REVIEW: KISpeel Skincare – Clarifying Start Toner, Hydra Micro-Raphides & Nutritive Micro-Raphides [Serum & Cream], Marine Vital [Essence & Ampoule], Cica Repair Cream & Micro-Raphides Spot Cream

Hello everyone!

As Chinese New Year draws near, it is kinda imperative that we (especially the ladies) stay on top of our skincare game and ensure our skin leading up to the grand reunion looks healthy and radiant because as much as possible, we certainly do not wish to invite embarrassing questions about our skin from (untactful) relatives whom we’ve not met in a year. If your current skincare regimen hasn’t been of much help, it isn’t too late to start a new one – with KISpeel, that is!

KISpeel, a combination of the acronym for ‘Keep Ideal Skin’ and ‘Peel’ (as in facial peels, a form of exfoliation), is a Korean skincare company that specialises in post-cleanse skin maintenance. Their strong belief in providing long-term solutions to skin woes has led them to steer clear from silicones (e.g. Dimethicone, Methicone, etc.), artificial colourants and synthetic fragrances when formulating their products.

But that is not to say that they are free of preservatives. Although preservatives are  essential in preventing mold, bacteria, and microbial growth in skincare products, some do way more harm than good to our health. Therefore, KISpeel has always been upfront about only including preservatives made with 1, 2-hexanediol – a solvent rated ‘1’ (low hazard) by Environmental Working Group (EWG) and ‘safe’ by Cosmetic Ingredient Review (which I feel is a more reliable database as it offers a more in-depth assessment of ingredients) – in their products.

All KISpeel products

All KISpeel products

As a relatively young brand, KISpeel presently only carries 9 products (but yay to our wallets 😁) which they have kindly sent to me for review purposes. If you’re interested to find out more, read on!

*Prices stated do not include delivery charges

POST-CLEANSER

CLARIFYING START TONER

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner // 150ml / 5.1 fl.oz (S$24.90)

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner // 150ml / 5.1 fl.oz (S$24.90)

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner

Ingredients in KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner

Ingredients in KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner application

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner application

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner application

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner application

Our skin becomes more alkaline in response to being stripped of its acidic mantle after every cleanse and this makes it more susceptible to damage and inflammation. Toners fill the void by restoring the skin’s pH balance and providing a base layer of hydration so that it would be more amenable to the subsequent products layered on it. But with the Clarifying Start Toner, you get more than you bargain for because it comes with other benefits as well!

Suitable for sensitive skin types, this clear, non-sticky unscented toner effectively exfoliates, soothes and moisturises the skin with Centella Asiatica Water, Witch Hazel Extract, AHA (citric acid) and PHA (lactobionic acid). Moreover, it also contains Propolis and Vitis Vinifera (grape) Culture extracts for their anti-oxidation and anti-ageing properties. Since the product is dispensed from a pump bottle, you can easily gauge the amount you’ve collected on the cotton pad (2 to 3 pumps would be sufficient) and prevent unnecessary wastage. The toner, however, tends to separate if  left sitting for a while. When that happens, simply shake the solution to thoroughly mix it before use.

THE HYDRA SERIES

KISpeel Hydra Series

KISpeel Hydra Series

Specially curated for oily and dehydrated¹ skin (yes, it is possible to have both!), the Hydra series is mainly composed of ingredients such as Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Witch Hazel and Propolis extracts (which are also known for their soothing and pore-tightening properties), Shea butter (which aids in cell regeneration) and Macadamia Ternifolia seed oil to remove excess oil from skin and improve moisture retention. Fragrance-free and colour-free, the products are also suitable for sensitive skin.

¹Dehydration is a skin condition caused by a lack of water while dry skin is a skin type and caused by a lack of oil production.

It is common for oily skin to peel and feel dehydrated because of the harsh ingredients often found in skincare products that control oil.

On top of that, the Hydra serum and cream – or as a matter of fact, the majority of KISpeel products – also contain Micro-Raphides. Measuring approximately half the size of a pore, these needle-shaped crystals, which are originally found in specialised plant cells (most commonly in leaves), have undergone purification to remove their toxicity so that they can safely and comfortably penetrate into the skin to stimulate blood circulation and boost cell turnover² while delivering the active ingredients. Therefore, it may produce a prickly sensation (somewhat like little jolts of static electricity) as the product is being applied onto the skin, thereby causing a momentary itch (for me at least, but it went away very quickly).

²Cell turnover is the process where the skin produces new skin cells, which travel from the lowest layer of the epidermis to the top layer, and then shed off the skin (exfoliation) to prevent dead cells from building up on the skin’s surface.

Be sure not to rub your eyes without first washing your hands after using products with Micro-Raphides as the stinging effect will transfer to whatever you come in contact with.

Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$22.90)

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$22.90)

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

Ingredients in KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

Ingredients in KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum is a water-based milk-type serum that features more concentrated ingredients to control sebum production and seal moisture into the skin. Sleek and simple, it comes in an opaque pump bottle and, if your budget allows, can be used day and night. Weightless and fast-absorbing, it also has a non-greasy finish and does not leave a sticky residue once it settles into the skin. The serum has an emollient but thicker consistency than regular moisturising cream and can be used as an alternative or in addition to creams or lotions to enhance your skincare regimen.

Using your fingertips, take a few pumps of the serum and evenly apply it to the whole face before patting it in. However, because the serum tends to penetrate too rapidly, it may cause slight irritation to sensitive skin. In such cases, it would be advisable to wait for a few minutes for the face to dry completely from cleansing or toning before proceeding with this step.

Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$22.90)

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$22.90)

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream application

The cream, on a other hand, is made up of larger molecules and hence works more on the surface. Used at the final step of your skincare regimen, it provides superficial hydration and increases the treatment potential of the serum by locking in its potent actives with a heavier and thicker formula on top.

Taking an appropriate amount of the cream from the tub, apply over the face with some pressure to allow for better infiltration efficiency.

Casual skincare routine for oily and dehydrated skin: Clarifying Start Toner → Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum → Cica Repair Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)

For combination skin type, use both Hydra and Nutritive series

For excessive oiliness and dehydration or to be used during spring & summer: Clarifying Start Toner → Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum → Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)
Clear skin boot camp: Clarifying Start Toner → Marine Vital Essence → Marine Vital Ampoule → Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)

THE NUTRITIVE SERIES

KISpeel Nutritive Series

KISpeel Nutritive Series

In contrast, the Nutritive series nourishes and moisturises dry and dehydrated skin with Panax Ginseng Root Extract (which regenerates skin cells and detoxifies the skin), Shea butter (to provide a heavy-duty dose of emollient benefits), Phellinus Linteus and Bertholletia Excelsa Seed Oil (for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties) to fight winter gloom. Similarly, Micro-Raphides form part of its key ingredients for exfoliation purposes and therefore give the same tingling effect as the Hydra series.

Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

Ingredients in KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

Ingredients in KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum application

The Nutritive serum is likewise a milk-type serum that combines a cascade of skin-replenishing ingredients to firm up the skin by restoring its natural elasticity. It has a creamier and more opaque consistency than the Hydra serum and takes a longer time for most of its greasiness to subside. When it does, it leaves a protective film on the surface of the skin for a dewy finish.

Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

The texture of the Nutritive cream is richer and thicker than that of the Hydra Cream which gives it a higher tendency to a leave a white cast on the skin. If that happens, lightly pat your palms against your face a couple of times until the product is assimilated. Another point to note about the Nutritive cream is that it has a faint yet discernible mildly pleasant chemical smell which your nose would be trained to ignore after awhile. To apply both the serum and cream, follow the steps indicated for the Hydra series.

Casual skincare routine for dry skin type: Clarifying Start Toner → Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum → Cica Repair Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)

For combination skin type, use both Hydra and Nutritive series

For excessive dryness or to be used during autumn and winter: Clarifying Start Toner → Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum → Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)
Clear skin boot camp: Clarifying Start Toner → Marine Vital Essence → Marine Vital Ampoule → Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)

THE MARINE VITAL SERIES

KISpeel Marine Vital Series

KISpeel Marine Vital Series

Particularly in the case of modern women, the fight against the signs of ageing starts from an early age and therefore, it is no wonder that essences, ampoules and serums have exploded in popularity in recent years. But instead of having to pile on tons of skincare products to achieve a youthful complexion (like, have you heard of the 10-step Korean skincare regimen?!), KISpeel has narrowed down to just two to rev up the results and keep you from going broke.

Hydrolyzed Collagen, Caviar and Plankton extracts, and Thala Complex are the key ingredients in this anti-wrinkle and brightening series due to their ability to plump and tighten the skin while improving its elasticity and moisture content. The Thala Complex – a combination of clear seawater, Hydrolyzed Algin and Marine Polysaccharides (Exopolysaccharides) obtained from the coast of Brittany, France – represents a good resources of nutrients that helps promote skin regeneration and health. However, unlike the KISpeel products featured earlier, the Marine Vital series does not contain Micro-Raphides.

Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence // 150ml / 5.1 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence // 150ml / 5.1 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

Ingredients in KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

Ingredients in KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence application

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence application

Stored in a pump container for easy dispensing, one pump is all it takes to give your skin its needed vitality boost. The Marine Vital Essence works similarly to a serum as it targets specifically wrinkles, fine lines, and uneven skin tones but it is less concentrated and has no viscosity. Gentler on the skin, it is intended for use before ampoule or serum due to its lightweight nature and more watery consistency. Formulated without fragrance, it instantly adds another layer of hydration while fortifying the natural resilience of the skin without leaving a greasy sensation or causing irritation. Simply apply an appropriate amount of the essence evenly to the skin and lightly tap on it to help it absorb better.

Marine Vital Ampoule

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$29.90)

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$29.90)

Ingredients in KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule

Ingredients in KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule application

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule application

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule application

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule application

Toner, serum, essence… As if there isn’t already a maze of beauty terminology to brood over, there’s now ampoule?! Understandably, those who are new to the whole Korean skincare approach may not be familiar with these cosmetic jargon but ampoules are merely supercharged versions of serums with higher concentrations of active ingredients which can help avert a specific skin crisis in relatively less time.

The Marine Vital Ampoule in this instance helps reduce facial lines and revitalise the look of lacklustre skin. However, since it renders a stronger effect than serum, it should be used only when necessary because the potency factor may heighten skin sensitivity. It is ideal, say, on occasions when the skin requires intensive treatment (perhaps a few days before your wedding) and yet, time does not seem to be on your side. Due to its thicker and more luscious texture (but won’t leave a sticky film on the skin), this unscented ampoule is more suitable for night use and should be applied after essence.

For an extra boost: Clarifying Start Toner → Marine Vital Essence → Marine Vital Ampoule → Cica Repair Cream

COMPLEMENTS

Apart from developing a range of products to cater to different skin types, KISpeel is also dedicated in providing solutions for other cosmetic concerns such as redness, hyperpigmentation and zits, as evident by the addition of the Cica Repair Cream and Micro-Raphides Spot Cream. These products can be used in conjunction with those mentioned earlier as part of your daily skincare routine.

Cica Repair Cream

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$19.90)

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$19.90)

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Cica Repair Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Cica Repair Cream

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

Slick and soft in texture, this moisturising cream boasts a therapeutic blend of Centella Asiatica leaf water and Centella Asiatica Extract, along with other soothing ingredients known for their healing and anti-inflammatory properties, to calm irritated and sensitive skin without leaving an icky feeling. It contains Allantoin and Aloe Vera leaf juice to stimulate the growth of healthy tissue and aid the skin repair process while keeping the skin hydrated. Multi-functional, it can also be applied on any other parts of the body (e.g. neck, that require a little tender loving care. To use, evenly massage a suitable amount of product into the skin and gently pat until absorbed.

Micro-Raphides Spot Cream

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream // 10ml / 0.3 fl.oz (S$21.90)

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream // 10ml / 0.3 fl.oz (S$21.90)

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream applicator

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream applicator

Ingredients in KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream applicator (click to enlarge)

Ingredients in KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream applicator (click to enlarge)

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream application

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream application

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream application

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream application

Formulated with almost the same set of ingredients as the Cico Repair Cream, the Micro-Raphides Spot Cream offers targeted treatment for hyperpigmentation and pimples by soothing inflamed skin and diminishing their appearance with Centella Asiatica and Aloe Vera extracts. That said, this would only be effective with surface blemishes and not so much with more severe skin conditions such as cystic acne.

What sets this spot cream apart from the repair cream is the added Micro-Raphides which helps revitalise the skin and exfoliate dead skin cells. Likewise, the thin crystalline needles may cause a tingling sensation as it penetrates deep into the skin. But fret not, the (bearable) sting typically does not last beyond a few seconds and it will be gone before you know it.

To minimise contamination and preserve the purity of the product, the spot cream is dispensed through a convex applicator (when pressed down) which can be directly applied to the affected areas in circular motions twice to thrice a day. Unless you choose to apply the cream with your fingers, be sure to disinfect the applicator with soap or anti-bacterial wipes and then dry it after every use to keep it sterile.

Finished face!

Finished face!

All in all, apart from the tingling sensation given rise by the Micro-Raphides which I’m still trying to get accustomed to, I like that the ingredients are gentle enough on my sensitive skin. Furthermore, I really appreciate the no-nonsense approach KISpeel has to skincare as they do not allude to the need of having a myriad of products, but just the essentials! In terms of price, KISpeel is pretty much on par with or lower than most mid-tier Korean beauty brands which, of course, have a much wider distribution since KISpeel is only available online and at I’M STARTICE.

What are your thoughts about KISpeel? Would you be willing to give this brand a shot? Let me know your views in the comments below 🙂

Thanks for reading!

KISpeel is available on Qoo10 Singapore and I’M STARTICE. For more information, visit KISpeel website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
This post is brought to you by KISpeel.

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Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula #1: The Ultimate Beauty Regimen for Acne-Prone Skin

ADVERTORIAL

Hello everyone!

Being a long-time acne sufferer myself, I can fully relate to the inconvenience this common skin condition poses. As envious as I am of friends who are able to live by the simplest beauty routine (like, using just water to cleanse their faces) and yet still have perfect complexion, I know it is virtually impossible for me to do likewise and get similar results. But due to sheer laziness and the fact that I didn’t like the feeling of a pile of skincare products weighing down on my face every night, I had been depending on a single facial cleanser for years solely to keep dirt and oil from clogging my pores.

But with my recent breakouts (no thanks to the prolonged haze), I’ve come to realise that I needed to step up my game if I wanted to clear up my face. And to achieve that, I’d have to incorporate toning and moisturising into my daily beauty regimen. However, finding the right skincare products for my routine can be no easy feat, especially when I have oily skin that breaks out even with the slightest change in my regimen.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to search high and low for a suitable product because help eventually came knocking on my door!

Thank you, Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula!

For oily and acne-prone skin

For oily and acne-prone skin

In case you haven’t heard of Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula (or TDF for short), it was first established in the USA and later Singapore in 1994. A pioneer in alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) glycolic acid formulations, TDF’s areas of expertise include management of acne, pigmentation disorders, photo-ageing and ageing skin conditions. It is a respected name in the field of aesthetic dermatology and also a well-recognised prescriptive skincare brand among medical and aesthetic professionals.

As the saying goes, the best things in life are meant to be shared. Hence, in this first installment of a four-part skin care series, I will be sharing with you guys my day-to-day beauty regimen using TDF products. Have oily and acne-prone skin like me? This should definitely be interest to you so read on! 🙂

Let's begin by wetting our faces! (I wasn't kidding when I said I had breakouts, right?)

Let’s begin by wetting our faces! (I wasn’t kidding when I said I had breakouts, right?)

1. Cleanse

Regardless of gender, face washing is no doubt the most fundamental step in any skincare regimen, especially for night time. No matter how tired or sick I am, I would muster up my last bit of energy just to wash my face and get that squeaky clean feeling. Besides, the last thing I’d want to get during my sleep are more pimples from my contaminated pillow!

This beauty rule doesn’t just apply to people who wear makeup often as research has shown that cleansing is key to maintaining youthful looks. It does a lot more than rinsing the face with water which only removes about 65% of oil and debris from the surface. As a resident in one of the most humid cities in the world, it is also important to note that cleansing helps to unclog pores, dissolve dirt and makeup as well as to remove excess oils and prevent excess oil production in the day.

TDF AHA Facial Wash & Deep Acne Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash & Deep Acne Facial Wash

TDF has recommended 4 types of cleansers for their Oily and Acne-Prone regimen. Here, I’ve shortlisted two – the AHA Facial Wash and AHA Deep Acne Facial Wash. They are primarily catered for the same skin type, just that the former is suitable for oily and acne-prone skin (preventive) while the other is ideal for comedogenic and acne-ridden (corrective) skin. For clearer illustration, I will only be using the AHA Facial Wash in this quick guide!

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

The AHA Facial Wash is a 2-in-1 gel cleanser and exfoliator that combines with an acne-fighting alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) and soothing botanical and marine extracts as well as antiseptic agents to help prevent flare-ups.

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

A pellucid pale green liquid at first, it gradually works into a lather upon contact with wet skin. It gently deep-cleanses pores, removes excess oil without over-drying and clears surface impurities. After cleansing, my skin felt very refreshed and supple!

Do wash with lukewarm water as too hot a water temperature can strip your skin of essential natural moisture and healthy oils. Try not to wash your face in the shower as the high water pressure can also break capillaries and in turn aggravate your skin condition. Besides, your skin will also become dry if it stays in water for too long!

2. Tone

After cleansing comes toning, which is absolutely necessary for people with oily skin. While toners are usually optional for people with normal skin type, they actually provide the extra kick needed by oily skin to remove any little traces of makeup that the cleanser is unable to reach.

Skin toners are available in several kinds – skin fresheners (the mildest form), tonics (slightly stronger) and astringents (strongest form). Astringents are normally recommended for oily skin as they tend to be drying. However, when the skin loses oil, it goes into an overdrive to produce more to keep its moisture balance in check. In view of this fact, TDF has come up with a milder and gentler version of astringent (hence, you probably can call this a tonic instead) so that your skin remains smooth and clean after use!

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

Similar to what I’ve explained earlier, the Mild Astringent is a clarifying toner that removes traces of cleanser and impurities. It maintains your skin at a healthy balanced pH level (which was distorted by the cleanser earlier on) and aids in the application of serum and moisturiser products thereafter. It helps to tighten and shrink pores, making it more difficult for debris and dirt to penetrate your skin. As a result, it also controls acne and prevents blackheads.

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

You can use own fingers for this step but I personally like using cotton pads to prevent wastage (and I don’t really trust that my fingers would be entirely clean too). Unlike the cleanser, you’d only need to apply the astringent to problem areas of the skin, such as the pimples themselves to prevent dehydration on unaffected parts.

Do prevent rubbing the cotton pad back and forth or it may cause irritation to your skin. In addition, toners are meant to be dried off naturally or absorbed into the skin so there is no need for you to rinse it away after that!

3. Moisturise

Finally, moisturise your skin after the toner has dried as a wrap-up to the regimen. The moisturiser helps to retain and restore the moisture (duh!) that was robbed in the process of toning. Nevertheless, this is a step that’s often skipped by those with oily skin due to the common misconception that moisturisers would cause the skin to appear “oilier”. In fact, it’s the complete opposite! Without moisturisers to increase water content of the skin, it would actually produce excess sebum to make up for lack of hydration and then defeat the purpose of this entire routine!

To tackle the problem of having an even greasier complexion after wearing a moisturiser, you can try a light one with mattifying properties like the Ultra Light Hydrator I’m about to introduce to you!

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

The Ultra Light Hydrator is a must-have mattifying moisturiser for oily and combination skin types. This sheer lightweight formula hydrates the skin to restore moisture balance and regulates sebum production, keeping blackhead-bearing oil at bay. Regular use enhances your skin’s texture, firmness and clarity. Oil-free and with a non-greasy finish, it is also excellent as a makeup base.

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator (oops, a little too much here, but this picture is for illustration purpose only!)

With just a tiny amount, massage it into your skin in an upward motion (to prevent premature sagging) and be more gentle on delicate areas around the eyes.

Once you’ve completed the above, you’re done! It’s that simple 🙂

Here’s the result after going through the 3-step beauty regimen!

After

After (you can compare this with my Moisturise selfies)

Notice the natural glow around my face? I definitely felt a lot cleaner and more refreshed after using the recommended TDF products!

Do you have similar experience with TDF? Chime in below!

Thanks for reading and do stay tuned for the next installment 🙂

All TDF products are exclusively sold at all clinics, National Healthcare Group polyclinics, SingHealth polyclinics, hospitals and public/restructured specialist centres. For more information on product availability, click here.

Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula (TDF)

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REVIEW: Minus 417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel, Aromatic Body Peeling & Aromatic Body Butter

Hey guys!

The -417 products that will be reviewed in this post

-417 products

Choosing the right face wash is an integral part of my skincare regime. However, it’s not easy finding a suitable one because of the sensitive nature of my skin. To top it off, I’ve also been battling serious acne since my adolescence although it’s a billion times better now. My self-esteem and self-confidence took a nosedive during my secondary school years because I often got taunted and humiliated due to my facial flaw, especially during petty arguments where the other party would resort to using personal insults and name-calling to get their point across. Jokingly or not, those words definitely stung and made me even more self-conscious. And that kinda sparked my obsession with facial products.

In a bid to improve my complexion, I started spending a wallop of money on products that promised results. I have probably tried almost every product sold at pharmacies, mostly recommended by sales reps. But none of them managed to keep my awful pimples at bay. Instead, some of them actually aggravated my skin condition (extreme dryness, skin inflammation and whatnot) and caused multiple scarring on my face because my pimples just couldn’t heal properly. It was devastating and demoralising!

But after many years of trial and error, I finally found the face wash that best suits my skin type. Prior to that, I had used The Body Shop‘s Aloe Gentle Facial Wash faithfully every day and night. However I felt that my skin kinda got immune to the effects after a couple of years and my face became a minefield for acne once again. Boyfriend noticed the severity of my condition and got me -417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel as part of my birthday present last year (after doing his research) and I’ve been using it as my daytime facial wash ever since!

What is -417?

-417 is the developer of an exclusive and unique line of natural skincare products based on natural active components and minerals from the lowest place in the world – the Dead Sea.

Founded in 2003, -417 has been committed to keeping the value that has established itself as a trendsetter in the beauty industry. Through meticulous research and development, scientific advances, professional expertise and the understanding of a customer’s well-being, -417 is continuing to change the world of beauty. With global distributors in more than 15 countries including France, Switzerland, Russia, Denmark and Argentina, -417 products are sold through international distribution channels such as at department stores, chain retailers and pharmacies, perfumeries, chain cosmetic stores and at leading spas & hotels.

(read more)

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel (S$120)

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel, 200g / 6.8oz

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel (pardon the dirtiness ‘coz it has sat in my bathroom for quite some time)

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel

Yup, it’s recommended to be used only in the day because it contains micro natural luffa beads that help to dislodge impurities and dead skin cell. Therefore, it may be too harsh on the skin if applied too many times in a day. According to -417, the foaming gel itself is based on the Vitamin-Mineral Complex – a combination of natural active ingredients, including moisture-balancing minerals from the Dead-Sea together with nourishing plant extracts and active vitamins (A, B, E, F and H) – as well as jojoba oil, olive oil and grape oil, that leaves the skin clean, soft fresh and glowing. It aids in reducing the appearance of dark spots while speeding up the skin’s micro-circulation and providing a deep cleansing. Impressive, eh?

And the crazy part?

It costs a whopping S$120* at retail.

*gasps* No wonder boyfriend refused to disclose the amount he paid regardless of how much I bugged him about it because he knew I’d definitely lambaste the hell outta him for spending that kind of money! It’s like what, the cost of two premium ribeye steaks at an extravagant restaurant combined?!

With the price that ridiculous, this product has got to work. And very fortunately, it does to a pretty large extent as visible improvements were seen as early as one week. I had my qualms about the exfoliating function of this product initially as I had read somewhere about face scrubs being harmful to the skin.  As it turned out eventually, my worries were for naught.

Before and After

Before and After (the seemingly sharper and fairer complexion could be due to the use of other products)

My face, once clogged with filth and oil, now appears cleaner and more radiant. It had also eliminated most of my greasy sheen and stubborn zits. Of course, these results are also dependent on my lifestyle and diet. Still, although staying away from fried food and having enough rest help to subdue my acne eruption, they can’t purify and unclog my pores. I would need a facial product like this to do the job.

Furthermore, if you’re eagle-eyed enough, you’d have realised the great difference in the timestamp of my before and after shots – they were taken almost a year apart! Believe it or not, I’m still on my first tube despite using it every single day! And I’m probably only halfway through. That’s because a teeny weeny layer of it is enough to make a lather for the entire face.

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel

Just a thin layer like this will do

Just a thin layer like this will do (actually, I squeezed out way too much product – it’s more than enough!)

As this is advisable to be used only in the day, there’s another product that is designed for night use. The Whitening Cleansing Soap helps to lighten hyperpigmentation while removing eye and face makeup together. Like the Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel, the price is likely to burn a hole in your pocket and I was almost tempted into buying it when I was at their nex booth to redeem a gift for my boyfriend’s birthday a few months ago.

And that’s the thing about their sales reps – they are highly convincing and persuasive in their sales pitch to the point that it may seem a little pushy.  Apart from offering a special rate, they would also do a live demo of the products on you and chances are, you would be wowed by the instant results and enticed into getting it. While waiting for them to retrieve my gift, one of the sales reps took the opportunity to introduce me to some of their bestsellers and managed to win me over with just a simple demonstration. This was despite the fact that I’m usually very strong willed and firm against unrelenting pressure sales tactics. Well, I guess it becomes a different story altogether if the results are proven before my eyes.

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender (450g, RP: S$140 but you can get it a lot cheaper. Scroll down for more info!)

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender

As a mild sufferer of Ichthyosis Vulgaris (a common form of inherited skin disorder), I am always on a lookout for effective moisturising cream to relieve the dry and scaly skin covering most parts of my lower legs. The Aromatic Body Peeling is a fantastic addition to my skincare stash as it contains microscopic grains of the Dead Sea salt that helps to gently exfoliate dead and dry skin cells. On top of that, it also encourages skin rejuvenation and reduces signs of aging. The lavender fragrance smells reeeeally good too!

It comes in 3 other scents – Kiwi & Mango, Mik & Honey and Ocean.

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender - application

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender – application

Packaged in a rather large tub that can probably last users for months, this only needs to be applied on the skin once a week during bath. It can be used on any part of the body except for the face and hair (because there are separate products for them). Most of the time I use it on my legs, arms and neck.

Application-wise, it was a breeze. The coarse texture of the salt evens out smoothly like a regular body wash and it leaves a silky, buttery and a minuscule tacky finish on the surface upon washing it off. Indeed, the skin doesn’t feel dehydrated and rough but I didn’t like the greasy feeling. That’s why boyfriend also got me the Aromatic Body Butter to tone it down a bit.

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender (250ml / 8.5oz, RP: $120 but you can get it a lot cheaper. Scroll down for more info!)

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender (250ml / 8.5oz, RP: S$120 but you can get it a lot cheaper. Scroll down for more info!)

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender

Enriched with Shea butter than nourishes and relaxes the skin, it also shields it from UV radiation and prevents skin aging. It contains sweet almonds oil, avocado oil and mango extract to provide a feeling of moisture, nourishment and silk. That said, I was advised to use it just once a week after shower (the same day I apply the Aromatic Body Peeling) but I’m probably going to increase my usage due to my abnormal skin condition. No matter how much of a quantity of the butter I massage on my body, the tubs seems to have an endless pit 😯

Moreover, I absolutely love the sweet aroma of the Lavender fragrance. It’s light enough not to irritate my sensitive nose and the smell actually lingers on for quite some time. Like the Aromatic Body Peeling, this also comes in 3 other similar scents.

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender - application

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender – application

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender - apply until it is fully absorbed into the skin

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender – apply until it is fully absorbed into the skin

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender - application

End result. Also, proof that I do have scaly skin :\ It’s better now with maintenance because it used to be a lot scarier and uglier than this.

The butter has a thick and consistent texture which spreads out nicely over a large area with just a dab. The absorption didn’t take very long too, probably in a few seconds. My skin definitely feels a lot smoother and softer after application, and less sticky as well.

*For best deals, purchase -417 products over the counter. Sales reps are usually very eager to close deals hence they would very often offer you the lowest prices possible (e.g. staff discounts, bundle prices at 30% off).

Remember, stand firm and don’t be afraid to say “no”!

All in all, -417 products are generally a costly investment (prices range between S$50 for a soap bar and S$600 for a facial mask, on average above S$100 per item) but the contents are mostly packaged in such large quantities that they can actually last you for months, thus helping you to save a lot of money in the long run. However, if you’re apprehensive about splurging on a product you’re unsure that would work, I’d highly recommend that you share it with a few people in your household.

And that’s about it!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

For more information on -417 and their products, click here.

Enjoy a Fuss-Free Travel with Laneige Perfect Renew Travel Set

SPONSORED

Hey everyone!

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With the mid-year school holidays (our version of summer break) just around the corner, many of us would already have plans for a getaway trip out of Singapore. My internship will come to a complete halt this coming June and I may be taking a short break before my next school term commences in August. I don’t have a particular place to go in mind yet but it’s possibly going to be somewhere not too far away as I’d prefer to set aside more funds for my year-end vacation instead.

My shortlisted destinations are Bali, Bintan Island and Bangkok. Perhaps a staycation at a boutique hotel doesn’t seem like a bad idea too!

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Bali (cr: freeimages.com)

Villas in Bali are available for booking on The Luxe Nomad!
Click here to find out more.

But regardless of the destination, packing is the integral step to the journey. Packing light is pivotal to creating an effortless and stress-free trip, but it also takes an experienced and adventurous person to do it well. I used to fail miserably in this aspect of travel planning because I am overly-cautious and averse to risks. I would end up bringing all my full-sized beauty products and other redundant stuff because of my “just in case” mentality, eventually only leaving a meagre amount of weight and space for my holiday loots.

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Fuss-free travelling tip #1: collect small pouches (which are usually free with purchase of related products) to store small items like makeup and toiletries, and buy small containers to store your shampoo and shower gel (that is, if you have rather sensitive skin like me and can only use certain products, just to be safe)

It also never ceased to amaze me how flight attendants report to work with only a small baggage in tow, and even more so when they are flying to farther destinations like Europe and USA. But according to my air stewardess friend, it’s not difficult as it seems. When it comes to toiletries and cosmetics (which are what occupy the most space in my luggage), they pack minimally (since most hotels have the bathroom essentials) and throw in only travel-sized items. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But many a time the brands I use, especially for facial products, don’t come in travel sizes.

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Fuss-free travelling tip #2: save those samples you obtained from Sephora (or anywhere else) for your travels! A 20-cent coin placed there for you to compare the size (my LipIce sample so cute and miniature right?!)

So I started exploring other products which also exist in deluxe sizes – Laneige in particular, which was brought to my attention by Luxola Singapore.

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Beauty essentials. I love small pouches like this. Always come in handy when I travel 🙂

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Laneige Perfect Renew Travel Set consists of 1x Multi Cleanser 30ml, 1x Perfect Renew Skin Refiner_EX 50ml, 1x Perfect Renew Emulsion_EX 50ml, 1x Perfect Renew Essence_EX 15ml & 1x Perfect Renew Cream_EX 20ml

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Basically, all the products needed in your daily skincare routine in a pouch! How convenient is that?

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Each of them smaller than the size of my palm

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Laneige Perfect Renew Skin Refinger_EX is a gel-type skin refiner that makes skin texture smooth with boosting effect.

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Laneige Perfect Renew Emulsion_EX delivers moisture balance with soothing effect.

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Laneige Perfect Renew Essence_EX prevents premature aging with helping face contour firming effect.

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Laneige Multi Cleanser mildly and thoroughly cleanses for a clear and brighter skin.

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The facial wash gave my skin a sticky feel which went away after applying the cream below

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Laneige Perfect Renew Cream_EX enhances elasticity and moisture barrier with repairing effect.

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#nomakeup

I have been using them for the past few nights (even though I’m not on a holiday) and I must say I see significant improvements in my skin texture. I felt instantly refreshed after washing my face with the cleanser. My face appears to be smoother and more dewy (I seriously think I look a few months younger) the next morning too.

Most importantly, these products are light and portable. C’est Magnifique! They are absolutely perfect for travel. And I will definitely bring them along when I go on my year-end vacation to protect me from the dry climate.

If you’re not intending to get one for yourself, why not make this a gift for your Mom this coming Mother’s Day? 🙂

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This product is available on Luxola for S$65.
Quote “BLX-FIONASEAH” at checkout to enjoy 15% off on all first time orders by 29 May 2015. This offer is not valid on non-discountable brands as found in the FAQpage.

Thanks for reading! 🙂