Beauty products & anti ageing

Monday 17 November 2014

Being surrounded by beauty fanatics has had a positive effect on me. I went from being totally clueless to having subpar knowledge about skincare. The great thing about having a blog is getting readers who're more knowledgeable than moi. Over the past 2 years, I've been slowly getting home schooled by a few young friends who are at least a decade (or two) younger than me. I was dragged off to watch countless YouTube tutorials, none of which I can replicate easily.

"Now apply from the outer eye....."
"blend blend blend" (either I'm using the wrong brush because clearly we're not going for the raccoon look which is the result I'm getting)
"draw a thin line just above your water line" (what the HECK is water line? I had to google the word halfway through the video) (what happens if you can only draw one eye because the other hand's useless??)

They're always remarkably up to date with all the latest products from around the world, blurting brands that don't even sound remotely intelligible. Another hauled a box full of beauty products to my flat and upended it on the floor. If life wasn't complicated before, now....... I have to know that there's a serum, scrub or cream for practically every part of my body. The neck, hands, body, boob (firming and lifting), lips, elbow, feet......  And then we start zooming in on the itty bitty details - pores, blackheads, eyebrows, eyelashes, nails..... One can easily lose themselves in an unending and confusing labyrinth of beauty routines. Motherhood is starting to sound easier and easier.

I started using anti-ageing products for the very first time last year. Do they work? NO idea. My face hasn't collapsed yet. My philosophy on anti-ageing is very......Asian. It's hard to reverse the signs of ageing if the skin's already been damaged by over-exposure to sun. It's like trying to transform a raisin to its original state (a grape). Highly unlikely. If you've lived in Australia or New Zealand and have experienced our lovely scorching sun with extra dose of UV rays, you'll understand why I'm rather anal about sun protection. I once burned in 10 the middle of winter.

I got talking to friend of mine who has an insider knowledge of the Asian entertainment industry. Who knew all those lovely celebs pimping products for big brands started injecting fillers and botox in their 20s? Call it naivety but I had NO IDEA. Goes to show you can't believe everything that you see in media. My question is that if a person started pumping chemicals into her face from such an early age, wouldn't she need more just to prop up the underused facial muscles when she's 40?

A friend and I were having lunch at Knightsbridge a few weeks ago and gaped open-mouthed at some of the worst face lifts we've ever seen. Permanent Jack Nicholson joker grin. Shiny plastic skin. One had an impossibly narrow forehead. A friend (let's call her A) was horrified when another (B) started pointing out bits that she needed to correct. B went under the knife last year but decided that the results didn't look exactly as she envisioned so the second round of cosmetic surgery ensued. What's surprising is A has a totally laissez-faire attitude towards ageing yet looks at least 10 years younger (she gets mistaken for someone in her early 30s ALL THE TIME when she's actually 43).

I can safely say that jumping on the beauty bandwagon has helped me become more vigilant about moisturizing especially when I used to have dehydrated skin that peeled (ouch....truly). I still get the occasional break outs complete with ever growing crater sized pores. My bathroom shelf is littered with various masks these days. A sign of a growing obsession.......

What are your thoughts and experience with anti ageing products?


  1. Ha, I just made a whole post about my beauty regimen and I feel like it's overkill. I think it's never too early to start, particularly with the moisturizing and sun screen bits. I wonder if Asians are more prone to having enlarged pores - someone at the beauty counter told me mine were big a few months ago and I've been obsessing about it ever since.

    Also, a dermatologist once told me that expensive anti-aging creams don't work, but I don't know. I recently paid a hefty sum for some Sulwhasoo cream and my skin has never looked better.

    1. Gark....I remember looking at your complexion and thinking....geez whiz...this girl has flawless skin. I used to have bugger all pores on the left side on my face but they're been gradually getting bigger by the month. I was so camera shy that I barely have any photos of myself in my 30s. I wish I can compare how I've aged....

  2. Sorry to butt in - Amanda, is the ginseng one? :) I got the samples of the eye cream and don't know if it made that much of a difference to be honest? Also - my mum kept pinching it :)

    I blame Asian skincare reddit for the fact I am actively considering smearing some snail mucus all over my face. The vitamin C serum that comes highly recommended on that forum though is the bomb! Also bless them and their rec for hada labo lotion, first winter in a long while my skin isn't as dry as the Sahara desert.

    In my experience there are 2 kinds of people on this Earth who are most effective in making you questions yourself a) sales assistants and/or b) family members.

    A conversation I had with my brother a couple of months ago:

    Brother: What are these brown things on your face?
    Me: Sun spots
    Brother: Oh you mean know you have them?
    Me: (Facepalm) Yes, I look myself in the mirror from time to time.

    So me thinks it's safe to say - ladies in all probability your pores are normal :)

    The thing is I thought it's a horrible thing to admit I am obsessed with skincare. Lord, that will make me sound vain. And shallow. The thing is - I AM vain! Not insomuch that it is about other people, but it's really about me. I know intellectually you can only do so much about wrinkles, yet I do like taking care of myself (if that make sense? And also please excuse the cringe worthy new age-y term :)

    But then I realized that does not make me less of a good person/daughter/sister/friend/partner/pet owner/worker/whatever.

    So you know bugger to all of that! Does it work? Dunno.

    Maybe I'll just look a little less decrepit when I hit my twilight years (whenever that might be :)

    tl; dr

    In the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter - as long as you try your best to be a kind person each and every day, don't see any harm in smearing yourself with snail/retinol/AHA/whatever on daily basis :)

    And Marlene forgot to leave a comment on your other post about hair - that is an amazing progress! Wanted to tell you to check Afrodite beauty on (got an apivita blue serum from them, they also do free shipping?) I know apivita is stocked at M&S and it's kinda pricey there.

    1. R, you know....when you recommend something, I run headfirst online to check it out. I thought Afrodite beauty was a brand! Hahhahahaha.... Got it! Will try Apivita blue serum (hydration, right?) once I've finished my REN.

      I totally get you. I only started to get more obsessed about skincare when a few family members commented on how dehydrated my skin looked. You know how honest Asians are.......especially if they're close to you :P I neglected it for years and years. Genes & sun protection help how fast we age but the right skincare products make a difference too.

    2. R., no worries! I haven't tried the eye cream but I'm using the Renewing Face Cream. It helps a lot with dryness if anything - even better than La Mer which I find too thick and kind of pore clogging. But then again, I also use a serum, hyaluronic acid & squalane beforehand - it's just the entire regimen I think that's been working out.

      As an aside, I stopped using Hada Labo's Hyaluronic Lotion after I figured out that I could make the same thing for less money (and no alcohol) with a hyaluronic/glycerin serum, aloe vera juice and squalane! The Korean skincare stuff is too addicting! I had to stop myself from reading Reddit/blogs because I eventually found myself obsessively checking my skin every single day and wondering if I would ever be rid of enlarged pores, sun spots, freckles etc. It got kind of scary there for a bit.

    3. Marlene - so sorry for the confusion :) The markup on apivita here is ridiculous so I was looking for alternative sources and found that one on amazon.

      It is a lovely serum, sinks in nicely and hydrates well (maybe pop to M&S and smear some on your face to try it out? :) That's what I've started doing because getting a sample here is like extracting blood from the stone tsk).

      And God bless family members for keeping it real (as annoying as they might be from time to time :)

      Amanda - thanks for your response. Hm re La Mer, maybe mineral oil in it was bothering you? It's the 2nd ingredient?

      OH and interesting about Hada Labo and you making your own version! (never heard of squalane before, just googled it quickly, might have to check if it's even available here). I do have to say Hada Labo lotion suits me nicely, and it really takes just a couple of drops to do the whole face. I saw recipes for home made vitamin C serum, but don't dare to try and make it in case I make my face fall off :)

      Totally get you on checking your face - I had a phase of doing that. At least I wasn't looking in the magnifying mirror because sweet baby Jesus that would be scary :) But then you realize (at least I interpreted that way) that I am doing the whole skincare ritual because I enjoy it. So now I slap stuff on AM/PM and that's that :) The added benefit is you can see if something is actually working (like vitamin C in my case).

    4. I tried on contact lenses the other day.......and I scared myself. I could see everything waaaaaay too clearly. It was far better with smeared glasses. At least I could only see a diffused version of myself :P I found another website that sells Apivita products at a discount. Almost equivalent to Greek prices. It's They're not bad.

      Regarding La Mer... yikes! I had such bad reaction to the normal moisturizer. Oil free...was meh. Really expensive mistake.

  3. Love your blog and am probably one of your more mature readers , so my view of the current obsession with eternal youth [ who are they kidding] is a sad inditement of the self centred way in which many live their lives today .
    Hate facelifts , they always look bad and often scary .Hate botox and its results ,and the idea of having a toxin injected is vile .
    Trouble is these women[ and men] end up looking desperate for approval , and for me that's the kiss of death for looking good .
    So: look after your skin sensibly, and do the obvious with diet and excercise .
    Then use your brain , make people laugh and stick on your Herm├Ęs goodies for a nice time.

    1. I've found that just reading all your comments and tips have helped me become more diligent with my skincare routine. Everything in moderation. I was the other extreme. Completely neglected my skin. Moisturized when I bothered. Cleansed with whatever I could get my hands on. My cousin who was years older pointed out to me that I had more lines than her.

      I have friends who've tried botox. It looked good on them but then again, they didn't go overboard with all sorts of fillers etc. You should read about this Singaporean blogger in her 20s. 6 procedures in a year. I think you'll be horrified after reading this:

  4. My mom once told me the two most important things about skincare which I still follow religiously:

    1 - Always double cleanse at night before you sleep
    2 - Never leave the house without sunscreen, rain or shine

    Partly convinced she's got the basics right as she's in her mid 60s with mid 40s skin - something I definitely hope to have when I'm her age! I'm a bit fanatical about skincare too but it's not so much product based. I have so many samples of products I doubt I'll ever finish using it all so usually whatever's on hand for a couple of weeks until I run out. To be honest I've never noticed how effective any of these products are specifically - like you say, my face hasn't collapsed yet (lol) so I must be doing something right!

    There are a few products I particularly like - Shiseido's Ibuki range (the softening lotion is particularly amazing and I love this over hada labo), nude's progenius facial oil, Caudalie's divine oil for everything, Fresh sugar scrub (for lips), Boscia's black facial mask (I should take a selfie one day when I have this on haha), Verso's retinol-laden day cream with SPF, Kate Sommeville's exfolikate though I only tolerate this once a month. I bought a full size of this and just received a deluxe sample so if you'd like to try this let me know and I'll post it over :)

    steph /

    1. Ooooh...ooohh....I've got to try out the Shiseido Ibuki softening lotion. Will go and check it out now. I swear our moms are far more vigilant about their skincare routine than we are. No wonder they look far younger than we are when they were our age!

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