Monday, April 27, 2015

Based on what i currently know

if your face constantly looks like it's shiny ALL OVER - not just confined to your T zone - you really need to do an overhaul of your skin care routine.

to be honest, i think oily skin doesn't look bad on its own, because it makes the skin appear glowy and healthy. what's bad about having oily skin is, you tend to have large pores which become a lot more obvious when light reflects off the oils. want to know what's one of the main causes of enlarged pores? you probably already guessed it if you read my previous entry where i shed some light on oily skin secrets..

it's dehydrated skin.

here is a list of possible causes of oily skin. i think everybody should know, especially if you want to get rid of your overly oily skin. some of them are

1. your face wash/soap/cleanser may be too harsh for you.

if your skin feels tight and dry after you washed your face (and prior to applying moisturizer), the product you're using may be ripping off too much natural oils from your face. if your skin is able to pour out enough shiny sebum within 20 minutes of face washing, you have definitely stripped too much sebum off your face, that's why your skin is over compensating for it.

for extremely oily skin, it's actually fine to use harsh soaps PROVIDED YOU GIVE YOUR SKIN BACK ITS NECESSITIES after you wash. that means the next few steps of the skin care routine will be very important to you.

otherwise, you're only making matters worse as your skin is dehydrated. when they say water is the essence of life, IT REALLY IS!

2. the humidity may affect how you feel about your oily skin.

some of you may find it hard to believe, but the skin can be oily and dry at the same time. the drier environment can definitely stimulate the skin to secrete more sebum in hope of protecting your skin from losing too much water to the environment. however, people with oily skin tend to feel more comfortable in drier areas because their oils actually protects their skin from drying out. even if you produce more oils, you are less likely to feel the side effects of it than if you were in a humid environment.

if possible, a humidifier may be able to prevent excessive sebum production as it raises the humidity the air, which translates to lesser water loss in the skin, which basically tells the body to hold its horses and not secrete too much sebum.

if you feel shiny in an air conditioned place, you can step up the moisturizing game to reduce water loss, which will indirectly reduce sebum production. ;) choose one that have an appropriate blend of water, humectant, and occlusive.

even though you may perceive the skin to be more oily when it's more humid, it doesn't necessarily mean your skin is producing more oils. it's just that your skin isn't soaking up as much sebum as it did when you were in a dry place. the same amount of oil is now in too much excess simply because your skin require less amounts.

a proper skin care routine may be able to rebalance your oil production so that your skin will produce less sebum (especially useful if you stay in humid countries), which i'll write about soon!

3. the hotter you are, the more oily you become

life is fair, if you're hot, you're oily. HAHAHA LITERALLY! if the temperature is high, we tend to secrete more sweat and sebum. that's our body's way to regulate our temperature. [source: HowThingsWorks]

the best way to reduce this kind of situation is to either stay indoors, or try your best to keep your cool (both metaphorically and literally).

hydrating mist is an awesome way to cool your skin down immediately, but the evaporation of water off your skin may take away even more moisture from your skin, resulting in more oils eventually, making it a short term fix at best. you can prevent that from happening by following up with a cream, but it's not practical when you're outdoor.

sometimes it's okay to be a little more oily. don't fight nature.

4. your menstrual cycle may make you more oily.

have you ever experienced a sudden onset of oilier skin before your period arrives? perhaps even pimples which never fail to report prior to your period?

right before menstruation starts, the female hormone levels will take a slight dip, making it relatively lower than testosterone levels. testosterone encourages sebaceous activity. so does progesterone, a hormone that rises in levels around days when you ovulate. that means 2 weeks prior to your menstruation, you will most likely experience oilier skin. [source: WebMD]

5. genetics play a role too

if you have a genetic predisposition to oily skin, you tend to secrete more oils than a person who doesn't have such a predisposition. [source: DermaDoctor]

remember, a genetic predisposition is a tendency for your body to act in a certain way. how much your body prefer to secrete oil greatly depend on the environment (and diet too! to a certain extend).

but not all hope is lost! there are still ways to remedy it. the best way is to work with your body, adjusting the environment and diet to reduce the tendency for your skin to produce so much oils.

6. nutritional deficiencies and/or food intolerances may cause excessively oily skin

as you already know, beauty is only skin deep. please take this very literally, because it's certainly not enough to only treat the skin from the outside. since the skin is one of our organs (in fact, it's the largest one), our health will directly impact the appearance of our skin. in other words, our skin definitely can reflect our state of health.

if you've had normal skin all the while but start noticing changes in your body recently (it could span from months to years), other than the environmental issues, diet and lifestyle matters too. as the overall health affects the skin, it's hard to pin point any particular causes unless you actually get your blood tested and all metabolic markers checked.

just like what i've highlighted in my entry where i wrote about causes of dry skin, the same will apply here too. this is because the body functions as an integrated machine. by ensuring overall health, you can be sure your skin won't deviate too much from the norm either.

1. lower your intake of refined sugar
2. ensure a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 oils
3. stay healthy!

the list is not exhaustive for sure! but these are the few causes i can think of currently based of the information i've been exposed to previously.

if we treat oily skin as a health problem, it may be easier to come to terms to the changes that one has to make in order to rebalance it. some argue that diet has nothing to do with oily skin, but i feel like our diet has everything to do with our state of health, which will indirectly affect the state of our skin.

once again, everything is linked when it comes to the body. while the exact mechanism of how things affect one another is still being studied, sometimes we don't have to wait to know the mechanism before making positive changes that have been shown to improve overall health.

title photo credit: trending image

Friday, April 24, 2015

I'm going to tell you now, if you don't already know

i saw this article that talks about oily skin struggles on seventeen's website one day even though i don't have overly oily skin. i do have friends who deal with oily skin and they just never seem to be able to balance their skin issues, so i can sort of resonate with what's written in that article! two points stood out to me in particular.

"You wash your face at 7 am, and look like a grease ball by 9 am."

"You buy oil-free lotion that promises to reduce shine, but you’re still oily 5 minutes later."

so here's an entry to address those issues, hopefully it's something new and useful for you when you learn to treat your own skin issues!

1. overly oily skin is a deviation from normal skin and should be considered a health concern. 

i know i've mentioned this before when i was talking about skin care for dry skin, but in case you didn't read that, i'll reiterate again - our skin is definitely a reflection of our internal health. any deviation is a sign to start taking care of your health.

sebum production is influenced by a series of mechanisms, one of which involves androgens (the sex hormones!). there are many things that can affect the production of androgens within our body, which means it will indirectly affect sebum production as well. for example, thyroid insufficiency or over activity will stimulate different responses in sebum production. [source: PubMed]

before treating oily skin from the outside, it's also wise to see what you're putting into your body that caused all these.

2. sebum itself is not the enemy. 

even normal skin produce sebum. the key is the amount produced - excessive sebum can cause a problem like increasing the chances of getting clogged pores and acne, but getting rid of ALL sebum is only going to aggravate the situation.

why? because our body seeks to maintain balance through a series of feedback loops. if you remove all the oils, your body will know because you'll lose more water. to reduce water loss, it'll secrete sebum. the larger the spike in water loss, the more sebum will be secreted.

i feel like the cosmetic and beauty industry have caused panic and fear in the general public when they insinuated that sebum is BAD. people end up avoiding oils, which is exactly what they SHOULD BE USING especially after stripping their skin of oils! no wonder people complain about a greasy face even after following the suggested skincare routines touted to deal with oily skin.

oil free moisturizer is a really bad idea because if you do not replenish the oils you've removed, your skin will replenish its stores to your dismay.

you skin is saying "how dare you steal my oils!? TAKE THIS!!!" and proceed on to secreting even more oils with a vengeance.

3. the number 1 cause of overly oily skin is dehydrated skin 

unless you have a genetic defect/hormonal imbalance/other hidden reasons that causes you to produce more than usual. just that people with oily skin have a tendency to produce oils to combat that dryness instead of letting the skin crack up and bleed. as such, you may realize that a lot of the causes of overly oily skin mirror those of dry skin.

this is quite contrary to popular belief!

face wash usually dry the skin out as they can be quite harsh. the removal of sebum will increase water loss through our skin. sebum is a waxy substance that act as a protective barrier, keeping water in our skin.

it's actually okay to wash your face, in fact, it's best to wash it after a long day outside because there'll be lots of dust and pollutants stuck onto our faces. just make sure you moisturize and return the oils to your skin afterwards!

4. oil-free creams will only aggravate your oily skin in the long run. on the other hand, oils are good for your skin.

how so? because you keep stripping your skin of its oils and fail to replenish it with an oily cream. your skin will take matters into its own hands and produce sebum - an excessive amount.

if you're adventurous, experiment with facial oils, especially those that is quickly absorbed by the skin if you're afraid of stickiness. rosehip oil and argan oil are known to be fast absorbing. not all oils are slick and heavy as we are commonly led to believe.

otherwise, you can also choose a cream that contains oils. the lighter texture may be in your favour, but it is still able to replenish some oils in your skin, helping to reduce water loss, which will eventually reduce your sebum production as your skin is able to seal in the moisture.

what a way to trick our sebaceous glands!

that's 4 things i can think of currently! i'm always in awe how the beauty industry lead people to believe that oil is the enemy. don't you feel they're sometimes making things worse so you can keep buying their products? if their products were really that effective at combating oily skin, shouldn't we see people using the products only for a short period of time, until their oily skin become less oily?

yet people are complaining about a greasy face mere minutes after washing their face.

ever more absurd: no one finds it odd that their skin only gets increasingly oily in the long run. of course aging, diet and overall health plays a part too. but using the wrong skin care can aggravate situations as well.

if you still have any queries about oily skin that's unanswered, feel free to leave me a comment below!

title photo credit: wallalay wallpaper

Monday, April 20, 2015

Simple 4 step routine to combat dry skin

in my opinion, dry skin is probably the easiest to deal with out of the other situations. slapping on moisturizer may provide instant relief, which makes you feel like the treatment is working. to re-balance oily skin will take some time, while correcting dry skin is almost instant visually. however, if we do not deal with the problem at its roots - in this case it'd be the cause of dry skin - any remedy can only provide short term relief.

if you haven't already read my previous entry where i talk about possible causes of dry skin, make sure to check that out so that you can treat your dry skin from the inside AND outside at the same time to achieve optimal results.

a basic skin care routine that targets dry skin due to environmental dryness will be as such:


1. only use a gentle soap free cleanser when necessary.

since you have dry skin, your skin is actually under producing sebum. stripping away too much when your body can't produce them isn't a good idea, therefore, stick to a gentle cleanser. opt for soap free if possible because soap tends to irritate dry skin. i'm using cetaphil gentle cleanser and i like how it feels on my skin. my friend with oilier skin find this too gentle, i guess that's why it's suitable for people with dry skin?

it's not weird to use only water to wash your skin if you have dry skin. i usually use a cleanser for my night time routine because i wore makeup in the day. if i'm home all day, i wouldn't need it at all.

2. exfoliate any flaky skin very gently (optional)

while dry skin may look unsightly, it's actually there to protect your skin. i don't recommend exfoliating everyday as it may result in overly sensitive skin. once to twice a week should be good enough, depending on the speed of your skin growth.

always moisturizer and nourish your skin after exfoliation!

3. tone and hydrate

the toner is there to return your skin to a slightly acidic state. this is especially important for people with dry skin because dryness may decrease the protective effect of our skin as our skin may crack and tear more easily. an acidic environment will inhibit the growth of bad bacteria while promoting the health of healthy bacteria living on our skin.

i've tried using diluted vinegar on my itching skin and for some reason, it relieved my itching! there is some truth to the whole pH balance hypothesis.

hydrate with any lotion or cream to further moisturize your skin.

4. add a seal over your skin

i'm talking about an occlusive here! an occlusive forms a protective film that prevents moisture loss across your skin.

VASELINE | petroleum jelly

vaseline is a very effective occlusive, but if you're sensitive to petrolatum, natural alternatives are available too.

LUCAS' | pawpaw ointment

i heard many good things about the pawpaw ointment but haven't got to try it yet. i was told it acts just like vaseline, but a non-petrolatum product.


1. wash face with water

don't use what you don't need! dry skin needs all the oils it can produce.

2. moisturize

you can opt for a light weight moisturizer if you're wearing makeup so that it absorbs quickly. but i rather you wake up 5 minutes earlier so you have 5 extra minutes for a more nourishing cream to sink into your skin.

3. seal your skin

don't forget that last step to protect your skin from the harsh environment (if you're in one that is)! this step is actually optional if you used a heavy cream in the previous step because most heavy cream contains petrolatum to act as an occlusive. i usually skip this step since it's so humid in singapore. however, this step may be really beneficial if you stay in an air-conditioned environment all day. BUT, with vaseline on your face you probably can't wear liquid makeup since they can't stay put on your face. powders will sit on your face nicely, but risk smudging if you do rub your face.

if your dry skin is due to internal reasons, you can still use the above steps to alleviate your dry skin temporarily. but do take note, unless we treat the problem at its roots, it will almost be impossible to find long term relief with these external help.

it's just like trying to patch leaky holes in a dam that is overflowing with water. you can go on and on closing up cracks here and there. unless the river stops flowing, the water will always find new cracks to seep through. worst of all, it's going to break the dam one fine day.

should i write about nutrition for dry skin some time later? LET ME KNOW!

title photo credit: alton brown photos
all other photos are taken from their official websites

Friday, April 17, 2015

Maybelline ColorSensational SoNude - Rosy Rebel NU34s
Maybelline ColorSensational SoNude - Rosy Rebel

a light pastel shade that covered my lips in just one swipe! this would be my favourite if they change one thing..

nude lips really hit me hard for a while after my radar picked them up from american makeup looks. while i love bold and vivid colours on my lips, i also see the beauty in soft nudes.

the maybelline colorsensational so nude collection is a set of milky nude colours. as they are mostly pastel shades, they work best on fair skin. if you're familar with maybelline products, the colorsensational line promises vivid colour payoff, and so far, that's true.

i'm not sure if this product line is still available in singapore. i can't seem to find it on their official website anymore. they are available in japan, but under a different name "water shiny milky so nude"

"brighten up pigments and smoothing essence" printed on the plastic sleeve that wraps the lipstick.

i got it in the shade NU34S rosy rebel. initially, i wanted NU36S because it's closer to the nude that i want - a toned down brownish beige.. but it was out of stock. :( so i picked this shade instead.

there are 4 shades in the collection. honestly, they're all so lovely, it was hard for me to choose.

Maybelline ColorSensational SoNude - Rosy Rebel NU34s
just like the bold matte, none of the product name is actually printed on the outer casing. the holographic effect over the neon pink casing is quite pretty though! the inner plastic casing is the same as the bold matte. this is the first time i'm nitpicking a product for its packaging.

ingredient list! it contains a lot more polymers as compared to the bold matte lipstick, so it's no wonder they have a pretty different feel to it. (hint: i don't really like it)
Maybelline ColorSensational SoNude - Rosy Rebel NU34s

pretty close to the official swatches huh?

Maybelline ColorSensational SoNude NU34S Rosy Rebel (Review and Swatch)

NU34S rosy rebel is a pastel peachy pink. pigmentation is superb, as you can see it pretty much covered my lips entirely with just one layer! it's much redder than what i wanted, but that's okay.

the texture is slightly different from the bold mattes. this glided over my lips easily too, but it has a slightly slick feel to it. they may go on unevenly and requires a few more swipes to even things out.

it does hydrate my lips for the first few hours but that's it.

there is something else i observed - this lipstick seem to be formulated to be long wearing. how so? because it feels exactly the same as the revlon ultimate suede lipsticks, AND I HATE THAT! if you've used the latter, you'd know the lipstick will set and form a film over your lips. a very uncomfortable plastic film that reminds me of its presence on my lips every single time i speak or do something. on the bright side, it does cling onto my skin throughout the entire day. there was one time when i applied this lipstick on in the morning, then i went out and forgot to bring the lipstick with me so there's no way i can reapply it. i tried removing it with my tissue but it just won't work. at the end of the day, my lips had patches of the lipstick still on, and my poor lips were totally parched. :(


i am pleasantly surprised by the pigmentation, because most pastel products usually end up sheer and thinned out. but not these. they covered my original lip colour in one setting and it definitely could have been my favourite pastel lipstick if not for the fact that it sets into that yucky plastic film. it makes smacking my lips hard, and i become self conscious about smacking my lips because i know i'll risk bunching the products together (my experience with the revlon ultimate suede. it was so sticky!!!).

to maybelline, you did a good job on the pigments, but the formulation could have been better. i'd rather it do without that "long wear" thing. i don't mind reapplying my lipsticks at all! i have to, because no lipstick can provide me with hydration for a straight 8 hours anyway.

if you love revlon's ultimate suede, these may be the thing for you. it's just not my cup of tea.

it's kind of a blessing in disguise that the NU36S was out of stock, because now i can continue my hunt for that colour. i'm looking at the loreal color riche because i love the formulation to death.

i purchased this lipstick for SGD$17.90 when it was having a one for one promotion.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spanking New ETUDE HOUSE Dreaming Swan Collection

etude house has partnered up with australian illustrator, kerrie hess, for this limited edition "dreaming swan" collection. the theme is pink and ballet, so feminine, princess-y and sweet! i figured those are the words that i'll use to describe the over all brand image of etude house.

etude house DREAMING SWAN

there are 9 items in this limited release, of which 6 are cosmetics while 3 are tools (or some sort, you'll see later).


as the name suggest, the product can be used as a blusher and as an eyeshadow. it claims to be able to blur and cover up pores for smooth cheeks (and eyes) with its silky primer powder.


comes in 5 colour variation - pinks, coral, and lavender. lavender??? that's something new!

etude house dreaming swan DEAR MY BLOOMING LIPS TALK

said to be a chiffon lipstick with a silky texture that glides lightly onto lips with a smooth and powdery finish (i think they mean the lipstick has a matte/velvet finish), the dear my blooming lips talk lipstick comes in 5 colour variation for this collection - mostly pastel shades for spring!

etude house DEAR MY BLOOMING LIPS TALK pk023 pk023 or225 pk022 pp502

the naming of the colours are the same as the blush! in fact, it mirrors the shades of the blush too, with a good mix of pinks, coral and purple. i'm really attracted to PK023 and OR225!!!

muse from musings of a muse did a swatch of OR225 and it didn't look as impressive as the official swatches. kind of disappointed :(


a pearly cream shadow that can be used anywhere - on the eyes, on the cheeks or nose bridge for highlighting, even on the collar bone if you want to show them off this spring.


available in three shades, #1 is a pearly silver (looks a little pinkish in the swatch though), #2 a pearly champagne, #3 a pearly gold.


i'm guessing this is the powder equivalent of a CC cream - brightens your complexion with minimal coverage. it contains transparent light reflecting particles to create glowy skin, while the peachy tones erase any signs of dullness on your skin. also formulated with pore covering powder to create baby smooth skin. last but not least, it'll keep your oils at bay with its sebum absorbing powder.

only available in one shade. i think you can be creative with this powder, using it either as a primer powder before layering powder foundation, or use it as a finishing powder. the "light reflecting" property entices me, looking forward to swatching it in real life! you know i'm after a glowy powder!


get ballerina inspired nails with the nail kit - consist of 2 nail polish and nail stickers.

etude house DREAMING SWAN NAIL KIT #1 bright toeshoes
#01 Bright Toe shoes

A nail kit for the dream of becoming a ballerina with a tiara on the head and soft silk toe shoes under the stage light.

- Pink Shoes (Shimmering): Lovely pink color nail polish with silky texture like soft toe shoes.
- Satin Ribbon (Pearl Glitter): Pearl glitter nail polish that catches a shiny moment under the stage light.
- Jewel Sticker (Nail Stone): Nail stones to highlight the beauty of the stage.
(from the official website)

etude house DREAMING SWAN NAIL KIT #2 shiny tutu
#02 Shiny Tutu

A nail kit for the scene of a lovely outstanding ballerina under ballet suit and tutu skirts.

- Milky Ties (Syrup): Translucent milky color nail polish that covers the edge of nails perfectly.
- Tutu Skirt (Shimmering): Pink shimmering nail polish that makes subtle shiny tutu skirts look.
- Water-Décor Sticker (Feather sticker): Fluttering feather-look water-décor sticker.
(from official website)


limited edition case for your any cushion!


a cute little makeup pouch that stores your cosmetics neatly with its two level design (removable tray inside!). it may look small, but it's quite deep!


a bullet brush made with soft bristles, meant to kiss every corner of your face. judging by the length of the bristles, this brush must be really soft, i think it picks up very little product, making it perfect for setting your makeup. the cutest thing is probably the "brush tutu", aka the brush guard!


if you'll like the pouch, lipstick and blusher, they come in a extra value set (worth $29.5!). however, they only come in one colour selection - pointe coral.

Dreaming Swan Eye and Cheek #02 pointe coral
Dear My Blooming Lips-Talk #02 pointe coral
Dreaming Swan Mini Pouch
(from official website)

etude house is probably the queen of cute packaging! this collection is almost as pretty as the etoinette collection from a few years back, but this has a whimsical feel to it, on top of the princess-ness.

the blush and lipstick are beautiful, and it's quite rare to see a lavender blush! and who doesn't love multi-functional products? i'm kind of drawn to en haut pink and arabesque rosy, both of them are more saturated compared to the rest. and those lipsticks.. i really need to get my hands on an etude house lipstick soon.

in case you don't already know, the etude house online store charges the same price as the actual korean price, so it's a lot cheaper to get it online than the store (in singapore especially). 

what would you like to try?

image credit: etude house official website

Monday, April 13, 2015

Wanna know why you've got dry skin?

there're so many possible reasons why our skin may be dry. the climate, weather, environment, even our internal environment! many times, it's the things we've done to our body and skin that led to the deviation from health, instead of things we failed to do.

there're just too many man made crises to count. sometimes i feel like mankind created all of their problems.

here are some possible reasons and accompanying remedies i can think of.

1. your face wash may be too harsh for you

if your skin feels tight and dry after you washed your face (and prior to applying moisturizer), the product you're using may be ripping off too much natural oils from your face.

you can either limit the usage of the face wash to 2-3 times a week, or whenever necessary (when you feel extra dirty a particular day after walking through a dusty area). you can also change to a soap free cleanser. not only are soap free cleansers milder than normal cleansers (which means they'll strip away lesser oils), they can be formulated to have a slight acidic pH, one that is closer to our skin. [source: howstuffworks]

i use cetaphil's gentle cleanser, it feels like a lotion and leaves my skin hydrate and smooth after washing it off. you can also choose to NOT use any products at all! in fact, i only wash my face with water in the morning. (if you're worried about clogged pores, i'll talk more about that next time)

in fact, you can actually use a lotion to clean your face, just apply it and wipe it off with a cotton pad. the emulsion is effective in lifting away dirt and oils, but you won't risk losing too much oils because the lotion will replenish them.

2. your environment may be too dry for you

this goes beyond how your face feels. if your environment is indeed too dry for your skin, it's very likely that skin over your entire body feels dry too. you make experience itchy, or flaky skin. sometimes the symptoms are so mild, you only notice more grooves and lines on your skin.

if you can make changes to the environment, that'd be best! humidifiers are a good way to amp up that humidity indoor.

what if you in winterland right now and it's dry everywhere, even in your house because of that radiator? you'll need to rely on a really good moisturizer. it should supply your skin with hydration, and also lock in the moisture.

VASELINE | petroleum jelly

on top of the normal lotion/cream you use, you can top it up with a thin layer of vaseline to help you lock everything in, since vaseline is one of the best occlusive out there. don't be afraid to use vaseline on your face. some people say it clog up their pores, but you have to understand that the petroleum jelly molecules are simply too large to even dip their toes into our pores.

3. if it's not the products or environment, then it may be genetics

if you've had dry skin since young irregardless of the humidity of your environment and/or products used, then it's most likely genetics. it's believed that some people are born without the gene that produces filaggrin, the substance that breaks down to form natural moisturizing factors within our skin cell [source: dermnet NZ].

if you fall into this group, you'll need to replace ceramides and lipids to help your skin maintain its integrity. all hope is not lost even if you're born with such a deficiency, you just have to work harder to bring it back to normalcy.

brands like physiogel, cetaphil (restoraderm line), uriage (xemose line), avene (xeracalm line) are good options. i've actually tried them all before, some of them were recommended to me by dermatologists. however, in the past when my skin was still on topical steroids these creams did nothing for me. i tried avene after i got of steroids and i was blown away by how nourishing it is. it could either be that avene did a really good job with their balm, or my skin started acting more normal after stopping topical steroids.

our genes is only a set of instructions that dictates how our body behave in a given set of situations. we can't change our genes, but we can definitely change the factors that affect our skin, namely the environment and our lifestyle.

4. perhaps it's your diet and/or lifestyle

this phrase is so cliche, but beauty really is only skin deep. our skin is one of our organs. genetics has predisposed me to show my state of health on my skin, but that's not a bad thing! being able to see them makes it easier for me to monitor my health.

chances are, you've had normal skin and recently, your body started changing so slowly that you only noticed your dry skin after years of bad diet and lifestyle. as the overall health affects the skin, it's hard to pin point any particular causes unless you actually get your blood tested and all metabolic markers checked.

thanks to the modern day diet, your diet probably consist of too much refined carbohydrates (pastries, baked goods, sugar), an excessive omega-6 fat (most vegetable oils) intake, too much protein and too little vegetables, just to name a few possibilities.  everyone have different food intolerances, so what is poison to one person may be an elixir to another.

sugar ages your skin by destroying the proteins that gives your skin suppleness. take the collagen away and your skin will look dry and wrinkly. while dry skin and aging skin are caused by different issues, they appear similar. hence, ditch the sugar and you may end up with more youthful (and hydrated looking) skin. [source: huffington post]

omega-6 fats are found to be pro-inflammatory, it's consumption should be lower than the omega-3 fats. eating too much meat will acidify the body, which isn't exactly healthy in the long run. [source: UMM]

also, farmed meat these days are filled with a list of unhealthy substances, you really don't want to eat too much of that.

if you notice my choice of words, you'd already know what you should be doing - reduce refine carbohydrate intake, reduce omega-6 fats and increase omega-3 fats (from flax seed or salmon), make sure you eat more vegetables than meat (to keep 'things' flowing, if you get what i mean :P).

and don't forget to drink sufficient water! not only does it detox your body, it also ensure there is sufficient water underneath your skin to keep it supple. while drinking water don't really translate to hydrated skin, but a dehydrated body is most unlikely to be able to nourish the skin since it's already running low on water supplies! the skin is seen as the least important organs, so the body tend to conserve precious resources for the other organs and that's when we start seeing symptoms on our skin.

skin issues is definitely more than just an outside-in problem. many times, skin issues is a manifestation of internal imbalance. this entry contains things i currently know after reading so much about the skin. i'm obsessed with it since i have a skin condition to deal with myself.

one thing i've learnt after everything i've experienced is this: if you take care of your guts, you'll be rewarded with good health (and glowing skin).

i'll keep reading and share new findings in the future :)

title photo credit: alton brown photos
all other photos are taken from their official websites

Friday, April 10, 2015

Maybelline ColorSensational Bold Matte - Cheeky Coral Review
Maybelline ColorSensational Bold Matte - Cheeky Coral

a pigmented, vivid lipstick that glides over my lips like butter? and it's (semi)matte!?

off the official website, maybelline has positioned this lipstick to be a matte lipstick that delivers vibrant and vivid colours. does it live up to the claims?

the lipstick series and names are printed on a plastic sleeve, not on the case itself. seems to be infused with honey for better hydration.

i got it in the colour MAT3, cheek coral.

image source: maybelline official website

there are 5 colours available in singapore, this is the only orange shade and definitely doesn't look coral to me.

ingredients list. the lipstick is infused with hydrating components, albeit in small quantities as they appear to be at the bottom of the list.

Maybelline ColorSensational Bold Matte - Cheeky Coral
once i removed the plastic sleeve, it reveals the matte plastic cover and a metallic looking (but also plastic) lipstick container. i'm kind of bummed out that the inner case isn't made of metal.

Maybelline ColorSensational Bold Matte - Cheeky Coral

Maybelline ColorSensational Bold Matte MAT3 Cheeky Coral swatch

official swatches from maybelline

MAT3 cheek coral is a bright orange on me. you'll get better colour payoff with at least 2 layers of the product as you can see from the swatches. compare it to the official swatch online and you'll notice the online swatches is way off.

the finish isn't totally matte though! it still retains a little sheen to it, but definitely not as glossy as a lip gloss would be. the lipstick is pretty lightweight, i don't feel much on my lips upon application. the texture is slightly different when compared to the revlon super lustrous matte lipstick. this feels more airy and bouncy, while the latter feels a little more skin hugging. don't get me wrong, i don't mean that the maybelline lipstick feels heavy, i just mean the pigments tend to glide over each other more easily (and hence lesser tugging). think massaging a whipped cream versus a solid shea butter over your skin. get the idea?

the lipstick glides over my lips very smoothly and easily, maybelline did a good job with the formula as the lipstick was really a breeze to use. no tugging at all! and it also feels hydrating, which is something i don't usually expect from a matte lipstick.


i am really surprised by the colour payoff when swatching these at the drugstore. on my hands, one swipe is enough to showcase their full pigmentation. ditching the marketing claims, the formula is indeed quite hydrating. however, i do need to apply a lip balm throughout the day. at least it's more hydrating than the revlon matte lipstick!

the formula is not long wearing, but it does stay on my quite well until i decide to eat or drink. i don't remember having too much transfers or staining when i drink from a glass after the lipstick has dried out a little, i quite like that!

overall, i really like the formula of this lipstick! it's my first time trying out maybelline's lipstick actually! i'd buy more if they ever change the material of the inner casing from plastic to metal. i like to feel more weight to my lipsticks!

i purchased this from watsons for $17.90 when it was having a buy one get one free promotion!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Here's a simple way to determine your skin type in 10 minutes

understanding your skin type is perhaps the first step towards a successful skin care routine, if we define "successful" as being able to treat your skin issues. after all, products can deliver you the maximum benefit only if you are treating the problem at its root. before i share with you how i typically decide what product i'll use (or what products i'll purchase for my mom, or how i arrive at suggestions for people who trust me enough to ask me for advice), let's get the definitions right.

it always irks me when i see the term "normal/combination" skin, because i understand that normal skin is a mixture of oily skin and normal skin. the addition of the word "combination" to me then becomes redundant.

in this entry below, i'll refer to normal/combination skin as normal skin, while combination means a combination of two deviations - too dry and too oily.

focusing on just the face alone, there are two regions - the sebaceous-gland-rich zone, and the non-sebaceous-gland-rich zone. because our skin is not uniform in terms of sebaceous gland density, it's not surprising to find at least 2 adjective when describing the state of your skin. hence, all skin types to me are a combination of dryness and oiliness. but it'll be pointless if we named all the skin types as "combination", right?

skin type sebaceous gland density

the sebaceous-gland-rich zones on the face are typically the forehead, nose (which we so conveniently call the T zone), as well as the inner cheeks. these are the areas that tend to produce more sebum NATURALLY, whether you have dry or oily skin. it's just the way our body is made to be.

interestingly, other parts of sebaceous-gland-rich zones include the back, the chest, and scalp. if you haven't noticed already,  most acne occurs on these "fertile lands".

well, it's just the other areas that aren't rich in sebaceous glands! namely, the cheeks and the circumference of the face.

so what does it mean to have dry, normal(combination), or oily skin? since our actual skin type will almost always be a combination of two scenarios - slightly less oily non-sebaceous gland rich zone and a slightly more oily sebaceous-gland rich zone, it seems more convenient to categorize the skin type according to the dryer region, since the T zone will be oily no matter what. i've tried to illustrate the differences below.

different skin types dry oily combination

as shown above (everything is drawn by me! :D i earned some bragging rights after spending hours on them hahaha), skin types are actually a combination of at least two states of the skin, which ranges from dry to oily. this is a very simplistic illustration because our gland distribution and density isn't that clear cut in reality.

how do you know which skin type you belong to? a good rule of thumb i've come across is as follow:

skin type dry
1. you have DRY SKIN if your cheeks feel tight, dry or itchy within 10 minutes after washing your face with just water. if you used soap/cleanser and experience the same effects, i'd recommend washing your face with just water alone and see how your cheeks feel. this is because soap/cleanser will dry out your skin, rendering this experiment null. also, if you already have such symptoms, it's best to lay off the soap, or change to one that doesn't contain any harsh chemicals that will strip away too much oils.

skin type normal combination
2. you have NORMAL SKIN if after washing your face with soap or water, your cheeks doesn't feel anything more than just a slight tightening (around the cheek area if you used soap) or cooling effect. your T zone secretes just enough sebum - it's not overly dry or oily.

skin type oily
3. you most likely have OILY SKIN if your T zone and/or cheeks start oozing sebum within 10 minutes of washing your face (with either soap, or water), making you shiny or greasy all over.

skin type dry and oily
4. you have DRY AND OILY SKIN if you've used soap/cleanser on your face, and your T zone starts oozing sebum while your cheeks dry up like a raisin. YES, this is possible, because your skin is so dehydrated!

while this is a rather simplistic way to determine your skin type, it's a good start to begin your exploration journey in the world of skin care. it's just a rule of thumb anyway!

our skin type changes from time to time, especially if you're a girl experiencing hormonal fluctuations monthly! our hormonal changes will affect sebum production as well as other immunological responses (that's why some people experience more acne/sensitivity prior to their period). the best way to look at our skin care routine is to view it as a dynamic system that requires constant tweaking so as to return it to the optimum condition you desire. don't forget, our skin is breathing and alive!

i regard dealing with skin issue as "a return to the optimal condition" because i truly believe that everyone was born with normal skin. it's everything that we do (or it could be things we fail to do) that led to the deviation of healthy skin. of course, this belief excludes genetically defective disorders that made the skin unsuitable to perform its function well in this environment we're born into.

knowing your skin type is winning half the battle. the other half depends on finding the right products to achieve your needs/wants, which i'll write about in the next entry.

so, have you determined your skin type yet? going by the industry's terminology, i have normal/combination skin. i don't remember having particularly oily T zone growing up. in fact, my T zone have gotten considerably more oily in the past year. it may be because of my changing body/skin type, or it could be because i started washing my face with a cleanser more frequently. growing up, all i used was water.
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