Product: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream
Buy Again? 
yes, definitely.

I’ve been using this product for over two years. After multiple trials of night creams, intense moisturizing creams, products way too heavy or too oily, I finally found the perfect, soothing facial cream. Please keep in mind that this may be the right product for me but not necessarily for you. The great thing about Kiehl’s is that they provide samples upon request. Go to any location near you and if you request a sample, they will provide (at least in my experience).

I use this product for both night and day moisturizing. In the night time, I apply it after applying two serums (night time regime to come); in the morning, I mix it with sunscreen during the winter, as the sunscreen doesn’t moisturize nearly as effectively. It’s smooth, it absorbs quickly, and the best part? It’s not too heavy and does not leave my face feeling oily. Too often, when looking for a strong moisturizer, I encounter extremely greasy or heavy creams. I end up trekking to class with a sheen on my face, which isn’t the most attractive look. This facial cream, though, will absorb fairly quickly while maintaining moisture. My eczema has improved drastically since using this product. I no longer develop rashes that cover my face (although independent spots do still form. Still, much preferred!)

I recently started training for the half marathon in April. This means braving the cold windy weather and exposing my face while running. When I showered after the run, I could just feel my skin stretching tight and rashes forming again. Well, this facial cream definitely helped sooth my dehydrated skin.

I cannot recommend this product enough. It’s a staple in my regime and has been for over two years. For those inflicted with eczema, give it a try!



Product: REN Ultra Moisture Cleansing Milk
Buy again? 

I don’t even remember how I chanced upon this product. I think I Eva Chen mentioned it in one of her answers about sensitive skin. Anyways, I do not regret it at all and will be purchasing it again.

When I knew nothing about skincare (I used body lotion as face lotion!!), and I started developing rashes on my cheeks, I refused to clean my skin further than a quick rinse with cold water. I was scared to use a cleanser, because when I did, it stung. As a freshman in college, I was bogged down with studio work and adjusting to college. Stress plus lack of sleep resulted in pretty severe eczema flares on my cheeks. It was unpleasant, and oftentimes when I took a quick nap, I’d slice up some cucumber slices and put them on, or douse a face towel with cold water and just rest with it covering my face.

When I started researching on how to treat eczema, I didn’t find much specifically related to eczema on the face. However, I did find general skincare tips. One was the importance of washing up every night and morning – to get rid of all the dirt and pollution that might be clogging your pores. Exfoliating removes the dry skin cells on your face so that you can access newer skin cells. After cleaning, your face will be ready for the serums and creams to hydrate and moisturize.

I’ve gone through many different cleansers. I’ve tried Lancôme’s Crème Mousse Confort, Kiehl’s Gentle Foaming Face Cleanser, and more. With those, my skin would still feel dry and tight. They were easy to apply and soothing while cleansing with the Clarisonic Mia, but afterwards, my skin would be a bit pink. When eczema flares on my cheeks, I would wince to even use it, but what can I do? I need to clean my skin. They’re still pretty gentle, but my extra sensitive skin didn’t respond well to them.

I decided to try REN Ultra Moisture Cleansing Milk. It is milky, smooth, and soothing. While cleansing with the Mia, it applies very quickly. After rinsing (always gently with lukewarm water), my skin feels great! There’s no tightness at all. My skin feels light and comfortable. I actually look forward to cleaning my face every morning and night! After a couple of weeks, I could see the improvement in my skin. Less red blotchy spots!

No parabens or sulfates! REN has a whole line of products catered towards sensitive skin. I’m excited to try them out.

Disclaimer: I am not a physician or a skincare expert. Everyone’s skin is unique – try different products out and see what works. Always look for gentle, mild, or sensitive labels if you are prone to dryness or eczema.

It’s a new year, and I want to redirect this blog to something that might be helpful to others out there. From stats of the blog, I noticed my most popular posts were about skincare, especially due to eczema. As someone plagued with severe eczema, I feel you all! It’s annoying and unpleasant and can leave ugly scars. So, look forward to skincare reviews, regimes, and skincare tips!

I’ve been getting quite a few requests to post my current skincare routine. I last posted my skincare regime here, over a year ago in April of 2011. Well, it is now 2013. How is my skin?

It’s a lot better. I get flare ups quite frequently, but due to consistent, controlled treatments, I’ve been able to keep it minimal, visibly at least.

As you can see in this photo, my skin isn’t perfect. I have some faint scars on both cheeks, some blotches, and some scars on my chin. My forehead is uneven with small dents stretched across. It’s not that apparent because of the intensity of the sun, but if you look at my other photos, you can see what I’m talking about. I’m posting this because I’m not wearing any foundation – minimal makeup. In fact, I’m only wearing eyeliner and a tiny bit of eyeshadow.


Some background:

I’ve always had eczema. Since entering college, though, it spread from just inner elbow and knees to my face, shoulders, hips, breasts, inner thighs, and calves. I have some on my hands as well. The most devastating area affected was my face. I developed eczema on my forehead and both cheeks. My right cheek was most affected, though, and when it first flared up in the chilling, bitingly cold winter in St. Louis, it oozed. It became crusty, red, and oozed. I was scared to touch it – don’t even mention washing! This was when I started looking online for a treatment. I had steroid cream for my previous, mild eczema but I was not about to use it on my face. I couldn’t find any useable routine from the internet. I found generic advice – wear cotton, don’t use hot water to wash your face and body, take short showers, etc. I learned about the condition. It’s chronic, related to stress and amount of sleep. I was not surprised – as an architecture student, my time was spent in the unhealthy atmosphere of studio, with as little as 4-5 hours of sleep a night. I didn’t drink much water, ate unhealthy cafeteria food, and was constantly stressed.

I started to try out different skincare routines and brands. I always read reviews online and there is one label I actively look for: sensitive or dry skin. This might be obvious for some, but I took a long time of trying out different products to realize that everyone’s skin is different, and some brands recognize it and make their products specific to each skin type. I used products for oily skin or normal skin. Cleansers dried my skin out. Some lotions and creams just weren’t effective. And some were way too oily. So I started to pay more attention to what I purchased and tried. Samples are a great way to try things out.

Due to requests: will post ENTIRE ROUTINE in the next couple of weeks. From waking up to night time.

Current Skincare Routine: Morning

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1. REN Ultra Moisture Cleansing Milk with Clarisonic Mia Skin Cleansing System
Incredibly gentle and soothing.


2. YSL Toning and Cleansing Micellar Water
I use this sometimes if I feel too dry. Use with cotton pad and no need to rinse – serves as a GREAT toner too!


3. Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution by Kiehl’s
Works wonderfully well with previous eczema scars + acne scars!


4. Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 40
Because sunscreen is very important.


5. Ultra Facial Cream by Kiehl’s 
I’ve used this for over a year. I may mix it with the Josie Maran moisturizer, especially in the winter, as the Josie Maran is very light and doesn’t always keep my face moisturized. I am currently looking for a new moisturizer with high SPF – suggestions?


6. Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado 
Personally, this is too strong so just dab a tiny bit when applying – will be looking for new eye treatment.

Then it’s a bit of eyeliner and shadow, maybe one brush of bronze on each cheek, and I’m off! No foundation, no BB cream, no concealer. Those clog up my pores and removing them at night is never pleasant, aggravating my eczema.

Individual product reviews + usage and night routine to come!


EDIT: Routine as of 1/3/2013 posted here

There are several areas I would willingly fork over hard earned money for: clothes, shoes, food, and skin care.

My skin isn’t perfect. It’s dry and incredibly sensitive. Back in California, it would be somewhat dry and I’d break out sometimes, as normal. It certainly was not glow-y or beautiful, but it was alright. When I moved to St. Louis, with and actual, dramatic change in seasons, my skin reacted in unpleasant ways. Winter dryness -it plagued me. My face became so dry that eczema would form. Take it from me, having eczema on my arms and legs is frustrating enough, but my face? I have enough vanity to do everything I can to prevent scars/ dark patches/ excretions that often accompany eczema. Not only that, my face would itch, sting, and even form dry wrinkles. It was terrible. Fortunately, though, dry wrinkles are easily curable. My first year in St. Louis, I didn’t know what to do. I looked online and frequently applied my normal moisturizer, Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizer for type 3 skin. I bought a humidifier, bought organic Vitamin E oil, and relied on those. That winter was not fun. Spring came, as did moisture, and my skin was semi-normal again. The dryness remained, however, until I paid a visit to my dermatologist that summer and was prescribed Protopic for face eczema. Do not use steroid cream your face!!

I also researched and learned more about skin care. Turns out I was very ignorant. Last summer I learned about two important skin products: toner and face masks.

Back in the States, I listened to my friend Christine who undergoes similar skin problems and made a move from Clinique to Kiehl‘s. I love it. However, I am not Kiehl’s exclusive. I also use Clinique and Shiseido.

I tried different products. This recent winter was not as bad due to the addition of toner and face masks, but still unpleasant. But recently I watched Michelle Phan’s video on her nightly skin care routine. Watch this video. Michelle not only describes her own routine but talks about the type of skin care and what it does. The way she applies he products do matter. I started doing the “piano fingers” and patting my face. I decided to take what I knew and put together my own routine, with those “massages”. I’ve been doing this routine for about three days, and it has proven very dramatic results! My skin feels smooth, calm, and renewed.

1. Kiehl’s Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser & Clarisonic’s Mia Sonic Cleansing System

Mia is great. It’s gentle, it removes dirt, and its a nice facial massage.

2.Morning: Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avacado, Kiehl’s Rare Earth Pore Refining Tonic, and Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 15

Suncreen is very important! Sometimes, though, I will use Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizer, which I still love

3. Nighttime: either Kiehl’s Imperiale Repairateur Moisturizing Eye Balm or Creamy Eye Treatment with Avacado, Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, and Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream.

When it starts getting warmer, though, I will be switching to just Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizer. ‘Tis not good to apply too strong products! Eczema sufferers, Ultra Facial Cream hydrates SO WELL! I just started using the concentrate, and I do feel recovered. My skin glows in the morning.

4. Face Masks: My Beauty Diary & Dainty Design brands.

I do these twice a week after applying toner before bed. These are great stress relievers. Leave them on for twenty minutes, then use a cotton pad with some moisturizer and gently blot/wipe the remaining residue off.

5. Shiseido Purness Blemish Clearing Gel or Kiehl’s Acne Blemish Control

I don’t use both at once. They are both spot treatment -Kiehl’s is a bit gentler, so if you have dry, sensitive skin, use Kiehl’s. However, I find Shiseido’s to be more effective, so if I really need to clear a blemish, I use that.

Come to think of it, I do use a lot of Kiehl’s products. I’ve had good experiences, and it is reasonably priced. My skin truly feels amazing now. It”s still not perfect, but after a long time of dry skin on my face, I feel great.

Now I understand why Chinese women on average spend a third of their monthly pay on skin products.