HAIRCARE HAUL: She’s a big one!

Hey everyone!

I haven’t done a hair specific post before, but I’d thought no better time then now since I bought a LOT of items to improve my scalp and hair.

I’ve tried every single product listed below, but will wait another month to give them proper reviews. All you have to know for now is I’ve been getting positive comments on how my hair has been looking! My friend says it visibly looks smoother, my mother even noticed it looks thicker and fuller, particular at the front, and I’ve noticed my hair feels super soft despite having bleached/dyed ends.

My hair:  Long (underboob length). Dark brown that gets natural highlights in the summer, tips are dyed because I’ve been growing out my natural hair – haven’t dyed my hair since December 2017. Pretty much straight 24/7 – although when I get a haircut there is a slight wave. Would say mostly my hair is 1A. Low porosity. Not thick like typical Asian hair but still considered thick (if that makes sense).

My Scalp: Used to be super inflamed when I bleached for years, to the point where I developed a disgusting amount of dandruff. Now it is fairly balanced – no dandruff, but scalp gets itchy by the 2nd day after washing. Scalp can get quite oily. I tried “adjusting” to wash my hair only 1-2x a week for a year and it never adjusted (yes, even without using heat, using SLS and silicone-free shampoo / conditioners, dry shampoo).


CALIA NATURAL

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Broken record intro, yes, I heard about this from Holistic Habits lol.

I actually contacted Calia Natural customer service because they actually have such a huge selection of products, catered to any hair type! After explaining to them my current scalp and hair situation, they recommended for me the Purifying line for dry hair, the Balancing line, and to do a conditioning mask every so often. I opted for the smallest sizes of their Purifying Shampoo, Balancing Conditioner, and Intensive Conditioner. I’ve used these a handful of times and holy moly, my hair feels AMAZING. I’m no stranger to SLS-free, silicone-free shampoos and such. I’ve actually been using them for years. I think the biggest standout about their products is that they are attentive to the pH of their products. Their shampoos are around pH 5.5 (like the scalp) and conditioners around pH 4.5 (like the hair shaft). I am VERY impressed with these products so far, and totally get the hype around them.


THE INNATE LIFE + HASK

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This brand has also been mentioned by Holistic Habits, but it was actually OrganicallyAnna’s review that convinced me to give this the Innate Life a go. I purchased their small bundle which contains their Scalp Treatment for Problematic Scalp, Herbal Hair Mask and Rose Hair Elixir. I have had an irritated scalp for years, and have always bought serums to help. Not once however, did I ever intently massage my scalp, or did I ever use something so oil-based for it before! I tried coconut oil in the past and honestly w-t-f is the point if I need to do 2-4 shampoos to get it out!? So far though the Scalp Treatment has been fairly easy to wash out, and very enjoyable to use! I love the scent of the Herbal Hair Mask, but it performs kinda meh; I’ll have to try it in different ways to see how it performs best.

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Usually for hair oils, silicone always performs the best for me, hence why I purchased an amazingly affordable one from Hask – their Monoi Nourishing Shine Oil. I love how a small amount goes a long way and makes my bleached, dyed ends feels soft. However, I am equally as impressed and more obsessed with the smell from the Innate Life’s Rose Hair Elixir. O-M-G, yes, you smell like roses for majority of the day if you use this in your hair. Both hair oils have great scents actually, not super strong, quite subtle, but I prefer the natural scent from the Rose Hair Elixir.


BEACH COSMETICS

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After giving spot-on recommendations, I trusted OrganicallyAnna with another one of her favourites, Beach Cosmetics Mellow Out Leave-In Conditioning Detangler. After having horrid results from using Carina Organics Sweet Pea Leave-In Conditioner, I steered clear from leave-in conditioners for a while. I tried a sample-size of the Briogeo one and actually seemed decent, but I opted to support a more local brand made by a Canadian actress! I’ve used this detangler the least amount of times compared to the other products, but I still enjoyed using it the couple of times I did! It’s a lovely fine spray, leaves my hair actually detangled, feeling soft, and smelling like a cookie! It’s a bit too faux-fragranced for my liking, yet I can’t stop smelling my hair and feeling delicious. Either way while it’s in my hair it’s not overpowering and I don’t smell it unless I willingly sniff my hair (admittedly more often than usual). I may consider the Briogeo one in the future but for now I’m happy with the one I just got!


TEK BRUSHES + KITSCH

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The only tools / accessories purchased in this haul! I feel like almost every channel I watched, TEK Brushes were ALWAYS mentioned! And on top of that, I haven’t found a brush that looks quite like it (well, I did, but the quality was poo-poo). I caved and bought TEK’s Oval Brush, which I have been loving! Basically a wooden brush is supposed to help massaging your scalp, help distribute your natural oils throughout your hair strands, and not cause a lot of breakage to your hair when brushing. So far the head massages have been nice and gentle, and I can’t really tell if the “oil distribution” part is doing much. Either way this brush definitely performs and is great quality! As for the Kitsch Microfiber Hair Towel Wrap – I like how microfiber absorbs a lot of water from my hair, for this has helped reduce the amount of heat I use significantly! I already had a microfiber cloth, but Kitsch offered a turban towel so I had to get it. I’m happy to report that it fits all my hair easily!

Honourable Mention: Revlon One-Step Dryer and Volumizer. Check out my Instagram post on it if you want to know more about why I love this tool!


And that’s that for the haul! I’m going to attempt to explain my haircare routine in the future, and I’ll be reviewing some of the products at a later date (I’m thinking July, since some of these products are made by Canadians!).

xo, M

BEST OF BEAUTY 2018: Makeup

2018 flew by so freaking fast! It’s been a personal journey for me, but let’s reflect on the interesting stuff: MAKEUP! Below are the ones that hit me in the feels when I use it (I mean that in the best of ways). I understand the product, I look forward to using them, and I trust them.


BASE

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It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream (Medium) – One of the best Western CC Creams that I have tried to date. Provides great coverage, literally makes it look like my skin but better, lasts a long time. It’s no surprise that it’s one I favour, for it’s made in Korea, the place where BB Creams became heavily popularized! I do sometimees notice my face looking paler than usual when using this, but it’s in the off lighting that you’ll barely catch me under xP

MAC Cosmetics Studio Face & Body Foundation (C2) – A great reach for when you literally want just a tint. The base is on the glowier side, so I find this more suitable for the winter time when my skin is more susceptible to looking lack-luster. I also found the coverage of this tint buildable compared to other ones I’ve tried.

MUFE Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation (Y305 Soft Beige) – She is found – a natural looking, buildable, matte-satin foundation for DRY skin. Here’s the catch – the matte look doesn’t last that long, but it wears the way I want it to for a night out, which is when I tend to reach for this. I’ve worn it for a whole day and it will get quite dewy, but heck, the finish is there when it matters most and it’s been a while since I’ve been so comfortable wearing a foundation. Since it is buildable, I can also use this to spot conceal as well. It’s not 100% non-transferrable, but definitely better than when I used to use Too Faced Born This Way Foundation!

Pixi Beauty H2O Skin Tint (No. 3 Warm) – One of the better drugstore complexion finds I have found to date. It’s not orange, it’s an actual undertone. It always gives me a lovely satin finish, with a slight blurring effect.

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Pixi Beauty Makeup Fixing Mist – At first the heavy fragrance in this turned me off, but it’s so damn good that I put up with it. Before makeup, it gives my skin a great healthy glow without looking oily, and really diffuses the texture I’m concerned with on my forehead. After makeup, gets rid of the dry, powdery look if I did overpowder.

I encourage you to check out my previous posts if any categories are missing. Like I said, I only include the ones that really hit me in thefeels the year I discovered it!


EYE AREA

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Heroine Make Volume & Curl Mascara (Super Waterproof, 01 Jet Black) – Black, waterproof, buildable. I can wear it for a natural look, and build it up when I do a more eyeshadow heavy look. Seriously, the Japanese know what to do with mascaras!

Anastasia Beverley Hills Soft Glam Palette – Hands down most used palette this year. I was really fond of using Orange Soda, Burnt Orange, and Sienna this year, all year long. Lately I’ve been loving a brown smokey eye!


CHEEK

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Clinique Cheek Pop (Melon Pop) – So glad to have given cheek pops a try, and I was lucky enough to first pick out my favourite daily blush! I’ve watched Korean MUAs use them for its water-colour type finish. And they were right! It adds a beautiful hue to the cheeks and lasts.

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Winky Lux Strobe Balm (Lit) – I actually like this better than RMS Beauty’s Living Luminizer! While that one is natural, the WL one is thinner, hence easier for me to use on top of any base. It’s also more dimensional and I find it works as a nice base for other highlighters.


LIPS

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Bubz Beauty Liquid Lipstick (Girl Next Door) – The best neutral pink lip product I have come across. I can make it work with a warm and cool look, and it doesn’t make my lips look pasty or buttholey.

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Left to right: Shu Uemura “S RD 150”, Bubz “Girl Next Door”

Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Sheer Shine Liptisck (S RD 150) – The perfect hot pink colour! Love that it leans warm, and you can wear it sheer or really build the colour. It really moisturizes my lips and I never have problems wearing it for the whole day. I’ve been searching for this colour for so long!


 

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And there you have it, my makeup faves from 2018!! If I didn’t mention a product in a specific category, check out my previous “Best of” posts, I’m most likely still using the same stuff! In the selfie above, I used all products I mentioned (except 3/4 foundations… Cause you know, I only have so much face). List of products used are already captioned in my Instagram post.

Hope you have had an amazing 2018, and 2019 has been treating you well so far! Stay tuned for the Best of Skincare!

xo, M


BEST OF BEAUTY 2017: MAKEUP
The Best of Beauty 2016


*This post contains affiliate links.

December 2018 Roundup – I DID IT!

*clap clap clap* I have somehow managed to do a roundup for every month this year, and use up a ton of products along the way! Here are my favourites and empties for December, and stay tuned for the Beauty of Beauty posts!


Favourites

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Skincare

Cerave Baby Healing Ointment – The regular one isn’t available in Canada, but I swear these have similar ingredients! This is my current go-to occlusive for around my eyes, smile area and any dry spots (let’s be real – my entire face). It has 45% petroleum, mineral oil, as well as *drumroll* CERAMIDES! You guessed it lol. Basically this is less greasy to use compared to straight up Vaseline (although still greasy) and is easier to thin out or mix with my moisturizer.

Tools

Sephora Pro-Diffuser Brush #64 – Another solid recommendation from my friend. This brush is the best complexion brush I have ever used. MAC Face and Body, MUFE Matte Velvet, cream blush. powder blush, general blending… Bless this brush, for it does everything!


Empties

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Skincare

Benzagel 5 Acne Wash – One of the best BP products I’ve ever used. It was really gentle when I used it, lasted WAY longer than expected, and worked well with OTC Differin.
My Nighttime (PM) Skincare Routine 2018

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment – Love it more than the Phytopolleine I had prior. It worked fairly quickly at balancing my scalp, and I actually found I didn’t have a need for it until I *unbalanced* it with other hair products I’ve been trying. Will probably repurchase this.

CNP Brightening Daily Fluid Sun Essential Fluid Formula SPF50+ PA++++ – Loved it when I first bought it because of how milky it was. However near it’s end it seemed to pill on my face a LOT! Also I can’t rely find a reliable link even if I wanted to repurchase.

Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum * – After much reflection on all the Vitamin C serums I have tried this year, I have concluded that this was the best one. Mainly because it benefitted my skin in a variety of ways, and the one major con is the price.
REVIEW: Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel * – Holy cow, this took so long to finish, I actually used it in the morning as well. I got this back in October 2017 And pretty much used it every night since (aside from testing other stuff). A little went a long way and despite the price you really do get the full value of this cleanser!

Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream 30ml – You all know I purchased the 60ml size, ’nuff said.
BRAND REVIEW: Dear, Klairs

Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream – This moisturizer will always have a special place in my heart. The only moisturizer I  could rely on when my skin was Going from oily to dry while still breaking out from getting off of BC.


HAPPY NEW YEAR, 60+ EMPTIES LATER.


TOTAL EMPTIES

January – 4
February – 4
March – 6
April – 5
May – 4
June – 5
July – 3
August – 7
September – 10
October & November – 7
December – 7

62 MO’FREAKIN’ PRODUCTS! I know my bf helped me with some, but majority of them were on my own damn face! Keep in mind I didn’t purchase all these products, some were gifts and PR.

For 2019, I’m really going to try being more diligent at using up products I have before purchasing another one. I thought I was doing pretty good, but receiving PR that I care to use after review makes it difficult.

Hope you enjoyed my Roundup series! This year I may just do current favourites and empties based on the season so the video is more focused on a topic. Stay tuned for my Best of Beauty 2018 posts, they are almost done!

xo, M


*  This post contains affiliate links.

REVIEW: Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum

My interest of Dermalogica’s esspenssive Biolumin-C Serum * peaked when I first tried it when I had a Dermalogica’s ProSkin30 Facial. I achieved the results below from cleansing, clay mask, toner, Biolumin-C, and a mositurizer with SPF.

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Gloals

My face felt very calm and comfortable for the rest of the day and I was stunned myself to see the before and after. Mind you, I was out dehydrating myself for my friend’s birthday the night before 😛

Before the ProSkin30 Facial began, I mentioned in my consultation that I was acne prone, normal to dry skin, concerned with hyperpigmentation from acne as well as preventative aging. One of the products the esthetician recommended to me was the Dermalogica Biolumin-C serum. Check out my Instagram multi-post where I took photos of my experience!

Dermalogica was kind enough to send me the Biolumin-C Serum as a gift, and I decided to give it a 2-week run to see if I would notice any noticeable benefits from it. If you’re interested in learning a bit about what it’s done for my acne prone, normal-dry skin, then keep on reading!


BIOLUMIN-C

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“A high-performance Vitamin C serum that works with skin’s own defenses to brighten and firm. Advanced bio-technology fuses ultra-stable Vitamin C and Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, helping to dramatically reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Formulated with advanced technology to deliver more Vitamin C into skin. This superior formula outperforms other Vitamin C products (including those formulated at higher concentrations). Other key ingredients include Vitamin C Complex for brighter, firmer, more radiant skin, Lactic Acid to accelerate cell turnover, Sophora Japonica Flower Extract to help return skin to a calm state after experiencing oxidative stress, and Salvia Hispanica (Chia Seed) Oil to hydrate and help quench free radicals.

Price: $118 CAD
Size: 1oz
Gluten-Free
Vegan
No Artifical Fragrances and Colours
Paraben-Free
Cruelty-Free

WHERE TO BUY:
Dermalogica
Sephora
In-store at select retailers


INGREDIENTS

Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Ethoxydiglycol, Lactic Acid, Salvia Hispanica (Chia) Seed Extract, Sodium PCA, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Sophora Japonica Flower Extract, Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Trehalose, Polyacrylate-13, Propanediol, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Polyisobutene, Methylpropanediol, Carrageenan, Pentylene Glycol, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 20, Limonene, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol

COSDNA IL

HIGHLIGHTED INGREDIENTS:

Lactic Acid (unknown %): exfoliant, humectant
Salvia Hispanica (Chia) Seed Extract: emollient, skin-replenishing, skin-restoring
Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5: skin-restoring
Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate (unknown %): antioxidant, texture enhancer
Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate (unknown %): antioxidant, skin-brightening

I haven’t been able to successfully find much online about Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phophsate or Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate, not even parroted information from other bloggers. Here are 2 links I found, feel free to share with me more info!

https://incidecoder.com/ingredients/aminopropyl-ascorbyl-phosphate https://www.futurederm.com/dr-brandt-power-dose-vitamin-c-serum-20-review/

Despite the lack of online information to us mere consumers, I’ve been informed by a Dermalogica esthetician that the bioavailability score of Biolumin-C is 21, compared to leading competitors with L-Ascorbic Acid rating at 7 and 9. In layman’s terms, it penetrates the skin better than the unknown competitors.


USAGE

First Week: Used in the morning only, used AHA toner every night with OTC Differin.
Second Week: Used morning and night, no BHA or AHA, with OTC Differin.

Fragrance: Light citrus scent. Possibly the Grapefruit Peel Oil in it. It is not strong at all and you only notice it for a second.

Texture: A runny type of serum but definitely on the more viscous side.

Application: I use almost half a dropper, placing on my forehead, cheeks, chin and neck. I make sure to massage the product all around my face and neck, and only the undereye area. I then tap the product in until it starts to feel tacky.

Finish: Tacky and moisturized.

Initial Results: Skin feels smoother, hydrated, bright, plump.

Long-Term Results (2 weeks): Spot on face (with Differin) faded. Spot on neck (without Differin) faded.


FINAL THOUGHTS

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I like it, but I’m confused. Is lactic acid doing majority of the work? It also helps smooth skin, make it brighter, and contribute to anti-aging skincare. Is it helping the Vitamin C derivative penetrate better? Although it might be highly stable, does it just sit on top of the skin? Also, for the price, it’s asking too much of me to apply half a dropper day and night!

Despite my confusion, the product is showing results. Every Dermalogica product I have used has bettered my skin, so I am open to it being an efficacious Vitamin C derivative. They like using ingredients with endless studies proving its benefits, but also try to create innovative products using phytobotanical ingredients. Their description of Biolumin-C alone states that they formulated the serum to help the Vitamin C become more bioavailable, but unfortunately I’m not a chemist and wouldn’t know how they began to do that.

Despite my skepticism, I overall am enjoying the Biolumin-C Serum. Face feels and looks smoother, brighter, feels moisturized, works with OTC Differin, and is able to heal spots on its own (the neck spot). I feel like it cut down some steps in my skincare routine; I can pretty much use just do Cleanser, Toner, Biolumin-C, Moisturizer, SPF and call it a day (until my nighttime routine, obvs).

If you’re interested in learning more about it, Dermalogica actually talked about it on their podcast called Living Skin. Check it out here!

Do I recommend? I would recommend if this would be your skincare routine’s star player in a fairly minimal routine, and you purchase during the Sephora VIB Sale lol.
Specific Skin-Type? I think all skin types would like this. Half a dropper may be too much for oily-skinned peeps though!

WHERE TO BUY:
Sephora
Dermalogica

Hope you found this review helpful!

xo, M


RELATED CONTENT

I tried Dermalogica’s Double Cleanse Routine ft. the PreCleanse Balm
My Morning (AM) Skincare Routine 2018

Product was sent as a gift, not for review purposes. I decided to do that on my own.

Dynamic Duo? Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop & Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Face Mask

If you follow the Korean beauty scene, the latest skincare advice is to use vitamin C and vitamin E products together in your skincare routine. They have been talked about as a power couple and it is highly recommended to combine the two to really maximize both their skincare benefits.

The Benefits of Vitamin C and E Together

  • Boosting vitamin C effects on your skin
  • Protecting skin from sun damage
  • Neutralize any free radicals that occur after sun exposure
  • Help synthesize collagen
  • Maintain the cross-links between the collagen fibers

I happen to have two Klairs products that have been recommended to go together! Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop and Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask.

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The Controversy Combining Niacinamide with Vitamin C

If you noticed on the Vitamin E Mask, niacinamide is one of the key ingredients. Some beauty companies advise consumers not to pair any niacinamide to vitamin C products; both combined will neutralize the other, rendering both ingredients ineffective in your skincare routine.

The only time I have heard otherwise:

  • Charlotte Cho from Soko Glam state that Niacinamide actually helps stabilize vitamin C and they’re very safe to use together
  • Paula Begoun explaining that old studies on their incompatibility were due to using unstable formulas, and today’s studies show the formulations they test with today are stable
  • Wishtrend conflicted itself; they had a youtube video saying to not combine the two ingredients together, yet on their Vitamin E Mask page, it describes how Niacinamide helps stabilize vitamin C and its own benefits are enhanced when combined

I’ve been using these 2 products as part of my night time skincare routine for a few months now, and I feel comfortable enough to finalize my thoughts on these products and how they work together.

To piece this review nicely, I’m going to start by individually reviewing the products and finalize my thoughts by how they perform together at the end. Also, because I’m reviewing two products, I didn’t include the section on claims and ingredients list, but I left links down below for you to check it out yourself.
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