Beauty Talk #4: Blushing Cheeks & Skincare Faves

My good friend Amanda once described herself as a maximalist that dreams of minimalism.

I immediately identified with this statement and adopted it as my own; a most apt way to describe my attitude to almost everything. I yearn for a simpler, refined lifestyle filled with nothing but wabi-sabi ceramics and linen shirts, but can’t shy away from my love of patterns, accumulating cute objects, and letting words and ideas stretch their arms out and bask in the sunlight.

This attitude applies to my skincare and beauty, too. Just as I think I’ve got my routine down, I can’t help but try just that one little cream over here, that one little blush over there. Over the past few months, I’ve found some goodies & some tossers. Let’s take a look, shall we?


Blush is the very last thing I thought I’d ever be smitten with. It doesn’t cover pimples; it doesn’t make your lashes longer. So, what does it do? It makes you look alive! On a cold winter’s day, you can suddenly become glowing with the illusion of rosy-cheeked blood flow.

I first bought this little Sugao pot in a Hong Kong pharmacy, thinking that it was a fun little beauty novelty. But it’s since become a staple for me – the soft, airy cream glides onto skin and blends effortlessly. It takes approximately 10 seconds to apply and 10 seconds to fall in love with.

NARS Orgasm Blush 🙊

Blush, I’ve found, isn’t just about looking alive; it’s about looking shiny! My friend Sofie (who is my beauty fairy godmother) gave me the NARS Hot Sand Orgasm Blush duo* and in addition to blood flow, it can also give the impression of sparkles and a healthy glow.  I’ll admit that I have only tried the pink side, so will report back when I figure out how to use the other.

* Prior to NARS announcing animal testing/stocking in China.

Skinstitut Everything
I’ll make this long story short. I’ve had a pretty rough relationship with moisturisers; combination/oily skin is a picky eater. I thought I’d found my holy grail in Paula’s Choice Hydralight moisturiser before it was heart-breakingly discontinued 💔 But if ever there was a blessing in disguise, it was this.

I gave the Australian cosmedical brand Skinstitut  a go, after seeing some key words that make my heart beat a little faster in their ingredient lists: retinol, glycolic acid, AHA *swoon* Their cleansers are mostly gentle but effective, my favourite being the Glycolic Cleanser 12% which I used daily until I left it in a hotel in Blackheath, sigh.

But the newest member of my inner skin care circle is the Moisture Defence for Oily skin moisturiser. My skin usually gets oilier throughout the day, requiring a good blotting by the afternoon. Not with this moisturiser! It spreads generously and holds the fort for the day.

*Thank you to RY for gifting me my first Skinstitut products; it’s given me the chance to find something new that I love. I’ve since stocked up myself; I’m onto my third tube of moisturiser!

Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream 
I’ll admit it: I fell for the rave beauty site reviews and cult following of this brand. But – again – was reminded why I should never buy anything before checking its rating on Paula’s Choice Beautypedia (where this cream scored 2/5). The Seaweed Night Cream claims to be appropriate for normal to oily skin and good for an evening routine, however it caused my skin to break out in pimples along my jawline. I assume that if you have dry skin, this thick, shiny, alien-green cream could be appropriately nourishing but definitely not as versatile as it claims.

Sakurajima Hair Oil
For those as obsessed with the Japanese standard of hair care (which puts most others to shame), Sakura oil is nothing new. However, I picked up this small bottle of liquid gold from the d47 store in Shibuya Hikarie and I’m glad that I did. I’ve found the oil to be a little thicker than other brands, so the smallest drop, lightly combed through towel-dried hair makes for a sleek, controlled look. However, it should be noted that it you over-oil, you will end up with a greasy mullet. Less is more.