Becoming a belifer: review. 

  
Rarely do I find a product that I like so much, that I feel no need to try another of the same type, but the belif eucalyptus extract toner has made me feel just that.

I have a little trouble with an oily t-zone and find that my makeup tends to get greasy by the end of the day; so I tried his toner to see if it did what it promised-control oil and keep serum at bay.

The toner is not only effective, but smells great and leaves your skin feeling soft and refreshed. As it dries, it gives you a gentle tingle and then disappears leaving your skin matte without the feeling of arid dryness that heavily alcohol based astringents inevitably give.

belif, like most Korean brands is committed to natural products and avoiding synthetic chemicals and the packaging is both attractive and recyclable. At $28, it’s a little pricey, but I’m on my second month of using it twice daily and haven’t yet reached halfway.

If you struggle with oil or sebum, this product is for you. Purchase here at Sephora and become a belifer too 🙂

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Korean Skin Care: the Zenith of routines

 

 

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Asian skincare has been around for years and practiced as far back as the Geisha traditions of Japan. Recently, Korean skincare has become more and more popular in the states thanks to advocates like Alicia Yoon and Charlotte Cho who brought the US peachandlily.com and sokoglam.com and made Asian skincare easy and accessible for all. I’ve been adopting a K-beauty skin routine for 5 months now and I have to say the proof of the pudding is in the eating. My skin is clearer, brighter, smoother, tighter and generally feels a lot healthier. The k-beauty routine is intensive-it takes about 15 minutes in the morning, but the results are more than worth it and the feeling of self care that you get is priceless in itself.

So here is a quick rundown of the basic K-skin routine with the products I’m currently using:

  1. Oil based cleanser – removes make-up.
  2. Water based cleanser – removes everything else.
  3. Toner – tightens pores and tones skin as well as removing anything else that’s left.
  4. Essence – A hydrating prep for the skin which can have a multitude of beneficial effects as well as helping serums and moisturizers sink into your skin.
  5. Serums and Ampoules – the most variable step-you can find a serum to do literally anything for your skin short of making it breakfast. Hyper-pigmentation, acne, dullness, dryness, redness, cranky sad or angry skin-if your skin can do it, there’s a serum for it. Some people take this step to the extreme using dozens of these before moving onto the next step.
  6. Water based moisturizer and eye cream- less oily and more gel-like than traditional American moisturizers, these leave your skin feeling baby soft.
  7. Optional oil based moisturizer, also known as “sealant”.
  8. Sunscreen – All skincare advocates will agree this is an overlooked step, especially in the colder months.
  9. Optional masks-done once to a few times a week, these are like a booster shot for your skincare routine when your skin needs something in particular.

Asian products have a focus on natural ingredients, attractive packaging and major results. The general sense that I get is that there is a “prevention is better than cure” approach to skincare with most women starting young to keep their skin that way and that all brands steer clear of anything that could be harmful or irritating to the skin or has more than four syllables.

I have to say, without doubt, my favorite part of the whole routine is step 9. A mask takes about 15 minutes to do, forces you to take a meditative moment in your day, feels just a touch glamorous 🙂 and makes you look and feel like a million bucks afterwards. Most of these brands are fond of sheet masks, which are pre-prepared sheets in the shape of your face infused with whatever elixir they’ve chosen. I find them a little uncomfortable, so I prefer the ones that come in gel and cream forms but either way, they’re spectacular.

Overall, I truly have never found a skin routine so enjoyable and effective and if you haven’t tried it yet, I would urge you to give just one or two products a shot. Advocates suggest trying one product for a few weeks before incorporating another. Pretty quickly, you’ll have a whole arsenal of products you love and you’ll have jumped on the K-beauty bandwagon with the rest of us 🙂

Explore at the following websites:

Peach and Lily

Soko Glam

Sephora K-Beauty

 

 

The masks we wear: review.

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I’ve recently adopted the Korean skincare trend thanks to Sephora’s campaign. I love the ritual and meditativeness of it, the natural ingredients and great packaging, and I also love the results. Tonight I tried Boscia’s Luminizing black mask. I got this as part of the Multi-Masking medley.

 

 

This mask is not for the faint of heart. It’s black like tar and when it dries, it sticks like glue. The peeling process isn’t painful, but you can definitely feel the top layer of your epidermis coming off. I have pretty sturdy skin, so it wasn’t a problem, but I think this would be disastrous for sensitive skin. It really does peel off if you use a thick enough layer and I have to say my skin is baby soft. The touch of redness I had initially disappeared and my skin looks quite vibrant. Not sure about long term results as I only have the one pack, but at $18 for four of these, I think it’s quite good value. Recommended for strong skin 🙂

Purchase the four mask pack at Sephora here.

One step in the darkness.

Diana Nyad is 65 years old. At 64, she swam 100 miles from the coast of Cuba to Florida.  After having tried 5 times, once when she was only 29 years old.  Surely that second time at 63, she thought “my body is too old for this. There’s no way I can do this now if I couldn’t do it when I was so young.” Surely she felt like it was impossible.  And yet still, she got up one day and began to train again.

The very act of trying is a declaration of hope. The very act of getting up every day, though you’ve struggled with your weight, your work, your addiction for years is an act of faith that says “I may not see how, and it has never been any different than it is now, but maybe, just maybe, today is the day that something will change. Today is the day that I will finally break through.”

During her journey, Nyad travelled for two entire nights in the pitch blackness. Two nights when she couldn’t see her hand in front of her face, when she had no idea what dangers were lurking around her in the water poised to attack. And sometimes, we too travel in the darkness. Sometimes we have no idea where we are going or what we are doing, where the next dollar will come from, how we will get through the next day or over the next obstacle, or how our problem will ever be solved. But that is the time, in the utter deadness around us, when we must take one step, just one step in the direction we know we should, and then another, and then another. Who knows, maybe in one minute, the lights will come up, and the horizon will appear, and we will finally put our foot down on that ever elusive shore.

 

The value of commitment. Or why having your cake and eating it too leaves you hungry .

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Recently, a recurring theme has been appearing up in my life. Like a dream that comes again and again, sometimes you need to wake up and listen.

A friend of mine has never really committed to his marriage. A series of innumerable short lived infidelities stain what could otherwise have been a beautiful track run of 20 years between two people from (can you believe it) the age of 15. Charismatic, attractive and successful, this guy has it all, and unfortunately, he has used all of this not for the good of his marriage and family, but to play a dangerous game and hurt many women in the process.  While he would never dream of leaving his wife and children, he still isn’t really “with” them as he keeps this darker part of his life secret and allows other people to infiltrate what should really be a sacred union. He views it as “having his cake and eating it”. He thinks he is getting the best of both worlds.

No doubt, his wife and kids lose out in this fiasco. She undoubtedly senses his lack of commitment and the kids, though they may not be totally aware, at the very least lose out on time with their otherwise loving daddy when he leaves the house on a weekly or monthly basis to meet these women. But in all reality, the person losing the most in all this, is my friend himself.

The desire to have your cake and eat it is human. It’s natural. But just like raging anger or deep despondency, not everything that is human is good. When we try to get everything while giving nothing, we destroy our dignity, our honour; we become like greedy children having a toy in our hand but asking for another. Ungrateful. Base. And just like those caught in addiction, we find ourselves hungering for more and more. The women are never enough, the sex never satisfies, and eventually he discards them and moves on to another drug to try and sate himself.

Commitment will cost you. You will have to sacrifice something to do it. Your time, your cravings, your self; but the things you gain will infinitely out-value what you put in. Success, admiration, but more than that, purity, fulfillment, a life in full colour and a kind of satisfaction that can never be gained from half heartedness or immorality; and isn’t that what we are all trying so hard to achieve.

I spoke to my friend today. Tried to make him see the error of his ways; to elucidate the pleasure and wholeness he could attain from committing to his life at home. He goes on vacation with his wife and kids tomorrow. Maybe when he comes back he will be better. Maybe when he comes back, he will be new.

What are you half committed to today? Where is there room to change in your life? Ask yourself if what you are throwing away is worth the short term ease; or if making the sacrifice may help to give you that satisfaction you’ve been craving, if putting in the work might change things in ways you’ve never even dreamed of.

A beautiful world.