What's In My Bag

I never want to go without a facial mist and a blend of essential oils. They are both so important as I get headaches and eye-strains quite easily, and slightly nervous too. My choice of facial mist is the one by Tata Harper.. it quickly recharges the level of my facial hydration, and gives slightly cooling sensation and dewy-finish. The beautiful herbal-floral aroma also cannot be passed up. On top of that, I keep my Sodashi Calming Concentrate handy. It is actually a facial liquid exfoliator, but I just love how relax it makes me feel. The way I do it is to cup my hands and inhale it straight from the bottle. I wonder if I can ever finish it up somehow by breathing it? Ha.

Apart from having a bottle of water always, I go to a supermarket and buy a CocoBella coconut water if I feel dehydrated and hot. It is such a thirst quencher, so so refreshing! Loving Earth sells Coconut Water Powder which is interesting because once put it inside a cup of water, there is your fresh coconut water. It eventually adds up much cheaper than buying each of CocoBella water. I told you Loving Earth has great products!

As for make-up, I only sometimes carry what's pictured. If I'm going out from day until night, "Un" Cover-Up and Living Luminizer by RMS Beauty are the absolute essentials. Kjaer Weis creme blush is also beautiful, and I don't forget a natural-pink lipstick for the day and a red lipstick for the night. Unless I want to strip it all down to basic, I bring RMS Lip2Cheek in Illusive, sweet enough for day and night.

I never realized how much stuff I always carry until I pull out everything in my backpack (I'm actually bringing less stuff to a real camping LOL). Keep in mind that of course I don't bring this all with me if I'm only going to a certain hang-out. If I know that the activity involves some sort of site-analysis or anything that includes sketching, cutting, measuring... I grab my translucent A5 pouch. I also never let out my pencil case out of sight, my absolute necessary stationery are in there. And can I just say that Clairefontaine has the best paper ever for writing? Also, An Ipad Mini has been a life-saver for me (oh people and electronics these days..), a film camera if I'm going to stay outdoor for long and finally a good book and an Ipod if my trip is going to be long.

Have a lovely weekend to y'all! 


Kjaer Weis Creme Blush in Blossoming, My Dewy Pink Creme Blush

OK, when I said that the green beauty make-up is lacking in the luxury category, I absolutely did not give enough credit for Kjaer Weis. I love highlighters that instantly takes away the hours of not enough sleep (or too much sleep), but when I'm in the rush, this one is a get-and-go for me. Thanks to ingredients like Shea Butter, Carnauba wax & Beeswax, my cheeks are getting that luminous glow that it needs without gimmick shimmers.  It is also what I reach out to, literally, all of the time, during the colder months.

The formula warms up instantly upon touch with fingers. You will love swirling around your fingers in this dreamy formula as you feel it melting gently. Although the blush is not richly pigmented like shall we say.. RMS lip2cheek, I would say that on some days, I much prefer this especially on special occasion just because it delivers a beautiful dewy finish to the cheeks that looks semi-sheer. The colour "Blossoming" is described as a mauve which leans more towards light-medium pink against my skin tone and color- it's a warmer version of the shade Lovely I think. The way I like to apply this blush is by picking up the pigment using my ring finger and then slightly using the tap-and-blend method to apply it on my cheeks also with the help of my middle finger. Be gentle so you won't rub off whatever concealer or foundation you have underneath. When blending, blend it super lightly. Also, it can be an overkill if I use both my favorite "Un" Cover-Up by RMS and this blush so I always, always, dust a setting powder after concealing. I would still get that luminous glow from the blush but no sticky mess at all! Doing this helps my skin to 'breathe', but in the summer I stray away from this blush as it is quite hydrating. Click below for swatches.


Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipstick in Fresco

When it comes to lipsticks and lip treatments, I am highly cautious about what they contain. Lip products were the most convincing thing that made me switch to natural products. After all, I might possibly be directly ingesting the ingredients from drinking and eating. Fortunately, a beautiful array of lip products which doesn't contain 'the nasties' are there for you to choose. RMS Beauty, Vapour Organic Beauty and Ilia Beauty are some of the pioneers in the natural green beauty genre who make beautiful, multi-tasking lip products.

What I am truly missing though is the luxurious touch from the moment I hold onto the lipstick tube, up until I actually apply the lipstick on my lips. Hourglass Creme Velvet lipstick seriously doesn't disappoint my imagination. Although the company doesn't fall into a green and 100% natural beauty company, the lipstick is the closest thing I will ever get to an indulgent lipstick that doesn't contain concerning chemical ingredients. The lipstick is formulated without Parabens, Sulfates, Synthetic Dyes and Pthalates.

Pairing it with Kjaer Weis Creme Blush in Blossoming (Review will be next!)

Tastes like Vanilla. It is supposedly creamy but also feels like a gel formula to let it freely glides on your lips. I chose a shade that is the closest to my own lip color called Fresco. I tried it at Mecca Cosmetica without a whim and holy Sh035093u503t I never wanted a lipstick more than this one in my life. I was willing to wait and think about how much I want it for a few months (that's long right?). It is satisfyingly moisturizing without a lip balm. The color Fresco is almost opaque but managed to be nicely pigmented even upon the first application but still makes me want to apply it over and over again due to the easy texture.

I find the finish quite similar to the Vapour lipstick that is creamy and gives a lovely sheen, like the look of healthy plump lips. I love that. Longevity is also really good even after a few drinks and an eat-out. Colour would still be even. The heavy shiny metal tube packaging makes a lovely understatement to how fantastic this lipstick is. I admit that I was lucky I got it on 25% off on Zuneta about half a year ago but it is one lush lipstick I have been eye-ing on for the longest time. Priced at $30 a tube and $24 for re-fills. I am willing to shell out my cash for another lippie colour by Hourglass but truly, when in doubt, I grab this color which is a nice enhancement to my own lips.

Ingredients: Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, DI-PPG-3 Myristyl Ether Adipate, C10-30 Cholesterol/Lanosterol Esters, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Ozokerite, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Microcrystalline Wax, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Cetyl Alcohol, Tribehenin, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Vanillin. May Contain: Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Carmine (CI 75470), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850:1), Red 6 (CI 15850), Red 30 Lake (CI 73360), Red 28 Lake (CI 45410:2), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090:2).


Vive Sana Sunscreen SPF 40 Ultra, Is It The One?

I know that this particular sunscreen has been getting mixed reviews, you can read it here. Whilst I am not an avid sunscreen wearer, I do feel like I must incorporate it into my daily routine in some ways. As you might have known, I am very prone to congestion on my cheeks. Whether I pick or not pick my pimples, they will leave a dark scar on my skin although it's definitely  not as worse as when I am picking them (so I never!). I have noticed though, that wearing sunscreen helps to avoid that unfortunate discoloration, especially if I am going to stay outdoor for long. 

But lets make this short: I never get sunburned on my face, but I tan really easily. I don't like the thought of having to slap sunscreen on my face or adding another layer and layer of product on my already-congested skin. Therefore, I prefer protecting my face with a hat or have a tendency to stay in a shady area. I also like to consume lots of food that contains a choke of anti-oxidants that fight free radicals from the UV.

Firstly, I want to point out that this sunscreen uses nano-minerals, so if you're very cautious about that, this sunscreen is not for you. In their defense, here is Vive Sana's clarification in regards to the nano-particles minerals, source: Fig + Sage, Fig + Sage 2. I totally understand where they're coming from and personal perceptions and cautions are taken differently. 

"When we set out to create the Vivesana brand, we focused on the most current academic research to try to isolate the real risks in sun care.  We identified all the proven toxins, carcinogens, irritants and hormone disruptors found in the overwhelming percentage of sunscreens on the market (including in many "natural" brands), such as retinyl palmitate, parabens, PABA, phenoxythanol, octisalate, oxybenzone...etc.  We look at the low grade, largely unregulated packaging coming in from overseas and the murky, confusing labeling and choose to do things differently. When it comes to nanoparticles, however, we simply don't see fact-based evidence of cognizable risk in the context of a topical sunscreen balm, and as Spirit pointed out, many groups, like EWG, have determined that the benefits of mineral nanoparticles outweigh any speculative risks. Governmental regulatory bodies around the world have come to similar conclusions.  We certainly respect the choice to avoid nanoparticles, and love to see this sort of dialogue because it helps educate us all."

Meanwhile.. I actually quite like this sunscreen. Let me tell you though, it is dense! It's something that you have to really work into the skin, but I promise it is not that much of a work. With a high SPF of 40, this sunscreen is a pleasure on the skin. My skin color is somewhere between medium to dark and it never leaves a white cast in sight and it protects the skin like it claims. The dense texture falls in between a paste and a balm, so as you can imagine, it leaves a dewy effect on the skin. Here is the thing, it may act as a stand-alone moisturized too. While it can be convenient for travelling (less stuff to bring!), some people might not want to resort on this alone as their moisturizer. When you must, the ingredients are pretty powerful so you're not really missing out on anything especially if it's only for a week. For example, Vive Sana relies on Green Tea and Red Raspberry Seed to fight free radicals and repair the damaged cells, and this sunscreen contains no filler which means you really get the bang for the buck. I am acne-prone and it does not make me break out, so that's impressive given the surprising heavy texture.

What's more is that it is so so nice as a primer for your make-up, leaves your face so freaking smooth! When I wear this as a moisturizer alone, it is absolutely non-greasy but still gives that dewy look I want. During the winter when the hydration is not enough, I apply a lightweight facial serum underneath and my current favorite is by MUN which is deeply penetrating but so lightweight. I think the aroma goes hand-in-hand :)

While I quite like this sunscreen, the heavy thick texture can be a put-off for oilier skin types. I do admit that despite my normal-to-dry skin that likes this as a moisturizer (+ SPF!), during a few running sessions in the hot humid summer, it can tend to look too oily on the skin. The good thing is, it doesn't bug off but I wash it right away as it starts to feel uncomfortably heavy. Although not being a daily sunscreen wearer, I am quite pleased with it and I reserve this sunscreen for my long outdoor days when I avoid getting tan. It never budges and it delivers what it promises. I am cautious about applying it every hour though if I am swimming. The scent is fairly pleasant and doesn't smell medicinal. It claims to be scented with green tea but I hardly notice it a all. The small packaging might also fool you, but like I said, it is thick so it lasts for the whole summer (or more!). I recommend you give it a shot if you are looking for a sunscreen that also doubles as a moisturizer and one that acts as a beautiful primer which is a high plus (I wonder how it looks with a mineral make-up?). 

Product Qualities: 100% natural, 70%+ certified organic ingredients, SPF 40 - Potent mineral-based UVA/UVB protection, Phthlate-free, paraben free, PABA-free, petroleum free, stays put in the wind water snow & sweat, gentle, deeply moisturizing & repairing, coral reef & ocean safe, sustainable US packaging organics & manufacturing. 
Active IngredientsTitanium Dioxide 8.5%, Zinc Oxide 3.5%
Everything ElseOrganic Soybean Oil, Organic Safflower Oil, Beeswax, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Avocado Oil, Organic Jojoba Seed Oil, Alumina (natural mineral), Stearic Acid (natural fatty acid), Organic Apricot Kernel Oil, Organic Glycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Sunflower Seed Oil, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Oat Kernel Extract, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Chamomile Extract, Raspberry Seed Oil, Natural Green Tea Fragrance. 

What do you think, will you give this sunscreen a try? Or have you tried it? 


How I have kind of saved my skin in the summer

Following this post by Hippie Luxe about "Oil + Water = Moisturiser", I thought I would add my experience since that's what I have been applying to my skin. Obviously, summer is the time to complain for me. Cleansing has became the most important routine ever since sweat and oiliness are just a big no no for congested skin like me. Sometimes though, I love the natural 'dewiness' from humidity, but if you're in the city I don't think it's something I should even consider. So, this type of condition likes to throw off the skin balance I already had. I did not stock up my Clean Dirt which I realize is my savior for congested skin. I have experimented with a fair bit of products and 'techniques' here and there, and so far mixing oil and water has been the most successful.

So in summary of Hippie Luxe's article, your cream moisturizer is normally simply water and oil mixed together and binded by an emulsifying agent which will hold that nice creamy texture. Keep in mind that emulsifying agent can derive from vegetable or petrochemical sources. But if you want to do something that is as easy as 1,2,3 you can create your own instant moisturizer! Right?! What to do when your facial oil or cream is too heavy but your toner is too light? By choosing your favorite facial oil and facial mist, mix them together and apply the mixture to the skin like how you would normally. You will notice how easy and lightweight the new texture is. It feels like a 'dense' version of a toner which I find so perfect for the summer. You can obviously choose the density of your new moisturizer, I typically spritz 2x of facial mist onto my hand.

Whilst I simply love using my facial oil at night, during the day it's not the same. I first was suggested this idea by Audra James (oh seriously she's like a skin's whisperer)! Hippie Luxe also suggests that you could simply use purified water in replacement of facial mist. Although I miss the straight-up facial oil, this type of method acts as a more moisturizing toner to my skin but not too heavy either that it would clog my pores. I must say that it feels different than simply spritzing the toner on your face then apply the facial oil. This method seems to tighten my skin in a good way and my skin just seems to like it better. I love how it absorbs and it does feel silkier. Summer skin problem = facial oil won't absorb well!

To top it off, my day routine also consists of applying RMS Beauty "Un" Cover-Up in the shade 33 as a concealer. I treat it almost like a creamy moisturizer since that's what my skin loves during the day. It doubles as a concealer AND foundation and honestly, while it feels super hydrating (which I was scared of at first) I never find it clogging my pores. The 'moisturizing toner' prepares a silky canvas for the 'Un' Cover-Up to glide on. I find that despite the creaminess of "un" cover-up it could still accentuate pores and dry patches if skin is not properly moisturized beforehand.