Saturday, April 23, 2016

SKII Facial Treatment Essence | Full Review

Skincare product review disclaimer: Skincare products will work differently for each individual since skin type/sensitivity will vary from person to person. The degree of efficacy & adverse reactions caused by one product can be very different from one individual to another. I post these reviews to share my personal experience in hopes it will provide more information for those trying to determine if the product is right/wrong for them before they spend money to purchase it for themselves.
My skin type: combination (oily T-zone) during the summer, and dry during the colder months. Sensitive skin prone to allergic reactions.

Ah, this SK-II facial treatment essence is so expensive but I personally cannot live without it. I have been using this holy 'pitera' water for a year and a half (since October 2014) and it is the one skincare product that I truly cannot remove from my skincare routine.

I heard about the SK-II essence many years ago but talked myself out of purchasing for quite some time because of the high price tag. I ended up finally purchasing this during one of Sephora's 20% off sales and my only regret is that I didn't start incorporating this in my regimen earlier.

I was quite skeptical in the beginning as this stuff looks and feels just like regular water. I questioned why I was paying to apply this expensive water on my face; but lo and behold, I started to see skin improvements after 3 weeks of faithfully using this AM and PM.  There have been multiple times where I have gone days without using the essence, but my skin becomes noticeably more sallow if I miss a day or two of use.

I shake out 4-5 drops into my palm and dip 3 fingers into the essence and gently pat it into my skin starting from my most problematic areas on my cheek, moving up to my under eye area, around toward my forehead/T-zone, down my nose, then finally use the remains around the perimeter of my face. The 2.5 ounce bottle lasts me a little over 4 months when used this way in the AM and PM every single day.

Below is my list of pros/cons of this pricey SK-II FTE.

  • Keeps skin well balanced and prevents breakouts
    • I used to have at least one pimple on my face at all times; it seemed like when one pimple cleared another would pop up on my face in a different spot. Ever since starting to use the SKII essence, I very rarely get a pimple or any breakouts.
  • Improves skin texture
    • Completely resolved dry, flaky patches I used to have on cheeks/around nose
    • Skin appears more supple
    • Unevenness improved
  • Gives a more radiant complexion
    • Reduces redness 
    • Brings out a natural "glow-from-within" radiance
  • Reduces pore size
    • Effectively reduces the pore size on my cheeks/forehead; I have larger pores on my nose which are only slightly smaller but still quite noticeable
  • Absorbs quickly
    • I put a few drops into the palm of my hand, dip 3 fingers into the essence and gently pat all over my face
  • Gentle & well tolerated by my sensitive skin
    • Does not burn or sting when applied
    • I've had an allergic reaction to many skin care products. Thankfully, my skin has reacted very well to this essence
  • Non-greasy & does not leave any residue
    • Literally feels like splashing water on your face 
  • A little goes a long way
    • Only 4-5 drops per use is sufficient for the entire face

  • Odd smell
    • Upon initial application it kind of smells like saliva or fermented beans... but luckily the smell is not strong and dissipates very quickly
  • Doesn't make a significant difference on existing wrinkle lines
    • I haven't noticed much change in the slight wrinkle lines I have under/around my eyes 
    • Then again, this product has never made any claims about improving wrinkles
  • Doesn't help much with the few deeper ice-pick acne scars
    • My ice-pick scars have slightly improved and appear a bit less deep over time, but I'm not sure if I can attribute this to the use of the essence as it hasn't been a quick or significant improvement.  
I purchased the Pitera Essence Set value set to try out the facial treatment essence.
The set sells for $99 ($130 value) which is the same price as the 2.5 oz bottle of the FTE alone.
It's currently out of stock @ Sephora, but you can still buy this set online @ Nordstrom.

front and back of the box the set came in

1 oz Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, 2.54 oz Facial Treatment Essence
(also came with the SK-II sheet mask which I have saved for future use)

Facial Treatment Essence comes in a frosted glass bottle

Yes, this stuff is extremely pricey but thankfully a little bit goes a long way. The significant benefit it provides for my skin justifies the high price tag and I personally feel the splurge is very worth it for me.  There is no doubt this will continue to be a staple in my skincare regimen for years to come.

I would recommend this facial treatment essence to anyone who is looking to improve the texture and radiance of their skin. If you're looking for something to help with wrinkles and eliminating deeper acne scars, then you will need a separate product as the SKII essence doesn't do much for those skin problems.
Share your experience with SKII products in the comments!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

St. Patricks Day / March Themed iPhone Wallpapers

Happy first day of March! My St. Patrick's Day iPhone wallpapers from last year were re-pinnted on Pinterest many more times than I expected, so I decided to create some additional March themed wallpaper backgrounds for this year.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Valentine's Day | Free iPhone Wallpaper Downloads

Wow, has it really been months since my last blog post? Happy extremely belated New Year! I can't believe we are already a month deep into 2016! Retail stores have had their Valentine's Day themed merchandise and decor up for weeks now, but time is really winding down and it's almost February 14th.

It's time to get those iPhone's decked out with lovey-dovey themes. Enjoy these love themed wallpapers this time or year or any time of the year :)

February 2016 Calendar iPhone Lock Screen Wallpaper:



Watercolor "love" iPhone Wallpaper:

"Love is all you need":


Polka Dot Design Love/XOXO Wallpaper:



Enjoy & see you all next time :)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade | Review & Swatch

Hello! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday! Today I bring you my overdue review of Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in the shade "medium brown".  I started using this product over 6 months ago and it has been my go-to brow product when I wear a full face of makeup.

The product is 0.14 oz and retails for $18, but a little goes a long way. One jar will probably last me forever or until it eventually dries out.

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Money saving tipEbates cashback program is offering 8% cash back for Sephora (sometimes they offer 10%!). Also, my Discover credit card offers 10% cash back for Sephora.  Definitely look for cashback bonuses before you purchase!
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I typically go in first with my ABH brow wiz in "granite" (my review here) to lightly outline the shape my brows, then I follow up with the Dipbrow Pomade in "medium brown" to fill in all the sparse areas.  If I want a more defined brow I will clean up the edges with concealer and set with a clear brow gel.

  • waterproof, sweat-proof, smudge-proof
    • when in contact with water, it doesn't budge unless you very forcefully rub it off
    • the product won't even smudge if you rub it, it just fades

  • great lasting power
    • can wear this for 8+ hours and it'll still look the same at the end of the night

  • versatile and buildable
    • achieve either a soft natural brow or a bold defined brow depending on how much product is used

  • applies smoothly
    • the creamy formula glides on nicely with no patches or skipping

  • great color selection
    • currently available in 11 different shades ranging from warm to cool undertones
    • the 'medium brown' shade matches my black Asian hair naturally

    • a little goes a long way

    • beautiful, solid packaging 

    • requires some practice to master the technique to achieve a natural brow
      • I feel like I still haven't perfected the art of applying the dipbrow

    • not as quick & easy to use compared to ABH brow wiz or any other brow pencil
      • I don't use the dipbrow pomade on a daily basis because it takes a lot longer for me to apply it compared to just using a brow pencil

    Here are side by side swatches: brow wiz in "granite" and
    a heavy vs lighter dipbrow pomade swatch in "medium brown"

    top: bare brows with no product
    bottom: ABH brow wiz for outline + filled in with pomade

    Dipbrow Pomade packaging

    Packaged in a sleek and sturdy glass jar

    I decided on "medium brown" to match my black hair
    since it's a cooler brown with very little warm undertone.

    There are a lot of other color options to match black hair but the medium brown
    is the only one I've tried so far. Since I like the match, I haven't really found any
    reason to try other colors like "granite", "ebony", "dark brown" or "ash brown".

     I can't even imagine how long this one jar will last me

    To apply the dipbrow pomade I use a Sephora Collection double-ended angled brush with a spoolie on the other side. Unfortunately, the particular brush I use is no longer being sold. The recommended tool to use with the pomade is ABH brush #12.  I think any thin angled brush and a spoolie brush would be sufficient to use with the dipbrow - just practice, practice, practice!

    I do want to note that I don't use my dipbrow pomade on a daily basis for a few reasons. The main one being the fact that it's not a quick and simple routine; plus, it requires the use of a separate brush and spoolie.  Also, my daily routine typically only consists of filling in my brows with a brow pencil, putting on eyeliner, curling my lashes, and applying a quick sweep of bronzer. I usually only reach for my dipbrow pomade if I'm wearing eye shadow so my brows don't overpower my face.

    I've already written an entire blog post about the struggle of finding a natural color match for black hair. But I must give it up to Anastasia Beverly Hills for having a superb color selection for all their brow products. Overall, I'm very happy with my dipbrow pomade and it is a must-have if you want to achieve those defined bold brows that are trendy these days.

    Feel free to explore my other reviews on some other brow products:

    Monday, November 9, 2015

    Holiday Themed iPhone 6/6s Wallpaper | Free Downloads

    It seems some have lost a tad bit of that winter season festivity with the Starbucks plain red cup controversy. While I couldn't care less about what is or is not on my disposable coffee cup, I decided to create a range of November/December holiday themed iPhone wallpapers for those who want to bring a touch of festivity to this season. No matter what holiday we do or do not choose to celebrate, we can all at least appreciate snowflake designs, no? Enjoy!











    I'll be adding more in the upcoming weeks; stay tuned!

    NYE / New Year's Wallpaper Backgrounds: