I tried 2 sheet masks a day for a week

There is this thing in the Asian beauty community called 1 mask a day, where basically you use one face mask a day. A lot of Korean girls swear by it to give them the dewy clear complexion that so many people are after. There is also this other trend called #teamdoublefisting (I know, I know, who came up with this name?!) where you use two sheet masks a day, normally one in the morning and one at night. Some use one after another as well, depending on what they feel like their skin needs. A celebrity that swears by using two sheet masks a day is Fan Bing Bing, and everyone knows she has the most perfect skin. She allegedly uses more than 600 sheet masks a year!

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So during my business trip this week, I bought along 8 sheet masks to use and see if it really makes a difference. I am pretty lazy when it comes to my skincare, normally I just double cleanse and moisturize. I use sheet masks 1-2 times a week, but since it is winter I felt like it was appropriate to use sheet masks more often. I mainly picked My Beauty Diary masks as well as some Korean masks.

On Monday night, my skin was desperate for a bit of love. After waking up at some unearthly hour to catch an early morning flight, my skin looked and felt dehydrated. I chose the Cactus mask from My Beauty Diary, which claims to brighten and moisturize the skin. A difference between Taiwanese and Korean sheet masks is that the Taiwan ones normally come with a plastic layer, which makes it easier to peel off and apply, and the sheets are normally thicker.

I normally leave my masks on for a good 20-30 minutes to mask sure my skin drinks up as much moisture as possible. Sometimes when I am feeling impatient I might only do 15 minutes, but I try not to since I like to get as much out of my masks as possible.

After 25 minutes, I took the cactus mask off. My skin felt plump, moisturized, and a lot brighter than it was before The dullness from lack of sleep seemed to have disappeared a bit, which is always a good thing. Waking up at 4:45am to catch a flight is never good for the skin.

On Tuesday morning, my skin felt soft and moisturized, but lacked a bit of brightness so I used the Tosowoong Propolis mask, which is meant to brighten and whiten the skin. Whitening doesn’t mean bleaching the skin, FYI. I put on the mask after my shower, leaving it on while I dried my hair. I don’t have the time in the mornings to use a mask for longer than 15 minutes since I am always running late.

The mask felt very nice and added some brightness to the skin. My foundation didn’t slip or slide during the day, and no touch ups were required. Later that night after double cleansing, I used the MBD diamond and caviar mask. It comes with two pieces, one for the eyes and nose, and another piece that covers the neck and loops around the ears. It was a struggle to figure out how to put it on (just me?), but once it was on it was great because the mask is not going anywhere. I woke up the next day with moisturized but not oily skin.

I tend to go for less moisturizing and more brightening masks in the morning, since I like to give my skin a lot of hydration before bed. I decided to use a favorite of mine, the Leaders mela-tox whitening mask. This mask is great for giving the skin a huge boost in brightness when the skin is looking a bit dull and grey, but since I have been almost drowning my skin is masks for the past two days, my skin didn’t really need any extra glow.

I used the mask, applied some eye makeup and left for work. My skin looked amazing during the day, without foundation or even powder. It didn’t become oily or shiny, it just stayed glow-y.

On Wednesday night, I decided to get Thai takeaway and watch the latest episode of PLL. (I might be the only person left that still watches this show) After relaxing, I did a 20 minute workout, took a shower and applied the MBD 2-step moisturizing mask. It comes with a ‘primer’ which is like a thick gel that you apply before the mask. This mask is super moisturizing, which is great for the cold windy weather of Wellington.

One of my favorite summer time masks is the MBD cooling mask. While it is far from summer here in New Zealand, I still like using it when I want a bit of a pick me up. The mask has a very cooling effect on the skin, it feels really nice and refreshing in the morning. It isn’t the most moisturizing of masks though. At night, I used another one of the MBD 2-step masks, this time the brightening version. It comes with the same gel like primer, and a brightening sheet mask. At this point of my little experiment, I didn’t see much of a difference with my skin since it was so hydrated.

Just to end the challenge on a high note, I used a long time favorite of mine and the Asian beauty community, the MBD black pearl mask. A lot of people swear by this mask for the whitening effects, but I just like it because it evens out the skin-tone really well.

Do I think it is necessary to use masks that often? No. I think 2-3 times a week is enough. However, if you have the budget (or the hoards of sheet masks sitting in your collection like I do), then there is nothing wrong with using it so often. I feel like the general rule of thumb is to listen to your skin, and to choose masks that cater to your skin type and skin problems.

Current Skincare Routine

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I normally start by removing any eye makeup with the Lancome bi-facial eye makeup remover, and then remove the face makeup and whatever traces left of eye makeup with the shu uemura cleansing oil. Removing makeup is really important for your skin, and I like to double cleanse.

I then cleanse my face with the Paula’s Choice Hydrating Cleanser and the Foreo Luna mini. I don’t use the Foreo Luna mini often to prevent over exfoliating my skin.

4-5 times a week, I exfoliate with the Paula’s Choice BHA Pore refining liquid. I have been using it for a week or so, and so far my skin seem softer and hopefully it clears up the acne scars.

I moisturize with the Clinique Even Better Serum, and then the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. I have been using Clinique products for years, and it is just a product that I know will always work.

Every now and then I like to use sheet masks, normally before a night event where I will be wearing thicker makeup than usual. I like to use masks from My Beauty Diary or Etude House.

Extras (not in pic):
Khiels Eye Cream
Josie Maran Argan Oil – for a strong boost of moisture when my skin is feeling extremely dry

What is AHA and BHA?

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If you frequent skincare sites, you will probably hear a lot of acronyms like AHA and BHA floating around. For the longest time, I had no idea what those meant. What is this weird sounding chemical people were putting on their faces, and why do people rave about how amazing it is?

AHA = Alpha Hydroxy Acid. The most common types of AHA are glycolic acid (sugar cane), lactic acid (milk), malic acid (apples) and tartaric acid (grapes).

BHA = Beta Hydroxy Acid, also known as salicylic acid.

Both are chemical exfoliants. Exfoliating is important because while your skin naturally sheds its dead skin cells, the process can be effected by different factors such as skin type, sun damage and genetics. Not shedding the dead skin cell properly can cause things like clogged pores, bumps, flaky patches and blemishes.

There are different methods of exfoliating. A common one is with the exfoliating face washes that have those bead things such as the St Ives Apricot face scrub. Those bead things actually scratch the surface of the skin, therefore damaging the skin in the long run. AHA and BHA uses chemicals to exfoliate without damaging the top layer of the skin, making it a more efficient and gentle method of exfoliating.

AHA is suitable for dry /  sun damaged skin types since it gently removes the top layer of dead skin cells by detaching it from the skin. AHA is water soluble, therefore better for sun damaged skin since it works on exfoliating the surface while retaining moisture in the skin. AHA is also great for mature skin / wrinkles, since it contains properties that improves the thickness and collagen in the skin.

BHA is suitable for oily / acne prone / clogged skin, since it penetrates the skin and declogs the pores. It also contains more anti-bacterial properties, so it is suitable for acne skin and skin that has a lot of hyper pigmentation. BHA is oil soluble, therefore it is more suitable to breaking down oil / sebum in the pores.

AHA and BHA should be used after cleanser and toner, and before any moisturizers and serums. It can be used everyday, but if you’re unsure about how your skin might react, start by using it 2 – 3 times and week and slowly build it up depending on how well your skin reacts to the products.

Image: Source

May Favorites

What?? It is already almost June??

The weather got significantly colder in May here in the corner of the earth. It is almost winter,  time to bring out the big coats and gloves. This month I had heaps of new favorites, and some old classics.

MayFavsCelebrated Blush, Hourglass Bronzer, Argan Oil, UD Primer, Brow Wiz, Watch, Dollywink, Colourpop, Primer, Sheer Glow

Danial Wellington Classic Winchester Lady watch: A classy minimalistic watch that is so perfect for everyday. A lot of people like the leather strap, but I really like the look of the Nato Strap, especially with the pop of pink.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer – Luminous Light: The Hourglass ambient powders are highly rated amongst the make up community, so when Hourglass announced the new bronzers, I was one of the many people that were extremely excited. I got the lighter of the two shades, but I wish they had bought out more shades because it is such a great product. While it does contain a slight shimmer, it will not make your face resemble a disco-ball x oompa loompa. It is a very subtle glowly bronzer that perks up the face and gives it a bit more dimension.

Tarte Celebrated Blush: A lovely pink blush that gives the cheeks a slight touch of colour. This blush isn’t as hard in texture compared to most of the other tarte blushes. It also isn’t as pigmented, so it is defiantly more suitable for people with a lighter skin tone.

Dollywink Liquid Eyeliner: A long time favorite of mine, a product that I have been using since my university days. It is so easy to work with since it has a brush tip instead of a felt tip, so it is more flexible and doesn’t tug or jump on the lids. The formula is really nice and long lasting. It can be purchased from most places in Asia, and online from Sasa or Yesstyle.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer: On days when you just need your foundation to last for hours and hours, a primer is extremely important. I got a sample of it at a New Years eve party, and have been using it recently. It really makes the foundation last throughout the day without fading.

Nars Sheer Glow – Deauville: A great foundation for the colder months. It is moisturizing, but not super glowly on the skin, unlike what the name suggests. It has a great shade range, and overall a really good all-rounder foundation suitable for different skin-types.

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original: Eyeshadow smudging is the worst, so an eye primer is always an essential part of a makeup routine. This product is a cult favorite, and it is easy to see why. It amplifies the shadow intensity, while leaving things crease free throughout the day.

Colourpop Eyeshadow – LaLa: A pinky bronze shade that is good for all over the lid on days when you just don’t feel like blending. Add a bit of eyeliner and mascara, and you’re good to go. The texture for this product is really weird, kinda like a cream but not really a cream. For five usd, this product is a great deal considering how great the quality is and the amount of product in it.

Anastasia Brow Wiz – Soft Brown: If there is one thing I always need to do, it is filling in my brows. This pencil is very precise and fills in the brows naturally.

Josie Maran Argon Oil: Because it is getting colder, my skin becomes flaky and dry. This product helps bring back the moisture into the skin while smoothing out the dry patches. It can also be mixed with foundation for a more dewy finish.

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Honorable mention: The Secret Garden Inky coloring book. There is something about sitting down with a coloring  book that brings back so many childhood memories. The illustrations are so pretty and detailed. It is extremely calming to sit there coloring while you let all the other thoughts cluttered in your mind slowly fade away.

 

[Review] Shu Uemura Porefinist anti-shine cleansing oil

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The Shu Uemura Porefinist cleansing oil is described as ‘An incredibly lightweight cleansing oil that leaves the skin clean, fresh and refined.’ on the Shu Uemura site. Targeted towards people with normal to oily/combination skin, the cleansing oil claims to reduce pores and remove blackheads.

At 67 USD / 640 HKD for 450ml, this product isn’t cheap. However, it is well worth the money. This bottle will last me at least a year. If you travel often, some airports such as Hong Kong international airport always have Shu Uemura cleansing oils at duty free prices. I got mine in a set with another cleansing oil, the green one, for around 1000 HKD.

Cleansing oils works by breaking down the make up, including the eye make up, and then Shu Uemura suggest adding water to the oil to create a slight milky consistency and massaging it into the skin before removing with water or a cloth. I personally just wash off with water.

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A lot of people are wary about using an oil to remove their make up, especially those with oily skin. However, this oil washes off leaving a clean feeling to the skin without an oily layer that a lot of other cleansing oils seem to have. The oil doesn’t strip the skin of it’s natural oils (Stripping the skin of it’s natural oils will cause the skin to produce MORE oil). This particular oil however, might not be suitable to those with a dryer skin type, because it is less moisturizing than other cleansing oils Shu Uemura has to offer.

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The consistency is very watery, with a slight floral scent.

Whether or not it removes blackheads or reduce pores, it is not something I have noticed on myself. I don’t have large pores or many blackheads, I mainly use it to break down my make up and cleanse my face. My skin feels extremely clean after using this cleansing oil, without feeling stripped of oil and moisture in the skin.

After cleansing, I will sometimes go in with another cleanser if I am wearing heavy make up on the day (Also known as double cleansing), or just go straight to a moisturizer.

Overall, I highly recommend this product to those that want to try out cleansing oils. I think Shu Uemura makes the best cleansing oils on the market. They come in 450ml or 150ml.

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