Jan 26, 2015

The One Thing to Consider Before Using a Make-Up Sponge

Make up sponges have grown vastly popular in the past few years. Ever since the advent of the Beauty Blender, the market have since been flooded with a variety of sponges. From the high-end, we have companies like Dior and Shu Umera boasting the latest high-tech sponges that probably costs way more than what a sponge should ever cost. Whereas on the other spectrum we have knock-offs that only sells for a couple of dollars on eBay.

They are popular for good reasons. The first and most important reason: it leaves your foundation looking airbrushed and seamless. No more nasty cakey make-up!

That being said, I must admit that  have never jumped on board with the whole Make-Up Sponge hype. 

Shocking, I know. 

Let me explain why:

Despite it's easy application and flawless finish it leaves on your skin, I greatly question the hygiene level of constantly having a damp make-up sponge. No, this isn't about foundation residue left on your sponge, this is about bacteria and mould!

Sponges, unlike the old-school brushes, simply takes too long to dry. The emphasis here is no longer the method of cleaning, but the method of drying. Why? It's simple. The longer the sponge stays damp, the greater the chances of it attracting bacteria and mould!

Some ladies I know aren't too bothered with that fact because they are assured of its cleanliness as long as it is physically clean of foundation residues and what not. As with anything in life:

Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there.

Here's some proof:

"The warm, damp and porous nature of kitchen sponges make them an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. In these conditions one bacterium can multiply to more than four million in just eight hours.
This can make them up to 200 times more infested than a lavatory. A study by the University of Arizona found that most sponges in kitchens hold large numbers of bacteria including E.coli and salmonella." - source

Granted, we're not talking about kitchen sponges here. Though the idea is the same - make-up sponges can be indeed warm, damp and they are in fact porous. Yes, even with the best cleaning solutions or microwaving it.

Additionally, the egg-shaped or spherical nature of the sponge further aggravates the drying time. Especially in the core of the sponge. So while it may be dry to touch, the centre of the sponge may still be damp enough to harbour unwanted bacteria.

Not convinced?

Ever found some black specks on your make-up sponge? Those are mould! It happened to me on the second day that I've bought one. Despite how new it was, I couldn't bear the thought of having mould come in contact with my skin. With great reluctance, I threw it out and never looked backed since.

Take heart, not all is lost!

There is one way where you can have the similar flawless finish of a make-up sponge all whilst maintaining tip-top hygiene standards for your face.

It's none other than: Disposable Wedge sponges

I'm not talking about any disposable make-up sponges, but the ones that look like a wedge. Sure, for those who have had the Beauty Blender and fallen in love with the soft bouncy texture of the sponge, this is hardly a close substitute. I'm just going to say it: It's not the most fancy nor is it the most appealing sponge you have ever seen. What it is though, the closest hygienic substitute there is to date.

There is a method I use to mimic the bouncing action of the Beauty Blender too.

How I do it:

1. Taking the two ends of the dampened wedge, pinch it together until you get an almost spherical shape on the other end

2. Just like a normal make up sponge, bounce the sponge on a up and down motion until your foundation is blended seamlessly

3. Dispose used sponge after

That's as simple as it gets! I get a 12-piece pack for SGD $2 at Daiso, but I found a 100 piece pack on eBay for USD 6.99 with free shipping here. Though once again, I stress that this is by no means a good substitute for the good ol' Beauty Blender. Rather, the closest alternative that is clean and hygienic.

 I understand that this post is not for everyone, nor will the majority agree with this post. If you've been using a make-up sponge for a long duration now, and have not broken out then then you probably have a great immunity against such things. (Lucky)  I'm just not one of the people whose skin can tolerate such things.

Despite it all, I hope you'd tell me your experiences with make-up sponges and if you've had experienced something similiar. Don't forget to share it on Google+, Twitter and Facebook if you've found this useful!

P.S I have been unable to reply to your comments directly, but I still do reply to all comments. Do check back from time to time to see them, or click 'Notify Me' on the comment box below.

Have a great day ahead!


Jan 7, 2015

The One Skincare Item Every Woman Needs - Apple Cider Vinegar

There are some revolutionary skincare items that will be shared with my children and grandchildren. This is one of them. Along with my favourite mask recipe that you can find here.

Apple Cider Vinegar has been a crucial step to my skin routine for the past 4 years. It was a major game changer when I was still struggling with my acne. It also dramatically changed the way my skin looked and felt.

It helps to reduce and treat breakouts, has anti-bacterial properties, has a naturally occurring Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (AHA) to help to naturally exfoliate the skin which hence give it some anti-aging property. Need I say more? The truth is, I can't live without this. Trust me, I've tried.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

No, it's not those clear vinegar you find in your kitchen cabinet. Apple Cider Vinegar is a light brown liquid which might or might not have brown sedimentation at the bottom. To cut the long story short, it's fermented crushed apple juice, where the sugars in the apples are converted to alcohol which is then allowed to oxidise to acid. It contains acetic acid and some malic acid, lactic acid and citric acid.

How It Works

Antibacterial properties

The acetic acid component in Apple Cider Vinegar have proved to be anti-bacterial. This is great for those who are prone to breakouts as many cases of acne can be attributed to P. acnes bacteria. I talked about how P.acnes bacteria causes acne in my post Clear Skin: The Cause of Breakouts.



Apple Cider Vinegar contains naturally derived Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHA) mainly in the form of malic acid which is a chemical exfoliant. It gently slough away dead skin cells on the skin's surface while stimulating cell turnover. The AHA component have been proven to be effective in treating acne, which is what I attribute my success with Apple Cider Vinegar to.

You can read more about AHA in my post Clear Skin and Anti-ageing: AHA.


pH balance: 

Some sources have noted that Apple Cider Vinegar have the ability to restore the skin's natural pH at 4.5-5.5. They mentioned that our skin may become more alkaline with the regular use of facial cleansers, which may make it more susceptible to acne breakouts.

Another concern that I did not talk about in my posts on Salicylic acid and AHA products is the pH level. The concern is that the products might not be acidic enough for it to genuinely be effective. This has never been a major concern of mine because of my regular use of my Apple Cider Vinegar toner underneath those products.


Like apple juice, Apple Cider Vinegar likely contains some pectin. Studies have found it to promote the growth of epidermal skin cells and hence fight skin ageing. I read about it here


According to various sources, Apple Cider Vinegar also contains some vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin E along with other thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, beta-carotene and lycopene.
This information have not been proven to a great extent. Like many claims on the internet, I would take it with a pinch of salt. 


Said to be high in potassium whilst containing other minerals like sodium, calcium, iron and magnesium. Again, there has been little proof.

Which brand of Apple Cider Vinegar?

My all time favourite is the one by BRAGG. It's raw, unfiltered, organic and certified non-GMO ( Genetically Modified Organism). According to them, the unfiltered vinegar contains the apple peel which is rich in antioxidants. Since it's raw, it is unpasteurised which helps to retain the apple enzymes.

Don't be deceived by the cloudy dirty-looking 'gunk' at the bottom of the bottle too! Those strands are enzyme protein molecules, which are highly regarded for health and nutritional benefits.

How I use it: 

Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

What you'll need:

1. Air-tight glass jar

2. Unfiltered and raw Apple Cider Vinegar (not the clear ones)

3. Cooled green tea/ distilled water


In a air-tight glass jar, mix one teaspoon/tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to 3 teaspoon/tablespoon of room temperature green tea or distilled water.

This is the starting concentration I would recommend to any who are just starting on Apple Cider Vinegar. Chill toner in the refrigerator to minimise any irritation and for a greater pore minimising effect when applied to the skin. The maximum concentration I have tried and will recommend is 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar : 2 tablespoon green tea /distilled water.

Tone using a cotton pad after cleansing, preferably at night. It does smell a bit, hence I wouldn't recommend using it in the day. If the smell gets too much, dilute mixture further.

Note: Using green tea may be great for its anti-oxidising effects, but do note that the 'shelf-life' of your toner will dramatically shorten due to the natural oxidation process that green tea undergoes. I opt for distilled water on lazy days.

Side effects: 

Like any AHA, there may be some minor side effects like stinging or burning that may be felt. Dilute it further if any minor irritations occur. Do not use it on broken skin or it will sting!


Of course, there are still insufficient studies conducted on many of these claims. Like everything else, just because it have not been proven does not make it less true nor more false. I can only share with you my experiences because it helped my skin so much, it'd be a great pity not to.

It's also important to note that like any other product on the market, results varies from person to person. My success may not necessarily translate to yours. A general thumb rule I carry is: you know your skin better than any one else. So if any irritation gets too much, remove and rinse with water.

Do remember to share this post on Google+, Facebook and Twitter if you've found this useful!

Till then,