#2074 | Skincare Sundays: The Broke Student’s Guide to Skincare

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Hey guys!

Back again with yet another broke student’s guide, this time about skincare. As mentioned many times, I was relatively late to the skincare game, and a big part of this was lack of awareness (social media has kind of, shoved the whole skincare thing in our faces these days hasnt it?) and lack of money (my impression of skincare my entire life? Expensive.) But recent years have led me to recognise the importance of skincare, and also love the routine, and I kind of wish I had started earlier if only I’d known the budget skincare options available to me back then!

I really believe that preventive is way better (and cheaper) than remedial when it comes to skincare, which is why you should start young. You dont even need that much stuff in your sub/early-twenties. It’s totally possible to have a sustained skincare routine on a budget. The most important steps are cleansing, moisturising, and sunscreen. I currently follow a more comprehensive 10 step routine, but I think if youre a student getting started on skincare, you only really have to stick to the three steps of cleaning, moisturising, and sunscreen.

Disclaimer: I am not paid via cash or product to write anything in this post, and I dont earn from any clicks or referrals, etc. Photos here which dont have my face are grabbed off Google’s Image Search.

Okay! Lets get started:

BASIC SKINCARE: Cleansing


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Micellar waters are really great for cleansing thoroughly and gently without leaving gunk on your face. I use them as a first step in double cleansing, before a dedicated face wash, but many people just use them on their own. They normally go for pretty decent prices and in big bottles – Loreal does a giant 400ml bottle of its Biphase Micellar water for $20, Garnier and Simple does it for $15, and most brands have their own variation of the Micellar water too. Those are retail prices but drugstores frequently run promotions and you can often get them for much cheaper – I just checked the Watsons site and the Simple Micellar water is on sale for ten bucks. And if you’re willing to pay a bit more, I have heard very good things about the Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Solution ($41.90). The greatest advantage of Micellar waters is how it removes waterproof makeup while still being really gentle, and one bottle can technically last you a pretty long time because it depends on how often you wear make up etc. Most Micellar waters also come with some additional skincare benefits, and you will be able to find micellar waters that are suitable for specific skin concerns too.


I did an ad for the Loreal BiPhase Micellar water in March, it’s August now and Im not even halfway through the bottle yet

Garnier has a series of multitasking face washes. Garnier is actually an excellent drugstore brand for cleansing, and their latest Micellar gel face wash is great for removing make up and cleansing the skin in one wash while not tugging at the skin. It’s just been released but their UK Amazon page already has over 300 really good reviews.

– If you have sensitive skin, you can check out the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, which is something I grew up with and used whenever I had onsets of heat rash. It’s so gentle that you definitely need to use a make up remover prior to this because it wont cut through heavy make up, but it’s perfect for people who dont wear make up or who have sensitive skin/acne/eczema. Ten bucks from iHerb! Cetaphil in general is a great basic skincare brand for younger people because of its budget and specific catering to gentle skincare, but when you get older you might want something with active ingredients in it for that extra oomph.

BASIC SKINCARE: Moisturiser

– I would spend some time in the Muji Skincare dept, which is really a very underrated section in Muji. Their cleansing oil is a pretty decent dupe for anyone who cant bear to shell out more than a hundred bucks for the Shu Umeura cleansing oils, and their toning water is light and very hydrating, supposedly also doubling as a day moisturiser. Really nice for Singapore’s weather too, when you dont necessarily wanna be slathering oils or creams on your face before heading outdoors. (I tend to favor gel, water, or jelly textures for day moisturisers in SG)

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Hada Labo is another really underrated brand that does great skincare for awesome prices. They have a day cream and night cream. I’m particularly inclined towards the Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel, 50g for $25.90 – one of the more affordable Hyaluronic Acid products – and great for combination skin. It’s also a good dupe for the Belif Aqua Bomb. Often on sale at Guardian online, now it’s going for $17.35!

– If you have sensitive skin or heat rash issues, look at Curel, which is a Japanese derm brand and focuses on ceramide care. I’m using the Curel Face Lotion 2 which goes for $28.80, and their Moisture Milk which goes for $32, both of which are lightweight textures catered for southeast asian weather. I also gave a Curel moisture cream and face lotion to a friend who had perpetually red cheeks because I suspected it was due to a low level allergy to his skincare (he insisted it was just his skin), and it cleared right up, so he’s a Curel Convert now. Haha.
You can find it in Watsons or Lazada.

A post shared by Jemimah James Wei (@jemmawei) on

I have also endorsed Curel several times before, as well as interviewed a dermatologist for the brand

– You can get the Vaseline Petroleum Jelly Original for $4, and it’s great for both wound care and lip care.

BASIC SKINCARE: Sunscreen

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– Sun damage is the worst, so sunscreen is super important! In Singapore’s humid weather I personally favor watery textures, so Biore’s UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++ 50g ($18.90 for 50ml) or Sunplay Skin Aqua UV Watery Gel Daily Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ ($18.90 for 80g) are my favorites. They are also very affordable options, compared to the skincare brands that do their own sunscreen.
PS. I actually featured in an ad for the Biore product last year! So you can see how it lasts through the day, video wise.

Look at the online stores for discounts. Watsons Online often has bundles that make your purchases cheaper, like right now I think if you spend $50 you get a $10 coupon off your next purchase. Guardian Online has 10% off your first order, and also runs sales – now the Sunplay sunscreen is going for $13.90 instead of 18.90 – AND free next day shipping for orders above $40.

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– Another way to save money is to get sunscreen that also doubles as a primer or sheer base. L’oreal actually does a pretty decent one, it’s the L’Oréal Paris UV Perfect Even Complexion SPF 50 PA++++, and it goes for $20.90 ($16.70 at Guardian now on sale). For a more high end option, there’s Supergoop’s mineral matte sunscreen, which has zero white cast and is really nice! They’re not going to replace your foundations, but they’re good for just evening out skin tones and giving sheer coverage.

PS. My friend who works as a makeup artist doesn’t recommend Banana Boat, because he says it doesnt absorb properly into the skin.

BONUS SKINCARE ADD-ONS

– If you’re into Korean Skincare, online retailer Hermo often has slashed prices for Korean beauty brands, and it has free shipping for orders above $25, which isnt hard to hit at all! EG. I just did a check and the Cosrx pimple patches are going for $4 from the original price of $10. The only thing is, you have to wait for shipping times, and popular products sell out really quickly, especially when Hermo puts them on sale. Hermo also has products from non-korean brands but the prices arent as attractive.

– The Loreal clay mask series is very affordable, as is the Innisfree ones (but I’ve not tried those yet). If you dont mind waiting for shipping to arrive, I’ve also recently heard about the Aztec Secret — Indian Healing Clay which you can get on iHerb, an online health retail website which carries a lot of discounted or affordable items, for TEN BUCKS per nearly 500g.


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Tea Tree Oil works wonders for drying out acne as long as the surface of the skin is unbroken. It’s one of those products that works super good as long as you know what youre doing – it’s a very powerful spot treatment, so do not spread it all over your face or mix it into your moisturiser. And DONT use it with skincare that has active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, retinols or Retin-A, salicylic acid! I use it on occasional pimples, mosquito bites. You can also use it on fungal infections like ringworm or nail fungal infections (dunno what its called). My house has always had at least one bottle of the Thursday Plantation brand oils around, but The Body Shop does a potent one as well for $15-20 depending on your online retailer.

If you’re travelling soon or have friends who dont mind helping you purchase stuff on their travels, look out for the following products:


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The Ordinary, a UK based brand, produces really great little bottles of skincare for super affordable prices. Just do your research though – it’s formulated for mainly european weather, and some of the products have ingredients that arent as effective in Singaporean humidity. I personally like the Caffeine eye solution for periods of late night work, but the value of The Ordinary really kicks in when buying their acids and oils, which can be pretty pricey from most other brands. The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 retails for £5.90, the Kim Kardashian endorsed Advance Retinoid 2% goes for £8, and the 100% Plant-Derived Squalane which can be used for face or hair goes for £5.50.

– You can get many things cheaper just across the border – including Biore make up removing wipes, which I bought for a third of the retail price in Singapore. Watsons Malaysia truly is a wonder to behold.

– Brands are normally cheaper in their home country, which means La Roche Posay and Avene are cheaper in Europe, Biore is cheaper in Japan, etcetera. Just take note if you’re headed to those places!

– Korea has lots of great drugstore cult brands that go for great prices, and Cosrx is a popular one. Their Cosrx Snail Mucin is said to be a dupe for the SK II facial treatment essence (as is the Missha Time Revolution Essence). Korea is such a skincare-obsessed place that if youre headed that way, definitely do a search online beforehand of the brands and products to look out for so you dont get overwhelmed while in town!

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You can start shopping the minute you touch down too, at the Lotte Duty Free store. I was in Seoul in March filming for Lotte and they have a pretty good, upmarket range. Brands like Laniege, Sulwhasoo, Mamonde, all go for significantly cheaper there.

– Glossier only ships within the US and canada, so if you’re headed there, take the chance to check out their pH balanced Milky Jelly Cleanser that goes for US $18.00/177ml. I’ve tried it while staying at a friend’s place and it leaves your skin feeling great, and even works to remove make up – though only non-waterproof ones. For waterproof make up you still need a proper makeup remover!

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Fin:

Aight guys, hope that was a helpful boost to get you started on your skincare routine – and I hope it also proved that you dont need to wait till youre earning big bucks to get started on a decent skincare routine! Although there are many premium products on the market that do amazing things to your skin, there are also many drugstore products that will get you on an effective and sustainable skincare routine. Remember, good skin is awesome, but so is not being bankrupt. All the best, guys! x

x
Jem

#2071 | World Lipstick Day! Favorite Lip Products

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Hey guys,

So the other day whilst we were on shoot, Roz picked up my handbag and casually asked if I made a habit of just carrying a brick around. Honestly, how heavy my bags get has long been a mystery to my friends and I, right up till Roz followed up with asking if she could borrow a lipstick before we started filming..

I started pulling lipsticks out of my bag left and right and trust me no one was more surprised than me. We counted a total of nine lip products in my tiny crossbody. My producer couldn’t believe it, she asked, are you a vending machine or what. And to nobody’s surprise suddenly my bag was significantly lighter. Ohhh.

Anyway, it’s world lipstick day and it seems I am a bona fide lipstick addict. So here are my favorite lip products on rotation! I more or less decided to write this on the fly, so I didn’t have time to swatch all the products. As a result, all the photos here are pulled from a quick google images search, and I take no credit for them! Also, I wish I could include more products because honestly, so many brands have great lip products. This is by no means an exhaustive list. But here are the ones that have truly impressed me over the years:

1. Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil in 01 Honey


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I only recently started using Clarins because I always thought it was a more mature brand. I now see that that impression stemmed from the fact that all their strengths are rooted in solid, classic skincare practices. It’s something I’m appreciating more now, especially since I’m increasingly looking for makeup that has skincare enhancing properties. I’ve tried a bunch of products from Clarins over the last couple of months, and the ones that stood out were their SOS primers, shaping facial lift, and the water lip stains. All of them are products designed to enhance rather than stand out, so you’ll find that they’re reliably good in making you look like a glow-ier version of yourself.

Anyway, my absolute favorite product from Clarins thus far is their lip comfort oil, which is so lush. It contains jojoba and hazelnut oils, and works great on its own or as a top coat. I do a lot of camera work, and I find that the sheen, while pretty irl, looks amazing on camera. My favorite is the honey shade, which smells like a dream. Your lips definitely feel protected and moisturised after, and I find it makes for a great mid-day lip moisturiser for people who work in air conditioned office environments.

+ points for great packaging (super gorgeous metallic top with clear body.)
– points for not very hygenic applicator (it’s a doe foot applicator, which means if you’re using this as a top coat, you’ll see it being stained by other colors over time.)

2. Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor in 610 Addiction


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This has been a mainstay in my handbag for a really long time.. maybe too long, I feel like it might actually be expired. Haha. Anyway, the Ultra HD matte line is so great – it’s a matte liquid lipstick that really stays on forever, with a really intense color payoff, and the 610 Addiction shade is just so flattering too. It instantly makes your skin tone look cooler, and the dark pink is (i find) a more interesting look than an outright bold red.

The Revlon Matte Balm is also very good, as is their Superstay Lustrous range. Actually Revlon as a brand is just damned good, especially for lip products. The best thing is, Watsons is always having random buy one get one sales for Revlon products, so I’ve gotten the Matte Balm for as low as $10 a few times already.

+ points for sexy bullet packaging, the frosted glass style matte body really stands out
+ points for great value for money
– points for not being very hygienic with the doe stick brush applicator

3. Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

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This isn’t really a lipstick, but you can mix it in with your lipsticks or use it as a primer, even. The lip sleeping mask has long been one of Laneige’s bestsellers, so it’s not like this is a hidden gem or anything, but it still bears a mention because it’s so damned good. It comes in a thick, silky consistency, which doesnt feel greasy at all. Apply a layer before you sleep and you’ll wake up with baby smooth lips, which stays nice and moisturised even post-morning cleanse. I bring it on flights with me all the time too, I find it really helpful because flight air is so drying. I like the apple-lime flavor, which approximately no one else likes, but the original is the most popular.

+ points for uniquely cornering the market in this genre – I think this is the only product that comes to mind when you’re thinking of an overnight lip product
+ major points for being so damned good
– points for not very hygienic application style – it comes with a little brush, but realistically, theres nowhere to keep the brush so it gets lost really fast and youre always dipping your little finger in the pot to get the product out anyway.

4. Laneige Stained Glass stick in 02 Rose Quartz

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This is a recent release from Laneige, and i feel it’s one of their better lip products. Laneige is one of those brands that has consistently good products, including some majorly underrated ones like their quad eyeshadow palette, their silk intense lipstick range, and their eyebrow cushion cara. But the thing is, although they have great products all around, people tend to overlook korean brands in favor of their western counterparts when it comes to bold looks. Whereas when it comes to the soft, girly looks, none of the western brands can really compete with Laneige (and other korean brands).

This particular line is impressive because despite looking like a balm, it’s really a stain – the initial payoff is a smooth jewel like shine, which over time fades to leave color-stained lips. The watery finishing is very natural, it looks as if you just had a cold drink. It also smells amazing, and there’s zero tug when you apply it. It’s a good alternative to the dior lip glow – also a great product, but pushing it slightly at $48. I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t like this – it’s a great product, very classy and understated, even for non habitual lipstick wearers.

+ points for cool metallic bullet packaging
+ points for the quartz like gem at the end so you know what color youre getting even before opening the product
No minus points

4. Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color in Bitten, Baby, and Babe

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I’ll admit I have a soft spot for the crushed lip color range because I hosted their launch last year as their resident #girlcrush. Hoho. But yes, I have a lot of love for this product as well. In the same way that the Laneige glass stick looks balmy and works like a stain, the Bobbi Brown CLC looks like a lipstick but works like a balm. The finishing is really pretty too, it’s very casual and cool, like lipstick that’s been blotted and lived-in already. Because of this, you actually dont need a mirror to apply the crushed lip color, just swipe and bite your lip, and youre kind of good to go.

It’s the very definition of wearable – it sits comfortably on your lips without any of that waxy feel that comes with intense pigment. The product does not bleed at all, so it’s perfect even without a lip liner. I really like the packaging too – it’s a simple black bullet, with a color band running through the middle so you know exactly what color youre getting. Because of its effortless finishing, I find it works best in rose to nude shades.

+ points for smart packaging, with the color band
No minus points

5. Maybelline’s Color Sensational INTI-MATTE NUDES in Hot Sand, Purely Nude, and Beige Babe


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Maybelline is another drugstore brand that is not-so-secretly excellent. I’ve found them to be really good for mascara and lipsticks, and their Their Inti-Matte range is actually fantastic. I do really badly with nude lipsticks, they usually wash me out and make me look really ill. I’ve only been able to wear nudes from four lines – maybelline’s inti-mattes, urban decay’s heat capsule collection (fuel), revlon’s super lustrous line (bare affair), and sephora’s house brand lipstories series (brunch date).

The Inti-mattes range are, firstly, all matte nude shades, but more than that, they’re all warm tones, so they’re very flattering. The formulation is really creamy, so you dont get dried out lips – which is normally the problem with strong mattes. If you’ve already got dry lips I would suggest layering a lip primer (or the laneige sleeping lip mask) underneath it anyway.

The only thing is, I find their color swatches to be pretty inaccurate. The product itself is great, but many times I’ve chosen a lipstick based off the printed color swatch and found the actual product to be a totally different color. Sometimes the difference is really too big to be ignored haha. So I would go to the store and try it out instead of buying it online!

+ points for punny name
+ points for great value for money
– points for inaccurate color swatches

6. Urban Decay Bad Blood Matte Revolution Lipstick

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I’ll have to admit that I no longer have this because I was on my second or third tube which melted in my handbag after leaving it in the sun.. and I’m trying not to buy new lipsticks until I finish the ones I’m currently using. But as far as red lipsticks go, the UD Bad Blood has always been the most iconic red lip for me. It’s a universally flattering deep red with a cool undertone, and the matte formulation is surprisingly non-drying. Urban Decay’s strengths have always been in pigmentation, and this one gives you a great color payoff with just one creamy swipe – no need to slowly build the color up. It’s also doesnt get patchy through the course of the day, although the color does bleed a tiny bit. All in all I feel like this is the red lipstick for me, and I’ve already repurchased it several times.

+ points for great price point for a cult product
+ points for long lasting formulation

7. MAC’s SIN lipstick

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Despite the Taylor Swift Ruby Woo hype, I actually find that MAC shines when it comes to their darker lip colors. SIN is a cool toned deep burgundy berry, and it’s a very sexy shade. It’s easy to apply because of it’s intense pigmentation, which gives you great color payoff in one swipe! It’s definitely a darker, bolder color than the Revlon 610 I mentioned above, but it’s not unwearable at all. I’ve grown up using MAC lipsticks because they’re one of the first brands you reach for when phasing into “adult” brands, and they’ve been consistently reliable.

*Mac is also giving away a full sized lipstick with any purchase today, in honor of lipstick day.

+ points for intense pigment, and all round iconic colors
– points for being drying, combat with lip primer or moisture balm before.
– points for not being able to tell what color youre using before you open the product, all the MAC lipsticks come in the iconic black and silver bullet so if you have more than one you wont be able to tell which is which when the cases are closed.

8. 3CE MOOD RECIPE #221 Mellow Flower

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I honestly bought this in Korea because of its extremely gorgeous packaging. 3CE really knows how to market – I’m lowkey in love with all their models, and every time I see a new post from them on instagram I just want to stab myself for not being a korean. But it’s a hit and miss brand for me – I’ve tried several products from 3CE previously which I didnt like, leading me to feel like they’re more a cult brand than anything. Still, I cant help but reach for their products whenever I’m near their booth in the duty free store..

This product was really a sleeper hit for me. It reminds me of the Kylie Jenner lip collection with its sultry mauve shades meant to emulate a certain moodines, and it has a great formulation that goes on smoothly. It’s pigmented, though not as intense as the Urban Decay or MAC pigments, which means you can actually blot it out for a blurry effect. This color in particular is somewhere in between a pink and a red, and the final color kind of depends on your skin tone. For me, I find it’s a bit orangey-red (although you dont find that description anywhere on their main site), but you’ll see from their official website that it can come off cool-red or pinkish too. The kicker? Everytime I wear this, someone asks me what lipstick I’m wearing. That’s got to be a good sign.

+ points for cool name
+ points for aesthetic packaging


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So those are my favorites! To be fair, I’m also including some lip products that I did not like so you know what worked and what didn’t work for me. Some of the following products are really highly raved about too, which just goes to show that there’s no one size fit all for beauty products.

Do not like:

Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink

I love Maybelline, but this line just did not work for me. It’s a liquid lipstick line with extremely saturated colors (and I actually love the packaging because it’s matte with a huge color swatch out on the front), but I really disliked the application. It doesnt dry quickly, and when it does, it settles into the lip lines, giving a kind of stretched out, dry look. I find it has kind of a patchy finishing as well as time goes by. To be fair, it is very long lasting, which is what its name promises. But overall it just didn’t work for me.

Colorpop Lippie Stix

I kind of hate the Colorpop lippie stix although I think the Ultra Matte Lip is really good. It smells funky and I’ve always found it to be a bit chalky on the lips. And when I apply it I always feel like I’m a child at risk of eating some crayons and getting food poisoning for months after. Anyway, Colorpop’s main draw is its price point, but I feel like there’s no point paying any money at all for a product that’s so weird when there are so many good alternatives.

Etude House Dear My Glass Tinting Lips Talk

Etude house has so many great products but this is just not one of them. It has a super cute interchangeable packaging, but that just makes me wish it followed up with an equally cute product. In reality when I put this on I just felt confused. It’s not an outrightly bad product, but it doesnt feel comfortable on the lips either. It claims to be a lip tint, but it’s super sheer, so it’s more like a balm? The sheer color also made me feel like there’s such a thing as a product being too buildable – you have to go over it again and again to get a pigment close to the promised swatch, and after all that fuss, the product doesnt stay on for long (which to be fair, is true of most glossy lipsticks). Also, the name is too long.

FENTY MATTEMOISELLE in up2nogood

It breaks my heart to say this because I adore Rihanna, and I love what she’s doing with her make up brand. But this is a classic case of loving the message more than the product, because nothing from Fenty has worked for me so far 🙁 I hated the foundation, felt impartial towards the highlighter, and the lipstick also didn’t impress. I found that the colors weren’t flattering, and application was just alright, a bit uneven, which required blending out.


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This post has gone on for a bit too long, but there you have it – my hits and misses. I’m sure I’ll discover more products that I love and hate along the way, but for now, these are the ones that have stood out to me. Feel free to send me recommendations if you have them, and if you’ve tried any of the products above and liked them, tell me too so it doesnt feel like I’m perpetually shouting off into the void. Yeah? Yeah.

Happy World Lipstick day, yall!

x
Jem

#2153 | Skincare sundays – Skincare for students

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just chillin n multi masking, as one does

Hey guys,

So many high SES/low SES jokes floating around the internet these days, unintentional courtesy of the Singapore government. Not gonna deny that it hits a bit close to home thanks to my own broke student background. Homegirl’s current disposable income is a brand new thing, is what I’m saying, and a big part of why stress or no, I’m loving being an adult. So yeah, side note to all broke students reading this – hustle it out and it does get better.

Anyway, I digressed. My point was, growing up, my skincare consisted of two steps: 1. drinking a lot of water and 2. not washing my face. I only started on skincare proper in university – moisturiser, sunscreen, the works, and it’s because I straight up couldn’t afford it growing up. Which is why I was so pleasantly surprised when I got my hands on L’oreal Paris Skincare’s latest clay mask range, which is priced so affordably. It comes in three variants and each jar of 50g costs SGD14.90. Perfect, I thought immediately, for students.

I must clarify at this point that L’oreal Paris paid me to do an ad for this on my instagram, but this blogpost is not part of that agreement, nor do they know that I’m writing this. I only take up ads for products I like on my instagram, and whether any of those filter down to my blog content really depends on how impressed I am with the product because I rarely take up paid blogposts – perhaps 2 per year? Anyway. I was approached to do the clay mask ad for IG, brought the masks with me when I travelled, and also tried the masks together with my sisters at home. I was suspicious, in other words, of how effective a cheap mask could be. But after a week of trying the masks out, I returned to L’oreal agreeing to do the ad on one condition – that we also hold a giveaway exclusively for students for the set of three masks. Happily, they agreed. The giveaway is now live on my instagram, so students – open a new tab and head over.

But back to the masks themselves. They come in three variants – detoxifying, illuminating, and anti-pore. The idea is that you use them in varying combinations on your face to multi mask, but honestly, I do end up reverting to doing a mono-mask most of the time because it’s just the most hassle free. The masks are targeted to individual skin concerns – the anti-pore works to mattify oil-prone skin, the illuminating mask exfoliates, and the detoxifying one is a straightforward clarifying charcoal mask. And the most important thing: the masks are very good. My personal favorite is the detoxifying – it’s a classic charcoal + clay mask that glides on and washes off to reveal fresh, clear skin. My modus operandi is keeping the masks in my home toilet, applying them once I get into the shower, and washing them off just before getting out (after shampooing, conditioning, brushing my teeth, and the like, it’s about time to wash it off anyway). The recommended leave time is 10 minutes but I’ve left it on for longer, either ways my skin still feels ridiculously clean and smooth post-masking. I checked in with my sisters too and they loved the masks. Student and adult approved, is what I’m saying.

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Is this the best clay mask I’ve ever used? No. The best charcoal clay I’ve used is still the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask from The Body Shop. But that is twice the price at SGD32.90 and therefore you may purchase that when you are earning an income. Other clay masks suitable for people earning actual incomes – the Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal mask, which is fantastic, and Fresh Beauty’s Umbrian Clay purifying mask. The main point, though, is that although the L’oreal clay masks may not be the best masks on the market, they are pretty damned good, and when you take into account their price point, they become, well, excellent.

Western beauty brands can be so pricey, but this is really a great mask series and at such super value too. Recommended: a millenial yaaas, three as included. x

x
Jem

#2097 | Skincare Sundays: The Multitasking Masking Millennial

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Hey guys,

So, as far as superhero names go, I feel I did quite okay with the multitasking masking millennial? We’ll see. But yes, back again with skincare sundays, and addressing a question that I asked a lot when I was first getting into the masking game (very late, compared to my peers): How do you find the damned time?!

The rise of platforms like Snapchat and Instagram Stories have led me to realise just how late i was, getting into masking. Flipping through my nightly updates from friends made me realise that my girlfriends were always lying around with sheet masks or cream masks in the evenings, while I still struggled to remember to drink eight glasses of water a day. I solved the water consumption bit by downloading an app on my phone that rewarded me emotionally everytime I drank a glass of water by making this animated plant grow up (it’s called Plant Nanny, this app), but there is no app to my knowledge that will tell me to mask regularly.

Somehow, I found it hard to dedicate twenty minutes of my day to masking, especially when I’m always on the go.. But I knew it was important, especially given my lifestyle habits of travelling, working late, etcetera, so after months of experimenting, here’s what I came up with:

Multitasking and Masking for the Modern Millenial

(As you can tell, I’m pretty pleased with all my alliteration going on..)

So firstly, I don’t know how you guys feel about sheet masks, but I’m pretty on the fence about them. I dont mind them that much, but I do mind how they restrict my movement, and how I basically have to lie there while it’s on my face or risk it falling off if I run around doing things. As you can tell, I’m not really the kind of person who can sit still, and I really feel a bit panicky if I’m not doing something I can objectively classify as productive. This is why the discovery of gel, cream, and other types of application based masks has definitively changed my life. It’s just so much more.. mobile.

Secondly, over the past year, I came up with some ways in which I can integrate masking into my weekly routine, so that I can have nice skin without disrupting my normal routines that much. Heh. Here we go:

1. Do a clarifying morning mask over the weekends when you’re getting ready for your day.

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Realistically you cannot do this on a weekday because you will be rushing to work, ok? I used to work advertising in an office job, I remember how it goes. So do this on a weekend, when your mornings are significantly more elastic, time wise. You cannot do exfoliating /clarifying masks too often anyway, it will irritate your skin, so once or twice a week is good and I usually do it over the weekends anyway.

Using a mask that’s more on the clarifying/polishing/exfoliating side in the mornings is great because you accumulate a lot of dead skin on your face overnight. This is why they always say you should wash your face properly in the mornings (besides you know, needing the cold water splash to wake up). Here I’m using a chinese ginseng and rice clarifying polishing face mask from The Body Shop’s Expert Facial Mask range. All those words basically mean one thing: it’s an exfoliating mask. I do it while setting my hair (people with fine hair, do you feel me? Flat fringe woes are a real thing), brushing my teeth, etcetera. Then I wash it off and put on a day moisturiser, something light and hydration-focused, before sunscreen.

I find that this makes the skin tone less dull, instantly, and over prolonged use, contributes to that coveted skin glow that all those television people go on and on about. It’s also a really great way of making you feel like a winner early in the morning already, so no matter what happens during the day, you’re pretty much set! 😀

2. If you’re in the habit of following a TV series, schedule in a masking session the day each new weekly episode drops.

Unless you’re bingeing on netflix, in which case theres no weekly schedule.. but you can still mask anyway. The way I see it is, youre going to be sitting in one spot for half hour to full hour blocks anyway, watching your show. WHY NOT BE BEAUTIFUL AT THE SAME TIME? Hahahaha.

Because I love the chinese ginseng mask so much, I use that quite frequently when I’m watching shows. The texture of this particular mask means that it wont be likely to drip, unlike sheet masks which usually leak serum, and so it’s quite a convenient wash-off mask to use.

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(Right now I’m watching Season two of The Flash, which just dropped on Netflix. HBU?

Please remember to follow up any exfoliating or clay mask with a hydrating moisturiser. Or if you’re binge watching something, follow up with a hydrating mask, because why not? The general consensus, really, is that you can do a hydrating mask every day if you’d like. But more intense or targeted masks, only once or twice a week, to reduce the risk of skin irritation.

3. Do a moisturising mask before bed – while you do your nightly reading.

As you might remember from a few posts back, I am a huge proponent of committing to a nightly no-electronics, hour long reading session before bed (Five ways to read more daily / jemmawei.com). Because nourishing the mind is important, okay?

But while you nourish the mind, might as well nourish your face at the same time. I like using a honey mask in the evenings, because you’re likely to do this after you shower, and I find that the damp skin + honey combo always makes the honey mask more effective. I’m using the honey mask from the same The Body Shop Expert Facial Mask range, it’s called the Ethopian Honey Deep Nourishing mask. It’s also the same one I mentioned in the previous Skincare Sundays blogpost, and I did promise to talk about it more, so here I am!

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I find that honey based masks are particularly good if you’ve had a gruelling few days. I like using it after swimming or diving trips because honey is the stuff of the gods and actually reduces inflammation (in addition to fixing your sore throats, ulcers, so on and so forth..). And plus, it’s mega hydrating and naturally anti bacterial, so you can still use it even if you’ve had a breakout. It is mega, mega decadent.

Protip: in addition to using it on damp skin, also warm it up in your palms first before applying it to your face. That way, the honey melts a bit and the mask is more effective. This is true of all honey masks, not just the one from The Body Shop, so please take note!

4. Do a mask while doing desk-bound work at home.

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Maskin while marking..

This picture is from submissions period last semester, when I was teaching a couple of classes at NTU. Marking season is intense, any tutor will tell you that, and since I was gonna be stuck in one spot all weekend (MY BIRTHDAY WEEKEND BY THE WAY) marking and marking and marking, I figured I better get something out of it. I tell you, doing a mask while working is so gratifying, because you really feel like youre being doubly productive. When I posted this photo to Facebook, it was like an epiphany for a lot of people. I got so many messages from friends saying that they are SO going to do this now whenever they do work late at night or at home. This is half sad because it just shows how we all really live in a society where we cannot stop working, but it is also half optimistic, cos now they all will have good skin.

Anyway! I usually work out of my office at The Hive, where masking is impossible unless i want a reputation as a madwoman, but I still do work at home on occasion. Of late, I’ll do work at home while accompanying my sister who’s staying up late studying for her A levels, and we will both do masks together. Very satisfying!

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This Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow mask is hands down my favourite mask from The Body Shop Expert Facial Mask range. My baby sister summed it up best: we did the mask together for the first time last year, and when she washed it off, she gasped and said: oh my gosh, I’m beautiful!

Gotta give it to that girl, she’s all about the self confidence. Love it. But yes, my sisters and I do this mask together often, it’s our favourite because of how visibly and tangibly smooth your skin is after. With that said..

5. Do a mask together with your friends/family

Masking is just so much more fun when you do it with other people. Maybe it’s because I grew up with two sisters, but we love doing girly stuff together like painting our nails, doing face masks, and talking about how dumb boys are. The motivation to get off your ass and do a mask is just so much more compelling when you have someone to do it with!

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Don’t know if you guys remember, but I used to snapchat my masking routines with my sisters every freaking sunday. This was all using the different masks from The Body Shop Expert Facial Mask range, which, full disclosure, I got as a media gift. But I love it so much, and I checked the prices online and they seem really reasonable for such great masks! This charcoal one, for example, is $32.90, and my sisters and I have been using it on and off for like, six months. Because it’s an applicator mask, you can decide how much you wanna use on your face (and even if you just wanna use it on a particular problem area and not your whole face!) and so it’s easy to ration out the mask, as opposed to if you use a sheet mask cos once you use it it’s basically done.

6. Do a mask while you do your chores.

Same concept as number 4. masking while working. But while you iron your laundry or fold your clothes, why not do a mask? I did a #jemmainajiffy video on this while back, and I just realised that the masks used in that video were also masks from this range (which I guess goes to show how much I like them), so I’m going to just include that here.

7. Lastly, do a multi-mask when you wanna treat yoself

Some days you just wanna have a bit of self-pampering, okay? Another advantage of applicator style masks is that you can put more than one mask on your face, depending on what you need. This is great for people with combi skin, because sometimes the different parts of your face just need different kinds of targeted treatments. Here I’m doing something recommended by The Body Shop team, called the replenish and recharge facial for sleepy and stressed skin, which sounds exactly like my entire existence.

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Basically, it’s the:

– Amazonian Acai Energising Radiance Mask on my forehead and nose
– Ethiopian Honey Mask on my cheeks
– British Rose Plumping mask on my chin and neck

And I while I wait the fifteen to twenty minutes for my skin to soak that all in, I listen to music and/or take a power nap on my couch. Protip: keep your hair out of your face while doing this with a cute headband, because #photoOp. It really is the most luxurious thing, taking a nap. Such a rarity as adulthood sets in.

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And tada! That’s it. Not bad right? Because of all these multi-tasking habits I’ve accumulated, I find that I’ve really started masking significantly more over the past year. And a lot of this is because of the mask set from The Body Shop lah, honestly, before I discovered it I was soooo lazy to mask! But I guess there’s just a lot of fun involved in picking a mask and doing it with my sisters over the weekends or in the evenings, and I really do like the masks, the Charcoal and Ginseng ones in particular.

I think getting into the habit of masking also falls in line with the larger theme of learning to take care of yourself as you get older. Mentally, it makes me feel more.. adult, if that makes sense. I feel more responsible for my own skin and therefore life, and I feel as though I’ve really taken ownership over my complexion. Does it work? You tell me. Here is a photo of me post-masking, with completely no make up and unedited except for color hor.

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I mean, I feel pretty happy with where my skin is at right now. I should probably clarify also that I dont really go for facials, I think I go like max once a year and sometimes not even then. Mostly when I go not cos I really wanna do something to my skin, but cos I’m stressed and feel like I just need to be TREATED RIGHT. Haha. I feel like if you have a good and regular home skincare routine, you don’t need to go for a facial unless you want something a little more intensive done, like a laser facial to get rid of pigmentation or the kind of facial to target acne scars. But for normal cleansing and moisturising, I feel like it’s more economical to make it a habit to just upkeep your skin regularly, and it’s worked for me so far.

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As mentioned earlier, all the masks I highlighted in this post are from The Body Shop, this is their Expert Facial Mask Range that you can purchase individually instores or online. Having used it for a pretty long time now, like almost a year, I think I’m being pretty objective when I say that it’s really worth the money and is a fantastic product! It’s also super affordable compared to other products in this genre, and I’m personally a fan 🙂

Alright, what a long post! Ciao, then, till next time. Happy masking!

x
Jem

#2094 | Skincare Sundays – How to survive a long haul flight without incurring shitty skin

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Hello hello,

Back again with Skincare Sundays. Shane and I were at dinner with another couple friend of ours who are soon to be married, and they were telling us about their honeymoon plans. Somehow the conversation landed gently on the topic of skincare w.r.t. flying – and after listening to me go on about hydration for about ten minutes, our friends politely suggested that i blog about it instead. So here I am.

I haven’t been flying as much this year because, yknw, #thesis, but last year I was in and out of the country every month. And lemme tell you! My skin took a hit for sure. Particularly irritating to me was the flight there – somehow it’s always worse than the one back when it comes to skin related issues (Vice versa for jet lag though). But any flight above six hours and I find myself landing in my new destination with skin that seems determined to exact revenge for the gruelling flight by making me look dull the next couple days or so. More often than not, this comes in the form of patchy dry skin, and red bumps – not exactly pimples, but just bumps on my skin. Irritating? You bet.

In hindsight, this shouldnt have come as a surprise. Flight air is notoriously drying, especially since the air is pressurised, recycled, and very low humidity. The air is also dirty – I mean, cmon. All the bacteria everywhere! All this leads to inflamed and stressed skin. Also, the dry air makes your skin oily cos you overproduce oil to compensate, and then thats part of how you get travel pimples and what not. Anyway, enough was enough. In the style of Titus Andromedon, I was done: you gotta go, girl!

So equal parts neurotic and equal parts in the spirit of sharing, but here I am writing my post on what I (try to) keep to nowadays with regards to long haul flights..

Pre-flight


Here’s things to do a day before your flight:

Eat food low in salt
. Sodium dehydrates you and the effects are worse when youre on a plane. So just cook something simple that isn’t too salty or greasy, or keep that in mind while ordering if youre eating out.

Do a hydrating mask the night before. I actually personally like to do a clay and then hydrating mask because I feel like before travel, you gotta pull out all the stops. Right now (and for the past year) I’ve been using the Himalayan Charcoal mask and the Ethiopian Honey deep nourishing mask from The Body Shop’s at home facial experience set. These are super masks for when you’re at home, but I wouldnt bring them on a flight because the clay would be a pain to wash off mid flight, and I also dont want to risk the honey mask spilling. Better to use it at home. But this is a really good mask set, so I’ll talk about it more next time.

Make sure you drink the necessary 8 cups of water the day before. Water may not have an immediately visible correlation to how your skin looks, but it is required for your skin cells to be healthy. So it’s kind of like a extra water doesnt help but not enough water will be extremely detrimental kind of situation. Plus it’s not just the water you drink right before you go on the flight, it’s the amount you drink over roughly the 24 hours before you board that your body holds.


Here’s what to do right before you leave for the airport:

Shower at home, but wash your face with a gentle cleanser, preferably an oil one. I’m using the Shu Umeura yellow one that I bought last year because Roz swears by it (as do all the beauty gurus in the industry) but it is so expensive (to me) that it’s really more a luxury than anything. My friend told me that MUJI does an oil cleanser that is VERY good and also only about 15 dollars? I havent personally tried this, but I thought I should put it out there for those of you who do want to try.

If youre the type to wear make up to the airport like me, then bring make up removing wipes. Biore and Skin Food both do very good make up removing wipes, but for the last two months I havent been able to find the Skin Food ones, I think they discontinued it 🙁 The Biore one is fantastic also either way, just slightly pricier – get it stocked up in Japan if youre ever there cos its half the price.

Apply a hydrating serum and sunscreen before leaving the house. Don’t forget the sunscreen! UV damage is worse when youre on the plane for obvious reasons, but somehow people always still forget to SPF when they’re flying.

Bring an empty water bottle. You cant bring water through the gates but if you fill it up after check in and before you board, that’s fine. This is especially useful because they mostly serve water in those dinky little cups on airlines which hardly gives you enough water, and you might be embarrassed / it might be too troublesome to keep asking for more…

In-flight


Here’s what to do on the plane:

I hope you have a travel sized set of your favourite skincare items because you’re gonna need them! The good news is, most moisturisers do come in containers that are less than 100ml because lets face it, skincare is expensive. When travelling, make sure to pack the more intensive moisturisers (if you use more than one kind) because travel in general is very harsh on the skin.

My personal favourite plane mask (and off-plane too, but it’s just sooooo good for flights) is the laneige water sleeping mask, which is gel based and very soothing to the skin. I think of it as a lazy mask because you can slap it on and just go to sleep without having to worry about scraping it off later – sheet masks when left on too long can be dehydrating to your skin, something that really messes my head up everytime i hear it.

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But if you’re the type to keep your carry on bag really small, I’d suggest asking for sample sets from the Laneige staff when you purchase normal products in store. I actually started off using the Goodnight with Laneige sample set on flights which I got as part of a gift, but then my girlfriend took it cos she tried it and loved it -.- HAHA. So now I bring the entire tub on flights. But yes, this is really useful cos its tiny and also cos you can put both the sleeping mask and lip mask!

I checked with the Laneige brand people, and they say that the most failsafe way of getting the Goodnight with Laneige sample set is to get the actual items on their Lazada online store, and they will usually throw in the Goodnight with Laneige miniatures too. I’ve also ever gotten it as part of a store-bought package before, but come to think of it that might have been because they were having some promotion. So if you want free samples from Laneige, their online store is generally the way to go.

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It comes with the lip sleeping mask as well, which is a crowd favourite. So good – I mix it in with my lipsticks sometimes.

I would also top up my moisturiser at least twice on the flight, because plane air is very dry. Please also frequently drink water – and theoretically if you stay away from coffee or the free alcohol they serve, you’ll find that your skin won’t take such a hit. I say theoretically because I have never managed to stay away from either. LOL.

Post-flight


Here’s what to do when you get off the plane:

Your face will probably be a bit shiny from the leftover residue of your mask, but there will also be a build up of dry/dead skin, so when you get to your accommodation, use a gentle exfoliating scrub to wash your face. I personally love the Black Sugar Mask from Skin Food – I bought it in Korea for $7, but it costs twice that in Singapore, so stock up if you ever head to Korea. It’s so gentle and your skin feels great after! I use this after flights, and also once a week when I’m home in Singapore.

The first night you’re in your new destination, MOISTURISE INTENSELY, as you want your skin to adapt smoothly to the new climate and you don’t want it to go into shock because when it goes into shock all sorts of nasty things happen. If you already bring the Laneige mask on board like I do, then you can just continue to use it throughout the trip, and your skin will be the better for it.

And don’t forget to body-moisturiser it up as well! I use the Nivea body moisturiser cos thats what I’ve been using since I was a kid and it’s the perfect mix of affordable and intense. Haha.

I think that’s basically it. Everything else is left to fire, flood, will of God. Those things you can’t control. But the ones you can, you must. We all must do only what we can.

Happy flying, y’all.

x
Jem