Friday, February 24, 2012

Skincare Review: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence has been advertised as the Magic Potion in Asia. I always thought it's a hype, but after using it for a month now, I really am impressed!

The Essence vouches to enhance your skin texture and regulate your skin's natural pH balance, making your skin refined and crystal clear. It features Pitera, a secret ingredient churned out of rice yeast fermentation process which is said to keep the old brewers' hands soft and smooth. As the star item of the Pitera line, the Facial Treatment Essence is said to contain an intense dose of up to 90% Pitera. Because of its watery consistency, it is easily mistaken as a toner. But listen, it is an essence! In one way or another, it also serves as a pre-essence which promotes the absorption of the skincare products that follow. 

For me, the first sign of improvement was visible within days of using it. My skin was noticeably softer and smoother. Weeks passed by, my skin became less prone to irritation and the blotches and spots that did surface appear to recover much faster than before, most of time under control the next morning - Hurray! Another obvious improvement is the healthier and more even complexion I now get in the morning, except for those mornings of monthly discomfort...otherwise I'm pretty presentable indeed, I think. I love the glow on face so much that, on a few occasions, I deliberately tilted my face at different angles to admire the way light was reflected...Uhem, a bit narcissistic I know...In a word, my skin is calmed and refined, with the dull areas brightened and the entire face radiated after a month.  

So how is this different from Sulwhasoo First Care Serum (see my earlier review HERE)? My observation is that this essence   gives a more refreshing finish and it works faster in terms of skin 'retexturing' while the First Care Serum helps make my skin plumped with moisture and elasticity. Although many people regard them as two mutually-inclusive pre-essences (i.e. you only need one of them), I actually find them complementary. I tried using either one of them, but the result is not one way or another. Of course, that said, I will have to increase my budget for skincare, but I personally think it's worthwhile as these two are the most impressive serums I have ever used so far. For your information, I have only survived with Laneige Water Bank Essence (see review HERE) for hydration and no other whitening serum after using these two 'pre-essences' lately. And guess what? I actually find my complexion fairer and more even than before (you know, the truth reveals in the morning)! As it's advertised, I think it's functional, and it's multifunctional. My apology for harping on about how magical SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is, but that's because I'm so truly super duper impressed and I have already listed it as my staple beauty item, though again, that's simply my personal experience for your reference. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Makeup Review: Chanel Le Blanc Light Revealing Whitening Makeup Base SPF35+++

Chanel UV Essentiel Multi-Protection Daily UV Care SPF50+++ (See my earlier review HERE) has been one of my favorite beauty items ever, but this is my very first time trying out her latest tinted sister, Le Blanc Light Revealing Whitening Makeup Base with SPF35+++ and it's just as fabulous!

It comes in the same silky emulsion texture and carries the same fragrance as UV Essentiel Multi-Protection Daily UV Care does. The weightless formula is infused with whitening and moisturizing ingredients which can maintain your skin's natural moisture balance while brightening and protecting your skin from the damaging UV rays. A tick for combination skin. It is very spreadable and it leaves my skin brightened. But in terms of hues, Rosee (pink) appears to be a bit too fair on my yellow skin undertone...still acceptable though. I believe it will be more suitable for Caucasians or Japanese and Koreans whose skin undertone is often closer to the pinkish end. I haven't tried Mimosa (yellow), but for the time being, I'd prefer the subtle pearly white hue (like Lys, the white one in the Le Blanc range) in UV Essentiel Multi-Protection Daily UV Care that can already pick me up at the right dose. Not to mention the better UV protections it provides. 

To conclude, if you don't already own a UV Essentiel Multi-Protection Daily UV Care, Le Blanc Makeup Base will be a good option for skin brightening and corrective purposes. It can also make a pretty good alternative to foundation if you don't need any significant coverage. I only dust Mac Blot Powder over it, followed by blush and lipgloss on my causal, relaxing evenings. I have to stress that it's absolutely weightless and I have always loved this gentle and soothing fragrance which reminds me of nothing but feathers and pillows.  

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Eye Care Review: Giorgio Armani Crema Nera Extrema Youth Memory Eye Serum

I have just tested out this sample of Giorgio Armani Youth Memory Eye Serum which managed to survive 5 days and nights. The eye serum feels more nourishing than Elemis Absolute Eye Serum perhaps since it targets mature skin...uhem, but like I mentioned in my previous review, I don't find Dior Eyes Essential (see review HERE) nourishing at all. So I suppose the correlation between anti-aging products and extra nourishment is not always valid. Anywayz, I personally think the name of this GA eye serum sounds like one of those advanced products appears in the worlds of Star Wars and AI. Unfortunately, I haven't used it long enough to experience the groundbreaking technology and I can only tell you what I gathered from the 5-day trial.

I quite like the texture of this serum as it feels...thick and feels like spreading lip gloss over my under eyes...why will I ever spread lip gloss over my under eyes?!!!...anywayz, I felt like my under eyes are protected by an invisible shield! And despite its lip-gloss-like texture, the serum will be absorbed completely after a short while, leaving not even a tinge of stickiness. To find out how this serum fares, I tried doing with and without the serum under my Elemis Pro-Intense Eye and Lip Contour Cream (see review HERE) and the difference is pretty obvious judging from the state of my undereye concealer at the end of the day. The serum kept my under eyes quite plump throughout the day, with my concealer pretty perfectly in place. Doing without the serum and any eye serum would leave my under eyes dehydrated and the concealer a bit clumpy (as expected). Of course you may argue that I probably just need to wear an eye serum, any eye serum, underneath my eye cream to make the concealer stay put. Trust me, NO! I'd used serums that did practically nothing to my dehydrated under eyes. So although I can't deny that this is not the only serum that works on me, my mini experiment can at least show that it is doing something commendable.  

You're welcome to fill me in with how it works on you if you're on a full size. Cheers!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Skincare Review: Laneige Water Bank Essence

I have been relying on Laneige Water Bank Essence to quench my skin this entire winter and it has become a staple item by now. For those of you who are new to Laneige, it's a younger skincare and cosmetics brand under Amore Pacific, the group that Sulwhasoo belongs to...something like the relationship of Clinique and Estee Lauder...My first great experience with this essence was actually last summer when I was flying over to Paris. My skin was literally cracking out of dehydration. I was sooooo glad that I'd slipped a sample sachet of Water Bank Essence into my handbag - it's super duper skin-quenching! The lightweight gel seeped into my skin and the unbearable tightness was soothed almost instantly, leaving my skin as soft and 'lively' as it is in normal days! I felt great for rest of the long-haul journey, but somehow I forgot all about this essence until the dry seasons set in late last year.

I finally purchased it in full size. I need one and a half pump on dry days and only one pump on humid days. What I like most about it is that it quenches my skin very well, and I really mean very well, without adding a tinge of oil to my skin. I feel like my skin is literally plumped with water - bouncy, soft and smooth. It's a splendid hydration product to use after your toner (which slightly rehydrates your skin...and tightens pores perhaps) and before your moisturizer (which locks in moisture). As a matter of fact, the belief that toners can rehydrate your skin sufficiently is wrong, neither can moisturizers do so. Moisturizers moisturize your skin and lock the aqua in - they don't do hydration! It's almost like the layer of oil floating on chicken's not the chicken soup itself...uhem, doesn't sound like a good analogy, but you get what I mean...Another thing is, our pores are like stomata cells, they tighten when enough aqua is available - that's when your skin looks silky smooth and flawless! Water Bank Essence helps you achieve in this regard. Plus, the price tag is very inviting!

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