beauty is not for the lazy

There’s a Chinese saying that goes “there is no ugly woman, only lazy one”. There can’t be any more truth to this.

So I recently started this almost military-style beauty regime which has since kept my skin extremely happy. My beautician who threads my brows even commented that my face has become more radiant recently! *yay*

What is this regimental process? Well, it’s basically a a simple step of putting on a paper mask every night. I’ll wash off the residue after 20 mins of masking, and apply my night serum and cream before heading to head. Yes, it’s really not that miraculous, but it does require a level of commitment to execute it.

The masks which I’ve been using are:

  • My Beauty Diary, a Taiwanese brand. They’ve got a pretty extensive range that’s supposed to boost your skin in different manner and I usually rotate the variety on a daily basis. My favourites from the range are the Black Pearl, the Imperial Bird’s Nest and the Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing

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  • Leaders Insolution, a Korean brand. What I like about this brand is that their masks are the hydrogel type so it fits snugly on your face. I’ve only tried the Aquaringer which is supposed to hydrate the skin, and the Meta-Tox which is used to brighten the skin. The only downside about this brand is that they’re freaking expensive. They cost double of My Beauty Diary; so I only use them once a week.

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Hopefully these provide good tips for better and more radiant skin. Now let’s abandon laziness and strive toward a more beautiful us together!

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Yoghurt Facial

Mini home facial using homemade yoghurt.Clean off makeup and pat face dry.

Soaked up a tiny lump of facial mask in two tablespoons of plain yoghurt, place it carefully onto the face. Leave it for 15 mins. (It drips so it might be a good idea to sit up for that 15mins with an old tee shirt as a bib)

Rinse off and put on any store-bought mask sheet. I used my current favorite from My Beauty Diary’s Black Sea Pearl mask. Leave mask on for 15 mins, wash off and pat on usual routine of toner and moisturiser. (I don’t use night cream)

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Done!

Trying out Sun Milk

Am trying out a newly acquired item from Bangkok’s Boots Pharmacy. It’s the Boots Luminese Sun Protection Milk SPF50/PA+++.

I don’t remember the price but the range of products were on a 3-for-price-of-2 deal that week. So, I picked up 3 bottles of this Sun Milk.

According to the info on the back of the box: “This lightweight sun protection milky lotion is non-greasy and easily absorbed, with a shimmering effect.”

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It is lightER than the other sun protection in my stable but the shimmering effect doesn’t work in Singapore’s scorching heat. After putting it on in the bathroom, I look as if I had run a mile! *sweaty*

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So, I have to pat on some loose powder over this lotion. It works ok if I just pop out for coffee or yoga, not so great for all day cos I’ll still need a more polished look with makeup base, foundation and powder.

Loving Rosehip Oil

A couple of weeks after falling on my hands and knees outside a tyre workshop, my scraped knees are now healing nicely.

Below were the knees a day after the fall. image After the pus had dried up, the scabs started forming and eventually dropped off.
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At the scabbing stage, I started to apply a few drops of rosehip oil around the wounds. The skin around the wounds were getting too stretched and dry-looking for my liking.

Below is how my knee looked now. The wound area is red but smooth, no uneven texture!
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The oil that I had used during this time was meant for my face. Had some issues with dry patches recently due to the awful dry spell.

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It’s the Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil from Pai Skincare based in London. I had picked this up at Pure Tincture in Singapore.

Clearing facial debris

I was in Bangkok last weekend for a stretch of 5 days bumming around the bustling, crowded city enjoying the sights, sounds and smells. Midway, though, my face started spotting tiny oil clots.

I suspected that it was a due to the dry air in the air-conditioned room, sweat from walking around in the humidity during the day AND the fumes and dust from the very heavy traffic I walked with daily.

Back home, I would use the usual lotion cleanser to clean and tiny flakes would soon appear as I massaged the lotion into the skin.

With all that rubbing, more oil clots appeared. The skin was over-stimulated. Sigh.

So, today, I decided to get rid of the dead skin cells using yoghurt.

Took a teaspoon of plain, low-fat yoghurt from my fridge and pasted it all over my cleansed face.

Rested for 10 mins to let the yoghurt work it’s magic, I then cleaned it off with just water and a cotton pad.

My face looked lighter and clearer! Finer pores too, especially the nose area! More info about yoghurt as a facial in this article

I ended the DIY facial with a mask from my stash of My Beauty Diary disposable masks.

Let’s hope that this mini-facial works!

Coconut Head

An acquaintance of mine had raved on Facebook about this particular product a few months ago. When I saw this on clearance for $5 at my local super market, I decided, what the heck, I’ll try it.

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Coconut Shine & Refine Hair Lotion by Desert Essence: It says “100% vegan, gluten-free, and silicon-free”. For some reason, such a description makes me want to eat it.

Anyway… a tiny dollop of this tames the craziest flyaways and unrulyness, without any heaviness! Since I use a flat iron on my hair several times a week (horrible, I know), I first apply Redken ‘Heat Glide’ all over – avoiding the scalp – then I rub some of this lotion into the ends of my hair.

I have to say, my hair has never looked better! Great outcome for an affordable product that is light and doesn’t leave residue!

Talking About Tweezers

I have a grand total of 3 pairs of tweezers bought between 1988 and 2000. How can I remember the years?

From left to right: B+D tweezers, Tweezerman's Teen Tweeze and pink Tweezerman (I guess it's adult tweez?).

From left to right: B+D tweezers, Tweezerman’s Teen Tweeze and pink Tweezerman (I guess it’s adult tweez?).

1988 – the year is stated on the cream-coloured Buch & Deichmann (B+D) tweezers. In its heydays, it had visible ochre-coloured stripes running vertically down the tube. Over the years, with all the handling, the stripes have disappeared. However, the tweezers still work really well and I have no reason to discard it. Love it!

mid- 1990s – I had been to LA and later San Francisco in different years for holidays. I can’t remember on which trip, probably the San Francisco trip, I had dropped by the drug store and picked up the least expensive pair of Tweezerman that I could find. (hey, US Dollars were really high then!)

2000 – My first trip to NYC and for some strange reason, I just wanted something that I had read about in the magazines but couldn’t find in Singapore. So, a pair of full-fledged Tweezerman it was!

Shapes & Sharpness

The B+D tweezer has a slanted tip. I use the tips for fine hairs and the body for not-so-fine hairs. You can see that the Teen Tweeze is a blunt tip, not angled. It’s really gentle on the eye area and grips well. The Pink one, well, it totally means business!

From left to right: B+D, Teen Tweeze and Pink Tweezerman. See how thin the Pink tips are?

From left to right: B+D, Teen Tweeze and Pink Tweezerman. See how thin the Pink tips are?

1. Usage:

For shaping, I like to use the B+D tweezer. It has a slant tip and does a great job of shaping the brows which are over grown. Also competent with neatening, clearing away some fine hairs if I’m too lazy to pick up another pair of tweezers.

For neatening, the Teen Tweeze is good at this. Its blunt tip doesn’t hurt the thin skin in the brow areas as much as the other 2 tweezers but I can’t quite see if it’s gripping the right stray hairs. Hence, I try not to use this for shaping. Only after the shaping has been done and I can see the shape nicely, then I’ll use the Teen Tweeze all over to get rid of the excess hairs.

Best for super fine hairs will be the Pink Tweezerman. Really fabulous! Its slant tip is thin and sharp. Actually, sometimes too sharp that the fine hairs get snipped off instead of pulled out! Together with the magnifying mirror, I can really neaten up my brows nicely. (even better than what the salon can do for me!)

2.  Weight:

The lightest is B+D tweezer. It has a very light-weight metal (stainless steel?) and a nylon/plastic tip. My hands don’t get tired holding this pair of tweezers. (yes, sometimes I take quite a bit of time on one eye cos I worry about over or under tweezing).  The heaviest is the Teen Tweeze even though it’s actually shorter than its Pink cousin. I think it could be in it’s shape – the parts where my finger grip are wider / rounder.

B+D slanted tips

B+D slanted tips

Teen Tweez. See what I mean about weight?

Teen Tweez. See what I mean about weight?

See how sharp these are? The fine hairs don't stand a chance!

See how sharp these are? The fine hairs don’t stand a chance!

3.  Packaging:

I’ve been bringing the B+D with me on trips because it has a tiny footprint and its own cover. Great little package, super convenient.

The 2 Tweezermans have never gone on trips with me. The Teen Tweeze, with its overly-long protective tube, doesn’t fit into a small square pouch like the B+D one. The Pink Tweezerman would fit into the pouch but doesn’t have it’s own cover. So I’ve had to make do by slipping it into a tiny plastic bag. Ugh.

Overall

I’d say that the B+D tweezer is still my go-to tweezers for any jobs. Only when my brows are over grown or unruly, I’ll pull out all 3 along with it’s friends like eyebrow scissors, eyebrow comb, etc.

All pictures above taken with the trusty Nokia E72 (yes, the good old Symbian phone) with a detachable macro lens.

Daily Essentials

“What has it gots in its pocketses?”

I carry some essentials in my purse every day, and here’s what they are:
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1. Make up pouch: Yes, this embroidered, floral pouch is decidedly not “me”, but after leaving my previous make-up pouch at a public bathroom after watching Skyfall, I just used whatever I have. My mother bought this for me from Thailand some years ago.

2. Spare contacts: I can’t drive without my contacts / glasses, so I carry a pair of spare dailies, just in case.

3. Hair ties: 2 elastic hair ties, because… who knows when you’ll need it.

4. L’Oreal Blush: My Chanel / Estee Lauder days are behind me. Hello $9 L’Oreal blush!

5. Hairbrush: Because my hair can get crazy sometimes.

6. Interdental picks: Food-in-teeth can negate a well made-up face. #justsayin’

7. L’Oreal powder foundation: Love the “mineral sheers” series! I usually apply BB cream at home, then powder my face + blusher in the car. 90 seconds and done!

8. Moisturizer: I always carry lotion because dry scaly skin is icky. This is an almost-depleted travel-sized bottle of ‘Rain Kissed Leaves’ by Bath & Body Works that I picked up at the Governor hotel in Madison, WI in erm… 2011.

9. Blotting sheets: Excess shine is no bueno, so I use these Gatsby powdered blotting sheets.

10. Lip balms: Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm – my favorite lip product EVER!, and Clinique’s lipstain in ‘black honey’ that I got for free last year. Burt’s Bees for day time, Clinique’s for night since it’s a little more intense and long-lasting.

And… I desperately need a new make-up pouch!

Facial Cleansing Tools

For daily facial cleansing, I’ve used a few tools to help with my morning and evening routines.

By way of background, here are 3 things that I would / would not do daily:

  1. No foam or soap or any bubbly sort of cleanser for me. I find those too drying and insufficient in clearing stubborn debris caused by perspiration, oil glands, sunblock or light make-up.
  2. I use a liquid cleanser daily. I have a light emulsion for oily-combination skin and a thicker, creamier emulsion for dry skin too. If I’m wearing full make-up (by that i mean foundation, concealer, powder, etc), I’ll use my trusty Shu Uemura oil cleanser. With liquid and oil cleansers, I’ll work in a mini facial massage too.
  3. Almost daily, I’ll pat on a gentle exfoliator (note: pat, not rub furiously) to get rid of dullness. I tend to use organic exfoliator – those with enzymes or yeast. So these just involve me patting, waiting for it to work into skin and wiping off, not rubbing!

(yes, the morning and evening routines are not 1-mins job for me!!!)

So, let’s start on the cleansing tools:

1.  Cotton Pads.  These are by far my favourite cleansing tools.

Plus: They are smooth and gentle on my face. I can firmly swab around the delicate eye areas and all over the face and neck a few times. They clear the oil / creams well and my face feel clean but not dry or taut after the effort.

Minus:  They disintegrate (well, the fibres get all coiled up) after about 3 wipes. Also, cotton is no longer a cheap / mass market commodity the way it was back in the 70s and 80s. I feel TERRIBLE about using cotton daily and chunking it into the bin.

2.  Muslin Cloth or Cotton Handkerchief. My next favourite cleansing tool. These are great for daily use.

Plus:  Hanky dries fast! (cos the muslim cloth that I had was double-layered) And I don’t have to live with burden of guilt.

Minuses:  I actually have to tissue off cream / oil before I cleanse all over with the wet hankie. Not as smooth as the cotton pads but it does the job after a few rounds.

3.  Facial Sponge / Cellulose.  Honestly, they kind of tie at second place for me.

Plus: Don’t need to tissue off the cream / oil! They get the grime out in 3 wipes.

Minuses:  It’s embarrassing but the one in the shower tends to smell. I guess it doesn’t dry as fast as the hanky and coupled with the non-airy bathroom, a community starts to form… Also, sponges and cellulose tend to disintegrate with the daily regime – about 2 to 3 months after. Not as long lasting as hankies.

4.  Disposable Facial Wipes / Wet Wipes (the kinds that they give out at restaurants). I use these when travelling.

Plus: Convenient.

Minuses: They are full of alcohol! ARRRRRGH!!! I would always rinse out as much of their chemicals before I use them.

Oh, just a quickie on using the above tools:  I think I wipe 3 times on my face. First 2 times – small circular motion moving from forehead (one way then the other) down to the chin and neck. Large strokes (left and right) on the 3rd time. Done!

Sickly Nail Polish On Me

Yesterday, I received a nail polish by Innisfree from a client who was gifted this but could not wear it. The colour made her nails looked sickly.

I tried it in me and it looked alright! Not my usual happy colour selection but it gave a muted elegance to my short nails.

It looked good on way to yoga class.

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(Pic above shows before and after)

Let’s see how it performs tonight when I get dressed for a night out. 🙂

Lugging Lipsticks

I’m chronically insecure about lips. As in, I stress myself silly that my lips would flake and peel in humid Singapore without lip balm. *mad*

I had run out of the apartment without lip balm and had to spend the next hour looking for a replacement at the nearest mall. Not a difficult task unless I happen to be in industrial estates with nothing but factories.

Anyway, a peek into my handbag would reveal 2 holders of lip products.

My trusty Cocoon Grid-It (see below) containing essentials like iPod Nano, headset with mic, pen and pencil, thumb drive, lipstick and lip balm. The lip colour of choice lately has been Shu Uemura’s BG 960. It’s kind of an MLBB (my lips but better) lipstick for me. Love it!

I also have been lugging a fresh citrus oil to combat the awful food court smells that linger on me after lunch.

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While the Grid-It is the go-to container for all outings, even for a dash to the bank, I have a cosmetic pouch to hold additional essentials.

In this versatile Harrods pouch gifted by a friend, I have a small compact mirror from The Body Shop, a tiny lip brush in case I need more defined lips, another lipstick (just a back-up. This colour is a Shu Uemura special with Karl Lagerfeld in Parisienne Pink), a clear gloss from The Body Shop and a Badger balm for dry cuticles or just to tame fly away hair.

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The clear gloss is a very recent purchase (in late Sep). I bought it when it hit me out of the blue that I NEVER had a clear gloss before.

How did I ever live without it???

Fall for Clinique

I’ve raved about how Clinique’s BB Cream was my best beauty buy of 2012, and today when I needed more, I found myself rewarded with Clinique goodies galore again, thanks to a gift-with-purchase special at Macy’s.

I purchased 1 x BB Cream, and received a whole bunch of stuff:

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Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion: Got this last year as a freebie and love it! Great for travel.
Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator: I’m excited to try this, and again, great travel size!
– All About Shadow quad: (Pictured, top right) I had the option for purples or nudes, and I chose nudes.
– Lash Doubling Mascara: I don’t use mascaras much, but will eventually try it.
– Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Color Balm: (Pictured, bottom left) I got ‘Mega Melon’ as part of the nudes collection, instead of a deep purple-hued color.
2 x make-up baggies + travel-sized Clinique ‘Happy’ fragrance: I’m giving these away because I’m not a fan of the pattern nor the scent.

I love gifts with purchases! YAY!

My Vanity Trove – sorted

I had it with my makeup in a few locations. Things came to a head when I couldn’t find my favorite blusher in light mauve earlier this week.

I had makeup in 3 places – a cardboard box by the sink (where I found my blusher!), a white plastic box housing the bulk off all the makeup and finally a mini drawer containing just lipsticks. These do not include the makeup brushes and liners in old glass jars.

I know, I know, for someone who doesn’t wear much makeup, I have a lot. I like playing with colours.

Anyway, I pulled out one of my Muji white opaque drawer box from the study and put it in the dressing area. It’s time to get organised.

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As you can see from the picture above, it has just 2 drawers. The old white plastic box now only contains things like additional sponges, eyelash curler, sharpener, free skincare samples, etc.

First drawer contains all face and lip  items: foundation, face primer, blushers, lipsticks, lip glosses and lip balms.

Next drawer contains only eye products: eyeshadows, mascaras, eye liners, etc.

I have everything laid out flat so that I can see at a glance where each item is. No more rummaging around a box or opening mini drawers!

Of course I am mortified with the excesses. Will need to hold off makeup purchases for a while…!

Empties!

A couple of my favorite things:

The tub of foot scrub from The Body Shop – used every alternate days or when I’ve been out on my feet all day at work. These work a treat to get rid of awful odors from the feet.

The tins of steam cream from UK. Am running very low on my supply of cream. Really great as moisturiser for my hands and body. I’ve just placed my order for another batch of steam cream, taking advantage of the fee shopping AND special 3-tin deal. Can’t wait!

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The Box In The Corner

I don’t have a lot of nail polish but with the odd ones that I possess, I really want to keep them. Cos I only buy polish colours that I will wear for quite a while.

However, as I don’t use them often, I don’t quite want them in my drawer with the usual skincare and makeup. I’d rather keep the precious real estate for skincare. (“Beautiful makeup starts with beautiful skin” said the late Shu Uemura.)

I’ve decided that nail polish should go in the corner of the chest of drawers, just behind the bedroom door. That should be nice and dark enough. (Most beauty gurus will say the fridge but I have very limited space in the small fridge night to fit into the pre-made kitchen space that came with the condo.)

At Daiso, I found the perfect little box for it. Has a handle for lugging around, enough space on top for taller bottles and a clear cover so that I can see the colours at one glance.

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(Above pic taken at the balcony for the natural light. Would not dream of storing polish there!)