The Ultimate Blackhead Fighter: Enzyme Washing Powders

Balm cleansers, cleansing gels, cleansing milks, facial bar soaps... we've really seen it all when it comes to different textures of cleansers. Still, the idea of a washing powder seemed very strange to me, mainly because it reminded me a bit too much of laundry detergent. I first picked up the PIU White Washing Powder as a more gentle exfoliating alternative to acids/chemical exfoliation, which I mentioned in my post "Are You Over Exfoliating?" was much too harsh for me and really damaged my skin. Like all the other washing powder options I will be mentioning today, PIU contains fruit enzymes (specifically papain from papayas, which seems to be the most popular choice), but it foams up (sort of, I'll explain in a bit) like a regular face wash, so you can gently exfoliate the skin while washing your face as normal. It really is a great way to exfoliate and my skin is always super smooth and soft afterwards, but the best thing about washing powders is that they got rid of my blackheads.

Blackheads are a problem that I've struggled with for such a long time. One of the first things I learned when
I started getting into skincare products is to fight blackheads with salicylic acid, and I was slathering on a salicylic acid gel from Neutrogena every night from the age of 14 all the way up until 17. Now that I look back on it, I really don't know why I kept up the habit for so long considering it did absolutely nothing. Nowadays, for the most part I have combination-normal skin and really don't suffer from blackheads as much as during my earlier teenage years. But during the summer, my skin turns combination-oily and hello strawberry nose. The skin on my nose starts to feel all bumpy, like you can feel that all the pores are clogged up. Ew. Mud masks helped, but the effect was only temporary. Seeing as I've never gotten any success with blackhead products in the past, I sort of just gave up and tried to ignore the problem.

When I started using the PIU Washing Powder as my night time cleanser, I started noticing that after washing my face, I would see little white dots floating out of the pores on my nose, like the trapped sebum had been washed out of the pore. After a few days, the skin on my nose didn't feel as bumpy any more, and after a week or so, I didn't see any more blackheads! The PIU Washing Powder makes for a really deep cleanse, yet it is gentle enough to use everyday. My skin was feeling a lot less congested, and more importantly, no more strawberry nose.

I'm demonstrating here using another great washing powder option, the Orbis Oil Cut Powder Wash. I'm not sure why it's called "oil cut" since it doesn't mattify the face or anything. I guess they're referring to the fact that you get rid of all that excess sebum that clogs pores. The Orbis option should only be used 1-3 times a week depending on how sensitive your skin is. However, for those who suffer from blackheads in the T-zone, I think you can use the powder wash more often just on that area.

1. As you see, the product comes in a solid powder form. The Orbis option comes in circular granules, while PIU is a powder that looks a lot like laundry detergent (but I promise it's not laundry detergent).

2. The enzymes are activated upon contact with water. Try to use water that's luke warm so you don't denature the enzymes (ie. cause them to stop working). By adding water and rubbing your palms together, you can get this sort of light, sudsy foam, which is completely fine for washing your face.

3. For those like me who prefer more of a dense, creamy foam, rub a foaming net between your palms.

4. You'll be left with a really dense foam that helps to reduce friction from your fingers when washing your face to reduce irritation, and just feels that bit more luxurious.

I like to pair my washing powders with my Clarisonic Mia, because the Clarisonic seems to be able to wash off the gunk that floats out of my pores. I've been love love loving the new Luxe Cashmere Cleanse brush head as it's just about the softest thing ever, but more on that in another post. You can also gently (and I mean GENTLY) go over the skin with one of those loop extractors to clean out the pores.

Personally I find the Orbis and PIU options to be pretty similar apart from the fact that PIU can be used everyday, while Orbis can only be used 1-3 times a week. However, PIU has a really bizarre scent that I can't quite describe but I certainly don't find pleasant, while the Orbis doesn't have any scent. It really is a matter of personal preference.

Another option that looks oh so luxe is the TATCHA Rice Enzyme Powder. Just look at that gorgeous packaging ugh. Of course, gorgeous packaging seems to be always come with a price, so the price is definitely more high end, but I've seen great reviews for the product. TATCHA also contains papaya enzymes and is gentle enough for everyday use. Rice is also one of my favourite ingredients in skincare, so someday when I'm ready to fork out $65 for a cleanser, this gorgeous little number will be mine.

If you're someone who really struggles with blackheads or congested skin and cannot find a solution, I would 100% recommend you try washing powders. They've really made a world of a difference for me and are honestly kind of fun to use, and who doesn't love that?


Cleansing Lotions Over Cleansing Oils

In my last post, "Are You Over-Exfoliating?", I mentioned that I did not get along with the trend of acid toners, like, at all. Another huge trend that my skin was just not on board with is the craze for oils in skincare, both in the form of facial oils and cleansing oils/balms. In theory, great ideas, and it's true that they worked out well for many people. But on my skin, facial oils wrecked havoc - every single one I tried broke me out badly and just left my skin so congested, including the well-loved Clarins Lotus Oil, Josie Maran Argan Oil, and Pai Rosehip Seed Oil. I completely gave up on the whole facial oil idea and just went back to my regular moisturizers, so I don't have a whole lot more to say on that.

With cleansing oils/balms, I loved how simple and easy it was to just rub them in and be able to take off all my makeup, including heavy eye makeup and lip sticks. However, my skin was always still a little bit congested from using them and it felt like I always had bumps under my skin that just never came to a head. I put off looking for an alternative because the process was just so quick and I didn't really know what else to use for makeup removal anyway (apart from makeup wipes *shivers*). In comes summer, and let me just say that in the 40°C temperature + humidity in China, rubbing oil on my face was really the last thing I wanted to be doing. 

In my mind, I always had the impression that milky-textured cleansing milks, lotions, and creams did not have the ability to thoroughly remove makeup. However, I picked up the Neutrogena Deep Clean Cleansing Lotion and was amazed by its ability to even remove lipstick and waterproof mascara. Its fragrance-free, oil-free, and alcohol-free formula makes it ideal for sensitive skin. I just take a couple of pumps of the product (usually 6-8 pumps), smooth it over my entire face and neck (I don't wear makeup on my neck but I do wear SPF, and all SPF products need to be removed with a makeup removal product), draw circles on my face with my fingertips for a minute or two, and then rinse off with water. Because there is no need to remove with a towel or muslin cloth like cleansing oils/balms do, I found that my sensitive skin was much less irritated.

Here I decided to show the Neutrogena Deep Clean Cleansing Lotion in action:

1. I have on the back of my hand, from left to right, YSL Touche Eclat Foundation, Anastasia Brow Wiz, Bobbi Brown Gel Liner, Makeup Forever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick, and the notoriously hard to remove Kiss Me Heroine Make Mascara

2. I applied the Neutrogena Deep Clean Cleansing Lotion and spent a minute drawing circles on the back of my hand to really dissolve the makeup.

3. I rinsed off with water, and as you can see, all of the makeup is gone, even the mascara!

4. I went over the back of my hand again with some Bioderma just to be sure nothing was left. The cotton pad was spotless.

The only downside to this product is probably that I go through the bottle quite fast. A 200mL bottle probably lasts me a month. Then again, the Neutrogena Deep Clean Cleansing Lotion is a fairly affordable product, it being drugstore and all, and I feel that it removes makeup better than the other options I've tried.

Another option that I enjoyed using is the Bevy C. Purifying Renewal Makeup Cleansing Milk. While it is called a milk, it definitely feels more like a lotion as well. What I like about this product is that it contains plant extracts to help gently slough away dead skin. I've lost the packaging so I can't be 100% certain, but I believe it uses yeast enzymes for this rather than acids, so it makes for a much, much more gentle exfoliation. However, this product is only available in China, so definitely not the most accessible of options. 

The Elemental Herbology Bio-Cellular Super Cleanse, on the other hand, is much easier to get a hold of. Elemental Herbology definitely feels like more of a luxurious product with the scent and packaging. I also appreciate the tube packaging as pump bottles are hard to travel with. This offering also gently exfoliates while removing your makeup with the addition of malic acid. It also contains a bunch of other plant extracts to help nourish and moisturize the skin. Bottom line: it removes makeup well, but not so much waterproof eye makeup, and is very pleasant to use. I believe Lancome also have a milky-cream makeup removal product that has good reviews (Galatee Confort Comforting Milky Cream Cleanser), but I have yet to give it a try. 

While products like the Neutrogena Deep Clean Cleansing Lotion are capable of removing waterproof eye makeup and long-lasting lipsticks, I prefer to go in first with one of those dual-phase waterproof makeup removers on a cotton pad. I'm currently loving the Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes and Lids (what a mouthful!) because it removes eye makeup so easily without any rubbing or tugging at the lids, and it doesn't contain any artificial colouring or fragrance. Then, I go in with a cleansing lotion to remove my face makeup and eyebrows. I know it's still more of a hassle than using a cleansing oil, but I honestly think it's so worth it. Since making the switch, I've seen such a difference in my skin in that it doesn't feel congested anymore, and I don't seem to get those under the skin bumps. 

Do you think you'll be making the switch to cleansing lotions?


Are You Over Exfoliating?

Exfoliating toners have been super big in the beauty community as of late and they seem to be something that everyone swears by for brighter, clearer - and just generally better - skin. For those of us who are regularly updated on our Bloglovin feed and Youtube beauty channels, it's very easy to get sucked up into the hype when a trend like this emerges. As it turns out, regular exfoliation is not something that works out for me. It really ruined my skin and it took a long time for me to fix the problems that over-exfoliation created, and I had to learn the hard way that we should always take a step back to evaluate "Is this trend really good for my skin?" before jumping on the bandwagon.  

When we exfoliate with physical scrubs or chemical exfoliants, we are taking dead skin cells off of the stratum corneum, which is the top layer of the epidermis. This layer is responsible for protecting the underlying skin tissue from any infection and physical stress. The stratum corneum contains a network of proteins that prevent the skin from becoming dehydrated by preventing evaporation, as well as give skin that sort of plump, bouncy texture when you touch it. Given the importance of the stratum corneum, we can conclude that maintaining a healthy stratum corneum is essential for healthy skin, and that a damaged stratum corneum will result in a myriad of skin problems. 

We've probably all heard that it takes 28 days for the skin to renew itself, which means that it takes 28 days for the dead skin cells in the stratum corneum to naturally shed off and be replaced by skin cells migrating up from the deeper layers of the epidermis. This is true for skin when you're in your 20's or younger. As we age, this renewal process slows down, and it may take 30, 40, 50, or more days. As a result, the stratum corneum becomes thicker. Fine lines and wrinkles begin to appear, the skin starts to lose its plumpness and becomes more dry. At this point, regular exfoliation can be beneficial to thin out the stratum corneum and push along the skin renewal process. For young skin, this isn't really necessary and can result in the stratum corneum becoming damaged if it becomes too thin.

Another thing to consider is that the thickness of the stratum corneum can vary between individuals for genetic reasons, such as ethnicity. The exfoliating toner fad emerged from the UK beauty blogger community, primarily bloggers who are Caucasian. A bit of research led me to find out that Asian skin, particuarly East Asian skin, has a much thinner stratum corneum than Caucasian skin. The stratum corneum in Asian skin is easily damaged, and Asian women take particular care to maintain a healthy stratum corneum in their extensive skincare routines. 

Now on to my own personal experience. Being Chinese and in the 20's category myself, at this point you can probably predict that exfoliating toners/pads everyday and exfoliating treatments twice a week turned out very badly for me. The picture shows some of the products I purchased during my "wow exfoliation is going to be the best thing in the world" phase. I'll definitely be passing them on to friends, because this exfoliating routine made my skin very, very irritated. I had a lot of redness on my face and was breaking out much more than usual. Many beauty bloggers swear by exfoliating to get rid of acne scars, but I think mine looked a lot worse both because my skin was so red and because my skin was probably dehydrated. 

Thankfully, I eventually figured out that regular exfoliation is not for me. I think I went through this exfoliation phase around January or February this year, and it has taken until now for my skin to become balanced again. I still do exfoliate but I've moved on to very gentle options such as the CURE Natural Aqua Peeling Gel (It causes the "waste" dead skin to ball up when you apply it so you can just wash it off. A really weird but effective product) or enzyme washing powders (which I will be talking about in a post very soon!), and I exfoliate much less frequently. 

If you are experiencing skin that is easily irritated and prone to breakouts, you may want to consider cutting down on the exfoliating and really focus on hydrating the skin. For me, the real secret to better skin is thorough makeup removal followed by a gentle cleanse and lots and lots and lots of hydration. 


July Favourites

This is actually the first monthly favourites post on the blog. I usually don't find the need to write a favourites post as I mention my favourites in various posts throughout the month, but this month I haven't been able to blog as much, so I decided to round up the best of beauty here. 

First up is yet another SPF favourite. I know I've already mentioned a few SPF loves recently, but as it is still summer, wearing SPF is extremely important so it can't hurt to mention another one. The Shiseido Gentle Sun Protection Lotion for Sensitive Skin and Babies is a completely physical sunscreen with a whooping 13.9% zinc oxide and 3.3% titanium dioxide to ensure protection against both UVB and UVA rays. I'm pretty picky with SPFs - or rather, my very sensitive skin is pretty picky with SPFs - but if this suncreen is gentle enough for babies 6 months and over, it's good enough for me. It's SPF 33, which is completely fine for city activities, but there is also a SPF 50 counterpart for those going on vacation. The product comes in an extremely liquid texture. Physical sunscreens can feel heavy and greasy on the skin due to the oil content needed to spread the mineral SPF actives evenly. I find that applying in 2-3 thin layers rather than one thick layer can help to spread the sufficient amount of sunscreen needed to provide the full SPF protection while minimizing greasiness and difficulties with blending. I find that applying this way, this product leaves a very smooth finish on the skin that isn't heavy at all. 

Another skincare favourite this month is the Biotherm Life Plankton Essence. I picked this up at a Biotherm counter in Shanghai, but I was told that it will be released worldwide soon. Apparently, "Life Plankton" is a micro-organism that live in the French Pyrenees hot springs, known as the "fountain of youth" due to its ability to sooth the wounds of Roman soldiers and preserve the youthfulness in women's skin. The product has a very watery consistency and I like to use it as a hydrating toner, but I think of it as kind of a toner-serum hybrid. It helps to hydrate the skin, increase cellular turnover in the skin to reveal brighter skin, and aid in the absorption of subsequent products. During the first week that I used this product, I didn't really see any effects. It felt comfortable on the skin, absorbed nicely, and had no obtrusive scent, but that was about it. After the first week though, I noticed that my skin started to feel incredibly smooth and had this healthy glow to it. As I've been staying in air conditioning pretty much 24/7, my skin has been dangerously on the verge of being dehydrated, but this product has been keeping my skin nicely plump and hydrated. The sales assistant at the Biotherm counter told me that after 28 days (the skin renews itself every 28 days), I would see significant improvement in acne scars and fine lines. Now I don't struggle with fine lines and other signs of aging, but I will keep you all updated on the acne scars front.

I got a Japanese perm (permanent waves) in June and it has seriously saved me so much time getting ready in the morning. I roll out of bed with hair that actually looks very nice, and my hair doesn't require any extra maintenance compared to its natural state. The one step that I have added to my hair care routine is a salt spray, and I went with the Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray. I went with the smaller 1.7oz size as it's super easy to carry around. I find that a surf spray really helps to enhance the curls in my hair. When I feel that my hair is getting a bit flat after a few days of unwash, I spray a bit of this through the ends of my hair, scrunch it up a few times, and I'm left with more texturized, defined curls. I've also tried spraying this on damp hair and scrunching my hair while it's drying, but I actually ended up with hair that was a bit too curly for my liking. I think those who don't have a perm but want a bit of a wave to their hair would benefit more from using a salt spray on damp hair and scrunching up/twisting the hair while it dries. 

As summer in China has been so incredibly hot and humid, my use of makeup has been limited to a very light BB cream, brow gel, and a nice lip colour. I've already mentioned the Innisfree Eco Flower Tint 3 Rose in my recent Innisfree haul post here, and my love for it is still going strong. It's a rosy lip stain that is very long wearing and can be patted in sheerly for a rosy tint, or layered on for a warm-toned red lip. There's also a peachy pink and an orange in the Eco Flower Tint range and I'm definitely thinking of picking those up. Another lip favourite is the Dior Addict Lip Glow, which comes in absolutely gorgeous pink packaging and is so easy to use. Just swipe it on like you would a lip balm and you're done. It's one of those tinted lip balm type deals, but the colour sort of varies for everyone. When I use it, I get a very rosy lip, but when my mum uses it, she gets more of a pink lip. It leaves a nice glossy finish and is incredibly moisturizing as a lip balm. I think the only complaint I have for this product is that it doesn't come in more colours. 

What were your July favourites?


Innisfree Haul + First Impressions

I always spend the summer in China as I'm off school and my parents live here, and one of the best things about it is stumbling across stores of Asian skincare brands that aren't available in North America. Sure I can always pick things up online, but I'm a weird one about buying beauty products online. I like to be able to feel the texture of the product on the back of my hand, test the colours, and check the scent of the product. When I saw an Innisfree store on a street corner while I was in Shanghai, I immediately plunged in and ended up leaving with quite a few things.

The first thing I picked up is the Wine Jelly Mask Set, which promises to create a smooth jelly-like skin by gently clearing off dead skin cells and providing hydration to the skin. The set comes with 5 sheet masks. At first, I thought "jelly mask" referred to the actual sheet mask being one of those gelatin ones, but the actual mask is a very thick paper/cotton mask. As it is a wine mask, it was expected that the serum in the mask had a plum colour and smelled of red wine, but without the alcohol scent. I left the mask on for 15 minutes, and when I removed the mask, my face looked brighter. Red wine masks provide gentle exfoliation to the skin, so that helps to brighten. Polyphenols are also a great source of antioxidants, which are great in the summer to help repair sun damage. There was still a lot of serum left in the mask, so I wiped it all over my decollete and legs. The serum leaves a slightly sticky finish, so some may prefer to wash it off the face afterwards, but I just slapped on my face cream and called it a day.

I also picked up two of the Capsule Sleeping Packs, one in Green Tea & Cucumber and one in Rice. They are basically overnight masks in little tiny pots, and they were just so cute I couldn't resist! I've only tried the Green Tea & Cucumber one, which is meant for hydration. I used this on a night when I got home from a very delayed flight at 4am in the morning. Thinking that my skin was definitely going to suffer the next day, I slapped this on as the last step in my routine, went to sleep, and woke up the next morning with plump, bright skin. I was rather impressed, really. The Rice one is meant to smooth and soften the skin. Rice ingredients typically do have that effect on my skin, so I'm excited to try it out soon.

The last skincare item I picked up was the Eco Natural Suncare BB Powder. It's basically a powder SPF with SPF 50+/PA+++ that's very slightly tinted. I've been using this everyday since I got it, so that goes to show how much I'm enjoying it. I'm going to be featuring this product in an upcoming SPF post, so I won't talk about it too much now. Be sure to check back on the blog!

I also picked up two makeup products. The first is the Mineral Moisture Base, which is a primer. Mine comes in a bottle with a pump rather than the tube shown in the link though. I picked up the one in green to help counteract redness in the skin as my skin is easily irritated by the elements. The product has a very lightweight gel-cream texture that's easy to spread and dries to a sort of satin-matte finish. I don't really have a problem with base makeup sliding off my face throughout the day, so I can't really comment on whether this primer helps makeup last. For those with dehydrated skin that see their makeup becoming patchy throughout the day, I do think that the hydrating texture of this primer would help with that problem.

The other product I got is the Eco Flower Tint in 3 Rose. Although it's called a tint, this is a lip stain. I'm very low maintence with my makeup and I don't like to have to touch up throughout the day, so lip stains are a perfect option for me. The product can be applied sheerly or built up for more colour. When applied sheerly, it's a really pretty rose tint and I prefer to wear it this way. When layered up, it has more of an apple red colour, which is also very nice. The product has a very liquid texture that is not drying at all for the lips, and once the product has dried down I can't feel it on my lips at all. Oh, also, because it is so liquid, it's easy to get it in your mouth before the product dries down. I accidentally tasted it and, wow, let me just tell you, it was not pleasant. 

With all of these products, I reached the 560RMB (about $93) point perk and received a free glass water bottle and five sample size products. The water bottle is so pretty and has a compartment inside for tea leaves, so I think I'll be getting a lot of use out of it. The samples included the Green Tea Seed Serum and Cream. The serum is actually a pre-serum used as the first step after cleansing to help retain moisture and help subsequent products absorb, so I thought that was interesting. The cream is the kind of gel-cream texture that I really enjoy. I also received the Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask, Jeju Volcanic Pore Toner, and Green Persimmon Pore Essence. I'm not really that concerned with pores, so I might pass these on to a friend who would appreciate them better.

Overall, I think Innisfree is a fairly affordable brand that's great value for money. For me, it's a score across both skincare and makeup. 

Have you tried any Innisfree products?


A Love and a Shrug #3: SPF Edition

I am currently in China visiting my family and summer is in full swing around here. While I try to stay indoors as much as possible to avoid the scorching sun and ridiculously high temperatures, SPF is an essential in my everyday morning skincare routine. UVA rays can penetrate through windows and those are the UV rays that cause photo-aging in the skin, so it's important to wear a broad spectrum UVA+UVB sunscreen even when staying indoors.

My love this month is the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Water Base SPF 50 PA+++. I've seen Asian beauty bloggers rave about this SPF, so I was pleased to find it at my local Watsons. This SPF has such a unique texture, I don't think I've ever seen another one quite like it. It really does feel very watery, even more so than most moisturizers I own, kind of like a really lightweight gel-cream texture. On the skin, it spreads and absorbs so effortlessly. Apart from the active sun protection ingredients, it also contains hyaluronic acid and citris fruit extracts to hydrate the skin. I wouldn't usually say this for an SPF product, but those who can't be bothered with too many steps in a skincare routine could skip the morning moisturizer and go straight to this SPF. It's incredibly hydrating and doesn't give my skin that greasy feeling that SPF products often have.

Despite the love, I do have a few problems with this product. First, it is a chemical sunscreen, and I do normally prefer a physical sunscreen. Physical sunscreen blocks UV rays like a shield, while chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays before they reach the skin. I guess I just like the idea of a shield more, because it sounds like I'm getting more protection, and chemical sunscreens are also said to be more irritating for sensitive skin. Being a chemical sunscreen also means that you have to reapply throughout the day (physical sunscreens don't have be reapplied as much if you don't sweat too much, go to the beach, etc.). I have to say that I'm really bad with reapplying SPF, but because this SPF has such a lightweight texture, it doesn't feel like you're piling too much onto the skin throughout the day. The product has a subtle floral fragrance, which is nice, but I do like to avoid fragrance whenever possible as it is a skin irritant. However, I have been using this SPF for a while and it does not irritate my skin at all.

Another problem is the high alcohol content. Alcohol is the second ingredient right after water, which means that there's a high concentration of it in the product. Alcohol in skincare is known to irritate and dry out the skin, but I'm kind of torn on this ingredient. Many well-known Asian skincare brands use alcohol in their products (AmorePacific is one that comes to mind) to achieve that lightweight yet very hydrating texture that my skin loves. I don't fuss too much over the inclusion of alcohol in this product because it works so well for me, but my other sensitive skin readers may want to take caution.

The SPF that didn't make the cut this summer is the Dr. Sebagh Sun-City Protection SPF 30. I bought this a while back when Feelunique was clearing out their stock of Dr. Sebagh products, and let me just say that Dr. Sebagh is not a cheap brand even at 50% off, so I had high hopes for this product.  In contrast to the Biore SPF, this is a purely physical sunscreen, which I usually prefer. Like all physical sunscreens, it does leave a white cast upon application, but that disappears in a few minutes. The texture of this product though, I really just don't understand. It's incredibly thick, so you have to really rub it in. It doesn't mix well with water, so if your face is wet from your prior skincare steps, you will have a very hard time spreading this SPF out. On the skin, this product leaves a very weird finish. When I touch my face, it doesn't feel smooth, kind of more like a chalky, almost rubbery finish. Not a comfortable feeling at all. The product also just kind of sits on the skin throughout the whole day and can feel quite heavy. Overall, I just found this a real pain to use and can't be bothered with it.

At the end of the day, remember to take your SPF off like you would take makeup off to avoid clogged pores and breakouts.

What is your favourite SPF this summer?


My Beauty Wishlist #1

(Images taken from the web, of course.)

I'm delighted to see some new followers of the blog over on Bloglovin, so welcome to you all! When this post goes up, I'm going to be up in the skies on my way over to China. If I don't update for a short while, it'll be because I'm not nearly organized enough to schedule several posts ahead of time, but I will be back shortly. Now, on to the post.

Yes, I know that I already have way too much in my beauty stash as it is. But as the old saying goes, a girl can never have enough beauty products. I think I may have just made that up, but the way I think about it, I don't drink any alcohol, so compared to others my age, I'm just using all that drink money on beauty products. Fair trade, right?

As I've been getting into lighter bases recently, it's only expected that I would finally become intrigued by the much coveted Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation. It feels like every single beauty blogger has raved about this product at least once. I always thought this would not be nearly enough coverage for my skin, as I suffer from acne scars all over my cheeks. However, my beloved Stila CC Color Correcting Cream has recently converted me to the whole sheer base + full coverage concealer type deal. The Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua is supposedly like "second-skin", so I expect a very natural yet perfecting kind of deal with this product. However, it's $51 at Nordstrom, and I'm just not sure I'm ready to spend that much on a light coverage foundation yet.

And now, on to skincare. I've been lusting after the Algenist Algae Brightening Mask lately. This is a kaolin and bentonite clay mask that uses algae extracts to brighten the skin. I'm particularly fond of algae as a skincare ingredient, and I've always been intrigued by Algenist as a brand. The company discovered its signature ingredient alguronic acid when studying algae as a means to harness renewable fuel energy. Although there isn't any research on alguronic acid available on the web (the only research being done on it was done by Algenist and not made public), there is lots of research on algae ingredients, showing their capacity to provide antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits to the skin. I've tried samples of other Algenist products before and they've all been very nice. I'm more drawn to brightening products than anything else due to acne scars on my face. Fading acne scars definitely takes time, as well as consistent exfoliation coupled with good serums. I don't expect a mask to work any miracles, but I still feel like this mask could be one of those special occasion good-skin-in-15-minutes type masks with its deep cleansing and brightening actions.

The last item is a long time favourite of one of my favourite beauty bloggers, Igisele. The Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum  is meant to be used as the first step after cleansing. This serum is packed full of herbal extracts. Igisele says that it helps to really balance and soothe the skin, as well as aid in the absorption of subsequent skincare products. It's also full of herbal extracts to pack some antioxidants into the skin. Balancing the skin would mean balancing out oil production or dry patches, as well as soothing any irritation or inflammation. I find that balancing the skin is key to keeping down breakouts and redness, so I'm interested to see what this serum can do. Unfortunately, it's quick hard to get a hold of. Not many websites sell it online, and my local Korean beauty store is always out of stock, because it's just so popular. Many one day, I will finally get my hands on it.

What is on your beauty wishlist?