moisturizing enough for when my skin is extremely dry (the shedding phase).

Longevity: Depending on the condition of my skin, it can vary from minutes to hours. On a bad day with extremely dry and flaky skin, it keeps it moisturized for 10-15 minutes? On the better parts of my body, my skin feels moisturized for 6-8 hours.

Usage: I use it once every night after my shower, about 4 pumps for my entire body (1 for my arms, 1 for my torso, 1 for my thighs, and 1 for my calves). It has lasted me about 4 weeks?

The first time I used this product, I have a lot of broken skin so it stung like a bitch. Over the course of a month, I notice my skin condition did improve in a sense that I have a lot less broken skin. My skin is moisturized and the healthier parts actually stayed moisturized with the help of this cream. I can't attest to the soothing part, because I don't typically use it during an itchy moment. I use this at night after my shower, and I must say, I think it does soothe my skin quite a bit because there will be moments when I caress my skin and it doesn't feel gratifying as though I'm scratching an itch - it just feels normal.


Will I repurchase this? Probably, if I can get it at the discount price :) Spending S$24 every month for calmer skin is worth it, and something I can afford.
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Why only two weeks? Because sensitive skin.

This entry is long over due, as I've received this along my other iHerb purchase in November of 2017. iHerb was having a Korean beauty sale, if I remember correct it was a 15% discount, so I got this for SGD17.35 instead of the usual SGD20.41 (it's now a little more expensive at SGD25 .43 though, for reasons unknown to me). It's a good deal!

I wanted to give this product a try because I read on reddit how it helped soothe redness in other users' skin. I have plenty of redness on my face, in fact, my entire face is red, except my nose. If this could bring down the redness, it'd be worth a try.




This snail mucin essence comes in a plastic pump bottle, very much different from the Mizon AIO Snail Repair Cream, which comes in a glass container. Price wise, after the discount, the COSRX is a little more affordable ($17+ vs $21+). Also, pump bottles are slightly more hygienic as there is no direct contact with the product within the bottle.



The official description of the product:
Formulated with 96% Snail Secretion Filtrate (Mucin), this essence protects the skin from moisture loss while keeping the skin texture smooth and healthy.
Compared to Mizon AIO which has 92% mucin, the COSRX contains a little bit more of that slimy goodness. Also, it contains lesser ingredients, which I thought would be a plus for my sensitive skin.



The pump is easy to use, but deposits a little too little product in one pump. Is it because I have a big face, that's why I require more product?



On the bottle, there's only Korean description. For English description, refer to the outer packaging (which I've thrown out before taking a photo).



This is how much one pump gives me. One tiny splooch. I need 2 pumps to comfortably cover my entire face and neck. It has a watery consistency, yet still a little viscous and slimy. I feel this is more slimy than Mizon's AIO. Then again, the COSRX is a in liquid form, while the AIO is in a gel form.

It spreads very easily and is absorbed almost instantly. It has no emollients as far as I can feel, because if i do not top up my normal face cream quick enough, my skin feels tight and taut again. Although it has sodium hyaluronate in the formula, that stuff alone is insufficient for my parched skin.

The COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence does an amazing job at giving my skin a surge of moisture, but doesn't nothing to keep it that way. With that said, it's meant as an essence that boosts the hydration of your skin when coupled with your other face creams. 

I've only tried it for 2 weeks because it started stinging my face. What I did not know is that whenever I clean my face in the shower, I create a lot of micro abrasions that I can't see with my eyes (I have a lot of dry flakes that I try to exfoliate while in the shower). While the product felt great on my skin the first week, it slowly began to sting starting from the second week.

:( This is a no for my sensitive skin. I have no idea what's going on with my face right now. I can only describe it as dry, red, and flaky. I do not have any before and after images, but if there were, it'd look a bit better at the end of the first week, then a little worse at the end of the 2nd week because it stung my face.

On the iHerb page, there is a list of warnings, one of which states
Do not use on damaged or broken skin
So.. That's me! I've since passed this on to my brother since he has dry skin, but his skin ain't broken like mine! But he didn't use it consistently enough for me to tell you it made a huge improvement to his dry and oily skin.

Should you try this? If you have pretty normal skin that needs a little boost of moisture, have tried other snail products before and like its effects, and if iHerb is running another promotion on Korean beauty, then yes you should! Otherwise, maybe you could skip this. No one really needs a 10 step skin care routine, for reals. Unless you have too much time on your hand, or too much money to spend?

Unrelated Note

Thanks for staying with me after almost 2 months of inactivity on this blog. I went back to HK in December to visit my family, I did not bring my laptop back consciously because I just wanted to have something like a digital detox. After I got back, I was busy with other stuff. Plus, I haven't been using much new stuff in my skin care so I have nothing to talk about. 

Also, photobucket (the photo hosting service I've been using forever) recently axed their old paid plans, so I'm left stranded in an awkward situation where if I do not pay their new plan price (USD599 a year), I can no longer host my images using photobucket. This just paralyzed me because it's like being held hostage. All of the past entries are built from photos hosted on photobucket. Heck, even parts of my blog skin are kept visible because I hosted on photobucket. Till now, I still do not dare to take a look at the plight of my blog. I would hate to see all the photos unavailable. I hate knowing it will take a tremendous amount of work to relocate all my photos, and then to relink every single one of them. FML. I'm just paralyzed by the amount of work it'd take to fix this silly issue, and I have yet to think of a better idea yet. So, in the mean time I'll just look forward and make sure I host my new images elsewhere. I don't even make 599 a year from the ads displayed on my blog, and to pay such a huge amount for a hobby blog just doesn't make sense to me. 

With that out of the way, I have been trying new skin care products for the past 2 months and I think I have something to write about soon! 

Once again, thank you so much for reading.
Karman.
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