The Sunscreen Project, Part 22

/ Monday, April 29, 2013 /

FTC: I bought this product with my own money. I am not paid to do reviews on it.

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen for Face, SPF 30+

I bought this product off of for about $12 around Christmas time. I decided to try it out because of its rave reviews, relatively low price for an inorganic sunscreen, and because of its ingredients - zinc oxide and octinoxate. Well, rather, really for ZnO.

As always of course, here is the ingredients list (pulled off of

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate (5.5%), Zinc Oxide (8.0%)

Inactive Ingredients: Water (Purified), C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cyclomethicone, Lauryl PEG/PPG 18/18 Methicone, Polyacrylamide, C13 14 Isoparaffin, Laureth 7, Beeswax (Apis Mellifera), Caffeine, Diazolidinyl Urea, Green Tea Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)

I thought this product was pretty interesting in that it came from an Australian formula. Apparently the company that produces the product is actually in the States but the product itself follows Australian regulations for sunscreen, which requires sunscreen to be protective on the skin for 240 minutes rather than the 80 minutes, according to US regulations.

I guess I do like 4 hours of protection.

Anywhere here's what I found:


  • Is an inorganic sunscreen with Zinc Oxide, a stable ingredient that covers UVA and UVB rays
  • Is affordable ($12 for 5 oz, especially for an inorganic sunscreen)
  • Protection lasts a long time (4 hours)
  • Doesn't make my face breakout
  • White cast initially created - at first I seriously thought I looked like vampire Bella from Twilight or something. Afterward though the white cast fades away.

I guess you cay say that this sunscreen is the closest I've found to my HG sunscreen. It works, it's effective, it's affordable, and even though it gives a white cast it does its job. And guess what: I've already repurchased 2 bottles of it =D

Updated skincare routine (I keeps on changing it up!)

/ Friday, April 26, 2013 /
FTC: I bought all of these products myself except for the Origins sunscreen (received for free). This is not a paid review.


3Lab Perfect Cleansing Foam, 4.4 oz, $52
Origins - A Perfect World SPF 25 Age-Defense Moisturizer with White Tea
Origins A Perfect World SPF 25, 1.7 oz, $39.50

Oil-Free Acne Wash
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, 6 fl oz, $5.49
Dickinson's Witch Hazel Astringent
Witch hazel toner, 16 fl oz, $4
Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque, Mint Julep
Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque, 8 oz, $4.71

Clinique - Moisture Surge Intense For Very Dry To Dry Combination Skin
Clinique Moisture Surge Intense for Very Dry to Dry Combination Skin, 2.5 oz,  $49.50
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion - 18 fl oz
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, 18 fl oz, $9.89
Olay Quench Daily Lotion Plus Shimmer, with Cocoa Butter - 11.8 fl oz
Olay Quench Daily Lotion Plus Shimmer with Cocoa Butter, 11.8 oz,  $6

Photo sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

Review: Nivea Hand Creme

/ Thursday, April 18, 2013 /
FTC: I bought this product myself. I am not sponsored for this review.

I bought this hand creme sometime in 2011 or early 2012 at Target. At the time it was part of a bundle with a Nivea Express Hydration Lotion (review coming later). Individually, this product can be purchased for $1 at any drugstore or supermarket.

This product is actually pretty handy because it is very travel-friendly. It is small and can fit in any purse, backpack, traveler's bag, etc. In fact, that's probably one of the reasons why I got it in the first place!

Flash forward to July 2012.... soon after I started med school, I quickly realized how drying washing one's hands repetitively can be. Think about all of the hand washes after Gross Anatomy Lab, clinics, hospital duties, etc. Yeah. Basically I realized that I needed something to prevent my skin from cracking and bleeding due to dryness. Yikes!

In comes this product; it had been at the bottom of my bundle of beauty/skincare products. Thus, why not? I decided to give it a try.

Truthfully, it actually worked pretty well. It's a very emollient formula, as shown here (from Walgreens):

Water , Mineral Oil , Petrolatum , Glycerin , Microcrystalline Wax , Lanolin Alcohol , Paraffin , Panthenol , Magnesium Sulfate , Decyl Oleate , Octyldodecanol , Aluminum Stearate , Fragrance , Citric Acid , Magnesium Stearate , Methylchloroisothiazolinone , Methylisothiazolinone

As you can see above, a lot of the top ingredients are very emollient substances - mineral oil, petrolatum, glycerin, microcrystalline wax, lanolin alcohol (a fatty alcohol). Truthfully, the product did do it's job of being very moisture-retaining and hydrating.

However, there were downsides. It was slightly sticky so it was kind of awkward typing on my laptop and writing after application. Also, there were times where I felt it was perhaps kind of irritating - perhaps the fragrance and the citric acid were sensitizing my skin or something?

Another pro is that this product lasts a long time. Seriously, I didn't expect this, but a little does really go a long way on this product. I just needed a little bit to cover all of my hands. After all, in truth, after almost 10 months of steady use, I've used up this much:


And for reference, this is how greasy it looks on my hands after application:


Overall, would I recommend this product? If you are in a pinch, and you need a travel-friendly product, and don't have sensitive skin, then I would recommend it. Personally, I did enjoy using this product, but I think there probably are products out on the market that may be better suited for my skin.

P.S. Oh yeah, and that writing on the pages there? That was me studying for my tests this past week -_-

Tag: 50 Facts About Me, Part 3 (Philosophy/randomness edition)

/ Friday, April 12, 2013 /

  1. People keep on asking me if I want to become a dermatologist after they find out I have this blog. Truthfully, this blog is a hobby. And also, I'm only a 1st year med student; I barely know anything about the world. I have no idea what type of doc I want to truly be. 
  2. Some people may be cynical and think I made this blog because I want to be a dermatologist because dermatology can be a very profitable specialty. This is absolutely false. I started this blog during my junior year of college as a hobby; I didn't do this in order for it to look good on my resume. If I become a dermatologist, then it will be awesome. But if I don't, then I'll be very happy anyway. Who knows. I change my mind about my specialty every couple of weeks, starting at the age of... oh, I think perhaps sophomore year of college. In high school I wanted to be a cardiologist. Then neurologist during senior year of high school during graduation. Then pediatrician -> family medicine -> internal medicine -> dermatology -> general surgery (Thank you Grey's Anatomy) -> internal medicine -> pediatrics -> psychiatry -> neurology -> ENT -> pediatrics. Who knows?
  3.  I love making Chinese food.
  4. Many children have the luxury of parents helping them with their homework during their younger years. For immigrant children like myself, it was very different. I had to learn English on my own, figure out grammar rules, do extra practices, etc. It wasn't till perhaps mid-high school did my English fully feel "good", per se. By that I mean creative enough to get top-notch scores on AP Exams, do critical analyses that truly made sense, be able to formulate things well.
  5. I think self-reliance is a very big thing I've prided myself on in many ways. I don't believe in luck; in fact, I don't think I've been lucky per se, many times in my life. What I do know is that I've worked for the things I have and I treasure them very much. I feel very lucky to have been accepted into a Southern Ivy college and a top-notch medical school though.
  6. I believe that no matter what one does, there are always struggles in life. As soon as you overcome one obstacle, another rises in your path. There is no clear, smooth path in life.
  7. Suffering is a form of penance but it brings one closer to God. It makes you depend on God more and makes you think more about God. And improves your spirituality in ways!
  8. I think that often bullying/being bullied is a rite of passage. I definitely was bullied during middle school and those years (in some ways) were terrible. But it also made me appreciate the things and times when I was not bullied. It made me stronger. Who care about things that people say about minutiae? It really doesn't matter. What matters is your reaction to it. You can either be petty and respond in equally acerbic ways or be the bigger person and walk away with your head held high.
  9. And speaking of the previous point, I realize that there are some people in this world who are definitely very immature. In high school I was in the math club, and was one of the few girls on the team. Many of the boys were very immature, making crude jokes and laughing off things that, if mentioned during any lecture or discussion in my medical career, could even have been reported to the Deans. I think the boys seriously just needed to grow up. And I think they have.
  10. One thing I'm trying to learn better is to forgive. To be the bigger person and remember there is a greater role in this world. That little things pass. Perhaps my surgeries and past plights were the "sticks and stones", but I'm trying not to make "meanie words" get to me. One thing that I realized about bullying is that when you don't respond to bullies, the kick they get from your response - your retaliation - is gone. And from that, they actually get frustrated. In fact, it doesn't even seem fun to bully you anymore.
  11. Violence is not the answer. I've seen some things in the hospital (where I work at) that have definitely been quite crazy. Trauma patients. Domestic abuse. Rape. Psychotic breaks. Violence is never the answer. What it does is create a lot of hurt and physical persistent pain that has to be treated. And more people wind up in the hospital at 3 AM when that tired resident is trying to manage 20 other patients at the same time.
  12. I think there is quite a degree of romance in studying in places like coffee shops, tea shops, etc. Think of all of the writers who coined their first pieces in these places! Think of the struggling actors and actresses who worked in these places while auditioning for roles before landing their first big hit! And I think about the pharmacy students, optometry students, law students, engineering students, and undergrad (general) students sitting around me... and think... we are all in this together =D


  1. I have a feeling that I will probably use the same phone I have right now till I graduate from med school. Seriously, I barely have any $$. And plus, I really like the one I have! Samsung Galaxy S2!
  2. 9gag is awesome. IMO.
  3. My phone's connection to the computer is currently broken (I can't use the connecting software) so downloading pics is not fun -_-
  4. Backaches due to sleeping funny are not fun.
  5. I'd like to grow my hair out back to its old 2.5-3 ft (or longer). Truthfully, keeping it this long is quite a bit of work.
  6. Things I'd like to go to someday again: the opera, basketball game starring Jeremy Lin, a ballet performance (a formal one)
  7. Things I'd like to go to/do for the first time: skydive, kayak on a river, ride on a giant tortoise in the Galapagos Islands, ride on the wings of a Giant Condor (ok, yeah, that'll probably never happen XD)
  8. And I just realized... I really need to go to the bathroom... so here's my 50 facts!

Tag: 50 Facts About Me, Part 2 (Food edition)

/ Wednesday, April 10, 2013 /


Food stuffs:
  1. I think some things have to be inculcated into you. For example, I used to really dislike sparkling water and Indian food. Now I think both are delicious (and refreshing)!
  2. I think my appetite has really changed throughout the years. When I was in middle and high school, I used to eat A LOT. SERIOUSLY. A LOT. And I definitely gained a lot of weight. In college, freshman fifteen definitely happened - it was literally a buffet 3 meals a day. But now in med school I've lost weight. I cook for myself now and I notice that  don't eat as much.
  3. I reached Gold Status on my Starbucks card awhile ago, and a few days ago I got my first free drink (for every 12 drinks you buy). I decided to Google what kinds of interesting drinks people have concocted as a "celebration" to their monumentous 12 drink landmark. Some people have ordered drinks that cost up to $45!!! I decided to go with something more conservative yet delicious. A hazelnut macchiato, with chocolate drizzled on top, soy milk, venti sized, etc. Turned out to be a $7 drink XD
  4. Speaking of which, I'm kind of sad that I've developed such a high caffeine tolerance during med school. I think this past 1/2 year I've drank more coffee than both of my parents and my brother have in their lives (all combined). I think. And the weird thing is, I could probably drink 4 cups of coffee. And then, take a nap! O.O
  5. I love lemon bars. And tiramisu. I really dislike overly-sweet desserts.
  6. Pan du chocolat (pain au chocolat) is also a newly found favorite.
  7. Sometimes there will be formal meetings for formal conferences that med students are allowed to attend. Often times these events are subsidized (or free) for us. I personally think they're awesome. Lots of new cool info to learn, meeting interesting people, learn about their interesting experiences, make connections. And of course, get treated to five-star lunches and dinners. I kind of think that they are things to look forward to in life. Basically, at these meetings, get treated to events meant for royalty, and then go back to my condo afterward, get treated as a pauper. Of course, I'm overemphasizing, but it really shows the divide between what (heavily in debt) students live and what "real people" (people who actually make a positive salary) live.
  8. And speaking of that last point - I'm not complaining. I actually enjoy the contrast between these extreme ends of lifestyles/living. It makes me cherish the moments that I get when I go to these meetings and understand what life means outside of our current realm is. And of course, I know that people around the world may be worse off than I am. I may eat a lot of leftovers since I cook very few times a week, I may live off of frozen pizzas topped with celery during exam weeks, I (along with the rest of my classmates) may scour campus for free food on weekdays, but I am very grateful that I do have food, am not starving, have a warm roof over my head, and have friends and loved ones who are very close to me and enjoy sharing their lives with me.
  9. I often go through "phases" of foods. For example, I went through a phase where I wanted to eat fried rice. (Thank goodness I didn't get infected by Bacillus cerus XD) A udon noodles phase. A berries phase. A Kroger's fried wings phase. A cucumbers-and-milk phase (that actually lasted an entire summer!). A diet Coke phase. A chocolate-for-caffeine phase. You name it.
  10. Speaking of that cucumbers-and-milk phase: I basically ate only cucumbers and drank only milk that entire summer. It wasn't because I was trying to excessively diet; I was just... well, not really interested in food. Nevertheless, I lost 10-15 lbs that summer -_-

Tag: 50 Facts About Me, Part 1 (Makeup/Beauty/Fashion Stuffs)

/ Monday, April 8, 2013 /
Ultimate fob pose XD

Make-up/beauty/fashion/skincare stuffs:
  1. Skin shade: NC 25-30, depending on the season.
  2. I have acne-prone, combination-oily skin.
  3. I collect scarves. I think they're beautiful and can even serve as a substitute to jewelry in circumstances. Plus they're so warm and comfy!
  4. I don't wear foundation, bronzer, or blush. However, I do wear sunscreen.
  5. Often times, if I'm lazy during school days, I just go out with simple eyeliner on. Nothing else!
  6. I don't like lip balms, creams, chapsticks, etc with mint. It feels like it tingles my lips and reminds me of mouthwash.
  7. I'm trying to grow out my hair without getting split ends. Thus, tons of time spent on using conditioners, leave-in conditioners, and hair serums.
  8. Sometimes, after a few months of using the same makeup products, I'll just get tired of them. And then I'll switch onto new eyeshadow quads or new eyeliners or something. And then later I'll go back.
  9. I almost always follow expiration dates for mascara and liquid-y products. However, for things like eyeshadow, I use them up till they end completely.
  10. I've been using a lot more lip products this past year because of dryness to the lips and more cracking/bleeding during classes and stuff. 
  11. And on that note, I've been trying to find a waterproof lipstick/lip balm/lip stain. All of mine smear as soon as I drink or eat something.
  12. I love French braiding my hair. I learned it in order to increase the deftness of my fingers during my undergrad years while working in lab and doing microdissections for my research projects.
  13. Tweezing vs epilating vs waxing vs shaving? I've only really had success with tweezing and shaving. And I prefer tweezing - after all, the hair follicle grows back softer.
  14. Face masks are really refreshing but super expensive. For example, the My Beauty Diary masks are $1.50 each. This may not seem a lot by themselves but if you calculate it out, it costs $10.50/week if you use one every day. And thus $40+ per month. And that's the price of a gym membership!
  15. I used to really like buying ELF (EyesLipsFace) products because they were really cheap. And also because I was a beginner in makeup. Now I prefer either buying quality drugstore products or (very few) high-end products. For example, I'd rather buy 1 MakeUp Forever waterproof eyeliner a year than buy several cheaper eyeliners that smear. After all, I won't have time to touch up my makeup when I go to clinics and stuff. Why not invest?
  16. But going to that last point - there is no way that I think that high-end makeup brands are simply better than drugstore brands. For example, out of all of the mascaras I've tested, from ELF to Estee Lauder, I still think the Maybelline ones are the best I've tried. Just about every one of the Maybelline ones, in fact. I can buy a Maybelline mascara for $5 at the drugstore, whereas an Estee Lauder one is several times more expensive.
  17. On the other hand I do definitely agree that there are some things in high-end makeup brands that I haven't found in drugstore brands (at least so far). For example, MakeUp Forever's waterproof liquid aqua liners are some things I haven't seen paralleled by any other makeup brand, and that includes both drugstore and department-store quality.
  18. One thing I definitely will (sort-of) splurge on is sunscreen. After all, I don't want to get skin cancer!
  19. I think (roughly but conservatively estimating) about 200 of my friends have gotten engaged or married within the past year. I'm NOT joking.
  20. When I was younger, my skin used to be a lot darker than it is now. I used to play outside and stuff without any sunscreen on. With the hot Texas sun, yeah. I think I was somewhere between NC 40 and NC 44. During middle school and high school, we didn't have recess anymore (although I did have PE in middle school). Then in high school I hardly went outside due to my increased classwork load. So my skin got lighter. Despite being in the Texas sun. And so forth. Now my skin's NC 25-30, depending on the season. Who knows, perhaps it'll change again?

Tag: 50 Facts About Me, Part 0

/ Sunday, April 7, 2013 /
I'm doing a tag that encompasses 50 facts about me. It will be divided into several parts for easier, more pleasant reading. Also, it will be published on both blogs (this and for easy viewing for all of my audiences. StAy TuNeD!

Review: MAC Glitz Gloss in Girl's Got It

/ Saturday, April 6, 2013 /
FTC: I received this product as a gift; I am not paid to do any reviews on it.

MAC's Glitz Gloss in Girl's Got It is my first MAC product. For those who don't know, MAC is a high-end, department store makeup brand. Some makeup gurus swear by this brand and almost exclusively use products from this line.

For the longest time, I didn't have any MAC products. However, last semester, one of my friends gave me this during a Halloween party. Thus, I decided to check it out!!!

On MakeupAlley, this product has been rated as 2 out of 5 stars with a packaging quality of 3 out of 5 stars. Some reviews stated that the gloss is really sheer, that it is only a glittery lip balm, and doesn't have a lot of color. Hmm.


My first impresion, on that Halloween night, however, was pretty positive. I thought that it was nice glitter lip tint with a very nice, sweet scent. It definitely does have a fuschia-like color.

Upon application, I think the MakeupAlley reviews have been pretty accurate in terms of texture and the overall product received. The product is very sheer and slightly glittery. It doesn't have a very thick tint. However, it does not really feel sticky, and feels very nourishing, as a fact. It lasts awhile actually, even after I ate food.
Here's how it looks. Pretty neutral, huh?

I believe this product has been discontinued actually; I've found it on Amazon for $19 and Ebay for $13 + $8 shipping. I think at this point it may be a collector's item (for people who like collecting makeup, or MAC makeup in particular).

What do I think of this lip tint/lip gloss/etc? Well, I think it's actually pretty good. It does a great job. However, I'm probably not willing to shell out nearly $20 to buy a lip gloss like this. Especially when I can get comparably good ones for less than 1/2 the price.

But I definitely think this is a good product!

New FTC Procedures for Bloggers

/ /
Because of new FTC rules for bloggers (for a more detailed explanation, click here) you will probably see a new routine in my posts. I will be featuring whether I received products for free or whether I bought them or not very prominently in my posts. Also I will state whether or not I am paid to do a review of a product (and to this date, I have never been paid for one!).

Just to let you know - so that I do not confuse anyone or violate any FTC regulations!~

Original link to FTC guidelines

Apply to the Online TB Learning Institute!

/ Wednesday, April 3, 2013 /

Aspire to be a leader in health, but not really sure which sector is best?
Enroll in our IHN Learning Institute where you can interact with experienced professionals in the following sectors. 

Go to to register for more information and apply by April 22.

IHN Online Learning Institute: May 20 - June 8 
This institute will be a holistic training program anchored around tuberculosis.

The Interdisciplinary Health Network (IHN) Summer Learning Institute will be held from May 20-June 8. The IHN was founded on the core belief that an integrated approach across disciplines to combating disease is needed. IHN’s mission is to create a training program that addresses this need and to develop a network across different academic sectors.  Our mission is to empower students to achieve their goals as future global health professionals by providing a holistic educational environment that allows for innovative thinking in global health.

This summer, we will hold our inaugural Learning Institute, and we invite any student with an interest in global health to apply, though the Institute is specifically focus on tuberculosis. The Learning Institute will be a three week online course with live webinars.

Speakers include:

Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Stop TB Department
Paul Nunn, Global Health Consultant; Former Coordinator, WHO Stop TB Department
Helen McShane, Professor of Vaccinology, Oxford Martin Programme on Vaccines
Kathleen England, Senior Scientist, Stanford University School of Medicine
Rifat Mahfuza, Senior Programme TB Manager, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) (largest community health TB program worldwide)

Benefits :
· Be better equipped with skills and knowledge of global health through our holistic program
· Opportunity to interact with experienced professionals in global health
· Learn about global health internship placements within each of these sectors

In addition, organizations can register online for our email list to receive the latest information.


My revised, updated skincare routine (for Spring 2013)

/ Tuesday, April 2, 2013 /
3Lab Perfect Cleansing Foam
Photo source

Blue Lizard Sunscreen, SPF 30+
Photo source

Murad - Clarifying Cleanser
Murad Clarifying Cleanser w/ 1.5% Salicylic Acid
Photo source
Witch Hazel
Photo Source

Garnier moisture rescue gel cream
Garnier Moisture Rescue Gel Cream
Photo source
Puristics Advanced Skin Rejuvenating Lotion (as eye cream)
Photo Source

Note: Many of these products are actually pretty expensive.
Original price of these:
3Lab: $52 for 4.4 oz
Blue Lizard: $16 for 5 oz
Murad: $26 for 6.75 oz
Witch hazel: $3 for up to 24 oz
Garnier: $7 for 1.7 oz
Puristics: $20 for 1.7 oz

How did I get these, though?

3Lab: MyGlam (Ipsy) Glam Bag, $10 monthly subscription (along with a bunch of other products)
Blue Lizard: Buy One Get one 50% off, so net = $11 for 5 oz 
Murad: Sephora gift bag (free)
Witch hazel: Drugstore
Garnier: Drugstore
Puristics: Sale of a sale, $2 for 1.7 fl oz

Thus, I probably paid about $25 for everything. And this includes tax and stuff.

So, yes, while I do have these high-end products, I'm trying to make astute decisions about where to buy what products. I saved about 80% on these products.

For all my Frugal buyers out there - being a student for the past 18 years of my life, I definitely understand the needs of buying on sale, things that are gifts, etc. For example, I do have a Sephora gift card that I got from one of my friends, but I'm trying to save up for it because I want to use it when I know I want to buy something that I can't get anywhere else more affordably. No worries. At all.


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