Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: Himalaya Herbals Under Eye Cream

I've had this eye cream for a while, I purchased it because apparently it has won awards from some magazine (Singapore Women's Weekly or Elle, I can't remember which). Also, I've always been crazy about 'natural' products, and this one claims to contain a mix of herbs (sounds natural huh) that help to lighten dark circles by 80% and fine lines by 28% in 4 weeks! -Insert bimbotic 'Omg!' here- I purchased this for about SGD19 for a 25ml tube, pretty reasonably priced for a drugstore eye cream.
What I found when I opened the box - a split nozzle. So it kind of irritated me and it all started going downhill from there. 
The cream has a thick, slightly sticky/tacky consistency. It is light beige in colour which, when blended into the eye area, helps to make the eye area appear just the slightest bit brighter. Honestly, I don't really like the consistency - it is too thick to blend and I feel like it sits on my skin, like it's not being absorbed. Plus, I have a feeling it contributed to milia seeds on my undereye area. Also, though it is thick and creamy, I don't think it feels moisturizing enough.

What good things do I have to say about it? It's fragrance free and safe for contact lens wearers. That's pretty much all. Let me continue pointing out the bad in the ingredients list - mineral oil might clog pores; petrolatum is occlusive, and while it creates a barrier to keep moisture in, it doesn't allow moisture to be absorbed from the atmosphere; cetearyl alcohol and paraffin are comedogenic, and imidazolidinyl urea irritates skin.

Ingredients: Bergenia ligulata, cipadessa baccifera, wheat germ oil, aqua, propylene glycol, mineral oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, paraffin, cetyl alcohol, steareth 2, glyceryl stearate, steareth 21, petrolatum, cetearyl alcohol, carbomer, triethanolamine, xantham gum, tocopherol acetate, methylparaben, propyl paraben, disodium EDTA, imidazolidinyl urea

I have noticed Himalaya Herbals is a pretty affordable brand, but the 'Herbals' in its name does not make it a natural product. I will be staying away from this brand in the future, after this bad experience. :(

Rating: fail

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review: Nature's Farm Pycno Skinpure skin supplement

Through the influence of my friends, I installed the Groupon app on my iPhone and since then I've become crazily addicted! I purchased this Pycno Skinpure skin supplement from Nature's Farm using a Groupon voucher. The original price was S$74.50 for 30 satchets but I purchased it at half-price.
Basically it's a skin drink which contains marine collagen (1,400mg) and pycnogenol (11mg), plus a 'proprietary perfect skin blend' at 200mg. I think the other ingredients like Vitamin C and E are present in amounts too small to be of any effect (usually Vit C supplements come in amounts of at least a few hundred mg, but here it's present at only 10mg). Surprisingly this supplement also contains 25mcg of Biotin which helps to strengthen hair and nails. According to Wikipedia, biotin supplements usually range from 30mcg-100mcg, so 25mcg should be pretty sufficient to produce slight noticeable effects.
This is how the powder looks before and after... usually I just put it into a cup of room-temperature water (I don't use warm water because I don't know if the heat will render the ingredients inactive) and it takes a lot of stirring to make it dissolve, which is a pain. It tastes nice and sweet with a berry taste, but the first few times I could taste the aftertaste of marine collagen which could not be covered by the berry flavoring. After about a week though, the taste grew on me and I find it pretty palatable.
So here are all the benefits claimed by Pycno Skinpure... the recommended dosage is 1 satchet 1-3 times a day. I guess the main difference between this skin drink and other collagen supplements is that it contains pycnogenol, which stabilizes collagen and maintains the elastin in your skin. Plus it has powerful antioxidant benefits and it's the component in wine that reduces risk of coronary heart disease. Well, all this means nothing to me - what matters are the results.

I've been taking one satchet almost every night before bedtime (almost, because sometimes I'm too tired and just want to go to bed), and after 1 week I notice I wake up with brighter, smoother skin which is generally calmer (smaller pore size, zits are less inflamed). I suffer from poor blood circulation which causes skin discolouration, but this supplement seems to have evened out my skintone so that I wake up with more radiant skin. I can't say anything about improvements to fine lines and wrinkles though, because I'm not in that age category. :P

As for the frequency of consumption, I think it's fine taking it once daily, because it's expensive to take it more frequently (S$74.50 for 30 satchets is pretty expensive to me, it's like US$55 a month) and I've heard horror stories of other people overdosing on collagen supplements leading to adverse health effects.
Do I like it? Yes, I like the effects, but I think there could be improvements in the taste and how well it dissolves. Plus, it's too expensive for me to consume every day. (Maybe if you're young you can get away with consuming it once a week.) And you can definitely find cheaper collagen powders like Meiji Amino Collagen, except they don't contain pycnogenol.

Rating: 8/10

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review: My Beauty Diary mask - Strawberry Yogurt, Bulgarian White Rose and Cooling

For the past month when I'd been working overtime, I felt so tired that after showering and blowdrying my hair at 3am, I just didn't feel like putting on all my multiple layers of skincare. During that period, I just put on my eye cream and slapped on a sheet mask and went to bed. Here are some reviews of the 3 flavours I tried from My Beauty Diary during my darkest nights (excuse the drama)-
Bulgarian White Rose
This mask smells like sweet rose syrup (or bandung in local terms)! The mask liquid feels very light, almost like a toner. This mask is supposed to sooth, refresh and moisturize (with rose hydrosol), whiten skin (with licorice and kiwi extract) and calm skin down (with cucumber and aloe extracts). I like this mask a lot, it makes my pores look much smaller and the lightness of the liquid makes it easily absorbed by oily skin. The sweet rose syrup scent might be too strong for some people though. I do notice some slight brightening effects and pore-tightening effects with this mask, and it really helps calm my skin down (I think it's the rosewater).

Ingredients:
Purified water, 1,3-Butylene glycol, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Aloe Barbedensis Gel, Glycyrrhizinate Glabra (Licorice) Leaf Extract, Triethanolamine, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Vegetal Collagen, Algae Extract, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Ananas Sativas (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Styrene Acrylates Copolymer, Dimethylsilanol Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 20, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citric Acid, Methyl Paraben, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Hydroxide, Perfume

Rating: 9/10

Strawberry Yogurt Mask
This mask smells really delicious, like Dutch Lady strawberry milk! It feels really moisturizing - more moisturizing than the Bulgarian White Rose, and the liquid feels slightly 'thicker' too, almost like a serum. It's supposed to brighten your skintone and tighten pores, leaving zero shine. And it's supposed to be limited edition. (Bummer!!) I really hope they bring this mask back, because strawberry yogurt is one of my favourites.

It moisturizes surprisingly well (better than the regular Yogurt flavour), smells delicious, and makes my pores almost disappear! (Pore-tightening effect is the best out of all Beauty Diary masks!) And while it's really moisturizing, it leaves my skin feeling fresh and free of greasiness. I really love this.

Ingredients:
Purified water, Glycerin, 1,3-Butylene glycol, Propylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Fragaria vesca (Wild Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Tween 20, Yogurt Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Algae Extract,  Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi (Bearberry) Leaf Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugarcane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Anrantium Dulcis (Sweet Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit Extract, Styrene Acrylates Copolymer, Dimethylsilanol Hyaluronate, Propyl Paraben, Methyl Paraben, Carbomer, Polyglutamic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Hydroxide, Perfume

Rating: 10/10 (Bring it back, please!!!)
Cooling Mask 
This mask is supposed to be a wake-me-up for all skin types, I suppose for when you're feeling really tired/sluggish with dull skin. It feels and smells minty, and I was afraid it would be too cold and tingly to use in my air-conditioned room, or that the mint would irritate my skin. But no! It was surprisingly gentle on my skin and the cooling effect was very pleasant and refreshing. My eyes do feel a tiny bit of sting from the menthol, but it's not very strong. Of course, if you have extremely/exceptionally sensitive skin, it's best to avoid this mask. It's very soothing and hydrating and lovely for perking up on tired days.

Rating: 9/10

Ingredients:
Purified water, Glycerin, 1,3-Butylene glycol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Aloe Barbadensis Gel, Glycyrrhizinate Glabra (Licorice) Leaf Extract, Calendula Officinals Flower Extract, Sambucus Nigra (Elderberry) Flower Extract, Seed Weed Extract, Gingko Biloba Extract, Soluble Collagen, Algae-Yeast Complex, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Citric Acid, Ppolysorbate 20, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Extract, Styrene Acrylates Copolymer, Dimethylsilanol Hyaluronate, Methyl Paraben, Laminaria Ochroleuca, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Lecithin, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Alcohol, Methyl Lactate, Menthol, Perfume
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And here is just a little advice for anyone who's thinking of purchasing My Beauty Diary Masks online... Please be wary of fakes, especially from Taobao.com! I purchase mine directly through Cosmed stores in Taiwan so I am very sure mine are authentic. My younger sister once purchased a box from a flea market in Singapore and when my elder sister used one, she experienced itchiness. The differences are subtle and difficult to pick up if you aren't sharp... The most obvious would be the expiry date printed at the back. The authentic ones are printed lightly in black with light physical indentation to the foil packaging, while the fakes are printed heavily in black ink (which is usually smudged) and there are usually heavy physical indentations. Plus I noticed the fakes feel heavier than the authentic masks in their packaging, and the fake packaging looks shinier and more 'wrinkly' (Less air in the packet? Lousy sealing technique?) than the authentic ones.

My advice to Singaporeans: Just purchase through Guardian pharmacies! Even though you're paying a little bit more, you can be assured that the product is genuine! Skin allergies are no joke.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: Neutrogena Hydroboost Night Concentrate

The Neutrogena Hydroboost Night Concentrate is a new product that came out recently and I had to try it after falling in love with the other Hydroboost moisturizers. It's supposed to be a sleeping pack/mask, and the instructions say to massage over face after moisturizer, but it's really moisturizing enough to use on its own!
The texture is like the Hydroboost Water Gel, except a wee bit lighter in texture and hence more spreadable. It has little green beads in it which melt onto your skin, but I don't actually know what they do. Honestly, if you own the Hydroboost Water Gel and you want to save some money, you can skip this, but this is really nice to have too, it makes me wake up with glowing, hydrated skin. Compared to the Laneige Water Sleeping Pack, this is more affordable and more moisturizing. Laneige feels more watery and light as compared to Neutrogena Night Concentrate, and I feel the Night Concentrate definitely moisturizes better.

I definitely believe in the 'progressive release system' Neutrogena boasts, because I can feel the moisture lasts in my skin. From the description on the box, it contains hyaluronic acid, olive extract and ionic mineral complex that helps enhance skin translucency, firms up skin and reduces fine lines. I definitely love the Neutrogena Hydroboost line - it smells good, hydrates fantastically well, doesn't break me out, is affordable, and leaves my skin with a healthy glow. And when I'm lazy, reach home really late and have no time to apply different layers of serums/moisturizers, I just slap on the Night Concentrate (even around my eyes) and go to bed, and I wake up looking much better.

Ingredients: Water, glycerin, dimethicone, cetearyl olivate, polyacrylamide, sorbitan olivate, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, dimethiconol, ethylhexylglycerin, synthetic beeswax, c13-14 isoparaffin, benzyl alcohol, butylene glycol, chlorphenesin, trehalose, dimethicone crosspolymer, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, laureth-7, mannitol, carbomer, sodium hyaluronate, microcrystalline cellulose, c12-14 pareth-12, sodium hydroxide, fragrance, Cl77289, portulaca oleracea extract, tocopheryl acetate, magnesium aspartate, zinc gluconate, copper gluconate, Cl 42090

I do notice that there are lots of -cones in there that lend the Night Concentrate its slippery, spreadable texture, and helps form a moisturizing barrier on the skin, which is fantastic if you have super dry skin where your skin barrier has been compromised. However I do know some people who are sensitive to silicones, so you might want to skip it if you're one of them.

Rating: 10/10

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Review: Avalon Organics Lavender Cleansing Gel

Well hello I'm finally back after long weeks of non-stop working. Every day, I slept at about 3am and I worked through the weekends. I think my skin aged at least thrice as fast these few weeks, and I started to break out. I got whiteheads that became inflamed pustules (sounds so gross, it really is) which is considered a mild/moderate form of acne as compared to cystic acne (severe).

So I changed my skincare regimen and started to use this Avalon Organics Lavender Cleansing Gel, because my oily/dehydrated skin really works best with such gentle gel cleansers, plus the lavender scent helped to destress.
Ingredients: Organic lavandula angustifolia (lavender), chamomilla recutita (chamomile) and camellia sinensis (white tea) extracts (aqueous)(1), organic arnica montana extract(2), cocamidopropyl betaine, disodium oleamido succinate, sodium cocoyl glutamate, sodium cocoyl isethionate, vegetable glycerin, organic aloe barbadensis(1), glycereth-7 cocoate, citric acid, phospholipids, panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), sodium PCA, allantoin, dipotassium glycyrrhizinate (licorice root), organic borago officinalis (borage) and linum usitatissimum (flax) oils(1), phenoxyethanol, rosa canina (rose hip) oil, benzyl alcohol, organic lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil(3) and other essential oils.

I really love such gel cleansers which foam gently due to the cocamidopropyl betaine. It helps cut through the oil and grease on my skin without drying it out, and cleanses gently while thoroughly, rinsing cleanly and quickly (unlike paste cleaners which often feel like they leave residue on your skin). And it smells so lovely because of the lavender (which is a natural antibacterial and thus helps eradicate acne), which helps calm me down, and it calms my skin down too... but the scent is a straight lavender (not like other cleansers which usually mix lavender with sweeter scents like vanilla or mandarin) which some people might not like.

Plus - it's organic, contains essential oils, flax and borage oils for moisture, and white tea for antioxidants. It's relatively affordable (US$11.95 for 200ml) and it must be quite popular because my sister has been trying to repurchase it but it's sold out at all 3 branches of Watsons she visited! However, some people might be sensitive to lavender oil, and I've read reviews where people with sensitive skin found this cleanser too drying/stinging. I think if your skin's moisture/protective barrier has been compromised by overexfoliation or other reasons, you should avoid this cleanser. I have really oily but dehydrated skin and I occasionally get sensitivity in my cheeks (where the skin seems thinner), but this cleanser works fine with me.

Other comparably gentle gel cleansers which I have previously reviewed are the Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser, Eucerin Dermopurifyer Cleanser and Renew Rosehip Foaming Facial Cleanser which I realised I haven't reviewed yet (it's good!)

Rating: 10/10

I just purchased a tube of Avene Diacneal today at the drugstore, it's really expensive and I read on MakeupAlley that it's been discontinued, but somehow they're still selling it in Singapore. I'm hoping it'll help cure my skin. My skin's not super awful or anything but I want smooth skin again! Will review in a couple of weeks. Cross my fingers!

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