Author: H.A.

skincare // 18 aug 2016

I tried adding new products to my skincare routine a few times, but I keep going back to the basics. Not so much because I want to be a minimalist (though I’d honestly love to keep things simple) but because unfortunately new products break me out eventually.

So here is my current routine:

1) CLEANSER: Cetaphil – It’s not really my fave, and I’m not sure if it does anything good to my skin. In fact, it might even be giving me negligible closed comedones or sebaceous filaments. But I am in need of a cleanser that doesn’t do anything on my skin aside from cleansing. The cleansers I’ve used before has stuff like salicylic acid and all that jazz which I simply don’t need. They dry my skin out. Cetaphil is just available everywhere so it’s my go-to, but let’s see. Maybe I’ll switch to something else eventually.

2) TONER: Biologique Recherche P50 – I love this so much. I still get whiteheads and closed comedones every now and then (when I get too tired to wash my face after a day of makeup, or try a product that breaks me out), but this just exfoliates my skin well. My skin is not perfect but ever since I’ve used this, I never needed to have a facial anymore. It also gives me a slight dewy effect on my cheekbones.

3) MOISTURISER: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel – An easy-to-apply moisturiser that does its job without leaving a greasy feel. You’d think that’s easy to find, but it’s not. This moisturiser is on the expensive side, and it doesn’t have any plumping properties but there’s a good reason why I (and thousands!) keep going back to this.

4) EYE CREAM: Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye – There’s not much to say about this for now, but I’ll keep using it and see if it’s worth keeping.


Forgot to include the eye cream! Also, it’s clear that I’m about to run out of these.

So, these products are all I’m using for now, but here are skincare products I’d like to try soon:

  • C21.5 Vitamin C Serum
  • GOW Passionfruit Seed Oil
  • Laneige Water Sleeping Pack

I already have the passionfruit seed oil, but I’m still waiting for the right time to use it. Maybe a couple weeks from now.


makeup thoughts + review list

Almost 2 months since my last post! I’ve been busy with big-ish life events. But I got to try new products during that time, so there is much to write about. The last few weeks has made me think that I should really learn how to do makeup well. I’ve always been interested in cosmetics, but just was never into it as much as I am into skincare.

What makes makeup even less appealing to me is that it’s mostly hot and humid where I live. I don’t know how others survive putting on piles of makeup in this weather. It’s just too difficult. I have the oiliest and sweatiest face I know, and makeup disappearing after only a couple hours because my face is acidic and oily and this is a hot country is exasperating. Now if I only moved to a colder climate, or my face was less oily, my life would be tons easier.

But I understand more now how makeup is an art. Painting the face, mixing and matching, and making little decisions to put together a beautiful look… It’s a rewarding art process. Beneficial too cos you make yourself look better as you develop your skills.

I want it and I want to do it well.

Here’s a list of the new stuff I tried and will mini review:

  • Becca Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector
  • RMK Liquid Foundation (not really new but I never reviewed it before)
  • Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Compact
  • Nars Orgasm in Blush
  • Essence Gel Eye Pencil Waterproof

stuff that broke me out in cystic acne

C20 and Melano CC both broke me out. What do they have in common?

  • Tocopheryl acetate (synthetic Vitamin E + acetic acid)
  • Butylene glycol
  • Ascorbic acid

I doubt that the butylene glycol gives me cystic acne, as I’ve used other products that have it without breaking out in cysts. It’s weird to think that ascorbic acid might be breaking me out, but I’m not too sure. My money is on the tocopheryl acetate, but one of my HGs has it and it doesn’t break me out at all.

My mind is spinning like a hurricane. I can’t seem to pin down what the f is breaking me out in cysts. Maybe I should try C21.5 once and for all? It has ascorbic acid, but no Vitamin E so if it doesn’t break me out in cysts then maybe Vitamin E is the culprit.

I am thinking of getting maracuja oil (which has Vitamin E in this specific brand). I’ll try that and see what happens. C21.5 is going to be the last item I try before I (probably) take a break. I am tired of getting my hopes up and wasting my monies on products that not only work for me, but also break me out in nasty cysts 😞

first impressions: melano cc intensive anti-spot essence

I used Melano CC before going to bed the other night. It felt a bit oily upon application. Its texture is like watery baby oil – oily to the feel but also a bit runny. It dries easily, though, so no issue there. It also faintly smells of oranges, which I can smell on my fingers after application, but not elsewhere. Probably cos I can’t smell my face?

Upon waking up the next day, I noticed that my skin felt softer and smoother. I also looked into the mirror and my forehead pores looked tighter! No C20-like brightening, though, which is expected, but still a bummer. One good thing for now is I haven’t experienced any cystic breakouts so far. This product has Vitamin E, so if it doesn’t break me out in cysts, I’m not allergic to Vitamin E after all! (And so the C20 breakout mystery continues…)

Now I didn’t use this product last night as I don’t want to be harsh on my skin. However, when I looked into the mirror tonight, I saw that my facial skin had a mild grainy texture! 😭

A couple of possible reasons:

  • I had chemical poisoning and allergy attack from paradichlorobenzene the other day, so my skin could just be acting up. But then it could also be…
  • Overexfoliation! I use acids regularly and, just recently, started using galactomyces on my skin. The last time I had this kind of graininess was from using Andalou Naturals Kombucha Cleansing Gel. Interestingly, they both have the same orangey smell. I really hope it’s not overexfoliation, though!

Fingers crossed it works for me. I don’t find it wondrous so far, but it would be nice to have a popular Vitamin C product working for me. I’ll just keep using it for now, hoping it works. I still have my eyes on C21.5 and other Vitamin C products, though!

June 24 update: I take it back. This did not tighten my pores. The second time I used it, I woke up to normal-looking pores, if not a big bigger. Possibly also because of overexfoliation, big pores being one sign of that.

I also got a small-ish cystic spot on my chin. I stopped using this and the spot has started shrinking. I do think the mild graininess I got the other day was a result of this product as well. It went away once I stopped. I’ll probably continue using this again sometime in the future to make sure my claims are accurate, but for now I will give my skin a rest.

lists: interesting products for reducing pore appearance

Pores are not my biggest issue, but they do exist on my face. Specifically on the cheek areas beside my nose, and on the area between my brows and above that. I guess people won’t really notice it unless they look closely, but it still bothers me.

Upon some research, I found some products that may help:

  • BHA (CosRx, Paula’s Choice)
  • Clay masks (Aztec Secret, Queen Helene, Innisfree Jeju Volcanic)
  • Toner (Witch Hazel)
  • Oil cleansing method (really interested in passionfruit seed oil)
  • Benefit Porefessional

Will try some of these soon.

mini review: hada labo shirojyun arbutin lotion

In search of a lightening face product, I bought this lotion. Hada Labo calls it a “lotion” but it doesn’t have a creamy texture. In my understanding, the Japanese call their toners “lotions” and their moisturisers “milk.” It can be confusing so make sure you’re getting the right product.

Picked this item specifically for its arbutin and MAP (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable derivative of Vitamin C) content, two lightening/brightening powerhouses. I had previously used a generic arbutin cream and another Vitamin C product with success so I can vouch for the efficacy of these ingredients when it comes to lightening/brightening.

Within a week of use, it changed my skin. It brightened my face, but in an artificial sort of way. It gave me this glossy plasticky shine on my forehead that makes it look like I have a layer of plastic on my face. It’s not necessarily bad, but it was unnatural. Looked like I had an oily forehead, except there was no oil and it was squeaky to the feel. The last time I experienced this was with Stridex in the red box.

The bigger bummer was that with such a short ingredient list, this lotion still managed to break me out. It gave me whiteheads on my forehead – only on my forehead, none elsewhere. I read that somebody else experienced the same thing, too.

In terms of application, this product feels tacky and a bit sticky. It always goes away within a couple minutes, though, so it’s not a big issue. It also has the texture of sticky water and I find that it adds hydration to the skin, but just a tiny bit.

A tip when you look for this product: You will find that some merchants use “albutin” instead of “arbutin.” It’s the same thing. The Japanese just don’t use “R” in their language sometimes; they change it to “L”.

first impressions: hourglass veil mineral primer spf 15

Used this primer for the first time today. It was easy to apply and felt silky, but because it absorbs fast, maybe even too fast, I had to use a proper dollop on my face to make sure everything is covered. Could be pricey in the long run.

Didn’t notice any difference in terms of makeup application. Prolly cos my foundation is easy to blend in the first place. However, I noticed some ashiness when I applied my foundation. My face had a greyish tone to it that isn’t there when using foundation alone. Will have to use it without the primer again to see.

In terms of oil control, it’s not impressive. After 8 hours of wear, there was still some oil on my face, and I’m only moderately oily to begin with. I’m going to have to use it a few more times to give it a solid review.

If there was one significant change, though, it’s that my foundation doesn’t transfer onto my hankies/tissues anymore. Maybe it means the primer makes my foundation stay in place? We’ll see. Will need to use a few more times to confirm.

Update: On another day, I used this on the area between my brows and the cheeks beside my nose. Although it kinda blurred my pores there, it didn’t do anything for oil control. The next day, I got a few CCs on those areas.