Product Review: Creme De La Mer (Moisturizing Cream)

This is expensive, but boy, is it worth every penny! Of all the moisturizing creams I’ve used so far, this is the best of the lot.

It does everything a good moisturizing cream should – moisturize, soften lines and even out skin tone. It's very thick and rich, and feels smooth and refreshing to the touch. Upon application it is absorbed into the skin within a couple of minutes, so my face doesn't look or feel oily. After having used it daily for about three weeks, I find that tiny hints of imminent wrinkles at the corner of my eyes have faded! Hallelujah!

The bottle looks tremendously small, but I don’t actually use a lot of it each time. The cream is really thick, so I scoop up a small blot of it and spread it out with my fingers. In this way, I don’t waste the excess or end up with an oily face.

Product Review: Clinique Clarifying Moisture Lotion 2

I’ve been using this product as my toner recently. It has a really good cleansing effect and my skin feels very clean after using it. I can practically see dirt on the cotton swab that I used to apply toner on my face. It also has excellent oil control. Its pricing is reasonable too.

However, I know of some people who complained that the lotion is too harsh. They feel pain when they use it, and some end up with red skin and breakouts. Personally, my skin does get a little red, but otherwise, I feel no discomfort.

The key is to choose the correct one for your skin. If you study the makeup of the lotion, you will notice that it has high alcohol content. Alcohol deprives your skin of moisture and your skin may excrete oil to replace the moisture, giving rise to breakouts. In my opinion, Lotion 2 is not suitable for people with perfectly normal skin or dry skin. Lotion 1 is milder and would be more appropriate for most people.

Are whitening injections really spot on?

If you want translucently fair and radiant skin like many Taiwanese female celebrities, use whitening injections, says a beauty book penned by actress Barbie Hsu who’s famed for her fair skin.

Nice to know that whitening injections work for her and her colleagues, but before you rush out to get yourself a jab, bear in mind that whitening injections are no miracle workers, nor do they execute the same effectiveness on every user. The least you should do before committing yourself to whitening treatments is to know how it works.

Although whitening liquids generally look equally colourless, the compositions of their ingredients, or even the ingredients themselves, vary from brand to brand, clinic to clinic. The ingredients and the ratio of their compositions are really the key to determining the effectiveness of the injections, so it makes sense to know what whitening injections contain.

Whitening injection is simply a generic term because the prescription that each doctor gives to his clients varies accordingly to their needs and conditions. The basic ingredient of whitening injections is glutathione. Whitening injections commonly comprise of other ingredients like Vitamin C, Vitamin B group, Tranexamic Acid, Vitamin E, Gingko extracts and a small amount of steroids.

Vitamin C promotes healthy skin. Vitamin B Group helps increase radiance of skin. Tranexamic Acid is used to inhibit the activity of Tyrosine enzyme, thus halting the production of melanin. Other ingredients supposedly facilitate oxidation resistance and improve the body’s immunity system. Upon injection into the vein, the whitening liquid enters the body through the blood stream and circulates the entire body. Ideally, it promotes oxidation resistance, whitening, anti-sensitivity, increased metabolism among many effects that will help generate new, healthy cells for skin.

Sounds attractive and factual, doesn’t it? But although whitening injections are widely known and offered by many aesthetic clinics, there is no scientific proof that they work, nor are there any medical standards that they have to abide by before use in some countries. There are speculated side effects, but not much documentation that we can refer to, so we can’t gauge its risk factor. Furthermore, the pricing varies sharply from clinic to clinic, country to country, further establishing that whitening treatments, like slimming treatments, do not go by any standard operations and may contain many risks and commercial implications.

If you really desire a whitening jab, consult friends who’ve had pleasant and effective experiences with the treatment and have them recommend a clinic. Above all, understand the prescription you are given and have the doctor explain the use of each component. Just because he’s a doctor doesn’t mean you should blindly hand your life over to him. It is also advisable that you consult a few different clinics about the prescription you are given before using it.

Soothing your itchy eyes

I received the following question from a reader:
"Do you have solutions for people who suffer from itchy eyes if they don't get enough sleep? Not only do I get puffy eyes but they itch."

An itching sensation certainly takes the sparkle out of your eyes. Itchy eyes look listless and squinty, so this is definitely a good question that needs a good solution.

The tea bag treatment is often one of the most recommended home remedies to treat eye-related problems such as puffiness and dark circles. They work on the basis of having a cooling effect on your eyes. In this case, they do mute mild itchiness by calming the itch.

For this treatment, you will need water, tea bags and a chair with a comfortable neck-rest. I recommend organic camomile tea bags. Organic products have little or no chemical additives, so they won't irritate your eyes. Camomile tea is known for its soothing effect, tastewise and smellwise. Boil water and pour it over two tea bags (to release the aroma and herbal extracts). Wait for the tea bags to cool. Sit down and tilt your head upwards and place the tea bags over your closed eyes for ten minutes. If the itch persists, repeat this with new tea bags over intervals of one hour until the itch disappears.

Alternatively, you can use a cool wet cloth or eye masks that are readily available at pharmacies, though I feel that cammomile tea bags produce a more soothing effect without agitating your skin with extreme coldness.

Itchy or dry eyes actually result from a variety of problems, lack of sleep being just one of them. Some people stay up really late at night and they don't suffer from itchy eyes, yet some get itchy eyes even if they turn in by midnight. The dryness and sensitivity of eyes also differs from person to person. As you didn't state what contributed to your lack of sleep, I can only give examples from a few scenarios. E.g. if you enjoy clubbing, cut down on the alcohol and avoid places with smokers. If you're staying up late to work on your computer, be sure to rest your eyes after every 30 mins and blink your eyes repeatedly until they feel wet and refreshed. You can do this in the day time too, when you're using the computer, or any time your eyes feel tired and dry. Regular eye drops help alleviate tiredness and dryness too. Drink plenty of water in the day to keep yourself moisturized.

However, if you are experiencing prolonged itchiness or intense itchiness and your eyes are bloodshot with pronounced puffiness, do consult your doctor!

Rice Facial Mask

This is a more intensified treatment than the rice water facial wash! The production process of the rice water is rather similar to that of the facial wash, except the amount of water used is less.

The ingredients are uncooked white rice and fresh water.

The steps are as follows:

1. Pour white rice into a container, followed by sufficient water to cover the rice.

2. Rinse rice briefly and pour away the water.

3. Pour in a little less water than the first round. Rinse and pour out the water for storage overnight. It should feel thicker than the rice water obtained from that used to make facial wash since less water was used. By morning, the water should be milky white and contain lots of sediments.

4. Separate out the sediments by pouring out the water (as much of it as possible) into another container. Do not dispose off either.

5. Before your bath, massage the rice sediments onto your face. 15 minutes later when the sediments has dried up, massage the rice water obtained from step 4 onto your face until all the rice water has been used up.

6. Allow the mask to dry naturally.

7. During your bath, wash the mask away with warm water.

8. Use cold water to rinse your face so that your pores will shrink.

Tip: You can make a rice bran paste mask (using the above steps with your rice bran). It’s more nutritious and you can just do it once a week.

Enhancement: When your rice mask dries, you can use your hands to gently rub away the sediments. It’s supposed to help your skin absorb some of the minerals from the sediments better when you are rubbing your face. However, if the mask is too dry, you can only remove it by warm water because aggressive rubbing is bad for your skin. You can also add flour to the sediments (before applying it to your skin) to increase its stickiness.

Rice Water Face Wash

Why does rice water have the ability to beautify skin? Well, it is due to the water-soluble vitamins and minerals left behind by rice in the water it is being soaked in. Vitamin B is especially abundant. Besides, because it is all natural, it is suitable for daily usage and sensitive skin.

Rice water has moistening and smoothening effects on skin. It will reap noticeable effects if you use wash your face twice daily, once in the day and once in the night. But you must use rice water that is created for skin, not just any old pot of water left behind from your dinner preparations!

Don’t worry, it’s still really easy to prepare. The ingredients are nothing fancy: uncooked white rice and fresh water.

The steps are as follows:

1. Pour white rice into a container, followed by sufficient water to cover the rice.

2. Rinse the rice and pour away the water. Then add water into the container, rinse the rice and pour out the water. This will be our key ingredient for the rice water facial wash.

3. Allow the rice water to soak overnight. By morning, the water should look milky white. Pour it into your wash basin.

4. Add in warm water about 1.5 times the amount of the rice water. Stir the mixture. Once it’s uniform (that shouldn’t take long), you can start using it!

Tip: You can store rice water in your refrigerator, but the maximum duration should not exceed 2 days. Otherwise, the rice water will undergo fermentation and you won’t be able to use it!

Enhancement: When washing your rice for the second round, you can use white wine instead of water. You will have extremely nutritious white wine rice water!

Remove make-up with baby oil

Just a quick heads up on an economical and effective way to remove make-up. Instead of using specialized make-up removal products, you can also use baby oil to remove make-up.

Dab some baby oil on your fingers, apply it to your face in circular motions.

It works on water-proof make-up too!

Salvage an over made-up face

Colours do liven up a dull face, but the inappropriate use of too much make-up makes you look as though you're trying too hard.

It’s not hard to get carried away with your make-up when you’re dolling yourself up for a glamorous night out. This seems especially the case with face blush. An overdose of face blush can make you look as though you've just got two pink patches rather than a pretty glow, as discussed my previous article.

If you’ve accidentally applied too much blush and have no time to re-do your face, here's what you can do to ease the colours. If you’ve applied too much powder blush, dab transparent loose powder over the powdered parts of your face. If you used liquid or cream blush, use a little water or cleansing milk to lighten the colours.