photo home-9.png photo about-2.png photo disclaimer-3.png photo blogroll-5.png photo button-3.png

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Frequently asked skincare questions

Throughout these years from working in the beauty industry, I have come across many different skincare/beauty related questions asked by some of my customers. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that I have been asked in the past and some answers to help solve your queries xx 
p.s this is going to be a very long & informative post!

Frequently asked skincare questions

What do toners do?
Toners help finish off the cleansing process by removing any excess dead skin cells, oil, soap and makeup. It also plumps up the skin and tightens up the pores - this is especially important for those who live in humid/polluted environments because once the pores are open from using your face cleanser, it may get clogged up very easily again if you don't use a toner to tighten/close your pores. Many people think that toners dry out the skin but in actual fact it can improve the hydration level of your skin. This is because toners remove any traces of dead surface cells and therefore allowing better absorption of hydration from any of your hydration treatments (e.g. serum/moisturiser). 

However it can also depend on what type of toner you use… There are so many different type of toners out there such as astringents (alcohol-based, tighten the skin and pores, and remove excess oil), fresheners (works similar to astringents by tightening the skin and pores however uses ingredients such as caffeine and green tea instead of alcohol) or other toners (consists of moisturisers, oils, and extracts that soothe the skin). Thats why it's very important to select a toner depending on your skin type (e.g. oily/normal/dry/combination). I have combination skin and like to use fresheners which are non alcohol based products but leave that fresh tightened feeling on my skin.  

How to use toner: After cleansing your skin, saturate toner in cotton pad and sweep gently across the face and neck avoiding the eyes and follow with a serum and moisturiser. 

Different types of toners. From left to right: Softeners (Shiseido & Hado Labo), Fresheners (Clarins & Kiehls)

Can i put toner around the eye area?
Putting toner around the eye area can be bad in the long run as toners tend to be very drying to the eye area, especially as the eye area is much more delicate and thinner compared to the rest of the face. Eventually, applying toner around the eyes will cause the skin to lose elasticity/sag and increase the appearance of wrinkles/fine lines. If you do want to clean around the eyes, use products specifically designed for this area as these products are usually less harsh and don't irritate the eye area e.g. eye makeup remover or even just water. 

The same applies for face cleansers, serums, moisturisers, masks, and exfoliators as they are too concentrated for the eye area (unless the product states that it can be used around the eye area). 

Why can't i just use normal cream for my eye area?
A seperate cream for the eye area is essential as the skin around your eye is very different from the rest of your face. 

The skin around the eyes is much thinner and delicate than the rest of your face - Eye creams tend to be thicker than facial moisturisers and will stay on the thin/mobile skin better. 

The skin around the eye area is more vulnerable to allergic reactions and sensitivity - the ingredients in eye cream is suited specifically for the eye unlike facial cream as such as certain ingredients in it can be too powerful for the delicate eye area and cause problems such as stinging or burning. 

The skin around the eye area uses more muscles from squinting, smiling, or displaying any kind of facial expression, thus quicker signs of ageing around this area (wrinkles, fine lines, crows feet) - Eye creams contain more emollients which can cause the skin to swell enough to lessen the appearance of fine lines/wrinkles. 

Unlike skin on the rest of your face, the eye area does not contain oil glands that can help keep the skin moist - Eye creams contain emollients/moisturisers that can help hydrate the drier eye area and help it look smoother. 

Different types of eye creams

The ingredients in eye cream are specifically designed to help under eye area concerns:
Smoking and sun rays --> wrinkles - Eye creams can contain ingredients that help boost collagen level and reduce appearance of wrinkles. 
Heredity, lack of sleep, sun exposure --> dark circles - Eye creams fight dark circles by temporarily puffing up skin so the blood vessels underneath aren't as noticeable.
Fluid build up, allergies/sinus problems --> puffiness - Some eye creams contain ingredients such as calendula/caffeine that are used to reduce under-eye puffiness and appearance of bags underneath the eye.

What is the best way to put on eye cream? Can you put eye cream right underneath the eye? 
After cleansing, toning, and putting on face serum, distribute a pea size amount of eye cream between your two ring fingers as the ring ringer has the smallest amount of pressure out of all your fingers and allows the most gentle application around the delicate eye area. 
After distributing eye cream between these two fingers, I like to dot the eye cream around the orbital bone area (just on top of your cheeks and on top of the eye brow) rather than just underneath the eye/just on top of the eye. This is because your eye area is so thin that the natural body heat will allow the product to seep right underneath the eye. If you do apply eye cream right underneath the eye, what can happen is millia seeds can form which are tiny white bumps that you get around the eye area from putting such a rich and oily product underneath the eye.
Once the eye cream is dabbed around the orbital bone, sweep from the inner corner of your eye (near your nose) to the outer corner with your ring finger. Do this for the top and bottom of your eye. Below is a diagram to show you.
Where to apply eye cream
After applying eye cream, follow with a facial moisturiser but avoid the region where you put the eye cream before. I like to put my eye cream on first before my normal cream so I know the region where I stop putting on my normal cream (this will help prevent millia seeds from forming around the eyes). 

What are serums?
Serums are highly concentrated yet lightweight formulas that infuse the skin with moisture and nutrients. Unlike moisturisers which keep the surface layer of the skin hydrated, serums penetrate much deeper into the skin tissue (due to their tiny molecules) and have very potent ingredients (which can result in fast/powerful results). Serums are able to target specific concerns such as dark spots, fine lines, hydration etc... depending on what serum you choose. It helps those with dry skin as it allows the moisturiser to penetrate deeper into the skin and also helps those with oily skin as it can be used as a lightweight moisturiser at the same time. 

How to use a serum:
1) Cleanse
2) Tone
3) Serum (tap into your skin and gently work the product in until absorbed)
4) Eye cream
5) Moisturise
- Use serum day and night for optimum results. 

What are exfoliators and how long do I exfoliate for?
Exfoliators can remove dead skin cells, unclog pores that can cause breakouts, stimulate circulation, reveal healthy fresh glowing skin, smooth skin out, remove dark/dull dry patches, polish the skin, improve skin texture, tone and clarity, and allow better absorption of skincare products. Whether you have dry/oily/combination skin, exfoliators are recommended for every skin type. 

How to use an exfoliator: 
1) Cleanse
2) Exfoliate (can use on dry skin/wet skin.. depending on the type of exfoliator/instructions)
3) Wash off
4) Toner
5) Serum
6) Eye cream
7) Moisturise


- Always avoid eye area when exfoliating
- Don't exfoliate too hard or too long (30 seconds)
- Avoid exfoliating on scratches, wounds, and sun burnt skin
- Use sunscreen after exfoliating as exfoliation makes you more susceptible to burns
- Exfoliate once a week

Pat, press, rub, or massage in serum and moisturiser?
Every skincare has different instructions for application. It's usually best to follow the instructions for application as there is a reason for this, allows you to get the most out of the product, and doing it any other way may be wasteful. e.g. creme de la mer instructs you pat a small amount between fingertips and press into skin (once patted on to skin, it warms up and spreads more effectively). There are usually a reason behind these instructions. If there are no instructions on the product other than "apply/massage on to skin" then for light/fluid products, apply with circular massage motions then gently pat in and for thicker/hard to spread products, warm up in your hands first, then pat in until sticky feeling goes away. This will allow for more even application. In general, massaging in your moisturiser is good for lymph drainage which will help detoxify congested areas. 

Different types of moisturisers

Should I allow time and wait before I put on each step?
Some articles state that we should wait about 5 minutes between each skincare step. But do we really have time for that? (especially in the morning). Normally, I wouldn't count time. I just wait until my skincare product feels like it has absorbed in (but not completely dry) then i put the next product on. The only product I don't wait for to absorb is toner because moist skin allows the active ingredients from my serum/moisturiser to penetrate into the skin more effectively

Should I leave the moisturiser to soak in before I put on foundation?
One of the best things you can do before putting on your foundation is letting your moisturiser soak in first. Allow maybe 10-15 minutes for this and maybe do your eye make up first if you have to wait around. This will prevent your foundation/make up from slipping off easily throughout the day. 

What does primer do?
Primers are used as a step before you put on your foundation and after your moisturiser. If you wear tinted moisturiser/BB cream, then there is really no need for primer. There are many different types of primers for different concerns; some that keep your skin looking matte and help absorb the oil throughout the day (for oilier skin), some that produce radiance (for dull skin or people who like that glowing dewy look), some that hydrate (for drier skin types), or some that just protect from the sun and sustain the basic job of being a primer. But generally all primers claim to create a nice smooth skin base to put your foundation on, allow your foundation to glide on more easily and evenly, help the colour of your foundation to be more pigmented/come through easily and stay on for longer. 

Different types of primers

What are masks and how often should I use them?
There are three type of masks 
1) clay/mud masks (usually for deep cleaning and unclogging pores)
2) peel off/sheet masks (can be for hydration, whitening, wrinkles etc.)
3) cream/gel masks that you can either leave on or wash off (either deep cleansing, hydration, whitening, wrinkles etc.)

Sheet Masks
You shouldn't use masks more than once a week as it is a treatment product with more active ingredients (unless stated). 

Typical steps of using a deep cleansing mask that will help with unclogging pores, oiliness, resurfacing, and deep cleaning:
1) Cleanse
2) Apply mask on dry skin (wait 10 minutes)
3) Wash off mask with water
4) Use toner to ensure all the left over mask is removed
5) Serum
6) Eye cream
7) Moisturise
Deep cleansing/Clay mask
- Different masks have different instructions and waiting times. With some masks, you can put a serum on first before applying the mask to allow better penetration of the serum as well. With other masks (usually not clay/deep cleansing masks rather a hydrating mask), you may not even need to use a moisturiser after and can just tissue off. The instructions all vary depending on the mask you use. 
- Because warm skin absorbs ingredients better, before applying your mask, make sure your skin isn't cold or apply a warm towel over face first if needed.

How long should I cleanse my skin for?
Massage in circular motions for 1-2 minutes until you feel like your skin is thoroughly clean.

- When cleansing, use warm water not do not hot water (excessive heat accelerates skin aging)
- When washing off your cleanser, wash it off with some cool water in order to close pores. Your toner should also help tighten your pores too. 

Whats the difference between gel cleanser, foam cleanser, and cream cleanser in terms of how deep it cleanses?
Generally they all clean just as well (also depending on what brand you get), but are just suited to different skin types. 

It's important to use to correct type of skincare suited for your skin type:

Gel cleansers (low foam & remove excess surface oil and mattify skin to reduce shine throughout the day) - oily/acne prone skin

foam cleansers (soap-free foaming cleansers lift away impurities without stripping the skin's natural moisture/protective barrier) - normal combination skin

cream cleansers (usually calm and hydrate skin while removing impurities) - dry skin 

Cream cleansers (Clarins & La Prairie), Gel Cleansers (Biore), Foam Cleansers (Shiseido, Hada Labo, La Prairie)
Another type of cleanser is oil/water-based cleanser - This type of cleanser is not enough to deeply clean your skin and really just removes your make up first. Usually you would follow with your normal gel, foam, or cream cleanser. 

Shiseido oil based cleanser & Bioderma water based cleanser

Is popping your pimple first then applying pimple treatment better? 
Many people think that popping a pimple first then applying pimple treatment on it will help the treatment soak in better however it is actually quite the opposite. Putting harsh acne treatments on top of your popped pimple just irritates the area and makes the wound even harder to heal. You should treat your popped pimple just like any other open wound and leave it alone or if you really want, put Vaseline on it then cover with a small band aid/synthethic skin dressing as the moist and covered wound will help the skin recover much faster. In general, popping a pimple is bad as infected material can get pushed further into the skin leading to more swelling, redness, and further breakouts. It can also leave nasty pigments, spots, and scars on your face which can be hard to remove later on. 
Pimple treatments

What do facial massages do?
Poor nutrition and lack of exercise can affect your skin tone by slowing down the blood flow. Stress and tension can break down muscle and leave you with lines and wrinkles. Pollution can leave you with clogged pores. At night, your circulation system goes into sleep mode, which can leave you waking up with puffy eyes and a dull skin. A facial massage can help flush out toxins and drive out free radicals (to unclog pores and reveal clear skin), increase blood circulation (to give a luminous glow), stimulating the lymph nodes (to reduce swelling/puffiness), relax tight muscles (to prevent the formation of wrinkles and fine lines), remove dead skin cells (to help hydration levels and reveal smoother looking skin), and tightens and firms the flesh under the chine (to decrease double chin).

- Having a facial massage from time to time (e.g. once a month) is recommended to achieve healthy looking skin.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

November Favourites

Kiehl's Aromatic Blends Orange Flower & Lychee body cleanser and body lotion, Shiseido Natural Cream Concealer, Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner, Ben Nye Luxury Powder, H2O Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment, Dior Lip Glow

Kiehl's Aromatic Blends - Orange Flower & Lychee:
Skin Softening Body Cleanser ($30 AUD from David Jones): Lathers really well, cleans the skin while conditioning at the same time, leaves the skin smelling refreshed, summery, florally and fruity every time I get out of the shower.
Skin Softening Body Lotion ($38 AUD from David Jones): Lightweight yet very moisturising, leaves the skin feeling extra soft and smooth, the tropical fresh fruity and sweet fragrance is much more distinct when using the body lotion compared to the body cleanser. Love the scent, especially for summer.

Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Cameo ($8.15 AUD from
A matte finish loose translucent powder with a hint of colour that provides good coverage throughout the whole day. You probably know this powder best in creating Kim Kardashian's signature flawless make up look. This powder definitely creates this flawless look and does not disappoint. The texture is so fine and silky smooth, it is so easy to apply, and lasts the whole day. If you're not fond of the matte look like me, you can always just apply it on certain areas such as the forehead to stop shine, over blemishes or under the eyes to brighten, set, and prevent concealer from smudging, the side of the nose to hide redness, or you can even do what Kim Kardashian's makeup artist does when using the Ben Nye powder and use it to brighten and contour the face. 

Kim Kardashian's make up artist applies Ben Nye Banana colour powder (as she is quite tanned) below the eyes, just on top of the cheek bones, side of the noes, a line on top of the nose and a little bit on the forehead and chin to create her famous structured, highlighted and flawless look.  
And just to add, the price of this powder is very reasonable.. definitely a really good buy!

H2O Face Oasis Hydrating treatment ($35.70 AUD from
A light weight gel moisturiser that hydrates without being too oily or rich on the skin. I have combination skin (oily T-zone and dry cheeks) and this moisturiser is perfect for me, especially during the spring/summer time however maybe not enough for winter/autumn as my skin gets quite dry during these times. What I love about this moisturiser is that it is so lightweight but hydrates at the same time, helps balance out my combination skin (doesn't leave my T-zone oily and doesn't leave my cheeks dry), leaves the skin feeling soft and subtle, and a little bit of the moisturiser goes a long way. I even think this moisturiser would be really good for sensitive and acne prone skin as it is such a light formula and gives a nice cooling sensation when applying it to the skin. 

Shiseido Natural Finish Cream Concealer in Light Medium 2 ($50 AUD from David Jones):
A creamy concealer that provides good coverage without looking too cakey or dry. Unlike other good coverage concealers that tend to be thick and hard to apply, Shiseido's concealer is so smooth, creamy, and thin in consistency which makes it very easy to apply and blend through. Ive tried a lot of good coverage concealers in the past and they always tend to look too thick and dry especially under the eye area however this concealer doesn't crease or dry out and looks so natural as it doesn't have that matte finish. At first I thought the colour was a little bit too yellow for me but in fact I find that the yellowish tone helps cover my pinkness, especially around the sides of my nose, on acne scars and even under the eye area. This concealer stays on for relatively long provided you apply a powder over it to set it (otherwise it can smudge easily). 

Dior Lip Glow ($48 AUD from David Jones): 
A lip conditioner with a hint of pink. Not only does this lip balm leave my lips feeling smooth and conditioned, but it also helps bring out a tinge of colour to my lips, making my lips look naturally plump and berry pink. I also love that it has SPF 15 to prevent any discolouration on the lips. Cute packaging and has a nice minty vanilla scent too. Although the colour is not as intense as the Revlon Lip Butters, Dior Lip Glow focuses more on the moisturising factor and gives a rather natural glowing look. The only thing is that it is a quite pricey :/

Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Black ($21.47 AUD from
This liquid eyeliner is really the best when it comes to staying power as it stays on all day. Urban decays liquid liner is quite pigmented and sets to a glossy black. The thin brush tip is also something to brag about as it allows you to create precise winged lines and makes it hard for you to make a mistake. Because I don't have very big eyelids, I don't mind the thinness of the brush but if you had large eyelids then maybe this brush would be considered too thin for you. Although this eyeliner is waterproof, it comes comes off quite easily when using eye makeup remover. When using liquid liner, I usually like to use gel liner first so that the colour and staying power is enhanced. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Shiseido White Lucent Review

The Shiseido White Lucent range - foam cleanser, softener, serum, moisturiser

Recently I purchased some items from Shiseido and recieved two GWP's (Gift with Purchases). I decided to choose the White Lucent pack for both of my GWP's which each contained one deluxe sample of the White Lucent foam cleanser, softener, serum, and moisturiser. Each one of these White Lucent deluxe sample packs lasts for about 2 weeks provided you are using it both day and night. So I had two lots - therefore giving me about one months supply. The Shiseido White Lucent range claims to 1) brighten the skins complexion 2) fade away discolouration/pigmentation/dark spots (sun spots, age spots, acne scarring) 3) and even the skin tone.

After one month of using the White Lucent range, I found that it did indeed brighten my skins complexion, the clarity of my skin was improved and I looked much less dull however it failed to fade away my pigmentation (caused by the sun exposure). I was quite disappointed as my pigmentation/sun spots has been a problem that I've wanted to fix for a while now. Ofcourse I did not expect these spots to completely disappear however atleast fade away a little - it didn't help much with this at all.

The one product I particularly loved in this range was the foam cleanser. It was quite gentle on the skin, gave my skin a nice squeaky clean feeling, instantly brightened my skin after every use, and I found that did not need to use that much of the product (only a pea size for each use) therefore lasted the longest out of all the products, 

Conclusion: If youre looking for a skincare range to help brighten your complexion and make your skin appear more translucent, then the Shiseido White Lucent range will definitely help. But if you're looking for a product that will visible reduce and fade your discolouration/pigmentation, then this product really isnt for you.

Below are some pictures that I took before and after using this range. Although these pictures are not indicative of how it brightened my skins complexion, you can tell that it didnt really fade away my pigmentation.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

DIY French Manicure

In this post I'll be doing a step by step process on how to achieve french nails. This is not to say that this is the most proper/professional way to do it, but it's the way I do it to achieve the best possible french nails for me. Back then, I use to always go to the professional nail salons to do my french nails because 1. I didn't know how to do it and 2. I couldn't be bothered doing it myself. I'm not sure if you guys have heard but recently the Australian Podiatry Association has tracked down many nail salons in Australia that have failed to reach adequate hygiene standards often due to not properly cleaning their nail instruments between each client use. These places are deemed hazardous in terms of contracting bacterial infections and even diseases (especially for those who have weak immune systems). After hearing about this, I started to take the initiative to learn how to do french nails myself. French nails are actually not that hard to achieve. I guess it just takes a little bit of practice :) Although my french nails are not as good as it is done professionally, I'd rather have peace of mind than a whole lot of fungal infections.

Below is a link to an article about Australian nail parlour's and their hygiene standards.

Step By Step French Manicure 


what you'll need:
1. Acentone free nail polish remover - Sally Hansen
2. Acetone nail polish remover - Sally Hansen
3. White nail polish (Secifically for doing french nails as the curve is better for applying to the tip of the nail) - Maybelline Salon Expert
4. Sheer pink nail polish - Essie in Mademoiselle from
5. Top coat - O.P.I
6. A little glass container to put in nail polish remover -
7. A flat headed and curved brush -
8. Cotton buds
9. Cotton pads

 Using your acetone free nail polish remover.. remove any existing nail polish or just use it to make a clean surface on your nail so it is ready for painting on the french nails.  


 After cleaning your nails, get your white nail polish and start painting the tips of your nails.

 It doesn't have to be precise as you'll be fixing the shape of it later on. Make sure you get the sides of the nails too.

 Repeat this procedure on the rest of your nails.

 It should look a bit tacky like this. Do a second coat if needed and let it dry.

 Pour a bit of acetone nail polish remover inside the glass container.

 You don't need too much. Just a little bit like the above picture is fine.

 With the acetone nail polish remover again, pour a little bit on to a cotton pad so that it is slightly damp.

 So to fix up the white bit of the nail polish all you need is the glass container with the acetone nail polish remover, the damp cotton pad with acetone nail polish remover, and a flat headed/rounded brush.

 Slightly dip the brush inside the acetone nail polish remover.

 Start removing the white nail polish to create a rounded/curved white area that fits with your nail shape. The reason why I use an acetone based nail polish remover for this part is that it removes the nail polish more easily therefore creating a sharper shape. However acetone is obviously a lot harsher on the nails than acetone free nail polish.  
 The shape you create should be nicely curved like the picture above.

 While creating your white tip shape, you should swipe your brush on the damp cotton pad every now and then so you can remove any excess nail polish which can build up into clumps and make it harder for you to create a nicer/sharper white tip shape.

 Continue to do this procedure for the rest of your nails.

 If you have any excess white nail polish next to your nails, use a cotton tip and dip it into the acetone nail polish remover..

..and start to swipe it off. Be careful not to take off the white nail polish from the nails.

 Your nails should look like this so far. You can keep it like this if you like but I prefer to add a bit of pinky tone to my french nails.

 Take your sheer pink nail polish and start coating your nails with it. Here I am using Essie - Mademoiselle. I find that this Essie nail polish gives just the right amount of pinky tinge and most importantly I find it doesn't streak like most sheer pink nail polishes do (I have used many brands and they have all streaked. Even OPI streaked for me).

 Do another coat if it is too sheer for you. Here I have done two coats.

 After your sheer pink nail polish dries, get your top coat and start coating all your nails with it to give a glossy finish and to prevent cracking nail polish.

 Finished Result: