Sunday, November 22, 2015

Introduction to Enkido Skincare from Australia

I discovered Enkido Skincare somehow through a natural skincare forum. It's a line from Australia that makes no-frills skincare for sensitive skin. They have an online shop and there's actually free international shipping if you purchase more than AUD 100! Since the AUD exchange rate has been pretty good recently and I needed to replenish my skincare, I decided to try their products. 

Here's a breakdown of my overall first impression of the brand - they have 4 main lines of skincare, namely Hydrate (for dry skin), Clear (for oily/acne-prone skin), Calming (for sensitive skin), and Synergy (for aging skin). The ingredients for most of the lines are pretty similar, except for certain added ingredients. 

Calming - Has the least ingredients to prevent aggravation of sensitive skin. Includes colloidal oatmeal to calm skin (base ingredient for all other types)
Hydrate - Has additional hyaluronic acid, green tea, niacinamide and beta-glucan
Clear - Has additional white willow extract (salicylic acid) for light exfoliation of blocked pores for congested skin, plus beta-glucan, hyaluronic acid and licorice root extract
Synergy - Ingredients same as Hydrate, with the addition of blue green algae, ginseng extract, licorice root extract, cucumber extract and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)

(Background on ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal soothes skin, beta-glucan helps to firm and tone skin, hyaluronic acid is hydrating, blue green algae replenishes nutrients, green tea extract is an anti-oxidant, ginseng extract is for stimulating cell growth, licorice root extract is for evening skintone, cucumber extract is soothing and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is for preventing age spots and for collagen production).

Now, looking at the products by type - for skincare they have cleansers, infusions, moisturizers, facial scrubs and treatments. 

The cleansers comprise a gel foaming cleanser, a cleansing milk, a make-up remover liquid, a cleansing oil and a very simple oatmeal cleanser. The gel foaming cleanser is good for all skin types. The cleansing milk contains olive oil and may be good for drier skin. The make-up remover liquid is good for all skin types and it's probably similar to Bioderma's (just more expensive - it includes colloidal oatmeal, beta-glucan and hyaluronic acid too). The cleansing oil contains olive oil and coconut oil (which is comedogenic), so I won't try it because I have acne-prone skin. The oatmeal cleanser is just pure colloidal oatmeal, I thought it was a little expensive so I didn't get it this time. 

As for the moisturizers - there are moisturizers for each line, and you can select the consistency you want, in either fluid, lotion or cream form. The fluids have a base of vegetable glycerin, cetearyl olivate, sorbitan olivate, niacinamide, olive oil and olive squalane, so it feels very light (I tried the Clear Fluid). The lotions have pretty much the same base ingredients (minus glycerin), just that a larger proportion of olive oil is included, which should give it a slightly heavier texture. The creams have also pretty much the same base (minus glycerin), with the addition of olive oil and olive butter as the main ingredients, which give it the thickest consistency. I noticed there is no moisturizing cream for the "Clear" line for acne-prone skin, probably because olive butter can be comedogenic. (So I probably won't try any of the creams.)

The infusions are just water with the various ingredients for each line added in. Enkido also has a bunch of scrubs, a mud mask, a hydrating mask, a night serum and an eye cream. 

For my first purchase, I got the Clear Moisture Fluid, Clear Infusion and 2 bottles of Foaming Cleanser, which I will review in my next post. :) 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Review: Cerave Eye Repair Cream

A while ago, I ran out of eye cream and searched Paula's Beautypedia looking for an affordable eye cream. That's when I found Cerave Eye Repair Cream which got a 5/5 rating on Beautypedia. I got it from at USD 13.99 for a 14g tube, pretty affordable!

It was given a 5-star (highest) rating on Beautypedia because of the impressive ingredients - ceramides (replaces lipid levels in skin), hyaluronic acid (humectant, hydrates skin), marine and botanical complex (good for microcirculation), niacinamide (aids skin in production of ceramides and fatty acids), plus it uses MVE technology for timed release of ingredients. But personally, I didn't think it was emollient enough for my dry under-eye area. It's a white cream that's not greasy at all and dries to a semi-matte texture; it's ok alone for day use, but at night, I usually layer it on after my facial oil. It is definitely not moisturizing enough for dry climates or in winter.

To summarize - it's a value-for-money eye cream for young 20s' skin, for day use and best reserved for summer. 

Ingredients: Purified Water, Niacinamide, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Propanediol, Isononyl Isononanoate, Jojoba Esters, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-11, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Zinc Citrate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Almond) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Chrysanthellum Indicum Extract, Tocopherol, Equisetum Arvense Extract, Asparagopsis Armata Extract, Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Sorbitol, Triethanolamine, Laureth-4, Butylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Tetrasodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Sodium Hydroxide, Phytosphingosine, Cholesterol, Xanthan Gum

Rating: Nice to have 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Review: Suki Transformative Cleansing Clay

This is a product that I've used for awhile and haven't gotten around to reviewing - Suki Transformative Cleansing Clay. I believe it has been discontinued and replaced with Suki Transformative Purifying Masque. The ingredients are actually really similar, except maybe the placement in the ingredient list changed a bit. Plus, the Cleansing Clay included Resveratrol (not in the Masque), while the Masque includes safflower seed oil (not in the Cleansing Clay). The price remains the same - 30ml for USD48.95 with a 12-month use-by period. 

My review is on the Cleansing Clay, though it's not the same product I hope it will still be useful since the ingredients are really similar. The product can be used in 3 ways -  as cleanser, a rinse-off masque (left on for 20 mins), or spot treatment (apply thin layer and leave on spots or all over the face overnight). I think the company realised that the price of the product was too expensive for it to be used as a cleanser (because you would need a lot of product to cleanse, plus it's not super good at cleansing anyway), which is why the new Masque doesn't mention anything about cleansing. 

I don't use the Cleansing Clay as a cleanser (too wasteful). I've tried using it as a masque and also to spot-treat huge blemishes overnight. The Cleansing Clay has a very watery consistency and impossible to layer thickly, so it doesn't feel as deep-cleansing as other mud masks which can be packed onto the skin densely. However, I do feel it's very soothing and as an overnight treatment, it did help calm my inflamed blemishes down. 
Ingredients for Suki Transformative Cleansing Clay: rosa damascena (rose) flower distillate, kaolin, alcohol, oryza sativa (rice) starch, glycerin (vegetable), salix alba (willow) bark extract, xanthan gum, zinc oxide, calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) distillate, lavendula angustifolia (lavender) oil, polygonum cuspidatum (resveratrol) root extract, ascophyllum nodosum (seaweed) extract, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil.

Ingredients for Suki Transformative Purifying Masque: rosa centifolia (provence rose) concentrate†, kaolin, alcohol (from sugar cane denatured with lavender oil)†, glycerin, salix alba (willow) bark extract, oryza sativa (rice) starch†, zinc oxide, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) water, calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, ascophyllum nodosum (seaweed) extract†, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, resveratrol, xanthan gum, fragrance (parfum), limonene, linalool

To be honest, I won't repurchase this - it's too expensive for such a small amount. Plus, other than the zinc oxide, most of the active ingredients in the mask (willow bark extract, witch hazel, calendula extract, tea tree oil) are found in most of my other skincare products too, so it isn't exactly value-adding to my skincare routine, and I can easily find other masks that contain kaolin clay that do the job at a lower price. I would recommend this only if you have had a good experience with zinc oxide and you have cash to spare. :)

Rating: Nice to have

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Thayer's Alcohol-Free Toners - Lavender, Cucumber, Rose and Unscented

I've previously reviewed Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel here. I realised they have a few other types of alcohol-free toners as well, so I decided to get them all and try! I actually tried these over the past year and bought another few bottles to last me till next year, so you can see how loyal I am to Thayer's. 

The base ingredients of all the toners are the same (this is the ingredient list for Unscented):
Purified Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Certified Organic Filet Of Aloe Vera), Glycerin (Vegetable), Hamamelis Virginiana (made from Certified Organic Witch Hazel) Extract, Citric Acid, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract

The only difference and additional ingredient for all the other scented toners are as follows:
Rose Petal: Rose Flower Water
Lavender: Lavender Flower Water
Cucumber: Cucumber Fruit Extract

Rose and lavender flower waters are supposed to be good for hydrating skin, while cucumber extract helps to soothe skin. I'm quite a fan of Paula's Choice Beautypedia, but she's not a fan of witch hazel or flower waters unfortunately - she claims they may potentially irritate the skin (due to tannins in witch hazel, and strong fragrance from flowers). 
I will continue using Thayer's witch hazel because it has been great to my skin, but I have to agree - I don't think the rose and lavender versions made any particular difference to my skin, they were just very strongly scented. For the Rose Petal version, I didn't like the scent at first, but I got used to it after a while and now it doesn't bother me at all. The Lavender version, on the other hand, evokes Old Lady to me. I love lavender in general, but this one just doesn't smell good! My favourite would be Cucumber - it smells fresh and light, plus Beautypedia gave cucumber fruit extract a "good" rating. Unscented was ok - no scent, but it feels nothing special, like I applied water to my face... I guess I like scents? ^_^; 

So my conclusion was - out of all the different versions, I prefer the Cucumber one! But seriously - they're really not that different. If a particular scent floats your boat, by all means get it!

Rating: Love it!

(By the way, I know Thayer's makes astringent toners that contain alcohol, plus a lemon astringent toner... but I'm not interested in trying them at all, because alcohol = drying to me, and I tend to avoid citrus ingredients as they sensitize my skin. I would highly recommend sticking to the alcohol-free versions.)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Review: Phytopolleine Universal Elixir

I have used a few bottles of Phytopolleine before - the small bottle is 25ml and comes with a dropper tip, for easy application to the scalp (above). I've always found it pretty expensive (around SGD 55 for a 25ml bottle after discount), but I recently bought a large bottle (100ml) which is more cost-effective (can't remember the price though). The large bottle (below) comes with a dropper applicator, which is really easy to use too. The plastic dropper splits really easily at the top though, and once it splits you won't be able to get any liquid up the dropper. It needs some improvement!
There are 2 ways of using Phytopolleine - apply to unwashed scalp 30 minutes before shampooing, or leave overnight for an intense treatment. I have only tried the first method (before shampooing) because the serum is oil-based and I don't like to get it on my pillow. For those sensitive to scents - Phytopolleine has quite a strong scent which I can sometimes still catch a whiff of after I shampoo. Catching a light whiff of it throughout the day is ok - but smelling it full-blast when it's on your head is another thing altogether! So yeah, I don't really recommend leaving it overnight. ;)
I use it about twice/thrice a week, or when I can fit it into my schedule. If you have an oily/itchy scalp, this really helps to rebalance and stimulate the scalp to make your hair stronger. When I wash it off, my hair is a lot smoother (probably cos of the oil) and lighter and manageable! And my scalp feels fresh and purified. I feel like it helps make my hair grow out stronger... but that might well be psychological. ;) Still, I love using Phytopolleine and I would highly recommend it. Get the large bottle if you can find it - it's much more economical and will last you much longer than the 25ml one! (The 25ml one lasts me barely a month!)

Ingredients: Zea Mays (Corn) Germ Oil, Fragrance / Parfum, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Limonene, Melaleuca Leucadendron Cajaput Oil (Cajeput), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Cupressus Sempervirens Oil (Cyprès), Linalool, Citral, Isoeugenol, Geraniol, Eugenol, Coumarin, Citronellol.

Rating: Love it!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Review: Phyto Phytoapaisant Instant Soothing Spray

My body reacts badly to stress - when I get stressed, I'll get a breakout, and my scalp also gets sensitive. I bought this Phytoapaisant Instant Soothing Spray quite a while ago during an episode and I really love it, but I use it very very sparingly because it's quite costly. It costs about SGD 55 (and that's after discount!) for a 50ml bottle, and it feels so soothing that you'll be tempted to use a lot!

It's an aerosol spray with a long nozzle that makes it easy to aim the spray at your scalp (instead of wasting product on your hair). The spray feels really cooling and soothing - immediately my scalp is soothed. The spray has a lovely, calming scent. 

Key ingredients (extracted from the Phyto website):
• Purslane and oat extracts: natural soothant that reduces inflammatory effects
• Oat extract: rich in essential amino-acids, moisturizes and protects
• Essential oils of mint and eucalyptus: refreshing
• Angelica fruit extraction (63%): softens
I find the soothing effects are kind of temporary - after a while, the mintiness fades away and I feel tempted to spray again. I think the spray has to be used in conjunction with a soothing shampoo for the best effect. I also occasionally use Phytopolleine, that really famous scalp serum from Phyto, but Phytopolleine doesn't actually soothe your scalp; it helps more to increase blood circulation at the scalp and makes your scalp healthier. More on that in my next post!
Overall, I do like the Phytoapaisant Instant Soothing Spray. I just wish it was more affordable, so that I won't need to use it so sparingly. I believe this comes in a larger 150ml size which is more value-for-money, but I haven't been able to find the larger size in Singapore. Would I repurchase? Yes, but I'm also very interested in trying other products - I have my eye on Intelligent Nutrients Pureplenty Nourishing Scalp and Strand Serum and hope to try it soon!

Rating: Love it!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Arcona Gentle Solution

Arcona Gentle Solution is an exfoliating serum meant for night use. It costs USD 53 for 35ml and is best used within 6 months, but my bottle has lasted me way longer than that. The instructions say to use 2 - 4 times a week. I use this once every 2/3 days. If your skin is more sensitive, you can use it once every 4 days. Sometimes, it stings a little bit if I use it every 2 days, so I adjust the frequency accordingly. That said, Gentle Solution is definitely one of the most gentle exfoliating serums I've used, but despite the gentleness, I can see a definite improvement in the texture of my skin the next morning.   
When I'm having a breakout, I use this all over my face without an additional spot treatment and immediately my skin is smoother and calmer the next morning. It has a slightly sticky texture so I apply it while my skin is still damp with toner, which makes the serum glide on more easily. A little goes a long way - no need to over-apply! After applying Gentle Solution, I just follow up with my regular night cream or facial oil. The next day, I wake up with noticeably smaller pores, a more even skin-tone, and a calmer complexion. 

In conclusion - I love this serum and will definitely repurchase.

Rating: Love it!

Ingredients: Agua (Distilled Water), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Hydrolized Soy Extract, Glycerine, Glycolic Acid Polymer, Lactic Acid Polymer, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernal Oil, Glycogen, Beta-fructan, Glucosamine HCI, Chlorophyll, Guava (Psidium Guajava) Extract, Grapefruit (Citrus Gandis) Seed Extract


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