Monthly Archives

April 2016

Beauty, Skincare

Double Cleansing: The Essential Step to Healthy Skin

April 21, 2016

Double Cleansing

I like my skin squeaky clean. I used to “double cleanse” by using the same face wash twice because once never fully removed makeup and dirt. However, this was extremely harsh on my sensitive skin. So, why is double cleansing important? A lot of stuff  get on our face in just one day. We often apply several skincare products (toner, essence, serum, moisturizer, sunscreen) and makeup. Throughout the day we are exposed to dirt and toxins from the environment. Water-based cleansers cannot effectively remove oil-based debris, so it is essential to cleanse with an oil-based cleanser. Double cleansing is an important step to healthy skin!

What is the correct way to double cleanse? The first step is to use an oil-based cleanser. Oil is extremely effective in lifting anything that is oil-based, such as makeup, sunscreen and excess oil. The product is applied to dry skin and will gently dissolve everything. I was ecstatic that oil-based cleansers do not leave my face oily or cause breakouts! The second step is to use a water-based cleanser to remove any remaining impurities and to provide a deeper cleanse. A gentle water-based cleanser should be used since most of the makeup and dirt are already removed during step one.

I only double cleanse at night, but some people double cleanse twice daily if they are overly oily. Even if you don’t wear sunscreen or makeup, I would still recommend double cleansing once a day because of all the pollutants we cannot see. I have been double cleansing since I returned from Taiwan a month ago because this method is very common in Asia so I was able to purchase lots of products at a lower price. Here are some of the products I would recommend:

Step 1: Oil-based Cleansers

Step 2: Water-Based Cleansers

Beauty, Makeup, Skincare

Sephora VIB Rouge Sale Haul

April 12, 2016

Sephora Love Note VIP Sale

The Sephora Love Note Sale is happening right now and all members of the rewards program, Beauty Insiders, can use the coupon code. This discount can be applied to EVERY ITEM on the Sephora website and in-store! No restrictions! Sephora only has this offer twice a year, so it is a great time to take advantage of this discount now! Here is the information:

Beauty Insiders: 10% off, use code BINOTE through 4/12
VIBs: 15% off, use code VIBNOTE through 4/13
VIB Rouge: 15% off, use code ROUGENOTE through 4/13

Normally during these sales I love to stock up on old favorites and splurge on a couple expensive items I have been wanting to try. Makeup and skincare products can be expensive, especially the ones at Sephora, but there are a couple strategies I use to keep the cost down: sale events, bundle sets, flash sales, etc. If you want to learn more, please read this popular post: How to Save Money on Beauty Products.

Most of the items I purchased are new products I’ve never tried, so I cannot speak on how well they work. I will do a more thorough review after I’ve had the chance to try them.


  • Drunk Elephant All Glowy Set (sold out) – Unfortunately this set is all sold out and it may have been a limited edition because the URL doesn’t even work anymore. Anyways… this was an amazing value because the set was $90 and included the full size Glycolic Night Serum, which is also priced at $90, and two small samples. I’ve heard so many great things about the night serum, and it even received a 5-star expert review on beautypedia, which hardly ever happens! The entire Drunk Elephant line is rated 5-stars so I am excited to try all the items in this set. I actually purchased two of these sets suspecting this will sell out during the sale and thought my mother-in-law or friends might want one. However, no one has claimed one and now that I suspect this is a limited edition, I won’t be returning the extra set!
  • Sunday Riley Power Couple Duo – These two products are so hyped up and every beauty guru claim they are must-have skincare items. If you purchase these two products separately, they are extremely expensive. When bundled, they are still crazy expensive but at least you get more value. I have tried samples of these from Sephora but they weren’t enough to see a difference because results typically appear after 2 weeks. Having said all of that, I will return this bundle because I do not need this and the two Drunk Elephant sets.
  • Kate Somerville Clarifying Treatment Toner – I was searching for a new toner for oily skin and one that is alcohol free. I love Kate Somerville, so thought this is worth a try!

Sephora Love Note VIP Sale


  • Anastasia Glow Kit – This is a beautiful, high quality highlighting palette. However, I will be returning this because I don’t need this many highlights and I still have two Becca ones that I need to use up.
  • Tom Ford Soleil Contouring Compact – The packaging and colors are perfection! This is a great all-in-one palette with a highlight, blush, and bronzer. However, it’s super expensive and I don’t know if it’s worth the price. I am currently researching other all-in-one palettes right now, so I haven’t decided if I will return or keep this item. This went out of stock immediately after the sale started so I feel lucky to get my hands on one.

Sephora Love Note VIP Sale


  • Travel Bag – I have many travel bags, but they are all bags that are either good for makeup, brushes, or toiletries. I have been wanting something that will hold everything together so that I will only need to pack and carry one bag. I don’t pack too many items so I think everything will fit in here. I am traveling this weekend so I’m excited to test this out!
  • Tarte Contour & Bronzer Brush – Honestly, I was eying the NARS Ita Brush to up my contouring game, but the $55 price tag for just one brush is unacceptable, so I picked this slightly more affordable Tarte brush. I was hoping to find one even cheaper, but I couldn’t find one in the shape and quality that I want.
  • Beautyblender pro – I have been using the beautyblender since Sephora started carrying it years ago and always have one on hand. I decided to purchase this in black because it won’t look as dirty as the pink after routine uses.
  • Clarisonic Brush Head Twin Pack – I love my Clarisonic and use it every day, but one negative is the need to replace the brush head every 3 months. If you don’t have a Clarisonic and you’re looking for a cleaning tool, I would recommend getting the Foreo LUNA mini 2, which has amazing reviews and most people prefer it over the Clarisonic because the Foreo products do not trap bacteria like the Clarisonic brush heads and it’s just a one time payment.

Sephora Love Note VIP Sale

Did you get a chance to shop the Sephora sale?? If so, let me know what you purchased! I love reading about other people’s beauty hauls!

Items Mentioned:

Beauty, Makeup, Skincare

March Beauty Discoveries

April 4, 2016

Beauty Discoveries

I cannot believe it is already April! Time is just flying by! For those new to my blog, every month I write about new beauty discoveries instead of monthly favorites since my favorites don’t change very often. I try to use these discoveries for the entire month in order to write a fair review. I had a chance to try a bunch of beauty products this month because of my travels. Here are some new products I have been trying:

Peter Thomas Roth Gentle Foaming Cleanser – This is super gentle and does not dry out my face like most cleansers. It is free of soap, sulfate, alcohol and fragrance, and contains wheat amino acids and vitamins A, C, and E. I only use this in the morning because I don’t have any makeup on my face. Even though the packaging says this removes makeup, I prefer to use a two step cleansing process at night.

Skinfood Black Sugar Mask – This is a cult favorite in Asia. It is an amazing exfoliator and smells wonderful! By itself it can be a little rough on the skin, so I add some water, apply it to the entire face, gently massage my face to exfoliate dead skin, leave on for 15 minutes, and then wash off. This is the most effective and affordable exfoliator I’ve ever used!

Boots Botanics Organic Hydrating Day Cream – I received this in a Glossybox and immediately wanted to try it because it contains rosehip, jojoba oil and cocoa butter to provide my skin with extra hydration during the winter months. I love how moisturizing it is, but the one negative is that I have to wait a few minutes for my face to dry before I can apply any makeup. I add 2 drops of the fresh seaberry moisturizing face oil with this cream for additional skin benefits.

Tarte BB Tinted Treatment with SPF 30 – Last February I went to Punta Cana for a wedding and wanted a foundation with SPF. This is a multi-tasker that can be used as a primer, moisturizer, foundation, antiaging treatment, and sunscreen. I intended to use this as a foundation, but the coverage is super light. It blurred some imperfection, but the coverage was too light for me. I would not recommend this as a primer either because it does not cover up pores or improve makeup application. I like the SPF protection and will use this as a tinted moisturizer, but will apply foundation on top.

Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots – These are adhesive, clear acne patches to help eliminate blemishes and minimize the spread of bacteria. I get a couple hormonal pimples a month, and I love applying these because they spot treat without drying the rest of my face. I also don’t have to worry about bacteria spreading when I sleep on my pillow. These dots won’t treat everything in one night, but it will stop the pimple from getting worse. I have not seen other brands carry this in the US, but during my recent trip to Taiwan, I saw a bunch of brands with similar products and I purchased a couple to try out!

I hope you have a great week ahead!