Snail-ing it!

The battle of the Snail Creams! I will give a very short and sweet overview of the two snail creams I have tried.
I’ve tried Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream and the Mizon All in One Snail Repair Cream. 

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These are both great creams in my opinion. They both do different things. The Missha one is more of a last step moisturizing gel type cream while the Mizon is more like a treatment you apply before your skincare.

Consistency
Missha Super Aqual Cell Renew Snail Cream is a gel. It is not sticky but takes a few minutes to absorb in your skin.
Mizon All in One Snail Repair Cream is a creamy gel texture. It is slightly sticky at touch  but absorbs really well. The stickiness is due to the snail content. But it is not gross at all. I actually love using it. It really hydrates well.
Packaging
Missha has a lovely gold packaging. It comes in a jar with a spatula, but the actual product is very little in that big jar.
Mizon has a no frill packaging. You get as much as you see. It comes in a dark jar. There was no spatula in my packaging.
Price
Missha – $45 on their website, $35+/- on Amazon.
Mizon – $18+/- on Amazon
Snail Content
Missha has 70% snail mucus in it.
Mizon has 92% snail mucus in it.
Effects
I loved both of these products. I personally I like the idea of using snail mucus as a treatment in my skincare regime. I find the Mizon cream to be very hydrating and love that it has 92% snail mucus in it. More snail the better! Missha being a gel was great as a last step but I find it not great as a stand alone moisturizer. Mizon also absorbs better and lasts a longer time compared to Missha. They both helped lighten scars, but I think that is a property that snail mucus has so Mizon having more snail mucus in it did a better job at lightening and healing my skin.

Which one would I repurchase? Mizon. Hands down. It has more snail and is a great treatment step in your skin care regime. I use mine after my Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum and Treatment Essence.

Happy Snail-ing!

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Apple – Fruit of the Week

Welcome to my second entry of vegetable/herb/spice/fruit of the week! (Yaaaay!!! Cheers!!)
Today I will ramble about ~
Apples!

Apples arranged in rows on white background --- Image by © C.J. Burton/Corbis

Apples arranged in rows on white background — Image by © C.J. Burton/Corbis

Oh my these luscious globules have saved my life many a times. I kid you not. I had horrible stomach acidity from stress and the only thing that killed all the pain was Apples. They are nature’s antacid. Throw those bottles of tums and packets of prilosec away (they rip you of vitamin B). This works 20 times better. Hands down! Not to mention all these other health benefits.
When I was sick, my stomach hurt so much all I could eat was rice porridge and apples all day. I felt like crap but… guess what? My skin has never glowed so much before! The power of rice porridge cleansing my system along with the antioxidant power of apples really gave my health and skin a boost! It was amazing!
I will state some surface-level benefits of apples as I munch away on my apple slices while I type (so delicious!!).  Apples help regulate blood sugar. They have amazing polyphenols that are more concentrated in the skin than the pulp. So don’t peel that skin off of apples! It has tons of antioxidants, is an anti-inflammatory, is anti-cancer – all the good stuff. It has high water content – the juicy goodness that helps you stay hydrated. It is said to have a lot of digestive benefits plus helps prevent cataracts. What is not to love here people? Plus they taste good!

How do I eat these gorgeous gifts of nature?
I like eating my apples raw. They are my favorite snack. Sometimes, I slather some almond butter on it. So delicious!
Once a year or so I try to make an apple pie or an apple tarte tatin… (major drools…). Find recipe here. This is a treat though so not recommended regularly, but how can I not mention such a lovely dessert when I speak of apples. :)

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My first attempt at a Apple Tarte Tatin ©Mehuli Shah

How do you eat your apples?

How I tackle my Dry Skin II

Hope you guys liked my previous post on ‘How I tackle my Dry Skin’. That post was more of a general overview without clouding anyone’s opinion of which products to use. But this post will be all about which products I use to keep my dry skin well… normal.

Another thing to note is my age is 33 years old. My skin has needed a lot more care after 30, so it is important to use products that are designed for your age. I can’t use some great products that I’d love to meant for women in their 20s like Laneige Water Bank series for example (ladies in your 20s – go for this series its really awesome!) Also, note that I tend to gravitate towards Korean cosmetics the most. I will try a Japanese product now and then in between but mostly Korean skincare has won for me. Some notable Japanese skincare brands (that I can’t afford but wish I could!) are Komenuka Bijin, Tatcha and SK-II.

So here it goes with a breakdown of products that I currently use (it changes now and then).

1. Cleansing
For cleansing I do a two step cleansing. Make up removal then actual cleansing.

Step 1: Oil cleanser.
A must to remove make up before using your foam cleanser. I currently use Face Shop’s Rice Water Cleansing Oil approx. $9-$15 depending on where you purchase it.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 3.43.29 PMOther cleansing oils I have used in the past are
Hadalabo Gokujun Cleansing Oil (approx. $15)
Shu Uemera Cleansing Oil (approx. $50- $80, depending on which kind you get)
DHC Cleansing Oil (approx. $24)

How to use: Apply to dry face and rub with your fingers in circular motion for 2 minutes. Wet your hands and apply it to the face and the oil should slightly foam up cleansing off all the make up and oil.
Out of the above mentioned products I think the DHC Cleansing oil or Hadalabo is probably best choice if you use a lot of make up, also the price is pretty okay. They are both popular Japanese drugstore brands. Shu Uemera is one of the top international Japanese brands. It is the best selling and one of the best oil cleansers so if your bank can take it – go for it.
I don’t use too much make up to begin with so I am okay with the Face Shop one. I love the smell and it gets rid of my make up pretty good, but I have heard before that its on the lighter side. I also like that it is ‘rice water’. Rice water has a lot of skin benefits (another post for another day!). I have also tried the Rice Water Cream Cleanser since they ran out of the oil when I went to buy it. I prefer using cleansing oils but this does the job of removing make up as well.

Step 2: Foam Cleanser. 
Very important step always! I currently use IOPE Ideal Cleansing Foam Whipping Brightener. I purchased it from the Amore Pacific counter. It cost me $22. It lasts about 6 months atleast. It has little colorful beads in it that you can feel gently exfoliate when you wash your face. Once I am out of this I might switch to IOPE Ideal Cleansing Foam Creamy Moisturizer. My skin feels drier lately and I tried the sample for the creamy moisturizer foam and it was more agreeable to my skin.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 9.32.04 PM
I have been through tons of cleansers in the past so I won’t go through all of them right now, but one worth mentioning is the Laneige Multi Cleanser (approx. $22). This cleanser was really good as well. It has papaya extract in it and was brightening and cleansed the sebum out well.

How to use: Use a dime sized amount in your hand or face wash net and create lather. Using your fingers draw little circles on your forehead going inwards to outwards with the foam. Nose – move up to down and Chin and Cheeks also inwards to outwards using the same circular motion. Rinse well by splashing water on your face atleast 8-10 times after all foam is removed.

2. First Treatment Essence
This has become a more recent advancement in skincare, and is the step before toner. There are tons of fermented essence products out there now.
I started out with Iope Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning. And I love it! I saw results right away and it is an amazing product. It comes with a box of cotton pads and they recommend using 3 ml everyday and there are markings on the bottle. This means the bottle at $63 is only for one month which didn’t quite agree with my budget. You could just use less than required, I still liked it when I just splashed a little in my hands and pressed it into my face.

product_benefit_bioessenceSince I felt like it was out of budget, I did some research and reached for the Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence ($40) on the innisfree world website. Along with their Green Tea Seed Serum which is not fermented but an amazing find! So currently after I wash my face I use two pumps of Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum ($26). Then I use the Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence. I find these two to be great products and recommend them.
I think I have to mention SK II Facial Treatment Essence ($105) in this case since it started all these string of essences. I have not used it so I can’t give an opinion on it, but I’ve read ‘glowing’ reviews on the product. It is however on the expensive side.

Innisfree - Green Tea Seed Serum 2t
innisfree-soybean-essence-posterI might repurchase the Green Tea Seed Serum but I am interested in trying the Laneige Clear C Advanced Effector ($38) after I run out of the Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence. I tried it at the Amore Pacific counter and I absolutely loved it. Where I tried it on my hand, it made it so smooth and bright instantly. It has 92.5% superberry extract. So it makes your skin radiant, brighter and smoother from within.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 10.20.02 PM

How to use: Depending on the product, it may come with a set of cotton pads. You can also use your hands to tap this into your skin. I prefer using my hands so you don’t waste product.

3. Toner-Emulsion
Toner comes after the fermented essences. I use IOPE Plant Stem Cell Softener Skin Perfection. My skin is dry as I mentioned before and I can’t handle products that don’t absorb well so this one seemed to do really well. It’s a gel type toner that absorbs very well in your skin and helps towards one of the first steps in hydrating.
I also use the Emulsion in the same line – IOPE Plant Stem Cell Emulsion Skin Perfection. These two products go very well together. Non greasy, it gets absorbed in my skin and does a great job towards moisturizing.

How to use: Dispense two pumps of each and massage onto face in to out  in upward motion.

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4. Serum
IOPE Bio Activator Plant Stem Cell Active ($80) is the serum I swear by, my holy grail serum. It helps keep my skin moisturized. It works well as a trio with the above two toner and emulsion. When I run out of this serum my skin just does not feel the same. If you have dry skin, this is highly recommended. This is recommended to be used after the emulsion as IOPE serums are thicker than the emulsion.
Other than that I really love the Laneige White Plus Renew and IOPE Urban Aging Corrector. I haven’t purchased full bottles of these but always noticed good results from using samples along with the Bio Activator serum.

product_benefit_bioactiveHow to use: Apply to face gently and pat in after using emulsion. This serum is very thick so one or two pumps is enough.

5. Eye Cream
This is not one of my favorite things as I am still searching for the perfect one that works really well and is affordable as well. Currently I am using the Sulwhasoo Essential Rejuvenating eye cream. I purchased it at the Amore Pacific counter for $103. I like it very much but probably will not repurchase. It ran out pretty fast. Didn’t even last two full months, so I might have to find something else.

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How to use: Apply in patting motion to eye area after using toner. One pump is enough for both eyes. Sometimes on a dry day I use a pump each for both eyes.

6. Cream:
Depending on how my skin feels, I apply cream. There are days I need to reapply during the day, and days where I won’t need to use it at all. At night I use something stronger to help repair my skin when I sleep. My two favorite creams are IOPE Super Vital Cream Bio Intensive ($80-$100) and Missha Super Aqua Snail Cream ($37-$45)

How to use: I use the super vital cream very sparingly and on days I feel like my skin is more damaged. This is a very strong cream and only recommend for very dry skin that needs repairing – at night. I use this cream more on my ‘wrinkle zones’ like the mouth lines, cheeks etc. I have not purchased a full size of this cream. A little goes a long way and the little sample jar has lasted me a while. It gives me a good repair that my skin needs for redness etc.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 9.08.11 PM
The Missha Snail Cream is one of my holygrail items. It is a gel type cream that contains 70% snail mucus. I use it as the last step in my skincare. At times I use it to reapply during the day for extra hydration. I put a generous layer at night before sleeping. What this does is wonderful. It helps heal any acne scars or cuts on your face. This cream is rejuvenating, calming, hydrating and repairing. Believe in the snail god when it comes to your skin! No matter your skin type – I recommend this jar of wonder. I have yet to try the Mizon one which has more than 90% snail mucus. I will do a snail post when I do get a chance! :)

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And this concludes my skin care routine. This is excluding the supplemental products like masks and mists and such.
So a brief overview
1. Face Shop Rice Water Cleansing Oil (pm)
2. IOPE Ideal Cleansing Foam (am+pm)
3. Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum (am+pm)
4. Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence (am+pm)
5. IOPE Plant Stem Cell Softner (am+pm)
6. Sulwhasoo Essential Rejuvenating Eye Cream (am+pm)
7. IOPE Plant Stem Cell Emulsion (am+pm)
8. Laneige White Plus Renew (optional) (am+pm)
9. IOPE Urban Aging Corrector (optional) (am+pm)
10. IOPE Bio Activator (am+pm)
11. MISSHA Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream (am+afternoon+pm) OR IOPE Super Vital Bio Intensive Cream (pm)
12. Sleeping Mask (pm) (refer to my ‘mask’ post)

What products do you like to use that you would swear by?

*All photographs are taken from product websites

How I tackle my Dry Skin

A friend once told me – atleast you have dry skin. It’s so easy to put stuff on to get rid of dry skin. Oily skin is hard to take care of.

18 Jul 2013, Tokyo, Japan --- Snails crawl on the face of a woman during a demonstration of a new beauty treatment at Clinical-Salon Ci:z.Labo in central Tokyo July 17, 2013. Clinical-Salon Ci:z.Labo, which began the unique facial earlier this week, offers the 10,500 yen ($110) five-minute session with the snails as an optional add-on for customers who apply for a Celeb Escargot Course, an hour-long treatment routine of massages and facials based on products made from snail slime that costs 24,150 yen. According to a beautician at the salon, the snail slime is believed to make one's skin supple as well as remove dry and scaly patches. Picture taken July 17, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato (JAPAN - Tags: SOCIETY) --- Image by © ISSEI KATO/Reuters/Corbis

REUTERS/Issei Kato (JAPAN – Tags: SOCIETY) — Image by © ISSEI KATO/Reuters/Corbis

If only she knew the troubles of having sensitive dry skin! Have you ever noticed no matter how many things you put on it just doesn’t work? I also get a lot of eczema because it gets so dry. Those red spots are just as horrifying as pimples. And let me tell you they don’t easily go away either. They hurt. They get sensitive. Dry skin also looks very damaged and makes your skin look old and wrinkled if not taken good care of.

It’s also pretty expensive to take care of dry skin. I use a lot of steps and constant maintainance throughout the day to have my skin look normal. I am constantly experimenting with products to find what is best for my skin. There are tons of products for dry skin that just sit on your skin instead of letting your skin drink it up. That is sometimes the most frustrating trouble I find with dry skin products. But then there are all these deep hydrating products too that allow your skin to ‘drink’. I’m slowly ‘finding’ them. For now some great brands that help my dry skin are these Korean brands that seem to understand hydration better –  Laneige, Iope, Sulwhasoo, Innisfree etc.

Some tips that I find useful for my dry skin is

1. Following a good everyday skin care regime am and pm

Woman Washing Her Face --- Image by © Neil Guegan/Corbis

Woman Washing Her Face — Image by © Neil Guegan/Corbis

  • cleansing with moisturizing cleansers. Double cleansing is a must. Use an oil or cream cleanser to get rid of make up before you foam things up.
  • splash tepid water on your face atleast 8-10 times after cleansing to fill your pores with water and it helps reduce pore size.
  • fermented essences/ first care serums and toners (lotion in Asian skincare products) are most important to keep your skin full of moisture during the day and repairing at night. They help prepare your skin for your skin care to work better too.
  • moisturizing serums keep your skin from drying out. These can be layered on depending on your skin concerns.
  • eye cream will help from wrinkles showing up earlier than they should.
  • emulsion and/or face cream is the main source of your moisture and important for all the repairing your skin needs. I use both at night as I need a little extra when I sleep to wake up more nourished.
  • SLEEP is the best thing than can happen to your skin. Hands down!

2. Supplemental Hydration throughout the day

  • hydrating face mist is something I keep with me at my desk when I’m making jewelry. I mist myself every hour or other hour depending on need to give my skin that extra boost it will need after all the skincare is absorbed.
  • Drink LOTS OF WATER. The more water you drink, the less skincare you will need. It’s the cheapest skin care remedy available, why not go for it? It does your whole body good.
  • Other sources of hydration besides water fruit juices, fruits, barley tea help you stay hydrated if water seems to just go right through you. Sometimes I drink more barley tea than water.

3. Supplemental skin care before sleep a few times a week

Girls with facial treatment laughing --- Image by © Jetta Productions/David Atkinson/Tetra Images/Corbis

Girls with facial treatment laughing — Image by © Jetta Productions/David Atkinson/Tetra Images/Corbis

  • sleeping masks are your best friend if you have dry skin. Slather it on before you sleep and wake up with gorgeous skin.
  • snail products like snail creams and snail sleeping masks before sleeping will assist any repairs your skin is doing. It helps get rid of acne scars, eczema scars, redness or any other skin concern you have by its regenerative properties.
  • sheet masks will also give you an instant fix for all the moisture you need. I prefer the hydrogel sheet masks over cloth ones as they don’t dry out. These can be used even daily if needed considering the low cost.
  • all natural masks like yogurt, yogurt-honey, matcha-yogurt, seaweed etc. are a great way to replenish skin of water.

4. Deep Cleansing every 2-3 weeks

  • Exfoliating with mild peeling gels will help get rid of any dead skin you have preventing your skin from getting the care it needs. It makes your skin smooth and polished.
  • Pore cleansing with pore cleansing masks or carbonated water treatment help deep cleanse.

I will be doing a part II of this post with which products that I use for each category I’ve listed. How do you take care of your dry skin? Any recommendations?

Sweet Potato – Vegetable of the week

I decided to ramble on about a Vegetable/Spice/Herb every week. They are my loves and I can be quite a nerd about them, so I hope you will enjoy reading about it as much as I like talking about it.
So this week’s Vegetable is….. drumroll….
~~Sweet Potato~~
(crowd cheers)

Three different Varieties of sweet potatoes on white --- Image by © 68/Ocean/Corbis

Three different Varieties of sweet potatoes on white — Image by © 68/Ocean/Corbis

Now, this is one of my favorite vegetables, so naturally I pick it for my first veggie of the week post. My favorite part about this vegetable is that it is considered a super food! There are a great variety of sweet potatoes out there. My favorite is the red skin and white flesh sweet potato. There is also the red skin yellow flesh. However, the Okinawan Purple sweet potato is the most gorgeous and wondrous thing I have come across in vegetable land. I grew up eating the white skin white flesh sweet potato but then I met the two I mentioned above and fell in love all over again.

Oh and before we get more into the wonders of sweet potato let me remind you that the orange flesh and orange skin YAM is a sweet potato. For some reason Americans refer to it as a Yam. Sweet potato and Yams are not the same thing either. I will post about Yams another time. I grew up eating those and they are much drier than a sweet potato. They are called Ube in Phillipnes and Kand or Ratalu in India.

Anyhow, so back to my sweet potato loves. The red skin white/yellow flesh one is the most commonly used one in my household. I buy it from the Korean market. I love just chopping it up and steaming it and adding it to dishes or pan frying slices of the tuber.

image courtesy justonecookbook.com

image courtesy justonecookbook.com

Daigaku Imo is a very delicious Japanese dish for these sweet potato with black sesame in a sweet and salty sauce. I personally prefer my sweet potatoes prepared savory. I will use it in place of potato since its much healthier. I enjoy the marriage of sweet and savory in the same dish. Find a good recipe of this dish at JustOneCookBook.com.

photo by lettucebehealthy.het

photo by lettucebehealthy.net

The Okinawan sweet potato is harder to find. I grab a bunch at the Korean or Japanese market when I see them. There are many varieties of purple sweet potato as well. I usually just steam or bake these and eat them as is since they are so flavorful. I have tried using them in a savory Indian potato dish and it was so delicious in it. I mean the color is just so gorgeous once cooked. The purple color is from flavonoids present in the tuber. These flavonoids are very good for your body. Anti-Inflammatory hence anti-cancer, antioxidants, antibacterial, helps against cardiovascular diseases, regulates blood sugar, helps against heavy metal poisoning when passing through digestive the tract and well I don’t need any other research to know that this is good for me.
Oh and I must mention it has beta carotine, Vitamin A, B and high in some critical minerals. It is said the best way to eat this is to steam and eat with a little bit of fat (preferably olive oil, coconut oil) for better absorption.
For further info please read up nutrition info on whfoods website.
I need to dabble into more recipes with these wonders of nature. I see a lot of desserts in the Asian bakeries but as I said before, I’d like to try my hand at making these beauties savory. But I just love them as is and don’t really try to get too complicated with them. They are delicious just steamed or roasted!

How do you eat your sweet potato?
Are there any herbs or vegetables or spices you would like me to talk about?

The love of Matcha

I am guilty. I have a tea obsession.
I am a tea hoarder, drinker and abuser.
Oolongs, greens, whites… no blacks for me.
Unfortunately over the years my stomach has become very sensitive to caffeine due to acidity issues. So right now, it is white and herbal teas for me. But apart from just enjoying a lovely cup of smooth white tea (rose white tea is my favorite, followed by these amazing white teas from India – fuller body than Chinese white teas. But who can refuse a cup of Yin Zhen); I want to talk about using teas elsewhere.

25 Apr 2014 --- Matcha grren tea powder as a paste --- Image by © Alanna Taylor-Tobin/The Picture Pantry/Corbis

25 Apr 2014 — Matcha green tea powder as a paste — Image by © Alanna Taylor-Tobin/The Picture Pantry/Corbis

I’ve used matcha powder in a rather frivolous manner. Frivolous out of genuine love. I’ve used matcha for baking which is pretty well known already. Cookies, cakes, breads etc. I’ve also experimented with making matcha ice cream floats (was a complete failure. I added way too much matcha!). But the most fun I’ve had with matcha is using it as a skincare product. I’ve made body scrubs with it and face masks! I wanted to share a few easy peasy recipes for those two for this short and hopefully sweet post.

Face Mask
1 tablespoon Greek Yogurt
1/8 teaspoon matcha powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon turmeric

This simple face mask is hydrating, exfoliating, brightening, soothing, anti-acne and everything good you want to happen to your skin. Greek yogurt will allow your skin to just drink it all up. It’s the cheapest available skincare that works wonders! The lactic acid also brightens the face and is not necessarily restrictive to a certain skin type. It does good to oily as well as dry skins. The baking soda is exfoliating and anti acne, as is the matcha. The green tea has other benefits for your skin as it contains antioxidants. And turmeric is a natural anti-septic and has a million other benefits. Turmeric praise deserve another post so I won’t ramble on here.
Pretty much – this mask makes you pretty so go for it! It works and makes your skin beautiful.

Body Scrub
1 teaspoon matcha
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Take this wonderful smelling mixture with you in the shower and scrub it on in circular motion all over. You will feel invigorated and massaged. Rinse off and find supple lovely skin. All thanks to a few simple ingredients in your kitchen!

Skin Foods for Me, Myself and I

You are what you eat! Your skin is what you eat as well.

I’ll list a few things that I eat and find it helps my skin. I have a lot of allergies and can’t eat a lot of foods I know are good for skin like citrus fruits and all these other wonderful nutrient rich foods. This list is not the bible for good skin – I am sure that there are a lot more foods out there that help skin.

1. Water and Barley Tea

Barley tea

I try to drink a lot of water so my skin doesn’t dry out. I get dehydrated often living in Southern CA. The summers get very dry. Sometimes water isn’t enough so I drink Barley Tea. I buy the Ito En Barley Tea Bags from Marukai (Japanese grocery store) and make batches of iced tea with it almost daily in spring and summer months. It does wonders for hydration and gets those dehydrated headaches a quick goodbye. I prefer the Japanese Barley tea (Mugi cha) over the Korean one, but that is just personal preference. The Korean one turns out to be light brown like apple juice color and the Japanese Mugi cha is a much darker beverage. But they are both good for your skin!


2. Raw Vegetables & Fruits

Composition of Mixed Fruit on Plate

Mixed Salad greens always help my skin feel brighter. I love what it does to my skin and I try to incorporate it in my meals. Raw Vegetables and Fruits in general does great things to your skin. Some of my favorites are apples, celery, pears, avocados, papaya, watermelon and carrots. There is a lot more in this spectrum of course but I don’t digest all the raw foods too well except these and I’m allergic to most fruits. I hear juicing is great too, but I enjoy the fibers in the vegetables and fruits. It helps digestion and I believe that in turn helps your skin as well. I enjoy celery sticks with nut butters. It’s a great snack! I buy my vegetables and fruits from the Fullerton Farmers Market or H-Mart – a Korean grocery store. The fruits obviously give an abundance of hydration and you get the full benefit of vitamins rather than cooking them.


3. Nut butters

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 8.51.00 PMScreen Shot 2015-05-04 at 8.52.07 PM

My all time favorite is cashew butter. Second is almond butter. I’ve dabbled into making nut butters at home as well but it does a number on my blender so I stopped trying and just spend the money on all natural nut butters. I like to buy the nut butters that don’t have any added palm oil in them or salt and sugar. So its just nuts. Its delicious and gorgeous! I usually eat them with apple slices, celery or kosher crackers.


5. Supplements: Vitamin B complex, Fish oil

I went through a time when my skin was peeling and felt fatigued easily. I was recommended to take Vitamin B Complex. I chose the Garden of Life Vitamin Code B-Complex, as it is made with actual fruits and vegetables and is all natural instead of those usual chalky vitamins. I take this supplement everyday as it helps my skin and health overall. Some sources of Vitamin B I try to include in my diet are eggs, sweet potato (the white one with the red skin), leafy greens etc.
Fish oil is something I also take everyday. It helps your skin and health overall with the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. I like to buy Nordic Naturals Complete Omega It comes in a thin gel capsule and has a lemon taste incase you detest the taste of fish oil. It is really easy to go wrong with buying Fish oil tablets. So its good to stick to brands that has pure fish oil and no additive oils in it.

In addition to these products, I like to drink white and green tea. The antioxidants in teas are great for your body. Just imagine if merely eating these things throughout your day can show a significant and visible difference in your skin, just how wondrous things it must be doing inside as well!
What foods do you like to eat to keep your skin healthy?

*all photos used are stock photography or from product websites.

Masked

They come in green, brown, white or even red and black. Nowadays they even have ones with hello kitty or kabuki mask faces on them. A face to put on your face! They might scare the younger ones but do wonders for your skin!

As most of you know, face masks or sometimes known as face packs are a great way to upkeep skin. When you are tired, stressed, didn’t get your usual beauty sleep and your skin just does not feel like co-operating with your usual skin care routine, masks save the day with that little extra something. I want to share a few masks from brands I trust that I like to keep in my skin care shelf.

Troubled Skin/Pore Cleaners
Tea Tree Face Mask from Body Shop
Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask from Innisfree
Skin Clarifying Mask from Sulwhasoo

The moisture givers
The Gold 24 Essential Mask & Ampoule Set from Leaders Insolution
Water Sleeping Pack_Ex from Laneige
Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Sleeping Mask from Missha
Overnight Vitalizing Mask from Sulwhasoo
Some general affordable Sheet Masks in the $1-$3 range – Innisfree, Leaders Insolution, Cel Derma Hydro gel Masks

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The Tea tree mask is something I usually use when I feel like I’m starting to break out. This isn’t my main skin concern, it is more dry skin, so I tend to reach for the hydrating masks more often. However, the Tea Tree Mask from Body Shop is wonderful and does good things to your face by helping any acne problems you may have. It helps control sebum levels and calms the pimples or blemishes if any. It also makes my skin feel smooth after washing off.  It comes in a jar and you apply it over your face in a decent layer. Let it dry for about 15 mins then wash it off. The only thing I don’t like about it, is it is sometimes a pain to get it all off of your face and it sticks to your sink quite annoyingly. But I use this rarely so I deal with it. All in all a good product. It is only $16.50 and lasts quite a while for me but would of course depend on your usage. I use it maybe once a month.

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Innisfree Volcanic Pore Clay Mask is a great affordable clay mask made with clay from volcanos of Jeju island. At only $15 for 100 ml, It helps for a good deep cleansing effect and claims to remove sebum  and exfoliate as well as reduce pore size. This a new product for me, so I can’t claim long term benefits but so far it looks like it does the job and I’ve read glowing reviews about this product. They sell it in a set with a face wash and toner also if you want to try some of the other products in the same line. Innisfree is a great Korean brand that carries a lot of natural affordable skincare products. It’s one of the better affordable skin care companies.

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Sulwhasoo Clarifying Mask is one of the higher end masks, although not too pricey at $41. I have tried a sample of this and its on my to buy lists. It looks like honey in consistency and color. Although not as sticky. You put it over your face and peel it off after it dries. It takes your clogged pores with it when you peel it off however it is not abrasive at all. If leaves your skin feeling very smooth and soft. As expected of one of the best skin care brands out there. Can’t really go wrong with Sulwhasoo!

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The sleeping masks! I will pair these two up because they are two great sleeping masks. You apply these after your skincare routine as the last step and in the morning you simply wash off with warm water – no face wash the morning after a sleeping mask. These are both Korean products. The Laneige Water Sleeping Pack_Ex or also known as the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask is easily available and very popular. The Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Sleeping Mask, is one I have not seen as much. I was recommended the Snail Cream in the same line by a fellow blogger so I decided to try the mask as well. Let me tell you I have not been disappointed with either!

I have been using the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask for a few years now and I swear by it. Slather it on before sleeping and after all the other skincare and wake up with beautiful skin! It helps repair and hydrate your skin overnight. It makes your skin simply plump and happy when you wake up in the morning. For $22-$25 a decent sized jar, this is not a bad deal. I believe this is great for any skin type as its main aim is hydration. Hydration does wonders for your skin and helps give a youthful appearance. Water Water Water!

The Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Sleeping Mask is AWESOME! It is great for repairing your skin. If you are like me and pick at your pores and are left with scars (not recommended) – this is your product. If you have acne scars, it also helps repair those hyper pigmentation marks. It doesn’t have as much snail slime (15%) as the cream (70%), but still is a great product. I will talk about the cream in another post. I love them both and highly recommend for skin that is dry and damaged and needs an overnight pick up. The mask absorbs fairly quickly and is slightly tingly at first but well worth the tingle. Apply generously! For oily skin, I would recommend using this after toner and not after your whole routine. For dry and combination – use after your skin care routine for best results. It is $23 at the Missha US website. I bought it at a Korean skin care store in K-town in LA for $22.

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Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask might be one of my favorites among the sleeping masks. It really does a great job in nourishing your skin while you sleep. It is one of the higher end ones at $52 but a great one to have. It hydrates, repairs and makes your skin all kind of wonderful. This product does not need an in depth review. If you can afford the $52 and need a good sleeping mask – don’t think twice! And as I said can’t really go wrong with Sulwhasoo!

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The Leaders Insolution The Gold 24 was a fun mask for me. I had never used a gold mask before and found it to provide really good hydration. It is a two step mask. It comes with a syringe type thing with a gel for the first step. This is the one that has gold flakes in it. You apply that over your face and then comes the sheet mask. The sheet mask is sandwiched between layers of what looks like two other sheet mask. I usually remove one of them, put the mask on my face then peel off the other covering. It is a very thin hydrogel mask and it really works well in my opinion. It is one of the higher end Leaders Insolution Masks. I’ve been using it atleast twice a week lately and I wake up with plump skin. I need deep hydration and this is great for it. I bought this mask on the imomoko website. I haven’t seen this mask around too much. On imomoko it ranges from $15 for the box to $50 depending on if its on sale or not. Currently it is on there for $19. When it was $15, I stocked up with four boxes of these. I know. But I love it so!

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Now let’s talk about the $1-$3 sheet masks. They are a great thing to add to your skin care routine if you need an extra boost of hydration or you want to look better at an event or in pictures. Slap it on and in 20 mins you will have plump skin. The effects of these are not necessarily long lasting considering the price, but regular use does help a lot in relieving your dry skin. If you are like me and need an instant boost if your skin looks like crap from being so dehydrated in sunny and dry Southern California, these are great to use. I also save the solution in the sheet mask packets and slather it on as a serum during my skin care routine. You can use these everyday if your heart desires!

A few great brands to stock up on is Innisfree, Face Shop, Aritaum, Cel-Derma and Leaders Insolution. Innisfree, Aritaum and Face Shop have a great selection of masks in green tea, bamboo, rose, collagen, hyaluronic acid and all these smells and flavors. Cel-Derma was one of the first hydrogel masks and I used to use them religiously for a while until all these other brands started to make hydrogel masks. Leaders Insolution has a great variety of masks based on concerns like wrinkle filler masks, collagen masks etc.

I buy Leaders Insolution at imomoko, Innisfree on the Innisfree world website, Face Shop masks I buy from the face shop store in Buena Park, Aritaum at the Aritaum/Amore Pacific counter and Cel-Derma I bought a few times on eBay. I am not too impressed with the face shop masks so I don’t get them often. Cel-Derma masks are not as easy to find but will be present at a korean skin care store. They are easy to find on eBay. I don’t usually buy creams and serums on eBay since there is a lot of talk of fake products, but masks can’t really go wrong since they are a one time use thing and sealed.

This was a longer post than expected! But probably well required if talking about skin care. There are tons of masks out there that are good and probably even better than what I suggested. But these are what I am familiar with. What masks do you like to use?

*All photos used are from product websites.

What will I muse about?

Hello world!
This blog is about me. All my social media is connected to my jewelry business and I end up being professional and not digress as much with my obsessions. This will be my place to share my thoughts about…

Skincare and Beauty products – I obsess over this! I will be posting regular product reviews, homemade mask/facial recipes. The products I use tend to be either Korean or Japanese products but there will be a mix in between as I go. I use a lot of homemade Ayurvedic (Indian Medicine) recipes for skin. I use what works for me!

Urban Gardening – What I grow in my balcony and indoors. Not a lot but it’s a learning process and I adore my green friends and those that have green friends!

Teas, Herbs, Foods and their health benefits – As much as I obsess over these things to a nerdy level, I may not be posting many recipes since I barely use recipes to cook. But if I do – I shall share. Or in general I will just talk about these things since I love them so!

Jewelry – I have a separate blog for my jewelry business but I may chit chat in between about the fun of creating things.

I hope to meet many other skincare enthusiasts, gardeners, health food nuts and fashion lovers to share my interests.