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My Current Skincare Routine

3 May

It’s tempting to forgo any skincare routine after a long day. Take, for example, this picture: you walk into your house, you’re hungry, you’re tired, the cake of makeup is still sitting on your face. Just the thought of summoning whatever energy you have left to wash your face is already taxing enough, never mind applying the toner, mask, serums, creams afterwards…

There were many days/nights when I decided to cheat, thinking that once or twice wouldn’t make a difference. At times, I made myself believe that toner alone would suffice. I learned the hard way when craters of clogged pores and blackheads started to accumulate on a face that was once clear and bright.

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Long ago, I discovered a Korean skincare routine that, overtime, just proved to be too lengthy to fit into the schedule of a busybee like me. So, instead of abandoning it all together, I decided to adopt and tweak it into my personal routine while still keeping the philosophy in tact.

Step 1: Remove makeup

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If you don’t wear any makeup (all the power to you), then you can go ahead and skip this step. For those of you who apply foundation on a typical day, you should understand the importance of investing in a good makeup remover to minimize the daily tugging on your face as you remove the makeup. I currently use the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil (green tea antioxidant version), which I consider to be the best makeup remover by far because the formula is so excellent at removing all the traces of makeup that I never have to follow up with a cotton ball or q-tip. Using two squeezes of the pump, I massage the oil onto my dry face (still full of makeup) first, followed by wetting my face with a small amount of water just enough to emulsify the oil. You will know when the emulsification process has begun because the oil will become slightly foamy. As you massage the oil around your face, make sure to get your eyelids also to remove the eyeliner and mascara. The last step includes a thorough rinse with H2O. Then, viola! Makeup-free.

2. Facial Cleanser

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For some people, the cleansing oil gives their face an adequate amount of cleansing. However, I like to follow up with a foamy face cleanser in the shower to remove any further impurities. I bought this Sumi Charcoal Facial Cleansing Foam from Daiso. I underestimated this cleanser until I saw how clean and refreshing my face became after using it. You can tell my enthusiasm for this product by how little of it is left in the tube!

3. Exfoliate

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Next, I follow up with the Skinfood Black Sugar Mask or Omorovicza Refining Facial Polisher, depending on my mood. Tbh, I enjoy using the sugar mask a bit more. I tend to leave my face a little damp. Then, scooping up a dollop around the size of my thumb, I spread and massage the product until it evenly covers my face. Rinse off after 15 min. and the result is a smooth canvas free of the dead skin cells that weighed down your complexion previously. I suggest you wrap up your hair in a scrunchie because sticky hair strands covered in sugar is not something that you want.

4. Tone

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Next, I apply the Innisfree Green Tea Moisture Skin–which have been mentioned countless times in my other posts–with a cotton pad onto my face. I’m almost out of this product and would definitely buy another one when the time comes. The refreshing feeling, combined with the heavenly scent, puts you in a better mood almost instantly.

5. Serum

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Sometimes I’ll use a moisturizer or coconut oil, but nothing can beat the BareMinerals Active Cell Renewal Night Serum. A few drops of this essence is enough to bring out the best of your complexion in the morning. It’s just too bad that the company no longer sells or restocks this product because it’s one of the best serums I’ve ever laid my hands on. I suppose I better ready myself for another serum when this bottle runs out (which is definitely happening soon).

6. Eye Cream

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I’ve got a drawer full of eye creams. But the one that I find myself using a lot is the Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel, which serves to depuff your eyebags after a tiring day. And yes, it does work (for me, at least). I take a small amount with my ring finger and gently apply it to underneath my eyes. A moment later, you should feel a slight burning, which means that the formula is working. The only bags I like are Louis Vuitton ones!

7. Face Mist

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Then, to top it all off like the frosting on the cake, I like to spray a few spritz of the Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist, which I got from my last Sephora Haul. I find this mist really hydrating for my face and can also be used as a great pick-me-up at anytime during the day.

What are some skincare products that have worked for you in the past? Leave your comments below. I would love to hear about them. Thanks for reading!

Follow me on Instagram @Alleyhanai.

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My Beauty Diary Apple Polyphenol Mask Review

18 Apr

It’s Sunday night. How do you relax? How do you avoid thinking about the dreadful Monday lurking in the horizon? Drinking a cup of hot cocoa, escaping with a season of House of Cards, munching on toasty garlic bread, or checking your Instagram might help. But what’s even better is treating your skin to a hydrating mask…

……Which brings me to my review on these wonderful, moisturizing, beauties.

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I only have 3 left!

As opposed to the Cherry Blossom Masks, which promotes skin whitening, these babies focus on oil control and pore tightening. Such qualities make them ideal for the hot weather in the summer, where humidity and sweat can cause grime and impurities to become dislodged in our enlarged pores.

That’s where the ingredients of this product come in. These masks contain AHA, Alpha Hydroxy Acid, which helps to remove extra dead skin cells trapped inside pores. Everyone has probably heard of Hyaluronic Acid by now, the hero that brings back all the firmness to the skin. It also promotes collage synthesis. Lastly, another main ingredient is the Pylus Malus Fruit Extract, another name for apple extract, that provides an antioxidant effect by eliminating the free radicals that mark the skin for wrinkles and premature aging.

Directions:

Many readers may have used masks before, but for those who are new to the group…

Upon tearing open the packet, you’ll be greeted by a strong apple scent. The mask is folded around a white plastic that holds its form in place. Carefully unwrap the mask and spread it evenly on the face, matching the openings for the eyes, nose, and the mouth. Sometimes, your lips may be larger than the cut-out. That’s okay. Try to get the mask in contact with the skin as much as possible. Leave on the mask for 20-30 min and do something else to pass the time. Afterwards, peel it off, dispose the mask, and gently pat the essence around your face. No rinsing is needed.

Each box costs about $11-13, depending on where you buy, and has 10 sheet masks. The product is good for about 3 years before it hits the expiration date, but I think we’ll be finished in less than that time!

How the mask looks…

Me looking stupid with a mask

Results:

The Apple Polyphenol masks are just as effective as the Cherry Blossom ones. Usually, I’d put these on dry skin only to find my face completely moisturized afterwards. Not only that, but my face is firmer too, and a little bit lighter. No itchiness, no redness. It leaves a light, refreshing feeling on my face. I typically use them 2-3 times a week.

Overall, would I recommend these? Heck yea. Go for it. Do something nice for your skin.

Thanks for reading!

The 10-Step Korean Beauty Routine

16 Apr

It’s 2 am in the morning and you would expect me to be catching zzz’s in my bed with one foot out the blanket, away from the edge in case a monster tries to grab it. No, no..Instead, I’m at IHOP, snacking on a plate of fried chicken and waffles. Later, I wake up in the morning with raccoon eyes, blemishes, and the look of regret on my face.

Adding oil to the fire, I would sometimes forget to moisturize after cleansing. Those times are usually when I come home from a long, exhausting day and I don’t want to expend any more energy. Just shower and sleep. 

And over time, I’d find myself wondering why my skin looked so unhealthy. That’s when I finally decided to be proactive about it. I adopted the 10-step skincare routine and made it into a daily habit.

I started with a haul, picking out products with good reviews and quality ingredients. (Stick to those without alcohol because it can dry out your face).

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Large Haul

STEP 1: Makeup Remover

I wear a lot of makeup. So, in the first step, I remove it with the A’PIEU Mineral Lip & Eye Make-Up Remover. It takes away my lipstick and eyeliner well. There is no scent. And overall, it does its job.

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A’pieu Mineral Eye and Lip Makeup Remover in Pure Water

STEP 2: Cleansing Oil

Still in the process of getting rid of the makeup, I apply the INNISFREE Apple Juicy Cleansing Oil to my face, rubbing in circles before I rinse off the excess with warm water. It has an apple smell mixed with other fragrances, which isn’t too overwhelming. The texture of the oil is of the right amount of viscosity. Not too sticky, either. At this point, the makeup is off my face.

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Juicy Apple scent!

STEP 3: Foam Cleanser

Next, I use the INNISFREE Green Tea Cleansing Foam to wash the impurities off my face. This is a great product where a little becomes a lot of foam. The cleansing foam gives off a fresh, green tea scent that leaves you calm and relaxed.

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Gentle foamy cleanser

STEP 4: Exfoliation

In order to banish all those blackheads and dead skin cells, I use the SKINFOOD Black Sugar Mask (I don’t know why it’s called a mask. It’s actually an exfoliator). I scoop out the product with my fingers and massage it gently on my face in circular motion. The paste has a gritty texture, like caramelized sugar. It also smells very sweet. Afterwards, I rinse with lukewarm water and pat my face dry. It’s important that exfoliators are used about 1-2 times a week because too much exfoliating can irriate and dry out the skin.

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The smell of sweet sugar is tempting…

STEP 5: Toner

In korea, they are known as refreshers or skin. These are both terms for toners. The benefit of using a toner is to balance the pH of the skin. The normal pH range of the skin is usually acidic, around 4-5. The purpose of this acidity is to fight off bacteria on your skin. I use the INNISFREE Green Tea Moisture Skin. With a cotton pad, I apply the toner on my skin. An additional purpose of the toner is to remove the remaining dirt on your skin, as evident by the brown color left on the cotton after wiping.

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I love the green tea smell of this product

STEP 6: Essence

This step is important because the application of the essence induces the turn-over and growth of cells in your skin. The result is newer skin cells and a better complexion. I use the MISSHA Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence, which is just as effective as the SK-II Facial Essence. After applying and smoothing a moderate amount onto my face, I find that the redness disappears, leaving me with a brighter appearance.

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Magic bottle of essence

STEP 7: Serum/Ampoule

I really wanted to try the Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule but to my dismay, it was sold out on Testerkorea, the website that I ordered from. So, I implemented another serum which was just as good (or even better). I use the bareMinerals Active Cell Renewal Night Serum. The good thing about this bottle is that it has never ceased to amaze me. After every use, I find my skin soft and my complexion evened out. This serum also serves to promote the cell renewal process. The smell can be a bit off-putting. However, if you don’t mind that, then it would be one of the best holy grail products for your skin.

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Holy Grail product

 

STEP 8: Mask Sheet

Here is the fun part. It’s time to put on a mask. After slapping on one of these, I usually sit down and browse the web, watch Netflix, or do something for 30 minutes. Some masks call for different times. I personally love My Beauty Diary Masks because they have never let me down. I always find my face moisturized after each use. However, it isn’t recommended that you apply a mask daily. Around 2-3 times per week is good.

Read my review on these beauties

STEP 9: Eye Cream

With my ring finger, I gently tap the product on the area below and around my eye. I use the CLARINS Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate that I bought from Sephora. I received a sample of this and then realized that I couldn’t live without it. It works so well to reduce puffiness and dark circles.

 

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Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate

 

STEP 10: Night Cream or SPF

So, this last step depends on whether I’m going out in the day or getting ready to sleep. In the night, I generally use the MIZON Snail Recovery Gel, the Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate, or even the NATURE REPUBLIC Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera Gel. That’s a lot of products! I generally like to rotate between products.

While, in the daytime, I pile on the SPF diligently. Skin cancer is no joke. For sunscreen, I use the Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector on my face, and the The Face Shop Natural Sun Eco Body & Family Mild Sun Milk on my body.

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Mizon Snail Gel

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300mL Nature Republic Aloe Vera Gel

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Sun protection is important!

And there you have it, my 10-step skincare regiment. I know that other sources may have different versions and products for the routine. However,
this is the one that works best for my skin.

It’s been about a week since I’ve adopted this skincare routine. I find that my blemishes are too scared to make a comeback while the redness has diminished greatly. I’m greeted by a morning glow when I wake up and the overall complexion on my face has definitely improved.

Of course, diet and sleep are also important to maintaining good skin. So I have learned to lay off the Netflix binge at night and eat more vegetables as opposed to oily fried KFC.

Here’s to good skin.

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