September 30, 2010

Beauty Secrets from Around the World

I came across this article yesterday and am very interested in some of the techniques different cultures use to pamper and care for their skins.

The full article is here:

Some of the secrets are of particular interest to me and I would be willing to invest some money into it. 

From Japan:
Rice Body Rub: "In the old days, rice bran was a substitute for soap," says K.C. Kang... "You'd bring your little cotton pouch to the local bath house and fill it up with the bran. Then you'd soak and scrub your whole body, including the face. People still do this." Beyond sloughing off the dead skin layer, rice bran oil is known for its potent vitamin E and other antioxidants that brighten the skin. To see for yourself, fill a pouch with rice bran, and rub your body. If you're bathing, leave the bag in the tub and let the nutrients seep into the water.

I found some rice bran being sold online:

From Eastern Europe:
Milky Skin Wash: "Eastern European women are extremely vain." That's the verdict from Bella Schneider, who lived in Ukraine, Poland, Italy, and Israel while working in salons with Hungarian and Bulgarian clients.... "These women have always taken every effort to look wonderful, even in Communist times when so little was available and they had to rely on home remedies." A tried-and-true remedy is milk. "We know about Cleopatra taking milk baths," Schneider says. "The reason is the lactic acid, which now, we chemically alter for peels. But you can just use a little milk to rinse your cleanser off and it's great for the skin." If your complexion is dry, she advises, use whole milk; if oily, go for low fat.

Egg White Oily Skin Lift:  A little egg on the face apparently makes an amazing mask for oily skin: Beat a few whites until they're not tacky, stir in a bit of baking soda, and add some shredded lemon and grapefruit peel. Brush on the mixture and let it harden. According to Schneider, you'll feel a undeniably youthful, fresh lift.

Michelle Phan did a tutorial on egg white and egg yolk masks, but I think this Eastern European take could be equally as soothing.  I haven't tried it yet, what with the salmonella scare we're having in the Mid-West.

From Pakistan:
Crushed Orange Watermelon Mask: Another skin secret from her homeland: Take a dried-out orange peel and crush it into a fine powder. Add a little lemon juice, water, or in the summer, mashed watermelon, and apply the mixture on your face for 20 minutes before going out for the evening. "The mask has antioxidants, and—especially if you use lemon—oh boy, forget it!" says Kahn. "It smells good, your makeup goes on easily, and your skin looks so nice and bright."

This, I know, can help lighten your complexion.  If this works better than the Envie de Neuf mask, I'll go ahead and do this every week!  It is time to go buy oranges!!!

The soak. ...[S]oaking is a universal beauty secret we often pass up in favor of the rush-hour shower. "In Japan, we worship water," K.C. Kang says. "Toji is the word for bathing, and it's been a traditional therapy ever since the Samurais started fighting." Aside from the minerals and healing qualities of certain waters, an obvious benefit is relaxation—and we know a zen mind can translate to beaming skin. To that end, Kang suggests taking a half hour, drawing a nice, warm tub, and throwing in a touch of sake. "It's fantastic for the skin," she says, laughing. "Just don't drink your bath!"

I hate the standard American bath tubs.  They have a 2nd drain 6-8 inches from the bottom on the tub on the wall.  This means that no matter how much you try, you can't ever get a really good soak because the water is so shallow.  *grrr!* 

But anyways, I really want to give these methods a try, and I think I'll be able to after this weekend.


September 27, 2010

Majolica Majorca Majolook / Visiting Mr. P in April

I wore this look to see Mr. P in April.

September 26, 2010

Envie de Neuf platinum cellwhite hydromask

Shiseido UV White

After finishing up my product review for the Shiseido Benefiance Concentrated Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream, I'm actually quite surprised that I do not have any Shiseido products on my HG list.  Actually, I'm quite surprised that I don't feel a great sense of loyalty to the brand given how many product lines and products I've owned and used.  And now that I recall, in 2004 and 2005 the only skin care products I used were Shiseido products.

In 2004 I bought the Shiseido UV White product line.  I believe that product has been discontinued for a while now and it is now called White Lucent.  I'm sure you can still buy UV White from and other retailers for a markdown.  The overview I'm providing below will probably not be as detailed as the Pureness line I overviewed in my previous post because the line has been disconnected and I can't tell exactly which size of the moisturizer I used.  But the one thing I will say, is that the UV White packaging was sensationally fantastic!

UV White had a system of telling what type of skin you have.  You were either a I or II.  I fell into the category for oily skin, which I believe was II.


Purify Cleansing Foam I, 130 g / 4.5 oz

This was okay, it cleansed well but I don't think it had exfoliating beads in it.


Whitening Softener II, 150 ml / 5 oz

This worked well.  I remember it had a nice scent.  I don't really like to waste softeners and toners on cotton pads, but the packaging of this toner really forced you to be inventive or to cave in and use cotton balls.  Basically, it's a glass bottle with a screw cap.  I don't think it has a stopper or a control mechanism in place.  


Whitening Protective Moisturizer II, 75 ml / 2.5 oz

The one I had back in the day was 150 ml / 5 oz.  A great deal, huh?  I really liked this moisturizer because it was very liquidy and milky, and moisturized my skin nicely.  I'm not so sure about if it helped with the whiteness of my skin, though.  


The bad thing about products that have been discontinued is that they're completely discontinued.  No more, kaput, zilch, nada.

I had bought this set of compressed dry masks.  If I recall correctly, it was a set of 12 compressed masks that already had a dry ingredient in them.  What you did with the masks was to rehydrate them using the softener and apply it to your face for 20-30 minutes.  I can't remember very well how the masks worked, but they were really fun to use for a lazy Sunday.

That's it for Shiseido's UV White line.

Shiseido Pureness

After finishing up my product review for the Shiseido Benefiance Concentrated Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream, I'm actually quite surprised that I do not have any Shiseido products on my HG list.  Actually, I'm quite surprised that I don't feel a great sense of loyalty to the brand given how many product lines and products I've owned and used.  And now that I recall, in 2004 and 2005 the only skin care products I used were Shiseido products.  

In 2004 I bought the Shiseido Pureness product line under the recommendation of an acquaintance who was suffering from oily and acne-prone skin, although he seemed to have his acne under control at the time.  I can't really recall exactly how much everything cost, but for a set of cleanser, toner, moisturizer, spot treatment, and blotting sheets, I don't think I went over $200.00 (I can't remember and don't take my word on this).  The Pureness line is targeted toward adolescents and young adults, so I think their pricing is targeted toward those who haven't embarked on their career path yet.  

I'm not about to go out and repurchase everything that I have used for the sake of doing a product review, but I will do a brief overview of the products I have used from the Pureness line and include any comments about the product, if I remember.


Foaming Cleansing Fluid, 150 ml

For oily, combination and normal skin types

Liquid cleanser transforms into airy lather, gently removing pore-clogging impurities, makeup and oil that can lead to imperfections. Leaves skin silky smooth and comfortable.

This is actually a very gentle and refreshing cleanser.  But after I got 1/2 way through the bottle, I felt a little dissatisfied because it doesn't have any exfoliants in it.  My skin felt as though it needed a top layer to be sloughed off.  So I went and purchased:

Deep Cleansing Foam, 100 ml

For oily and blemish-prone skin types

An ultra-fresh foam with blue purifying granules, this rich lathering foam lifts away the pore-clogging impurities, makeup and oil that can lead to imperfections. Feels gentle and cool.

This felt much better for my skin, even on an everyday morning and night routine.  I ended up going through 2 of these.

Softeners (Shiseido does not call these "toners")

Balancing Softener Alcohol-Free, 150 ml

A refreshing alcohol-free lotion that brings new radiance, softness, and balance to blemish-prone skin. Lightly rehydrates and leaves skin smooth and comfortable.

・Formulated with a botanical extract, Palo Azul.


I never used this with a cotton pad because I always felt that for the price I paid I shouldn't be wasting most of the softener on a piece of cotton.


Mattifying Moisturizer Oil-Free, 50 ml

A lightweight moisturizer, with oil-absorbing powder, that helps reduce surface shine as it provides exceptional hydration to skin. Feels refreshing and ultra-sheer.

・Protects the skin's natural moisture balance with Shiseido-exclusive ingredient Hydro-Balancing Complex*, containing botanical extract Palo Azul.


This really did mattify my skin for the mornings, but by the afternoon my skin had started to look dewey-bordering-on-shiny.  One of the things I didn't like about this product was that if I didn't wash my hands after applying this to my face, I would get a grimey sensation on my hands similar to when you move a lot of things around and your hands get dirty.  I think that sensation was caused by the mattifying powder in the moisturizer collecting themselves in the groove of my fingerprint.

Moisturizing Gel-Cream, 40 ml

A lightweight creamy gel that moisturizes, soften, and refines skin as it promotes a healthy-looking radiance. Leaves skin feeling dewy fresh.

・Protects the skin's natural moisture balance with Shiseido-exclusive ingredients Hydro-Balancing Complex, containing botanical Extract Palo Azul.


I really liked this moisturizer a lot.  I just wished then as I do now that this came in a squeeze tube or pump bottle.

Targeted Treatments

Oil Control Blotting Paper, 100 sheets

Handy sheets freshen skin and erase shine on contact. A powerful oil-absorbing ingredient, Hydroxyapatite, provides the power to absorb sebum, as well as lipid peroxide.

Knowing what I know now about oil blotting papers (see this post), I would say I overpaid for these.  Granted, Shiseido's oil blotting papers are bigger than your average blotters.  However, I distinctly remember not liking these because they had powder on the sheets to help blot and mattify your skin.  But the powder would get clogged up in the grooves of my finger prints, which would leave me with a grimey feeling.

Blemish Clearing Gel, 15 ml

A clear quick-absorbing gel that minimizes the appearance of blemishes as it purifies and refreshes skin.

・Formulated with salicylic acid to calm and soothe skin.
・Helps prevent the appearance of blemishes.


I actually liked this a great deal.  This worked great on soothing those hot, painful, under-the-skin cystic acne.  I don't know if it really helped them come up to the surface or go away, but for those hot and painful acne, this gel really worked to cool them down and soothe that area.  The only thing I didn't like about this gel was the cap and the type of bottle it was.  It should have been in a squeeze tube or a pump, or even a jar, but not this type of semi-hard plastic bottle where squeezing the gel out would be difficult.  

LOL, walking down memory lane really has me itching to retry some of these products.  ^_^

Product Review: Shiseido Benefiance Concentrated Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream

For more pictures, please see my previous posting here.

Please visit Shiseido's website for more information about their products and product lines.

Since my disappointment with the Avalon Organics eye gel (read about it here), I have been wanting an eye cream to treat the very fine lines that have started appearing around my eyes.  My brother was such a sweetie that he got me this for my birthday.  I'm not supposed to know how much it costs, but I can tell you from rudimentary research done on, this can set you back anywhere between $40-$60 USD.

The .51 oz of product claims to protect skin from a harsh, dehydrating environment* and dramatically minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and lines to promote a youthfully smooth, radiant look.  Please note the following:

* Clinically tested under conditions of extremely low humidity (20%).

The skeptic in me naturally says, "But I live in Texas and humidity here averages 75%."  Luckily, I have my handy dandy smart phone and it tells me that the humidity in California (blessed Los Angeles) is 18%, but I digress.

The product comes in a very substantial gold glass jar that will fit nicely in your palm.  The lid is gold, as well.  It comes with a little (plastic) spatula - a surprise to me given how luxurious everything else is.  I'm not really fond of expensive products coming in jars like this because I don't think it's very sanitary to keep opening up the jar and dipping your fingers or the spatula into the product and risk contaminating the whole bunch.  I prefer if these types of products come in squeeze tubes, but we can't get everything that we ask for, right?  I've done the best I could under the circumstance and have transferred a small portion of the eye cream to a sample jar I got from La Mer.

The product is a very thick cream with a nice, lightly perfumed scent.  A little goes a long way.  I don't even used a 1/4 of a pea size.  I basically dip the tip of my ring finger in once, rub it with my other ring finger and apply to my eye lids and under my eyes.  Because the product is so thick, it doesn't absorb very easily and I feel that most of the product sits on top of my skin.  For that reason alone, I use it only at night.  When I wake up in the mornings, my face is so greasy that I have to blot my face before washing.  *grimaces*  Since using the Concentrated Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream, I've noticed a profuse amount of grease on my eyelids and under my eyes in the morning.  It's not a big deal because I wash my face in the mornings.

So now, the question is, does this product do what it claims?

The answer, in my experience, is YES.  When I look at the skin under my eyes in the morning, the fine lines have been filled in and are not as deep as when I don't use the product.  I at first thought that my lines would come back during the day because I can't use such a rich product during the day, or that the skin around my eyes would feel dry and tight without the product, but that is not the case.  The skin under my eyes still look nice and soft, and I don't feel that uncomfortable tightness from lack of moisture that I used to get with Avalon Organics or with no product.  I must assume that the benefits of the product have penetrated my skin to provide that boost of moisture even without a morning application.

Would I purchase this again?

I suppose that if there was nothing else on the market, I would purchase this product.  I like what it does and it really feels so luxurious.  I just wish it came in a squeeze tube.

September 23, 2010

Product Review: Skin Food Peach Sake Pore BB Cream SPF 20 PA+

For more pictures of the product and swatch, click here.  

Packaging:  It's a tube pump without the straw in the middle, which is really smart because it promises to squeeze out every. last. drop. of product.  ^_^  It's still awkward for me to hold because the tube is malleable and not stiff like the SK-II pump bottles, but I figure that I'm just not used to it yet.  One thing that I'm not particularly satisfied with is the pump itself.  It's stiff so I have to apply a lot of pressure to the pump, and when I do it squirts out.  It's hard for me to control the amount I want to use because of that stiffness in the pump, but it's workable and not too bad.  It's not an overwhelming amount of extra product that we're talking about.

Texture:  This product is creamy and falls in the middle of the Missha bb cream (thick) and the Liole bb cream (watery).  It blends in great and absorbs easily too.

Smoothability:  Because the product's texture is creamy without the grease and oiliness, smoothing and blending this product into my skin is awesome.  However, this product does accentuate the pores on my nose because it has good coverage but that coverage doesn't fill in the pores.  What I like most about this is that it lets my skin get oily naturally and doesn't do anything to speed up the process.

Coverage:  This has color!  I'm not well versed in "light," "medium," "full" coverage, but basically this has color and it evens out my skin tone especially paired with the right powder.  It's like food and wine.  ^_^  For me, I think this is heavier than light coverage but not quite up to par with medium...?  I mean, I'm having breakouts at the moment and I can still see the different colors of my pimples, but they're not as obvious as before.

Scent:  It smells sweet and reminds me of fruit candy.  But the scent disappears once it absorbs into your skin.

That's it for now!

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