Dry Flaky Skin & Facial Oils

I spent the winter recovering from surgery.  This meant I was (largely) bed ridden for weeks.

This winter Hong Kong also plunged to 4 degrees centigrade at times.  So I spent around 14 hours a day under blankets with the heater on.

During my recovery, I wasn’t strong enough for my usual skincare routine and skipped an eye cream or moisturiser, here and there.

And then it was time to get back to work.

I sat down at my vanity and started to put my face on ……when I noticed !

Makeup clinging to flaking skin, creasey & patchy under-eye concealer and rough dry skin rings. Basically lizard skin.  And oh my lord if I “set” my  skin with powder I looked like a French aristocrat.

Hugh Laurie in Black Adder 

My rough dry skin leapt out at me. Worst places are the outer corner of my eyes, a C-shaped area from tear duct and under, sides of my nose and a patch below my cheek bone.

I panicked. I looked like I had aged overnight. You know that cakey look  on really really wrinkly skin ?


I have normal to combination skin that is generally problem free. I use moisturising skincare that is suited to my skin type, use acid exfoliators and avoid alcohol in my skincare.

So why ? Anyway I had to do something, QUICK !

The only thing missing in my skincare arsenal was Facial oil. Maybe Facial oil would do the magic.

Sunday Riley is not easily available in Hong Kong (hence the delay for my purchase) but I knew I had to get something quick. So I did my usual, researched, and then bought 2 facial oils.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight serum in oil. While I don’t buy products for their fragrance, the fragrance doesn’t bother me. The ‘powdery’ fragrance reminds me of my mother.

It’s a light oil.

For my face it’s between 3-5 drops. I apply with my finger tips, face and neck, with my usual swipe and press.

For my face and neck, if I put around 5 drops, the oil will take a while to sink in. So on makeup days I will go with less is more, follow with an additional moisturiser and then apply my makeup. Otherwise I am worried the makeup will ball up or slip and slide.

The Clarins’ oil for my skin is the Blue Orchid (dehydrated skin) but alas it was sold out. So I bought the Clarins Santal one (for Dry skin).

I am not a fan of the fragrance. I love Sandalwood incense but this one reminds me of some kind of Indian desert.

It’s a heavier, thicker oil than the Body Shop one. I use it only at night. It definitely takes a while to sink, more than 10 mins, so don’t apply it too close to bedtime otherwise your face will stick to your pillow 🙂

I generally like the feel of oil so it’s obvious both oils feel nourishing, but give them time to sink in.

I traveled to Shanghai recently and the only ‘moisturiser’ I carried was the Clarin’s oil. The Body Shop one can feel a bit dry by itself.

On some days, I put a drop of the Body Shop serum-in-oil with my face makeup so it spreads better.

And what about my lizard skin ? I am not sure whether it was solely the oils. Because at the time of their purchase, Hong Kong was also warming up. So basically no heater. But after 2 weeks that horrible scaly, patchy look has gone. Concealer applied like a dream.

Thank god. I wasn’t enjoying the ‘whatever happened to baby Jane’ look! o-que-terc3a1-acontecido-a-baby-jane-9

Now Hong Kong is heading into a hot, humid hot summer which means its ‘Aircon assault’ time. Aircons too are not good friends with skin.

Well formulated facial oils are definitely worth the purchase and when you find the one that works for you. Use it.











Body Shop Targeted Hand Oil

I would address this product more as ‘Targeted Nail Oil’

I suffer from dry hands (who doesn’t?) But hand creams, while I do use them, are so annoying. Oh My God that stickiness! Greasy fingerprints on your iPad and phone, ugh.

Also I am a ‘once a year’ Mani-Pedi person.  That means often the skin around my nails feel dry. Especially when the dreaded WHITE-DRY skin around the toe nails start to show.

Creams don’t get rid of the ‘white’ but this nifty oil does.

This from the Body Shop is a repeat purchase. 2016-02-01 12.18.29There are very very few things I re-purchase from the Body Shop, as they are often disappointing, but not this one.2016-02-01 12.17.34The rose fragrance is a bit ‘oily’ for me, however it works like a dream.

I roll-it around my nails, hands and toes and everything gets beautifully hydrated and soft.

I sometimes just let it sit, while I do other stuff and then you rub it in. It’s surprisingly non-greasy.

For my toes specially, I can almost instantly wear the summer sandals and not be embarrassed.

Facial Cleansers & Makeup Removers

Winners and Losers in my bathroom

Losers: SK-II Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser, Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Foam  (ok my fault it DID say FOAM) Cleanser, Clarins Pearl to Cream.

2015-06-23 19.12.32Foaming cleansers are terrible for your skin – dry, oily, dehydrated or combo/normal. That tight-post-wash skin, mistaken for ‘squeaky clean’, is what’s also bad. I don’t need to tell you, google it or read Caroline Hirons.  It really annoys me that HK shelves are full of foaming cleansers, basically laundry detergent, for the face.

Thank God for samples, so you don’t feel too bad when you try them once and then you open your front door and tell them to leave your home and never show their drying-foaming faces to you again !

Estee Lauder
Goodbye and never darken my door again!

Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Foam was horrible, sucking every bit of hydration out of your face. NO! Go Away! I still gave it 2 gos, to be fair and then told it to ‘get (the f-) out’.

The SK-II was neither a Treatment nor Gentle. Load-a-crap. It is drying and has Sodium Lauryl listed the SECOND ingredient.  Might as well sell it in the dishwash section at the local Park n Shop!  (very angry face)

What disappointed me was Clarins. I like grandpa Clarins products.

I love the Clarins Brightening Toner after Sali Hughes (http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/series/sali-hughes-beauty) recommended it and I thought this cleanser would be the perfect partner for a clarifying clean.

But it FOAMS which I am not happy about and lists Sodium Sulphate , albeit low-ish  on the ingredient list.

But the Clarins Pearl to Cream Brightening Cleanser doesn’t have that harsh, soapy feeling and still rather soft as you massage your makeup off, has a lovely fragrance and doesn’t drip all over your face even when it foams up.

Rinsed off it didn’t leave my normal-dry skin with that skin-tightening dry feeling. The Clarins is still on my bathroom shelf.

Winners: Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil, Clinique Take the Day off Balm, Body Shop Nutriganics Softening Cleansing Gel.

2015-06-23 19.13.50Shu Uemura Oil is my star. It’s my first cleanse to remove make-up.

I absolutely love it. I have used the Neutrogena Cleansing Oil (the Blue one. The only one available in HK at that time) and didn’t quite enjoy it. On emulsifying it felt a bit harsh and also left a residue.

As I remove my makeup with the Shu I can give my face a good massage because it such a beautiful oil. It washes off without a residue.

The Clinique is also my first cleanse and does it’s job. And before my I bought my Shu, this one was my lush-full-of-motherly-love face massage cum clean balm. But now my Shu feels more lush.

You dont need both. A balm or an oil is perfect for your first cleanse to take make-up off.

On Caroline Hiron’s recommendation I bought the Body Shop Softening cleansing gel. This is my second cleanse, after removing my make-up.

I try and hit Body Shop whenever I can because of their ethics, but I must say they do have some duds that really PISS ME OFF. Bad performance or bad (Denatured Alcohol) ingredients.

I must say I am a bit confused about this one. If I apply this gel on a dry face it’s a bit difficult to move it around and since I don’t like yanking and rubbing my skin too hard I don’t feel satisfied because I cant do a quick massage.

And if the face is too damp then it emulsifies to a milk too soon and drips down and I feel like I didn’t give my face a good ole clean. Still trying to work out the perfect method.

The Nuxe one is a sample. It’s my second cleanse and for me it was meh!  Will use it but not really bother to re-purchase.

What I will purchase once the Clinique is over is the Body Shop Chamomile cleansing balm.

I think Balms and Oils are DEFINITELY my go to formulas for removing makeup.

Eyes and Lips: I bought this to figure out what the Hoo-Haa about Micellar water was.  The Garnier got good reviews and was way cheaper than the Bioderma, so I bought it.

2015-06-27 10.25.43

Verdict: I am not sure why it got good reviews ? I use it ONLY as my initial eye and lip makeup remover. The step before my First cleanse. Its not that great at removing eye liner or mascara, and I dont wear ANY waterproof eye makeup.

I will definitely not remove ALL my makeup with it. I tried it just because of all the good reviews on Makeup Alley, and it took loads and loads of this product to take my makeup and it still didn’t.

Basically you need atleast 1 min to really massage your foundation and sun block off!

I am just waiting to finish this and then I will buy my old stand by, the Body Shop Chamomile eye make-up remover.



How green is my world ?

Like most of us I try and be as green as I can without breaking my back or my bank balance. I don’t live in the convenient world of Trader Joes. I live in HK where anything that’s good for the planet costs an arm and a leg or sometimes, not available.

Since China requires animal testing I am guessing even Mac, Bobbi Brown and the like do animal testing to sell in China (?) and hence my cosmetics may not be cruelty free. And Noor and Zeb dont mind some blush and mascara from time to time.

What I do:

I use Body shop whereever I can with toiletries and things like cotton buds or room fragrance oils  etc ( I can not stand their makeup sorry)

I reuse my ziplock bags. Even when they lose their grip I use bulldog clips to close them. I throw them when they tear basically.

Drying my bags upside down or upside down on bottles – thats the best, they dry super quick

I only use BARs of soap (no plastic to recycle)

I use TUBE dispensers which means I can balance them upside down till the last drop is out and THEN…wait for it, I cut them so I can continue to use the product that’s still inside.

I roll my toothpaste tube up to get as much as I can out of it.

I use Earth Choice cleaning liquids

I buy Free Range Eggs and poultry (Aus and NZ because I trust them )

Sustainable fish – stamped as such.  (Aus, NZ or Canada)

Truth be told we are a couple, and mainly vegetarian so though the meat and eggs are expensive in HK, we can sustain that without breaking our bank balance.

I use containers with lids – so less clingfilm to use. Those without, I use a saucer to cover the bowls – just like our grannies did in the good old days.

I reuse ALL the plastic covers that bread comes in. They make really handy ‘containers’ to carry fruit, wrap something etc.

I don’t use makeup remover pads or towelettes. I use the Body Shop facial sponge or face cloth with my body shop makeup remover.

I am so obsessed with saving water that even running taps in Movies and TV shows bother me.  I unsubscribed to a beauty Vlogger as she kept her tap running as she did a brush cleaning video ! really ?? dont you know ? Save the Planet 101. So Lather your dishes FIRST and then rinse them out. Same with the shower and brushing your teeth.

Recycling is still not as aggressive, or convenient in HK as it is elsewhere so we need to do what we can. We are still a country in education. But people are aware and the government is taking measures and we will get there ,but in the meantime….