Tsuya New Skincare From Shu Uemura

This month of August has been very busy for me, busier than last year and certainly warmer than I remember now that I am in Singapore officially five years! Between work, a new regime of no fried food, TRX circuit training exercise, very little alcohol AND this new range of skincare from Shu Uemura called TSUYA Skin Youthful Radiance Generator, my skin is looking good. Before I get into the Tsuya review, I want to add that when you put the effort forward with diet, skincare and exercise combined, the results speak for themselves.

When I started the Tsuya skincare challenge I was very impressed with the idea of a serum that promised glow [Plus I love a good serum]. When I apply a little base whether it is foundation or even concealer, Tsuya glides on smoothly and absorbs into the skin fast without much of an oily layer, love that! At night, I have also been putting it on to let it sink into my skin and do its magic.

Some of the benefits of Tsuya include a more supple and glowy skin which are exactly the comments I have been receiving from various peers and friends. WO-HOO! ** What else did I do different? Sleep at least six hours every night. Drink fluids and include 12oz of green tea at least once a day. Less alcohol especially carbonated and cocktail drinks, doing wine very moderately, one serving a week. Sweating it out 3x a week. Taking my usual vitamins and fish oil 1000mg daily. Eating things like steamed fish, seaweed, fresh foods. No soda, sugary drinks, fizzy anything and if I treat myself to a coffee I add agave nectar, a low glycemic natural sweetener.

Before I turn this into a bore, I want my readers to know that as much as I love a proper skincare regime, how your face reacts to a good product like Tsuya is just as much as the food we put in our mouth, habits and general well-being. Give yourself a little love and you’ll see the BIG payoff.

My Facial Experience At AsterSpring Centres Singapore

The entrance of AsterSprings and the lovely staff

Having just travelled by air for more than 18 hours can cause havoc on the skin. Think the recycled air, lack of sleep, change of time zones and dehydration and being sat in middle seats most of the journey, less the ability to move and drink fluids, this was my case. It was time to sort my skin out after trying to recover from a bad case of jetlag and some unwanted hormonal breakouts. So I booked myself at AsterSpring Clementi for some much needed revamp. Before the facial, I filled out a rather extensive questionnaire plus I had my face analysed throughly. Some of the questions were as specific to my eating habits in regards to caffeine and alcohol. As I am familiar with the effects of certain foods and drinks on the skin when people come in for makeup, I was aware and understood the reasoning behind the questions. The therapist was trying to offer me the best suited facial for the needs of my skin as we talked about my answers. So, what were my needs and concerns? It is no suprise, I was dehydrated, have minor pigmentation and at the time had quite a bit of breakouts in the lower chin and around my mouth. Another super interesting fact was the spot positions, better explained to me in the Traditional Chinese Medicine method. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the spots on your face do not pop up randomly. The positioning of breakouts in the face is meaningful because in TCM different areas of the face relate to certain organs. The face is like a mirror of the body and mind (much like in Reflexology). My areas of TCM correlation are all in the lower intestine, colon and kidneys. I was in fact showing signs of dry skin and in need of a face detox, which is also how I felt on the inside. What I had done is called Face Mapping a procedure which divides the face into fourteen distinct zones and provides an objective view of the skin’s condition.

My therapist recommended I had an Intense Dermal Clear Facial a treatment that lasts about 80 minutes. For this treatment, a medical-grade facial machine is used (without any down time) and it involves ultrasound waves and high-impulse modes, combined with oxygen serum to stimulate skin cells. The Intense Dermal Clear Facial helps brighten the complexion and improve skin texture for glowing results. We started with deep cleansing followed by a lot of steam. I was also made aware that major extractions were necessary to clear all my blemishes out. At the end of the treatment I was given a double cooling multivitamin masque and an oxygen serum to further nourish my face after the extractions. I also had a lovely post pressure point head/ shoulder massage. During the session, I dozed off nicely and had a super relaxing time. My face for the next few days was a bit beaten, and I knew this was the course. A week later I was clear and glowing, as you will see through my before and after pictures. All the products used were Dermalogica and as I am a faithful follower of this fabulous skincare brand, I know it is good. Astersprings Centres are located islandwide in Singapore and this makeup pro highly endorses their service and facility!

(Left) before the facial, blemishes around the chin area, SO relaxed after the facial photo in the upper corner and lower corner photo is a week later, with makeup on and a super clear complexion. None of these photos are retouched!

My Trip To The Chicago Makeup Show

James Vincent at the Beauty Blogger Event on Saturday

For those who follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you know I’d been talking about the Makeup Show Chicago for months in advance. To say I was midly excited and eagerly waiting, an understatement! By the time June rolled on, I had already received an invite to the exclusive Beauty Blogger event on the 16th and was looking forward to meeting up with fellow Latina Lifestyle Blogger, Big Time Beauty aka Ashley Pena, a Chicago native, bridal makeup artist and blogger like me. Thanks to Ashley, I had been in contact with the Makeup Show PR team. Through my social media and Facebook reach I knew the makeup/ vendors that would be attending. I planned ahead and did my homework.

The Beauty Blogger event was held at Venue One on West Randolph St on Saturday afternoon of June 16th. I arrived just as James Vincent was starting to speak, (He is the Director of Artistry for The Makeup Show, The Powder Group and On Makeup Magazine AS WELL as a very accomplished makeup artist and body painter). As I took my chair, a huge canvas bag with goodies was set for me, as well as a very diverse of group of women in the room – good company! James Vincent talked about the products inside our bags as well as the opportunities in our hands not only as industry professionals but as beauty insiders. He was funny, quirky, inspiring, someone I’d definitely bond over many subjects not just makeup. I was struck by how fondly he spoke of his peers as well as his own assistant Bethany Townes, so refreshingly sweet. After the event, Ashley and I went over to have some deep dish pizza and chat. While we were eating, we decided to stop over at Ulta’s Chicago flagship store and walked some miles to work off the lunch. Perfect day.

Makeup Show Day 1 – Had a bit of a late start at noon so I knew I had a lot of catching up to do. When I walked in, I was very overwhelmed. There were A LOT of people at the show. The lines were long, there were booths like Obssessive Compulsive Cosmetics and Makeup Forever which were literally mobbed, impossible to even get a glimpse or swatch product. It took some patience to get through the places I wanted to definitely shop at, a lot of walking and stopping. Before the show I had a very good idea of what I needed and this helped tremendously. In spite of the craziness, people working all booths were super friendly, patient, helpful, this also includes people working as security and the Makeup Show staff themselves. Having attended Beauty Asia before, this was a totally different experience for me. Ashley had already been at the show earlier than me this day and she kindly guided me through the two levels of makeup/ hair heaven. I made some purchases, had a few booths I still needed to see and would sleep on a few other things for the next day.

Makeup Show Day 2 – For my last day at the show, I had a full night to rest and think strategically on what I needed and the workshops I most wanted to attend (airbrush and using cream pigments). My first stop was Obssessive Compulsive Cosmetics. Being the proud owner of a few lip tars, OCC’s iconic product I knew I wanted to try more colors and test out the concealers which James Vincent had talked about at the bloggers event. As soon as I got to the OCC booth, I was able to chat with the creator/ owner David Klasfeld, what a lovely man! David walked me through the ingredients (all cruelty-free and vegan), and I had the opportunity to swatch/ test/ try on myself all the colors and pigments I felt would most benefit my kit. After OCC, I stopped at Alcone, Embryolisse, Graftobian, Crown Brushes, T3 Micro, NARS, Smashbox, AJ Crimson makeup, Stila, Kevyn Aucoin, Temptu, Dante Disposable Products, Makeup Forever, Frends Beauty Supply, The Powder Group, Bloom.com. Midway through the show, I had a super nice surprise from the wonderful people at Skindinavia, they contacted me via Twitter and we had a chance to meet face to face! Thank you for the kind gift, things like this mean the world to me. The people at Crown brushes, Embryolisse USA, Smashbox, NARS, Frends Beauty Supply and Nigel’s Beauty Emporium, Makeup Forever were most helpful and extended their pro discount and full of advice.

On the earlier part of the day, I watched the amazing things one can do with a MUFE flash palette as pro-educator Brittany James used only this product to do a full face, the speed and understanding of color was insane. Later, I attended Cory Bishop’s Color Theory workshop to a packed house. He was fabulous and re-affirmed my love for color and beauty, Brittany was also really good during her workshop. After Cory’s talk, I spent quite a bit of time drooling over the Temptu Airbrush machines, [this will be my next big purchase]. I did end up getting a correcting palette from Temptu.

The Makeup Show Chicago was my happiest place on earth. I am eternally grateful to not only the Makeup Show people but the vendors, artists, Ashley Pena and my husband for being so generous and sweet. If you are an artist and beauty professional, the Makeup Show is a must!

My beauty loot

Le Pétronille Skincare Challenge

Week Four of my Petronille Challenge – A mix of dry summer, winds and late spring are in full bloom here in the San Francisco Bay Area and my skin is feeling the change. Since a week ago, I am using DOUBLE the amount of the day and night creams with the elixirs to help. Last week I had to pack on some makeup for a family event and the daycream worked very well under my foundation and did not cake up at all. One thing about my skin type, I am not prone to sensitivity unless in extreme sweat outdoors or humidity in which case I break out, itch and oil up as most people do in Singapore. The upside of this dry weather is less blemishes, in fact ZERO and being able to use more skincare to nourish my skin and makeup staying on longer under my Petronille products.
PS. Next week, I am in Miami Florida, where I will be re-visiting some old patterns of humidity, we shall see what happens then.

Le Pétronille Skincare Challenge

Week Three of my Petronille Challenge – This week is a new setting! On Monday, I travelled to San Francisco, California (USA) and the weather conditions are much different than Singapore, it is dry heat this time of the year, think Mediterranean-like temperatures. After a gruelling seventeen hour flight, I’ve been catching up on my time zone (16hrs total to be exact), sleep and keeping hydrated as much as possible. Combination skin like mine loves dry weather, I get less oily in the daytime but definitely more dry especially at night. The first two days were rough, as I was super tired and this showed in my eye area.

At any rate, I’ve been applying more of the day and night cream to compensate with the dry air, protect skin against the sun and to continue to nourish my skin while I adjust. The Elixir Anti-Age serum works exceptionally well in the daytime too!

Progress Report Petronille

Week Two of my Petronille Challenge – Loving the night cream with Elixir Antioxydant for overnight repair, skin wakes up moist, this is something new for me. In the daytime I am using small amounts of the pink bottle cream in my forehead as I am prone to dryness here and on the cheeks but have to apply sparingly to avoid getting too oily (we live in a super humid country and the last few weeks have been scorching!).

My skin tends to be combination/oily in the T-zone, but prone to dryness, irritation and the monthly female breakout, so far there haven’t been any reactions at all, in fact very little if any breakouts. **I also had a glycolic peel which cleared my skin – a miracle! The writing is on the wall, using good products and getting some form of facial helps.

Medical Facials And Why They Matter

I wanted to share my latest finding in the world of skincare, a Medical Peel Treatment I had at SkinLab the Medical Spa at Wheelock Place. The last two months have been full of work, stress and my new circuit training routine outdoors. What does this translate to? Battered skin. Yes even this makeup artist suffers from the occasional blemish and lots of open pores (especially living in humid Singapore).

When I arrived at SkinLab the Medical Spa, a good analysis and chat about my skin ensued – always a good sign of a good spa! My makeup was removed, face cleansed and my therapist walked me through the entire process step by step, she also warned me about how it might feel (she was very honest). I never had any form of peel before so this was a first. The truth is, my skin really was ripe for it, I had spots all over, hadn’t gone to a facial in about two months. Some friendly advice, NEVER plan a peel or a facial the day before a major event or if you know you’ll be wearing makeup, give yourself at least one week after your treatment. Going to get this facial was a planned event, I knew ahead of time I was going to take a break from makeup to let my skin breathe and recover.

After the skin is cleansed, a pre-peel solution micropoint facial massage with ampoules follows. Immediately after the glycolic peel is painted onto the skin, like a mask. It is left on for 1 minute and then cleansed off. While it is a mildly uncomfortable procedure, you will feel a prickling sensation, this goes by fast. My therapist used rose water and an iced compress to soothe irritation and itching. What is happening in a peel is literally sloughing off the surface dead skin cells. The facial lasted for about 90 minutes total, after the peel an anti-acne facial mask is applied followed by a head, neck and shoulder massage. Bliss, I feel asleep for at least 20 minutes, it was so soothing.

Now comes the truth as well – your face will be sensitive the first day and more than likely you will break out for a few days, that is exactly what happened to me. I was well aware of it though, it always happens when I get facials, it is part of the process. After 2-3 days I noticed some skin flaking as the treatment makes the dead cells slough off (I used loads of rose water toner and exfoliated too). The plus side? My skin feels brighter and smooth this was about five days after, and I love it.

Would I recommend it? YES. Would I do it again? MOST DEFINITELY. The benefits? From encouraging new cell regeneration and help improve skin tone, peels aid in reducing mild acne scars and fine lines and can help unclog pores, resulting in less breakouts.

Le Pétronille Skincare Challenge

I’ve started trying a new range of skincare developed and manufactured in Singapore by Pétronille Houdart. Luxola Singapore the online beauty purveyor of fabulous brands and amazing cosmetics will be carrying Pétronille Cosmetics and I couldn’t be more thrilled! My approach to beauty is consistent, I tend to stick to staples (night cream, serum and an SPF brightening moisturizer) and am always willing to try new things and share new finds. People often compliment my skin, of course it is major flattering to hear that though I must tell you, I take care of it religiously since years ago and especially since I became a mother.

Last week, I began using the day and night creams topped up with an anti-aging elixir and a brightening booster (also known as whitening). So far, so good. My skin absorbs the night time cream particularly well! I have combination skin, this is a challenge when I sleep, even without the air conditioning my skin dries up in some areas even in the humid weather conditions of Singapore. The Pétronille Regenerative night cream has worked beautifully, I wake up hydrated which is fantastic. I am still testing out the daytime cream, more on this later.

[As part of my trial I received all the Pétronille skincare products for free and will be discussing them every week on my Twitter feed and on Instagram at norahlovesmakeup]

All About Cleansers

I cleanse every night. If I don’t cleanse and am about to drop dead, makeup wipes/ makeup remover will do the cleansing but this isn’t habitual. Since about five years ago, I’ve gone soap free and as paraben-less as possible. Changes in weather conditions do that to the skin, some make it more dry and sensitive which is my case. Since living in Singapore, humidity, motherhood, all changed my skin. And the skincare had to be adjusted accordingly, less harsh chemicals, no soap, more moisture, SPF daily, brighteners, etc.

My three current cleansers are (from most expensive to cheapest).

REN Ultra Moisture Cleansing Milk – I looked for an alternative to Dermalogica Ultra Calming Cleanser and found a comparable one [similar texture and quality]. This product is formulated for dry skin, it is paraben, sulfate, fragrance, silicone FREE, basically the most gentle cleanser you will find, very cream like and zero foam. I like REN lots, it leaves the skin feeling fresh and moist, removes makeup well and though a bit pricey (I paid 22 GBP for 150ml), it is worth the dosh.

Hada Labo AHA/BHA Exfoliating Face Wash
– This is a Japanese product. Lately and because I am in Asia, I’ve been using more brands from Japan, (SK II skincare is another favorite). This is a lovely cleanser, it has a polishing element where your skin will feel smooth and radiant and if you have dry skin, definitely moisturize right after. The combination of AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid and BHA (Salicylic Acid) gently exfoliates – and exfoliate you must at least a couple times a week. This formula is fragrance free, mineral oil, and alcohol. Good product, paid SG $13.50 at Sasa.

Bio-Essence Deep Cleanser With ATP
Another Asian product that is huge in Singapore, there are ads and promotions everywhere. While in the aisles of Giant supermarket, I saw a soap free, gentle cleansing formula on sale for SG $11 – why not? It is formulated as a daily cleanser. I like the natural herbal ingredients and ATP claim (ATP is an anti-aging agent). A little of this product goes a long way, it definitely foams up fast and gets the job done.

Back From Krabi / Some Fab Products Used

Krabi, Thailand. It is a slice of heaven, relaxation, lovely waters and sun. A good friend of mine from London and I spent five glorious days in this small beach called Railay. The sun was intense and though as per usual I spent a good portion under an umbrella/ hat, there were days when the waters and sand lured me in. It was so hard to resist! Being in a remote location is wonderful, I’ve been lucky this is my 2nd holiday since the year began. (Please see my smile on the left and all the people on our boat – life was grand!).

While on this trip, I tried out a couple of new products from Palmer’s and Organix (Ps. I am a regular Palmer’s body cream user, I love cocoa butter). First was Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Body Wash, as most days I spent it outdoors and trying to shield from sunburn, this body wash seemed like the perfect solution, it is gentle as a daily shower cream, leaves my skin soft and contains no sulfates, success! Cocoa butter is the perfect ingredient for dry/ sensitive skin and sun exposure.

As for my hair, it was very tough keeping it from frizzing so on the days that I managed to get it blow dried straight/ neat for the evening (I had it up in a bun most of the day), Organix Cherry Blossom Ginseng spray is what I used. Salt water and chlorine do lots of damage to hair. Most days, I found myself spraying generously. The results were fantastic, shine and very manageable hair. Organix Cherry Blossom is a sulfate free spray. Basically sulfates dry and damage hair shaft so it is best to avoid them if you want to keep your tresses healthy.

Palmer’s and Organix are available in Singapore at most pharmacies island-wide (Guardian, Watsons, Robinsons, John Little).