Skin oils study break

/ Friday, August 31, 2012 /
(Finished salad = lettuce + grilled chicken salad + sunflower seeds + feta cheese + balsamic vinagrette dressing)

Right now I am sitting in a Starbucks, sipping my Venti Cinnamon Latte and taking a study break. We have a practice anatomy practical (basically, where you identify structures that are pinned on the study structures and radiographs (e.g. x-ray scans).

I came across an article about the use of cleansing oils. Futurederm is a website/company founded by Nikki Zevola, and focuses on the scientific aspects and practical applications for skincare. None of that stuff that just pervades the web; instead, based on scientific articles from PubMed and the like.

I'm not going to repeat what was written in the article, but in summary (quoted from her article), here is what was talked about:

  • "Those with dry skin will not benefit much, if at all, from oils like almond, apricot, avocado, castor, and olive.  These oils are occlusive agents that trap existing moisture into the skin.  But if you don’t have much moisture in your skin to begin with, these won’t help much.
  • Those with dry skin are better suited to oils like palm, coconut, pequi, and argan.  These oils contain fatty acids with more medium-to-long chain hydrocarbons.  As a result, they function as emollients, which increase the amount of moisture skin is capable of holding while binding to water and oils within the skin.  Keep in mind, however, that applying too much of these oils makes them solely occlusive – so you’re just trapping moisture in, not allowing your skin to add any, even with its increased capacity to hold moisture.
  • Never mix your own skin care oil products at home.  The risk for comedogenicity and irritation is simply too high.
  • Apply oils immediately after showering.
  • If you have oily or acne-prone skin, skip oils altogether."
 Now, I understand that each person's skin type is different, and I am NOT a certified dermatologist. However, from personal experience, I have tried argan, olive, and coconut oil for both cleansing and moisturizing my face, and they have not worked for me. I use a 1:1 mixture of olive oil: witch hazel to remove  makeup, and I guess that is for cleansing, but I always wash my face with some kind of cleanser (e.g. Clearasil Oil-Free wash, Neutrogena Oil-Free acne wash, Dermalogica face wash, Cetaphil, Purpose, etc) afterward. Every time after I have used oil for cleansing/moisturizing my face, I just break out as a result. I have oily/acne-prone skin, so it makes sense that this would occur for me.

However, recently, I have started using coconut oil (note: extra virgin, organic) in lieu of a body lotion. Previously, I used Aveeno lotion, but I decided to try coconut oil after reading about its potential benefits. So far, it's worked out pretty well - giving similar effects to Aveeno, but at a fraction of the cost. (A little oil goes a long way, guys and gals!)

I will have to use the oil for awhile more before reviewing it. However, I do know that the salicylic acid cleansers that I have used for face washes have been more successful at clearing up my face than any oil I've tried.

Lemme know what you think! Have you ever tried using oils for cleansing? How did they work otu for you? (Please include your skin type for reference) Thanks!


Review: L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Carbon Black Waterproof Mascara

/ Tuesday, August 28, 2012 /

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This is the latest mascara I've tried among my whole schlew that I've gone through. The eighth one I've tried and used, to be exact!

I bought this about a month ago at Walmart for $5.84. Very affordable, yes.

First, some basics.
My hair type/eyelash type: short, thin, stick-straight, point straight out, dark brown
My skin type/hair type (general): East Asian, dark brown
How I usually put on mascara: Two coats, first curl with eyelash curler beforehand (ELF Mechanical Curler, $1 from

What I look for in a mascara:
  1. Waterproof (doesn't smear or smudge)0
  2. Dark
  3. Voluminizing
  4. Lengthening
  5. Doesn't irritate my contact lenses
  6. Hypoallergenic (hopefully)
  7. Affordability

Yes, that's a lot of qualifications!

Now, how did I rate this mascara? What did I think of it?

-Very black
-Decent at voluminizing
-Doesn't irritate contact lenses

-Doesn't lengthen
-Doesn't need a heated eyelash curler, just normal eyelash curler suffices.

-SMEARS like crazy. Everyday I use it. Even though I knew coming into this that I heard some people had their mascara smear, I never knew it would be this bad. Toward the end of the day, people would ask me if I had cried or had a black eye or something. Or if I was having a bad makeup day or something. Terrible. Because I live in terrible weather in the deep South, I need to have true waterproof if I don't want to look like a clown by the end of the day. And this just doesn't hold up.

Overall? If you don't mind smudging, and want a good black, voluminizing mascara, go for this one!

I will not be repurchasing this one though.

Previously tried mascaras (reverse chronological order):

1. Maybelline Colossal in Classic Black, Waterproof
2. Maybelline Falsies in Black Drama, Waterproof
3. Almay One Coat Thickening Mascara, Black, Waterproof
4. CoverGirl LashBlast Volume, Black, Waterproof
5. CoverGirl LashBlast Length, Black, Water-resistant
6. CoverGirl VolumeExact, Very Black, Waterproof (sorry, in earlier posts, I had forgotten about this one!)
7. Estee Lauder MagnaScopic Maximum Volume, Black (not waterproof)

Review: 3 Facial Cleansers

/ Sunday, August 26, 2012 /
Hey guys and gals,

I first want to apologize for the recent lack of posts. Med school has been crazy (if you check out my other blog,, you'll see what I'm talking about) and has taken over my life.

Anyway, I'm going to take a break from all that and bring in a few reviews of skincare cleansers I've tried and used lately.

Note first:
My skin type is combination/oily, meaning I get acne/oil around my T-zone. I get a few breakouts every few weeks - a lot less than I used to break out. I don't use any foundation/tinted moisturizer/powder, but I apply sunscreen on my face everyday. I am of East Asian descent and have straight dark brown hair.

1. Neutrogena Visibly Bright Daily Facial Cleanser

I was fortunate enough to get a deluxe sample of this product from Target. I've been using this product for the last 2 weeks, so I think it's time now to give it a review roll.

The caption to this product states that it makes the skin look "brighter and less tired".


According to, the ingredients in this product include:

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Acrylates Copolymer, Coco Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, PEG 80 Sorbitan Laurate, DI PPG 2 Myreth 10 Adipate, Glycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Fragrance, Soyamidopropyl Betaine, Potassium Sorbate, Lauryl Methyl Gluceth 10 Hydroxypropyl Dimonium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Titanium Dioxide, Polyquaternium 10, Mica, Sodium Hydroxide, Silica, PEG 16 Soy Sterol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Butylene Glycol, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/Leaf Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Magnesium Aspartate, Zinc Gluconate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Copper Gluconate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein

No salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide in this one. Well, I guess it didn't advertise itself as an acne face wash, but rather just a non-comedogenic face wash, so that's all right.

-Cleans my skin well
-Gets rid of excess makeup (that isn't removed by makeup remover)
-Doesn't cause me to break out excessively
-Affordable pricing ($7 for 6.7 oz, available at Target, Ulta, etc)

-Is highly fragranced
-Is drying to the skin (and that is pretty considerable, considering I have acne, oily-combination skin)
-Says is non-comedogenic, but might not be for everyone (depends on how large your pores are)
-Didn't help clear up acne when I had it severely

Overall, did I think it did its job? Yep. However, I don't think this skin cleanser is anything extraordinary. I think I'd rather stick with something like Cetaphil if I just wanted an ordinary skin cleanser. I probably won't buy the full-sized product.

2. 3LAB Perfect Cleansing Foam

This is a cleanser I got from one of the MyGlam bags I subscribed to for awhile. I've used it for about a week, and even though it's been just that period of time, I think I've gotten used to how it is, and I don't know if I'll get another chance to write reviews soon, so here we go.

According to the official website,, the ingredients in this product are:
Myristic Acid, Water (Aqua/Eau), Glycerin, Potassium Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, PEG-8, Dipropylene Glycol, Beeswax, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Maltooligosyl Glucoside, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Olive Oil PEG-7 Esters, Jojoba Wax PEG-120 Esters, Cetyl Alcohol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Beta-Carotene, Ceramide 2, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Fruit Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Algae Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Amino Esters-1, Coccinia Indica Leaf Extract, Solanum Melongena (Eggplant) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Flower Extract, Lawsonia Inermis (Henna) Extract, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Pearl Powder, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, Urea, Allantoin, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Titanium Dioxide, Tin Oxide, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Tetrasodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Iron Oxides

-VERY effective at removing makeup and other traces of stuff
-Need just a tiny amount (pea-sized) to cover entire face
-Foams really nicely

-Extremely expensive ($50 for 4.4 oz, at Nordstrom or
-Super strong smell (not as much as the Neutrogena, but still pretty strong)
-Has alcohol in it, as well as titanium dioxide and a bunch of other ingredients in it (that aren't too good for the skin usually)
-Is super drying
-Caused me to break out (is too drying)

Would I purchase this again? No way. Too expensive for sure, and I don't want to buy something that dries out my skin and causes me to break out.

3. Clearasil Daily Clear Face Wash (2% Salicylic acid)
Clearasil Clearasil Daily Clear Face Wash

This has salicylic acid in it - an acne-fighting agent (which works by desquamating, aka in layman terms, exfoliating, the epithelial layer of the skin, to help skin turnover).


Active Ingredients: Salicylic Acid (2%) (Acne Medication)

Inactive Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Myristic Acid, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Lauric Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Polyquaternium 10, Triclosan, Pentasodium Pentatate, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Capric Acid, Sodium Acetate, Sodium Chloride, Caprylic Acid, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice, Isopropyl Alcohol, Maltodextrin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate

-Price (super cheap - I got it on sale for $4, 6.5 oz!)
-Effectively removes makeup
-Pretty good at stopping acne
-Has glycerin as a key ingredient (is toward the front of the ingredients list, and glycerin is a highly hydrating agent)
-A little bit goes a long way (I've used it for about 4 weeks, and I've barely made a dent in the tube!)

I've got to say, this product is pretty good. Its results are comparable to those with Neutrogena's Oil-Free Gel Acne Wash (the orange gel squirt bottle that I've used previously as my HG face wash).

-Is a bit drying
-Has ingredients such as isopropyl alcohol and sodium benzoate
-Must moisturize afterward

Overall, which product do I like the best? Probably the Clearasil. Ironically, it's the cheapest one. Well, I guess price doesn't predict value/utility, does it?

All right now, I'm going to sleep. Good night.

Sources: 1 / 2 / 3

Current skincare routine

/ Sunday, August 12, 2012 /
Hey guys and gals,

Lately, throughout the course of my move-in to my new place for med school, one of the many changes I've had is in my skincare routine. So far, it's been fairly effective (*knock on wood*). Thus, here is my update on it:

Clean & Clear Finishes Even Tone Cleanser, Oil-free, 6 Oz (Pack of 4)

Clean & Clear Even Tone Cleanser

Coppertone Oil Free Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30, 8-Ounce Bottles
Coppertone Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF30

Avon Anew Rejuvenate 24 Hr Eye Moisturizer SPF 25

Avon Anew Rejuvenate 24 Hour Eye Moisturizer SPF 25

Clearasil Clearasil Daily Clear Face Wash
Clearasil Daily Clear Face Wash (2% Salicylic acid)

Avon Anew Rejuvenate 24 Hr Eye Moisturizer SPF 25
Avon Anew Rejuvenate 24 Hour Eye Moisturizer SPF 25

Clean & Clear Oil-Free Dual Action Moisturizer
Clean & Clear Dual Action Face Moisturizer, 0.5% Salicylic acid

For spot treatment:

Aloe vera gel

Every once in awhile:

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque

This is probably one of the simpler skin routines I've used. So far it's been all right. Let's see how it turns out!

Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Products I've used up and repurchased

/ Saturday, August 4, 2012 /
Here are some things that I've liked so much that I've repurchased. Throughout the course of several years, ever since I first started going into skincare and makeup products. I'm not going to give reviews for them, since for most of them I've already reviewed them in previous posts, or will review them in future posts.

1. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, $5.49, 6 oz

2. Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque, $4.71 for 8 oz

3. ELF Mineral All-Over Eyeshadow Brush, $5

4. Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturizer, SPF 15, $10

5. Carmex Moisturizing Lip Balm, $1.50

6. Clean & Clear Dual Action Oil-Free Moisturizer, $6
Clean & Clear Oil-Free Dual Action Moisturizer

7. Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliners (all) $18 (individually)

8. Maybelline Dream Mousse Concealer, Cream Light 4-5, ($6, discontinued, but you can still find it on Amazon and Ebay)

9. ELF Eyelash Curler, $1

10. Covergirl Eye Enhancers 1-Kit Shadows, $3.50 (all shades)

So there ya go, 10 products that I think are pretty awesome. Enjoy!


Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 67 / 8 / 9 / 10

Project X Pan Update

/ /

In one of my previous posts, I listed several products I had wanted to use up (see pic above) in an effort to increase the "turnover rate" of my makeup/skincare supply, so to speak. Here is a ~1 month update:

Fresh's Sugar Kisses Mini Lip Duo: I have finished a bit of this stick, perhaps 1/5 of the way done. I'm still working on it.

ELF Brightening Eyeliner in Coffee: I am currently using it as my brow pencil, and have used up about 1 inch of it. We still have a bit of a ways to go!

Wet N' Wild ColorIcon Brow & Eyeliner in Dark Brown - I actually haven't been using this one lately, as this is not a waterproof eyeliner and easily smears throughout the day when I'm in class and in the lab. I think I might just use it on my brows after I finish the ELF eyeliner.

Maybelline Dream Mousse Concealer in Cream (Light 4-5 shade) - I've actually hit pan on this one. Yay!

CoverGirl's Eye Enhancer's 1-Kit Shadows in Pink Chiffon - I've finished it all. Yay!

Santee’s Shimmer EyeStick in Blue - I've used up a bit of it, so now I have to actually adjust the stick. However, it still has quite a way to go.

ELF's 27-piece Shimmer Palette: I've used up almost all of the brow powder, and have used up quite a bit of the eyeshadows, but still have barely touched the lipsticks/lip colors. I think I'm just going to throw all of those lip colors out because they are getting kind of sticky and gross from the powder fallout of the eyeshadows. Definitely not a repurchase.

Anyway, that's a month update for Project X Pan. I'm going to be adding two more products to the list:
1. Carmex Moisture Plus stick that I've been using, that is almost done. (A picture of a similar one is below - it was a product repurchase)

 2. Fruitopia Hair Serum - I have about 1/6 of the bottle left to use.

We'll see how this next month of Project X Pan turns out!


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