sulwhasoo gentle cleansing oil, sulwhasoo overnight vitalizing mask, sulwahsoo first care activating serum ex

I don't know about you but I always look forward to nighttime skincare, especially coming home from a long and exhausting day at work. The other day I was telling hubs that removing my false lashes is akin to unclasping bra, oddly satisfying and fulfilling! But really, the time I spend in removing makeup, cleansing, toning, applying serum, oil, moisturizer or slathering on mask without looking at the time or feeling rushed is my favorite time of the day. And yes, I feel more beautiful at night, sans makeup and all but with my skin soaking in all the moisture and goodness of my own facial cocktail of sorts. One particular brand that I am gravitating to more and more the past months is Sulwhasoo, a luxury Korean skincare line which utilizes indigenous medicinal herbs anchored on "sang-seng", a philosophy that balances inner energies of the skin which contribute to a nourished and healthy complexion. To me it simply translates to taking of your skin through a combination of healthy lifestyle and smart skincare. So far I have tried three products from Sulwhasoo and given my positive experience, I don't mind adding few more. Here are my favorites:
own purchase and affiliate links
sulwhasoo gentle cleansing oil, sulwhasoo overnight vitalizing mask, sulwahsoo first care activating serum ex
Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil is possibly the gentlest I have tried in recent years. I have so many ways of removing makeup but clearly, this product belongs to my top 3. I pump the dispenser twice and apply the product straight, massage my face and eyes then remove all the residues with damp makeup eraser (the pink towel). The next step is to cleanse my face with facial wash (whatever is in my rotation) and Foreo Luna.
sulwhasoo gentle cleansing oil, sulwhasoo overnight vitalizing mask, sulwahsoo first care activating serum ex
I then proceed with serum (I layer at least two any given night) and Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum Ex belongs to my top 5 must-haves. Its list of ingredients is beaming with natural extracts such as licorice (known to enhance complexion by reducing discoloration and age spots) and dwarf lilyturf (indigenous to Asia, said to counteract free radical effects). See complete list below. The formula is very thin, more like liquid and the way to apply it is to warm it in between your palms first by gently rubbing, then pressing onto the skin gently in upward strokes. I know I use the word gentle repeatedly like your nagging mama but really, the art of skincare is all about mildness. Applying it gently (here we go again) and massaging your face like how your esthetician does it helps with blood circulation which in turn helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells. So don't rush it next time, seize the moment!
sulwhasoo gentle cleansing oil, sulwhasoo overnight vitalizing mask, sulwahsoo first care activating serum ex
In some nights I want extra TLC, I use Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask as the last step to skincare. This is a no-rinse kind of mask, hence the name. You leave it on overnight for extra hydration as you catch some beauty snooze and wake up with extra supple skin. And nope, you don't rinse off with cleanser but only with plain water. Actually, that's how I have been doing my morning skincare (I will dedicate another post on this) but in a nutshell, unless you are sleeping somewhere dirty (sleepwalking perhaps?), washing your face repeatedly with cleanser strips your skin's natural moisture. On a side note, all these three have slight medicinal herb scent to them, not migraine-inducing or anything but I know some of you guys prefer fragrance-free products. But other than that, these are worth checking out especially if you are curious to try Korean skincare line.

Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil: Isopropyl Palmitate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Peg-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Peg-8 Isostearate Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Spirodela Polyrrhiza Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-Yuen Seed Extract, Castanea Crenata (Chestnut) Shell Extract, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Pinus Koraiensis Seed Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Prunus Mume Fruit Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Germ Extract, Squalane, Dextrin Palmitate, Glyceryl Behenate/Eicosadioate, Butylene Glycol, Fragrance.

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum Ex: Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Water, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, Glycerin, Betaine, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Extract, Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/Root Extract, Lilium Tigrinum Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Chrysanthemum Morifolium Flower Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Adenophora Stricta Root Extract, Lycium Chinense Root Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-Yuen Seed Extract, Angelica Tenuissima Root Extract, Honey, Astragalus Membranaceus Root Extract, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Natto Gum, Beta-Glucan, Sodium Hyaluronate, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract, Peg/Ppg-17/6 Copolymer, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Potassium Carbomer, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Dextrin, Cellulose Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Phenyl Trimethicone, Propanediol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Propylene Glycol, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.

Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Squalane, Di-C12-13 Alkyl Malate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Cyclohexasiloxane, Panax Ginseng Root Extract Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Extract, Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/Root Extract, Lilium Tigrinum Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Chrysanthemum Morifolium Flower Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Adenophora Stricta Root Extract, Lycium Chinense Root Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-Yuen Seed Extract, Angelica Tenuissima Root Extract, Honey, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract(??,Skullcap), Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract(??), Morus Alba Root Extract(?????, ???), Beta-Glucan, Sodium Hyaluronate, Trehalose, C14-22 Alcohols, Stearic Acid, Silica, Hydrogenated Castor Oil Isostearate, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Palmitic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Peg-100 Stearate, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Polyacrylate-13, Phytosteryl/Behenyl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, C12-16 Alcohols, Carbomer, Polyisobutene, Xanthan Gum, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Dextrin, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract, Polysorbate 20, Propanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Alcohol, Tromethamine, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.

benefits intermittent fasting, does intermittent fasting work?

I am very careful when it comes to diet topics because I do not encourage fad diets. I have not tried one and won't endorse anything to you. Reason being, there is no quick fix to losing weight. Barring serious medical conditions, you and I don't gain weight overnight. Obesity in general is borne out of unhealthy lifestyle choices. When I was still working at big pharma (late 90s to mid 2000), the constant dining plus work pressure (I found comfort in food) made me gain weight, much to my disappointment. I was short and chubby, I didn't like the way I look and worse, I was quite sickly. If you're interested in my weight loss journey, I shared about it here (very old post).

Although recently gaining popularity, I don't consider intermittent fasting a fad because it's nothing new! Our very own ancestors all fasted whether as a way of life, religious practice, or to boost mental and physical aspect (via detoxification). More than diet per se, intermittent fasting in my opinion is a discipline. Mind over matter. You still eat but you train your mind when to eat. But there is a science behind it: each time we eat, the glucose that is stored in the liver called glycogen takes about 12 hours to deplete. Once the glycogen is used up, our body starts to burn stored fat. So if you eat every so often, you are not burning those fat. There are several benefits attributed to occasional fasting such as weight loss, reduced risk in cardiovascular problems, improved blood sugar and cholesterol level, cellular repair, among others.

I started IF (intermittent fasting) June of last year primarily to lose some pounds. At 5'1, every pound I gain or lose is very evident. My upper arm takes the cake right away followed by my thighs. Plus I was intrigued to try it myself because some of our patients have had success with IF in terms of weight loss, A1c level (primary test for diabetes) as well as cholesterol. My numbers were quite okay from last year's annual test but I know I can do better. I don't take any medications and I'm pretty much active. I don't have any medical issues or complications that will put my overall health at risk. I am saying these because IF isn't for everyone. It's best to discuss your health goals to your doctor or dietitian for proper food choices and guidance.

There are several types of intermittent fasting. It all boils down to one's preference. Personally, and as with any kind of diet or fitness plan you want to engage in, anything that fits your lifestyle and schedule is usually the one that works. Let me begin with what works for me because it is easy and coincides with my daily routine.

1) 16:8 (technically no breakfast). I fast 16 hours and eat within the 8-hour window. I am not a heavy breakfast eater to begin with and my mornings at work are usually the busiest hence coming in with full stomach affect my productivity. This 16 hr fasting suits my lifestyle and routine. My last meal is usually done by 7 pm, hit the sack at 11 pm, and wake up at 7 am, 7 to 7, that's easily 12 hrs of fasting. Then I drink coffee in the morning, answer few emails, and get ready for work. Around 11 am, I may drink coffee or tea again but I pretty much survive with water. And long before I know it, it's already 1 pm, my lunch time.
So you can drink when you fast? Yes of course. Coffee, tea, as long as there's no cream or sugar because they contain calories. 
 Do I get hungry when I do 16:8? Initially I was because I was looking forward to lunch and my mind was fixated with food. But as my mind (and body) get accustomed to this discipline, I don't feel hunger or loss of energy at all. In fact, I think it made me stay more focused and alert.
 Any result? I lost total of 12 pounds in 3 months and kept my ideal weight since then. I am due for my annual labs in May so we will see if my triglyceride and blood glucose are better, I'll keep you posted.
 How often do I fast? 5 days on average M-F, again it works with my schedule. 
What do I eat for lunch and dinner? what I normally eat, either sandwich, homecooked, sometimes takeout, but everything in moderation because what breaks any kind of IF is to overcompensate with food. The principle is simple: you subtracted one meal, hence less caloric intake for the day.

2) 24 hr fasting. Quite simple if you think about it. Lunch to lunch or dinner to dinner. Some do it once per week but some have had more successful results if done two or three times a week. Knowing that I get hangry, this is quite an overkill for me. But who knows, I may experiment in the near future.

3) 5:2 or The Fast Diet. Popularized by Dr. Michael Mosley, this kind of IF means 5 regular days of eating and 2 days of diet restriction by consuming only 500 calories of food, whether eaten throughout the day or as single meal. Again, it's like shooting for the moon. I tried to count calories in my early stages of weight loss (mid 2000) and while it made me lose significant weight, the constant counting of calories was annoying.

To each his own, whatever floats your boat. Diet is one thing, staying active is another. We have 11 months to make 2017 the best year ever!

Disclaimer: If you want to try intermittent fasting, please consult your doctor. My opinion does not replace your doctor's advice and protocol.

By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum, Chanel Soleil Tan Sheer Illuminating Fluid, Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base

Glow from within makeup, a.k.a luminous, radiant. Done delicately and layered like second skin, it's possibly the next best thing you will ever do to your face to reclaim that lost youth, makeup-wise. But here's the thing, if you have oily skin, large pockmarks or active acne, the following makeups vis-a-vis technique that I am sharing will only exacerbate your flaws, unfortunately. I will dedicate another post for this but meantime, let your mama shine today without highlighters!
affiliate links are used below
Brands have their own quirky way of naming this not-so-new makeup trend. Burberry call theirs Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base, making us think that it's a primer with luminous consistency. Chanel has Soleil Tan Sheer Illuminating Fluid, making us guess it's for ladies who want to rock bronzed skin. Then there's my perennial favorite By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum, trying to convince us that it's skincare first and foremost. Claims vary, ingredients differ, but when you apply them on the face, all produce a glowing effect depending on the intensity, formula and more importantly, the technique you use.

By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum, Chanel Soleil Tan Sheer Illuminating Fluid, Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base

Retailing for $48, Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base is available in two variants, No. 01 Nude Radiance (as photographed) and No. 02 Golden Radiance. According to the website, you can use this in multiple ways: (1) apply directly on the face as is or as base for foundation (2) for sheer wash of color, blend with eyeshadow (3) as highlighter, smooth on cheekbone, cupid's bow or nose bridge. The packaging as always brings in a certain wow factor, what with Burberry's iconic plaid print set in mirrored gunmetal top alongside the architectural acrylic pump bottle. Chic and fancy for mommy but did it perform just the way it says? Let's cut to the chase. It goes on smooth like a moisturizer, is unscented, and although it appears to be shimmery based from the swatch below, the dewiness as I hoped for, when blended onto the skin as base makeup, did not meld nicely with my combination skin. It only made my face look oily and worse, affected the usually long wear time of my holy grail foundation Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place. When mixed with foundation, the shimmer dissipates. In short, this product did not impress me enough.

If you tan during the summer or if you want to switch up a rather dull complexion (no thanks to winter), Chanel Soleil Tan Sheer Illuminating Fluid will make you glow like J Lo. It only comes in one shade which is Sunkissed so if you're white as snow and you apply it straight on your face, it will be off by ginormous proportion. My face is naturally darker than my neck-down but with proper blending plus dusting a little bit of bronzer and sheen on my décolletage, I feel like a million bucks whenever I wear this. My favorite technique is to mix it with foundation, let it sink in for few minutes, do the rest of my makeup, then dab a bit in areas I want extra luminosity. Nothing carved in stone because makeup in general should allow you to experiment beyond your imagination. Don't like the way it looks? there's a reason why makeup wipes are invented, haha! The only downside to this product is the packaging. It has no pump so expect wastage as you try to control the liquid coming out from the mouth. Gotta make your $48 last, it's Chanel darling!

By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum, Chanel Soleil Tan Sheer Illuminating Fluid, Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base

Finally, here comes By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum, the priciest at $91. Sold in three variants, I have Apricot Glow and Sunny Flash. CC as you know stands for color correction and the way this product works per website description is "for dull and dehydrated skin in need of radiance boost, this serum imparts subtle veil of light reflective pigment that creates a radiant and even-toned canvass". So is this makeup or skincare? I say both and that will depend on how you use it. I know we all instantly correlate serum with skincare, marketing at its finest for you. But as a fan of By Terry Cellularose Moisturizing CC Cream (I have repurchased it multiple times already), the addition of Apricot Glow and Sunny Flash further cemented my love for this brand. So far, this is the only product which really renders the glow-from-within effect I am going for. Skin but better. Makeup like there's none when applied and blended nicely with foundation. I use the two shades interchangeably, Apricot Glow for normal days, Sunny Flash when I want radiant bronzed makeup. Whenever I wear this either as base or mixed with foundation, my face looks healthy. It does not settle on pores and as the day progresses, it melds even more nicely without affecting the longevity of my foundation. Notwithstanding price because By Terry categorically is luxury makeup, the only downside is the strong rose fragrance which isn't cut for everyone's olfactory sense. But if that doesn't bother you, you have to give this serum-slash-makeup a try.

By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum, Chanel Soleil Tan Sheer Illuminating Fluid, Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base

My technique to achieve a glowing from within look: Begin with skincare (apply as you normally would). I start with Vitamin C, moisturizer, followed by By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum. Apply foundation with damp beauty blender. The goal is to keep it light to allow the "radiance" to peek. Apply concealer as you normally would. Skip setting or mattifying powder, it defeats the purpose. Finish the rest of your makeup. For my look below, I skipped blush or bronzer so you can see how By Terry looks when layered over matte foundation. I also did not apply concealer so you can focus on the product on its own. It looks radiant depending how light hits your face but offhand, this is how mine translates.

Edit 1/30/17: I bought the two shades of By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi Serum at Beautylish. If you pay close attention, the bottles I have featured here don't have Lumi in it. I was advised by Beautylish (c/o Diana) that the packaging was updated, the brand dropped Lumi in its label. I am awaiting feedback from By Terry.

By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum, Chanel Soleil Tan Sheer Illuminating Fluid, Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base

By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum, Chanel Soleil Tan Sheer Illuminating Fluid, Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base

By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum, Chanel Soleil Tan Sheer Illuminating Fluid, Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base

Shop my faves

botox or filler, what is botox, what is filler

So you've been debating for the longest time whether to get Botox or Fillers. You've spent countless hours searching online, reading reviews and perhaps, doctor-shopping as to who gives the most discount. Now I'm going to stop you right there. If someone quoted you a too-low-too-good-to-be-true price, proceed with caution and ask for the injector's background or credential because in the world of aesthetics, you can't stick a bargain tag for quality. I say this because I get asked a lot of times if our clinic does Groupon. The answer is no because we strive for high patient retention due to excellent treatment vis-a-vis service.  The cost of procuring the products straight from the manufacturer is pricey enough and if you factor in the cost of administration (depending on who does the procedure i.e. MD, RN, PA, NP and where it's done i.e small clinic in the suburb vs. plush med spa in Hollywood), simple math ain't that hard to comprehend. Most states do not allow estheticians to inject Botox because they lack medical training in terms of facial anatomy, drug process, and barring complications, they cannot diagnose, assess and treat you. Buyer beware, I can't emphasize this enough. This leads you to your next and most pressing concern, should you get Botox, Filler, or both? so let's use my face and assess together (all photos are unretouched just so you know).

botox or filler, what is botox, what is filler

Now let's keep an open mind here because I want you to leave this blog with informed decision. Don't be like my husband "you don't need Botox" or my mom "you need to eat more so you have fuller cheeks". You are here because like all the gazillions of women out there, sometimes we can't avoid but be very critical of ourselves. I know my body more than anyone does. RBF. Resting bitch face, you don't see crows feet. Smile, and boom! that's 42 for you! But let's not forget, I had oily skin from teenage years up to my late 30s, add the fact that I do take extra care of my skin (moisturizer, sunscreen, serum, the works) so the amount of wrinkles you see from me is probably less than the average, sun-worshipping, dry-skinned woman in her 40s. 

My quick answer for you: Botox is for expression lines a.k.a "dynamic facial wrinkles". Filler is for loss of volume. Botox relaxes the muscles. Filler contours the face. Let me expound further.

A neuromodulator, Botox temporarily reduces the contraction of the muscles which cause wrinkles. By principle, it works best on the upper 1/3 of the face: forehead, around the eyes, in between the brows. You may have heard of Xeomin or Dysport, they are also neuromodulators and although they differ in terms of molecular configuration and onset of action, both produce the same effect as Botox. So regardless whether you're getting Botox, Xeomin or Dysport, it all boils down to quality: the injector, the location of injection, and the number of units injected. You want to look "young" but not crazily expressionless. Using my left photo as reference, I can benefit from six units of Botox on each side around the eyes (crows feet, 2 units on upper outer, 2 units on mid, 2 further down). The more wrinkles you have, the more units you will need. I don't have horizontal lines on my forehead and vertical lines in between my brows (1's, 11's, 111's: used to evaluate from mild to severe wrinkles) so I am not going to insist putting Botox on those areas. If it's your first time to do Botox, you will see full effect around two weeks and it may last up to four months. The next time you do it, you will most likely require less units especially if you combine it with skin resurfacing treatments (check out my Botox experience).

While Filler "fill wrinkles", they actually perform better in restoring volume and plumpness, both of which are associated with "youth". Up to 10 years younger when done correctly. And if I may add, realistically, because if you're 65 wanting to look 25, it's unicorn goal (it doesn't exist) so in a very polite manner, I tell my patient "we can help you look fabulous at your age but shooting for 25 is more like fiction". Some of the areas you can work with dermal fillers include sunken cheeks, smile lines, vertical lines around the mouth (very prominent among smokers), lips and even earlobe mind you! Anywhere you want volume, filler can definitely help. Fillers are not made equal. Each formula is different in terms of texture, depth of injection, and intensity in order to satisfy each patient's goal. The most common of all, Hyaluronic Acid is naturally-occurring. Meaning, it's found on our skin already, it helps with hydration and suppleness. When injected (i.e Juvederm, Restylane, Belotero, Voluma), the gel-like formula instantly lifts the area of treatment, hence it contours the face without surgery. The results last up to two years depending on the area and type of filler used. Now using my right photo as reference, you will see that my cheeks are not sunken yet, my lips still have volume, I don't have vertical lip lines around the mouth and while I have some laugh lines, you and I know that I don't really need fillers at the moment.

botox or filler, what is botox, what is filler

Bottomline, if you have prominent wrinkles accompanied by obvious loss of facial volume, you can benefit from both Botox and Fillers. Just don't overdo it and be realistic. You want to keep people guessing... did you do anything to your face? oh my gosh, you haven't aged! these are the things you want to hear deep inside. Not a fan of enhancements? not a problem, we're all gonna get old and wrinkly no matter  what. Respect for those who do it, respect for those who don't. In light of all the negative things happening around us, just do you.

Disclaimer: The opinion stated herein comes from my experience as Aesthetic Registered Nurse as well as from a patient's perspective as I subject myself to certain procedures. If you have serious medical concerns, please consult your doctor before doing any of these treatments. My opinion does not replace your doctor's diagnosis and protocol.

No it's not a new subscription box on the block but rather my own handpicked favorites for this month. They are either recent discoveries that I totally love or hardcore mainstays that were not formally reviewed in the past. I am going to be doing this on a monthly basis and since I am in the process of diversification, expect more variety as we go along. Ready for my curated must-haves?
affiliate links included in the post

I am introducing more and more green/organic/natural products to my routine so if you're sailing the same boat, the following are worth checking out. Let's talk deodorant because what good is a pretty face if you're reeking of body odor right? Devoid of aluminum, paraben and alcohol, Le Couvent des Minimes Everyday Deodorant helps keep your pits smelling fresh (or at least mine). It contains alum stone, potassium alum in particular which is a natural deodorant. It does not inhibit sweating per se but it does help control odor-causing bacteria. I still sweat but nothing out of hand. Needless to say, if you sweat profusely despite over-the-counter measures, it's time to consult your doctor. On a side note, do you know that Botox can help with hyperhidrosis a.k.a excessive sweating? Now going back to this deodorant, it's a roll-on type which feels cool as the product is dispensed. The essential oils (blood orange, lemon, rosemary, and mandarin) help curb body odor and render a clean citrusy smell that don't compete with my perfume or cologne. Small but terrible in a positive way is how I will succinctly describe Sibu Sea Berry Seed Oil. Late last year, I briefly mentioned that I was already scheduled to have my doctor excise what seemed to be a lentil-sized whitehead in between my breast. Kinda gross and TMI I know! This tiny bottle which had been sitting on my desk for quite a while made me defer my appointment, you know just out of curiosity. And while I would strongly advice that you get seen by your doctor for suspicious lesions or growth immediately, know that I am more familiar with these kinds of dermatological problems by virtue of my profession, hence my decision to play it by ear first. So long story short, I applied small drop twice a day over it. Lo! After three days or so, it started to dry up and as of this writing, hardly any marks at all! When used topically, sea berry (also known as sea buckthorn) can help heal wounds, cuts, burns, dryness, inflammation and redness. I have also used it on occasional zits and have had great results. Caveat, if you have notorious/ severe kind of acne or skin problems or if all else fails, I highly encourage you to seek medical advice.

I love the vintage feel of Besame Cosmetics, especially the old Hollywood look of their products. While I don't need another makeup brush in my life, I can't help but fall prey in such enticing appeal of this brush called Boudoir Short Hair Contour Brush. The short handle allows more precise buffing and the ultra-soft and densely packed synthetic bristles help blend my foundation like a boss. I use it after beauty blender or once my foundation has set in. I plan on buying the other version which is good for dusting off excess product or powder and who knows, it might land on my curated list as well.

I have also been branching out to indie makeup brands and I am happy to have discovered these liquid lipsticks that rival my mainstream faves Anastasia Beverly Hills and Smashbox Always on Matte. Sugarpill liquid lip color is the very first one I have tried from this brand and it won't be the last. Last holiday season, I ordered Trinket online after seeing it posted on Instagram by Jennifer from My Beauty Bunny. Nude with a twist baby! It's a stunning rosy mauve with gold sparkles and has a delectable candy scent. It stays on unless you intentionally wipe it off or chow down greasy food. It's not waterproof because the pigment is washed off pretty easily but the luminous sparkles tend to stick to your lips, at least based from my experience. Because it sells fast, Sugarpill limits purchasing 4 quantities per customer. Renu from Cosmetopia Digest enabled me to try Huda Beauty liquid matte after reading her blog. I picked up Trendsetter, a warm brown nude which is good for everyday wear. If liquid lipstick turn you off in general due to its drying effect (i.e Kat Von D and MAC), Huda (a popular beauty influencer) will make you think otherwise because this liquid lipstick is comfortable on the lips. The powerhouse pigment is another great quality so I am inclined to adding few more shades in the near future. Wear time is also relative, it stays on with occasional water or coffee sips but partially gone after a hearty meal. Well if you're a lipstick junkie, that's kind of expected already unless the claim borders on tattoo-like adherence.

I was rushing this morning (what else is new?) but I thought of taking few shots of my lips up-close so you can appreciate the color and texture of these liquid lipsticks better. These are all unfiltered as you can tell from my pores, haha! On a side note, laser skin rejuvenation plus meticulous skincare did help improve my skin's overall appearance. I won't dare getting this close to the camera before! And truth of the matter is, sometimes you just head out the door even when your lipstick is haphazardly applied. Real women, real talk!

Shop my favorites this month

You don't really know what's happening behind the scene unless the subject in question expose it. Well today I'm the subject and after more than a month of self-reckoning, I am ready to expose the reasons behind my decision to shift gears. No, I'm not going to stop blogging; Not yet. However, expect to see sizable changes as I trek this new road in hopes that you, my loyal readers, will come along for one hell of a fabulous ride!

1. Less PR samples, more organic content. When I started this blog many moons ago (six years to be exact), my  photos were awful and laughable but it was riddled with insightful organic content. My passion was running high and it was purely evident with my manner of writing: raw as I put it bluntly. As with any aspiring blogger, my goal was to get noticed by PR companies so I can get samples that I can write about and let's be honest here, because free is good! Fast forward today, while I am in no way a huge blogger who made blogging as primary source of income, I enjoy the little money I derive from ads and affiliate which help pay for minor stuff such as groceries and sometimes entertainment. This brings me to the following predicaments:

I want to be in control of my own deadline. Skincare reviews take a while especially if the company has behemoth claims I needed to research on and/or evaluate both from a consumer and medical standpoint. I don't find it fair to my readers to say that I like this "abc" product when I have only used it for two weeks. But because of so much products that ended on my desk in recent times, I admit to have fallen into a robotic, canned-type assessment "I have not used this long enough to support its so-so benefit but overall I like it because of its so-so effect". I am very sorry my dear readers, I feel like I have failed myself miserably and you, more importantly. Makeups on the other hand are pretty much straight to the point. I wear them to work, test the longevity, check the ingredients and see if there are certain sensitivities you and I need to be aware of. With that said, I believe I can write better as well as harness my creative process without the feeling of being rushed.

I am not a bargain, bottom feeder blogger. I'm sorry if I ruffled some feathers here but I take pride with the amount of work I devote for this blog despite being a side gig for me. I have a full-time day job and I willingly sacrifice my weekends and most nights to write posts and take decent photos. So when a company lowball my worth by insisting on free exposure or demanding a quick post for a $5-worth product or worse, a tiny sachet of sample, I can't help but raise my brow with utter disbelief. I hate to sound like a diva because I know where I stand, number-wise. But if I were to make blogging full-time job, do you think free exposure will put meals on the table? Do you think $5 per hour will suffice (which never happens because writing alone takes time)? I'm sure these PR reps don't work for free either.

Paid posts generally call for positive-only reviews. I see no problem here if I really like the product or I'd pay it myself when the free stuff runs dry but if a company is shelving words into my mouth or requiring me to submit my write-up for approval before publishing, then that's another story! Integrity won't pay the bill but I cannot compromise it either.

2. Diversification breaks the monotony of it all. The beauty community is becoming more and more monotonous in my opinion. Whenever I watch Youtube beauty videos or scroll through my social media feed (Instagram especially), I see similar looking women rocking similar looking brows pouting similar looking lips displaying similar looking cleavage and posing similar looking contoured and highlighted face. Perfect mannequins painting perfect lives. This made me rethink my existence in the blogging arena. You see I started this blog when I was in my mid 30s, I am 42 now so obviously my needs have changed and like most of you, I have other interests outside beauty so expect to see bits and bobs of lifestyle related posts which I am sure any middle-aged woman like myself would enjoy and appreciate.

3. Inside scoop on aesthetic procedures. I think some of you know that I work as Aesthetic Registered Nurse (laser, body contouring, radiofrequency, etc.). Most women our age (and above) are searching online hoping to find credible source of information, someone they can possibly relate to. I feel you because I would do the same if I were to drop thousands of dollars to make me look good! While my opinion should no way replace your doctor's, it's always nice to hear from someone who does it professionally. Plus I voluntarily subject myself to certain procedures so I can explain it better to patients and level their expectations as deemed necessary.

4. New blog layout, it's so crispy-clean! If you go to the home page, it has a clean magazine-slash-very-lifestyle look to it because I want you to feel relaxed as you navigate this blog. I even got rid of side bar ads because I want you to focus on the content. There are sub-categories to help you find topics way easier but most important of all, it is clutter-free finally!

So you heard it straight from the unicorn's mouth. Mahalo for sticking with me from day one! 'Til our next post!

Never say never. But see, I have pretty much made up my mind that there are certain things that I am willing to forego despite the raging impulse, numerous raves and overrated beauty trends diluting our society. I know it sounds like a complete antithesis from a blogger obsessed with all things beauty. But it's my opinion, my life. If you find absolute delight and satisfaction from the following procedures or routines, you do you. Today's post is about me, not about you, oki?
overrated beauty trends

If you're looking for makeups and tools that won't dent your pocket, Beauty Junkees got the beauty junkie in you covered! In time for new year, the company launched brand spanking new products; come take a look at their magnetic palette, lip pumice, brow tinted gel and concealer/ brow highlighter pencil!
pr samples
beauty junkees magnetic palette, dupe z palette, affordable magnetic palette

Happy New Year my fabulous readers! I hope everyone had a blast celebrating the holidays with your loved ones. 2017 is here and we are all back to the grind! Blog-wise, I contemplated on better content creation because honestly, I am slowly getting burned, bored and bummed with the beauty industry in general. I think we all have our "moment" so while I am in the process of revamping this six year old blog, let's get our coffee fix in!
Burberry Liquid Lip Velvet swatch review
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