So tell me now
When every star falls from the sky
And every last heart in the world breaks
Oh hold me now

Robin Schulz ft. James Blunt, OK (2017)

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.

Audrey Hepburn, British actress, model, dancer, humanitarian; film and fashion icon of Hollywood’s Golden Age (1929-1993)

IMAGE CREDIT: Glamour

 

+mask off+

F*** it, mask off

Future, Mask Off (2017)

Using the right facial masks can really make a difference to your skin, so I wanted to share some of my favorite masks, explaining why I love these products.

Just as a reminder, I have normal, but very sensitive skin, so my recommendations are based off what worked well for my skin.  That being said, I don’t have skin issues like oiliness or dryness.  However, I am a victim of dry winters and such, so these are also products that worked for my skin.

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The Groups

For each mask type, I’ll be sharing recommendations at varying price points.  Skincare’s an investment, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to buy the crème de la crème.  Besides exfoliating and sheet masks, each section will have masks targeted towards specific conditions in different mask mediums.  Listed below are the mask types I’ll be focusing today

 

  • Exfoliating
  • Sheet
  • Oily skin (includes Clay)
  • Dry skin (includes Hydrating)
  • Firming & rejuvenating skin (aka “anti-aging”)
  • Detoxifying
  • EXTRA: Overnight

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Exfoliating Masks

Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off – $10.00 (100 g)
I just love this product.  It’s cheap and relatively effective, and the instructions are quite simple: its massaged onto a cleansed damp face and left in for 10-15 minutes, before it’s rinsed off.  This mask uses sugar as its microbeads to exfoliate, so your skin not only feels smooth, but smells great too.
Click here to purchase.

Lancôme Énergie de Vie The Illuminating & Purifying Exfoliating Mask – $55.00 (2.6 oz/75 mL)
I’ve heard that Lancôme’s products were on the harsher side, so I was initially reluctant to try this pretty green product.  However, I was wrong, as I quickly learned that this is a lazy person’s dream.  All you do is lather it onto your face, then let the magic happen, as you relax.  If this price tag is a practical option for you, this is definitely something worth investing in because you feel great afterwards, knowing that your pores are no longer clogged.
Click here to purchase.

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Sheet Masks

Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Mask – $1.00 (single use)
This mask is one of the many cheap Korean sheet masks that every regular mask user on a tight budget should use.  Using sheet masks frequently adds up, and just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean that it won’t get the job done.  My friends who visited Korea said that Innisfree sheet masks, among others, can sell for only 2 for $1, which sounds even better!  Also, who doesn’t like a mask that’s soaked in rosewater?
Click here to purchase.

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin™ Skin-Friendly Nanoskin Sheet Mask – $6.00 (single use)
According to many Korean beauty users, Dr. Jart+ makes exceptional products.  Friends with dry skin love using this all year round, while “normal” skinned friends (aka friends with little to no skin issues) also love to use this mask during the winter.  Dr. Jart+’s masks also have a great perk: the remaining serum in the pouch is more than enough to revitalize your décolleté area.
Click here to purchase.

SK-II Facial Treatment Mask – $17.00 (single use), $135.00 (pack of 10)
SK-II’s a high-end comestic brand, known for its exceptional service.  Despite its high price point, SK-II really delivers whatever they advertise.  This mask is no exception, with a common conclusion: you feel like a beauty fashion model after using it.
Click here to purchase.

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Oily Skin Masks (includes Clay)                       

CLINIQUE Acne Solutions™ Oil-Control Cleansing Mask – $25.00 (3.4 fl oz/100 mL)
From my experience, CLINIQUE products generally works well with sensitive skin at an affordable price.  Though I don’t have oily skin, my friends who do all talk about this product because it’s great, given its price, in comparison to other brands.
Click here to purchase.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask – $27.00 (3.4 fl oz/100 mL)
Regardless of skin type, this Origins mask is a popular choice.  My old roommate who had dry, not oily, skin loved this product, which serves to show that this is an extremely versatile product.  The only downside about this mask, like all charcoal products, is that it can be hard to completely wash off in one sitting.
Click here to purchase.

GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD® Clearing Treatment – $69.00 (1.7 oz/50 g)
If you’re willing to splurge, GLAMGLOW’s the brand to choose.  It’s said that celebs love using GLAMGLOW products because it truly gives a glow to the user.  I’ve also noticed that in general, beauty vloggers and such all love using this product.  And though dermatologists say that it’s impossible to shrink pores, this product really makes your pores seem smaller.
Click here to purchase.

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Dry Skin Masks (includes Hydrating)

Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask – $45.00 (3.4 fl oz)
Kiehl’s is a brand that really lets its products do the talking instead of heavily advertising their stuff.  This product is no exception, as the combination of hydration and pleasant smelling calendula and aloe really wakes your face up.
Click here to purchase.

Perricone MD Cocoa Moisture Mask – $69.00 (2 oz/59 mL)
If you ever wanted to smell like chocolate, or love anything chocolate, this is mask to use.  Perricone MD provides a spatula in the packaging, so you don’t have to contaminate the product with your hands germs, and decrease the longevity of your mask (i.e. especially if you’re a slow mask user, or want to frugally use this product).
Click here to purchase.

fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask® – $92.00 (3.3 oz/100 mL)
fresh products consistently smell great and get the job done.  I’ve only reacted poorly to one fresh product (a cleanser), but their rose, black tea, and brown sugar lines are very effective.  However, it’s a hefty price for a face mask, so proceed with caution, as the (relatively cheaper options shared above) are just as effective.
Click here to purchase.

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Firming & Rejuvenating Skin Masks (aka “anti-aging”)

Dr. Hauschka Revitalising Mask – $51.00 (1 oz)
The beauty industry definitely takes advantage of the fact that women are scared of aging.  Obviously, creating new anti-aging products time time and money, and those labor costs eventually factor into the final price of any product.  Dr. Haushka’s mask is actually on cheaper side for a rejuvenating mask because anti-aging products usually contain chemicals not included in other masks.  Thankfully, a small amount of mask goes a long way, shrinking your pores and smoothing your skin.
Click here to purchase.

Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask – $65.00 (12 packettes x 2 sheets)
One of the largest markers of aging is crows’ feet, regardless of your age and how much you smile.  Shiseido knows this, and that’s why they created this product that somehow relaxes the harsh, aging lines around your eyes, making you look younger.
Click here to purchase.

AMOREPACIFIC MOISTURE BOUND Intensive Serum Masque – $90.00 (6 treatments)
AMOREPACIFIC’s a high-end beauty conglomerate beloved by celebrities and beauty lovers all over the world.  Besides relaxing even the most noticeable wrinkles, this mask leaves you glowing.
Click here to purchase.

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Detoxifying Skin Masks

Caudalie Instant Detox Mask – $39.00 (2.5 oz/75 mL)
To me, Caudalie can be a hit or a miss.  However, this mask gets the job done for my sensitive skin.  It isn’t harsh, and it leaves behind a pleasant and smooth feeling.
Click here to purchase.

Estée Lauder NightWear Plus 3-Minute Detox Mask – $47.00 (2.5 oz/75 mL)
Estée Lauder’s detox mask’s a winning combination of great smell and its gentle, yet effective design.  This should be pretty obvious because for a mask that costs almost $50.00, you’ll want to see actual results, and this product doesn’t disappoint.
Click here to purchase.

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EXTRA: Overnight Mask

Shiseido Ibuki Beauty Sleeping Mask – $40.00 (2.8 oz)
I love Shiseido products, especially the Ibuki line, because they work well on my sensitive skin.  As a NYC girl with relatively normal skin and daily pollution exposure, this overnight mask’s efficient for a person of the city.  It’s like a vitamin pill and an energizer bunny in one that gets to work as you sleep – even a tired face will look well-rested in the morning.
Click here to purchase.

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If these options are not practical for you, no worries!  I’ll be sharing some DIY masks that you can make from the things you have at home in the near future, so stay tuned!

Image Credit: Vogue

If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it.

John Davison Rockefeller Sr., American oil industry business magnate, philanthropist; widely considered the wealthiest American of all time, richest person in modern history (1839-1937)

+mask on+

Mask on

Future, Mask Off (2017)

Wearing sunscreen is extremely important to me.  It provides a valuable service, keeping most of the sun’s harmful UV rays away from our precious skin cells.  And according to friends, tanning with sunscreen actually helps achieve a nice glow without the fear of skin peeling.  Though I wouldn’t know, because I dislike staying out under the sun for more than five minutes.

Despite all these great benefits, sunscreen tends to make your face feel clogged and greasy.  Even after thoroughly washing my face with an oil cleanser and a regular cleanser, I still feel like there’s some sunscreen residue left.  So, to combat that, I turned to masks, which makes skin feel great.

♓️

Mask Mediums

Face masks come in many different forms, each catering to a different need.  While it’s hard to definitively categorize the types, I would say that there are seven types of ways masks are presented.  And to note, while these are the general standards for each type, it’s also very important that you read the instructions first!

Cream
Cream masks are designed to brighten, hydrate, and/or rejuvenate skin.  A thin layer is applied to a dry and cleansed face for a few minutes before you remove it, using a wash cloth, or something similar.

Exfoliating
Exfoliating masks are designed to give your face a good scrub.  Chemical or physical exfoliators, like glycolic acid or microbeads, do away with dead skin cells that lay on top of the fresh skin cells.  Exfoliating helps the skin be more accepting of other skincare products and makeup, by evening out the skin.  This should only be used about once per week because once you start to over-exfoliate, you lose the beautiful glow hidden underneath the dead skin cells.

Food Based
Food based masks are designed to use the natural properties found in fruits, vegetables, plants, etc. to revitalize the skin.  Common food based masks are cucumber, oatmeal, honey, rose.  However, if you have sensitive skin or allergies, it’s best if you skipped on trying out this method because it’s not worth breaking out in hives and having trouble breathing, just to get healthy skin.

Peel-Off
Peel-off masks are designed to fight blemishes, fight stress-induced blotchiness, tighten skin, amongst other things.  It usually comes in a gel, plastic, or paraffin wax form that hardens after application.  This type of mask is recommended more for people with mature skin, as opposed to younger skin, but if you’re in the latter group that’s interested in trying this, proceed with caution!

Sheet
Sheet masks are sort of the lazy way to juice up your skin with essential nutrients, a method that originates from South Korea.  These are serum soaked, face-shaped sheets (i.e. made of fiber, hydro-gel, pulp, or biocellulose), in individual packages, typically for one time use only.  They are extremely easy to use because all you need to do is slap on a sheet masks and let it do its job for about half and hour, before removing.  Pro tip: the serum remaining in the bag can be used on your neck, décolleté, and hands.  These areas also need to look young!

Thermal
Thermal masks are designed to open your pores and encourage your skin to breathe by warming the surface tissue through a chemical reaction.  The process begins by exposure to water, which causes it to heat up.  Think steaming your face, but much more penetrative.

Warm-Oil

Warm-oil masks are designed for softening the skin and increasing blood circulation.  They are typically used in spas, though it’s possible to make your own using an extracted oil, like olive oil.  Like peel-off masks, it’s most effective on mature skin, so buyer (or DIY creator) beware!

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Mask Targets

As seen in the previous section, different mediums are more effective for certain skin treatments.  When you buy a mask, they generally come with four different taglines.

Oily Skin (e.g. Clay)
Clay masks are one of the most advertised mask for people with acne prone, oily skin.  They’re great for people with these skin concerns because it absorbs oil without stripping the skin completely.  Clay masks are designed to bring out impurities to the skin’s surface, as it dries with the clay, and tightens as well.

Dry and/or Mature (Aging) Skin (e.g. Hydrating)
Hydrating masks, though they are most effective for people with dry and aging skin, is actually something we should all use.  During cold and dry weather, like the winter, your skin takes a toll because it becomes easily dehydrated.  If you don’t take proper measures, then you can be a victim to white flakes, itchiness, and makeup that never looks right.  Hydrating masks pump your skin with much needed hydration and nutrients, to maintain that glow even when the weather sucks!

Firming & Rejuvenating Skin
Rejuvenating masks are designed to smooth fine lines, give a healthy glow, lift skin, and slow down any signs of aging.  This is a typical “anti-aging” product, though many beauty experts agree that it’s never too early to start using these things because we’re all bound to get wrinkles.  The question is, how many years will it take for that to happen?

Detoxing Skin
Especially for city gals like me, daily pollution exposure, compounded by the sun’s rays, sweat, etc. definitely slow my skin down.  Detoxing masks are like a chance to start a game again with a fresh slate, free of any irritating obstacles.  These masks are most effective when used bi-weekly, or every two weeks.

♓️

Later, keep your eyes peels for my mask recommendations, ranging from a “luxury” option, to a cheaper method!

IMAGE CREDIT: Faviana NY

Mel: What the hell is that?
Cher: A dress.
Mel: Says who?
Cher: Calvin Klein.

Melvin (Mel) Horowitz, played by Dan Hedaya, and Cherilyn (Cher) Horowitz, played by Alicia Silverstone, Clueless (1995)

IMAGE CREDIT: Glamour

I love deadlines.  I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

Douglas Noel Adams, English author, scriptwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist, dramatist; known for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1952-2001)

+sponge+

Growing up, I always wished that my hair was different.  I get a lot of compliments for my healthy, thick, and straight-ish dark brown hair, but to me, it was plain and boring.  I couldn’t style it because even after spending 12+ hours styling my hair, it reverts to its original state in just 30 minutes.

♓️

Storytime: My Boring Hair

One of the many instances of my stubborn hair was during my cousin’s wedding, the summer before eighth grade began.  The hairstylist had to use two bottles of hairspray, a whole pack of bobby pins, and rubber bands (the office supplies ones) to get my hair in place.  Thanks to my hair’s resistance, I attended the event looking like I had a shiny coat of grease on my hair ☹️.

♓️

It was during first grade, however, right before my dance showcase, that I started wishing that my hair was different.  We were all wearing the same outfits, but our teachers thought something was lacking, so it was decided that we would all have matching curls.  When it was my turn, to my embarrassment, my hair didn’t curl.  The assistant was taken aback and tried over and over to get it to look like the others, but to no avail.  She eventually gave up and said, “You just have to perform like that, I guess.”

It still remains as a hurtful memory because at the time, I was made aware of my differences and how I couldn’t be like the other girls in the team.  Despite being one of the better dancers, performing in the front, I remember feeling ashamed going up on stage because of how my hair looked.  My entire elementary school years were spent bugging my mom to get a perm because at least then, my hair wouldn’t be so different from everyone else.

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The High School Solution

In high school, there were more (East) Asian people, all with different hairstyles.  Some had a Japanese straightening perm or a wavy perm, while a good portion did have their natural hair.  Among them, there were also those who had stubborn hair like mine.

Some of my closest friends that had stubborn hair like me would also come to with curly/wavy hair.  When asked how they achieved that look, they would all have the same response, braids.  According to them, sleeping in semi-dry, braided hair was the simple solution to it all.  You didn’t need to invest in a hair curler or hairspray because braids achieved the desired curls.

♓️

Taking their advice, I tried this technique, but to no one’s surprise, my hair was back to normal by the end of the bus ride to school.  I didn’t give up, determined to make this work for me, and tried different numbers of braids, in different styles.  Some days, I would French braid my hair in four pieces.  Other days, I would just braid my hair into as many pieces as I could.

Long story short, that still didn’t work for me and I resigned myself to having boring hair until the day I died.

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A New Hope

One good thing about my boring hair is that it’s long and healthy.  This kind of hair is perfect for donating, so that someone can experience having hair, even if it’s a wig.  So, while I grow it out, I gave the hair curling thing one last try.

This time, I decided to use these foam curlers that my mom has had for ages.  She bought them a few years ago at a Korean beauty supply store and says that they work like a charm.  Though she doesn’t use them often, when she does, it’s for creating a subtle wave at the ends of her hair.

♓️

(MY) Inferences About Foam Curlers

While my mom never actually taught me how to use them, here are some conclusions that I’ve made about using this product

  • Like braids, use semi-dry hair because the water makes hair more pliant
  • Section off your hair into equal pieces to roll – my mom has 16 rollers, so I divide my hair accordingly.
  • When you roll your hair, start with the roller ~three inches from the end – essentially, you’re rolling your hair up towards the roots, but you also don’t way the ends to stick out and not get curled.
  • If possible, sleep in them – foam curlers usually have a clasp, you can easily sleep in them without ruining your hard work and let them dry in that shape completely.
  • Pro tip: to get “curlier” hair, twist your hair before rolling them in a curler.

When I roll my hair, I roll inwards instead of outwards because I like the rose bouquet effect it leaves when I remove the curlers.  In my opinion, rolling outwards gives more of a beach wave look, a bit of an overplayed look.

♓️

Why Foam Curlers

I can’t speak for all types of hair, or even represent every Asian because not every race has the same type of hair.  In my opinion, foam curlers are perfect for creating really natural looking curls because not every curl looks exactly the same.  However, if you want curly hair, this method probably isn’t going to help you achieve that look.

As mentioned earlier, my mom only has 16 curlers.  While I do have thick hair, it was sufficient in getting my hair up.  Obviously, the more hair you have, the more you should consider buying more curlers.  People with thin hair would probably have “better” waves with the same number of curlers, only because they’re using less hair per curler.

♓️

If these reasons didn’t convince you to give foam curlers a try, here are two more reasons: no heat and no wasting money.  Using a curling iron means that you also have to buy heat protectant to put on before curling and hairspray for after curling.  Without the former, you can damage your hair follicles on this hot styling rod, and without the latter, you’ll lose your curls within a few hours.

And while it takes a bit longer to use curlers, foam curlers perfect for getting ready to go out later in the evening or relaxing with a face mask and Netflix the night before.

♓️

Click here to check out some foam rollers.  Also, check out this hair roller from Etude House that a few of my friends love!

IMAGE CREDIT: Vanity Rex

The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, popularly known as G. K. Chesterton, KC*SG, English writer, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, lay theologian, biographer, literary and art critic (1874-1936)

Walk like you have three men walking behind you.

Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo, professionally known as Oscar de la Renta, Dominican-American fashion designer (1932-2014)

IMAGE CREDIT: The Apricity Forum