May Favourites 2020

How’s everyone doing? I hope everyone is doing good and stay safe. Time flew passed quickly and we are midway through the year 2020. If you are new to this segment, I’ll be sharing about 2 or 3 favourites that I have used for May. It can be anything from beauty, makeup, book, music or app.

Favourite beauty of the month: Laneige Fresh Calming Sun Essence SPF 50+ PA++++

This product was freshly released last month, April in Korea but I discovered upon it in late April and decided to purchase it. This is not yet released in my country but I managed to get it online from Shopee (E-commerce store). The sun essence retails for 29,000 KRW for 50 ml which is estimated at about 33 SGD.

Sunscreen is the most crucial step in the skincare routine regardless of how many steps you have in your skincare or even how expensive is your skincare product. If you are not applying sunscreen, you are missing out a big piece in your skincare routine.

But why is it important to apply sunscreen?

Basically, we are living on Earth with the sun shining above us. It is not possible to say no to the Sun whenever we like it so we have to do our best to avoid sun exposure. Exposure to UV rays (sunrays) heightened the process of premature ageing of your skin such as wrinkles, fine lines, age spots.

You might be thinking that “I am still too young to get wrinkles or age spots on my face thus I do not need to apply sunscreen? OR “I spend most of the time indoor so I do not need to apply sunscreen?” The answer is NO! Even if you are like in your 20s, you still have to apply sunscreen to prevent further damage to your skin and UV rays can penetrate through the windows which will speed up the skin’s ageing process.

There are 2 ultraviolet rays from the Sun, UVA and UVB that are harmful to our skin. I’ll not go deep into the explanation of these two ultraviolet rays because this is not a science class. I’ll provide simple illustrations for a better explanation.

Image credit: Sungrubbies (www.sungrubbies.com)
Image credit: Gleneagles (www.gleneagles.com.sg)

Reference to the illustration above, UVA ray is capable to penetrate to the deeper skin tissues layer known as dermis that is responsible for premature skin ageing such as wrinkles, fine lines and hyperpigmentation while UVB penetrates to the top layer of the skin known as epidermis that is responsible for skin redness and sunburn.

There are two types of sunscreen: physical (mineral/inorganic) and chemical (organic) sunscreen. Similarly, I’ll provide illustrations for a better understanding.

Image credit: Babeandbeauty (www.babeandbeauty.com)

Reference to the illustration above, a chemical sunscreen contains organic UV filters that catalyse a chemical reaction when exposed to the sun. It will absorb the sun’s rays and transform them into heat which released into the environment. Whereas physical sunscreen contain inorganic UV filter that acts as a blocking barrier to reflect the sun’s ray from penetrating to the skin.

So which is a better sunscreen? This is a tricky question but it is dependent mainly on individual preference. As for me, I preferred physical sunscreen, not because I dislike chemical sunscreen but I experienced skin reactivity from using it. So far physical sunscreen has not caused any reactivity such as redness and hives on my skin.

Let’s get back to the star product…

I have been using this Laneige sun essence for more than 3 weeks. I have been pleased with this product but neither am I “wow-ed” by this nor am I disappointed at this. I think this is a fairly decent product launched by Laneige.

There has been an ongoing trend in Korea for sunscreen to be more than just giving you protection from the UV rays. But rather a sunscreen with added beneficial (hydration/moisture or even anti-ageing) to the skin. Therefore, you might come across labels such as “sun essence/cream” or “sun cushion”.

Laneige Fresh Calming Sun Essence a physical sunscreen that is suitable for all skin types especially toward troubled skin and sensitive skin. It is mildly formulated with 7 hypoallergenic free ingredients (animal ingredient, mineral oil, polyacrylamide, imidazolidinyl urea, triethanolamine, tar pigment and talc).

The SPF (sun protection factor) for this sun essence is 50+ with PA++++. I feel that it is best to go for a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 50, no more or less than this value because it’s at the optimal which is illustrated below.

Image credit: colorescience (www.colorescience.com)

As you might know that UVA rays are “silent killer” to the skin as the effect doesn’t take place immediately but rather a prolong exposure effect. The PA grading system origin from Japan to inform the consumers of the level of protection from UVA rays. The PA grading system was adapted using the PPD (Persistent Pigment Darkening) method that analyses the duration of the skin turning brown/tan. The PPD value is then converted into the PA grading system.

  • If PPD = 2 to 4 = PA+ = Some UVA protection.
  • If PPD = 4 to 8 = PA++ = Moderate UVA protection.
  • If PPD = 8 to 16 = PA+++ = High UVA protection.
  • If PPD = 16 or higher = PA++++ = Extremely High UVA protection.

For example, PPD rating of 8 should allow an individual to handle 8 times as much UVA exposure. But the PPD rating doesn’t give the exact amount of the UVA protection as there is no standardised system to evaluate the PPD scores. Thus, only 5 countries utilise the UVA testing: Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, and Australia. In Japan, PPD results are grouped and simplified into PA measurements.

The drawbacks about PA rating system, not everybody get tan easily. Some people don’t even get tan from being exposed from to the sun. So this might be insignificant and the PA rating does not tell the duration that it can last in a real-world situation.

What I like about this sun essence?

  1. This product is not solely a sunscreen that blocks UV rays from entering into the skin but also provide moisture to the skin as it contains 70% moisture essence derived from natural ingredients such as green tea. It also has a quick “cooling” sensation upon application.
  2. The ease of application for the sun essence. This sun essence has a gel-like texture with a slight peach tint that spread easily around the face. Compared to my previous sunscreen of a tacky texture that took a while to spread evenly on the face.
  3. The product does not leave a white cast and blend well with your skin tone leaving a soft dewy finish. Compared to my past experiences using physical sunscreens, they do leave a white cast that it’s pretty obvious that cause the appearance of a greasy face.

Do take note that this is more of like a tone-up sunscreen (reduce redness and discolouration) that brightens up your skin. And it is not water-proof too!

What I do not like this sun essence?

  1. This product does contains parfum/fragrance which can be potentially sensitized skin. I mentioned previously that even though fragrance makes the product smell nice, it does more harm than good to the skin. So far, the product does not cause any irritation to my skin so I am not mad at it.
  2. After application, my face does feel a slight stickiness but it take a few hours for the stickiness to be gone. Similarly, I am not mad at it because I hardly touch my face.

Overall, I think this product is suitable for people whom prefer a physical sunscreen over a chemical sunscreen and also brighten up your skin to create that soft dewy effect which is suitable to wear it alone or as a make-up base. If you are interested in the product, feel free to look it up! For more information: Laneige

My rating for this product:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclaimer: I find this product beneficial to my skin but it may or may not works for everyone. Kindly understand that every individual has different skin type and texture. I recommend that you do some research before purchasing the product or patch test on your skin before usage. This is not a sponsored post too.

Click on page 2 for more favourites.

April Favourites 2020

Hello! It’s time the month of favourites. Phew! March ended just like this. Most of the time, I was staying at home except if I am doing the grocery run. I feel that this self-quarantine does not sound as bad as it seems. Sometimes, it can be a perfect time for you to slow things down if you always have been busy coping with your work.

It’s a time for you to slowly unwind and notice the surroundings or do something that you like to do. Have you ever sat down in your rooms, look outside the windows and appreciate the outside scenery – the cloudy sky, the trees and the sudden breeze that blows through your window?

If you are new to this segment, I’ll be sharing about 2 or 3 favourites that I have used for the month of April. It can be anything from beauty, makeup, book, music or app.

(*) = affiliated link.

Favourite beauty of the month: DR.G RED Blemish Clear Soothing Cream

Photo credit: dr-g.co.kr

This cream was one of the best sellers in Korea in the year 2019. This retail for 36,000 KRW which is roughly about 40 SGD for 70ml. The price is considered affordable. Unfortunately, there is no physical shop in Singapore so I got it online. And I have a question: “Is this cream worth the hype?”

A brief background information about the brand DR.G.

DR.G was founded by dermatologist Dr. Ahn Geon-young of Gowoonsesang Cosmetics*, one of the world’s largest skincare medical group and the number one skin clinic in Korea. Gowoonsesang means ‘Beautiful World’ in Korean. According to their webpage, My Skin Mentor DR.G was launched in 2003 with a philosophy: “Dr. G guarantees a healthy and beautiful skin by continuously developing safe and effective products that are suggesting solutions for various problems based on genuine sympathy and consideration for those with skin problems.”

For more information you can read up his interview here* or visit the DR.G official website (Korea)*

When it comes to cream/moisturiser, I am very particular due to my past experiences of using the cream/moisturiser that causes me to breakout or have fungal acne aka tiny little bumps on the face after some time. I have tried numerous creams from drugstore to expensive cream such as the TATCHA Silk cream. I never really mentioned my experience with using TATCHA Creams so I am going to briefly share it below. You may choose to skip the next 5 paragraphs on the TATCHA experiences.

About 4 years back, I brought the TATCHA silk cream* (120 USD for 50ml), the name indeed sounds luxurious but it was not worth the splurge. The silk cream is a rich gel-cream that is suitable for normal to dry skin. Back then, my skin was relatively combination-dry. After using for two weeks, I started to have fungal acne on my forehead which I did not have previously. And every alternate day, I woke to a new pimple on my face. It made me question whether was it the silk cream that I recently used.

I’ll be frank with you, the silk cream felt “heavy” on my skin and I find that it was not suitable for places experiencing humid weather all year-round. But I think it is most suitable for people with dry skin type and in places that experience winter. I gave the cream to my mum and she loved it considering that she has a dry skin type plus she loved the smell of the cream (FYI: the cream contain parfum/fragrance).

TATCHA launched the water cream* in 2017, I remember purchasing the cream (68 USD for 50ml) online back in late 2018 as it was marketed out as a lightweight gel-cream that was perfect for combination to oily skin type. Comparing the price, the water cream was more affordable than the silk cream. The experience using the TATCHA water cream was okay but nothing fantastic. It’s a lightweight cream that does its job to keep your skin hydrated leaving a non-sticky feeling. Neither does it cause any breakout nor prevent any pimple from coming out. It did nothing to my redness even though there was a split moment of a cooling sensation.

Overall, this is just an average oil-free cream. The selling point was that it contains GOLD as an ingredient in the water cream which is supposed to be anti-oxidant and perhaps giving you that glowy skin. I highly doubt that that is real gold added to the cream. But why add gold in skincare products? I don’t think that the gold would be absorbed by the skin, it would probably sit right on top of your skin that’s all. There was a news article* about the water cream reviewed by a dermatologist. The water cream lasted me for 4 months and I did not repurchase it.

I am not trying to trash TATCHA and just to let you know I used to loved TATCHA products and I want to be honest about my thoughts on their products. For those who actual loved their cream, you can continue using it. However, there are better affordable cream out there that can give you a similar result. 🙂

Let’s focus on the star product…

I have been using the DR.G soothing cream for 3 weeks which I think is substantial to give my honest thought about it. This cream is suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skin. My skin type is combination-sensitive and occasionally I do have pimples.

I used this every night even though it was instructed to use it twice daily. So far, I had a pleasant experience, the cream is a lightweight gel texture and I would wake up with a nice glow on my face that did not look too greasy.

The cream absorbed relatively fast into your skin and it did not leave any sticky feeling aftermath. It also soothes my redness, not instantly, take about 5 minutes after application to see the effect.

What I like about this cream:

The cream is fragrance-free and essential oil-free.

I feel that fragrance and skincare should not come together because they don’t complement each other. I know skincare company add fragrance to mask a certain chemical smell or as a marketing technique to attract the consumer to buy their product because of the aroma fragrance.

Since last year, I have decided to make a change to minimise the fragrance content in my skincare products to as little or no fragrance. There is a good reason why. Your skin doesn’t react to a fragrant product from using it for a day, a week or even a month. It’s the prolong exposure that can potentially sensitised your skin and aggravated your skin condition.

You can read more about why you should choose fragrance-free products here: post written by Paula’s choice*

The cream is alcohol-free.

I feel that alcohol can be drying especially toward dry skin and be potentially irritating toward sensitive skin. But not all alcohol is bad for the skin. There are good ones which are classified under fatty alcohol such as Cetearyl, Stearyl, Cetyl and Behenyl alcohol that are not drying or irritating to your skin at all. In fact, they act as emollients which protect your skin and help it to keep moisture in.

The cream contains 5-CICA Complex™ that is specially formulated by DR.G. The 5-CICA Complex™ comprised of 5 skin-soothing ingredients:

  1. Madecassoside – wound healing, skin soothing and anti-oxidant properties
  2. Asiaticoside – wound healing and anti-oxidant properties
  3. Madecassic acid – skin regenerating, wound healing properties
  4. Asiatic acid – moisturising and wound healing properties
  5. Centella extract (aka Tiger grass) – anti-inflammatory properties

However, the cream is not silicone-free which is not necessary a bad thing.

When it comes to silicone, people might automatically assume that it is bad because it can clogged pores. However, this is not true. Silicone is both hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic and not known to sensitise the skin.

Silicone will not penetrate into the skin but it forms a breathable barrier on top of your skin providing beneficial properties such as conditioning properties, emolliency, and ability to prevent moisture loss. Furthermore, they can make the skin appear smoother and more radiant due to their light-reflective properties.

The main takeaway for me about this cream is beside it give my face a hydration boost but also did a good job in controlling any breakout. What I meant was a lesser breakout especially my hormonal breakout that it’s something I cannot control. For my existing pimple, it does help to reduce the flare-up of the pimple.

Back to my question whether is this cream worth the hype? Yes! It is worth the buy especially if you are sensitive – acne-prone skin and you wanted a gentle moisturising cream. This might be the one for you. So if you are interested, feel free to check it out online!

My rating for this product:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclaimer: I find this product beneficial to my skin but it may or may not works for everyone. Kindly understand that every individual has different skin type and texture. I recommend that you do some research before purchasing the product or patch test on your skin before usage. This is not a sponsored post too.

Click on page 2 for more favourites.

February Favourites 2020

Hello. I am back with a new favourite of the month.

I felt that February passes so quickly and this year is a leap year where we end February on the 29th! FYI: Leap year happen every 4 years.

If you are a new to this segment, I’ll be sharing about 2 or 3 favourites that I have used for the month of February. It can be anything from beauty, makeup, book, music or app.

Favourite Beauty product of the month: Primera Miracle Seed Essence

This essence is a hot seller in South Korea and it is highly raved by many beauty influencer. So I decided to try it out and tell you my honest opinion about it.

Primera is a South Korea cosmetic brand under Amorepacific. Primera primary focus on “germination technology that unlocks the potent effects of seed on the skin”. This mean that they put their interest on research of different type of seeds and deliver the beneficial properties to the skin giving a healthy beauty.

Unfortunately, there is no physical store of Primera in Singapore but with the help of technology, you can easily get this from e-commerce platform such as Qoo10, Shopee, Yesstyle etc.. For those who lives in US, you can easily buy this at the nearest Sephora or Primera beauty webpage (For US only). I got this from Shopee at 43 SGD for 150ml and it comes with a box of 70s cotton pad. I think the price is reasonably affordable.

Alright! let’s talk about the Primera miracle seed essence..

The essence has a water-like viscosity and it is suitable to all-skin type including sensitive skin. I did not experienced any allergic reaction when using it for the first time. FYI: my skin type is combination-sensitive.

The essence is 7 ingredients free – parabens, mineral oil, animal-derived ingredients, synthetic colorants, artificial fragrances, imidazolidinyl urea and TEA that can be potentially harmful to our skin.

The essence contain 93.1% of lotus seed extract. Lotus seed extract also known as nelumbo nucifera germ extract is rich in amino acid and linoleic acid which are responsible for the moisturising and hydrating properties. It also reduces inflammation and promotes healing.

Lotus seed extract serve as a powerful antioxidant which can be a potential anti-aging properties. It act as a free radical scavengers that protect the skin against harmful and damaging free radicals such as UVB irradiation. Lastly, it can protect the skin against environment factors such as dust or microbes.

I have been using this essence for about 2 months and I noticed that my face has a radiant glow and my skin was more hydrated than before. I also like that it helped to calm my skin (reduced redness). I feel that this essence is more toward hydration than anti-aging.

Other than these, I do like the fact that they used eco-friendly packaging which are recyclable from their glass bottle and plastic container. And their FSC-certified paper box is also printed with soy ink.

There are a few minor part that I did not like about this essence:

The first time I used the essence, I tried to pour the essence on my clean palm, it would not flow out. Eventually, I had to shake the bottle hard for the essence to come out and this issue persisted for about 3 days before it flowed out properly. I am not sure if I am the only one experiencing this problem. It could be that the “hole” might not be the right diameter for the essence to flow out.

I am not a fan of their cotton pad. Primera provided a box of pure, unbleached cotton pad for the application of the essence. Though the cotton pad is soft, I think it is unnecessary and waste of resource. I tried using the cotton pad for the first two times and the cotton pad soak up a lot of essence which mean I used more essence than usual.

On top of that, there were some cotton fibre sticking on to my skin and you wouldn’t want to put “extra” stuff on your skin to potentially irritate your skin. I prefer to apply my essence using my clean hands by patting it in for better absorption. Nevertheless, I did not throw away the box of cotton pad, I used it to remove my makeup.

Overall, I think this is a great facial essence for a hydration boost. If you are looking for an essence with hydrating properties, this might be a good choice. Also, if you are interested, feel free to look up on it online.

Disclaimer: I personally find this product beneficial to my skin but it may or may not works for everyone. Kindly understand that every individual has different skin type and texture. I recommend that you do some research before purchasing the product or patch test on your skin before usage. This is not a sponsored post too.