Origins Eye care products

I’m not a skincare/make-up person, but I have spent my fair share on skincare, because of my skin condition that tends towards acne-prone or sensitive. Unfortunately, I am not amongst those who are blessed with good genes where complexion is concerned (and some other things) but then at least I think I have ok complexion, when the breakouts are being kept at bay. Still, aside from paying my dues at the various dermatologists I have seen over these years, I also shop for some other skincare products, and duty-free is one great place to do so. In the last two years, due to the more-than-frequent travel as compared to the past, I have taken my skincare shopping to DFS. The only skincare that I don’t currently get from my derma is basically just eye cream/gel/balm, so it makes things pretty easy for me.

I have tried various brands of eye-care but to be frank I cannot really tell the difference, if they really work wonders or not, based on the accompanying price tag of the product. Perhaps if I have invested in more sleep-time, and find the answer to quality sleep, then I would have found the elixir to eyes without the dark circles and puffiness. Lines are something that are a by-product of time, so probably those are something that sufficient good quality sleep won’t be able to address as much.

In September last year when I went to Helsinki, I bought this from DFS before getting on my flight out: Origins’ Youthtopia firming eye cream with Rhodiola. I don’t know again, if it really worked, but at least I quite liked using it, because even though it’s called a cream, its texture isn’t too rich and creamy. It looks like a cream but feels closer to a gel/balm that is not too watery. The best thing about it is its value-for-money quality, speaking from the el cheapo in me. I think this pot of 15ml costs around S$65 in duty-free (thereabouts, I cannot recall) and it lasted me for a really long time! I only just finished using it recently, based on a usual twice-daily application, i.e. day and night. 20130911-091439.jpg

I was looking to check out some new eye creams recently because I saw that the Origins pot was running low, but the Philosophy counter in duty-free at Terminal 3 wasn’t very well-stocked, and I was reluctant to pay the higher prices for brands like Sisley and Prevage that I had tried before. I couldn’t then remember which exact Origins eye cream I was using because I couldn’t seem to find something that looks the same, so I bought this, which I thought perhaps would be useful to me, i.e. anti-aging.20130911-091450.jpg

The texture is thinner as compared to the Utopia eye cream I used before, so it’s even more gel/balm-like. I bought this last month before I went to Germany and started using it when I was there because that was when I used up the last drop of Utopia. So far, this is still ok but I have this weird thinking that due to its thinness, it means that it is lighter and therefore might not be as effective. Yet, we are always told to not use creams that are too rich if not we end up getting those oily bumps that will form on our skin.20130911-091501.jpg

So maybe this pot will again last me for about 11-12 months. Let’s see how it goes this time, and till the next eye cream.

BIONIKE Defence B-Lucent Anti-Dark Spots Roll-on Focus

So finally I got around to trying this item that I received from the generous folks distributing Bionike in Singapore in January. Ok, I know it has been months since I attended the Bloggers Launch Party organised by Bionike which my friend invited me to, but I am really not adventurous when it comes to things I put on my face due to the sensitive condition of my skin and propensity to break out fairly easily. I am currently using products almost entirely from the dermatologist I visit, but am thinking of slowly switching out, although I haven’t really began on that.

The product and its packaging, a full-sized gift for each of us who attended the event, together with a couple other products, which I will talk about later if I do try it.

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A closer look at the tube, which as the side of the box reads, is a “local, intensive, acid pH treatment which favours a more rapid attenuation of dark spots.” As per the instructions within the box, this treatment is to be applied once a day in the evening (or I suppose night) directly on dark spots, avoiding the eye area and lips. It warned that exfoliating agents are included which could make skin more sensitive or cause some peeling, but I don’t think I have experienced that yet, or I might have attributed the peeling on my face to the dryness of the atmosphere where I am now these couple of weeks. 20130620-072355.jpg

I don’t actually use the roller on my face though, because I thought I’d roll it on my finger and use my finger to dab the lotion on the dark spots instead. Not sure if that makes a difference in making the roller a little cleaner, I guess not but that’s how I preferred to use it anyway.20130620-072405.jpg

So, after a few nights of using (maybe 5 nights I can’t exactly remember) this product I think I really do see some lightening of certain spots on my face, that were left behind by pimples. They weren’t that intense in the first place so I cannot be absolutely sure this is the result of using this Roll-on Focus, because these 2 weeks I have been religiously masking almost every night! For those of you who have problems with dark spots, maybe you can consider giving it a try, though at this point, I don’t have the price of this 15-ml tube but even at just 15-ml I think it’ll go a rather long way since you don’t need to use that much of it each time. I’ll continue to use it, and post more updates if it works.

Besides the free products received, no I am not getting paid by Bionike to write any reviews, and opinions and comments are purely personal. If they were waiting for me to write a paid review I’d have been sacked long ago for the delay!

CLARINS Advanced Extra-Firming Neck Cream

I don’t really recall when I started on this neck-care regime. Perhaps it began on a trip I made some years back to Australia, maybe Brisbane in 2010 or thereabouts, I really can’t jolt my memory on that one, where I bought myself a neck serum from Jurlique. Since then, even though I haven’t exactly devoted a lot of care to the neck, I thought that it makes sense to take care of the skin on the neck because in the past, I don’t even apply moisturisers or creams on it that much. It is a much-neglected area that actually requires as much TLC as our face I think, because there isn’t a point to pamper your face with the best serums, creams or what-nots around while the skin on the neck becomes dry and wrinkled without the same nourishment.

So since that Jurlique neck serum, I had then shopped around (in DFS of course) for something else to try, and this was what I picked up once, the Advanced Extra-Firming Neck Cream from Clarins. 20130612-082327.jpg

At 50 ml for a tub, and nightly application of just a small dollop on my neck, this provides really great mileage because I had only just purchased my second tub recently. If my memory is serving me correctly, I think just 50ml lasts me for about a year, at least. I am not extremely religious at application each night, because there were perhaps once or twice where I forgot to bring it along with me on my trips but otherwise I massage a bit of it onto my neck. Maybe it will not last as long for others, but as it is a cream and therefore quite rich, I don’t like it when my skin feels a little greasy if too much of it is used, particularly when I don’t sleep in an air-conditioned environment and therefore skin is less susceptible to being dehydrated by air-con.20130612-082338.jpg

This is how the cream looks like, a light beige colour and the good thing about it is there is little scent to it, at least not that it bothers me, whatever scent is in this. As for whether it works or not, well, I don’t know if products I use on my face generally work or not because more often than not, I think my skin is a barometer of the kind of stress my entire being goes through, which I think external lotions and creams can do little about if internally I am not feeling all that great. Maybe in the long run, they do something good in terms of maintenance but it isn’t anything I can see immediate results on.

At S$101 a pop (at DFS) that lasts me a year, I think it’s a pretty good investment if over time it really helps to hydrate or firm-up the skin on my neck. Maybe next year will be a good time to shop around for another brand to try since I have just started on this new pot.

Etude House Surprise Stick Concealer

I find the Etude House website to be rather unhelpful when it comes to looking for product information, or maybe I have not gone to the correct website. Instead, it was so much better to just google for reviews of their Stick Concealer, which I have been using over the last couple of years maybe, ever since I was first introduced to it by one of my dear make-up junkie sisters who highly recommended it. It was like, since the first time I tried it, there was no turning back, and for good reason!

I didn’t really read the reviews that I found online, but from a quick glance it seems that this is quite a popular make-up item amongst the online beauty community judging by the words I saw i.e. “rave”, “favourite”…, you get the drift. Just for comparison purposes, and also to show how slow I am in using concealers, despite that I am quite the intensive concealer user, for my perennial under-eye dark circles and the blemishes whether active or scars. I am only into my second stick so far, and one stick actually lasts me for a good many months I think. The first time I bought it, it came in the dark brown tube and costs S$12.50. When I finally finished that stick, I went back and found that the packaging has changed, and it costs S$12.90. I was pretty appalled by the degree of price increase, but at that amount it is still way cheaper than the last concealer I had, which was Cle de Peau’s stick concealer, that set me back by more than S$100.  

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Pardon the blurry image of what I attempted to snap of how the stick looks like up-close. It comes in 2 shades, and the one that I am using is No. 1, the ligher shade. 20130603-091836.jpg

This stick concealer has a creamy texture that I like, because due to the creaminess, it makes application a breeze and doesn’t dry up to leave unsightly fine lines under the eyes. The only time when I get lines is when I’m using it to conceal my active zits that I had applied some other acne lotion that dries up my skin. Otherwise, on spots / blemishes / pigmentation, it works quite well. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I have this tendency to need to re-apply the concealer after dusting loose powder. I don’t use foundation, so the loose powder is what I use as a base before (yes, before and not after like how it is supposed to be) the blush, etc., but after dusting on loose powder, maybe I was a little over-zealous with the brush, I probably brushed off the concealer too so as a finishing touch, I will dab on a bit more of the concealer on the spots or blemishes. Not the under-eye part though, because by then the loose powder would have made the area matte and putting more concealer on it would give it a cakey look, besides that it makes application more difficult by then. I am not one for re-application or touching up of make-up during the day but in terms of its staying power, I think it lasts pretty long, even on my skin that skews towards the oily type.

I still have the Cle de Peau, which I should probably try to finish up in case it passes its shelf life, but seriously for the Etude House concealer, at S$12.90 a pop (or whatever its price may be at now) for something that works almost like the Cle de Peau, go figure why it has become my trusty go-to concealer! I have tried various other brands that are more costly that don’t work as well or even come close, so thank goodness for affordable cosmetics!

L’Occitane Hand Cream (Marvellous Flowers)

If I remember correctly, I bought these at DFS because I went to Helsinki in January. Maybe. Oops, my memory hasn’t been too great lately, and I have been feeling so tired for no reason. I was walking around as usual passing time before the flight, and found my way into Esprit where I decided to get the wool cap because I know that in cold places I always feel lightheaded when the cold gets too much for my head. I had wanted to get a nice, colourful and cheerful-looking cap when I was in Tokyo last December but decided against it because Tokyo was still bearable then. I didn’t know at that point that I would have to travel to Helsinki, where the temperatures dipped so low, the lowest temperatures that I have ever experienced in my entire life so far.

20130411-102251.jpgSince the Philosophy hand cream that I bought was a pretty small tube, I thought of getting something new to try. Unfortunately there weren’t many choices for me because I was looking for an optimal-sized tube that is more portable, which I could pop into any hand-carry bag when I travel, particularly now that we need to observe the rule on restrictions of liquids/gels/etc. brought on-board the plane.

The Marvellous Flowers hand cream from L’Occitane has a powdery, floral scent to it that doesn’t overpower. I didn’t use it when I was in Helsinki because surprisingly, the Philosophy tube lasted me throughout the week-long trip there, or probably I didn’t use it as often as I should because upon my return I did see that parts of my index finger were peeling rather badly. I only just started using this new tube in Singapore, in the office, which due to the air-conditioning, could make my hands pretty dry. I try to be more conscientious in using it after washing and drying my hands, especially now after all these trips abroad my hands really do seem to need some moisturising care. This hand cream is suitable for use in our climate here, because for me, my skin absorbs it rather well so that it doesn’t leave too many obvious greasy trails on my iPhone screen, laptop keyboard or office table top. But it also means at the same time that I have to re-apply often; I have yet to find a hand cream that does not trade-off the moisturising factor with non-greasiness.

Perhaps Philosophy comes closer to being one of those hand creams that is not too greasy but yet does the job well of keeping our hands adequately moisturised. I will give it a second try and if it is really like what I remembered, then it’d be on its way to becoming my holy grail of hand creams!

Friday is just hours away, TGIF everyone, wherever you are reading this from. Take care, and have a wonderful weekend!

The Body Shop

Years ago, I think I did patronise Body Shop, but I am not a big consumer of their products, even though the products all look really nice and appealing. I guess where toiletries are concerned, I either opt for drug store usuals like Dove (in the past and also recently) or Essensuals (up until recently), etc., I wouldn’t really buy shampoo and conditioner from these specialty stores, whether it’s Body Shop, Crabtree & Evelyn, L’Occitane, and so on. There are many of these shops in town these days and truth be told, I don’t know how great their products are but if I were to consider something that I am using on a daily basis, it is definitely more economical to stick to the drug store brands, because I can’t sustain for a long while to splurge on daily necessities. Mostly, I go to these shops to buy gifts for friends during Christmas time, because what we don’t use for ourselves daily, we can buy them for someone else and let them choose the frequency of usage. Besides, during the festive gifting season, these shops do an excellent job of marketing their gift ideas to consumers. 20130307-102543.jpg

It was also during the last Christmas season that I stepped into Body Shop again to take a closer look at their toiletries. Typically I have only bought their combs, nail buffers or shower lilies, but for presents we tend to be a bit less conservative in thinking that a bottle of shower gel can cost that much. From that visit, I got to know about their loyalty program, where every $30 spent earns you a stamp and based on the number of stamps accumulated, you can get some free gifts, i.e. at every 3rd stamp earned. In addition, being part of this loyalty program also gives entitles you to a 10% discount!20130307-102601.jpg

As you can see from my card above, I have only achieved 2 stamps to-date, so I have not yet redeemed any freebies from them yet, but I still have time because this loyalty program goes on for a year so I have several more months to buy more things from Body Shop! I am not a make-up junkie so where cosmetics are concerned I am also not exploratory like many of my friends are, so I have never taken any proper look at their cosmetics range. And skincare is something rather out-of-bounds for me due to sensitive skin, meaning that I am also not adventurous in trying out skincare for fear of the dreaded breakouts thereafter. Perhaps I can consider trying their body care range, or even hair care, who knows maybe I will just discover something I like. 20130307-102616.jpg

While I was shopping for gifts during Christmas, I came across the Japanese cherry blossom series of body care items and I remembered it being rather nice-smelling. I think this is not an uncommon scent because L’Occitane has something similar which I think is not too bad, and last April I bought a huge bottle of Japanese Cherry Blossom shower gel from Bath & Body Works in the US that I really liked but have unfortunately already finished. To my surprise a couple of days ago, I found something in my office cabinets while doing some housekeeping: 20130307-102628.jpg

This was something I got from a Christmas gift exchange in 2011 which I had left in the office and forgotten about. I guess it should still be usable, but in any case cheers to unexpected discoveries!

L’Occitane and Crabtree also have their own loyalty programs, but I’m not on either since a friend of mine is a member of both so generally I just tag along with her when they are having member events during Christmas. I don’t buy enough to really justify or warrant having a membership in any case. Unless I start to switch out from the drug store brands to these. But that would mean increasing my toiletries budget significantly, which at the moment is already pretty high due to my reguarl visits to the dermatologist. Oh well, let’s see how things go. I shall probably start with Body Shop, since in terms of pricing they tend to be a little friendlier to the pocket!

Bionike: Official Blogger Launch

My friend was invited to the Official Blogger Launch of Bionike in Singapore recently, and she kindly extended the invitation to me as well since she could bring a friend to the event. Honestly, like I have mentioned in some posts, I am not really adventurous where skincare is concerned and have not really attended such events hosted by skincare or cosmetics companies. That’s in addition to the fact that this blog is more a platform for sharing personal experiences be it travel, shopping, eating or the various things that I do happen to use. Before I begin, do note that the below are my personal views and opinions, and I’m doing this purely for fun and exposure. We aren’t obligated to write raving reviews of the products (which I have not even tried), but just take it as me sharing product information, if you are interested. 🙂

Anyway, it was a privilege and I do appreciate such invitations, if only to expose myself to more products on the market!

When my friend mentioned the brand to me, I did a Google search and this was the website I found; from the website, lots of information about the brand and its product ranges are available. It isn’t just a company that sells products for the face, but include other items for nails and even hair!

In brief, Bionike hails from Italy, has been around for more than 70 years, and is a dermatologist-recommended brand in Italy. Apparently, they have already been in Singapore for about 5 years, with their products sold in Guardian pharmacies locally, under the “derma products” section. I have never come across this brand in Guardian, since I seldom visit Guardian and there are just too many brands on the market now with more making their way to our shores each year! But Xiao Yuan Holding Pte Ltd, the company that has brought Bionike to Singapore, is in the process of revamping the look of the brand’s counters, and thus decided to have an official blogger launch, the first ever for Bionike here.

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The event was a small cozy affair held at the Spa-Ion Beauty & Skin Treatment Centre at Caldwell House in Chijmes, where the Defence B-Lucent range that targets pigmentation was introduced to us. Five products in this range were presented, three of them as part of a three-step program including cleansing (the Day Peel Cleanser), intensive treatment (Skin-Evening Concentrate) and hydration + protection (Skin-Evening Face Cream that comes with SPF15). The other two items are localised treatments for dark spots, which are the Roll-on focus (for local intensive treatment) and the Skin-Evening hand cream that also has SPF20.

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The differentiating factor of Bionike is that their products are made with strict selection and handling of ingredients, and are nickel-tested with traces of less than 0.0001%, as nickel has often been found to be the main catalyst of contact dermatitis, the most common form of irritation for sensitive skin. We often see this manifested in the form of redness and itchiness when we wear jewellery, and in some other cases, such irritation can also be caused by perfumes or preservatives in the products that we use. To further ensure that their products are suitable for sensitive skin, Bionike’s products are also fragrance-free and preservative-free.

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The five products introduced during the presentation were passed around for us to sample, and we all took turns smelling it since they were touted as fragrance-free and well they do have a smell to it. It isn’t a fragrance, just a smell that I did not quite like. Remember I was talking about the “plasticky” smell of Philosophy products? That I think is ok for me, but the smell here is a little different, although it is pretty light and will probably not really affect my decision to use it or not.

I tried the texture of some of the products on the back of my hand (i.e. Skin-Evening Face Cream, Roll-on Focus, and Skin-Evening Hand Cream). The creams were like their names suggested, creamy whereas the Roll-on Focus that is to be used on the dark spots (whether caused by pregnancy, medication or simply hereditary) as well as the Skin-Evening Concentrate were clear gel-based formulas. The initial feel of the products on my hand were that they were too rich and thick, because they felt a little heavy and sticky after application. However, that feeling eased away some 10-15 minutes later, so in terms of absorption it does not work so well for my skin. Also, we considered that with the same products to be used on our faces, which is generally oilier than the skin on our hands, will it be too rich and creamy? I think it may be suitable for people with drier skin, or who are frequently in dry climatic conditions, naturally or due to prolonged stay in air-conditioned rooms. It might have been great for me when I visited Finland recently because my usual skincare products were helpless against the harsh dry wintry climate of the Nordics.

It was a short and informative session we had, and they also sponsored each of us with a kit to take home! Check out the items included: a full-sized Day Peel Cleaner, the Roll-on Focus, a scrubbing brush, one synthetic glove and a CD. I haven’t checked out the CD yet, so I’m not too sure about the use of the brush and glove. I’ll post the pictures of the contents of the kit, and expound more on them when I get around to viewing the contents of the disc, and if I try the products. I am a little apprehensive about trying these new stuff on my face since Chinese New Year is just a few days’ away and I do not want to risk an outbreak at this time. But here’s the pretty pink box that we all went home with!

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When the session was over, we were treated to refreshments too, and we tried this cookies & cream cup cake too that was really yummy but a little sweet for me; don’t know where it’s from though.

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Thanks, Bionike! For the sharing-session and the complimentary products! And of course, I would like to thank my friend for inviting me to this event! 🙂

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