Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review: Suki Concentrated Balancing Toner

Initially, I wanted to purchase the Suki Bio-active Purifying Face Serum (a serum for oily, congested skin) but at US$82.95 for 15ml, it was wayyyy too expensive. The second ingredient in the Suki Bio-active Purifying Face Serum was white willow bark extract (salicylic acid), so I decided to look for something else that has a high concentration of natural salicylic acid, to unclog my pores. White willow bark extract (salicylic acid) is the 4th on the list for Suki Concentrated Balancing Toner, and it was more affordable at US$32.95 for 120ml, so I decided to give it a try. 

It comes in a heavy glass spray bottle - the spray pump dispenses just the right amount of mist, very nicely done. The toner has a light, refreshing citrus-floral scent and it feels very soothing on my skin. It provides a calming and healing base for oily, acne-prone skin before moisturizer is applied. This definitely helped in making my skin less inflamed. 

How I use it - I go over my face with Simple toner on a cotton pad, then I follow up with a spritz of Suki Concentrated Balancing Toner all over. Then I apply tea tree oil to my break-out-prone areas and finish with facial oil.

The only con is that the glass bottle is very travel-unfriendly. I didn't pack this along with me to Hong Kong and I broke out a little bit then. 

Ingredients: rosa damascena flower distillate, lavender distillate (alcohol), lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, salix alba (white willow salicins) bark extract, anthemis nobilis flower oil, aloe barbadensis leaf, phospholipids (vitamin c), melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, ascophyllum nodosum extract, calendula officinalis flower extract, matricaria recutita (chamomilla) flower extract, rosa canina fruit extract, mentha piperita (peppermint) oil, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, *aroma/fragrance, citral, linalool

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Review: YÜLI Skincare Cell Perfecto PM, M.E. Skin Fuel and Halcyon Cleanser

I got to know YÜLI Skincare through Edo Jao's Twitter and Neiman's Idealist. At the time my skin was terrible - even after I had been in my current less stressful job for almost a year, using SKII and my old fallback (DRX Blemish Formula and Comedone Formula, which I will review another day), my skin was still clogged, dry and painful with acne. After reading so many glowing reviews about YÜLI Skincare, I had to give it a try. Their products are pretty pricey but they had a Black Friday promotion, giving out a complimentary Cellular Lip Conditioner with each purchase, so I decided to bite the bullet and bought full sizes of Halcyon Cleanser, Cell Perfecto PM and M.E. Skin Fuel. Shipping to Singapore was US$25 and thankfully the glass bottles arrived safe and sound!

YÜLI's full-sized products are packaged in glass bottles (MIRON violet?) - not very travel friendly, but I brought my entire stash with me to my recent Hong Kong work trip by bundling it in between my clothes. The glass dark and almost opaque so I can't really tell how much product I have left unless I hold it into very strong light. But this leaves me feeling assured that the product is protected from light. 
I use 4 drops of this every night - it's an amber-coloured oil with little flecks of sediment. You have to shake the bottle before every use (remember to empty the dropper first) to ensure that the sediment is evenly dispersed and picked up by your dropper. 
It makes my skin really smooth the next day and after a month of use, I notice that it faded the stubborn red acne marks on my face. They're not totally gone, but some scars and most of the redness on my forehead is gone. My cheeks still have red acne marks but they are gradually getting lighter. The results did not appear overnight, but I had a bad cold the last weekend so my nose was rubbed raw and all the skin was flaking off and so painful. I applied Cell Perfecto PM there and the next morning my skin was less raw and tender. 

Ingredients: Bioregenerating Botanical Infusion (Botanical Glycosides, Sea Minerals Complex), S. chinensis (Jojoba) oil*, M. integrifolia (Macadamia) oil*, O. ficus-indica (Indian Fig) seed oil*, C. inophyllum (Tamanu) oil*, H. rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) oil*, A. uva-ursi (Bearberry) extract*, H. italicum (Helichrysum)* extract, G. glabra (Liquorice) extract*, C. asiatica (Gotu Kola) extract*, Renew Minerals Complex (Methysulfonylmethane (MSM)* Derived from Pine Lignin, Phytosterols derived from Flax), A. linearis (Rooibos) extract*, B. carterii (Frankincense) extract*, D. carota (Carrot) seed extract^^, G. lucidum (Reishi) extract*, L-arginine, L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), L-Gluconic Acid (Derived from Kombucha Tea Ferment)

I use 4 drops of this every morning - it's a light, fluid oil. When I first started using it, it made my face look oily during the day. But after 2 weeks in Hong Kong (dry winter) and after 1 month total of using it regularly, my skin seems to have balanced out and is less oily. I'm pretty sure that the regular usage of YÜLI oils balanced out my skin so that it stopped producing so much oil. My skin is still oily but using M.E. Skin Fuel alone is very manageable now even in hot weather (of course I still use loose powder over it to mattify). 
After regular usage of M.E. Skin Fuel and Cell Perfecto PM, I find my skin less prone to inflammation. Even if I do get some zits (after a flight - cabin air wreaks havoc on my skin), they are not as painful and do not become too inflamed. 

Ingredients: S. chinensis (Jojoba) oil*, A. spinosa (Argan) oil*, P. armeniaca (Apricot Kernel) oil*, N. Sativa (Black Cumin) oil*, P. granatum (Pomegranate) oil*, R. idaeus (Red Raspberry) seed oil*, B. oleracea (Broccoli) seed oil*, O. ficus-indica (Indian Fig) seed oil*, H. rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) oil*, T. officinale (Dandelion) infused in jojoba oil*, Supercritical extracts of H. rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) seed and fruit*, H. italicum (Helichrysum)* extract, N. Caerulea (Blue Lotus) extract^^, J. grandiflorum (Jasmine) extract* 
I use 3 full pumps of this when I wash my face, sometimes a little more if I'm cleaning my face at the end of the day and it's especially oily/dirty. It's a silky, fluid gel emulsion that has an herbal scent (reminds me a little of Chinese herbs? A little bitter) and it's extremely low-foaming,which takes some time getting used to. I've read some reviews that said it can remove the most stubborn mascara, but it's so expensive that I'm not going to use it as a make-up remover, you know? I do double cleansing - remove make-up first, then cleanse with Halcyon. I leave it on my face for a minute to let the beneficial ingredients do some work. It is definitely worth a try, it really soothes and calms inflamed skin. 
Ingredients: H. italicum/L. angustifolia hydrosol blend*, herbal infusion of (T.pratense*, C. sinensis*, S. media, Z. officinale*, O. fragans), D-aloe barbadensis,vegetable glycerine, sodium cocoyl isethionate (vegetable source), peptides derived from Amaranth protein, jojoba ester*, Rhodophyta (Red Algae) ferment, G.lucidum (Reishi) tincture*, zeolite, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), vitamin C ester, biodynamic fruit enzymes, petitgrain sur fleurs oil*, bergamot (bergaptene-free) oil*, collidal silver
To make this a more objective review, something that a discerning skincare junkie would nitpick about would be that there was no expiry date printed on the packaging. (Understand that this is not a US FDA requirement, but I would like to know the exact date of manufacture or date of expiry, to be assured that I'm getting a fresh product. YÜLI's packaging does show shelf life, i.e. how many months the product can last after being opened, but this is not very useful if you don't know the date of manufacture or date of expiry. This applies to many other green skincare companies, such as 100% Pure.)

Also, this is the most low-foaming gel cleanser that I have ever used - the bubbles are tiny, see the photo below! (It was already disappearing when I took the photo, hard to capture!) With regular gel cleansers, I would put cleanser on my palm, followed by a little water and foam it on my hand before applying the foam on my face. However, with Halcyon, you have to wet your face, put Halcyon on your hands, apply Halcyon straight onto your wet face and lather it on your face. I take some time to really massage it it gently all around my face, then I leave it on for about 10 seconds and rinse off. My skin is super smooth after.
After a month of using YÜLI, I feel a change in my skin - it's smoother and less prone to inflammation. Even if zits appear, they don't erupt into something huge and nasty - they stay small and don't grow into a huge cyst. It definitely took some time - but after a month, the effects are starting to show! I will continue using YÜLI and update with any improvements. 

I am gradually trying to change my skincare to incorporate all-natural products. I think my skin started breaking out because I was experimenting with too many new products at the same time. Hopefully my skin will repair, renew and become as nice as it was 2 years ago. :)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

2014 Skincare Regime

I'm back! Been away from blogging for months as I was busy juggling work and personal activities (I started cooking every weekend, it's fun but exhausting). 

Anyway, I'm back because I wanted to record my new skincare regime which I've been following for a month now. Prior to that, my skin was a mess - cystic acne sometimes and many clogged pores. I tried taking 25 mg of zinc gluconate daily, but it just made me feel very tired and it actually delayed my period. I guess zinc doesn't work for everyone. 

A few months back, I started reading Neiman's Idealist and No More Dirty Looks, which focus on clean/green skincare. So during last year's Black Friday sales, I bought a whole bunch of new skincare (which I researched very carefully beforehand). Here are my regimes - I tried it out in Singapore (hot and humid summer weather) and Hong Kong (winter - cold and dry). 
Cleanser: YÜLI Halcyon
Toner: Simple Soothing Facial Toner (applied with a cotton pad to eliminate any remaining residue)
Mist: SukiFace Concentrated Balancing Toner (provides a base of salicylic acid to declog my skin)
Treatment: Now Organic Essential Tea Tree Oil (I do a mixture of 2 drops essential oil to 8 drops of Simple toner, and apply it to areas of breakouts on my face)
Serum: YÜLI M.E. Skin Fuel (for day), YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM (for night)
Winter - Day
Cleanser: Physiogel Cleanser
Toner: Simple Soothing Facial Toner (applied with a cotton pad to eliminate any remaining residue)
Treatment: Now Organic Essential Tea Tree Oil (I do a mixture of 2 drops essential oil to 8 drops of Simple toner, and apply it to areas of breakouts on my face)
Serum: YÜLI M.E. Skin Fuel
Moisturizer: SukiFace Balancing Day Lotion OR DrGL Restore Gel Mask (thin layer)
Winter - Night
Cleanser: YÜLI Halcyon
Toner: Simple Soothing Facial Toner (applied with a cotton pad to eliminate any remaining residue)
Treatment: Now Organic Essential Tea Tree Oil (I do a mixture of 2 drops essential oil to 8 drops of Simple toner, and apply it to areas of breakouts on my face)
Serum: YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM (for night)
Moisturizer: DrGL Restore Gel Mask

My skin's oil production has really become more normalized after this regime and I don't get cystic acne now. Over the next few months I will update this post with links to the detailed review of these products! 


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