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My summer 2014 skincare routine

I took photos in May when I received some requests for my skincare routine post, and finally I'm writing about it today! It took me 3 months to do it, and I even used up some of the products I was enjoying at that time. But seriously, all the products I'm talking about today are amazing.


I take a shower every morning, and use  Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser to cleanse my face. It's kind of a boring cleanser but obviously gentle on the skin. It never irritates my skin and leaves my skin fresh and clean without the tight feeling that I hate. I also love Origins Checks and Balances, which smells of mint mixed with some other essential oils. It's perfect for combination skin as it hydrates the dry areas and gets rid of excess oils at the same time. It leaves my skin more refreshing than Cetaphil does, which makes it more suitable for summer in my opinion. I love love love this cleanser, maybe the best one I've ever tried.

After washing my face, I use Nature Conc Clear Lotion with a cotton pad to gently exfoliate and hydrate my skin. I love using it in the morning because it doesn't leave any greasy feels on the skin. Such a refreshing toner that makes my skin look clearer. Then I use Estee Lauder CyberWhite HD Advanced Brightening Moisture Creme to moisturise my skin. It's a perfect moisturiser for daytime as this siliconny texture creates a smooth skin surface and my makeup would sit very nicely on top of it. I also love using Clinique Superdefense Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 20 especially on my day off when I don't wear makeup as it protects my skin from the sun. 

Then I apply Superdefense SPF 20 Age Defense Eye Cream from Clinique. I love the idea of this eye cream having SPF effect, as my eye areas tend to get dark spots more than any other parts of my face. I apply the sunscreen from Origins as well, it's a little greasy to be honest but it leaves the right amount of oil once blotted. It's a shame it's only sold in Asia!

- Night-time -

RAFRA Balm Orange is definitely one of the best cleanser when it comes to removing makeup and leaving the skin super smooth at the same time. It literally smells like orange juice, and the consistency is much thicker than normal balm cleansers which warms up on the skin and gently exfoliates and removes makeup and dirt on the skin. It makes your skin feel like a baby's for sure, I promise.

Then I use Clinique Even Better Essence Lotion or Dr. Ci : Labo Herbal Serum to hydrate my skin. Even Better Essence Lotion is such a nice lotion that hydrates the skin without being too heavy. It feels very light on the skin but makes my skin moisturised and kind of plumped. Herbal Serum isn't a serum, but it's got oxygen, 15 different kinds of plant extracts, vitamins, collagen, hyaluronic acid and ceramide. It sinks into the skin very quickly and makes my skin feel fresher and smoother.

To moisturise, I use Estee Lauder CyberWhite HD Advanced Brightening Night Creme. I almost use up one jar, and I've got another one waiting for me to open. I'm not sure if it really does brightens up my skin tone, as I just found some new dark spots around my eyes today (damn myself didn't wear sunscreen until I was like 25) haven't noticed any difference on my complexion, but I love how moisturising it feels on my skin. I also love the scent, it could be a little overpowering for some people but I love it so so so much.

I also use argan oil sometimes to combat dry patches, and Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair (I got a 50ml one the other day, woohoo!) for a special care. Also, RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum is something you need to try out if you haven't tried it yet. It really does make your lashes longer and thicker in a week. I had bald patches in my eyelashes but it made my lashes fuller instantly! I was really impressed, and now I cannot live without it....I don't know what to do when it's gone empty as it's quite pricey and I don't think I can purchase it myself! 

So these are the products I use on my face day and night. I have some more products I'm loving right now, I will make sure to write about them soon!

My Pamper Skincare Items

I use either face mask or face scrub every 2-3 days. Only because I love pampering my skin, and another reason is that I've got too many products that I have to use up. Today I'm sharing my favourite items for pampering my skin.

Life-Flo Warming Pore Cleansing Scrub is another great product I discovered on Vitacost. It warms up on the skin which softens the dirt in the pores and makes it easier to remove it. This charcoal mask has small jojoba beans that gently exfoliates the skin, and it works wonders! It makes my skin so soft and smooth like nobody's business. I just cannot stop touching my face after use. It also smells divine, the blend of rosemary, grapefruits, sage, lemon, juniper and so on. Definitely one of the best face scrub ever!

I rely on Queen Helene Masque Mint Julep when I have pimples or enlarged pores on my cheeks. Especially when I have an occasional painful pimple, I remove makeup and apply a thick layer of this clay based face mask, and wait for 15 minutes. It smells literally like a toothpaste, very minty and fresh, which makes me feel like it's working. Once I rinse it off, my skin feels fresher and cleaner, and it definitely shrinks a pimple. I didn't feel like it was working when I first tried on my healthy skin, but once I used it on my pimple, it showed what it was capable of. 

Pangea Organics Facial Mask is definitely one of the best face masks I have ever tried. It's a little pricey in Japan but it's not too bad on Vitacost. It has unique and effective ingredients such as green clay, white clay,wildcrafted seaweed,organic green tea powder, organic matcha tea powder, wildcrafted Irish moss, acai extract, organic goji berry extract and some other plants extracts and essential oils. It's got gritty bits in it which gently exfoliates the skin, while nourishing and replenishing the skin. It leaves my skin like a baby's butt, and I know many fellow bloggers that are in love with this mask. The only downside is that it stinks, which is bearable for me.

I think I don't even need to say anything about Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask as everyone and their dogs know about it. It's kind of itching on my skin but I cannot stop using it as I can visibly see the result on my skin on the next morning. It moisturises my skin perfectly, getting rid of all the dry patches I had the night before. It smells like peaches to me which smells delicious enough to eat....which I don't. I'm sure it would taste disgusting. It's like a thick cream so I replace my night time moisturiser with it maybe once every 10 days or so. It is a little pricey but it lasts for ages and I will definitely repurchase it once I've run out with the current tube.

  The last but not least, I like using Japanese sheet masks like Lululun. Mine is the one I got in Okinawa last year, it's got the Citrus depressa extract, the special lemon that's native to Okinawa. They have some different varieties you can choose depending on your skin type or a desired effect. The sheet is pretty thick that doesn't break easily, and contains effective ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and vitamins. Thought it's very affordable, the effect it gives to the skin is pretty impressive. Also the packaging is super cute.

What's your facvourite pamper item? Let me know!

My Top Sun Protection Products

It's the end of June, summer is around the corner. Are you protecting your skin from the strong sun? Here are my top sun protection products that I've been loving this summer!

1. Organic Argan UV Cut Spray
Love this UV cut spray not only because it provides long-lasting (and waterproof) UV protection of SPF50+ PA+++, but it smells divine. I don't even need a perfume when I wear this handy sunscreen which you can spray easily on your back, the back of your legs and hair.

2. Clinique Superdefense Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 20
This moisturiser with SPF20 is perfect for a lazy weekend when I'm not wearing foundation. It has a slight sunscreen scent that I'm not a big fan of, but it goes away after like 5 minutes. Love the fact it gives a matte finish, too.

3. Clinique Superdefense SPF 20 Age Defense Eye Cream
Why don't all the eye creams in the world have SPF? This moisturising eye cream is tinted which brightens up my eye area instantly, while protecting the most sensitive areas to the sun. I am glad that they brought out an eye cream with SPF as I tend to get dark spots around my eyes, and this product makes me feel secure!

4. Origins Smarty Plants CC Cream / Light
I use this SPF20 CC cream to correct my complexion and to protect my skin against UV. I wrote a full-review HERE so I'm not going to ramble here about it, but it's such a lovely CC cream that evens out the skin tone and gives a subtle glow to it. I find the texture a little too heavy for me during summer, but I love wearing it in Spring, Autumn and Winter!

5. Origins Brightening Protector SPF40 PA+++
This is the sunscreen from their brightening range only sold in Asia. I love this one more than Smarty Plants CC Cream during summer, because it has higher SPF and the texture feels lighter on the skin. It doesn't have the sunscreen smell at all, and I enjoy the fruity scent that most of their products have. 

6. Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence
You can read my in-depth review on this product HERE. It smells of citrus, and has NO sunscreen scent at all. It doesn't feel greasy on the skin, or face, I don't mind wearing it all over my body at all as it feels like I'm not wearing sunscreen! I would repurchase it once I've ran out of this current tube. That's how much I'm in love with this sunscreen!

I like Japanese products when it comes to sunscreen. They usually don't smell of sunscreen at all, and they don't leave your face looking like ghost's. It surprises me how many old-fashioned sunscreens are out there still, as it's even hard to find them in Japan lately. What's your favourite sun protection items?

Origins Smarty Plants CC SPF 20

Origins Smarty Plants CC SPF 20 £28.00
I'll be honest here. I wasn't thinking of buying this product at all at first. I wanted VitaZing SPF 15 Energy-boosting moisturizer to use in the morning, but it wasn't sold in Japan and the only way to purchase it was on eBay where I have to pay pretty high postage. I just wanted a moisturiser with SPF to wear underneath my makeup during winter, so I was not looking for BB or CC or whatever cream it's called. But when I purchase other products from a Japanese website, I found this product and I thought I should give it a try. Because the concept seemed very interesting, and also it was about 3,000yen which is actually cheaper than buying it in the UK because of the high exchange rate.

So, this is CC cream -not BB cream. BB stands for Beauty Balm and CC stands for Colour (or Complexion) Corrector I believe. It comes in two different shades, Light-Medium and Medium-Deep. You may think that it's hard to match it to your skin tone but actually it's very sheer and doesn't give much colour to the skin so you don't have to worry about it. Also this formula apparently intuitively colour matches to your skin, so again you don't need to be too nervous about the shade. It protects your skin from the sun, hydrates, corrects your complexion, gives a little bit of glow...what more would you want from this little tube?

As you can see, it's got a very light texture. It's not too creamy which is perfect to wear underneath makeup. Just a little bit goes a long way and it instantly brightens up my complexion. It  provides very light coverage that doesn't make a big difference on my skin but once I apply my foundation on top, you can see the difference on your skin. With this CC cream on underneath, my skin looks flawless and glowing. No wonder why, because it's got very fine glitter particles. But believe me, it doesn't make your face look like a disco ball at all. The glitters are very subtle and I didn't even notice until recently although I've been using it for months now.

As you can see in the photo, you are hardly able to see that it's on by itself. So if you are looking for a tinted moisturiser or BB cream that you can apply instead of a foundation, this might not be for you in my opinion. But if you are looking for a good primer that hydrates your skin while protecting it from the sun damage and correct your complexion, I strongly recommend this product! It feels like I'm wearing nothing but it does its job for sure.

Another thing I love about this product is that it smells really nice. It smells like orange juice which is perfect in the morning, isn't it? 

Origins have never disappointed me. I love the brand, it's a shame it's not officially available in Japan anymore. I will pick up GinZing series when I come to London next time from the duty free shop! What's your favourite Origins product? 

My Best Beauty Finds in 2013

Michael Todd Blue Green Algae Toner  
This is a very refreshing toner that I was loving throughout the summer, autumn and winter. It has blue green algae, organic kelp, hyaluronic acid and teatree which help to maintain an acne-free, moisturised skin. It smells so refreshing that I'm totally addicted to it! I apply it on a cotton pad and gently wipe my face with it. It's the perfect balance between refreshing and hydrating.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask
I don't need to write too much about this product, do I? There are so many amazing reviews about it, and I've written my in-depth review of this peach-smelling face mask a few weeks ago, so I'm not going to ramble about it here again, but my skin can't be the same without it. It smells amazing, feels brilliant on my skin, and the result is very impressive.

Nourish Revital-Eyes Eye Cream
I use it every morning and night. It contains peptides, amino acids, B vitamins and antioxidants to boost natural resilience against signs of ageing, and it also helps to reduce the pigmentation of my dark circles too.

LUSH Let the Good Times Roll
Thank you LUSH so much for making such a wonderful cleanser!!! It looks, feels and smells of cookie dough. If you love sweet scents like I do, it would be your dream come true to cleanse your face with cookie dough, isn't it? Plus it's super moisturising, perfect for dry skin. Thank god it's now available all year round.

Predia Spa et Mer Fango Double Cleanse
It's a very luxurious cleanser that makes you feel like you're in a spa. It gently removes my makeup without any oily residue, while moisturising my skin. It smells heavenly too.

Soap and Glory Smoothie Star Body Lotion

It smells very sweet and nutty without being overpowering. I'm not sure when I'll be able to use up this massive bottle, but I've been enjoying it very much since I got it in Jan 2013. It doesn't make my skin feel greasy at all yet hydrate the dry parts perfectly. And the scent lingers for hours.

Soap and Glory Sugar Crush Body Butter Cream  
Well...it might beat Smoothie Star to be honest! It smells like sweet yogurt when I open it but once it's settled on my skin it smells like sweet brown sugar with a hint of lime as it claims! Although this one is butter cream which must be heavier than body lotion, I feel that this one is lighter than Smoothie Star Body Lotion actually. I love them both anyway.

It's a 10 Miracle Leave-in Conditioner plus Keratin
The most effective leave-in conditioner, ever! It worked wonders on my hair, it made my hair silky smooth without any tangles. That's unbelievable because my hair is usually very frizzy, dry and very easy to get tangled. Plus it smells like hair salon. Bonus.

Soap and Glory Hand Food 
Love this hand cream! It's quite thick but doesn't make my hands feel greasy or over moisturised if that makes sense. I reapply it every 30 minutes at work just to enjoy the scent. Oh, and to hydrate my hands.

Soap and Glory HAND MAID  
Yes, Soap and Glory again. I hadn't used any hand sanitizers until I bought this one in London in March. It smells divine, lighter than Hand Food although it's the same scent. 

MUA Undress Me Too Palette
Such a useful palette for 4 pound! Although the staying power isn't great, the pigmentation is amazing overall and the shades are all wearable on daily basis. I love creating greyish smoky-eye look with the silver, purple and dark grey.

Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick / Notting Hill Nude
I've been wearing this lipstick none-stop since I got it. It's not completely matte but it's not shimmery or glittery. It has this rosy undertone to it that doesn't make my whole face like a zombie.
L'Oreal Glam Shine Stain Splash / Pink Resistance
I believe this shade is not available either in Japan or the UK, but if you love a very natural coral-pink shade, you should get it from eBay! It's such a beautiful shade that makes me look healthy. I love how it's buildable, too.

Rimmel London Exaggerate Undercover Shadow Primer
I purchased it because I couldn't afford the hyped-up primer from NARS, and I'm glad I did! It works really well as a primer, although it's doesn't have a colour-correcting effect. My eyeshadows stay much longer when I use it underneath them, and it's super affordable.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer
I'm so glad I did purchase it in London in March. I have shade1 and 2, that I use on my dark circles. I don't find them too drying as some people claim, but I wish they had more shades.

Max Factor Clump Defy Volumising Mascara
Such a good mascara, isn't it? It really doesn't make my eyelashes clumpy, it just coats each eyelash that I don't need false lashes at all! I wish I could buy it here in Japan.

Maybelline Volum' Express The Rocket Mascara
My favourite mascara that I can buy in Japan for sure. I like it better than Falsies just because it makes my eyelashes fuller than Falsies, which I found the formula was a little bit too wet for my liking. I love this mascara so much that I'll repurchase once I run out of it.

Maybelline Dream Touch Blush / Peach
In 2013, I fell in love with cream blushers. I also liked the one from Bourjois, but this particular shade easy to wear with any kind of makeup, in any seasons. It feels pretty wet on the skin but once you blend it out with Stippling Brush from Real Techniques, it creates this pretty cheeks that looks like it's from within.

Maybelline ColorTattoo Metal / Barely Branded
This shade works amazingly as an eyeshadow base! It's such an elegant campaign colour that I wear every single day underneath any eyeshadows. I just hope it doesn't dry out until I actually hit the pan.

What are your best beauty products you discovered in 2013? Let me know!

Hope you have a happy new year!

My favourite masks : Origins Drink Up & Drink Up Intensive

Origins Drink Up
Origins Drink Up Intensive
I know there are tons of blog posts about these amazing masks so I'm not going to ramble on about them. But since they are so amazing, and they have been my skin savior this winter, I just wanted to write a quick blog post about them.

So back in March when I went to London to visit my husband's family there, my sister-in-law, her husband and kids (by the way they are such amazing people, they are truly my dream family) took us to Bicester Village. My husband loves there so much and he can spend hours shopping. I'm not a big fan of any high-end brands (I love their bags and shoes but they all are made with leather...except Stella McCartney which isn't sold at Bicester) so I get bored after like 10 minutes. But when my sister-in-law and I went to the beauty shop, it was whole another story. I had so much fun there browsing, and I spotted Origins Drink Up which I didn't even hesitate to buy, especially because it was the last one.

When I was back in Japan and started using this mask, I fell in love. And I noticed that there was Drink Up Intensive which you can leave it on all night and don't need to wipe off. So I purchased it online here in Japan knowing that I didn't NEED to. Now I'm using them depending on my skin condition and my mood. So I'm going to write a bit of a comparison review.

Drink up -left-
It's got this creamy thin consistency which is easy to spread all over the face. I apply generous amount of it on my face after cleansing and leave it for more than 10 minutes, maybe about 15-20 minutes. It looks creamy white at the beginning but when my skin drinks it up (or maybe the face mask dries out...?) it becomes invisible. 

It has got this fruity scent which everyone seems to love. I love this scent too, it's just so yummy and amazing. To me it smells like peach but some people describe it as mango or tropical fruit. This scent definitely helps me to feel relaxed which is another benefit of using this face mask.

After 10 minutes, I just gently wipe the excess mask off with a cotton pad, then move on to the moisturiser I usually use. It makes my skin softer and plumper with moisture. 

Drink Up Intensive -right-

Compared to Drink up, Drink Up Intensive has got thicker consistency as you can see in the photos above. You apply it all over your face just like normal night cream, and go to sleep. You don't even need to wipe it off, you can just sleep with this face mask on. 

First I thought that sounded a bit gross, because I imagined a tacky heavy face mask sitting on top of my skin when I go to bed. But actually it's got this light texture which doesn't bother me at all. It feels just like normal night cream, but it does an AMAZING job. 

You can't tell much really when you apply it, but wait for 8 hours and feel your skin in the morning. You will be amazed. Whenever my skin needs a slap -or let's be gentle and say, need support- I use this face mask because it solves all the problems in one night. In the morning my skin looks brighter, plumper, much more hydrated and basically brilliant. 

So which one should you get if you only can get one? 
I strongly recommend getting Drink Up Intensive. It's very easy to use and more powerful in my opinion. Drink Up is also very nice and I'm glad I've got it, but Drink Up Intensive makes a huge difference while Drink Up makes my skin condition a bit better, if that makes sense. They both are 22 pound in the UK but my Drink Up was 15 pound at Bicester! 

Have you tried these masks? What's your favourite Origins product?