skincare + selfcare


Review: Herbivore Coco Rose Lip Conditioner

If you have been following my blog or Instagram, you will know that I am a bit obsessed with lip products. I have fairly thin lips that are dry, often cracked, and have a rough texture. The main reason for my lip condition is that I have asthma and am a mouth breather. One tip I always share for those that suffer from similar lip conditions like mine is to use very hydrating and moisturizing lip products. The more moisture and hydration you add, lips will not only be soft and smooth but moisture will help plump the skin, making the lips appear fuller.

About a month ago, Herbivore was having a sale and offering a 20% off discount. So, of course, it was the perfect time to order some products that I had been wanting to try.  This post will be reviewing the CoCo Rose Coconut Oil Lip Conditioner.

About the brand:
Herbivore is founded by husband and wife duo Alex and Julie out of their kitchen in Seattle Washington. Their philosophy is to produce safe and non-toxic products that are effective. "We believe in the power of nature to bring these results".  Herbivore uses natural ingredients, plant based food grade, cold pressed, GMO-free soy wax, recyclable and reusable packaging and many of their products are certified organic.

The Claim:
Herbivore claims that this is a lightweight lip conditioner will deeply nourish, hydrate, protect, smooth and soften lips.



Review: Balanced Guru Nourish Me Facial Serum

I am excited to review the Balanced Guru Nourish Me Facial Serum that I got from Musely. I had seen this brand all over Instagram lately which sparked my curiosity. I had tried the Detox Scalp Treatment with positive results so this made me want to try more from this brand. If you would like to read what I think of this formulation and how it worked on my skin type and skin concerns, just keep reading.

About Balanced Guru:
Balanced Guru's motto is to create wholesome products that are organic, cruelty-free and safe for our bodies and the environment. They aim to create prodcuts using Eastern wisdom and modern Western science that will help balance your beauty through physical, emotional and spiritual wellness.

The Claim:
This serum claims to moisturize without clogging pores, help nourish and reduce the appearance of fine lines. This organic formula is for all skin types, even expecting or nursing mothers.



The Journey to Clear Skin: My Acne Story

I can't believe it's almost been two years since first writing about my struggle with acne. Back in October of 2015, I began to openly write about my experience with hormonal breakouts, painful cysts and red, irritated skin. You can read my first blog post here. Although posting such candid pictures of my skin was extremely difficult, I thought my story could help others struggling with the same issues. To be completely open and honest, I was mortified that I, a licensed medically trained Esthetician, was having such terrible trouble with my skin. It made me question my training, I began to question my efficacy at doing my job well...I pretty much had hit rock bottom. Although close, it was what I like to refer to as my mid-life skin care crisis.

In my first post, which was in October, I had been battling nasty breakouts for about eight months. Here is how my skin looked. This is a never seen before picture when my skin was literally at it's worse. This is still very painful to post so please be kind.

As you can see from the picture above, my face was not terrible because believe me, in my almost twenty years in esthetics I had seen much, much worse. However, this was bad skin for me since prior to this time period, I would only get a few blemishes during my menstrual cycle. My skin was always pretty damn clear even while going through puberty and well into my teen's. After doing what I could to tackle the breakouts on my own, I finally went to see my primary care physician because nothing I was trying was working. I want to stress that acne is a medical condition and those suffering should always consult with a doctor. In esthetics, I, a medically trained Esthetician cannot legally (in the State of Oregon at least) treat acne.



First Impression: Natural Pacific Fresh Herb Calendula Tincture Toner

Hey everyone! I wanted to quickly share my first impression on the Natural Pacific Fresh Herb Calendula Tincture Toner. I did post a review seen here on my Instagram but for some, I wanted to make a post for those of you who aren't on Insta. Here is my first impression review of the Fresh Herb Calendula Tincture Toner from the brand Natural PacificI have recently incorporated this into my skincare routine using a new skin care method called a "Toner Wash". If you would like more information on what the heck a toner wash is, just keep reading. 



Review: Juara Clove & Turmeric Serum

I am very excited to review Juara's Clove Flower & Turmeric Anti-Aging Serum today. I have been testing this serum for about five, almost six weeks and I must say, I am impressed. While I mostly blog about Korean (or Asian) skincare, I have a soft spot for natural and/or organic skincare. Regardless, I choose skincare products based on ingredients, formulation and whether a particular product will be effective in treating my specific skin care concerns. As with Juara, this serum collected a panel research study regarding the efficacy of this particular product. When I read that after a 4 week period, 87% of women saw an improvement in their skin tone. If you have been following my blog or Instagram, improving skin tone, fading post acne scars and hyper-pigmentation is my biggest concern.



Review: 107 Core Flex Cream Essence

I am very excited to be reviewing the ONEOSEVEN Core Flex Cream Essence for you all. The brand had reached out awhile back and asked if I wanted to test out a few of their products. After researching the brand, I gladly excepted. I tested the Cream Essence not only in the colder, winter months, but in the warmer late spring and early summer. I wanted to offer you all a very detailed post on how this essence worked when my skin was more dry and when it tends to be a bit oily. If you want to hear about my experience just keep reading.

About the Brand:
Before accepting any type of pr or gifted products, I am very thorough and take time to research the brand and products. As you know, ingredients are extremely important but so is the company, how they produce their products and how they give back to the community. The main reasons I wanted to test out this brand is because of their philosophy not only on their products but with outreach and helping to change the world. "Combining the wisdom of our ancestors and modern technology to produce products that can make this world more healthy and beautiful." I also love that the ONEOSEVEN believes in philanthropy and gracious devotes revenue and resources in partnership with UHIC to help make the world a better place for all.

One hundred seven secret formulas began many centuries ago at a vinegar brewery. The company's name is derived from one hundred and seven secret formulas that have been kept for 35 generations to help improve health. Today, 107 combines these traditional secret formulas with modern science to help the skin stay youthful.

The Claim:
This essence claims to provide tightening and brightening effects while deeply moisturizing the skin.



Review: Atopalm Real Barrier Extreme Cream

I am so excited to be reviewing the Atopalm Real Barrier Extreme Cream for you guys. The brand Atopalm has been on my radar for almost a year so I was thrilled when I won this cream! I have read numerous reviews from others out there like me with sensitive skin that found the Atopalm product line to be very effective. 

The Claim:
This claims to be a rich, long-lasting, highly moisturizing cream that helps repair a damaged or compromised skin barrier. The skin will be calm and moisturized immediately after application. The "Real Barrier" line is exclusive to the US only.

About the brand:

The brand began its journey nearly 20 years ago after research scientist, Dr. Park created a hypoallergenic formula safe enough to use on his newborn son. His son suffered from dry, cracked and painful dermatitis and after years of devoted research, Atopalm was born. Today, his vision is now available to us, a line of products that heal and protect even the most sensitive skin.



Review: Patchology Poshpeel Pedi Cure Foot Mask

I often find that I will review products on my Instagram channel or I will review products here on my blog. For whatever reason, I seem to forget to review products on both platforms. I need to be better and I will try very hard because I know there is a handful few of my readers who don't have an Instagram account. Last week, I had the privilege of testing the PoshPeel Pedi Cure Exfoliating Foot Mask from Patchology that was sent complimentary for review purposes. thing you might now know about me is that I have quirky phobias! One of my biggest phobias is that I hate feet. Feet are nasty and disgusting and it takes a lot for me to review a product that has anything to do with feet. I went into testing out this product knowing, in the back of my head, that this was just another foot peeling masks that over promises but under delivers. In the end, I am still shocked as hell that I am posting a review about my experience and...wait for it....I am posting pictures of my feet! If you want to read more about my experience, just keep reading.

What is it?
This is an exfoliating treatment to dissolve dead skin, exfoliate rough patches and brighten feet. 

The Claim:
The PoshPeel Pedi Cure claims to polish to perfection with this treatment that gently exfoliates and resurfaces the skin. It promised to leave your feet feeling smooth and radiant. 



Review: Swanicoco Fermentation Care Line, a complete review

It has taken what seems like forever but I have finally tested all the products in the Swanicoco Fermentation line. I am excited to share my thoughts on these products and how they worked on my skin type. On a side note, I do not feel I can write an honest and thorough review until I have tried a product for at least a few months, if not longer depending on the type of product. I just feel like I wouldn't be giving you, my readers a fair review if I only try a product a few times. I always want to remain completely genuine and because of that, my reviews may take longer to post then other bloggers. I would also like to mention that this line was so very graciously sent to me by Swanicoco.

About the brand:
Swanicoco is a Korean beauty brand that began in the early 2000's by making naturally fermented soaps. The company has since evolved, transitioning into a brand that offers skin care and makeup products. Their philosophy is to create eco-friendly and skin improving, effective products that contain no harmful ingredients. The focus is on integrating natural, fermented ingredients coupled with biotechnology research to develop their formulations.  Swanicoco is a company that works to create natural cosmetics, both skincare and makeup for women and men using only the highest quality ingredients, utilizing the most cutting edge technology. All products contain no artificial dyes, fragrances or chemical preservatives. Further, the products are alcohol, mineral oil and paraben free that are safe, hypoallergenic and ideal for all skin types, even those most sensitive of skin's.



Shop Review: Althea Korea

Since the departure of a very popular, online Korean beauty retailer, many people in the Asian Beauty Community have been exploring other options on where to purchase products. My goal for this post is to help people purchase Korean beauty products from relievable, and trustworthy sellers. Althea recently expanded their shipping service and is now offering free international shipping on all orders above $50.  When I was approached by Althea to help spread this exciting expansion, I was thrilled to not only discover that they offered free international shipping, they also guarantee their products authenticity plus a 30 day unconditional return policy. I was thrilled when Althea offered me free points to use toward a purchase to test out the shop. I couldn't order fast enough! Below is my review on my experience with Althea.


Review: Swanicoco 2GF Bio Mix Mask Pack

I do not often get excited over a sheet mask but after I tested the Swanicoco 2GF Bio Mix Mask, I knew I had to write a full review. Swanicoco has quickly become one of my favorite skin care brands because they make extremely effective and well formulated products that show visible results. This hydrogel sheet mask is no exception, hence the need for a full blog post review.

About the brand:
This is a naturally based, fermented centered brand that includes Korean traditional medicine in each of their products. The brand began creating fermented soaps and has grown into a full range brand including both skin care and makeup. They believe in naturally derived ingredients, excluding chemically or artificially based ingredients. Every product is free of artificial dyes and fragrances plus each product is paraben, mineral oil and alcohol free. They include organically based ingredients whenever possible and of course they never test on animals.

To learn more about Swanicoco as a brand and their history, please click here. To read more about the research and development behind the brand, please click here

The Claim:
This mask claims to moisturize and nourish the skin while increasing elasticity and building collagen.


Revisit Review: Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream

Today I want to review the Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream. If you have been following my blog for awhile, I have tried this cream in the past and did a thorough review here.  I recently purchased this cream again so I thought it would be a great time to update my review. I did buy this cream from 8liter during one of their 'try it now" $3.99 special pricing campaign. This cream retails for over twenty dollars so I couldn't pass up that amazing deal.

As always, I like to begin my reviews with stating the products claims. This cream was launched early last year and since has won several awards. This cream claims to provide total care for sensitive, red and irritated skin while strengthening the skin and protecting it again further irritation and environmental damage. 



Leaders Labotica Argan Oil Deep Cleansing Tissue Review

I am very excited for this blog review! To be brutally honest, I have not been a fan of cleansing wipes. I have tried my fair share of cleansing wipes from big name brands such as Neutrogena and Olay. I have even ventured onto cleaner, greener brands like Yes to Carrots but all ending with the same result...irritated skin. The negative reaction to cleansing wipes have ranged anywhere from stinging and burning to turning bright pink which usually takes my skin days to recover. When Leaders USA sent me the Labotica Argan Oil Deep Cleansing Tissues to try, I was very hesitant. I was going to give them to a friend to test out on my behave but then curiosity got the better of me. Instead of passing the buck, I took a leap and, like always, I am forever the human guinea pig.

"Formulated with argan oil, these deep cleansing tissues softly remove make up and dead skin cells while cleansing and nourishing the skin".- from website!



Traveling Essentials

I recently traveled to Boise Idaho to have mircoblading. After a tad over 12 hours on the road in less than 48 hours, it got me thinking about how important it is to take care of your skin even when traveling. I also thought this post would be helpful because traveling season is among us. The following tips are those that should be applicable year round because you always need to protect your skin, even on a cloudy or rainy day. So, here are my traveling saviors! Traveling is so hard on my skin whether traveling by plane or car. Traveling in recirculated air, whether air conditioned or heated can severely dehydrate the skin. Worse, those pesky UV rays beaming through windows hit the skin like a freight train, causing some serious damage. While on my latest trip seen here, I took along some staple products to help keep my skin protected from the elements. Below are a few key items that are absolutely essential when traveling. 

Pixi Beauty Sun Milk SPF30



Skin 18 Mask Review #3

Skin18 is a website where I often purchase my sheet masks because they offer a wide variety of brands at great prices. Another huge plus is that you can receive free masks when you order. They also have a point system where you can earn chips to use toward your purchase. If you haven't tried out Skin18 you can sign up here and save 15% off your order.



Timeless 20% Vitamin C Serum Review

Today I want to finally review the Timeless 20% Vitamin C, E & Ferulic Acid Serum. This review is long over due but when it comes to testing out potent anti-aging products, my sensitive skin requires extra time for testing purposes. This is especially true for vitamin C (VC) products as my skin hasn't played well with other serums in the past. While L-Ascorbic Acid (L-AA) might be the best form of vitamin C in terms of collagen production, UV protection, fading scarring and hyper-pigmentation, it has been known to cause skin irritation and sensitivity. So as you can imagine with my sensitive skin, I started the process of adding Timeless VC into my routines very, very slowly. 

I usually touch base on patch testing further into my product reviews but due to the nature of VC, I feel I need to write about how I incorporated this into my routine. 

Patch Testing:
Every product I use goes through a very detailed patch testing period. I always patch test and I recommend patch testing to everyone. This is how I introduce new skin care products to my easily irritated skin. Patch testing can look different for everyone but for me, I test products in stages. For this VC serum, I applied it to the inside of my wrist, neck, chest and behind my ears. I applied this serum to those areas for a few weeks, yes weeks. I did see some irritation/sensitivity, redness, flushing but nothing too serious so I began adding a tiny drop to different parts of my face for many weeks. I saw the same flushing and slight irritation/sensitivity but again, nothing serious enough to stop the testing process. I began adding more and more product until eventually I was applying the serum to my entire face. I will say that during these many weeks of testing, I was traveling, I got sick, menstruation etc happened and I broke out, so I wasn't sure if the VC serum was exacerbating the situation so I would back off using this on areas where I wasn't having breakouts. I came to find that this wasn't causing breakouts but it was making my skin more sensitive. Was my skin more likely to break out from this increased skin sensitivity? I honestly don't think so. Regardless, I needed to take this crazy amount of time to really test this product because I have sensitive skin. 
Another challenge was the weather, which so wacky and I know this made testing out this serum more complicated. Lastly, I also had an IPL treatment and a microdermabrasion during the testing period, so you can see why it has taken me a long time to test this product.



First Impression: 9 Wishes Vanishing Balm Glow

I wanted to share my first impressions on a product that I recently got from BB Cosmetic. Although I mainly focus on skincare, I wanted to branch out a little and try out a new complexion enhancing item that still promises skin care benefits. This post will not be a full review because I am still testing out this items but it will provide some insight on how this product is working for my skin. This first impression post was highly requested after my unboxing "stories" on my Instagram channel.



Sibu Sea Berry Seed Oil Review

If you have been following me on Instagram, you have seen me post various facial oils in my skin care routine pictures. That is because I have been a bit obsessed lately with facial oils. Contrary to what you have been taught to think, oils are excellent for the skin, even on acneic skin. Counterintuitive as it may sound, facial oils can be very beneficial. The trick is choosing the right oil for your skin type. There are many oils out there that not only hydrate, they also can brighten, even out skin tone and some can even fade discoloration and fight blemishes. Yes, certain oils can actually help to regulate natural oil production while others are naturally rich in vitamins and omega fatty acids that repair and strengthen the skin.

Today I want to take the opportunity to review the Sibu Sea Berry Seed Oil that I got from I have been using this oil in my skin care routines for almost a month and although this review cannot discuss any long term benefits, I can definitely speak to the short term efficacy of the product.
Image from Sibu website


Goldfaden MD Review

I am really excited to be reviewing two products from the brand Goldfaden MD that I have been testing out for the past few weeks. Although I primarily focus on Asian beauty, if you follow me on Instagram you will know that I have been slowing shifting toward more natural and/or organic products or products that contain clean but effective ingredients. After researching the brand, I was very excited when Goldfaden MD approached me to see if I wanted to test out two of their products. Goldfaden MD is a very popular brand that has been featured in magazines such as Elle, Natural Health, Woman's Health, Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Vogue and Dr. Oz The Good Life. I love that Gray Goldfaden, the dermatologist and creator of the brand is the first to developed a physician strength natural skincare line in the industry. 

Company Info:
Goldfaden is non prescription skincare solutions utilizing state of the art technologies that are nature inspired. Goldfaden MD feels that many synthetic ingredients found in skin care products are known to cause skin irritation and can actually cause damage to the skin. The Goldfaden MD brand products are made without any harsh and synthetic ingredients. The brand is committed to creating only safe but highly effective products that are naturally derived and are results driven. These products are truly inspired by science but contain powerful, natural ingredients. Speaking of, Goldfaden MD products are organic and have naturally based ingredients, are paraben, mineral oil and alcohol free. These do not contain any gluten, silicones and are cruelty free and vegetarian. The Goldfaden MD mission is to create environmentally conscious products, avoiding harsh chemicals, artificial colorants, synthetic fragrance and chemical preservatives.  



Facetory 4 Fresh Pick Review

A few months ago I signed up to test out a new monthly sheet mask subscription service called FacetoryI have been really enjoying the collection of masks they have sent in their past boxes because of the quality and variety. You can read those reviews here and here to see past collections. This review is on their 4 Fresh Pick which is four sheet masks delivered to your door for $4.95 plus .99 shipping. A special thanks to Facetory for sending me this box in exchange for my honest review. The 4 Fresh Pick box is a great entry level box for kbeauty newbies or for those out there that don't want to break the bank but want good quality masks. This box also features mostly cotton and cellulose mask sheet materials while the Seven Lux Box (past boxes I have reviewed) contain hydrogels or multi-step masks with higher quality ingredients.



Skin Care on a Budget: A new blog series

One question that I get asked a lot is how to have an effective skin care routine without breaking the bank. I totally understand the struggle. There are just too many products out there and you want to try it all. I know a lot of you understand this predicament! But let's face it, most of us out there do not have an unlimited amount of money to spend on skin care or beauty related items. One of the reasons why I have decided to write this post is because I am hearing/reading more and more stories of people out there who over spend and find themselves in major debt. Worse, a very good friend of mine even had to file bankruptcy because she maxed out credit cards and then couldn't afford the payments. While I have no simple answers, this post is a collection of tips I use to help curb my spending yet still have a great skin care routine. To help me keep track of my own spending and to help others out there, I have designed a financial plan that will not only keep track of my own purchases, this plan will help me stick to a budget that works within my finances. I have decided to create this blog series to show you how you can stick to a budget and still achieve great skin care results.

First things first, I know you all want to have healthy and beautiful skin. If that wasn't true, you would not be spending the time, energy and money. The trick is learning how to balance the desire for achieving the skin care results you want while resisting the urge to buy everything your heart desires. Sometimes you just need to ask yourself..."Do I really need this?"



Oolu Gel Lemon Mask Review

I wanted to take the opportunity to review the Oolu Lemon Peel Mask from Memebox. To start, I love masks and post mask reviews on my Instagram channel on a weekly basis. However, most of the masks I review are sheet masks because I find them super easy to incorporate into your daily skin care routine. On the other hand, wash off masks can be equally effective but they do take more work. Wash off masks require you to wash them off and at night, I can be a little lazy. Lately, I have been testing out more wash off masks like the Matcha Clay Mask from the brand Matcha Obsessed and it has rekindled my appreciation and love for these types of masks. While wash off's require a rinsing step, their efficacy deserves a spotlight. I was super excited when this mask arrived in the mail courtesy of Memebox because Oolu is a brand that I have come to enjoy.



Skin18 Mask Review #2

I recently tried out a bunch of sheet masks from the brands Holika Holika and Nature Republic that I got from Skin 18. This post will be reviewing those masks or recapping reviews I have posted on my Instagram channel.

Let's first get a little background information on the brands I am about to review. First, Holika Holika is a Korean cosmetic lined created in 2010. Holika Holika features eye catching packaging that offer high quality products at affordable prices. The vision for this brand is to provide fun, happy and eye catching cosmetic products that enhance the beauty in all. Second, Nature Republic was established in 2009 and features cosmetics that are inspired by nature. Nature Republic's passion and philosophy is to provide high quality products derived from Mother Nature. I am apart of the USA reviewer team so these masks were sent to me for review purposes but my thoughts and opinions are my own as with all my reviews.



Piibu February Mask Box Review

About a month ago, the folks at Piibu reached out to see if I wanted to try out their monthly mask subscription service and of course I agreed. If you have been following me for any length of time, especially on Instagram, you will know that I love sheet masks. I have been incorporating sheet masks into my skin care regimen for the past 10 years or so and believe that sheet masks make a huge difference in how my skin looks and feels. I have been excited to see more and more sheet mask subscription boxes pop up over the past year, making them more accessible to anyone. I remember years ago when it was difficult to get any Asian beauty products here in the States but not anymore!

Piibu (pronounced pee-boo) means "skin" in Korean and is a monthly mask subscription service that sends around 8 different masks directly to your door. Each month's box highlights a particular skin care theme for example like masks that focus on brightening or soothing so each month will be unique. Piibu offers three different plans, a month to month, a 3 month and 6 month and the monthly cost starts at $15 per month plus shipping (a grand total of $19). Each month's box is said to be a retail value of $35 +.



Yadah All Day Cushion Review

If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you will know that my philosophy on foundation is that it should provide coverage but your base makeup should also be an extension of your daily skin care routine. In the beginning, it was bb cream that brought me into the world of Asian beauty. I was searching the internet for a base makeup that evened out my complexion, didn't break me out and had skin care properties. I, like many of you found that my foundation was clogging my pores (I'm looking right at your Mac) and did not offer my skin any health benefits. Fast forward 10 years and I am still a huge proponent of cushions because like bb creams, they offer skin care ingredients, coverage plus cushions are super easy to apply. I am always up for testing out cushions so when the lovely peeps at BB Cosmetics offered to send me this, I jumped at the change. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen this in some of my recent posts but I wanted to take the opportunity to give this cushion a full review. 

Yadah's brand story is to create safe, hypoallergenic, low chemical and plant derived skin care and makeup products. Yadah is a Hebrew word that means wisdom. Yadah uses the purest, most natural ingredients so their products are safe for even the most stressed and sensitive skin types. They incorporate organic eastern prickly pear (opuntia humifusa) as the base for all their products. Prickly pear is highly moisturizing, calms, soothes, heals plus it is a great anti-inflammatory. Eastern prickly pear is a tough cactus plant native to Korea and it can withstand extreme temperatures. The plant contains flavonoid which helps to strengthen blood vessels and works to stabilize the skin's support network, aka collagen and elastin. Prickly pear is also rich in vitamin c, amino acids and saponin, a plant derived skin soothing antioxidant.  To learn more about Yadah's natural ingredients, please visit their website here

Image result for yadah all day cushion

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