December 17, 2014

Natural makeup 3

I don't know if it comes across this way on my blog, but I actually do my fair share of natural makeup! Some days I just don't want to bother with circle lenses, you know? And for me, if I'm not wearing lenses, I feel like I might as well go natural. So here are some pictures of me from the other day:


Hair is not my forte, but I'm trying to improve! I finally made use of the giant bows I bought from Korea. :3





No expression! Relaxing every muscle on my face :3


Thinking about McDonalds' mushy fries~

Yum yum yum~


About today's makeup:

Natural eyebrows are always interesting for me. It feels like "Korean eyebrows" have become the gold standard for natural Asian brows, and...I just don't like how they look on me, unfortunately!

You see, I have a low browbone compared to most Koreans. This means that I don't have a lot of distance between my eyes and eyebrows, kinda like Tsubasa. As a result, dark and defined eyebrows (like Korean brows) crowd my eyes and make me look strong and boyish. That's why I decided to try soft eyebrows--they're thick, but soft!

And I quite like them! I think their softness and light color match my round features. I might thin them out a wee bit more, and then I'll be fully satisfied. And in case anyone is wondering, 'Why even bother messing with your eyebrows? Why not just leave them the way they are?' It's because I'm searching for my optimal look. We're only young once, gotta take advantage of it! And in my opinion, natural doesn't necessarily mean the best. Take Hyoyeon for example!






How about you, is there an eyebrow shape that you just don't like on yourself?

December 15, 2014

A super gentle cleanser, Dr. Oracle the Snow Queen Enzyme Powder Wash Review

I'm usually 'meh' about cleansers, but this one is interesting and unique! It comes in a powder form, which coincidentally makes it perfect for traveling--no need to worry about it exploding and making a mess in your luggage!


It also contains very few ingredients, though among those few are pineapple and papaya enzymes, both of which are meant for exfoliation. But my favorite part of all is that it's GENTLE! So, so gentle!





Brand: Dr. Oracle (Korean dermatological brand)
Name: the Snow Queen Enzyme Powder Wash
Amount: 50g
Actual weight: 91g
Get it at Glow Recipe: $25 (click here) Use this link for $5 off your first purchase.
Expiration Date: 1/14/2017 (So about 2.5 years lifetime)

Directions: Simple! Put a bit of powder on your palm, add water, and rub your hands together to create a foam.


Ingredients:

sodium sulfate
sodium bicarbonate
sodium lauroyl glutamate
cocyl isethionate
citric acid
calamine

water
cellulose
mannitol
bromelain (pineapple extract, for exfoliating)
papain (papaya enzyme, for exfoliating)
caprylyl glycol
1,2-hexaneiol


Doesn’t contain:

phenoxyethanol
talc
animal-based ingredients
mineral oil
sulfate surfactant

dye
propylene glycol
TEA (triethylolamin)
colorants
PG








The box it comes in has a drawing of a castle on it:



side:
▲ It says: "As a sub-acidic cleanser, it takes care of waste and dead skin cells for a clean skin. You will experience a moist and bright skin tone upon use. Powder may fly given the product characteristic." The rest of it is just the directions and a list of what it doesn't contain, both of which I already covered earlier. ^^


back:


other side:

▲ This side just lists the ingredients, which I listed earlier.



The actual bottle it comes in has a simple design:






The bottle is very lightweight. And as a headsup, it’s actually only a little more than halfway filled. But judging how much I've used so far, I think it will last me about as long as any other cleanser.






It’s a fine, light pink powder. There are no irregular chunks in it:

a little pile:


spread out:


As far as its texture as a foam, it depends on how much water you add. But for the most part, it's more or less a thin foam. Here are some examples:






The amount of bubbles varies, but overall, it's still a thin foam. It's not a rich, creamy lather. In other words, when I spread it on my face, there's not a lot of "medium" in between my fingers and face. There's also not a lot of slippery, soapy feeling like most cleansers have. And as a result, the bubbles pop quickly. So when I'm actually washing my face, it basically feels like a tiny bit of water and some clusters of bubbles here and there. Here's what it looks like:


▲ You can't see much, so I've circled the areas that have some bubbles.


▲ This is what it looks like when I use the "medium amount of water foam."


▲ This is what it looks like when I use the "a lot of water foam."
More bubbles here, but as you can see, it's still a thin, sparse sort of foam.

So long story short, it's a thin foam. Really thin! :)





Gentle; extremely gentle!

I have dry skin. Many cleansers leave me feeling parched and tight. Then there are other cleansers that, while not exactly stripping, still make me feel pressured to put on moisturizer ASAP. But not with this one. It feels like I could even get away without using moisturizer afterwards at all if I wanted to. Yet, despite how gentle it is, I still feel clean--a gentle clean. I haven't broken out or gained more blackheads while using this.

The only thing is that I have to rub thoroughly when I use this cleanser. Otherwise, it can feel like the cleanser does nothing at all. Now, I'm not saying rub hard, just adequately. I can't just slap on the foam and then rinse like I do with other cleansers.

Removing sunscreen/makeup: It's able to remove all of my waterproof sunscreen:



For makeup, it removes about 50%. It takes off a substantial amount (especially considering how gentle it is), but not everything. In the photo below, you can see some grainy bits after using the powder cleanser. That's residual BB cream:



I had to use makeup remover to clean everything off completely.


As an exfoliant: It's more of a chemical exfoliant than a physical one. And by physical exfoliant, I mean scrubs and/or little beads. It doesn't really have that.

For one, the powder is finely milled, so there aren't any chunks to begin with. Glow Recipe's website recommends to add a small amount of water (1-2 drops) for an exfoliating effect. This works, but only for a few seconds. Adding only 1-2 drops creates small balls of undissolve powder which give a mild scrubbing effect, but they quickly dissolve within a seconds anyways. That said, it's still a chemical exfoliant thanks to the pineapple and papaya enzymes; it's just not much of a physical scrub.

*Tip: If you want to take advantage of the scrubby feeling before it runs out, you can start with your T-zone first before moving onto your cheeks. That way, your T-zone will get a bit of mild scrubbing before the balls dissolve. That's probably where you'd want exfoliation most anyways. (This tip is actually not mine; it's from Glow Recipe ^^)







I won't lie, this powder was a bit cumbersome to work with at first! For one, it was tricky getting the water:powder ratio just right. My hands are small, so it was very easy to add too much water. And when that water dripped through my fingers, it would take the product right down with it. >< Then there were other times when I didn't have enough foam to cover my entire face (because the foam texture is so thin.)

So if this happens to you, you're not alone! On the bright side, I did adjust eventually. You may just have to be patient in the beginning, so don't fret. :)







I like it a lot! I would almost say I love it, but to be honest, I'm not too keen on the texture. It's so thin, and I prefer using thicker foams wih my Clarisonic. But that aside, I definitely love, love how gentle it is.

It's so forgiving on my dry skin; it's probably the gentlest cleanser I've tried. (I had no idea cleansers could even be this gentle!) It doesn't feel drying at all, to the point that I don't even feel pressured to put on moisturizer immediately. And yet, it's still an adequate cleanser, seeing how my blackheads, pores, and breakouts have been doing just fine.

All in all, I am sold on how gentle it is. Even though I don't love the texture, the fact that it is so gentle on my dry skin makes me happy to use it. And I'm not usually happy to wash my face!







A big thank you to Glow Recipe for making this review possible! I'm very grateful that I had the opportunity to try two of their products, both of which I like a lot! They're both unique and left me veery pleasantly surprised :)

http://glowrecipe.refr.cc/NX65DTL






Thank you for reading, and let me know if you have any questions about this cleanser!

And just a reminder to join my current giveaway!

December 12, 2014

Spring daisy dress outfit

Here is a very simple outfit I wore the other day. (Okay, it was actually a couple weeks ago! ;D) Even though it’s winter now, it never gets that cold over here in California. Nothing compared to Korea!



This outfit consists of the dress that I bought for Aliexpress on 11/11. It was only sale for only $13! ^_^ I’ll write a review of it later~


Outfit Formula:

It’s a very simple recipe: headpiece, dress, lace socks, and heels:

I first saw this sort of combination from Popteen, and I think it’s a pretty foolproof recipe. It can be cute, dolly, otaku, or just plain pretty :3 I went simple this time, but it’s so easy to build up with layers and accessories :D








▲ Just ignore my collar TT I keep forgetting to buy pins to keep them in place!













Thoughts on dressing "Japanese-y"

I realized something the other day. A lot of us (myself included) feel judged and ostracized because we don't dress in our country's mainstream style. We dress "Japanese,” or Korean, or whatever your style is! For me, it’s long wavy hair, sweet floral prints, knee-high boots, lace…stuff that American style just doesn’t do. And even if they do do it, they don't pair it the same way I would. So when people stare, I can’t help but feel that they're laughing at my bizarre, outlandish style. But then I realized...Even people who are fashionable in an “American way” would still get stared at.

Imagine the people you see on Lookbook, people who actually dress the way these Forever21 models do:



Or imagine someone like Jen Im (clothesencounters.) I consider her fashionable, but in a very American-style way:



If any of these girls were to walk through a grocery store in my city, they'd probably get stared at too. Not because her style is “Japanesey” or otaku-ish, but because she’s fashionable. Simply being fashionable makes her stand out. Because if you think about it, the average American person is not fashionable. A lot of girls just wear sneakers, jeans, and a simple top, or maybe even just a tee. It’s not that they look like slobby or anything, but they don’t seem to have a strong sense of style.

So in other words, simply being fashionable and having a distinct sense of style makes you stand out. It’s not necessarily because you’re dressing weird, it’s because you’re fashionable at all.

Realizing this took a lot of pressure off me. It allowed me to calm down, knowing that people weren't automatically judging my style as weird. Yes, people stare because I stand out, and I stand out because I’m not wearing jeans and a hoodie. But they’re staring because I look put together, not necessarily because I look weird.

Of course, some people will stare/comment because they find me weird, but they’re usually immature teenagers/college freshman. But for everyone else, it's liberating to know that they might only be staring because I look extra put together. And if you think about it, unless you’re wearing seifuku or Lolita, how would regular Americans even know it’s Japanese style? For all we know they might just think “lol, kitty stockings...”

So if you've ever felt caged in doubt simply due to the fact that you "dress Japanese" (or Asian, or fobby) and hence are automatically weird, it may be worth a try to entertain this idea. It's not that they find your clothes ugly or weird; people may just be surprised to see someone so keen on fashion, that's all! After coming back from Korea, I've started to realize that most Americans aren't that judgemental towards my style as I thought they were. ^^

Although I admit that this probably applies only to toned-down subsets of Japanese fashion, like my own. I myself am inpsired mostly by gyaru and BJD, so I admit that I don't wear full-on outfits from fairy kei, lolita, or shironuri. And even as gyaru, I never did full-on hime hair. I won't claim to understand what people of those genres face, but for everyone else, I think we can find strength and be more confident! ^_^


Thank you for reading! Fighting!

December 9, 2014

Love this! 3-in-1 moisturizer, Shara Shara Honey Bomb All in One Ampoule (dry skin review)

I’m suuuper excited to share this product! It's hydrating, has a unique lightweight texture, is hydrating, and is also helpful for red spots.


About the title, this product is 3-in-1 in two ways: 1.) It triples as a toner, lotion, and essence. And 2.) It has ingredients for hydration, antiwrinkle, and whitening.

This product is from a Korean brand named Shara Shara. If you've been to Korea, you might have seen their store in Myeongdong. I don’t think they’re quite as big as Etude yet, but definitely expanding! And many of their other products have characteristically childish/cute packaging. ^^





Brand: Shara Shara
Name: Honey Bomb All in One Ampoule
Amount: 250mL
Actual weight: 330g
Get it at Glow Recipe: $40 (click here)
Expiration Date: 2 years 4 months (They didn’t write a manufacture date, only an expiry date. The date is 2/8/2017. So counting from the date that I received it, the math checks out to be around 2 years and 4 months!)

Usage Tips from Shara Shara: Store in refrigerator. Can also be used as a sleeping mask or before makeup application.

More about the product:
It contains various extracts and ingredients for nutrition, whitening, antiwrinkle/elasticity, hydration, and soothing. The obvious ones are honey (of course!) It contains 3 honeys: maruka honey extract, which is rich in Vitamin B3 and B12, as well as royal jelly and propolis extract. It also contains niacinamide, which is a great ingredient for skin anti-aging and whitening. And if you look at the ingredient list, niacinamide is actually higher up than the honeys!

Ingredient List: (I starred a few ingredients that I think might be of interest)
water
glycerin
butylene glycol
niacinamide*
diglycerin
betaine
entylene glycol
polyquaternium-51*
piper methylsticum leaf/root/stem extract
phellinus linteus extract
arctium lappa root extract
honey extract
royal jelly extract
hippophae rhamnoides fruit extract
citrus grandis (grapefruit) fruit extract
propolis extract
centella asiatica extract
houttuynia cordata extract
portulaca oleracea extract
pueraria thunbergiana root extract
glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract*
paeonia lactiflora root extract
cnidium officinale root extract
peg-40 hydrogenated castor oil
bambusa vulgaris water
hamamelis virginiana flower water
soluble collagen

aloe barbadensis leaf juice
hydrogenated lecithin
sodium hyaluronate*
glycosyl trehalose
hydrogenated starch hydrolysate
carbomer
triethanolamine
xanthan gum
glyceryl polymethylacrylate
ethylhexylglycerin
adenosine*
disodium EDTA
caramel
sodium polyacrylate
PVM/MA copolymer
propylene glycol
panthenol
acacia Senegal gum
folic acid
ceramide 3*
cholesterol
raffinose
tromethamine
palmitoyl pentapeptide-4*
fragrance
phenoxyethanol

Doesn’t contain the following: artificial coloring, parabens, benzophenone, minteral oil, BHT, talc, imidazoline urea








This is how my package arrived from Glow Recipe. It was packaged the same way it would have been for a regular customer. The items are wrapped neatly in tissue paper with a handwritten note:



Items:


Note:

Honey + Powder = goodness :)


The items are also wrapped in bubble wrap:



The Honey Bomb box:

top:


side:


back:


Here's the jar. If you imagine the dimensions, it’s a pretty big jar! It's about 1.5cm shorter than a Coke can. And pretty heavy, too. Most skincare products range from 50-150mL, but this is 250mL, so there's a lot of product inside.



The tub is brown to protect the ingredients from light.

front:


back:


cap:


It also comes with a spatula:










It's pretty unique, I say! When you scoop it out, it’s a bit thick like honey, but also runnier. Overall, it’s definitely a little viscous and has the same overall as real honey, but it’s not neaarly as thick/sticky as the real thing.

Chubby, viscous droplet:


It doesn't automatically flatten into a smooth lump:


However~! The interesting part is that the texture changes as soon as you start spreading it out. It becomes thin and watery, though not actually to the point of runniness. You know sheet mask serums? That slightly gooey, but thin and watery serum in your sheet mask? It’s like that, except less gooey. It spreads effortlessly and absorbs quickly. And just like sheet masks, it leaves behind a hydrated, sticky feeling for about 20-30 minutes before beginning to dry up.








(I have been using it for about 2 weeks now.)

Summary, if you don’t want to read through: Made my skin incredibly soft, lightened my red spots slightly, and keeps my dry skin hydrated (although it didn’t cure my dryness.)

1.) Skin Texture: It makes my skin so soft! The first night I used it, my skin felt incredibly soft the next morning. It was a huge difference from how my skin normally feels. Since then, my skin has consistently felt baby soft whenever I go to wash my face. My nose, which is usually covered in hard flakes, is much softer than before!

My skin hasn’t gotten that much softer since Day 1 (only a little bit more), but I presume that is because there’s always more room for improvement in the beginning. And after the initial jump in improvement, it’s just about maintaining.

One thing, though, is that this softness is more apparent when my face is wet, not when it’s dry. I still feel a difference even when my face is dry, but it’s nowhere near as dramatic as when my face is wet. Not sure why!

2.) Whitening red spots from acne: It helped! My red spots from acne faded much faster. It brought my cystic acne scars from a dark red to a mild red. For my red spots left by regular pimples, it brought them to a subtle pink.

Cystic acne scars: Here are the scars left by my most recent cyst breakout. I was left with dark purple scars between my eyebrows. These scars are 6 months old already, and yet, even after 6 months, they’re still very dark and still have hints of purple in the surrounding areas (see the before photo.) But after two weeks of using the Honey Bomb, they've become much milder:



It may not seem like much of a difference, but it's only been 2 weeks. It’s still a large improvement considering how pigmented they are and how slowly they fade on their own. I’ll have to update in a month or so with more pictures!

Regular pimple: The pimple below was beginning to heal when I took the before photo. Normally, these kind of pimples leave me with a red scar that can’t be covered by BB Cream, and they persist for a couple months before even beginning to fade. But this time, there’s hardly any discoloration left!



3.) Moisture: It definitely feels hydrating, just like a sheet mask does. I have dry skin, so I usually toggle between feeling parched and tight to being slightly oily on top, but dry and flaky underneath. This product has kept me in the happy middle. I'm neither dry nor "oily on top, but dry underneath."

Now, I still have dry skin; it didn’t cure that! I still don't generate much sebum and my face is matte most of the time, but at the very least, I don’t feel lacking. My face feels just fine, even without skincare. And in terms of dry flakes, I’ve actually had less of them these past few weeks! I’m not actually sure if this is from the product or just from hormones, but my hunch is the product (since I haven't changed my lifestyle and I'm usually flaky.) Update (3 days): Actually no, I take that back. I still have lots of dry flakes ><







I love it! I love the texture, how moisturizing it feels on my face, and how soft it makes my skin feel (especially my nose, which is flake city.) I didn't expect it to help my redness, so that's just an added bonus. :3 (Can't wait to update on that in a month!)

The only thing I don’t like is the packaging. I’m not a fan of jar packaging in general. But it’s a simple fix; I just transferred it to an empty bottle that I had saved and it's good to go! :3

The product is a little expensive, that I admit. But on the flipside, the jar contains a lot of product. And you can substitute it for a toner, moisturizer, and serum.

All in all, I love it! It’s probably my favorite moisturizer so far. There are many moisturizers that I have liked in the past, but in retrospect, those didn’t make my skin nearly as soft as this one, nor did they do as much for my hard, flaky nose. And the fact that it also helps my redness, even if it's just a little bit, makes it even better!







A big thank you to Glow Recipe for making this review possible! Check out their store for other natural, organic products from Korea. And remember that if you decide to make a purchase, you can use this link to get a $5 coupon off your first order!

http://glowrecipe.refr.cc/NX65DTL






And be sure to join my giveaway, which is also sponsored by Glow Recipe! There doesn’t seem to be too many people joining (not sure if it’s because it’s not cutesy and from Etude?), which is a shame because it’s a really gentle cleanser that would be great for sensitive/dry skin. I have dry skin, and I love how gentle it is. Don’t want to miss out, so join if you haven’t already~!



Thanks for reading!