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[Sun Protection] – Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel

**warning I am about to start a long rant of my history with sunscreen, scroll down further for the TL;DR version**

Everyone that cares about their skin knows how important sunscreen is. It’s probably the most effective way to fight aging skin. I, like many others, have always neglected the importance of sunscreen when I was younger. Back in my young days, my skin never reacted to the sun much, I don’t get tanned much, and I don’t get red at all. It was only about when I was 25 years old, I started noticing my face would get red when it’s under sun exposure. I would be wearing those big buggy sunglasses, and the skin around my eyes would remain normal while the rest of my face would have a tint of red. I didn’t give it much thought, but I didn’t want to be tanned, the yellow undertone of my skin really pops when I tan, and I didn’t like it. So that’s basically when I started wearing sunscreen (I know, so late into the game). A number of years went by, and one day while I was looking around at Murale (like Sephora, but Canadian), and a sales person asked if I would like to test the age of my skin. After I agreed she proceeded to put this ultrasound like device on my face that’s suppose to read my skin condition, she then told me I had a lot of sun damage and my skin was aged at 45! (I was in my mid to late 20’s at that time). She then explained how important sunscreen was and of course proceeded to give me recommendations. I didn’t buy anything from her, but I went home and started frantically looking for sunscreen and doing a lot of research on what to look for. I’ll be honest, I didn’t put on sunscreen mainly because I hated that greasy feeling, and that smell (ew). I’ve tried sooooo many North American brands, the best way to describe them would be a bottle of grease. I couldn’t, I just can’t, especially after finding out you should put at least 1/4 Tsp on your face for the sunscreen to be effective. Now I was always into Asian skincare, mainly Japanese at that time, I always see “cooling effect” “non-greasy feeling” “watery” etc etc of the likes marked on Japanese sunscreen, and I thought, well might as well give it a try, and I was hooked. I’ve tried many different brands namely, Shiseido,  mentholatum sun play sunscreen (there’s a range of them and I’ve tried them all), Skin Aqua (also a range of different kinds, and again tried them all), and other brands that I can’t really recall now. Skin Aqua was one of my favourites, but the price was fairly high for the amount of product so I continued my search. It seemed that Japanese sunscreen were always in a 30ml to 50ml tube/bottle, and never anything over that. My intention was to put sunscreen over all exposed skin and not just my face, so I wanted something more substantial. One day as I was browsing a drugstore in Taiwan, I picked up the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, and I’ve never looked back again.

Now, the one I have pictured above is actually the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel. I picked this up last time I went back to Taiwan, because unlike the watery Essence which I believe was a 50ml soft tube packaging, the gel version is a 90ml bottle packaging, and it was for about the same price. I figure more bang for my buck! I honestly don’t feel much difference between the two. The watery essence is a creamier version, and the gel version is a bit more liquid-y.

***here’s the TL;DR***

The consistency is probably my favourite part of this product. The formula is so weightless on the skin it’s a long way from the bottles of grease North American sunscreens are. 

Instead of making your face look like you can fry an egg on top of it, it initially gives a dewy look but then drys semi-mat, though I personally wouldn’t mind if it stayed dewy looking.
And if you will notice, there is NO white cast! how amazing!

I apologize for not putting up a picture of the ingredient list, but, for easy for packing I threw away the packaging that lists the ingredients in English and I don’t know enough Japanese to decipher a list of chemical ingredients. But I do know it contains alcohol and is a chemical sunscreen, I do not believe it has any physical sunscreen in it(titanium dioxcide or zinc oxcide).

In short, best sunscreen ever!

consistency: liquidy, the watery essence version is creamier

scent: there is a very slight floral scent to it, nothing terribly strong, and certainly does not smell like typical North American sunscreen. The scent dissipates fairly quickly.

colour: it is colourless and does not give you a white cast.

Sun protection: this is a SPF 50+ (meaning probably more than 50, but this is the max they are allowed to label to) and PA++++

I was trying to find the post where I talked about the difference between SPF and PA rating, but I couldn’t find it! I swear I’ve wrote about it before. But anyways, in case anyone is wondering…SPF (or Sun Protection Factor) is “a measure of the fraction of sunburn-producing UV rays that reach the skin.  For example, “SPF 15″ means that 1/15th of the burning radiation will reach the skin,” assuming the correct amount is applied (source). It is important to note that this factor only refers to the protection you have from UVB rays and not UVA rays (source). PA (or Protection Grade of UVA) “measures the UVA protection that a sunscreen provides. PA+ corresponds to a UVA protection factor between two and four, PA++ between four and eight, and PA+++ more than eight. This system was revised in 2013 to include PA++++ which corresponds to a PPD rating of sixteen or above” (source). So what’s the difference between UVB and UVA you ask? Well UVB rays are Ultraviolet B rays, or known as the “burning rays.” This is the ray that causes sunburns and “tends to damage the more superficial layers of the skin and are what most sunscreens historically claimed protection from” (source). Where as UVA rays or Ultraviolet A rays are the long waves that are less intense, but more prevalent and can come through clouds and glass, so you would still be exposed even if you are indoors. “These rays reach the deeper dermal layers of skin and and can damage your skin’s collagen and elastin causing premature aging, & wrinkling” (source). In short, it is far more important to be protected from UVA than UVB. You’ll notice North American sunscreens tends to only label SPF without any PA ratings, can we assume we are also protected from the harmful affects of UVA while wearing those? hard to say, I think I’ll stick with my Japanese sunscreens. (And sorry for all the sourcing, I am an uni grad, I have to LOL)

price: I got mine in Taiwan, I recall it works out to be about $5 CND per bottle (I KNOW RIGHT?!). I did a quick search and it appears ebay and the likes are about $10~ $20 price range which is still not bad, but I will continue to hoard them when I go back to Taiwan (or when my mom does). I got 3 bottles of this when I came back in March, and I am down to my very last bit, and will possibly have to go one week without any sunscreen, because I just can’t find anything equivalent here (here’s hoping my skin doesn’t melt off my bones). My brother will return with these on the 11th of Dec, I need to ration! fingers crossed!

my particular bottle was made in Japan, I have seen made in Taiwan ones though.

Overall: I think no one will be surprised I am giving this sunscreen a 5/5. If anything, I only wish they came in bigger bottles. The search for the perfect sunscreen is over for me, I will never leave you Biore UV aqua rich!

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Posted by on November 25, 2017 in All Things Prettified!, Skin Food

 

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[The Face Shop] – Lovely Me: Ex Pore Ghassoul Mask

imageOOPS! Sorry I missed 2 weeks of posts. I just got lazy the first Sat, and then I was in San Diego for the 2nd, so….I have nothing to say for myself. I am sorry T_T I’ll make it up with fluffy panda pictures next week! I promise! (that probably doesn’t mean anything now T_T)

Anyways, on to the topic at hand. So I got this a while back from ebay for $13.59CND. I won’t recommend the seller though, because I had some issues with the shipping. It took them 3 days to ship after I paid, and I had to email to ask about it.

I had originally wanted to purchase only the Jeju volcanic clay mask, but just can’t resist the adorable packaging!! Can you?

I didn’t have high hopes for this thing. It’s a clay mask, and they never do much except maybe reduce oil. But this mask didn’t even do that. It smelled nice, and was easy to wash off, that’s about all the pros I can give you. It did absolutely nothing for my pores, though from the description it seems like it’s suppose to shrink or at least clean the pores. Nope didn’t do that either.  Definitely not worth repurchasing. But damn that packaging is just adorable!

For those interested, here’s the list of ingredients:

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Here’s the texture of the clay mask. Nothing special really.

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So a 2/5 for this baby, mainly for that cute packaging.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2013 in All Things Prettified!, Skin Food

 

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[JUJU Cosmetics] – Aquamoist Cream

image A couple of sasa orders back, I had gotten this because my Innisfree Green Tea Seed Cream was disappearing quickly. I just wanted a simple face cream that’s not sticky and has moisturising properties. A while back a friend had told me about JUJU Cosmetics, obviously Japanese, the main idea of this brand is less is more. Most of their products (if not all) are non-scented, and are basically the bare bones of skin scare. In this case, the Aquamoist Cream is packed full of hyaluronic acid, which is naturally produced by the body. The cream claims to be hydrating for 24hrs a day. I don’t know how much of that claim is true, and honestly, with my Estee Lauder Advance Night Repair Serum I really can’t tell if this cream does anything. Perhaps I will try a couple of days without the serum and see how my skin reacts to this thing.

That being said, I do still like this cream quite a lot. First and foremost, I like the fact that it isn’t scented. I’ve been looking for a minimalist face cream for a while. Sorry to say, but most (if not all) of the Korean brand cosmetics are heavily scented, even the ones that supposedly focuses on “natural” things.

Secondly, the cream does indeed moisturise, it is the length of this moisturising effect that I cannot comment on.

Last, and most importantly, it is not sticky at all. The texture is a bit of a gel and it spreads quite nicely over the skin. No need for harsh rubbing. When applied it feels more watery than creamy with no sticky feeling after, and that’s something very important for me in any cream.

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If I recall correctly, this little jar was in the ballpark of $20 or so. Money well spent I think. I give it a 4.5/5. Definitely willing to repurchase, but probably won’t end up buying it again just because I like trying new things. That being said, I will probably try something within the JUJU cosmetics brand next time as well.

If I do end up testing this without the serum I’ll let ya’ll know.

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2013 in All Things Prettified!, Skin Food

 

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[Shills] – Black Gel Mask

image My somewhat recent order form Sasa.com included this gel mask. I’ve been wanting to try out these black gel masks for a while. There was another Japanese brand (Hanaka) that was all the rave, but it was a bit too expensive for my blood. So I opted for this Taiwanese brand, Shills, instead. The content is 100g for about $12 on Sasa.com.

The whole idea of this black gel mask is that it removes impurities from the skin. I don’t know how much of that claim holds truth, I mean it’s a gel mask. I think I’d rather trust my pore cleaning to exfoliating cleansers and peel masks. I did hope maybe it just helps draw out the impurities, at which point a good cleanser or peel mask can pull it out, or fully remove it. So I tested it out for a week. I’d put on this mask everyday for a week, then did a peel. I did feel that the peel mask picked up more gunk than usual, which is great.

The texture is gel like (obviously). It does look black in the container.

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But once out of the jar, it’s more clear like with a tint of black.

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This is about as much as I put on my face.
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Once dried it makes the skin look a bit dirty-like. But washes off pretty easily.
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The other thing that these black mask gels claims to do is brightening, and I can actually see this after I wash off the mask. Here’s my hand’s before and after picture. Hopefully, you can kind of tell, in the before section, the skin is a bit more uneven, where as after is brighter and more even. These pictures are taken out doors with natural light. The difference is a lot more obvious in person, the before side was pretty red and the after was even toned.

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I normally use this after shower, and after I splash my face with cold water (to shrink pores), It stays on my face for about 15 to 20 mins, it doesn’t take too long to dry out, then I’d wash it off. The gel mask is gentle  enough to use on a daily basis, and I like the idea that it draws out impurities, and there’s no pain involved when removing. If not for cleaning effect, at the very least it does brighten and even out my skin tone. It also reduces redness when I extract pimples, which is a great plus. I’d give this a 4.5/5, and I would definitely repurchase this. I may even try the Hanaka brand.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2013 in All Things Prettified!, Skin Food

 

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[Estée Lauder] – Advanced Night Repair, Synchronized Recovery Complex II

imageHellos! So I finally did it! I finally threw down the money on this really really expensive serum. Crazy, I know, but it’s just so good!

So the story goes, I’ve always wanted to try out this serum, because I have seen SOOOO many reviews on it, and none are negative. Well, except of the price obviously. Estee Lauder is an expensive brand, everyone knows that. The most high end I have gone is Biotherm, hummm…maybe Clarin’s is a bit higher. In any case this beats all of them hands down. A month or so back, I finally got a sample of this baby from Sephora. As most Sephorians will tell you, Sephora is pretty generous with their samples. When I was there the bottle was pretty much empty, and the sales girl literally dumped every drop out for me. I was able to use that sample for a few weeks before it ran out. And I was pretty amazed at the result of a few weeks of usage. It took me another few weeks before I could get this. Because I wanted to redeem the shoppers points I had to buy this. Of course Estee Lauder is not found at any Shopper’s Drug Mart, they are only available in Murale stores (correct me if I am wrong here). The only Murale in good old Vancouver is about an hour bus ride away from where I live, so to make the story short, it was sorta hard to motivate myself to spend $8 of bus money and do the 2 hour to and from trip just for a bottle of serum. Luckily (or unluckily), my family doctor is located in the same mall. And since I had been sick for the past week, my mom wanted me to go get a check up, just in case. So on my doctor trip, I went and exchanged my points for this little guy. I got the bigger 50ml bottle, because it just made more sense. Without points it came to around $117 after taxes. I forked over $85 worth of points, and paid $30-ish to bring it home.

I am sure I don’t need to introduce this product too much, I would say it”s pretty well known. Estee Lauder claims this to be an anti-aging serum, and helps repair your skin while you sleep. The idea is that our skin does repair work of it’s own at night time though a process call catabolysis (this is why people who sleep late have horrible skin). And this serum helps support that process, essentially making the repair work less work with a technology Estee Lauder calls ChronoluxCB.

Because of how expensive this product is, you’ll have to excuse me for not posting a picture of it on my hand. I did, however, managed to take a picture of the product dripping from the dropper. The consistency of the serum is fairly liquid. It has a very very slight gel texture, but a little bit goes a long way. I’d probably be able to cover my face with a couple of drops.

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The serum also has a slight colouring to it, yellowish, but not very visible when it’s only a little bit, and obviously it doesn’t show up on your face when you put it on. The scent is a bit of a herbal floral mix, a bit more herbal than floral. Not an overpowering scent by any means, and disburses quite fast after application.

Here’s the list of ingredients:
imageWell, I am sure some of you are wondering what it did to my skin to make me feel like I need to spend this kind of dough on this serum. Well, some of you might know, after my return from the humid weathers of Asia, my skin has been drying out. While Asian, and especially, Korean weather/humidity has been good to my skin. I’ve had less black/white heads, less dryness. My skin felt pretty plump and hydrated on a daily basis, and I wasn’t even watching what I was using on my face. I didn’t use an eye cream, and didn’t have lines under my eyes. That all went to shit after I came back to Vancouver. Obviously, Vancouver, with its rain is a bit more humid than other parts of the country, but it just wasn’t enough for my sub-tropical body. My skin started drying out, lines under my eyes were becoming very very visible. My make up, especially foundation would “float” on top of my skin, and refuse to be blended. I’d get dry patches of skin flaking off on parts of my face (nose and forehead especially). I added eye cream to my nightly regime and it did little to nothing. So I decided I needed a serum, but didn’t know which to use. I used a few different serums, none really stood out, Vichy’s Aqualia Thermal serum was the only one that sort of helped. I went through 3 or 4 bottles before I stopped purchasing it because it was a bit costly ($40 a bottle if I am not wrong), and I had to use a lot of it. A 30ml bottle only lasted me about 2 months or so. With the points I had saved up from Shoppers, I decided that I would like to try the Estee Lauder serum, since it had so many good reviews. But me having sensitive skin, and it being high on the price rage, I thought I should get a sample to try out first. Murale refused to gave me a sample, and the tester they had on display has also gone bad (it smelt like glue…), so when I saw it at Sephora I was quite excited, I quickly asked for a sample and went home happy. Once I started using it, I saw pretty much immediate results. I was still sleeping late (yeah I know I am terrible), but fine lines reduced under my eyes, my cheeks didn’t feel dry and was looking dewy and plump again! SO EXCITING! I didn’t notice any change in the amount of blackheads, but when I use my Diaso Charcoal Peel Mask, it did end up pulling out more blackheads than it did before, and I felt my skin smoother after the peel. Where as I’d still feel roughness before (meaning the blackheads weren’t cleared out). So it was all positive!

Ok…that’s a lot of sharing…haha. I will update with more if this serum ends up disappointing me in the end, but currently it’s getting a 10/10 (especially with the price I actually paid for it).

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2013 in All Things Prettified!, Skin Food

 

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