beauty · thoughts

Question: Will You Use These Anti-Aging Products

Anti-Aging, is it important to you?

Perhaps I should start with that question, is looking young important enough to you? While some seem to be able to age gracefully, most try to avoid looking old. A lot of people try tablets and potions, and a fair few who can afford it go for injections and more drastic moves.

Botox is one of the more famous anti-aging measures, if looking tight and stiff is your thing. Dermal fillers are pretty in as well, some of the fillers are also used in medical procedures. Most fillers were part of the medical procedure until someone finds another use for them.

You might agree that it is risky going under the knife, or injecting poison under your skin. However, people can be desperate enough to take that risk just to look “younger”. We cannot all stop our skin from sagging and getting wrinkly, but we sure can try. There are a lot of anti-aging stuff out there in the market, we cannot deny that this is a big chunk of the beauty industry. Once we hit a certain age, somehow we will go for preserving our youth, rather than flaunting it.

Would you try these anti-aging stuff?

Bee Venom

Lanocorp Lanocreme Bee Venom Face Mask

Bee Venom gained popularity in 2013, owing to toxin melittin in its venom to stimulate more blood to the skin. Apparently research says that it can help increase collagen and elastin, owing to the stimulation. What used to be an expensive product due to small quantities, now you can find it in some drug store. Though I am not sure what is the difference in concentration, companies say that because they can get more bee venom effectively, hence it becomes cheaper.

You would be happy to know that no bees are harmed during the harvesting. Because their lance/ stinger does not separate from the bee’s body. Good news right?

Snake Venom

Babaria Snake Venom Anti-wrinkle Face Cream 2 X 50ml + Eye Cream 1 X 12ml.


If you are allergic to bees, what then? Of course it will be terrible if you swell up every time you use a cream.

Snake venom of course! Don’t worry, this is a synthetic version to make sure that no reptiles are harmed. SYN- AKE is a laboratory product that mimics snake venom’s paralyzing effect. Much like Botox, except this comes in a cream or serum. High enough to give you a good result (up till 52% depending on brand/ concentration/ quality) but not low enough to give you your human expressions back.

Because it is synthetic, snake venom is also cheaper than Bee Venom. Plus it is more consistent in terms of concentration, quality and purity. SYN- AKE makes it easier to avoid really issues like symptoms relating to overdose. Because snakes use their venom to paralyze their prey before swallowing them whole. I am sure I do not want to be looking like I cannot move my face, just because I applied too much cream.

Snail Slime

mothermade® Deep Moisturizing Rich Snail Facial Mask 10 individually packaged bundle – 100% cotton Cupra sheet, Anti-aging, Anti-Wrinkle, Deep Hydration, Snail Secretion Filtrate (5,000 ppm)

Snail was prescribed by Hippocrates for inflammation, prescription: crush them and take with sour milk. Ew.  What’s more yucky about this is that people use snail slime as a beauty product. I do use it, and I like it a lot. There are a few brands that uses this, see my blog posts on Taiwan’s My Scheming Brand, and Korea’s SAEM brand. Snail slim contains hyaluronic acid, proteins, antimicrobial properties and copper peptides to help the snail sanitize itself and keep moist. Little wonder how those creatures manage to crawl to surfaces and stay alive right?

Korea uses the normal garden variety pests ( I hate them, they ate my lettuce), grown in labs not gardens. Plus snail slime undergoes some processes before packing. Unless you go to a snail spa, where you want snails to walk all over your face, chances are your product is clean and well. If mask is not your thing, try this sleeping pack.

SAEM Snail Sleeping Pack

I Want To Try…

All of them of course, currently I am loving the snail mask regime, but it is quite pricey. Of course there are many other living creatures out there that people use for skin care, I am not very well informed. However, these at least I know does not really harm the animals. I do prefer other bee products like royal jelly and propolis, because it sounds cruel to have a bee continually sting a piece of glass.

SYN-AKE sounds very promising, and if I do find any decent brand that has an acceptable price tag, I might do it. While the bee venom has pretty good research, the snake venom does sound more effective. However, these are just possible selections you can try to delay the aging process. It does not, and never will halt the body’s natural deterioration.

Do remember, UV is one of the biggest causes of aging, so wear a sunscreen before trying everything else. Or it will be a waste of money, you undo the work when you step into the sun without protection anyway. In reality, I am not ready to age gracefully yet. When people tells me I look young and radiant, it makes my heart skip a beat. Because I know I feel old with two little monsters running me to the bone.

beauty · review

My Scheming Peel & NuDerma Eye Mask review

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Gel with Monkey fan

My Scheming Facial Peel Review

I got this in Taiwan for 119 NTD, like AUD5.85. It is quite cheap, when you can get the same item from ebay (link: 

My Scheming Apple Extract Hydrating Peeling Gel 120ml via eBay ) at AUD16 but free postage. My Scheming Peel is made by the famous My Scheming brand, which is a local Taiwanese brand and is a big name there and in Asia. Previously I have reviewed its double mask, but the brand also makes makeup items like mascara and eye liners.

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My Scheming Peel has apple and cucumber extracts, and boasts to hydrate while removing your dead skin cells. Among the ingredients are apple and cucumber beads which dissolves when you crush them, a light apple fragrance and things that make up the gel.

A quick look at the gel2017-06-07_08-19-31How to use it: apply the gel onto dry hands and face, avoid the eye and mouth areas. While the label says leave it on for 1 minute before lightly massage your face to remove dead skin, I already have a lot of dead skin coming up. I was expecting this to happen, because I have skip this step for a week to see how it goes.

The result it pretty yucky. After a rinse, my skin feels softer and definitely a lot cleaner.

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Can you see the bits of dead skin? I am happy that I got this… until I found out that Taiwan still does animal testing Q.Q at the moment. There are rumors that it will end soon, but currently, there is nothing on the label that says this is cruelty free.

So if you are a cruelty free product user, Taiwanese and Chinese brand are a no- go. If it does not bother you, go ahead. As for me, it was a momentarily lapse of judgement, shopping always makes me happy. Funny how my morals go out the window when I am overseas.

Thankfully, Japan and Korea do have cruelty brands.

Nu derma 明眸撫紋水嫩眼膜 Reactivation Eye Cure Lifting Hydra Mask
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This is from Nu derma, a more upmarket brand in Taiwan. This I got as a sample after buying two sunscreens from them at the price of AUD75 in total (that’s 1500 NTD). I am crazy to spend that much money on beauty products, but I so love how it absorbs quickly and leaves a clean feel on my skin.

The eye mask has hyaluronic spheres, and things that helps reduce dark circles and erase that fine lines. I got three but I have given one to my mom, and this is my last one. While I do regret not buying it, but spending NTD 5000, which is AUD 200 on 8 pieces of eye mask might be a little crazy.

Even though it has this cute butterfly shape, and covers a large area of my eyes. Normal eye masks are a lot smaller and does not work as well as this brand. This is a classic you get what you pay for scenario.

Verdict

You get a perfectly cheap yet good quality exfoliate, and pair it with a free sample of an expensive product. The result is good, except for the animals that were tested on. I do apologize for not checking prior to buying, but I had always assumed that most developed countries do not do animal testing, except for China.

I guess I am wrong =(

Back to Aussie products <3

beauty · review

Dual Mask Review : My Scheming & Silicone Mask

IMG_20170604_182004270My Scheming & Silicone Mask

Sorry Mates, Flickr’s editor is still down, it has been like more than a month already! Yet it is still being upgraded, a little bummer, but I am not famous for pretty photos. This is a dual mask review, because I wanted to watch Boss Baby (which is a funny family movie, by the way).  It is out in DVD, and we borrowed it from the library, as usual.

While I was watching the movie, I had decided to try both out.

You cannot buy My Scheming & Silicone Mask from Amazon, but ebay or Yesstyle has them. If there is a Daiso around your area, you could get the silicone mask there. Amazon has another type that I also happen to own, but this one on the photo is actually different.

My Scheming – Black and White Snail Essence Elasticity & Firming Mask

Features two separate masks:

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yup, complete with kitty ears

The top black and bottom white masks, they both contain snail essence. The bottom part contains a loop that functions to tighten your chin, to stop that saggy look. The top part is just a normal stretchy material that looks good on anyone.

Both holds the essence well, and the materials are thick and of good quality.

Here is a silly photo with the anti- evaporating mask

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It does not fit well, I will admit, because this is actually a 2- way mask. You can cut this silicone mask into two halves and use it separately or together.

Clearly, my ears are not meant to hold 3 loops, hence it was an epic fail. From the photo, it is obvious that this does not fit my face in one full piece. I should check out the other one later.

Verdict

While the silicone 2- way anti- evaporating mask was a fail, I am promoting the other mask: My Scheming is a Taiwanese brand, and it is of good quality. If you can find it on special (sale), you should definitely give it a go. My Scheming might sound funny as a brand name, but it offers good quality beauty products.

Amazon has other products by the brand, and they are worth a go if you are keen about Taiwanese products.

beauty · review · thoughts

Taiwan 2017 Trip + a Mask review

Taiwan 2017 Trip was with 2 kids and my parents

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Kee Lung County, North of Taiwan/ Taipei.

So there were four adults to two kids, you would think that life would be easier because there’s enough people to help keep a lookout. Wrong, we got sick. Because we didn’t vaccinate ourselves against the flu/ cold, hence everyone became sick on the second day of the six day trip. Bummer!

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The Special Waterfall that leaches copper and iron, making the whole thing look like gold/ bronze from far

Fortunately, for the first two days it was a breeze. I hired a private tour guide to drive us to places where the Taiwan Metro couldn’t reach. You would still take the public transport, but it was cheaper and easier for the six of us to travel in style. I wouldn’t recommend it if you are alone or in pairs, but once you have kids and older people, private tour guides are pretty good. For the two days, it cost me around AUD 200 in total, from 9 am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9 to 5:30 on Sunday. I was stupid, because I should have picked weekdays where the crowd would be less.

Turns out it was a fortunate mistake, because metro and markets have less people during weekdays; if you have children, best time to go is during weekdays. The crowd is significantly thinner, plus with the rain, it was a hassle trying to get around. But May is definitely a crappy time to go, because it rained 4 out of the 6 days that we were there.

Shifen Must Do

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yes I can write Mandarin XD

If you ever go to Taiwan, make sure you visit Shi Fen old street, where we went. This place is the only legal place you can light a lantern and let it fly. The belief is that it takes your wishes to the Heavens, and maybe it will be granted. Don’t worry, the whole street is full of vendors, and they are all priced the same: 30 Yuan for a multi-colored one. Each color represents something, like red is for good luck, blue is for career and so on.DSC03820

This place is the only legal place to do it, because of the agreement that runners will be dispatched to retrieve any lanterns that drop onto forests and nearby settlements. The paper is extremely flammable, and will catch fire and burn cleanly if it every does. Usually the lantern just runs out of fuel and drop back down to earth, where people will dispose of it properly.

It is a novelty those, definitely must do it once, just for the fun of it. It is an Asian tradition, even Koreans have their version of lighting lanterns with wishes.

We Went to Yi Lan County

Yi Lan is not a very popular tourist destination, but I insisted on going for one reason only: cold springs. Taiwan has one of the three natural carbonic cold springs on the planet, the other in Italy and America. We skipped the normal hot springs because Princess Brat was too young. Her delicate skin would not be able to handle the heat.

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We rented a private room, and you can see that this looks like an ordinary pool. But it is not, the skin feels numb when you first went in. If you stay still, you can feel the heat rising and warming you up. The water is carbonated, with a slight sulfur smell to it. This spring is in Su’ Ao, in Yi Lan County. I had changed the itinerary to fit this in, because I had no intention of returning to the place anytime soon.

I will admit that cold spring does not have the same skin beautifying effect as a hot spring does. But I could see an improvement in Princess’ skin for a short while. This was also the reason we got sick, because the water is cold, and the weather was balmy. It was worth the experience, because cold springs are rarer.

The same with hot springs, if you have high blood pressure or other vascular issues, it is best not to soak in the spring for long. It might not make you sweat or dizzy, but this sneaky spring will definitely make you feel ill if you overdo it. We paid around $500 yuan for forty minutes. It was worth it as I did not have to worry about my kids being trampled by people.

Another Unique Experience

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Yup those are scallions!

The local produce of Yi Lan is rice and scallions, where farmers rotate to rejuvenate the soil. Their scallions have more white bits, almost 30% more than the normal variety you will find at the markets. It is also quite tasty, and has milder taste that goes well with a lot of things.

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Lovely place to visit

The tour guide took us to this farm, where you can pluck your own scallions. They will also teach you how to make scallion pie. It is just a thin crust filled with this yummy vegetable. Did I mention that you deep fry it? It is a fun experience fit for young (read not teenage) children. My kid definitely had a lot of fun. The parents? Not that much.

I will admit that it was educational, and the weather was perfect for this activity.

What Else Can You Do in Taiwan?

We skipped the Crayon factory, where kids can make their own crayons for a fee. It was because we went to the cold spring instead. Other things you could do (if you have a lot of moolah) is going on food tours, or engage in a local cooking class. I found one that would take you marketing, and teach you a few dishes for lunch. At the price of $150 per person, it was too expensive for that many of us. And it would have been boring for the few who wouldn’t participate.

In reality, it was probably better to hire the tour guide for the whole trip. Fear not, if you speak Mandarin or Taiwanese (I do both, actually), taxi is actually a reasonably priced way to get around. We all fit in one car, which cost us the same as taking the metro. When it rained, it was what we did.

Will We Go Back?

Probably not, there is nothing special about Taiwan. The food is not that great, the variety is vast, but I hardly think it’s mouth watering or scrumptious. Of course, smelling stinky tofu everywhere you go will not help make the food taste better. I do know that there are still places I have not been, experiences that are still waiting for me. But I have done the ones that I need to do. Scenery? It is beautiful, but taking kids to see the view … is not a very good idea.

Plus, I would not say that it is a wow factor for Taiwan. It is not like breathtaking, or memorable. So if you want to go to Taiwan, make sure it’s not raining and you know where you want to go. There are just too many places promising a good time, but not all will deliver.

Mask Review

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Bought it from 7-11

I was curious when I saw this Star Wars mask. If you have read my old posts, you will have seen the character masks.  They are funny, and I was hoping that this would be the same. It was 49 Yuan, which equates to almost Aud 2.50 for this one mask. Expensive, I know.

 

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bummer

This one is a Hyaluronic moisture mask, this one would give your skin a hydration boost. The Star Wars mask is made in Taiwan, so I don’t know why it costs so much for a single sheet mask. As you can see, this is just a simple white mask with hyaluronic acid and other ingredients. It feels heavenly when I first put it on, it is like my skin is sighing with relief. Ooops. Someone should teach me how to look after my skin during travels.

I left it on for a long time, despite not having any cute look, this one works very well. My skin does feel more supple and moisturized, surprise!. Since I was a bit lazy with my skincare, so it did show a positive effect for the one and only time I used the mask.

Is it worth the 49 yuan? Probably… because it works and the effect lasted. Will I buy it again, not for that price no. Plus, I could not find a bulk pack, which is disappointing.

 

beauty · review

Egyptian Magic is an all- purpose skin cream with a cool name

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nothing magical

Egyptian Magic is an all- purpose skin cream with a cool name

But if you look closely at my fingers, it betrays all the magic the cream has: nothing magical about it. My skin has started to peel after I returned home from Malaysia (my parents are still there). Presumably because I had to start cleaning again, touching detergent or just the temperature and humidity change.

I have had problems like there before, where my skin would just start to peel off layers of dead skin, it is just unsightly and annoying. Nothing bad will happen until I rip off the raw part by accident. I usually smother my hands with hand cream, put on a pair of gloves when this happens, the skin will repair itself with the proper tools.

Amazon Sells It

The ingredients are simple: olive oil, beeswax, honey, propolis and royal jelly. It sounds decadent, and it smells of honey as well, which is pleasant given that there are no additional fragrance to it. This is supposedly to have strong emollient and healing properties, with it anti-inflammatory properties from propolis.

Needless to say, I shelled out AUD40 for this jar, which is quite expensive for me.

Because …. it didn’t work for me or princess brat =(

How it Looks Like

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Flickr’s photo editing system is still down, and I am too lazy to find another program to crop before posting. I ask for your forgiveness in this time of laziness. The Egyptian Magic has an ointment look to it, despite some of it calling this a cream. This is definitely more like a solid oil based product. Good if you have dry skin, and need something oilier than a cream.

Which would have been perfect if it does help….

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I am sure you can see Princess Brat’s arm, it is in terrible shape as she scratches. The moment she start to sweat, the itch will follow. It is hard to stop her from scratching, because she would use anything (anyone) as a scratch post, rubbing her poor arms against things to stop the itch. Needless to say, the cream did not help one bit. When I was in Malaysia, I had to constantly wash her arms with water, apply some cream/ ointment and repeat every hour.

In the end, it was a rush to see a traditional Chinese medicine doctor, to get a special herbal ointment that cost RM50 (like … aud 20) to get her skin in control. That did work, but it wasn’t until we reach Australia that her itching and scratching stopped completely.

Guess I shouldn’t be travelling overseas for a few more months Q.Q