Posts Tagged With: beauty

Quality over Quantity – A World Over

I’m a big girl. And I have a large chest. Anyone who has ever met me probably knows that is the first thing anyone notices about me. And it’s fine. I have grown to love them, despite the problems they give me (see:back problems). With a voluptuous chest comes great responsibility to hold them up. So I must get bras. And any full-figured, large chested woman will answer, “Right, and have you seen the bras they have out there for us? Something out of Grandma’s closet.” And most of the time, they are right. We always complain, “Why aren’t there any pretty bras for me?” But this problem isn’t exclusive to just large-chested women, but also plus-sized women. Our choices for clothes continually seems to be those of a handful of brands: Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, Oldy Navy (online only now! Thanks, ON!…)(…I hope you caught that sarcasm…) and Torrid. If you are lucky in some areas, another low-budget pop-up plus-size store will be open in your mall, like Fashion to Figure, or the like. And most women think this is all that is open to us. So young 20/30 year-old women are doomed to look like either 40-year-old woman or the other side of the spectrum, teenyboppers with our muffin tops, breastages, and other parts of flesh popping out of ill-fitting clothes in an attempt to look semi-youthful but looking immature due to our inability to adequately dress ourselves (When were muffin tops ever okay? Really now?)

This has pissed me off. And we let this cycle keep going because we refuse to actually venture out of our comfort zone. I hear a lot of “well, I tried this store and they don’t fit me.” or “I don’t like shopping online.” And I understand these complaints wholeheartedly. But women, we need to stop being irresponsible. That’s right, I said it. When was the last time you measured yourself? I mean, really measured yourself? Go ahead and do it now. Then write those numbers down. Yes, it sucks. But it’s necessary. And guess what? Numbers are an objective element. They have no soul. They have no meaning other than numerical value. If you want to attach positivity or negativity to any number, that’s humans overthinking stuff. The only think I can kinda understand is negative numbers. It’s in the name of the word, I mean. But I actually think they are kinda fun. Things go apeshit when you start multiplying them and dividing and squaring. Woo!! But besides negative numbers, why are we negative about numbers? If you wanna get cranky about big numbers, go look at other countries.

Europeans are ok because they go by 28, 30, 32, 34 since those are based off of actual inches. That’s fine and dandy. But look at UK sizing, our lovely neighbor… They are literally 2 sizes higher than US sizes for the same thing. A size 12 is a size 16. A 14 is an 18. And so on. Why? BECAUSE THEY SAID SO. Why not? Aren’t sizes arbitrary to begin with? Why not go crazy? How does that make you feel? Confused? Me too. Who cares. Korean sizing goes by 44, 66, 88, then 105, 110, 120. Or something like that. What on earth is this? It’s your circumference in milimeters. Why milimeters? WHY NOT? But then bra sizing is in inches. 28, 30, 32…. And then cup sizing is a whole other ballgame. Am I DD or an F or a FF? Wha? That’s right. FF and GG’s are something. And quite normal. But people must remember, bra sizes are NOT universal. A UK 40E and a US 40E are not the same. Let me explain it this way. I’m a 40GG. I thought I was a 42DDD. But if a bra band is loose and comfortable, you are wearing the wrong size. Straps don’t hold puppies up and support, band holds puppies IN and supports too. Oh yeah. Think about that. But the 40GG is a UK size. Why? America doesn’t have GG’s. They stop doubling letters after D’s… Britain doesn’t. So I’m a 40J in America. But you know what? I don’t care. J means nothing. It just means I just have to look harder. But you know what? These bras exist. “But not in America!” Right! Because we have let them run us around. We have let them steal our money and satisfication.

Full-figured women, get your asses over to the other side of the pond. What I mean is, go online and look at British sites. Or European sites. They have demanded fashion at all shapes and they get it. Simply Be, Asos, Eloquii, etc. Stop limiting yourself to the mall. You have freedom, you just have to be willing to give them a shot.

Now, my other qualm with some people are the ones who are like, “It’s too expensive. I don’t wanna pay $30 for a T-shirt.” That’s fine. Don’t pay it. But don’t expect to get good quality. And don’t expect to NOT be supporting companies who utilize countries with lower wages, poor working conditions, among other problems. Do you remember the Indonesian Manufacting Complex Building collapse a few years ago? Companies like Old Navy, Banana Republic, United Colors of Benneton, etc were all producing their clothes there. I know you think “These companies probably never realized it. They were too removed from the process.” But actually, they aren’t that far removed or even removed at all. Profit margins are more important. And we gotta cut costs somewhere. You wanted your shirt cheap. It comes at a price. But even Banana Republic, Gap, the clothes aren’t very high quality. But they charge more. Because they play you.

Sometimes the higher prices ensure good quality, sometimes they don’t. You really have to see about the brand. Check tags. That’s why they are there. To ensure quality. And while the quality is one thing, people must also remember to learn how to treat good quality garments. You can’t just throw everything in the washing machine, no matter how convenient it is. Those bras you just spent $60-70 EACH on? Yeah, just carelessly toss them in the washing machine and dryer and allow them to be thrown around at speeds of 40mph give or take. And you are putting your lace through that? Sure, I’ll do that. Let’s be practical, Yes, they go through some wear and tear through the day but you can make things last longer by taking care of your garments, especially lingerie. You can make any pantyhose last months with daily use if you know how to wash it correctly.

This is a reason why many Europeans don’t own many clothes and clothes are priced higher. The quality is better, they take of their clothes better, and they understand that clothing is an investment. They don’t buy just anything for the sake of wanting something. They spend more of their budget on eating, or something else.

Another fascinating point is, when I got to Korea, I noticed everyone had designer goods. Why? One reason, they want to look good in front of others. Koreans don’t invite people to their house like Westeners. So the only thing they can show is themselves. Their clothes make them presentable. Americans want a clean and presentable house, others prefer making themselves presentable since that’s what people see EVERYDAY, vs. just at a party. It’s a better reflection of themselves in their opinion. Another reason, most Koreans will say, “They have good AS.” meaning, it lasts a while and if something breaks or gets ruined down the line, they can get it fixed by the manufacturer. Can your walmart bag come with that guarantee? Nope. But most high-end brands here do, such as Prada, Burberry, Coach, etc. They will fix it for you at a small charge of about $10-30. Sure it’s a bit much for scuffs or ripped leather, but beats by a whole new bag. So when our Walmart bag gets ripped, we just chuck the whole thing and toss a whole new, adding more trash to the landfills. Some people repair it, sure, but who has time for that? You can’t even handwash your bras but you will sew shut a $10 Walmart bag? Priorities…

An interesting concept to wrap ones mind around is the idea of carrying around luxury goods. Now, in Korea, we carry it around to show how much wealth we have, among many other reasons. We want to look good and give a good impression to others. But Americans flaunt their cheapness. And I mean, “Oh, this little thing? I bought this at Walmart for a steal. It was really cheap.” or “Look at those people. I don’t have enough money to ride around in a Benz. Like I have money to burn on that.” First, you are flaunting your poor status in the eyes of some people. While we might think we are flaunting “our shopping-savvy mind” and our ability to “get the best price”, to many cultures it can look like you just can’t afford the real thing. A lot of my students used to be very surprised that we would happily say we got something very cheap. It is looked down upon in their culture. But this is just a different way of thinking, not a wrong one. I’m not criticizing the American mindset either. Getting a bargain is great, but there is something as too cheap. Remember that stores buy stock with intentions to discount it later to ridiculous levels. Higher end brands don’t always do that.

Just some things to think about when shopping. I know my shopping style has definitely changed while being here. Some might think I am fancy because I buy high end cosmetics rather than some cheap stuff. But when after buying cheaper and more convenient products I ended up with cystic acne scars and have been able to heal my skin plus get my skin good enough that I get compliments on a weekly basis for it, I’m convinced I’m investing in worthwhile products that really do make differences.

Which is cheaper, paying more money upfront, take care of the product, and enjoy it for years? or spend very little, put less effort into maintenance, but have to replace it every 6 months to a year? Depends on the product, sure. But my current philosophy, quality over quantity.

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Categories: fashion, korea, life, plus size, rant, shopping, style | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beauty Haul: DCL AHA Oily Skin Solution 8

If you’ve known me, you’ve also known I’ve been struggling with acne since I first hit puberty. Although it was not as bad as some of those you’ve seen on Youtube, I found it to be quite embarrassing. Always some sort of pimple on my cheek or forehead, etc. I would always have a bunch simultaneously popping out and it would drive me crazy. It also doesn’t help that if you are tired or malnourished, you will break out even more. I was quite tired during the last few years of my life, always running off of 5 hours of sleep or so a night. You think you can survive and you do. But you don’t realize how bad you become or home much of an affect sleep really has on you until you actually sleep. Well, since I’ve been sleeping much more lately, weight is down AND acne is down. 

And as any of my close friends know, I’ve taken to higher-end face products for my skincare routine. And that does help. But I have found one product that truly gave me the real difference I needed. Although I used higher end products, they helped but I still broke up. But after using this puppy, breakouts were almost completely eliminated.

My life saver

My life saver

So somewhere on the internet I was reading about acne care and someone mentioned the use of AHA as an acne treatment. AHA is a chemical-type exfoliator for the skin. There’s AHA and BHA (Salicylic Acid, actually). So most acne-sufferers are used to BHA, or SA, in their products. However, you will most likely see it written as BHA in wrinkle treatment products. AHA is also used in these products too, however, these days, people are noticing that it is also a good acne treatment as well.

 

I’ve used Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid, but they say that if you use BP for too long, it becomes harder and harder for the zit to go away. That’s not good. So I’ve moved to Tea Tree Oil, a more holistic alternative but still, sometimes, it isn’t enough. So I needed something else. When I was out one day in Gangnam for work, I ran across this line at Boons, a 신세계-owned company that sells foreign brands of facial products that other stores don’t usually carry. I saw this, as well as their Skin Refreshener, and I decided to look into it online. There is a whole step system, similar to murad and other brands, but you increase your level of AHA from 8 to 15 to 20, since your skin can get used to it. And then they have a whole range of other products. So I decided to go back and buy it. I will never regret that decision. My skin cleared up so well within the first few weeks (less than a month) and I rarely break out now. I have one or two, especially since it’s the summer and I am greasing up like a pig. But it’s wonderful. After 6-8 (one bottle, basically), you’re supposed to move up to the next level, AHA Revitalizing Gel 15. I tried this for 2 weeks and started breaking out again. I think it’s a bit too strong for my skin. So I bought the AHA Solution 8 again and it worked just fine. 

So for anyone who is oily skinned and wants to try a product to get rid of their acne, I highly recommend this series. Now if you are dry skinned, I recommend the La Roche Posay. It’s a French brand and I hear positive things about it. But I can’t vouch for it since I’m as greasy as a bacon pan. 

 

Oh! Quick tip! Do you find yourself breaking out around your mouth, even though you wash like crazy? Have you ever tried checking out your lip balms/lipsticks? These babies harbor lots of bacteria and I tend to breakout quite a bit around my mouth if I don’t clean them frequently. Remember, they are moist and so they are great places for bacteria to grow. Even concealer pots, such as MAC’s concealer pot. So go to the pharmacy and pick up some alcohol swabs and then use one swab per product. Clean them every week to every month, depending on usage. It really makes a difference! 

 

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Beauty Haul: Bio Oil

If you are a human being, like myself, you have one point in time come across stretch marks on your body. Possibly even skin discoloration and other skin pigmentation problems. Ahh, the joys of being human. Well, we all suffer from these problems, so it’s hard not to notice it. And we shouldn’t be too embarrassed because we have all had these kinds of problems. I have some discoloration on my body as well as stretch marks. Even skinny people have stretch marks. It’s normal.

So I was on Makeupalley.com the other day, looking for something to do other than my actual work. I came across a review for Bio-Oil. I didn’t really pay too much attention to it because it reminded me of how at almost every Olive Young in Korea, they are ALWAYS trying to sell this product on people. It’s always near the registers or on a special display in the front. I had never really heard about it so I didn’t pay much attention, except it’s hard not to notice all these Coral-colored displays and bottles everywhere.

But suddenly, I got curious. Why are so many damn people talking about this stupid thing? So I started to do some research and it supposedly contains this amazing ingredient called Purcellin Oil or something that is supposed to alter the signs of aging, help skin discoloration and even get rid of acne scarring as well as other scars. It’s supposed to be a miracle product. However, I think I read somewhere it also contains Mineral Oil, which causes many people to break out. So this is one reason I don’t put this on my face.

 

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I bought it and started putting it on my body. The directions state you should apply this to your skin twice a day for a minimum of three months. Yeah, that’s right. THREE MONTHS. Many products say they produce results in just a couple weeks (usually 4-6), I can understand two or three weeks. That’s about the same time as normal cell turnover. But three months? Hmmm. I guess it’s because that’s a couple cell turnover cycles? Not sure. Anyway, I started last night and will continue with this to see. As of today, a little less than a week into using it, I feel a bit of improvement in the condition of th spots where I’m putting it. They feel softer and they look less… red and ever so slightly less discolored. But that could be my own imagination wanting to see results. So who knows. I also haven’t had any rashes or breakouts as a result of it. I’m grateful for that.

The scent is a bit of a cinnamon scent. I like it. Some people might not and it’s understandable. It smells slightly sweet. Not bad. And it is an oil, so it goes on like an oil. But it’s like a body oil. It isn’t very greasy and absorbs within 5-10 minutes, I would say. Or quicker. So that’s always very good. It works best on fresher scars as opposed to older scars. But it says it can still help those older scars. So we shall see. I will post an update in a couple of months letting you know my progress with this miracle oil. I should take pictures of before and afters but I’m a bit embarrassed. Let’s hope you will just believe me, OK?

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Beauty Haul: Velvet Nutri-Injection

As the fine owner of a head of naturally wavy hair, I get the pleasure of dealing with all its dryness and frizziness. Oh hooray. So I am always on the look out for products that can control this nonsense and make it look nice. It’s quite frustrating when people around you
have hair that sits flat and does what you tell it without too much fuss. I would love me some of that. However, my luck is not so.
But anyway, one of the things I am very interested in are hair masks/treatments. We might think “I condition my hair! I put some essence in it after my shower/while styling! I should be good!” NO! Sit yourself back down. Just like the skin on our face sometimes needs a moisturizing face mask, not just moisturizer, or our body needs a bubble bath, our hair needs some of that Barry White-music inspired loving. I find that with all hair types, not just curly hair or dry hair, conditioning masks should be done at least twice a week and either hot oil masks or protein masks should be done once every month or every other month.

I remember my Albanian floor director in University would tell me her hypothesis on hair. She would say, Hair to women is like a penis to men. It is the symbol of our feminism. It is what we pride ourselves on, especially the braid and long hair. It’s a symbol of vitality. It
is woman’s way of showing their womanhood around proudly. And when you think about it, it makes sense. In our culture, so much emphasis is placed on a woman’s hair to her look. It’s especially known when we look at feel cancer victims who feel as though their
feminism is stripped of them after undergoing chemo and having their hair fall out. It’s such an important part of us, especially women.

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So, let me get to the actual review!
The product I bought off of Ticket Monster is called the Velvet Nutri-Injection. It’s a protein/collagen treatment that is supposed to be just as good as salon treatments but much cheaper since it is done at home.
The tube is 12oz, and you would think that it isn’t that much but you do end up with a lot of product, in my opinion.

There are a couple of methods of applying this product:.
1. Just add it to your hair anytime it feels dry! (I don’t know if I would do this. I think hair essence is good enough for that for now for me, but others may try.)
or:

2. First, shampoo your hair like normal but do not condition it. Then, towel dry it and apply the product all over your hair. Let this sit over night. Put a shower cap on and just go to bed. When you wake up in the morning, wash it out with just water, no shampoo. And then go as you will.

3. Just Shampoo, don’t rinse, towel dry, and put in the product and then leave it. No other step. You don’t have to rinse it out in the morning. They say if you have really bad hair, do this method.

You can also use this before or after Perms or Dye Jobs. Since I don’t really do those, I’m not sure. I used number 2. It was the easiest for me. Some people shower in the morning and walk out the door. That is fine. Number 3 will be fine for you. I just worry that it might be a little greasy. But if you have really dry hair, it will be very good for you, though I would double check before going out with that.

So how did my hair do?
Well, it was a bit dry and damaged since it had been months since my treatment at the salon. So I did the second method. In the morning, after rinsing it out, I blow dried it just a tiny bit and let it mostly air dry. The results were very good!! I was quite impressed. For two days, my hair was pretty! My hair does that thing where, if I don’t wash it for a day and put it up and wake up the next day, it gets a poofy-weird thing going that I can’t control. It hasn’t happened yet but this weekend will let me know. As the week has gone on, of course the product has lessened it’s effect, unlike a salon treatment which does last a couple months. But I think it also has something to do with the fact that lately I haven’t been doing regular treatments during the week. That’s because I’ve been low and wanted to save them but it’s better not to do that.

All in all, if you can buy this product off of Coupang for their 1,400won ($1.30) price, I’d say do it. It’s worth it. And if you do it once a month, it’s not too bad. I highly recommend it. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars, if I did a star system. I should make a different system. Maybe….
pizza slices! And there’s usually 8 slices in a pie… So I would give this 6 and a half slices.

Before ~> After Pictures.

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Beauty Haul: Clarins Lotus Oil Treatment

So, I’ve been looking for something for oily skin that’s moisturizing and improves skin condition. I don’t want to be dried out or excessively oily but somewhere in the dewy range. Is that even possible? So, I’ve been looking at serums and such to restore my faces condition due to my acne and the scars left behind. One product I did come across was Clarins Lotus Oil. I’ve heard of the benefits of the oil cleansing treatment. I tried it but I kept breaking out. Either my ratios were off, which is entirely likely, or due to a lot of stress, it just couldn’t help. So I might give it a shot in a few months but if my current products are okay, why bother changing it. My skin is improving ever so slowly.

Anyway, the Clarins thing. I had looked up reviews for it and it had gotten a lot of really good reviews. Basically, Clarin’s treatment oil line has three different ones depending on your face type, oily/combination, dry, or normal. So I went for the Lotus one, the oily/combination type. A lot of people’s acne had improved as a result, they said. I’m interested in this claim so I decided to check it out. It costs about $50 in the states. $52 from clarins site or $50 from Sephora. So I looked at ellotte.com, a major department store here, and they were selling it for 55,000won, which is about $52. You can’t beat it. They also say it comes with samples. I like samples. So I bought it. I was a bit reserved about the price but people say you only need a tiny amount and that it could easily last a year. I was skeptical.

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So here is the final product. It is actually pretty big. The glass is not that thick so it is filled with product very well. This is 30ml or 1.0 fl.oz. (Korea uses ml so it’s confusing but I’m learning). And they said it comes with samples.

Image Wow! These guys don’t disappoint! Koreans love samples so if you can, just buy the product with samples. It’s worth it. So now I have lots of wrinkle cream and moisturizers. Many people think people in their 20s don’t need wrinkle creams but it doesn’t hurt to use them. It just helps prevent them from forming for longer so don’t think you don’t need them. That’s why I use Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair. I have noticed a different and I feel better so definitely use it if you can.

The reviewers were right when they said you don’t need a lot when you use it. You only need two or three drops, not the whole amount in the tube. And then you rub it into your face. Well, not rub but pat it in, it says but you can rub it in too. It takes about 5 minutes for my skin to absorb it but afterwards, I’m not horribly greasy. I have that refreshed feeling afterwards. That dewy effect. When I wake up, I’m not as greasy as I usually am. I usually sweat in my sleep so I wake up pretty greasy. You will be greasy the first few days, they say, until your face gets used to the oil and then won’t produce as much. Which is usually true since that happened to me when I did the Oil cleansing treatment. So I shall wait. I’m trying to get rid of this dryness and redness on my nose so I hope something works soon. I might try the Mushroom serum from Origins again but that made me bleed last time. But then it went away. Now it’s back. I gotta figure out a way to get rid of it.

So far, I like the oil. It smells very nice and I feel like my skin is more moisturized than just my Clinique moisturizer. I use that in the day but use the oil at night only. It says it’s for night only. So I will see how that goes. I recommend you guys to give it a try too and see how it goes. I will update you in a few weeks on how it’s doing.

 Update: (Apr. 11, 2014 – 2 months later) I still love this oil. My skin doesn’t absorb this as quickly anymore. I guess because my skin is more moisturized? I apply this to my skin about an hour before bed and it is still pretty much on there, though of course a little less. It’s not filmy, just noticabley oily. But, I don’t mind it. It’s a treatment, not a moisturizer. And when I wake up, It has absorbed it all (or it’s on my pill, I’m not sure so I should wash that sucker more often.) But I still like the effects. I would buy this again. I think it has improved the quality of my face enough to become a staple of my long evening ritual.

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