Mar 21, 2013

Review: GT Witch Hazel Extract Clarifiance (Toner)

Posted by Goldi on Mar 21, 2013 at 5:16 PM 1 comments
I had a major breakout when I got pregnant. Not that I already have clear skin prior to becoming pregnant--I already have problematic skin even before pregnancy, but pregnancy made it worse. It's hard not to be conscious about how you look while pregnant, thanks to the major changes going on with the body mainly caused by fluctuating hormones. But it doesn't stop with the physical changes. Since being pregnant means taking care of your body while nurturing a baby inside, it also meant that one cannot just take anything available out there, especially strong and harsh products. So to find a solution for my pimpled face during pregnancy, I went out on a search for something mild, natural, non-chemical based skin care products. One of which I decided to try is the product that's up for review right now, the GT Witch Hazel Extract Clarifiance toner.

image from GT Cosmetics' Facebook page album

GT Cosmetics is a local, non-mainstream Filipino brand that is based in Cebu. I really am not aware that they exist if I had not seen their products in Watsons' shelves. I've read good benefits about witch hazel and its potency and effectiveness against pimples so I decided to give this a try.

My bottle, already all used up.

Bought this at Watsons for Php 70.00. Also one reason why I didn't hesitate to try--it's quite cheap.

Claims and Ingredients
A skin cleanser and freshener with rejuvenating effect. Effectively removes make up, dead skin, dark spots and other skin blemishes, leaving skin smooth, wrinkle free, fresh and young looking. Very mild and safe even to sensitive skin.

Wet cotton ball and gently rub on face using upward circular motion. Clean face morning and evening, once or as required.

Water, Ethyl Alcohol, Ethanol Enert, Hamamelis Virginia (Witch Hazel) extract, CI 42053

So from what I understand according to the ingredients, this product contains more alcohol than the Witch Hazel extract.

My Experience
I found it too drying on first use, like my face is going to crack. Maybe because of the alcohol. So even if I hadn't seen its effect on my pimples yet, I decided to stop using it then for the fear of wounding my face because of over-dryness. It might be also because I was using it then with an already drying facial soap. So this sat for quite some time in my cabinet.

After a while and so that my Php 70.00 won't just go to waste, I decided to give it another try. My face has changed into a very oily one so I guess the alcohol won't be a problem (though it still kind of bothers me) and was using a milder facial wash at the time.

For the cleansing and makeup removing claim, I don't really rely much on toners for facial cleansing, so I am not inclined to use this as cleanser alone no matter how tired I am to wash my face. I would rather use a makeup remover, preferably water based, for that purpose. For the freshening and rejuvenating effect, yes it has that but I think it's because of the alcohol again. Although this time, I didn't feel it dry my face much, probably because my facial skin has shifted into being a very oily one. In fact it felt milder than using Eskinol facial cleansers. That's why I've come to use up all the contents.

As for the main purpose I bought this for which is to help with my breakout, I think it did. There were times that I even just use this as last step at night before I go to sleep, because adding moisturizer made my face icky and sticky already, then it itches and will add more breakouts. Yes, my face went crazy like that. But using this toner helped to stop, minimize, and even heal some pimples. I have 2 cystic ones that's already dried up now, but I didn't achieve it overnight. It took me at least one week's everyday use to see improvement. I know it's quite a while but better that than no results at all. My face is slightly, but significantly clearer now compared to before. I think it also helped with the oil control.

Will I buy this again? There's a possibility because it's cheap and effective, but the alcohol content holds me back so I'm still currently searching for a better alternative. I am currently using Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel pore perfecting toner which I got from Healthy Options and just started this week so I'm still yet to see if this would be a better option.

Feb 27, 2013

My Experience with a Konjac Sponge

Posted by Goldi on Feb 27, 2013 at 5:07 PM 0 comments
I'm here to share my experience in using the konjac sponge. I didn't bother to capitalize the letters as I'm not talking about the brand, but the thing itself. I got a generic one.

I was on the search for a more effective way of cleansing my face and was Google-ing (since when did this become a word?) for options. I saw my husband is in the habit of cleaning his face with a face towel and he has a clearer skin than me so I thought maybe I should incorporate the same method in cleansing my face. I'm just not fond of using a face towel because I think it accumulates soap residue over time, which makes it feel icky and makes it a double effort to wash. It's just so hard to maintain. My interest in using this started when I read about this in one beauty blogger's post.

A bit of more background:
I am currently 21 weeks pregnant (about 5 months). My skin broke out bad when I started my pregnancy. Because someone pregnant can't just use anything for the safety of the baby/fetus, I was not able to use my go to skin treatment during a bad breakout because it contains harsh chemicals, including Retin-A, and this is no no if you're pregnant. That and several chemicals that are usually contained in products to help eliminate a bad case of acne the soonest possible time. Not only was I not able to use my trusted regimen in case my acne goes out of hand, but I was also limited to just using mild cleansers. And so my search started again.

It was very hard for me to have a trial and error during a bad breakout because people notice if it goes worse and they tend to blame me for using a lot of products and think that's why I get pimples. I have a really pimple prone skin, and I noticed that when I get to find something that works, the effect starts to wear off over time and I'm again having bumps and redness even if I didn't change anything with my routine. I guess my skin is the type that needs variety and most of the time, it's really tiresome and money consuming because it means I have to search and purchase for what will work again once my skin get used to something.

Okay... so that didn't turn out to be a "bit". I'll get on with the subject.

What Is Konjac?
"Amorphophallus Konjac" the KONJAC POTATO is a perennial plant, native to Asia and sometimes known as  Konnyaku. For over a century, the Japanese have been using the konjac vegetable as a beauty treatment for their delicate skin.

Amorphophallus konjac is an alkaline and is loaded with goodness. It contains  so many natural goodies, we won't name them all, but here are just some of them! Protein, carbohydrate, iron, phosphorus, copper, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C and  folic acid, (Source: The Konjac Sponge Company Ltd.)

I find the last paragraph a bit of an oversell but maybe it's a fact. I just don't think it would be of any benefit if you're having it as a cleanser because all those vitamins and minerals would just be touching the surface of your skin, and would be rinsed afterwards so I don't think the benefit lies in there. Anyway, I just read it like this: IT'S ALL NATURAL. Not synthetic. And safe for sensitive skin (or a vulnerable person, like a pregnant woman).

That alone is reason enough for me to give this a shot. I have also read that it's gentle so I tried to shop online first for something I can get. However, the cheapest I saw sells at Php 365. Kind of expensive for some kind of foam I think. Besides, I also got a bit more info from that same beauty blogger that one can get this in Landmark at a much much cheaper price. So on I went to Landmark Makati to get myself one. And I ended up getting four :).

See the reason why? It's so cheap for only Php 54.75!

Side by side with the one showing the product view side
(Excuse the image quality. I took this from my table situated in front of our window, and the curtains are colored pink, hence the pinkish hue and the seemingly washed off lighting.) I got so overwhelmed with how cheap it was compared to getting only one piece online so I decided to stock up for future use, and because Landmark Makati is quite a long travel from where I come from. And I came to like this more because the size is just right for the face, whereas the one sold online I think is maybe about double or triple the size of this. It's sold dehydrated and feels hard like a pumice stone but expands and turns into soft and fluffy sponge once wet.

See? Like a pumice stone, only white.

How to use it?

There were instructions in the back of the plastic so no worries about how you'd go about starting to use it, although it's fool proof because this is basically just a sponge. You dip it in clean water (preferable warm since this is for the face), wait for a few minutes for the sponge to soak and absorb some water and it's ready to use. It says in the packaging that it can be used alone without any soap or cleanser (so is with the branded ones) or you can use it with a facial soap or your favorite cleanser. I personally use this with my organic facial soap. I rinse my face, lather with soap, then put some soap on the sponge and use it to clean my face. Then I rinse, and massage my face again with a rinsed sponge and splash my face with water again.

Beside the wet and ready to use sponge. The dehydrated one fits into my hand and I can still slightly close my fingers, while it's almost the size of my whole hand when it's wet. I'd just be able to grip it on the edges but since it's become so soft, it would bend easily.

How to store

The product comes with a string attached to it so you can just hang it to expose to air or to dry when not in use. Something soft and organic like this would tend to attract mold if left wet and not exposed to air. I've read that these things can last up to a month's or more use but my first one didn't last for more than 2 weeks for a certain reason. I did follow the instruction to hang it to dry but one time, I forgot to hang it and just left it sitting in my bath caddy and when I was about to use it next day, I found it looking like a bitten cookie, or dough bread. Apparently the cockroaches made a meal out of it. The image of dirty cockoaches crawling and nibbling on the sponge that I use on my face disgusted me so sad to say, I threw it with just a few days use. I am now using a new one, thankfully I purchased back ups. What I'm doing right now to save it from the cockroaches is to keep it in a clear jar with air vents to still give it some air circulation when I'm not using it for a long time (i.e. at night time before I sleep) and hang it to open air on frequent use. I just have to make sure not to forget or else the roaches would again feast on it.

How it went for me

First thing I noticed when I saw and touched it after it became wet is it's really soft. Visually, I describe it as like a "puto" because it's white and fluffy, only you can't eat it. I'd say I had a good experience with it, for I find myself sometimes lingering with massaging it in my face. And like I said, I use it in 2 steps: with soap and after rinsing. It's not abrasive for a sponge and even if it looks grainy because of the holes, it doesn't feel grainy at all because of its jelly-like texture. The feel is not even comparable to wiping a soft cloth on your face, for it's a lot softer than that. I do find myself massaging it in my face for about a minimum of 1 or 2 minutes or longer because it really feels great. It's like giving your face a massage. The softness doesn't affect its cleansing properties at all because when I rinse, I feel a significant difference compared to just lathering soap or cleanser in my face using my hands. It really feels clean, but not to the point that it's squeaky that your face would feel dry and taut. Just clean and still soft. Amazing effect actually.

I don't think though that this helps with blackheads or whiteheads, at least instantly. I still think it offers exfoliation because it's still rougher than your fingers, but only very gentle exfoliation that it's safe for everyday use. It just offers a little more leverage than just wiping foam or bubbles or goop over your skin. But the feel after cleansing with this is much much better than just with using your bare hands. So I'd still prefer using this every time I cleanse, for it also helps it rinsing off left over micro or nano particles of cleanser that may accumulate and clog pores. Also, using this saves me the effort of using a toner to prep my skin for moisturizing. I don't use toner anymore. As I mentioned I use this 2 step for the reason of making sure that no soap is left over my skin. And it does feel that way. So I use this to cleanse and tone. I have not noticed any remarkable difference with the condition of my face with the breakouts, but it did help control future pimples from developing, maybe because it cleanses off any product that would clog up pores, it's that effective in cleansing. And so with the help of this and since I just maintain a mild skin care regimen, my breakout were at least minimized and my skin's condition is gradually improving.

I am honestly seeing myself having this as part of my staple in skin cleansing. I would certainly choose this over a cloth. I've read that this can't be relied on to remove makeup and I think it makes sense because some makeups are waterproof and so it's still advisable to start with a makeup remover first before cleansing with this to fully clean your face. Putting that aside, I personally believe this is a big help in cleansing without overdrying. I'd do buy again when I get to use my last piece. :)

Jan 5, 2013

20% DISCOUNT on ALL ITEMS in ALL Etude House Ph stores?

Posted by Goldi on Jan 5, 2013 at 7:51 AM 0 comments
Wouldn't it be nice to start the year with a 20% DISCOUNT on ALL ITEMS in ALL Etude House stores?

And because I LOVE sales, I would appreciate this happening even if it's only 20%! I have several want to buys at Etude House at the moment and this would be a great opportunity! Like away guys! So that all of us (in the Philippines) can benefit ^_^.

Spread the word my dear Princes and Princesses, and the sooner we reach 200,000 likes the sooner the Biggest Sale will be ;D

From Etude House Philippines Facebook page:

We encourage every Etude House lovers to help us reach 200,000 likes for a sweet reward of 20% OFF on ALL ITEMS awaits my dear Princes and Princesses!!!

Spread the word, and the sooner we reach 200,000 likes the sooner the Biggest Sale will be ;D

I do hope we could all have this 20% discount, I have several Etude House products lined up in my want to buy list. I'm currently having a slightly bad case of breakouts and excessively oily skin so I'm looking into trying their AC Clinic line, and also the Skin Malgeum. And I hope I'd be able to share my experience with them once I get to try them.

Like na friends! As of this post, they have 164k likes. Still quite a bunch to fill so we'll need your help :). Thanks!


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