Thursday, September 21, 2017

Apothederm Firming Serum & Firming Neck Cream Review

With summer coming to a close and fall just around the corner, it's time to put some care into reversing the sun damage done over those bright summery days. As you know, prolonged exposure to UV rays is bad for the skin and ages the skin faster than it is supposed to. As we age, our body produces less collagen and hormones that regulate the elasticity of our skin. 

Here is an excerpt from Apothederm's blog of how the skin ages over time:
Infancy – The softest, most supple skin we will ever have in our lives is when we are babies. This is because babies are fresh from the womb where their skin has not yet been exposed to friction, damage or the environment. Scientists also believe that a special substance that acts as a moisturizer, wound healer and antiseptic – vernix – is produced in the womb of expectant mothers. Teens – 20s – By the time we reach our teens, hormone levels begin to rise as our bodies change. This causes several bodily reactions including oilier skin and, believe it or not, the beginning of skin aging. At this point, it is helpful to use a facial scrub to exfoliate the skin so that it does not become too oily. By the time we reach our twenties, our skin remains relatively resilient and healthy. (This is only if we take care of our skin, eat right and minimize sun exposure.) The 30s – By this decade, we usually begin to show the first real signs of skin aging as the skin’s natural process of exfoliation slows down and collagen and elastin fibers decrease. The 40s – By this decade, skin imperfections begin to increase as freckles, age spots, and discoloration begin to occur. It is at this point that many dermatologists suggest adding lightening products to your skincare routine such as brightening serums. The 50s – By this decade, significant signs of skin aging occur that are mainly the result of hormonal changes. These changes include pigmentary changes, skin loosening, etc. During this stage in life firming serums are helpful in treating some of these conditions. 60+ – The most dramatic changes to skin occur during these later stages of life including wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin etc. At this stage, estrogen is no longer produced and there is also a corresponding loss of skin moisture.
I'm currently in my 20s and it is never too early to start! Skin aging has already begun whether I can see the signs or not and skin care plays a vital role in keeping my skin looking radiant and youthful.

Apothederm kindly sent over two of their best selling anti-aging products for me to try out - the Firming Serum and Firming Neck Cream! Apothederm's products are formulated with their exclusive patented SmartPeptides Biotehnology which you can read more on their website. FYI: Peptides are the building blocks of proteins in the body, e.g. collagen.

Basically, it consists of

  • Firming Peptide (Heptapeptide-7 to promote keratinocyte proliferation and migration to support skin renewal, essential process for healthy, vibrant skin) 
  • Refining Peptide (Hexapeptide-21 works within the skin's own natural repair and regeneration system to stimulate collagen production and cell turnover; both important to help improve the appearance of damaged skin)
  • Clarifying Peptide (Oligopeptide-10 is based on the body's own antimicrobial peptides and also has visible anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce skin imperfections)
  • Restoring Peptide (Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-14 helps visibly reduce the appearance of wrinkles while increasing firmness of the skin)
  • Nourishing Peptide (Copper Peptide helps stimulate elastin and collagen to slow the visible effects of aging, giving skin a renewed and more youthful appearance)

Packaging and design is really simple. There is a common blue theme going on for the anti-aging line and I think they fit into any bathroom perfectly.
First item I tried is the Firming Serum. This is described as a luxurious serum that hydrates and protects your skin while reducing visible signs of aging. It is meant for all skin types, including mature skin. This is formulated using powerful botanicals and advanced ingredients to help refine and firm the skin. There are two SmartPeptides (Firming Peptide & Restoring Peptide) in this formula to help firm skin and reduce the signs of aging. 
Here are the key ingredients as listed on the product page:

  • Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-14 & Heptapeptide-7 - These SmartPeptides work together deep to stimulate the skin’s own natural repair and regeneration systems.  Tests have shown that these peptides boost collagen production and promote keratinocyte proliferation and migration, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while also increasing firmness of the skin. Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-14 is a gentle and non-irritating natural bioactive SmartPeptide shown to stimulate fibroblasts, increase collagen production, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and even skin tone. Heptapeptide-7 is shown to support skin structure, and promote keratinocyte proliferation and migration to fill in lines and wrinkles and reduce their appearance.
  • Glycerin - This humectant relieves dehydration by drawing essential moisture into the skin.
  • Trehalose - This naturally occurring saccharide protects the skin from dehydration and helps to restore its natural moisture balance.
  • Thermus Ferment - This inhibits damage from reactive oxygen species, protects natural defense enzymes, shields skin from UV damage, and restores barrier lipids.
  • Palmaria Palmata - This brightens the skin for a more luminous complexion. 

I like that the serum comes in a pump bottle for hygiene purposes and for total control on how much to dispense. There is 1oz /30ml of product and it retails for $79. The serum itself is a transparent gel that feels hydrating, non-oily, non-sticky and lightweight. To use, simply apply a small amount over your entire face and neck or desired areas after cleansing. It absorbs into the skin quickly and instantly makes my skin feel refreshed and moisturized.
These are the benefits as advertised:

  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Firms and tightens
  • Moisturizes and hydrates
  • Brightens and refines skin texture for a more even and luminous complexion

As you can tell, I do not have a lot of fine lines but my eyelid does have a lot of folds due to them being monolid and hooded. I definitely need this serum to help firm up the skin around my eyes because I always tug away at them when putting on my eyeliner or removing my eye makeup. I haven't used the serum long enough for visible results but I can say that my skin feels a little more tout and uplifted when I use this serum.

The next item is the Firming Neck Cream. This addresses the neck and décolleté areas that are often neglected. The SmartPeptide (Firming Peptide) helps to firm and improve the appearance of the skin and highly emollient botanicals moisturize to make the skin supple and reduce fine lines. This is described to have instant results whereby your neck and décolleté appear more radiant and healthy looking.
The key ingredients are listed as such:
  • Heptapeptide-7 - A bioactive SmartPeptide™ helps support tissue.  It is a peptide made of seven naturally occurring amino acids that are commonly found in the skin and is modeled on natural sequences found as part of the body’s own defend and repair system. The use of Heptapeptide-7 on the skin is similar to the body’s own peptides present in the skin and in the same manner, Heptapeptide-7 performs its function and then is broken down into amino acids which are naturally present throughout the body.  Cellular tests have shown Heptapeptide-7 stimulates collagen production.
  • Sodium Hyaluronate - A super humectant, this can draw 1,000 times its own weight in moisture to the skin and helps maintain hydration balance.
  • Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract - An anti-irritant that helps to reduce the appearance of discoloration.
  • Pichia/Resveratrol Ferment Extract - An antioxidant helps to reduce the appearance of discoloration.
  • Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) - An emollient moisturizer corrects dehydration and dryness while protecting the skin’s natural moisture balance.
  • Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil - An emollient that helps soften skin.
  • Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter - Hydrates and softens the skin.
  • Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil - An emollient triglyceride is composed of more than 98% long chain fatty acids. It also contains naturally occurring antioxidant tocopherols. It forms a moisture barrier and helps prevent moisture loss.
For all the hygiene freaks like me, you'd be glad to see that there is a lid on top of the cream. The Firming Neck Cream contains 1.7oz/48g of product and retails for $79.
The cream itself is thick and white. It feels like a normal moisturizer but it is quite oily when you first rub it in. After it's been absorbed, the oiliness does go away and your skin feels smooth and moisturized to touch.
The benefits are summarized as such:

  • Helps support and firm the skin
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Improves skin texture and smoothness
  • Leaves skin soft and moisturized

The results of using the cream are quite dramatic and instant. As you can see, my neck looks a lot more smoother and the lines on my neck aren't so obvious. I must say that I am quite impressed with the performance of this cream!

Like I've said earlier on, it is never too early or too late to start taking care of your skin. I'm starting young because I want to preserve the elasticity and youthfulness of my skin. These small steps will definitely go a long way and I am so thankful for Apothederm's range of products.

This post is sponsored by Apothederm and Shopping Links but all opinions are my own. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

ALL ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip Swatches on Asian Skin + Review

Recently, I dug into my collection of ColourPop Ultra Matte Liquid Lipsticks and swatched all the available shades on their website. I'm missing 5 from the website and over here, I have 31. The rest have been swatched in other collection videos/posts.

Midi (Pale Dusty Pink)
Against my skin tone, this is like a pastel pink. The color remains quite close to that of the tube but the formula is slightly thick and it does settle in my lip lines and feel dry. Not exactly a color I would pull off often but I can see it working with a colorful eye look or a smokey eye.

Bianca (Soft Mauve)
Love this shade and it remains quite true to the tube but it is so drying and crumbly on the lips. It accentuates my lip lines and it cracks when I smile. One of the worse formulas in this bunch, especially considering that it is a nude and most companies do not mess these sort of colors.

Clueless (Dusty Mauve)
This is a really cute shade. It pulls off pinker on me than in the tube and although ColourPop describes this as a dusty mauve, I feel like it's more of a rosy mauve due to the strong pink tone. This one is bearable to wear. It does settle in my lip lines and accentuates every single line but it is tolerable for about 7 hours of wear.
 Lumiere 2 (Deep Dusty Mauve)

This is the famous Kathleen Lights ultra matte lip shade that everybody loves. I was expecting it to be the color in the tube but it pulls off a whole lot more purple and darker than in the tube. I don't hate it but I just wish it looked closer to the shade in the tube. This shade wears differently on everyone though.
Cheap Thrills (Dusty Lilac)

This is clearly more purple than Lumiere 2 but in about the same tone. Again, it's a really wearable shade of purple and so much more comfortable than the previous bunch of shades. 

Are N Be (Rich Mauve)
I feel like this is more of a berry shade than mauve (but I guess it's also suitable since it does have dark purple and magenta tones). It dries down darker than it looks in the tube. This shade is one of the more comfortable shades to wear. The formula is much more watery and thin. It does not accentuate my lip lines and feels lightweight on the lips. 

Times Square (Pink Beige)
This is a nude with pink undertones and I think it is a great nude for fair skin! The only down side is that it makes my lips look really wrinkly but it's tolerable to wear for a few hours. It does hold a special place in my heart for being the first nude I tried that didn't wash me out.

Beeper (Greige Rose)

A notch darker than Times Square, this is another pretty nude shade for deeper skin tones. For fair skin, this helps to make your lips look bolder in a natural way. It is much more comfortable to wear and doesn't accentuate my lip lines as much.

Teeny Tiny (Greyed Out Plum)

Honestly, this looks like a dusty pink/mauve to me than Clueless. It dries slightly darker than the tube and feels relatively comfortable on the lips.

Viper (Dark Dusty Rose)
This is quite true to the tube and I think it is a really flattering shade on everyone. It doesn't accentuate my lip lines terrible and feels tolerable to wear for longer hours. 

Bad Habit (True Berry)
This is borderline fuschia. It is very close to More Better but it has more pink in it. This one has a watery and thin texture so it is very comfortable to wear and doesn't accentuate my lip lines. Definitely pick this one up if you want a non-drying ultra matte lip. This one does seem to transfer a little.
More Better (Deep Wine)
This is a bright wine-berry shade with more red tones than Bad Habit. It is in the same watery formula so it is one of the non-drying shades. 

Trap (Dusty Greige)
I think this is a really wearable greige for all skin tones. I like to call it a "dead" color but it honestly doesn't look that bad. It's nude and it isn't scary. It's a little drying but tolerable.

Kapow (Purple Grey)
If you're afraid of wearing greys, you could start off with Kapow because this is a wearable take of the grey lip trend. It suits a neutral and cool skin tones best and it's dark enough to give enough "life" to your face. Perhaps wear something more colorful for your outfit to balance it out. This formula is rather comfortable on the lips.

Bumble (Warm Rose)
I think this is the perfect rosey coral for spring/summer. It's the perfect tone and not too bright nor too dark. It's a really cute color and it's a close dupe to Lime Crime's famous shade - Riot. Thankfully, this formula isn't too drying and is quite tolerable.

Tulle (Deep Dusty Burgundy)
I wouldn't really call this burgundy. It is more of a deepened plum and dries darker than it appears in the tube. It doesn't accentuate my lip lines and feels quite comfortable on the lips.

Avenue (Dark Blood Red)
I think you'll need 2 layers to achieve dark blood red status. Even so, this seems to lean more on the warmer side than blood red. A single layer can seem a little patchy too. This color is not as drying and is tolerable to wear. 

Notion (Deepened Rasberry)
I've worn this shade a few times and I have different thoughts every time. My swatches always end up looking slightly patchy but when I wear it out, I don't find it so. Sometimes, I find it leans more purple and sometimes I find it leans more maroon. It's clearly a dark red over here with some patches. I've worn this for 8-9 hours and found it completely comfortable. It does feather over time though.

Airplane Mode (Dirty Peach)
Another crumbly and dry formula. This one is really thick and creamy and just uncomfortable once it dried down. It's also quite pastel and light when you put it on but it darkens when it dries. It seems to pull ever so slightly pink on me so it doesn't look completely bad. Might wear it if the formula was good, but nope.

Speed Dial (Rich Peach) 
I honestly didn't think I would like this because I generally do not like orange tones and peach shades have disappointed me so many times (especially from the Nectar collection). This one is a mid toned peach so it goes with all skin tones and peach supposedly looks good on Asians. This formula is quite comfortable to wear and doesn't accentuate my lip lines.

Mama (Burnt Orange)
This is a true burnt orange that screams fall and I personally wish it were a tad darker but it's still nice. It accentuates lip lines but it doesn't feel terrible drying.

Love Bug (Rich Mahogany)
This clearly dries down darker than in the tube. It would have been a perfect brick red shade if it remained the same as the tube though. It seems to pull slightly brown on me so I think the shade description is quite right. It's a red woodsy brown but the formula does feel slightly thick and drying.

Limbo (Deep Chocolate Brown)
This is a true chocolate brown that also dries darker than in the tube. Still looks delicious to wear and if you need a brown lipstick, this one ain't too bad.

LAX (Vampy Red)
As you can see, this is slightly patchy. A second layer will definitely make the color a lot darker and closer to the tube color. All in all, a nice dark red that feels comfortable to wear.

Donut (Bright Salmon)
This is like a neon pastel coral that is cute, but the formula is so bad. It's a thicker and creamier one so it is really drying and crumbly once dried. Not at all enjoyable to wear. This is one of the OG shades but it seems like the formula hasn't changed much.

Solow (Flamingo Pink)
This is a bright barbie/flamingo pink. It's quite comfortable to wear and doesn't settle into my lip lines.

Mars (Fuschia)
This is a super bright fuschia pink. The formula is watery and thin so as you can see, it doesn't accentuate my lip lines at all and it is completely comfortable to wear.

Creeper (Classic Blue Red)
Idk, it seems to pull a little warm on me even though it's supposed to be a blue red. Regardless, this is also another watery one so it is super lightweight and comfortable on the lips.

Zipper (Deepened Purple)

This will definitely need 2 layers to even out the patchiness. I'm not sure how that will affect the comfort of it but with one layer, it doesn't feel too bad.

Guess (Blackened Purple)
True to description and color in the tube. This is a really really dark purple. One swipe is actually good enough if there's enough product on your wand. My wand was getting a little dry for my top lip but I couldn't be bothered adding more because this is a really drying formula and my lips were dying at this point.

Dr M (Deep Blackened Green)
Ugh, this color is gorgeous. It's a teal shade with slight teal shimmer. It looks so much more of a teal blue in the tube and on me than a green tbh, unless I've been wrong about colors all this while. That's the description ColourPop gave though. The formula of this one is really drying too, unfortunately. However, I might overlook it because of how gorgeous this shade is. (It doesn't bleed pink - that is the residual stain from previous colors)

I've compiled all the lip swatches here in a single chart so that you can easily compare how they look like. Click to enlarge the image.