Favourite Cleanser & Toner of 2020

Featured image: photo courtesy of Eqqualberry

I decided to combine my November and December favourites for the beauty category here because it’s sum up the products I used for this year.

Without further explanation, let’s jump straight into the products:

Disclaimer: My skin type is combination-sensitive.

Favourite Cleanser: First Aid Beauty Face cleanser

Photo courtesy: First Aid Beauty

Why is this my favourite?

First of all, this cleanser is affordable and I don’t think there is a need to splurge on an expensive cleanser because it is a wash-off process that you put on your face no more than 60 seconds. Some may not prefer cream cleanser because it might be either overly drying or stripping leaving your skin feeling tight. But a combination skin like me has benefitted from using this and I love that my skin felt clean but still retaining that hydration after cleansing. Over time, my skin felt smoother and softer. I have recommended this to my friends which they told me that their skin have improved – lesser pimple and oiliness.

This cleanser retails for SGD 34/USD 21 for 142g.

Ease of application:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Value for money:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin types:

YES|NO

Animal cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does it contain Harsh chemical?

Free from the followings: Alcohol, Artificial Colorants, Artificial Fragrance, Lanolin, Mineral Oil, Parabens, Petrolatum, Phthalates, Propylene Glycol, Sulfates, Talc, Formaldehydes, Oxybenzone, Coal Tar, Hydroquinone, Triclocarbon, Ethanol, Ethyl Alcohol.


Favourite Toner for combination to oily skin: Isntree Green Tea Fresh Toner

Photo courtesy: Isntree

Why is this my favourite?

The toner contains 80% of green tea extract with that being the first ingredient in the list and green tea does have many benefits to the skin such as antioxidants, anti-ageing and reduce redness/flushing. This toner is also alcohol-free and fragrance-free making it gentle and less irritating to the skin. Lastly, the cost of this toner is affordable about SGD 18 for 200ml. I do not think there is a need to splurge on toner as it is the first step after cleansing to give some hydration to the skin and regulate back your skin pH level.

Ease of application*:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

*Can use with or without a cotton pad.

Value for money:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin types:

YES|NO (most suitable for combination to oily skin type)

Animal cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does it contain any Harsh chemical?

photo courtesy: Isntree Korea

Favourite refreshing toner for all skin type: Keep cool and soothe bamboo toner

Photo courtesy: Keep Cool Korea

Why is this my favourite?

I live in a place where the weather is hot and humid frequently so a refreshing toner can instantly cool down my skin on sunny days. The toner contains 85% bamboo water with it being in the first ingredient in the list. Bamboo water is more hydrating than regular water and helps to boost natural collagen production. I also liked that it does calm and soothe the redness of my skin. Likewise, I brought it at an affordable price of about SGD 20 for 350ml that lasted for four months. A GOOD DEAL!

Ease of application*:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

*Can use with or without a cotton pad

Value for money:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin types:

YES|NO

Animal cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does it contain any harsh chemical?

Free from: Alcohol, Fragrance, Parabens and Essential oil.


Favourite 2 in 1 toner: Laneige cream skin refiner

Photo courtesy: Lameige Korea

Why is this my favourite?

This toner is specially formulated by Laneige Cream Blending Technology™ to dissolve a jar of cream to the skin toner. It contains white tea extract rich in amino acid to soothe and reinforce the skin barrier and return skin to its healthy condition. Plus, white tea consists of a higher number of antioxidants than green tea. This makes me get ready faster, for example, daytime skincare routine I will apply this after cleansing, followed by essence and finally sunscreen. It is also very hydrating for skin during hot weather.

But my only concern is that it’s somewhat sticky after the toner dries. I would recommend applying one layer regardless of your skin type so it might not feel that sticky. The toner is more costly than the ones mentioned above, retails about SGD 38 for 150ml.

Ease of application*:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

*Best recommended to use without a cotton pad.

Value for money:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin types:

YES|NO

Animal cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does it contain any harsh chemical?

Free from: Alcohol, Fragrance and Parabens.


Favourite exfoliating toner: Krave Beauty Kale-Lalu-yAHA

Photo courtesy: Krave Beauty

Why is this my favourite?

A quick question: Do you need to exfoliate your skin?

The answer is Yes. Regardless if you have wonderful skincare products and you do not exfoliate your skin, you need to re-evaluate your skincare regime! Proper exfoliation removes the barrier of dead skin cells clogging the skin and uncovers fresh new cells below. This opens the way for moisturising products to penetrate more deeply into the skin, which makes them more effective.

I swear this is the only AHA toner that worked for me. It is gentle enough yet not overly drying to my skin. I could see result (lesser breakout, glowy skin) after using it for 3 weeks. It contains 5.25% glycolic acid and formulated with a pH of 3.5-4.0. Glycolic acid is commonly used to formulate AHAs toner.

Kale-lalu-yAHA contains vitamin-rich leafy greens like kale, spinach, and parsley that is load with antioxidants to give your skin an energy boost. In addition, it consist of aloe water, hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 to replenish, hydrate and soothe skin.

Initially, when I first started using, I would experience a slight tingling sensation that I thought my skin is “burning”. This is a common experience for those who first started using chemical exfoliant as our skin is new to the ingredient. Although AHAs are often marketed as safe for all skin types, you might want to be cautious if you have extremely dry and sensitive skin. I strongly recommend using once per week then slowly building it up to twice per week.

Please be warned not to use it on open wounds, the toner might sting the hell out of your skin and possibly making it worst.

The toner retails for USD 25 for 200ml.

Ease of application:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You do require a cotton pad to swipe it over your entire face.

Value for money:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin types:

YES|NO (sensitive skin user should use with caution)

Animal Cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does it contain any harsh chemical?

All KraveBeauty products are vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and formulated without fragrance, essential oil, colorant, and potential allergic sensitizers.


Favourite non-AHA/BHA/PHA exofilating toner: EQQUALBERRY Daily Peeling Swimming Pool Toner

Photo courtesy: EQQUALBERRY Korea

Why is this my favourite?

As much I loved Krave beauty toner, I was on a hunt for an exfoliating toner that does not create any tingling sensation when applied on the skin and this is the one. It does not only exfoliate your skin but also moisturise it at the same time. Surprisedly, this toner does not contain any alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) or Poly Hydroxy Acids (PHA) but rather contains KERASOLAZE(H) to exfoliate the skin.

It was known as a protein solution separated from the hatching liquid within 24 hours after rainbow trout’s eggs hatch. There should be low irritation to the typical exfoliating component BHA and 24-hour protein decomposition in some tests, which is suitable for daily peeling.

Eqqualberry toner contain 5 BERRY COMPLEX which origined from 5 types of berries to provide moisture and ZEMEA® – a moisturiser using plant-oil extract that derived from corn (GMO-free) as a base.

Since it’s a gentle exfoliating toner, I used it for twice or thrice a week and it did not cause any redness or breakout for me. My skin felt more moisturised and glowy after application in comparison to the Krave beauty’s toner. I introduced this to my boyfriend for his eczema-prone skin which he is impressed. I purchased this toner for SGD 23 (discounted priced) for 300ml which is totally worthy.

Ease of application:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You require to use a cotton pad to swipe it over your entire face.

Value for money:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin type:

YES|NO (Most suitable for normal to dry skin including sensitive skin)

Animal Cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does it contain any harsh chemical?

All ingredient is EWG tested & verified – the toner is free of harmful ingredients and heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury.


Okay these are 5 favourite toner for the year 2020! If you are interested any of the products mentioned above, feel free to click on the links under their name. Stay tuned for the second part of the favourite essence, serum and toner for 2020!

Cheers,

Boyfriend reviews his current skincare products

Featured image by Photo by Heather Ford on Unsplash

Hello. It’s been a while. I have been busy with my university projects hence I did not manage to post a July favourite. But I will combine them with the August favourites.

Today post is different than usual. Normally, before I post any skincare product recommendation, I would use them for 2 weeks or more to give an objective review of the product. The product mentioned in this post will not used by me but my boyfriend instead.

I would like to put out a disclaimer that all the product mentioned are bought by my boyfriend with his own money. None of these are sponsored.

I know there is a controversial of a guy using skincare product dictating them as “girly”, “feminine” or even worst “is he gay?”. I am not trying to offend anyone or the LGBT community. But I had heard people saying this in my previous job. I know in South Korea, men do use as much skincare product as women. So, I don’t think there is anything wrong with men using skincare products. I think it’s beneficial for them to use them to protect their skin for pre-mature ageing.

A short description of my boyfriend skin type/condtion. My boyfriend suffered eczema skin condition since he’s young. Fortunately, majority of his eczema occurred his body, so it hardly breakout on his face. His face type is combination – oily at the T-zone area and somewhat dry around his cheek area.

My boyfriend skincare routine is pretty much the basic that consist of 3 simple steps: Cleanser >> Toner/Essence >> Cream/Moisturiser.

I am aware that he is missing a step for his sunscreen/sunblock for his daytime routine. I tried to persuade him to put but often times, he forget to apply.

Recently, he tried to two new beauty products which are of the following:

Photo credit: Laneige Korea (Laneige.com/kr)
Photo credit: Roundlab Korea (roundlab.co.kr)

Let’s start with the one on the left which is the Laneige Homme Cream Skin Refiner All in one retails for 28,000 Won = 23.49 USD for 150ml. At the moment, this is only sold in South Korea.

Photo credit: Laneige Korea

This is the men version (2020) of their infamous cream skin refiner. If you have not heard of it yet, the cream skin refiner was the talk of the town last year (2019). I had tried the cream skin refiner and it was good and my skin had no reaction or whatsoever.

One of the main ingredient used was the white tea leaf extract which has a higher concentration of antioxidants and amino acids compared to green tea leaf extract. The only thing that I did not like was the sticky feeling after application. So I did not repurchase it, overall it’s not a bad product, it does leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated. I highly recommend for those with dry skin and it’s applicable to all skin types.

The difference between the original cream skin refiner and Homme cream skin refiner is the extra ingredients contain in the men version which are ethanol, chamomile extract and mentoxypropanediol.

Ethanol – It is a well-known topical penetration enhancer, which means it can be used to increase the transdermal delivery of certain ingredients into the skin.

Chamomile extract – It is known for its excellent soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Mentoxypropanediol – It is a cooling agent that derived from menthol and it is commonly used fragrance or masking agent.

How does this review goes about?

I have sent a list of question to my boyfriend and he will give his objective review about the products. P.S. He has been using these product for more than 3 weeks.

Questions and Answer

Q: What is your first impression of the product?

A: I like the simplicity of the packaging and it looked relatively cool for a guy.

Q: What do you like about the product?

A: First off, it has no smell and it is easy to apply without the use of a cotton pad. It absorbed relatively fast into the skin and it is also a 3 in 1 product.

Before Application.
Photo taken by my boyfriend for illustrative purposes only.
After application.
Photo taken by my boyfriend for illustrative purposes only.

Q: What do you not like about the product? why?

A: The stickiness after application. When you first apply it to your face, it feels like putting a light lotion/cream. As the toner gets absorb within 5 seconds, it will leave a slight stickiness to your face. Furthermore, your hands will be sticky as well, so it will be necessary to wash our hands after applying. Another downside is that it does not provide as much hydration with comparison to other toner.

Q: How has the product benefited or not benefitted your skin after using it for a month?

A: Overall, I feel that this toner has help to control some of my oiliness and kept my skin slightly hydrated. There is less sebum production during the day and slightly lesser pimples produce as well.

Q: How likely would you consider repurchase the product?

A: Not likely|Neutral|More Likely|Most Likely.

Q: Would you recommend this product to your friends or relatives?

A: I will recommend this product to other friends if they are looking for a 3 in 1 facial product and they are not fussy about the stickiness.

Q: Overall rating of the product?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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.