The Face Shop: Imperial Herbs - Qi (Energy) Mask Sheet - Red Ginseng & Cnidium Officinale

Lately, Traditional Medicines from the East have been gaining more credibility because they have proven to be reliable and lack side effects. So I decided to pick up some masks from the Imperial Herbs series to try out. I’ve used one and I must say that the effect is really good and almost instantaneous. My skin feels revitalized and properly hydrated when I remove it. It emits a glow that lasts throughout the next day.

I appreciate that they use only natural ingredients and no preservatives. For people who are sensitive to alcohol or just have sensitive skin in general, this mask might be for you. I’ll keep you updated if I get any more insights about this product!

Sweet Deals for the Skin

Honey is a natural food product. It contains natural sugars and does not need to be digested to be absorbed into the body. It is healthy and nutritious, and also renowned for its value in skin nourishment. Here are some hassle-free methods on how you can put these beautifying values of honey to good use!

1. Direct application to skin
Honey contains glucose, fructose, protein, vitamins and essential minerals which would nourish the cells in our skin and increase their metabolism rate so that old and dead cells are quickly replenished by new ones. As such, applying honey to your skin helps maintain skin elasticity and reduces occurrences of wrinkles.

2. As food
The glucose in honey helps to strengthen weak body constitutions. When you’re healthy, you’d naturally look healthy and glowing too! Honey also contains anti-oxidants, which helps with detoxification. In the long run, regular consumption of honey prevents the emergence of wrinkles and age spots so that you’re always looking fresh and youthful!

3. Honey Bath
Add honey to your bath tub or face washing basin for a delightful honey wash! Organic honey is expensive, but you won’t break your bank account for this because an approximate ratio of water to honey would be 1:100. That means about a teaspoon of honey to your basin and a few tablespoonfuls to your bath tub! Honey water rejuvenates your skin, making it feel smooth and fresh!

Here’s an additional tip for a DIY luxurious fragrant honey bath.
You will need: 500g of natural honey, 100g of fresh jasmine flowers or 25g of dried ones
Boil the jasmine flowers, filter the juice and remove the residue. Add the juice and honey into the bath tub. After soaking for 20 minutes, shower to wash away the honey. Do this three to five times a week and you’ll see profound improvements to your skin. If you have body odour, fragrance from the bath will help you to coat the smell too.

Burt's Bees Super Shiny Natural Lip Gloss in Zesty Red

Recently, I tried this new lip gloss that I bought through an online spree. The colour is sheer red and very natural and I like it a lot, although it was not what I really expected because it looks darker when seen through the tube. I wanted to use it for parties, but it’s not sufficiently dazzling. It’s a nice colour for regular use or light make-up though.

Texture-wise, it felt grainy to my lips. But don't feel relieved if the grainy texture goes off in a little while. It also means that the gloss has faded off. There’s virtually no staying power and I had to apply it constantly after meals and after drinking water. It is also not very moisturizing and my lips felt dry at the end of the day.

Overall, I really like the colour of the lip gloss. It’s all right for a short trip outside the house, otherwise, it’s too troublesome and uncomfortable to use!

Get your money's worth!

Ever wonder why your skin is getting no where as radiant as Gong Li's although you're a religious user of the facial products that she endorses? Advertisements often, and are legally allowed to exagerrate claims with the aid of lighting effects and editing. The best way to determine whether a product is good and suitable for you is by understanding its composition.

With the recession hot on our heels, we can't afford to waste money on products that don't work on us. Being able to differentiate good products from lousy ones that don't is a handy skill! Here are some simple tests you can perform on your products to see if they are as good as they claim to be.

Test 1: How absorbable is your facial essence?
Facial essences are expensive, aren’t they? So it’s important to find out how much of that liquid gold actually gets absorbed into our skin.

Directions: Stack five cotton pads together. Drip a little essence on top and wait for a few minutes. Then check the cotton pads. The more absorbable the essence is, the further it travels downwards. You’ve got an A-lister if the essence reaches the cotton pad at the base! If it doesn’t travel vertically but spreads on the top layer, stop wasting money on that piece of junk!

Test 2: Is your toner as mild as it claims to be?
Toners high in acid or alkaline content not only prick your skin, they also have less contraction effect on pores.

Directions: You will need pH test strips. You should be able to get them from pharmacies and chemists. Get the ones that test for a wider range of pH values instead of the old school acid/alkaline test strips that you used in your sec school chemistry lab. Drip some toner onto a test strip. Read the instructions that come with your kit. It should teach you how to read your results. If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to use a toner with a pH value between 5.5 to 7 as the average pH value of our skin falls between this range. For a toner with better pore contraction abilities, ph 4 – 5 is your choice.

Test 3: How absorbable is your cleanser?
If it hardly gets into your skin, it's hardly going to touch the dirt in your skin.

Directions: Fill a glass (preferably see-through) with water. Add a drop (about the size of a pea) of cleanser into the glass of water. If the drop of cleanser does not sink, gently stir it a little and it should disperse, causing the water to turn milky. This means that it is water-based and hence, easier to be worked into your skin. If the drop sinks and does not disperse, it is oil base and not easily absorbed.

Test 4: Are your products too oily?
Oily products may cause breakouts. If you have oily skin and are prone to breakouts, you should definitely avoid such products! Oily products are more difficult to be absorbed into the skin too.

Directions: Smear a little of the product in question onto the back of your hand and leave it on for 3 to 5 minutes. Gently press an oil absorber sheet over the area where the product has been smeared on. The amount of oil left behind on the sheet is an indicator.

Test 5: Do make-up removers take everything with them?
Some oil-based make-up removers are known to leave behind a layer of oil on your skin, which could cause pimples.

Directions: Add a few drops of make-up remover into a glass of clear water. Stir the water so that both water and make-up remover blend into an even mixture of white. If there is a transparent film left on the surface of the mixture, that’s the oil that’s left on your face. If that happens, either change your toner or wash your face thoroughly again after using it.

Test 6: Is the lipstick sufficiently moisturizing?
If you have dry, cracked lips, a lipstick with poor moisturizing properties may highlight the cracks in your lips instead!

Directions: Using a pencil, draw an outline of a pair of lips on a piece of oil absorber sheet. Colour the inside of the outline with the lipstick that you want to test. Leave it aside overnight. There should be traces of oil around the lipstick outline. The more obvious the traces, the more moisturizing the lipstick is.

These experiments are simple, aren’t they? Now you can evaluate your products to decide whether they should stay on your shopping list!

Dolling Up for Chinese New Year House Visits

It’s Chinese New Year week and I’m sure some of you are still keeping up with your visitations as I am! I’ve been visiting my friends and getting acquainted with their family members, as well as having people over at my house. Now it’s all very well to dress up like a Party Queen when you’re meeting up with just your friends, but it’s not so appropriate to do so if you’re paying respects to older relatives of these friends.

Here are some tips when you’re house visiting.

1. Avoid piling too much foundation on your face. It’s understandable to want to take greater precautions to cover your flaws when being in a place with many people, especially new acquaintances. But bear in mind that excess foundation may not assimilate well with the rest of your make-up, making your face look cakey and artificial under bright lights.

2. Overtly slender and fine brows do not go down well with older people. I know this through personal experience. My mum is always berating me for even re-shaping my eyebrows. She reckons I should treasure my thick black brows before they wear thin like hers. I guess thinning brows brings up painful memories for them XD. Besides, the older generation believes that thick brows are signs of prosperity and all sorts of good stuff. In any case, unnaturally thin brows are overrated and honestly, it doesn’t suit every single face shape. If you’ve had your brows over-plucked, use a brow pencil to enhance them.

3. Avoid dramatic eye make-up like fake eyelashes, mascara overload and eyeshadows that are too vivid or shiny. These are great for parties or a night out, but will not go down well with the older crowd.

4. Smokey eyes and heavy eyeliners are taboo. Don’t forget that black is an unlucky colour for Chinese New Year!

5. Don’t pile too much blush on your cheeks. It’s nice to look rosy and healthy, but don’t get carried away! You don’t want to remind people of zombies from the old Chinese films!

6. Avoid unconventional shades of lipstick like dark purple, blue and black. As mentioned, black is an unlucky colour. Besides, they might give the poor granny nightmares.

7. Warm shades like red, pink and orange are best for Chinese New Year. They would match your clothes too.

Above all, remember to wear a smile on your face!