Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sephora Freebies

If you live in the US, you're probably aware that Sephora is allowing us to add 5 samples to every purchase through March 3rd, rather than the usual 3.

Well, in addition to that, Sephora is now allowing Beauty Insiders to preview a deluxe sample of Smashbox's new Photo Finish Lid Primer before it hits stores. How cool is that?!?!

My eyes produce a lot of oil, so I've always used Urban Decay Primer Potion. However, I dislike the drying, rubbery texture, which I'm sure is contributing to premature aging because it's so hard to blend in. This primer contains plant-based hyaluronic acid, as well as amino acids, to moisturize and brighten the skin. Sounds like I don't have to worry about my primer nullifying the properties of my eye cream!

If you're a beauty insider, just use coupon code "SMASHLAB" at check out. Hurry before supplies run out!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Breakfast Mask Recipe

After the six hour flight from sunny Southern California back to wintry New England, my combination skin has been peeling and flaking from all the dehydration. To make matters worse, I've also started slightly breaking out again. I was caught in a bit of a dilemma because I don't have a wide range of products to fix this problem. Before I came back for my final semester, I decided not to bring my armory of treasured skincare products (DHC Cleansing Oil, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, St. Ives scrubs, etc.) because anything I don't finish, I will have to throw out. During my time in college, I've accumulated a ton of belongings so packing up and shipping out will be enough stressful as it is.

So recently, with a dining hall at my disposal (when will I ever have this luxury again?), I've been getting into homemade masks to help heal and improve my skin. The Internet is overflowing with recipes on how to incorporate food into your skincare regimen, but I've never used food other than egg whites on my skin because my parents would just consider it a waste, haha. Below is a recipe I concocted on the fly which I recommend if your skin needs some clarifying and moisturizing. Of course, you should only make it if these ingredients are readily and cheaply accessible! I call this mask the "Breakfast Mask" 'cause it's made of things I consume at breakfast, and tastes good enough to eat! :-)

You will need:
1) A cup of uncooked oatmeal - soothing, anti-inflammatory
2) Honey - as much or as little as you want, only if you're not allergic to it - moisturizing, healing, nourishing
3) A few slices of a lemon - lightening, brightening
4) One banana - moisturizing
5) Utensils--a pot, stirring spoon, bowl, knife, cutting board, etc.
6) Resealable tupperware

Start by boiling a bit of water over a stove, and slowly adding in the oatmeal. You should cook the oatmeal a bit on the drier side, so it's thick and pasty, instead of runny or watery. When the oatmeal is done, scoop it out into a bowl. While the oatmeal is still hot, add honey into it and mix well. You can add as much or as little honey as you'd like. Next, peel your banana completely, and slice it as thinly as possible. Smash the banana slices all together until the banana has turned into mush, and then add this into the oatmeal. Stir everything together thoroughly. Your mixture should be a little more watery now. Next, add in some fresh lemon juice. If you're unsure of how much to add, a fourth of a lemon should be plenty. Mix again. Your mixture should be thick and mushy, but not runny. Take out the amount you need for your facial mask, and put the rest into a resealable tupperware container for the fridge. Apply the mask on a clean and toned face, and leave on for 5 to 15 minutes. Afterwards, rinse with water and follow with moisturizer.

If you want, you can also soak cotton pads in the mixture and put them on top of the paste on your skin. I find this helpful because the first batch I made was too liquidy, and glops of oatmeal and banana kept falling off all over the place. I would also suggest that you rinse carefully behind a mirror because the oatmeal and banana can get in your hair and be very difficult to wash out!

I tried this mask when my skin was very dry and congested. After rinsing my skin, it felt so nice and smooth. The next morning, my skin looked so much brighter and healthier, and my zits had reduced in size.

Some other oatmeal mask recipes to consider can be found here:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Recent Purchases, Random Babbling

Just a quick random and personal post, because I'm not sure when I'll be able to update again. I shipped my beat up baby (aka my laptop) to repair, and I probably won't have it back until after two weeks from today. I asked for a memory upgrade, so hopefully I'll get one, cause my system is seriously soooooooo slow. Sometimes I have to wait ten minutes after logging into (not turning on, mind you) my computer for all the programs to load and settle down.

My sleeping schedule has been extremely erratic recently. My brain likes being nocturnal, but I have morning classes this semester, so I've been desperately trying to turn my internal clock around. However, it refuses to listen to me! And in an attempt to regulate my sleeping schedule, I've been pulling all-nighters just so I can make it to class and not be late. However, not sleeping at night bodes poorly on my body. I have a lot of cystic acne nodules on my forehead right now, which goes to show no matter how much you take care of your skin, it's all pointless if you don't get enough sleep.

Anyway, I just wanted to mention here in my superficial niche in cyberspace what else I've purchased recently! I am seriously breaking the bank here.

GoldSign Lusty Jeans
18th Amendment Lollobrigida High Waist Straight Leg Jean
Dolce Vita Madison Pumps
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (from for the free gift with purchase!)
Marc by Marc Jacobs Biker Stud Skinny Barrette
Marc by Marc Jacobs Dr. Q Key Pouch

I haven't received the heels or the Clinique cleansing balm yet, since I just ordered those this week. I'm so happy with the jeans I purchased, though. The GoldSign pair are the perfect black skinnies I've been desperately needing, and they're SUCH high quality! I definitely recommend this brand if you're looking for high end jeans. The 18th Amendment pair is a dirty blue wash and seems of lesser quality than the GoldSign pair, but they still fit me pretty well. The inseam is 34" or so, so they're way too long, but I like to scrunch my skinnies around the ankles so that works out fine. Both pairs cost me about $100, which is pretty good considering they're high end.

It's funny how my collection of jeans just adds up throughout the years. I haven't gotten taller (just fatter, haha) since high school and now I have no idea what to do with my pile of old jeans. I can still wear them, but I don't really like them. Most of them are flared (since that was "in" then), and since I'm not very tall, I think they make me look shorter. Most are also too long for me, so I have to fold them up, and I don't have a sewing machine so I can't hem them. They don't fit me that snugly either, since I used to buy everything a size larger incase I "grew" later. I wonder what I should do with them.

On another note, I'm not entirely sure I should keep my Marc by Marc Jacobs purchases. Both were on sale, but do I really need them? The key pouch is too small to hold anything besides credit cards, id, and keys. The barrette is cute, but not something I can wear often. I'm wondering if I should return these and purchase the Bliss Peeling Groovy Serum, especially because they're giving away a free Love Handler this month with every purchase. I can't believe how expensive this serum is, though! It costs even more than my Estee Lauder Idealist! I'm sorely tempted to buy it to do a comparison...hmm.

Anyway, if you read through all my babbling, let me know what you think! I'm off to work on a huge research paper...woopee :-( Take care, all.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion

Just a very basic review today. I'm sure almost everyone has heard of or already tried the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, 4.2 oz before. This hefty 4.2 oz bottle comes with or without a pump. The pump-less version costs $22.50, and the with pump version costs $24.00

My mom used to use this lotion religiously in her thirties and early forties, and in my teens, I tried to use this too. Clinique claims this lotion provides a "world famous" moisture "drink" for your skin. However, I never liked it very much then. It made my skin feel shiny and oily, and it didn't seem to be making a positive difference.

However, that was also when I never got dry skin. Back then, I was much oilier and never prone to dry patches. Thus, if you have young or oily skin, you'll probably hate this product. Now that I'm older and have developed drier, combination skin, I have to say I really love this moisturizer. It has been my ultimate savior during these winter months, and the transition from fall to winter.

This lotion is actually pretty light, and the blendability is amazing. In my other moisturizer reviews, I usually mention whether the product remains moist long enough for me to spread it over the desired portion of my face before drying. This moisturizer is great in that respect. Also, a little goes a long way. I use a pea sized amount on each of my cheeks/eye areas, on my nose and around my mouth, and on my forehead. It instantly absorbs into my skin, and leaves a moist, smooth finish, and gives my skin an extra boost of moisture. In the fall, I was comfortable with using this as my main nighttime moisturizer. Now that the weather is much worse (ice and cold outside, drying heat from the radiator inside), I apply this lotion as a base before a thicker moisturizer, whether before bed, or before sunscreen (since my sunscreen can feel quite matte, almost drying). This allows my regular serums or emulsions to penetrate even deeper into my skin.

The ingredients for this product are pretty basic. Nothing fancy.

Water (Aqua Purificata) Purified, Mineral Oil (paraffinum liquidum), Sesame (Sesamum Indicum) Oil, Propylene Glycol, Tea Stearate, Gylceryl Stearate, Lanolin Alcohol, Petrolatum, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.

Yes, this moisturizer contains mineral oil and sesame oil. For some of you that may be a turn off, but this lotion has never broken me fact, it's maybe even helped prevent my breakouts by providing an excellent barrier over my Estee Lauder Idealist. I've also read somewhere that the reason why people continue to purchase this lotion (though it's had the same formula since the 1960s) is because of the ingredients' proportions, which mimick and maintain your skin's optimal, natural moisture level.

In summary...if you try this product and notice it leaves behind a greasy, oily film on your skin, you're either applying too much or your skin isn't suited to this product. As someone who used to have oily skin, I've been lifted out of my skepticism about the product after bravely resampling it recently.
Right now, Bloomingdale's Clinique is having a free gift with purchase, so it's the perfect time to get this product if you've never tried it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

January 2009 Skincare Routine

My skincare routine is ever changing to suit whatever I feel my skin needs at the moment. Since my skin is pretty fickle, I don't have a typical routine. However, I'm going to start posting monthly skincare routines so you all can see what products I'm using. This post is, as titled, for the previous month of January. With this routine, I saw little to no break outs, my pore size reduced, and I had no dry patches.

Current skin type: dehydrated combination skin with easily clogged pores, small breakouts


DHC Mild Soap (alone), OR
Dove Facial Cleansing Cloths (alone)

Estee Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher, followed by Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion

Clinique Derma White Super City Block SPF 40 ++


DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (alone or with white sugar), followed by DHC Mild Soap OR Dove Facial Cleansing Cloths

Estee Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher
Kiehl's Abyssine Serum + (on neck)
Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream
DHC Extra Virgin Olive Oil (on face and neck)


St. Ives Apricot Scrub (only in shower)
Estee Lauder Advanced Repair Eye Recovery Complex (before Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream)
Biore nose strips

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 Sale!!!

As if I haven't spent enough money already, Shopbop is having another sale! Mid-January, they had an additional 20% off sale on all already discounted items. Now, they have a 20% sale on ALL items! Woo hoo! (An indication of how bad retail sales must be going for them) I've had my eye on a bunch of things, but I really need well fitted skinny jeans!

Here's the code (I had to make a wishlist and send it to myself to get it):


Go crazy!

Eyelid Glue and Tape for Asian Monolids, Hooded Double Eyelids

Aside from your skin, your eyes are probably the next most captivating or important feature on your face. In most cultures, the larger your eyes are or appear to be, the more they are perceived as attractive. This is no different in Asian cultures.

I've decided to write about this because I feel compelled to correct (or counter) the countless critical articles, videos, blogs, and comments on the Internet about this controversial topic. Let's get our background information straight first, before forming premature conclusions.

Approximately fifty percent of the Asian population is born with double eyelids, so that leaves the other fifty percent born with either monolids or with hooded ("hidden" double eyelids). Blepharoplasty (double eyelid surgery) is commonly practiced in Asia and other countries to create or enhance double eyelids. The goal is not really to "Westernize" the eyes (remember, about half the Asian population already has double eyelids), but to just make them appear larger, more awake, and in some instances, even improve eyesight or prevent eyelashes/eyelid skin from irritating the cornea.

Internally, the Asian eye is built completely differently than the Caucasian eye. Even the anatomy of an Asian with double eyelids will differ from a Caucasian eye. Here's some illustrations to help explain:

(photos courtesy of

Can you guess which one is the Asian eye, and which one is the Caucasian eye? If you guessed that the Caucasian eye anatomy is on the left, and the Asian one on the right, you are correct. What differences can you see?

There are red arrows in both diagrams pointing to pink strings that look like ligaments or tendons. These are the eyes' "levator" muscle or tendon, which lifts the eyelid every time the eye blinks. For a long time, this muscle as been perceived as the reason behind the eye crease. As you can see, on the Caucasian eye, this muscle is set much higher on the lid, and connects to the lid in several places, so the levator tendon's pull is quite strong. In the Asian eye, the levator tendon connects to the eyelid much closer to the lashline, and in fewer places. This would explain why the Asian eye's crease is much closer to the lashline, and not as prominent.

However, to say that the levator muscle is completely responsible for whether your crease is higher or lower is uninformed. Of course, the way your eye looks will depend also on your facial bone structure, the size of your eyeballs and eyesocket, the height of your nose, etc. etc. Furthermore, it will also depend on whether your eyelid contains any fat. Yes, fat. In both diagrams, the green and yellow areas illustrate the fat disparity in the Caucasian and Asian eye. The yellow section is the eyelid fat, and the green section is the eyebrow fat. Notice how the Asian eye contains a LOT more fat than the Caucasian eye...the fat even rests on the levator muscle. This layer of fat can cause the Asian eye to appear droopy or saggy, pushing the crease of the eyelid down, or in many cases, not allowing a crease to form on the lid at all.

How do I get rid of this fat, you ask? Well, honestly, there is no non-surgical method of removing the fat from your eye. I've read that some girls try to massage their eye to distribute the fat from their lids...please do not do this! Your eye area is very delicate, and rubbing the skin can cause more harm than good.

Though Asian eyes anatomically differ from the Caucasian eye, they still come in all different sorts of shapes and sizes. Again, many Asians already have eyelid folds. Here are a couple examples of the different types of Asian eye. I used pictures of celebrities (and please don't comment about how you think so-and-so had plastic surgery, I don't judge people without absolute proof and you shouldn't either):

Well defined double eyelids: eyes are deeper set, the crease is fairly high up on the eyelid, frequently beginning and ending at the eye socket. This crease is visible whether the eyes are wide open or closed


Namie Amuro

Hooded eyelids: crease is set further down on the eyelid and closer to the lashline, and may not be apparent or visible when eyes are open, but can be easily seen when blinking or looking down. These eyes are usually not deep set. In some cases, hooded eyelids are mistaken for monolids.

Kwon BoA

Lucy Liu

Monolid: this eyelid either completely lacks a crease or has several faint lines, but no actual crease. Monolids can occur in deep set or portruding eyes. Deep set monolids usually have thinner eyelids, while portruding monolids have thicker eyelids, usually because of an underlying layer of fat.

Bi (Rain)

Hyoni Kang

As you can see, Asian eyes come in all different sorts of shapes and sizes, just like in any other ethnicity. Not all Asians have an "almond shaped" eye, and not all "almond shaped" eyes lack a crease!

Most people who turn to blepharoplasty are monolidded Asians, though there are probably those with hooded eyelids who undergo surgery as well to make their creases higher or more prominent. One non-surgical alternative is to use eyelid glue. Eyelid glue is exactly what it sounds like--a liquid adhesive you apply onto your eyelids where you'd like your desired crease to be placed. Once the glue dries, you use a pusher or small plastic pick to "fold" your eyelid into place. The final result should be a double eyelid.

Eyelid glue should be only used as a last resort, for those who have tried using eyelid tape, but to no avail. Eyelid tape is better than eyelid glue because it is placed consistently in the same spot, so your eyelid will always crease in the same place, and over time, if you are lucky, you will develop a permanent crease. On the other hand, eyelid glue is less easy to control. It takes a lot of practice to master, and your fold may not always appear in the same place. Thus, the chances of developing a permanent crease with eyelid glue are considerably fewer.

Because eyes come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, eyelid glue or tape may not work for everyone. I find that eyelid tape usually works best on monolids who do not have thick, fatty upper eyelids. The thinner the skin, the better. It will probably also be easier if your eyes are somewhat deeper set. One way to tell if eyelid tape will work on you is by seeing if your eyelids create a crease when you wear false eyelashes. The pressure the lash bone puts on your eyelid causes it to indent temporarily, and thus creating a crease. This false "crease" is where you want your eyelid tape to end, so it reinforces where your eyelid would naturally crease, if it were to crease.

(enlarge for close-up)

Sandra Oh is a great example of this. She has monolids that can easily changed into double eyelids. If you look at her eyelids, there is a faint crease several millimeters abover her lashes. However, the creases are extremely faint, and her levator muscles are probably unable to pull in that crease because of her eyelid fat. If she wears false eyelashes that have a harder brim, her monolids will likely turn into double eyelids.

Eyelid glue seems to work better for those who have "hidden" double eyelids (and want to create a larger crease) or fatty monolids. You should first test your eyes to see if eyelid tape works. If not, purchase some eyelid glue (the Japanese brand Koji is a very popular choice). Please do not use any regular glue, as they may contain harmful additives which should not be put anywhere near your eyes at the risk of blindness. Apply the eyelid glue where your crease would naturally fall along the shape of your eye socket. The key is to apply as closely to your lashline as possible, so it looks natural. Apply a couple of coats and let them dry in between to make sure your crease will hold. Then use the plastic prong to create your crease. You should now see a fold. Turning your pick over to the other side (single prong), poke it into the areas where the glue has nicely and completely "folded" your skin; this step is so any gaps where the crease has not completely folded will seal.

I leave you here with a couple links on tape and glue application.

Mulzanza's eyelid glue and makeup tutorial - A nice tutorial on creating a crease on a monolid eye by finding where your natural crease would fall.

Frmheadtotoe's eyelid tape and makeup tutorials - Good explanations on how to make your own eyelid tape, how to apply it, and how to wear makeup with it.

Koji Eyetalk eyelid glue tutorial
- Koji's most circulated eyelid glue tutorial on the web, but the least helpful, in my opinion. The following 2 are better. (The model has monolids in this one.)
another Koji Eyetalk tutorial, but the sound is off - this monolidded lady is using a double sided pusher, I recommend this pusher, not the single sided one in the previous tutorial.
Natural Koji Eyetalk tutorial - this lady already has hidden double eyelids, but is applying glue to heighten the crease.

Beyoutified Episode 3 - Koren and Eve Pearl makeover an Asian lady with asymmetrical double eyelids. The application of eyeshadow is good for any type of Asian crease, as long as you want to make your eyes appear larger without using glue or tape.

- - - - -

Okay, I might as well address the controversy surrounding this topic, since it's somewhat unavoidable. You might be wondering what my personal take on plastic surgery or eyelid glue and tape is. Honestly, I do not have a problem with Asian blepharoplasty or any of these other non-surgical methods. I see Asians being constantly criticized and disparaged for conforming to a supposed Caucasian idea of beauty. While there is perhaps some truth to these accusations, I believe chalking up blepharoplasty or eyelid glue/tape completely as a result of feelings of racial inferiority is presumptuous and Eurocentric. After all, half of the Asian population already has double eyelids! So why are Asians being accused of trying to look white, when they merely want to look like a better version of themselves? Are the Caucasians who undergo rhinoplasty to reduce the size of their nose suffering from Asian envy? Highly doubtful.
There are some standards of beauty that never change across ethnicity lines. Pale skin has always been treasured in either Europe or Asia (until of course, tanning became the fashion in the past decades). Larger, brighter eyes is no exception.
Of course, I'm not advocating completely changing your face. Flaws can be beautiful as well. But those who are unhappy with monolids/hooded lids, and turn to blepharoplasty should not be regarded with contempt. I think an aversion to double eyelid surgery says more about the critic than the patient who undergoes the knife. For people who are against it because of "ethnic" reasons, I must ask--why? Have you ever felt your opinion is based on stereotypes--for example, the idea that all Asians look a certain way, so whatever changes they make to their faces are automatically perceived as some kind of "Caucasianization?"

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bad experiences with Ebay--HELP!

I got back to school this weekend and my sleeping schedule is so messed up. I've been completely nocturnal this entire winter break, and now I'm trying to pull an all-nighter to force myself to sleep early tomorrow night before my first classes. And I'm not really worried at all...oh, seniorititis. Haha.

Anyway, I'm blogging to get some feedback from any readers out there on my current dilemma. Around Christmas, I ordered something on Ebay from a Japanese seller who had100% positive feedback. When I hadn't received the item two weeks later, I messaged the seller to let them know. He/she immediately apologized and said they would send out the item again with a free gift. Two weeks later, I still hadn't received either the original parcel or the resent parcel. Now if you do the math, four weeks had elapsed, so it was the end of January, and I had to fly back to school. I messaged the seller again, and asked if he/she could resend the item to my school address with a tracking number. The seller then refused, citing that he/she was already out of cost for sending me the item twice, and if I really wanted the item, I could bid again and pay $10 extra for tracking. I then told the seller I would call my local post office to see if the package(s) were floating around somewhere, but if not, I would like a refund, since it didn't make any sense for me to pay twice plus $10 extra for something I never received. The seller responded by saying that since shipping was free for the item, they did not take responsibility for any losses, and could not refund me.

If you were in my situation, what would you do? I know Paypal will refund buyers who do not receive the items they pay for, but I do feel bad for the seller. Everyone else who purchased from them received their packages extremely quickly; why am I the only one who didn't, and not just once, but twice?! I am willing to wait another 2 weeks to see if either parcel turns up at my house, and ask my mom to mail it to me since she has to mail me my medication anyway, but what if it doesn't show up? If you were me and you really wanted this item, would you bid again? Or would you file a dispute and ask for a refund? Though I feel bad for the seller, money is still money...