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Thursday, March 30, 2017

March 2017 Skincare Routine

I recently posted this B&A, and I have people messaging me asking for my skincare since apparently my skin looks good.

Now, I still don't think my skin is as great as great as I want it to be, but I have to admit, it's a great improvement than what it was....

2 years ago

I was dealing with constant breakouts and a lot of bumps all over my face. I had an oily face, but gross, flaking skin for ages, as well as all these white bumps & milia thanks to clogged pores. Even my eyelids would flake. I don't have pictures from the times when the flaking was really bad since I looked like a lizard & was so self-conscious, but I do have these pics.

I thought I was having great skin here. The light is very forgiving, but you can see all the bumps where it's brighter.
This was with makeup, and I thought I did a good job concealing. You can see all the spots are still visible despite the makeup.

1 year ago

This is when I discovered my meat sensitivity and my skin started improving. There's still a lot of hidden cystic acne you can't see in pics, but I could feel them and they were painful.



8 months ago

This is after I met my new dermatologist, and discovered some of my holy grail products. I also upped my hydration game because I found out I have Sj√∂gren's.

My skin condition now...

I'm 28 and that means I need to worry about losing volume in my face. I also have to worry about Sjögren's which dries my face out insanely.

Of course a daily skincare routine is important, but besides that, these helped my skin immensely:


I found out meat was giving me these painful, deep cystic acne that don't show up for ages, but end up becoming very bad discolouration all over my face. After I started taking HCl supplements before I eat meat, my skin improved drastically. I sometimes forget my supplements, and that's when I start breaking out a few days later.


Yes, this is a splurge, but everyone notices the difference after I do this. My skin becomes so glowing and hydrated. I used to do it once every 3 months, but now I do it once every 5 months or so. I get mine done with Dr Jonathan Yong, and I have to recommend him. He's been my dermatologist for a year, and the best one I've ever encountered. He doesn't push any products or treatments on me, and even tells me when I'm being crazy and need to calm the fuck down. I used to have a love-hate relationship when going to dermatologists because I always end up with products I got pressured into buying, but I never had this problem with Dr Yong. I actually enjoy going to the dermatologist now.

I'm not sponsored in any way to recommend him btw, I just really love the guy. Especially when he humours me when I'm being crazy like this:

If you have regular, non-dehydrated skin, I'm pretty sure you can get away with just doing this annually. If you're curious about this treatment, here's a video of it:

March 2017 Skincare Routine

Now, for my skincare routine as of March 2017, with reviews. I'm constantly trying out new products, so this will change every month. I'll do a new one for April. Bolded items are tried & tested holy grail items I strongly recommend, the rest are items I'm meh about or still testing out.


  • Glam Glow Youth Cleanser: love it, too expensive, looking for a dupe
  • Wipe down with Hada Labo serum Anti-Aging version: this has retinoids to combat breakouts too!
  • Sulwhasoo First Activating Serum: my skin got really good since I used this, I think it's because it really does help your skin absorb everything better. My free samples are running out, and I'm dreading the price
  • Dermacept Vitamin C 10% 
  • Hada Labo serum Anti-Aging version  
  • Sulwhasoo hydrating serum
  • Sulwhasoo ginseng eye cream: this is magic. The sunken holes under my eyes started disappearing
  • Etude House collagen moisturizer: just finishing up a free sample..I'm meh about it. My face stayed the same, which is great since my face takes a lot of work, but there's no improvement either
  • Amore Pacific day cream with SPF: not a fan, it's too heavy and greasy, and gives me a white cast
  • Biore Perfect Face Milk: sunscreen & best primer ever. My makeup looks better with this
  • Illamsqua's hydraveil: haven't seen a difference


  • L'Oreal Micellar Water makeup remover: I moved on to water based makeup removers since oil-based ones were breaking me out. I've tried Garnier's & Bioderma's too, but L'Oreal's is the best since it wipes off my makeup as well as Garnier, but doesn't sting my eyes as much
  • Glam Glow Youth Cleanser
  • Wipe down with Hada Labo serum Anti-Aging version
  • Sulwhasoo First Activating Serum
  • Dermacept Vitamin C 10% 
  • Hada Labo serum Anti-Aging version  
  • Sulwhasoo hydrating serum
  • PCA Skin hydrating serum: got this from my dermatologist...kinda meh about this since I don't see much of an improvement, but I'm just finishing it up
  • Sulwhasoo ginseng eye cream
  • Etude House collagen sleeping pack: get this. Everyone I recommended it to got glowing, plump cheeks. May not make a difference if you're early 20s and younger, but in your late 20s, it's the difference between late 20s and early 20s

Every other day at night:

  • Sheet masks: I'm a fan of anything by Leader's Brand, except the masks that come in stiff hard paper that just falls off my face, and anything with ginseng or snail. My Beauty Diary is my favourite budget face masks, and the brands I most frequently buy are Etude House, Innisfree & The Face Shop just because they're easy to access in Singapore.
  • Etude House's lip patch: the only thing that hydrates my lips...Sj√∂gren's means my lips are often split and bleeding, but at $5/piece, I don't use it that often
  • Glam Glow mud mask: clears my breakouts so well. On my husband who takes terrible care of his skin, this makes a HUGE difference. His face ends up so clean and bright afterwards!
  • Glam Glow anti-aging mask: yeah, I got this thanks to the silver selfies on social's meh

During breakouts:

  • Cosrx one step pimple clear pad: I just discovered this and it's magic. Brings stubborn acne to head so fast, and if you're patient, helps them disappear. I'm bad and I pop.
  • Epiduo adapelene 0.1%/benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel: I'm not repurchasing because I don't feel it makes a difference, but maybe I'm just impatient and like instant results.
  • Nexcare acne cover patches: sucks all the gunk out after you pop. I love it.

And there you have it! I'm currently trying out several new products, and I'll update you all in a month!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Review: BCL's IT's Skin Foundation, Concealer, Powder

FULL DISCLOSURE: I received these for free from Kay Collection, however,  I am under no obligation to review these & all opinions are mine.

So, thanks to Kay Beauty, I got to try out 3 products from BCL's Skin Flat line:

I did two video reviews of these products, a first impression video:

As well as a more thorough review:

I thought I should do a written review too, where I can go even more in-depth (and help those of you who don't have the attention span for videos, like me :P). For a summary of my skin condition as well as reviews of all the foundations I've tried, you can head here

Skin Flat CC Powder (01 Light Beige)  

  • Type: Powder
  • Coverage: Heavy
  • Finish: Matte
  • Good for: Oily skin

As you can see from the picture, this is a very, very heavy coverage matte foundation that really does a great job of hiding all my pores. It's advertised as a multi-tasking powder that's a foundation and a setting powder as well, but I personally strongly advise against using it as a setting powder. It gets very, very cakey that way. The coverage is already thick on its own, and I can comfortably go concealer free when I wear this. My face does get that powdery, made up look, but it doesn't look cake-y and I think it's a great trade off for that flawless coverage.

After 9h of use, the foundation is starting to streak on my nose since I have a really oily nose, but it's holding up relatively well. My blush and highlight still stayed since the foundation gives such a good base. I noticed that as I get oily, I can see pinpricks of oil forming on the foundation which makes my nose look "dotty", but once the oil spreads out, the foundation ends up looking like I'm just wearing a dewy, liquid foundation. Definitely great for oily skin.

One of the downsides of this is that it doesn't take cream products that well. I added a cream blush and it ended up messing up the coverage and looking kind of chalky and patchy:

Then again, it's not a deal-breaker for me. If I need the heavy coverage the Pore Camouflage Powder gives me, I won't be wearing cream products.

Would Repurchase? Yes

Skin Flat CC Gel (01 Light Beige) 

  • Type: Liquid
  • Coverage: Light
  • Finish: Matte
  • Good for: Clear, blemish-free skin

Extremely light coverage...
This has extremely light coverage, and dries down fast to a matte finish. You still get a very skin-like finish because it's so light, but personally for me, it's so light that I don't see the point of wearing it. I rather go foundation free.

After 9h, there's barely any coverage left on my face:

I noticed it streaks like crazy as my nose gets oily. Compared to the Pore Camouflage Powder, this definitely didn't survive the day as well. As you can see, most of my blush and highlighter is gone. In fact, I'm not sure if those are traces of highlighter on my face or just face grease.

 Would Repurchase? No

Skin Flat Pore Concealer

Despite what's advertised, you can't apply this straight from the tube. You'll end up with a streaky mess. You definitely need to apply this with a brush, a sponge, or at least your fingers. Ok, so it does do a good job of filling up and smoothing out my pores. But that's it. You can't really use it as a regular concealer since it doesn't build up well and tends to slip and streak.

The coverage is thick enough that you need to blend well to avoid it becoming cake-y, but it's not as great as the Pore Camouflage Powder. Personally, I rather go with the Pore Camouflage Powder since it's the same level of heaviness, but with better coverage and oil-control. I tried applying the Pore Camouflage Powder over this to see if I'll get a wax doll, pore-less finish on my face, but I ended up with Cake City.

Would Repurchase? No

Monday, February 20, 2017

Guide to what a monolid is, and how to apply makeup if you're in between

Every now and then, I get people telling me my makeup tips for monolids don't work for them at all, and a lot of times, it's because they don't have monolids at all. There's this misconception that all Asian eyes are monolids, and while usually only Asians have monolids, not all Asian eyes are monolids. 

So what are monolids? Here's some pictures that may help!


Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Han Hye Jin..found on many sources, not sure which one to credit

Photo courtesy of ChenMan

Not Monolid

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of
Image from this Buzzfeed article. Unfortunately, I'm not 100% sure whose eyes are these. Let me know if you know!
Song Hye Kyo, various sources

"I don't have a monolid, but my crease is super tiny! What do I do?"

This is usually the most common makeup help request I get. If you have a tiny crease, there's several ways you can do makeup, and it depends on the size of your crease. If your crease is super tiny, it's best to go with:

Treat the crease as a space to be filled up with liner, fill it up, and use the monolid make up trick of just applying everything higher


Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

This is also very helpful for monolid girls who suddenly get creases in only one eye on certain days. This is a pic of me with a monolid on one eye, and a crease on the other eye. With this trick, it's not that obvious that my eyes are different when I open them, but when I look down or close them, it's a bit more obvious.

If you have a larger crease, this is another trick you can use...

Treat the crease like a regular crease, and just do everything "flatter". The eye look will look more like a "pancake"/"mochi" rather than a "half-moon" when you close your eyes, but it'll still be pretty!

Image courtesy of Tuan Tin Par
Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of @jlinhh

Image courtesy of @colorpunch

Hope this helps and feel free to contact me if you ever have more questions!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I was one of those scary Muslim refugees.

I know this is not makeup related and a heavy topic for a makeup blog, but given the recent incidents, I can't keep quiet.

Hi, my name is Francesca and I was once one of those scary Muslim refugees that no one seems to want now. And I look like this:

I come from Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, and back in 1998, we had some racial riots my family and I had to escape from. What caused it can be traced back to 1997, when we had an economic crisis that caused inflation to skyrocket to a high of 82.4%. Basically, if your rent cost $1,000/month before, it became $1,824/month. As you can guess, people were pissed.

Demonstrations against the Suharto government suddenly changed to racial riots targeting ethnically Chinese Indonesians. How did that happen? Well, my suspicion is that, “Screw unsound economic policies, government incompetency due to corruption & nepotism, currency speculation, extreme leverage, and overheated markets!” just doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as, “Kill the Chinese!”

I mean, if you’re organizing a rabble, you want something that’s short, sweet, and easy to remember for chanting purposes. Anything longer would just sound like a garbled mess, and who would take your mob seriously then?

Since most Chinese Indonesians are Christians, the rioting took on a religious element and it became Muslims vs Christians. I suspect it was because no one wanted to think that they were looting, raping and killing their fellow countrymen because they were dickbags –they want to think they were doing it for *God.* Now everything was cool and they didn't need to worry about eternal damnation.

My family, like many Chinese Indonesian, were also Christians, so we were screwed on both counts. Clearly, we had to get the hell out of there. Fortunately for me, my parents were prepared. Since they themselves had to escape an anti-Chinese massacre Indonesia during their childhood, they figured Indonesia has a tendency of exploding into anti-Chinese massacres every now and then. That's why, even until today, they always have an Angry-Mob-Rampaging-Through-Our-Neighbourhood evacuation plan ready. Our family had permanent residency status in Singapore, and we had a home there as well.

My family got out of Indonesia in May 15, 1998. We arrived in Singapore way too early in the morning and were the first few refugees to arrive. Reporters took our pictures. They wanted to know what was happening. The parents didn’t want to talk about massacres in front of us kids, so they lied BIG time.

“Rioting? What rioting? They were peaceful demonstrations! Roadblocks? Oh, you must be referring to Jakarta’s infamous traffic jams! Who says we’re here to escape?! I just want to take the kids for a nice vacation in Singapore, ok?! Ok?!”

I wonder if the reporters wrote anything about us. The headline probably said, “Idiot Indonesians Completely Clueless About What The Hell Is Happening To Their Country”.

Obviously, I knew things were really bad at home. I knew we were escaping a dangerous situation. However, I just saw it as moving to a different country, and it didn’t feel any different from the time I moved to New York after from LA after I graduated college. There were just better opportunities.

Of course, looking back, we were technically refugees. Refugees from the world’s largest Muslim nation. Even though we were not Muslims, we would probably be classified as one of those scary Muslim refugees no one seems to want now.

It was different back then though. I was perfectly welcomed in Singapore and, despite several false starts and embarrassing mistakes, integrated pretty well. Being Indonesian made me different, but it was never in a way that made me feel unwelcome.

When I decided to escape the grueling Singapore education system to get a college degree in America, America also welcomed me with open arms. To be honest, I was extremely apprehensive since this was post 9/11, but turned out, people saw me as Asian instead of Muslim. Wonder why...

Most Americans were often taken aback when I mention I come from the world’s largest Muslim nation. It never bothered anyone though. My college room-mate whom I roomed with the entire time I was in college was a staunch Republican, and we were as close as sisters.

In the 4 years I spent in America, no one ever told me to get out of the country. No one ever called me a drain on the system. People invited me to join their family’s Thanksgiving dinners to make sure I wasn’t alone on Thanksgiving. My room-mate’s mom included me in the care packages she regularly sent. I truly felt welcomed.

Yes, I was aware there were people against immigrants taking American jobs and even have friends who are strongly anti-immigrant. However, my friends always assured me they were never referring to me. They would insist they loved having me in America. When I had to return to Indonesia in 2009 because no one was in the mood for sponsoring work visas to help immigrants take American jobs, some of these people were the most upset. They would usually say something along the lines of how I was one of the immigrants America wanted because I was educated...forgetting that I came to America to get educated. One even offered to help me commit immigration fraud by marrying me so I could stay in the country. Gotta love the irony.

Recently, there was a large demonstration in Jakarta, Indonesia, where people demanded the resignation of our Chinese and Christian governor for allegedly committing blasphemy.

There were anti-Chinese rhetoric floated around once again. Someone hung a banner that says, “Exterminate the Chinese” above a busy freeway.

There was another banner hung in a different area, exhorting the police to search the homes of the Chinese as many of us are probably illegal immigrants.

Hold up. Why would anyone illegally immigrate to a 3rd world country? We’re the country people illegally immigrate *out of*, not *into*. Did they think the pollution in China have gotten that bad? It's not as if Jakarta is any better...

Anyway, the demonstration turned violent at night, and videos circulated of angry men attacking cars with Chinese passengers.

Working and living in Jakarta, it’s hard to imagine ’98 ever happened. You see Muslims, Christians, Chinese, indigenous Indonesian, all mingling together happily. I want to tell myself that that angry mob was just a minority. That most Indonesians don’t think that way.

But I look back at the US elections and wonder if I’m thinking the way people in New York or Los Angeles thought. That it was just about a small but loud minority, and the majority would not buy into all the racism.

I’m typing this in my air-conditioned apartment and I’m fully aware that I’m one of the privileged minority in Indonesia. I’ve been invited to the homes of those living in government provided housing, where entire families sleep on one thin mat on the floor. They couldn’t even afford a fan, and air-conditioning is an unthinkable luxury. They knew they had little, but they were proud of it, from the curtains and carpets made out of discarded sacks to the wallpaper lovingly crafted out of old billboards. Thinking of those homes, it was hard not to feel a twinge of guilt as I purchased my $300 bookshelf. It felt almost obscene thinking it was a steal for the quality.

I’m fully aware that while I complain to my American friends about my “3rd world salary”, many Indonesians would see my current salary as unattainable in their lifetime. My cup of Starbucks frappe costs as much as what far too many Indonesians make in a day.

Sometimes, from my privileged position, I sometimes forget I could care about idealistic issues because I could afford to. Try talking about rainforest preservation to people who stoically point out they cannot get clean water for their children, while environmentalists pay them to bottle-feed baby orangutangs milk they could never afford for their own children.

I wonder if they resent me.

I wonder if the next election, I’d learn that the majority actually blame me for their economic situation and want me out of the country.

Would I be one of those Muslim refugees again? Would America still welcome me as warmly as they did in 2005? Would I even be able to travel to America with Trump going ban-happy with visitors from Muslim countries? 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tutorial: Modified Fan Shape Eyeshadow Placement for Monolids

Hi everyone! So the fan shaped eyeshadow placement is gorgeous, but hooded monolids pose several unique challenges:

  1. Loads of lid space gets completely hidden, so eyeliner has to go really high up to show up
  2. There's no crease
  3. There's very little lid space

So I've modified the fan shaped placement for my hooded monolids:

There's several issues you'll run into with the typical tutorials that are not made for hooded eyes or monolids:

  1. There's no crease at all, so you end up with this muddy wash with no depth. To fix this, I put the lightest colour first, then blended the darker colour in afterwards with a finely tapered blending brush (sigma E45 is my favourite). That way, you still have a darker colour framing the lightest shade and making it pop, without having a messy, muddled wash of colour. This also solves the next problem, which is...
  2. Less lid space means the recommended blending placement from typical fan eyeshadow tutorials overwhelms monolids and make them look way too heavy.
  3. The liner has to go really high up to show up, but sometimes, the point of doing this look is to get this soft, blended out cat eye sort of look, and you don't want a graphic floating liner or thick liner making the liner look really harsh. So to solve this, I just smudged my pencil liner and further blended it out into the look with eyeshadow so that my eye still looks lined, but it doesn't look so harsh.

So here's the pictorial for a tutorial modified for monolids: