I don’t often blog about skincare because it’s one of those things you have to try out for a couple of months – almost comparable to being on casual dates – and if it works for you, it’s a keeper and if it doesn’t, well, shit.
My skin has been retrograding towards the bratty, pimply sort that reigned in my 18-year-old rockstar phase. It’s frustrating trying to deal with spots at my age when everyone tells you acne should stop when you’re in your early 20s or you’re probably doing something wrong. Lies. I just happen to have overactive hormones that enjoy attacking my chin every month, that’s all. It sucks but I know people have it far worse than a few zits on the chin so I really should be thankful. I have gone through a ton of products to get to the current line-up you see here and I’m pretty happy with it – I think it’s almost perfect, it just needs that one amazing, to die for product that erases zits and the angry mark they leave behind in 24 hours. We can all dream
1. Naruko Tea Tree Oil Out Acne Cleanser – Nadz’s been telling me all sorts of great things about the Naruko skincare line and she bought me a bottle of tea tree serum to try, swearing it would absorb instantly into the skin, your skin will be matte all day, miracles will happen etc. I can tell you there were no miracles, only break-outs. It’s stupefying because everyone seems to rave about the damn serum but my skin just hated it – that’s how picky it is. Anyway, one of my readers, Shafah, works in Taiwan (where Naruko’s from) and she got me their blackhead remover to try. Now, that’s a product I like. I don’t have blackheads but I like using as a t-zone mask and mm, what a scent.
Not willing to give up on Naruko, I picked up this cleanser before I left. I’ve been using it for about two months now and hrm I don’t know..it’s clay-based and has the same beautiful scent as the blackhead remover but I’m starting to think it might be a little too drying for my skin? I like it too much to throw it away though so I use it on nights when I feel my skin’s gone cray cray with its oil production. Also works well as a mask too LOL.
2. Sukin Cream Cleanser – HOLY GRAILLLLLL. It all started with my roommate actually. My skin was a little dry one night so I asked her if I could use her cleanser instead. She’s a bit of an Estee Lauder maniac and her mom recently got her this tube of EL’s cream cleanser for dry skin. Oh my god. I never knew something so heavenly existed. It’s got plenty of squalane in it so you’re supposed to tissue it off instead of washing your face – which I did – and I woke up with nice, plumped up skin.
That same morning I had a skincare breakthrough: why haven’t I considered cream cleansers before? My skincare routines were always caught up in the cyclical remove oil, remove remaining grime and kill all spots. Maybe I really was doing it wrong – I was just stripping my skin of everything else and perhaps, if I focused on skincare that was gentle to the skin, things would get better. It did.
I didn’t want to spend so much money on the Estee Lauder cleanser and I reckoned it was going to be too rich for everyday use anyway so I bought this $10 alternative. Sukin’s an Australian skincare brand and they’re known for their paraben and sulphate-free products. I’m pretty sure you can find it in Singapore’s Watsons? I’ll get back to you on that.
The cleanser’s made from a blend of rosehip, jojoba and avocado oil with some cocoa and shea butter in it so if you have really sensitive skin (or are acne prone!), this is going to be so good for your face. You can choose to wash it off or remove it with cotton wool/tissue so I usually wash it all off in the morning but sometimes when I feel my skin needs some moisturizin’, I tissue it off. Scent-wise, Estee wins but the Sukin cleanser’s scent is a nice homely orange-vanilla. It’s just hard to win against a cleanser that smells like the petals of a hundred flowers went into each bottle LOL. But hey, at $10 – Sukin, I adore you.
3. Jurlique Calendula Cream – This is tons better than the Naruko serum imo. It’s a bit scary out of its pretty tube packaging: a very thick yellow cream that smells like plastic. But you’re only supposed to use a tiny amount, warm it with your fingers and press it into your skin. Hey presto, it absorbs instantly, soothes the skin and has such a nice matte finish. The perfect moisturiser for day. Calendula is also good for acne too, I hear. This picture also reminds me I’m running low and need to buy a new tube stat. For the first time in my life, I will be repurchasing something other than pimple cream – you know it’s good.
4. Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant – A trial tube I purchased from eBay, it’s a 15 minute mask that actually does what it says on the tube. Will be investing in a full-sized tube when I run out.
5. Jurlique Herbal Recovery Night Cream – If you think night creams are heavy, very emollient and the recipe for a potential break-out – this stellar product from Jurlique breaks that stereotype. I can never stick to moisturizers because all the previous ones I’ve tried never seem to sink into the skin but srsly, JURLIQUE CHANGES EVERYTHING. Bad news is it’s slightly expensive but worth every damn penny. That scent, that lightness – perfection.
6. Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist – I really have to credit my best girl, Amy, for introducing Jurlique to me. I never took notice of the brand until she gifted me the Calendula cream, this toning mist and a truckload of other Jurlique samples for Christmas. My skin has never looked better. The rosewater balancing mist is probably the best rose-scented item ever, after Paul Smith’s Rose, and I am OBSESSED with it. So obsessed, I already have another back-up next to it LOL
7. Alba Botanica Papaya Enzyme Mask – This works like the Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant except you’re only meant to leave it on for 5 minutes. I can’t decide which one works better though: I think the Dermalogica one is good for clearing zits while this papaya mask seems better at refining and clearing pores. This mask has a sticky gel texture to it so I only use it in the shower.
8. Epiduo gel and Clean & Clear Persa Gel 10 % – Holy grail zit busters. Epiduo gel is prescription-only so you have to see a doctor before you can get it. Unfortunately, it isn’t available in Singapore when I checked in February so boo ;( Epiduo’s pretty intense and it will make you peel like crazy but the results are well worth it! The Persa gel works really well too, without the peeling side-effect, and I’m using it so I can slowly wean off my dependency on the epiduo gel.
9. Shu Uemura Skin Purifier: still the best make-up remover ever since its conception ;p You can read a more comprehensive and comparative review here.
Not pictured: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (review here) – it was in the shower so I forgot to take a photo of it lol. My love for it is still going strong!
Also, remember my holy grail Neutrogena scrub? I had to stop scrubbing my face with it because I now use the Clarisonic Mia when cleansing so I’m not allowed to use scrubs with particles in it sigh. Such a shame really, it’s one of Neutrogena’s best products and I would recommend it to anyone who suffers from hormonal acne, or acne in general.
Good god, this entry is way too long and look, you’ve read it all! Thank you so much for reading it all/tried to read it all but tl;dr halfway through LOL. It’s nice to be back here, rambling about my favourite things and with everyone of you as a willing audience..k this is beginning to sound like an obituary piece. It’s just been a hard month for me so far: they say the last year of uni is always the hardest and ugh, every bit of it is true. Still, I will never give up this space – it reminds me that yes, I am capable of creating beautiful things, words or pictures, and I take comfort in that somewhere in the world, you share the same dreams as I do.
This entry is for Sarah Karenina who suggested I share my skincare routine with you guys in my previous entry. Thanks for reading, Sarah! x
Not everyone has perfect skin. And that is precisely why I don’t believe in beauty miracles, not for my skin anyway. If you’re lucky enough to have a minimal skincare routine and still have beautiful skin, brb while I stab my pores with a miniscule fork. I beg you to lie and tell me you swear by an amazing $1,000 cream made from fermented marine kelp, or if you like, just name any cult skincare product from the top of your head that my paltry student allowance can never afford. I’ll mope around for a bit but it’s going to make me even more determined to discover the right, affordable products for my skin.
That’s been my mission since the start of the year. I won’t lie. Ever since I started university, the condition of my skin has just gone south. It’s the change of weather, increased levels of stress and frankly, when you’ve got to juggle cleaning, cooking and writing essays all at once, you don’t have time to think about beauty and vanity (yes, they are interchangeable!). But things are a little different now. I’ve gotten used to my life in Melbourne, I know roughly how long it’ll take for me to write an essay and I can whip up some fricking good pasta in under half an hour. Now, the last thing I have to deal with? My skin.
The first product I’m going to review in my illustrious search for the best is Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Power-Clear Scrub. I’m actually surprised how well this scrub has worked for me, considering my decade-long hate campaign against Neutrogena. I first used Neutrogena in my early teens and uh, it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Their products did not work for my skin and might have aggravated my oily teen skin even further if I remember correctly. Oh but this scrub I love so much! You can see from the photo I’m actually about to finish it too and that’s incredible because I usually abandon a product after a month to try a different one lol.
The scrub has 2% salicylic acid in it to combat pimples but honestly, I don’t think it’s the salicylic acid that’s helping my skin: the scrub also contains an unlisted percentage of glycolic acid. I don’t know what it is about glycolic acid but my skin tends to behave better when it’s been fed teeny amounts of it. Of course, the scrub is by no means a miracle product. While it doesn’t completely eradicate acne, it has dramatically lessened the number of zits I get during my monthly PMS-induced break-outs. On that note, the painful hormonal cysts I get on my chin during said period of facial turmoil have disappeared completely which makes this a phenomenal product in my eyes. Plus, it has the most soothing cucumber scent!
I use the scrub 3 times a week and leave it on like a mask for 20 minutes, allowing the glycolic acid to sink in before washing it off. I think it might be too harsh to use it more than that but since I am quite the obsessive scrubber, I use my Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant on other days. I’m still looking for other products that would help me in my quest for good skin (e.g. the perfect pimple cream) so if you guys have any recommendations, please let me know in the comments
While I can’t say I’ve tried SK-II’s Facial Essence, I’m halfway through a bottle of the line’s Facial Treatment Clear Lotion and I like it enough as a toner to put it on top of my beauty round-up list for 2010. It’s got SK-II’s secret Pitera shiz and the added benefits of AHAs to help exfoliate the skin! It doesn’t have alcohol on the ingredient list (as far as I can remember, I threw the box away months ago) which makes it really gentle on skin. My face has been a wreck lately for reasons beyond my control. Yes. Hormonal acne is not something to be trifled with because even your peroxide of choice wouldn’t stop it. Grit your teeth, apply massive amounts of concealer and try to be as gentle as possible when treating the affected areas. This toner does its job.
After I ran out of LUSH’s Angel’s on Bare Skin, I wanted something even more gentler because winter was just sucking out all the moisture from my skin. Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant is SOOO GOOD. It comes out as a fine powder when you pour it out of the tube (no Kate Moss cocaine jokes please!). It gets activated by a few droplets of water and you end up with this slightly foamy paste. I know it’s a little weird to be scrubbing your face with something that doesn’t feel the slightest bit abrasive but it does work!
The powder’s got some rice-based enzymes in it, as well as salicylic acid which masquerades as over-the-counter acne medication most of the time but it also happens to be a great chemical exfoliator. Don’t be put off by the inclusion of salicylic acid though, the Daily Microfoliant is so gentle you can use it everyday. YouTube reviewer Lollipop26 believes the Daily Microfoliant worked so much better for her than her Clarisonic, check it out
I’m trying to fade the red spots I get from old zits as well and the Face Shop’s Post-Acne Nighttime Eraser is a nice product for that. I’m not sure if it’s working or not because I’ve only had this for about 1.5 months now and while my marks are still there, the redness has gone down a bit. It smells really soothing too, I would slap it on even if it doesn’t work LOL. I’ll update you guys on this product when I finish the tube…eventually.
My first Bobbi Brown palette from the extremely generous Catherine! She actually bought the same palette and when I expressed my amazement at its colours, she sent me one for Christmas! I had no idea she was sending me something major so I had a “OH MY GOD SHE DID NOTTTTTTT” moment when I tore the wrapping open lol THANK YOU CAT <33333 Totally digging the slick black packaging too, that crest is hot!
Bobbi Brown Day to Night Warm Eye Palette from L to R: Ivory, Oat, Espresso, Burnt Sugar, Velvet Bronze, Black Plum. I’m particularly in love with the Burnt Sugar shade, it’s a beautiful metallic gold-brown! Cat’s written a fantastic review on this palette, complete with swatches so I shan’t go into too much detail – read what she has to say ;D
I noticed I have a lot more natural-looking FOTDs this year than in the past when I used to be more experimental with colours lol, perhaps I really have grown up omg. Sadly, my skin doesn’t want to get out of its awkward teen stage *stabs* Anyway, this dark brown FOTD has flashes of gold in it for instead of layering the colour on a neutral coloured base, I used my Kryolan Aqua Pearlshade in Gold to create a subtle duochrome effect whoo.
MAC Studio Fix foundation in NC25
MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC25
La Femme Glow On Nectar Peach Blush
Kryolan Aqua Pearlshade in Gold as a base
Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in Burnt Sugar
MAC eyeshadow in Amber Lights
MAC eyeshadow in Shroom as highlight
Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in Honey
MAC Pearlglide eyeliner in Wolf
MAC Browset in Girl Boy
Majolica Majorca Lash Expander NEO
Good old Nivea lipbalm!
I like the eyeliner in this look as well, dark grey and gold make a beautiful pairing ;D
Announcement: tea noir will be on a short break this week, I’ll be heading to Malaysia tomorrow to meet my BFF Aaron for the first time! I hope everything goes well and I’ll be back soon to tell you what happens when two fierce bitches meet LOL I’M PRAYING THE WORLD DOESN’T IMPLODE ON US! x
Also, it’s nearly 3am now I don’t have time to read my entry again so forgive me if I have any typos/grammar issues in this baby! Thanks guys, see you soon.