Nov 26, 2014

Timeless Christmas Gifts : All-time Classic Fragrances

Christmas is finally on its way! It is my favourite time of the year and I can't wait. There's many great things great about Christmas, but one of them is definitely the Christmas shopping. You know what I'm talking about.

I think that perfumes will always be such a great gift for the sisters and girlfriends. Not just any perfumes though, I'm talking about the classics. 

You know how you're wearing a new perfume, and suddenly a male someone, stops and goes, "You smell good today.". Us ladies here would know that such scenarios are rare. Men are hardly the most observant when it comes to hair, makeup and even fragrances. Well, at least where I come from. This I believe, is the ultimate test that any perfume must pass before earning it's title as a 'Timeless classic'. This wasn't just my observation alone, conversations I had with other ladies too, confirmed this.

Nov 21, 2014

Clear Skin & Anti-aging : Exfoliation Is Key ( AHAs)

Clear skin and anti-ageing? Yes! To those unaware, AHAs can both help alleviate troubled skin and signs of ageing. 

So what is AHA? 

AHA stands for Alpha-Hydroxy acids. It commonly includes Lactic acid & Glycolic acid but it can also come in the form of Malic acid, Tartaric acid and Citric Acid.

It basically acts as a chemical exfoliant to gently slough away dead skin cells on the skin's surface while stimulating cell turnover. It is even said to stimulate collagen and elasticity of the skin. This can reduce appearances of wrinkles and may even reverse the effects of photo-aging. It is for this reason that AHAs have become a popular ingredient in anti-ageing products.

How does it help breakouts? 

Well, studies have shown that AHA has the ability to reduce acne lesions. (source) However, AHA only works on the surface on the skin, which may not be enough for the breakouts that are ongoing beneath. I mentioned in my post: Clear Skin: Exfoliation is Key (salicylic acid) that BHA has the ability to reach into the pore itself. That is why there are an increasing number of products which have combined both AHA and BHA to reap both benefits. (I like to call them hybrids) I will discuss such products below. 

The types of AHA to consider: 

I will only discuss lactic acid, glycolic acid, malic acid and citric acid because these are the types of AHAs that are more commonly found on the market. Although all belong to the same family of acids, I found them to be quite distinct in their action.

The type of AHA suitable on your skin would definitely depend on your skin's tolerance. Do take note that if you were to use any type of retinol/adapalene regularly, your skin would be less tolerant to the various acids too.

Glycolic acid: 

I personally don't enjoy using too much of glycolic acid. I found it to be the harshest acid out of the four. I don't recommend anyone to start using AHAs with this acid for this reason. Nor would this be suitable for those with sensitive or delicate skin too.

 I can usually tell when a product has glycolic acid because I really do feel the bite. However, I do find that this delivers the most impact in the shortest period of time. 

Lactic acid & Malic acid:

If you're like me, and you plan to include AHAs in your skincare routine in the long term, then you might like lactic acid and malic acid. Albeit gentle, these acids are effective as well. I would say that it took a few months to see the transformation, but the wait was definitely worth it. 

Recently, I've noticed that malic acid have been growing in popularity. You would have probably seen them in apple-related products like apple enzyme peels, apple cleansers and so on. I've talked about my holy grail (HG) / staple/ must-have skincare item : Apple Cider Vinegar here.

Citric acid:
I know that citric acid is considered to be an AHA as well, but I actually don't see any of it's effect on my skin. Maybe it's just me? For this reason, I can't recommend this as an AHA. 

Side effects of AHAs: 

Some might experience some mild irritation like redness and stinging of the skin, especially if you're new to the ingredient. Rest assured, it does get better with increased usage.  But do know your skin's tolerance and stop if it gets too much to handle. To be on a safe side, do moisturise after to minimise any irritation to the skin. 

Another important side effect that everybody using AHA should know is the increase in sun sensitivity. This side effect is present even at the low concentration of 4% and the side effect can last a week even after you stop using it. So always wear a sunscreen or use a product that contains both SPF and PA+ to protect from the UVA and UVB rays. I tend to have my AHAs during the night too, just in case.

Nov 19, 2014

I Won A Giveaway!

I love giveaways. I think it's really fun to participate in them. Because, why not? You never know.

A while ago, I participated in a giveaway hosted by Green Consience and I won myself some Leonhardy brushes! They are made from natural bristles I believe, which is really hard to come by here. You can only get such brushes retail from MAC, for an average of S$ 40-70 for face brushes, or get high end ones from Chanel, Bobbi Brown etc. My only natural brush I own is my MAC 129 and the rest are synthetic. So I was really thrilled when I won.

I was also really thankful for Karin, for sending it from Germany all the way to Singapore. I can't imagine the postage fees, so thank you Karin! It took almost two weeks to get here, and I'm so excited to test it out these few months. So far so good though!

So heres to entering more giveaways, and hopefully having one myself!


New post will be up in 2 days!

Nov 14, 2014

Clear Skin : Exfoliation Is Key part I (Salicylic acid)

Every one needs to exfoliate their skin. It is so important that we slough away those dead skin cells and stimulate cell turnover on our skin. This will help you achieve clearer skin because these dead skin cells could potentially clog those pores. Clogged pores could lead to milia, whiteheads and blackheads.

I know when I say exfoliation, many tend to have the impression of physical exfoliators which have those beads that scratch the surface of the skin. Exfoliators don't have to come in the form of exfoliating beads. Increasingly, there is a whole new market dedicated to chemical exfoliators. I'm talking about salicylic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid and retina/retinol.

Do you remember trying a product for the first time, and it gave you the softest, smoothest skin that made you fall in love with the product? Chances are, they have chemical exfoliators inside.

I have found that many companies secretly put one of these exfoliators into their products because they know us ladies love products that takes our skin to a whole new level. I remember trying out the La Roche-Posay Sensi White Cleanser, and I immediately fell in love with how smooth it made my skin feel. Only to find later that it was because of the salicylic acid added inside!

People who know me will know I have a big heart for chemical exfoliators. I love it, I always recommend it and I use it every single day. What pains me is that products specially labelled "Exfoliator" are way overpriced. This post will hope to show you that there are now tons of companies who add effective chemical exfoliators into every-day products. Exfoliators doesn't have to be expensive, at least not anymore. In fact, my holy grail exfoliators are all drugstore.

Shocking, I know.

Be warned, this post will be a long one. Bear with me here because I have scoured tons of drugstores, websites and high-end places hoping to offer to the ladies ( and gentlemen who may be considered) a whole range of products that would cater to the different needs, and budget of different people.

I'm going to start it all off with the chemical exfoliators first. Mainly because this is the component most ladies are unaware of, and also because this is the most exciting part.

Salicylic Acid 

A type of Beta-Hydroxy Acid ( BHA), this product is commonly used in acne-fighting products because of its ability to get right down into your pores to clean things out. Most products with salicylic acid tend to contain only 0.5 % salicylic acid. The better ones offer a 1-2% salicylic acid, with 2% being the maximum you should go. I know a handful of people on the internet have tried salicylic acid, and claim that it didn't work on their skin. I believe that most likely, the salicylic content in their products were not potent enough.

From experience, I've found that salicylic acid is the type of ingredient that 'secretly works behind closed doors'. That is, you won't be able to see it treating your current breakouts. Rather, it works to slow or prevent future breakouts. 

Even though this ingredient is the most readily accessible in both drugstores and sometimes high-end places, those offering higher potency salicylic acid are not. There are also an increasing number of what I call, hybrids. Where they combine both AHA and BHA in one product, which I will mention the products in detail in Part II.