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.

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! 🙂

All content and media above belongs to this blog, except product information from Bionike’s website. Please do not reproduce.

Hands of Hope

The best thing to do at the airport is to shop. I don’t shop much actually, but as I usually go to the airport fairly early ahead of my flight out of Singapore, I have some time to spare which I spend along the aisles of the Duty Free shops. I check out other shops too, but since I am on an austerity drive, sort of, I can’t afford luxurious big-ticket items. Skincare and toiletries are necessities that I try to get from Duty Free shops because they are slightly cheaper, and this is a good time to buy and save time in Singapore for other things.

On my trip to Tokyo in December, I got these from Duty Free, a 30 ml tube of hand and cuticle cream from Philosophy, a special Karl Lagerfeld-edition eyelash curler from Shu Uemura, and Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Loose Powder. The last item was a replenishment of something that I am already using, the eyelash curler is more of a purchase-on-a-wimp item because of the cute-looking doll charm attached to it, and the hand cream, well, it is something that I am quite open to trying different types and brands. Skincare is not something that I am adventurous with because of my sensitive acne-prone skin condition, and also because I use mainly products from my dermatologist, but where body lotions and hand lotions are concerned, I like checking out new stuff when I can. 20130123-153331.jpg

Philosophy is a brand that hails from the US, which made its way to our shores only last year. The “Hope” series is a moisturising range of products, and I picked this up actually because I had heard of this brand, and mainly because it comes in a very handy 30ml size that I can bring around all the time, whether for travel or even in Singapore. Besides, this was priced affordably at $12 at Duty Free, so I think it’s quite a good price. 20130123-153521.jpg

Based on the SG website, this hand and cuticle cream is said to “provide long-lasting moisture for softer hands”, “soften and help protect hands and cuticles” and is a “non-greasy formula that absorbs quickly”. So I have used this for a while since December, in Tokyo (forgot to bring it to Istanbul), then in Helsinki recently and now in Singapore.

It is kind of fragrance-free, but it does have a smell to it, as my friend described it, “plasticky”, if there is such a word. Other brands of hand creams tend to have a fragrance, whether it’s lavender, rose, or something, but this doesn’t have such scents, it just has a lotion smell to it. It absorbs fairly well, but I wouldn’t say that it is non-greasy. Compared to some other brands I have used before, it is definitely less greasy, but it still leaves traces of grease-like marks when my hands/fingers touch surfaces like my phone’s screen, my laptop, etc. Other than that, my hands don’t retain the general greasy-feel that I get with some other brands.

I can’t yet comment if it really does protect and provide long-lasting moisture, because probably I wash my hands too much to determine if it lasts long enough, but I looked at my hands after I applied the cream to one hand, and compared it to the other, and it really does look softer and even fairer. Sorry, no pictures of this because I forgot, but if I can get a picture of it next time, I will try to post it here. It does feel softer too, of course. For the price, I think it’s pretty worth it, although maybe if you intend to use it regularly on a daily basis then a larger-sized tube (i.e. 120ml) would make more economical sense. For me, I like travel-sized products because it also mean that I can try more different items within a shorter period of time!

The “Hope” series have several other items that make the “Fan Favourites” list per their website. My friend has tried their Hope in a jar oil-free gel and posted a review here, so you can check out what her comments are. I might consider trying out some of their products in this range too in future, to see if they would work for my skin condition, or at least the other next thing that I am always open to try would be eye creams/gels, because dark circles, puffy eyes and fine lines… that’s another problem that I would like to tackle, the woes of ageing and how best to do so gracefully.

Lip care 101

Ok, this is really not going to be some massive post on lipcare since I am definitely not the best person to dish out advice on lipcare, but I just wanted to rave about a product that I had tried and am still using.

I have tried some lip balms before, but am not a big fan of them because I don’t particularly suffer from dry and chapped lips and because most of the ones that I have tried are not that fantastic. Either they don’t work or they do for a while but leave a sticky residue on your lips that somehow seem to make my lips feel even drier after a few hours of usage. Maybe the trick is to reapply every few hours but I am lazy like that. Even when I was in the phase of using lipsticks or glosses (that are also somehow too sticky for me after a while and I have decided to give up wearing glosses on a daily basis), I don’t have the habit of reapplying after eating, or when the gloss or lipstick has disappeared.

In 2010 when I went to Seoul, my friend and I went crazy over the various Korean skincare brands that you see all over the place. The variety was pure madness and don’t even get me started on the prices! It’s easily half or less or what we are paying here. So you can imagine the orders that I got from some of my friends to bring these stuff back for them, but majority of the loot was mine anyhow. So, anyway when we were at Skinfood I thought I’d give this a try, on my friend’s recommendation – the Shea butter Lip Care Bar #1 Raspberry. There were other flavours too but this was the one my friend recommended so I got it.

I really love it, and I think it’s one of the best that I have tried so far, for myself at least. It is not as sticky as the others that I have tried, and there is a slight nice fragrance to it too, with a faint cherry tint on your lips after application and still looking very natural. On the local Skinfood website, it shows that this product costs S$15.50, but I distinctly remembered paying less than S$10 for it, maybe not even half of its SGD price. But then again, lip balms seem to last forever, especially when I am not a heavy user. I bought one in July 2010 and I am now only on my second stick that I got last year. And this is even when I don’t wait till I finish the lip balm to bin it. Somehow, these are one of those things that you don’t wait till it runs out to ditch them; after using it for a few months, it just seems appropriate to get a new one.

The website also shows that it comes in #3 Apricot and #4 Mint, but I believe there were other flavours that I saw when I was in Seoul, like maybe watermelon. But I’ve tried Raspberry and liked it, so I will probably stick to this, until perhaps I find and try something else better. When I was there I also bought other lip balms from the other brands, but this was the one that emerged as the winner!

reminiscing

We are all sentimental creatures, most of us are anyway. We all like to think back on the past good memories and reminisce. Some days ago, my friend told me that compared to the average person around my frequency of travels, be it for work or leisure, is much higher. Maybe yes maybe no. It depends on which “average group of people” we are referring to, no? And a large proportion of it is for work, especially lately as compared to previous jobs where the travel percentage was pathetically low.

Travelling on the job is not really fun, I’m sure everyone agrees with me. It’s one thing about being paid to fly but being in airplane cabin and inhaling stale air all the time is no good and not enjoyable. I enjoy flying to a certain extent because I like seeing what is outside whilst inflight, but the extremely crammed situation in the cattle class that I have to travel in, even for someone who isn’t that tall to actually make complaining about lack of legroom legitimate, it’s not something that I would look forward to each time. It gets worse when it’s a long flight, because then we the cattle-class folks would run a higher risk of dvt.

But everyone only likes to see the good side of things, which is again human nature. A friend was arranging a meet-up and I told them I wouldn’t be available until a certain date because I was due to travel and when I’m back I have this really late night video conference so I could only make it after that day is over. Obviously the part about the VC was ignored and someone replied “wow that’s so great” or something to that effect. Or perhaps she was telling me that having a late night video conference is a good thing. I don’t know.

Anyway, I digress. I was thinking back on the past holidays that I took in the years past and most of them carried fond memories, of the places I visited, the people I went with, and of course the things we did together. Some of them were really silly touristy things but along with everything else, they put a smile on my face. I don’t pay attention to lyrics of songs whether I like them or not because more often than not it’s the melody that gets me and not the words but a string of words stood out from a song I heard, “I will never let you go if you promise not to fade away”. Hmm. I don’t like letting go of things and people easily if I think they are worth it but this is just a one-sided effort. A few times I have had to make a choice to let go because I felt that it wasn’t worth it anymore; I don’t want to hang on just for the sake of doing so because it is tiring as well on my part.

So! With all that said and done, we are already into month 8 of 2011 and so many things seem to have happen in these 8 months. I looked back on my resolutions (yes I still write them for some strange reason) and am happy to say that I actually accomplished some of them already! I don’t think I have the courage to go sit for JLPT N3 since yes, I am a very bad student and have not been doing any of the homework for the past… 2 years? I had to thank my lucky stars I even scrapped through N4 last December. And then I had to go torture myself further by signing up for Korean classes recently; I’m not sure if the enthusiasm in me for this will last long enough, and if I have the energy to keep up! Work, even if it isn’t too long hours in Singapore, is still draining me out a lot, and as much as I still do not like running on the treadmill in the gym but still do it anyway, other kinds of exercises like combat classes and yoga are something that I enjoy and do not want to give up. And then of course, I still want to meet up with people and go to the movies, listen to live bands and indulge in some beers or wine. I’m feeling a little tired, really. And all of a sudden I’m missing the feeling of being in love. Yes I want to be in love again, but when I think about it more I don’t know if I want to. Contradictory much? Do I even have the time and the energy to have love in my life without burning myself out totally, or should I just revel in the freedom of flying solo? I went for a couple of trips this year on my own, and especially with the business trips, I think it’s a great idea to be overseas on my own. Of course it felt really good when recently I travelled with a friend and we just yakked for almost the entire flight duration, which I haven’t done in a long, long time.

 

This February, I bought a ticket to Tokyo and flew there over the Chinese New Year holidays. It isn’t the first time I’m flying there on my own or traipsing through the streets of Tokyo solo, but the very first time I’m doing a whole holiday for just one person – me. It was enjoyable and extremely carefree; I think I’ll do it again, perhaps during the next cny. I love a lot of things about Japan and especially the food. Had lunch at Tonkichi sometime this week, and boy does it make me want to go to Japan so badly.

Veering off the topic yet again, I took out this tube of BB Cream that I got from Seoul last year when I was there on holiday. I spent a lot of money in some of the shops there, namely places like Etude House, Face Shop and so on. The streets of Seoul are just replete with shops like these and they all look so inviting so we just kept popping in and out of them, each time emerging with something new. I might have over-bought because I still have a lot of the stuff I got sitting around at home, and I’m not disciplined to use them. They gave quite a lot of complimentary samples that I have forgotten what they were for and how I should use them since it’s all in Korean, and because some of them gave me a bad case of breakout I stopped them entirely. I gave away a tube of BB Cream and have 2 more left unopened so I thought I’d just brave my skin once more. We’ll see how it goes, if not the rest of the 99% of the tube, if anyone is interested it’s going foc.

I don’t think such things expire that fast, even though I came back from Seoul in July 2010, but these were all unopened. Besides the Tony Moly tube pictured here, I have another tube from Laneige. I might also try that too, we’ll see how things go. 🙂