Tuesday, January 9, 2018

My Skincare Routine [2017/2018]

My current skincare routine... A phrase I never thought I would be typing out nor proficient enough to talk about on my blog ever if I can be completely honest. I guess I feel I should finally make this post because I feel like I have a good system for myself that has greatly improved my cystic acne prone skin. One that I would genuinely enjoy sharing!

A photo of my skin, without makeup except for brows~ pretty much straight out of bed;;

About my skin:
Combo/ sensitive
Just short of being 30 years of age
Prone to cystic acne and excema patches
My current concerns and target issues are hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and wrinkle prevention.

I’m going to go though this in a similar way that I do my skin routine so make life easier.

I wash my face using Erno Lazlo’s Sensitive Cleansing bar that I lather to a bouncy foam with a Tsururi cleansing brush [which you may be able to find online with a quick search?]. My mum provided me with Erno Lazlo during puberty, looking back my skin around that time wasn’t horrible, but I just didn’t like the process at the time... As an adult I decided to try one of their expanded lines and absolutely loved the sensitive cleansing bar and the way my skin felt clean but not irritated or overly dried out.

During the evening, before cleansing, I use a cleansing oil to remove my makeup. I had a few bad experiences with cleansing oils but I was deterined to find one that worked for me and though a LOT of trials and errors I found Mutenka Cleansing Oil and it didn't leave me soaked in oil after washing off or resulting in my skin breaking out.

2-3 times a week I exfoliate my skin. I realized that I didn’t need some harsh super grainy exfoliation, even though it feels more satisfying in my opinion, but a nice gentle one was more suited for my delicate skin and worked just as well, maybe even better for me! My current favorite for the past few months is the Caolion Blackhead Steam Pore Pack, but I am still looking around for another to try when I finish the container.

After cleansing, the next step is toner~ which does a many jobs like further cleansing the skin, balancing out the skin’s pH levels, and also prepping the skin to fully absorb the nutrients from the following skin care steps to come. The one I absolutely adore is Be the Skin’s Puryifying White Waterful Toner. I like that it is good for evening out the skin tone and brightening up the skin, basically everything that will help out my hyperpigmentation and my acne scars. I also like to soak a cotton ad and apply the toner to any cystic acne spots when I feel them start forming... I’m honestly not sure if it truly helps that, but I like to think that it does;;

After toner I like to apply my ampoule, which is in the same family as a serum but just more concentrated in nutrients. I like to switch between Tosowoong Propolis Sparkle Ampoule and Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule. The Propolis Ampoule is good for brightening the skin and tightening pores. It also has nutrients in it that helps reduce inflammation in the skin. I find that it is really helpful on days where I might have popped a zit, and it greatly lessens the healing time and future scarring. The Snail Repair Ampoule is speciaized to deal with and lessen the appearance of acne scars and most importantly is the one item in my skin care that I will give full credit for keeping my skin looking younger and staying youthful. Snail products have always worked well on my skin to give me visibly refreshed and tighter, brighter skin and over the years I learned to rely on having at least one in my rotation to keep me looking young.

Following up the ampoule, I use the Dr. Dream Dream Age Rejuvenating Serum which targets the anti-aging market by lightening hyperpigmentation spots, smoothing the skin texture and plumping the skin to reduce wrinkling. It also claims to stimulate the skin to help the skin rejuvenate itself. I haven’t seen any immediate results but I’m assuming it may have a decent effect in the long run but it hasn’t given me any negative results so I dont mind having it in my skin routine. 

The final part of my main routine is moisturizer. I absolutely adore Tatcha’s skin creams so I use The Silk Cream during the day and their Luminous Dewy Skin Night Concentrate during the evening. I never expected to get into this brand purely because of the price point, but I was able to meet with a advisor of the brand and had a great conversation with them over our love of Korean multi-step skin routines and they gave me a few sample of their products and included the two moisturizers that I ended up loving and purchasing. Begrudgingly they did warn me I might end up loving how well they fit into my regimen, and they were right!  The Silk Cream is great for anti-aging and skin firming and has an immediate firming and brightening effect on my skin and doesn’t leave any sticky greasy residue on my skin that I’m super picky about when it comes to moisturizers. It also makes my skin extremely soft! I remember the first week of using the product I kept having people feel how soft my skin was, it was an immediate purchase after finishing my samples. The Night Concentrate is just as amazing as the Silk Cream but just more concentrated and dries faster with even less residual moisture, which is apparently possible, which is great for my silk pillowcase and my white bedding. 

During the day I always apply a Sun Cream  before my makeup to protect my skin from sun damage. Right now I’m using Kicho Ultra Moisturizing Sun Creamwhich is SPF 50+ PA+++ I like it decently, it doesn’’t leave any white/blue tint to my skin and doesn’t have any oily or sticky film after application, so it sits nicely under my makeup. 

About half a year ago I started noticing under eye circles and slightly thinner skin under my eyes so I started trying different eye creams. The ones I ended up liking were, surprise surprise, from Tatcha. Straight up the Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum is slightly mediocre but I use it purely because I have it on hand still and it feels nice and cooling [only because the applicator is ceramic and stays wonderfully cold on the skin] when I apply it in the morning but I never really saw much of a difference from using it. My holy grail item in my whole routine is the Tatcha Ageless Revitalizing Eye Cream which gave me almost immediate results in reducing the deepness and darkness of my under eye circles by the following morning. It also seemed to plump up the skin a bit and make my eye bags less severe and it’s also definitely improved even more over the course of the last few months using it! 

My second/ run up? holy grail item I have on my vanity is the Erno Lazlo White Marble Bright Face Powder Mask, that is just AMAZING and really does as intended and immediately brightens up the area that it’s applied to and greatly reduces dark spots and lightens scarred skin. Also, after multiple uses it even made many of my acne scars fully disappear! The one drawback  is the price point for the amount of product given BUT my highly recommended way of using the mask is storing the liquid and the powder separately in resealable containers and mixing small batches of equal ratios in a small bowl and applying the mask only on areas of scarring or hyperpigmentation. Not only will it just lighten those areas but it stretches the number of uses in a package and makes the cost justifiable!

A lovely treat to my skin whenever it needs a refresh, for a bit of moisture or even a bit of aromatherapy is to mist rose water onto my face. It gives me a bit of a perk up and it feels nice on my face and is even better chilled in the fridge during summer as a pleasant cool down. My favorite rose water mist that my friends know I adore and tend to gift me is Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist Intense

A big part of my skin routine is drinking a LOT of water, I try to have 2 liters a day which has gotten a lot easier since I’ve been using my BKR 1L water bottle. After many steel, plastic and whatever other type of water bottles I figured out that only glass bottles don’t give water a weird aftertaste. Not to sound like a priss but one of my weird quirks/talents/curses is being able to taste and name different brands or types of water in a blind taste test, so I’m super sensitive to subtle nuances in my water. It’s definitely not a necessary accessory but it’s pretty and as a habit I always carry it with me thought the day wherever I go.. Oh, and it’s survived multiple drops from me because it seems I’m a bit of a klutz. 

Before I end this blog post I want to share a difference of my skin from 4 years ago and now. The main difference is now I’m taking care of my skin consistently and daily and trying to life healthier, drinking more water, being kind to my body from eating clean, quitting smoking socially, quitting alcohol, cutting out dairy as much as possible and trying not to pick at my skin as much which is still a struggle but long nails help a lot to keep my hands off my face! I never thought there was such a drastic difference until I decided to look at my older blog posts and saw the state my skin was in back then, so I’m definitely impressed by my progress!

It’s never too late to start being kind to one’s skin, changing bad habits and trying to improve! It can take years but even small steps and mindfulness can make a difference!

I hope this was helpful to someone, and if anyone has recommendations on a good exfoliator, I’m definitely in the market To experiment and try some new brands!


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Cardcaptor Sakura Hairdryer~ Review

Earlier this summer I purchased the Cardcaptor hairdryer by Super Groupies, which is a Japanese company that specializes in making anime fashion merchandise like luggage, high heels and also hairdryers.

I have never really needed a hairdryer since I tend to air dry my hair, but this summer I had multiple times I washed my hair a bit to late and was mourning the fact that I didn’t own one. Also, I was styling my Halloween wig and needed a hairdryer to set some pieces, so it was the perfect time to look into purchasing one.

While looking around I saw that there was a Cardcaptor hairdryer now on the market, so I contacted a  Japanese buyer to purchase one for me. [as of writing this blog post I’ve found multiple sellers online and on eBay but there’s also a huge influx of knock offs so purchase with your own discretion] 

The hairdryer came as one complete piece packed nicely in a cute themed box. It has the ability to fold in half into a compact size for storage or travel. As a whole, it’s incredibly sturdy and well structured. The wings feel very secure on the unit, with no flex. The hairdryer’s head, though clear, has no issues with overheating and is also firmly attached to the casing. Which I did honestly have slight doubts about for some reason, but thankfully those doubts were unfounded.

The hairdryer has 3 settings; Cool, Haircare, and Quick Dry. Cool and Haircare both operate on a medium air pressure while Quick dry has the faster air speed. Cool, as it implies, is just cool air which is what I use for my own hair and I’ve had no issues with additional hair damage. Haircare is a low heat setting at 50 °C that I’ve actually used for multiple things like helping to dry some paint, for different art projects, and most recently my Succubus horns! The Quick dry setting is the highest heat setting at 60 °C with the addition of a faster air speed, which I’ve only used on my wig project to help melt the plastic hairs a bit to set the style. It really works wonderfully for every task I’ve used it for. Which makes it a nice basic hairdryer. No over heating, easy to control and operate, and a nice air flow.

The details of the hairdryer are really the biggest draw to the unit and the reason I decided to purchase it. I may not be that vocal about it but I adore Cardcaptor Sakura, it was one of the shows I grew up watching so I definitely look back on it fondly and enjoy the aesthetic of it’s merchandise. The attention to the details and contours of the hairdryer is really quite lovely in person. The main pink colour is a nice semi matte pink and the head has beautiful metallic detailing. The bottom of the hairdryer also has a slight gem like connection to the plug, which needs 100 V 50/60 Hz and can fit into a standard US plug. 

Is it the best hairdryer on the market, I highly doubt it, but it does what it’s intended to do. So, it is what it is. A nice good hairdryer with a cool, low and high setting. The main advantage is that it’s so cute and definity a nice addition for someone that may enjoy the Cardcaptors aesthetic as much as I do. I definitely feel like a magical girl when I pull it out of my hairtools drawer, hehe!

Do you own any niche merchandise? Its actually my first time purchasing something not Disney related but I have such a soft spot for nostalgia related items!


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

What's in my bag!

 I feel like this post has been a long time coming since my last one was 4 years ago! ~ 

What's in my bag, 2017!
So, to start off, my main bag is a Liz Lisa three-way bag which I just keep in backpack form. I get a lot of wear out of it as it fits SO much stuff and has lots of pockets for organizing too. It's really become one of my favourite purses I've had over the years.

My second bag I will go though is my 'tech' bag, which is a slightly older Liz Lisa clutch, that fits my tablet and can also fit into my purse if need be.

Sitting at the top of my bag is my 500 ml bkr water bottle, which is actually one of the staple items I take everywhere. I have a few of their bottles that I take out on rotation, but this week it's the Rose Gold Tutu from their 500 collection which has 500 Swarovski crystals n the cap of the bottle. It's super sparkly and looks quite cute. I like bringing along water bottles because it helps me drink water more often than I used too;;

I also always carry my wallets. One is Ted Baker and the other is a Liz Lisa pass holder that I use for convenience~ I have two so I can switch bags easily and be able to just grab my license and debit card without much fuss or thought when I need to.

The next section of items from my purse are items I find important but not really staple for everyday. Included in that would be; My key chain that holds my car keys, my bike lock and a mini tactical knife. A reusable tote bag as my city charges an extra cost per bag when shopping, so, I always carry my own to save money. I always have my favourite pen on hand that is customized to have cute colours, pink, magenta, and a dark purple. Then, so I can access my schedule and my to do lists, I always try to bring along my planner. I like to physically write out the things I need to do or to remember so having it on hand is extremely helpful to me. I also like to have tissues as I am prone to bad allergies and extremely teary eyes so if I'm without a tissue, I look like I'm miserable.

Something that was also in my bag was my Censi cat ear headphones. I don't always bring them in my purse, but when I know I will be studying , will go to the gym, or will be out alone, I have them with me. The headphones are not just cute and pink but they're Bluetooth enabled, waterproof, and has detachable cat ears~ I tend to never have the cat ears on unless it's for photos, but I appreciate the option.

I don't quite keep track of what other items I carry with me besides my staples, so the remaining clutter was a mixed bag of surprises. I don't even know why I have an 'L' wrench, a vacuum hose attachment or measuring tape in all honesty, oops!
Besides the oddities, I have a mirror compact that I bought when I saw the Anastasia musical, a fringe roller, EOS lip balm, hair tie and a spare hair bow.

A constant, but overlooked, bag companion I have are emergency supplies. I have feminine sanitary products, Benedryl, alcohol pads, band-aids and lash glue. Nothing super exciting but it's nice to have on hand just in case I or someone nearby may need something.

The last items in my purse are doubles of my favourite cosmetics; I have a travel size Tatcha facial spray for refreshing my skin or my makeup, it's actually my favourite setting spray and makes my makeup look beautifully dewy. I bring along a YSL tint-in-oil, I Rose You, that is a beautiful rosey tint/gloss and works quite lovely as a subtle blush in a pinch. I also bring my YSL tint-in-balm, Dream in Nude, because it is the the best 'my lips but better' shade on me and it's super moisturizing, and I like having it on hand if need be. Then I have a roll on version of my signature perfume which is Dolce&Gabbana's Pour Femme.

Funnily enough with all that's in my bag, it doesn't look stuffed. Though, I definitely took this opportunity to take out some clutter, haha;;  

Now onto my 'tech' bag! Which is something new for me to carry with me, but it's a necessity for being able to study on the go~

I do want to take a moment to show off my cute Little Mermaid charm on my bag. I love it so much.

I have a good assortment of stuff in my bag, and all of it fits comfortably in the clutch which was totaly a happy accident!

The main item I carry is my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. My iPad is housed in a keyboard case which I think is 'ieGrow'? I bought it off ebay and it wasn't labeled... Either way it's Bluetooth enabled and works just fine at making my iPad more convenient to type on. Also, the keys glow pink, so I can't complain. 

The smaller items I carry in the bag are; A Mophie powerstation xxl which is a portable battery pack that can charge up to three device at once and lasts for hours! A spare wall charger if by luck I am by a wall outlet. Then I bring along a cables for my battery/headphones/tablet case, my iPad/Pencil and a cable to charge my phone. Basically, I'm ready for anything.

I like to keep my 'tech' bag as uncluttered as possible to keep it light and well organized so it's not a hassle to bring wherever I need to be.

I hope this was moderately interesting to read over, but it also leaves me curious to what my readers take along in their bags as an everyday staple?


Monday, November 27, 2017

3 Larme Ribbon Hairstyles~ Tutorial

 I've been seeing so many drop dead gorgeous hairstyles on my instagram feed this season and I couldn't get them out of my head! The main accounts I've been obsessing over in regards to hair are Swankiss_official and okumura.yusuke

Ever since I figured out how to do the heart hair arrangement I wanted to learn how to replicate my favourite Larme hairstyles. So, I recruited my friend, self titled, 'Braidcognito', who is absolutely amazing at duplicating hairstyles from photos, to help teach me how to do so! 

Most of the styles I like do incorporate braids (mostly French braids) so, learning the basics of that would be recommended for the following hair arrangements.

Basic breakdown of a French braid  is it's an overhand braid that incorporates hair from either side into the main braid structure. I don't think I'm equipped to properly and cohesively explain how to French braid... In all honesty I'm still quite a novice at braiding. So, I HIGHLY recommend watching french braid tutorials online if it is something new to be attempted!!!

The first look is one of the more easier, beginner friendly, styles and quicker in terms of completing, but definitely looks quite striking. 

Items needed: 
1 hair tie
Ribbons (I have clip on ribbons which make the styling quite quick and easy)

1.Part hair into a deep part.

2. Start braid at the part, on the side with the largest mass of hair.

3. Continue with a regular French braid going straight down.

4. Once hitting brow level, stop pulling in hair into the braid and continue as a normal braid.

5. Tie off braid.

6. Gently pull strands of the braid, evenly, to create more volume and a beautiful thick plait.

7. Clip, pin, or tie bows into the braid to add more personality!

This style is one I have been able to successfully recreate without much stress even with my beginner skills at French braiding and definitely recommend attempting for any skill level! It's also very flattering because it doesn't take away volume or height to the hair and makes the face look small.

The next style is an easier take on the above hairstyle, but that showcases how to make the heart arrangement~

Items needed:
5 hair ties
Ribbons (again, I use clip on bows for quick and easy placement)

Above, I created an easy break down on hair hearts~

The first step is to tie off the section of hair you are using. Once tied, separate the ends into two pieces.

Secondly, using another hair elastic, tie up the end hair so it is forced upward. It is the best time to fix and neaten up the pieces. Optionally, you can use a hair straightener to guide the hair and even give it more of an arch to aid the heart shape.  

The last step is to tie off the ends and finish the heart!

It does take a bit of practice, but with a bit of fine tuning it is definitely do-able.

1. Like the previous look, part hair into a deep side part~

2. Start braid at top of head and start a normal French braid on the side of the head with the most hair.
Finish and tie the braid after 3-4 inches.

3. With the tied off hair, create a hair heart (previously diagrammed)

4. Repeat and make a second heart with remaining hair.

5. Finish by clipping, pinning or tying ribbons on the middle nubs of the hearts.

Heart hair arrange is hands down the cutest hair style to come out this year! Since it can be adjusted for almost every hair length and can be added anywhere on the head, it's just so versatile~

The last look I wanted to feature or at least attempt to break down is one of Okumura's signature arrangements because it's just so whimsical and over the top! 

Items needed:
7 hair ties
LOTS of ribbon!

Specifically for me:
4 ribbons each measuring 10 inches
3 ribbons all measuring 6 inches

1. Part hair where preferred, I parted mine down the middle~

2. Start one braid on one side towards the middle of the head.
3. Use a Dutch braid (similar to French brain but bringing the hair under rather than over) with only pulling in hair from one side, specifically, the side towards the top of the head. 

4. Continue the braid diagonally and secure with a hair tie.

5. Repeat on other side of the head and secure both braids together with a tie when finished.

6. Start another Dutch braid towards the front of the head, again only pulling hair from one side, like the previous braid, pulling hair from the area above the braid.

7. Continue braid diagonally down and secure with a hair tie.

8. Repeat on other side; secure braid with a hair tie. Both braids are to remain separate.
9. Using same method as previously mentioned to make hair heart arrangement, create a heart with the connected braids.
10. Use the 10 inch ribbons to thread through the two braids on each side like shoelaces. Each side braid set used 2 of the long ribbons, each ribbon starting at opposite ends and meeting to tie into a ribbon in the middle.

11. To finish, tie, clip or pin ribbons at the end of each outer braid and at the bottom of the heart

PHEW! It's definitely a process to create, but the end product is so intricate and amazing! I could definitely justify using more ribbons to amp up the 'WOW' factor. Also, with all the skills used to make the each step could be used and applied separately or in different ways to make infinite amounts of unique hair arrangements~ 

This season I've definitely been inspired to step out of my comfort zone and attempt to style my hair more often! Which makes me so grateful to my friend, 'Braidcognito', for taking the time to figure out how to remake these hairstyles and guiding me in how to do it myself. Also, for agreeing to let me borrow her talents to share on my blog.

Hopefully we were able to decently break down the steps to be easy to follow and that they will be attempted and enjoyed!