Category Archives: Beauty

pretty time at home

One of the things I got to do yesterday, seeing as how most other things are too strenuous at the moment, was give myself an at-home facial. I try to get to looking after my skin more but rarely find the time/energy. Luckily, I have generally happy skin but even MORE luckily, I have a wonderful mum who has crystal clear skin and has taught me to keep it that way.

I know so many girls who don’t know how to pamper their skin a little, or use the right products for their skin type. And thus, for all the ribbing I give my mum about never having taught me to cook or clean, I do count myself damn lucky to have her knowledge in my arsenal of prettiness. (ps, what a kick-ass phrase. An arsenal of prettiness!)

So what did she teach me? Well – first of all, to use good products. This doesn’t have to mean expensive products, but rather ones that have withstood the test of time, receive good reviews from most who have used it, and are formulated with less hype and more science. Secondly, consistency – find a good product? Stick with it. There’s no need to keep changing unless your skincare needs have changed. Thirdly, understand your skin – have a range of products you know to work for when it’s needing some extra TLC in the dryness, breakout or sensitive moments we all have from time to time.

So here’s my little at-home-facial tutorial, and the products I use. I don’t always use all of them everytime, and I don’t do this very often, so a one time investment of these items can last me over a year, and most times, 2 years. I’ve used these products on many of my friends and they seem to work pretty well universally. All have been chosen via peer reviews, online ratings, personal trial and error (I have a huge graveyard of old cosmetics) and effectiveness! At each step I also give examples of other such products I’ve used and liked!

Amazing products for at home facial

My arsenal of prettiness!

Top row, L – R: Cleanser, Scrub, Clay mask, Hydrating mask, Serum
Bottom row, L – R: Eyecream, Skin booster, Moisturizer

1. Cleanse

The first step is cleansing your face. If I’m wearing a lot of makeup, I’ll remove that with an oil-based cleanser first, then do a normal cleanse. The product I use for my facials or when I have a breakout is MD Formulations Face Cleanser (pictured above). This is a glycolic product which when used, gets rid of breakouts faster than any cream, paste or mask I’ve ever tried. I put it on my skin, and gently rub for 1.5 – 2 minutes, then sponge off with warm water. I never use a huge amount of cleanser, in fact quite the opposite, because your skin doesn’t want to be stripped by the cleanse!

Other cleansers I like for facials: Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple (gentle), MAC Cleanse Off Oil (makeup removal), Lancome’s Milky Creme Cleanser (sensitive skin). All the cleansers I use are a bit spendy but they last a long time.

2. Exfoliate

The scrub I use is Queen Helene’s Oatmeal & Honey Face Scrub (pictured above). Those of you in the USA, it is available in any drugstore and is amazing value, something like $4USD for a large tube that lasts literally a year! I put a 10 cent piece amount on my palms and gently rub on for 1 minute.

Queen Helene Oatmeal Honey Scrub

Scrubby Scrubby!

Gently. Then again, sponge off with warm water. Gently.

Other scrubs I like: Dermalogica’s Skin Prep Scrub (bit more pricey), St Ives Apricot Scrub (very affordable!)

3. Deep Cleanse

The mask I use is Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Masque. It is a cult product in the States and I can see why – it costs almost nothing and is incredibly effective. It smells minty fresh and isn’t irritating to the skin! This is a clay mask – I find clay masks the most effective for getting all those pesky blackheads out and sucking all the crap in your skin out to the surface. There, that was a pleasant image to behold, was it not? I dollop a lot of this on, smear it all over my face but not near my eyes.

Queen Helene Clay Mask

Lots of minty maskey goodness! Alliteration!

Then I let it dry to rock hard goodness, then sponge off with warm water. I would show you a picture of the mask on my face but surely we can’t let blackmail fodder like that on the internets!

Other clearing masks I like: Lancome’s Pure Empreinte Mask, Clarins Gentle Facial Peeling

4. PLUMP & HYDRATE

After all that abrasion and gunk clearing, you want to plump your skin up with moisture. There are several types of hydrating masks, from calming to creamy and each containing all kinds of soothing properties. My standby for the last 10 years has been the one pictured above, Dermalogica’s Skin Hydrating Masque. It’s a clear gel and can be used around the eyes and lips safely, is extremely soothing and a fuss free treat for the skin. I apply liberally, let sit for 5-10 mins, then sponge off with warm water.

Other Hydrating masks I like: Nivea Indulging Honey Mask, Nivea Soft Calming Mask. (Bonus, these comes in little sachets for single use!)

5. Treat & Protect

I believe that when you exfoliate and deep cleanse, your skin is SUPER primed to receive goodness in the form of some great serums/oils/deep moisturising. For facials, I invest in super great products that I may not use every day. This time I chose the following treats:

  1. SKII Facial Treatment Repair C (Serum)
  2. SKII Signs Eye Cream
  3. Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Booster (Serum)
  4. Creme De La Mer

Basically, dollop these on and massage gently into your clean, primed skin. Allow each layer to sink in, and I always try to leave my skin feeling soft and plump!

Other facial finishing creams/serums I like: Dermalogica Skin Renewal Booster, Dermalogical Gentle Soothing Booster, SKII Signs Nourishing Creme, Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream, Nivea Creme

And you’re done! Altogether the entire process only takes about 25-30 minutes, and can go miles towards more radiant, glowing skin. Don’t be put off by the seeming loads of products you need – like I said, these last you ages!

Water saving tip - use a bowl of warm water and this way you can watch tv whilst pampering yourself!

Additionally, before the overwhelming stress of being a woman overtakes (it’s too much hard work! I know), know that I only get around to doing this once a month at the very most, and that’s when I’m trying to be conscientious about it! Try it, and let me know how you go!

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delusional man = wonderful

So I’m sitting there reading a blog, and exclaiming, full of pouts and envy, about how absolutely stunning this fashion blogger is. I mean, she’s is out of this world beautiful, and photographs a charm to boot. I am in absolute awe and cannot stop staring at her perfection.

Me: (pointing at screen) oh WOW, this girl is so gorgeous!

Him: (looks up, glances over, looks back down) Nope.

Me: Uh, I think you need to look again, because you are clearly BLIND.

Him: (looks again) No way.

Me: What do you mean? This girl is stunning! Look at her eyes, her face, her hair, her legs!

Him: Honey, quit squawking. She’s not beautiful.

Me: Ok, WHAT makes her decidedly NOT beautiful??

(Note – i don’t know why I got so worked up but somehow I want him to have the same taste in women as I do!)

Him: She’s not you.

And off he goes, back to reading his own thing. Like he didn’t even have to think about it.

That, everyone, is love. Deluded surely, but oh ever so pleasing love.

ball on a budget

A few weeks ago Steve took me to a ball, a real, bonafide ball. It wasn’t till about a week before the ball that he threw in the fact that it was SUPER FORMAL, “all the girls at work are getting all dressed up, hair done, makeup, etc and gowns, definitely gowns”. Well that threw me off completely – not because I have an issue with LACK of dresses/frocks/gowns. More because I had just injured my ankle, and all my gowns involve slits or slightly above the ankle action, where a decidedly ugly strapping tape would show rather unattractively.

I was in Singapore when he told me about the formality of the ball, with only a week to find something (and a budget that made me weep), and so decided to take advantage of the Great Singapore Sale to find me a suitable ball outfit that kept me in glamorous bent without breaking the bank.

The ball was held at the Regent Ballroom, underneath the iconic Regent theatre. I couldn’t get a good photo – but it was absolutely stunning with high ceilings, chandeliers everywhere, amazing amazing, just so lush and decadent.

Regent Ballroom, Melbourne, Australia

Regent Ballroom, Melbourne, Australia

I managed to find this steal of a gown from MNG, one of my favourite brands for affordable fashion. It was on super sale, so ended up being just $89 (SGD). For a ball gown! YAYY! Plus, I could see it being worn on a summer’s day with some strappy sandals equally easily, so it wasn’t a strict formalwear buy. Gotta love multi-functional buys!

Sharon Pakir at the Ball - Regent Ballroom - 2010

At the entrance of Regent Ballroom

Hair – curled by hairdresser and updo-ed by me. Makeup – done with all the items in my makeup travel kit (fuss-free is good!). Shawl – $20 pashmina from Arab St stall in Singapore. Shoes – $49 from MNG in Singapore. Ankle Strap – courtesy of Olympic Park medical Centre. Dress – $89 from MNG in Singapore. Smile – free, Steve-inspired.

We made a pretty couple, I think:

Steve & Sharon at the Ball - Regent Ballroom - 2010

I MAY OR MAY NOT have had a hissy fit about not being able to wear high heels due to my injury, and feel all glamorous, about 20 minutes before leaving the house. Maybe, I may have thrown myself on the bed in a fit of despair. I may also have tried on about 4 pairs of heels in vain before collapsing in pain. Perhaps, if I were a naughtier person, I would’ve put on flats and then went on a 10 minute tirade about everyone thinking how UNFASHIONABLE I was. Perhaps. But of course, this remains between me and Steve. Forever.

It ended up being a wonderful night. No one could see my flatties under this gorgeous gown. Steve treated me like an absolute princess, even dashing out in the rain to hail me a cab whilst I waited in warm comfort. We took photos in the photobooth, and made merry and even had a bit of a hobbled dance. It was perfect. Plus, the dress held up, didn’t need fidgeting, was draped in a way to allow me to eat the 3 course meal without bulging. Sometimes the best fashion isn’t the most expensive fashion.

Steve n Sharon at the ball

jet black hair

and working with le male species, in particular men who work with computers:

Rob: You look like you’ve had botox!

Shan: err… no?

Jane: I think you’ll find it’s coz she’s dyed her hair jet black.

Rob (nodding in understanding): AHHHHH, you now have better contrast!